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[personal profile] helloladies
Another month gone by; it's hard to believe we're already a quarter into 2015. This month was full of some excellent media, lots of discussion, and also some excellent guest posts! Looking back over March 2015 )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Fanwork is awesome and sharing fanwork is even more awesome. Join us as we keymash and squee over our favorite fanwork, from fic (both written and podfic) to art to vids and meta and back again.


Recommendations included:
  • Agent Carter — art (1)
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender — art (1)
  • Captain America — art (3)
  • DC Trinity — art (1)
  • Iron Man — art (1)
  • Ms. Marvel — art (1)
  • slashreport — podcast (1)
  • Teen Wolf — art (1)
  • Terry Pratchett — art (1)


On to the recs! )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Today we're excited to welcome [tumblr.com profile] justira back to to Lady Business to talk about Mockingjay Part 1. Ira is an awesome illustrator, writer, and web developer who gained their powers by consuming the bones of their enemies. They make art, comics, and writing when they are not distracted by way too many video games. You can find more of Ira's work at their tumblr.





Mockingjay's recent release to DVD has reignited my ambivalence towards the movie— don't get me wrong, it's great having another female-led spec fic film, especially one with Natalie Dormer running support. But the film suffered a critical lack; the ghost of the movie it could have been hovered over the film for me: the film lacked confidence. The story — the book — is, at its core, part social commentary and part inspection of PTSD. But the film adaptation lacked the boldness to pull a full genre shift, or make up for Collins's shortcomings as a writer. Spoilers for the books and movies up through Mockingjay Part 1 and its equivalent part of the book follow.

What the movie should have done was listen to its own message more. It should have listened to Haymitch.

Haymitch explains how to use Katniss effectively.

Haymitch criticized Plutarch's effort at making Mockingjay propos: they were falling flat and felt artificial. What they needed to do — what the movie needed to do — was get inside Katniss's head, inspect the authentic intersection of her internal world and the world around her. Katniss's commodification had to be contingent upon her authenticity in order to function as intended. That's when the propos were the most genuine and effective. That's when the movie shone. Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
American version of The Shattering   Australian version of The Shattering


Seventeen-year-old Keri likes to plan for every possibility. She knows what to do if you break an arm, or get caught in an earthquake or fire. But she wasn’t prepared for her brother’s suicide, and his death has left her shattered with grief. When her childhood friend Janna tells her it was murder, not suicide, Keri wants to believe her. After all, Janna’s brother died under similar circumstances years ago, and Janna insists a visiting tourist, Sione, who also lost a brother to apparent suicide that year, has helped her find some answers.

As the three dig deeper, disturbing facts begin to pile up: one boy killed every year; all older brothers; all had spent New Year’s Eve in the idyllic town of Summerton. But when their search for the serial killer takes an unexpected turn, suspicion is cast on those they trust the most.

As secrets shatter around them, can they save the next victim? Or will they become victims themselves? (source)


Spoilers.

Jodie: I remember you were a huge fan of Healey's first novel Guardian of the Dead. Do you want to start off by talking about how the experience of reading The Shattering compared to reading Guardian of the Dead? Did you enjoy it as much and if so, why? And what were your favourite elements of The Shattering?

Renay: I loved that novel! It's been some time since I read it, but I really loved the main character and the rich world building of that story. Coming away from The Shattering, though, I do think I prefer The Guardian of the Dead, although this book was fun, too. That's because this book was harder for me, because of the POV switches — first person to third — that I have a lot of trouble with while I'm reading. I get bumped out of the story, and it doesn't help I'm not wild about first person narration so the constant back and forth was really jarring. The Shattering suffered a little because of that, and it took me 70 or so pages to really get into it. Plus, I'm unsure about the pacing. But before we dig into all that, my favorite element was the renewal of friendship between Keri and Janna and watching Sione gain confidence in himself. The friendship elements here were really strong! Healey does great friendship. What about you? Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.


Read more... )
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[personal profile] bookgazing
Birds eye view shot of Reza getting out of a car carrying a gun by Goni Montes


Tonight it’s Shelly.

If I were capable of having feelings since Angie disappeared, I might have some for Shelly. Not because she’s finer than the rest of them—she is fine though, don’t get it twisted—but because at the beginning of the night, when she crawls into the back of my Crown Vic all prettied up and glittery, she always catches my eyes in the rearview mirror and asks me how I’m doing. Not in the concerned way but not in the throw-off way either: She really wants to know.

Anyway, I don’t think she’s into women, especially not middle-aged skinny butch ones with salt-and-pepper hair and angry lines in their faces and the memories of long lost lovers dancing around their subconsciouses.

And anyway, I’m not sixteen anymore, in fact I’m not even forty anymore and I’m not here for the quick thrill of teaching straight girls that what they really want is this, this, and this. Been there, done that. Far too many times.
And anyway: Angie.

Gee I wonder why I'm writing about this story. Ugh, Daniel José Older this was unfair - "Anyway: Angie" triple teamed me and took me down within the first few paragraphs. It pinged my chrome-ass women sensor, threw a dapper lesbian in my face and hit the big red 'emotions' buzzer with the simplest of phrases. 'And anyway: Angie.'; words that express true and strong emotional devotion as easily as a simple shoulder shrug. After I finished this story, I had to restrain myself from sending enigmatic midnight tweets like 'Weeping - this title is perfection'. I just hope Older knows that with great power comes great responsibility.

However, it wouldn't be fair to draw other readers in without handing out some spoilers about this story. Renay, you're going to want these spoilers. Character death spoilers )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Clare & Renay's Adventures in: Xena


In a time without a Black Widow movie on the horizon, two fans in turmoil cried out for a heroine. She was Xena, a mighty female protagonist forged in the fires of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The action, the camp, the queer subtext. Her adventures will rock their worlds.


Xena: Episode 104, "Cradle of Hope"


Clare: This seer is not terribly good at her job, is she? She could have avoided this entire episode by framing Gabriel as the reincarnation of the king's deceased son or as fate giving him another chance or having him just straight up adopt the baby. It was a pretty obvious, if really nice, way to end the episode, but I suppose that's some of the charm of camp: knowing exactly where we'll end up, so we can focus on the character development. That's the appeal of procedurals (be they monsters of the week or hapless town of the weeks), as my love of Elementary can attest.

Renay: The could have solved some of the plot problems here by giving the Evil Advisor less screen time and trusting the viewer to connect more of the dots. Part of the problem with the seer is that she's spelling out the resolution in the very first scene of the episode. If the child had been more secret, i.e. if the servants had overheard the prophecy, then gotten rid of the baby, and then in a following scene the evil advisor goes "A CHILD WAS BORN HERE LAST NIGHT" it would've been way more dramatic. But what do I know about television writing, right? ;)Read more... )
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[personal profile] renay
A few weeks ago I read On Reviews by [personal profile] forestofglory and began thinking more critically about how I use reviews online.

I don't read a lot of reviews from strangers unless the reviews are obviously critical, have low ratings that lead me into the review, or are Did Not Finish. I suspect some of this is because it's much easier for people to talk about and explain what they didn't like about a book. I know my narrative kinks and the sort of characters, story beats, and plots that I enjoy, so if they get cited during a critical review without hitting any of my DNWs I'm immediately adding that book to my to-read list. It's been the greatest tool in my book-finding arsenal.

On the flip side, it's really difficult to talk about what a book did right and how much we love it sometimes. This is especially true with me because I worry about devolving into keymashing love and failing to say anything of substance. People need a little to go on, and I'm not sure flailing around and screeching, "READ THIS NOW!" on Twitter is very effective (unless you are [personal profile] spindizzy, because for some reason she trusts my judgment). Read more... )
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[personal profile] bookgazing
cover of The Mussel Eater shows a woman with blood on her lips craddling a dying man


“You smell like the sea,” says Karitoki.

“What else would I smell like?” she says, and beneath the salt and the brine and the under-tang of shellfish is a faint, sweet odour of rot, of mussels left too long on the beach and under the sun, of the torn fragments left by seabirds, breaking open calcium carbonate and leaving fleshy feet to spoil. When he is done with her hair, he sits back and watches her coat herself with oil.

As part of their quest for world domination, The Book Smugglers opened their new publishing arm Book Smugglers Publishing in 2014. The theme of their debut collection was Subversive Fairy Tales and they published six original riffs on older stories from "Red Riding Hood" to Scheherazade's story in One Thousand and One Nights. So, far I've read two of these stories and I'm impressed by Ana and Thea's selections.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Today we're excited to welcome [tumblr.com profile] justira to Lady Business to talk about Agent Carter! Ira is a kickass illustrator, writer, and web developer who gained their powers by consuming the bones of their enemies. They make art, comics, and writing when they are not distracted by way too many video games. You can find more of Ira's work at their tumblr.


So (this season of) Agent Carter is over and one of the most interesting bits of noise to emerge from the finale — besides, of course, the speculation over renewal and, less positively, continued criticism of the show's lack of racial diversity — is the furor over a possibly bisexual Howard Stark. But why are we (again) so excited about a white dude and his feels on a show that is, for once, explicitly about a woman? Well, let's take a look, because we're going to cover Peggy/Angie, Steve Rogers/Sam Wilson, love interest roles, Captain America: The First Avenger retcons, and sites of transgression — but most of all, we're going to talk about how much heteronormativity blows. Spoilers for Agent Carter and both Captain America movies below!

Peggy and Howard face off.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.


Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Clare & Renay's Adventures in: Xena


In a time without a Black Widow movie on the horizon, two fans in turmoil cried out for a heroine. She was Xena, a mighty female protagonist forged in the fires of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The action, the camp, the queer subtext. Her adventures will rock their worlds.


Xena: Episode 103, "Dreamworker"


Clare: Well, after we complained about the "YOU'RE DANGEROUS! YOU NEED TO LEAVE!" reception Xena and Gabrielle are getting, we get an episode where they're simply treated as interesting new strangers and then the saviors of the town. Ha!

Renay: INTERESTING STRANGERS...who can maybe serve as sacrifices. XD At least we've broken the trend of people yelling "get out!" Let's hope it stays broken for a few episodes. :) Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
February — the month that feels both long and endless but stops abruptly as it gives way to March. We accomplished a lot this month! Let's recap. Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Fanwork is awesome and sharing fanwork is even more awesome. Join us as we keymash and squee over our favorite fanwork, from fic (both written and podfic) to art to vids and meta and back again.


Recommendations included:
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine — vid (1)
  • Call the Midwife — vid (1)
  • The Eagle — vid (1)
  • How To Get Away with Murder — vid (1)
  • Snow White and the Huntsmen — vid (1)
  • Thor — fic (1)

On to the recs! )
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[personal profile] bookgazing
Red, white and blue Short Business logo


“Petra,” I said. “Hey. Hey from Spain.”

“Happy Apocalypse,” she said. “Hope you don’t mind me calling. It’s kind of a tradition now, you and me and the end of the world.”

“I’m coming home,” I blurted.

“Yeah?” Her voice lifted happily. Behind it, there was music, something choral and ancient–sounding.

“Yeah,” I said, and I pressed my free hand to my eyes to keep them dry in the chilly Spanish wind.


I found Claire Humphrey's "Four Steps to the Perfect Smoky Eye" smart and layered, so when I saw that someone had added another story of hers to our Hugo (2014-2015) spreadsheet I jumped right on it. "The End of the World in Five Dates" is rather different in form to "Four Steps to the Perfect Smoky Eye" - like "Four Steps to the Perfect Smoky Eye" it's built around linked episodes and follows one set of characters, but "The End of the World in Five Dates" skips through time quite quickly and requires the reader to follow some sharp story jumps.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Stories are transformative and powerful. What stories brought us to the place we're at in the world? What stories changed us, challenged us, and made us dream? What stories are waiting to become our new favorites? Where will those stories take us in the future? Maps & Legends brings a wide array of different people together to talk about stories in all their myriad forms and to share stories they loved so others can find their way to them, and perhaps, find the same enjoyment in them, too.


For the first iteration of Maps & Legends, we wanted to throw the field wide open. We love recommending stories we've liked to people, especially when there are no specific requirements. We wanted to know what books people would enthusiastically recommend to others if there were no limits. What books are on your auto-recommend list?, we asked this time around. This is what everyone graciously shared with us. :) — Renay Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.


Read more... )
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[personal profile] bookgazing
red white and blue Short Business logo


Everyone thinks my brother is nice. He set up a rescue centre for birds, after the terraforming accident poisoned the lake. That's always the image of him, holding a bird covered in sludge. The birds are never the same after they're cleaned, but the gossips never talk about that.


Polenth Blake's "Never the Same" is a strange, dark story that shows the importance of shaking up well used SFF narratives and introducing radically new fictional voices. It's also a story that left me wondering if I could trust anything that I'd read, and yet still weirdly satisfied by what I'd read.

A little like "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" it's difficult to analyse "Never the Same" without giving away all the story's secrets, so consider this your spoiler warning.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] helloladies
Clare & Renay's Adventures in: Xena


In a time without a Black Widow movie on the horizon, two fans in turmoil cried out for a heroine. She was Xena, a mighty female protagonist forged in the fires of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The action, the camp, the queer subtext. Her adventures will rock their worlds.


Xena: Episode 102, "Chariots of War"


Clare: Because "Chariots of War" doesn't have any worldbuilding or character introduction to do, there's a little less territory to cover here. Xena discretely deposits Gabrielle in an inn before wandering off to do… something? Because of the camp nature of the show, I tend to riff when I watch the episodes, so riff!Xena clearly abandoned Gabrielle. But I'm not sure what actual Xena was up to before she wandered across the peaceful village.

The episode's character development reaffirms the basic Xena and Gabrielle dynamic: Xena is hard and closed off, Gabrielle is soft and open. But they both get love interests this episode to prove these things. Darius is a father and a committed pacifist, representing the domestic sphere that Xena wants but can't allow herself to have just yet. The best way to represent these conflicting emotions, of course, is for Xena to put on his dead wife's dress in soft lighting and bad weather. (Also, dressing a woman in your dead wife's clothes is not going to convince anyone that you're not sleeping together.)Read more... )
helloladies: group shot of three My Little Pony's (Default)
[personal profile] helloladies
Fanwork is awesome and sharing fanwork is even more awesome. Join us as we keymash and squee over our favorite fanwork, from fic (both written and podfic) to art to vids and meta and back again.


Recommendations included:
  • Jurassic World — art (1)
  • Merlin — gifset (2)

On to the recs! )

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Renay is a long time member of slash fandom and nerdfighteria who stumbled into book blogging by accident and decided she liked arguing with herself at length and in capslock — it was all downhill from there. more? » about.me icon twitter icon pinboard icon tumblr icon

Ana is a reader who’s been blogging about books since early 2007. After several abandoned career paths, she decided to become a librarian and currently works for a large public library system. more? » twitter icon tumblr icon last.fm icon

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