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Posted by Elyse

Elyse Watches The Bachelorette with Kraken Rum and Coke with a big rose at the bottomWe had a two-hour Bachelorette last night, and now we have another two-hour episode tonight.

If I’m coherent at the end of this recap, it will be a miracle.

Pour yourselves a drink, people. I’ve got just enough rum to see me through the night.

Last night everyone went to Norway. Well not everyone. The cast of The Bachelorette.

Peter and Rachel may have had sex in a hot tub. Lee and Kenny went on a two-on-one date with Rachel where Lee continued his line of racist bullshit, telling Rachel that Kenny had been violent with him – a total lie.

We learned that an African Ringneck Parakeet named Mr. Tweeters lives in Lee’s hair.

An African Ringneck Parakeet looks coyly over his shoulder.
Mr. Tweeters.

It’s a lot to process and tonight promises to be intense. Or ridiculous.

Take a shot. It’s showtime!

We’re back to the two-on-one date in the Norwegian wilderness. Lee is spouting lies that make Kenny out to be an angry Black man. Rachel is processing the information she’s getting – Lee telling her that Kenny is violent and Kenny telling her that Lee is straight up lying.

Rachel tells both men that the day was “informative” and that the situation comes down to who she believes and trusts. She tells Lee she doesn’t trust him and she sends him home.

Mr. Tweeters lets out a sad chirp.

Rachel tells Kenny that she needs to spend more time with him before she decides whether or not to give him a rose.

Lee responds by saying, “That’s okay, sweetheart, but I just want you to know that when he came back over here he threatened me.”

It’s like Lee literally cannot speak without lying. Also his “sweetheart” remark was super condescending and gross, and honestly, this is a man who desperately needs to be pushed into the river he’s sitting next to.

I hope it’s cold.

Rachel and Kenny walk toward the helicopter. I like to think that Lee was left alone in the wilderness to die, but I doubt that happened. Your cowboy boots and hair gel won’t help you now, dude. Are there things in Norway big enough to eat Lee? Are there wolves? I’m on Team Wolves right now.

Which Nazgul will rise up to replace Lee? We don’t know.

Lee is sitting 'thinking' and his weird hair is standing straight up.
Let’s all look at Lee’s shitty hair.

Before they can depart, Kenny tells Rachel that he needs to “say goodbye” to Lee.

WHY? JUST LEAVE HIM THERE TO ROT.

“This is so stupid,” Rachel says. “I feel stupid. You’re still giving him attention! I’m so annoyed about this!”

Despite all the promos implying the men would come to blows, Kenny tells Lee that somewhere inside him is a decent man (nope, just an exotic bird) and leaves. But I’m pretty sure Kenny blew his chance with Rachel.

A close up of Rachel's face. She looks dismayed.

Rachel and Kenny have some one-on-one time. There are delicious chocolatey snacks on the table, snacks that they are not allowed to eat because the mics will pick up the noise.

They have a conversation about the fact that Rachel was disappointed that Kenny wanted to have the last word with Lee, but she’s still willing to take a chance on him. She gives Kenny the rose.

Kenny Facetimes his daughter. Every time he talks to her, I melt. He’s so proud of his daughter and so obviously devoted to her. He cries every time they talk because he misses her.

Then it’s time for The Dreaded Rose Ceremony. Kenny and Will both got date roses which means that they’re immune from elimination.

Peter is wearing a paisley tie and plaid scarf which is not a great look IMHO. He does get a rose, however.

Chris steps out of the shadows to tell us that we’re down to the final rose. THANKS CHRIS!

Josiah and Anthony are eliminated. Josiah spends some time telling us why that was the wrong choice, but I’m drinking, not listening.

The next day everyone goes to Denmark!

Rachel is on a bicycle, looking up at an old building in Denmark. Shes wearing the softest looking pink scarf.
Rachel in Denmark. I want that scarf.

The first one-on-one date is with Eric. The two of them explore Copenhagen together. They seem to have some genuine chemistry.

“How many kids do you want to have?” Eric asks.

“Four,” she answers.

“Oh, wow,” Eric says.

“Is that a lot?” she asks.

“No, I mean, I want ten, so…”

They bust up laughing.

It’s super cute.

They spend some time in a hot tub too. Because hot-tubbing is basically a requirement on these shows. Chris Harrison can summon a hot tub at will with his dark magic.

Rachel chills in a hot tub.

During dinner Eric tells Rachel that he’s never been in love. He also tells her that his mom never gave him love which is why he’s run from relationships in the past.

“I think for me, love is what I’m missing,” Eric says.

Rachel gives him a rose.

The next day a bunch of dudes go on a group date where they dress up like Vikings. They row a Viking ship and my fibro starts flaring in sympathy. My rhomboids would not enjoy that.

Rachel and the dudes row a viking longship.

They row to an island where they will learn to fight like Vikings. At the end of the day, the two best contestants will fight for a rose.

YES! Chris Harrison screams. FINALLY WE FIGHT TO THE DEATH.

They play a game  that, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP, is called “Greased Stick.”

The woman holds a greased stick and if the dude can pull it out of her hand, he gets to marry her.

I thought the point was to put the “Greased Stick” in her hand, but what do I know.

Dean says, “I think I would have made a great Viking. But, you know, a Viking that doesn’t necessarily fight very much.”

Good story, Dean.

I bet I’d make a great neurosurgeon. But, like, one that doesn’t do surgery or practice medicine or know anything about the human body in general.

The instructors decide that Kenny and Adam will fight for the rose. They have swords and shields.

Both Kenny AND Adam wind up with bloody eyebrows during the fight. They manage to smack their shields together at the same moment, clocking themselves in the face. They get patched up.

Oh, hey, remember when ABC showed us clips of Kenny bleeding and made it seem like he and Lee got into a fight (thereby adding credence to Lee’s bullshit racist “aggressive” comments?).

So you know what, ABC? FUCK YOU.

Kim from the Real Housewives of Atlanta gives the middle finger.

FUCK YOU FOR PERPETUATING LEE’S RACIST BULLSHIT.

During the cocktail hour, Rachel and Peter spend some time together. My theory here is that Rachel has already picked Peter. The chemistry between the two is super intense. Like eye-fucking. Like Rachel looks like she wants to climb him like a tree. Whenever they are alone together they look like naughty teenagers, giggling and looking for a place to dash off to in order to fool around. I’m convinced Rachel would send everyone else home already to be with Peter.

TEAM PETER FOREVER

Of all the dudes, Kenny feels the most vulnerable. He tells Rachel he’s really struggling, especially being apart from his daughter.

They have a really candid conversation. Rachel suggests that Kenny go home, and Kenny agrees with her. It’s an amicable departure and both of them are super mature about it. When Kenny calls his daughter from the car she says, “I’m so proud of you! You got to go to two amazing places! You got to do an awesome thing. I’m proud of you that you made it that far!”

Sadness from Inside Out sobs a fountain of tears

The group date rose goes to Peter.

The next day (I guess?) Rachel and Will go on a one-on-one date to Sweden. Rachel comments that Will always seems shy and distant with her. She wonders what’s holding him back. Will tells Rachel physical intimacy is really important to him, which is weird because he doesn’t even hold her hand.

Rachel comments on the lack of passion between them and declines to give him a rose, thereby sending him home.

Cut back to the hotel. Adam’s eye is looking a little crusty. Get some antibiotics dude. Neosporin at least.

Rachel walks along the watefront in Denmark.

At this point I’m pretty tipsy. I’m missing Mr. Tweeters. I have a cat on my lap and I have to pee real bad.

So I’m relieved when we get to another Dreaded Rose Ceremony.

Chris Harrison is waiting for Rachel. “You seem solemn tonight,” he observes. Then he plays her a song on his pipe organ that’s hidden in the basement.

We are down to seven dudes and only four roses remain.

CUE DRAMATIC MUSIC.

Rachel talks about Denmark and Hamlet and quotes the play and at least three dudes fall asleep immediately.

Suddenly she breaks down in tears and walks out of the room.

She returns after a few minutes, pulling herself together.

Eric and Peter already have a rose. Rachel gives roses to Matt, Dean, Bryan (who I forgot existed again), and Adam.

Hopefully now that he has a rose, Adam can go to a walk in clinic to get that eye looked at.

Alex goes home. I forgot Alex existed too, if I’m being honest.

The dudebros blur, you know? The rum probably contributes to that.

And that’s it for this week, thank god. I’m going to leave some ibuprofen and bottle of water on the nightstand.

There’s no episode next week so I have a chance to rest my liver.

Are you still watching? What do you think of the remaining six men?

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Posted by Ash Brown

It’s that time again! The end of June is quickly approaching, which means the monthly giveaway at Experiments in Manga is now commencing. Summer has most definitely arrived in the Northern Hemisphere and it has been ridiculously hot in some places. One Japanese tradition is to tell ghost stories in the summer hoping that the chilling tales will help beat the heat. And so with that in mind, this giveaway will provide an opportunity to win the first volume of Seiju Natsumegu’s Ghost Diary and Chasiba Katase’s In/Spectre, published in English by Seven Seas and Kodansha Comics respectively. As usual, the giveaway is open worldwide!

Ghost Diary, Volume 1In/Spectre, Volume 1

Considering my well-established love of Japanese folklore and yokai it might just be wishful thinking, but recently there seems to have been a wave of manga in translation that incorporate traditional Japanese legends, ghosts, spirits, monsters, and so on. (I’m not at all complaining.) Whether they appear as main or supporting elements in a story, even just the promise that they’ll be included is usually enough for me to give a manga a try. Ghost Diary and In/Spectre, two of the more recent manga releases dealing with Japanese supernatural traditions, provide distinctly modern takes on Japanese folklore and mythologies. But while they do share some similarities, Natsumegu and Katase’s approaches are vastly different and the contrasts between the two series can be quite interesting.

So, you may be wondering, how can you a copy of the first volumes of Ghost Diary and In/Spectre?

1) In the comments below, tell me a little about one of your favorite manga about Japanese folklore, ghosts, or urban legends. (Don’t have a favorite? Simply mention that instead.)
2) If you’re on Twitter, you can earn a bonus entry by tweeting, or retweeting, about the contest. Make sure to include a link to this post and @PhoenixTerran (that’s me).

And there you have it! Everyone participating can earn up to two entries and has one week to submit comments. If needed or preferred, those comments can also be sent to me directly at phoenixterran(at)gmail(dot)com. They will then be publicly posted here in your name. The giveaway winner will be randomly selected and announced on July 5, 2017. Good fortune to you all!

VERY IMPORTANT: Include some way that I can contact you. This can be an e-mail address in the comment form, a link to your website, Twitter username, or whatever. If I can’t figure out how to get a hold of you and you win, I’ll just draw another name.

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Posted by Sean Gaffney

By Ayano Takeda. Released in Japan by Takarajimasha, Inc. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Paul Starr.

One of the biggest surprise licenses from last year was this book, originally released as a stand-alone novel about the struggles of a high school concert band, which got made into a hugely successful anime. Note that I said ‘novel’ and not ‘light novel’ – there are no interstitial pictures in this book, which is the usual way to tell the difference about these sorts of things. But even beyond that, the fact that Sound! Euphonium does not take place in a fantasy world, at a magical academy, or even have Satan working at McDonald’s was a big point against it. But Yen took a chance on licensing the book, and I’m glad they did, as this is really well-written and dramatic, manages to show off in textual form the difficulties of playing music and the difference between ‘really good’ and ‘outstanding’, and most of all, it has in Kumiko one of the most fascinating protagonists I’ve met all year.

Kumiko is not a first person narrator per se, but the POV of the narration never leaves her, so in effect she functions as our eyes and ears for this book. She’s trying to “start anew” at a new high school, but can’t quite escape her concert band past, especially when her new friends also express an interest. Her childhood friend and not-boyfriend Shuuichi is also in the same band, as is her middle-school bandmate Reina. More on Reina later. Kumiko did not have a pleasant middle-school band experience, as most concert bands, where some instruments are more popular than others and some people get to solo while others don;t, is filled with politics and infighting, and the confrontations just wore her down. To a large degree the book is about helping Kumiko rediscover her love of the euphonium and band in general, and showing her how important it is to not simply glide along and have fun.

I had first heard of the anime as a “yuri anime”, and therefore was rather amused to note that the first half of the book featured precisely none of that. Indeed, Reina appears far less than you’d expect – she may as well be a minor character – until the festival, when Kumiko desperately tries to avoid Shuuichi asking her out (as it might actually force her to confront her feelings for him) and grabs Reina, saying they’re going together. Reina is fine with this, and takes Kumiko on a very romantic festival date. Despite Kumiko clearly being set up with Shuuichi, and Reina admitting that she’s in love with their teacher (what is it with Japan and teacher-student romances?!), it’s Kumiko and Reina who have the most chemistry together, as their body language and conversation reads like a couple rapidly falling for one another. I’d also like to mention Asuka here, the most fascinating character after Kumiko. She and Kumiko seem to be contrasted, if not as rivals, then as mirrors of each other, and their few scenes together are also charged – not with romantic tension, but with just tension. They ended up being my favorite scenes in the book, actually.

The book ends with the Kyoto Competition, and indeed ends somewhat suddenly with the reveal of the results. It was meant to be a stand-alone book, but the author ended up writing two more novels and some short stories afterwards, which were adapted into another anime season. So far Yen has only licensed this book, but I’d like to see it do well so we can see more of this cast – especially Kumiko and Asuka. Highly recommended.

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Posted by Carrie S

B+

When Dimple Met Rishi

by Sandhya Menon
May 30, 2017 · Simon Pulse
RomanceYoung Adult

When Dimple met Rishi is adorable and funny and utterly delightful. It was just what I needed during a stressful day.

Here’s the plot setup: Dimple is eighteen and about to go to Stanford. She resents her Indian-born mother’s attempts to mold her into a traditional woman. Dimple’s plans revolve around school and career, with no interest in marrying and having children. Above all else, she resents any suggestion that she would go to college to get a husband. Since Dimple’s parents are very protective, Dimple is surprised but thrilled when her parents readily agree to let her spend part of the summer at Insomnia Con, a summer program on web development held in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Rishi, who is also eighteen, tells himself and everyone else that he is happy to be a model oldest son to his parents, who are also from India. Rishi used to love drawing comics, but he has set that aside, applied to MIT, and plans to have a career in computer sciences. Rishi trusts his parents to arrange a marriage for him.

As a matter of fact, Rishi’s mom and dad are acquainted with Dimple’s mom and dad. They think Rishi and Dimple might be a great match, so they send Rishi to Insomnia Con to meet Dimple. However, Rishi’s parents don’t mention to him that Dimple’s parents haven’t told her anything about Rishi or the possibility of an arrangement. Dimple’s parents don’t tell her anything about Rishi either. When a total stranger walks up to Dimple at a coffee shop at Insomnia Con and says, “Hello, future wife!” it doesn’t go well.

Happily, the big misunderstanding is cleared up almost immediately so Dimple and Rishi can get on with becoming friends who absolutely do not date because Dimple is not looking for a relationship. Of course, it immediately becomes obvious to one and all that Dimple and Rishi are fabulous as a couple. They respect each other (eventually), they balance each other’s hang-ups as the best couples do, they are both very smart and very funny, and they have fantastic chemistry.

All of this makes for extremely fun and swoony reading. This book is set up as an opposites attract book, with Dimple determined to chase her dreams and Rishi resigned to fulfilling the dreams of others. However, they have more similarities than differences. Their only real conflict lies in Dimple’s fear of romance distracting her from her career and her independence.

The degree of swoony can be seen in the “not date” when Rishi takes Dimple to Two Sisters Bar and Books (a real place that recently closed, alas). Rishi and Dimple first met at a wedding when they were kids, and at that time Dimple was reading A Wrinkle in Time. So, at their table Rishi has a present waiting for Dimple – a special edition copy of A Wrinkle in Time from the year they met.

In turn, Dimple takes Rishi to a place where they have an amazing view of the San Francisco Bay Area. She tells Rishi that she’d like to make their “not date” a date, but wonders if he feels like there’s a point to dating since she’s not sure she’ll ever want to get married. Rishi says that tradition is important to him, but:

The point of dating you, Dimple Shah, is to get to know you. To spend time with you. To see the way you push your glasses up on your nose when you’re especially moved by whatever you’re saying. To smell your amazing shampoo. To feel your heart beating against mine. To see you smile. To kiss you. So maybe all that other stuff that’s important to me can take a backseat for now. And maybe I’m totally fine with that…if you are?

Pardon me while I pass out for a while.

There are only a couple of nitpicks standing between this book and an A. One is that Rishi and Dimple seem to have a lot of free time for two people in an incredibly complex and difficult competition with high stakes. Another is that the conflicts are so nicely resolved about two-thirds of the way through the book that the ensuing complications feel contrived. Granted, they are the kinds of contrivances that two eighteen-year-olds would generate. The better things go with Rishi, the more nervous Dimple gets, until she’s second-guessed herself into a state of complete panic. It does make sense for her character, but it also means a smart and admirable heroine suddenly seems obtuse and inconsistent, purely so that the story can keep going for another hundred pages.

Generally, however, this is a lovely book. It is sweet and funny and heartwarming. The parents and Rishi’s brother get some chances to shine and Dimple’s roommate is a good, if confused, friend. Both Dimple and Rishi have solid character development. Dimple has to learn to trust in a relationship and Rishi has to learn that his dreams have value. The ending is, appropriately, HFN instead of HEA, but it’s very satisfying. I happily recommend this book.

Results from last week!

Jun. 27th, 2017 10:57 pm
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 As promised, the results from last week!

*drumroll!*

Everyone give it up for the Turks! They took 10 points for Sloth and ran away with the trophy. Well... not ran. Too much effort. More like a vague saunter.

;)

Okay, that's all. Drabble away, happy drabblers!

This Week in Fandom, Volume 54

Jun. 27th, 2017 03:21 pm
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[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
This Week in Fandom

This Week in Fandom: Harry Potter's 20th anniversary, a legal victory for fair use, an academic survey on fanfiction, and more: https://goo.gl/92BZZt

Alterations by Stephanie Scott

Jun. 27th, 2017 06:00 pm
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Posted by Guest Reviewer

C+

Alterations

by Stephanie Scott
December 6, 2016 · Bloomsbury Spark
RomanceYoung Adult

This RITA® Reader Challenge 2017 review was written by LibrarianJessi. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Best First Book category.

The summary:

If anyone saw the prom boards Amelia Blanco makes on her favorite fashion app, they’d think Ethan Laurenti was her boyfriend. They wouldn’t know that all the plans she’s made for them are just dreams, and that she’s the girl who watches him from the kitchen while her parents cook for his famous family.

When Amelia’s abuelita enrolls her in a month-long fashion internship in NYC, Amelia can’t imagine leaving Miami–and Ethan–for that long. As soon as she gets to New York, however, she finds a bigger world and new possibilities. She meets people her own age who can actually carry on a conversation about stitching and design. Her pin boards become less about prom with Ethan and more about creating her own style. By the time she returns to Miami, Amelia feels like she can accomplish anything, and surprises herself by agreeing to help Ethan’s awkward, Steve-Jobs-wannabe brother, Liam, create his own fashion app.

As Liam and Amelia get closer, Ethan realizes that this newly confident, stylish girl may be the one for him after all . . . even though he has a reality TV star girlfriend he conveniently keeps forgetting about. The “new and improved” Amelia soon finds herself in between two brothers, a whole lot of drama, and choice she never dreamed she’d have to make.

Here is LibrarianJessi's review:

Although I used to mainline teen fiction like there was no tomorrow, I’ve largely taken a break for the last couple of years. This is partly because I spent the last two years reading 300+ adult fiction books while I served on a committee which I lovingly referred to as “My Crazy Ass Reading Committee” but which is properly known as The Reading List Committee. Reading Alterations, I was reminded of the other reason teen fic and I took a break: especially in contemporary teen fiction, I suddenly found myself empathizing with the parents more than the teens, which was shocking and made me feel ancient. I have to admit I suffered from this in Alterations too. I often found myself wanting to smack Amelia upside the head or sit her down for a long talk. Because of this odd tug-of-war between wanting to sink fully into the drama llama-ness of the story and my rational (apparently) adult brain offering distracting advice, my thoughts about the book are fairly split too. So, I’ve decided to resort to every Type A, detail-obsessed librarian’s favorite tool: The Pro/Con List.

Behold:

Things that really worked for me in Alterations:

  • My number one favorite thing about this story was the grandmother/mother/daughter dynamic. Amelia lives with both her abuelita and her mother. Their relationship rings very true with lots of love, expectations, bickering, etc. It’s a complete miracle to have functional, living parents in teen fic, and I really appreciate authors that take the time to create them. Amelia’s relationship with the matriarchs in her life reminded me of Jane the Virgin, the best show on TV right now and the perfect show for every romance reader.
  • Amelia’s passion for fashion (yeah I know, I couldn’t resist) is infectious. All the people in her life who love her support her and help her find the confidence to pursue her dreams. Her coming-of-age journey is quite excellent. And for days after finishing the book, I was plagued by the need to hang with Tim Gunn in Project Runway reruns.
  • The story created a very positive message about finding your people. Amelia, like many of us, feels like a bit of a weirdo. But suddenly, she finds her fellow fashion people – “Isn’t it amazing how we’re all sort of loners in our regular worlds, but we come here and we all seem to fit”. The experience was not unlike what many of us experience here with the SBTB community. It’s magical and one of the most fundamental parts of growing up and learning to love the person you are.
  • As a complete Broadway nerd, I have a slight (read: major) obsession with NYC. Amelia’s trip was an absolute armchair travel delight for me. The city comes alive through her eyes and I was all but drooling to visit again.
  • Liam, Amelia’s very obvious OTP (one true pairing), is exactly my kind of hero. He’s nerdy and adorkable and even though it’s not his thing, he totally gets Amelia’s love of fashion and works really hard to help her find her full potential.

Things that really didn’t work for me in Alterations:

  • While I appreciated the excellent job Scott did creating Amelia’s parentals, the story was lacking in the female friendship department. She did have girlfriends – both old and new – but often developing those relationships was sacrificed for other story elements. Often, the relationships or the friend characters fell a bit flat for me.
  • It took Amelia too damn long to get over Ethan. Every time she went all googly eyed over him, I wanted to smack her. He was obviously a complete asshat and I had absolutely no patience for her obsession with him. Every time I thought she was making some headway getting over him (and noticing the adorableness that is Liam) she would backslide. There were many times I wanted to chunk the book across the room, but I was reading digital and didn’t want to harm my darling Kindle.
  • Because it took her sooooooo long to see past Ethan, we didn’t get nearly enough of the puppy dog eyes and wooing with Liam. My heart hurt for him every time he was on page. He had it so bad and Amelia was just so oblivious. When they finally get to the HEA, I didn’t feel like the romantic groundwork was laid for the two of them and I also felt like Amelia owed him a bit more groveling.

In the end, my struggles with the romantic subplot outweighed my enjoyment of other parts of the story. I would have enjoyed it quite a bit more if the romance wasn’t there at all.

Contemporary Romances Out the Wazoo!

Jun. 27th, 2017 03:30 pm
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Posted by Amanda

The Bourbon Kings

The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward is $1.99! This book is more of a dysfunctional family saga than a romance, and it was also the inspiration for my first Covers & Cocktails post! Redheadedgirl gave this book a B:

As a novel where there’s a bunch of crazysauce, I appreciated it. I do think the current trend in romance is lacking in crazysauce. There’s a lot that happens!

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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Make Me

Make Me by Tessa Bailey is 99c! This contemporary romance has come up in a couple Rec Leagues: He’s Not Worthy and He’s Always Loved Her. Reader Katie C. and I talked about this book in line while at RT17. She loved it! (Maybe she can pop into the comments and share her thoughts.) Meanwhile, I was really anticipating this book and felt disappointed by the pacing.

Construction worker Russell Hart has been head-over-work boots for Abby Sullivan since the moment he laid eyes on her. But he knows a classy, uptown virgin like her could never be truly happy with a rough, blue-collar guy like him. If only she’d stop treating him like her personal hero—a role he craves more than oxygen—maybe he could accept it.

With the future of her family’s hedge fund on her shoulders, Abby barely has time to sleep, let alone find love. And her best friend Russell acting like a sexy, overprotective hulk any time their Super Group goes out in public definitely isn’t helping her single status. But after a near-tragedy lands Russell in her bed for the night, Abby’s suddenly fantasizing about what he looks like shirtless. Chest hair and tattoos—who knew?

As Russell struggles to keep Abby at a safe distance, she begins to see through his tough-talking exterior—and acknowledge her own feelings. Now she’s ready to turn the friend-zone into foreplay…and make him lose control.

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play iBooks

 

 

 

Luke

Luke by Barbara Freethy is 99c at Amazon! This is the first book in the 7 Brides for 7 Brothers series, which caught my eye because the movie (of the same name) was part of my childhood. This is a second chance romance. Some readers warn there’s an annoying plot moppet in the romance, but others recommend the book for fans of sweet, second chance stories. Some of the other books in the series are also available for 99c!

Meet the Brannigan brothers—seven sexy brothers who bring the heart and the heat! From bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Ruth Cardello, Melody Anne, Christie Ridgway, Lynn Raye Harris, Roxanne St. Claire and JoAnn Ross comes a brand new contemporary romance family series: 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. You won’t want to miss a single one!

LUKE – Barbara Freethy

Luke Brannigan lives for the adrenaline rush, which makes his job as a filmmaker of extreme sporting adventures the perfect career choice. He loves to travel the world, risking life and limb to capture the most amazing shot. Some might say he’s running away from something…or someone.

When Luke’s billionaire father Colin Brannigan dies unexpectedly, Luke is shocked to receive title to the mountain lodge where his parents first met. Having been estranged from his father for years, Luke has no idea why his dad picked him to inherit this very personal piece of property…until he realizes the pretty blonde manager is Lizzie Parker, his former college girlfriend.

Luke and Lizzie have an emotional and heartbreaking past, but will they have a future? Will love be Luke’s greatest adventure yet?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

Amazon

 

 

 

Bikers and Pearls

Bikers and Pearls by Vicki Wilkerson is 99c! This is a small town contemporary romance with an opposites attract element. Some readers expressed difficulty sympathizing with the heroine, while others loved how the relationship progressed between the hero and heroine. Reviews also mentioned that this is a romance without any explicit sex scenes.

Who said tempting a sweet Southern belle would be easy?

When rebel biker Bullworth Clayton gets tangled up with pastel-and-pearls-clad April Church, sparks fly. Sure, April would clearly rather work with anyone else, but if teaming up with Bull means a successful charity event for a sick little boy they both care about, then so be it.

April is baffled at how drawn she is to the leather-wearing, tattooed Bull—he just doesn’t fit with her simple, safe, country-club life. And as much as the handsomely rugged man tempts her, she still can’t shake the images of the tragic motorcycle accident from her past, which left her scarred and her father broken.

Bull tempts her to don a pair of leather pants and go for a ride with him, while April desperately tries to resist her attraction to the wild side and keep her exploits hidden from her small town. Will they be able to navigate their differences and find a middle road to love?

Add to Goodreads To-Read List →

This book is on sale at:

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Invisible 3 Release Day

Jun. 27th, 2017 10:49 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Invisible 3 CoverINVISIBLE 3, a collection of 18 essays and poems about representation in SF/F, is out today! The ebook is edited by myself and Mary Anne Mohanraj, and is available at:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

As with the first two volumes in this series, all profits go to benefit Con or Bust.

Here’s the full table of contents:

  • Introduction by K. Tempest Bradford
  • Heroes and Monsters, by T. S. Bazelli
  • Notes from the Meat Cage, by Fran Wilde
  • What Color Are My Heroes? by Mari Kurisato
  • The Zeroth Law Of Sex in Science Fiction, by Jennifer Cross
  • Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities, by Alliah
  • Erasing Athena, Effacing Hestia, by Alex Conall
  • Not So Divergent After All, by Alyssa Hillary
  • Skins, by Chelsea Alejandro
  • The Doctor and I, by Benjamin Rosenbaum
  • My Family Isn’t Built By Blood, by Jaime O. Mayer
  • Lost in Space: A Messy Voyage Through Fictional Universes, by Carrie Sessarego
  • Decolonise The Future, by Brandon O’Brien
  • Natives in Space, by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • I Would Fly With Dragons, by Sean Robinson
  • Adventures in Online Dating, by Jeremy Sim
  • Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon
  • Shard of a Mirage, by MT O’Shaughnessy
  • Unseen, Unheard, by Jo Gerrard

Huge thanks to the contributors for sharing their stories and experiences. I’ve learned so much from earlier volumes in this series, and this one was no different.

And hey, if you haven’t seen the previous volumes…

INVISIBLE: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

INVISIBLE 2: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

If you’re a reviewer and would like a copy, please contact me and let me know your preferred format and where your reviews are published.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

HaBO: Son Kidnapped on Christmas

Jun. 27th, 2017 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

In this HaBO, we’re trying to track down the first romance Reader Esti ever picked up:

I was talking to Bea at the Ripped Bodice about the first romance novel I ever read, and she suggested I contact you because I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the book (to be fair, I was only ten. Someone messed up and put it in the kids section at a book sale and I bought it. It definitely gave me an education, lol.)

Anyway, the story was about a divorced couple whose son was kidnapped around Christmas time. Of course they fall back in love while searching for their son. I believe the kidnapper was the hero’s partner, who wanted the heroine for himself.

I’m pretty sure the cover was blue (I know, how cliche) and that it was they type of books that come out every month, like the Silhouette romances.

Blue cover alert!

[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Elyse

Elyse Watches The Bachelorette with Kraken Rum and Coke with a big rose at the bottomIt’s Monday night, the night when I get drunk on Kraken rum and watch The Bachelorette for your entertainment.

This week we have a two-hour episode on Monday, and a two-hour episode on Tuesday.

Pray for my liver.

Is anyone out there a doctor? Because I’m really going to need a note for work on Wednesday.

Boss: “Elyse, why are you in pajama bottoms and is that a tortilla chip in your hair?”

Me:

A little girl shakes her head and holds up her hands like IDK

Anyway, last week a bunch of guys were jerks, everyone fought with each other, and Rachel broke down crying because of the shittiness of the group. Iggy tattled on everyone. Lee revealed himself to be the missing Malfoy child. Kenny was accused by Lee of being aggressive.

Dean and Peter stood out by not engaging in the bullshit.

We also need to take a moment to talk about Lee’s hair. There’s no justification for his bouffant or the amount of gel that he needs to achieve it. My working theory is that he’s smuggling exotic birds up there.

Lee and his stupid hair.

Anyway, on with the show!

We’re back on Hilton Head Island, SC. Kenny has approached Lee to confront him because Lee told Rachel that Kenny was aggressive toward him.

Now let’s take a moment to call that statement out for what it is: coded racism.

Last week pretty much all of the men were shouting at each other during an epic blow up. No one got physical and there was no indication that anyone would. Multiple people shouted at Lee because Lee is a raging asshole.

Lee only accuses Kenny of being aggressive.

Coincidentally Kenny is a large Black man.

Rewatching clips from last week, it’s apparent that Kenny was never going to get physical with Lee. He was feet away from Lee when they argued, and while voices were raised, both had relaxed body posture.

By accusing Kenny of being aggressive, Lee puts Kenny in an untenable position. If he gets mad at Lee for being a shitbag, he’s an aggressive, potentially dangerous Black man. Same if he vociferously defends himself. Now all Kenny can do is keep his cool while Lee attacks him like the cowardly little rectal pustule he is.

Very calmly, Kenny says to Lee, “You are a disingenuous snake.”

That’s pretty fucking unfair to snakes. Snakes are just eating rodents and keeping their ecosystems sound. Snakes aren’t using all the hair gel.

It’s obvious that Lee is trying to provoke an angry, potentially even violent reaction from Kenny, who refuses to engage.

I expect Rachel will immediately see through all of this

After all that nonsense, Rachel shows up and gives Bryan the group-date rose , which is interesting because I actually forgot that Bryan existed. Which one is he again?

A still shot of Brian looking off to one side.
This is Bryan. Apparently.

The next day Rachel goes on a one-on-one date with Jack, who looks a lot like Bryan, which is confusing me. They take a carriage ride and then shuck and eat fresh oysters. They go dancing and Jack flirts, and it’s painful because there’s no chemistry between them. Rachel is clearly aware of it and doesn’t want to kiss him because she’s “sick.”

Cut back to the hotel. Some of the other dudes tell Lee what a shitty, racist thing calling Kenny aggressive is, and Lee gets suitably butt-hurt because Kenny “played the race card.”

He acts like he has no idea what the connotations of his comments are.

Marcia from the Brady Bunch says Sure Jan with all visible eyerolling sarcasm.

Then we go back to Rachel and Jack having dinner. Jack is trying sooooo hard to impress Rachel and she has this kind of vacant stare going on. He’s talking about how they really connected and Rachel looks like she’s thinking about The Black Panther teaser trailer. Or shampooing her carpet. Or cuddling with her dog, Copper.  Or anything other than spending time with Jack, really.

He is super oblivious to the fact that this woman has totally checked out.

Rachel comments, “Jack says ‘I just want to take you back to Dallas and just lay in bed and talk.’ That didn’t sound…great to me.”

She tells Jack that she doesn’t feel a romantic connection to him and that he won’t be getting a rose.

Jack, who was busy naming their future children, is stunned. I felt a little bad for him but also, pick up on signals dude. She didn’t want to kiss you! By this point in filming the “sick” thing is nonsense. Everyone has the same cold.

Except Lee. Lee has bird flu but only because an African Ringneck Parakeet that I’ve named Mr. Tweeters is living in his hair.

The next night (or same night? It’s all a little fuzzy here) Rachel puts on a black dress that is held together by sequined clips and makes her look like a goddamned goddess. She decides to omit the cocktail party and go straight to The Dreaded Rose Ceremony.

Cut back to the house where Peter, who is actually aware of human beings other than himself, is telling Iggy how the mens’ awful, childish behavior hurt Rachel.

I feel like right now is a good time to admit that I really want Peter to win.

  1. He doesn’t engage in petty bullshit. Every time Lee is starting some shit or Eric is screaming “MY NAME IS IN YOUR MOUTH” Peter is off on his own, presumably working out the blueprints of the dream house he will build Rachel with his goddamn hands.
  2. Rachel’s dog, Copper, loves Peter. Copper spent their whole flight to Palm Springs with his head in Peter’s lap, gazing adoringly at him. Dogs know. They always know.

Also when the WTFery is high, Peter adopts the Jim Halpert “is this real life” look.

Case in point:

Peter stares into the camera like WTF is even going on here

Then it’s time for The Dreaded Rose Ceremony–the ceremony when Chris Harrison gets to drink the blood of fallen Bachelorette contenders, thereby freeing him to walk in daylight.

In a cutaway Adam (the one who had the puppet) says, “I feel like she hasn’t seen the full Adam yet. She’s had a glimpse. She’s had a snack. I want to give her the full kitchen.”

Is The Full Kitchen a sex move I don’t know about? Is it having sex while scouring the sink?

Kenny gets a rose. Peter gets a rose. Adam gets a rose.

Then we’re down to one flower.

Chris Harrison shows up to tell us we’re down to the final rose. THANKS CHRIS!

Clearly at the behest of the producers, Rachel gives the rose to Lee.

I might have thrown up in my mouth a little, but this drinking isn’t great for my GERD.

Iggy is left out. He looks physically ill. The Tickle Monster doesn’t get a rose.

“I gotta get back out there, and look for a girl who appreciates a good set of tickling,” he says.

I don’t know what that means, but it upsets me. It sounds like something that would be scrawled in blood at a crime scene, baffling detectives.

Next they all jet off to Oslo, Norway! They immediately start off with a one-on-one date with Bryan (who I forgot existed again).

Rachel and Bryan repel down a ski jumpThey repel down a 187 foot ski jump. Because that sounds …fun.

Bryan tries to kiss her in midair. I would have been so absolutely panic-stricken at this point that I would have reflexively punched him in the face. Like a full on KO. Don’t fucking touch me when I’m dangling 187 feet in midair.

Over dinner Bryan and Rachel discuss being insecure in high school and college. Bryan tells her that previously he was afraid of commitment in relationships, but he’s matured since then. Which totally explains why he’s looking for marriage on reality TV. Because maturity.

Then he says the words, “I’m falling in love with you.”

EVERYONE TAKE A SHOT.

Despite her “cold” Rachel totally makes out with Bryan. She also gives him a rose.

Back at the hotel Lee is busy drinking the tears of children when the date card arrives.

It’s a group date with…IDK a bunch of the dudes. I’m drunk.

Regardless, Kenny and Lee aren’t in the group date which means they have a two-on-one date later.

Mr. Tweeters makes a brief appearance from Lee’s hair and gingerly accepts a pistachio from Chris Harrison.

For the group date, the dudes and Rachel learn how to play handball. Rachel describes it as a combination of football, basketball and water polo. Minus the water, I guess. It’s not the handball I played in high school gym class which involved hitting a ball with your hand and bouncing it off a wall. It makes about as much sense though and is equally appealing.

This is why I could never be The Bachelorette. You have to do all this physical stuff. My idea of a good group date is everyone read silently in the same room. With snacks. And booze.
Anthony, Josiah, and Will get ready for handball.

Also for reasons that boggle the mind, Dean wears his jock strap OVER his uniform.

We cut back to the hotel where Kenny Facetimes his daughter and my heart melts.

Meanwhile Lee lifts weights, polishes his cowboy boots and puts on his most douchey pair of distressed jeans. They show him reading a book about Oslo and I 100% guarantee a producer had to flip the book right-side up for him.

The two-on-one date card comes for Kenny and Lee, and includes a poem from Chris Harrison. I am not making this up:

Two men,

One rose,

One stays,

One goes.

Yes. That actually happened. I totally believe that Chris wrote it himself too. While cackling. The poem is about murder, but no one has figured it out yet. Chris prays to the Rose God.

Back to the group date. Rachel and Peter have dashed off to the hot tub where they’re gone for “three and a half hours” according to one of the dudes. I’m thinking they may actually have had sex. Just the parts that were filmed looked like they were about seconds from penetration.

Despite that, Will gets the rose. This confuses Peter because THREE AND A HALF HOURS. That’s stamina. He worked hard, okay? He didn’t carb up for that. That was all grit.

The next day it’s the two-on-one date. Lee, Kenny and Rachel take a helicopter ride out to the wilderness. They have drinks by a river. Mr Tweeters calls out to the wild birds of Norway.

Kenny and Rachel go to talk privately. Kenny tells Rachel that he loves spending time with her, but also that he feels like she’d be a great role model for his daughter. For the most part he skirts the bullshit with Lee, and focuses on the relationship he wants with Rachel.

Rachel isn’t at all blind to Kenny’s maturity and sincerity.

Then Kenny and Lee sit awkwardly alone while Rachel is (presumably) filming her cut always. A bird chirps really loudly onscreen and I yell, “Mr. Tweeters!”

My husband looks up from his book. “What?!”

Oh, lord, I’m drunk.

Then Lee and Rachel go talk alone. I’d like to point out that Lee has major There’s Something About Mary hair going on. Lee tells Rachel that Kenny had tried to “violently” pull him out of a van and that it appalled the other contestants, which is a blatant lie. Then he tells Rachel that Kenny gets violent when he drinks. Again, there is no evidence of this.

“I’m never gonna lie to you,” Lee says while lying to Rachel.

Somewhere Darth Vader is thinking that Lee is the son he wished he had.

I’d call Lee a worthless sack of shit, but shit can be used as fertilizer. He’s an oxygen thief. A waste of perfectly good hair gel.

I felt so genuinely bad for Kenny at this point. He’s being attacked, lied about, and there’s so little he can do to defend himself other than hope Rachel sees through Lee’s bullshit.

Lee is sitting down, holding a drink and sneering while Kenny stands in front of him pointing.
Lee and Kenny by the river. Not pictured: Mr. Tweeters

Then we get TO BE CONTINUED with clips implying that Kenny and Lee come to blows. I doubt it — the show has a vested interest in keeping anyone from getting hurt, and it’s bullshit to imply it’s going to lead to violence.

If anything, Mr. Tweeters might finally lose his shit and peck Lee to death, which I’m okay with.

Are you still watching? Who do you think should get the final rose?

 

Mama Robin

Jun. 27th, 2017 08:55 am
shadowycat: (Butterfly)
[personal profile] shadowycat posting in [community profile] common_nature
 photo DSCN2264_zpsm47grdsw.jpg

A mama robin has taken up residence in a nest in a tree next to my back patio. The nest was occupied last year by a robin, too. Of course, there's no way to know if it's the same robin sitting there now as sat there last year. Regardless, I was surprised to see the nest occupied again. I didn't think robins did that sort of recycling. From what I was able to find on the subject, it's not common but does happen occasionally. Has anyone else seen this sort of reuse of old nests?

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a jar of jae

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