hoursgoneby: (hourglass)
Oh, god, I honestly can't believe it's 2017 already. Thank whatever powers might exist that the clusterfuck of 2016 is over - and that's honestly all I want to say about the past year. Pretty sure most people agree with me.

But! Snowflake is back! :D This is honestly one of the highlights for the start of the year and I'm grateful to everyone who stepped up as a new mod because I really needed this. That's definitely not a criticism of [personal profile] akamine_chan and co-runners! I understand they've had a tough year, and I also get that if you don't have the spoons, you don't have the spoons and need to step back and engage in some self-care. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that and whoever tells you otherwise is lying. *hugs for you all*

Fandom Snowflake Challenge bannerDay 1

In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you have created. It can be your favorite fanworks that you've created, or fanworks you feel no one ever saw, or fanworks you say would define you as a creator. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


I'm still pleased with The Longest Night, a LoTR fanfic I wrote in 2015 for the International Fanworks Day challenge over on [livejournal.com profile] lotr_community. It came in 2nd place in the Tree and Flower Awards 2015 for Favorite Story Featuring a New Author, which was a most pleasant surprise!

Honesty, an SPN fanfic that I really need to remember to post on A03, is one I think I include in this challenge every year but it's one of my favorites. It's a drabble based around Dean and Future!Cas' conversation in the truck during 'The End'. Future!Cas breaks my heart, he truly does.

Through the Gates, a Goblin Emperor fanfic written for [livejournal.com profile] smallfandomfest Round 19 and based on the prompt 'It's not quite love, but it's not just duty, either.' It's about Maia and Csethiro's developing relationship, because I wanted to see more of that, dammit!

Calling Frequency, a Dead Space fanfic also written for [livejournal.com profile] smallfandomfest Round 19 and based on the prompt 'Trapped on Tau Volantis after the events of Dead Space 3, an injured Carver has to rely on Isaac for help.'. This one was challenging because a) I've only played DS3 single-player and thus only really know Carver through cut scenes and b) it's mostly dialogue and I had a hard time remembering to include actions and descriptions and not wind up with something that read like, as How Not to Write a Novel says, two disembodied brains in a jar having a conversation. But I succeeded!

For the curious, previous versions of this challenge are at the following links: 2016, 2015, 2014.
hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
What I Just Finished Reading: Utopia, by Thomas More. Philosophy is not really my thing but I kind of get the impression it's a satire. (Granted, I'm 500 years away - literally, it was published in 1516 - from the target audience so I may be missing some things.) Or it could just be that it sounds too tightly regulated to me to be a paradise, but I'm told I have problems with authority. I found out that the title comes from two Greek words, ou and topos, that mean 'not' and 'place' respectively that just reinforces this. Utopia is not a thing humanity can achieve. (Frankly, I wouldn't want to live in it. Confess my sins to my husband monthly my ass, and that's just for starters.)

Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente. Oh, I really enjoyed this one! It reads like something out of the golden age of SF, though more diverse and I'm glad to see it. It takes place in an alternate 1986 when talkies are a shiny new innovation and humanity has colonized the solar system. Moving back and forth between time periods, and using a variety of storytelling techniques, it tells the story of the mysterious disappearance of documentary filmmaker Severin Unck. The mystery is incredibly involving, and the world building is just amazing. I honestly want to tell you everything and nothing at the same time because it's so good and yet you should really go into it unspoiled.

Sadly, I no longer have my copy. It was a free download through the Tor book club and before I could do a backup [Edit: Radiance is one I bought, not downloaded through Tor, and I was able to get it back by syncing my Kobo library. Sorry, I was tired.] My ereader randomly reset itself back to factory settings. I woke up one morning, turned it on, and got the message that it was resetting. And swore. Happily, I was able to get all my books back save the Tor book club ones but since I wanted hard copies of Three Body Problem and Radiance anyway it's not too big a deal. I would have liked to finish the most recent one, from Elizabeth Bear, though.

Nor Iron Bars a Cage, by Kaje Harper, which can be downloaded for free: my link there goes to Smashwords but it's availabe on Amazon Kindle as well. Lyon was once a sorceror's apprentice but after the possession and death of his master, he became a hermit, rarely leaving his house and earning a living as a translator. Then, unexpectedly, his childhood friend Tobin appears, on a mission for the king and with a job for Lyon - one that means leaving the one place he feels secure.
With this one, I was worried that a) Tobin would be handle Lyon's past trauma in a typical romance-novel way (ie. healing cock), b) Lyon would end the novel completely over his PTSD (not how it works), and c) Lyon's disabled right hand would also be magically healed.

Fortunately, while Tobin insists that Lyon comes with him (not that either of them has any other option, it is a command from the king) he's still careful, considerate, and patient and makes sure he knows Lyon's boundaries so he doesn't cross them. None of this alpha-male bullying you into being what they think you should be bullshit. I really liked Tobin.

Lyon can handle some things better by the end but is still clearly suffering from PTSD and there's no suggestion he'll ever be completely healed of it. (I'm sick to death of seeing people magically 100% cured of their mental illnesses in fiction. It doesn't work that way. Aaand I'm going to stop the rant right there.) He does have to face the wraith that possessed his master, but the idea of facing your fears (exposure therapy) has merit and isn't treated like a cure-all so I'm OK with it. I grant you exposure therapy doesn't usually mean plunging straight into things in a magical circle to face one spirit while being aided by another but it's not like the book went straight from 'flashback-ridden, agoraphobic hermit' to 'boldly facing your fears with no other reaction'. I don't think it even hit that last one at all.

Lyon does end the book with a slightly greater range of motion in his right hand but it's never going to be 100%. It makes sense, though: the original injury had scarred over before it could be properly tended and there was a foreign object embedded in it. Removal of the object and what sounds like a minor operation, possibly to remove more scar tissue, plus some light physiotherapy would serve to improve things. I checked to see if there were a sequel: sadly, there was not. I'd've liked to read more about Tobin and Lyon.

Hexmaker (Hexworld #2), by Jordan L. Hawk. Malachi is a fox shifter and a thief, who witnesses a murder during one of his break-ins. Caught and held at the scene, he also finds his witch, Dr. Owen Yates, when the forensic hexman arrives at the murder scene. Owen Yates, who is a week away from his arranged marriage to an upper crust heiress, finds himself torn between his attraction to Malachi and his sense of duty. But as the hunt for the murderer draws them closer, Owen begins to question whether he can live a lie for the rest of his life.

Remember Owen Yates, from Hexbreaker? He's not as much of a straitlaced ass as he initially comes across as. I would call him more constrained, actually - a lot of his public persona seems to be just that. He's a lot more likeable and sympathetic than I initially thought he would be. I also like that this book broke with the "he's my witch but how can I tell him??" bit that Hexmaker and Hexbreaker seemed to indicate would be the formula for the series. We get to learn more about the history of magic in the world, plus there's a touch of clockpunk, and more of the theriarchist conspiracy. I'm looking forward to seeing where that's going.

The War of the Flowers, by Tad Williams. Theo Vilmos, a struggling rock singer, is unexpectedly shoved into the parallell world of Faerie and finds himself a pivotal figure in the looming war between the six Great Houses and the rest of the beings that inhabit the realm.

After the boredom that was Otherland, I was a bit leery of picking up another great thick Williams book but The War of the Flowers didn't disappoint. The world was developed and nuanced, and gave a sense of truly being inhabited. I liked the idea of Faerie with industrial development and the problems that come with it. I admit I did see most of the plot twists with Theo himself coming (well before he did, like Simon from Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn he's often not the fastest at thinking things through, seems to be a characteristic of Williams' everyman characters) and had suspicions about a few of the others, but there were one or two I did not see coming. And it gave me the sniffles at one point and I nearly missed my morning bus today because I just had to finish reading it! I want to reread it again already just to see what I missed first time through.
hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
First things first, the work news is that I did find a job. It's working the phones in a call center - excuse me, contact center  - and I do not like it but it goes by quick and pays rather well, so there's that. Seeing as I was out of money, I can't complain too much. Also studying web development and WordPress development and hoping to maybe get some freelance work, along with trying for some freelance writing work but no one's biting yet. *sigh* Who signed me up for this 'being an adult' nonsense and what were they thinking?

What Am I Reading

What I Just Finished Reading:
Non-Stop Till Tokyo by K.J. Charles. A young woman threatened by theYakuza must go on the run and try to find a way to prove who the real culprit is. It's an early work and it shows, and while the idea is interesting I thought the overall plot felt a little too thin.

Charmed and Dangerous, edited by Jordan Castillo Price. It's an anthology of LGBT paranormal fiction, and overall quite good. A couple of stories fell below the bar but the rest I really enjoyed. (Yes, yes, there's a Whyborne & Griffin short in there, but it doesn't count because I'd already read it. Right?) Worth checking out, certainly.

Fallow (Whyborne & Griffin #8), by Jordan L. Hawk. Like most of the rest of the readership I'm going to start with this, just to get it off my chest: ugh, that cover. I know the author's thrilled with it, and I did think through whether I was just reacting because it was new or because I genuinely don't like it and...I genuinely don't like it. I liked the originals better. Anyway, now that's done...

Goodreads Summary: When a man from Griffin’s past murders a sorcerer, the situation grows even more dire. Once a simple farmer from Griffin’s hometown of Fallow, the assassin now bears a terrifying magical corruption, one whose nature even Whyborne can’t explain. To keep Griffin’s estranged mother safe, they must travel to a dying town in Kansas. But as drought withers the crops of Fallow, a sinister cult sinks its roots deep into the arid soil. And if the cult’s foul harvest isn’t stopped in time, Fallow will be only the first city to fall.

It's easy to overlook because Whyborne is generally more dramatic about things but Griffin has a much more screwed up past. That becomes even more apparent when we get to Fallow, which is a spiteful little place just overflowing with pettiness and homophobia. Yeah, fun. I'd raise an eyebrow at the museum letting Christine and Iskander go along on pretense of an archaeological expedition except that since Bloodline it's been made pretty clear that, in Widdershins, Whyborne's wishes are to be respected. Particularly after the events of Maelstrom. The book is ok, but it's not my favorite out of the series, or even the strongest of the 'away' novels. (That would be Necropolis.) The next book, Draakenwood, is out in 2017 and I'm definitely curious about that one since we've been getting hints about the nature of the Draakenwood since the first book but never gone in. In between, I think we're getting a short story about Persephone and Miss Parkhurst.

The Just City, by Jo Walton. The Greek gods Athena and Apollo create a city based on Plato's Republic and populate it with people drawn from different periods of time. I liked the concept, and I liked seeing how the city developed. The side plot with the robot workers was fascinating and I wish it had gotten more page time. But I found it hard to track what was going on because every single character's voice was the same, and no one really ever expressed any emotions. They were like that even before they got to the city or else I would see it as a result of trying to enforce conformity. As it is, it just read like flawed writing.

Blood of Elves, by Andrzej Sapkowski. Not enough Geralt. Too much Triss and Yennefer.

What I'm Reading Now: Just finished Blood of Elves before writing this so I haven't picked anything else up yet. Utopia, maybe?

What I'm Reading Next: Probably something I've read before. It makes it easier when you're reading between calls because you know you won't have an uninterrupted train of thought for more than a few minutes at best.
hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
I've honestly been terrible about keeping track of what I've been reading, so let's just start this off with what I'm reading now: The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch, third book in The Gentlemen Bastards series. I'm riiiight about the point where I usually get my heart ripped out and stomped on so now it's just a matter of waiting.

What I'm Reading Next: Hopefully finishing The Kingdom of the Gods by N.K. Jemisin. I went through the first two books in the series really fast, but I just can't get into this one. I think it's because I don't really like the protagonist. After that, I'm not sure, but at the beginning of August I shall be reading Fallow: Whyborne & Griffin #8 by Jordan L. Hawk. It looks like she's got new models for the covers, and I'm not sure how I feel about them yet. Anyway, it is now available for preorder. It's one of the 'away' books, which usually don't grab me as much, but they are headed to Kansas so hopefully we'll see some resolution for Griffin regarding the distant and recent pasts.
hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
I don't think this is a complete list, because I use Goodreads to track and I'm sure I haven't been entering things properly lately. Oops.

What I Just Finished Reading: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black. I can be iffy on vampire fiction, especially stuff that came out in the past 10-15 years or so (since whenever Twilight hit, really) but this worked really really well for me! It definitely helps that, like the James Asher series, you're never allowed to forget that the vampires are predators who feed on, use, and kill humans. I thought the worldbuilding was well done too: it didn't feel like a world where vampires happened and everyone carried on as normal, except, oh yeah, vampires, it felt like one where vampires happened and the world was very nearly screwed and is now desperately trying to pretend everything is normal. Vampire reality shows and vampire presence on social media, vampires being kept in quarantine - these are all things I can see happening. I can see why it won/was nominated for so many awards! My local library is sadly low on Holly Black titles but I'll keep an eye out for more of hers.

FYI, I do believe Hambly is working on a 7th Asher novel. :)

Hainted, by Jordan L. Hawke. This was a lot smoother than I'd expected a first novel to be, and I quite liked it. Dan Miller is a young man in his early twenties, forced by the death of their parents to look after his younger siblings and run the family farm. Dan was raised by his mother to be a haint-worker, someone who can lay restless spirits and undead (haints) and send them on to the other side. After a traumatic experience on his first solo job, after the death of his parents, he's given up haint-working, only to be drawn back in when Leif Helsvin, tall long-haired* blond goth, shows up in town needing help to track down a necromancer.  There's an interesting mix of North Carolina folk beliefs and Norse mythology present in this, plus the aforementioned necromancer, undead, visits to Hel**, and tons of magic. And Taryn! You know how Hawke's work always has at least one female character who kicks ass and is awesome? In Hainted that's Taryn. (Christine from W&G is still my favorite though.)

* Definitely a theme in Hawke's work. Mind you, I quite like that theme and am not complaining.
** If you're unfamiliar with Norse mythology, no, that's not a typo. :)

BTW, Hawke has a new series, Hexbreaker, coming soon. The link there is to her site's entry on it. 1 book plus a short story that was previously printed in Charmed and Dangerous are due for release in May.

A Death at the Dionysus Club, by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold. I liked Death by Silver and I think I liked this even more. :) The case is bizarre, the relationship between the two men continues to develop nicely and realistically, and the sequence where they discuss outing themselves and the consequences is genuinely wrenching. (I mean, a 'what if they find out!' moment is bad enough in 20th/21st century Canada, but in Victorian London? With the very real possibility of hard labour in prison and the complete ruin of your life? Christ that's an appalling thought.) I did think that the growing tension between Mathey and Lynes regarding their sex life detracted from the murder mystery plot for part of the novel, but I was pleased to see they resolved it by - gasp! - talking to each other. Then we got back to the missing hearts and all was well. I'm really hoping there'll be a third book!

Uh, I think I also read through some short story collections that I got with the bundle containing Beyond Binary in the Lethe Press sale, but while I don't dislike short stories by any means, a lot of them tend to have a few problems: they feel like a scene chopped out of something larger instead of being a complete story in themselves; there isn't a proper ending; they try hard for realism by adding little details, usually of something unpleasant, and they wind up just coming across as grubby; they tend to remind me of being forced to read Canadian Literature (CanLit) in school. I realize that last is not universal, but pretty much all the CanLit they made us read dealt with:Cut for complaining about CanLit. )
What I'm Currently Reading: The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England, by Kristine Hughes. It's very interesting to read through and see how the society shifted over time. The articles aren't overly long and detailed, and many of them are collections of information from other sources, but you can gather information without feeling overwhelmed, and the bibliography for each chapter is listed at the end of the chapter, so if you want more you know which books to look up for further detail. It might help a little to already be somewhat familiar with the era, since there aren't many pictures. If you don't know what a frock coat is, for instance, you might be confused.

What I'm Reading Next: I haven't decided. I have given up swearing it's going to be The Inheritance Trilogy because really, we all know it's not. Maybe I'll reread The Resurrectionist now that I've got a physical copy of the (gorgeous!) book.
hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
What I Just Finished Reading: Spiritride (SERRAted Edge #7), by Mark Shepherd. Well, if Elvendude was a fantasy anti-drug PSA, this tried to be a cautionary tale set during the Satanic Panic of the late 80s/early 90s. It just didn't work for me.

Death by Silver, by Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold. A gaslamp fantasy with an intriguing murder mystery, metaphysicians working as detectives, magic as a part of everyday life, well-developed characters (even minor ones!), and a slowly blossoming love story between the main leads.  The worldbuilding is just fantastic; not a single thing feels forced or info-dumped, and it blends so very well with the Victorian age. Murder, mystery, and scandal. Lovely! I'm so glad I finally picked this up.

Dangerous Spirits (Spirits #2), by Jordan L. Hawk. (I talk about the 1st one here.) See how I was talking about Henry having room for growth on that first entry? He hasn't hit it yet. If you read Whyborne & Griffin and had times where you wanted to tell Whyborne to get his head out of his ass, you'll probably want to slap Henry. We did get more of Vincent and Lizzie's background, which was nice, but I didn't think there was nearly enough of Jo. The ghost story is very interesting but doesn't feel as well fleshed out as it could have been. I'm waiting till book 3 - where I really fell for Whyborne & Griffin and SPECTR - but so far it's average.

Mocker of Ravens (SPECTR 2, #1), by Jordan L. Hawk. SPECTR series 2 picks up a few months after series 1 ends. Sadly, Kaniyar and Tiffany have both moved off-page (hey, Tiffany grows on you, really) but Caleb, Gray, and John wind up with a new partner, Zahira, who I just adored from the start. (It's that thing I have for smart women again.) Gray likes her too, actually. On the down side, Caleb and John are experiencing workplace harrassment - garlic oil on the doorknob of their office for Caleb, an ass of a new boss who thinks John should go back in the closet - and no one but Zahira is willing to work with them, largely because of her fascination with Gray. So that, and the scent Caleb and Gray pick up of an unknown NHE that also isn't a demon, seem to be the arc for this series.

Heart of the Dragon, by Jordan L. Hawk. Short story, threesome porn, about a virgin set to be sacrificed to a dragon and the knight who comes to save him. Turns out that while the dragon doesn't eat people, he does shift into a handsome man and invite the virgin to stay the night. It was OK. I did like this quote though:

"...so let me get this straight. They dressed you up – the silk shirt is very nice, by the way, quite fetching – dragged you here, and chained you to this post. Which they planted in my doorway, thank you very much – with the expectation I would eat you. And this is supposed to make me less upset? Is logic a foreign concept to you people?"

Dancer of Death (SPECTR 2, #2), by Jordan L. Hawk. Set on desk duty by the aforementioned asshole boss, Caleb, Gray, John, and Zahira (henceforth referred to by initials, because OMG so many names) are sent back to the field when the bodies of people who have been danced to death start showing up. The plot in this one is possibly the tightest of the series, and includes another instance of world-building that might not actually hit you unless you're familiar with the ballet Giselle. (There's a handy author's note at the back if you're not.) Oh, and Gray starts referring to C, J, and Z as 'his' mortals.

You know, just in case he hadn't been compared to a cat enough already. :P

What I'm Reading Next: Still working on that annoying problem where my library loan isn't recognized on my Kobo with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I think I'll just bring my knitting up here and read it on the computer, it's probably easiest. Then Hainted, by Jordan L. Hawk, and then possibly The Inheritance Trilogy, which has only been staring at me across the living room for, like, a month.
hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
What I Just Finished Reading: Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire. I enjoyed this much, much more than Rosemary and Rue. The ending did not disappoint the way R&R did, and I found myself genuinely liking Rose and concerned with what would happen to her. The world, one of the dead, of bean sidhes and roadwitches, and the power of roadside diners, was fascinating and I found myself wishing I could see more of it when the book was done.

Discount Armageddon, by Seanan McGuire. I had high hopes for this after Sparrow Hill Road, and while it wasn't bad the best I can come up with for it is 'eh, 's alright'. I wanted to like it more, it just sort of felt like the protagonist was trying too hard. (Competition ballroom dancer/cocktail waitress/parkour expert/cryptozoologist/priestess. Alright, priestess to sapient mice, but still.) The romance felt tacked on and predictable, and the mice were - weird. I mean, things in a book about cryptids should be weird but not 'reminds me of the space mice from Voltron' weird. I would have liked to see more non-humanoid cryptids as well, though part of that might be because the book takes place in New York City and the really weird stuff might not flourish there. There also wasn't an armageddon, discount or otherwise. Has anyone read more of the series? Is it worth trying to push on?

I did get to introduce the concept of cryptids to my husband, though. He knew about Sasquatch, chupacabra and so on, just not the term.

Butterflies (The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal #2), by K.J. Charles. So having encountered Simon and Robert in Remnant, the crossover with Whyborne & Griffin (link to that entry here) I wanted to know more about them. Butterflies tells the story of their second encounter, but gives you enough information you're not lost. I liked it: it was decently creepy and the plot is very weird. (I like weird horror.) The story is available for free, so you can go ahead and check it out here if you're curious. The #2 comes from it being the second story: if you read The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal it's the 2nd story in the book anyway.

I went ahead and looked up more by Charles, quite surprised to find some of her books available online at the provincial library. (I can borrow books to my ereader, I don't even have to leave the house! I love the future.) I live in one of the more conservative provinces, let's put it that way.

The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies #1), by K.J. Charles. After the deaths of his father and brother, Lucien Vaudrey returns home from China after twenty years to take up the earldom. Inexplicably, he begins to suffer from blackouts during which he makes attempts at suicide. Summoning a practitioner of magic, Stephen Day, after the most recent blackout he learns that he's not only inherited the family title, but a family curse as well. Vaudrey and Day must travel to Vaudrey's family home to unravel the curse and the web of plots surrounding Vaudrey.

I quite liked it, for characters, plot, and atmosphere all. You really feel you're surrounded by the inexplicable in a decaying mansion in the English countryside. Charles also uses the technique, in a few places, of giving just enough description that you can imagine something really horrible.

A Case of Possession (A Charm of Magpies #2), by K.J. Charles. I liked this one better than The Magpie Lord, overall. It gets more into the practice of magic in England, and how that magic is regulated. There's a larger cast and we see more of Stephen's fellow practitioners/coworkers. Unfortunately, events stemming from the first book mean that his fellows have cause to suspect he's turned warlock, and in Victorian England he can't explain why he hasn't without revealing his relationship with Vaudrey. And there's a plague of giant rats closing in on London, endangering Vaudrey's friends and acquantainces as well as his lover.

Interlude with Tattoos (A Charm of Magpies 1.5), by K.J. Charles. A playful, NC-17, short story about Vaudrey and Day, without anything trying to possess or kill them. You'd need to read The Magpie Lord for this to make sense, though. If you have, or if you're OK with a bit of confusion, you can read it free here.

A Case of Spirits (A Charm of Magpies 2.5), by K.J. Charles. The last short story was playful? Yeah, not this one. (Which is also free, but only through Amazon. Kindle software for your computer/tablet/phone is free too, though, which is good because I would certainly never suggest removing the DRM and converting it to epub.) This one is pure horror. You will definitely need to read at least the 2nd book in the series to understand this, or you won't know who 2/3 of the players are.

The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, by K.J. Charles. As the title suggests, this is a series of short stories, which cover the life of Simon Feximal and Robert Caldwell after their first meeting till the end of WWI. I felt this was more unevenly done than A Charm of Magpies and that at times the story felt rushed, especially when Robert refers to stories we don't see. In-universe they were published in the not-secret casebooks, but we don't have those. The story needed more time and development: it would have worked better as a longer book, or as a series that would let the author flesh out the characters and their stories a little more. So, OK but not great.

What I'm Reading Now: Accidentally rereading Hunter of Demons, by Jordan L. Hawk. I say accidentally because my ereader has a habit of taking longer to move from the last page of a book back to the home screen, and I forget this, tap twice, and end up opening whatever it's showing/suggesting where my thumb lands. So I just went with it. Hunter of Demons takes place in a version of our world where the paranormal isn't hiding behind a masquerade and there's a government branch (SPECTR) in charge of hunting down demons etc. and watching over normal humans with paranormal talents. (Think Mutant Registration Act, here.) Sadly my library has no books by Hawk available, so, while I'll probably pick up the omnibus of this series sometime, learning more about the conspiracy theory that promises to weave through the series will have to wait.

What I'm Reading Next: Flight of Magpies, by K.J. Charles. The library alerted me that the copy I'd put on hold was now available. (How this works with ebooks I'm not sure - there must be a limit on how often a copy can be checked out simultaneously, or maybe they do have to purchase multiple copies as with paper books?) I like to read series in sequence, as I'm quite sure everyone's noticed by now. ^_~ Then, I think I shall take a day, put on a pot of tea, curl up in a quilt, and reread The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. <3
hoursgoneby: (hourglass)
What I Just Finished Reading: Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1), by Seanan McGuire. So I thought I'd read part of the sample for book #2 in the series, but apparently not? I think I must have just dropped everything by the author in my library wishlist and assumed they were part of a series because that's the way they seem to buy books. But Sparrow Hill Road seems to be a one-shot and not part of any other series. Oops.

I wanted to like this book better than I did. Really, I did. There were a lot of reasons I didn't: one is not so much that it isn't terribly original - I mean, I've read literally (:P) thousands of stories at this point and there are only what? seven basic plots? - but that it didn't seem to reach it's potential with a half-human protagonist. The narration just fell flat for me, not that I wanted it to descend into superangst either, but...I don't know. I think it was supposed to be matter of fact but it felt more "...and this." than anything else. The integration of the fae world into the normal world was handled much better by The Dresden Files and Wicked Lovely, and both those series also gave me a much better sense of the city they were set in. In this, everytime I ran across a reference to San Francisco I went "oh, yeah! That's where we are!" Otherwise it could have been Anyplace, North America. It wasn't bad, more mediocre, right up until the end which took a sharp downturn into "was this even edited?" It really seemed like a first draft. I probably would have abandoned the entire book if it had all been like the end.

I went back and reread the Whyborne & Griffin series. They have a tag now. Have I mentioned how much I love Dr. Christine Putnam? She's assertive, direct, confident, and likes to solve problems by shooting and/or hitting things. I want to run off with her and have adventures in punching things.

The No B.S. Guide to Freelance Writing, by Ian Chandler. I got this free through Author's Publish, and while some of the advice in it was decent, I wouldn't have paid for it. Mostly it's anecdotes from the author about how he got into freelance writing and links to other reference sources, with the occasional writing sample. I'm also puzzled as to why someone who's an author would advise you to use a site to generate a resume from a template for you, and to have a general cover letter you can just drop names and keywords into. That's against the advice I've been reading and receiving over the past year. Mind you, none of said advice has done me any good, so maybe I shouldn't talk.

What I'm Reading Now: Sparrow Hill Road, by Seanan McGuire. So far, I'm enjoying this more than Rosemary and Rue. It's not an anthology, but it feels like one, as Rose Marshall, who died in 1952 and has been a phantom hitchhiker ever since, tells you about her encounters with the about-to-be and newly-dead, and how she came to be a ghost herself.  It's definitely an interesting concept, and while Rose is matter-of-fact about being dead, her descriptions of it don't have the same flat "oh, yeah, and..." feeling to them that October's descriptions of being half-fae did. I'm just looking at it warily given how bad the end of Rosemary and Rue was.

What I'm Reading Next: Probably Discount Armageddon, also by Seanan McGuire, seeing as I have to return these to the library in a couple of weeks and don't want to forget about them. Then possibly more of the SERRAted Edge series, and Butterflies (The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, by K.J. Charles. I wasn't sure what to make of Simon when he showed up in a Whyborne & Griffin crossover, so I decided to give him another shot when I found a free short story.
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One of Tauriel's Sermon on the Riverbank graphics came up in my Tumblr feed this morning and it made a very good point: what does Smaug eat? I mean, he's a dragon, and he's massive. He'd be an apex predator, right? So the area surrounding Erebor should be pretty much emptied of game, including humans, if he's an omnivore or carnivore. If he eats trees, like the Draccus from The Kingkiller Chronicles, the area should be deforested, which it clearly isn't.

A lack of a sufficient food source could explain why he stays in the mountain: it means he's expending less energy, possibly spends time in some kind of hibernation, and so needs less food when food sources are scarce. If he eats gold or gems, he'd want to stay close to that food source and again, it's a finite source of food so he'd want to conserve as much energy as possible. He also can't get smelted gold - or at least can't get it easily, dragonfire might be able to melt gold out of the rock that surrounds it? - on his own. Tolkien's dragons aren't natural creatures, they were created by Morgoth, and a good way to keep something that powerful under control is to control its food source. (Like the lysine dependency in Jurassic Park.) Morgoth's gone, Sauron's not in a position to gather or feed dragons even if he could control them, and they're definiely not designed for mining if minerals are their food source.

Or do Tolkien's dragons, like Discworld high dragons, exist on magic? There's a definite feeling of 'the magic goes away' throughout the legendarium, best shown in LotR with the elves departing to the West. Animals in an environment with a limited food source will select for smaller sizes (insular dwarfism) and this would again explain Smaug's lack of activity outside the mountain: he's conserving his energy. He could also be staying close to a food source: there are certainly magical artifacts in his hoard (and the Arkenstone is theorized by some to be a Silmaril) and he's grouped the whole thing together to concentrate that source.

Or am I just really overthinking this?
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What I Just Finished Reading: Magic's Promise, by Mercedes Lackey. This is definitely the strongest book out of the trilogy. It's more plot and less character driven compared to the others, making for a much tighter story, without the major plot elements crammed in at beginning, middle, and end, as the other two books in the trilogy did. You definitely get a sense of the magic and politics of the wider world of Valdemar, which is great, but sadly the momentum won't last.

If I were to edit this, now, I'd lop out most of the first book, keep this one largely intact, trim out about the first half of the third and expand on the last quarter, and print it as a single novel.

Hunter of Demons, by Jordan L. Hawk. I got this as a free book after I signed up for the author's mailing list. (Seems a fair exchange for a couple of emails a month, yes?) You can also download it for free from Smashwords via the link. I liked it well enough - though not as well as Whyborne & Griffin *g* - and will probably pick up the omnibus edition of the 1st series at some point. Hunter of Demons takes place in a version of our world where the paranormal isn't hiding behind a masquerade and there's a government branch (SPECTR) in charge of hunting down demons etc. and watching over normal humans with paranormal talents. (Think Mutant Registration Act, here.) Per Smashwords:


When Caleb is possessed by a vampire spirit named Gray, his only hope lies with hotshot federal exorcist John Starkweather. The only problem? If Caleb can't keep Gray from giving into Bloodlust, Starkweather will have no choice but to kill them both.


There also seems to be an underlying conspiracy theory that's no doubt spread through the rest of the series, and we also Gray's thoughts as he experiences life in a living body (previously he only possessed the dead), two things that honestly interested me more than the story itself.

Magic's Price, by Mercedes Lackey. I wanted to like this much more than I did. I should have, because there are a lot of elements in it that I like, just...Vanyel's moodiness and uncertainties and 'woe is me!' attitude just wore on me. It didn't help that the actual crisis of the novel - of the trilogy - was just kind of crammed into the last few pages and then - fizzled.

I was definitely not happy to have Rape As Drama gratuitously dumped in there. There were at least three ways to avoid Vanyel's capture period and there are just some things I do not like to see dropped in a story purely for shock value, and that's one of the big ones.

Overall the entire series felt like a fanfic - and that's not a shot, god knows that would be hypocritical - where the author wants to explore the characters away from the main storyline and so just uses the main storyline as background. That's not bad: I've read some wonderful stories that do that. It just doesn't work here.

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black, by E.B. Hudspeth. Would you like a beautifully illustrated horror story that sends cold tendrils creeping up your spine ever so slowly? May I suggest the above. This was amazing! Very impressive, especially considering a powerful story is delivered in roughly 50 pages - the 2nd half of the book is anatomical drawings of mythical creatures - and is one of the best examples of Nothing Is Scarier I've ever encountered. You have just enough information your imagination fills in the rest. Very definitely recommended!

Academ's Fury, by Jim Butcher. I did like this better than Furies of Calderon, though not enough that I'm rushing through the series. It's still in 'fill in the last allotted space of library books I can check out' territory. It didn't feel as unfinished as the first book, but where the first felt like it had more pages than story, this one almost feels like there's too much pressed into it. [livejournal.com profile] hamsterwoman suggested it would pick up around book #4, and I'm willing to give it at least that long. I might check out a wiki or TVTropes for info on #3 and just push ahead to 4, even.

Restless Spirits, by Jordan L. Hawk. And this is the book i got in exchange for signing up for the author's mailing list. Spiritualists and debunkers in a haunted castle? I can get behind that. It's set in roughly the same time period as Whyborne & Griffin (late 19th/early 20th century, during the Spiritualist craze) and has a few similarities. Vincent and Henry are distinctly different characters, however. Henry tends to be an ass at times and did a few things I didn't like. (Don't out people. Don't.) He can recognize or be brought to recognize his mistakes, though, so there's a promise of growth. I do like the steampunk-y feel to the book, which actually is in line with the time period. Think Edison's Spirit Phone.

My favorite character in the book would have to be Jo. Technically inclined women? Yes please! :D

What I'm Reading Now: The King of Elfland's Daughter, by Lord Dunsany. Trying to read, anyway. When you keep glancing at the page numbers to see how much further you have to go it's not a good sign. I don't know if it's the language or just that I had higher expectations but this is seriously heading toward the 'abandoned' shelf. Which I don't have, but am thinking of creating, just for this.

What I'm Reading Next: Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel, by Seanan McGuire. I've seen mixed review for this, but I read part of the sample for book #2 in the series and found it hard to tear away, so I'll give it a shot. The blurb on Goodreads doesn't sound terribly original, but you never know.
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What I Just Finished Reading: The Last Wish, by Andrej Sapkowski. I thought it got a little bit awkward and stretched with what it was trying to do near the end, but I also liked Geralt a lot better at the end of the book than the beginning. You could see more of his personality beyond 'silent deadly merc sorceror'. I'm interested in seeing what the other two books are like.

Magic's Pawn, by Mercedes Lackey. I got partway through this and thought, "okay, so it's a coming-of-age story, about a kid escaping from his family that doesn't understand him and finding out who he really is." It certainly is that, but the crisis of it was a lot more dramatic and shocking than I expected it to be. I didn't really get into it until about halfway through, and it picked up after that. I did get a little impatient with the teenage drama and Vanyel sulking like, well, a teenager, and yet another fantasy land with anti-LGBT+ prejudice - though I recognize that that may not have been such a trope when the book was written and there are people who can use a fictional character with their problems to identify with. I would have adored this when I was a teenager, and god knows I still empathize with Vanyel on the 'not having a name for what you are' front even though those days are thankfully long past. Still, it interested me enough to read the 2nd book in the trilogy which so far seems to be a lot less teen drama and angst.

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. I meant to read the above trilogy all in a row and not be a literary magpie this time, really I did, but my ereader ran out of battery power and shut itself off, so I had to go to physical books and this will always be one of my immediate fallbacks. :) Maia's such a good character, and so kind. I'd hug him, but while Kiru might just haul me off by my ear, Beshelar would gut me first and say it was his job immediately after. (Anyway, a glance at TGE fanfic gives one the impression Maia goes on to have impressive amounts of sex with pretty much everyone, so I'd say he's OK on the physical contact front. :P)

What I'm Reading Now: Magic's Promise (Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage #2), by Mercedes Lackey. This takes place well after the first book, which I found a little jarring. I see from Goodreads that it's The Last Herald-Mage #2 but Valdemar #5, chronologically, which accounts for it, though that sort of thing is something I associate with comics rather than novels. It's not that events aren't referenced, but they're referenced sort of offhandedly and while the characters understand what's going on, the readers could have used a bit more explanation. Vanyel's much older, and calmer, and less prone to drama (so far, I have a feeling drama is incoming) and it talks more about magic and creatures, which I like.

What I'm Reading Next: Magic's Price (Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage #3), by Mercedes Lackey. Apparently we're saving the world?

Academ's Fury (Codex Alera #2) by Jim Butcher. Well, it took me a couple of books to get into The Dresden Files too, so I'll give Codex Alera another shot or two. Thank goodness for libraries.

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black, by E.B. Hudspeth. I can't remember who recommended this to me, or if it was recommended to me, or if I just happened to like the cover. I borrowed the ebook from the library so it could even be a recommendation algorithm tossed it my way. I'm really hoping the illustrations show up well in my ereader.

Here's the blurb from Goodreads: Philadelphia, the late 1870s. A city of gas lamps, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages—and home to the controversial surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a grave robber, young Dr. Black studies at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts—mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs—were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?
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What I Just Finished Reading: Remnant: A Caldwell & Feximal/Whyborne & Griffin Mystery (The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, #3; Whyborne & Griffin, #3.5) by by K.J. Charles and Jordan L. Hawk. The bright young things of London are being murdured by magic, and the only clues available are written in Egyptian hieratic. This takes place during W&G's London stopover on their way to Egypt in Necropolis. I did enjoy this, even though I'm not sure how I feel about Caldwell & Feximal yet. Probably because I read it for W&G, and am used to seeing them as the focus of the stories, and I'm not familiar with C&F there was a bit of 'yes, yes, you're very nifty, can we get back to my guys now please?' Perhaps I shall simply have to add a new series to The Stack. Though if The Stack gains a virtual component I may be lost.

Send tea and kittens.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley. Have you ever had a dream where everything in the dream is completely normal while you dream it, but just as you wake up you realize there are things that should be odd but aren't, like the way you're holding a casual conversation with a fictional character, or no one finds it odd that the short man in the bowler hat follows you everywhere? The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is like that, but the thing that should be odd but isn't is a clockwork octopus.

Look, I'm making a hash of this, but the point is that it's wonderful, and dreamlike, and I read it in a sitting and you should too.

Harmony: Whyborne & Griffin #5.5 by Jordan L. Hawk. I know, I thought I was finished everything too! But as I was reading the author's page on Goodreads, I tripped across a link for a W&G Christmas story (available free on her site, the link will take you there - contains spoilers for Bloodlines) so of course I clicked. Griffin sets up a scavenger hunt for Whyborne as part of a Christmas surprise. Now, sometimes I get a touch annoyed with Whyborne's tendancy towards petulance but I damn well sympathized here because I don't like surprise hunts and I don't like being made to guess things.

Case in point, two years ago my husband surprised me with a Valentine's present by getting up on the titular day and exclaiming, "oh, what's this by the bed?" I'm also not a morning person so my first reaction wasn't anything Valentine's related but: "how the fuck should I know? It's on your side!" He thought it was funny, though I felt bad afterwards, but he ought not to surprise me before coffee, really.

Still, it's a nice slice-of-life story overall.

The Chrome Borne (SERRAted Edge #1&4) by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon. You can read this omnibus edition without having read 2&3 and still understand what's going on, have no fear. There are elves who drive race cars and I can't think of a more compelling reason you should read this. (Though I'll admit to having a bias toward long-haired pretties with magic. There, there would really be no point in denying it.)

What I'm Reading Now: The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski. I haven't played the video games based on this, at least not yet, but the book looked very interesting, and it is! This is labeled #1, but it's actually a collection of short stories with what appears to be (I'm halfway through) an underlying narrative somewhat connecting them. It's rather like a grim version of Fractured Fairy Tales, but I like it.

Magic's Pawn (Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage) by Mercedes Lackey. It's the library's fault. It distracted me. I really really truly this time did mean to work down The Stack but as I said to [personal profile] lucifuge5 the other day, I'm a literary magpie and easily distracted by shiny new books. Oh, and I borrowed the rest in the series too because, well, you can take out up to 5 ebooks at a time, why would I leave with slots empty? I'm not very far in but so far I have a lot of sympathy for Vanyel.
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What I Just Finished Reading: Ooh, this'll be a long one. We went to visit family for the hols and because I a) don't drive and b) don't care to watch endless marathons of either news or reality TV I spent a lot of time reading. I was also trying to reach my 50 book target for Goodreads this year but...I don't think that's going to happen in 2 days. Still, 5 or 6 shy of the goal isn't bad. Thank god for ereaders: I'd've had to pack a whole other bag for books otherwise.

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) by Jim Butcher: I don't dislike Jim Butcher's work by any means - I pretty much marathoned all 15 Dresden Files novels in a week not that long ago - but I suspect it'll take me a book or two to get into this series as well, as it did with Dresden Files. I enjoyed the book, certainly, but it felt unfinished. Not surprising, given that it's part of a series, but I can't help feeling that even with a series you should be able to read the individual books without feeling either unfinished or lost. I've still gone ahead and added the 2nd book to my library wishlist to remind me to borrow it when next I log in to borrow some things.

Pretty Polly and Whisper by Barbara Hambly: These two novellas are set in the world of Hambly's Darwath series (originally a trilogy, now encompassing five books and sadly out of print) and are available to purchase from Smashwords, where Hambly sells a number of short stories (Continuing Adventures) for her various series. I was edgy about reading Pretty Polly because I don't like it when bad things happen to animals in books and filmbut the titular cat winds up with a happy ending, to my relief.Whisper felt a little more awkward than Pretty Polly, as if it should have been larger and was cropped down to novella length. The reasons in-story make sense, but I would very much have liked a more intricate plot. The ending felt a little pat too but overall I liked it, though of the two Pretty Polly was my favoriate. It's been a while since I read anything mid-apocalyptic and longer since I read the Darwath series (puts on list) but I was surprised and pleased at how easy it was to drop back into the world.

The Kindred of Darkness by Barbara Hambly: I picked this to reread because I like to have long, continuous books to read when we're driving - well, he's driving, I'm being driven - or when I have long stretches of time to read. Plus, Lydia, Don Ysidro, and James - won't say no to reading about them! While I didn't think this was one of the stronger entries in the series when I first read it, on reread I like it better.

Widdershins, Threshold, and Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk, the first three books in the Whyborne & Griffin series: Widdershins is available free at Smashwords, and the link will take you there. Thanks so much to [livejournal.com profile] just_ann_now for letting me know! I bought Threshold and Stormhaven, and perforce another copy of Widdershins, in an omnibus edition right after finishing Widdershins and pretty much spent the last two days with my nose in my ereader. The first book is very reminiscent of Sarah Monette's Kyle Murchison Booth short stories - not a copy, mind, just the same feeling - but less dark. And with more sex. It moves away from that feeling in books 2 and 3. Threshold has a significant Lovecraftian feel, though with more readable prose, much more likeable main characters, and a genuinely weird and engrossing plot. Stormhaven was a little harder for me to read, as it deals with a Victorian/Edwardian mental asylum and I know enough of those (read: pretty much anything) that it would make me uncomfortable even if I wasn't often edgy about treatment of the mentally ill in fiction. It also delves deeper into Griffin's past in an asylum and how he was subjected to "gay 'cure' therapy", and sexual assault (by attendants and as part of said "therapy"). (He wasn't committed for being gay, and doesn't know who told the doctors, just to horrify us more.) You can skip those pages and still understand the book, however. It doesn't feel like something tossed in just for the sake of drama and a tragic backstory: Griffin is still affected by what he was subjected to - and it would be disingenuous to pretend horrific things wouldn't happen to a 19th century psychiatric patient even if he wasn't gay - and it does have an effect on his reactions through the books. Apart from that my only real complaints are that the sex scenes are a touch OOC, especially in the first book, and Whyborne's jealousy gets formulaic and grating by the third.

What I'm Currently Reading: Taking a break from short novels and novellas with Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentlemen Bastards #2) by Scott Lynch. Despite this being book 2 in a series, you could actually pick it up and understand it without having to read The Lies of Locke Lamora, especially with the way Lynch interweaves past events with the present events. (One scene with Father Chains is copied directly from Lies, in fact.) I'd still recommend reading Lies, because it's wonderful. :)

What I'm Reading Next: Whyborne & Griffin #4-6. :)
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What I Just Finished Reading: Well, skipping over everything I've read since I last posted in the interests of just starting over, Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner and The Bone Key by Sarah Monette. Still looking for work and it's pretty stressful (apparently looking for work is a skill heavily skewed toward extroverts, which I am not, and that isn't helping) so yeah, I'm reverting to my comfort books. No little iced cakes to go with them, but I did have a donut with sprinkles earlier this week, so that'll have to do.

Ooh. Little iced cakes with sprinkles. If it weren't so damned hot I'd consider doing some baking.

What I'm Currently Reading: The Privilege of the Sword, by Ellen Kushner. Articles on how to write resumes and cover letters and search for work. Also, codex entries in Dragon Age: Inquisition, which I may be slightly obsessed with.

What I'm Reading Next: I don't know yet. The Stack is still staring at me though, so I'm sure I can find something. Anyone have suggestions?
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What I Just Finished Reading: Ash, by Malinda Lo. Truthfully I finished reading this a couple of weeks ago and then forgot about it. That's not because it's a bad book by any means, it's just not quite my speed, focusing more on romance than fantasy etc. I thought more depth could have been put into Sidhean's characterization and motives, and I was disappointed that a potential story thread
regarding Ash's father's money and the stepmother's lies about it - I'm sure she was lying because what little characterization we saw of the father didn't support the story that he'd run out of money and used up the stepmother's fraudulently -
was seemingly dropped. I was also sorry we didn't get to see more of Kaisa, who I quite liked. I did very much enjoy being able to walk into a large chain bookstore and just pull a novel with a QUILTBAG protagonist off the YA shelf. That would have meant a lot to me when I was younger.

The Very Best of Tad Williams. I was surprised to find a script in there, but it was still an interesting way to read a story. I usually avoid script-format when I read fanfics because they tend to be just strings of text, but Williams uses direction and description in his script as well, making it easier to read. I could swear I've read the story about the newly come to life AI before, though. The short with the Armenian vampire is still my favorite.

What I'm Reading Now: How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them--A Misstep-by-misstep Guide by Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman. I wanted to read this for two reasons: 1) I kept seeing references to it on TVTropes and they made me curious and 2) I like to write and knowing what not to do is so useful, especially if I ever lose my mind and decide to plot out a novel. I'm also a technical writer, and even though that's different from writing fiction, it never hurts to check out guidelines.

What I'm Reading Next: Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2), by Brandon Sanderson. Okay, so...it's not part of The Stack. But The Stack will still be there when I'm done.
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Well, that was a rough few weeks there. I was laid off and there was some bad news in the family. OTOH, I'm now unemployed and living in a city where there isn't much work-wise so at least I've got plenty of time to read? (And marathon things on Netflix, play video games: I am looking for work, it just doesn't take much time out of the day. *sigh*)

Anyway:

What I Just FInished Reading: Swordspoint again, as promised. The Priveledge of the Sword, which I enjoyed just as much, once I skimmed through to find Richard's name ("Wait, he's not - he has to be!). I wasn't sure about Katherine at first, but I liked her much better after she decided to, pretty immediately, show some grit and adapt to everything Alec was throwing at her. Possibly unfairly, I was expecting scenes of hysterics and flouncing first. But no, her development from silly girl to determined young woman is steady and believable. So then I read it again.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne Valente. This is the sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, which I picked up in a drug store a few years ago when the 'ship of her own making' bit serendipitously caught my eye. (I have a liking for women in the STEM fields.) I want to tell you about them both, because they're both fantastic, but at the same time I don't want to risk spoiling anything because part of the charm is discovering as the protagonist, September, does exactly what is going on and how to fix it. It's about consequences, responsibility, and growing up and at no point does it feel preachy.

What I'm Currently Reading: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Everyone's been telling me to read this and I'm so glad I finally got round to it! It's just magnificent, everything: the worldbuilding, the characterization, the language, the plot. All of it. I particularly like the worldbuilding. We are told about the world around them in a way that feels natural, not like an infodump - even though it sometimes is an infodump, as when things are being explained to child!Locke - because it makes sense in the setting. I almost don't want to finish it because then it will be done, even though I can just read it over again.

What I'm Reading Next: What an excellent question. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is next on the pile, but that doesn't mean anything. I guess I'll just find out when I get there.
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What I Just Finished Reading

Otherland: City of Golden Shadows by Tad Williams. It definitely picked up in the last third of the book, with the various story threads coming together. The first two thirds are a lot of very detailed worldbuilding and I imagine the second book, more than the first, sees the payoff. Still debating reading the second one, but I've been told things pick up in the rest of the series. Might give it a go - once I've read down The Stack, anyway.

The Bone Key: The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth by Sarah Monette. Still frightening and wonderful! There are more short stories about this character scattered around the web, and I believe the author is hoping to release a second volume once she has enough material. Definitely looking forward to that.

What I'm Currently Reading

The Goblin Emperor by Katherin Addison. I do usually read faster, yes, but somehow this became my 'upstairs' book and since upstairs is where my office - computer, music, knitting, more books - is located I become, shall we say, easily distracted. Besides, it's good to go back and read things at a leisurely pace.

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. Yes, it arrived! Just started yesterday evening. ^_^

What I'm Reading Next

I tend to read series in sequence so most probably The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kusher. Then, to make definite headway on The Stack!
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What I Just Finished Reading

Doc Sidhe by Aaron Allston. If you're looking at the title and thinking of Doc Savage, you are on the right track entirely! Doc Sidhe is a fantasy novel (duology, with the sequel, Sidhe-Devil) and an homage to the pulp magazines of the 30s. Most of it takes place on the Fair World, a kind of alter-dimensional twin of Earth (called the Grim World) that was the basis for our legends of magic and elves. The technology runs about 60 years behind ours, so you have magic and airships, elves and iron-framed skyscrapers. And yes, the inhabitants of the Fair world are allergic to iron, which is a plot point. It's not steampunk, though - in fact, some of their tech is greener than ours. The story is excellent, the pacing tight, and all the characters are distinct and definitely have their own voices.

The link up there will take you to the full novel, available online for free from Baen eBooks. The first seven chapters of the sequel are up as well, but for the full version you'll have to hunt down a (sadly out of print) copy. (Never know, you might be surprised; my copy of Sidhe-Devil has an inscription from the author.)

What I'm Currently Reading

Still working on Otherland: City of Golden Shadows by Tad Williams. It has started to pick up in the latter half of the book, with the disparate threads starting to weave together and make more sense. I may reconsider not reading the second one in the series. We'll see.

The Bone Key: The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth by Sarah Monette. Set in an unnamed city during the early twentieth century, this is a series of 10 short stories about the title character (Booth, no one calls him Kyle) and the bizarre and horrifying events that find him after his first unwilling brush with the occult. Booth isn't a typical protagonist: he's painfully shy, awkward, clumsy, stammering, uncertain. These are not bad things; they make him feel like a real person who gets dropped into situations most people only have nightmares about. I think I've only had this a couple of months and I keep rereading it! it's just so perfect.

Continuing on a theme, apparently, I'm also rereading The Goblin Emperor by Katherin Addison (pen name of Sarah Monette). I didn't mean to, I just took it down to verify something in a fanfic and got (willingly) drawn in again.

The book centres around Maia, a young half-elf/half-goblin who is the youngest son of the reigning Emperor and who unexpectedly inherits his father's throne when his father and brothers die in an airship crash. Maia was the fourth son, and has been effectively living in exile under the care of a cousin since the death of his mother, the Empress Chenelo. Unprepared for the role, and unprepared for court, the plot centres around Maia's growth into becoming Emperor and the mystery behind the crash of the airship.

What I'm Reading Next

The list remains the same from last week: either, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente, sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, or Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner if it's delivered before I finish Otherland and/or pick up another book.

Swordspoint has not been delivered, but The Privilege of the Sword came today. So I have that to look forward to as well. (And a book stack that may soon be tall as I am...)
hoursgoneby: (hourglass)
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In your own space, post recs for at least three fanworks that you did not create. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

The Doctrine of Labyrinths
DoL is an excellent series, but it contains a lot of disturbing themes. If you want to read it, or just read the fanfic, you may wish to note the warnings.

Lighthouse Maintenance by Tremaile
Category: Gen | Additional Tags: Post Canon
Summary: There's an accident at the lighthouse, and it brings about a moment of closeness between the brothers.

Your Name by Marmolita
Categories: Gen, M/M | Additional Tags: Character Study
Warnings for: Underage sex, rape, forced sex work including underage sex work, torture, and mentions of incest. Also includes mentions of BDSM though nothing explicit.
Summary: A series of glimpses into Felix's life and journey toward self-acceptance.

tracking mud by Pitseleh
Category: Gen | Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, POV First Person, Blood, Backstory
Warnings for: Graphic depictions of Violence
Summary: What if Methony had made a different choice?

Alone at the Edge of the World by Lusa
Category: Gen
Summary: What's the point of a lighthouse without a little haunting?

The Golden Ones by Ankaret
Category: M/M
Summary: On the road to Corambis, the past catches up with Felix and Mildmay.

Art!

Felix, by mocknot on Deviantart )



The Goblin Emperor - That's a link to all 6 fics on AO3 and you should read all of them because they're all excellent.



James Asher Vampire Series - Again, a link to all 5 fics (under that tag, clicking on character names will get you more but I haven't gone through them all yet).


Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn

If the witches don't eat you, it's home by xavie
Category: F/M, M/M
Summary: How could he tell his father that his son was a coward? Afraid of a woman? He couldn't. He wouldn't. It was as simple as that. An owl hooted and had to watch its prey scurry into the leaves as Isgrimnur shouted out his frustration.
hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
What I Just Finished Reading

Kindred of Darkness by Barbara Hambly. I didn't think it was quite as strong as the previous entries in the James Asher series, but it's still a very good book. I particularly like Hambly's treatment of vampires as actual predators and threats, something I think has been lacking in recent vampire fiction. Was actually off vampires entirely until I picked up the first book in the series, Those Who Hunt the Night.

What I'm Currently Reading

Otherland: City of Golden Shadows by Tad Williams. I don't know if the first half of the book is really slow, or I'm just not in an SF headspace, but I'm finding it heavy going. Shame, because I do like Williams' work. Maybe I'll read Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn again when I'm done, but right now I'm not thinking I'll pick up the rest of the Otherland series.

What I'm Reading Next

Oh, I have no idea. I have stacks (literally, one upstairs, one down) of unread books. Right now I'm looking at either, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente, sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, or Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner if it's delivered before I finish Otherland and/or pick up another book.

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