rmc28: (books2010)
Before I had children, holidays were vast oases of time in which I could read.  Now, not so much.  Although I did learn to read Room on the Broom from back to front as well as the more usual way, at the insistence of my younger child.  It gives it a Memento-style feeling, though rather less violent.

What I've read
I finally finished rereading Ancillary Sword!  Once I got started I stopped only for child-related interruptions.  It is still a cracking good read, and I hope for some time and space to put thoughts together over on [community profile] bookatorium now.  I note that Ancillary Mercy is now listed for pre-order at Amazon, with a publication date of 8 Oct.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bryony and Roses by T Kingfisher: a sensible heroine with a good line in gardening, a convincingly creepy enchanted castle, a Beast who doesn't behave like a domestic abuser, and an ending I didn't see coming even if maybe I should have.  I also really liked Bryony's sister Holly, who isn't in the story very much but makes her presence felt, and in general Bryony's feelings towards her family.   In fact family-feeling, gardening, and sensible heroines are very much common features across the T Kingfisher books I've read; sometimes it's birth-family and sometimes it's found-family. 

I don't normally include my textbooks in this, but I'm going to make special mention of Unit 3: Costing and accounting systems from my current OU course on management accounting.  I have not yet made it through a session of study of this book without falling asleep.  In theory I find it interesting! But in practice there has been a lot of slumping over the textbook and pulling myself awake to find handwritten notes that wander off into gibberish.  I am determined to defeat it study-wise but I'm definitely keeping the ebook around against future insomnia.

I read A-Force (2015) #1 and like the art and the story, and the way it introduces key people so I can keep track of who's who.  The Secret Wars setup is really weird but I'll just handwave that as "weird big comics crossover event stuff".  I am engaged by this set of people and their situation and wondering what is going on, and I'm trying to justify to myself spending the money to keep up with it rather than wait for a collected edition.


What I'm reading now

Younger by Suzanne Munshower; I got as far as chapter 2 on the train home and am still finding it interesting.


What I'll read next
I still have the two Jill Mansells I found in the to-read pile when moving it.  A-Force (2015) #2 if I buy it.  Assorted library books are waiting for attention.  Draykon by Charlotte E. English is next on the ebook list.
rmc28: (books2010)
 What I've read
[more than usual in the last fortnight I have been sticking to light, predictable reads that I find comforting and escapist]

Much Ado About You
by Eloisa James
A new series of farcical historical romances, this time featuring four sisters (rather than the previous series, which was four friends).  I do like the friendships in these books probably at least as much as the romances.  I also like that the library has them all; they're definitely single-serving books for me.

Archangel's Blood
by Nalini Singh
Second in the "Guild-Hunter" series about a vampire hunter and angels.  This was definitely a bit gorier and getting close to my personal tolerance for that; also to my tolerance for dominant asshole romance "heroes".  I still like the concept and the characters a lot though, and the library has the rest of the series.

Justice Calling
by Annie Bellet
This is a pretty short read (150 pages, but a couple of chapters of the next one are included, so it's rather less than that).  It's a fun urban fantasy: there's shapeshifters and a witch with a secret, and a big tough law enforcer, and peril and plot, and a bit of romance worked in.  It was more or less exactly what I wanted to read right now and I enjoyed it very much.  There are four more books in the series, and a sixth coming out next month; I'm restraining myself from buying the lot right now, but I will be getting them as I clear more of my ebook backlog.

A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell
This was a library book; I have about 2/3 of Jill Mansell's output on my shelves: contemporary romcoms with interesting people, complicated plots and happy endings, many of which are set in and around Bath, near where I grew up.  I haven't read one I disliked, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.   [I am still migrating my to-read pile into my room, and there are two more by her in it, so I have physically pulled them out to read shortly.]

What I'm reading
I'm part way through rereading Ancillary Sword, and then "T Kingfisher" (Ursula Vernon) released another fairy tale retelling this week, so I am also part way through Bryony and Roses and enjoying it very much.

What I'm reading next
I was sufficiently impressed by G Willow Wilson's defence of A-Force to buy the first issue digitally.  (Though ouch, individual comics on release week is an expensive way to do this hobby.)  I also want to carry on with Daredevil vol 1.
That pair of Jill Mansell books I just found.
Younger by Suzanne Munshower is next up in my ebook list

rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
The great burrow was less crowded than when they had left it.



[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]


rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Things I have learned with recent travel planning.

Virgin Trains East Coast release Advance tickets a week at a time on Saturdays, to the Saturday 12w away.
First Great Western release Advance tickets a week at a time on Saturdays, to the Wednesday 11w 4d away.

(No, this isn't documented anywhere I could find easily, this is me checking for Advance tickets every morning until my travel dates come up.)

Naturally, the journey where I want to travel out Friday and back Sunday is with the first, and the one where I'm travelling out Monday back Friday is with the second, so in both cases I have to wait a week between outward and return journeys being released.  Either I wait until both legs can be booked (and in my experience, the cheapest tickets WILL go in that week, if not on the first day), or I get the outward leg and spend a week hoping I haven't messed up and will be able to get the return leg ok.
rmc28: (destructive)
It is not the first time I have dropped it, but this time I have caused a fairly spectacular spiderweb of cracks across the screen.  It still works and is useable but some of the cracks catch on my finger.

Fairphone's support center will fix it for a bit over 110 euros, plus postage to get it to them.  I am currently waiting for a cheaper fix to arrive, which is a stick-on screen protector from a third party, sized to fit Fairphones.  That should keep me going while I find £90 out of my spending-on-me budget, and decide if I want to fix this one or keep on saving for the next generation phone currently in design.

[my "destructive" icon seemed especially appropriate - yes that is me attempting to break a phone, approx 3.5 decades ago]
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
We have a Family and Friends Railcard, one of the flavours of discount cards for money off rail travel in the UK.  We've had one almost continuously since Charles was born, because buying him a ticket allowed us to use the railcard and thus get 1/3 off the adult tickets.  And I've had an online account to manage our railcard and renewing it.

The railcard online account system doesn't allow users to change their names on the account.  After an exchange of emails we established that the Railcard customer service team could change the name attached to my railcard account, but that I could never renew my railcard online again, and would have to ring up customer services every time. 

[One of the delights of the modern world for me is all the things I can sort out online without having to ring up anybody. I don't like ringing up strangers, or indeed talking on the phone to anyone much apart from my family and close friends.  I would much rather tell a computer what to do myself than talk to a stranger who is effectively doing the typing for me.]

Or I could "buy a card for someone else" and put my right name in.  Or I could create a new account with a different email address, and get the names right on that.

What I actually did was:
  1. Change the email address on the existing railcard account from my main email address to an old one I don't use any more, but can access.
  2. Set up a new account with my main email address.
  3. Put the right name on that account.
  4. Buy new railcard in plenty of time for my next booked train trip.

Seriously though, people who are building online services.  People change their names!  Build your system to accommodate that without making them jump through stupid hoops!  (Also note that the majority of people in this country who change their name are women - try not to be de facto sexist in your system design).
rmc28: (happy)
I put my hair up in a French-plait for the first time in years.  20 months growing-out since the last time I cut it to 9mm.  Of course, some of it was falling out after the 25-min walk to work, and I redid it twice during the morning and then gave up and shoved it back into a ponytail instead.   But it was nice while it lasted.

Passport with the right name arrived!  (I had a letter last week with a query, which I put on one side to deal with After The Election.  The nice person from the passport office who had written the letter rang me to follow up before I had got round to writing back, and we were able to sort it out by phone.  This was all after office hours on a weekday evening.  I was impressed.)

Railcard with the right name arrived!  (This followed tedious faff which I shall write up separately.)

New sandals for Charles arrived!  (John Lewis were out of stock of the right size when we went shopping on Sunday, but put through the order online for me.)

I'm not sure which of Charles and me is the happiest right now.  But we're both pretty happy :-)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
  • Sleeping for ten hours almost uninterrupted, almost a miracle (one short conversation at 5am with Charles, who then Went Away).
  • Cinema with Charles: Big Hero 6, in which I allowed myself to cry floods whenever the heartstrings were tugged.  (Loved the film, missed the beginning, DVD is preordered to arrive at end of the month.)  And then we had lunch at his favourite place and mostly missed the rain cycling home.
  • Cuddles and puzzles and counting and reading books and even more cuddles with Nico. 
  • Being able to lightly supervise both of my children while they play together.
  • Running for the first time in about 2 months.
  • Talking with my mother, with friends, with Tony.
  • Tony bringing me delicious icecream by Jack's Gelato from the Cambridge FoodPark event.

Tomorrow will have swimming and shoe-shopping with children, and some study in the afternoon, because I got behind during the election campaign.

rmc28: Rachel speaking at a lectern with microphone and part of the slogan "Stronger Economy Fairer Society" in shot (libdem)
From the Federal Party constitution (full document in PDF available at that page):

10.5 Nominations must be of a Member of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons, who must be proposed by at least ten percent of other members of the Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons and supported by 200 members in aggregate in not less than 20 Local Parties (including, for this purpose, the Specified Associated Organisations representing youth and students as provided by Article 13.8) and must indicate acceptance of nomination.

The 8 LibDem MPs are:
Tom Brake
Alistair Carmichael
Nick Clegg
Tim Farron
Norman Lamb
Greg Mulholland
John Pugh
Mark Williams

10% of other members is 0.7 of an MP. So a leadership candidate needs to persuade one other MP to propose him (they are all white men over 40) and then another 200 members from around the country to support him.


From the Leadership Election Regulations (in the same document as above):

2. The electorate for the purpose of the election shall be those members with current membership of the Liberal Democrats on the closing date for nominations, including those members whose subscriptions were due not more than three months before the closing date.

Want to vote in this one? Want to be part of the discussion of the party's future?

http://www.libdems.org.uk/join

You'll be welcome.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I'm noting that I have simultaneously:

- a very intellectual/analytical political nerd almost gleeful fascination about how uncertain this election is and how likely it is that the next government will be some kind of confidence+supply arrangement or possibly a coalition, and parties will have to cooperate and there are so many possibilities

- a very visceral/wordless rollercoaster of excitement and nervousness and hope and fear, both for my specific constituency, and for my country as a whole


Also I am clearly not falling asleep, and yet I have to be awake and coherent at 9am for C's class assembly. 
rmc28: (OMG)
I was ill over the BH weekend with yet another cough, resulting in rather less leafletting and rather more curling up in bed feeling miserable than I had planned.

Today I've had to give up door-knocking and come home because of a stomach upset.  I am now making phone calls at intervals, which I dislike even more than door-knocking.

On the bright side, I had a lovely email from someone who'd googled to find out why people ask for numbers outside the polling station and found this post from ten years ago, which apparently remains useful (and highly google-ranked) to this day.  That absolutely made my day.




rmc28: (books2010)
What I've read
Hellbender by Dana Cameron
This suffered a bit from being interrupted a lot, so I kept losing track of the plot and having to skip back a bit and so on.  But I thoroughly enjoyed it as the next instalment in the series, resolving some plotlines, opening up more areas, and generally being a good romp.  I must get round to reading the author's archaology-detective books at some point.

Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh
So it's an urban fantasy about a vampire hunter, except that it turns out angels are rather scarier than vampires, and also that the limited number of archangels basically run things.  Our vampire hunter protagonist gets recruited to hunt down an archangel that has gone mad and is being especially appalling.  I found it a good read, but the romance a bit clichéd.  I have already tracked down and borrowed the next one from the library :-) 

Queen of Nowhere
by Jaine Fenn
I rather enjoyed this book about  a super-hacker travelling between space-stations for a couple of decades gathering evidence, recruiting a mostly-unaware spy network, with the end goal being to expose and defeat a secret conspiracy that most people would find laughable.  There are little interludes from other points of view around the human polity.  The book opens with her getting questioned by local police on arrival at a space station, and from then on we follow her getting in and out of trouble, and getting help when she least expects it.

I found the book a bit odd in places - not sure if I should be viewing the "unexpected help" as sinister or not, not sure how to read the actions of some of her established allies.  I was expecting some twists which didn't happen, but meanwhile I didn't see the actual ending coming.  (There are some similarities between the ending of this one and the ending of Angel's Blood but it would be spoilery to discuss them, so I won't at this point.)

A-Babies vs X-Babies by Skottie Young & Gurihiru
Some time ago there was a comics Event called Avengers vs X-Men which I didn't read (see: bad at keeping up with comics).  This isn't really anything to do with it, except for using it as an excuse to draw 20 pages of cartoon baby versions of comic characters fighting each other.  They are very cute and terrifyingly recognisable.  This is definitely one of those that takes me a long time to read - there's one double-page spread and quite a few more pages where there is so much going on I just have sit and stare at it for a while.

Rescue
by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Andrea Mutti
This seems to be a "one shot" tying in to a longer story, which is a pity because I love Pepper Potts, and Pepper Potts in an Iron Man-style suit rescuing people is awesome and I'd love to read more of it.  About half the comic is about Rescue being awesome and the other half is Pepper being exhausted and stressed out in hiding.  I like the artwork which is not-cartoony and does things with colours and silhouettes that I like.  [argh, I lack vocabulary for this stuff - anyone able to point me at resources for how-to-describe-comic-art?]


What I'm reading now
Justice Calling by Annie Bellet
Only one page past the first chapter I already reviewed so far, so nothing new to say yet.

Daredevil vol 1 by Mark Waid, Marcos Martin & Paolo Riviera
Only read the first few pages, but my brother recommended this on the basis of the art, and I adored the cover

What I'm reading next
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh (from the library)
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (reread for [community profile] bookatorium )
whatever is next on my Marvel comics backlog
whatever is first on the free comics from Comixology

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
It is a hudl2 from Tesco; I had done a bit of looking at specs and prices, and played with my m-i-l's first-gen hudl, and was generally convinced it would do what I wanted.  It is cheap, and I had a bunch of clubcard vouchers which made it even cheaper.

It runs the same version of Android as my phone, which meant I felt confident in using it.  So far I've established that typing isn't much more fun than on my phone, and reading is less comfortable, because I need both hands to hold it, or to rest it on something.   However, the apps I have all look nicer and show more words at a time.  (That's the Economist and FT newspaper subs, Kindle app, Mantano app for epubs, Adobe app for PDFs, and of course Chrome for web pages.)

It comes with an app to manage multiple users, so I've set up both children with an account, and I can control which apps they each see when they log in. That means I can let them e.g. watch stuff on iPlayer or play games without worrying about them mucking up my ebooks or reading stuff open in my browser tabs.  Charles has expressed appreciation for the greater screen size for Angry Birds Epic.

I've been enjoying watching stuff on it - the screen is big enough and high enough resolution to be actively pleasant when it's on my lap, rather than squinting at my phone up close.  The children seem to like snuggling up together to watch stuff on it; meanwhile I've finally started watching Daredevil and discovered that I can literally cover the screen with my hand when it gets too gory for me.  For whatever reason, I find it easier to settle down to TV on my lap in a room by myself, than on the big TV in the living room.

The absolute delight though is reading comics.  I have a Marvel digital comics account, and I have a lot of first issues-of-series on it, from when they did a big first-one-free promotion some time ago.  But I find my laptop screen the wrong size, the desktop too inconvenient, and my phone too small.  The tablet though, is just right: the artwork is clear and crisp and the experience is lovely.  I need both hands to read a comic or a graphic novel anyway (which is why I am so slow to read them), but I can carry literally hundreds of them around on this tablet.

I still find it a bit hard to switch back to reading comics after reading lots of text, because my default is to race through the text and not slow down enough to see the artwork properly.  But I do enjoy it when I do, and I'm slowly working through my existing collection, and managed to only buy one new thing so far (this Daredevil collection - look at the cover on that, it's amazing! - because J recommended it and it was on sale).

All my future comics purchases will be digital.  Please recommend me ones you like, and good places to get them. I'm set up with Marvel and I know that Comixology exists - is there anything else I should know about out there?
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
The corner of the opposite wood turned out to be an acute point.



[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]


rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
My ticket to Acoustic Roots arrived this week.

Way back when, I had a few years in a row of attending music festivals with assorted lovely people (including but not limited to: my Dad, MBM, [livejournal.com profile] atreic , [livejournal.com profile] emperor , [livejournal.com profile] antinomy , [livejournal.com profile] arnhem ) but fell out of the habit when running around after a small mobile Charles got less fun. (For me.  I think he liked it.)

But Show of Hands are playing at Acoustic Roots, and I have a chance to meet up with [personal profile] jae (who I first DW-followed because of our mutual liking for the band), and I found a cheap Travelodge room for the night not far away, and so I am GOING to live music for the first time in ages.  (I am also spending a whole night by myself in said room, also for the first time in ages, and nearly as happy about that.)

These days Charles is a lot easier to look after, so I am also eying up Ely Folk Festival as something we can day-commute to by public transport and see if it's his sort of thing.   Cambridge Folk Festival is obviously closer but a lot more expensive and almost certainly a lot more crowded.
rmc28: (books2010)
Second round, library books and recently acquired ebooks:


Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh
An urban fantasy about a young woman hunting vampires, so far so cliched: but the vampires are captured, subdued by a technological fix, and returned to angels to whom they owe a contract.  The first chapter does a good job of setting the scene and convincingly making the angels seem scary.  Will continue.

Queen of Nowhere by Jaine Fenn
A protagonist gets asked to come in for questioning by local police on a space station.  The first chapter establishes that she's going by an assumed identity, that she's working against an enemy, that she's suffered tragedy, and that too much attention from the police could get her in real trouble.  Will continue.

Justice Calling by Annie Bellet
A game/comic shop in a town full of students and shapeshifters and other magical creatures, run by a woman who is hiding her real powers.  In walks a shapeshifter "Justice" accusing her of murder.  Will continue.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
First of the very famous Swedish crime novels that I never got round to reading yet, but picked up the first one free on a special offer. The prologue, introducing an old man receiving rare flowers and an old detective who's still baffled by this unsolved case, drew me in and I'm looking forward to reading more.  Will continue.

Draykon by Charlotte E. English
This starts with a young girl going into a fairy ring and being trapped ... and then rescued by her mother almost immediately, and taken home with the baby animal she also found trapped in the ring, which in turn triggers a family argument.  Will continue.


This round did not reduce my to-read pile at all!  But it has enthused me to crack on and read some of my lurking library books and recent acquisitions.


rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Hello kind author!

Thank you so much for agreeing to write a story for me.  I am going to be very lazy and link you to the post I made for Yuletide which covers my general likes and dislikes, and then go into more detail for my specific requests below.

The other thing I want to say is that although the exchange rules say to include all my requested characters in a particular fandom, I personally will consider the job done if you make at least one of them the focus, even if you can't get all four in.

Request 1: Iron Man

Natasha Romanov, Maya Hansen, Pepper Potts, Tony Stark

Maya Hansen was one of the most interesting characters in Iron Man 3 and I like to pretend they didn't kill her off.   Killian holds up one kind of mirror to Tony; Maya is another - so focused on the science and the possibility of breakthrough she overlooks the morality of her work.   She and Pepper even talk about this in the film - Pepper was quite happy to work for an arms company and it was Tony's change of heart that she implemented.  Natasha, like Tony, is dangerous and frequently underestimated: they both carry guilt for their pasts and are trying to make amends.

I'd love to read fic about these people interacting, about addressing their past actions and working to redress their mistakes.


Request 2: Avengers
Clint Barton, Natasha Romanov, Maria Hill, Nick Fury
Request 3: Avengers
Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanov, Wanda Maximoff, Sam Wilson

I made two requests for Avengers because there seemed two good groupings.  The first one could be SHIELD before or during the films right through to CA:TWS - casefic, a day in the life on the Helicarrier; how they joined SHIELD, etc.  Where your fancy takes you, but these SHIELD agents doing good work together will make me very happy.

The second grouping is essentially post-Age of Ultron, and my excitement about these four working together.   Wanda and Sam being empathic to people, and also badass in combat; Steve and Natasha leading and training their new team; Steve and Sam's friendship; Steve and Wanda would have one kind of mentoring relationship; Natasha and Wanda would have a very different kind, which could be amazing to explore.


Request 4:
Maria Hill, Sam Wilson, Steve Rogers

I adore CA:TWS, and in particular the friendships and working relationships between these three that are shown during the film. Anything exploring how they work together during and after, would utterly delight me.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I had three piles of paper on my desk, things accumulating mostly for me to Do Something with or file.   These piles were approximately 30cm, 20cm and 10cm deep.  Somewhere in these piles I knew there was a piece of paper I needed to find in order to complete my tax return.  I'd already cost myself £100 by not finding the piece of paper before 31st January, and I was rapidly approaching the point where it was going to cost me £10 a day not to find it.

A while ago I read [livejournal.com profile] siderea 's post about filing, and realised her system was not far from what I was trying to do, and that getting things filed was the most useful thing I could do, and so I starting doing short bursts of filing the stacks, nibbles at the elephant, and managed to get rid of the smallest pile, quite a lot of which was no longer relevant and could be filed in the recycling bin.  But then I kept finding more interesting things to do than nibbling the paperwork elephant, and so progress stalled.

On Saturday afternoon I made myself start tidying up the filing again.  And for whatever reason, I found myself getting into the flow of it, and going back to it after interruptions for food and child-bedtimes, and just Not Stopping.   At about 2am, most of the way down the last and biggest stack of paper, I found the vital piece of paper.  And because it was already very late for me, and my sleep was already messed up, I decided to put it on one side and finish the filing job.  And then I was still awake when that was done so I finished and submitted the tax return.  Then I went to bed, leaving one full filing cabinet, one much-emptier desk, and one giant drift of paper on the floor destined for the recycling.

The oldest bits of paper in the piles were from August 2012, i.e. one month after Nico was born.  So that's how long I've not been keeping up with the paperwork (there were odd runs where I had clearly kept-current for a few months but not caught up the backlog.)  It is such a weight off my mind to not have the teetering piles of doom looking at me any more.   The desk is by no means empty or even tidy, but what's left is things like photo albums and bundles of letters from my grandmothers and Charles's schoolwork from two years ago and so on, not financial paperwork.

It worked, but I can't say I recommend the binge-eating approach.  I was exhausted all of Sunday, got very little done and only got dressed because [livejournal.com profile] nassus was arriving.   Today when another Thing arrived in the post, I made a point of reading it and then filing it straight into the relevant folder in the filing cabinet, not onto the newly-clear space on the desk.  Long may this last.
rmc28: (books2010)
This is my attempt to clear my to-read piles a bit faster, by reading just the first chapter and seeing if I want to continue. For now, just ebooks and library books: the physical to-read pile has already been through multiple rounds of culling and I've generally been much pickier about new aquisitions in paper since I started reading ebooks.  I'm not nearly so picky about either ebooks or library books.

First round, focusing on books acquired recently:

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho
I had forgotten this was only a novella; also it doesn't have chapters. But I read the first few pages and found it hilarious and decided it was a definite keeper. (I went straight back and finished it after I'd read the remaining four first chapters.)

Younger by Suzanne Munshower
This was a Kindle First offering last month. The prologue totally has me sucked in: a woman going on the run, her boss suddenly dies, there are secrets afoot to do with an experimental treatment that makes people look younger? Keeping this one.


The Book of Deacon by Joseph Lallo
The God Decrees
by Mark E. Cooper
Defender by Robert J. Crane

I got all three of these in: Quest: Eight Novels of Fantasy, Myth, and Magic, which I was alerted to by Lindsay Buroker, whose first novel (which I've read and enjoyed) is in it. Sadly all three of these were boring me before the end of the first chapter.

I was a bit worried I was getting "bitch eating crackers" about epic fantasy, so I went back to Buroker's The Emperor's Edge and confirmed I still like that first chapter. These three just aren't my thing.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I liked it, and I really enjoyed the experience of seeing it in the context of a marathon with two earlier films, and in the company of a lot of other people who are fannish enough about these films to also spend nearly 8 hours in a cinema on opening night and go home at 2:30am

I think it's a good fun addition to the series but not my new favourite.   It's very crowd-pleasing: there's a steady stream of funny bits and one-liners, and a running joke about swearing, and some nice little cameos and references, as well as some very effective dramatic big action sequences. 

I was pleased that they had a lot of the wider team either making appearances or referenced in conversation, and also that big themes of the film are MCU-typical Yay Teamwork but also very explicitly Protecting people is more important than beating up bad guys

Everything from now on will be spoilery.

spoilertastic babble )
rmc28: (bat-funny)
 It's full of Marvel fans and we've already watched Avengers Assemble & Winter Soldier and now we're on the trailers before Age of Ultron and it's VERY EXCITING.

(yay Star Wars trailer)

I have a huge promotional tin of popcorn bigger than my head and I doubt I'm going to finish it. But it is a pretty tin.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
It has taken me nearly a year, but I have finally got enough grip together to send off my application for a passport in the correct name.  The final thing was to print and sign a statement that I am reverting to my maiden name (bleh) for all purposes.  I did that tonight, sealed the envelope, checked the postage and thanked past-Rachel for having 1st class Large stamps in stock.

Normally I am not that bothered about paperwork and get it done without much bother.  I have been getting very stressed and procrastinatory about this set though.  [livejournal.com profile] fanf made the mistake of asking me a couple of months ago why I "didn't just get a deed poll" and got a minor rant in return.  The problem was not that the passport process was hard - it never was.  It was that I was not doing the thing I knew I needed to do and descending into a stress spiral whenever I thought about doing it.   I did eventually manage to split the job down into the smallest possible steps and slowly tick each of them off, and tonight was the glorious final bite of that elephant.

Anyway, passport is the last step.  Pretty much everything I can change without it is changed.  In general: organisations selling me things are happy for me to use whatever name I like; organisations running financial services have to meet anti-money-laundering regulations which result in very similar requirements which the passport will meet; everyone has their own process and many of them seem a bit thrown by the idea of reverting to birth name without getting divorced. 

It would definitely have been easier to get the passport first (or a deed poll) and then the bank accounts, and then just trump every process by waving the passport and or bank accounts at them.  I did want to see how far I could get without it, but I'm tired of that game now.
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
To come to the end of a time of anxiety and fear!


[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]


rmc28: (books2010)
Reading Wednesday! It's been ages.

What I've read
SPIN by Nina Allen
This was for bookclub, and I liked it very much but found the (apparently intentional) ambiguity mildly irritating, and would have happily read a more straightforward book for at least as long again. I conclude that Nina Allen is very talented but possibly not to my taste.

Partner
by Lia Silver
Third in the Werewolf Marines series I adore, I've read it twice and like it very much and am so glad these books exist and I can read them, and there's at least one more to look forward to :-) Partner continues from Prisoner (free at Amazon and Smashwords) with rather more sex and romance as well as lots of evil spy agency action, and resolving in a happy ending while leaving at least one thread open for further stories.

Hild by Nicola Griffith
Another one for book club, though I didn't actually manage to finish it before our discussion, I did enjoy it enough to finish it shortly afterward. It's very immersive and beautifully written and I'm not quite sure why it's marketed as fantasy when it's very clearly novelised history, like Rosemary Sutcliff (only less aimed at children).

Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon
The only book in the local library system by Josh Lanyon, this is a modern (1990s?) murder mystery set in LA. The police think the murdery mystery author friend of the victim did it; he knows he didn't, and it's possible he might be next. I enjoyed it and am resisting buying the entire series in ebook until I've caught up my backlog a bit. [ahahaha]

Your Wicked Ways by Eloisa James
Continuing my progress through farcical Regency romance; this book wraps up a quartet of related novels and allocates happy ever afters all around.

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho
A funny novella in the form of a diary by Jade Yeo, book reviewer in 1920s London, who gives a scathing review to the darling of the literati and then gets into even more trouble. I loved Jade's voice, I loved her cleverness and pointed commentary, and I was completely caught up in the story until the end. I've got a short story collection by Zen Cho waiting to be read, and am looking forward to it on the strength of this.

Notorious Pleasures
by Elizabeth Hoyt (dnf)
Meh. I wanted to like this; its by the same author and earlier in the series as the Regency Batman romance and there is nothing obviously wrong with it, but it wasn't really working for me; when I did get interrupted and put it down for a few days, I found it very hard to pick back up. (also the whole "gin is terrible and should be banned" running plot keeps annoying me because of my support for drug law reform - speaking of political message fiction).

I keep thinking I'm just being moody and finding things to dislike, but then I go back and remember how much I liked Hild and Partner and The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo and Your Wicked Ways. So I think I'm actually just being very picky at the moment which, given my books:time ratio, may not be a bad thing.

What I'm reading now
Hellbender by Dana Cameron, third in the urban fantasy series with an archaologist protagonist, following Seven Kinds of Hell & Pack of Strays.

What I'm reading next
Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh before it really has to go back to the library
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie - rereading so I can write it up/discuss it in [community profile] bookatorium
Justice Calling by Annie Bellet which I just bought because it was already on my wishlist thanks to [personal profile] davidgillon and she's just withdrawn from the Hugo ballot, and it's 99p on Kindle.
rmc28: (books2010)
A few weeks ago I got new bookshelves up in the children's room.   Before today I had achieved moving about 2/3 of the books across from Charles's old room (now the spare room).

Today, helped (or hindered) by Nico I have:
  • moved the remaining children's books over
  • added more shelves to the spare room, making 16m of shelving space
  • filled those 16m with books-read from the shelves in my room that have been double-stacked for years
  • vacuumed up a disturbing amount of dust from books and shelves
Still to do (not today!):
  • clear assorted clutter off that bookcase in my room
  • move and add shelves, creating another 12-16m of shelving space in my room
  • move my to-read pile and Tony's to this space (and stop my to-read pile in particular encroaching all over the house)
  • move my library books and OU textbooks there too
  • move books-in-living-room to space freed up in study by previous steps
  • move children's books in living room to their bedroom
  • move remaining books-read to living room
The end goal is to have books-read in shared space, and books-to-read in private space, and children's books in children's space.  And as much as possible single-stacked for ease of viewing and access.

Also each move of books and things is an opportunity to declutter.  So far in this project I've taken 3 bags to the charity shop and I've another one ready to go.  Plus an awful lot of general rubbish uncovered and (mostly) recycled.

(Worst thing about getting back to single-spaced books: I uncovered my MZB books and had to make a decision about what to do with them; for now I've stacked them in a Really Useful Box and stuck that in a corner behind other things.  I'm not quite ready to throw them away but for sure I don't want to see them now.)
rmc28: (OMG)
I write the kind of exciting stories I want to read.
You keep bringing politics into your stories.
They churn out tedious message fiction.

(inspired by reading the comments on George RR Martin's thoughtful set of posts about The Hugo Mess)


There also seems to be some confusion between noting a political thing a book does (that pleases me) and only liking that book for the political thing that pleases me.   Not realising it is additive: here is a good book and it does this cool thing.  

And often that "cool thing" is merely refraining from treating non-straight-ablebodied-white-men horribly: the Bechdel test is a really low bar and yet so few things pass it, let alone if you also look at ethnicity or disability or sexuality etc.  It's not "come and read this politically correct yet tedious book" it's "come and read this cool book that won't kick you in the teeth, at least on this axis".

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
One of the things I really enjoyed about a lot of my friends going to Worldcon last year was a lot of people reading the same shortlisted books (and shorter fiction) and posting about them and having discussions.  I really enjoyed that sense of a project held loosely-in-common.  It's one of the things that tipped me towards getting a supporting membership for this year's Worldcon.

Among the things that have upset me about this year's mess of Hugo nominations is that this is much less likely to happen. 

And then I happened to sit in on the BSFA award ceremony at Eastercon and thought that many of the shortlisted things looked much more interesting than the Hugo shortlists (even if the BSFA shortlists have now been voted on, and the Hugo is yet to be).


I mentioned this to [personal profile] ceb and she has set up [community profile] bookatorium : "a free-form book club for SF and fantasy and related stuff. Anyone who's interested in reading the books and prepared to discuss them in good faith is welcome. Currently we are reading a selection of Hugo, Clarke Award, and BSFA Award nominees."

The selection includes 13 novels and 4 graphic novels.  I really liked the 2 novels I've read in full; I like what I've read of the Ms Marvel graphic novel; several more of the books are on my to-buy list; so I'm looking forward to this as a project.  Do join in if you wish :-)
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
When Hazel and Fiver reached the floor of the hollow they found Blackberry waiting for them, crouching on the peat and nibbling at a few brown stalks of sedge-grass.


[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]



rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
 Specifically the train from Cambridge to London. We might even arrive at Eastercon in time for the Pratchett panel (but probably not).

It is really weird travelling with Tony and 0 children; I keep accidentally checking for them, but hopefully that will wear off soon. In the real world outside my habit-trained brain they were supremely unbothered by our departure, and have more relatives arriving today to keep them busy.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I found Bob Olsen's obituary again. (Bob was partner to my great uncle Theo for decades.)  So now I know which cemetery to go to if/when I visit Toronto again.

(dept of ridiculous advance planning: maybe for the solar eclipse in 2024)

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I've just been ill, and busy, and ill some more.  Did you know that it's entirely typical for coughs to last up to three weeks? Well now I do.

Studying is mostly progressing in bitesize chunks; I've missed a few days while ill, but also picked up once my brain came back, so that's passed the first test of "is this really sustainable?".

My colleague's funeral had a very gratifying turnout; the funeral service itself focused heavily on the afterlife I don't believe in, but I drew a lot of comfort from fellow attendees, and exchanging stories at the wake.   Her family very kindly let me pick out some of her things from the flat they were clearing out.  I focused on books on topics we had in common and came away with more than I would have expected: I was amused when one of the business texts I'd picked out was referenced in my studying a few days later.  Now I just have to find time to read it before finishing the course.

Running is on hold until I stop coughing, which cannot happen soon enough.  Also I missed the 20th anniversary alt.fan.pratchett meet / Pratchett wake, but at least Tony and Charles got to go.

Eastercon is imminent; my mother-in-law arrived tonight and Tony and I will leave the children from Friday morning to Monday evening.  I've not even been away from Nico overnight yet; I have been away from Charles a few times for the length of a conference, but Tony was with him for all of them.  I am nervous and excited and hoping it all works out well.  Mobile phones make the prospect a lot more bearable.

rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
My new course doesn't start until next month, but I've had the textbooks for a bit over a fortnight and have been studying since they arrived.

I don't have much time to study.  (This article, Why time is a feminist issue, is so true to my life it's painful: flow? what is flow? sorry I have to break up an argument over crisps, what were you saying?).  Over the 15 month break I took from studying, I very slowly and painstaking carved time out of my week to run regularly, to talk to my parents regularly, to do a minimal bit of political activism, to read more.

What was killing my study before was trying to do it in big chunks at the weekend: interruptions and immediate needs ate up the big chunks, and then I would have an essay crisis.  My revelation was from software development: studying is hard, so do it more often.

My goal is to do an hour a day, every day.  In one go if possible, or 2x 30 min or even 3x 20 min.  Do it in nibbles, but keep doing it, day in and day out, until it's done.  There are ebooks of the textbooks and most of the time I can cuddle a toddler to sleep for 20 minutes reading about accounting just as easily as reading about werewolf marines.  (Less entertaining though.)

I'm supposed to do 10-12 hours a week, but 7 hours a week is better than nothing, and I read fast.  The other important part is letting myself stop when I've done an hour, and do something else, because there'll be more study time tomorrow.

That's the theory anyway.  It's been going well for the fortnight I've had the textbooks, but I won't be counting it a success until I've turned in the first couple of assignments on time without crisis (good marks would be good too!).

rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
After some time, Hazel woke Buckthorn.


[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]
rmc28: (bat-funny)
+ the Light is doing a sensible-length Marvel marathon leading up to release day for Age of Ultron (unlike this very silly one)
+ and it's my two favourite films (Avengers Assemble, CA:TWS) before the midnight showing
+ and it's in 2D
- I cannot do a full day's work after a midnight showing
- I still can't believe that Tony Stark is so genre-unsavvy that he builds Skynet Ultron

On balance I think I'm going, so long as I can get the morning-after off work.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Since the summer of 2003, I've been getting milk delivered in glass bottles - more expensive that the supermarket for sure, but not actually very expensive in real terms.   Keith was keen to reduce plastic usage and I was fed up of running out of milk at breakfast time, and it's been convenient enough I've not been motivated to stop, even after Keith moved out.

However, our milk consumption is rising as both children grow up, and there are fewer deliveries a week, and fitting all the bottles in the fridge is at times challenging.  This week Charles dropped and smashed a nearly-full bottle and I decided that while glass may indeed be more reusable and greener than plastic, its failure mode is not really acceptable with small children, especially when they are frequently barefoot indoors.

Luckily the milkman also delivers plastic bottles, so I am replacing our daily 3 pint bottles with one 4-litre bottle (and an extra one for the weekend because we've consistently run out on Sundays for the last month).   Easier to pack in the fridge, less likely to run out, no smashing, and best of all it will actually cost us about the same because the per-unit cost is smaller with the bigger bottles.
rmc28: (finches3)
"I'm married to [livejournal.com profile] fanf , one of many friends I met via the wide network of Discworld fandom. We have two children, Charles & Nicholas."

I started reading Pratchett's books when my dad lent me Equal Rites on a train journey because I wanted to see what was making him laugh so much. I think I was still at primary school. I don't think I could overstate the effect the books, and the fandom, have had on my life.

The publisher who announced Terry Pratchett's death has also set up a fundraiser for the Research Institute for the Care of Older People in his memory.

(and tomorrow I go to the funeral of my colleague, who was slightly older)

rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
The sun rose while they were still lying in the thorn.


[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]

(This is the post that should have been made 28 Feb. I will endeavour to make another midweek post to catch us up.)

rmc28: (bat-funny)
I took part in the MCU Ladies fic exchange for which gifts were revealed yesterday.   I got a wonderful story which is spookily well-suited to me :-)

I Came to Win (13719 words)

Nearly 14,000 words of sports AU (ice hockey, about which I know very little but it doesn't matter) with a huge ensemble cast including pretty much everyone I know from the Marvel universe and a few from the DC universe too, with my favourite women of Marvel front and centre, and a plotline of women breaking glass ice ceilings.

I kept stopping every so often just to savour it and feel happy that it was mine.

Author reveals are on the 10th. Let's just say I have Strong Suspicions of the author's identity, but will wait to see if I'm right.

(I have found several other stories in the collection to love too; and at least some people have liked mine, which is always a relief!)
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
I have made my Hugo nominations. The deadline is 9th March and I could go back and update, but in practice I think I won't read much more eligible before then anyway.

I submitted the following (there are many categories in which I did not nominate at all, and some in which I could only manage one or two nominations):

Read more... )
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
The top of the sandy bank was a good six feet above the water.


[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]

(Also, I missed two weekends in a row.  This is the post that should have been made 21/22 Feb;  I'll make another on Thursday to get us back on track.)

Gulp

2015-03-01 15:25
rmc28: (glowy)
I have registered for OU study again after stopping for a year.  I'm going to be doing B292: Management Accounting from next month until September.  If it goes well, in October I will retake the business studies module I deferred last year.

It is going to be hard to fit the study time in around work and children and running, but I think I'm convinced it will be possible.  The children are that bit more self-sufficient, and I am that bit less tired, and I really want to do it.

In the meantime, it's about 18 months since I finished studying Financial Accounting and I'm going to spend a bit of time in the next couple of weeks reviewing that course and reminding myself of the basic concepts.
rmc28: (nursing)
I haven't breastfed for nearly four weeks.   The first couple of weeks were uncomfortable and messy in the way it was when N was very new (for the first time in ages I had to worry about whether the clothes I wore would show milk stains) but that too passed.

I moved all my nursing bras into a box for storage and I'll ebay them at some point.  I got a lot of nursing bras from ebay in the first place - it's kind of heartbreaking how many descriptions go along the lines of "tried to breastfeed but it didn't work out" - because even with a 50% failure rate for good fit, it was a lot cheaper than buying them new.

I think I'm less easily tired than I was, but it's hard to tell - too many other things that also make me tired.  I'm definitely less hungry though, and for that alone I'm grateful.
rmc28: (books2010)
What I've read
I've not finished anything in the last two weeks - after my colleague's death a fortnight ago I found it hard to settle to anything for a while, even short stories.   I did decide not to continue with my trial Scribd subscription.  I enjoyed reading on its app and it has lots of books I want to read.  The trouble is that I already have a vast quantity of books paid for and not read, so adding a monthly fee and hundreds more unread books did not feel helpful.

What I'm reading now
Still working through Kaleidoscope and Women Destroy Science Fiction! one story at a time (slowly).  I've put down the the Angela Slatter short stories until after the Hugo nomination deadline. (9th March, self, remember to submit them)

I'm reading Spin by Nina Allen for bookclub on Friday and finding it fairly engrossing.

What's next
No idea at all; ideally something Hugo-eligible.
Partner by Lia Silver as it just got released :-)  I expect werewolf marines are just the thing to solidify the reading-properly again.
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
As Dandelion ended, Acorn, who was on the windward side of the little group, suddenly started and sat back, with ears up and nostrils twitching.


[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]

rmc28: Charles holding his baby cousin (charles and cousin)
It's half-term next week, most places around the country I gather, and Legoland are running a "Junior Builder Week" - also known as "a use for our lego-themed hotel while it's out of season for the theme park".  We stayed a night in one of the themed family rooms, and the following day there were various lego-building activities around the hotel.

The children, and Charles in particular, loved it from the moment we walked into the hotel reception and there was a giant pool of lego pieces to play with, and a vast wall of minifigs behind reception.  We were the only people checking in at that late hour (it was about 10pm) and the receptionists invited Charles to come behind the counter and look at the Wall of Lego People up close.

The room itself was pretty good, with the children's bunk beds in their own area the other side of the bathroom from the adults' bed.  The bathroom was very smartly fitted out with lots of nice details (integrated small-child seat on toilet! overhead shower and second mobile shower head! Lego-branded shower gel and brick-shaped soap!)  I was in two minds over the "Adventure" theming what with this meaning a carpet lovingly decorated with spiders, lizards, scorpions, etc, and Nico (who is a bit scared of spiders) wasn't very happy about the lego spider in the bathroom.

We did manage to get the children to sleep and they did get something approaching enough sleep overnight (I didn't, but never mind) before we went down to breakfast. Then there was lots of assorted playing with lego (and in Nico's case, with automatic doors to the outdoor play area) until people were hungry enough for lunch.  We opted for the buffet-lunch in the same restaurant as breakfast, and Tony took both boys to the outdoor play area while I enjoyed 15 glorious minutes eating dessert slowly by myself.

Finally we went in the hotel pool and "pirate themed water play area" for a good 90 minutes and after that we decided to head home.  (Nico was asleep within 15 minutes of leaving the pool; Charles nodded off on the bus back to Windsor).  Once again we passed through Windsor and I thought "I should really plan a visit here where we have time to visit the town and not just Legoland."

The one thing I really disliked, that I'd managed to forget when we went to the theme park last year, was the constant piped music, always slightly too loud for comfort, in all the public areas.   The pool area is also very noisy, more a constant roar of white noise than the muzak.  I thought Charles dealt with it very well, but it definitely added to frayed nerves when we were getting hungry or tired.

Charles is already asking when can we go again :-)
rmc28: (glowy)
I got into work today to find that a recently-retired colleague died last night.

She was here for over 9 years and I worked closely with her for much of that time. She was excessively kind, a software developer with decades of experience, and I liked her very much and quite often found her infuriating.  She didn't really want to retire, and had just started a temporary contract elsewhere in the university.  Her flat is a short walk from my home and we used to see each other every so often in passing.  The last time I spoke to her was a few weeks ago, cycling home on a Saturday morning with library books, and seeing her with shopping bags, and pulling over to have a quick chat.

I kept thinking I would arrange to meet up with her for coffee; that it would be good to pursue the friendship that we'd always had without the tensions of our different approaches to work.  I kept not getting around to it and now I never will.  She had a lovely house at the seaside she was renting out and going to move to when she "really retired", and now she never will.

People here have been pretty thoughtful, making sure those who worked with her were told in person before the big all-dept email went round. The bosses have explicitly said we should take time and give "mutual support" if we need to.  I've already had one cry in the loos and quite a few little huddles of isnt-it-sad are-you-ok do-you-remember, and I'm sure they won't be the last.
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
[personal profile] ceb pointed me at a kickstarter for Queers Destroy Science Fiction, by Lightspeed Magazine who did the Women Destroy Science Fiction! collection that I'm currently reading and Women Destroy Fantasy! that I read recently.  I've been pretty impressed with both of those.

With 5 days to go, it's already well past funded and most of the way through the stretch goals.  Additional collections about Horror and Filk have already been unlocked, and Queers Destroy Fantasy! is about $1.5k away.  Also they are offering extra flexibility about exact combinations of rewards with "addons" that will be manually processed (this was a good move on their part, I more than doubled my pledge as a result).

I am selfishly hoping for the Fantasy stretch goal to get unlocked, thus the signal-boost :-)

rmc28: (books2010)
What I've read
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Recommended to me by [livejournal.com profile] nwhyte as a possible Hugo nominee.  I got a sample of it, was completely sucked in by the end of the sample and read it eagerly until the end.  The book is narrated by someone who keeps living their life over and over, from the 1920s until they die and then go back to the 1920s again - and how he finds others in the same situation, and how he tackles a threat to them all and apparently the entire human race.  I quite often didn't much like the narrator, or his friends, but the story and the gradually expanding discovery of What Is Going On really drew me in.  I definitely recommend it.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (dnf)
This was also recommended by [livejournal.com profile] nwhyte but I didn't get beyond the end of the sample.  At the point it ended, I hadn't liked any of the characters and nothing had happened that made me think it would be exciting or interesting or anyone would get more likeable.   (In contrast to the previous where I didn't much like the characters but the events had sucked me in.)  Would someone who has read it like to encourage me to continue?

Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (dnf)
Mind Sweeper by AE Jones (dnf)
These two were ebooks I've had for a while, and decided to tackle as part of my "clear the TBR pile" project.   Nothing about either of them put me off, but also nothing about either of them drew me in.  The first is a self-published Hannukah romance novella by one of the SBTB contributors, and the second is an paranormal/urban fantasy which won a Golden Heart.  

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
I read this because [personal profile] rachelmanija mentioned the author as an example of someone successfully self-publishing and employing "the first one's free" tactic.  This was the first one free; it's an epic fantasy adventure (someone is trying to assassinate the emperor) but in a steampunk setting with printing presses and steam vehicles.   Amaranthe is an "Enforcer" (a police officer) who ends up disgraced and uncovering the plot against the emperor, and recruiting a bunch of misfits (including an incredibly competent assassin) to save the day.  I found it  fun, and I did really like the way Amaranthe repeatedly got out of sticky situations with persuasion rather than violence. 

I had a couple of niggles with it: while the overt social sexism (women belong in business, not the police!) is criticised, there's a fair bit of casual sexual stereotyping of the "women want comfort not solutions" kind, and some unnecessary angsting over pastries and exercise in the first chapter.  Also, while I like Amaranthe a lot, there weren't any other women characters of any depth.

Even so, I liked the book as a whole enough to not mind the niggles, and the author has a lot more books avaialble, and seems to be producing them at an impressive rate, so that's a fun discovery.


A Wild Pursuit by Eloisa James
Another of the rather farcical (in a good way) regency romances I'm working through via the library.


What I'm reading now
I'm working through several short story collections at once.  I find I need to read one story at a time and then do something else, and I've got one each going in 3 different places (paperback, Kindle app, Scribd app) ... all I need is to get a fourth going in my main ebook reader and that's a full house:
Kaleidoscope - paperback
Women Destroy Science Fiction! Kickstarter-funded special edition of Lightspeed (the Women Destroy Fantasy issue I read last week was produced as a stretch goal for this one) - Kindle
The Girl With No Hands and other stories by Angela Slatter -  Scribd


What's next
Probably Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley, as it's eligible for Hugo nomination, and I've had it since release day.  The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (also known as Sarah Monette) if I can swallow the huge ebook price.  Or something off the library pile before I run out of renewals.
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
Long ago, Frith made the world.


[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]


rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
Because Tony introduced him to it at a tender age, Charles is a keen player of Angry Birds.

Because Angry Birds: Transformers exists, Charles has got into Transformers.  We have worked through series 1 of the 1980s cartoon and are now working through Transformers: Prime, which seems to be considerably better than both the series of my childhood and the Michael Bay films. 

Because YouTube exists, Charles has discovered Transformers Prime fanvids.

Because of two particular fanvids, I went shopping for music today at Charles's request.  Yes, I could have been boring and just got the two specific tracks, but I thought it would be more fun for both of us to get compilation albums with "more like this", as I like both the tracks concerned.

While I was shopping, I discovered the musical subgenre that is club workout mix albums, and could not resist adding Ministry of Sound Running Trax 2014 to my purchases. Partly out of sheer delight that such a thing exists.

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rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
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