jain: (watchmaker of filigree street)
( Feb. 1st, 2017 08:27 pm)
What I just finished

The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster. The cover for this novella is fantastic: a young black woman stands on a storm-tossed deck, clutching an amulet, while a Viking ship encroaches in the background. The novella itself, however, has a bland writing style, a thin plot, and terrible plotting. Its one good point is that the characters are fairly interesting, but that's not enough to redeem the story.

Wight Mischief by J. L. Merrow. Ridiculously over-the-top contemporary m/m romance whose characters are forced to hold the idiot ball way too often. Not recommended.

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson. I liked this book but didn't love it, though the breakdown of its strengths and flaws is such that I'm really looking forward to reading more from Wilson. The characters are vivid and believable and the worldbuilding fascinating. The prose is rich and dense (though occasionally too overwrought for my taste). I didn't even mind the somewhat insubstantial plot--focused on a single caravan journey, with a few flashbacks to the earlier life of one of the hired guards--because the worldbuilding and the interpersonal relationships are the real stars of the story. That said, the pacing is quite bad; the story's terribly slow to get started, the flashbacks are dropped in willy-nilly, and the conclusion is way too abrupt and insufficiently supported by the rest of the story. Still, I'm very glad I read it. Possible Yuletide fandom.

What I'm reading now

Chaos Station by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen and a reread of Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch.

What I'm reading next

A Taste of Honey is still near the top of my TBR list. I just need a bit of a break after the heaviness of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.
jain: Dragon (Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) reading a book and eating chocolate mousse. (domestic dragon)
( Jan. 18th, 2017 11:00 pm)
What I just finished

The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher. Great retelling of "The Snow Queen" that gives the fairy tale some interesting new twists while preserving the heart of the story. The descriptions of snow and ice are particularly well done and a pleasure to read at this time of year. Also contains lesbians, as all Snow Queen retellings should. :-) Possible Yuletide fandom.

"Zapped" by Sherwood Smith. I know Smith can write a good story, but this novelette is a hot mess. The science fictional subplot involving teens with unusual powers raises way more questions than it answers and doesn't really go anywhere; the sexuality subplot is anvilicious; the story talks down to its teen audience; and the ending is unsatisfying. If it were five times longer and comprehensively re-edited, then it might be worth reading, but as it is, no.

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell. A supermarket chain is trying to expand into a small English town, and the community is divided in their response. Yet this debate is only the public face of a high-stakes struggle between good and evil. Excellent characterizations and very neat plotting elevate a moderately interesting premise into a great story.

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal. The ending's a lot more open-ended than I typically prefer, and yet I really enjoyed this one. The biggest draw for me is the worldbuilding. In a hyper-connected future, the protagonist finds herself unexpectedly cut off from the cloud while traveling, and Kowal does a really nice job of imagining the various subtle and not-so-subtle responses the protagonist would have to her unprecedented experience.

The actual plot...is weird and a bit dreamlike and very ambiguous. I'll have to reread this one someday, though I don't know if rereading it will make me hate it or like it even more.

What I'm reading now

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

What I'm reading next

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
jain: Dragon (Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) reading a book and eating chocolate mousse. (domestic dragon)
( Jan. 11th, 2017 09:43 pm)
What I just finished

A ridiculous amount of m/m romance. In the past week, I've read seven novels, four novellas, and one short story. I don't know; it just kind of...happened. In rough order from best to worst, and cut for length:

Joanna Chambers, K. J. Charles, J. L. Merrow, Alex Beecroft, Ava March )

What I'm reading now

It's a secret. :-)

What I'm reading next

Hugo nominations are due in a little over two months, and my current ballot contains exactly one novel, one novella, and one novelette. (At least I'm good on short stories.) So very soon I need to start reading SFF published in 2016, and lots of it. If anyone has novella or novelette recs to share, I'd be appreciative.
Thanks so much for writing for me! Some of my prompts are longer than others this year, but rest assured that I'd be equally delighted to receive any one of my requested fandoms. You can browse my general kinks and squicks post and my fic exchanges tag if you want more details. I hope you have lots of fun, and I look forward to seeing what you create!

My signup requests are all for fic, but I'm happy to receive art as a bonus gift (though I'm afraid few of my prompts are at all inspirational as art prompts).

The Bone Key, The Brothers Sinister, The Eagle, Frontier Wolf, The Goblin Emperor, Iskryne, Lynes and Mathey, The Queen's Thief, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street )
jain: Chae Yeon leaning forward and smiling. Text: "Jain" (Default)
( Dec. 31st, 2016 02:12 pm)
The Avengers: The Subtlety of Blini (Bucky/Steve/Natasha); 948 words
A Charm of Magpies: All Done But the Paperwork (Ned/Crispin); 2205 words
Lynes and Mathey: The British Museum Stop (Julian/Ned); 6307 words
The Queen's Thief: Exposure (Attolia/Costis/Eugenides); 1833 words
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Close (Poe/Finn/Rey); 2474 words
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street: A Welcome Touch (Katsu & Keita); 486 words
jain: MCU Sharon Carter. Text: "13" (avengers sharon carter)
( Nov. 25th, 2016 11:22 pm)
This week I have...
--called my congressman and asked him to cosponsor the Presidential Accountability Act.
--called one of my senators and asked him to vote against Jeff Sessions's appointment to the position of Attorney General, on the grounds that Sessions can't be trusted to protect people's civil and political rights. (I tried to call my other senator, but he's not taking calls this week. So disappointed that we didn't manage to vote him out this year.)
--called the Department of Justice and asked them to investigate the human rights abuses by the Morton County Sheriff's Department against the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters.
--subscribed to Mother Jones and The Guardian.
[personal profile] skygiants suggested that people do a variation on Reading Wednesdays that tracks our political actions for the week, both to inspire and inform each other and to keep ourselves accountable. Since I'm very much in favor of both of those goals, here's my list.

This week (and a half) I have...
-- donated to the National Resources Defense Council. (Their website has a new tagline: "Help us gear up to defend our environment and climate from the Trump presidency.")
-- donated to Foster Campbell, the Democratic candidate for Louisiana senator. Louisiana's runoff election will be held this December 10th.
-- called my congressman and one of my senators twice and my congressman-elect once to demand that they condemn Trump's selection of white nationalist Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist.
-- called my other senator once to thank him for his public condemnation of Steve Bannon and to ask him to do all he can to block Bannon's appointment.
-- called the House Oversight Committee to support an investigation into Trump's financial arrangements and conflicts of interest.
-- taken Paul Ryan's phone survey to register my approval of Obamacare. (Heads up that the silence you get when connecting to Ryan's system is super weird and disconcerting. The phone didn't ring even once; I just dialed and got instant silence, which I had to wait out for over a minute before the recorded message started playing.)
-- signed the whitehouse.gov petition requesting that Obama commute Chelsea Manning's sentence to time served.
Well, that was unspeakably devastating. Thank you to everyone who's posted their reactions and helpful links and general expressions of support in the aftermath of the election; I'm one of the many who really needed to see those. I've also seen an outpouring of donations from my DW/LJ friends to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and various local charities, which has been heartening. (I've donated to the National Resources Defense Council myself, because climate change was terrifying even before Trump was elected.)

In addition to those very worthy organizations, though, if you can spare the cash--and if you're a U.S. citizen or green card holder--please consider donating to Foster Campbell, the Democratic candidate for Louisiana senator who'll be advancing to that state's runoff election on December 10th.

The Republicans will maintain their Senate majority regardless of whether Campbell wins or loses; the only question is whether that majority will be 52-48 or 51-49. The latter is preferable to the former, even in the short term. But to truly understand the significance of this race, look at the map of Senate seats up for election in 2018. That's 33 contested Senate seats, only eight of them currently held by Republicans, and most of those Republican seats are in deep red states.

The chances of Democrats winning back the Senate during the midterm elections are painfully low. But conversely, the importance of preventing Republicans from becoming a supermajority in the Senate two years from now is very high. A Campbell victory would be step one towards preventing that outcome.

So donate to Campbell if you can, VOTE in the runoff election if you're a Louisianan, and just keep being the awesome people you are in general.
jain: gladiators kissing (gladiators)
( Oct. 7th, 2016 08:16 pm)
Thanks very much for participating in this exchange and writing for me! Optional details are of course optional, but here are some of my general preferences and a variety of prompts for my requested fandoms, in case you wanted some extra direction. Some of my fandoms this year have lengthier prompts than others, but rest assured that I'll be equally thrilled with fic for any of them. Have fun, and I'm sure I'll love whatever you end up creating!

For your reference: I'm [archiveofourown.org profile] Jain on AO3 and [pinboard.in profile] jain on my (rather out-of-date) pinboard account.

General likes and dislikes )

The Brothers Sinister, A Charm of Magpies, Frontier Wolf, Iskryne, The Lie Tree, Lynes and Mathey )
Thanks so much for writing for me! This is my first time participating in Trick or Treat, and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope you have a lot of fun, too!

My signup requests are all for fic, but I'm happy to receive art as a bonus gift.

With one exception, I have a strong preference for Tricks that either 1) use supernatural horror tropes in a non-horrific fashion, e.g. werewolves who retain their humanity while shifted, or 2) involve scary supernatural threats that are soundly defeated by the protagonists for a happy ending. The one exception is Dark Matter, where I'd prefer canon-level horror.

Particularly relevant to this exchange: I love werewolves, like ghosts, am generally disinterested in vampires but can be persuaded if the fic is awesome, and do not want zombies. Regarding Treats, I like anything from G-rated fluff to hardcore porn, but don't care for PWPs; I like some sort of character and/or relationship development along with my smut. If you want further details on my fic preferences, you can check out my general fic kinks and squicks post or browse my fic exchanges tag.

A Charm of Magpies, Dark Matter, The Eagle, Frontier Wolf, Lynes and Mathey, The Sleeper and the Spindle, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street )
Thanks so much for writing for me! My prompts tend towards the short and sweet, in keeping with the nature of this exchange, but you can browse my fic exchanges tag if you want more details. I hope you have lots of fun, and I look forward to seeing what you create!

The Eagle, Iskryne, Lynes and Mathey, MCU, The Queen's Thief, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street )
jain: A woman in a kimono holds a pubescent boy. Image from a Japanese woodblock print. (lying in your arms)
( Dec. 31st, 2015 01:25 pm)
The Eagle: Sunset (Marcus/Esca); 1905 words
The Eagle: Walls (Marcus/Esca); 1557 words
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street: The Watchmaker's Apprentice (Keita/Thaniel); 3007 words
Thanks very much for participating in this exchange and writing for me! Optional details are of course optional, but here are some of my general preferences and thoughts about my requested fandoms, in case you wanted some extra direction. Have fun, and I'm sure I'll love whatever you end up creating!

For your reference: I'm [archiveofourown.org profile] Jain on AO3 and [pinboard.in profile] jain on pinboard, though I haven't saved any bookmarks there in...wow, three years.

General likes and dislikes )

The Goblin Emperor, Havemercy series, Imperial Radch series, Iskryne series, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street )

Thanks again, and happy writing!
Thanks for offering to write in one or more of my requested fandoms! If you want a better idea of what I like, you can check out my general fic kinks and squicks post. Particular to Purim Gifts, I've listed my favorite pairings in the fandom details below, but all five of these fandoms are ones in which I'm very happy to receive gen fic about any of my favorite characters. And do have fun with whatever you decide to write; I'm sure I'll love it!

Big Hero 6
I adore GoGo Tomago! I'm pretty OTP-ish in this fandom: GoGo/Wasabi is my only real ship. But I'm also very happy to read gen about GoGo and/or Honey Lemon and/or Aunt Cass, especially fic that delves into their unique interests. The absolute best thing about this movie for me is how it validates intellectual passion. And I also love fic about characters cooking and/or eating, so Aunt Cass is totally covered, too.

Captain America (Movies)
My favorite eligible characters are Natasha and Peggy, though Maria Hill is also amazing and I liked what little we saw of Sharon Carter. Preferred ships include Natasha/Sam, Sharon/Natasha, Bucky/Steve/Natasha, Bucky/Steve/Natasha/Sam, and Bucky/Peggy/Steve. Oh, and Bucky & Peggy friendship fic would be great, too; I don't understand why there's so little of that out there.

Loki: Agent of Asgard
I assume anyone offering this fandom for Purim Gifts is cool with the idea of writing Verity Willis, so I'll just say: yes, Verity fic for me, please! I don't ship Loki/Verity, but their friendship is awesome and I'd love to see more of it. Background Loki/Sigurd is cool but extremely optional; I really do want the focus to be on Verity (& Loki).

Nobuta wo Produce
Mariko's my absolute favorite, though I also love Nobuta a lot, and I'm charmed by the unlikely understanding Bando shares with Nobuta. Preferred ships are Nobuta/Mariko, Akira/Mariko, and Shuuji/Nobuta/Akira.

Pacific Rim
I love both Mako Mori and Sasha Kaidanovsky; highly competent, professional women ftw! I haven't read the comic, so please don't rely heavily on characters, plot points, etc. from it. Preferred ships are Sasha/Mako and Raleigh/Herc/Mako.
Your main fandom of the year?

Your favorite film watched this year?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Your favorite book read this year?
Too many great books to choose from! I'm not going to even bother trying to narrow this one down. My seven favorites were The Warrior's Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold, Loki: Agent of Asgard vol. 1: Trust Me by Al Ewing, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Farthing by Jo Walton, and The Winter Prince by Elizabeth Wein.

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?
"Try" by P!nk

Your favorite TV show of the year?
Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Your favorite journaling community of the year?
[community profile] ravencycle_kink. It's only a month old and there haven't been many fills yet, but it exists! And that's awesome.

Your biggest squee moment of the year?
This doesn't really count as a "moment," but I'm gonna say CA:TWS--the entire movie was so good and so exactly what I wanted it to be. Also, the announcement of a (Carol Danvers!) Captain Marvel movie for 2018.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?
Still no Black Widow movie. :-( And I'd gone into Guardians of the Galaxy with very high hopes, and then it turned out to be just okay, imo.

Your fandom boyfriend of the year?
Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Deret Beshelar, Adam Parrish

Your fandom girlfriend of the year?
Natasha Romanov, Amy Santiago, Rosa Diaz, Phryne Fisher, Dot Williams

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?
Orphan Black

Your biggest fan anticipations for the New Year?
Agent Carter, Loki: Agent of Asgard vol. 2: I Cannot Tell a Lie, the untitled conclusion to the Raven Cycle
jain: MCU Sharon Carter. Text: "13" (avengers sharon carter)
( Dec. 31st, 2014 08:46 am)
The Avengers: The Good Fight (Peggy & Sharon); 1641 words
Thank you so much for participating in this exchange and for offering one or more of my requested fandoms! A couple of important things I wanted to tell you:

* Optional details are optional. I've tried to offer at least one possible hook for a story in each of my requests because that's how I like to write for exchanges, but if your creativity is sparked in other ways, or if you just don't like any of my suggestions, then feel free to ignore them and write a different story for those characters.

* I'm chattier about some of my requests than others this year. Please don't think that this indicates a preference on my part for one fandom over another. I promise, I'd be equally thrilled to receive a story in any of these fandoms.

If you want a better idea of the type of stories I like, you can read my general fic kinks and squicks post and/or check out the fandom details below:

Death by Silver, The Goblin Emperor, Imperial Radch series, Iskryne series, Nobuta wo Produce, Nova )
jain: Bamboo and yellow flowers against a red background. (bamboo)
( Oct. 16th, 2014 12:41 pm)
My father passed away last night. It wasn't at all unexpected: he'd been suffering from dementia for a long time and had declined very badly in the past year or so, and we placed him on hospice this August.

I don't know if his death still hasn't sunk in for me yet, or if it's that his illness was so long and protracted that I've already gotten a lot of my grieving over with, but I'm feeling mostly okay right now. As far as I can tell, the rest of the family is about the same--even my mother, who was very devoted to him and whose reaction we'd all been worrying about. I think it really helps that my brother, his gf, and my baby niece moved home recently; the baby has been a welcome distraction for all of us.

And because we knew this was coming, my three siblings who live far away were able to come see Dad before he died (two of them could take over a month off of work and are still here now, while my youngest sister had to go back for school but will return for the memorial). That's helped a bit, too, knowing that everyone had the chance to say goodbye to him.
Thanks so much for writing for me! Sorry it took me a few extra days to complete this post. I promise that's not a reflection of my enthusiasm; this is one of my favorite exchanges, and I'm very much looking forward to every part of it. I hope you have a lot of fun with your story, and I'm sure I'll love whatever you come up with!

General likes: I like happy (or at least hopeful) endings, family (including chosen family), friendship, loyalty, determination, cooking and/or eating, people being smart, people being competent, platonic bedsharing, non-platonic bedsharing, pining, unrequited love that turns out to be requited, hurt/comfort, kissing, masturbation, mutual masturbation, frottage, intercrural sex, oral sex, talking during sex (not dirty talk, just ordinary conversation), first-time fic, established relationship fic in which there's some sort of shift in the dynamics of the relationship, character- and relationship-driven gen, mild angst with an eventual happy ending, BDSM, watersports, worldbuilding, cultural differences, historical details, werewolves, backstory, missing scenes, future fic, third person POV, and past tense.

The things I don't like include breathplay/asphyxiation, vore/cannibalism, scat, emetophilia/vomit, heavy angst, parent-child incest, dialogue-only fic, no dialogue, epithets (e.g. the blond, the taller man, the younger man), the phrases "to his [or her] credit," "had the grace to," and "took him[self] in hand," PWPs, and second person POV.

Frontier Wolf, The Truce of the Games )
My expectations going into this movie for the first time were high, to say the least. (Seriously, my brother and I went to a matinee showing, and I woke up several times the night before because I was too excited to sleep. I was like a little kid on Christmas Eve; it was ridiculous.) And then The Winter Soldier surpassed pretty much all of my expectations.

Very spoilery spoilers beneath the cut )