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An Echo in the Bone, by Diana Gabaldon

An Echo in the Bone, by Diana Gabaldon

Echo in the Bone

I finished this a week ago, and I've had trouble coming up with a rating or a review. I usually like Gabaldon's writing for the most part, but this book was a disappointment. I think I've got to go with another 2-star here.

It's obvious that she did her research, but a lot of stuff seems to just be thrown in to get to show off said research and didn't make a lot of sense plotwise. In fact, I found many passages to be confusing in this installment, and many others were just plain dull and didn't seem to serve the story. I agree that she was using too many viewpoint characters in this one. So we have a looooong book with random stuff happening across different times, but very little is actually accomplished...including a satisfying ending. There were several cliffhangers left unresolved, and the book just stopped rather abruptly.

I thought the book before this one was getting better, so Echo seems even more lackluster by comparison. Claire & co. get swept along by history, but I wish they had a bit more agency and weren't just floating around like flotsam. This is an obvious bridge to the next book that doesn't stand alone as a satisfying novel.


A Breath of Snow and Ashes, by Diana Gabaldon.

Breath of Snow & Ashes

CW: As I feared and have come to expect, this novel features even more rape.

I waffle between three and four stars for this one. I like it much better than I liked the last two, but I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I took a long break from the novels. I guess we'll call it a 3.5, but I'll round it up to four.

The book kept my interest the whole time and had some wonderfully vivid scenes. Gabaldon is a bit repetitive, but this one was well plotted with most loose threads neatly wrapped up by the end. I found some of it predictable and wasn't really surprised by many of the twists, but she did surprise me about one particular theft. I see some complaints about all the sex scenes when Claire and Jamie are supposedly “old” now, but I don't consider them old and find their healthy sex life refreshing if sometimes repetitive. I enjoy a more mature heroine and have no problem with their aging.

I still find her books disturbingly rapey and didn't think that the rape(s) in this book adding anything necessary or desireable to the story, and I didn't particularly like the way the aftermath was handled. Yet another disappointing rape scene. That drops a star at least for me, but I'm talking myself into rounding downward so I'll just wrap up here.


Dear Yuletide Author

Dear Yuletide Author,

Thank you for writing a fic for me! I am remarkably easy to please. I love everything from fluff to darkfic, gen to any kind of slash, canon characters to OCs, happy to tragic endings, canon compliance to crackfic... as long as you avoid a few squicks, I am almost guaranteed to love anything I get.

I enjoy every aspect of BDSM, mind games, polyamory, unrequited love/sexual tension (I also enjoy the requited kinds). The only squicks/DNWs that I can think of are: rape/non-con, abuse (consensual BDSM is fine), scat, watersports, Mpreg, a/b/o, weddings, coffee shop/high school AUs.

I'll try to give a few prompt ideas because I know some people really appreciate them. Please don't feel tied into these ideas, though. It's just to give you some idea of what I love and squee over. If you need more insight into my fandom loves, you are welcome to check out my [archiveofourown.org profile] ahavah

Kushiel's legacy I
Imriel Trilogy

Kushiel's Legacy – Imriel de la Courcel, Mavros Shahrizai, Phèdre nó Delaunay, Ysandre de la Courcel

Characters are definitely an OR situation -- you do not have to use all 4 nominated characters for your story.

I love the interactions between Imriel and Mavros and Phèdre and Ysandre. Anything showing their friendships would be awesome. If you want to take it beyond friendship, I ship these two pairs hard. I'd love to see more of Mavros helping Imriel come to grips with his Shahrizai side! Or even just a light-hearted romp together, or a trip to any of the Night Court houses. I would so love to see an assignation between Phèdre and Ysandre! Surely there's been at least one while Drustan was away (or include him too, if you like).

If you'd like to center a fic on the complicated feelings between Imri and Ysandre, that would also be cool. Mavros's feelings for Phèdre are maybe less complicated, but feel free to explore those as well.

I enjoy epistolaries, so letters between any of the characters would interest me as well. I think the first person POV of the books lends itself to this well, but I would also enjoy seeing things from Mavros's or Ysandre's POVs.

I'd be interested in further exploring any of the plotlines from the books OR in seeing how things settled down in the aftermath. What is Mavros's role in Imriel and Sidonie's court? Does Ysandre begin trusting the Shahrizai a bit more after Imri proves his worth and the matter with Melisande is finally settled? Does Phèdre ever start taking assignations again? How does Imri feel when he finally becomes a father?

I will revel in anything that shows more of this world or these awesome characters. Anything! If you'd rather write what's it's like growing up as some random Eglantine adept or a provincial rube who becomes a Priest of Naamah, or what it was like when the angels walked Terre d'Ange, I would love those just as much.

Being Human

Being Human (US/Canada) – Aidan Waite, James Bishop, Josh Levison, Nora Sergeant

Characters are definitely an OR situation -- you do not have to use all 4 nominated characters for your story.

I really loved this show, and I felt like it ended far too soon. The ending was sadly rushed, so feel free to handwavium as much as you like.

I really love the relationship between Aidan and Bishop. I'd enjoy seeing anything from any of their time together. I like the glimpses back into various points in history (with or without Sally hopping around therein). I'd love to see more of how they built a vampire empire together. Or I'd love to see more of Bishop's origin story. I've always wondered about the circumstances around his turning.

I'd also be interested in any other 'daughters' they've turned besides Susanna. Female vamps got too little screen time for my tastes, so feel free to explore that more. How would Bishop have grown if he'd changed his human love instead of killed her? Or if you want to get shippy with A&B, I'm game for that too.

I really liked getting to see into Josh's “shamanic journeys” as he came to accept his wolf. I'd love seeing more of that internal struggle and growth with him. I'd enjoy seeing him and Nora create a pack that doesn't go all to hell. Or show what it's like with them as parents raising little werewolf babies. Do the kids inherit Josh's super!wolf powers? Does he create a new line of super!purebreds?

Josh/Aidan interplay is fun, too. I like both super!wolf and socially awkward Josh. Feel free to include any other characters, or alternate timelines. This canon works well for crossovers too, if that's something you're interested in. I'd love any more time with this world, whether it's day-to-day slices of life or over-arching battles between competing supernatural beings.


Fear the Walking Dead – Nick Clark

I like just about all of the characters, so feel free to include anyone else you might like. Nick is currently my favorite, though. I'd love to see more about him dealing with his addiction/addictive personality in a post-apocalyptic world. I don't think that was explored enough in the show. Or maybe show us some of his adventures when he runs off by himself/walking with walkers. A deeper look into any of his relationships would be interesting. Nick is a guy who seems to create plenty of feelings in others. Feel free to explore relationships with any other character (all would be interesting in different ways), or even with an OC. I think we're starting to see him become a little more badass, so feel free to explore his feelings as he trains, kills zombies, or kills people. It would be interesting to see him take a leadership role over Madison (they have a complicated relationship) or Alicia.

Thank you again for considering writing a story for me!


I Am SOOOO Miserable

Josh introduced me to Joe Robinet's youtube page, thinking rightly that this was a bushcrafting page that I would really like. We're quite into survival shows, bushcrafting, prepping (sort of), and all that stuff. I've really fallen in love with this guy's page and have been binging nonstop for the past week or two.

It's got me inspired to get out and go hiking again! We've been meaning to hike more, which we used to do all the time in North Carolina. We don't really know many good hiking trails around our new area in Missouri, but we want to learn. So Josh, Maya (6 now), and I all went for a hike the other day. We almost didn't go because we had a bit of a fight that morning, and now I'm kind of wishing we hadn't. We picked up something while we were out. I didn't get any bug bites while out, but when we came home, that night Maya and I got attacked. Me worse than her. I woke up covered in bites from my toes all up my feet and legs. I mean COVERED. I've got bites in between my toes, one really heinous one on my toe cuticle, all the way up to my upper thighs, far too near special places for comfort. In fact, I no longer understand the word 'comfort' at all. I've never been so miserable in my life, although Josh claims I was the year I got chiggers (it took two years for those bite marks to disappear). He thinks maybe these were sand fleas. I worry they're still in my house. I don't know what to do. If I'm still getting more by Friday, I guess we'll try bug bombing, but we're boke now. And now I'm covered in these awful, itchy, pus-y bites, and I can't do anything to relieve them. I've been spraying down with bleach, covering myself in anti-itch cream, using this homemade bite stuff that Josh made...nothing is helping. It's awful. And here I was so happy to go hiking again.

I have since learned about permethrin, which apparently you can treat your clothes with to avoid most bugs while out in the woods. I'm going to invest in maybe a whole gallon of that stuff when I get paid. I'm just glad Maya doesn't have it as bad as me, but she still got some pretty uncomfortable bites. Sadly, I can't get anything at the moment. We've had to break down and rely on our emergency credit card these last two weeks, and we had to use it to get a new starter for the truck this week. So we'll have about $200 or more to pay down on that, and this is the first we've had to use it like that. I hate credit cards, but that (the truck, mainly) is why we broke down and got one, so I'm glad it was there. I just don't know how long it will take us to pay it down, since our light bill is due and we're still catching up the phone bill. Things are really sucking right now.

On a happier note, all this inspiration has gotten me back over to Trail Journals. I read my old posts, which I had fallen off the wagon about, and realized I've gotten no farther in my hiking goals in the past year. So I'm buckling down on that. I'm going to keep getting out there and getting back in shape, and I'm going to start investing in one good piece of gear every month. We live very near a portion of the Ozark Trail and have never checked it out. I've tried to find the access from our town and have had no luck. Our portion is also known for being the worst with upkeep, too, with markers spaced out miles apart and the trail not well maintained, so I don't want to get out and get lost. I can buy good maps from the Ozark Trail website, but they're expensive. I want to eventually do a whole thru-hike, so I need to just (eventually) invest the $100 it takes to buy the whole huge map set. That'll be on my monthly list, I guess.

Josh has found a hiking backpack at Walmart that he really likes. It's kind of pricey, so we haven't gotten it yet, but he's going to get it when he gets paid Friday. I've asked around and found a couple good suggestions for hiking trails. We're going to keep at it. And I'm going to start practicing and learning survival/bushcraft skills. We've watched the shows for years, and I thought I had decent knowledge, but I realized I do not when I couldn't even start a fire with a lighter and fluid. So time to get out there and actually start putting all that theory to practical use. I'm apparently a running joke in our house that I would die the first day of any survival show (possibly before being dropped off, even), and I don't like that. So I'm going to learn my stuff and show them all!


First Day of School! (Ever.)

Their faces in this pic kind of says it all.

Eden is not happy to be going to public school, but I think it's not nearly as bad as she thought. She came home grumbling, but she kind of had a smile on her face as she did so. She'll get used to it. I know she has a hard time around a lot of people, but there's only ten kids in the 8th grade class (unless some were absent yesterday).

Maya and Ivy are excited. Seems like it all went well. They're struggling with feeling rushed because they only give 4 minutes between class changes. I worry for Ivy most of all, because he has to go all the way up to the third floor to use his designated bathroom. I told him that if he doesn't have time, he should just get his books during break and ask for a hall pass to use the bathroom during class. His teachers should hopefully understand. The PE teachers were really cool at open house and said that they'd dismiss him early from class so he can go have time to change. He only has PE twice a week.

He was supposed to have band, but he ultimately switched out of that class. Apparently keyboard was not an option (he's self-taught, and he's GOOD already), plus he can't read music and the teacher told him he'd be way behind everyone else. There wasn't another instrument he wanted to try, so he swapped out and has a study hall hour instead. We all feel good about it, because we got an 'asshole' vibe off the teacher at open house. Josh says he's met him before and our vibes are correct.

Eden has an art class, which I'm happy about. She's a great artist, and I think she could get really good if she studied other/proper techniques. I've tried to get her to do so before, but she's so stubborn and has this 'The way I do ANYTHING is the right way' attitude -- which made it very hard to teach her anything. So hopefully school will be good for her.

Maya seemed happy enough with kindergarten. Her teacher is nice, she said, so that's a plus. I still have to find her a nap mat. She hasn't had naps in years, but apparently she needs one for school, so that's on my to-do list if I have time today. Ivy and I are going to St. Louis for our Transparent/Gender Creative Kids Club meeting. I'll stop at yet another walmart if I have time and see if I can find a nap mat.

I was iffy about doing the transparent meetings on a school night. We live 2+ hours away, and we usually don't get home til sometime between 11 pm-12 am, depending on if I have to stop at the store on the way home. Ivy claims he can do it and really wants to go, so we'll see how it works. I told him he'll have to do his homework on the ride (he forgot his homework at school yesterday...supposedly). We'll see if either of us can get up at 6 am tomorrow morning. He just had a birthday, so now that he's 12, he should be moving up to the teen group. We'll see how he likes that one.

All in all, it went pretty well. I had a GREAT day, personally! The house was so peaceful and nice. I got my chores done by 10 am, had a write-in, and then Josh got home from his half-day so we got some alone time to watch some shows together (which actually loaded and played for us without everyone else online). He's off for the next few days, so we can even have date time for a change if we want! This is fabulous. I do kind of wish we'd done this earlier. I always loved homeschooling, but it's been 2 or 3 years now where I just can't seem to get them to do anything for me anymore, so ultimately it was no longer the right choice. I don't feel nearly so guilty anymore. Hopefully school will go well and that feeling will continue.

Epic Toothbrushing Survey

Hello, friends! This week I am participating in GISHWHES, the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. Please help my team out by taking this quick one-question survey!



Revisiting DragCave

Do you guys remember DragCave? It was really popular many years back on LJ. You collect tiny virtual dragon eggs and raise them into various dragons.

I've decided to revisit the game. I hadn't logged in in so long that all of my dragons had lost their names. I had some good ones too, and now I had to fudge with adding things like “Original”, “the First”, or hyphenating names. I'm kicking myself for losing some of the good ones. Especially my Firefly, Princess Bride, and Grateful Dead themes (although I did bring a lot of those under the Ridiculous lineage). I took the last two days and went through and renamed most of my dragons. The ones I'd written descriptions for, anyway, that said their names and the ones whose lineages showed what kind of names they needed (Dorkface, Ridiculous, Thuwed, Mudita, etc.).

So I'm trying it out again. And I'll log in often enough (how often?) that I don't lose all my names again. If you want to help, you can help keep my eggs alive by clicking on them. They need clicks and views to live.

Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today! Adopt one today!

Here's my whole scroll if you're interested. I'm happy to breed for people too if you see anything you like. You can separate your dragons into groups now, so I've made a group (highlighted at the top of my scroll) that has all of my dragons whom I've written personalized descriptions for. I used to use them as writing exercises. Some of them are pretty good, if I do say so myself. I might try that again since I haven't been able to write in a while.

Anyway, check it out if it interests you. Thanks for any views or clicks you give!


Kushiel RPG

Love As Thou Wilt

Kushiel's legacy I

Would you like to be a young noble playing the games of thrones or courtship? Or perhaps an adept in the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, a Cassiline Brother, the Royal Admiral, or a Menekhetan diplomat?

The Kushiel RPG is a play-by-email roleplaying game based on Jacqueline Carey's bestselling Kushiel's Legacy books. We are starting a NEW GAME. This game is set 300 years before the events of Kushiel's Dart. Come join us for intrigue, fetes, assignations, and more!

To play, you must be 18 years or older and join both the Kushiel RPG and Kushiel RPG OOC lists.

Free Kushiel's Dart e-book

You guys know I LOVE Kushiel's Dart. If you're wondering what the hype is, go here to download it now as Tor's free e-book of the month. You have to download it by July 19th, so hurry!

What, exactly, is Kushiel's Dart?

Imagine an alternate medieval France where the inhabitants are descended from angels. A god-touched courtesan is saved from a life of ignominy and becomes a spy who must save the realm! There is such amazing worldbuilding and plotting in this novel. Sex is part of their religion, and our heroine is marked to feel pleasure in pain, so there is plenty of sexy time, including bdsm sexy time. But that's only a bonus to the rich tapestry that is this book. Check it out!

You can read my full review here on Goodreads.



Ahavah Ehyeh

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