Fic: The Fitting

Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:28 pm
alisanne: (Snarry hug)
[personal profile] alisanne
Title: The Fitting
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Severus Snape/Harry Potter
Summary: Harry takes advantage when opportunity presents. What he may have forgotten is, Slytherins are masters of opportunity.
Word Count: 365 x 3 (1095)
Warnings: semi-public sex (sort of).
A/N: Written for [livejournal.com profile] hogwarts365/[community profile] hogwarts365's prompt # 197: “I take care of my flowers and my cats. And enjoy food. And that’s living.”—Ursula Andress, picture of cats, Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions.
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and[personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

The Fitting )

it's braver sometimes just to run

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:55 am
musesfool: Kermit the Frog (can't look clowns will eat me)
[personal profile] musesfool
Last night, we had dinner at Joanne's, the Lady Gaga family restaurant. The food was fine, but for the prices they charge, I expected at least two meatballs with my spaghetti and meatball dinner. To be fair, the one meatball was of decent size, but still, it's listed as spaghetti and meatballs on the menu so it's not ridiculous to expect there to be more than one meatball on the plate. I am just saying.

It's warm and clammy today, which is my second least favorite combination (cold and clammy is worse), but I'm looking forward to the weekend, as this week has seemed endless. It was so hard to get out bed. Sigh.

I did just get off the phone with 1. the realtor and then 2. the lawyer, so things are progressing there re: the negotiation of a slightly lower price due to the low appraisal (all thanks, apparently, to the fact that while the seller lists the apartment in Forest Hills, it actually exists in Rego Park which is one - slightly less expensive - neighborhood over. And if you are from Queens, you know what I mean). The question is whether this affects the lender in any way, but since the loan amount is the loan amount regardless, I'm not sure why it would? but what do I know? As per my lawyer's instructions, I am playing dumb (I mean, on this topic, despite all the info from Uncle Google, I actually am kind of dumb? so it's not hard! *hands*) The lawyer and mortgage broker are on top of that.

When I spoke to the realtor this morning, I was like, it's been a week since they received my application but I shouldn't expect to hear from them before the Fourth of July weekend? and he was like, "they don't like to disclose their schedule but I'll ask for an update," and then he just texted me to say that the board has received and is reviewing my application so EEP! That, more than the bank or the seller or the more normal processes of home-buying is what is freaking me out. I have more to say about this but probably not until it's all over, and even then, probably only in a locked post. Mostly what I want to say is EEP! At least I found my black dress (and my mom's pearls *snerk*) so I'm prepared!

I feel like I should have something fannish to say, and I'm sure I did before these phone calls all started happening, but I guess for right now, this househunting business is my main fandom. Sigh.

***

Bingo card for me

NSFW Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:40 am
petra: Barbara Gordon smiling knowingly (Default)
[personal profile] petra
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )
spiralsheep: Einstein writing Time / Space OTP on a blackboard (fridgepunk Time / Space OTP)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Women in engineering and Cornish Black history: I've mentioned Black people in Kernow (Cornwall) before, such as musician and composer Joseph Emidy, and y'all know my passion for engineering, so here's a combination of both. While in Penwith I visited the excellent Telegraph Museum in Porthcurno and was lucky enough to have a guide who used to work there when it was a telecommunications engineering college for Cable and Wireless (back when the people of the UK all owned a share in that successful nationalised international business). My volunteer museum guide was Black. I only mention this because it's likely that if I didn't then most readers would assume otherwise.

Engineer Oluyemisi Ojo from Nigeria, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1973, was the first woman engineering student at this Cable and Wireless college.

Engineer Oluyemisi Ojo from Nigeria, Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1973

Engineering students from Vanuatu, Qatar, and Tonga, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, during the 1980s.

Engineering students from Vanuatu, Qatar, and Tonga in Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1980s

One more small image, and three book reviews. )

• [...]
four steps forward and three back, and yet nothing
remains the same, for the mountains are piled up
and worn down, for the rivers eat into the stone
and the fields blow away and the sea makes sand
[...]

New PSA fic and some writerly musings

Jun. 22nd, 2017 10:29 pm
celli: an ad for "Tom Corbett's Slash Goggles! Only 35 cents!" (slash)
[personal profile] celli
The Reverse Fuckbuddy (2103 words) by celli
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pod Save America (RPF)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jon Favreau/Jon Lovett
Characters: Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor, Pundit (Pod Save America RPF), Leo (Pod Save America RPF)
Additional Tags: First Time, Friends to Lovers, Fuckbuddies, Jon POV Character is Lovett
Summary:

Jon doesn't want to talk about it, Favs doesn't know what he's talking about, and Tommy would like everyone to shut the fuck up.



emotion in fic )

I find the process of learning this new skill fascinating, if you can't tell, and will happily chat about it for hours. So let me know if you have any comments or further suggestions!

You guys!

Jun. 22nd, 2017 08:58 pm
alisanne: (Default)
[personal profile] alisanne
So normally I'd save this for my weekly Random Post of Random™, but I wanted to talk about it sooner.

Apparently, there's more than one Harry Potter!

So I know I've said JKR should STFU about my favorite world, but I have to admit, I would read the shit out of any stories about Harry's great grandfather Henry (Harry) Potter.

And if they include it in the FB franchise? Hells, yeah.

Thoughts?
alisanne: (boy_love)
[personal profile] alisanne
Title: Finding Love at the Ambrosia Cafe
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Teddy Lupin/James Sirius Potter, Albus Severus Potter/OFC.
Summary: Sometimes love is only a cup away.
Word Count: 2500
Genre: Pre-slash.
Warnings: Angst, fluff.
A/N: Written for [livejournal.com profile] hp_coffeehouse/[community profile] hp_coffeehouse prompts # 2 Black as Night, Sweet as Sin, and 3: Coffee, Because Adulting is Hard.
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Finding Love at the Ambrosia Cafe )

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 05:41 pm
marina: (scifi janelle)
[personal profile] marina
Life is good right now, and I want to record that, before I probably lose my apartment in the next few months, as I do every year for the past 5 years. Probably in some spectacular last minute clusterfuck, as has happened in 2 out of those 5 years.

Anyway, I'm still reading Ninefox Gambit and enjoying it a lot. My health is better. Not "healthy person" better, but definitely better than it's been in say, two years. I'm going to London soon, which is so, so exciting.

The thesis has been... awful, but awful in the usual academic-grind sort of way.

This morning my maternal grandmother's youngest sister died. I couldn't make it to the funeral, but weekend plans (mostly thesis plans) will have to be altered to go grieve with family. Her granddaughter just got married a few weeks ago.

I'm sad, even though I didn't spend a lot of time with her in recent years, since my grandparents died and we stopped celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries as big family events.

My grandmother was 12 when she and her sisters and her mom and her grandma and two of her female cousins were all living in a Nazi concentration camp. This sister, the youngest, remembers that time the least, but she was old enough then to help with the missions, where their mom would send them out in pairs to try and escape the camp illegally and get food and supplies in the nearby village.

Every outing meant risk of capture and death, so the girls always went in pairs with a cousin, not a sister. My great-grandmother wanted to ensure that she could never be blamed for putting her own children ahead of her nieces.

Anyway, it's a sad day. My own grandmother in New York just got out of a 3 month stay at the hospital, and I'm grappling with the fact that it's very likely I'll never see her again.

The sun is shining, and there are flowers outside, and I still have a bed and a kitchen and a closet that are entirely my own. I suppose that's something.

New h/c bingo card!

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:44 am
sholio: man chasing flamingo (Flamingo)
[personal profile] sholio
I'm almost certainly going to sign up for [community profile] rarepairfest, once I finish getting my signup written. Probably with Agent Carter, Guardians of the Galaxy, and ... I'm still figuring out a third one that sounds fun. Supergirl? White Collar?

I have also acquired an h/c bingo card! This is round 8, which means it's been going on for 8 years (omfg!). And I've been doing it almost every year. I think there was a year in there I didn't do it, and there have definitely been years I haven't completed a bingo (and one year I blacked out my card - though admittedly it took me 'til the amnesty period to do it), but in general, I really look forward to getting each year's card. So here is this year's.

2017 h/c bingo card )
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Millions of mysterious 'sea pickles' swamp US west coast

“One of the things we are figuring out is have these guys been off the coast and we haven’t seen them? Are they moving inshore for a different reason?” said Sorensen.

YES AND I THINK WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS. Let me know when they reach Washington.

They're known as the "unicorn of the sea", apparently, so should clearly be claimed as a symbolic animal by you (glowing) asexual people out there.

yes I know it's not the same kind of asexual okay

ETA: Wikipedia just provided me with this beautiful quote:

"I have just watched the moon set in all her glory, and looked at those lesser moons, the beautiful Pyrosoma, shining like white-hot cylinders in the water" (T.H. Huxley, 1849).

CORRECT ACTION

Jun. 21st, 2017 08:18 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Grenfell Tower families to be rehoused in flats at luxury complex

This doesn't cover all the displaced families. And the flats are part of the "affordable" quota developers are frequently required to build along with the luxury flats, with the usual segregation (not being allowed access to the swimming pool etc. -- in quite a few instances, developers have created buildings where the people in the "affordable" flats have a separate entrance to the building ...), so it's a lot less "luxury" than the headline implies.

And they're being bought by the Corporation of London (as opposed to paid for out of RBKC's £274 million reserves?).

Still, it's a start.

Drabble: Building the Future

Jun. 21st, 2017 01:37 pm
alisanne: (Snarry hug)
[personal profile] alisanne
Title: Building the Future
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Pairing/Characters: Severus Snape/Harry Potter.
Word Count: 100 x 7
Rating: R
Challenge: Written for [community profile] snarry100/[insanejournal.com profile] snarry100/[livejournal.com profile] snarry100's prompt# 581: Build.
Summary: Experimentation yields rewards.
Part Sixteen of the Wisdom Series (LJ/IJ/DW).
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Building the Future )
swan_tower: (gaming)
[personal profile] swan_tower

I’ve been sitting on this news for nearly a year, waiting for my first piece to go live so I can tell you all about it.

So there’s this game called Legend of the Five Rings. It was a collectible card game and RPG; I got involved with the RPG, doing some freelance work for the later parts of fourth edition, because it had sucked me in overnight. The setting, Rokugan, is inspired by Japanese history and culture, and it’s got the kind of rich worldbuilding that makes the place come to life for me. So when the parent company sold L5R off to Fantasy Flight Games, I was, shall we say, rather determined to stay involved.

And I am. But not writing for the RPG this time: instead I’m one of their fiction writers. You see, one of the defining characteristics for L5R has always been the ongoing narrative of the game, influenced by the winners of various tournaments, and expressed through official canon stories.

My first story is here!

I think it should be a decent introduction to the setting for those who aren’t familiar with it. (In fact, that’s one of the goals for this first set of stories: give newcomers an overview of Rokugan, clan by clan.) If you like what I wrote, you might find L5R overall interesting, and you can check out the other fictions here (those provide links to the pdfs if you want to see the pretty formatted versions).

Yeah . . . I’m pretty excited. 😀 The setting has been rebooted back to the Clan War, so there’s an opportunity to do all kinds of cool new things, and this story provided a really great chance to showcase that, with the Dragon facing two entirely fresh conflicts that don’t come with easy answers attached. And I’m working on more stuff as we speak, so my involvement will be ongoing. *\o/*

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

It seems a heavy choice to make

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:53 am
musesfool: text icon: O swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon (swear not by the moon)
[personal profile] musesfool
In the ever-exciting news of the long slow process of co-op buying, late yesterday afternoon, I received a revised version of the appraisal - the one I got on Saturday had one number on the cover page and then another within the body of the document, and when I pointed that out to the lawyer, and he was like, "They're gonna go with the number in the document." Which was the lower number. But as of yesterday, the apartment is apparently worth the number on the cover page, which is $5000 more than the other. It's still $10K lower than the asking price, but it's proof that appraisers are human and make mistakes, so. We'll see what happens. I'm also still waiting to be contacted to set up the board interview. Sigh. I did find my black dress, though, so I'll be able to wear that when the time comes.

*

Last night, I made formulation #2 of anti-itch lotion and it doesn't have salt in it but it does have baking soda, so the unfortunately slightly gritty feel continues and also it didn't work (not to mention being an unappealing-for-a-skincare-product gray in color), so I think I'm just going to stick to more tried and true methods going forward.

*

Wednesday! Books!

What I've just finished
The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan. I enjoyed this - the action is a lot of fun and Leo got more to do - but oy, Apollo as narrator is annoying.

What I'm reading now
Despite an endless TBR pile, how could I resist Joan Aiken's The Five-Minute Marriage after reading amazing reviews by [personal profile] rachelmanija (here) and [personal profile] skygiants (here)?

I have especially fond memories of both The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Black Hearts in Battersea, though I haven't read either since I was a kid (I probably should reread at some point, and I did not know there were like five other books in that series), plus it's about a fake but real marriage set in the Regency era, so it was like five of my bulletproof narrative kinks in one book.

And boy does it deliver. Not so much on the actual romance, but with the hilarity and the fake marriage that turns out to be legitimate (in the sense of they are actually legally married rather than it being a fraudulent ceremony as they expected) and will likely turn into a real (as in they actually care about each other and stay married) marriage by the end of the book, grand romance notwithstanding, as well as the apparent alpha asshole hero who turns out to just be really stressed about babysitting his sister's TEN kids.

Anyway! I am enjoying it a lot and if that sounds like your cup of tea, you probably will too!

What I'm reading next
I do not know! However, I did want to give a heads up to anyone who doesn't know that Frances Hardinge has a new book coming out in the fall: A Skinful of Shadows. I am excite! And maybe I will read The Lie Tree next. I was saving it because it's the only Hardinge I haven't read yet, but if there's a new book on the horizon, I don't have to hoard it anymore. *g*

*

reading wednesday

Jun. 21st, 2017 07:37 am
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
I have read, a bit: Lee's Ninefox Gambit (edged past midpoint), the very opening of Cleeves's White Nights, most of a cookbook. There is one book post, but it ought to wait till after the post for Gambit, which was begun first. Less fog than two weeks ago.

Current reading: two of those aren't finished, and I'd like to clear enough fog to finish them. I do not like this thing whereby my mind slides off reading with each retry.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I was reading this one at the same time as I was reading Sorting The Beef From The Bull, which was like a natural sciences one-two punch; I would read Sorting while commuting, and Remarkable Creatures in bed at night. 

Remarkable Creatures is the fictionalized story of two real-life people, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, who were fossil hunters in Lyme Regis in England back when we were just starting to like, figure dinosaurs out. It follows their relationship, and their struggles to be seen as legitimate contributors to the scientific record, for several years.

I didn’t actually know the account was based in real life until after I’d finished reading, which did ameliorate some of my disappointment with the book, because it’s hard to make a climactic narrative out of peoples’ real lives – reality just doesn’t flow as smoothly as fiction. But I won’t lie: I am still pretty disappointed that Elizabeth and Mary didn’t end up together. I thought that was totally where we were heading.

Mind you, the story of their friendship is compelling, and Chevalier did find a way to create rising action within the story, even though as she put it in the afterword, Mary Anning basically did the same thing every day for years, in terms of hunting fossils. 

As an account of fossil hunting, of the religious wrestling that people had to do with the concept of extinction, and of the way women were treated in the era, it’s a really great book. And it’s also a fast read, which I’ve come to expect from Chevalier. And honestly, this is the first book of hers I’ve read where the female leads don’t get married, though this is in part because the real-life Mary and Elizabeth didn’t either. 

But it still feels like Chevalier’s books are always about women settling. It’s the same problem – I know that’s what women have had to do, and I’m sure she does it intentionally at least in part to remind us of that fact. I just want more for these heroines. 

But if you’re interested in paleontology, Do Recommend, it’s a good book. Less frustrating than The Last Runaway, certainly, and the characters feel more compelling, more three-dimensional, than some of those in Girl With A Pearl Earring. 

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Midsummer night

Jun. 21st, 2017 02:23 am
sholio: (Fireweed blossoms)
[personal profile] sholio
Still awake at 2 a.m., and I happened to look out the window and notice the sky in the north was really beautiful, in that odd intersection of dusk and dawn that happens when there's only an hour or two between sunset and sunrise. So I had to run out and take some pictures. This is 2 a.m. on the summer solstice, just south of the Arctic Circle.

Pictures under the cut )
spiralsheep: Martha laughing (Martha Laughing)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Once upon a time I threatened to post a cap of Funko Four for every fourth Doctor serial....

The Fourth Doctor and Robot

- Sounds more like a fic prompt than a science project: "Why suitcases rock and fall over - puzzle solved". "Scientists crack the problem of why two-wheeled suitcases can rock from side-to-side and turn over". (Source: BBC News online feed.) P.S. In case you're wondering the scientists' solution is, "one should accelerate rather than decelerate to attenuate the amplitude of oscillations", and not "zomg there's an alien in mah luggages!!1!!"

- Saintliness is next to Greavsieness: I earnestly believe that each part of the UK has the patron saint they deserve. You only have to look at what they're most well known for....

Cry God for England and St George: hunter of endangered species, and battler against imaginary wrongs. 'Nuff said.

Scotland (when it's pretending to be one country), St Andrew: martyred on the wrong sort of cross.... *cough cough*

Ireland, St Paddy in the green: fractious with fellow human beings, but doesn't actually like nature either. Be gone all you serpents and gerroff my lawn!

Wales, St David: good at community politics, and an excellent role model for Anglican bishops (which is probably not what this Cymric Catholic intended).

Cornwall, St Piran / St Perran, whatevs, as if he'd care about spelling, lol, and as he's the one you're least likely to be aware of I shall enumerate further:
1. Most famous for the miraculous RE-discovery of tin (no, rly, "rediscovery"), because someone else had already discovered it, obv, and if you're going to claim a miracle then it's best to set the bar low for maximum believability. This is the miracle commemorated in the Cornish flag of a white (tin) cross on a black (hearthstone) background.
2. Could swim, and was kind to wildlife.
3. Miraculously lived to be 200 years old... and then died by falling down a well while drunk (no, RLY). :-D
4. In conclusion, BEST PATRON SAINT EVER in the UK.

[Disclaimer: the preceding ethnic stereotypes have all been tested on persons of the relevant background and agreed to be accurate, although the Scots tended to alternate swearing with laughing and the Welsh contingent tried to force me to admit that I'm secretly "spiritually" Welsh, lol.)

The Fourth Doctor, I want to believe

Drabble: Caught

Jun. 20th, 2017 02:42 pm
alisanne: (Slash worship)
[personal profile] alisanne
Title: Caught
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Albus Severus Potter/surprise (m/m).
Challenge: Written for [livejournal.com profile] hp_nextgen100/[insanejournal.com profile] hp_nextgen100/[community profile] hp_nextgen100's prompt # 120: Caught.
Rating: PG-13
Length: 100
Warnings: Other than the unimaginative title and mystery partner? None.
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Caught )

you oughta keep me concealed

Jun. 20th, 2017 02:04 pm
musesfool: girl with umbrella (rainy days and mondays)
[personal profile] musesfool
I spoke with my lawyer yesterday afternoon and he said that the appraisal coming in low shouldn't affect the loan because I'm putting 50% down, but that it can affect how much I have to pay, and he's going to ask the seller's lawyer what they're willing to do regarding bringing the price down a little to align with the appraisal (or explain why the appraisal is wrong). We agreed that I would still pay the full asking price if necessary, but he's going to see what he can get since this happened. We'll see!

*

Last night, I met up with [personal profile] chicklet_girl, who is visiting NYC, and we had steak dinner and fannish conversation and it was lovely. I managed to mostly avoid getting soaked too, right up until I was half a block from the restaurant, at which point the skies opened and I got drenched from the knees on down (I was wearing a dress so it didn't bother me that much). And then later, as we left the restaurant, the sky was a weird yellow color as the storms had moved east. I didn't see any rainbows, but I've heard from various people that they were all over.

*

So I made some anti-itch lotion, but I don't find it particularly effective, and also it has salt in it, which makes it gritty, which is not a sensation I want in something that's not meant to be an exfoliant. I mean, maybe if I mixed it up with a mixer it wouldn't feel that way, and but I'm not ready to commit my handmixer to non-food-related items. And since it doesn't really work any better than any of the other million different things I've tried (and it works significantly less well than a few of those methods), I can't see using it again. I do have a couple other formulations to try out, none of which contain salt, so that at least shouldn't be a problem.

The bug repellent lotion bar seems to work, or at least I haven't gotten any new bites since I started using it. I guess we'll see how that goes. it's a good thing I don't mind the scent of citronella.

*

aww

Jun. 20th, 2017 01:50 pm
glass_icarus: (hp: sbp squishy)
[personal profile] glass_icarus
Last night in my browsing for Poirot videos, I ended up finding and watching David Suchet's documentary on Being Poirot instead. :D It's actually quite warm-and-fuzzies inducing, if a bit spoilery on various plot points for various stories. David Suchet talks about figuring out Poirot's character, method acting, sets, his other film references, Agatha Christie herself, international audiences, etc. If you're an Agatha Christie fan and haven't already seen it, I think it's quite worth it!

Oh, my heart (again)

Jun. 20th, 2017 05:28 pm
rydra_wong: the illuminated Sarajevo haggadah (sarajevo haggadah)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Hundreds of Londoners showed up yesterday evening to hand roses to worshippers at the Finsbury Park mosque as they went in to pray:

https://www.facebook.com/jocoxmoreincommon/videos/408448636222639/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-40343485
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I don’t know why it surprises me, my summers are always bananas, but July looks especially bonkers this year. Of the 20 possible workdays in July, I’m out for conferences, vacation, or workshops for a full half of them. I’m properly working only ten days in the entire month of July. 

I mean, I’m not unhappy about it. And thank god for a great paid leave package. I’m going to be traveling to cool places and doing neat things. It’s just kind of surreal. Like how last year I was only in the office for one week in all of June. 

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FMK: Fantasy by Women

Jun. 19th, 2017 01:57 pm
rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Please feel free to comment! I have not read anything by any of these writers but Johnson.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 60


The Sword of Winter, by Marta Randall. In the cold and dangerous land of Cherek, emerging from an era of magic and confronted by technological advancements, Lord Gambin of Jentesi lies dying and chaos reigns.

View Answers

Fling
20 (55.6%)

Marry
6 (16.7%)

Kill
10 (27.8%)

A Rumor of Gems, by Ellen Steiber. Enter the port city of Arcato: an old and magical town set somewhere in our modern world, a town where gemstones have begun to mysteriously appear . . . gemstones whose mystical powers aren't mere myth or legend but frighteningly real, casting their spells for good and ill.

View Answers

Fling
15 (40.5%)

Marry
7 (18.9%)

Kill
15 (40.5%)

Travel Light, by Naomi Mitchison. The story of Halla, a girl born to a king but cast out onto the hills to die. She lives among bears; she lives among dragons. But the time of dragons is passing, and Odin All-Father offers Halla a choice: Will she stay dragonish and hoard wealth and possessions, or will she travel light?

View Answers

Fling
21 (40.4%)

Marry
24 (46.2%)

Kill
7 (13.5%)

Nemesis, by Louise Cooper. Princess Anghara had no place in the Forbidden Tower, and no business tampering with its secrets. But she did, and now the seven demons are loose and her world is cursed, prey to the wrath of the Earth Goddess.

View Answers

Fling
16 (40.0%)

Marry
6 (15.0%)

Kill
18 (45.0%)

Racing the Dark, by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Lana, a teenaged girl on a nameless backwater island, finds an ominous blood-red jewel that marks her as someone with power, setting in motion events that drive her away from her family and into an apprenticeship with a mysterious one-armed witch.

View Answers

Fling
34 (73.9%)

Marry
11 (23.9%)

Kill
1 (2.2%)

My Soul to Keep, by Tananarive Due. When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami.

View Answers

Fling
23 (53.5%)

Marry
10 (23.3%)

Kill
10 (23.3%)

rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I’m afraid I did not like this at all. In fact, it was the first FMK book that I didn’t finish—I ditched it at about the halfway mark. And it’s a very short book, too: 133 pages.

Gabriel is a mason’s apprentice in medieval England. The mason is cruel, so when a troupe of traveling Mystery players comes to town, Gabriel is delighted to briefly escape his wretched life by watching the play. Then, when the mason sadistically tries to chop off his giant mop of beautiful blonde curls that Gabriel’s lost mother told him to never cut, Gabriel flees and is taken in by the players, who whisk him away and cast him as an angel.

Gabriel assumes the man playing God is wonderful and the man playing Lucifer is terrible. But no! Garvey, who plays God, uses Gabriel to create fake, exploitative “healing” miracles which he convinces Gabriel are real. Lucie (Lucifer) is unhappy about this, but that only makes Gabriel think he must be bad.

I have no idea how old Gabriel was supposed to be. At the beginning I assumed he was around twelve, but later I decided he must be closer to ten because he was so stupid and naïve. Then he got even stupider and I wondered if he could possibly be seven or eight, or if that was way too young to be an apprentice mason. Not that young children are stupid, but the less you know about the world, the more likely you are to take everything at 100% face value, as Gabriel does.

In a totally unsurprising turn of events, Gabriel is eventually shocked to learn that people are different from the roles they play. This is exactly as anvillicious as it sounds. And while I often love books in which the reader knows more than the characters, I like it when the reason is that the characters are not privy to information or context that the reader knows, not because the characters are too stupid to pick up on incredibly obvious stuff. I don’t mean to call characters with cognitive disabilities stupid, as “intellectually disabled character fails to understand what’s going on” is a well-populated subgenre. (Which I also dislike.) I’m referring to non-disabled characters who are oblivious because they just are.

It's not that I think a child has to be stupid to be tricked by adults. Even a very bright child (or adult) could be fooled into thinking they're a miracle-worker by a clever con man. It's that the way it's written, from Gabriel's POV, makes him seem like a total idiot.

However, that’s not why I gave up on the book. The reason was the incredibly unpleasant emotional atmosphere: Gabriel smugly stupid, Garvey and the mason smugly awful, Lucie and his daughter sadly suffering (with a side of smugness, because they know the real deal.) I disliked the lot of them and did not want to be around any of them. Which is too bad, because I liked the backdrop of medieval Mystery players a lot.

The prose was good, but not good enough to make me keep reading. However, it won the Whitbread award, so my opinion may be very much in the minority.

A Little Lower Than the Angels

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January 2015

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