Prompt for 2017-10-23

Oct. 23rd, 2017 12:51 pm
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Today's prompt is "unseasonably warm".

Steampunk, Maya Banks, & Beards

Oct. 23rd, 2017 03:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda

Burn for Me

RECOMMENDEDBurn for Me by Ilona Andrews is 99c at Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Burn for Me is the first book in the Hidden Legacy series, and is an urban fantasy/billionaire story with magic, suspense. We had a great guest squee on the entire series and I can definitely confirm the books are amazing!

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire . . .

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

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Beard in Mind

Beard in Mind by Penny Reid is $1.99 at Amazon! This is the fourth book in the Winston Brothers series, which I know is a favorite here in the Bitchery. The first book, Truth or Beard, is also on sale. Some readers wanted more of the heroine’s POV, but many said they pulled a Bad Decisions Book Club and stayed up all night reading it.

All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.

She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words. Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

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The Clockwork Dagger

The Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato is $1.99 at most vendors! However, it looks like it’s priced at $2.99 for Kobo. This is a steampunk novel with romantic elements. Readers love Cato’s writing, but felt the characterization was rather exaggerated and didn’t feel real. It has a 3.6-star rating on Goodreads.

Full of magic, mystery, and romance, an enchanting steampunk fantasy debut in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.

Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.

Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.

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Just One Touch

Just One Touch by Maya Banks is $1.99 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble! This is the fifth book in the Slow Burn series and it’s a romantic suspense with some paranormal elements. Readers says there’s definitely some insta-love going on in the book, though others recommend it for fans of alpha heroes.

#1 USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks continues her suspenseful and sizzling Slow Burn series with the fifth book featuring the men and women of Devereaux Security Services.

Abducted as a young girl and raised in a strict religious cult, Jenna has no connection to the outside world beyond vague flashes of memory that seem to be from another life. Memories she clings to when the cult leaders discover her extraordinary ability to heal—and punish her. Years held captive and forced to do the cult’s bidding have turned Jenna into a meek, timid woman…or so they think. In truth, she is merely biding her time, waiting for the perfect moment to escape.

When a terrified young woman stumbles across Isaac’s path, Devereaux Security’s toughest recruit is intrigued by the beautiful, sheltered stranger. Jenna seems to know nothing of the world around her and refuses to tell him what danger haunts her, but Isaac will do whatever it takes to gain her trust. When it becomes clear that very powerful, dangerous people are after her, he vows to protect her at all costs… because with just one touch Issac knows he wants Jenna to be his—forever.

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Title: Screen control your mother(board)
Author: [ profile] furloughday
Reader: [personal profile] momo 
Cover Artist: [personal profile] annapods 
Rating: General
Length: 01:17:18
Fandom: BBC Merlin
Pairing: Arthur Pendragon/Merlin
Tags: Modern AU - Non magical, Boss/Employee Relationship, Mistaken Identity, "Enemies to Lovers" (in a very loose sense)
Warnings: Ableist language

Summary: Arthur is Merlin's tech support at work.

Link: AO3 [MP3, M4A, M4B, streaming]
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Posted by SB Sarah


Highland Dragon Warrior

by Isabel Cooper
September 5, 2017 · Sourcebooks Casablanca
RomanceScience Fiction/FantasyParanormalHistorical: Other

This series was recommended by so many people on Twitter and in my inbox, I grabbed it immediately and skipped it to the top of my TBR spreadsheet. This was a good decision on my part.

Cathal MacAlasdair is running his family’s castle in remote Scotland, though he’s much better suited to running around doing soldiery things. He’s also a dragon shifter, something the people who live in his castle know about, but not a lot of people really discuss openly. Sophia Metzger is an alchemist who is traveling to the keep with a best friend and companion (and sequel bait) because she would really like to have, if Cathal doesn’t mind, some dragon scales for her experiments.

I really liked a number of things about this book, so I’ll start with those. I liked very much how Sophia is candid and honest about her purpose in making a very long, difficult, and very cold journey. She was much less hesitant about revealing her goal than she was about revealing that she’s Jewish. Said Jewishness could get her killed easily, and no one would care or protest much, so when she tells Cathal, she’s putting her life in his hands, and it takes him a second to remember that. He can’t immediately think of a reason why he should care, but that type of perspective is naturally born out of being a few hundred years old.

There are a number of minor ways in which Sophia’s faith and observance affect her residency at the keep, including one where Cathal kills a deer and asks if she’ll be able to eat it. It was touching because Cathal is trying to provide for everyone in his care, including Sophia, but he doesn’t expect her to compromise or change her practices to make his life easier.

Cathal and Sophia’s interactions in the first 3/4ths of the book were SO MUCH CATNIP. Cathal is not a natural at running a community, caring for people, and managing an estate and all the moving pieces (and people) within it. He misses his life as a soldier, and he’s got major concerns in his house – which he barters with Sophia to help solve (more on that in a minute). He’s also the youngest child in his family, and that role influences his worldview as well. He takes his responsibilities seriously, but he really, really doesn’t enjoy them or find them a natural fit to his personality or temperament.

Meanwhile, Sophia is really good at alchemy. She’s into research and experiments, lining up planetary and herbal influences to create potions to aid in the care and health of people around her. She’s like a non-magical, historical, proto-STEM heroine in a lot of ways. Her scientific rigor, research, curiosity, and brilliance with natural and alchemical puzzles was fascinating.

When she asks Cathal if she could maybe, you know, have some of his scales if he didn’t mind and all, he agrees – if she agrees to try to help his friend and fellow soldier, who was attacked by a sorcerer and is now visibly fading and dissolving before their eyes. There’s a mix of fantasy and magic in this story, and while some part of it worked brilliantly, other elements (hur hur) did not.

Cathal’s identity as a dragon, and as part of a magical family of extraordinary creatures was beautifully integrated into the world of the story, just as much as Sophia’s Jewishness – though the latter is not treated as some sort of mystical identity, so don’t worry. Cathal has rituals and spells that assist him in caring for the people in his castle and in the village beyond, and can switch between forms as needed without too much fanfare. But he’s also secretive about it, and is worried that seeing him change will cause Sophia to run in terror. To her credit, she is a little scared but way too curious intellectually to allow fear to limit her opportunity to study a dragon up close.

I loved the contrast between Cathal’s struggle with large-scale homemaking, and Sophia’s dedication to science and experiments, some of which are dangerous to her personally. I also really liked the way that languages were obstacles to communicating and understanding each other. Sophia and her friend speak Hebrew, French and English, and Cathal is constantly switching to French from Gaelic to make sure Sophia understands what’s being said. (There’s one scene where he has to translate between Sophia and another woman who have no language in common between them, and the degree to which he does not understand what they’re talking about, and his determination to get everything right, were adorable.)

Most of all, I really liked the historical competence porn of running a castle when you know there’s a blizzard coming, and managing travelers and guests, dealing with residents and nonresidents, caring for the villagers, and figuring out where to put this alchemist who might blow things up. The parts where Sophia is doing experiments and Cathal is still trying to figure out how to effectively manage his family’s castle were my favorite parts.

Then there were the very fantastical, dreamscape elements, and I was not as enamored of those. There is a Big Bad in this story, the sorcerer who harmed Cathal’s friend Fergus, the one who is dissolving. Said Sorcerer (who has taken on a pretentious name, which Sophia makes fun of when she learns about him, which was hilarious) has demanded Cathal join him, or Fergus will fully dissolve and die. Sophia is determined to cure Fergus, and maybe defeat this sorcerer or at least detach his hold on Fergus permanently. As the story progresses, the sorcerer attacks Sophia through her dreams, which leads to several extended scenes that were very, very weird.

The rules of the mortal world could easily accommodate Cathal’s dragon-ness, and Sophia’s alchemical skills and abilities. But the fantasy world or dreamscape world or whatever it was, felt so detached and nebulous, it bored the hell out of me. Sophia figured out how to navigate things way too quickly, and took actions that saved her own life over and over that didn’t seem possible. She was the Mary Sue of the sorcerer’s dreamscape world, which pissed off the pretentious sorcerer and bored me silly. Sophia figuring out how to develop potions, having them work partially or maybe explode? I totally buy that. Sophia navigating a world of demons, trees, and shoes that transform into bridges? Didn’t work for me. The fantasyland quest was the least interesting part of the story for me, and because the climax of a lot of the action happens in that fantasyland to resolve the issue of the Big Bad Pretentious Sorcerer, I was pretty unsatisfied.

What about the romance? It’s slowly built, which I liked, though there’s a long middle where Cathal has lusty thoughts which distract him from Running the Castle, which he doesn’t appreciate. Then he realizes that Sophia, her presence and his very brief conversations with her, are making the drudgery and insecurity of his inexperience with household management bearable. He looks forward to seeing her, and she grows from being a bright spot on the periphery of his day to being one of the key elements in his life.  Sophia is overwhelmed by Cathal and is pretty sure there’s no way for them to be together given their widely different social and biological status (he’s a dragon, after all, and very long lived). The solutions to those issues were very quickly introduced and accepted, which made the resolution much less satisfying considering the duration and dimension of the build up.

The ending to the romance was also frustrating for me, and I am not sure how to explain without spoiling the details, so please pardon the spoiler:

Show Spoiler
So much of the story takes place at the castle or in the dreamland that knowing they were leaving into an unknown world to travel at the end was unsatisfying. For one thing, I knew Sophia was likely to be much less safe on a daily basis while traveling from place to place, and I knew Cathal had just gained all this castle management experience. I knew the world of the castle, and I knew a little about the world beyond it from both Cathal and Sophia, not much of it positive. So knowing they were going to go travel around for awhile left me feeling as if the ending was too abrupt and incomplete, and overall too uncertain.

All that aside, I had a really good time reading this book. I loved the detail, the integration of fantasy and chemistry and history and alchemy into the world of a Scottish castle in the 1300s, and I really liked Sophia and Cathal. While I wasn’t as enthused about the dreamscape journey or the ending, I’m definitely going to read the next book in this series, Highland Dragon Rebel. There’s mention of the “otherworld” in the cover copy (darn it) but the heroine is Cathal’s sister, and she’s also a dragon shifter. I’m totally here for that.

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Posted by SB Sarah

I receive a number of email messages each day asking for recommendations. Sometimes the request is based on having discovered a particular book, author, or trope (speaking of, have you seen our growing “Genres, Archetypes, and Themes” collection?). Other times, I’m asked for help identifying a book or two that might satisfy a particular mood or desire.

The Undoing
A | BN | K | iB
This past week, to the surprise of absolutely no one here at Bitchery HQ, I’ve received three separate requests for, in effect, romances to read “when you want to burn it all down.” We are here to help, and will pass you some matches, should you need some. But be careful with open flames around yourself, your food, your pets, and your books!

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone anywhere that my first suggestion for anyone looking for comfort and solace inside rage and vengeance is the Call of Crows series by Shelly Laurenston. As I wrote in my review of The Undoing: 

The reason to read this series is not just the romances, which are terrific, but for the Crows themselves. They represent and embody coalesced female rage, and it’s incredible. Every slight against women, every crime against women throughout history is represented among the Crow membership (they have to die to be reborn through Skuld, after all) and the injustice and pain of having been victims fuels their power and their violent rage. They are unapologetically fierce and amazing to read about. If one looks at what happens to women throughout time, there’s a lot to be angry about. To me, the Crows represent the justifiable fury in response to all of it.

If you’re looking for literary representation of and an outlet for your possibly overflowing fury repository, a clan of women warriors whose mantra is Let Rage Be Your Guide might help you out.

But fear not – we have several other suggestions for “When You Want to Burn It All Down.”

The Bloodprint
A | BN | K | iB
Elyse mentioned this book in the most recent edition of Whatcha Reading? but I don’t think there’s a limit on how much one can discuss this book: Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan.

As Elyse said:

It’s an epic fantasy about a group of women with magical abilities working to overthrow a patriarchal, repressive society. Their magic is tied to the ability to read and use words of power.

This is a weird recommendation for me: as I mentioned in our Whatcha Reading post, I want to read this book, but after reading the first chapter, I knew it would overly-stimulate the part of my brain that likes to wake me up in the middle of the night with nightmares about violence. Based on that first chapter, I have a strong indication that this book is going to be incredible, and I’m so, so excited that Elyse found it and is enjoying it. (I can’t wait to ask her all about it, too.) (I’m a horrible person to correspond with for that reason.)

Amanda, I am betting, wants to recommend A Promise of Fire, and also has a key role in the development of this list. Amanda, which of the Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark series feature the most rage-filled, burn-it-all-down characters? Alas, the titles all blend together into a strange amalgam of Dark Needy Nights at the Edge of Wicked King Demon Darkness. 

Amanda: Sarah knows me so well.

If I had to pick just one of the Immortals After Dark series, I’m partial to the latest one, Wicked Abyss ( A | BN | K | G | iB ). The heroine outsmarts so many people who are physically more powerful than she is. Plus, the climax of her revenge plot is a moment in my romance reading history that I’ll remember forever.

In other burn it down recommendations, I loved Burn Down the Night by Molly O’Keefe ( A | BN | K | G | iB ). The heroine kidnaps the hero (who is part of a motorcycle club) and keeps him handcuffed to a bed until he agrees to help rescue her sister from a cult. The heroine, Joan, is unapologetic and so tough!

Dating You/Hating You
A | BN | K | iB
In a less visceral interpretation, Evie in Dating You/Hating You puts a “down with the patriarchy” contemporary spin on “burning it all down.” She fights against workplace sexism and I love how she refuses to sacrifice her goals. She knows what her work experience is worth and she’s kickassingly (yes, this is a new word, trademark pending) uncompromising.

I’m sure I have a handful of other recommendations lurking in my brain that I’ll remember long after this post goes live, but I hope these will do!

Sarah: What about you? Do you have any recommendations you turn to when you have that “Why, I’m Terribly Sorry to Mention It, But I’d like to Burn It All Down with Ragefire” feeling? Please share! 

[Silmarillion] Three times, the forge

Oct. 22nd, 2017 09:06 pm
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[personal profile] chestnut_filly posting in [community profile] amplificathon
Title: Three times, the forge
Author: [ profile] LiveOakWithMoss
Reader: [ profile] Chestnut_filly
Fandom: The Silmarillion
Pairing: Celebrimbor/Narvi
Rating: T
Summary: "Celebrimbor kisses Narvi. Narvi kisses Celebrimbor. Somehow, Celebrimbor is still perplexed."
Length: 8:35

Mediafire link | Tindeck link

Crossposted to AO3.

Murdered Gods

Oct. 22nd, 2017 01:50 pm
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Murdered Gods by Marina Finlayson

Book #2. Spoilers ahead for Stolen Magic

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Posted by Amanda


Roar by Cora Carmack is $2.99! This is a YA fantasy with romance, royalty, and magic. This is also a Kindle Daily Deal that is being price-matched. Do check out the other deals today, as Poldark is also on sale, as well as subsequent books. I think there’s a bit of a cliffhanger, though I’m not 100% positive.

New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack’s young adult debut: Roar.

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

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Sunshine by Robin McKinley is $1.99! McKinley has been recommended several times at SBTB HQ. Some readers label this as young adult and, for the most part, I’d agree with that sentiment. According to reviews on Goodreads, there were complaints about the balance of narrative to action, but many loved this different take on the vampire story. I know many of you have read this one, so let us know in the comments whether you loved it or hated it!

“Her feet are already bleeding – if you like feet…”

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it’s unwise to walk. Sunshine knew that. But there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years, and she needed a place to be alone for a while.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t alone. She never heard them coming. Of course you don’t, when they’re vampires.

They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion – within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.

She knows that he is a vampire. She knows that she’s to be his dinner, and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, as dawn breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day…

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Keepsake by Sarina Bowen is 99c! This is the third book in the True North series, which comes highly recommended. Though be warned, this book does seem to have two characters who have experienced serious forms of trauma. Also, some reviews mention the hero a beta hero and a virgin. CATNIP! For those familiar with the series, what do you think?

There’s a first time for everything.

Lark Wainright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.

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Wild & Sweet

Wild & Sweet by Rhenna Morgan is 99c! This is the second book in the Haven Brotherhood series and has a blue collar, mechanic heroine, which is something you don’t see too often! Readers said this was a great new-to-them author and that the main characters had great chemistry. However, some took issue with the doctor hero’s ambiguous behavior.

Live hard, f*ck harder and make their own rules. Those are the cornerstones the six Men of Haven bleed by: taking what they want, always watching each other’s backs, and loving the women they claim with unyielding tenderness and fierce passion.  

Zeke Dugan is not a man who walks the straight and narrow. He may have sworn an oath as a trauma doc, but he has zero problem leveraging his medical skills outside a hospital if it means giving his family an advantage. Blood before business. All that changes when shy Gabrielle stumbles into his life.

Mechanic Gabrielle Parker prefers the complexities of an engine over men. Her life wasn’t always quiet and well-ordered, but now that it is, she finds peace in the solitude. When a robbery in her neighborhood forces her out of her safe bubble, she never fathoms that a dangerous, cocky trauma doctor will fix more than her injuries.

Zeke doesn’t play by the rules but is exactly what Gabrielle needs in her life. He’ll show her the fierce and uncompromising protection that comes from belonging to a man like him. No one will hurt his woman, even if it means putting the very men who saved his life at risk.

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[personal profile] trobadora posting in [community profile] girlgay
Title: Finding Forward
Pairing: Thirteenth Doctor/Missy
Rating: PG-13
Summary: "Forging blindly ahead is a well-honed strategy of mine," the Doctor admitted wryly. "I can do that any day. Now, forward? That's proven a bit more difficult, you see."

AO3 | DW

Prompt for 2017-10-22

Oct. 22nd, 2017 11:36 am
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[personal profile] brewsternorth posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
Today's prompt is "a disturbed night".
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Posted by Elyse

Duke of Desire
A | BN | K | iB
 When people come to me for historical recommendations I always tell them about the Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt. Honestly, it’s my favorite historical series out there, and while the books are connected, they can easily be read as stand-alones, which makes it perfect for binge reading. Hold that thought because we’ve got a chance for one lucky winner to do just that.

I love this series because it’s got a breathless pace. I would categorize it as historical action/ adventure. It’s also got some of the best anti-heroes (Lazarus Huntington, anyone?) and tough-as-nails heroines I’ve ever read. Add masked vigilantes, some light bondage, a Beauty and the Beast novel, set to low for 8 hours, stir before serving, and you have a recipe for all of Elyse’s catnip.

After twelve books, the series is wrapping up, which is giving me all the bittersweet feels. Author Elizabeth Hoyt agreed to answer a few of my questions about the Maiden Lane world.

Elyse: First of all, thanks for being super cool at RT in Dallas when I showed up in the lobby in my pajamas to meet you. I’m pretty sure my PJs had cats in astronaut gear on them, I was holding a glass of champagne, and you didn’t bat an eyelash.

Elizabeth Hoyt: Ha! I think that was after another looong RITAs program…. PJs sounded like a good idea.

Elyse: One of the things I love so much about the Maiden Lane series is that it has such a strong action/ adventure element to it. We have masked vigilantes, river pirates, and dukes working to bring down cults. The characters are always moving, always doing, and often in danger. How do you incorporate all these different elements into your world? As a writer, is it difficult to maintain that kind of pace?

Wicked Intentions
A | BN | K | iB
Elizabeth Hoyt: You know, I didn’t consciously set out to write action-y romances when I first started writing. But a lot of what I like in romances — swordfights! Concealed identities! People being saved from death and maiming! — are a byproduct of action. Also, it turns out that I’m easily bored, which may be part of the reason there’s always new, exciting things going on in my books. What sometimes becomes problematic is keeping the level of intensity consistent from book to book in a series.

Elyse: This series has a very distinct sense of time and place. You write in the Georgian era around the 1730’s and 1740’s, well before the Regency. What made you want to write about this specific period in English history?

Elizabeth Hoyt: I think it’s more interesting. The time is slightly more earthy, the dresses are (in my opinion) more elegant, and the guys are wearing wigs and swords. Lots of things are happening socially and economically. London’s population is exploding, the Enlightenment is blooming, the agricultural revolution is beginning, and people are discovering real science. All the great action adventure romances in movies and books were set in this time period — Scaramouche, Captain Blood, The Scarlet Pimpernel—and my favorite as a very impressionable twelve year old—Poldark.

Elyse: My favorite Maiden Lane heroes are always the anti-heroes. When I recommend Wicked Intentions I tell people the hero was like Lucius Malfoy if he was a romance hero who was also into bondage. The Duke of Montgomery reminds me of Patrick Jane, one of my favorite TV characters. And then there’s Mickey O’Connor, an actual pirate. All of these heroes do some really dubious things, are clearly flawed, yet somehow totally work as heroes. How do you balance the anti-hero and hero out so they don’t alienate the reader? Are your heroes inspired by any historical or pop culture figures?

Elizabeth Hoyt: I think the writer has to reveal the anti-hero’s humanity to the reader to make them work. The reader has to sympathize with the character if not his actions. But I don’t worry about alienating the reader too much. I think a lot of romance writers don’t take enough risks with their villainy heroes—they’re too worried that readers won’t like the character. If a few readers don’t loathe a character, others won’t love him.

I don’t really base my characters on real or fictional figures, though I’ve certainly been inspired by them. Case in point, Lazarus’s look in Wicked Intentions was a direct result of seeing Jason Isaacs in a long, white-blond wig in the Harry Potter films, OMG.

Duke of Sin
A | BN | K | iB
I started thinking about a true villainous hero while watching 3:10 to Yuma with Russell Crowe. I was fascinated by his character in that movie—he’s the villain and he’s obviously either a sociopath or close to it, but he’s also the most enthralling character in the movie, with a weird sort of masculine ethos that’s almost heroic. That line of thought eventually (several years later) ended in Val in Duke of Sin. Val also owes quite a bit to Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki. 😉

Elyse: You also write really tough, resilient heroines. Lady Phoebe Batten from Dearest Rogue is blind, and determined to prove to her protector that it doesn’t hold her back at all. Temperance and her sister Silence are both faced with some really dire circumstances that they approach with remarkable grit. And Alf from Duke of Pleasure is basically Batman. Who is your favorite heroine? Who was the most fun to write?

Elizabeth Hoyt: I think Phoebe is my favorite heroine — she’s just so strong and cheerful — and it was a fun challenge to write her POV scenes without any visual descriptions. I really enjoyed writing Alf, not only because she’s a smartass but because swordfights! In a dress!

Elyse: As sad as I am to see this series end, I’m excited for what’s to come. Can you tell us what you’re working on next?

Elizabeth Hoyt: I’ve been dodging this question for the last several months—not because I didn’t have something I’ve been working on, but because I wasn’t ready to reveal anything about my new series.

But I think I’ve got enough of the first book to give you a tiny—exclusive!—peek:

Lady Freya de Moray has never had a season, never been courted. Due to the terrible scandal involving her brother, the Duke of Ayr, she’s been shunned. Now eight-and-twenty, she’s changed her name and found employment in London as a governess-cum-chaperone for two young girls. It’s unappreciated work, but she’s grown fond of her charges and made peace with her life.

Until, that is, she runs into Christopher “Kester” Renshaw, the Earl of Harlow, the man who helped ruin her brother and destroyed her life. Not only does the scoundrel not recognize Freya, he’s wearing the Ayr ring—a family heirloom taken off the finger of her brother the night he was disfigured. On the spot Freya decides to take back a little of what was snatched from her family…and steal that ring.

Elyse: Oh, like that’s going to be an easy book to wait for!

So if you’re thinking you’d like to try the Maiden Lane series, and you’re not sure where to start, Forever Publishing is making it very easy with a giveaway!

We have a complete set of all the paperback Maiden Lane novels, with signed bookplates, and a Forever romance tote bag for one lucky winner! 

YES. The ENTIRE paperback series, including:

That’s a lot of books – and it’s perfect for binge reading. To enter, just leave a comment and tell us what essentials you’ll have with you for this binge-reading extravaganza! 

Standard disclaimers apply: Open to US and Canadian readers. Fighting over your favorite Hoyt hero in the comments is definitely encouraged. Please acquire a chaperone for any Maiden Lane outings, and if you plan to binge read the series, make sure you have a significant amount of PTO or sick time at work! Comments will close Friday 27 October and a winner announced shortly afterward.

Good luck, and thank you to Elizabeth Hoyt and Grand Central/Forever!

Shameless self-promotion

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:13 am
miramira: book stack (Default)
[personal profile] miramira
So I know this journal is basically a letter repository at this point, but I wrote a thing I think might be of interest to anyone still following this, and that I'm pretty proud of:

And Bide the Danger (Harry Potter/Chronicles of Narnia)
Susan Pevensie: former Unspeakable, legendary beauty, possible Dark witch. A young Amelia Bones, eager to make her mark on MLE, has just been assigned to track her down. But the further Amelia proceeds with her investigation, the more questions she uncovers - especially once she meets Susan herself.

Now I just need to get around to writing the Mort fusion that explains the remainder of my Bones family headcanon, and my Harry Potter crossover fic goals will be 99% complete.

Vid: Ice (Babylon 5, Susan/Talia)

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:05 pm
aurumcalendula: gold, blue, orange, and purple shapes on a black background (Default)
[personal profile] aurumcalendula posting in [community profile] girlgay
Title: Ice
Fandom: Babylon 5
Pairing: Susan Ivanova/Talia Winters
Music: Ice by Sarah McLachlan (The Freedom Sessions version)
Summary: Susan, Talia, and Psi Corps.
Notes: Inspired by Katharine's vid Ice. A huge thank you to [personal profile] gwyn for sending me a copy of Media Cannibals Tape 3 so I could see Katharine's vid! Thank you also to [personal profile] mswyrr for being an awesome beta!

References to Talia's fate in Divided Loyalties.
Quick cuts and flashes, particularly at 2:20 - 2:22, 3:08 - 3:10 and 3:15 - 3:19.

AO3 | DW | tumblr | youtube

A Dragon of a Different Color

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:04 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] books
A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

Book 4, picking up speed so that the volumes are more like divisions in a single story. Serious spoilers ahead.
Read more... )
aurumcalendula: image of Sonja Percy and Tammy Gregorio from NCIS New Orleans (Percy and Gregorio)
[personal profile] aurumcalendula posting in [community profile] girlgay
Title: Shock To Your System
Fandom: NCIS: New Orleans
Pairing: Sonja Percy/Tammy Gregorio, Hannah Lee/Tammy Gregorio, Eva Azarova/Tammy Gregorio
Music: Shock To Your System by Tegan & Sara
Warning/ Notes: quick cuts
Summary: Gregorio's chemistry with ladies in general and Percy in particular

AO3 | tumblr | youtube | DW
analise010: (Analise010)
[personal profile] analise010 posting in [community profile] amplificathon
Fic: like a map of a place you've never been by [ profile] bydaybreak
Reader: [ profile] Readbyanalise010
Cover Artist: [ profile] cherie_morte
Beta Listener: [ profile] shmaylor
Fandom: Leverage
Ship: Alec Hardison/Parker/Eliot Spencer
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No warnings apply
Reader's Notes: Podfic Big Bang is the highlight of my summer. It inspires me to push my own boundaries and make the stories that I love, but convince myself I don't have time for. Second, I have to thank my AMAZING beta, [ profile] shmaylor, and my cover artist, [ profile] cherie_morte. Finally, a big thank you to my podfic sister, [ profile] itsadrizzit. Not only did she help me edit and loop the music, she also kept me going when I wanted to give up. Without these amazing people, this podfic would not exist. ♥

Summary: He knows it’d be so fucking easy, if he’d let himself. Because he’s easy for them, has been since that first job, since the day he hauled Hardison’s ass out of a building about to explode. It’d be so easy.

So he won’t.

MP3 [150 MB, 02:44:39]
Podbook [80 MB, 02:44:39]

Podfic Post: AO3 | Dreamwidth
Art Post: At infatuated_ink’s LiveJournal

Poldark 3.03

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:00 am
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Redheadedgirl

Poldark Season 3 posterNote: the recaps this season are written from the British airings, which often have 6-10 minutes that the US airings do not. If you’re reading this and going “Hey, I don’t remember that!” that’s probably why.

Previously: Enys is alive! And imprisoned! George is social climbing like whoa. Elizabeth is using opiates to manage her anxiety.

This episode uses a lot of short scenes and quick cuts, which makes great visuals but is hell to recap.  I did my best, but this sucker is LONG.

The waves crash angrily on the cliffs, and people shiver while holding their hands over fires. A man yells that the grain ship is in, and people grab pans and buckets and start running.

At Wheal Grace, Henshawe tells Ross the the Princess Charlotte, a ship, was ambushed when pulling into port. Ross is like yeah, it’s a grain ship. Of course it was ambushed.

George proclaims a group of people guilty of rioting and theft, “Crimes for which there can be no justification.”

Ross and Henshawe provide some justifications: failed harvest, and the worst winter in 30 years. People are starving.

George continues to lecture.

Sam, who is with Ross and Henshawe, asks how else people are to get food in their bellies? Ross: “No doubt they pay dearly for it.”

They pay with musket balls in their backs. There’s a scene of soldiers shooting and killing people clutching bowls of grain. Henshawe says the 20 died in riot, some shot, some trampled. Ross asks if the Princess Charlotte was a Warleggan ship. It was, so that means any survivors of the ambush will also pay.

George sends the survivors to trial at the assizes with a recommendation for 15 years transportation. Bodies lie in the street.

At Nampara, D is digging in the garden, when a contraction takes her. She calls for Purdie and asks her to make sure everything is ready. Prudie doesn’t like the current birth plan, and thinks D should “take wise.” D: “It isn’t wise to endure the ramblings of Doctor Choake.” She’s right. Ross wouldn’t want her birthing alone, but “What he don’t know can’t hurt him.”

Henshawe asks if George Warleggan can’t see the link between riots over grain and his decision to hoard grain. “I can assure you he does not.” They both look at Wheal Leisure, still chugging along, “Once a Poldark mine on Poldark land” which could provide decent work and decent wage, and now it’s held by an asshole who thinks workers are chaff and profits are God.

(I’m refraining from making a bunch of editorial comments about the shame and abuses of capitalism and how employers want capitalism for themselves and feudalism for their workers, and making parallels between current events and this show, but hey.)

A group of men pulling a cart with a body on it pass them, and Ross asks what he died of. “Starvation?” George happens to ride by and announces, “Pneumonia! I’m told he’d been fading for weeks, but he refused to stay home and rest.” Ross: “So he has only himself to blame.” “It would appear so.”

Look, asshole, there have been some many times when I’ve worked low-paying contract positions that had no sick time, so I would have to come in INCREDIBLY sick, because I couldn’t afford to take a day off to get well. Thank the voters of Massachusetts that earned sick time is now a thing, even for contract employees, and I guess I’m going to be editorializing a bunch anyway because I want to punch George in the THROAT. A LOT.

Ross tells George that Leisure used to be a good mine, and George is like, bro, it was a vaguely adequate mine. “Oh, the famous red copper… that made her such a rarity? That’s gone.” George draws some comparisons between a played out mine and Ross, and they aren’t flattering, but it’s super over-rehearsed. Ross thinks he rushed it a bit. George sniffs that now no doubt Ross wants to tell him to get off his land, but the land belongs to the mine, and the mine belongs to George! See how that works!

“How do you sleep at night, George?” “Perhaps you should ask Elizabeth.” Henshawe hauls Ross away.

Click for gifs!

Ross, saying How do you sleep at night, George?

George, responding Perhaps you should ask Elizabeth

Ross comes home, calling for D, and she’s not in the kitchen. Prudie runs behind hi and out the door, saying “Miss Demelza says you should go upstairs and bring her a plate of soup!” Ross is like, “Isn’t that your job?” but the door slams behind her before he can say it. He shrugs and brings the soup up to D, who is in the bed and looking VERY satisfied with herself.

“Thank ye kindly, my man.” He asks if she’s unwell, and she’s like no, never better. “Can I do anything else for your ladyship?” “Well, you could say good day to your daughter.” She moves the blanket, and there’s a tiny pick cheeked burrito baby, named Clowance. Ross looks completely poleaxed. “Where was Doctor Chaoke?” “It was all over before we could send for him!” Ross picks up tiny Clowance while D grins.

Click for gifs!

Ross, holding tiny baby Clowance, and grinning. It's adorable how happy he is.

Baby Val is fussy. George would like to know why Val is fussy. Elizabeth says that Doctor Choake says that “some babies are willful” and that they should “put their foot down.” She sends the baby off with a maid to be kept warm and quiet.

These fucking people. HE’S A BABY.

Elizabeth has plans for tea and for dinner and cards, but they have not received any invitations from the Godolphins, despite George letting their son get away with rape. But Christmas is coming, they’ll have a ball, and the Godolphins will be invited, of course. “But will they accept?” Elizabeth looks at him challengingly. George puts down his teacup with some force and looks petulant. I mean, more than usual. He leaves, because he’s got a Wheal Leisure shareholders meeting, which will be sad without one Ross Vennor Poldark. “How I miss the days when I had him at my mercy.” This obsession with Ross is not becoming, George.

Drake knocks on the door at Trenwith, and Geoffy-Chuck answers! Drake brought toads for Aggie. “You did say your aunt do love a toad.” That seems fake, but okay. Morwenna comes to the door, and he presents her with a posy of primroses. “If you ever wish for more, I’ll comb the earth in search of them.” D’awwwwww.

Click for gifs!

Morwenna takes a posy of primroses from Drake

In front of the fire, Geoffy-Chuck is holding a toad, while Aggie grins in delight. I guess she really do love a toad! Geoffy-Chuck says that George hates toads and had them cleared from the pond. Morwenna isn’t sure the George would approve of their…guest. Geoffy-Chuck: Aunt won’t tell him. “Did you know that Geoffy-Chuck’s friend is related to my nephew?” Morwenna doesn’t answer, and Aggie’s like, yeah you do, because this FRIEND tells you a great deal. “Tell my nephew that his aunt is MUCH AGGRIEVED by his neglect.”

Said nephew and said nephew’s wife are entertaining Caroline Penvenen, who has a note from one Member of Parliament Unwin Trevaunance (“who you JILTED” “I may have led him to believe he’s got another chance”) who has gotten news of a certain naval officer. Unwin has brought all his influence down on the Admiralty, and our people are talking to their people and soon all of the officers will be brought home. “In time for Christmas?” D asks. “Or shortly thereafter.” Ross looks faintly dubious, but Caro is glowing. “Unwin has his uses after all!”

In the prison, things are dire. Enys is cauterizing a wound, and there’s a line of men to see him. He’s exhausted.

At Trenwith, Morwenna gets a note when she comes in with G-C and Drake trailing behind her. She and G-C are to go to Truro for Christmas and the carriage is coming for them on Saturday. Drake asks how long they’ll be gone. A few weeks, maybe more. Drake would come to see them off, but Clowance’s christening is that day. “Your cousin, Master Geoffrey.” G-C says that if they won’t see him again before Christmas, then Drake must have his present now. “There’s no need!” “OH THERE IS.” Morwenna and Drake are left alone, and Drake is ashamed he has nothing to give Morwenna.

“Oh, but you gave me this!” she says, touching the bracelet. Drake asks if she ever takes it off, and she does not. “And I never will.” Drake kisses her hand, letting it go as Geoffy-Chuck runs back with some paper and envelopes. “So you can write to us while we’re away.” Geoffy-Chuck notes that Morwenna’s cheeks are flushed. “Do you have a fever?” Morwenna ducks her head and smiles at Drake.

Drake saunters home, and passes Sam, who’s washing in a barrel. “Be that the light of God in your eyes?” No, but it’s sacred to Drake anyway. “But is she worth the risk to your mortal soul?” Lighten up, dude. Get laid. “Reckon so!” says Drake cheerfully.

Ross writes to Aggie, inviting her to the christening. D asks if this is wise, and Ross is like, fuck wise. She’s a Poldark, and my aunt, and George has brought Leisure to it’s knees, and I will be damned if he does the same to my aunt. Why shouldn’t she come to my daughter’s christening?

Prudie knocks on the door at Trenwith, and it’s answered by Constable Goon, who takes the letter, and he and Prudie have a stand-off for a moment. As soon as Prudie’s back is turned, he crumples the letter.

Ross, D, Jeremy, and Prudie (and baby Clowance) walk to the church.

Click for gifs!

From left to right: Prudie, Demelza holding Clowance, Jeremey holding Ross's hand, walking to the church for Clowance's baptism.

At the Warleggan townhouse, footmen unload baskets of holly and oranges and other decorations, under George’s watchful eye. He tells Elizabeth that he’s sent the carriage to fetch Morwenna and G-C, as she requested.

At Trenwith, G-C has some other plans for his day. Clowance is his cousin, and there’s no good reason to not go to her christening. He tells Morwenna she doesn’t need to come. “I don’t think either of us should!” “I’m GOING, ‘Wenna! No one needs to know!”

At the church, Clowance is baptised, and Caro assures Ross and that Enys is there in spirit. “As godfather in absentia.” Ross agrees. The door opens, and G-C and Morwenna enter. D notes that Morwenna and Drake are smiling at each other.

After the service, Morwenna apologizes for bursting in, and Ross assures her that no, it’s totally fine, and invites them to Nampara for the reception. G-C, of course, wants to go, and Drake wants them to, but she knows that time is short. There’s some back and forth and Drake says, “only a half hour?” which never goes well, and Ross and D exchange a look, and Ross nods slightly. Without missing a beat, D hands Ross the baby, and he leads G-C away. D gently guides Morwenna off to the side.

“My brother is a gentle soul… and were he of your station, I would wish nothing more. But he’s far beneath your station, and cannot aspire so high. You know it.” Morwenna had a wide-eyed innocent “whatever do you mean” thing going on, but lets that fall. “I know it.” D says it’s good that they’re going away for a bit. “T’will break the bond.” “That’s what I tell myself.” They curtsy, and Morwenna collects G-C. “We’re very late.” He forgot his hat, though, and he pops into the church to get it, and Drake follows. “I’ll come visit?” She does not think that’s a good idea. “This must stop.” Drake asks if she can stop. “Yes.” He kisses her, and she kisses him back for a half second before running out.

At the reception, Caro is cuddling the baby and saying that Unwin has assured her that it’s only a matter of time before Enys is released, and in the meantime, he’s receiving the best possible treatment

He is not, though. Enys is performing surgery and doing the best he can, but conditions are terrible. Lt. Armitage comes by, and Enys says he ordered Armitage to rest. Armitage asks who orders Enys to rest, but Enys will not, because there’s no one else. Armitage offers to watch and learn from Enys so he can have some help.

D opines to Ross that this is good news about Enys, and Ross is as cynical as I am: “If it’s true. I’ve been a prisoner of war, myself.” D asks if Enys wouldn’t get special privileges. Ross sighs, and looks over at Caro, who is telling Henshawe that she will open her house to all emigre nobles fleeing the Reign of Terror. D also sighs. “She hates to feel useless.” Ross: “I know the feeling.”

At the Warleggan townhouse, Elizabeth is getting ready for their ball, and puts more of her tranquilizers in her port and chugs. George watches, judgily (I don’t know if he knows what that stuff is, but he’s judgey), and Elizabeth is like what? You don’t like my gown? It’s a red and dark red striped gown, and yes, it’s very pretty. George says “I cannot permit you to dance tonight…with anyone but I.”

Click for gifs!

Elizabeth, in her red striped gown, gazing at herself in her mirror, considering her life and her choices.

At Nampara, Ross is chuckling over G-C’s spiritedness, and then suddenly remembers that Aggie never replied. “Perhaps she never received the note,” says D the Realist. Ross: fuck this, let’s go get her. D: THEY’LL SHOOT YOU. Caro, using her privilege for good, notes they wouldn’t dare if she’s with him, and off they go.

G-C and Morwenna arrive in Truro, and Elizabeth hugs her son, and then shoos him upstairs to change before the guests arrive. “Guests?” asks Morwenna. Yes, for the ball, and there’s a new dress waiting for her upstairs. “Oh.” Morwenna is perplexed.

Ross and Caro ride to Trenwith, and the footman opening the door is bowled over by Ross and Caro smiles politely. “Captain Poldark is here to visit his aunt. A glass of canary and a blazing fire, if you please!”

Aggie is in her room, swathed in blankets and sitting before her cold fireplace. “Of course I never received your invitation! Do you think I’d pass up an opportunity to drink port and eat heavy cake?” Aggie has her priorities in order. Ross notes that the room is freezing, and Aggie tells him that the maids don’t light her a fire. Ross: George’s plan is to kill you with cold and infection. (Aggie: Pluttthhththt.) Ross asks her to come live at Nampara, at least. Aggie, still with reasonable priorities: “And lose the chance to torment him? I was born in the house and I will die in this house. If it costs me cake and a few hot coals….”

Ross: what must Geoffy-Chuck think, seeing that asshole strut about his home? Aggie: And the baby? Ross: I feel sorry for any kid with THAT as a father.

In Truro, the turnout is…light. No Godolphins, nor any of the other ancient families that the Warleggans are desperate to cultivate.

(Seriously, the parallels between the Warleggans and Certain Other Families are so thick.)

Cary looks at Elizabeth and Morwenna and intones, “Very eye-catching.” George takes this to mean Elizabeth, but Cary means Morwenna. G-C wanders over to Morwenna and declares that he’s bored and he wishes they were at Uncle Ross’ party. Morwenna says that they shouldn’t have gone, and G-C says that he wants to get to know his cousin Clowance better. “I wager that she’s less dull than Valentine.” George overhears this and gets that look on his face that means he’s going to use this blow to his delicate masculinity to fuck with everyone some more. “First thing tomorrow, I’ll write to Harrow. I want that brat out of my house.”

Ross comes down stairs and sees Caro standing with a maid. Ross reminds the maid that it’s her job to look after his aunt, and he’ll be making regular visits, and if she fucks up, he’ll have her dismissed. How? Unclear. But the maid looks suitably terrified.

Back at the ball of sadness, George asks Elizabeth if Morwenna enjoyed the christening. Elizabeth: what now? George: Oh, I thought she told you, they trotted down to the church to see the latest Poldark brat get baptized. Elizabeth chews on the fact that Ross and D have a daughter. “Let’s hope they are less careless with this one.” FUCK YOU. Elizabeth states that G-C can’t be blamed for going to the christening. It’s Morwenna, she needs to be punished! George: “Oh, she will be.”

A rotund, officious looking man enters the party- one Reverend Whitworth, who is recently widowed. Elizabeth expresses her condolences and asks after his two little girls. “As well as could be expected. It’s only been a week. Only your kind invitation could have forced me to leave the house today.” George nods that life must go on. “My very thought when I chose this waistcoat!” Welp.

Ross and Caro ride back to Nampara, and happen on Constable Goon marching some unfortunates through the woods. They were caught robbing another Warleggan grain ship. Ross and Caro look disgusted, but Ross shrugs: George is within his rights to protect his property. Caro asks if George is aware the harvest failed, and Ross says yeah, he’s super aware. “That’s why he’s importing and selling to the highest bidder.” Caro ponders what would be the best way to help people.

George advises Elizabeth to say nothing to Morwenna about her “misdemeanor.” (God, George, you’re worse than first year law students in in their first week of Criminal Law.) No, they need to think about ‘Wenna’s future, like when G-C goes to school, what will happen to her then? George is sure Elizabeth would want to see her well-matched. He eyes Wentworth, who is a “highly respected young man, and his mother is a Godolphin!” Gross. George introduces Morwenna to Whitworth, who makes the SLIMMEST bow, and asks her to dance the gavotte. She is not fond of dancing. “It can only be because your partners thus far have lacked the expertise. Allow a master to induct you into the pleasures.” He holds out a hand, Morwenna looks at Elizabeth in alarm. I throw up. Elizabeth merely raises an eyebrow and Morwenna takes his hand.

Click for gifs!

A Poldark Christmas, with Drake, Jeremy, Ross, D, Clowance, and Caroline, standing around the table Jeremy is standing on his chair and looks SO PROUD of himself singing.

At Nampara, everyone is singing “here we come a wassailing” and tiny Jeremy is SO CUTE AND SO PROUD. Sam is pouty because it’s too cheerful for his methodist heart. Caro wonders how Enys will keep Christmas, and the answer is with roasted rat.

In the village, the Nampara crew passes out bread to the hungry as soldiers drag someone else off. D says she’s never seen it this bad, and Samuel Carne loftily says that sinners must pay the price. Ugh. D demands to know what sin? “They should all examine their consciences to see if they be without blame.” Drake says that his conscience is fine.

Ross gathers his chosen family- D, Caro, the Brothers Carne, Prudie, Henshawe, Tholly, and outlines a plan. It’s a plan that can’t feed all of Cornwall, but it’ll help some, but they need to keep it secret. Ross clearly has a speech planned, but Henshawe’s like dude. We’re all in. Shut up. Ross says cool, I gotta go check with an old friend and see what he thinks.

It’s Trencrom, the leader of last season’s smuggling ring, who tells him that he’s out of his goddamn mind. Ross: “That’s promising.” Trencrom lists out the problems- getting “it” in war time is hard, getting it across the channel is hard, not having an actual delivery date is hard, and the cost is prohibitive. Ross: We’re on that part, don’t worry.

In France, Enys is dozing next to a patient, who wakes him up begging for water.

At Wheal Leisure, where even the sign is in bad repair, Ross looks out over the above ground workers, who look tired and downtrodden. His face gets determined, and he rides over to Sam’s meetinghouse. Ross says it’ll be perfect for his devices, and Sam snits that he doesn’t like the idea of a House of God being used as a cache. “Nevertheless, it will be so used.” Sam doesn’t like it, and Ross is like, fucking get used to it.

D and Caro are arming themselves for battle. D is wearing one of Caro’s reddingcotes, the silver one, and one of Caro’s fancy hats. Caro wonder’s what Enys would think of them, and D grins that they look the part of highwaymen, since it’s their goal to part as many men from their money as possible.

And here’s another set of scenes quick cut together, so: here we go. Each new paragraph represents a cut.

Wentworth simpers into George’s office, saying it’s a fine day to address the topic of matrimony (ew). George barely covers his disdain of Wentworth, but Wentworth is so enamoured of himself that he doesn’t notice.

Drake sits on a cliff, thinking sad thoughts and holding a shell. Morwenna sits in the parlor of the Truro townhouse and touches her shell bracelet and also looks sad.

George offers a settlement of 2,000 pounds as a settlement for Morwenna. Whitworth says “Ah” and explains very earnestly that a man in his position must look the part and carry himself in such a way as to inspire awe. “Must he?” Besides, Whitworth has debts of over 1,000 pounds, so he can’t possibly accept a penny less than 6,000. George does not laugh in his face.

D, sitting next to Caro, explains to a Sir John that their goal is the help the poor survive the worst winter in living memory. They both have wide eyes.

Whitworth: MY MOTHER IS A GODOLPHIN. George: MORWENNA IS A CHYNOWETH. “Devout, healthy, fond of motherless children” but hey, if you can find another girl of similar pedigree and virtue to yoke yourself to, by all means, go find her.

Caro to an unseen rich person: We pledged 50 guineas each, and a large donation in my late uncle’s name, so you might be able to kick in….? D: You wouldn’t want to be lacking in your own generosity, would you?

The music turns jaunty, and Whitworth stalks out of George’s office. Drake looks at an envelope with the direction to the Warleggan townhouse in Truro and starts walking.

D: We wouldn’t want to tell you, Sir Phillip, how much to pledge, BUT Sir John kicked in 20 guineas!

Whitworth comes back with a counter offer.

Caro: “My dear, you do him wrong. I believe he offered 25.”

Click for gifs!

Caro and D, side by side, in fancy clothes and wearing shit-eating grins as they charm men out of their money.

Whitworth: How about 4,000? George: Economic times being what they are, go fuck yourself.

D: I was just telling Caroline that there isn’t a kindlier man than Sir Hugh!

Whitworth: I cannot exist on so paltry a sum! George: Find an heiress, then. Wentworth leaves.

Caro: 30 guineas, then? Excellent.

Whitworth comes BACK. I can accept 3,500? George: “GOOD GOD MAN, DO YOU IMAGINE I HAVE MONEY TO BURN.” I mean, yes?

Drake has made it Truro and to the townhouse, where Morwenna is looking dreamily out the window, but not toward the street.

Inside, George is crowing to Elizabeth that they finally have a deal. He was willing to go higher for a connection to the Godolphins, but “the idiot settled for 3,000 pounds!” So Elizabeth can inform the bride now. Elizabeth: uh, you came up with this plan so you do it. “I would not, for the world, deprive you of this happy task!”

Drake approaches the front door, and a footman is like CAN I HELP YOU. Inside, Elizabeth calls for Morwenna, and Drake skitters away.

Morwenna: “Marry? Mr. Whitworth?” Elizabeth is like, girl, you’d be making the jump from governess to lady of the town, it would be a help your POOR STARVING MOTHER and your UNMARRIED SISTERS and also George was VERY NICE to give you settlement so be grateful we’re whoring you out to someone in society! “Does Mr. Whitworth’s love mean nothing at all?” Morwenna: we haven’t talked barely at all! Elizabeth: I mean, you’ve talked enough that he’s willing to marry you, so what are you on about? Also your mother is very happy with the idea. Morwenna: My mom is okay with this? Elizabeth: Why wouldn’t she be? Morwenna thinks her mother would be all over it if she thought that Morwenna loved Mr. Whitworth, “But I do not!”

Elizabeth: I think your mother would be dismayed if you found fault in a good match because of this idea you have about love and shit. Morwenna: “Is it wrong to hope for love in a marriage?” Elizabeth takes a second, because there are a bunch of thoughts crowding her head – Francis, Ross, and George and her reasons for picking (or not) each one. “When you wed Francis, did you not marry for love?” Elizabeth hardens her voice: “I married for what I thought was love….it lasted barely a year. My marriage to Mr. Warleggan is not founded on love, yet it is altogether more successful.”

Elizabeth goes into George’s study, where’s he got a letter from Caro, asking for 30 guineas to “help the poor.” Elizabeth snaps that he spent 3,000 on a dowry, so will another 30 bankrupt him? “No doubt she expects your refusal.” “Then I shall disappoint her!” George crows. God. He’s dumb and mean.

Caro is counting money. George sent 50 guineas. D snarks that he’s not interested in “concern for the poor” he just wants to make sure everyone knows he sent the most. Caro: we have his money, so he can think whatever he wants. D grins that they should become footpads, they’re pretty good at it. “Now all we need is the goods.”

Elizabeth doses her port and stares off into the middle distance as Val cries. This poor kid.

At the meetinghouse, Ross and Zacky worry a bit about if the goods will be safe. Ross says they’ll be safe enough for one night. Tomorrow, they’ll be done, and Zacky’s like yeah, landing a cargo of extreme value in utmost secrecy.

At sunset, Ross and the boys are at the cove, and D, Caro, and Prudie are waiting in the kitchen at Nampara. D says the girls should be away, and Prudie’s like, uh, Ross said to stay put? D: “He did. He also said that I’m the mother of two small children and ought to start behaving as one. Daniel’s upstairs with Clowance and Jeremy, and we’re away to the meetinghouse.”

At the cove, the boys see the ship, and Zacky signals with a light.

At the meeting house, the girls sing and sing with a handful of the congregation.

On the beach, the goods are loaded into carts, and everyone hustles off. The girls continue to sing. In the woods, the goods are being moved, and Constable Goon sights them.

The girls finish the song, and D calls for the congregation to put out the candles and be quiet. “If anyone be watching, let’s hope we throw them off the scent.”

Constable Goon rides off.

Zacky peeks into the meeting house and tells the girls the boys are on the way “With no one the wiser.”

Constable Goon reports to George what he saw, and that Ross is definitely the ringleader, and that “there’s no mistaking the goods.”

At the meeting house, where many hands are stacking the goods, Ross eyes D. “Did I not bid you to stay at home?” “Yes, Ross, as often I bid you, and see how well that works.” BURN. Prudie and Caro explain that they’ve been decoys and singing at their top of their lungs.

George decides that he’s going to get some sleep, and that as resident magistrate he must have his wits about him when he busts Ross’ smuggling ring.

In the morning, Ross rides off, and George gets his morning report from Constable Goon: the soldiers will be at the meeting house soon, and George intends to meet them there. Why miss all the fun? Morwenna comes down the stairs, and George also informs her that Wentworth will be calling that day, so she can see for herself what an amiable man he is. He leaves, and she sighs heavily.

At Nampara, D checks with her brothers that they know what to do, and also that the villagers are to keep quiet. Drake’s like yeah, of course they will, or all hell with break loose. Sam snits that it isn’t fit for the the Lord’s House to be used for such a purpose, and D and I make identical sounds of disgust. “Get ye gone!”

Whitworth arrives while Morwenna is reading, and he’s SUPER officious, posing in the doorway and generally being a turd on the doorstep.

On the road to the meetinghouse, George finds himself preceded by poor people running holding plates and pans, urging each other to hurry. The thought of dragging Ross away in chains is giving George such a boner, I’m surprised he can ride at all.

Whitworth is prattling on about a game of cards he played once, while Morwenna looks down at her hands.

Click for gifs!

Morwenna, sitting on the red and gold couch, staring down at her hands as Whitworth prattles on.

He then says that he detects the Hand of God in leading him to the Warleggan ball, and to wear the lemon silk “So you could not help but to notice me” (and Morwenna looks like she might actually throw up on his shoes, which she has every right to do, I AM JUST SAYING ’WENNA) and that she could comfort him as only a wife could. “And now that I know my sentiments are returned!” Morwenna says that she is not sure they ARE returned, and he’s like no, it is only your delicate sensibilities, all women approach matrimony with a hint of shyness. “As a man of feeling, and a man of God, I assure you, my love will be returned.”

Whitworth and Mr. Collins read the same books, I see. God, I hope he dies soon. Horribly.

He slimes a kiss on her hand, and Morwenna’s finally like NOPE ‘WENNA OUT, and runs out of the room, only barely not hip-checking Elizabeth.

Elizabeth asks Whitworth if Morwenna refused him, and he’s like, I am not discouraged. She’ll come around. “Proceed with arrangements as planned.”

At the meetinghouse, George and Constable Goon ride up to see the soldiers leaving, and Ross shaking hands with the captain, saying he’s sorry the captain was sent on a fool’s errand. What Ross and his people are handing out is grain, not riches. D and Caro smile brightly at George. “See the fruits of your generosity? Have you come to make further donation?” George: Donation? Yes, see, they bought a load of rain and are now selling it at half the market price. Caro: shall we put you down for 70 guineas next time?

George snits that there won’t BE a next time, because HE is not in the habit of pandering to wastrels and lazyasses who can’t earn their own bread. Ross: what are you doing trespassing on Nampara land? You’re a magistrate, go away, or I’ll call back the soldiers and have you both arrested. George and Constable Goon turn and leave, while Zacky cheerfully shouts, “BYE!” which is my favorite part of this scene, even more than D and Caro’s shit-eating grins.

Back in Truro, George snaps and snits and throws a tantrum about how this whole scheme was a deliberate attempt to humiliate him. Elizabeth, reasonably, offers that it might also have been an attempt to avoid a riot? Bah, George doesn’t care about riots. “He made me think he was breaking the law, and then made me look a fool when I attempted to bring him to heel! Well, he’s overplayed his hand this time.”

Caro stares out over the water, and Enys dozes. Armitage comes over and tries to send Enys to bed, and Enys is like, I said I’d keep watch over this patient. Armitage says the reason he offered to help Enys was so that Enys could get “one hour’s sleep in twenty” and be able to keep doctoring. Enys: “with no fresh water? No medicine? No supplies?” The French guards blather, and Armitage says they’re taking bets on which prisoner will be the next to die.

At the meeting house, Zacky brings news that George has decided to close Wheal Leisure. Immediately, ending 70 jobs. D asks why, and Ross is like, because he CAN, and the profits are small. And it used to belong to Ross. “So to spite Ross, George would put 70 families into direst poverty?” Yes, yes, he would.

Morwenna gets told by Elizabeth that she’s being sent back to Trenwith, and when told to start packing, she begins to cry as she goes up the stairs. Upon being told this, George is like, yeah, she’s being sent back to the tedium of Trenwith after the “happy bustle of Truro.” Elizabeth is unconvinced by this logic. “She’ll soon see the error of her ways and be begging us for the date of her wedding.”

At Nampara, D feels like they’ve done what they set out to do: five villages will survive. Ross is still poleaxed at the cost. This was set into motion by their grain venture and George’s fragile masculinity.


Ross and D begin thinking about what they could do for the 70 families that just lost their income, when Caro runs into to tell them that she’s off for London. D asks if she’s had word about Enys, and Caro has gotten word from Unwin saying that she has no cause for concern, but she’s going to the Admiralty and start negotiating for a ransom. Ross and D wish her luck, but after she’s left, Ross’s face turns grim. “The Admiralty doesn’t deal in ransoms.”

Enys has managed to get some water to another prisoner, but the French have decided that the prisoners Enys has been trying to keep alive will be the next to go, so they shoot him, right in front of Enys and Armitage. Enys begins to weep and crumples to the ground.

At Wheal Grace, Ross walks up to Henshawe and Zacky, and says he’s got an idea. They’re already over-manned as it is, and if they get more miners, and get more ore, they might flood the market and bring prices down. But there’s a few parts of the mine that have made indications of new lodes (“Which may not come to anything” Zacky says) so, maybe, with 30 extra men they could pay for if Ross doesn’t take his profit dividend… Henshawe and Zacky worry that D might actually kill him for this, and Ross, for once, talked to D and she’s on board.

A driver pushes on a carriage stuck in the mud (and, I note, had made no effort to make the load lighter or have the other driver get off to lead the horses or even make them pull at ALL), and Drake, Sam, and D walk along the road (with Drake and D singing together and it’s ADORABLE). Sam smacks his brother and goes to help, and yes, in the carriage is G-C and Morwenna. Morwenna’s face shines like the moon when she sees Drake.

Click for gifs!

Morwenna seeing Drake outside of the carriage

D is a little dismayed, and Sam does all the pushing. The carriage gets unstuck (“Thanks for all the help, brother.”) and the kids go on their way, while Drake grins to himself.

Click for gifs!

Sam, efficiently pushing the carriage

The carriage leaves and Sam, Drake, and D standing in the road. Sam: Thanks for the help, brother.

George demands of Elizabeth to know how long Morwenna will need, and she’s like a few weeks, but “I’m not overly enamored of him…there’s something about him that makes my skin crawl.” THIS IS THE MOST ACCURATE STATEMENT ELIZABETH HAS EVER MADE. George is like yeah, he’s a reptile and prig, but he’s also a Godolphin. Morwenna will realize how lucky she is.

How lucky she is, is a suitor telling his tailor to make a waistcoat of gold brocade and trousers tight enough to inspire in his bride “awe and anticipation.” The tailor is a TOUCH rough in measuring the inseam, but honestly, could have been rougher and perhaps careless with his scissors?

D tells Ross that she likes Morwenna, she seems to be kind and sweet, but she worries about what this return will mean for Drake. Ross: It’ll piss the holy hell out of George, and that’s good enough for me. D is more concerned with class divisions (reasonable, given the amount of work she put in so that she could fit in with Ross’s class), and that George would lose his shit over a miner’s son aspiring to his wife’s cousin. Ross: How about a lowly mine owner aspiring to a great lady? He kisses her hand, and she grins at him. “That’s different.” She hopes Morwenna takes care to stay out of Drake’s way.

Click for gifs!

Ross, looking at D and thinking I cannot live without this woman and D, looking at Ross and D thinking That's right, you can't and they kiss

GUESS WHAT: she does not. Drake and Morwenna run to each other on the beach, and hug, and they kiss.

Click for gifs!

Morwenna and Drake, making out on the beach. You go, kids.

Whatcha Reading? October 2017 Edition

Oct. 21st, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

old book on the bench in autumn parkIt’s Whatcha Reading time, where we discuss all the highs and lows of our month’s reading. We all hope you’ve had some good book noises this month, but we know sometimes that doesn’t happen. Feel free to rage and gripe as much as you want. However, we can’t be held responsible if your TBR pile doubles in size from the book recommendations you’ll most likely get.

Sarah: I am reading a nonfiction and a romance, because my brain is tired and stressed. The nonfiction is Deep Work by Cal Newport (insert all jokes here) (insert jokes about inserting jokes here) (fin). On one hand, the reframing of what is deeply focused work and what is shallow, distracting work is interesting and very helpful to my own feelings of productivity and accomplishment, especially when paired with a recent podcast interview with Basecamp CEO Jason Fried.

Deep Work
A | BN | K | iB
I’m constantly questioning what I do, and why I do it, and whether I can do less, do things more efficiently, or not do them at all. So the idea of focusing intently on my creative projects and goals is something I’m very curious about. But the book itself, while it contains several helpful concepts, grates on me with the sexism and the ignoring of other work that women typically do (e.g. emotional labor and caretaking). Most of the examples are men, with two exceptions, one of them negative, and most of these examples portray work as a singular monolith or field of study. So I take frequent breaks between chapters so I don’t get too angry to keep reading and cheat myself out of valuable ideas.

Carrie: I am reading Chasing Power, a YA by Sarah Beth Durst ( A | BN | K | G | iB ), and also What She Ate, a nonfiction about six historical women and their relationship to food. The former is entertaining but uneven and the latter is excellent.

Sarah: I’m also currently reading The Offer by Sara Portman ( A | BN | K | G | iB ), which is coming out on 10/24. The heroine is a penniless vicar’s daughter who opens the story in the strange position of deeply envying her best friend, now a duchess, who is in the midst of horrible morning sickness. The hero is also in debt, and not in a position to offer for anyone unless that person comes with several wagonloads of money, so OF COURSE they are going to be drawn to each other. I just started it, and am very curious, so ahoy, more reading time for me.

What She Ate
A | BN | K | iB
Elyse: I just started The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan. It’s an epic fantasy about a group of women with magical abilities working to overthrow a patriarchal, repressive society. Their magic is tied to the ability to read and use words of power, so it’s pretty solidly my catnip

Sarah: I read the first chapter of that book and so wanted to continue, but it was giving me the “your brain is going to wake you up with nightmares” feeling with some of the violence. But the women in that first chapter are SO INCREDIBLE.

Elyse: One of the things that I found really fascinating and relevant is that the authoritarian regime bans reading as a means of controlling its populace

Sarah: YES. This is a perfect example of a book that I wanted to read but knew would give my brain middle-of-the-night freakouts.

Amanda: Can I just say that I love these little conversations we have about books? What we like, what we don’t like, what aspects work of us as readers. It gives me the warm and fuzzies.

The Bloodprint
A | BN | K | iB
Sarah: I know, me too.

In the past year I have learned so much about how to work with my brain and my brain chemistry. it’s life-changing on a very basic level.

But knowing when something violent is going to exacerbate my anxiety to the point of losing sleep is a big help, much as I want to read this book.


Redheadedgirl: So…I maaaaaaaaay be at “one book bought per day of trip” so that’s a lot?

Elyse: Nah.

Amanda: I just finished an exhausting week in South Florida, cleaning out my late grandparents home where they lived for over 40 years. On the cool side, I found my great grandmother’s bible from 1917. On the bad side, who knew just looking at belongings could sap so much energy. Because of this, I’m waffling between two different types of reads – dark and gritty to channel some of my negative feelings. And reading an autobuy author for some comfort.

A | BN | K | iB
For the former, I have An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard from my library ( A | BN | K | G | iB ). It has a magical NYC and a heroine who wants to destroy the current magical system.

For the latter, I have Roomies by Christina Lauren. They write such great modern romances that make me laugh and cry. It’s like a hug in book form and something that I totally need right now.

What have you been reading this month? Something spooky? A comfort read? Let us know in the comments!

By request, since we can’t link to every book you mention in the comments, here are bookstore links that help support the site with your purchases. If you use them, thank you so much, and if you’d prefer not to, no worries. Thanks for being a part of SBTB and hopefully, you’ve found some great books to read!

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[personal profile] vaysh11 posting in [community profile] daily_snitch
Joanne K. Rowling – Life and Books:
• BBC Documentary A Look into the History of Magic to air on October 28 on BBC Two.
• J.K. Rowling previews 'Harry Potter: A History of Magic Exhibit. (video)
• Harry Potter: The Exhibition: Nimbus 2000 on display in Madrid, Spain to mark the November 18 opening.

Harry Potter – Actors and Movies:
• Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore) – Happy Belatedly Birthday.(October 19)
• Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) comments on whether he'd appear in Fantastic Beasts series if asked.
• Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter): new film Jungle and more.
• Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart), Donhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley) and others in the Weekly Cast Round-up.
The Art of Harry Potter on the design process of the HP movies to be released next month on November 21.
• Big Draw 2017, an interactive exhibition, is coming to Gloucester Cathedral. (BIG Cathedral Draw, October 21-29

Pottermore News
• Pottermore releases e-book editions of Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through the History of Magic.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:
• Cursed Child at Broadway: First Tickets Fly Faster Than a Firebolt.

[ profile] hp_halloween posted a Reminder that drabbles are due in one week on October 28.
[ profile] femmefest posted new banners!
[ profile] sirius_black made a mod post: Submissions are due today. The fest is looking for pinch-hitters!
[ profile] snapecase Sign-ups are ongoing.
[ profile] one_bad_man: Weekly Sign-up Post. At the time of posting Monday is still open.

Fandom Recs:
[ profile] madeleone recced Hermione Granger/Severus Snape art (G).
[ profile] reynardo recced a beautiful HG/SS craft work (G).
[ profile] nearlyconscious recced Tonks, Hermione, Fleur, Luna, Ginny art (G).
[ profile] nearlyconscious recced Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter at (G).
[ profile] nearlyconscious recced a Alicia Spinnet/Katie Bell fic (NC-17).
[ profile] nearlyconscious recced Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter art (G).
[ profile] nearlyconscious recced a Daphne Greengrass/Harry Potter fic (PG-13).
[ profile] nearlyconscious recced Luna Lovegood/Pansy Parkinson art (G).
[ profile] nearlyconscious recced a Daphne Greengrass/Hermione Granger fic (R).

Archive News:
• The OTW says Thank you.

• @fansplaining Podcast: Episode 59: Fandom Histories. (all fandoms)
• Lucy wrote Muggle Magic and "Harry Potter" Collide at the British Library (going through eight subjects studied at Hogwarts)

• Warner Bros Opposuits launch first ever Harry Potter themed Hogwarts House blazer. (currently only a Gryffindor blazer is available)

[ profile] accio_hd_fics posted a search for Drarry fics with Hermione cheating (on Ron) or being homophobic. (Drarry only)
[community profile] daily_snitch is looking for your recs (fic, art, podfic, meta ...) for the Special Edition: Newt Scamander.

Community Spotlight:
[ profile] hp_drizzle – a weather-themed Harry Potter fest
The Harry Potter Weather Fest is an anonymous prompt fest for weather-themed Harry Potter fanfiction and fanart. All ratings, all pairings, all genres are welcome. [ profile] hp_drizzle has been running since 2013; currently Round 5 is posting.

Please send your fandom news to the Daily Snitch.

October Book Club Announcement

Oct. 20th, 2017 07:24 pm
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

We’ve selected With This Curse by Amanda DeWees for our October read for the SBTB book club. Our official selection post has some more information on the book, including Elyse’s thoughts on why it’s a great Gothic pick for the month of October.

Our chat will occur on Wednesday, October 25 from 8:00pm – 9:30pm EDT. That afternoon, we’ll post the chat link on the site and it will go live around 8:00pm. Sarah will lead a discussion of the book for around an hour, and then author Amanda DeWees will pop in for a Q&A!

We hope to see you there!


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