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sunlit_music: (lauren bacall 06 by jordanna morgan)
I was excited to read Rise of the Souder Goddess, and it was well worth the wait. Rise of the Spider Goddess (The Prose Killer Chronicles) is the first novel Jim C. Hines ever wrote when he was 25. From the hilarious cover to the foreword apologising for the horror that awaits, you know you're in for a great time. Jim pokes fun at his own story, and there's good tips on writing. Bonus!

There's Mystery Science Theatre 3000-like hilarious comments thrown in too. I loved the asides on punctuation, grammar, plotting, world building and characterisation.

Spoilers ahead!

Read more... )

This book cheered me up and made me smile so much. I'm definitely happy I read this. :) I burst out laughing (with Jim, not at him) so many times, and had so much fun.

Rise of the Spider Goddess can be bought and downloaded as an e-book on Amazon and Kindle.
sunlit_music: (lauren bacall 06 by jordanna morgan)
My review of Prisoner (Echo's Wolf) is here:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R34D8UE46T4JZI/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Prisoner is written by Lia Silver, and told from the hero's and heroine's viewpoints. It's set in the same world as Laura's Wolf (both books can be read together or separately). There's romance, comedy, great banter, suspense, and thoughtful discussions of PTSD and dyslexia. :)

Prisoner also has an Asian hero, shapeshifting werewolves, a kick arse heroine and breathtaking action. What's not to like? ;)

You can download it from Kindle or buy it from Amazon. Prisoner is book one of the Echo's Wolf series. I'm looking forward to reading the next two books when they come out!
sunlit_music: (esmeralda by crazy dd)
Invisible is a powerful anthology edited by Jim C. Hines on sexism, disability rights, gender and sexual orientation. All of the articles are thought provoking, eloquent and intelligent. They're all moving - sometimes funny and uplifting - sometimes sad and heartbreaking. My personal favourites were the ones by Ada Hoffman ( on autism) and Michi Trota (on race). You can buy Invisible on Amazon and on Kindle. Highly recommended!
sunlit_music: (Sokka and Suki)
My Amazon review of Laura's Wolf (Werewolf Marines), by Lia Silver:
http://www.amazon.com.au/product-reviews/B00IU19DHM/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&SortBy=SubmissionDateDescending

A moving, beautiful romance with sensitive depictions of PTSD, great women and POC characters. Warmly recommended. Book 2 features a POC hero. :)

My Amazon review of Pen Pal, by Francesca Forrest:

http://www.amazon.com.au/product-reviews/B00I8XDHLA/ref=do_top=_cm_cr_act_text?ie=UTF8&show view points=1

A wise, deeply touching examination of cultural minorities, family, friendship and religions. Also highly recommended. Both books are unforgettable. :)
sunlit_music: (Sokka and Suki)
Edited on 5th April, 2014 to add: This review has been cross posted to Amazon.com.au

http://www.amazon.com.au/product-reviews/B00FORXE6G/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

Angel in the Attic(book one: Werewolf in the Kitchen) is a lovely, fun queer romance by Rebecca Tregaron. It has lots of wit, humour, some mystery, warmth, and great characters. The romance is sweet and sexy, and I liked the clever world building regarding Angels' food taboos and their own astrology. (I also got excited at the mention of Asian mythological beings - apsaras!) Loved how characters from diverse backgrounds are treated respectfully in a non preachy way.

The cooking scenes were so beautifully described they made me hungry! I loved how Carolyn (the protagonist) is so passionate about cooking. There are some great tips on cooking in the book as well. :)

There are even recipes ( for the dishes mentioned in the novel) at the end of the book. :)

I laughed out loud so much reading this - so many hilarious parts! Highly recommended. :)

You can download it onto your Kindle or Kindle app on your mobile phone. You can also buy and read it online/download it at Smashwords.com .

Edited to fix various typos and add that the author is working on the second book (there will be 2 more books).
sunlit_music: (esmeralda by heartilly)
SPOILERS FOR BOOKS BELOW.

My favourite quotes:

Read more... )
sunlit_music: (esmeralda by heartilly)
Many people are fascinated by Irene Adler, from the Sherlock Holmes canon. I love the most recent movies, but their portrayal of irene is completely inaccurate. First,let's get things straight. Irene Adler was *not* a villain. So who was she, do you ask? Well. She first appears in the short story A Scandal in Bohemia. The titular king hires Sherlock Holmes to steal a photograph of Irene and himself from Irene. Long story short, the King believes that Irene plans to use the photograph to ruin him and prevent him from marrying his fiance.

Irene eventually aquits herself through leaving a letter for Sherlock Holmes explaining her side of the story. She flees England with her husband Geoffrey Norton (it's hinted in the story that the King can be dangerous and vengeful, after all).

Watson has mentioned that Holmes spoke of love contemptuously, but the only person he came even *close* to loving was Irene. "To Sherlock Holmes, she is always THE woman." Holmes admires her for her beauty, intelligence, daring and generosity.

It makes me laugh when I see fanfics where Irene is Holmes'student. People, please! She needs no lessons from him. This is the woman who outwitted Holmes and convinced him that women can be as intelligent as men! Since he had met Irene, Holmes no longer mocks women's cleverness and refers to Irene's title respectfully as a married woman.

When the King offers to pay Holmes for his assistance with an emerald ring, what does Holmes ask for instead?Irene's photograph.

One of my favourite parts in A Scandal in Bohemia is when the King says, "Oh! What a pity she was not on my level!She would have made a marvellous Queen!"(implying that Irene was inferior to him). Holmes,then defends Irene, saying coldly, "From what appears to me, she seems to be on an entirely different level to your Majesty."
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Sooo...

I've come across stories where the socially awkward guy redeems himself, as his bigotry cost him the safety/friendship/life of a friend who was beautiful and well loved. Case in point - Severus Snape and Lily Evans. It's no secret how much I love this pairing.

I haven't come across a story where it's gender flipped - or where a beautiful and well loved person redeems themselves as their bigotry cost them the life/safety/friendship of a socially awkward person they loved. Does anyone know of any stories like these?
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Here is the part where I go gooeey about my love of all things Severus/Lily. If you don't lik this pairing, by all means please skip this.

Why I love Snevans:

- They're so cute as children! XD

- Because they're both flawed people. Perfect people are great to meet, but boring to read about.

- They're both strong people. Pairings where one person is weak don't interest me.

- I have a soft spot for pairings where one person sees the beauty within the other person. I reckon Lily saw the beauty within Severus as a friend - so his looks don't matter to her. I know JKR sees Snape/Lily as always unrequited. My view? If she wants it to be seen as always unrequited, she should write it in.

- Severus changed his racist beliefs and allegiances for Lily. He truly became less selfish and more concerned for others due to his love.

- True love is about sacrifice. Tragedies and struggles make love stories seem more interesting to me. Severus sacrificed his safety and risked being tortured and killed when he changed his allegiances for Lily. Lily dies as a consequence for his actions. He shows his love through being a spy for Dumbledore (who manipulated and used him) and protecting Harry.

Snevans shippers, let me know why you ship them! :D
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Yeah. I've come across more than more than my fair share of ugly/plain characters portrayed as weak, pathetic, villainous or stupid. I'm sick of those harmful stereotypes.

Let's hear it for ugly/plain sympathetic characters!

Ugly/plain sympathetic characters I love or find fascinating:

Quasimodo (Disney HoND movie version) - he's adorable! So kind and innocent. He turns out a great person, despite how Movie!Frollo raised him.

Quasimodo (book version) - tough, scary. Yet he was unfailingly loyal towards Frollo until near the end of NDdP. I was appalled by his actions (like pouring molten lead onto people from the top of Notre Dame Cathedral, and killing Frollo).
Yet he made huge sacrifices to save Esmeralda, and loved Frollo deeply.

Brienne from Song of ice and Fire - Many men tell Brienne over and over that she's an abomination. That she's no knight. Which is ironic, because she's one of the few true knights in the realm. She actually inspires one of ASoIAF villains to reclaim his honour in a real way. Brienne is a fighter and an idealist. She can also be sweet and vulnerable at times.  

Read more... )
Worst ugly/plain characters that were supposed to be sympathetic: Hmm, I can't think of any right now. Let me know of your favourite/not so favourite plain/ugly sympathetic characters!



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So.

Beautiful characters.

Do any of you write about them? How do you make them interesting, and realistic? And which beautiful characters do you like?


My favourite beautiful characters are:

- Aseena, from Daniel's Forgotten Streets. Tough, smart, caring. She's hilarious! One of those larger than life characters. You know. The ones that make everyone stop what they're doing to watch them. I actually knew a woman like Aseena. The whole world seemed to stop just to pay attention to her! And she can make people fall in love with her just by focusing all her attention on them like they're fascinating or important.

- Seras Victoria and Integral Hellsing. Tough ladies steal my heart. Seras is a sweetie, and I love how she grows into a more confident woman. Integra is just AMAZING. She never says die. She refuses to give in, even when she's helpless and outnumbered. There's a great dignity about her, and a frightening ruthlessness too. She's practically made of iron. Her relationship with Alucard of twisted love and mutual respect is fascinating. It takes a strong woman to handle Alucard. 

Read more... )

Read more... )

Next post will be on sympathetic ugly or plain characters!


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Just a round up of links on fascinating Vietnamese, Polish and Serbian women writers I made for myself:
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriela_Zapolska
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_D%C4%85browska
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svetlana_Velmar-Jankovi%C4%87

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isidora_Sekuli%C4%87
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_thi_diem_thuy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoa_Pham

Gender and Cultural Identity in the Vietnamese Francophone Novel (different opinions on how culture has shaped Vietnamese people's lives, and how sexism in cultural beliefs has silenced women) :
http://intersections.anu.edu.au/issue10/medcalf_review.html
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Helloooo there interested readers,

Is anyone willing to beta Les Liaisons Dangereuses (novel, not movie) fanfiction that I am planning to write?

Eh, it won't be long. Probably just 2-4 pages size 12 font?

This will be the second time I've tried to write fanfic (the first time was as a present for systemaurora, who is awesome and writes awesome fic. Go read her fics. Especailly her Lara Croft centric stuff. Like, now.) So any constructive and civil feedback (whether it's on grammar, plot or characterisation, or whether I need more references/footnotes) is appreciated.

I can explain the gist of the book to you if needed (You don't need to have read de Laclos' novel, but it helps a lot if you have read it).
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Best books

'Les Miserables' by Victor Hugo. It's melodramatic, yes, but so incredibly moving. An unforgettable story of redemption of a criminal who tries to evade a police officer. A story that tells how the very outcasts of society struggle to survive. Basically tells how if we want to reduce crime, we must eliminate to conditions that lead to people committing crime (poverty, ignorance). Hugo had revolutionary ideas (and was lighyears ahead of his peers) for a person of his time.

'Looking for Alibrandi' by Melina Marchetta. A bildungsroman novel on an illegitimate born teen who comes to accept her Italian heritage. She deals with first love, death and finally meeting her father for the first time.

A tie between 'First Test' and 'Page' by Tamora Pierce. These first two books are part of a Fantasy quartet about Kel, the first girl to train as a knight in the European medieval world of Tortall. Simply written and for young teens, but told so well. The first book deals with hazing and bullying, and how to deal with bullies. The second one covers violence against women, self defense, bullying. These books have their flaws (Kel overcomes her fear of heights too quickly), but I love them all the same.

Worst books

Left Behind books, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins. Read hilarious and insightful summaries by slacktivist (Fred Clark, a liberal Christian) here:

http://exharpazo.blogspot.com/2007/01/index-to-slactivists-left-behind.html

Awful far right wing Christian propaganda. Sexist, racist, homophobic, prejudiced against other religions, with flat characters, awful Gary Stus who are more hateful than the villain...Fred Clark describes these books as having anti-Christian values, and I couldn't agree more.

Read more... )

There was someone who came up with the great quote that bad morals make for bad writing(I think it was baeraad) . All in all, I can only agree.
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Roxas from Kingdom Hearts. I chose Roxas because he's quiet, intense and says sorry waaay too much. XD

Tonino Montana from Diana Wynne Jones' Magicians of Caprona. Both of us are massive bookworms. We may be slow, steady plodding workers, but we're hardworking and get there in the end. And we're capable of building on other people's ideas to our advantage. :D

Also Belle from Beauty and the Beast, because I love books and seeing beauty within others. I'm not interested in pretty boys with nothing to offer on the inside either.
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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SEVEN SINS SERIES BY ROBIN WASSERMAN

Hey there all,

I was wondering what your definition of true strength is.

I have come across books other people saying that apologising is a sign of weakness. For instance, in the Seven Sins series, Harper views Beth as being weak when Beth apologises for not telling her earlier that she was the person responsible for Kaia's death. Harper actually thinks that Beth would have been stronger if she'd acted defensive and refused to apologise.

And that's what gets my goat. Apologising for something wrong you did is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength and maturity.

Apologising would mean owning up to something bad or hurtful you did. And that can be scary. Terrifying. But if something is the right thing to do, you're scared of doing it, but you do it anyway? That's bravery.
Putting on a brave face isn't brave wither, it's bravado. Not possessing any fear isn't bravery either, because there's no fear to overcome. Bravery involves being afraid and overcoming your fear by doing what's right anyway.

go_back_chief sums it up perfectly in her marvellous post here:

http://go-back-chief.livejournal.com/8871.html

Thoughts?
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This post was edited to make the third paragraph clearer.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHOY FOR ROBIN WASSERMAN'S SEVEN SINS SERIES.

Also! You may not enjoy reading the following if you enjoyed Wasserman's books.

Now. To be fair to Wasserman's Seven Sins series, it *is* genuinely well written and witty. It's entertaining. All the characters have flaws and good points. However, there were things about the series that ticked me off:

I found it really annoying how the two girls who have a life and interests outside of a man are both horrible (Kaia is the cruellest and manipulative, and Beth kills Kaia). Whereas the less horrible ones (Harper and Miranda) are the ones whose lives revolve around *snagging* a guy. At least Miranda has interests outside of snagging a guy (like Dostoevsky), but the Seven Sins series barely focuses on that.

And it disappointed me that the girls tend to be more backstabbing, and gossipy than the guys in general. Ugh. Miranda and Harper gossip about other students a lot (there is a quote from one the book that state they bitch about 99.99 percent of the student body - can't remember which book it was. I think it was Pride or Envy.)

The main female characters are much more unsympathetic than the male characters too. All of the main female characters are extremely unpleasant (whereas out of the guys, only Kane comes close to being anything as nasty as the girls, seeing how he spreads nasty rumours about Miranda and Beth. Adam and Reed are very likeable in general.)

Read more... )
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To anyone who has read the Vorkosigan Saga:

Was anyone bothered by the racist portrayal of Indian characters? I notice that all of the Indian characters in the Vorkosigan saga books I've read so far are unlikeable, pathetic or cruel. In 'Cordelia's Honour', Dr Mehta drugs Cordelia against her will and treats Cordelia like an interesting experiment (she offers no sympathy, emapthy or compassion for all the horrors Cordelia has been through while she is talking to her).

See here for yourself:

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=1fys98YnuGMC&pg=PT126&lpg=PT126&dq=dr+mehta+cordelia&source=bl&ots=4aBq5oPxIf&sig=4tKpqB-uO7zhyxCifOx-3viO_zI&hl=en&ei=oxAGS7rCDsuSkAXg9fneCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=dr%20mehta%20cordelia&f=false

Plus Gupta from "Diplomatic Immunity" is surly and has no good redeeming traits whatsoever. And Miles calls him "Guppy", so I get the impression from that rude nickname that the readers aren't supposed to take him seriously. I know Miles shows him some caompassion, but the fact that Gupta still remains ungrateful to Miles (and still has no redeeming traits) gives me the impression that Bujold regards Indian people negatively. I've never seen a positive or neutral portrayal of an Indian character in her stories before.

Plus for a saga set in the future, the Vorkosigan saga world is overwhelmingly white. There are few or no characters who are Asian (Middle Eastern or far east Asian characters. I know there's Commodore Tung, but he's the only positive Asian character in the VS I've encountered), black, first nations people, Aboriginal people etc (although to be fair, there are a few Spanish characters).

Now, some may say that the racist overtones are unintentional. However, that doesn't make them any less damaging, and it doesn't undo the hurt it causes.
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http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113357239&ft=1&f=4516989

Wonderful. :D

It's amazing how a book changed a boy's life so much. And I loved how the librarian actually made the effort to drive far away to find another book by an African American author for Olly Neal.
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SIX PAIRINGS I LIKE:

1. Severus/Lily
2. Suki/Sokka (Avatar)
3. Katara/Aang (Avatar)
4. Axel/Roxas (Kingdom Hearts 2, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories)
5. Walter/Seras (Hellsing)
6. Katara/Haru (Avatar)

THREE SHIPS I'VE ABANDONED:


7. Ron/Hermione
8. Axel/Larxene (Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories)
9. Harry/Cho

THREE SHIPS I'VE NEVER LIKED:

10. Edward Cullen/Bella (from Twilight. I don't find Edward's abusive behaviour sexy. I find it *creepy* as heck.)
11. Harry/Ginny
12. Light Yagami/Misa Amane (from Death Note. I don't think Light truly loves anyone except himself).

TWO SHIPS THAT HAVE PIQUED MY INTEREST:


13. Integra/Maxwell (Hellsing. What? I think it's cute! XD Plus they both have lovely hair! They could bond over that, maybe?)
14. Severus/Regulus

1. Why do you dislike 11 (Harry/Ginny) so much?

What elethian said. Plus, Ginny being the copy of Harry's mum struck me as creepy. And their relationship just came out of the blue. The chest monster bits were good for a laugh, though.

2. Who do you know that ships 13 (Integra/Maxwell)?

Um. I think Hannah (rosehiptea) used to ship it, and I remember she wrote wonderful fic for it (but I can't find those fics anywhere, dang it!)

3. What would be your ideal scenario for couple 3 (Katara/Aang)?

SPOILERS FOR AVATAR

So many! The kiss at the end of Avatar. Aang giving up his chance to learn to unblock his chakras to rescue Katara. The tiny moments where they comfort each other. Katara telling Toph to go easy on Aang when Toph teaches him to earthbend. The kiss they share before Aang flies off to battle. The dance between them was electric.

4. What is your favorite moment for 1 (Severus/Lily)?

When Severus says "Look at me" to Harry, just so he can see Lily's eyes back at him. And when he shows his Patronus and says, "Always." I couldn't stand DH (aka Harry Potter and the Camping Trip of DOOM). But those two parts from DH made my day.

5. How long have you been following couple 6 (Katara/Haru)?

Since I first saw the episode where Katara first met Haru. Yup. I love how Katara gives Haru the strength to stand up for himself and his people. And how Haru admires and respects Katara so much.

6. What's the story with 8 (Axel/Larxene)? What made you stop caring?

Hmm. Just the fact that Axel and Larxene don't get along, and they rarely interact. The idea of these opposites attracting was fun for a while, as they're both fascinating. Plus the fact that they have no chemistry and Axel betrays her is a big one.

7. Which ship do you prefer--2 (Suki/Sokka) or 4 (Axel/Roxas)?

Axel/Roxas. Because Roxas made Axel feel like he had a heart. And also because Axel was willing to sacrifice himself not just for Roxas, but for his alter/other, Sora, too. plus they're such BFF (if you love this pairing, watch the FinalMix vids. Like, now).

8. You have the power to make one ship non-existent. Choose from 10 (Edward/Bella) or 12 (Light/Misa).

Edward/Bella. Hands down. Physical and emotional abuse, plus Bella feels afraid when Edward is around. And I hate how Bella wants to give up her education and her family without remorse (at the age of 18) all for her lust for Edward. Need I say more?

9. What interests you about 14 (Severus/Regulus)?

They both go through a redemption arc, and are very clever. Both outwit Voldemort, and are good Slytherins. Plus I like to imagine that Severus was a mentor of sorts to Regulus.

10. When did you stop liking 7 (Ron/Hermione)?

When they started getting very nasty and childish in HBP. I hated how Hermione sent birds to attack Ron. And Ron using Lavender to get back at Hermione is *not* a sign of maturity (whatever JKR thinks). It's a disgusting thing to do.

11. Did your waning interest in 9 (Harry/Cho) kill your interest in the series?

No, but it did diminish it. I seriously disliked how Harry liked Ginny 'because she wasn't a cryer'. Poor Cho deserves a break. It's natural for her to be grieving - her former boyfriend was murdered by Voldemort, after all.

12. What's a song that reminds you of 5 (Walter/Seras)?

er...no idea. Let me know if you find one, though!

13. Which of these ships do you love the most right now?

Walter/Seras. Walter is the perfect gentleman, and Seras is adorable. They both fight and work together so well. And when Seras told Walter to go in good health even after he betrayed Hellsing...so sad and lovely.

14. Which do you dislike the most?

Edward/Bella. For the reasons already mentioned.

15. If you could have any of these pairings double date, who would they be?

Integra/Maxwell and Walter/Seras. I think their reactions would be priceless. XD

...Actually, that could make for a hilarious fic idea.

16. Have 2 (Suki/Sokka) kissed yet? Elaborate if yes.

Yes. At least twice, in fact. Sokka is quite a hit with the ladies. :D
I love how Suki says she's a girl *and* a warrior after their first kiss. I cheered inwardly when Sokka's ideas of girls as being helpless changed after that. Plus Suki saying "Let me refresh your memory!" (something along those lines when she was near Ba Sing Se) and then surprising him with a kiss was too cute.

17. Did 4 (Axel/Roxas) have a happy ending? Do you think one is likely?

Well, poor Axel didn't get a happy ending, as he died. But Roxas gets one - he gets reunited with his friend Namine, and is absorbed into Sora.

18. What would make you start shipping 14 (Severus/Regulus)?

I already sort of ship it.

19. If only one could happen, which would you prefer--2 (Sokka/Suki) or 6 (Katara/Haru)?

Sokka/Suki! Hands down. :) They're so funny and sweet together. And I love how they both protect each other.

20. You have the power to decide the fate of 10 (Edward/Bella). What happens to them?

Edward stops being an abusive douche. Bella grows a brain and a spine.

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