Which lockdown is this? January recap

I forget. We’re in another one here in Scotland, anyway, and thus we struggle on. As I write this post, however, I’m “enjoying” a week off from work, and so I am catching up on a fair bit of reading! Let’s recap.


Things written

So my December was largely a case of “HOW MANY people are self-isolating?!” and work became a hellscape for a while there. January, too, was rather blue. As a result not a whole lot got posted here, but I did get in the first review of the year, and a cracking read it was too – you can get my take on The Obsidian Tower, the first in a new series from Melissa Caruso, by hopping over here.

I also (sort of!) jumped back on the Top Ten Tuesday train with a look at some of the books that were sadly neglected last year, but which I plan to make it up to!

Things read



Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite, edited by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker

This anthology is, quite simply, not one you want to miss out on. If you’re a fan of that classic fictional monster, but feel like that myth needs some new life breathed into it, this is a book for you. Collecting a tasty number of short stories from some of the best and brightest writers out there today, it looks at the myth of the vampire from a series of interesting angles, shedding new light (hah) on its foundational aspects. It’s not just all overly toothy Tall Dark and Handsomes swanning around in castles anymore, you know.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I think we have all learned a thing or two about a lack of sunlight and avoiding general society and… Well this pithy observation got all deep so let’s just move on, shall we?)


The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1) by K.J. Charles

It’s no secret that I have become an ardent fan of K.J. Charles. January saw me come (back) for the romance and stay for the magic!

This is not a new release – this particular series is part of K.J.’s back catalogue, which I am working my way through. But it’s ticking a lovely number of boxes! It’s got queer romance, a murder mystery (complete with ghosts!), an ancestral home and some ancestral magic that comes along with it… then there’s the magic tattoos. But to say more would spoil things if you haven’t read it. So you should go and do that, shouldn’t you. Meanwhile, I’ve got the rest of these books to wrap myself up in…


The Once and Future Witches, by Alix E. Harrow

This got a mention in the Top Ten Tuesday post I did a couple of weeks ago, and it’s the first from that list that I’ve managed to cross off.

And oh, what a mind-blowingly good choice it was.

I could go on forever about all the reasons I loved this book. I’ll try not to since this is supposed to be a recap, but: if you’ve ever wanted more from fairy tales than just a straight-up Happy Ever After, and you’re tired of only ever hearing about the white lady suffragists with money who fought for voting rights back in the day, and you’re a sucker for the darker side of myths and legends, and definitely if you’ve ever wondered just where that nursery rhyme or children’s song came from – you need to read this book. Now excuse me while I place it lovingly on my Best of 2021 pile.


The Wyrd and Wonder Read Along of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel novels has picked up again, with a read along of Kushiel’s Chosen set to begin in the first week of February! You can find the schedule and other info at our Goodreads group, here.

Shelf Love

What else got added to the shelves this month? Quite a bit, if I’m being honest (I know, you’re so surprised):

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
The Green Man’s Heir by Juliet E. McKenna
The Ascendant Trilogy by K. Arsenault Rivera
The Route of Ice and Salt by José Luis Zárate & David Bowles (translator)

And let’s not forget the ARCs! I’m trying to be a bit pickier about the ones I accept, but it’s nice to get surprise book mail now and then, and I’ve gotten a couple of Very Interesting ones recently: The Unbroken by C.L. Clark, and Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. I’m looking forward to both of them!

So what’s caught your eye from that list? Anything good? Anything you might add to yours?

Nine Hearths

Quite a bit has happened in my online D&D game since I last checked in! Last time, I talked about an invasion of the home territory by Very Bad Neighbours, and the kidnapping of some friends and other innocents, as well as some Important Character Development.

Well, we found a couple of the missing people! Only problem is, they’ve been properly brainwashed (it seems) and there’s going to be some work required to undo whatever control has been exerted, there. Mind control magic is such a pain, you guys.

Also, it has seriously given my paladin a case of vengeful rage. No flying off the handle yet, and she hasn’t agreed with our cleric about suggested … extreme measures, but who knows. Can she keep her promise to restore her childhood friend to his normal, un-brainwashed self? Can any of the strange and unusual people/beings they’ve encountered offer them any help? Will they offer any?! And how well will all of this go for the Dominion prisoner they managed to capture…?

As a player, I’m bursting with questions and potential ideas/avenues to (re)explore. As a character … IT IS SO HARD NOT TO JUST GO OFF ON ALL THESE TANGENTS AT ONCE. I am not very good at self-control, so this is going to get interesting!

The plot has definitely thickened.


Well, I think that’s a good place to leave things for now. I’ve got a heck of a lot more reading to do. See you next time!







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