Face Off through 1.5

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 11:47 pm
yhlee: hexarchate Andan blue rose (hxx Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
Note: I've been spoiled for the winner of S1 because I started with 2.1-2.2, both of which I rewatched tonight because the Dragon wanted to watch the show with me, and she wanted to skip S1 because she couldn't stand the backbiting. The Dragon loves art (she's in Talented Art in school) and I think it's really good for her to be exposed to this show since she's enjoying it, and I hope she finds the discussion of aesthetics inspiring. But mostly we're watching it for fun. =)

Read more... )

Meanwhile, in happier news, guess which household's preordered hardcopy of Starfinder RPG arrived today?! =D =D =D I'm not convinced by most of the class/character artwork (some of the gun designs are atrocious--why the fuck would you make a scope design that undulates?!) but the environment/matte painting is gorgeous. I oohed and ahhed over the illustrations for the different homeworlds in particular.

What I'm Doing Wednesday

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 06:29 pm
sage: crop from a painting of the front window of a bookstore showing books on display and shelves behind. (joy: books)
[personal profile] sage
books
Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon writing for older audiences). An excellent reimagining of Beauty and the Beast that turns sooo many tropes on their heads, yay! I do wish (for once) that there had been an epilogue. OTOH, fairytales don't, so maybe that's why this one doesn't?

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon. Wonderful! I love the verse, I love the characters, I love how Molly builds herself a family, and the art is fun, too.

probably next: The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin, conclusion to the Broken Earth series, which was what I did for last Yuletide. Actually, I don't know if I dare read this during the present news cycle? I may need more kidlit first. But soon!

dirt (aka plant log) )

yarning
I thought I was going to be done with current project today but nazis happened, and it turns out I can't crochet and do twitter at the same time. Still, what I have is deep brick red and extremely satisfying. *pleased*

other
tomorrow is my birthday and I want 45 out of office, so if the universe could arrange that for us, I'd be really grateful.

Here’s a script. Call your reps.

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 08:44 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Or don’t, as you see fit. But if you’ve ever wondered how ordinary decent people let Nazi Germany happen, if you’ve ever thought “I would have done something, if I’d been alive back then,” well, this is how it happened, and what we do now is what we would have done then.

Hi. My name is [   ] and I’m a consitutent in [   ], zip code [   ]. I don’t need a response to this, but I do want this message passed on to my [ Senator / Congressperson ].

I’m calling to tell the Senator/Congress(person) that it is imperative that they denounce not only the Nazi gatherings in our country, but also the President of the United States, who has now openly defined himself as a white supremacist. Thoughts and prayers are, at this stage, deeply insufficient. Any action less than a full and swift removal of Donald Trump from the Presidential office is inadequate. We as Americans must be better than this, and the Senator/Congressperson, as an elected official, must stand up and say we will not tolerate fascist leadership. Every day that they delay doing so aligns them more powerfully with an authoritarian regime, and history will not be kind to those in government who do not take decisive action now.

Thank you for your time.

If you really hate talking to people on the phone, call during off-hours so you’ll get an answering machine. But call, because you can’t pull punches when you’re fighting fascists.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Reading Wednesday

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 11:05 am
muccamukk: Gregory Peck looks up from the book he's reading. (Books: Hello Reading)
[personal profile] muccamukk
What I Just Finished Reading
The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis by Wes Davis
I'll admit that I started reading this as Guns of Navarone background, but even given that I found it pretty shallow. Basically it recapped almost entirely from the reports and journals of the British officers, with the odd German thrown in, didn't consider the Greek perspective in more than the briefest passing mention. I read the first two thirds and then sent it back to the library because I just didn't care.

Coed Demon Sluts: Beth (Coed Demon Sluts #1) by Jennifer Stevenson
I saw the author talking about this on Scalzi's blog, and decided to give it a whirl. Pretty much read it straight through on the plane, and enjoyed it, I guess. On the whole, there was way too much talk, and not enough action (or "action"). I didn't really connect with the characters because a lot of the time they sounded like talking points, not people. The actual plot, when it occurred, was engaging enough. Not sure I'll bother with the rest of the series.

(Though I did have the great pleasure of the preppy young man sitting next to me on the flight asking me what I was reading.)


Hold Me (Cyclone #2) by Courtney Milan
Enjoyed this one even more than the first one. I totally got the issues both MCs had, and why they set each other's teeth on edge, but at the same time their alternate relationship was totally believable and in keeping with that. They had great chemistry and I loved how their genuine issues were resolved by working things out and patience, not but Surprise Drama.


The Edge of Worlds (The Books of the Raksura #4) by Martha Wells
It's always good to get back to the three worlds, and I really enjoyed seeing how all the characters had grown over the years, plus all the new cultures and places they encountered on their adventure. The book also brought something I'd wanted from the start, the glimmer of hope for at least some of the Fell, in an exploration of their culture as well. Heck of a cliff hanger though.

The Harbors of the Sun (The Books of the Raksura #5) by Martha Wells
I'm sad to see the end of this series, but what a great send off. Everyone got something to do, we met all kinds of old friends again, and Pearl and Malachite got to hang out (the Pearl-Malachite show was easily worth the price of admission).

The last act was Very Dramatic (well a lot of the book was), but really how much had changed since the first trilogy, and I love how much of a family everyone now has, and how many forms that takes.

(Loved this series so much, the sting of loosing it is lessened by Murderbot being so good, and by the snippits that show up on Wells' Patreon.)


Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, narrated by Aidan Kelly
** spoiler alert ** I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It is a book about a gay man who is somewhat genderqueer who spends the entire book with the love of his life and is still with him at the end (they are in fact married with a family by about two thirds through). It was gorgeous. The writing was stunning. The content was often brutal.

Not in a Tragic Gay way, but in a wow the MCs were in the US army during the genocide of the Native Americans, and in the Union army during the civil war, and then we did another round of genocide in Wyoming. And so... yeah.

But on the other hand, it painted nothing as glorious, and I really appreciated a "Wild West" story that actually showed what was going on, and boy howdy did it not romanticise anything. And while it never excuses any of the characters, it does lay out how a lot of that happened, how even good men got sucked into being monsters.

So, gay HEA, beautifully written, uncountable slaughter, would rec the audiobook, as the reader has a pleasing Irish accent.

(This was strongly recced to me by Dad who goes in for depressing things with pretty writing. He also may have been trying to bond over queer content, which is nice. Your mileage will vary widely on how much you can handle the MCs being complicit in crimes against humanity, even if they were only foot soldiers, and in the army as victims of imperialism themselves.)


Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, narrated by Ron Butler
I don't have a lot of the historical context for the first half, but the writing is so perfect, and the ideas are clear and sharp, and it's pure pleasure to read. (It's somewhat depressing how little has changed.)


Keeping Her Pride (Ladies of the Pack #1) by Lauren Esker
One of my favourites by Esker (still doesn't top Guard Wolf, but probably edges out Dragon's Luck)! I really liked Debi and her slow road to understanding and redemption. I love how her vision of herself changed, and part of that was just a matter of realising that yes, she could put sugar in her coffee. The business plot took something of a back seat until the end, but it's a fast read, and I mostly loved watching Debi grow.

Fletcher wasn't my favourite hero, but he was solid and his issues made sense. His complicated relationship with his ex wife and their daughter made sense. I liked that the kid was there to be trouble as well as cute, as four year olds tend to be. She was pretty cute though.

Nice guest spots by various agents from the other books, but this was entirely readable as a stand alone. I haven't read Handcuffed to a Bear, where Debi first showed up, and followed it just fine.

(I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which is horridly late. Sorry, Lauren!)


What I'm Reading Now
I've got the first Sharing Knife book going on audio, which I'm enjoying in a peaceable idfic sort of way. I can see why some people want to set it on fire. I quite like it.

I'm also drifting through Sister Emily's Lightship and Other Stories, a collection of mostly fairytale riffs by Jean Yolen, which is very good.


What I'm Reading Next
The Stone Sky is out. Once I've braced myself, I'll start that.

World Fantasy 2017

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 11:57 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
The World Fantasy Convention (http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/) is November 2-5, 2017 in San Antonio, TX this year.

Headliner guests are Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Gregory Manchess, David Mitchell, Gordon Van Gelder and the toastmaster is Martha Wells (me!)

The con has posted the preliminary list of program topics:

Alternate Africas: The Growing List of Fantastic Alternate and Secret Narratives Set in Africa
Beards and Intrigue: Queering the Historical Fantastic
Calamity Jane Defeats Conan: The Persistence of American Folklore in Fantasy Literature
Exceptional Characters in Horrible Times
The Fiction of Mildred Clingerman
Gender Fluidity in Fantasy
History — Secret, Hidden, or Otherwise
Keeping Texas Weird
Kitsune and Dragon: Thoughtful Approaches to Alternate Eastern Asias
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: Still our Modern Prometheus
Metaphors and Metadata: Libraries in Fantasy Literature
Molly Weasley Was a Bad Ass: Aged Protagonists in Fantasy
New Twists On Traditional Myths & Archetypes : What are the Pitfalls?
The Old West: Not Entirely Wild but Always a Fantasy
Once More Around the Bloch
The Other in Fantasy when Everyone is an Other
Place Matters: Geography’s Influence on Fantasy
Pulp Era Influences: the Expiration Date
Putting Historical Persons into your Fantasy
Religions of the African Diaspora: Beyond Zombies, Ancestors, and Giant Apes
Research, Research, Recherchez: History is Easy to Get Lost In
The Role of the City in Fantasy Settings
Small Presses that Open their Doors to the Unusual: Past and Present
Urban Legends in the Age of Fake News
What’s the Difference Between Dark Fantasy and Horror

The list of Award Finalists is here: http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/awards/2017-world-fantasy-awards%e2%84%a0-finalists/

The convention rules state that it can only sell 850 memberships, and right now there are only about 140 or so spots left.

Provenance Preview! Read the First Three Chapters Now!

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 11:26 am
ann_leckie: (AJ)
[personal profile] ann_leckie

So, Provenance will be out in a bit more than a month! I can’t wait for folks to read it, honestly.

Not long ago, you had a chance to read the opening, oh I’d say half first chapter, for free online. And maybe that just whetted your appetite and now you have to wait until nearly the end of September for the rest?

Well, if you sign up for my newsletter, you can get all of Chapter 1, plus chapters 2 and 3! You might see a black banner across the top of my website asking you to sign up for the newsletter, with a text box for entering your email. You can use that, or if you’ve dismissed that click this link to go to a form you can fill out–a text box for your email, and then under that are checkboxes for which newsletters you’re signing up for. You want to check the “Ann Leckie” one, and you might or might not want to check any of the others, depending, but it’s the Ann Leckie one that will get you the chapters.

Here’s the deal–I hardly ever use my newsletter so I guarantee you won’t be spammed. What it does get used for is things like this. And for announcements of upcoming publications and such. Folks who are already signed up probably already have the chapters in their inboxes. If you aren’t signed up yet, you’ll get the chapters when you do. So, if you want to read the first three chapters early, there you go!

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

Wednesday Reading

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 08:44 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I seem to be on a nonfiction binge.

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen is a series of essays on various "non-conforming" female public figures from Serena Williams to Caitlyn Jenner. Each essay shows how perceptions of their public personas interact with American cultural norms and the backlash than ensues. I liked that each chapter focused on a different type of non-conformity. It was a fast, entertaining read, though I did bristle at one passing reference to "Harlequin romances," a phrase which appeared to be used as metonymy for the Romance genre. Really, honey?

From the introduction: this book considers the costs and benefits of smoothing one's sharp edges just enough to make it onto the cover of Vanity Fair or into the pages of GQ, multiplexes across America, or the White House--and the implication that unruliness is still largely the provenance of women who are white and straight.

Favorite quote: It's one thing to argue that you belong--it's another thing to actually believe it. As [Jennifer] Weiner's experience makes clear, part of the difficult, essential work of unruliness is shaking the status quo so thoroughly, so persistently, so loudly that everyone--even the very women behind that agitation, many of whom have internalized the understandings they fight so tirelessly against--can see their value within it.

The Supergirls: Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines (Revised and Updated) by Mike Madrid traces the history of female superheroes from the earliest days of comics to the present. The social history is fairly shallow, but if you're looking for an overview of the topic and a host of characters to research in more depth, you could do worse. Caveat: it's full of observations such as Thorn was as tough as they came, but dressed in a green leather halter-top and micro miniskirt with thigh high boots, she looked more like the entertainer at a bachelor party than the terror of the underworld.

I'd been reading Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction, edited by Isiah Lavender, off and on since maybe January. I'd originally picked it up for the essay about Octavia Butler's short story "The Evening and the Morning and the Night," but the essay I found most rewarding was "Questing for an Indigenous Future: Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony as Indigenous Science Fiction" by Patrick B. Sharp, as it described and connected some historical events of which I'd been ignorant when I read the novel, and which added quite a bit of depth to my understanding of it.

"Monteiro Lobato's O Presidente Negro (The Black President): Eugenics and the Corporate State in Brazil" by M. Elizabeth Ginway, "Mestizaje and Heterotopia in Ernest Hogan's High Aztech" by Lysa M. Rivera, and "Virtual Reality at the Border of Migration, Race, and Labor" by Matthew Goodwin all brought me new insights and new information. High Aztech was a DNF for me back when it was new, so I'm glad I got to read about it from another perspective.

I'm about midway through the Rosa Parks bio, and hope to finish it before I leave on vacation.

And the award for best surprise ever goes to...

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 02:08 pm
marinarusalka: Wasp from Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (Avengers EMH: Wasp)
[personal profile] marinarusalka
The Boy proposing to me at the top of the Eiffel Tower last night.

I said yes, duh.

Worldcon 75: Day Five

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 11:34 am
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Sunday morning at breakfast looked like everybody at the con hotel had just gone, “…yeah, no, screw it,” and not gotten up to eat. :)

*I’d* gotten up because I wanted to go to Walter Jon Williams’ guest of honor interview, which I did (although I went into the wrong room first and was pretty torn about leaving what proved to be an astronaut’s lecture, but did anyway). The first half of it was full of what I thought were really great general questions for a writer and I wanted to be answering them! The second half got more specific about his career, but as he said at the end of the hour, “Well, that got us up to 1985, so please come to the next convention for the other half…” :)

(jedward has sorry not sorry, get down low, i dont know why, and walking the wire on his playlist. dammit, norwegian air is supposed to have wifi on board and i’m dying to be tweeting this! also he’s singing a lot to himself, just under his breath, which for some reason i find wonderful. people should sing more! also, just in case anyone wondered: he can sing.)

I bailed on the con after that because I really wanted to see a little of Helsinki without it trying to drown me. This would have been better if I had not somehow failed to put a meet-up with somebody into my calendar and forgotten about it, but she forgave me and I had a nice walk around some harbor-type thing where there were a number of trees shattered by the previous night’s storm.

My impression of Helsinki was that it has wonderfully wide streets, excellent pedestrian areas, very good public transport, amazing bike lanes, a lot of very fit, Finnish-looking people, good tap water (they’ve got signs everywhere saying “you can drink water right from the sinks!”), and a sort of vaguely creepy Bladerunner-ish (to me) corporate ubiquitousness with innumerable signs proclaiming business affiliations everywhere vibe. It felt like being in a city labeled like Nascar jumpsuits. Someone I was with said it had a post-Soviet vibe to them, which may be more accurate, but it wasn’t what came to my mind. :)

I went out to dinnner with friends and tried to find the Dead Dog party, gave up and sent one of our party ahead, then thought we HAD found it and went through a lot of contortions to contact said party member, only to find out later we’d screwed up and he’d almost been at the actual party and we’d called him back. We felt very badly. *moop* And I was a little disappointed to not get to the party because I’d wanted to say goodbye to Nicholas, at least, only as we sat around in the hotel lobby he happened to come through so I got to say bye anyway, yay. :)

Famous Authors Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch & CE Murphy :)
Famous Authors Elizabeth Bear, Scott Lynch & CE Murphy :)

Shockingly, I completely failed to get to bed early, although I’d planned to. In the morning, Carol and I packed up, went downstairs to the lobby, happened to see eBear and Scott again, and then took ourselves off to the airport, where, to cap it all off, I sat next to half of Jedward, who smelled too much of cologne. And thus ends my Worldcon 2017 report!

(Except for the pictures post I’m going to do! And anything else I remember later! :))

(Like the moment on the way to the Hugos when I muttered (or so I thought), “That is an *extremely* attractive man,” about the gentleman in front of me, who was someone else’s husband. But apparently 3 days of convention was not good for my muttering skills, because he looked over his shoulder and smiled, which was both funny and mortifying. But my *god*, he really was extremely, *extremely* attractive.)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Face Off

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 11:30 pm
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
I have watched Face Off 1.1-1.2 and 2.1-2.2 and plan on watching more. It's a SyFy reality? show in which special effects makeup artists are given challenges, and one is eliminated each week/episode until there is a winner.

I'm loving this show, but I will say that this is pretty much the first reality TV show I've watched much of? And the part where someone is eliminated and has to go makes me sad even though I know it's inherent to the format. I turn into a marshmallowy ball of sad over this. So far I have also seen them work in teams and backbiting start due to the stress and to the fact that even if you work in a team only one person gets sent home, so people fight over this, and that turns me into a marshmallow ball of sad too.

But! Special effects makeup is something I know nothing about and that I am finding extremely cool as an art form and as a technical discipline--casting molds, working with materials, coming up with a concept, just blending body paint or makeup...so much! I'm loving that aspect of it and learning about how it works. I also often can't tell what's good or bad on aesthetic or technical merits, which is unsurprising--I know zero about this discipline, while the judges are award-winning experts, so listening to their critiques is so enlightening. :D

Episode 1.2's main challenge involved body-painting completely naked models (with naughty bits blurred out) to match/complement a preassigned painting. When the models dropped their robes on the hostess's command, I swear they were smirking at the contestants. And why shouldn't they be? They're getting paid, and they're not the ones who are getting eliminated, and they're beautiful Hollywood people, getting looked at naked by an audience probably is no big deal to them. :p

I also learned based on one of the contestant's behavior during 1.2 that I seriously judge contestants who are rude to their models! >:( I don't care how stressed you are, there's just no excuse. :(

I don't know if they changed this for S2, but I hate the S1 thing where the challenge winner consults with who gets sent home, but that may be because I hate conflict. :]

(no subject)

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 07:32 pm
neonhummingbird: (leverage hardison seriously?)
[personal profile] neonhummingbird
My phone is dead.

Not merely dead, where it won't wake up, or the screen is smashed, or the battery is gone. No, my phone is dead, so thoroughly fried that even God is backing away, hands held up, saying, "Dude, no one's that omnipotent."

As near as the dude at the repair store can figure, my charger died spectacular sometime Sunday night, and fried every electrical component in my phone along with it. Given that I just checked that charger and it was a LOT of years old, I find this explanation highly plausible. Folks, check your chargers. Trade them for new ones.

My photos were on the sd card, which survived, and they were the only irreplaceable things (three+ years of photos of animals I've taken care of the at the shelter, utterly irreplaceable). But I did not have my movie database or my CD database backed up (because I'm stupid), so I have three-some years of acquisitions to rebuild, unless Google was backing them up for me, which I doubt. But the new phone is on the way (Moto G4 Plus from B&H, unlocked, GSM/CDMA, 64gb of onboard memory, 1.4Ghz octocore processor.... it's a nice phone, and only out at the edge of my budget, and yes, I am very grateful I'm in a position where I can replace my phone, thank god/dess), so I suppose I'll exhaust that last hope soon.

(Also changing providers; Virgin Mobile is making it quite clear that they no longer give a crap about Android users; combined with their nasty habit of making you start a new plan with a new phone and not refunding any of the old plan, the time is ripe for a change. MetroPCS seems to win most of the review polls, and it means I can use a GSM phone, and there's a store literally around the corner from my condo, so...)

I would have gotten my phone diagnosed this morning, but there was a dead body on the tracks at Fullerton (a hub for all three northside El lines) and the entire north side ground to a halt for about three hours. I had left early to go to the phone repair place, and was lucky enough to get a seat on the 151 bus; it is literally the slowest bus you can take to the Loop, but it got me there. There were people walking to the Loop because the buses were too full or running too far behind and Uber, of course, switched to surge rates. I briefly berated myself for not trying to switch to one of the expresses, but by the time I realized how bad it was, all of the expresses would have been full, so...

Woe is me

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 05:14 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Just noticed the book I was going to read tonight won't be out until November, so I shouldn't review it any time soon.

I'm writing about comics somewhere that isn't here!

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 11:45 am
fairestcat: Bobbi Morse, a blonde woman standing in the rain, with a mask-like pair of glasses pushed up on her head (Bobbi Morse)
[personal profile] fairestcat
I'm really excited about this. I stepped outside my comfort zone and volunteered to write a monthly Column about Marvel comics over at Women Write About Comics.

My first post went up today and you can read it here.

This is my first time in a long time writing for an audience that isn't people I already know and I'm both nervous and excited about it. Mostly excited, I think. Ask me again when I have to put together my August post.

Book Recs on Tuesday

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 10:11 am
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)


* The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
The earthshaking conclusion to Jemisin’s powerful postapocalyptic Broken Earth trilogy (after The Obelisk Gate) finds the fate of a damaged world in the hands of a mother, who wants to save it, and her daughter, who wants to destroy it. Essun believes she is the only person left alive who has the power and skill to open the magical Obelisk Gate and wield its power to save her cataclysm-rocked planet, the Stillness, which is being torn apart by an ancient experiment that got out of hand. But she is caught between that duty and her need to find Nassun, her 10-year-old daughter. Nassun’s father killed her brother and took her away because both children shared their mother’s dangerous talent; he hoped to “cure” her, but instead she has become incredibly powerful. Essun’s search grows urgent when she learns that Nassun is being guided by a dangerous mentor with plans of his own. Jemisin draws Essun and Nassun perfectly, capturing a mother’s guilt and pride and a daughter’s determination to survive on her own terms. The Stillness, where ancient science is powered by magic, is unforgettable. Vivid characters, a tautly constructed plot, and outstanding worldbuilding meld into an impressive and timely story of abused, grieving survivors fighting to fix themselves and save the remnants of their shattered home. PW review


* Biketopia edited by Elly Blue
This is the newest volume of the Bikes in Space series: A highly imaginative collection of sci-fi stories with a feminist bent.


* Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
The journey will take eons. In order to maintain the genetic talent of the original crew, humankind’s greatest ambition—to explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy— is undertaken by clones. But a clone is not a perfect copy, and each new generation has its own quirks, desires, and neuroses. As the centuries fly by, the society living aboard the nine ships (designated Convoy Seven) changes and evolves, but their mission remains the same: to reach Reggie’s mysterious star and explore its origins—and implications.


* Volatile Bonds by Jaye Wells
When the Magic Enforcement Agency is called out to the scene of a dirty magic lab explosion, a body with a bullet wound is found in the smoldering ruins. As Detective Kate Prospero and her partner, Special Agent Drew Morales, hunt down the killer, they uncover evidence that a dangerous new coven may be operating in the Cauldron.


* Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore edited by Paula Guran


* Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett
Dayna Anderson doesn't set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn't the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.


* Vanity in Dust by Cheryl Low
In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets. Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen’s dust drugged the city. Everything is poisoned to distract and dull the senses, even the tea and pastries. And yet, after more than a century, his own magic is beginning to wake. The beautiful veneer of the Realm is cracking. Those who would defy the Queen turn their eyes to Vaun, and the dust saturating the Realm. From the carnivorous pixies in the shadows to the wolves in the streets, Vaun thought he knew all the dangers of his city. But when whispers of treason bring down the fury of the Queen, he'll have to race to save the lives and souls of those he loves.


* In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
Sometimes it’s not the kid you expect who falls through to magicland, sometimes it’s . . . Elliott. He’s grumpy, nerdy, and appalled by both the dearth of technology and the levels of fitness involved in swinging swords around. He’s a little enchanted by the elves and mermaids. Despite his aversion to war, work, and most people (human or otherwise) he finds that two unlikely ideas, friendship and world peace, may actually be possible.


* A Song for Quiet by Cassandra Khaw
Deacon James is a rambling bluesman straight from Georgia, a black man with troubles that he can't escape, and music that won't let him go. On a train to Arkham, he meets trouble — visions of nightmares, gaping mouths and grasping tendrils, and a madman who calls himself John Persons. According to the stranger, Deacon is carrying a seed in his head, a thing that will destroy the world if he lets it hatch.


* Buried Heart by Kate Elliott
On the run from the murderous King Nikonos, Jessamy must find a way for her beloved Kalliarkos to take his rightful place on the throne. Only then can he end the oppression of the Commoners by their long time Patron overlords. But Kal's rise to power is fraught with manipulation and shocking decisions that make Jes question everything they promised each other. As their relationship frays and Jes's family and friends beg her for help, will she cast Kal and her Patron heritage aside? Will she finally join--even lead--the rebellion that had been burning among the Commoners for years?

Okay, I yield

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 09:48 am
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
[personal profile] dragovianknight
I have fallen under the Indie Slush Pile, and I can't get up.

Rec me!

What I am looking for:

1) Not tradpub (Edit: This one and #4 are the only non-negotiable ones, see my reasons in comments; #2 can extend to SF or any similar genre, but I don't read many mysteries or much contemporary)
2) Fantasy - sword and sorcery or some other action sub-genre preferred over politics
3) Prefer a female main character
4) Competent writing, for the love of all the gods

I am honestly starting to think it's not possible to have a well-developed independently published story. Please show me I'm wrong.

Paris update

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 06:30 am
marinarusalka: (Default)
[personal profile] marinarusalka
So British Airways has decided to add some extra stress to our Paris trip by losing The Boy's luggage for three freakin' days. Every day they kept saying, "Oh, we found your bag, it's out for delivery to your hotel!" and then no delivery would happen. Until if finally did happen -- at midnight last night. Sigh.

Despite this, we've gotten some good sightseeing in before I had to start attending the conference. Sunday we successfully navigated the subway and train system and got ourselves to Versailles. In retrospect, it was probably a bad idea to go on a weekend, as the crowds were beyond insane. The line to get into the main palace was three hours long, which we weren't willing to do, so we did the gardens and the smaller Trianon palaces. There's Grand Trianon, a pink marble palace that Lois XIV built as a private place to have nooky with his mistress, and Petit Trianon, which was Marie Antoinette's idea of a quaint country cottage. Both are very pretty and charming, and give a pretty good idea of why the French Revolution happened.

Yesterday we did the Arc de Triomphe, which required climbing a ridiculous number of steps (284!) to get to the top but was totally worth it for the view. Then we followed up with a visit to Notre Dame.

Here, have some pictures.

Grand Trianon:


Arc de Triomphe:


Eiffel Tower:


Notre Dame:


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