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Earlier this month, I tweeted, "I would make a post about Kady Cross's The Girl in the Steel Corset, but it's so laughably bad that I wouldn't know where to start." The author replied to me (in good humor) saying no one had ever called her writing "laughably bad" before. I was actually kind of alarmed at the possibility that no one had yet pointed out the problems with the book, so here is a post delineating some of the things that make it so terrible. The good news for Cross is that a better editor could have fixed most, if not all, of it. The bad news is that she's now stuck with a lot of it for the remainder of the series.

Spoilers/Review )

Reading through it, the real problem with this review is that it's too soft. I don't think I'm quite conveying just how bad this book is. Of course, as LeVar Burton used to say, you don't have to take my word for it, but if you do try reading it yourself, don't say I didn't warn you.
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Reduced Information Intake
I'm greatly reducing the things I read. I pruned my friends list, stopped reading fueledbygossip and Bandom TFLN (to the extent that I deleted them from my history so they wouldn't show up and tempt me when I start typing into the location bar), and stopped following Nathan Fillion and the majority of TAI's hangers-on and ex-bandmembers on Twitter. I was annoyed with Facebook's declining usefulness, but I guess it'll keep me from spending too much time there. Delicious has been similarly helpful. I'm only reading Sociological Images sporadically (I think I'm going to try once a week). I'm not clicking on every link that appears in my Twitter feed or email. (This is hard for me. I never want to miss anything, but I just need to remind myself that it's okay. I don't have to read/watch/listen to everything.) I'm trying to step away from the internet and go read a paper book when I'm feeling overwhelmed. This all sounds more dramatic than it actually is. I go through this kind of media pruning every once in a while when I'm either feeling like the internet is too much (which I have been for most of this month) or when I'm trying to cut out things that aren't my core priorities (which I'm starting to do since it's starting to be fall, which is when I have a lot more energy).

Movies
The last two movies I saw in theaters (unless there was something else in there I'm forgetting) were Colombiana, which I wanted to like more than I did, and Attack The Block, which I very much liked. Attack The Block was fun and funny, and the experience had the bonus points of (a) introducing [livejournal.com profile] norwich36 to our local art house theater and (b) running into a friend I'd just been thinking about but hadn't seen in years. A win all around!

I've had my Netflix account on hold for a while (and will probably keep it that way into the foreseeable future - again with technology helping me stay productive by being less and less useful), so I've been checking out DVDs from the library. I've seen some very bad movies. Two of those are Diane Keaton movies. I was looking to see what else Gabriel Macht had been in, and one of the things is Because I Said So, which was already on my Netflix queue (because Piper Perabo is in it; she's beautiful as always but the movie gives her nothing to do), and which my library owns. It's not a good movie, and yet I still cried. I'm so easily emotionally manipulated. But because the movie is all about a mother-daughter relationship (Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore), it reminded me of another movie that also has an interesting mother-daughter relationship: The Family Stone. It's possible that The Family Stone is even worse than Because I Said So, and I'd seen it before so I really should have known better. It does have one absolutely lovely moment between the mother and one of her daughters (Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams) when they open presents.

I also watched The Edge of Love. Wikipedia quotes a review that says, "tonally it's all over the map," and isn't that the truth. I mean, I knew it wasn't going to be good when it was a Keira Knightley movie I'd never even heard of, but I didn't quite expect the part where it didn't know what kind of movie it was trying to be. Fun fact: my library actually owns two copies. According the catalog, there's a third one at another branch. Now I'm very curious about who makes DVD purchasing decisions for the system.

YA Unrec
I read Jennifer Hubbard's The Secret Year last week. It's not horrible, but it's very flat and it doesn't seem to have much purpose. It also has a surprising amount of talk about sex and people having sex (off screen) without ever actually being sexy. The best parts are the family parts. She should have stuck to that story.

Music
I heard Patrick Stump's "This City" (featuring Lupe Fiasco) on the radio yesterday. The radio! I had no idea it had made it off the internet.

New TV Shows I Have Watched One or More Episodes Of
It's not a coincidence that all of these have female protagonists.

Revenge: Ohhhh, I like this one. Soapy but not in a particularly ridiculous way, more in a way that draws you in. This is the new show I'm most impatient to watch the next episode of.

Ringer: This is not a great show, but it gets a few more episodes. If I decide I'm watching too much TV, this will probably be on the chopping block. I do appreciate that Sarah Michelle Gellar is managing to make Bridget, Siobhan, and Bridget-as-Siobhan three separate characters. Minor spoilers if you haven't watched to the end of the pilot. )

Charlie's Angels: Do not watch this show. It's terrible in nearly every way. You know how the Drew Barrymore-Lucy Liu-Cameron Diaz movies were fun? This is not. It's also not really a drama. They seem to be stuck somewhere in a middle ground where they don't know what tone to take, so it all falls a little flat. They don't even manage to make the fight scenes look good. Charlie being a voice on a speaker phone is creepy instead of the joke it probably should be. And then there's the race fail. I was going to leave the entirety of this warning outside of a cut, but once I wrote it all out, I realized how terrible and offensive it really is, so the description is behind the cut in case you'd rather not deal with it. Spoilers and race fail. )

Prime Suspect: I wasn't necessarily going to watch this, but then [livejournal.com profile] norwich36 said I should let her know if I made it past the first fifteen minutes, so I watched it so I could talk to her about it. The sexism is pretty outrageous, and neither one of us or my mother (who I also talked to about it) believed the blatant nature of it. I'm hoping that was just a setup and that now that they have the attitude established, it can be more realistic and subtle. What's most interesting about the show, and what I didn't know from the one ad I kept seeing at the movie theater, is that she's partnered. (It's probably not a good thing that I can't remember the names of either Maria Bello's character or the partner.) Before you get too excited by my choice of terminology, the partner is male. Their relationship is very interesting, and it's what's going to make me watch at least one more episode. What I really want is for someone on YouTube to cut together reels of just those interactions for each episode. I would watch all of those. As it is, this is likely to be one of those shows where I watch an episode here and there when I'm in the mood for a cop show.

The Secret Circle: I wasn't sure about this show. [livejournal.com profile] siryn99 suggested it, and [livejournal.com profile] eleanor_lavish didn't think much of it. I gave it two episodes because the first one was painfully establishing, but two episodes is all it's getting. I might remember to read some brief recaps in a couple of months to see what happens, but it's not worth watching. A few miscellaneous thoughts: Never before have I so clearly seen the use of magic as a metaphor for sex. It's suffering in the transition from page to screen, particularly in the pilot where I could practically see the inner monologue. Somewhere there is a problem in the logic of there being six people to complete the circle when all twelve of the current six's parents seem to have been in the previous one. I would much rather watch a whole show about Faye than Cassie. It really makes me want to watch The Craft, which is an urge I get often enough that I might just buy it.

Returning and Ongoing Shows I'm Watching
In addition to the things below, I'll also be watching Leverage and Rizzoli & Isles when we get to the second half of their split seasons.

Haven: I was looking for things to watch, and [livejournal.com profile] norwich36 sent me a link to a thread of shows to catch up on over the summer that have strong female characters. This was on it, so I watched my way through the first season. What surprised me most were how many people I know replied to me when I tweeted about watching it. Who else is watching this show I'd never even heard of but love? (I have more to say about Haven, but it's going in a separate entry.)

Hawaii Five-0: This show continues to be absolutely ridiculous, and yet fun. Minor Spoilers )

Nikita: I love this show. I'm completely captivated by the story and the relationships. Spoilers )
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I read Morgan Howell's The Shadowed Path trilogy (A Woman Worth Ten Coppers, Candle in the Storm, and The Iron Palace) based primarily on the back of the book blurb on the first book:
Seer, healer, goddess, slave - she is all these things and more.

Yim is a young woman suddenly cast into slavery, a gifted seer with a shocking secret - and a great destiny. Honus is a Sarf, a warrior dedicated to the service of the compassionate goddess Karm. A Sarf's sole purpose is to serve a holy person called a Bearer. But Honus's Bearer has been killed by the minions of an evil god known only as the Devourer. Masterless and needing someone to bear his pack, Honus purchases Yim for the price of ten coppers - and their fates are forever entwined.
It sounded like it could be a good slave AU. It got a little iffy in the second book, but by then I was so involved in it that I couldn't stop. The third book is terrible.

Before I dive into more detail and spoilers, the one thing I wish I'd known before reading is that this trilogy takes place in the same world as Howell's previous books, the Queen of the Orcs trilogy. I like to read things in order, and if I'd known that, I would have read those books first. (I have no idea if they would have made me more interested in reading these or if it would have prevented it. I'm certainly not going to go back and read them now.)

The rest of this post involves spoilers. The books contain sexual violence, including rape, and this post involves discussion of those elements.

Spoilers )

I held onto the books as I read them (I had someone in mind to pass them on to who would have liked them if they had turned out to be the slave AU they might have been), so if, even after all of that, you're inclined to read them, let me know and you can have my copies. I'll hold onto them for a week or so before listing them on PaperBackSwap.

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Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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