Podcast! Getting Lit, Episode 3: Elf Hate

Podcast! Getting Lit, Episode 3: Elf Hate

SPECIAL GUEST HOST: my mom!

Lol.

Most people call her Marilyn.

 

In this episode, we talk about the book The Flame and the Arrow, a categorically awful romance fantasy by Emigh Cannaday.

 

 

Also I made album art for the podcast! This is in preparation for me finally figuring out iTunes podcasts.


 

Ilana’s Drink: Elf Hate

  • 3/4 Dunkin Donuts Ice Coffee (ice melted)
  • 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur
  • 1/2 tablespoon anise seed liqueur
  • 1 shot Indiana Whisky

Wendy and Marilyn’s Drink: Runa

Named after the character that I least hated, this drink is served lukewarm.

  • Champagne (luke warm, like my feelings towards Runa)
  • A smattering of orange juice. 

Other books/authors/series/other podcasts mentioned:

  • Julia Quinn, Mary Balough, Mary Higgins Clark
  • The Others Series by Anne Bishop. Written in Red is the first.
  • Cut from the Same Cloth, Kathleen Baldwin
  • An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back, Elisabeth Rosenthal
  • The Case of Comrade Tulayev, Victor Serge
  • All Out of Ideas Podcast about movie reboots and remakes! Check out the episode I guest host: Ghostbusters!
  • Cause An Event Podcast about Early Childhood Education.
  • Vaginal Fantasy Podcast, a book club podcast hosted by Felicia Day.
  • Hunter’s Claim, S.E. Smith
  • Seduce Me in Dreams, Jacquelyn Frank

 

Next month we’ll be reading The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook! Read along with us!

Books I read this week 4/22/2017

Books I read this week 4/22/2017

Austenland

Author: Shannon Hale

Series: Austenland #1

Tags: Contemporary, Austen, Regency, humor, Stick-in-the-Mud

Format: Audiobook

Rating: Yay!

 

Funnier than I expected it to be!

 

I’ve seen the movie with Keri Russell, which was kind of meh. I wasn’t expecting much from the book. I was happy to find that it is actually pretty funny most of the time!

The writing was enjoyable, adorkable. The narrator of the audiobook added to the tongue-in-cheek-ness of the humor, reading certain parts in that fake dramatic almost British voice that a person would use if they read out loud silly love scenes or sappy Facebook posts.

I love, also, that the character is by turns either totally weirded out by the experience, or 100% all in.

 

The plot is, in keeping with the tradition of Rom Coms, totally absurd. Jane’s great aunt leaves her an all inclusive stay at a Jane Austen immersion getaway, complete with actors to “fall in love” with. The fact that she didn’t choose this gift makes it a bit more believable that she rebels against it throughout half of her stay.

She should be weirded out, because that is a totally weird thing to do.

The men are almost escorts, if you think about it.

We try to skirt around the escort thing, but it’s difficult. Man, it is so difficult.

 

Of course, being the Austenite that I am, I can’t help but squee about imagining living like Austen for a couple of weeks. The whole romance aspect would be super duper embarrassing. Ditto on remembering that most people are there to cater to the strange whim of living like Regency gentry.

 

Jane has an “unhealthy” obsession with Mr. Darcy (to this, I shrug my shoulders) and decides to use this time to cast off her need for the hyper romance of the Austen era and men in general. In doing so, she gets a man.

Funny how that works out.

 

I’ve never been one to 1) hide my obsession 2) feel bad about it 3) feel that it warps my sense of reality 4) hold reality to the standard of romance novels, so I just kind of watch like, so that must be what it’s like.

It’s that old trope that’s been around since women started reading, that romance novels warp your brain. I don’t believe it. You can make the argument that Austen didn’t believe it, either. In Northanger Abbey, Catherine is enriched by her experiences through novels, as a sort of practice of finer feelings.

There’s a book about this subject that I want to read. Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Novels Explained.

 

The one thing I don’t get is why did the clients of this strange place show up not knowing who their romantic opposite would be? I’m assuming these women have read Austen over and over again… They are used to knowing who ends up with who at the end. The owner of Austenland seems to have an idea. Why the subterfuge?

A weird plot twist at the end, and then Jane goes home with someone she does not know at all. But, hey! If you were to spend $$$ on an immersive Austen experience, wouldn’t you want to take home a souvenir of a real, live Mr. Darcy??

I would.

Vision in Silver

Author: Anne Bishop

Series: The Others #3

Tags: Urban Fantasy, Alternate World, vampires, werewolves, shifters, coyotes, crows, elementals, precognition, ponies?

Format: audiobook

Rating: Yay!

 

HMMMMMMM…..

 

I was surprised by this book. Normally when I start in the middle of a fantasy series I resent it. I tried #4 of this series once, but gave up. The cover gives me the impression that is it a post-apocalyptic and/or distopian young adult novel, so I was not willing to give it a try.

I decided to give it a second go when I saw #3 added to OverDrive.

And I …liked it.

really liked it.

I’m still a bit perplexed by my reaction.

 

Like most Urban Fantasy novels, this series has its own take on vampires and werewolves, the good ol’ mystical fallbacks of the fictional world. However, the world building is far deeper than I expected.

A lot of Urban Fantasies just say, “look! A vampire in the city!” and leave it at that. Others dig deeper and make up some (often cliche) culture around the vampires. The ones that I like the most usually try to answer the question:

“What if [insert mystical creature] was introduced into humanity as we know it? How would that affect our culture, and theirs?”

I love that kind of mental exercise. If done well, it can make the reader contemplate humanity. If done poorly, it’s funny.

 

The Others series seems to ask the question, “what if humans were not the top of the food chain?”

The Others are pretty much all magical beings: vampires, werewolves, etc. They control the land and all raw resources, and always have. Humans live in cities apart from the Others, and have to rent land from them, as a kind of second class. The story starts during a time when humans are trying to rise up against the Others, at the same time that the Others are attempting to learn more about and coexist with humans.

It’s HEAVY on politics, social plots, the pettiness of man, etc. Normally, I don’t go for that, but maybe I only balk when it’s bad or cliche? I found myself very interested in this plot, despite past history of not giving a fuck.

 

Into the mix, there are also human women that are born with strange and dangerous precognitive abilities. In order to have a vision, they need to be cut. The thousandth cut is said to kill them. The women are sequestered in compounds at a young age under horrible conditions. One woman, the main character, escapes.

By the third book, the main character, Meg, is firmly ensconced in an Others community, just trying to figure her shit out now that she is free.

 

Here’s another thing this series does well:

Another thing I LOVE in fantasy novels is the outsider’s perspective of human culture. You know, as if an alien dropped from the sky, and you have to explain everything to them.

A lot of Urban Fantasies attempt that, they say stuff like “I’m a wolf that’s sometimes a human, not the other way around,” but eventually you start to feel like they are humans who once read a fourth grader book report on wolf behavior, and made up weird culture bullshit based on it.

In this series, the Others don’t have much experience with humans, and they are in constant wonderment of human culture. I like to watch the open curiosity between both beings, kind of like when a red panda meets a rock for the first time.

via GIPHY

 

Meg is doing the same thing. She completely missed out on socialization because of her compound experience, and is learning about the world down to the very basics. Her and the leader of the community, a wolf named Simon, circle each other, trying to figure out the world, humans, Others, and each other.

 

Meg and Simon have a budding romance going on that is so fucking subtle it is driving me insane. But in a good way.

I, who have watched three seasons of an anime just because one character sighed in the direction of another character, am thoroughly enjoying their slow build. Their earnest attempt to get to know each other, while not crowding, is so cute!

I mentally congratulate the author for not pushing the romance. Poor Meg is trying to figure out the world right now. She doesn’t need to be jumping into a relationship.

However, I might break down if it goes on too much longer. It’s the third book, and they…*spoiler*… held hands.

GASP!

 

This is not a romance. I don’t know it got into the Romance category of OverDrive, but a hint of maybe the beginning of romance with all these supernatural politics flying around is not the same thing. Sometimes I wonder if there is something sexist going on with the romance designation. I can’t imagine that most fantasies DON’T have romances within their plots.

Is it because it’s about a female main character? An urban fantasy? Vampires? Written by a woman?

Interestingly, the first two books are NOT categorized as Romance, because I found them on OverDrive later when I searched for them! Hooray! Now I can go back to the beginning. I was very afraid I would have to read them with my eyes.

Podcast! Gettin’ Lit, Episode 2: Hashtag DukeProblems

Podcast! Gettin’ Lit, Episode 2: Hashtag DukeProblems

Wendy and Ilana are at it again! This time with slightly better sound quality.

In this episode of Gettin’ Lit, Ilana and I talk about a favorite in the bodice ripper genre: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie.

Enjoy below!

Have you read The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie? Do you have something to say in response to this episode? Comment below!

Wendy’s Drink

Nebulous Victorian Autism

  • 2 parts tonic
  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part campari
  • A bunch of lime

 

Ilana’s Drink

My Love is Medically Proven to Cure Autism

or

Sweet Lovin’

  • 2 shots amaretto
  • 1 shot scotch
  • 1/2 simple syprup
  • 1/4 cup soda water
  • A dash of augustine bitters

 

Besides drinking and talking about Dukes and their problems, this Wendy’s Rant is:

Does my evil boyfriend make me evil?

 

Other books mentioned in this episode:

  • The Duke’s Perfect Wife, Jennifer Ashley
  • Tiger Magic, Jennifer Ashley
  • Once Burned, Jeaniene Frost
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon
  • Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, John E. Mackey
  • Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference, Cordelia Fine

 

Next episode, we will be reading The Flame and the Arrow by Emigh Cannaday. Read along!

 

Bonus list:

Ilana mentioned that she didn’t know of any psychopath protagonists in historical romance. I beg to differ! Here are a few I can think of:

  • Duke of Sin, Elizabeth Hoyt
  • Pretty much all three heroes from Kerrigan Byrne’s Victorian Rebels series, but especially The Hunter
  • I would say that Hoyt’s The Serpent Prince is another example, though poorly done. All that dueling!
Episode 01 of Getting Lit with Wendy and Ilana

Episode 01 of Getting Lit with Wendy and Ilana

PODCAST!

My friend Ilana and I have decided to start our own podcast about… wait for it… Romance novels!

Introducing….

Getting Lit

with Wendy and Ilana

Episode 01’s page here.

 

It’s a book club of sorts. We will be talking about a particular book while drinking drinks. Get it? We will be getting literary, while literally getting lit! *Nudge nudge wink wink*

Today we talked about the book Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. Ilana made up her own drink, and called it The Tableau Vivante, in reference to a special type of magic from the book. I just went with my go-to cocktail, the Negroni

Ilana’s Fancy Drink

 

Ilana’s Drink: The Tableau Vivante.

1.5 oz gin
1 oz pear snapps
1/4 cup club soda
1/2 cup ginger ale
1 maraschino cherry for garnish

shake up in a cocktail shaker for fanciness.

 

Wendy’s Drink: Negroni

Two parts gin
1 part Campari
1 part red vermouth (I use the brand Dolin)

Stir in chilled glass. Add one of those big ass ice cubes. Twist an orange peel over the drink and add to drink for extra flavor.

 

Other books we talked about:

  • Mate Bond by Jennifer Ashley
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • The Impossible Will Take a Little While: Perserverence and Hope in Troubled Times by Paul Rogat Loeb
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Charles Dickens
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • The Bronte Sisters (generally)
  • Heart Shaped Hack by Tracey Garvis-Graves
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

 

Also, there’s a specific section for Wendy’s Rants, this one titled:

It’s Not Stalking If He’s Sexy

 

Book we will read next time is The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley.

Next podcast slated to happen…sometime.

In the near future.

2-4 weeks from now.

Probably.

 

PS: Please excuse the shuffling sound! My dog was restless and she kept moving my laptop. Also, if anyone has any pointers on how to record two people in different states at the same time please share. Our current mode is not ideal, but works in a pinch. Total budget is about $20.