[syndicated profile] phys_environment_feed
A strong, shallow earthquake rocked Indonesia's central Sulawesi province Monday evening. There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties, and no tsunami warning.
kotturinn: (Default)
[personal profile] kotturinn
I started when I said I would (amazingly enough!). Current status:
  • The green bin is now as full/heavy as I can safely move (must remember to put it out!)
  • The choisya is no more (the mogs approve of the nicely loose ground, giving it A+ for rolling in and B+ for loo potential!)
  • I have started on the lilac (see fullness of green bin).
Thereby hangs (sprouts? grows?) a problem. The current lilac is a pale-to-mid-purple colour. I really like the dark purple ones and the original plan was to replace it with one of those, moved slightly to the left and slightly forward in the border. But. There is a sucker in just the right place. A very hopeful sucker.

Poll #18429 Lilac dilemma...
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 0

What should a critter do then?

View Answers

Replace with the dark-flowered one
0 (0.0%)

See what happens to the sucker
0 (0.0%)

Get a completely different sort of plant (ideas in comments)
0 (0.0%)

Ticky Box!
0 (0.0%)

Something else which I will explain in comments
0 (0.0%)

(no subject)

May. 29th, 2017 10:50 am
blairmacg: (Default)
[personal profile] blairmacg
Still getting used to Dreamwidth...

I did not intend to let our little corner here lapse into silence for nearly three months. The reasons are mostly boring–having to do on one hand with a job possibility that did not come to pass, and on the other hand with freelance projects that indeed came to pass (but on an uncomfortably tight deadline for even a fast writer) at the same time extensive home remodeling kicked into high gear.

I also did not intend for the first post in forever to be on the topic of grief. I would have preferred the Patreon re-launch, truly.

But I also made a commitment to be honest and open about grief because it so rarely is discussed once “the expected” period of mourning is over. So here I am, Memorial Day morning, typing despite an ocular migraine, because I spent half of yesterday weeping.

That… was unexpected. Yes, I’ve been immensely stressed all the way around, yet thinking the weekend would be fine regardless. Yesterday being race day, we had the whole family over. I had a drink, started showing off what we’ve been doing in the basement to my sister, then spotted the pictures my son had just unpacked.

And there was the framed show poster from when my late husband and I were dating, and the sole professional photo of the three of us when Dev wasn’t much more than a year old. And this one.

I lost it. I cried, then apologized for crying, then cried again, then assured everyone I was fine. I went into my half-finished bedroom to work on a few things once everyone else had left, then started crying again. At some point, for reasons I don’t know, I crawled into the closet to huddle up and cry some more. I pulled it together to get something to eat and act sociable for awhile, then made an excuse to go for a drive so I could cry again.

It’s been six years since my husband’s funeral. It’s been four years since my best friend’s memorial. Now another dear friend is starting chemo. I just… lost it.

Today, I’m feeling all cried out. I’m tired. Tired. Usually, I attend a service or ceremony to mark this day, but I am still under the bedcovers. I absolutely must work on the freelance project today. I’m thinking it’ll all happen in my pajamas.

So… There it is. That grief and loss thing, feeling bigger for a few hours yesterday than it has in a long, long time because–if I’m painfully honest–it is cranked up by the terror of losing my recently-diagnosed friend as well.

Greenhouse Project nearly done!

May. 29th, 2017 09:43 am
primsong: (flower)
[personal profile] primsong
Almost there, all I need in a second coat around the base and cleaning off the roof, plus fixing a couple cracks in the roof panels. Yay!

Here's some pictures just 'cause I'm happy about it )

Much more presentable - and functional - than before.

Brimstone Bread

May. 29th, 2017 09:00 am
[syndicated profile] neatorama_feed

Posted by Miss Cellania

This recipe makes bread that looks like crusty balls of molten lava! But that's just the appearance. It's really just tasty bread that you can use for sandwiches, burgers, or hot rolls for dinner. These rolls are not quite as "hot" as they appear. It's an illusion from Helen Die, aka Tye Lombardi.

When I make this in Hell, I like to roll my dough in the deep pits of sulfur and soul dust and cook them in the hot brimstone vents.  Unfortunately, as you are mortal and have neither access to soul dust or brimstone vents, I’ve had to make a few adjustments to the recipe for you.

The inside is standard bread dough from your favorite mix, colored red. The crust is what makes the magic. Get the recipe and instructions at the Necro-Nom-Nom-Nomicon. Bone appetite!

[syndicated profile] the_mary_sue_feed

Posted by Eric Francisco


A few summers ago, I was given a graduation gift by a family friend just a few years older than myself. It was a book, and on the inner flap he wrote: “Hope this opens up your eyes as it did for me.”

I haven’t seen or spoken to this family friend in years, but he’s seared into my memory as a handsome young man who played a pivotal role in my childhood. I was nerdy, and he was an alpha: He played varsity baseball for the fratty all-boys Catholic high school, finished business school, and today drives BMWs and parks them in his house in gentrified San Francisco. He’s also Filipino-American, emphasis on American. But when he read Alex Tizon’s Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self, he embraced his other half. Published in 2014, Big Little Man is the memoir of Pulitzer-winner Tizon, who documents his lifelong search for identity in white America.

During the summer where I entered “the real world,” I devoured the book like a shipwreck survivor in need of food and water. It’s not hyperbole to say Tizon’s account as an insecure Asian-American male—a demographic starved for identity—gave me life.

Then, three years later, I learned that the author of the book who put words to these feelings I’ve had for twenty years was also a modern day slave owner.

Last week, in a bombshell article for The Atlantic, “My Family’s Slave,” the late Tizon remembers Eudocia Tomas Pulido, his “Lola,” which is a Tagalog honorific that means “grandmother,” but is given to elders as a sign of respect. (My mom is called “Tita,” meaning aunt, by the Pinoys (Filipino men) who run our neighborhood barbecue joint. We don’t know them otherwise.)

Lola was the woman who raised Tizon through a troubled childhood in an immigrant Filipino-American household, and while she played a major part of his life, Lola was practically invisible in his memoir. I can count on one hand how many times Lola is named: only four times.

“Given” to Tizon’s mother at 18 by his career military uncle, Lola lived to serve the Tizons. She had no prospects, no independence, no life to live but for others. When Tizon tried to teach her independence, such as when he tried to teach her how to drive a car, she recoiled in fear. “Sometimes,” Tizon writes, “when Lola was young, she’d felt so lonely that all she could do was cry.” She lived this way until her ‘70s, when an adult Tizon had the means to give her space and agency to live freely.

With nowhere else to go, she lived with him and his family. She finally found a hobby (she took to gardening), and Tizon recalls a specific moment when Lola kicked back with tea and TV, blissful. But by then, it was too late for Lola to have a life, and Lola’s last 12 years alive—based on his accounts—seem like a haze of confusion in a strange land, despite the fact Lola lived in the states far longer than she did in the Philippines.

It’s a devastating story, not only for Tizon, whose guilt bleeds through in every word, but also for Lola, whose inhuman life is anachronistic to ‘70s and ‘80s America. In the same time and place where the suburban kids of Stranger Things played Dungeons & Dragons, Tizon’s family had a slave.

Until recently, I called Alex Tizon a hero. He had a career I wanted to emulate, with a face that might look like mine in two decades. He had a book I felt was written exclusively for me and nobody else. Nobody else knows the plight of the Asian-American male but us: We want to be strong but are castrated by emasculation. We want to be heroes but are whitewashed in comic books. We want to be loved but are reduced to stereotypes like Long Duk Dong.

But Tizon, man, he knew it all. And because of that, I spoke of him with the same regard I saved for other heroes. He was as good to me as Carrie Fisher, Stephen Colbert, and Bruce Lee. I hailed his ability to string together words of the English language as being on par with my all-time favorite scribes. He was as important to me as Neil Gaiman, Hunter S. Thompson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Mark Waid. Though I love Gaiman’s sweeping, lyrical fantasies and Waid’s deconstruction of superheroes, none of that spoke to me the way Tizon’s naked exposure of the Asian male psyche did.

Then, I learned that Tizon owned a slave.

When I began writing full-time, I had few figures to whom I could turn. The impenetrable world of “Journalism Twitter,” populated by blue checkmarks whose bylines overshadow my own, was and is full of voices that make mine feel pedestrian. I’m still getting the hang of it. But I would look to Tizon, who not only looked like me but had my background too.

I grew up awkwardly in post-9/11 New Jersey while Tizon lived all over the place (he was an adolescent in Honolulu and in the Bronx before attending college in Oregon) throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. But he was still a lower middle-class Pinoy from a broken family. Like me, he struggled to understand his hyphenated identity among friends, especially white ones. In Big Little Man, Tizon writes:

“I had become so Americanized—whitewashed—that my college friends would claim to forget I was Asian. It was the reason they felt free to say these things to me. They saw me as one of them. ‘You’re not Asian. You’re Alex’ was how Leny explained it. ‘Shit, man, I don’t think of you as a my-nority,’ Christopher liked to say. I was so lonesome in those days that I was grateful to be part of one club, at least. Belonging somewhere felt nice, and it allowed me to entertain the illusion that I was different from the other Asian guys on campus with their books and lonely stares. But as soon as I stepped away from my circle, I quickly turned into just another Asian cipher.”

But he had a Pulitzer, and thus, he was my benchmark. Belonging to an older generation, Tizon eschewed the “branding” typical of today’s writers, and because his writing and subdued online presence made him feel approachable, I considered Tizon to be the professor I never had. I felt closer to him than the actual mentors I had in my undergraduate years at Rutgers University.

This was years before Tizon’s name became a trending topic, and not for good reasons.

In his death, Tizon opened a nexus of ghosts that haunt immigrants and people of color. Past the veneer of his breathtaking writing is the fact Tizon’s family practiced a severe version of a system leftover from Spanish colonialism, which is itself sustained through American capitalism. Slavery is both complicated and simple. Most Americans project their history class lessons onto it and, more wrongly, still assume it’s been over since 1860. It certainly is not, but when it’s out of sight and it’s out of mind, Tizon’s article becomes the blinding Bat-Signal that exposes only himself.

Human trafficking, which includes slavery of all sorts including forced labor and prostitution, doesn’t feel like an American problem. It’s not a problem white Americans know, when it is in fact a global epidemic that isn’t discriminatory. In 2014, the year Big Little Man was published, the National Human Resource Trafficking Center reported 990 cases of forced labor, the same variety known to Lola—and this was in the United States.

While Lola was not sold for sex, her existence is bundled into the system that thrives in the underbelly today. The Super Bowl, the pinnacle of American mass culture, is a lightning rod for sex trafficking. Kidnapped women and children are forced to serve johns attending the annual game. Hours before Super Bowl XLIX, when Katy Perry danced with Left Shark, the Sherrif’s Department of Illinois Cook County arrested 600 men soliciting sex from victims across 17 states.

Yet when there’s talk of slavery in America, it’s in sepia-tinted Civil War dramas or in the 21st century third worlds of brown people. Tizon’s story, which was about brown people owning brown people, is shocking, especially to liberal white Americans and even us American-born Asians. Slavery doesn’t exist to them or to us, even when it’s right in front of us handing us drinks during the game on Sundays.

Tizon’s story is the first instance I’ve heard of a real slave in a Filipino household. These stories exist but are increasingly rare, and the archaic practices exist in a different light than in the United States. It’s inhumane, but to project American ideas onto a culture with incompatible cultural DNA is myopic. Rest assured, the class-driven system of “katulongs” (a more specific type of house help that Lola was) is not some bad cultural thing exclusive to Pinoys, like, say, Black Pete in the Netherlands. Tizon’s story is not everyone else’s, but Lola is the reckoning Filipinos must now confront.

I cannot defend Tizon. As much as Tizon’s work influenced mine, I owe him and his family nothing. I never knew them. But reading between the lines, between the keystrokes of Tizon’s opus, I feel the anxiety that plagues only those who live between two worlds and belong to none: the plight of the hyphenated-American. Tizon knew, as an American, that slavery was wrong. Western movies told him so. But as a Filipino, Tizon couldn’t expose and shame his family and risk deportation from the so-called land of opportunity. Toxic as the notion may be, “family” is of the utmost importance to Asian-Americans—even if they’re monsters. It takes an extraordinarily awful and abusive home for an Asian-American child to gain the courage to disconnect from the family unit.

I sense Tizon’s shame the most in the paragraph he admits to his sin of inaction, which he paid for in the disintegration of his family:

“His not knowing anything about the purpose of my journey was a relief. I had enough interior dialogue going on. I was no better than my parents. I could have done more to free Lola. To make her life better. Why didn’t I? I could have turned in my parents, I suppose. It would have blown up my family in an instant. Instead, my siblings and I kept everything to ourselves, and rather than blowing up in an instant, my family broke apart slowly.”

None of my empathy or sympathy can give Lola her life. There’s not enough shouting I can do that can bring Tizon back to give answers. There’s not enough money to offer Lola’s family any relieft. And there’s nowhere I can go where I’m far enough to stop seeing a wordsmith who helped prevent my sense of self from being dragged into the mud. I don’t have all the answers and I don’t think I ever will.

All I know is that all my heroes are dead.

(image: Shutterstock/Eogan Roberts)

Eric Francisco is a journalism graduate of Rutgers University. A lifelong Jersey boy, his origin story is too long to explain, but it involves a Sega Genesis and an internship at NBC. He began writing for Geekscape and is now a staff writer for Inverse, but if you ask him, he’d say he still wants to be a Power Ranger.

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Bloop? Bloop/

May. 30th, 2017 02:38 am
tyger: Eevee.  Text: イーブィ (pokémon - eevee)
[personal profile] tyger
Today the house painting started for realsies, and by for realsies I mean omfg sanding uuuuuugh. I mean, it's super necessary, and the guy is pretty clearly doing a great job so far! But nooooisy, dnw. Went for a long walk with my parents in the afternoon to get away from it, that was pretty good!

I did end up doing a bunch of study, too, which is made of yay! :3 And played Terraria, because of course I did.

Rambles, mainly about my aqueduct. )
butterflydreaming: "Cris", in blocks with a blinking cat (Default)
[personal profile] butterflydreaming
If you didn't get free membership from Reach Now the first time around, they are currently waiving the $39 membership fee again for Seattle. This may also be a promo in other regions; I don't know.

The app for Android has bad reviews, and for me it won't advance past through the license screens. So, I would advise setting it up in advance rather than waiting until you're standing by a car.

Even if you have a reliable vehicle, I always advise taking advantage of the free membership promos. One-direction trip car share can be a handy thing when you need it.

(no subject)

May. 29th, 2017 09:37 am
mycroftca: me on horse (Default)
[personal profile] mycroftca
I felt weird most of this week; I think much of that is due to having had to have a root canal early in the week and because of my intense gag reflex, I was forced to be put under anesthesia. It was done very professionally, but I still have to go back for a crown.

I shared a really good comedy piece via Netflix streaming called Homecoming King by Hasan Minaj, a correspondent for The Daily Show. It's a brilliant piece of work of standup that was very personal and topical about the immigrant experience in the last few decades. Well worth seeing.

We also finished watching the first season of Homeland via Netflix disc. I'm really not sure how I feel about the season, but we'll be starting season two soon.

I also dabble a bit with Amazon Prime. Originally I downloaded a number of video files to my iPad, but it appears that Prime only allows you a certain amount of time to see those files before they delete themselves. I blew through several shows that I didn't find as interesting as I had hoped; I also watched some episodes of a show about people restoring armored vehicles of historic interest. I also touched on Fortitude and The Man in the High Castle but I'm not sure if I'll continue them.

Yesterday we went to the Norco Equestrian Academy where Bridget has been getting some horse refreshers because they were having a trail ride with a light lunch. I helped set up the lunch at a park up in the Norco hills with one of the owners of the Academy and then helped again with takedown. Afterwards, I had a chance to bit of walking down memory lane, in that when I was a child occasionally on Sundays after Suncay school we would drive twenty miles north to Milwaukee to have a late lunch at Bob's Big Boy. Well, there's one in Norco, one of only five left in California apparently, and so I had myself a hamburger just like I would have fifty years ago. The major difference was that the Big Boy statue outside was wearing a cowboy hat (or course, in Norco). A few more adventures one way or another thereupon ensued, ending in play with the new kitten.

Today is Memorial Day. I find myself recalling the Veterans who I've known as friends, and who I've treated as patients who served their country in ways civilians can hardly understand. To those who lost their lives, thanks are hardly enough, but from me, you have them.
hananobira: (Default)
[personal profile] hananobira posting in [community profile] amplificathon

Being in the Inquisitor's party means a lot of walking. So much walking.

Notes and Acknowledgements:
Thanks to all of my fantastic podficcers for giving me one of the easiest editing jobs I've had for months.


Author: Hananobira
Readers: blackglass, daisydiversions, Kess, Opalsong, RsCreighton, SomethingIncorporeal
Fandom: Dragon Age Inquisition
Rating: Teen
Pairing: Mostly Gen with some Dorian/Bull
Warnings: None
Song/Sound Effects: "Sera Would Never (Instrumental Version)" from the DAI soundtrack
Length: 00:09:34

Paraka: MP3 (13 MB) or M4B (9 MB)
Audiofic Archive: Check back later.

(no subject)

May. 29th, 2017 09:37 am
mycroftca: me on horse (Default)
[personal profile] mycroftca
Another week where I finished only a couple of books.

First was Osprey Warrior #69: Darby's Rangers 1942 – 45, essentially a WWII unit of some fame. Not bad, not great.

Second was Osprey Elite #4: US Army Special Forces 1952 – 84 which is a history of the decisions that led to the formation of our nation's various special forces and their use in the period described, which means mostly Vietnam. Not a bad overview.

What to bring on your next beach trip

May. 29th, 2017 04:00 pm
[syndicated profile] popular_science_rss_feed

Posted by Billy Cadden

A Go-Pro shuttlecock? A totebag full of wine? I love the beach.

Must have beach gear to upgrade your beach experience. Read on.
[syndicated profile] the_mary_sue_feed

Posted by Jessica Lachenal


Here’s a bit of bittersweet news this morning.

Sofia Coppola took home Cannes’ best director award for her film The Beguiled, a remake of a 1971 film with the same name starring Clint Eastwood. The “bitter” part of this news comes with the fact that Coppola is only the second woman to take home the award in Cannes’ 71-year-old history. The last woman to win was Yuliya Solntseva, who won with her film, Chronicle of Flaming Years, which told a story of resistance to the Nazi movement in the Soviet Union.

If you haven’t heard of Coppola’s film, here’s a brief rundown. Nicole Kidman plays headmistress to a school of girls in Virginia in 1864. When a wounded Union Army soldier stumbles into their home, the dynamics of life in the boarding school change drastically. IndieWire says the film is a “feminist adaptation” of the earlier Eastwood-led film, and if Coppola’s other work is anything to go by, then this one is definitely one to watch out for.

Also according to IndieWire, Coppola mentioned Jane Campion in her acceptance speech, another director who is still the only woman to win the festival’s highest honor, the Palme d’Or, with her work on The Piano.

Anyway, I’m pretty glad that Coppola won, and I’m hoping that by doing so, the door opens for more women to roll on through. Frankly, I’m looking forward to the day that a woman of color takes home best director—or better yet, the Palme d’Or.

(via The Verge, image: Shutterstock/Ilona Ignatova)

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The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

[syndicated profile] the_mary_sue_feed

Posted by Teresa Jusino

Supergirl S2, Ep 14 - 17

One of the best things to come out of Season 2 of The CW’s Supergirl is the relationship between Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer (lovingly dubbed “Sanvers” by fans) after Alex’s beautifully-crafted coming-out story. The season ended with a marriage proposal … without a definite answer. Now, we have word that while Floriana Lima, the actress who plays Maggie, will be returning to Supergirl next season, her involvement will be limited and she won’t be a series regular.

According to a statement, Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg revealed, “We adore Floriana and have loved working with her to tell this inspiring story. Although she’s not available to us as a series regular next season, as she’s looking to pursue other opportunities, we’re happy she’ll be returning for multiple episodes in Season 3.”

There’s no word on exactly how many episodes “multiple” episodes means, and there’s certainly no word on what that means for Alex and Maggie’s story.

However, this doesn’t have to mean the end for them. All this means is that she’ll remain a recurring character rather than being bumped up to a regular, which will allow her more flexibility while still allowing her to take part in the show. It’s totally understandable that an actor doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into one role, especially if they’re really just getting started. A part of me hopes that Maggie will continue to be a part of Supergirl and Alex’s life even if she has to pull a Calista Flockhart and only do a few key episodes a season.

Then again, Maggie is the first woman Alex has dated since she came out. Perhaps it would be good for Alex to actually experience dating while LGBTQIA? Perhaps them breaking up would be something that would allow Alex’s character to grow. It would also allow the introduction of more female LGBTQIA characters (though there’s really no excuse why that couldn’t happen anyway. Just sayin’).

As long as they don’t kill Maggie off, we’ll be all good. Got that, CW? Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Berlanti, don’t even entertain it in the writers’ room. Seriously. Do. Not.

What do you think? Should “Sanvers” go on indefinitely? Or would you be okay and even happy to see Alex have other relationships? Let’s talk Supergirl in the comments below!

(via Entertainment Weekly, image: Dean Buscher/The CW)

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The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

"Rare as a Unicorn" by Ciwu

May. 29th, 2017 04:57 pm
jadesfire: Teddy bear wearing headphones (Teddy in headphones)
[personal profile] jadesfire posting in [community profile] amplificathon
Title: Rare as a Unicorn
Author: [profile] ciwu
Reader: [personal profile] jadesfire
Length: ~11mins
Rating: T
Warnings: None
Pairings: Percy/Vex, Gen

Download link: MP3 (right-click, save-as)
Streaming: At AO3

Summary: Vox Machina argues about the nature of unicorns, debates whether or not they're worth killing, and learns some surprising information about human versions of fairy tales, as well as a little secret about their resident human.

Notes: It's a while since I did this, so I'm rusty at posting/tagging - very happy to be corrected if I messed something up :)
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

And I Darken

READER RECOMMENDED: And I Darken by Kiersten White is $1.99! We featured a review of this as part of our series Squee from the Keeper Shelf. Reader Fairywine really, really loved this book:

And I Darken utterly blew me away with how damn good it was, and it’s easily equal in quality to my other best favorites of 2016. This is a book that will challenge you, and surprise you, and give you things you didn’t even know you wanted in a book but actually did all along.

This vividly rendered novel reads like HBO’s Game of Thrones . . . if it were set in the Ottoman Empire. Ambitious in scope and intimate in execution, the story’s atmospheric setting is rife with political intrigue, with a deftly plotted narrative driven by fiercely passionate characters and a fearsome heroine. Fans of Victoria Aveyard’s THE RED QUEEN, Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING, and Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES won’t want to miss this visceral, immersive, and mesmerizing novel, the first in a trilogy.

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.

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Hold Your Breath

RECOMMENDEDHold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle is 99c! This is the first book in the romantic suspense Search and Rescue series. The other books are also available for 99c each! Elyse gave the book a B grade:

While the suspense and action were intense, I found the romance to be a little tame. Part of it was that we never get inside Callum’s head. The book is mostly 3rd person POV from Louise’s perspective. When you have a hero as taciturn and withdrawn as Callum, keeping his thoughts a mystery weakens the romance. Like the heroine, we have to guess at his feelings and desires, which reduces some of the sexual tension.

While Hold Your Breath isn’t perfect, it’s still a fast, funny read and a promising start to a new series.

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

As the captain of Field County’s ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise “Lou” Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he’s never felt more alive…even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou’s new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she’s determined to make it on her own terms…no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou-and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.

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The Paid Companion

The Paid Companion by Amanda Quick is $1.99! This is a historical romance with a mystery element and a fake relationship. Some readers had trouble connecting with the main couple, while others thought the romance and the mystery was well-balanced. Have you read this one?

“Once again, the incomparable Quick has whipped up a delectable Regency Romance”(Booklist)—about an ice-cold business agreement that turns into something far more heated.

The Earl of St. Merryn needs a woman. His intentions are purely practical—he simply wants someone sensible and suitably lovely to pose as his betrothed for a few weeks among polite society. He has his own agenda to pursue, and a false fiancée will keep the husband-hunters at bay while he goes about his business. The simplest solution is to hire a paid companion.

Finding the right candidate proves more of a challenge than he expected. But when he encounters Miss Elenora Lodge, the fire in her golden eyes sways him to make a generous offer.

Her sorry financial circumstances-and dreams of a life of independence-convince her to accept. But St. Merryn appears to be hiding a secret or two, and things seem oddly amiss in his gloomy London home. Elenora soon discovers that this lark will be a far more dangerous adventure than she’d been led to believe. And the Earl of St. Merryn will find that the meek and mild companion he’d initially envisioned has become a partner in his quest to catch a killer—and an outspoken belle of the ball who stirs a bothersome passion in his practical heart.

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The World According to Star Wars

The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein is $1.99! This is a nonfiction book examining the success of Star Wars and how aspects of the movies translate to our world. Some reviewers mention that the book can be dry at times, but say it’s a great addition to any Star Wars fan’s library.

A deeply original celebration of George Lucas’s masterpiece as it relates to history, presidential politics, law, economics, fatherhood, and culture by Harvard legal scholar and former White House advisor.

There’s Santa Claus, Shakespeare, Mickey Mouse, The Bible, and then there’s Star Wars. Nothing quite compares to sitting with down with a young child and hearing the sound of John Williams’ score as those beloved golden letters fill the screen. In this fun, erudite and often moving book, Cass R. Sunstein explores the lessons of Star Wars as they relate to childhood, fathers, the Dark Side, rebellion, and redemption. As it turns out, Star Wars also has a lot to teach us about constitutional law, economics, and political uprisings.

In rich detail, Sunstein tells story of the films’ wildly unanticipated success and what it has to say about why some things succeed while others fail. Ultimately, Sunstein argues, Star Wars is about the freedom of choice and our never-ending ability to make the right decision when the chips are down. Written with buoyant prose and considerable heart, The World According to Star Wars shines new light on the most beloved story of our time.

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