athenejen: iAthena (athena)
2015-06-24 11:46 am
Entry tags:

Wednesday = books!

What I've just finished

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, book 2 of The Raven Cycle. Loved it (description from previous posts still applies).

What I'm reading now

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, book 3 of The Raven Cycle. This series continues to be wonderful. So far, I am especially pleased about the progression of the relationships -- the gradual growth and subtle acknowledgement and emotional complexity have all been quite satisfying. The overall plot has also been developing well. I can tell I'm going to be aching for book 4 for the next several months until its release (scheduled for March 1, 2016).

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. Still no progress this week. Too caught up in The Raven Cycle for now. Not sure if I'll go back to it right away or move onto something different.

What I'm reading next

Lots of Raven Cycle fanfic? *g* But besides that.

Probably either Hostage by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith (book 2 of the Change Quartet) or Pacific Fire by Greg van Eekhout (sequel to California Bones). (Book 3 of the van Eekhout series is due out in September; GoodReads is calling it the Daniel Blackland series. Annoyingly, the very first sentence of the brief description of book 3 seems to be a huge spoiler for the main plot book 2. Damn it.) Possibly Norse Code by Greg van Eekhout (a standalone that's completely separate from the Blackland series) or Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge.
athenejen: iAthena (athena)
2015-06-17 06:03 pm
Entry tags:

Wednesday Reading Meme

What I've just finished

California Bones by Greg van Eekhout. (See previous post for description.) I really enjoyed this, enough that its sequel, Pacific Fire is getting a pretty high slot on my to-read list. California Bones is definitely a full, satisfying arc all on its own, though. Note: I feel like I should probably emphasize here that it's a very dark world (the dominant powers of the world consider people just commodities to be used and consumed) and includes some pretty serious violence and grotesquerie -- if you're worried about specifics that might put you off reading or trigger you, feel free to ask me for more detail. Nonetheless, I would consider the overall narrative arc to be on the positive/heroic side.

What I'm reading now

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, book 2 of The Raven Cycle. I am enjoying this even more than I did the first one -- and I liked the first one a lot, so that's saying something. The cadences of the various voices of the characters have settled in more comfortably, and the style of the writing has definitely grown on me. Each character has a distinct perspective with different insights and blindspots, so the story is being built gradually and intricately like a (moody, atmospheric, potentially gorgeous) puzzle box. I feel like it's a good sign when getting to know the characters more has me both even more intrigued and even more endeared, and I'm quite interested in the new characters and hints at further world-building we're getting as well. Pleasing!

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. Haven't made any progress since my previous post. I suspect I won't get back to it for a little while yet, but there's another plane ride scheduled for next month, so maybe then if not before.

What I'm reading next

Almost certainly book 3 of The Raven Cycle, Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I have a feeling I'll soon be joining everyone waiting on tenterhooks for book 4 to come out next spring.

Bonus: Recent backlog

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu, first book in a trilogy (though the second and third books have not yet been released in English). Okay, this got long. If the idea of a Chinese hard SF novel intrigues you, click here! )
athenejen: iAthena (athena)
2015-06-10 06:49 pm
Entry tags:

a revival? Wednesday Reading Meme

It has been far too long since I posted anything. Mostly I've been watching a ton of hockey, but lately I've also been reading more actual books, which has been pretty great. I often contemplate posting, but somehow it just... slips away from me. But I've been reading enough that I keep thinking I should try doing the book meme and finally the thought stuck. So here goes.

What I've just finished

Uprooted by Naomi Novik. One of the pleasant things I've noticed lately is that the books I pick up keep having a bit of a throwback aspect to them, like the authors probably imprinted on the same wonderful books I did in the 80s and 90s, and are now writing things that evoke some similar themes and emotions and styles while also adding their own elements. This book reminded me a little of some of my favorite Diana Wynne Jones novels (especially the way Agnieszka comes into her own over the course of the novel, and the gradual, prickly progression of her relationship with "the Dragon") and a lot of the Fairy Tale Series of books with the Thomas Canty covers that Terri Windling curated in the late 80s and early 90s, with a judicious dose of Patricia C Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles for good measure. It is steeped in Eastern European fairy tales (Polish specifically, I believe) and has a distinctive earthiness to it that I really liked. While I wouldn't necessarily consider it groundbreaking, I do think it's a really lovely version of what it's trying to be, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It captured me.

What I'm reading now

California Bones by Greg van Eekhout. A fascinating, dark, alternate-modern Los Angeles run by a dictator whose power seems to be primarily based on controlling magic through brutality and bureaucracy. The main character is a 22-year-old kid who has spent most of his life letting the authorities think he's dead after his father was killed in a political purge. Politics and magic are inevitably intertwined in this world, and unsurprisingly so are magic and crime. The crime lord who effectively raised him wants him to perform one last heist -- breaking into the dictator's vault for a haul that includes the sword his father had meant for him to have, that also happens to be infused with the protagonist's essence (the main type of magic is osteomancy, in which bones are used to impart characteristic aspects of the creatures the bones were from). I'm only about a third of the way through, but well, I can't resist a heist. I'm definitely enjoying it so far.

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone, book 1 of the Craft Sequence. Investigating the death of a god and resurrecting him is within the scope of a necromantic law firm's job description, especially in a steampunk-inflected world in which magic is primarily based on legal contracts. Tara's finding that out firsthand... for her first case. I'm only about a quarter of the way through this one as well; I've been reading it on airplanes because there was a bunch of travel last month, and so far I would say that it has a bit of a slow build. There are many things about it I've found interesting, and the overall world-building strikes me as extensive, deep, complex, and rich in scope. But that's just it -- so far, it's been more interesting than compelling. I like it enough that I'm fairly certain I'm going to keep going, but it seems to be more of an off-and-on thing than something that grabs me and keeps me reading straight through. But perhaps once I get far enough in that will change.

What I'm reading next

Either Hostage by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith, book 2 of the Change Quartet (I loved the first book in the series, Stranger) or The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, book 2 of The Raven Cycle.

Bonus: Recent backlog

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, book 1 of the Raven Cycle. If Uprooted felt like a nostalgic reminder of some of my favorite fairy-tale-based fantasy novels, The Raven Boys did the same for classic urban fantasy. Not the Harry Dresden/Anita Blake section of the genre, but more on the Borderlands/Emma Bull/Margaret Mahy/Fire & Hemlock side of things, all dark secrets and magical places and the muddy edge between mundane reality and something more. It's distinctly YA in that it focuses on teens trying to navigate and understand their place in the world, their emotions and their preoccupations and their complicated relationships with their families and with each other, and while the prose and structural execution are relatively workman-like and some of the side characters could be more deeply developed, I found the main cast to be interesting and endearing. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
athenejen: iAthena (athena)
2014-10-09 02:22 pm
Entry tags:

A good day

I'm in the middle of the most recent October Daye book by Seanan McGuire and enjoying it ridiculous amounts. Over the past month or two I've read the most recent Dresden Files book by Jim Butcher (which was awesome and heist-y and delightful), the most recent Iron Druid book by Kevin Hearne (which was overall entertaining but a bit disjointed), Among Others by Jo Walton (which was haunting and distinctive and basically tailor-made for people who were the kind of bookworm I was growing up; unsurprisingly I loved it), Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride (which is the sequel to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer; both were pretty hilarious and fun, as you might guess from the titles), and the first three books of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles (which were full of fascinating world-building and endearing characters, and I'm eagerly awaiting the concluding book(s) of the series).

I have chilled coffee with agave and milk that my partner made for me this morning and stuck in the fridge for drinking in the afternoon. I have a part-time job that I like and sporadic freelance work. The Yuletide tagset is open for perusal -- there are so many awesome fandoms I want to write for, and I have eight nominations in mind that I must whittle down to six, which is hard because I love all of them, but that is the best kind of problem to have. Soon it will be writing season, which means [ profile] mini_wrimo is taking signups for daily writing in November, woot!

And hockey is back! I stayed up late watching the two games NBCSN showed last night, the Dallas Stars & Chicago Blackhawks will be on my television tonight, and I'll be at the Texas Stars season opener (and Calder Cup banner raising!) on Saturday. I wish sometimes that Hockey RPF fandom hadn't essentially jumped ship wholesale to Tumblr, which I don't keep up with, but it's okay, because the best thing it gave me was the opportunity to discover a love of the game, and that I get to keep regardless.

Life has been kind of mixed recently. But today, today is a good day.
athenejen: iAthena (Default)
2010-08-25 06:29 pm

*runs in circles*

Five things I should not do before dealing with my deadline, even though I really really really want to:

5. Finish the damn tattoo fic I've had on hold for a couple of months.

4. Play with the some of the memes that have been going around.

3. Make a reclist that's been banging around my brain for a few weeks -- one (or two, or three) fics from each fandom I've read in the last year. Even if I don't include Yuletide, that's a lot of fandoms.

2. Write the Adam Rippon/Brian Joubert Team Toronto fic I've been pondering, and incorporating all the shit that went down the past few days re: Yuna('s mom) firing Brian Orser as her coach. :( :( :(

1. Read Mockingjay.



Hell with it, I can't wait a whole week to read Mockingjay. It will just distract me. So clearly I should just read it all in one go so that I can get it out of my head. Yeah. :D? :D? /o\
athenejen: iAthena (Default)
2010-07-13 01:25 am

i am kind of hoping this is the last of the bingos

Because apparently I am compelled to sign up for them. I am pretty much in love with some of these prompts, though, so I guess it paid off.

I'm thinking How to Ditch Your Fairy fic (possibly a figure skating rpf AU, or possibly just, you know, fic for the book) for the "sports tryouts" prompt. I'm fairly certain figure skating rpf is going to happen somewhere in there, anyway, and the idea of mundane Justified fic amuses me. And there are so many other possible fandoms...

mundane bingo: card )

[ profile] kiss_bingo: card )

[ profile] hs_bingo: card )

Incidentally! Lots of nifty things happening in the multi-fandom world of fic:

Porn Battle X is on! Because [ profile] oxoniensis is awesome. :) Leave prompts here by Thursday at 7 pm UK time.

Also, [ profile] realwomenfest exists! Women-centered rpf ficathon and celebration. Prompt away!

Less multi-fandom, but still fabulous: [ profile] skategreat's Texts from Last Night figure skating rpf fic challenge (sign-ups close Saturday). Terrific, often hilarious prompts. Only downside, all the plot bunnies I've come up with so far are for other fandoms! Oops.
athenejen: (writing)
2010-05-12 01:20 am

things i am not allowed to do until after i finish my holiday_on_ice story

Well, at least the first draft. Which may or may not require someone fluent in French for some of the dialogue, unless I dispense with that idea. And which definitely requires a beta or two to send it to when I'm done. Ack.

1. Make posts for Children's Book Week. There are so many Children's and YA books I'd like to gush about!

2. Make posts regarding the recent conversation about sexual violence and rape culture (thanks, [ profile] thexpuzzler for the latter link) that's been happening lately. I'd been meaning to make a post about harassment even before this, but for now I'll just say this: safe spaces are important, and support is important, and I am incredibly impressed by and grateful to the many, many, many smart, brave, wonderful women who have addressed this issue and talked about their own experiences.

3. Make posts about television shows or movies or plays I've been watching.

4. Make posts about figure skaters. (Oh, how I wish I could gush about figure skaters.)

5. Watch nearly as many figure skating related videos as I would like to, unless they are [ profile] holiday_on_ice research.

6. And they must be research for the first story, not the one that I accidentally started planning out and writing for a different prompt. I'm not allowed to write that story until the first one is done, damn it.

7. Write any other stories. Really, no.

8. See as much of my family and friends as I would like to... I still haven't called most people to even tell them I'm in town, argh. I still have a couple of weeks, though, so hopefully there will be plenty of time after I finish the fic.

9. Play games. No card games with my family, no board games with my friends, no poking at my tabletop rpg characters, no Sims, nothing.

10. Read other people's stories. Well, at least not more than a tiny handful. I am bad at cutting things out entirely, but cutting down should be possible...

I also really need to stop reading other people's posts about figure skaters or fandoms not related to the story I'm supposed to be writing, but it is very difficult. So I'm not making it a rule. But I should probably buckle down and concentrate! It's much easier to daydream about the story than it is to write it, though. At least I'm above the word count minimum? /o\
athenejen: iAthena (Default)
2010-03-29 01:35 am

five things that are cheering me up right now

1. This line from the most recent ~weekly shiplist my favorite comic book shop sends out: "Also, MARVEL has a new "permanent" title: ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN/WOLVERINE. Honestly, we have no idea who to give this one to, so let us know if you want it." This was especially funny given that the email started out by listing all the complicated shenanigans involving the Avengers titles name changes and what they were gong to do about subscriptions, detailing exactly who, subscribed to what old title(s), would get what new title(s) by default.

2. Mixing and betaing for [ profile] bandombigbang has forced me to realize that I can, indeed, still read and enjoy MCR fic, at least sometimes. Yay! I expect that my bandom consumption will still stay a bit deflated, though.

3. I am totally in love with figure skating fandom right now. If there were more fic for me to devour I would probably be even more solidly in the fandom, but even just all of the resources and squee over at [ profile] ontd_skating is absolutely delighting me. Hell, I even signed up for the [ profile] holiday_on_ice fic exchange. My signup was embarrassingly long-winded as usual, but I enjoyed thinking about prompts and such so much that my brain seems to be stuck in plot bunny mode. It would not surprise me if a figure skating plot bunny post materializes sometime in the near future.

4. I am still in war mode. That sounds strange. I mean, I'm still riding my recent wave of interest in wartime settings and military things that was sparked by Generation Kill and fed by my Yuletide assignment (god, I still have to write up that Yuletide wrapup post, oops), and enjoying it immensely. I'm in the middle of watching Band of Brothers, and while I'm reserving judgment on The Pacific as a whole until they show the rest, I am definitely enjoying watching it. The guy who plays the poet is damn easy on the eyes, and the appearance of a couple of Wonderfalls actors made me so happy! Actually, speaking of Wonderfalls, I saw Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (so adorable!) this past week and fell in love with Lee Pace all over again. And I didn't even realize going in that it was set on the eve of the British getting into WWII! It went well with Connie Willis's new novel, Blackout, which is about time-traveling historians studying the British home front. It was a hands-down amazing read (I devoured it so fast), with the single flaw of actually being only the first half of the story. Luckily the second part will be out in the fall. But I want it now! In the meantime I'll be getting my war fix through the rest of The Pacific and Band of Brothers, and probably re-watching GK and reading more of the book. Hmm. Maybe I'll finally watch Full Metal Jacket to get in some Vietnam. I wonder if I could find something good for the Korean War. Huh. Come to think of it, you could say my interest was actually sparked by that Japanese history class I took in 2008 and all of the fantastic end of WWII and postwar stuff we read and discussed, and then maybe fed by Waltz with Bashir, which is a freaking amazing film, also from 2008, about memory and the 1982 war between Israel and Lebanon. So yeah, I've been on something of a war kick for awhile. So if anyone has any recs for war-related stuff, please hit me with 'em. Any war in any time period, any medium, and any aspect of war. I'm interested in it all!

5. I have added a new reality tv show to my roster of tv shows, bringing the number I follow up to... 2 and a half. I had half a mind to follow Idol after falling for Adam and Kris and Allison toward the end of last year's season, but I'm too lazy to watch it live or commandeer my SO's housemate's dvr, and they don't seem to post full episodes online, so fuck 'em. But that's the half, because at least I tried. I'm keeping up with Project Runway, give or take, and now I seem to be watching Dancing with the Stars. Damn you, figure skating fandom, damn you! It is fun, though. If Netflix had either Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance, I'd probably be mainlining old seasons as I type this. It's just... Project Runway and shows of that nature are the perfect mind candy for when I'm interested in characters and talent and ambition and creativity and sometimes beauty without actually having enough brainpower to concentrate on a storyline per se. I think the next on my list is going to be Top Chef. I do love food, after all, and the one ep I saw last year (also the first and only Top Chef ep I've seen) was pretty neat. I did spend one year watching The Amazing Race with an old housemate of mine, but I think it has about an equal chance to annoy me as to entertain me, so it's in the second tier. Plus, I guess I'm just more interested in watching people singing and dancing and making beautiful (and/or delicious or otherwise awesome) things than watching people run around and do arbitrary challenges.

Wow. This list is kind of all over the place. It's sort of... shallow shallow shallow WAR shallow. I guess that pretty much covers my life right now, though. Incredibly fluffy in general, but with these rather prominent (but not usually overwhelming) depressing and difficult bits. But still, hard to complain about mostly fluffy.
athenejen: iAthena (Default)
2009-10-26 01:44 am

dear self,

You really, truly, do not have to re-read Hunger Games again now that you finally convinced yourself to read Catching Fire and then actually did it. You only read it for the first time less than two months ago. And then you read it again right away. And then you read it again a week later when Catching Fire came in the mail, before you choked and didn't pick up Catching Fire until yesterday because you were pathetically afraid of not having another one to read for forever and ever because Catching Fire just came out in September. And I know you're clawing out your brain with the need to read the next book that doesn't even exist as an Amazon pre-order yet, but just calm down. You're supposed to be packing. Or, you know, writing up your Yuletide requests and offers.

You really don't need to read it again just now (and then Catching Fire again directly after, of course). Do you?

no love,
the part of yourself that has a guilt complex.

P.S. Well, okay. A little love. OMG SO GOOD.

P.P.S. Maybe I will re-watch the pilot of White Collar instead! ♥
athenejen: iAthena (Default)
2009-08-06 03:18 pm

8 points in 4 mediums

1. PATRICK. I'm not sure I've ever loved a Fall Out Boy video more than I love the one for What a Catch, Donnie. I have to admit, the song wasn't my immediate favorites off the album, it's a little too pop-R&Bish for my natural tendencies. However, after seeing them do it in concert, after hearing Patrick sing it in concert, then I understood. It's amazing because he's amazing, and this video elaborates on that brilliantly. I am spoilers? ) Basically I love everything about this video. And Patrick. It's kind of painful just how much one of my types Patrick is.

2. I owe an apology to all fans of The Middleman, I should've watched this show weeks or months ago and I definitely should have voted for Wendy Watson over Faith in Home Team 2009: Round One (incidentally, Round Two is going until Monday -- some very close races in this one!). I mean, I love Faith, but she's no Wendy Watson! Even if they did spend an entire episode mild spoilers for the general theme of the episode, but mostly just wittering about pronunciation )

3. How I Met Your Mother, you're supposed to be a comedy. cut for very mild, almost non-existent spoilers, purely emotional and actually pretty much orthogonal to the actual content of the episode ) (I love this show.)

4. I have started to re-read The Obnoxious Jerks by Stephen Manes, one of my favorite YA novels from when I was younger. I think I just might have to nominate it for Yuletide this year -- I'm thinking the obvious threesome, for anyone who's read the book. :) Possibly also The Middleman from point 2 above and The Umbrella Academy from point 5 below. I might also be tempted by some HIMYM (point 3 above -- I have an inexplicable craving for Lily/Marshall/Ted) and Heathers (point 7 below)... gah, too many choices!

5. Finally read The Umbrella Academy: Dallas. I meant to try to read it before Gerard's panel at Comic-con, but while I did manage to acquire the issues I was missing beforehand (and bought wayyyyyyyy too much at the Dark Horse booth, whee!), I forgot to bring the other ones, so in the end I had to wait. Someday, I'll be prepared enough to ask him the serious spoilers for both UA series ) I liked Dallas a lot, possibly even more than I liked the first series. I feel like we really got to know the characters and their relationships with each other in a little more depth, and I really like them, so flawed and so awesome. I'm looking forward to both series three and Killjoys.

6. My main thought about He's Just Not That Into You is that it was trying to be Love Actually and pretty much failed. I enjoyed it anyway in places, primarily because it has some actors in it I really like, including the guy from Kitchen Confidential and the guy from Entourage. I like the girl from Big Love, too, and while I have mixed feelings about Scarlett Johansson in general I have to admit she's hot. Also Drew Barrymore being adorable as usual (I'm not the only one who wants to see that movie Diablo Cody wrote about roller derby, right?) and Jennifer Connolly being vulnerable and Jennifer Aniston and what's his name, Chasing Amy guy, being actually cute and sympathetic. So yeah. Not what it could've been, but fun.

7. I made my housemate watch Heathers because she'd inexplicably never seen it. I always forget how fucking hot Christian Slater is in it until I see it again. And it's so '80s, but in this vicious, surreal way. I should really buy my own copy, because there's really nothing like Heathers. brief slightly spoilery thoughts about the ending )

8. Eureka is not a perfect show by a long shot, but I do enjoy what I've seen so far. But man, when Zane showed up in season 2, he upped the hotness quotient by a good 30%. Adorable, life-loving, morally-neutral geniuses are hard to resist. (It's possible he's one of my other types... I have either several or none, it's not exactly clear which.) (I like Stark and Fargo and Jo and Allison, too. Eureka is full of super-hot and/or super-cute and/or super-snarky geniuses.)
athenejen: iAthena (Default)
2008-12-24 09:34 am

The Mysterious Mannequin

Out of curiosity, has anyone ever heard of a fic challenge based around Nancy Drew mysteries? The classic ones, 30s-70s. I recently found the bunch that I had while growing up, and the blurbs make me think that it could actually be really fun, like the romance novel challenges only with mysteries. It think it might work for many casefile-ish fandoms, though of the fandoms I'm most familiar with, Psych and Veronica Mars would probably make the most sense. But multifandom might be the way to go.

Just a stray thought.

In other news, I just stayed up all night peering into the yuletide irc room and betaing one fic. Well, and poking at the internet a little. It was fun. I think this means I'm pretty unlikely to write any of the stocking stuffers I've been contemplating, though.
athenejen: iAthena (Default)
2007-12-14 05:25 pm

already looking ahead

Is it a bad thing that I'm already looking ahead to next year's Yuletide and thinking about what I might ask for? At least I have a good draft of this year's story already done, to be edited this weekend, so I don't have to feel like I'm completely jumping the gun, but still.

[ profile] marinarusalka and [ profile] eowyns and I have been watching The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. on Thursdays before our usual Supernatural episode, and I think it's absolutely going on my list next year. Now it's just a question of figuring out what pairing I want most! Brisco/Bowler? Brisco/Socrates? Brisco/Dixie? (Because Dixie is fucking awesome -- talk about a woman with some kickass agency!) Brisco & Comet? Brisco & his father? Brisco & the Professor? Hell, Brisco/Bly? Man, I'm going to be sad when we run out of episodes. Luckily there are 27 of them, even if it's only one season.

Meanwhile, I'm reading the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (translated and abridged by Edward Seidensticker), for the class I'm TAing, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it's making it onto next year's Yuletide list, too. It was the rampant Genji/To no Chujo (his brother-in-law) in the "An Autumn Excursion" chapter (in which they catch each other having embarrassing liasons with the same elderly court lady, have a mock fight, and leave together in all camaraderie; earlier in the chapter they perform the dance "Waves of the Blue Ocean" together for the court) that really sparked this plan, but in thinking on it, Genji/Prince Hyobu would be deliciously twisted, and is explicitly supported by the text, as they check each other out in the "Lavender" chapter, each thinking that if the other were of the opposite gender, he would be interested. Twisted because Prince Hyobu is (secretly) the father of the girl that Genji has kidnapped with the intent of eventually making her one of his wives (who is named Murasaki, and seems to be the author's analogue in the book). Not that Prince Hyobu knows that Genji is the one that kidnapped her when the checking out is going on, though Genji is aware of the Prince being her father. Ah, court intrigue!

I feel mildly dirty slashing things I'm reading for class, but I swear, The Tale of Genji just asks for it.