Monday, February 20th, 2017 09:30 pm

Review: Hacked Up by Ethan Stone

Posted by JayHJay

Hacked UpRating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Detective Peter Tao and his partner, Dectective Jamey Nolan, have just been given a gruesome new case. A young man was found murdered in an alley, killed by a swift, clean stab to the neck and castrated. In the days that follow, more men are found dead with similar wounds, and the only clue left behind is a red hair.

One thing all these men have in common is their involvement in the adult dating service Ashley Madison, which allows married men and women to cheat on their partners with other married men and women–and Jamey is a member. Peter, whose previous lover cheated on him, is drawn deeper into this case as he tries to keep his best friend and partner from being the next victim.

In the midst of all this madness, Peter finds himself falling for a man who should be off limits. Bryce Carrik, a CEO of SeattleCarrik, lost his company and his marriage when word got out that he had an active account at Ashley Madison. Not only did he cheat on his wife, but he did so with other men. But Bryce has found someone worth risking his life for when he crosses paths with Peter Tao. He just has to convince Peter, who has already suffered a broken heart, that forgiveness is possible.

As a police procedural, Hacked Up brings forth all the familiar tropes. The good cop, the not-so-good-cop, the genius tech, the hard-as-nails captain, and a tangled knot of a case that unraveles slowly and mockingly. Red herrings–some with red hair, some without–are shown to us and then whisked away like a magician’s trick. Just when I think I’m in a book that zigs and zags, the story goes up and down. The book gives a plethora of possible killers and dances them away. It’s the main villain that really works in this story. The killer’s motivations are, at first glance, painfully simple.

[[Visit blog to check out this spoiler]]

But one killer wasn’t enough for the author, who added in a second. And while it added complexity to the story and helped keep the villain from quicker discovery, it was a weak point in the book for me. While the primary villain’s motivations worked, the secondary villain just sort of follows along, doing what he’s told and serves to help fill in a few plot holes. I don’t object to him, but I do think his inclusion weakens the final confrontation. But this aspect isn’t the weakest part of the book. That would be the main protagonist and the love interest.

Peter Tao is a likeable main character. So much so that everyone likes him, even the people trying to kill him. He’s blandly inoffensive and more than a little bit of a goody-two-shoes. He’s a good cop, a good partner, a good shot, and an all-around nice guy. He is without flaw, without interest or honest emotion, and is rather boring. The love interest, Bryce, offends me. His reaction to seeing Peter–after a misunderstanding that leads to them exchanging blows–is insta-lust. So strong an insta-lust that he takes up stalking Peter, breaking into his house and following him while Peter’s on the case. Bryce looks up his Korean name and uses it on Peter, refusing to stop even when Peter asks him to. It’s unrealistic and a little alarming.

I truly enjoyed the procedural aspects of the story. The romance, however, didn’t work for me. The characters were too two-dimensional, Bryce comes across as an unhealthy love-interest, and Peter bored me. Half of this book is a four-star read, easily, and if you like mysteries and thrillers I think you’ll enjoy Hacked Up.

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Monday, February 20th, 2017 05:16 pm

[ SECRET POST #3701 ]

⌈ Secret Post #3701 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.


More! )


Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 28 secrets from Secret Submission Post #529.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Monday, February 20th, 2017 05:03 pm

Tales from the Darkside #4


As stated in an earlier post, Joe Hill had written some scripts for a reboot of 'Tales from the Darkside'. The show never came to be but the planned episodes were later reworked into comic format for IDW. This was the last issue but functions as a stand-alone story.

Scans under the cut... )

Posted by Seth Abramovitch

Ahead of the Feb. 26 ceremony, the host talks about his eleventh-hour recruitment and shares his thoughts on the recent surge of political speeches: "I think I'd be intimidated by how good Meryl Streep's was, so I'd probably keep my mouth shut."

read more

Posted by Lin-Manuel Miranda, as told to Frank DiGiacomo

The 'Hamilton' creator, a first-time nominee (for 'Moana'), gets personal as he recalls his childhood watching "this impossibly larger-than-life thing," his 'Seabiscuit' interpretive dance and the moments he'll never forget ("It was as if she reached through the screen to talk to me").

read more

Posted by Chris Gardner, Ramona Saviss

From the Spirit Awards and the Night Before Party to Elton John's major milestone and Vanity Fair, get the scoop on all the A-list parties happening in Hollywood to celebrate all things Oscar.

read more

Posted by Scott Feinberg

The 32-year-old, who already has helmed two best picture Oscar nominees and is poised to become the youngest best director Oscar winner ever, reflects on the roots of his passion for music and movies, the Harvard pal who became his closest collaborator and the rollercoaster of a journey to realizing his dream of making an original movie musical.

read more

After spending last week mostly in bed with a cold that, while not the worst I've ever had, was certainly draining I've decided to spend the week cleaning up my apartment in hopes of getting it spruced up enough to host guests.

I'm hoping to have a jigsaw puzzle party, possibly with experimental historic hair-dressing, sometime next month.

But today, it was scrubbing the bathroom clean. Not actually fun, and I probably need to throw out and replace my shower curtain, but the floor is sparkling, and I didn't overtax my lungs with fumes, so I'm going to call it a good day.

I hope to clean the kitchen tomorrow, but it's really going to depend what happens once I get back from the fitness center tomorrow.

Monday, February 20th, 2017 02:33 pm

"Dreamland," by Sarah Dessen

Early in this book I noticed that it felt weirdly retro. Like, no one had a cell phone, and the people taking a photography class were developing their pictures in a darkroom. I checked Sarah Dessen's wikipedia page and found that this was one of her earlier books, published in 2000. (Her first book came out in 1996.)

So, 17 years ago, and since it takes some time for a book to go from manuscript > publication, presumably it was being written in about 1998. I had a cell phone in 1998 but most teenagers did not, and I didn't have a digital camera. (I had the possible incorrect sense while reading "The Moon and More" that the characters were texting with ten-key flip phones, not smart phones; that came out in 2013. I'm pretty sure many/most teenagers had smart phones by 2013, although maybe I'm misremembering.)

"Dreamland" is about intimate-partner violence. The protagonist Caitlin hooks up with a bad-boy boyfriend; she knows he sells weed and hears rumors that he's gotten in various kinds of trouble, but it still takes her (and the reader) by surprise the first time he hits her in the face.

I'd say Dessen has gotten significantly better over time: this was a good book and a compelling read, but it's more overtly a Problem Book than her later books. The protagonist is also a bit more sympathetic to her mother's feelings than is ideal/necessary for a teenager in a YA novel (there's this one bit near the end that I hit and it just made me wince a bit because it felt overly insightful in a way that felt off) and the different plotlines don't quite converge the way they do in some of her later books. (There's the DV plotline, the friendships, and this thing with an older sister who ran away from home -- she was 18, so it was entirely legal for her to do so, but it made the overbearing parents super unhappy.)

We see some of the abuser red flags early on: Rogerson just likes having Caitlin with him, all the time, and she spends increasing amounts of time with him (and less with her bff and her parents). As the abuse escalates, she starts skipping a class because if she's late for his lunch time pickup of her, he'll beat her. Something this book hints at but doesn't entirely explore: Rogerson pressures her to use weed (and she caves, starting early on) but it's not really drawn out that this is in fact part and parcel with the abuse itself. The reasons that she stays with him are unclear to both Caitlin, I think, and the reader. It can be really hard for people who've never been in an abusive relationship to wrap their head around the issue of why people stay in them, and I'm not sure this book really helps much. Caitlin does talk about how the good times are really good, but she's also absolutely certain every time that the respite will end (sometimes almost immediately) and she'll get hit again, and she doesn't seem to have any sense that she COULD, if she were just nicer / more on time / whatever, avoid "provoking" him, and she doesn't have any particular concern that breaking things off is too dangerous to be an option. (I had a college friend who'd had a violent, dangerous HS boyfriend who told her, when she tried to end things, that if she broke up with him, he would kill her dog and leave it in her bed.)

The relationship ends not because Caitlin ends it, but because Rogerson batters her outside her parents' house during a party, and someone overhears, and intervenes. Rogerson actually winds up arrested and criminally charged, since he hit her in front of witnesses; Caitlin's parents check her into an adolescent mental health treatment center for treatment of both the drug use and the toxic relationship.

I feel like Dessen's later books often involve the protagonist at least taking some steps to free herself from whatever the bad situation is. In "The Moon and More," she breaks up with the bad boyfriend and confronts her shitty father. In "What Happened to Goodbye," Mclean's shifting identities are revealed by accident, and then she runs away and gets hunted down by the people who care about her, so I guess that one is more of a "rescued by the people who love her" story. And in "Saint Anything," Sydney's father comes down to intervene when Ames tries to assault her -- but prior to that, she has taken a whole lot of steps to protect herself, and she successfully fights Ames off long enough for her father to get there. (So a loved one does swoop in, at the end, and very satisfyingly beats the everloving CRAP out of the bad guy. But she did a lot of self-protection up to that point.)

Anyway -- solid book, but not as good as her later books.

As a final interesting note, a lot of Dessen's books refer to places and characters from other books. Rogerson makes a later brief appearance in "Saint Anything" -- he's in the state prison with Sydney's brother. (Yay! He gets off with community service and weekend stints in juvie in "Dreamland." I was just now thinking they should have actually gotten him for the pot dealing at the end of "Dreamland" given that his car is right there and there's probably quite a bit of neatly-packaged-and-labeled for individual sale baggies of weed in there. But ha, he's arrested outside his car and his car is locked, and his parents are wealthy assholes who definitely would have gotten him an extremely good lawyer and I'm sure any evidence from inside the car got tossed for having been obtained without a warrant. All of Dessen's characters are pickled in white privilege, and the violent abuser is no exception.)

Monday, February 20th, 2017 04:05 pm

pepper update, Monday 2/20/17

a small green pepper plant in a terracotta pot, with two unopened buds

I am not entirely sure whether the Lazarus pepper will actually bloom, nor whether anything will come of any hypothetical flowers, but it sure does look like it's gearing up to try. I gave it a bit of MiracleGro over the weekend, which it seemed to like, and I have been misting and fanning it regularly, as well as turning the pot a little bit every morning.

So that's the remnant of my 2016 pepper project. Moving on to my 2017 pepper project... I bought the seeds earlier this month -- the Emerald Giant variety of bell peppers -- and on Sunday afternoon I finally planted them. Yay! They will not do anything visually interesting for a couple weeks, give or take, but they are presumably busy under their shallow coatings of peat. :)

three pictures under the cut )

[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]

Monday, February 20th, 2017 08:36 pm

Why walking?

Okay. I like walking - both hillwalking (Scotland, Lake District, North Wales) and rambling (your general English countryside) but I'm trying to work out what I like about it, and why I go.

It's low skill.
No special skills, fitness level, equipment, training, or ability needed. You just walk. And then you do it some more. If you're not very strong, then you do a short walk and it's still good. Not many people will tell you you're doing it wrong.

I like being outside. I like the daylight.
When I was in my early twenties I worked in a basement, writing programs for a mainframe and using one of the old-style monitors, with green text on a black background. No mistakes, I loved the job and the people, but suddenly, hillwalking made sense in a way it never had before. Just being in daylight and having a far horizon to focus on was wonderful.

l'm not fussed about the weather. I like walking in the rain. I like the English climate and soft grey damp days. I was out yesterday and black tree branches against a grey sky are beautiful. Like calligraphy.

I like the focus and concentration.
If I'm walking locally, in the English countryside, I like map-reading, navigation, and the concentration required. GPS is changing the rules, but you have to pay attention, you have to look for landmarks, count field boundaries, work out which side of a hedge you should be on and stay focused. I have been as lost in Warwickshire countryside as I have anywhere in my life. Not dangerous, but aggravating and embarrassing.

Hillwalking somewhere like the Lake District also needs some map-reading savvy, but just the walking itself needs attention, especially when you're going downhill. Even if there is a path, it's over rough stony broken ground, and it's difficult. If you start to daydream or chat, you will trip and fall over. I'm bad at this, I lack the agility , I'm always slow going downhill. Up is easier, that's just heart and lungs and not stopping. But down is a completely different skill set.

I remember when I first realised that the green dotted lines on the map meant you have a right to walk; it doesn't mean that there will be any path on the ground for you to follow. Not quite road-to-damascus, but definitely one of those oooh moments. Similarly, I've followed more than one reasonable little track which led me into the middle of a scrubby field and then petered out ... because I'd been following a sheep track and when sheep reach a nice green field, that's it, they're home.

I detest long canal walks, or any long flat walk over tarmac paths (just say no to the North York Moors) and that's because there is nothing in the walking which asks for concentration. Easy footing, no need to think about navigation. If I'm leading then I have to pay attention to distance walked and bridges, but that's it. Even if the scenery is fantastic, I can spend about ten minutes looking at it, before l start to think about sore feet etc etc.

I like coming home really tired.
I like walking myself to exhaustion, so I come home and I'm relaxed and happy and l have walked myself out of any anxieties and into a good mood. I love the feeling of lassitude after a long day. It’s not a runners' high, but for me it's a very definite mood boost.''.

I also really like feeling that I am strong enough and competent enough to walk the Snowdon horseshoe, or to tramp twenty miles over very muddy countryside. It's wow.

And other people?
I like walking with other people, I like talking to them, but it's really not the be-all and end-all for me. Added extra but not a reason to get off the sofa and get out there.

The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook Volume 2, America's Test Kitchen: A great companion to the first book, this one includes recipes for their all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, but also introduces a new whole-grain gluten-free flour blend. Unlike the first book, the majority of these recipes are either dairy free or can be made dairy free through substitutions.

Their AP GF flour does have non-fat milk powder in it, but can be left out, or replaced with soy milk powder, and they use both xanthan gum and powdered psyllium husks in their baked goods. They offer some possible substitutions for the xanthan gum in the introduction, and each recipe will tell you whether you can or can't leave it, or the powdered psyllium husks, out.

Their whole-grain flour blend is made of teff flour, brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, and ground golden flax seeds. They recommend Bob's Red Mill for all but the flax seeds, as Bob's grind is too coarse. For the flax, they recommend a product with the totally ridiculous name of "Flax USA 100% Natural Flax, Cold Milled Ground Golden Flax Seed." I really feel like they could have worked flax in there at least one more time: FLAX FLAX FLAX. Ground flax seeds are tricky because they go rancid fast, so you want to buy them fresh and then use or freeze them. This brand is for sale on Amazon, but I don't know how long they've been sitting around, and I don't know yet if I can find them for sale locally.

The introduction includes a lot of the same information as the first book: What gluten is, how to bake without it; dairy-free products; gluten-free flours, meals, grains, and leaveners, where to buy them, how to use them, where to store them. Their product reviews for gluten-free breads, pastas, and flours have been updated. They tested whole-grain breads this time around, as well as whole-grain premixed flour blends. They liked a couple of the breads, but could not find a whole-grain flour blend they found satisfactory. Like the first book, each recipe has a little GF Testing Lab box where it goes through possible substitutions, and if they're using their own AP GF Flour mix, they'll tell you if you can substitute King Arthur's or—and this is new—Betty Crocker's GF flours and the results. For the recipes that use their whole-grain blend, they don't recommend a premixed flour, so you have to use theirs or cry. As far as I can tell, the recipes are pretty evenly split between the AP and the whole-grain flours.

The book covers breakfast, grain dishes, rice noodles, some breaded meats and fish, breads and crackers, cakes, muffins, pies, and fruit desserts. Again, a lot of the recipes are for basic things I'd totally make. Especially the hamburger buns, bagels, New York-style crumb cake, and graham crackers. And the doughnuts, except I will never make them because I don't deep fry. Still, they look SO GOOD. They're on the cover if you want to gaze at them lovingly, as I do, every time I pick this book up.

There are color photos for nearly every recipe. Each chapter has a contents page where it indicates which recipes can be made without dairy. There's an index, and nutritional information for each recipe in the back of the book, too, which is new. Another great resource, and another book I'll probably buy.

Footage from an airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is said to show the moments before Kim Jong-nam died.

Monday, February 20th, 2017 03:28 pm

(no subject)

The weather yesterday was amazing. Not amazing for February, amazing stam. Mid '70s, plenty of sun, a little wind. I pulled out my bike for the first time since October and went for a nice ride. Two nice rides, actually- I rode a couple miles toward Target, where I was planning to buy milk and a new pair of earbuds. Then I realized I'd forgotten my wallet, so I turned back home. My second ride I instead went to the Rite Aid that's only about a mile away. All told I think I rode six or seven miles, which is pretty good given how little exercise I've gotten all winter. Target, which is about a ten mile ride roundtrip, remains an elusive milestone (er... target) . This is I think the third time I've attempted to ride there and gotten caught up short for various reasons. Hopefully as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer I'll make bike riding a regular thing again, and get better at it.

When not riding, I was vidding. I have actually finished a reasonably decent Equinox vid first draft, which is shocking to me given how recently I got the assignment. There is a particular combination of song inspiration and fandom familiarity that results in me knowing exactly what goes where- my Noah vids were like that. It also involves not being a perfectionist, which can be hard but is also I think worthwhile. [personal profile] chaila had a great (locked) post on her vid process in which she described "6) Get a full timeline! YAY! It's almost always shitty, but WHO CARES FULL TIMELINE." And it's really true- it's stunning how quickly a shitty full timeline can go to a satisfying full timeline once you get to the full timeline stage- the wrong spots jump out at you once you can see the whole shape of it. Of course sometimes you hit the full timeline and realize your whole arc is wrong and you need to rebuild the whole thing from scratch, but eh, that's vidding. They call it the worst hobby for a reason. I've already started a second vid in the same fandom, but this one is definitely going to be much slower going... I'm much less certain about how it fits together.

Monday, February 20th, 2017 11:52 am

(no subject)

I got a New Year's card from Ariss, the week that I was sick, a belated thank you! I was sick, I just opened it and put it on the table, but I have been enjoying its cuteness.

Sis and I saw Hidden Figures yesterday, which was a most excellent movie. Two thumbs up. I don't normally see dramas in the theater, I lean toward SF or action, but I'm glad we supported its box office earnings.

Is there a different showrunner on Elementary this year? I'm just... really not happy with it. spoilers for last night's episode )

Letter 27 Nov 1911

I should like to be allowed to read Miss W.’s poems, but not if it is a condition that I am to give a verdict on them, or “judge” them. I should as soon think of asking people’s children to tea in order that I might tell the parents impartially what I think of their offspring.

I’ve met people who seem to believe that parents really do want an honest and unbiased opinion on (what’s wrong with) their children. Just saying.

And further on from the same letter:

Poets know this; when they ask for criticism, what they want is praise. Sometimes they do not find out till they have been criticised unfavourably. Then they know.

Yep. For "poets", read "people". We've all been there.

Posted by JayHJay

King of the seaRating: 3 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

Carlos Santiago is a 28-year-old who has just been given his cancer-free clearance after a disastrous year that brought him to San Francisco from Colorado, chasing the love of Tyson, a prominent OB/GYN. In the months since his treatment, Carlos has witnessed Tyson pull away, he’s sure because of Carlos’ lack of interest in sex resulting from his scars and pain following surgery and chemo.

While contemplating his future—and impending break-up—Carlos meets Ross, a merman hanging out off the coast near Tyson’s estate. It’s a remarkable experience, but not likely real as far as Carlos is concerned. But, are mermen any less likely than pregnant males under Tyson’s watchful care?

This is a book that purports to have a sci-fi bent. And maybe so, if you are a person who considers SyFy’s “Sharknado” to be science-fiction. Here’s the thing: this was a wacked-out plot with a basketful of inconceivables. Still, it was amusing. Carlos is a somewhat decent guy presented with a hard-to-swallow situation. Ross, a one-of-a-kind science experiment, is there for Carlos when he needs him, but expect a whole lot of (laughable) posturing, with Tyson being a nefarious bad guy, having designs on building a new world order that’s, well, questionable.

There’s a little bit of (moderate) sexytimes, and a bizarre twist involving one of Tyson’s former lovers, and an mpreg plot that seemed (to me) to be utterly ludicrous. That said, as a scientist and person who knows too much about human reproduction, the plot was laughably haphazard and comical in its medical ineptness. The convenience factor was super high, with Ross being everything, whatever is necessary, for Carlos whenever he needs it. Despite my many “Wait, what?” moments, the good guys triumph and the bad guy is vanquished, and mermen will perhaps thrive in the land of the Golden Gate.

veronica sig

Monday, February 20th, 2017 03:35 pm

Fic: Overshare (New Blood, Rash/Stefan)

I started writing this before the BBC announced it wasn’t renewing New Blood for a second series and after an appropriate mourning period I picked this up again because Rash and Stefan should always live on, bantering and shagging.

If you haven’t seen the programme, this short vid will give you an idea of who these cuties are.

(Arrash "Rash" Sayyad/Stefan Kowolski, c. 3700 words, NC-17)

Hard on the heels of Arrash's discovery that Stefan was drunkenly expressing his feelings through the Polish equivalent of classic rock came the realisation that there could be any number of people – including, to his utter horror, his sister – who might be the object of Stefan's affections. While it was true that Stefan flirted shamelessly with Arrash on a regular basis, it was also true that Stefan flirted shamelessly with everybody and everything. There were probably inanimate objects that had been on the receiving end of the Kowolski charm. For all Arrash knew, Stefan's drunken warbling could be aimed at one of the Trafalgar Square lions. Or any number of random plane trees along the Embankment.

at the AO3

at my site (coming soon)

Posted by Paul Horowitz

The new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar model includes a Touch Bar screen in lieu of the standard hardware function keys and escape key. Removing the Escape key may not be a big deal to some Mac users, but for many pro users having no hardware escape key could be considered a major frustration or ... Read More

Posted by John Scalzi

CONTENT WARNING: Features liverwurst, and the end times.

Monday, February 20th, 2017 02:11 pm

50 Books 2017-15: A Skeleton in the Family

A Family Skeleton Mystery, Book 1
by Leigh Perry

Footage released by Syria Civil Defence shows a girl being pulled alive from rubble, apparently in Damascus amid reported air strikes.

Monday, February 20th, 2017 07:01 pm

Another weird lens

..I didn't buy, because the Cash Converters shop I saw it in wanted £100+ and it had internal dust and what might have been slight fungus.

Tair-33, 300mm f4.5 with Kiev 80 mount for 6x6cm SLR. Huge heavy bugger. Annoyingly they didn't have the camera itself, I've always had a soft spot for them.

If anyone actually wants one of these, it's the Cash Converters shop in Kentish Town road - it may be on their web site too. They had no idea what it was at all, just look for Russian Lens and a price a bit over £100

Monday, February 20th, 2017 06:49 pm

Serendipitous art

At the weekend we went to the Tate Modern - where we were underwhelmed by the current Turbine Hall thing.

However - WHY was I not told? I have not seen them there before and didn't even know that they had them - there is a Louise Nevelson room.

When I first saw that there was some Nevelson material in the Materials and Objects section I thought, well, maybe some smaller piece or two or three?


Two LARGE molto-tipico Nevelsons, one in black and one in gold.

An American Tribute to the British People is an abstract gold sculpture


Black Wall 1959.

I think I may go back just to hang out in there for a bit.

(And we may note that 'one of the most important figures in 20th-century American sculpture' was an immigrant...)

Posted by Paul Horowitz

Apple has released the third beta versions of its operating system suite, including iOS 10.3, macOS 10.12.4, watchOS 3.2, and tvOS 10.2. iOS 10.3 beta currently is working on a “Find My AirPods” feature, and MacOS 10.12.4 beta currently includes a Night Shift mode similar to what is available in iOS, which shifts the color ... Read More

Monday, February 20th, 2017 10:55 am

RH/WF/BS Round #73,426 (and other)

(Are they rounds if it's more or less continuous and unending?)

Anyway, I think this essay by Zen Cho is one of the best things I've read on the topic, and all my circle who are into SFF fandom should read it: Being an itemised list of disagreements.

This post by Rachel Manija Brown is also good, especially as it has a links list of excellent ways to help at the bottom: A more specific grievance.

I also rec their books, though RMB with the caveat that she's a friend of mine (WHO IS GREAT).

On more cheerful topics, I claimed an RBB art over at [ profile] cap_ironman, which I know I swore up and down I would not, as it overlaps with [community profile] fandom5k, but there was this really great 17th-century duel pic, and, well. So I'm currently plotting that. Anyone who has fun things you think I should know about the 1620s in England, France or Ireland, feel free to add to the research pile :D (Huguenot Rebellions and other early 30 Years War concerns especially welcome).

Here's a poem: "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" by John Donne (Nenya: "Is this by an F_FA nonnie?")

I found a dead octopus, sent pictures to the Park, and have received cooing comments in return. Only biologists. We might finally get the scaffolding's taken off the tower this week. Huzzah! I keep meaning to do a picture post, but it has not yet occured.

turlough: the castle against the evening sky, Disney's 'Sleeping Beauy' ((disney) ephemeral beauty)
Monday, February 20th, 2017 07:49 pm

Bilbo and the Thrush by alarie-tano (SFW)

Fandom: Tolkien (The Hobbit)
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Bilbo and thrush on the doorstep
Content Notes/Warnings: n/a
Medium: coloured pencils?
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: [ profile] alarie-tano

Why this piece is awesome: This is such a beautiful work. I love the delicate pencil work and the soft yet rich colouring.

Link: Bilbo and the Thrush

Monday, February 20th, 2017 01:45 pm

If it's wrong

to work out the two levels of Mad Science behind the origin of a character I will likely never play, I don't want to be right.
(also, I like the idea of a super-villian dog named Deadly Sirius. He's embittered over having the mind of an Einstein in the body of a dog breed with a lifespan of a decade. Maybe a decade and a half if it's lucky)

Monday, February 20th, 2017 06:30 pm

Fic Rec: Deathfic 1899

Posted by scfrankles

Title: Deathfic 1899
Author: Haldane
Pairing: Various, but all one-sided.
Length: 1,493 words
Rating: Teen and Up
Warnings: Major character death
Verse: ACD, Granada
Author's summary: Death. Fic. 1899. What it says on the tin.

Reccer's comments: Well. You may be looking at that warning and that summary and thinking, ‘This really isn’t for me.’ But this is death played firmly for laughs. The story begins with what seems to be a retelling of The Blue Carbuncle. However, things quickly take a very different path…

This is so well-structured—the joke builds and builds. There are so many wonderful lines, and the story is laugh out loud funny. Just perfect.

Vitaly Churkin dies at work in New York, Russia says, a day before his 65th birthday.

The ban is said to be for "national security reasons" and not driven by religious ideology.

Posted by JayHJay

Against A Wounded LandscapeRating: 2.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Fifteen years ago, the crown prince of Tasora was kidnapped and made the hostage of Tasora’s long-time enemy. The king never stopped looking for his son, Liseny, but as he has done so, Tasora has fallen into ruin. On the brink of collapse, there is not much that might save them aside from the return of the prince. Devoted knight, Tanash, is determined to bring Liseny home. Without the king’s knowledge, he sneaks into enemy territory and spirits Liseny to safety.

But such great damage is not so easily mended and as Liseny struggles to adjust to his new-found freedoms and to become the leader his people need, Tanash is forced to confront his growing feelings for Liseny.

Against a Wounded Landscape had the essence of an erotic fairy tale, replete with a knight in shining armor and a captured prince. But the plot falls apart rather quickly and readers never get much sense of who Liseny and Tanash actually are.

The book starts off strong and the action during the first third of the book does a lot to advance both character development and to further the rest of the plot. Liseny and Tanash are portrayed as capable men, neither of them crippled by the weights of their traumas or responsibilities, which makes them relatable almost from the start. Additionally, there is an almost lyrical quality to the writing that I found very enjoyable. It doesn’t happen on every page, but it’s enough to catch the eye and be pleasing.

Unfortunately, Tanash and Liseny never develop much beyond their initial characterizations. Their motivations are often unclear or feel flimsily constructed once we reach the last two thirds of Against a Wounded Landscape. The passion between Tanash and Liseny is certainly intense, but it never fully moves past lust and as a result it’s hard to ultimately summon much interest as they fight for one another. The plot starts to slide towards unwieldy during the middle of the book and completely crumbles at the end. The resolution is rushed and leans towards the absurd. The antagonist is evil for the sake of evil and is never given any further development or purpose, which, as you may have noticed in previous reviews, is a real gripe of mine. When characters are nothing more than placeholders, the entire book suffers.

Against a Wounded Landscape started out strong and was written in such an easy, flowing style that I was quite excited to see where the story went. But the characters failed to fully materialize and the plot foundered badly as it moved forward. For some Against a Wounded Landscape might be an enjoyable piece of erotic, fantasy escapism, but it just didn’t hold up for me.

 sue sig


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