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Posted by Amanda

This Is Just My Face

RECOMMENDED: This is Just My Face by Gabourey Sidibe is $2.99 at Amazon! This is a Kindle Daily Deal and isn’t being price-matched yet. Check out the other deals today; there are a few romances included! Redheadedgirl enjoyed this one and gave it an A:

This is a really interesting memoir by someone who I didn’t know much about. She’s got a complicated life story, and a great attitude as she sashays her way through her life. She’s funny, and touching. And, as ever, the inner lives of Black women are still not something that receives nearly enough attention.

The Oscar-nominated Precious star and Empire actress delivers a much-awaited memoir—wise, complex, smart, funny—a version of the American experience different from anything we’ve read

Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.”

Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham.

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Wicked Intentions

RECOMMENDED: Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt is $1.99! Elyse really enjoyed this book and gave it an A-:

Serial killer. And Ghost of St. Giles vigilante. And river pirate. And bondage.

If any or all of those things appeal to you, I’d really recommend this book. If you’re looking for a spicy historical, or one not focused around the glittering aristocracy, Wicked Intentions fits the bill. Aside from a few ball scenes, this book takes place among the working class of London.

A man controlled by his desires…

Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London’s most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand— she’s spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk.

A woman haunted by her past…

Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance’s help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London’s high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control—one that may well destroy them both.

A bargain neither could refuse.

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A Duchess in Name

RECOMMENDED: A Duchess in Name by Amanda Weaver is 99c! Redheadedgirl reviewed the book and gave it a B+:

This book involves a massive renovation, a HERO that was won in a card game, awkwardness, and learning to love each other despite a most inauspicious beginning. Throw in some terrible parenting, and we got ourselves what could totally be a miniseries jointly produced by ITV and HGTV.

Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham’s finishing school, she’s been groomed since birth to marry an English title—the grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can’t matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.

Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he’s devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family’s fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn’t care to know.

Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn’t so intolerable after all—but it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed.

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Angel’s Ink

Angel’s Ink by Jocelynn Drake is $2.99! This is a paranormal urban fantasy, and the first book in the Asylum Tales series. The book has a 3.6 average on GR, and readers particularly liked the hero, who is a former warlock who now runs his own tattoo parlor. I’m actually pretty interested in this book, but I’m wary about buying it for some reason. Anyone care to weigh in on whether to buy or bypass?

Buyer beware . . .

Looking for a tattoo—and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of true love, or even a hex on an ex? Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town. Using unique potions—a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks—to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart’s desire. But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has its price.

No one knows that better than Gage. Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Tower where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him the right to practice magic. And if he disobeys, his punishment—execution—will be swift.

Though he’s tried to fly under the radar, Gage can’t hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead—or the secrets of his own past. But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage might just make it through this enchanted world alive.

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Posted by Amanda

Lightning Reviews are back with another trio of quick thoughts on a few selected books. We have a must-have cookbook, a Clueless graphic novel, and a YA book that blends fantasy, Chinese folklore, and high school!

 

    Clueless: Senior Year

    author: Amber Benson

    While nothing can match the divine quality of the movie Clueless, the graphic novel Clueless: Senior Year is a fun reunion with Cher, Dionne, and Tai, the main characters from the movie. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should watch it before reading the comic, because the comic will make more sense and because everyone should watch Clueless.

    The story picks up on Cher’s last day of junior year. One of her teachers tells the students that they are being assigned a project. By the end of their senior year, they have to turn in a report on what kind of adult they want to be. Cher, Dionne, and Tai each get a chance to answer that question in their own chapters while Cher’s romance with Josh, her boyfriend who is now in college, suffers due to her experimentation with being an “activist-environmental-entrepreneurial grown-up.”

    Cher’s storyline is, like Cher, adorable. She jumps into her project in the graphic novel with the same overboard enthusiasm with which she jumped into the Tai makeover in the film Clueless. It’s even more fun to see Dionne and Tai come out of Cher’s shadow and develop their own confidence. All three stories are relatable and celebrate both independence and female friendship, with some romance as well.

    My favorite thing about this is the art. It matches the aesthetic of the movie but throws in some grunge drab for a visit to Seattle, and soft earth tones for a trip to Tai’s family farm. Movie fans will be pleased to see that Cher’s poufy pen (what did we call those?) makes many appearances, as does some Lisa Frank-inspired art and a lot of cassette tapes. It’s a fun love letter to the movie and to the 1990’s.

    Carrie S

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    The Epic Crush of Genie Lo

    author: F.C. Yee

    Y’all, I gotta tell you, I’m getting some great pitches from Twitter these days.

    This was billed as a treatment of Journey to the West, and I totally admit that most of what I knew of Journey to the West is from The Forbidden Kingdom, which is not a good movie, and has significant problems, but also has Jackie Chan and Jet Li. As an introduction to “Hey you can read more about this!” for JttW, the film doesn’t suck and the fight scenes are glorious.

    Anyway, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo is about our heroine, Genie, a Chinese-American high school student who is in the midst of college prep when a new student shows up and turns everyone’s life upside down, especially Genie’s. Quentin is annoying, and always around, and Things Happen around him….and he’s also the embodiment of the Monkey King. And he’s drawn to Genie because she’s a reincarnation of another member of the Journey’s party. Together, they have to save the world from escaped demons. And also get into college.

    This was a FUN READ. Genie is hilarious, and fights so hard against destiny because goddammit, this isn’t in the schedule, and also this Quentin dude is annoying and clingy! I find that romances based on literal destiny can be dicey – I like agency in my romances. But they spend enough time together that Genie gets to know Quentin on his own terms and like him for himself, not just because they are supposed to.

    There’s also some great tension between Genie and her mother which explores the children of immigrants dynamic. Add a little magic in there, and things get really fun. Yee also does a really good job of instructing the reader in the salient points of Journey to the West, so if you didn’t grow up with this tale as one of your childhood stories, you can still follow what’s up. I recommend this for anyone looking for fun adventure stories that invert a lot of destiny-romance expectations.

    Redheadedgirl

    ,

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    One-Pan Wonders

    author: Cook's Country

    I don’t usually review cookbooks here, but this book has been making me so happy, I had to share. I first borrowed this cookbook from the library, because the Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks can be costly, especially if I end up liking one or two recipes. I ended up liking this cookbook so much, I bought my own copy and have been adding recipes to our rotation since it arrived in July.

    Y’all. Y’ALL. I love this cookbook. I love recipes where I can put a bunch of stuff on a sheet pan or in a dutch oven and let heat and time do their thing while I do all the other things I have to do. Some of the recipes are more hands-on than others, but the ones I’ve made I’ve enjoyed so much. Each section focuses on one container or method of cooking: skillets, sheet pans, dutch ovens, casserole dishes, roasting pans, and slow cookers. There are a set of recipes designed for each method, and I’ve tried several so far.

    I’ve made:

    • Lemony chicken with spinach and potatoes: This one is made in a skillet, and comes together very quickly (a number of the recipes are labeled as “weeknight friendly,” which I appreciate!). The flavors are simple but interesting, and I liked the wilted baby spinach. Usually spinach that’s not raw in a salad makes me gag.
    • Lime ginger chicken with rice: This made a lot of rice, but it was delicious. There are a bunch of different flavors and the combination didn’t get boring. I wanted to keep eating.
    • Italian sausage with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and polenta: I loved this recipe. It’s all cooked on a sheet pan, and the combination of textures and the balance of the sausage, the polenta, and the pepper/tomato mixture was perfect. We’re making this one again very soon.
    • Mexican-style spaghetti squash casserole: I’ve made this three times already. I usually hate squash – I think it has a weird aftertaste. But by heating the spices in olive oil, then tossing the spaghetti squash and the chopped vegetables with that oil means that the spices permeates the squash and yay, no weird aftertaste! I have eaten a portion of this casserole every day for lunch for a week and have been very, very happy about it. (Seriously, yum.)

    If you’re a vegetarian, alas, there aren’t too many recipes in here for you. Most involve meat or fish. And if you eat zero carbs, like no potatoes, rice, or pasta, the pickings get a little sparse.

    But for my weeknight cooking rotation, this cookbook has made me so happy. I am trying new recipes in the next few weeks, and I’ll report back how they go. I love the ease and convenience of using one method or container for the food preparations, and so far the flavors and combinations have been terrific.

    SB Sarah

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Posted by Amanda

Sarah: I had my hair cut this week, and as I got in the car, I thought that having very short hair is very appropriate for watching this film.

“And Introducing Audrey Hepburn…” Oh, we have met, I assure you.

I love the long opening credits. And Edith Head did the costumes! Of course she did.

This is a trope that works for me – individual bound by a massive weight of duty and expectation finds a temporary escape to be themselves or the opposite of their lives. It’s a lovely mix of behind-the-scenes and public self vs. private self, both of which I love.

CarrieS: If I were going to present her with stuff it would be cookies, tennis shoes, and a puppy.

“I’m just being veeery happyyyy” yes dear, I know that’s exactly what happens to me when I eat creme brulee. No lie.

Sarah: I also love the tension in the boring “please meet everyone” scene where she nearly loses a shoe, and then the Cinderella reference when she can’t get it back on in time. Adorable. Also the relief that they helped her avoid a breach of protocol.

Though I question the protocol that requires all these people from different countries bowing to her

CarrieS: What is it about Italy and romance? How many romance movies have we looked at so far with an Italian theme?

Sarah: That said: here is some fun, though not sourced trivia:

The Embassy Ball sequence featured real Italian nobility, who all donated their salaries to charity. The reporters at the end of the film were real, too.

Audrey Hepburn as a princess with a crown and dress

CarrieS: If there’s anything we should have learned from romantic comedy it’s, “Never make a bet.”

“What would you do for $5000” is a line with strange overtones when it’s spoken by one guy to another while grappling in a bar.

Sarah: “It’s nerves. Control yourself, Ann.”

Bugger off, lady! Girl is dramatically upset and it’s totally earned. And she gets a royal sedative.

Sarah: Nighttime gallivanting with a sedative in your bloodstream seems like a bad idea. But if you’re going to pass out on a low fence, Gregory Peck is the best thing that could happen, I think.

CarrieS: Peck improvised the Mouth of Truth so her reaction is genuine.

Sarah: I love the “dance” on the staircase going to his room.

“I’m terribly sorry to mention it, but the dizziness is getting worse.” I love the absurd politeness. I’m going to say this all the time now.

I love that he thinks he holds all the cards (ha ha) and he does not.

CarrieS: Gregory Peck should always be wet and disheveled.

Sarah: The haircut scene is one of my favorites. When I last donated my hair, and my stylist put my hair in a ponytail to cut it all off, even though we both knew what we were doing, I was so nervous, and so was she. Also why the hell is he back-combing her hair before he cuts it off?

And short bangs! She looks so good with short bangs. Interesting pacing note: she gets her hair cut at nearly exactly half way through the film. She buys ice cream and flowers at about 1:02 and the film is about 2 hours long. Epic change midway through!

CarrieS: Um they totally just smashed up a lot of other people’s stuff, people who probably didn’t have a lot of stuff to spare, and lied their way out of paying for it and that is a jerk move, also, how old are these characters supposed to be? Peck you are a little stalkery.

CarrieS: “You should always wear my clothes.”

“It seems I do.”

Sarah: I love how Joe is early on a varying level of jerk, and slowly does something unselfish. I also like the way the film parallels itself. Her princess agenda includes going to all these sites to improve trade relations and connections on one level, and her tour of Rome in semi-disguise is more personal, and focuses more on how real people in Rome live day to day. She’s supposed to be given a car which she will refuse, but then she steals a scooter and drives it all over Rome (and makes a big mess – geez, woman). And the movie begins with her dancing at a ball, distant, silent, and impersonal from each person, and midway through she’s on a barge dancing (scandalously!) close with Joe and actually talking to him. There’s the distance of her role contrasted with the intimacy and experience of her day as a (sort of) anonymous individual.

Her realization that her job and her role mean a lot to the people of her country: “Were I not aware of my duty to my country and my family, I would not have come back tonight, or indeed ever again.” Also: she’s wearing a dark almost-black dressing gown instead of white silk — o RLY?

Audrey Hepburn with short hair and bangs!
CarrieS: The grab and hug just kills me. Every. Damn. time.

The hug and kiss moment!

Sarah: They do a lot of subtle face reactions and they get my right in the hearty feels.

Also, I LOVE that the first question is like, “So, princess, what do you think about a European Union?” Well, let me tell you some things from the future! You’d better sit down.

Expressions of personal affection through bland press statements – I am terribly sorry to mention it, but I am a puddle of feels right now.

“I will cherish my memories here as long as I live.” I’ve seen this movie a mess of times, and I am all sniffly.

CarrieS: It’s an A movie, obviously. Am helpless before its powers.

Sarah: Meeting the press contrasting the opening meeting of the dignitaries — this movie’s parallels are so well done. My catnip, so much catnip.

And then he stays there, waiting longer than anyone before he leaves. Oh, gosh, this movie works so well on me.

I just did the dumbest thing: I wondered if there were fanfic for this movie. Can you imagine such a ludicrous question? Of course there is!

This is so timelessly effective and charming, and gets me every time I watch. It’s easily an A for me.

Audrey Hepburn sadly telling Gregory Peck that she doesn't know how to say goodbye

Complete aside for trivia via IMDBThe original writer, Dalton Trumbo, was blacklisted as one of the legendary Hollywood Ten, and therefore could not receive credit for the screenplay, even when it won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Story. Instead, his friend, Ian McLellan Hunter, one of the writers of the final screenplay, took credit for the original story and accepted the Oscar. Hunter did, however, pass on the $50,000 payment he received for the job on to Trumbo. Trumbo’s wife, Cleo, was finally presented with the award in 1993, long after his death in 1976. The Oscar she received was actually a second one, because Hunter’s son wouldn’t give up his father’s Oscar. Thus, two awards for Best Motion Picture Story of 1953 exist. The story credit was corrected to credit Trumbo when the restored edition was released in 2002, nearly fifty years after the original release.

The drunken Ann recites a poem, “If I were dead and buried when I heard your voice, beneath the sod my heart of dust would still rejoice.” which prompts Joe to declare her “well read.” The poem is actually an original work by Dalton Trumbo, the blacklisted writer.

Sarah: The history of the blacklist in Hollywood is both fascinating and very eerie given current political media climate. I really enjoyed this series from You Must Remember This devoted to the history of the blacklist. If you’d like to know more about it, I hope you enjoy it.

Is Roman Holiday a romantic classic for you? Or does it not hold up to modern scrutiny? Let us know what you think! 

archersangel: (jedi sheep)
[personal profile] archersangel posting in [community profile] books
At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: "degenerate" works he despised. In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world's great art from the Nazis.

It's the book the movie was based on. I really wanted to see the move, but couldn't get past my dislike of movies with George Clooney and/or Matt Damon.
A note about the movie: Among those leaked e-mails from Sony studios was one from Clooney (who directed as well as acted) apologizing for the movie not doing very well. My brother saw it on one of those "entertainment news" shows where they tried to make it seem like it was a bad thing, but my brother said: "If anything, it makes him seem like an even nicer guy than you hear about. that whole "gentleman George" thing,"

The book was interesting, if long & is one of those forgotten stories of World War 2 that more people should know about it. To that end, they have an official site about the real men (& women) behind the story. And there's a monuments men foundation to help preserve art that is in danger from armed conflicts today. they are also looking for info on missing cultural objects from WW2 & other wars.

I've read several books about little known or forgotten people & stories of WW2 & am convinced that if a movie studio just did movies about them, they could put out movies for at least a decade.

opalsong: (podfic)
[personal profile] opalsong posting in [community profile] amplificathon


Title: All That Remains
Author: KouriArashi
Reader: Opalsong
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairings: Allison/Scott, Derek/Stiles
Rating: Teen
Length (total): 4:44:30
Music: Hang 'Em High by My Chemical Romance
Cover: Opalsong (heavily influenced by Kylie L's gorgeous covers for this series)
Summary: Stiles calls Oblivion. Nobody answers.

Podbooks Link:
Podbook [4:44:31; 135.0MB]

Chapter Links [length; size]:
Chapter 1 [26:38; 21.2MB]
Chapter 2 [30:50; 42.6MB]
Chapter 3 [32:00; 25.2MB]
Chapter 4 [19.01; 15.2MB]
Chapter 5 [16:05; 22.3MB]
Chapter 6 [23:03; 18.3MB]
Chapter 7 [27:30; 21.7MB]
Chapter 8 [27:12; 21.6MB]
Chapter 9 [23:19; 18.3MB]
Chapter 10 [27:47; 21.8MB]
Chapter 11 [31:05; 42.9MB]

Thanks to Paraka for hosting!!

cross posted at amplificathon, my journal, and AO3

Outlander 3.02: Surrender

Sep. 23rd, 2017 09:00 am
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Posted by Redheadedgirl

outlander season 3 with claire and jamie on either sides of a stonePreviously: Jamie survived Culloden, and got sent home to Lallybroch. Claire had their daughter and is trying to make a home in Boston.

The title splash is a redcoat posting a wanted poster for an outlaw called the “Dunbonnet.”

At Lallybroch in 1752, three boys, in the manner of troublemaking boys, find a hidden pistol in the dovecote. They are Rabbie, Wee Jamie, and Fergus (HEY FERGUS). Their bragging is interrupted by a bunch of soldiers who are looking for the Dunbonnet, who might also be Jamie. Jenny, who is very pregnant again, tells them (as they arrest Ian), that they haven’t seen Jamie since the filthy traitor went to the rebellion. The soldiers remind them that anyone harboring a traitor will be hanged, and they tell him the same thing they told five other commanders – there’s no Red Jamie there. They arrest Ian anyway, and Fergus spits at the Redcoat who is a Corporal MacGregor.

Of course, Jamie is there, in ragged clothes, long hair, and generally looking not at all like himself. He successfully hunts a stag (with a bow and arrow) and brings it to the house after dark. When he walks in, he has a vision of Claire working in the garden, but it’s really Jenny. He’s haunted and hunted and isn’t used to talking.

Jamie carries a stag to Lollybroch. He thinks he sees Claire, but when the woman turns, it's Jenny.

Inside, they butcher the deer, Jenny and Fergus keeping the conversation going while Jamie is silent. Jenny also asks Jamie if he can help with the books, since Ian is away for a bit. Jenny also tells him that her conscious is clear when it comes to lying, because she’s not: “James Fraser hasn’t been here for a long, long time.”

Claire, in her bed, pants as she remembers Jamie in happier times (by which I mean sex and fun bed times). We get a nice shot of Sam’s butt in her memory. But it’s Frank sleeping by her side, and she’s alone.

It’s 1949, and Claire puts Bree in her bed (with her Bunny), and in the Globe, there’s an article about Irish Independence. Bree fusses a bit, and Claire tells her that she’ll want to hear this: “This is history in the making.” Bree makes her own history by rolling front to back the first time. (Claire’s dressing gown is very 1940s, but also reminiscent of one of her Paris dressing gowns, which is a nice touch). Frank comes down in just a towel and they marvel over their clever daughter who rolls over a month ahead of schedule. Claire puts on a hand on his naked chest. It’s a moment, and neither is too sure what to do with it.

Frank holds baby Bree. Claire touches his chest.

Jamie paces through the woods to his little cave covered by bushes. He hears someone outside, but it’s just Fergus, who SAYS he was very careful and doubled back on his trail. He’s brought the pistol and wants to learn how to shoot so he can be ready for the next rebellion. Jamie tells him there won’t be another one, and Fergus snaps ,”Just because you’re a coward now doesn’t mean I am!” Jamie just tells him that weapons are outlawed, so PUT IT BACK.

In the house, Jamie comes to help with the books, and finds that Jenny is in labor.  Mary tells him not to worry. The boys are doing their chores, and see a raven. Rabbie tells them that his Granny said ravens are messengers of death, and they shouldn’t be near a birth… so they decide that the best thing to do is get the pistol and shoot the raven.

Of course, there are soldiers near enough to hear the shot. Jamie is about to throttle one or all three of them, when Mary tells him that the baby has been born- a boy- and takes the gun.

Inside, Jenny is quite pleased with herself, and is going to name the new baby Ian. He is a wee chicken. Jenny tells him that Jamie looks good with a baby, and then asks how long it’s been since he had sex. Jamie tells her to not go there, and she’s like it’s been 6 years and Mary McNab is young enough. Jamie takes the baby out to meet the others, when he hears the soldiers looking for the gun. Jenny settles herself in bed, and calmly tells them that there’s no weapons. They threaten to search the house. Baby Ian starts making noises and Jamie shoves a fingers in his mouth, and Jenny’s like look, we always cooperate, there’s no weapon!

He asks her if she’s given birth, and she tells him that baby came early and was dead. (MacGregor says that’s good, it’s one less Scot to deal with.) They ask where the body is, and then the Captain gives and order to find the midwife. At the point, Mary comes in with the pistol. She tells them that it belonged to her husband, and she kept it because it gave her comfort, and she fired it at a raven to protect that baby. MacGregor scoffs at the “stupid Highland superstitions” and offers to take her into custody. The captain says nah, they have the weapon, but warns Jenny that if anything happens again, they will not be so lenient.

A solider snatches the gun from Mary.

The soldiers leaves, and Jenny muses that she’s seen the look in that captain’s eyes before… he’ll not give up. She tells Jamie to dig a fresh grave in the cemetery, just in case.

In Boston, Claire wakes Frank up and says she “misses her husband” and initiates sex (with her on top). This is the first time they’ve been together since she came back.

In Scotland, Ian is brought back, and MacGregor tells him that the garrison is searching to north and south, and they’ll be back. Fergus eyes them darkly.  Ian thanks them for the “lovely visit.”

Fergus sneaks out, where there is a soldier hidden, waiting to see who leaves the house. In the woods, Fergus knows he’s being followed, and leads the pair of soldiers, including MacGregor, on what he intends as a merry chase. He taunts them Frenchishly, runs, gestures, and taunts them a second time. Jamie hears the yelling and sneaks to see Fergus spending more energy on taunting and less on running. Fergus gets cornered by another pair on horseback, and MacGregor uses his saber to cut off Fergus’s right hand. The soldiers leave, and Jamie tumbles down the slope and puts on a tourniquet and brings him back to the house.

Jamie picks up a wounded Fergus.

Inside, Jamie paces by the fire, and Jenny tells him that Fergus is alive because of Jamie. Jamie says he should have stopped them, and Jenny sensibly points out that if he had, then they would all be dead. Jamie falls to his knees, sobbing, and Jenny holds him.

After he’s collected himself, Jamie finds Fergus, who says that Jenny has been quite generous with the whiskey (Though he prefers the taste of French wine). And that he’s sorry. Jamie says that Fergus reminds him that he does have something to fight for, and Fergus smiles: “There you are, Milord.” Fergus also reminds Jamie of the agreement they made in Paris: if Fergus lost an ear or a hand in his service, that Jamie would support Fergus for the rest of his life: “In one stroke, I have become a man of leisure, no?”

A pale Fergus, lying in bed. I have always trusted you, milord.

Claire and Frank are having Millie (the neighbor Claire met) and her husband over for dinner. They are having Eton Mess for dessert, and Millie laughs that she doesn’t do baking – if it’s not in the freezer section, too bad. Jerry says she that her “talents lie elsewhere.” They are affectionate, and easy with each other, in the way Claire and Jamie were and Frank wishes they were.

After Millie and Jerry leave, Frank pours Claire a nightcap, and after some banter, she takes his glass, removes her panties, and guides his hand between her legs. Her eyes are closed as he lays her down in front of the fire, and he asks that she look at him. She refuses, and he stops. He doesn’t want to be used as substitute: “When I’m with you, I’m with you. But you’re with him.”

Claire and Frank, face to face. Claire is untying his tie, mid seduction.

The him in question gets a drink from Ian, and Ian talks about the phantom pains he gets in his leg: “Feeling a pain in a part of you that’s lost…Claire was your heart.” I dunno, that’s laying it on bit thick, show. Upstairs, Jamie sees a tapestry with the family arms on it that’s been slashed – the British did that. Jamie muses that they won’t stop until he’s found.

Jamie’s plan is to have Jenny turn him in: that way they get the reward money, they prove their loyalty to the Crown, so the soldiers will stop harassing them. Jenny hates the idea, like REALLY hates it. She’ll hide her brother forever if that’s what he needs, because Ohana Means Family. Jamie’s plan is that Jenny will tell the British that she’s heard from Jamie, and she knows when he’ll show up, so that’ll be that. Jenny says that he’ll be “hangit” but Jamie doesn’t care all that much, and besides, it’s been seven years. They’re not hanging people that much. It’ll just be prison. Jenny asks Jamie if he’s not seen enough prisons, and he shrugs. “Little difference to the prison I live in now.”

Jenny says "Have you not seen the inside of enough prisons for one lifetime?" Jamie replies "Little difference to the prison I live in now."

In his cave, Jamie sees Mary bringing him food and offers him company. She shaves him, and cuts his hair, and he thanks her for her bravery for turning over the pistol to the British. He leaves to go bathe, and tells her to bring back the books to the house, and toss the rest. She doesn’t though: she offered him company, and he comes back to find her in her shift.

What she’s offering is a moment of humanity. She’s not trying to compete with Claire. “Something we both need. Something to keep us whole as we move forward in this life.” He wrestles with himself, and admits that he hasn’t done this for a while. She hasn’t either, but they figure it out.

In Boston, Claire walks with Bree in her pram, and Bree is a super cute baby. Claire voiceovers that she did her best to resign herself to her new role as wife and mother, while looking at a headline announcing that Truman appointed a woman as Treasurer. She’s been a part of something larger, and eventually… she picks up a knife, and holds it like scalpel, and the picture fades into her actually holding a scalpel. “I would need to do something more.”

A SMILING BABBY BREE. IN A HAT. BECAUSE BABIES COME WITH HATS

She’s in the Anatomy classroom at Harvard Medical. She’s a first year, and her professor muses that Harvard is being super modern this year, with a woman and a Black man in the class. Claire takes her seat amid the hostile glares of her classmates, until the Black man walks in. He asks if he can sit next to Claire, and she smiles.  His name is Joe Abernathy. They shake hands, while the white dudes shake their heads in disgust.

The professor starts class: “Alright, gentlemen. Let’s begin.”

Claire and Joe, looking at each other and smiling in a sea of white dude faces in their anatomy class.

At the house, Claire comes into bed. She and Frank now are sleeping in twin beds.

Frank, turning out his light next to his twin bed. Claire is asleep in the twin bed next to him.

Jenny feeds the chickens in the yard, and Jamie – shorn and shaven and looking like himself, comes to the gate. He swallows hard before saying that he’s come home (and takes off the brown hat). She says nothing, and the soldiers come out of hiding and seize him. He, acting, says, “No, Jenny!”

She, not acting, says that he brought this on himself and she’ll never forgive him for making her do this. The captain arrests Jamie and gives Jenny a large pouch of coins, and she looks away and ashamed. But she takes it. He’s loaded into the cart, and she runs into the house, crying. Jamie sits in the cart, staring at the irons on his wrists.

Jenny, yelling after her brother, "You gave me no choice, brother, and I'll never forgive you. NEVER."

Claire walks across a bridge where a man playing Scotland the Brave on bagpipes is. She pauses to put money in his case, and walks on.

RHG: JOE ABERNATHY you are my favorite new character to come out of Voyager. HELLO.

I had a lot of thoughts while watching this episode- among other things, I’m not as enamored with Voyager as I am with the first two books, so my knee jerk “grouchy when things are changed” is considerably less that it was the first two seasons.

The second was articulated beautifully by this piece on (Bustle? I think it was Bustle) about how this episode made the point that the emotional part of sex exists for men, too. Frank wants the connection, he doesn’t want to be a sex toy. Mary understands that Jamie also wants the connection, and she can and will give him what she has to give.

Fergus, oh Fergus.  Fergus, Fergus, Fergus.

Elyse: See, this is why I stopped reading after Outlander. I want my hero and heroine to overcome their pain and live happily ever after together. Instead Jamie is living in a sadness cave and Claire is sleeping in a Dick VanDyke bed next to a guy she doesn’t love anymore. Also I’m not chill about a kid getting his hand cut off.

So as a non-Voyager reader I just kinda let my head hit the back of the couch and went, “but whhhhhyyyyyy aren’t they together? Whhhhhyyy angst?”

I like that Jenny and Mary are holding everything together though. Jamie and Ian aren’t really present (by no fault of their own) and once again, Jenny is getting shit done.

What about you? How did you like this episode? 

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Posted by Carrie S

B

Alex + Ada: The Complete Collection

by Jonathan Luna
November 16, 2016 · Image
Comic

Alex + Ada is a series of three graphic novels by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn. The series is a love story between a man named Alex and an android named Ada. Over the course of the story, there are many parallels with past and current civil rights movements, as well as explorations of how, specifically, a rights movement for sapient androids might play out. It’s a tender, sweet story with moments of horror and tragedy but also with a truly enduring and endearing romance.

Alex is mooning over his ex-fiancée when his grandmother decides to get him an android companion. Alex’s grandmother, who is a constant source of comic relief, expresses great and uncomfortably explicit delight with regard to the success of her own android, Daniel. One day Alex comes home and finds a surprise from Grandma – an android named Ada.

Alex is quite creeped out by Ada’s complete lack of agency or interest in anything other than whatever he orders her to seem interested in. He is polite to her but can’t figure out how to interact with her (and no, he doesn’t have sex with her). Alex finds an online forum about android rights and learns that androids were built with the ability to be sentient, but have had that ability locked away. Unlocking an android is a difficult and illegal task but a person in the forum offers to unlock Ada. Ada would be a fully conscious person albeit still in an android body.

From this point on, Ada has agency and more of the story is told from her point of view. Unfortunately, unlocking a sentient is extremely illegal, as is simply being a sentient robot. Alex and Ada try being friends and try being lovers, while they also figure out what their lives can be like as a couple and individually given that Ada’s sentient state has to remain a secret.

Ada and Alex almost kissing

The art in Alex + Ada is very simple, but I thought it fit the story. There’s no panel tricks here – everything is drawn inside uniform rectangles and the color palette is subdued. This allows the focus to remain on faces. Even when Ada is standing still and not speaking, it’s easy to tell when she is sentient and when she is not.

The focus of the story is very much on Alex and Ada, but I loved the side characters as well. The only problem is that the more villainous characters are too one-sided whereas the more sympathetic characters are either allowed more complexity or are simply more pleasant to be around. There are multiple examples of healthy, happy relationships that involve a variety of races, ages, gender preferences, and human or non-human statuses. I’m especially fond of a character with a prosthetic leg who wants to upgrade and hang his older prosthetic leg on the wall. His wife is generally supportive, but in an aside to Ada whispers, “That’s NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.”

robot love. The older model robot lacks certain parts but, says his lover, is very good with his hands. The robot says I can vibrate.
Tee hee hee

This isn’t a very complex story and it doesn’t say anything we haven’t heard before about what makes a person a person. It’s also pretty brief and could use more elaboration about the world and other characters.

However, its very simplicity makes it emotionally focused. While everyone in the story is worried about society and the place of sentient robots and whether sentient robots will kill people and how to catch them, Alex and Ada just want to live their lives together. The story is affecting because of the relationship between Alex and Ada, and between their friends. There’s tough going at the end of the story but it ends on an optimistic note, with Alex and Ada poised to be the slightly boring suburban couple they always wanted to be.

Prompt for 2017-09-22

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:55 pm
sacredporn: Kris Allen icon made by Sacred Porn (Default)
[personal profile] sacredporn posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
Today’s prompt is “long time no see”.

Movie Review: Home Again

Sep. 22nd, 2017 08:00 am
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Posted by Redheadedgirl

I feel like the romantic comedy genre isn’t dead; it’s just in a vegetative state. We get a handful of rom coms a year, and they’re usually in the range of “boring” to “well, that happened.” This is slightly to the more interesting side of “well, that happened” seasoned with a few dashes of casual racism.

Alice (Reese Witherspoon) is the daughter of a well-known, award-winning filmmaker who moves back to her father’s home with her two kids after separating from her husband, Austen (Michael Sheen). Her dad has been dead for some unspecified amount of time, and Alice is coping with her new life, and her two daughters are also trying to cope with a new school and LA life after growing up in New York. Through a series of alcohol-fueled birthday shenanigans, she meets a trio of dudes who have come to LA to break into the movie business (they had a short that was well-received at South By Southwest, so they’re not like, randomly, showing up, getting off the bus with a suitcase and a dream), so they end up staying in her guest house for a while. Alice starts a relationship with one of them, Harry, setting up a really interesting older woman/younger dude dynamic. Her husband shows up, and everyone needs to figure out what they’re doing with their lives.

I liked the relationship between Alice and Harry as a very firm “yes, you’re an older woman, and I find you incredibly attractive and sexy” with no apologies or psychological discussions. These are two people who have pants feelings for one another. That’s it. Also Pico Alexander is super adorable, and Reese is also adorable, and they have chemistry to spare. But the movie kind of skates past “why are these two interested in each other beyond the pants feelings?” You see them talking in a montage, but what are they talking about? It’s all very superficial.

I don’t know if I like Michael Sheen. I really don’t. I do know that I’ve never seen him in a comedy before, and I think I’d like to see him do more. (I mean, really, I want more comedy in general, but I think he’s at least interesting in a comedy, and he can play the straight man very well.)

I have seen some other people saying that they really liked this movie because it showed three younger dudes learning how to do emotional labor and help out this single mom. They end up helping with the kids (one plot line involves Alice’s older daughter and her anxiety, and how one of the guys helps her with that), and helping with the house. It’s very sweet, if kind of unrealistic.

The main problem I had is that I have certain expectations of romantic comedy, specifically that there’s an HEA with the two leads together. And this doesn’t. I mean, everyone is happy, at the end, and things seem to be working out for everyone, but Alice and Harry aren’t together. And I miss the movies where you have Julia Roberts giving a heartfelt, “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy…” speech. Those don’t get made anymore, and I’m sad.

I did like Alice processing her life and musing about decisions she made when she was 25 that were supposed to last the rest of her life, and I love the message that yes, an older woman deserves love and sex and intimacy. I thought this was charming, to be honest. I just thought the portrayal was kind of hollow.

This was written and directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who is the daughter of Nancy Meyers, the writer and director of movies like The Parent Trap, The Holiday, and It’s Complicated. Meyers-Shyer had small parts in her mother’s movies, and there’s a definite throughline in Home Again about growing up in the shadow of famous parents (Alice’s mother, played by Candice Bergen, was an actress). Moreover, in a move that I think is fairly typical for people who grew up in the movie business, this is a movie about movie people and the minutiae and frustrations of getting a movie made.

Is that something people who don’t spend a bunch of time reading and caring about the movie business are interested in seeing?

There were also a couple of moments of casual racism that just didn’t need to be there, which was so frustrating. There was literally no reason for the ostensible hero to say “You know what Indians are like,” without anyone calling him out on it.

I honestly don’t see this as a movie that you need to pay full price for. I mean, it’s a movie written and directed and produced by women, and it’s mostly about a woman entering the third act of her life, but it’s just not a $13 movie.

Home Again is in theaters now and tickets (US) are available at Fandango and Moviefone.

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Posted by SB Sarah

Sarah chats with New York Times bestselling author Alessandra Torre and filmmaker and Passionflix co-founder Tosca Musk about the filming of Hollywood Dirt, and the process of turning novels into films. We also discuss the launch of PassionFlix, their goals for service, the production schedule, and some behind the scenes fun moments and challenges that made filming memorable. And we have TWO dogs on the podcast! Very exciting.

PassionFlix launched on 1 September, and Hollywood Dirt premiered 20 September on PassionFlix. They’ve optioned several other projects, including books from Brenda Jackson, and there are two more original films premiering this fall:  Afterburn/Aftershock by Sylvia Day premieres in November, and The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis in December.

Listen to the podcast →
Read the transcript →

Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

You can find out more about Passionflix on their website, and you can sign up there, too: PassionFlix.com. And for more behind-the-scenes info, find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can find Alessandra Torre at AlessandraTorre.com, and on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. And you can find Alessandra’s latest writing on Radish.

If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us on Stitcher, too. We also have a cool page for the podcast on iTunes.

Thanks to our sponsors:

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Sponsor us through Patreon! (What is Patreon?)

What did you think of today's episode? Got ideas? Suggestions? You can talk to us on the blog entries for the podcast or talk to us on Facebook if that's where you hang out online. You can email us at sbjpodcast@gmail.com or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-3272. Please don't forget to give us a name and where you're calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.

Thanks for listening!

This Episode's Music

Shadow Orchestra Sweet as a NutOur music is provided by Sassy Outwater.

This is The Shadow Orchestra’s Sweet as a Nut, from their EP Remaker.

You can find more about Shadow Orchestra at their MySpace page, and their music is also available on iTunes.


Podcast Sponsor

This podcast is brought to you by The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell.

From New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell comes a brand-new series featuring the MacEnroys, a family of seven strong, seductive Scottish brothers who have come to America with nerves of steel—and who will take no prisoners when it comes to love.

The last thing Iain MacEnroy expected to find in his peaceful corner of the Ozarks was a burning cabin with a brutally butchered young couple inside. As he and his brothers bury the dead, a blood trail leads him directly to gravely injured Emily Stanton, who managed to escape the attack.

For Scotsman Iain MacEnroy, Emily’s high-tone accent is a bitter reminder of the oppressive regime he left behind. The last thing he needs is to be burdened by the needs of a beautiful, blue-eyed Englishwoman. But taking care of elegant, educated Emily begins to transform Iain in ways he never imagined. Could it be that the deep divisions from the old world no longer apply in the new—and that Iain and Emily can share a passion as lush and wild as the Scottish highlands themselves?

The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell is available at Kensingtonbooks.com and everywhere books are sold.

Remember to subscribe to our podcast feed, find us on iTunes or on Stitcher.
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Posted by Amanda

The Trouble with Grace

The Trouble with Grace by Jenn LeBlanc is 99c at Amazon and iBooks! This historical romance serves as a prequel for the next book and seems to feature a triad of sorts. Readers recommend this one for those wanting a different sort of historical romance, while others said it was hard to get invested in the romance.

She had no idea what passion was,
Until she saw them…
 

Lady Alain needs a husband, and Quintin Wyntor will do just fine.

She will offer him a mutual agreement of respect and independence–
As long as he never visits her bed to claim his marital rights.

But seeing him with a man, with Calder, changes it all.
For better–and for worse.

Passion stirred.
Desire ignited.

And yet, she still never wants to touch or be touched.

But Quinn’s heart is shattered when his lover walks away so he decides to explore his feelings for Celeste to ease his broken heart.

In one unchecked moment of passion, mutual need spins out of control and bringing Calder home now may just be impossible.

Will Celeste give in to what Quinn wants for her?
Or will she stand her ground and hope they find another way…
 

This book is the story of Celeste and has her happily for now.
It is also the beginning of Calder and Quinn’s story which will be continued in THE SPARE AND THE HEIR.

This book is an autochorissexual romance (on the asexual spectrum) but contains important pieces of a gay romance. Both are explicit.

Warning: this book has a cliffhanger ending for Calder and Quinn, but is very much part of their story.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Down & Dirty

Down & Dirty by Tracy Wolff is $1.99! This sports romance is the first book in the Lightning series. Readers said that while the book is definitely a sexy contemporary, it has some great emotional depth. However, some felt the romance aspect happened a bit too quickly.

This hard-bodied football star is used to scoring. But he needs all the right moves to get past a fiery redhead’s defenses in a steamy standalone novel from the bestselling author of Ruined.

Emerson: Talk about bad first impressions. I have too much riding on this job to show up late on my first day looking like the winner of a wet T-shirt contest, all thanks to an arrogant quarterback who drives like he owns the road. Hunter Browning thinks that because he’s famous, he can fix everything with a smile and a wave of his hand. He’s too bronzed, buff, and beautiful for his own good. Or mine. I can’t let on that I’m a fan . . . no matter how much fun we’d have in the sack.

Hunter: Hitting that puddle was my best play since winning the Super Bowl with a touchdown pass. Sure, it’s not my preferred way to get a girl wet, but I’ll make an exception for Emerson Day. She’s got a sharp tongue and a red-hot temper, even with her soaking clothes plastered to her every curve. Now I know exactly what my next play will be: hire Emerson as my personal real-estate agent, save her job—and see if I can take her off the market.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

A Summer for Scandal

A Summer for Scandal by Lydia San Adres is $1.99! This is a historical romance set in the Caribbean with a heroine hiding her writing identity. One promising review said the feeling between the hero and heroine is very much like Mr. Darcy and Lizzie, but some said the plot execution could have used some work. It has a 3.8-star rating on Goodreads.

Arroyo Blanco, 1911.

When Emilia Cruz agreed to accompany her sister to a boating party, she had no idea that the darling of the literary world would be in assistance—or that he would take such pleasure in disparaging the deliciously sinful serial she writes under a pseudonym. No one save her sister knows she’s the author and to be found out would mean certain scandal.

Stuck on his long-awaited second book, Ruben Torres has begun to edit in secret a gossip paper whose literary reviews are as cruel as they are clever. The more he writes about the mysterious author of a popular serial, the more papers he sells…and the more he is determined to find out her identity before anyone else can.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Vampire Warrior Kings Boxed Set

The Vampire Warrior Kings Boxed Set by Laura Kaye is $1.99 at Amazon and iBooks! It’s $2.49 at all other vendors. This set collects books 1-3 in the Vampire Warrior Kings series and features vampires, obviously. Just a note that these romances are on the shorter side.

Get Laura Kaye’s three bestselling and award-winning Vampire Warrior Kings stories at one great price! Travel from Northern Ireland to Moscow, Russia, to Tromso, Norway in this exciting series featuring the world’s remaining vampire warrior kings as they battle immortal enemies in an escalating war and find unexpected love.

In the Service of the King
Kael, Warrior King of the Vampires loathes the Night of the Proffering. He needs the blood of either his mate or a human virgin to maintain his strength, but hasn’t enjoyed the ritual since he lost his mate. Until he lays eyes on his new offering, Shayla McKinnon, who will give him anything he wishes. Will Kael give in to their overwhelming desire–even if it means risking Shayla’s life?

Taken by the Vampire King
Henrik Magnusson is supposed to be immortal but, thanks to a mysterious ailment not even the blood of the Proffered can sustain him now. Then he rescues a beautiful young woman, and is filled with blood lust and desire he hasn’t felt for centuries…

Seduced by the Vampire
Kate Bordessa has fled to Russia to escape her family’s hopes that she’ll become one of the Proffered. But when she stumbles upon a wounded vampire, she’s instinctively driven to protect him. Will her connection now to Vampire Warrior King Nikolai Vasilyev be strong enough for her to embrace a destiny neither of them was expecting?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

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Posted by Carrie S

B+

Jane Austen, the Secret Radical

by Helena Kelly
May 2, 2017 · Knopf
Science Fiction/FantasyGraphic Novel

I am sorry to inform you, Dear Bitches, that Jane Austen: The Secret Radical is not the stirring tale of an undercover Jane who lives a life of seeming calm while secretly running top secret missions for the abolitionist movement in the dead of night. However, it’s a fascinating nonfiction piece of detective work that points out that in the context of her day, Jane would have come across as a much more politically and socially progressive writer than she does to modern readers.

Author Helena Kelly’s premise relies on the idea that every time period and every culture has its own frame of reference. If I tell you that I do all my shopping at Walmart, that tells you something about me that is different from me saying that I do all my shopping at Whole Foods. Cultural references aren’t always that name brand specific (“name brand” is, itself, a phrase that is a cultural reference) but we all rely on thousands of these references without ever thinking about it.

Over time, certain themes stay current, which is one of the reasons that so many older books remain relevant and meaningful. However, most of the references with which the books’ original readers approached the text are lost, giving the book a different flavor with each new generation of readers. Kelly tries to look at Austen’s texts through the lens of Austen’s first readers, and she finds a lot of plausible evidence that Austen was writing very progressively about marriage, class, slavery, and money during a time when England was at war and dissent or criticism was repressed, often severely.

Here’s an example: In Mansfield Park, there is one reference to slavery that all readers can easily understand, and that is when Fanny brings it up at the dinner table and is shushed. Readers with more knowledge of history also know that when Sir Thomas goes to Antigua, he’s probably dealing with problems on his plantation, which is run by slaves. So far things are pretty overt. However, readers who read Mansfield Park when it was published would also have noticed that Fanny’s favorite poet, William Cowper, was famous for his poems in praise of abolition, and that Maria quotes from a passage about slavery written by Laurence Stern that was all the rage at the time. These, among other references, are obscure today but would have been glaring to Regency Era readers.

The other method Kelly uses is to analyze the text for things like repeated words and certain symbolism. For instance, in Mansfield Park, a book that deals with the idea of being trapped in multiple ways, the word “chains” is used thirteen times whereas in all other her other books combined it’s only used twice. In my opinion, sometimes this method of analysis is plausible and sometimes not so much. It’s clear that Kelly knows her Austen. However, all English majors know the trick of making everything symbolic, whether it’s intended to be or not. I buy the idea that Northanger Abbey is a book with a lot of content regarding sexuality but I don’t buy the idea that the scene in which Catherine opens boxes is about masturbation. Sometimes a box is just a box.

This isn’t light reading, but it’s also not mired in academic jargon. To my surprise, I read it in two days, lured on by the suspense of wondering just what Austen allegedly had to say about various topics. I found the chapters on Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park to be the most convincing and entertaining. The amount of scholarship and the clarity and approachability of the writing is truly impressive.

One of the reasons that I loved the chapters on Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion is that while Kelly does get into the darker subtext, she also celebrates reasons that the romances in those two novels are successful at a level I hadn’t considered. With other novels, Kelly is less sanguine about the eventual happiness of the couples. If you don’t want anyone casting aspersions on Edward from Sense and Sensibility, or Knightly from Emma, or Edmund from Mansfield Park, back away from the book slowly.

I would recommend this to people who have an interest in Jane Austen at an academic level. I would NOT recommend it to people who simply enjoy Austen for some nice reading, nor to those whose primary attachment to Austen is from the television and film adaptation, which tend to soften things considerably. If you fall into either of the latter groups, then this book will either irritate you or successfully ruin all conception of Austen as light and happy. If you like getting into the nuts and bolts of writing and history, then this book will be perfect for you.

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Posted by SB Sarah

After our first and second installments of Podcast and Episode recommendations, my playlist has grown considerably. I listen to podcasts while walking my dogs and while cooking, and I find that sampling new shows is both fascinating, affirming, and intimidating. Fascinating because I learn about so many new cool things, affirming because I’m so excited when there are new shows, and intimidating because I pay closer attention to finer details of my own podcast after I listen to a new one.

But! I always love finding new episodes to recommend, either from shows I’ve already subscribed to, or shows that I’ve just discovered. Here are a few recent favorites.

Still Processing Podcast header with photographs of the two hosts back to backI’ve already recommended Still Processing from the NY Times, hosted by Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham. You can listen on the NYT website, on Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

If you haven’t tried Still Processing, please, please try the episode titled, “We Care For Ourselves and Others in Trump’s America.”

Morris and Wortham talk about the concept of self care, the co-opting of the term, and the history of personal, physical, and spiritual care for marginalized people. They also have a guest, Matthew Steinfeld, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine, talk about diagnosis and care – and about the mental and emotional toll of contentious conversations, and the personal cost of doing the work to engage with people who hold views that are toxic and bigoted. I have listened to this episode, no lie, three straight times. It’s mind blowing.

Adrift podcast I’ve also tried a new show: Adrift, with Geoff Lloyd and Annabel Port. It’s a comedy podcast that seems to be partly about social awkwardness and embarrassment, and partly about random comedy. The two were radio DJs or presenters, and their show ended in March of this year.

The first episode featured stories about Annabel’s dog that had me laughing so hard I couldn’t go up my stairs until I calmed down. It’s sort of silly absurd comedy mixed with stories of social hesitance, and for the most part the two episodes I’ve listened to so far have been quite funny.

Rough TranslationAnd finally, also new: Rough Translation, a new podcast from NPR about issues affecting countries around the world that have a parallel with issues we’re facing in the US.

The first two episodes, “Brazil in Black and White,” and “Ukraine vs. Fake News,” were so interesting, I kept shushing the dog who was whining at me. Then I realized he was whining because I was standing completely still in my kitchen, holding his food bowl, stuck in place trying to fully process what I was listening to. Poor dog (yes, I fed him and his brother).

You can find Rough Translation on NPR’s website, on iTunes, and on Stitcher.

What podcast episodes have rocked your brain lately? Got any to recommend? 

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Posted by Amanda

Workspace with computer, journal, books, coffee, and glasses.It’s time for Wednesday Links, where we post some neat things we’ve found on the internet. I’m currently in one of those states where I’m not sure what day it is and when I do figure it out, it’s always earlier in the week than I’d thought. Which is a real bummer.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries has a Kickstarter to be made into a movie! It’s already been successfully backed (yay!), but there are some awesome stretch goals that the team is working toward.

Big thanks to all of you who sent me the link to Entertainment Weekly’s cover reveal & interview with Lisa Kleypas. I loved this little historical fact from the Q & A:

Where did your idea for a female physician/doctor come from?

When I write these historical romance novels, I do an incredible amount of research just to get the flavor of the time period and to pick up all these details that give the story life. As I was reading about important people back in the late 1800s in England, the name Elizabeth Garrett Anderson came up. I was shocked to realize that she was the only female physician in England for 20-30 years and I had never even heard of her. After she got into the British Medical Association through a loophole after completing all these studies at the Sorbonne in France, the British Medical Association changed their rules so that no more women could be admitted for another 20 years. And I could not stop thinking about her because what an incredible thing to be the only woman in an entire country for that long. So I based this character Garrett Gibson on her and, of course, used the name Garrett, because I loved the idea of using a slightly androgynous name for this really tremendously accomplished and brave woman.

Also, what do you think of the cover? We had some thoughts here at the Bitchery.

 

The Ripped Bodice is doing a Blind Date with a Book, where readers can purchase books based on the description. Readers won’t know the actual title of the book until they receive it and unwrap it! I always love it when people do this. And just a reminder that The Ripped Bodice has graced us with an affiliate link for all of your online shopping.


iGo Keyjuice Keyring

The iGo is an itty bitty tool that unfolds to one USB connection, plus a USB and a USB Micro, so you can plug your phone into your laptop, or into a portable battery. Excellent for tiny emergency kits, too.


In a previous Wednesday Links, we mentioned that Georgette Heyer’s Sylvester was being made into a stage production. Well, welcome Reader Melinda who saw it! Here’s her review:

Not long ago you mentioned on the blog that Lifeline Theatre in Chicago is doing a stage adaptation of “Sylvester” this fall. I’m a resident of Portland Oregon but realized that I’d be in Chicago visiting family during the play’s previews. So we got tickets.

Yesterday afternoon we went to the show, and I am pleased to report that it was well done and very, very fun! All of us enjoyed it–not only myself and my daughter, who are Georgette fans and familiar with the story, but also my husband and son in law who had never heard of Georgette or Sylvester.

The theatre is small, so the environment is intimate, and the production is creative (costumes are suggested, casting is diverse, each actor plays many parts, and there is a “game of love ” theme that organizes and comments on the action). I was personally amazed that such a long and complex novel could be dramatized in a way that made it manageable for a 2-hour running time and yet retained the essential character (and comedy) of the book.

Interestingly enough, the program mentioned that this is the theatre’s fourth adaptation of a Heyer novel, so it seems they have an interest in this kind of literature. They also seem to have done adaptations of Dorothy Sayers and “Miss Buncle’s Book.” If I were a Chicago resident I would definitely be keeping my eye on their future productions

Does anyone else plan on seeing it?

Erotic romance author, Selena Kitt, did an AMA (ask me anything) over at Reddit and I thought the Q & A was pretty informative for authors! Check it out! She talks about promoting books, how to manage a large backlist of books, and more.

Don’t forget to share what super cool things you’ve seen, read, or listened to this week! And if you have anything you think we’d like to post on a future Wednesday Links, send it my way!

More 99c Books from the Swerve Sale!

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda

Level Up

RECOMMENDED: Level Up by Cathy Yardley is 99c! Sarah and author Bree Bridges (one half of Kit Rocha!) had an entire podcast episode dedicated to squeeing about this book. If you want more geeky romances in your life, the next book, One True Pairing, is also on sale!

Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can’t do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…

Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.

Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Crossing the Line

Crossing the Line by Audra North is 99c! This is the third book in the Hard Driving series, but it works fine as a standalone. I’ve read some of North’s books in the past and she does write some pretty sexy contemporaries. Readers loved the chemistry between the hero and heroine, but others wanted more racing action.

He wanted her the first time he saw her. It didn’t matter that he was on stage in front of a room full of reporters, or that his publicist was telling him to move on, or that she was asking him a question about racing. One look at her “just been bedded” hair — completely at odds with her deliciously prim appearance — and Ty Riggs is hooked.

Corrine Bellows is one of the woefully few women in a male profession: sports reporting. In a field where “Hey, sweetheart, can you fetch me a cup of copy” is part of her job description, she’s determined to keep things professional. And while interviewing Ty Riggs, the hottest new driver on and off the track, is a major scoop, Corrine knows that she is in major trouble when it becomes clear that Ty wants so much more and is determined to get it. As things heat up between them, Corrine finds herself on shakier ground. Her big secret just may destroy everything.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Beauty and the Highland Beast

Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall is 99c! This is a historical romance with Beauty and the Beast elements. Readers say the book has a great start introducing the hero and the heroine, but there were others who felt a lot of the plot points seemed unnecessary. It has a 3.8-star rating on Goodreads. This is the first book in the A Highland Fairytale series and right now, you can grab all three books for less than $3!

Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Dair is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Dair’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Dair does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Dair let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Meat

Meat by Opal Carew is 99c! It doesn’t look like this book is part of any series, so you can read without worrying about details from any previous books. I wanted to include this book because the title made me giggle. This definitely falls into the erotic romance category, so expect a lot of sexytimes. However, readers thought the book could have benefitted from being a bit longer.

Just one taste isn’t enough…

I ran into Rex Keene—literally—when I was trying to catch my flight and his muscled, tattooed arms stopped my fall.

Then our flight gets canceled, and we’re stranded in the same hotel room together…it ended up being the steamiest night of my life.

All I knew is that I had to see him again.

I just didn’t expect him to show up a week later in the restaurant I manage…as our new head chef.

But the generous, tender man I spent that night with is gone; instead he’s arrogant, demanding, and terrorizing the staff.

But he won’t give up until we’re together – and I’m not sure I can stay away.

Which man is real?

Who is Rex Keene?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

and

amazon

 

 

 

Speaker of the Lost by Clara Coulson

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:00 am
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Posted by SB Sarah

D

Speaker of the Lost

by Clara Coulson
September 15, 2017 · Knite and Day Publishing
Nonfiction

It’s getting a little bleak for me, reading-wise. This was the first book I finished after 8 DNFs in a row, some of which were nonfiction and some romance or fantasy. I was pretty excited that the beginning of this story was so promising. Then it became repetitive, emotionally limited, inconsistent, and then offensive.

Summary time! Stella Newport is a brand new FBI agent. Specifically, she’s a Lark, which is the name given to the agents in the paranormal investigation division. She’s sent to work with a curmudgeonly, unkind agent named Oswald Bolton, known informally as “Oz.” There are a couple of familiar character types here: the intelligent rookie who is more than she seems, paired with an experienced, jaded agent who lost his partner prior to the start of this story, and who doesn’t want to work with anyone else because emotional vulnerability is awful and he hates it. He works alone – doesn’t anyone understand that?!

This novel is book 1 of a new series called “Lark Nation,” but according to the listing, it’s part of the same universe as another series. First off: I do not think this book works as a stand-alone, and that’s a shame. The exposition and world building presumed that I knew things that I did not, and many major elements, like the entire other worlds and universes that exist parallel to the one the characters inhabit, are very sparsely described.

As a result, I switched between being frustrated that I didn’t get what the characters were talking about and being annoyed that they were so lacking in basic understanding of jurisprudence. For FBI agents, they didn’t know much about aspects of investigation that I would think were obvious. For example: if you suspect your partner has been hit in the head with a brick, throwing that brick into the water while you’re having a tantrum because she’s been fridged seems like a bad idea. Oz’s reasoning is that the rain washed away the evidence that it was used in an assault, but that’s some pretty flawed reasoning for an experienced agent. There are also multiple instances where “something” isn’t right, or “something” seems off, but the main characters shrug it off, or figure they’ll deal with whatever it is at a later time.

Stella and Oz are in Maine investigating a beheading. Some guy was walking home at night on a deserted road, and a headless horseman shows up and lops his head clean off. So Stella is sent to assist Oz, who is already on site, but because there are so many supernatural crimes happening all over the country – a byproduct of some event that happened in the earlier series which I didn’t read – there’s not much in the way of backup for either of them. At one point Stella has a call with her supervisor where she has to tell him about a few more beheadings that happened, and I was so confused how that wasn’t information said supervisor would need to know as soon as they had happened.

The book started out pretty strong: Stella is nervous about her first investigation, but very smart, capable, and confident in her training and her abilities.

Then we meet Oz. Oz is grumpy and also, he’s an asshole. They start by trying to figure out why the dude lost his head. Then more people start dying, and the narrative starts repeating itself. For example: I was told over and over that Stella isn’t sure if she wants to be the one who breaks down Oz’s defenses/”scale the concrete wall Oswald…had built around his heart”/lather rinse repeat.

Honestly, I didn’t care if she did or not. It was perhaps the second or third day of their working together, he barely managed to treat her with respect, and I didn’t really know the scope of what happened to him in the first place. I have dreadfully low tolerance for characters who lack any emotional fluency, and even less for people who use that excuse to treat other people poorly. Example: here’s Oz after he berates a local cab driver – and this is in a small town where he and Stella are already worried about gossip regarding the FBI’s presence and investigation:

Oz knew he’d been too hard on the guy, but again, he couldn’t bring himself to care about the feelings of a random stranger who would ultimately mean nothing in the grand scheme. The cabbie would get over his scare, resume his normal activities, and live, if not happily ever after, then some mediocre variation.

Nice, huh? And it’s pretty consistent with how he treats ancillary characters. I don’t care what kind of structures he’s built around himself. It’s probably a good idea he stay inside them. One of the goals (I presume) of this book is to establish Stella and Oz’s partnership as agents, but the overtly romantic tone, the constant reassertion that it’s somehow Stella’s job to emotionally heal Oswald, and the compressed time period of a few days or maybe a week, did not do enough to make me believe in their alleged progress.

The two things that frustrated me most, aside from the repetitiveness of Stella vs. Oz Walls, were as follows.

First: there was not enough connecting the magic to reality.  There’s a magical world connected to the real one, and the FBI has some sort of jurisdiction over it. But how that works is not ever fully explained, nor is their authority over magical events that happen to humans. Stella has some kind of magical ability (more on that in a moment) and both she and Oz have mage kits and magical rings but the integration of their individual magic into the reality they inhabit was also poorly built. The magical rings are particularly ludicrous: to use one, they have to point the ring at a target and yell “SHOOT!” to make things happen. I kept picturing the elementary school kids in my neighborhood playing superhero and waving their hands at each other: “BOOM! You fell down!” Without a more robust explanation of how the magic works, what the cost is, what its effects are, why they have it and some don’t, the whole wave-your-ring-at-the-bad-guy part seemed dumb.

Then, there’s this part which ruined the whole book for me. Get ready.

Stella is described by Oz when he meets her as follows:

She was roughly twenty-five and built like a ballet dancer, with light brown skin and facial features that spoke of a multiracial ancestry. Her long hair was tamed into a ponytail of black ringlets, leaving no shadows on her face to hide her bright green eyes. No, vividly green eyes. Eyes that almost seemed to shine, even.

I didn’t read about any other characters of color aside from Stella, but figured there would be some. To my knowledge, there were not – though I may have missed a description or two, as I began reading pretty quickly once the book began to sour for me.

Then Oz and the reader learns something pretty crucial about Stella:

Show Spoiler

Stella is revealed to be a powerful telekinetic, and part fae. Oz, it turns out – and this is revealed about him after Stella divulges that her grandmother is Summer fae – hates and distrusts the fae. Which leads to this rumination on his part:

Faeries were not his favorite creatures – they stood one step below vampires on his list of THINGS I HATE – but most of his ire was directed at full-blooded fae. They were mischievous, sadistic creatures, who’d taken their inability to lie and honed it into a mastery of manipulation. They were cold, callous, crafty, and clever, and every interaction Oz had with them in the past ended in absolute disaster….

To think Newport had their blood running through her veins unnerved him. It made him question everything she’d said and done since the moment they met. But…Oz rejected the impulse to categorize Newport with her inhuman relations….

No, Newport’s interactions with Oz had been true to form. She was what she appeared to be. Headstrong. Smart. Practical. Controlled…. She didn’t have faults as an agent that a few years of fieldwork wouldn’t fix.

Weighing all those qualities against her fae blood, Oz could find no legitimate reason to shun her. Her heritage was beyond her control. Her behavior was not, and what she’d displayed so far spoke of a talented agent in the toddler phase who’d one day grow to be a truly spectacular force.

My comment on my device: “Oh, no.”

So Stella is to my knowledge the only character of color in the book, and she’s part fae. But it’s ok: she’s not like other fae, and though Oz hates them all, she’s proved herself so he won’t shun her. Am I supposed to look at Oz favorably for overcoming his own prejudice? Am I supposed to ignore the substitution of “fae prejudice” for racial prejudice?

WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. LIVING. HELL.

If I cringe any harder, I’ll develop a hernia. Sloppy characterization that’s painfully racist is not what I wanted. I’ve sat here watching my blinking cursor trying to think of coherent words to respond to that scene. Stella even lampshades herself in an earlier part of the book, joking with a receptionist who expected Oz’s new partner to be “another brown-haired man around thirty-five” that her unit is “a little more diverse.” But she’s still a token character – on multiple levels.

I get so excited when I see more inclusivity in the fiction I buy. But this is not the representation I’m looking for. This is the exact opposite.

I was close enough to the end that I finished the book, but neither Oz nor the story were redeemable for me. There was so much potential in the first chapters: a bit of X-Files with a complicated set of partners, plus a headless horseman – who talks to the heroine! They have whole conversations after he yanks his head out of his saddlebag! They were the most interesting pair in the book, now that I think about it.

I would have been a lot happier if Stella had left Oz to his grumpy racist emotional navel gazing and run off with the murdering headless horseman.

chestnut_filly: (Default)
[personal profile] chestnut_filly posting in [community profile] amplificathon


Title: The impatience of youth
Author: [archiveofourown.org profile] LiveOakWithMoss
Reader: [personal profile] chestnut_filly
Fandom: The Silmarillion
Pairing: Aredhel/Elenwë, background Fingon/Maedhros
Rating: M
Summary: "Our favorite girls being jackasses. Or: in which I enjoy cock-blocking Aredhel and Elenwë way too much."
Length/Type: 10:47/mp3
Music: "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee (¡ojo! que no es la versión Bieber tampoco!)

Mediafire link.

--

Ko-fi link
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Posted by Amanda

This HaBO comes from Amanda, who isn’t me, I swear:

I’m sorry that I can’t remember anything about this book, but there are so many paranormal romances starring vampires that they all blur together – I can’t even be sure about the plot. All I recall is the start; the heroine worked at a hospital, and was in the morgue when a recently arrived body jumps up and attacks her. As she’s slumped against the wall dying, the last thing she sees is the hero who arrives too late and takes her away to a mansion filled with other vampires, so she’ll be able to learn about her new existence. The mansion vampires are good and the vampire that randomly attacked the heroine is rogue?

All I remember about the book is that it was a paperback from a decade or so ago, from when my sister was in a vamp-fanatic phase. It just niggles away at the back of my brain, because I know I’ve read it, but browsing the vamp romances on Amazon doesn’t ring any bells.

I fill like this is a Black Dagger Brotherhood book, but it’s been so long since I’ve read one.

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