desertvixen: (optional details are optional)
Sorry this wasn't up earlier, but I'm preparing to move and having a bad reaction to dust and dead bugs in my garage.

This is Yuletide Number Nine!  I'm really excited and I know we're both going to have fun with it.

General writing stuff can be found here.

I'll love whatever you write for me, so don't feel bad if we didn't match on one of my repeat requests.  All of my requests excite me!

I'm totally down for crossovers between fandoms requested, or with Poirot, Marple, etc.  On the Scoop one, I wouldn't be averse to working in the Queens of Crime deal.

Onto the specifics:


My letter, let me show you.... )


Good luck and good writing!


desertvixen: (Admiral Vorkosigan - See That)
 I thought this one rather deserved its own entry.  I got it on Tuesday, and although the beginning went a little slowly, around about the middle I hit the "just keep reading" stage.

 Unspoilered review: I really enjoyed it.  Although I loved the step back in time that was Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (letting us say something of a proper, happy goodbye to characters we have loved), I loved this one as well - letting us see not the immediate aftermath of Aral's death, but letting us see people after they have had time to adjust to his death.  I liked where she took it, and I like how the story is left open for more.

I'm seeing some negative reviews on Amazon, wherein people didn't feel like it was really a Vorkosigan Saga novel, because it's not Miles and action focused (I will concede, there are some parts where the Betan conversations got a little rambly) but it seems like some of them have forgotten that while TWA might have been the first book published, chronologically, the Saga starts with Shards/Barryar - and with Cordelia and Aral.  I will plead to not being a Miles fan - I'm not big on him, but I do love all the people that hang out with him.

Giggles at the review that claims LMB made Aral "bisexual" out of the blue because it's IN THE FIRST/SECOND BOOKS.

Spoilered review:
Here be Spoilers )

All in all, I enjoyed it. 
desertvixen: (Admiral Vorkosigan - See That)
Day 15 – Favorite male character
2010 Answer: Top 11 - Ramses Emerson, Hercule Poirot, Peter Dobbs, Inspector Hemingway, Archie Goodwin, Gabriel and Caleb Jones, Delaney Brown, Gilbert Blythe, Alistair McKeon, Frank Hardy, Aral Vorkosigan.

Not going as crazy as last time, and sticking with my previous #1 pick, Aral Vorkosigan (although Simon Illyan and Ivan Vorpatril are tied for second).  He's one of Lois McMaster Bujold's most compelling characters, a man of integrity and loyalty, no matter the price.  He has humor, and he isn't always right, but he's always dominated the stage. A man well worth reading about.


The Rest of the Meme )
desertvixen: (go to your father's court)
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
2010 Answer: The First Four Years

So, as I said the first time, lots of books have parts that make me sad, and I try to avoid deliberately seeking out depressing stuff, because that's what we have reality for.

There are two major things that make me cry/make me sad.

The first is animal books where the animal dies - yes, Old Yeller.  I've actually avoided reading any number of animal books, including Cleveland Amory's The Best Cat Ever, because I dread reading about the animal dying.  Don't need it.

The second is when authors kill off characters I'm attached to.  The most recent and wrenching is Lois McMaster Bujold's Cryoburn, in which she kills off Aral Vorkosigan, a character that I have loved for most all of my adult life.  (Seriously, I picked an LMB book up in 1999 in Monterey, so I was 20.)  Granted, we knew it was coming, but it was still wrenching.  It left me quite down for a few days.  I think probably the runner up in this category (it used to be first) was in David Weber's Honor Harrington novel At All Costs, where he killed off a character who'd been with us - and who I'd been a huge fangirl of since he first pulled himself out of the ship console he was working on and went to go meet his ridiculously young and perfect commanding officer.  Not just that he killed him off, but that he toyed with us, let us believe he hadn't done it, then slammed us with it.  Weber killed off some more characters that we've been close to in Mission of Honor, but it didn't hit me as hard.

Yes, I'm a geek, space opera makes me cry.
The Rest of the Meme )
desertvixen: (guard your honor)
Books.  If you've been reading this journal for any length of time, you know I love them.  Whether they're paper or on the Kindle, or the iPad, or the computer - where they're brand new collector's hardbacks or battered copies from the used book store - I love them.  I own somewhere between 2000-3000, counting electronic format.

 The last time I did this was before [ profile] desert_sdwndr was in my life as much as he is now - 2010.  Some answers will have changed (I am going to try to not use the same answers), but one thing that doesn't: I love books.

Day 01 – Best book you read within the last year
2010: Mission of Honor, by David Weber

After giving this one some thought, I have to go with Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, by Lois McMaster Bujold.  (Get used to that name, you'll be seeing it a few times over the next 30 days.)
 Despite my great love for LMB, after I read Cryoburn, I found it hard to really read her for awhile.  After I managed to hook [ profile] desert_sdwndr on the Vorkosigan Saga and got myself assigned a fanfic challenge involving LMB's work, I ended up working through the whole series again, and ended up with CVA.  In series chronology, it happens before Cryoburn.  To me, it feels like LMB's farewell to the Vorkosigan Saga, and it's a hell of a farewell.  It has all the things I love about LMB - dialogue and characters and scenery.  And it's a happy, satisfying book.  It's Ivan's book, and I couldn't have asked for more.  He's grown over the course of the series, and LMB gives him a lady worthy of his character.  The end... oh the end makes me happy and makes me want more books.  There likely won't be more, which makes me a little sad.  But this was the best book of the year, because I got to experience the joy of reading a new Bujold book.

Some choice lines:

Maybe only love gave you more than what you’d dealt for. Oh. So that’s what this is. Oh . . . So . . . if you spurned a miracle because it seemed to come too easily, would you ever get another? She suspected not. Hang on to this one, then. Hang on for all you’re worth.

Tej seemed such a sunny personality, much of the time—these flashes of dark were like a crack in the sky, shocking and wrong. Reminding him that the daylight was the illusion, the scattering of light by the atmosphere, and the endless night was the permanent default behind it all.

“I would follow you to the ends of the bunker,” he promised.


The Rest of The Meme )
desertvixen: (guard your honor)
I promise, I am going to read Struggles for Justice: Social Responsibility and the Liberal State right now, but first I have to share three fics.

Tinkering - A post CVA-story.  Light and funny and the characters are themselves.

Home - Another post CVA story, tied to the one above.  You should actually read this one first.  Ivan and Aral dynamics.  Very, very good.

Where the Heart Is - a young Aral and his grandmother, post Mad Emperor Yuri.

desertvixen: woman reading a book (reading)
Days 1-29 )

Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time - I actually went ahead and reread it this week so I'd be ready for this.  It's Memory, by Lois McMaster Bujold.  I know, that name's been all over this meme, but that's because her writing is so good.  For one, she writes sci-fi where most of the sci-fi parts are biological (the uterine replicator, Betan birth control, cloning, etc) and that interests me more than one of David Weber's ship battles.  Her books can be read as standalones, but they're so much richer when read in chronological order - and Memory is no exception.  Also, for those of us who are passionate Simon Illyan fans, this is HIS book.  It has the immortal line from Ivan ("Simon Illyan is sleeping with my mother, and its all your fault!"), Gregor's romance, the relationship between Simon Illyan and Alys Vorpatril, It's also the book in which Miles makes a life-changing error, and a few life-changing decisions, most importantly the decision to be Lord Vorkosigan, not Admiral Naismith.  It's just really, really good.  There's political treachery, treason, romance, and Barrayar at its best.
desertvixen: (Initial D)

Days 1-27 )

Day 28 – Favorite title - So titles.  Everyone who has ever beta read some of my fanfic will tell you, titles are not my strong point.  They always cause headaches.  I hate coming up with a catchy but not stupid title.  And I read a lot of genre stuff so there's a lot of "formula" titles.  I think I'd have to go with yet another Bujold title, A Civil Campaign.  It has love and politics and treachery and revenge and comedy, my favorite Vor lord, The Dinner Party, and all around general Barrayar as I love to read about it.  It's really several campaigns, but they all remain relatively civil.

Days 29-30 )
desertvixen: (piotr v aral)

Days 1-23 )


Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read - Not only do I wish more people would read it, I've helped ensure other people (including my ex-husband) have read this book.  It's the book that got me into reading Lois McMaster Bujold almost eleven years ago - Cordelia's Honor.  It's a convenient omnibus edition (mass market paperback size) of the first 2 books in chronological order, Shards of Honor and Barrayar.  One of the reasons it's such a good idea is that (to me, anyway) Shards is not that compelling. It introduces the characters, the places, the romance between Cordelia and Aral, but Barrayar really sucked me in and made me an LMB fan.  I love the relqtionship between Cordelia and Aral, the richness, the snap - but I also love all the political manuevering and civil warfare, and yes, shopping.  The focus of the series is their son Miles,  but he doesn't draw me the way they do.  There are entire Miles books I could skip (and do, on rereads) because these two do not appear.  It may seem a little weird, but for me, the series is more about everyone else, not Miles.  And I really, really, really wish LMB would write us another good Barrayaran book full of politics and Barrayarans and more than cameos by the characters we love, especially after Cryoburn... but that's another rant for after the book officially comes out in October.  Just go pick up Cordelia's Honor if you haven't, even if you think you don't like sci fi.  You might just be surprised.

Days 25-30 )

desertvixen: (DWD)
Days 1-16 )

Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book - One of the most quotable authors I read is Lois McMaster Bujold.  There's so many pieces of truth in what she writes that they stick with you.  For quotes, it's hard to beat Barrayar, and it's my second favorite Vorkosigan book.  (The most favorite gets discussed on Day 30.)

"My home is not a place, sir.  It is a person...People" - Aral Vorkosigan

"Yes, Admiral Vorkosigan will certainly want to see that...Put it down as a Winterfair gift for Admiral Vorkosigan from his wife." - Lt. Koudelka, referring to Vordarian's head in a shopping bag

and, of course, the favorite one word quote from LMB - "Shopping."

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you - I had to flip back through my "book report" tag, but I decided to nominate Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy - Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan.  My review of the book is here

Now I know there are some people who think there are no good Pride and Prejudice sequels, but they don't all suck.  This one sucked.  It's bad.  I think this bit from my review sums it up:

Essentially, it’s Darcy and Elizabeth crackfic, that got published.  It was such a train wreck that I had to finish it, just to see what would happen, so I could share it with you. 

Had I actually read the foreword of the book, I could have saved myself the trouble, because I would have read something that probably would have stopped me cold.  The author, you see, had never read Pride and Prejudice, until she saw the 2005 movie.  In short, she thinks the 2005 movie adaptation is the best.  I must, respectfully, disagree.  One actually did a good job of translating the book, using the dialogue, bringing Miss Austen’s work to life – and one just looked pretty.  (Also, one has dripping-wet Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, and one does not.  I leave to you to decide the effect on quality.)

Let's put it this way - it was so bad, I was afraid to leave it on a shelf.

Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie - I've already mentioned the two Agatha Christie books that made really smashing movies (Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, for the curious), so on this one, I'm going to go with Pride and Prejudice.  The two BBC productions, the 1980 one with David Rintoul and the 1995 A&E production with Colin Firth, are both well worth watching, all I think the 1995 one wins by a little bit.

Days 20-30 )
desertvixen: (prickly and pretty)

Days 1-15 )

Day 16 – Favorite female character - Much like I couldn't just list one, I bring you a top 16 list - because female characters are awesome, and don't get enough love, IMO.

#16 - Cherry Ames (Cherry Ames series) - I prefer the Cherry-during-the-war stories, because after that, they were a little on the silly side sometimes.  Cherry is a nursing student when we meet her, and dabbles in detective work.  She's fearless and cheerful and not super goody-goody.  She's fun, and I like that the books have been reissued. 

#15 - Charlotte (Charlotte's Web) - I know she's not a human female, but she gets stuff done.  And she's smart, and uses her words.

#14 - Elizabeth Shelby (Star Trek: New Frontier) - Peter David's brought her a long way from the two TNG episodes she appears in - he's given her humor, back story, and a willingness to go along with the crazy, because it just might work.  She gets to be authoritative without being considered a bitch. 

#13 - Kristy Thomas and Mary Anne Spier (Baby-sitters' Club) - Yes, I'm serious.  I love the "best friends who are opposites" thing, and I like that the relationship between the two of them feels real.

#12 - Amelia Peabody Emerson (Amelia Peabody series) - I enjoy reading about her, although maybe I wouldn't want to be in her path when she's on a mission.  (Plus, every time I read the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys novel that's set in Egypt, I wonder if she's the reason the tour guide is named Mrs. Peabody.  It gives me a giggle.)

#11 - Elizabeth Bennet and Fanny Price (Jane Austen) - These characters couldn't be less alike.  Yet they both make their respective books worth reading. 

#10 - Ariadne Oliver and Jane Marple (Agatha Christie) - They each have their own style, but I like them.  Mrs. Oliver, a mystery novelist (sort of a self-insert of Christie) insists that if we had a woman at the Yard, crimes would get solved.  Miss Jane Marple of Mary St. Mead solves all her crimes through knowing human nature - and knitting.

#9 - Laura Ingalls Wilder, Caroline Quiner Ingalls (Little House) - When I was a kid, I really liked Laura, and identified with her (especially as I had dark hair, dark eyes, and vivid imagination).  As I get older, I find I like Caroline more and more - and admire the courage both characters show.  (They're also the only "real" characters to make the list)

#8 - Parker Brown (Nora Roberts, Savor The Moment) - She's the sister of Delaney in yesterday's question, and "her book" is coming out in November, so I am quite excited.  She's organized and cool under pressure, and she gets stuff done. 

#7 - Jenny Chawleigh Lynton, Lydia Lynton, Kitty Charing, Ancilla Trent, Anthea Daracott (Georgette Heyer Regencies) - There's several wonderful female characters in the books, but these five are at the top of my list.  Jenny is from A Civil Contract, which isn't very romantic and dashing, but is touching and real.  Lydia is her young sister-in-law who consistently steals the scene.  Kitty is the heroine of Cotillion - she seizes hold of an opportunity to change her life, and she's smart enough to realize that she's found a better man than the one she had dreams about - and she helps out the people around her.  Ancilla Trent is a governess, and the heroine of The Nonesuch, in which it's nice to see the bluestocking get her man and the spoiled brat man-trap to get no one.  Anthea Darracott is one of the dysfunctional Darracotts in The Unknown Ajax, and deserves an award for not killing any of her relations.

#6 - Prudence Merryweather, Emily Faringdon, Lucinda Bromley, and Venetia Jones (Amanda Quick romances) - Prudence is one of my favorites because she's a peacemaker and problem solver, and drives a hard bargain.  Emily was really the first romance novel heroine who made me think that she was worth reading about - and I sympathized with her habit of withdrawing into fantasy to get away from the reality of her family.  Lucinda and Venetia belong to the Arcane Society novels (with Caleb and Gabriel from yesterday, respectively).  They get things done and keep me entertained.

#5 - Eve Dallas, Delia Peabody, Nadine Furst, Louise Dimatto, Mavis Freestone, and Charlotte Mira (JD Robb "In Death" series)
- These are the core female members of the series, and I love them.  More importantly, I love the way they work together and play off each other, and everything does NOT have to revolve around men (unless they're a criminal).  They have work lives and personal lives and they act like real people.  Eve is prickly and pragmatic, Peabody soothes all the people Eve irritates, Nadine wants her next media accomplishment as much as she wants to breathe, Louise is the crusader, Mavis keeps an eye on everyone's mental health, and Dr. Mira provides the insight.  I can't wait to see what they're up to next.

#4 - Judy Bolton (Judy Bolton series) - She's considered to be more feminist than Nancy Drew, and she actually grows and changes.  I enjoy reading her, although I don't like the later books as much.  In one, she really impressed me when comparing her two suitors, noting that one wants to do things for her, and one wants to do things with her.  She's smart enough to pick the second one.  She also has a temper, and sometimes acts without thinking.  She's worth reading.

#3 - Anne Shirley Blythe (Anne of Green Gables) - I already talked at length about the Anne of Green Gables books, so let me just say: She's delightful.  She gets lost in daydreams, loses her temper, and never loses hope.  She also doesn't give up, and while she might be accused of having rose colored glasses, she really doesn't - at least, she knows when to take them off.

#2 - Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan and Alys Vorpatril (LMB's Vorkosigan Saga) - I love Aral Vorkosigan, but I don't think he would be as interesting without Cordelia.  The two of them together make a formidable team, and they share a talent for cutting through to the heart of things, so to speak.  Alys handles all of the social things (which on Barrayar is much needed) and ensures everything is done Properly - or people suffer. 

#1 - Nancy Drew (Nancy Drew series) - Yes, I am serious.  I love her, in her various incarnations.  She has provided me with many a break for a tired-out brain that can't take one more serious book.  From the original Nancy in the 1930s (yes, there are class/race issues in the books, but Original Nancy takes charge and has adventures) to the revised "yellow spine" Nancy Drew, in which the books were updated (i.e., let's get rid of the lazy Irish stereotype and bad dialect for anyone NOT white) in which she lost some of her moxie and got more correct, to the 80s and 90s, when she got back into action and flirted with Frank Hardy, to the newest update, which I'm not liking so much.  And yes, I write Nancy Drew fanfic, because she's fun to read about, and fun to play with.

Days 17-30 )

desertvixen: (Admiral Vorkosigan - See That)

Days 1-14 )

Day 15 – Favorite male character - It's more like a top 11 list (I had hard time excluding anyone on it), but there are a lot of male characters I really enjoy - and not all of them fall into the Imaginary Boyfriend status.

#11 - Ramses Emerson (Amelia Peabody series) - What can I say?  He's smart, handsome, devoted to his wife, and he likes cats.  He loves his family, even when things get (okay, stay) crazy. He's also one of the few characters that's as much fun as a child as an adult.

#10 - Hercule Poirot (Agatha Christie) - I know there's a lot of people who don't like him, including his creator, but I love to read the books and watch him driving everyone crazy before he solves the mystery.  He's also a man of compassion, and he respects justice.

#9 - Peter Dobbs (Judy Bolton series) - He's a lawyer who cares more about justice than money, and he loves the woman he loves enough to let her be herself (and enough to wait for her to make up her mind).

#8 - (Chief) Inspector Hemingway (Georgette Heyer mysteries) - He's up there with Poirot on the driving people crazy factor, only he's also part of the police force.  He sees stuff others don't see, and he's pretty silver-tongued when he needs to be.

#7 - Archie Goodwin (Nero Wolfe series) - He's a great right-hand man for a detective who doesn't always have great people skills - and pretty down to earth.  Even better with Timothy Hutton playing him.

#6 - Gabriel Jones and Caleb Jones (Amanda Quick's Arcane Series) - They aren't your stereotypical Victorian men-about-town, but I wouldn't like them so much if they were.  Caleb wins over Gabriel by the slightest, since he actually RUNS the paranormal detective agency.

#5 - Delaney Brown (Nora Roberts, Savor the Moment) - If I ever wanted a guy to step out of the pages of a romance novel, this one is it.  We'll hear more about him on Day 20.  Also a lawyer with a sense of justice, even if he's not dealing with criminal matters.

#4 - Gilbert Blythe (honorable mentions to sons Jem and Walter) (Anne of Green Gables series) - He's likable, what can I say?  And one of the reasons my taste for tall, dark, handsome, and SMART was set so early in life.

#3 - Alistair McKeon (Honor Harrington series) - One of my favorite Weber characters, from the first to the last.  I might have given up Honor here and there, but I didn't give up on him until Weber killed him off (and played with us about it).  I especially enjoyed him in books 7 & 8, and still can't read the end of At All Costs without getting choked up.

#2 - Frank Hardy (Hardy Boys series) - The other reason my taste for tall, dark, handsome, and smart was settled so early.  He's smart, and a little geeky (especially in the 80s/90s) but he's always in charge and calm.  He has a taste for justice and solving mysteries, and a sense of humor. 

#1 - Aral Vorkosigan (LMB's Vorkosigan saga) - Honestly, I could probably do a top 10 just of male characetrs from this series, because there are so many wonderful ones.  I can safely say that even though the series is technically about his son, I would never have kept reading without Aral.  He's a man of integrity and loyalty, no matter the cost for himself.  He's compelling, if not movie star handsome, and he gets the best speeches.  (honorable mentions to Ivan, Gregor, and Simon - if you read the series, you know who they are - if you haven't read the series, look up Cordelia's Honor and dive in!)

Days 16-30 )

desertvixen: (Admiral Vorkosigan - See That)

I forgot about this last night when I was doing my review, but I also found myself thinking about another aspect of how Cryoburn could affect fandom.

Cryoburn and Fanfic (Spoilery!!) )
 It could be fun....
desertvixen: (Admiral Vorkosigan - See That)

 I finished it today.  The non-spoiler version - not her best, but better than Diplomatic Immunity

 Here's my take, under a cut for spoilers.
Cryoburn Review, Heavy on the Spoilers )

 DV (picking the less appropriate, but less spoilery icon)



Aug. 15th, 2010 11:43 am
desertvixen: (Admiral Vorkosigan - See That)

So I accidentally got spoiled by a bit of Cryoburn spoilage somewhere I didn't expect it.

Under the cut:

Spoilers for Major Vorkosiverse Event )

ETA: No blame intended about the spoiler.  It wasn't a logical place for the people having the conversation to be talking about the spoiler.  But I think I'll go download it this evening so I can read it and get the whole impact.

desertvixen: (clue bat)

 I have a hardcover of the first Sharing Knife book.  And you know what?  I just can't get into them.  I've had the hardcover since it came out and BLEH.  ([profile] tepintzin, we feel about the same on this one)

 Since they're only going on Amazon for about $6.45, does anyone who had to buy a PB copy want the HC?

 Comment and let me know.



desertvixen: (Default)

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