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text 2017-05-27 16:56
Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong $1.99
Men of the Otherworld (Otherworld Stories, #I) - Kelley Armstrong

As a curious six-year-old, Clayton didn’t resist the bite—he asked for it. But surviving as a lone child-werewolf was more than he could manage—until Jeremy came along, taught Clayton how to straddle the human-werewolf worlds, and introduced him to the Pack. So begins this tantalizing volume featuring three of the most intriguing members of the American Pack—a hierarchical founding family where bloodlines mean everything and each day presents a new, thrilling, and often deadly challenge. For as he grows from a wild child to a clever teen who tests his mentor at every turn, Clayton must learn not only to control his animal instincts but to navigate Pack politics—including showing his brutal archnemesis who the real Alpha is.

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text 2017-05-27 16:27
27th May 2017
The Stories of John Cheever - John Cheever

I've been homesick for countries I've never been, and longed to be where I couldn't be.

 

John Cheever

 

American novelist John Cheever (born May 27, 1912) has been aptly described as "the Chekhov of the suburbs." His writing may have saved his life. After enlisting, he published a book of short stories. An officer in the Signal Corps read and liked it, and had Cheever transferred to do communications work. Later, half of Cheever's original infantry regiment died at Normandy.

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review 2017-05-27 13:53
The Perfect Weapon (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Star Wars: The Perfect Weapon - Delilah S. Dawson

One of my favorite things about the Star Wars EU is how random background characters from the movies are given names, personalities, histories, etc. This short story does an excellent job of that with the extremely good-looking black-skull-cap-wearing mercenary in Maz Kanata’s castle. We get backstory, a cool adventure, and a bonus mystery to ponder. What’s in the case? Anakin Skywalker’s old lightsaber? Luke’s severed hand? Both?? Neither??? Feel free to speculate wildly. We’re given next to no clues to go on.

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text 2017-05-26 22:37
In Morningstar's Shadow by Aliette de Bodard
In Morningstar's Shadow: Dominion of the Fallen Stories - Aliette de Bodard

 

This is super short at 46 pages. Should I add dates read to count it or not? I'm undecided.

 

It's basically just a series of vignettes that provide a lead into Aliette de Bodard's book The House of Shattered Wings where we have fallen angels in Paris.

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review 2017-05-26 15:28
The Glass Slipper : Women and Love Stories
The Glass Slipper: Women and Love Stories - Susan Ostrov Weisser

The Glass Slipper is about the persistence of a familiar Anglo-American love story into the digital age. Comparing influential classics to their current counterparts, Susan Ostrov Weisser relates in highly amusing prose how these stories are shaped and defined by and for women, the main consumers of romantic texts. Following a trajectory that begins with Jane Austen and concludes with Internet dating sites, Weisser shows the many ways in which nineteenth-century views of women’s nature and the Victorian idea of romance have survived the feminist critique of the 1970s and continue in new and more ambiguous forms in today’s media, with profound implications for women.

 

The Victorians have a lot to answer for! The basic formula that they set in motion for the romance is still very much in use. The woman protagonist has to be beautiful, but not vain. She can be aware that she’s moderately attractive, but mustn’t put too much stock in it. She must also be stubborn (or spunky or full of vitality) because she’s going to need all her resources to win her man. And she better be a one-man woman—not too easily tipped into bed, as she needs to be sure that the man is truly interested in her, or she will be left alone and humiliated. There is no doubt that “alone” is a punishment and a sign of being “less than,” which makes me laugh, as it’s the only way I want to live my life.

Men in this genre are usually rich or at least comfortable financially, but billionaires abound these days. Then they should be hunky—broad shoulders, small waists, ripped abs—because why waste all that work on a regular guy, right? Plus, he should be powerful, both physically and in the world (Alpha male, anyone?). No wonder men don’t like to read the romance genre—who could possibly live up to that standard?

I can see why the author doesn’t really decide if romance is pro- or anti-feminist. I’m a feminist, but after decades of ignoring the romance genre, I find that I’m enjoying it again. I’ve never married and I don’t expect to. I don’t expect romance in my own life—my own relationship is a pretty pragmatic one. And yet I really do enjoy reading a good romance. I’ve read Ilona Andrews’ Burn for Me at least 3 times since January (and it really, really fits the Victorian pattern above) and I’m waiting on tenterhooks for the sequel White Hot. Does this make me a bad feminist? I don’t think so.

The author covers a lot of ground: Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Disney princesses, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Harlequin romances, and internet dating sites, among other topics. Do we need to smash the Glass Slipper the way we need to break the Glass Ceiling? Or can we hang onto it for playing dress-up?

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