Month: May 2013

Looking for recipes

Posted May 24, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments


Daily Life. The text 'Lynn's Living Life' underneath the cameo silhouette of a woman. Daily life updates.

I’m looking for recipe ideas! Well, actually, a very dear friend of mine is looking for recipe ideas to rekindle interest in food and I offered to post something to ask my readers/dwircle for help. I’m a lousy cook, so signal boosting is pretty much the best way I can help and I know some of my readers/dwircle are avid cooks or otherwise know a fair deal more recipes than I do.

Obviously, though, these recipes have some specific requirements or any old recipe book would do. I’ll make a bulleted list for everyone’s convenience.

  • they need to be vegetarian (no meat of any kind, no beef, no veal, no fish, no chicken, etc) or easily adaptable to a vegetarian dish
  • they need to be nutritious (er, I suppose that’s obvious, but.)
  • they cannot be oven-based
  • they cannot include anything difficult to source on a small Scottish island (e.g. tomatoes = fine, sweet potatoes = fine, pak choi = nope, Eastern/Mexican speciality foods = right out)

My friend’s all right with adapting recipes if it’s just replacing X ingredient with Y ingredient, so hopefully that last won’t prove much of an issue for people in the recipes they want to recommend. She’s not in a particularly good place right now emotionally, so I really, really mean it when I say that the recipes need to be nutritious!

Anyone have any recipe suggestions? My friend absolutely needs specific, direct, human recommendations because she just isn’t in the headspace to experiment a lot or deal with having to figure out which recipes on a site/in a cookbook are good recipes for her to try right now.

Thank you so much in advance for thinking along or/and signal boosting! <3

ETA: *facepalms* D’oh. You can absolutely link to specific recipes instead of typing them up yourself in a comment! It’s going “Here is a site with lots of recipes for you to look through” that she can’t deal with right now.

ETA2: First, I’d like to give everyone a great big THANK YOU to everyone who’s offered recipes and signal boosted (so far). But what I’m mainly editing for is a brief note brought to my attention by jjhunter.

Below is what my friend mentioned when asked for a slightly more elaborate list:

“Fresh, I can currently get tatties, sweet potato, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, courgettes, spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, chives, eggs (providing the hens are laying well)…cheeses…onions. Green/red peppers, lemons and aubergines in the big supermarkets if I’m lucky. Dried or canned I can get pearl barley, pasta, lentils, various beans, peas, sometimes sweetcorn. Probably couscous if I looked for it.”

I hope that helps people!


Announcing: The Last Unicorn Read-along

Posted May 24, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Other People's Creations / 2 Comments


The Last Unicorn Read-along Banner

When I grew up there were a couple of movies that I’d watch over and over and over. The Last Unicorn was one of them, but it was years before I realised that the movie was based on a book — we’d taped it when it was on TV, you see, and that bit of rather crucial information did not survive — and it would be years more before I finally got my hands on a copy of the book by Peter S. Beagle. In fact, it was a gift for my 18th birthday. I was enchanted. It’s one of the few books I’ve allowed myself to reread after my TBR pile got completely out of control and it’s one of the few books on my “My precious” shelf, also known as the “I am not lending this to you even if you live in the same house as me” shelf. (I’m very protective of those books; if anyone’s going to accidentally wreck them or read them until they fall apart, it’s me.)

The Last Unicorn was a comfort read during a dark time for me too. I have all the love and feels for this book (and the movie) for all sorts of reasons, which is getting rather in the way of writing a great introduction to my read-along plans, but promises you will get copious amounts of squee later on. I promise to try and have interesting discussion questions (and answers), but my lack of self-confidence keeps me from guaranteeing you’ll have that, sorry. T_T Hence why the squeeing is important. There will be lots of squeeing and squealing.

The Last Unicorn is Peter S. Beagle’s most famous work. Have a description of the plot (don’t worry, it’s a back blurb with little-to-no spoilers):

The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician–whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended–when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna’s Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

I love this story and the world so much. I can’t even. <3 But because I love this tale so much and because I was introduced to it, like many, through the movie adaptation, I also wanted to devote some time to re-exploring those related works I’ve managed to get my hands on alongside the book, and I wanted to invite/encourage people to do the same, so that’s why the read-along dates are a little… funky-looking.

The Schedule

The schedule for the read-along will be as follows:

June 17th – June 23rd: Chapter 1 through to the end of chapter 7
June 24th – June 30th: Chapter 8 to the end
July 1st – July 7th: Related works (i.e. the movie, the graphic novel, Two HeartsThe Woman who Married the Man in the Moon, etc)

You can get a copy of The Last Unicorn (book, graphic novel or movie) at your usual retailer; Two Hearts is collected, amongst others, in The Line Between; and The Woman who Married the Man in the Moon can also be found in Sleight of Hand.)

I’ll be putting up my posts on Fridays, so that’s the 21st, the 28th, and the 5th. This way anyone who wants to use my (discussion) questions can do so and have some time left to mull over their thoughts.

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All the Signal Boosting and linkspam

Posted May 24, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments


Links. The text 'links' underneath a big, old-fashioned key. Links I felt were interesting.

I don’t normally do linkspam round-ups like this on my WP blog. I’d tell you I’m not sure why, but I know exactly why: making these posts on WP scares me. People I don’t know might see them and judge me and — Well, you get the idea. It doesn’t bother me as much on DreamWidth because the culture there is very different.

Anyway, here you are. An assortment of links of potential interest and signal boosts. And this time — it’s probably the coffee — I actually have the energy to make them proper links! *gasp* I am quite happy about that. This looks so much nicer.

Hope there are interesting links in there and further signal boosting is no doubt appreciated!

Signal Boosting

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Book Talk: The Poppet and the Lune

Posted May 24, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


OuaT7 read again! It’s such a sweet piece. It falls under fairytale for me because of how strongly it’s a modern fairytale. (That comment will make sense once you’ve read it.)

The Poppet and the Lune by Madeline Claire Franklin

Cover for The Poppet and the Lune by Madeline Claire FranklinN.B. This refers to the original 2011 Smashwords release. Hopefully, the 2013 version recently uploaded tackles the grammar and proofreading issues I had.

I loved the ideas of ‘The Poppet and the Lune’, but the execution needed a /lot/ of work. I started skimming because of the sheer amount of telling and the need for proofreading. The proofreading issues were relatively small things that quite a few people would probably just read over without noticing them, but combined with how much telling there was in this book it made for a frustrating read. I almost abandoned it every single time I put it down (and quite a few times in between), but I stuck with it and I’m glad I did.

‘The Poppet and the Lune’ is a fairytale. It’s absolutely adorable and heart-warming. The titular characters are a girl stitched together by moonlight and a werewolf. The girl is created after a great tragedy strikes a village and kills all the children. The good-hearted witch promises them she can make a new child from all the others, but she dies before she can complete the spell. Time passes and the poppet/patchwork girl decides to leave the village to find her own way in life. Along the way she meets a wolf, who isn’t who he appears to be, and several other creatures, all of whom want something of her.

It’s a coming-of-age story and one of self-discovery. It touches on the meaning of (human) emotion as the patchwork girl tries to find herself. It’s about the power of names and the way people interact with one another. It’s about being true to yourself and the choices we make. It’s a fairytale that doesn’t, quite, follow the rules of fairytales and that works in its favour. The narrative is that of a storyteller which highlights the way the story itself is also about the stories: the ones we tell ourselves, the ones we tell others, and the ones we come to believe and how those stories affect us.

It’s also a love story and a story about happy endings. The poppet and the wereman (yep, there’s a reason I’m not giving names) are both intriguing characters and they complement each other well. Watching them navigate the world they’re in, getting to know themselves and each other was a treat. The little glimpses we get shown of their relationship and the world-building are what kept me reading in the end. It’s a sweet, little story.


Book Talk: Frisland Stories

Posted May 21, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Firmly within the folktale category of OuaT7.

Frisland Stories: Eleven Tales of Folk Magic by Niko Silvester

Cover for Frisland Stories by Niko Silvester These eleven stories are all tied together through more than just place. I wasn’t really expecting that, I admit. The characters weave in and out of each other’s stories in fascinating ways. The writing itself could use a little polish. The voice isn’t as strong as it could be, tenses weren’t handled as well as they could have been, and the sense of place could have been firmer. I was so sad that it didn’t entirely convince me because there are so many brief flashes where it took my breath away with how well they were done.

Anyway! The stories themselves were lovely. They’re a mingling of tales I know and tales I didn’t, presumably because they’re unique to Frisland/Silvester. I have a soft spot for folktales retold this way, to see how they spin out within a vastly different culture and yet remain familiar too. They play with your expectations too.

The stories themselves are varied, dealing with friendship, love, greed, magic, longing, belonging, grieving… I loved the connections between all the stories. Sometimes it was just someone getting mentioned and other times it was someone showing up briefly or playing a more active role. Andry, a young boy we meet briefly in the first story, later gets a tale of his own. The dragon gets seen again. Etc. There is no overarching plot line — it didn’t even feel like the stories were entirely chronologically ordered — but there’s still… something that speaks of progress and growth throughout the collection. It was a delightful read!


Book Talk: Myth, Magic and Glitter & Winged Things

Posted May 19, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


OuaT short story collection reading FTW! These two count towards myths and/or folklore and/or fantasy, take your pick.

Myth, Magic and Glitter by Sarah Diemer and Jennifer Diemer

Cover for Myth, Magic and Glitter by Sarah and Jennifer DiemerThis is the second-latest (as of this writing) magazine instalment of the Diemers’ Project Unicorn. It’s their best yet! I /loved/ these stories and couldn’t pick you a favourite if you forced me to. They were all phenomenal. These stories all take on existing myths (something the Diemers have a strong record with) from various cultures. So far, the Diemers have stuck fairly close to western myths and fairytales in their retellings, but this sees them branch out into a few other cultures as well.

There’s “A Myth of Ashes” which cleverly combines Cinderella with an even older myth, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. You’ll probably pick up on it quite quickly when you start reading, but I think it’s the more powerful because of that. There’s “When Thou Wakest” which is as much scifi as it is fantasy and a strong take on origin myths in general. There’s “Even in Another Time” which I wished tied the storylines a little more tightly together because I would have loved it even more. There’s “Phasma” which it would not surprise me in the least to learn it was inspired at least partially by Tam Lin. There’s “True if by Sea” which is their first venture into a trans* story and may be one of my favourites for the sheer amount of hope and love in it. There’s “Speak of the Devil” which is a darker tale, a poem rather, about the Jersey Devil. It’s not at all what you might expect. It’s also easily the darkest of the stories in the volume and it feels a tad out of place because of that, but it’s still a good tale.

There are more tales and most of these are freely available on their website if you want to try them before you buy, but they’re worth every penny. I loved this little collection and I look forward to their next works!

Winged Things by Jennifer Diemer and Sarah Diemer

Cover for Winged Things by Jennifer Diemer and Sarah Diemer This is the latest (as of this writing) magazine instalment of the Diemers’ Project Unicorn, and it follows up the quality that they delivered in ‘Myth, Magic and Glitter’. Some of these stories see the return of an issue I had with earlier volumes in that the stories don’t feel finished. For example ‘Aphrodite Has a Daughter’ is over before its plot even has a chance to start properly. This makes sense when you know it’s an introduction to a novel-to-be (as I did), but might make a reader feel cheated if they didn’t know. Sometimes I felt like the stories could have benefitted from a little more length to introduce elements more strongly, such as in ‘Flower Constancy’ where the ending felt a little too abrupt.

Largely, these stories weren’t what I was expecting and that probably does bias me a little because it means I never enjoyed this as much as I was hoping I would. It also means every story surprised me, though, because none of these stories ever went where I was expecting them to go. I loved that. I enjoyed these. It’s an odd mixture of the quality of ‘Myth, Magic and Glitter’ with some of the lack-of-polish from the first few volumes.

My favourite is probably either ‘Solitary Birds’ by Jennifer or ‘Unwanted Things’ by Sarah, with a close third runner-up being ‘The Bee Telling’ (again by Sarah). These were the stand-out pieces for me. ‘Solitary Birds’ was beautiful. It ended at just the right spot for me to want to shout “But you can’t end it there! The story’s not over yet!” except that I /know/ that’s not true. It’s a perfect ending spot for a short story. And it doesn’t spell everything out and the descriptions of Emerald are wonderful and the communication barrier… It was lovely. ‘Unwanted Things’ manages to carry a strong environmental message as well as everything else. I quite liked these fairies (well, this fairy) and I /loved/ the concept! And ‘The Bee Telling’ is so sad. But I do so want to learn more about this world and the philosophies behind bee telling.

Lovely collection, as always.


Book Talk: The Bard’s Daughter

Posted May 17, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Whoot! I read books! Actually, I’ve been reading a fair few books and stories, but I haven’t really been talking about them much. When I gave up on book blogging, I did so partially because I’d burned out on it. I picked it up again because I thought I’d rested and healed enough. I thought I’d figured out what had caused my to burn out on it and could handle it if I just made changes. Turns out I was wrong about that. I’ve been book blogging again since March and it’s already left me back at the point where I was when I quit initially. Clearly, more things need to change. I’m not quite sure how to do that yet, but we’ll see. For now, I’m catching up on the burbles I’ve written and not yet shared and scheduling them all in advance. Maybe I’ll have a new system by then, maybe I won’t. We’ll see.

(Yes, I still want to do the The Last Unicorn read-along, have no fear, people whom I’ve rambled at about it! I will still be doing that come June/July somewhere. I just need to pick a date, cut the questions down to a more manageable level, spruce up the questions so they make sense to people who are not me and are reasonably intelligent questions to ask, and figure out how to tackle promo banners because I have none.)

And now, without further ado! The actual review I promised in the title!

The Bard’s Daughter by Sarah Woodbury

Cover for The Bard's Daughter by Sarah Woodbury

I’m very tempted to describe this as a cosy mystery. I don’t read pure mystery too often, so I don’t know if people who do feel it fits there, but it was a very cosy read and a mystery, so. Cosy mystery. The book is a prequel to Woodbury’s Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries, which I haven’t yet read. I picked this up in the hope that it would be a good introduction to the world and Woodbury’s style. I’m definitely interested in reading more! I really enjoyed this.

The story itself isn’t… very meaty, I suppose is a good way to describe it? It’s comfortable it doesn’t twist and turn too much. It’s not necessarily predictable, but neither is it very surprising. Gareth doesn’t actually show up in this story. He gets mentioned as he and Gwen have a past (and it sets up part of the reason I’m interested in reading on: how will these two meet up again and what happens after that?), but it’s largely a story of Gwen’s origins. This is the story of how Gwen became a medieval sleuth, if you want the simplest way to describe the plot.

Gwen is a young woman in medieval Wales, who’s spent her life travelling with her father and brother, following the music. When her father is accused of murdering a man, Gwen doesn’t believe the accusation and sets about to prove that he’s innocent. Before her father is facing execution (something that shocks quite a few people because it’s a foreign law), Gwen has no real thought or idea about what she wants to do with her life. She’s still unmarried and she has no real trade to speak of, despite people having urged her to find one. Facing her father’s execution, she’s forced to do an awful lot of growing up in just a handful of days and figure out who she is and what she wants in life.

The historical details aren’t ones I can vouch for in terms of accuracy, but they work well within the story that Woodbury is telling. There’s a strong sense of societal upheaval and change in this short novella and it’s a fascinating look in what changes in government might mean for a society.

I look forward to exploring more of Woodbury’s work!


Book spine shenanigans

Posted May 6, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments


Daily Life. The text 'Lynn's Living Life' underneath the cameo silhouette of a woman. Daily life updates.

The last time I did a book spine meme, I came up with a grammatically correct sentence that was something like seventeen books long. If I still had the books and/or the photographic evidence I would show you all and prove it, but that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about how I was bored tonight and caught in a mood where I did not (still don’t) want to read. (At least the author whose book I’m reading now knows how to use vocative commas. They’re still not hard, people!) Anyway. I was poking about the internet as you do and came across a book spine meme note.

And I thought to myself that it would be an utterly brilliant idea if I, you know, putzed around with my book titles just for the fun of it. Except… Except two things, really, or possibly three depending on how you count:

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