schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
I'm having a few bad days in a row now and it sucks. It's a self-perpetuating cycle: I feel lethargic and out of energy, I don't eat or drink enough and my sleep rhythm gets screwed up, I become too tired to do the things that might otherwise cheer me up/give me energy, things I'm supposed to do start to pile up which makes me feel discouraged and so on and so on. At least now that I'm done with my degree I'm feeling less guilty. I'm even too lazy to make a rec list of the fic I found so at least other people could benefit... I cooked today, hopefully that means it'll get better soon.

For the March posting meme: talk about a few SF/F books you love (or that you reread).

This was surprisingly difficult. There are many SF/F books that I love, but to my own surprise not that many that I currently semi-regularly reread.

Quick note about my current reading habits: For several months I read very little original fiction. A few months ago I started reading more books again – almost exclusively SF/F, because that's what I'm in currently in the mood for – and I enjoyed it. Almost exclusively books in English, btw: I tried finding new German SF/F books, but it was surprisingly difficult and most of the ones I did find sounded very unoriginal and uninteresting.
For some reason it's easier for me to resist starting a new book when I know I don't have the time than it is to resist starting a fic of the same length. I'm not completely sure why, just that reading books and fic feels a bit different. I think it's partially because with books I expect to need to think more, while many fics are more relaxing to read because I know more about what to expect. I don't need to get to know new characters and figure out how I feel about them, etc.

I made a list of books that stayed with me two years ago, it hasn't changed that much. 10/10 are SF/F, pretty clear it's always been my favorite genre.

This time… when I saw the prompt my first instinctive reaction was "yay, another reason to talk about the Steerswoman books", so maybe I should go with that ^^ I've only reread parts of the series, mostly books 1 and 4 and mostly for fic research, but the main reason for that is that I'm impatient and when I feel like I have the time to read books I want to read new ones. I just need a time machine.

There are many reasons why I like the series, including the smart & resourceful main characters and the interesting worldbuilding, but the main reasons why I got more into it than other book series were probably a) especially book 4 pushing my loyalty kink buttons, and b) the timing: I read them right before Yuletide nominations, then both wrote and received Yuletide fic, so I kept thinking about that world instead of moving on.

A few Steerswoman plotbunnies, some of which I've even started writing:
- the one for Lupercalia, where Rowan is bonded to a wolf
- the one where Willam is captured by Abremio and cursed with the speech-garbling spell
- the AU where they're all captured by pirates
- the one where Willam has a huge crush on Rowan
And several more that are still very vague, like one-sided Reeder/Naio and post-LoP Willam&Corvus and one about Fletcher's loyalties and one about Bel's responsibilities to her people and one about Zenna and Rowan etc. etc. Experience says I will finish maybe one or two of them with a little bit of luck, but so far I'm enjoying the process.
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
Books books books books books! I have time to read now! Vienna's public libraries have expanded their ebook selection \o/
I think I want a Goodreads account. Oh no, picking usernames -.-

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch )

Red Seas Under Red Skies )

The Republic of Thieves )

I enjoyed the series. I'm not feeling particularly fannish about it, but I'm looking forward to book 4.

DD and I agreed that we'd probably prefer to watch a series one episode a day: enough time to think about and discuss each episode, but a short wait until the next one. Unfortunately the TV schedule doesn't agree, and so it looks like we'll be meeting on Saturdays to watch The 100 for the foreseeable future.

3x06 The Bitter Harvest )
schneefink: (Fleury)
I keep having "wow, time!" moments. Today LB told me to visit for lunch because he didn't want to cook only for himself, but it takes me 45 minutes to get there so my reaction was "I can't, I don't have time - oh wait, I do!" Similarly yesterday evening: I can't watch the Pens-Ducks game, I need to sleep enough so I can work tomorrow - wait. It's such a great feeling.
I handed in my thesis officially yesterday, after hearing back from my advisor: she told me the first part (that I mostly wrote two years ago) is excellent, but the second part is not very good, so I'm only getting a 2 (out of five, with 1 being the best.) I'd prepared myself for a 4, so this was great news :) Now only a few bureaucracy things left to do, then in a month I should officially get my degree. My parents and friends told me there has to be a party, either I'll organize one or they will. I don't even want to think about that yet.
The day after tomorrow I'll visit my grandparents for a week and a half, I haven't seen half of my relatives since last April. There will also be good food and, for the first time in two years (!), I'll go alpine skiing. Somehow the past two years I didn't get around to it. I'm looking forward to it!
Downside of going skiing, I'll miss some of the few remaining hockey practices, and there's a chance tomorrow could be the last one. I'll have to make it count.

I got pretty lucky again with the Pens game I decided to watch! The Pens were all over the Ducks. I was strangely nervous when they were up by two, the Penguins showed only recently that it doesn't guarantee a win by any means and the Ducks had some good attacks. It definitely wasn't as lopsided as the 6-2 end result made it look. I only relaxed a bit after Sid's amazing second goal. Four point night for the captain, who's playing fantastic hockey right now, such a joy to watch. He and Letang are just racking up the points. The Baby Pens also did very well! Only one goal, but lots of offensive zone pressure.

After some trouble with ebook formats and stuff, I read "Kings Rising" by C.S.Pacat today. It was good, but I think I'll have to read it again to really enjoy it. Spoilers )

I'm looking forward to fic! Because I'm leaving on Thursday I actually don't have that much free time to read until then, there's still packing and a few other things to do, but I have a six hour train ride coming up.
schneefink: (ahsoka)
I picked this book as my "done with my thesis & I finally have time to read again!!" celebration, it's long enough that I didn't dare start it earlier. It was a good choice.

Spoilery thoughts. This got long. )

The Martian

Dec. 2nd, 2015 10:06 pm
schneefink: Babylon 5 (Bab5)
I watched the "The Martian" in the cinema today. I went alone, because everyone I asked had either seen it already or didn't have time today and afaik it was one of the last times they're showing it in Vienna in English. I still had a good time :) I wanted to see it on a bigger screen because I was hoping for pretty Mars pictures. Which I got, but because it was one of the last showings the screen was unfortunately small for a cinema.

I read the book about a week ago. It's very technical at times, very funny at times, has very good character sketches and is an excellent basis for h/c fic.

Then I read fic, some of which I really enjoyed: #BringHimHome, i'm coming home, Look At Those Cavemen Go!, Nunquam te tradam and others – I'm too lazy to do a proper rec post rn.

Then, the movie! I enjoyed it. [personal profile] lannamichaels has a good post pointing out some of the differences between the book and the movie. I also really liked the short bonus videos on youtube.

Spoilers )
schneefink: (ahsoka)
Yeah, that break between books that I wanted to take to do something more productive didn't happen. I read book 4 today, and THINGS happened. Whoa.

Spoilers )

There are six more books!, a lot more to come, but this is a good stopping point for now.
schneefink: (ahsoka)
[personal profile] frith_in_thorns and [personal profile] sholio recently recommended the "Shadows of the Apt" books by Adrian Tchaikovsky (here and here), and because I know they have good taste and because for some reason I thought another distraction from all the things I should be doing would be a good idea, I started reading them. I've read the first three books, "Empire of Black and Gold", "Dragonfly Falling", and "Blood of the Mantis", and I enjoyed them.

Spoilers )
schneefink: (FF Kaylee excited)
Hi! Thank you very much for writing a story for me! :D

General Likes and Dislikes )

Soviet Hockey Players RPF
Characters: Alexei Kasatonov, Slava Fetisov

If you don't know what it is: They were some of the best hockey players in history, and some of them hated their coach. )

Prompt: The great betrayal )

The Steerswoman series – Rosemary Kirstein
Characters: Rowan, Bel, Willam

If you don't know what it is: A fascinating SFF series currently at 4 books )

Prompt: (post)book 4 fic )

Krabat | The Satanic Mill – Otfried Preußler

If you don't know what it is: a myth-based novel about the apprentices to an evil sorcerer )

Prompt: trapped )
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
I watched the first two periods of the Penguins-Stars game yesterday. (The stream sucked & for the first time I'm considering a paid option. Not sure it'll be worth it though because I watch live games so rarely. Maybe once I have a job.)
The game was fun! Mostly, except the goals against, and some stupid mistakes. Checking Twitter during the game was definitely a mistake, it's like an echo chamber for everything negative. I enjoy complaining about things/players during games too, just for me or with a friend, but on Twitter it's just too much pessimism, even when I technically agree with almost everything people are saying.

The game started at 2:30 am and I had to get up today at 7am for a debating workshop with school students. I was planning to sleep yesterday afternoon, but then I read A Red-Rose Chain instead because I'm weak. The new plan is to sleep now, because (if I can reach AV – pick up your phone, dammit) we're planning to finally watch Bab5 again tonight!

A Red-Rose Chain )
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
The Pens' season opener is tonight! I'll most likely watch it, even though I have to get up earlier tomorrow for school debating. But it's the season opener! I'll be fine, I'll borrow my roommate's coffee machine.
(Have I mentioned that the third roommate moved in last week? I think it'll work well.)

I actually did one or two things today, like shopping, but I also had time to read.

One Salt Sea )

Ashes of Honor )

Chimes at Midnight )

The Winter Long )
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
Yesterday I visited the garden&park around Schönbrunn castle with a friend. I hadn't been there for months if not years, but suddenly it's only twenty minutes away. I should go more often! It's beautiful. Yesterday was still surprisingly sunny and warm, and there are even still roses blooming.

What else did I do the past few days: listen to Hamilton some more, and read a lot. I like the "I really enjoyed the books" view better than "I really did not want to do any work", but they're probably at least equally true.

Rosemary and Rue )

A Local Habitation )

An Artificial Light )

Late Eclipses )
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
Doctor Who 9.02: The Witch's Apprentice
Spoilers )

The Sons of Thestian, by M.E. Vaughan
I read this because of a Tumblr rec & good goodreads reviews. That was a mistake. 90% of the book is boring and then it has a great ending, which is wasted because the buildup didn't work. Shame. Spoilers )
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
I went to a hockey game today! The first game Vienna's women's team, the Sabres, played in Vienna this season, afaik. (The announcer didn't know how to pronounce "sabre"...) A 4:0 win against Zürich, nice. The Sabres have some very good players, I especially noticed Meixner, Kanthor and Casorso. Unfortunately none of my hockey-interested friends had time, it'd be even more fun with company. I think I accidentally sat in the Zürich section of the stands, where almost no-one was, and then I was too lazy to move so I didn't talk to anyone. Not even during intermission, because I was finishing the fourth Steerswoman book.

I really enjoyed The Language of Power. Spoilers )

There are very few fics on AO3 so far, sadly. My timing is good, Yuletide nominations are open.
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
It was technically the second pre-season game, but the game the Pens played yesterday featured most of their stars and kind of felt like the first. It was a lot of fun! I only watched a part of the first period and got to see goals by Tanger and Olli. 7-3 overall, and Phil scored two goals. (Apparently more reporters wanted to talk to Phil than to Sid, this is probably not working out as Phil hoped *g* man it's great to see him smiling so much.) I can barely wait for the start of the regular season.
Me: Tanger with four points, Olli with a goal… Good game :)
DD: though I'm paranoid about guys with a history of injuries/illnesses starting the season with a 4 points game. (but it's the preseason so hopefully it doesn't count.)
DD: do you really think I enjoy suffering alone? Hell yes I'm gonna share thoughts like that.
Ah, fandom friendships <3

Someone on Tumblr posted a Wait For It, a song from the new musical "Hamilton." As I sometimes do with songs I really like and/or can't get out of my head, I listened to it on a loop for hours. "Life doesn't discriminate/between the sinners and the saints/it takes and it takes and it takes…"
[personal profile] naye recced the musical and linked to an audio version. I just listened to Act I and I really liked it. I was a bit worried audio only would be confusing - I'm generally not good at telling voices apart, or at least not at remembering which voice belongs to whom – but it was surprisingly clear, I could understand the words well and follow the action (I'm pretty sure.) The lyrics are very good, especially the rhymes, and overall the music is excellent. I'm looking forward to Act 2 (though I've heard it's a bit sadder so it might have to wait a few days.)

I read "The Lost Steersman", the third Steerswoman book, and I liked it a lot. Spoilers )

Blackhawks )
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
I had heard about the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein before and finally bought it because it was on sale (and still is until Sunday, info here.)
I wasn't very impressed by the first book: it was solid, but very slow, and if it was fic I most likely wouldn't have finished. It had some interesting elements, but overall it felt a bit bland. Spoilers )

I bought the second book, "The Outskirter's Secret", because it was cheap, but I ended up enjoying it a lot. It also has a lot of travel, but this time, because we're getting to know a completely new ecosystem and culture and because we know at least a vague shape of the overall plot, it's actually interesting. Spoilers )

The worldbuilding is interesting. Two things especially stand out: the magic, and the steerswomen. Spoilers )

I'm definitely going to read the next books, and I'm looking forward to them.

As an aside, one advantage of reading books instead of fic (I have all original novels labeled on my ebook reader as "origfic") is that there are new characters and also that I can ask for stories for Yuletide. One disadvantage is that I have to pay for them, I think I'll soon need a monthly book budget because buying ebooks is deceptively easy.
schneefink: (Fleury)
[personal profile] myrdschaem reminded me that I was still in the middle of reading "The Great Game. The Montréal Canadiens, the Red Army, and the Night That Saved Hockey" by Todd Denault. I'd stopped reading for a few weeks, in hindsight mostly because I was in the middle of the chapter that introduces the villain and explains how they (almost) ruin everything. In this case, the Philadelphia Flyers.
(Of course I know that the current Flyers are not the Broad Street Bullies anymore – last season the Pens had a lot more PIMs than the Flyers, for example – but their history does not help my already existing dislike of the team.)

The "Great Game" mentioned in the title is the New Year's Eve game between the Montréal Canadiens and the Soviet Red Army club in 1975, according to Denault one of the best games ever played. Here it is on youtube; I haven't watched all of it yet and of course the quality is much worse than what I'm used to, but it is a very pretty game.

Denault tells the history of the Canadiens since the 1960s, plus some history of other important players and teams, which of course includes the Red Army team. Things I learned about Habs history: Sam Pollock, Habs GM in the 60s and 70s, and Scotty Bowman, the Habs' coach in the 70s, were geniuses. The Habs also had an excellent scouting staff. Their team in the 70s that won four Cups in a row(!) was simply stacked with world-class talent and is most likely one of the best teams in history.

It was neat to suddenly get some context for some names I'd heard here and there before: Guy LaFleur, Ken Dryden… Bobby Hull appears as an advocate against violence in hockey, which was weird since I only knew of him as a Chicago Blackhawks ambassador who abused his wives. Bobby Clarke appeared, who I only knew as the asshole who deliberately injured Kharlamov's ankle. Turns out he was a leader of the Broad Street Bullies in Philly and in general an asshole who loved to chirp players on opposing teams because he knew they wouldn't attack him because they were afraid of his violent teammates.
Denault does a good job introducing different players and and people and making them all interesting.

The larger story behind the game that Denault focuses on is the debate about violence in hockey. Cut for graphic depictions of violence. )

In Denault's narrative the Flyers are the bad guys and the Canadiens the good guys, but to be honest he didn't have to try hard to sell it. Even the Russian players admired the Canadiens very much, but disliked the Flyers and hated their style of hockey. Denault made it very clear that the Flyers' victory over the CSKA in January 1976 didn't really count because the Flyers were out to hurt people and of course the Soviets didn't want to risk injuries in a for them meaningless game.
The good guys win when the Habs win the Stanley Cup against the Flyers in 1976 and then again in the next three years, which led to a renewed focus on skill and speed etc. in hockey instead of violence. Looking at the game even today, I shudder to think what it would look like had the Flyers won more Cups in the 1970s.

In conclusion, I liked the book a lot and would recommend it to anyone interested in hockey history.
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
The Lego Movie: I saw this one on the bus to Prague, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Entertaining and not too stupid.

Student of the Year: [personal profile] tanndell promised a completely over-the-top ~dramatic movie and it did not disappoint. Extreme idfic in movie form. It was entertaining; I'm not sure how much I would have enjoyed it on my own, but with company it was great.

Princess Mononoke: I love "Spirited Away" and I'd been planning to watch Princess Mononoke for years. Unfortunately I didn't like it as much. Spoilers )

The 100, episodes 1-7: I made the tactical mistake to watch them together with DD. On the one hand it's fun to watch it together, on the other hand now it means I have to wait until we both have time to continue… On a related note, it's been almost three months since we last watched Bab5 -.-
I was warned that the first few episodes are less good, so I had low expectations, but I liked them. Episode 7 was the first one that really annoyed me.Spoilers" )

Simon Kirby-Jones mysteries by Dean James: DD recommended these to me as the only vampire books that she likes. They're good 10pm-books: entertaining and very easy to read, I enjoyed them. Spoilers )

Handcuffed to the Bear by Lauren Esker: Supernatural romance, not usually something I look for. Okay, not quite true, I read a lot of it, but usually all fanfic. Because I already know how to find what I want, and it's free and convenient. But this one is by [personal profile] sholio, one of my favorite fic writers who I know writes excellent h/c and lost-in-the-wilderness stories, and she had a promotion, so I decided to check it out despite the to me not at all appealing blurb. (And despite the fact that I don't have a Kindle. I now have a PC app because amazon didn't let me just download the file. Stupid.)
I'm glad I did! The book has the same good stuff I loved in her fic, with a bonus romance that (apart from one moment early on where I couldn't help but think that now was really not the moment to think about her gorgeous eyes) felt quite natural. I liked the worldbuilding, though it does require suspension of disbelief similarly to many urban fantasy books - seriously, shifters have been around for centuries, there's an official government agency even, and the general public doesn't know about them?
She also did a great job introducing the main character for the sequel, and I'm looking forward to that as well.
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
Two books: "Raising Steam" by Terry Pratchett, which took me weeks to get through, and "Uprooted" by Naomi Novik, which I read in one day and into the night because I couldn't put it down.

Raising Steam:
I recently saw "Raising Steam" in a bookshop and had to buy it immediately – a Discworld novel I didn't know, that I hadn't even heard about? (That last part was especially strange.) It's the story of how trains arrive on Discworld. It took me a long time to read, and not because I didn't have the time. It just wasn't particularly gripping. Interesting, yes, but there was very little plot.more spoilery details )

I don't regret buying "Raising Steam" because it's neat to see Ankh-Morpork develop further, but it's definitely not among my favorite Discworld books and not one I'll reread often.

I bought Uprooted on a rec by [personal profile] cofax7 (slight spoilers.) (Incidentally, that was the first book I actually paid for on my ebook-reader, before that it was only fic.) I only started it yesterday because I didn't have the time before and was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop halfway through, and of course exactly that happened and I stayed up way later than I wanted. Worth it though.

I don't remember the last time a book kept surprising me like this. Every few chapters almost it went into a different direction than I'd expected, which made the whole story very exciting and compelling. Yet it never seemed disjointed or chaotic or confusing, major kudos.

I really liked the setting. It wasn't drastically different from "mainstream" fantasy – wizards and kings and the dark Wood – but it was enough its own thing not to look like a copy. In many ways it seemed a bit like fantasy!Poland, I thought that was very cool. I was glad I had a friend named Agnieszka once so I knew how to pronounce it (it's only mentioned in the afterword.)

The writing is very good. Some really great images.

spoilery details )

The Rifter

Apr. 12th, 2015 02:19 pm
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
The last few days DD said that she wanted to avoid any news about the NHL and Pens in particular. When I asked how she was planning to do that, because I knew I wouldn't manage, she recommended me a book (series): "The Rifter" by Ginn Hale. I enjoyed it a lot!

Spoilers )


schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)

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