lunabee34: (btvs: spike n dru by hsapiens)
1. We just spent 10 days away from home. Whew! I would normally not vacation for this long, but I had a family event planned for one weekend and a fandom event planned for the following weekend in the same area, and it didn't make sense to drive to MS, drive back to GA, and then turn right around and drive to LA in a few days. As a result, I haven't really been reading LJ/DW, so let me know if I've missed anything important. :)

2. We spent most of that ten days with my parents. It was a very good trip. Mom and Dad have a pool, so we'd swim two or three times a day. The weather was good. The girls had a blast; Fiona thought the zoo was awesome. She got to ride on a train. Dad's still lingering at the threshold of remission. He can't have the stem cell transplant unless he's got zero cancer markers, I don't think. Both he and Mom were pretty discouraged at the end of the week after he'd had chemo and gotten more test results. Not exactly sure what the treatment options are going to be now.

3. I got to have lunch with [personal profile] kaleecat at a very nice restaurant with lots of gluten free options. She passed along a big bag of books, so I know what Emma and I will be doing for the rest of the summer. :) Kalee is a good friend and excellent company, and I hope we'll get to hang out again soon.

4. Then Josh and I went to NOLA for a small gathering of fans that had been active in Buffy fandom. We stayed at the Renaissance Arts Hotel in the Warehouse District (totally recommend; really nice hotel with a rooftop pool and a great bar). Josh and I met up with some local friends and got a driving tour of the city. We ate lunch at Cochon (OMG, so good) and then we walked around the Quarter until dinner time. I got some soap that smells like vetiver at a perfume shop that makes its own scents. Dinner was at Square Roots on Magazine. The food was good but the service was slow (if very nice) and they'd run out of a bunch of stuff. Would not go again.

Then I met up with the other Buffy fans at the hotel. I didn't catch everyone's internet handle, so I won't mention everyone who was there because I don't want to use RL names. [personal profile] hermionesviolin was there, and I was really glad to see her again. I'd met [personal profile] chrisjournal and [personal profile] spiralleds before at Writercon, and it was good to see them again. And then I got to meet some new people: [personal profile] rusty_halo, [personal profile] rahirah, [redacted], [redacted], and [redacted]. We had such a good time talking about fandom and fannish things.

Josh and I spent the next morning hanging out together and then we met up with people again for lunch at a place in the French Market that does gluten free and vegan good (Meals from the Heart; totally recommend).

I wish I hadn't had to leave early. I would have loved to stay longer and get to know everyone better. Hopefully, we'll do a get-together like this again next year. I'm so grateful to [personal profile] rusty_halo and the others who planned this trip.
lunabee34: (reading by tabaqui)
The Matrimonial Trap: Eighteenth-Century Women Writers Redefine MarriageThe Matrimonial Trap: Eighteenth-Century Women Writers Redefine Marriage by Laura E Thomason

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I think this book is a really interesting look at the way genteel, primarily English, 18th-century women viewed marriage. While Thomason does examine several novels, most of her source material is drawn from personal correspondence. I hadn't realized that letters at this point in history were simultaneously public and private documents. People had every expectation that their letters might be circulated beyond the intended recipients, even published without their permission. In addition, European governments had begun surveillance of correspondence, often opening and examining letters. Very fascinating the way women took advantage of that dual nature of letters to do some really neat stuff with argument and with authorial voice.

Very informative read.





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Hide and SeekHide and Seek by Wilkie Collins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Oh, man. I have been on such a Wilkie Collins high, and I was looking forward to reading this one, but it just didn't do it for me. It was a slog, and reading it felt tedious. One of Collins's gifts is dialogue, and this novel is almost entirely descriptive exposition--lots of what everything looks like and what everyone is thinking and very little of it accomplished through dialogue. I also think that the solution to the mystery of the story isn't telegraphed at all so that it just comes out of nowhere. My edition has some notes at the end which suggest that originally Collins did include more clues but edited them out later; I wish he'd left them in because the conclusion of the story was pretty convoluted even for me, an inveterate lover of sensation novels.



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lunabee34: (perfume: art deco bottle by sallymn)
Michael by Michael Kors

Top notes are freesia, incense, chinese osmanthus and tamarind; middle notes are tuberose, iris, peony, orris root and arum lily; base notes are musk, cashmere wood and vetiver.

This is a very sweet white floral. The tuberose is almost a gardenia dupe. Josh cried almost instant headache, so I didn't leave it on long enough for the dry down, but I could just start to smell the woodiness of the iris start to tamp down the florals before I scrubbed it.

Clean (the original)

This soap-inspired scent combines litsea cubeba, orange, sweet lime, pink grapefruit, passion lily, rose geranium, and white musk and is perfect for women who enjoy crisp, subtly. It opens with a bright burst of freshness and dries down to a simply CLEAN scent.

This does smell fresh and clean. Very bright and citrusy but very sweet (must be the sweet lime). I don't get any orange or grapefruit, but I do smell rose geranium (yummy) and soap. Clean is a good descriptor. I would like to smell this on someone else, but it's not for me. I passed it to a friend.

BPAL Rapunzel

Angel’s trumpet, bois de rose, orris, and wild lettuce.

I really like this. It smells green and sweet and a little of rose. Josh detects a note of ginger. It's a keeper!

SWAPS AND GIVEAWAYS )
lunabee34: (Default)
1. Emma's baby fan musings crack me up. Yesterday, she told me she hates incest pairings (although she has to admit it makes a great deal of sense for SPN), and that while people should be able to write what they want, they should do it away from her. LOL I told her that's why God made the back button. She also told me she doesn't get why people ship pairings that don't have a lot of subtext or canonical support, especially the characters that don't interact in canon. She has gotten waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay into Undertale--as in Undertale is all she's been able to talk about for what seems like our entire lives at this point--and she cited some examples from that video game. I told her she'd have to just take my word for it that those stories can be a lot of fun.

She told me she's not really looking for fanfic right now because she'd probably have to wade through too many fics written by 11 year olds with horrible SPAG.

And then she closed by telling me that one time she accidentally found some drawings of skeleton porn where they had ectoplasm genitals which is the funniest thing ever.

2. Downton Abbey watch continues. spoilers )

3. Fiona's birthday is tomorrow. She'll be four!!!!!!!

4. I am exhausted in the last two weeks, like way more than usual. My energy levels have been good for awhile, and I'm wondering if my thyroid levels have dropped. I hesitate to move up my August 31 endocrinologist appointment; I've done so every year for the past three years when I've had worsening symptoms, and the tests have always come back with a "Nah, not sick enough for us to do anything" verdict. I'm on the verge of starting my period, so I'm wondering if that's a factor. If I don't start to feel better in the next week, I guess I will up the appointment. I just feel so beat, and working out is a chore. :( This is definitely not normal.

5. I am done teaching for the semester! Whoooo! Grades are turned in, and now all I have to do is relax and work on the novel.
lunabee34: (reading by tabaqui)
The Fifth HeartThe Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I wanted to like this so much. Dan Simmons is one of my favorite authors. Ilium and Olympos are among my favorite books ever. Hyperion is delightful. Drood is wonderful.

The Fifth Heart is okay.

I think maybe the problem is that I'm not a Sherlock Holmes nut and so much of the intricacy of the story is probably lost on me. I also don't know much about James or the other historical/literary figures in the text.

I was also a little disappointed that at no point was anything the characters in the novel think is funny actually funny to me. Mark Twain is funny. His writing makes me laugh. Mark Twain in this novel is not funny. I would think that's the point, that the funny man is not actually funny, except that the other characters all seem genuinely amused by his stories.

IDK

This one was not for me.

I did enjoy the ending, especially the epilogue, with James standing arm in arm with Holmes on the deck of the ship the way he's always wanted to stand with someone else.



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lunabee34: (thanks by ponders_life)
My birthday was Monday. I turned 38. It was a pretty fantastic birthday.

My friends gave me a gift certificate to a local automotive shop which was awesome. We love to support local businesses. Another set of friends gave me a gift certificate to Ulta which I used to buy All the Bath Products. :)

Emma made me a card, and Josh got me a wireless speaker thing that hooks up to Spotify and plays music. Since the wane of CDs and the death of our last CD player, we don't listen to music in the house often, so I'm really glad to have this. I've been thinking lately about how important music used to be to me and how little I listen to it now. This gift is the kick in the pants I needed to change a habit I've been thinking about and lamenting for several months but not doing anything about.

I got cards and well wishes from [personal profile] lyr, [livejournal.com profile] timespirit, [personal profile] kaleecat, and [livejournal.com profile] decynthus (who also sent me some replacement photos for my fridge magnets: Alfred and bb!Bruce, Lucifer, and bb!Groot), and [personal profile] sallymn.

[personal profile] executrix sent me an amazing package full of all my favorites: books, notebooks, perfume, and some killer new clothes.

Looking forward to seeing what 38 brings.
lunabee34: (reading by thelastgoodname)
Chimera (Parasitology, #3)Chimera by Mira Grant

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I didn't like the concluding book of this series as well as the previous two, and I'm having trouble pinpointing exactly why.

I think the ratio of dialogue to exposition is off; Sal spends way too much time in this book thinking about things rather than talking to people or engaging in action. I also think this book does way too much of the reminding readers of people and events from previous books thing; I really dislike that tactic. If I can't remember Sal's accident or who Dr. Banks is or the reveal about Sherman at this point, I have some serious problems. There was some of this in the second book, but the third book was kinda overloaded with it.

I also didn't like that one of the main motivating factors in Sherman's interest in Sal was a twisted desire for her to love him.

I did like the way Colonel Mitchell ultimately had the courage to make some very tough decisions. I did like that Joyce knew all along that Sally was dead and Sal had taken her place and chose to love Sal anyway. That was probably the most moving part of the whole series for me.

I also really liked Fishy's character and the way he chose to deal with the apocalypse by believing that he's a character in a video game. He was funny and unpredictable.

Overall, I liked the series, and I'm glad I read it.



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lunabee34: (help by jjjean65)
I've been sick, and I didn't sleep well last night. Josh got up with the kids, and he came to get me about 8:15 saying my mom had called earlier (earlier?! they're one hour earlier than we are re: timezones) and wanted me to call her back. I do, assuming that something is wrong, maybe with Dad, and she just didn't want to say in front of Josh for some reason?

But, no. No, what she wanted to tell me was far different. She'd emailed me earlier in the week to tell me that one of my high school teachers died. Let's call him Coach A. Coach A was a good man. He taught me science for two years in high school. He took an interest in me, loaning me a couple of science fiction books. I have fond memories of him and was sad to hear he had passed.

Apparently, his widow called my parents yesterday to tell them that Coach A had always really liked me and that he thought I had a beautiful singing voice and at some point he had told her that he wanted me to sing at his funeral.

At this point, if I'd been drinking coffee, there would have been a spittake.

I mean, I am deeply flattered that he remembered me fondly, but who calls people two days before the funeral of someone they haven't seen in 20 years (20 years! It's been 20 years since I've seen these people!) to ask them to sing at the funeral? Clearly, she was thinking I still lived locally rather than several states away, but that seems odd to me as a last minute request.

Dad said, "I told her you live too far away to make it in time and that you probably hadn't been practicing."

Ahahhahahahhahahahah. Can you say that again? I was in choir in high school and sang beautifully then, but I smoked in undergrad, and I think I damaged my vocal chords because I just can't do it anymore. My range is completely shot, and I can't consistently hit pitch (which sucks because I hear when I'm wrong). So, ah. No. Lorraine will not be singing.

Then Mom wanted me call the widow and talk to her, and I had to hard nope out of that. I'm not calling somebody I never really knew and haven't seen in 20 years to deny them a sentimental request while they're in the throes of grief. Mom abruptly got off the phone with me after that, and I spent the whole day thinking she was annoyed with me before she texted me to let me know she wasn't pissed; they were just heading to chemo in a hurry.

*headdesk*

The upshot is, no horrifically awkward phone calls for me! Hurrah! I will send a lovely sympathy card, though.
Tags:
lunabee34: (fancrone by chinashop)
It's become clear to me that I probably need to completely overhaul the summaries and tagging (maybe not so much the tagging) on just about everything I've posted to AO3. *sigh*

When I uploaded most of my old fic, I just kept the original summary which many times was just a sentence or two from the fic or even just an announcement that I'd written the fic for someone.

I've seen enough discussion of fic summaries on meme at this point to realize that I'm not doing myself any favors with those kinds of summaries, but wow is that a massive undertaking to contemplate.
Tags:

Finales

15/6/17 10:20
lunabee34: (writer by sukibluefiction)
1. I have a cold. *whines* This is particularly annoying because I can't take any medicine for it. I have yet to find cold medicine that doesn't have citric acid in it. :(

2. Writing on the novel is going really well. I'm really enjoying myself and having fun stretching my writing muscles. I'm hoping to have a rough draft done by August, but we'll see. We're doing a lot of traveling in July.

3. Lucifer finale: SPOILERS )

4. Gotham finale: SPOILERS )
lunabee34: (reading by tabaqui)
Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch #3)Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Oh, Breq! Of course, Ship loves you and all your crew, too. And Seivarden loves you. And so does Station. I teared up so many times reading this book.

I loved Translator Zeiat. I laughed out loud when she threw up all the crap she'd been eating along with the bullets from the Presger gun.

I have to admit I was having a hard time figuring out how this series was going to draw to a close, and I love the way Leckie did it. I love Breq declaring herself and the other AIs as a new nation and essentially hoisting the Lord of the Rach by her own petard. The ending was fantastic, and I love that it leaves the field wide open should Leckie want to write any more stories in this universe.



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lunabee34: (reading by sallymn)
Ancillary Sword (Imperial Radch #2)Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


On the third read, I love this book even more than the first in the series if such a thing is possible.

I love Breq so hard. I love the way she begins by making alliances with the marginalized and that she always tries to correct injustices (even while acknowledging that some injustices cannot be corrected adequately or safely). The specter of Lt. Awn hangs over all her decisions.

I love that her crew begins wary of her and ends fiercely loyal. I think Ship cares about Breq more than Breq may think. Ships don't love other ships? Ha!

The ending always makes me cry: Seivarden coming to the rescue in the nick of time, Breq losing it and blurting out who she truly is and what she's done in front of everyone, Ship knowing that Breq misses being one of many and sending one of the humans to snuggle her. Oh, my heart. *sniffle*



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lunabee34: (Default)
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch #1)Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I love this book so much. This is my third time reading it.

I love Breq so hard. She is so badass and strong and brave. I love that Seivarden has no choice in the face of such awesomeness but to pledge complete loyalty and faith.

The world building here is complex and deep and interesting. The characters are so fascinating (a soldier out of time, a tyrant with an almost limitless reach and a personality disorder, a thousands year old AI who's been cut off from the hive mind), and the plot unfolds so beautifully as the narrative alternates timelines.

At the time I'm typing this, I'm a fourth of the way through the second book (also reading it for the third time) and anxious to finish so that I can read the final book which I haven't read yet.




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lunabee34: (reading by thelastgoodname)
Symbiont (Parasitology, #2)Symbiont by Mira Grant

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I really like this series. I think finding a new source of apocalypse, especially a zombie apocalypse, is really hard, and Grant manages to combine zombie apocalypse, evil corporation, medical horror, and invasion of the body snatchers with the promise of a Warm Bodies feel-good type ending.

I love the protagonist Sal. I love that she is not a Rambo. I love that she doesn't magically gain skills that are unrealistic for where she begins. I love that she spends a lot of the two books I've read so far being afraid, vulnerable, and betrayed and that she rises to the challenges before her as a normal (ha!) person.

It's a middle book and so it ends on a terrible cliffhanger. I'll be getting the last book today so I can remedy that. LOL



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lunabee34: (Default)
1. Watching movies with Fiona is really funny. She's got the attention span to sit through Charlotte's Web or Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast, but something like Ratatouille has too much talking in it and she loses interest before the end.

We've been trying to get her to watch new movies (on the weekend, we go to the playground and watch movies) because she always wants to watch either Spongebob SquarePants Movie or what she calls Willburd (Charlotte's Web). So this past weekend, we watched Lilo and Stitch, which I'd never seen before. OMG, why did nobody tell me how hard this movie was going to tap dance on my emotions? Emma and I sat there with tears streaming down our faces pretty much the whole movie. It was so good and so sweet, and I felt so badly for how hard Nani was trying and still failing to meet the appropriate standards for keeping Lilo with her. AND THEN EMMA AND I BOTH JUMPED TO THE SPECTER OF EMMA HAVING TO TAKE CARE OF HER BABY SISTER AND THEN WE ALL CRIED SOME MORE AND FIONA THOUGHT WE WERE STUPID.

2. Josh and I watched Storks, which turned out to be awesome. Highly recommended. We just had the TV on in the background and then got sucked in because it was so cute and funny.

3. We saw Wonder Woman today and really liked it. SPOILERS )
lunabee34: (reading by sallymn)
Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked TalesStone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Not my favorite Atwood. I think I expected horror from the title or at the very least to be disturbed. The writing was good, but nothing that really grabbed me. The best story in the collection is the title story, and I'd read it in 2011 when it came out in the The New Yorker.

I also think the structure was a problem. The first three stories contain the same cast of characters, and then all the rest of them are unrelated. In a couple, there's mention of a storm that seems to be the same storm happening in the first story, so I think that's supposed to indicate that the stories are all happening in the same universe, but IDK. I wished as I was reading that either all the stories had been connected or none of them.

I did like that all the stories were about older, even elderly, protagonists and about issues with aging but overall a little disappointed.



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lunabee34: (Default)
The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard, #3)The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I love this book. I am extremely sad that the remaining four books planned for the series are not instantly available for me to devour. Still thoroughly convinced that HBO would make a killing on a series based on these books.

We finally get to meet Sabetha in this book instead of just having her mentioned by the other characters, and I don't think Lynch is quite successful in his depiction of her. Josh really doesn't like her character, and although I wouldn't go that far, I can see why he doesn't. I think the problem is two-fold. First, all the other Gentleman Bastards are extremely funny and witty. I think Lynch wanted Sabetha to seem more serious next to them, but instead she seems humorless, a stick in the mud. I think that we also don't see enough of her being actual friends with the Gentleman Bastards. All we get really is the trip they take to pretend to be actors, and since they're all at odds with each other for a lot of that trip, we don't see Sabetha laying everything on the line to keep Galdo safe or her working seamlessly with Jean, etc. She never seems like an integral, cohesive part of the team to me. Most of the rest of her characterization works for me. It makes absolute sense to me that Locke infuriates her; he usurps her position of power in the group and doesn't even realize he's doing it. It makes sense to me that she would hold herself aloof as the only girl in the group. I just wish Sabetha had been characterized like Jean, and then I'd have no trouble seeing what Locke sees in her. LOL I do find the speed with which she misunderstands Locke to be quite frustrating, and I think what she does at the end of the book is really silly and unworthy of her as a Gentleman Bastard.

I don't quite know how to feel about Locke's background. SPOILERS: If he really is a Bondsmage who committed atrocities and then put himself in the body of a child, I'm not really sure it matters. Maybe he used to be that person, but he isn't anymore. He's Locke Lamora. He grew up in that new body and is now someone new. I thought he was going to be revealed to be the son of a Bondsmage instead.

I do like that this revelation means that the next books are likely going to be focused on the Eldren, who they were, where they went, what got them. Those inexplicable bits of the world-building have been one of my favorite parts of the series. I also like that Falconer survived and is going to be the overarching villain.



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lunabee34: (reading by tabaqui)
Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2)Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


OMG OMG OMG

This book is awesome.

It is full of lady pirates!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not sure I can be more coherent than that.

I laughed out loud multiple times. I cried multiple times. I cannot wait to start the third book, and I know for certain when I finish it, I will be pissed off that Lynch hasn't yet published the next four books promised in the series.

The plotting in these books is so masterful. I am in awe. And jealous.

Once again, I am left desperately wishing for an HBO series of these books to watch.



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lunabee34: (Default)
1. Emma, Josh and I watched Suicide Squad on HBO. It was alright.

SPOILERS )

2. Josh and I went to see Alien Covenant today. We both really liked it, but we both also really liked Prometheus so take that as your fair warning. LOL

SPOILERS )

Movies

25/5/17 08:26
lunabee34: (Default)
1. Josh, Emma, and I watched Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 this week and loved it. I think I even liked it more than the first one.

SPOILERS )

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