Knitting Notes

I love this yarn! It’s just the prettiest variable blue.

These are the Sun and Moon Socks, by Andrea Rangel. Moon theme, of course (if you know me). I actually bought this pattern before I had firm plans to make it, which I almost never do. And then, like two weeks later, Sundara did a daily dream called Gilded Midnight that’s a full size of the blue yarn, and a mini of the yellow. I have never ordered yarn so fast in my life.

I’m cheating a bit making the moon yellow, but I like the contrast way better. But, since it’s night, I’m carrying through with the yellow toe. I’m going to be close using up this yarn, but it’ll be worth it.


The Bright Ages – Matthew Gabriele & David M. Perry

This is an interesting overview of the history of Medieval Europe, with the idea that we need to stop referring to it as the Dark Ages. The authors’ main point is that popular history tends to treat the medieval period as a fall from the glory that was the Roman Empire, but it’s better to think of it as an evolution – nothing really ended.

It’s funny – I didn’t notice this until I was reading a few other reviews of the book, but there are no foot notes included. So this is a book aimed for the general reader. I do think it’s a good overview – they cover much of European history, as well as the Islamic influences that you really can’t ignore when talking about this period. My one lone quibble – they really beat you over the head with the phrase “The Bright Ages”. I mean, yes, you’re trying to make a point, but I think you covered it pretty well when you set up the Introduction.

Powers – Ursula K. Le Guin

Leave it to Le Guin to write a young adult book that’s a really moving story of slavery and freedom.

This book is the story of Gavir, a slave in one of the households in the city of Etra, part of a confederation of cities that constantly seem to be at war with each other, always shifting alliances. In many ways, Gavir is very lucky – his sister is with him, and he’s being educated by the current teacher (also a slave) to educate both the children of the house, and the other slaves. It seems like a happy life, where slavery is almost an afterthought.

Of course, it’s not an afterthought. Life goes on, and childhood idylls end. After an unspeakable tragedy, Gavir ends up going on a journey, and finds himself, and a new view of the world, along the way.

I actually find it hard to say more about this book – half of the experience is being in the story, and seeing Gavir grow as he encounters new places, ideas, or people. It’s an amazing book, which considering the author, should come as no surprise.

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Agathis by Agata Smektala
Yarn: I Knit or Dye Killing Me Softly Aran in Natural White
Needles: Size 4 and 7 circs and Size 7 DPNs

I’m really annoyed with myself.    I picked the wrong yarn and/or needle size, and this is too big for me.   But it’s really nice hat, so it’s not worth doing over again.    So it’ll go to someone else to enjoy, and I’ll have to come up with something else if I want a new hat this winter.

I enjoyed the pattern – it’s just the right level of interest without being too difficult.

Unsouled – Will Wight

Interesting book. It’s set in a vaguely Eastern cultured world, where people use magic called madra. Lindon is born without any specific ability to shape madra, meaning he’s unsouled – more or less useless to his family. But he’s determined to make something of himself, and through sheer force of will sets out on what looks like it’s going to be a very interesting journey.

It’s a bit of slow start, but all of sudden, it’s very clear that there are Things Going On far beyond the scope of what Lindon has ever been prepared to deal with. With as much set up as was done, the end of the book opens up whole new worlds of possibilities. I can definitely see why I see this book mentioned so often online. I got the first three books in the series for free, so I have more to explore!

Knitting Notes

Pattern: Zostera marina by Hunter Hammersen
Yarn: Blue Moon Yarn Silky Sock
Needles: Size 1.5 DPNs

First project of the year!    It was mostly completed last year, but then I got a bug about eating up some yarn scraps before 2022 ended, so this went to the side for a bit.    It’s an enjoyable pattern – lost of sizing options, and you can either mirror the socks (which I did), or do them exactly the same.

It’s really hard to capture the color of this yarn on camera – I left the one sock picture on Ravelry because it looks different.    It’s definitely a bluer green in person.    I love the blue that it shifts to when it’s going between the green and purple colors.

Paladin of Souls – Lois McMaster Bujold

This is a reread, which I don’t normally write up, but these two books (this is the follow up to The Curse of Chalion), are just so incredibly good, I want to make sure I mention them again.

Ista is a minor character in The Curse of Chalion, the dowager royina, mother to the two children that Cazaril mentors through that book. In Curse, we find out about the terrible burden that Ista has been carrying, a burden that made everyone else think she was mad.

After the events of Curse, Ista is theoretically free, but what does that mean? She’s been defined as a widow for so long that she’s not sure who she really is anymore. When her mother passes away, she seizes the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage, not really knowing what she will find as she travels. What she finds is that the god given abilities she thought had been taken from her because of her mistakes are not gone, and they are needed more than ever.

I love that Ista is middle aged, and is the hero of this story. I love that she is fairly broken. I love that she finds her way, and finds new happiness, past the age where you’d normally expect her to be the hero of her own story. And, as always with the books set in this world, I love the gods of this world, and how they interact with people. I truly can’t say enough good things about the books Bujold has set in this world.

Embroidery Notes

This year’s crazy pants cross stitch project: a full coverage extravanganza of my favorite Waterhouse painting, Boreas. (The study of which is a frequent avatar of mine.)

I had to stock up on an insane amount of floss. And I may break down and get myself a way better frame – the piece of fabric I’m working with is enormous. It’s 42 pages of charts. I’m very interested to see how long this takes me to finish.

Knitting Notes

This was all the worsted (ish) weight scraps I had kicking around. I managed to get them all used up last night, so all of them are getting knocked out of my yarn tally ahead of of 2023. (I do like a good yarn purge.)

I have a few other ideas for using up scraps, or getting me to scrap amounts I can use up, so I’m going to concentrate on those for the first few projects of 2023.

2022 Books Read

  1. The Prince of Secrets – A.J. Lancaster
  2. Fated Blades – Ilona Andrews
  3. The Princess Fugitive – Melanie Cellier
  4. Pretense – Tara Grayce
  5. Into the Labyrinth – John Bierce
  6. The Kitchen Diaries II – Nigel Slater
  7. The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness
  8. Mind Over Magic – Lindsay Buroker
  9. The Glamourist – Luanne G. Smith
  10. Stolen Midsummer Bride – Tara Grayce
  11. The Court of Mortals – AJ Lancaster
  12. The King of Faerie – AJ Lancaster
  13. The Kitchen Diaries III – Nigel Slater
  14. Dance of Thieves – Mary E. Pearson
  15. The Menopause Manifesto – Jennifer Gunther
  16. The Legendary Inge – Kate Stradling
  17. The Obsidian Chimera – Marie Andreas
  18. Jewel of the Endless Erg – John Bierce
  19. A Traitor in Skyhold – John Bierce
  20. Botanical Shakespeare – Gerit Quealy
  21. The Lost City of Ithos – John Bierce
  22. The Siege of Skyhold – John Bierce
  23. Legends and Lattes – Travis Baldree
  24. Dreams Made Flesh – Anne Bishop
  25. The Left-Handed Booksellers of London – Garth Nix
  26. The Night Country – Melissa Albert
  27. The Source – Martin Doyle
  28. Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire
  29. When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain – Nghi Vo
  30. Masquerade in Lodi – Lois McMaster Bujold
  31. Cook, Eat, Repeat – Nigella Lawson
  32. Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson
  33. The Curse of Chalion – Lois McMaster Bujold
  34. White Hot – Ilona Andrews
  35. The New Paris – Lindsay Tramuta
  36. Song of the Forever Rains – E. J. Mellow
  37. Empire of Gold – S. A. Chakraborty
  38. Garden Revolution – Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher
  39. Cast in Courtlight – Michelle Sagara
  40. Elfhame – Anthea Sharpe
  41. A Gilded Cage – Auburn Tempest
  42. About a Dragon – G. A. Aiken
  43. Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tan
  44. Half a Soul – Olivia Atwater
  45. Piranesi – Susanna Clarke
  46. The Assassins of Thasalon – Lois McMaster Bujold
  47. A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik
  48. The Forest Unseen – David George Haskell
  49. In an Absent Dream – Seanan McGuire
  50. A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking – T. Kingfisher
  51. The Kinsmen Universe – Ilona Andrews
  52. Grey Sister – Mark Lawrence
  53. Shield Band – Tara Grayce
  54. Ink Witch – Lindsey Sparks
  55. Wildfire – Ilona Andrews
  56. Diamond Fire – Ilona Andrews
  57. Sapphire Flames – Ilona Andrews
  58. Emerald Blaze – Ilona Andrews
  59. Death’s Detective – Charlotte E. English
  60. The Rogue and the Peasant – Amberley Martin
  61. Ruby Fever – Ilona Andrews
  62. Tea and Sympathetic Magic – Tansy Rayner Roberts
  63. Sweep of the Blade – Ilona Andrews
  64. The Theft of Sunlight – Intisar Khanani
  65. Cast in Moonlight – Michelle Sagara
  66. Sisters of Saint Nicola of the Almost Perpetual Motion vs the Lurch – Garth Nix
  67. Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon – Lisa Goldstein
  68. Redemption in Indigo – Karen Lord
  69. Vision in Silver – Anne Bishop
  70. Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir
  71. Once Upon a Curse
  72. The Hermit of Eyton Forest – Ellis Peters
  73. Striking Mars – Cidney Swanson
  74. Knot of Shadows – Lois McMaster Bujold
  75. The Hanging Tree – Ben Aaronovitch
  76. The October Man – Ben Aaronovitch
  77. Lies Sleeping – Ben Aaronovitch
  78. False Value – Ben Aaronovitch
  79. Songs of the Dying Earth – edited George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
  80. The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison
  81. Keturah and Lord Death – Martine Leavitt
  82. Peril – Tara Grayce
  83. Disenchanted – Brianna Sugalski
  84. Come Tumbling Down – Seanan McGuire
  85. Sweep of the Heart – Ilona Andrews
  86. Briarheart – Mercedes Lackey
  87. Komarr – Lois McMaster Bujold
  88. The Girl with No Face – M. H. Boroson

Books Not Finished

The Three-Body Problem – Cixin Liu

I’d heard good things about this book, and it’s certainly been well-lauded. But I was just not feeling it. Once I decided to stop reading it, I went and checked out reviews, and it does seem to be a book that either changed your life, or you just can’t understand what all the hype is about.

I’m definitely in the why? camp. I stuck it out for six chapters, and at that point, I still really can’t tell you exactly what’s supposed to be going on, or why I should care. I kept this on my Kindle for a while before I finally decided I should just bow to the inevitable and check it back in. There’s no way I’m finishing it – there’s nothing hooking me in enough to keep reading.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee

I must be getting old. I’d heard good things about this book, and a friend of mine whose book interests generally line up to mine loved it, so when it came up in Kindle Unlimited, I just went ahead and downloaded it.

I didn’t last the first chapter. I immediately found the main character to be completely, and utterly obnoxious. I’m ok with a nice rogue, but this was just too much for me. Like I said, I think I’m getting old.

The City Beneath the Hidden Stars – Sonya Kudei

I requested this book through the EarlyReviewers program because I thought it sounded really cool – a modern story tying back to the mythological roots of its setting. Unfortunately, I’ve been sitting at the end of chapter one for two weeks now, and I just can’t bring myself to read on, so I’m going to do my review, but not give any stars, because I simply couldn’t finish it.

I lost track of how many characters were introduced between the multi-part prologue and the first chapter. I’m not sure who I was actually supposed to be rooting for, and as much as I hate not completing something I feel like I agreed to, I just couldn’t find a reason to do it. This definitely needed an edit (or two) before it was published.

The Firebird – Susanna Kearsley

I found the first book in this series charming, but the second one wasn’t grabbing me. Too many elements – time travel, physic connections, two people trying to figure out their psychic connections. And we’re going to throw in a trip to Russia in here somewhere. I’m not giving up completely – I’ll keep it around, but I’m definitely not grabbed enough to finish it this year.

Fortuna – Kristyn Merbeth

I liked the world building – humans have spread out to a new star system, and colonized several planets there. Our main characters are a family that live in a ship doing business between them. Mom (the captain) was smart and had a baby in each major world, giving her an in on all of them. Except with baby #2, Scorpia, who had the misfortune of being born early, in space, which means she’s a citizen of nowhere.

Turns out, Mom’s a bitch and playing a long game that involves withholding information from her own children. We see the story through the eyes of the two oldest – Corvus and Scorpia. Scorpia is constantly trying to prove herself, based on what we can tell is bad information.

So I’m about 45% into the book, and Scorpia is about to commit colossal fuck up number 2, and I just can’t any more. I think Corvus might end up saving the day, because he seems to be the only good person in the family, but I’m just done caring.

Heart Seeker – Juliana Haygert

I often nope out of free books pretty quickly – I can usually tell if the writing style is going to drive me crazy with a page or two. I lasted a little longer into this one, until the main character’s mother showed up, and things just got whiny. Too bad, the set up before that had been pretty good.

Seveneves- Neal Stephenson

I really wanted to be able to get further into this book – it starts in the present day, but then goes to a far flung future, where humans long ago left Earth and have evolved into several new races. I suspect I’ll enjoy that part. But I can’t get through the beginning. It’s too close to present day (it’s just old enough that it’s not perfect – social media is still mainly Facebook), but it’s close enough that I can’t do the post-apocalyptic bit right now. I’ll put it away. I might be able to come back to it when it’s aged a bit more.