Library Loot April 21st, 2022

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library

My branch library is being renovated, so right now I get to visit the bookmobile. It’s only there one weekday after work, which has forced me into a sweet little routine and a closer relationship with the librarian who is always there.

The League of Gentlewomen Witches – “Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the teahouse”. Apparently there is a piratey Mr Darcy character.

Comeuppance Served Cold – “Seattle, 1929 – a bitterly divided city overflowing with wealth, violence and magic” Skinny little book, looks like a quick read

Saplings – “A dark inversion of the author’s best known book, the classic Ballet Shoes

Sea of Tranquility – “Takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon nearly five hundred years later” … I don’t know about this one…

Project Finish-Olympics: first week update

https://sirdar.com/en/products/happy-chenille-under-the-sea
https://www.etsy.com/listing/683386356/scraptastic-cowl-pdf-knitting-pattern?ref=yr_purchases
https://knitshep.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/dainty-bubbles/

Last week, I set myself a challenge to finish as many WIPs as possible within the timeframe of the Winter Olympics. Three projects down so far!!

These were all easy and almost finished. Moving on, I’ve picked up a large, complex cabled shoulder cowl started in 2019. I am also down to the binding on a lap quilt.

Knitting Olympics

With Olympics just started, I thought I might try to see how many WIPS I can finish in that same time period. I have: mittens (98%), scrappy cowl (80%), summer shawl, leksak, crochet shawl (80% with error), chenille octopus (80%), shift, big silk cable cowl (70%), mermaid tail, unicorn quilt, and hubs pajama pants. Won’t get them all of course!

My first finish is Dainty Bubbles, a free pattern at https://knitshep.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/dainty-bubbles/. The left hand has errors in the cables, gaps in the thumb gusset, and weirdness in the Kitchener. Right hand is perfect. But both fit and they are for me! Yarn is Targhee-Rambouillet dyed with sheep sorrel from Parke Creek Farm on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/ParkeCreekFarm

Library Loot: April 1st, 2021

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Several new release books this week for my library loot!

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine – the follow up to her Hugo- award winning book A Memory Called Empire, which was one of my top books of 2020. Unfortunately I have the world’s worst book memory and don’t recall much about it.

Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs, #6 in her Alpha and Omega series. It has been a couple years since I’ve read in this series, so, yep, book memory again. I love the concept of an Omega wolf, though – one that is outside the pack structure rather than subordinate and can calm an alpha wolf.

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox. I started this one first, and am about a third of the way through. It combines the creepiness and fae world-building of The Hazel Wood with The Goldfinch‘s sense of watching someone slowly destroying their life. I only enjoy one of those things in a book…. This one may be going back to the library.

Also, recently finished:

My Year of Knitting Dangerously. Ah, the early 2000’s, when a blogger could do something for a year and publish a book out of it. Sweet innocence. Read this one before bed when I couldn’t concentrate on more complicated books.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna.YA fantasy, heavy on the chosen one trope, but did a great job with it, exploring the suppression of women in a world that believes some young girls are descended from demons.

Library Loot: I am a readerly wuss

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Already finished: Winterhouse, a middle grade novel with an orphaned girl, an old hotel, a grand library, and a magic book. All the things, when it comes to middle grade fiction. I connected with my inner 12 year old, forgot about tropes, and enjoyed it very much.

Things in Jars: I’m a third of the way through this one. It has a literary writing style but gothic plot… I guess… so far I can tell you a lot about the Victorian setting but I can’t tell what it’s actually about. I am strangely really wanting to continue, but also afraid of where it might be going. When did I become such a fearful reader?

Short, fun descriptions of the others:

Little – Madam Tussaud’s early years, dramatized

Heartbeat of Wounded Knee – modern native american history; plan to skim to see if my grumpy conservative FIL would enjoy it as a birthday present

Arctic Fury – Victorian Arctic rescue expedition led by women ends in murder trial; murder trial neverthless occurs first in book, leaving me suspicious that book is slow in middle

Enemy of all Mankind: pirates pirates pirates! Recommended by The Bookshelf, my favorite indie bookstore.

I’m going to be a big girl now and dig back into Things in Jars!

3 Mini Reviews for a New Year

I’ve recently completed three enjoyable if slightly flawed books. If they fit your interests, one of them could be worth a try!

Weave a Circle Round – This YA book had the promise of being full of quirky oddness. I was expecting something like a Kate Racculia book, or perhaps a more satisfying version of The House on the Cerulean Sea (am I the only blogger in the world who didn’t care for that book?). Instead, around the 30% mark, it took a hard left turn and introduced two different topics that were not promised anywhere in the book description. I almost gave up, but I’m glad I didn’t. While I found some elements of the story awkward and the ending mildly unsatisfying, this book was still enjoyable and fun, reminding me more of the fairy-tale magic of Far Far Away. For anyone who enjoys seeing story, magic and myth brought into the real world, and who has a high tolerance for first-time author quirks. Here is a more detailed review from Tor.com, although it contains my 30% spoilers.

Death Comes As Epiphany – Abelard and Heloise each have a student, and those students come together in twelfth-century France to solve a mystery. The restrictions of their society create some interesting extra drama, and if the author is fond of sudden and awkward POV changes, well, it’s something I was able to overlook for a fun, light read. I especially loved reading it alongside the next book…

A Place for Everything – I read a LOT of Judith Flanders last year, and so naturally I was excited about her new release on the history of alphabetical order. Unfortunately, this book was slower going than some of her others, and it took me over two months to finish. I’m still glad I persevered, because I keep finding ways to relate other books I’m reading back to it.

Library Loot: December 30th

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

A landslide of library holds – just in time for Christmas break! I don’t have a lot of writing time today, so I will just share the pretty covers.

My Ten Favorite Books Read in 2020

I’m linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl to share my favorite books read in (not published in!) 2020.

10. The Making of Home by Judith Flanders – reviews the concept of home through time and how it influenced the development of various societies.
9. Fire Logic by Laurie Marks – three friends join the resistance in a fantasy world where people have different magical elemental powers (fire, water, earth, air). Note, I loved the first book and couldn’t get into the rest of this mature series.
8. A Royal Experiment by Janice Hadlow – nonfiction on the family life of King George III. Fascinating and full of dramatic tension as the royals lay out a path to avoid their parents’ mistakes and then train-wreck their way through life.
7. Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett – Fantasy novel with a steampunk feel – magic is used to imbue everyday objects (like carriages) with the sentience to perform a simple task over and over again. Our heroine must fight the industrial overlords who are searching for a more powerful object to consolidate control over the city.
6. Beach Read by Emily Henry – Two writers next door to each other at their lake houses ignore each other. Extremely fun (and funny) romance – and I don’t read a lot of romance. I gifted this book this year.
5. A Golden Thread by Kassia St. Clair – The history of fabric. I got a lot of ribbing from my husband on this one – and then I read it out loud to him in bed.
4. The Four Graces by D.E. Stevenson – wartime story of sisters finding love in an English village – as funny and high quality as Miss Buncle’s Book by the same author
3. A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine – A space exploration saga focusing on an ambassador that is dropped into a new society without the hardware implants that would normally help her understand it. Really clever and once I got into it, fascinating.
2. The Other Bennett sister by Janice Hadlow – Of all the Pride and Prejudice retellings I read this year, my most favorite. Hadlow focuses on Mary, the dorky middle sister. She moves beyond the P&P timeline to show Mary learning to own her power as a woman.
1. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie – If I had written a 2019 Best List, this author’s science fiction book Ancillary Justice would have been on it. The Raven Tower is her one fantasy book and it is even better than Ancillary Justice. That’s all I’ll say. No spoilers.

Note: because it’s been such an odd reading year, I’ve also composed lists of favorite series, nonfiction, and gentle reads that I read and enjoyed in 2020.

Ten Favorite Gentle Reads from the 2020 Pandemic

I really have no idea what I’m going to do with my Top Books of 2020 list this year. Maybe I won’t do one. It’s been such an odd reading year – I’ve read my way through several series, done a lot of Pride and Prejudice retellings, dug into an unusual quantity of nonfiction, and enjoyed an assortment of quiet, nonthreatening reads.

In this post, my gentle pandemic reads have a few things in common: most are romance or at least have romantic subplots; all have a strong sense of place, often centered in an English village; and most importantly, all were readable and comforting for me in this difficult year. “Readable” and “comforting” are really the main criteria. If you find yourself needing gentle reads to get through the winter of 2021, I hope one or two of these help you too. In no particular order:

Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck (1940): I’m normally allergic to pastors’ wives, and that made this wartime novel from the viewpoint of a pastor’s wife even more delicious. She’s a real person with a unique viewpoint, and even though the overall book is a quiet one, there’s lots of funny moments and enough plot to keep me reading til the end.
Bel Lamington (1961) and The Four Graces (1946) both by D.E. Stevenson. The Four Graces was a really funny book about four sisters finding love (or not). Bel Lamington should have been off-putting from a feminist standpoint, but I helplessly found myself in Bel’s shoes, first as a career girl and then through several silly romantic adventures.



Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (1946) by Elizabeth Taylor
High Rising by Angela Thirkell
Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Remedial Rocket Science by Susannah Nix
Re Jane by Patricia Park
Beach Read by Emily Henry