schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
During work I keep coming up with things I want to post about, and then when I'm home I'm too lazy and/or tired, similarly often on weekends. No vacation for me until September, most likely, but I told myself to pay attention and take a mental health day if I need it. I haven't been sick yet so I wouldn't feel bad about it.

D&D )

I recently found a book again that I'd searched for for years: "Bloodrights" by N. Lee Wood. I was prepared to be disappointed, but to my happy surprise I still like it a lot. It's harsher than I remembered, especially in regards to the cost of striving for power. The surprising reveal at the end made me look at much of it in a different way and made me like it even more. Yay trope subversion. Spoiler )
I liked Antonya and many of the other characters, and rereading the book now there are several scenes that I now much better understand the id buttons they pushed (esp. Kerrick & Morgan.) Also, something I'd forgotten about which was a nice surprise, queer people exist and are, while not completely normal, not a big deal.

Politics, because it's unavoidable: The current situation in Poland is scary, it shows how easily things like that can happen. That the protests appear to have had some success is encouraging but not more than a silver lining.
There are so many countries were democracy is under attack…
In Austria I'm trying to focus on the push-back against the surveillance program, but I'm scared about the new government after the next election. The outcome seems almost certain and it would be a bad one imo, but as we've recently seen in the UK a lot can change during an election campaign, so we'll see.
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
I recently reread one of my favorite fantasy series as a kid, the Märchenmond books by Wolfgang and Heike Hohlbein. (I only ever knew of three books, I recently found out that there is a fourth one but with a different main character. I haven't read it yet and I don't think I want to.) The title means "fairy tale moon", though the English translation is "Magic Moon," which for some reason sounds hilarious to me.

I was worried I wouldn't like the books anymore, but I reread them anyway because I had ideas for these characters for h/c bingo. (No idea why they came to mind after so long. Now after rereading I've discarded the original idea but I have another one, let's see if anything comes of it.) Unsurprisingly I don't like them as much as I did, but I can still see why I loved them and enjoy some elements, good enough for me.

As I half expected, I didn't much like the main character, who always becomes unexpectedly extremely wise in the last fifteen pages and makes a great speech; the special fighting skills were pretty much a given. Especially books 2 and 3 required a lot of work to ignore how silly the central conflict premise was so one could enjoy the rest of the plot. In all three books I really liked the secondary characters, they were a lot of fun. There were continuity problems from each book to the next, I did not expect that to annoy me as much as it did.
All in all I don't regret rereading the books, but probably won't do it again, at least not anytime soon.

Märchenmond )

Märchenmonds Kinder )

Märchenmonds Erben )


In apartment news, most of the construction site is gone! Originally it said end of July, so logically I expected it to last until the middle of August, and it finishing earlier than announced was a happy surprise.
Eva moved out today :( She'd only been here for three and a half months, but apart from DD she was my favorite flatmate so far and I'll miss her. We already found the next person, she'll move in in August. She seems nice too, but at least at her initial visit I found it not that easy to get into a conversation flow with her, I hope that'll get better and we'll get along well. We already know that she doesn't bake, that's a downgrade right from the start ;) DD and I decided to bake more often (and also make more lemonade), I hope we'll actually manage to keep to that.
schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
As a distraction from the (partially justified) anxiety about all the things I should be doing, have a rec.

Friends Across Borders by [archiveofourown.org profile] MueraRashaye (Valdemar series)
316k, gen, canon-compliant & OC-centric, series in progress (9 stories completed + 1 WIP)
Summary: Two long-time enemy nations can't become meaningful allies overnight. Stories from the lives of a border-guard Herald and Sunpriest, from their first meeting to the end, and insights into just how Karse and Valdemar were able to turn around their relationship so fast.
What I knew about canon beforehand: In a country named Valdemar some people have special magical Gifts and they are soulbonded to magical white horses.
Why I love it: Enemies to friends <3 More precisely, technically-enemies to brothers on a personal scale leads to enemies to allies on a national scale. The friendship between Firestarter Kir and Herald Anur is so wonderful, and it's great to see the ripples they cause spread outwards. I also really like all the stuff about Karsite culture, cultural difference and culture change etc.; obviously I can't say how much of it is canon and how much is the author's own worldbuilding, but it's beautifully done. Kir also has a very nice atonement storyline.

I then decided to check out canon, which previously I'd only known through vaguely remembered crossovers/fusions with other fandoms (one with SGA and one with Rurouni Kenshin) that I read years ago. I knew that canon was about very different characters and even a different country, but I decided to at least try some books in the series, so I read the "Last Herald Mage" trilogy. It was… okay? I would have loved the books when I was fifteen. The plot was OTT dramatic several times, but sometimes I don't mind that very much. The romance in the first book made me roll my eyes a bit, but hey, teenagers. The second book was tough to get through at times because the portrayals of exhaustion of loneliness were very well done. In the third book spoilers )
I liked the fic series a lot better than canon though, so after finishing the books I read the fic again (for the third time. What. And it is free! I love fandom.)

Lost books

Jul. 5th, 2017 09:57 pm
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
There is a new [community profile] findthatbook comm, which you should all check out, especially the post I immediately made about that one book I've wanted to reread for years now. I know what the cover looked like and the entire plot outline - finding out that the "lost heir to the kingdom" knew all along that she wasn't the true heir but just pretended so that she could take over is still among my favorite plot twists - but so far no luck.

Edit: I found it! Thanks to /r/whatsthatbook, always good to try multiple sources. It's "Bloodrights" by N. Lee Wood. I read it so long ago that I have no idea if it's actually any good, but I look forward to finding out.
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
"Chameleon Moon" by RoAnna Sylver was recommended to me, I forgot where, as very optimistic apocafic, so I decided to give it a try. The cover is very pretty. I loved all the characters, but unfortunately the worldbuilding and the plot had holes.
Spoilers )


And then instead of more books I'm reading Naruto AUs again, not sure why. This fandom has so many long what-if AUs, it's amazing. I haven't even watched the anime for probably 15 years, and even then not often. There's just something very appealing about magical ninja idfic, it seems.


Most recent D&D campaign developments: Saints )
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
One thing that annoys me about ebooks is that there is no cover blurb. If I don't remember what the book is about from when I got it, I'm going in blind (apart from unreliable cover illustrations.) I just got dozens of new books from this Nebula author showcase Humble Bundle and I have no idea where to even start. So I read more fic instead, also good. (Most) Fics have tags, which is helpful.

This btw also answered a question I'd started to ask myself, about how books are expensive and this month for example I'm already way past what I would have set myself as a reasonable book budget if I had such a thing. I used to illegally download books sometimes (I felt very guilty about it but I was too greedy), but I don't anymore now that I have actual income. I really should set a monthly book budget for myself. I know I'll have enough to read, it's just a matter of withstanding temptation when people rec stuff.

I'm currently trying to reduce my open browser tabs. Including this one I currently have 84 open - which is less than the 97 I had yesterday, so progress. My laptop is a bit slow sometimes and occasionally the browser crashes but overall it's still going really well, despite being 8 years old and me not looking after it well. *pets laptop*
Edit: 76 now. Small steps.
schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
I read Thick as Thieves today, the newest book in the Queen's Thief series, half of it while at work. Ahem. I knew it was a mistake to start it during my morning commute but my self-control is limited. I re-read The King of Attolia, my favorite of the series, the day before, and then I got too impatient and skipped ahead. Reminder for next time, when I find out that a new installment in a series comes out soon, start re-reading the other books before the new one comes out.

Looks like I never actually posted about the series when I first read it, huh. I found the first two books during my US vacation over a year ago, in two different boxes at a booksale in New Jersey. I did not mean to buy actual physical books while in the US! Going to the booksale had not even been my idea, my aunt was meeting people there. Anyway, I remembered seeing several recs for the series and couldn't resist.

And good thing I had heard of it, otherwise I'm not sure I would have finished the first book, it starts very slowly. Around three quarters in I started to enjoy it a lot, and from then on the series got better and better. Politics, complicated plots and machinations, questioned & shifting & rock-solid loyalties, yes please. Plus a whole lot of competence porn, especially in book 3, yum.

I really enjoyed book 5. I know the author better now, I know her M.O., several later revelations I saw coming early this time, and I still was taken by surprise by a plot twist near the end, kudos. Spoiler ) Pacing- and plot-wise it reminded me the most of the first book, except now I know the political/character backgrounds, so while I found the first book boring at times I really liked this one. I also grew to like Kamet a lot faster than I expected, and I was delighted to find out about the second main character. I was happy about the appearances of the characters I already liked, like Eugenides and Attolia. Spoilers )

I liked the ending, but I had minor complaints. Spoilers )
schneefink: River walking among trees, from "Safe" (Default)
I finished the Inda series :)

Book 3, King's Shield:Spoilers )


Book 4, Treason's Shore:
What a ride. I finished this book right before I had to leave the house and unsurprisingly I had trouble shaking it off to think about other things. Whew. That did not end the way I expected. Spoilers )


What I also really liked about all four books, btw, is that not only are queer people everywhere, but there's also a big variety of romantic & sexual relationships, and marriage & romance & sex may be connected, but do not have to be.

In general: I like (most of) the characters a lot and their relationships, I like many tropes that appear & are well executed, and I enjoyed reading the whole series a lot :) Especially from the second book onward.
You might like these books if you enjoy close friendships, close friendships across hierarchy steps, loyalty themes, stories about kingdoms and/or pirates with battles and alliances, romance stories that tie in nicely with everything else without dominating, queer stories, people trying hard to do their best and sometimes failing, a little bit of cool magic but not too much, some other things that I'm forgetting right now; and if you don't mind a slow beginning to the series, an omniscient narrator and frequent PoV switches (give it a try if you're unsure, it works well imo), a main character with some Mary Sue qualities that it might take you a while to warm up to, not overly graphic but still serious depictions of the consequences of battle and war, and probably some other things that I'm forgetting right now. (Writing recs is hard, ask if you want more details, warnings etc.)
schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
I recently finished & enjoyed the first two books of the "Inda" series, and I'm currently reading the third. I wanted an distraction while a group of people overseas voted to kill millions of their own citizens, but then the characters rode into battle and I needed a break while worrying about which fictional characters will survive (and how.) Though this fantasy series has fewer and less evil enemies than reality.

The first book, Inda, was enjoyable but not really enthralling. Too much of it felt like set-up. It didn't help that I never really warmed up to the main character. Spoilers )

The second book, The Fox, I did not want to put down once I started, and I finished it in one day at 2am. It has a lot of tropes and character dynamics that I really like, and the plot moved quickly (for ¾ of the book.) Spoilers )

I like the omniscient narrator a lot, I enjoy getting glimpses into different characters' heads during the same scene. I also like the casual household magic in the background, and the natural way queer people are shown as part of the world. I want queer people in all media and everywhere, and I want them to punch dark lords and evil politicians in the face.
Back to the battle.
schneefink: Babylon 5 (Bab5)
I earn money now, so I can buy more books! Excellent.
After many recommendations, I finally read "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet," and then found out that there's already a sequel too, great. I enjoyed both books a lot :) They're smaller in scope than many SF/F books, especially the second one, but I didn't mind. It felt kind of comfortable, even. Both books had a very warm and positive atmosphere, which was very nice, and put a big emphasis on people making friends and growing closer, which I love.
I'd read reviews saying that The Long Way doesn't have a very strong plot, but it didn't bother me because just like shows like e.g. Leverage it's so character-focused that character development becomes all the plot I need. (Actually it kind of reminds me of fic.)
Also, I always love when I start shipping characters early and then they actually get together :) I really liked the amount of space/focus the romance(s) got, I thought it was just right.

A Closed and Common Orbit doesn't have more plot, I'd say, but a clearer direction. Tbh at first I was disappointed when I found out that the sequel didn't focus on the crew of the Wayfarer, but they were at a pretty good/narratively satisfying point at the end of book 1 (exception: Spoiler )) so it made sense. The new main characters' stories didn't grab me until page 160 or so (more accurately Spoiler )), but after that I became very invested in their stories. Spoilers )

I really love the worldbuilding in these books. I like the history/politics background, generally positive and optimistic with cooperation between many races, but with plenty of dark sides too, from historical events to marginalized groups etc. Most of all I loved the races: they were varied (to a degree – many share many similarities with humanoids), they were interesting, they were all unique, and I just loved all the details about their cultures. Especially the Aandrisk and Aeluons, which we learned the most about.
schneefink: (Feldgatter)
I recently finished the "Nightrunners" series by Lynn Flewelling. It was fun! I liked the earlier books better (it took me a while to even finish the last one, but it was a nice series ending.) The books have great h/c, a lot of it that felt "just like in fic," and some that would be OTT even for many fanfics. I liked the relationship between the main characters a lot.
Spoilers )

For some reason I thought of the "Tales of the Otori" series again that I read many years ago, and I feel like rereading it just so I can write, or at least imagine, fix-it fic for "Harsh Cry of the Heron."
Other next stories on my to-read list: "A long way to a small, angry planet", "Stories of the Raksura", and several long fics.

I was unexpectedly offered to take an html+css class for free this weekend. I feel too tired to actively look forward to it, but it could be interesting, and it'll probably look good on my CV. I'm curious where it'll start, because I know a little bit of html but I have no clue how much "everyone" knows.

Snowflake challenge, day 13: In your own space, write about a moment in fandom that meant a lot to you.
Technically no fannish content, but definitely in fandom: May 26, 2013 (wow, over three and a half years ago), when everything I hadn't been coping with somehow got me to a keyboard and ask for a much-needed hug, and the responses to that gave me the strength to finally get the help I needed. I probably would have gone to a therapist eventually, but I don't know how much longer it would have taken, and having that encouragement and support helped a lot. Ever since then I've known that when I need something like that I can get it, and that's worth so much.
schneefink: (ahsoka)
Pre-New Year's resolution: I'll try to post fanwork recs every day from now until the 31st. Should be doable.

I just noticed I forgot to post my review of the fourth Raksura book, Edge of Worlds, which I also liked: Edge of Worlds )


Now that I read all four novels (I'm planning to read the short stories before the next one comes out), fic :)

Salt and Sea and Weathered Stones by [archiveofourown.org profile] mpatientdreamr
2.6k, gen, book 4 coda
Summary: A series of conversations on the way home.
Why I love it: Lovely Moon&court friendship fic, with Moon making his own traditions.

Where You Belong by [archiveofourown.org profile] Flamebyrd
1.1k, gen
Summary: Ember settles in to Indigo Cloud.
Why I love it: Very nice look at Ember.

The Consort Bower of Indigo Cloud by [archiveofourown.org profile] MarbleGlove, art by [archiveofourown.org profile] pentapus
7.4k, gen
Summary: Before Moon arrived at Indigo Cloud Court, the consort bower had been empty for some years and the court as a whole slowly dying. Something had to change. The three consorts of Indigo Cloud (Stone, Moon, and Ember) had had very different expectations, but the reality surprised each of them.
Why I love it: This is such a nice warm family story about Moon becoming an ever bigger part of Indigo Cloud and finding and making his place there, and with Stone and Ember.

Etiquette in Foreign Courts by [archiveofourown.org profile] pentapus
2.2k, background Moon/Chime
Summary: Ember was being unusually insistent.
Why I love it: Very nice & warm character piece about Ember, Moon, and Chime.

Celebration by [archiveofourown.org profile] LilTheHunger
3.5k, Jade/Moon, book 3 coda
Summary: After the events of THE SIREN DEPTHS, Jade is in a mood. Fortunately she's got a moody consort to help her out.
Why I love it: I may never get enough of stories where people, especially from Indigo Cloud, tell Moon how much they love and value him. Lovely coda.

Decision by [archiveofourown.org profile] merellia
1.7k, Moon/Jade, AU
Summary: “Celadon’s back. With a queen,” Moon says to Dusk.
Why I love it: Moon grew up in Opal Night and Jade was the one who lost her court, but they're both still them. Very nice AU with a Moon who's no less willful and stubborn.
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
Soo today I read three books and blinked and the day was over. Not sure how that happened lie. I read the first three Raksura books by Martha Wells and enjoyed them very much.

I had "The Cloud Roads" at home as a paperback for a few years and I remembered reading it, but that I didn't especially like it, and I even thought of leaving it behind when I moved. (I can't even remember why I picked it up again yesterday, maybe I just saw it on the shelf?) Looking back, I think that was during a time when I was very tired of Chosen One storylines, so I was annoyed by Moon being an oh-so-rare and important and special consort from the beginning. I also remember being a lot more annoyed by the biologically supported caste system than I was this time (I think I was reading a lot of D/s AUs.)

I like the worldbuilding of the series, especially the many different races and cultures. I like the characters, Moon and Jade and Chime and Stone and the others, and how they relate to each other, and the social structure of the court(s). (I think Chime might be my favorite.) I like the descriptions, with some exceptions they work well for me. I liked the plots mostly as well, especially for the h/c.

I didn't read the fourth book yet because a) I looked at the time and noticed that it was midnight, oops; and b) I saw in reviews that book 4 ends on a big cliffhanger, and since book 5 is coming out in half a year I thought I could wait that long. Not sure that resolve will last longer than a few days, but I'll see. There seems to be some good fic on AO3, I'll try that first.
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
The vast majority of fiction I've read in the past several years was in English, and mostly fic or science fiction/fantasy. When I started writing the D&D session summaries I noticed that it's been a while since I've written in German, so I decided to read more German books again.

It's surprisingly difficult to find science fiction/fantasy books written in German! Even in bookstores the shelves are full of translations, and there's no filter function for that anywhere, very annoying. There are a couple of German SFF authors, but I already know most of them from when I couldn't read English as well yet. I was disappointed.

One bookstore clerk recommended "Das Licht hinter den Wolken" by Oliver Plaschka. I've read the first few chapters now and I'm not sure I want to continue, I'm not really interested in anyone or anything yet. On top of that, the female main character is called "April." April! It's an English first name, but not a German one. It seems strange every time I read it, why would you do that.
There were a couple of other times too when I read a word and knew which English one would be in its place, and sometimes one language fit better and sometimes the other. That's probably just how it is with languages.

Maybe I'll stick to English science fiction/fantasy and try reading other books in German, maybe the genre switch helps. It's been a while since I've read other genres, might be interesting again.
(Or maybe I'll read Russian books once I figure out the translation function with Russian on my ebook reader, I should try that again...)
schneefink: picture of Relena looking at the viewer (GW Relena)
I enjoyed the first four books mostly because of the worldbuilding. Some character relationships and plot elements were pretty cool, but they weren't my main interest. I really liked the set-up of the world with all the spirits and the hints of what was going on in the background. Fortunately book 5 finally focuses on that, and wow is it dramatic.

spoilers )

Many characters in the series were kind of odd to read about because I could never settle on how I felt about them. Many of them I liked in one book and then a lot less in the next. spoilers )

I read the series in less than a week because I always wanted to know what happened next. I don't think it's one I'll reread (except maybe the last one because I have some vague story ideas), but I enjoyed it.
(Edit: Anyone interested in beta-ing a short post-canon Weaver&Hunter fic?)
schneefink: (FF River and Kaylee)
My mom has been learning Spanish for several years now and will soon spend several months as a music teacher in Bolivia (!) She got a new ebook-reader for the trip and LB and I want to get her some novels to read in Spanish. I know very little about Spanish/South American literature, so recommendations would be very helpful. A friend already recommended Frederico Garcia Lorca and Isabele Allende and "that one author whose names escapes me right now but I'll tell you later", but not specific works.
schneefink: Young Avengers team (CC era), words "we are in this together" (ya team)
I got the first book in the series from a recent Humble Bundle and started reading it thanks to a recommendation by [personal profile] wychwood, and then I got the other two in the next few days. I enjoyed the series a lot! It has very good h/c and excellent found family feels. It also has great female main characters, almost no straight people, and relationships that I liked a lot. The magic system is interesting, if a bit vague. I really like the series' take on what happens next after the country is conquered: there's no black and white and especially not along ethnicity lines.

Book 1: Fire Logic )

Book 2: Earth Logic )

Book 3: Water Logic )

Another series I've bookmarked for this year's Yuletide.
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
I'm having a couple of frustratingly unproductive days, and I'm running out of excuses. I recently switched to a lower dose of antidepressants: I really hope that's not the main reason, or at least I'm pretty sure it's something I can adjust to, but obviously I'd like it to happen sooner rather than later. The NHL season is over, even the parade (so nice to watch), which in theory should free up time but in practice there's always stuff I can do to procrastinate. There's even other sports going on!, even though it's obviously inferior.

Examples: Dominic Thiem, young Austrian tennis star, recently won a tournament on grass. I knew that Austrian media was very excited about him, but I didn't realize that he's actually very good until I checked r/tennis, where several users already proclaimed him the heir of Federer/Nadal/Djokovic. Probably not going to happen, but it does mean he looks actually good and not just lucky. I used to play tennis for a few years and every once in a while I still enjoy watching it, but rarely now.

And then! For the first time ever Austria's men's team qualified for a European soccer championship. Everyone was extremely excited, and they lost the first game 0-2 to Hungary. Not the start they wanted. I watched maybe a quarter of the game, just out of curiosity, and I constantly noticed all the little differences to hockey. Thanks to hockey I am better at watching soccer now, it's easier to follow what's happening. Yes, there are a lot more players on a bigger field, but they're also slower. The trick for me was watching passing lanes instead of players. (Soo many unclean passes, seriously guys if you want to win you have to be better than this.) I was also amused thinking back to all the discussions about hockey goalie equipment and net size etc. because "we need more goals to make the game exciting." Soccer, according to my brief look, has even fewer goals and doesn't seem to care.


Other things happening: More cooking, I went running on Tuesday and plan to again this evening, and I read "League of Dragons", the final book of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series. The book seemed a bit, hm, thematically disjointed?, but I enjoyed it and I mostly liked the ending.
spoilers )
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
They finally had "Blood of Tyrants" at a public library (on the shelf, I was too lazy to pre-order), so I took the opportunity to catch up on the Temeraire series. In the process I got way too little sleep, and tonight is a game so not ideal. But. Books.
I've read a few Temeraire fics recently, but it's been a while since I've read the books. At some points I wished I could go back and reread some earlier parts (the early parts with Granby and Tharkay, for example), maybe I'll do that later.

Tongues of Serpents )
Crucible of Gold )
Blood of Tyrants )
It looks like the last book is coming out in about two weeks, I'm looking forward to it.

Other than "dragons!" (I have a great dragon bookmark that I could use for these books btw) I'm not having a good day for some reason. So, while I'm maybe even less optimistic than last time, a win tonight would be nice. Also some chocolate, I need to go shopping.

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