Kelly Sue DeConnick in Conversation with Lidia Yuknavitch & Chelsea Cain

By Courtney & Hannah

 

I love books and I love meeting the amazing authors who write those books, almost as much as reading them. Some people push food or working out on other people; I push books. Two of the authors I have been pushing, are Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chelsea Cain. Hopefully I will be pushing Lidia Yuknavitch soon. Anyways, I learned that all three were doing a book signing and talk at Powell’s in Portland, Oregon. When a couple of my feminist icons do a talk somewhere, I try to show up. My friend Hannah, who is also a fan of Chelsea Cain, was excited to come with me, so we made an afternoon of it. We took note of a couple questions and responses asked of the authors and added our take.

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The three authors enter the room and take their seats.  They set the mood by making us laugh, Chelsea Cain shows her notebook full of questions and a Non Compliant doodle, and then we’re off.  

 

Shit gets real… What’s your feminist agenda?

 

Kelly Sue’s answer was to be a better part of her community.  To grow and be more authentically herself. With Bitch Planet- to express rage, it’s considered monstress when coming from women.

 

Courtney: Hannah and I have talked about how women aren’t allowed to feel rage, but men are. When women express rage, it usually comes across as passive aggressive because we are taught that we are not allowed to feel anger.

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Hannah: I read a report a while back that many women did not recognize the feeling anger within themselves.  They often interpret the feelings as sadness or annoyance.  There are times I’m not sure if I’m angry, but a sure fire way to make me angry is to tell me to calm me down when I’m expressing my annoyance.

 

Courtney: It feels like there is no socially acceptable way for women to express rage or anger. We get frustrated with other women for not telling us directly how they feel when they are angry with us, when we are taught that we need to be friends with everyone, and that we need to not hurt anyone else’s feelings.

Hannah: It’s kind of crazy to me that being authentically yourself could be considered a feminist agenda.  Shouldn’t that be something that everybody strives for?  But it is.  If you aren’t allowed to express your negative emotions without being told to calm down or being considered crazy, how can you be 100% yourself?

 

Courtney: Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. We are not saying that we are better than men, just that we want to be treated equally. I’ve never been able to understand why some people find that concept so threatening. If men are allowed to show their outrage and anger, why aren’t we?

What is your relationship to work now that Trump is in office?

 

Lidia responded that she has felt an increased sense of urgency since the elections.  That those who participate in a society where we’re not considered real people have to work together or get picked off one by one.  

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Hannah:  This stuck with me because it is a sentiment that I have had for a while.  Also, I don’t like the feeling of paranoia this thought gives me.  Shortly after the election, when V.P. Pence was booed at a showing of Hamilton by the audience, someone wrote about how they thought that the whole thing was a way to get Pence into the presidency.  Reading that thought, made a lot of sense to me but it also made me feel like wearing a tin foil hat…

 

Kelly remembered a tweet she wrote that basically said Trump’s election made her a better citizen and a better feminist. Because it meant that there is no wriggle room. We no longer have the privilege of democracy working without us being engaged.  We have to be active in the political process.

 

Courtney: We live in terrifying times. Rights that we have fought for are on the verge of being overturned. We do have to show up and support each other more than ever now. The news is scary right now, but we have to face it and stay informed and active within our communities. We can’t just assume that someone else will take the action of calling our governors and senators, we have to take all the action we can.

 

Hannah:  I hope more and more people can say that Trump made them a better feminist.  We’re in the nitty gritty part of the fight for equality and complacency should not be encouraged.

 

We segued into a Wonder Woman discussion.

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Kelly hadn’t seen it yet, but she remembers being in tears at the Ghost Buster’s reboot because it showed a broad variety of women all working together towards a goal.  It reminded her of the rarity of seeing your life experiences represented in a story.

 

Lidia remembered feeling that way the first time she saw Ripley and then waiting twenty years to see it again.

 

Courtney: I knew seeing Wonder Woman was going to be emotional for me. But I did kind of think I was a weirdo because of how emotional I got during certain battle scenes. But then I was reading online about how other women were also crying during those scenes and I stopped being hard on myself for it. Movies like Wonder Woman mean so much because they are rare, so they have rebounding implications regardless of how well they do and that fucking sucks.

 

Hannah:  Movies like Wonder Woman, Ghost Busters, and the upcoming Black Panther tell stories of people who are not white males.  It’s amazingly refreshing to see these stories on the big screen.  We’ll know we have equality when a female directed super heroine movie flops in theatres and we give it a sequel.  Until then I’ll use my power as a consumer to make more and more of those movies happen.

 

Courtney: One movie, one story is not representation. We need to hear and see more stories and movies from other people’s perspectives.  

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Hannah:  Don’t forget that movie representation is not just on the screen, but behind it.  We not only need more non-white non-male actors being the main characters in movies, but we need more non-white, non-male writers, directors, and producers putting these stories out there.

 

Do you let your kids read your work?  It was the general consensus of the table that male authors don’t really get this question asked. Mom authors get it asked all the time. The implication being that the kids reading their mother’s work will start an awkward conversation…

 

Kelly mentioned that her nine year old son asks the most about Bitch Planet because it is a title that he is allowed to say, “So Mom, did you get a lot done on Bitch Planet today?”

 

Lidia talked about how there is an assumption that women’s work with artistic production is tethered to their motherhood. She said that she stopped answering the question and started answering the question that she wished they had asked.

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Chelsea responded that her child has read her comics, but not her thrillers. But that she’s proud of her work in comics and books.

The following were other examples given of questions the panel of women have been asked that male writers are not asked. How do you write something like that as a mom?  Bad question. What’s it like to be a woman in comics? How is your work life balance?

 

Courtney: Women are people, regardless of whether or not they have children. I don’t understand society’s constant need to police mothers, it’s another situation where I feel there is no winning, we literally can’t do anything right as mothers. I was a little surprised at hearing that some of the questions came from normal well meaning people. .  

 

Hannah:  Hearing these questions kind of annoyed me.  I can’t really imagine what it must be like to have your identity hijacked like that.  You are no longer an individual, but a mother, so therefore everything you do must be about motherhood.  Why don’t male artists get asked these questions?  Why are their identities not tied up in their fatherhood?

 

Kelly Sue said to Freak the fuck out!  Good fiction comes from that place,  be uncomfortable.   As an artist your duty is to go where you are unsafe.

 

Courtney: I felt inspired by this group of women to take a more active role. Kelly Sue reminded us of the quote, “courage is not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of it”. With all the uncertainty and scariness that is happening right now, it’s easy to want to stay silent, to not act. These women reminded me that it’s okay to feel afraid, that you can still do the right thing, and standing up for people is always the right thing. Now is the time we fight and show our rage through our non compliance.

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Hannah:  My personal mantra is “Embrace your awkward.”  Seeing these authors and hearing their words made me realize that my mantra is far more hardcore than I thought.  It also reminded me that we are all in this together, so I should go out and do my part.  Protest, use my power as a consumer wisely, and keep the powers that be in check.

 

Courtney: We overheard Kelly Sue talking to another female reader about the prevalence of non compliance tattoos that women have been getting. Kelly Sue said she heard another author say that she thought women were getting them not just because they liked and appreciated the comic, but that they found something within the comic that resonated within themselves. Which I think is completely true. Being a woman is an act of noncompliance, for me it would represent a promise to always be myself, even when it’s hard. Now I just have to get over my fear of needles.

 

Hannah:  I got the first volume of Bitch Planet signed by Kelly Sue.  When she handed it back to me, I told her that I hoped it filled me with feminist rage.  She promised that it would.  If it does, I may be getting a tattoo…

 

*post updated to correct author Lidia Yuknavitch’s proper name spelling, sorry 🙂

Orphan Black Seasons 1-4 A Recap of Impressions

By Courtney

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I love Orphan Black. I have been a fan of this show since season one. I love this show for a number of reason, but Tatiana Maslany is a huge reason. She literally plays 8+ characters believably. Tatiana is at her most amazing when she is another character pretending to be another character that she plays. Every time we meet a new clone, I am amazed at her skills. The final season is approaching, starting Saturday June 10th at 10pm. I thought a recap of the seasons was in order.

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Season 1- This chick who looks like me just jumped in front of a train, I’m going to steal her identity to get away from my crazy drug dealer ex boyfriend. Woah, dead lady has $75,000 in the bank.  What is happening here?! How many of us are there? Cosima and Alison are amazing. I have a kid. Helena is terrifying. What the fuck is Neolution? Helena is now cool. Cosima is sick.

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Season 2- Hello baby daddy and Rachel’s daddy and Helena’s tube babies daddy. Helena has babies? Prolethians- terrifying farmers and scientific incest enthusiasts. Cosima gets sicker. Alison goes to rehab.

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Season 3- Fucking crazy Boy clones. We find out who the original clone is! Robotics. Alison and Donnie are drug dealers. Delphine? Cosima tries online dating. Krystal. Oh no, Paul.

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Season 4- All of the feelings. Beth is amazing. They dig up a body. Not so much on the boy clones. Helena lives in a park.  How many of us are there?! Mommy dearest on an island. Insert Dolly the sheep joke.

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Are you ready for the final trip? Cause I am!

Season’s 1 through 4 are available to purchase or stream on Amazon. New episodes will air on BBC America Saturdays at 10:00 P.M

 

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Book Tour: The Rosinanti Series by Kevin J. Kessler

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Rosinanti
by Kevin J Kessler
Genre: Fantasy
One of Kackritta’s greatest warriors has lost everything. His wife has passed away and all of his men have just been wiped out in an avalanche. In the cave were he took refuge, Vahn Burai finds two infant boys about to be eaten by monstrous beings. Though he isn’t sure how, the man and children survive the attack and he takes the children back to his home in the castle. He chooses to raise the babies as his sons. The boys grow strong raised alongside the two princesses of Kacritta.  Kayden and Valentean are competitive children, Kayden being the more aggressive of the two. On the day Kayden announces he will undergo training to become Princess Aleksandra’s sworn Animus protector, The brothers and the younger princess Seraphina are attacked by a red eyed mage and a foul beast.
After a miraculously quick recovery, Valentean takes on the intense nine year training to be Princess Seraphina’s Sworn guardian as well. The brothers competitive natures drive them farther than any warrior has gone in millennia. After their training is completed, on their first mission with their princesses, another encounter with the red eyed mage changes everything. As the brothers learn the truth of their birth, nothing can stay the same. They are the last Rosinanti, powerful beings who can use the magic powers of Terra and even take the form of enormous dragons.
As Kayden follows his darkness, Valentean fights to protect Seraphina. Not only is he her sworn animus, he is deeply in love with her. But Rosinanti are considered the enemy of everything he has been raised to know. This battle may be more than just a contest between siblings, it may be a battle for the world.
This is an epic high fantasy and it swept me up into the its world quickly and thoroughly. I loved how the books starts with the brothers as children and you get to invest in them as they grow. The world the author created is rich and vivid and the story comes to life easily. Every time I thought I had the story figured out, there was a twist. I greatly enjoyed how much I was kept on my toes.
4 out of 5 stars.
The Rosinanti Dragons are no more. Since their extinction nearly one
thousand years ago these primal powerhouses have fallen into the
obscurity of history’s forgotten lore. In that time, humans have
come to dominate the world of Terra, peacefully ignorant to one
horrifying truth: ancient evil stirs around them, waiting to reclaim
its lost world.
For Valentean Burai, animus warrior of the kingdom of Kackritta, the
details surrounding humanity’s victory over the Rosinanti are more
than just a history lesson. The long-buried mysteries of this archaic
conflict may hold the answers that he has so desperately sought
regarding his own past.
As the awful truth of the Rosinanti’s supposed demise comes to light,
Valentean must stand together with Seraphina, a magically gifted
princess, to embark upon a mission to maintain order and light
throughout Terra. Only together can these two lifelong friends face
down the resurgence of the Rosinanti legacy, and combat the greatest
threat their world has ever known.
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Rosinanti: The Decimation of Casid
A Rosinanti Novella, Book 1.5
This is a novella that takes place at the same time as the ending of the first novel. It does not focus on the same main charachters. This story is about the small village of Casid one its inhabitants. Nevick may be the strongest human alive. He is the protector of his home and he keeps them safe, along with his betrothed Deana, who possesses healing abilities. When agents of the red mage come to his village he is unable to save everyone. The devastation wrought on Casid may be just enough to get Novick to join the battle to save the world.
The length of a typical novella, this is an interesting story that ties into the series without officially interacting with it. I enjoyed the quick read and looked forward to the final book to see if we would see more of these characters.
4 out of 5 stars.
While an entire world away, men turn into dragons and ancient magic ignites
the air, Casid lived on in peaceful ignorance. This tiny village and
its people existed outside of the conflict which threatened to
swallow Terra, until the day chaos itself landed upon its shores.
Now, one lone warrior seeks to protect his family, his friends, and the
woman he loves as demons rise from the flames to burn everything he
has ever loved to ash. This man is no god, no fundamental force of
nature. He is simply a man, alone against the fury of chaos.
Casid will be decimated, consumed by the same blaze which threatens to
overtake all of Terra. But what will rise from the ashes of this once
perfect haven, forged in the fires of tragedy and loss, might become
the most fearsome opponent the darkness has ever known.
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Rosinanti: Wrath of the Faithful
The Rosinanti Series Book 2
Valentean, Seraphina and Maura have only just survived the battle against  Kayden and the agents of Chaos. When they arrive home, they are not warmly welcomed. Imprisoned for being a rosinanti, Valentean is chained in a mask that cuts him off from the powers of his blood. Seraphina is likewise imprisoned for harboring the fugitive. Noone will believe that they were not the perpetrators of the destruction of Lamaza.  They thought they had trapped the red mage during their epic battle, but her powers are more than they expected. Now they must survive this ordeal and prepare for the continued battle against the agents of Chaos for the fate of the world.
This story picks up immediately after the end of the first novel. It is a longer book then the first and since you don’t have the massive backstory it is so much richer. The battles are more intense, the emotions are stronger and my heart could barely handle it. The author has created an epic world with characters with depth and drive. I loved this story and would gladly read more.
5 out of 5 stars
Valentean Burai and Seraphina Kackritta barely escaped the grip of chaos. Only
by working together were these two life long soul mates able to
combat the greatest threat the world of Terra has ever known.
But when they find themselves separated, with the entire world turned
against them, both princess and animus warrior must battle not only
the forces of chaos and darkness that seek to end their world, but
their own crippling doubts and fears.
Valentean must also face the horrifying truth of himself. He is one of the last
surviving members of the Rosinanti race, and holds within him
world-destroying power, and the unwanted uncontrollable ability to
transform into a fearsome dragon.
The struggle of man vs beast is not limited to the battlefield. Valentean
will wage that war internally, within the confines of his own
conflicted heart.
But, in the end, who is stronger? The man, or the dragon?
Kevin J. Kessler lives in Orlando Florida, where he owns the White Dragon
Podcast Network, which puts out weekly podcasts on a variety of
topics from Walt Disney World, to movies, television, comic books,
video games and more.
A lifelong geek, Kessler can often be found at the many theme parks and
local attractions in Orlando.
He developed the story for Rosinanti as a sophomore in high school,
sixteen years before the book’s release.
Since an early age, Kessler has been an avid reader, often found lost
within the magical worlds found within the pages of fantasy novels.
“It was always my dream to create such a world of my very own,” he
said. “Even as a kid when my friends would want to play Power
Rangers or X-Men, I would always create a new Ranger or Mutant rather
than portray an established character. There is power in creativity!
Creativity breeds creation!”
Follow the tour HERE!
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Bingeable: Powerless TV Series

By Hannah

 

 

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This review was written before the news that Powerless had been cancelled before finishing its first season.  This review may help the shows super fans understand what the network was thinking.

 

Powerless is(was) a television show on NBC and streaming Hulu.  It’s a half hour show about the daily lives of innocent bystanders in a universe where superheroes are real.  Specifically. the DC comic universe.   How do non-heroes survive when a villain attacks your favorite deli?

 

Emily Locke(Vanessa Hudgens) is an enthusiastic go getter from a flyover state.  Nothing ever happens to her in her quiet town, but she wants to help, so she goes to work at Wayne Tech Industries in Charm City.  There she will lead a team of engineers to make safety products for everyday citizens, dealing with the annoyances of alien invasions, mega villains, vigilante justice, etc.

 

Her team of engineers are wacky slackers.  Teddy(Danny Pudi), Ron(Ron Funches), and Wendy(Jennie Pierson) would rather surf the internet and play around than work.  Together they are great, creative, pains in Emily’s ass.

 

Her boss, Van Wayne(Alan Tudyk) was born a Wayne, inherited his branch of the company from his father, and wants nothing more than to move to the main branch in Gotham.  Jackie(Christina Kirk) is Van’s overqualified, put upon personal assistant.  She is the cynical foil to Emily’s overly optimistic views.

 

There is a lot to like about this show, but some of the character tropes they use are very painful to watch.  Emily is the overly sweet, naive, stubborn, enthusiastic small town girl trying to make it in the big city.  Wendy is the nerdy/weird girl who doesn’t understand social boundaries and tells creepy/wacky sex stories.  Teddy is the textbook younger brother of a space doctor.  Ron is the people pleaser/chubby teddy bear.  Van is the spoiled daddy’s boy dudebro and Jackie is the calm, capable single mother who ends up always being right.  I like them, but it means that many of the episodes are predictable.

 

Major DC characters are mentioned or hinted at but never seen outright.  Batman, the Joker, The Riddler, the Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Aqua Man have all been alluded to or mentioned in everyday conversation.  The DC characters we get to see are lesser known heroes and villains.  Green Fury, Crimson Fox, The Olympian, and Jack-O-Lantern have all been in the DC universe before appearing in the show.  

 

There are a few nods thrown in for the super nerd, but unlike other shows that try to bank on the geek is chic craze, Powerless doesn’t require that you have any nerd cred.  The nods are designed so that everyone can enjoy it, no matter what level of nerdom you are at.  If you’re new to being a geek and only know superhero stuff because of movies, great ,there are jokes for you.  If you have been a DC geek your entire life and know all the backstories to all the characters, great, you can appreciate the jokes for the n00b.

 

This is by no means brilliant life altering television.  It’s a half an hour of fun, predictable plots, with characters that I like.  There are a few nods to nerd culture, which make me giggle.  I don’t feel alienated for being the wrong kind of geek when I watch this, but I don’t feel inspired to cosplay any of the characters or devote my life to making sure this show gets more seasons.  I hope it gets a second season, but if it doesn’t I won’t be mourning its loss.

 

3 out of 5 stars

You can currently stream all 9 episodes of Powerless on Hulu or Amazon Video.

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Wonder Woman, the Summer Blockbuster of 2017

This weekend Wonder Woman opened to some amazing numbers and reviews. As three women who love the more geeky side of life this character means a lot to us, of course this film was on our list. We all managed to get in and see it for opening weekend and decided to share our feelings about the film in one post. Did you enjoy the movie? Share your opinion in the comments.

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Courtney’s take:

 

I’ve been waiting to see this movie for what feels like my entire life. Wonder Woman is the most well known heroine from the comic universe. Before I even started reading comics or had any interest in superheroes at all, I would tell you that Wonder Woman was my favorite. She has been a role model to millions if not billions of people over time so it was finally time that she get her own movie. When I started reading comics, I kind of lost some of the awe inspiringness of Wonder Woman. I read stories of other amazing heroines from comics and I lost the relatability with Wonder Woman. Still, this is a movie I and millions of others have been clamoring for for decades, so you can bet your ass I was going to show up on opening weekend to see this movie.

 

This movie is an origin story, but it’s one of the best origin stories I’ve ever seen. We go to Themyscira, home of the Amazon’s and learn why they were created and we get to watch Diana grow and train and hone her skills as a warrior.  We watch as innocence is lost when Germans break through to the island and the Amazon’s must battle for their home. Diana chooses to leave her home to go stop a war so that many thousands of lives will be saved. She knows that leaving home means her life will never be the same. Diana insists on going to the front lines of the war questing for Ares, the god of war. She believes that if she can kill him, she can stop the war. On the journey to the front lines, she sees people in desperate need of help and stops to help them fight. In this movie, we get to watch Diana become Wonder Woman, we get to witness her question whether or not humanity is worth fighting for, question the act of following orders just because they are given to you.

 

This movie renewed my faith in Wonder Woman. It made her more relatable and human than I’ve ever seen before. (Granted, I am still itching to get my hands on the arc written by Gail Simone, where I am told that Wonder Woman’s compassion really shines through.) The story in this movie is amazing. So often superhero movies rest on action to drive the plot and Wonder Woman was so much more than just a bunch of random action scenes put together. I get bored in action scenes and in this movie I couldn’t wait for them, they were beautiful. Wonder Woman is an awesome badass, but she’s also so much more than that and this movie did an excellent job at highlighting why the world needs Wonder Woman. I recommended this movie to everyone.

 

I rate this movie five stars out of five stars.

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Hannah’s take:

 

Wonder Woman is amazeballs, covered in awesomesauce, and dipped in win.

 

The character Wonder Woman is not my favorite DC heroine (Hawk Girl for the win!), but I still like and respect her.  I initially wanted to see this movie for the same reason I wanted to see the Ghost Busters reboot.  Because it was a kick ass female centric movie, that I felt needed my support in order to have more kick ass female centric movies in the future.  

 

The closer opening night came, the more excited I was for this movie.  Gal Gadot looked powerful,  Chris Pine was awkwardly adorable, and the action was hot.  But, this was all from month old memories of the trailer and articles about how Wonder Woman was not being advertised as well as it should be.  

 

For me, there were only two things about the movie that were a bother.  

 

The first thing is that the preview for the upcoming Justice League movie they played was months old.  I wish that I had only heard rumors of the Justice League movie and that they had premiered the trailer during Wonder Woman.  It would have been way more satisfying and I would have more anticipation for that movie.  

 

The second thing was the way they screwed up Greek mythology.  They said that Zeus created humans.  Zeus did not create humans.  Prometheus created humans.  Zeus just sat around throwing lightning around until humans became pretty enough to bang.  Now I get that that is not a good bedtime story for a young Amazonian princess to hear, but it is true and I wish they hadn’t given Zeus the credit for creating humans.  My fifth grade inner child nerd-raged at this butchering of mythology.

 

Other than that, this movie was gorgeous.  I loved watching Wonder Woman delight in babies and ice cream.  I cheered when she went charging into battle.  I laughed out loud at jokes that weren’t at anyone’s expense.  I mourned the senseless loss of war.  I fell in love with humanity, warts and all, along with Diana Prince.  

 

5 out of 5 stars

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Domoni’s take

 

I honestly had no faith in this movie before I went to see it. DC has done little to win over my support for their movies. The trailers had seemed good, but I saw so few promos for this movie, I assumed it was one of those typical DC films that showed all the good scenes in the trailer. Boy was I wrong.

 

The early portion of the movie focuses on the Amazonians on the mythical island of Themyscira, I would pay to see a movie with this as the sole focus. I loved the drama that built up around Diana and who she was. I also loved watching the women train and fight. I must say General Antiope stole much of those scenes for me. Antiope and Queen Hippolyta were as well cast as the rest of the film and I wanted so much more of their interactions. But, we wouldn’t have Wonder Woman if Diana didn’t leave the island.

 

I also have a soft spot for the clueless naive superheroes. So watching Diana wander around in awe was fun for me. Her excitement at seeing babies or eating ice cream made my inner child happy. And the slow development of the pure love between Diana and Steve was perfect. Not the focus or one of those rushed because we need a sex scene type movie romances.

 

I, like many women, have been waiting all of my life for an excellent female superhero film that didn’t devolve into a boobfest meant for men and boys to oogle while the girls had nothing to really admire. Movies like this are the answer to a problem the movie industry has had for a long time. When I shed tears in this film, I was so proud for what this movie will give to the young girls of today and tomorrow. Here’s hoping for more movies about strong women made by strong women.

 

5 out of 5 stars.

Wonder Woman is in theaters now.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By Courtney

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I tend to enjoy reading autobiographies, memoirs, and books about specific real people’s lives. I find the stories to be engaging and funny and I feel like you always learn way more about people than you ever expected to. When you read books about famous people, you start with at least a base knowledge of that person’s existence, whether it be positive or negative. This tends to shape your perception of the book you’re going to read. I remember first being aware of Ruth Bader Ginsburg -(hereafter referred to as RBG or Ruth) during the time when the supreme court ruled that big companies no longer had to pay for birth control for their female employees if the method disagreed with the company’s stance on the birth control method. I remember being outraged and horrified at the decision of the supreme court and that RBG was the only vocal justice standing up for women’s rights. Still, this is a book about a woman who became a justice on the supreme court, my expectations for the book was that it would be dry at best.

 

Notorious RBG starts at the beginning, with stories about Ruth going to school and the impact her mother’s death had on her. It talks about her meeting her husband Marty at college and how he was the only boy not intimidated by her. We learn about the struggle she faced as a woman going to law school and the perceptions that they were taking positions away from men. We learn that Ruth was a new mom and working full time, yet  still made the decision to return to school after Marty told her that she had every reason not to return but that if she wanted it, she would find a way to make it happen. I was amazed at the amount of work and struggle, not just from outside forces like sexism, which were huge, but that her husband was diagnosed with cancer and she not only had her own school work to manage, but she also made helping him with his (as he was in law school too) a priority as well. The fight that she went through to become a supreme court justice was huge.

 

One of the things that struck me the most about RBG was that she fought for equal rights for women because she knew it was better for everyone if they all had equal rights. She showed in a number of cases that she brought to the supreme court as a lawyer, that sexism in the law was affecting men just as negatively as it affected women. She believes in slow change over a long period of time because it is much more lasting and much less easily overturned. RBG received a lot of heat from feminists over comments she has made regarding the highly controversial case Roe vs Wade. If you listen to her actual thoughts on the case, it’s more complicated than it seems, RBG wanted more than privacy between a woman and her doctor protected, which is where Roe vs Wade stops. RBG also thought the decision was made too quickly, she wanted to approach it from a different angle and make the right to an abortion much more protected. She was worried that the bill would make the burden of paying for the costly procedure fall on poor women and she was right.

 

I’ve never been more happily wrong about a book than I was about this one. This book was engaging, funny, inspiring and more; I was moved to tears a couple times. This book is about a woman who has been fighting for the rights of everyone for an incredibly long time and I am entirely grateful that she has been.  RBG is the definition of a feminist, and this book highlights her journey to fight for rights and shows that even though she is 84 years old, she still has plenty of fight left. I’m glad that she is in our corner.

 

I would rate this book five out of five stars.

 

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Book Tour: Set You Free by Elmer Seward

By Domoni

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Blake is stuck in the past. Every night he visits his wife’s grave and places flowers on her roadside memorial. He cannot forgive himself for her death. He was driving the car, though no-one blames him, he cannot stop blaming himself. Deena lives terrified of her past. Constantly on the move, she wishes she could give her daughter Kat a stable home, but the mean searching for her are ruthless and will never stop. Even when she is in a safe place, her mind won’t let go of the constant fear.

When Blake almost runs down Deena and Kat in a storm, he takes them to his town for the night. They stay with Mama Jo before planning to move on the next day. Though sometimes life has other plans. A tiny house for rent may be just what this little family needs. A journal hidden in the hearth tales a story of a man and the girl he loved. Deena sees so much of herself in the story.

This is a lovely story of hard lives, hope and the power of love. The author did a wonderful job capturing my interest from the first page. I was quickly involved with the story and rooting for Deena. The story is a one sitting read and while I was glad it was short, I was sad it was over so quickly. Though at times it felt rushed, I didn’t want to put it down. An excellent mixture of suspense and romance, i was on the edge of my seat.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Author Bio

Elmer Seward was born and raised along the Chesapeake Bay in southeast Virginia.  Growing up, the cemetery behind his house was his playground.  The metaphorical theme of death and rebirth that figures prominently in his novels is probably influenced in some way by the time that his mother heard, through the screened window, a small voice crying for help.  Rushing from the house and through the yard, she discovered her all-too-curious six-year-old son at the bottom of a freshly dug grave.  In that moment, he discovered that trouble is much easier to get into than it is to get out of.  Sometimes we need help getting out of the hole that we jump into willingly.

He is blessed to have a large blended family.  He is also the reluctant servant of three crazy dogs, a Maltese, a Japanese Chin, and a BruMaltChiYorkie.  All of these strongly influence the characters and events in his novels; however, his beautiful wife, Mitzi, is the true inspiration for the tender hearted but determined women in his stories.

He is the author of two previous novels, Hearts in the Storm and Dreams of the Sleepless.

 

Links

 

Website – www.elmerseward.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElmerSewardAuthor/

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Book Tour: Motherhood Martyrdom and Costco Runs by Whitney Dineen

By Domoni

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Whitney Dineen is a mother, a daughter, a wife and a Costco addict. In this collection of essays she captures the heartbreak of struggling to get pregnant, multiple miscarriages and postpartum depression following the birth of her two daughters. She delves into the real world of being a mother in middle age, from trying to teach her daughters the bounty of their lives, by explaining there were no computers, stickers or dollar trees when she was a kid to trying to relate Pong to game apps on an Ipad. These fun to read short essays are perfect to have on hand for the three minutes a new mom may have to themselves in the day.

I very much enjoyed this book. Living in the Pacific Northwest I was able to connect more with some of her stories, especially her frustration at the snow days that racked up last winter. Perhaps my favorite story was the tale of her mothers post dentist, narcotic fueled joyride through Costco on a motorized cart. The author easily pulls you into her life and immerses you in the joys of raising young children. Her bold confrontation of reality versus expectation and the real struggles that come along with life’s greatest joys brought me to tears from laughter.

5 out of 5 stars.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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While attending the University of Illinois in Chicago, Whitney Dineen was discovered by a local modeling agent and began an unexpected career as a plus-size Ford model. She modeled in New York City before moving to Los Angeles with her husband.

During “The Hollywood Years,” Whitney was bitten by the writing bug and started creating characters that are inspired by strong women with a great sense of humor. Her first romantic comedy, She Sins at Midnight, won a silver medal in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite awards. Her second, The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, is a finalist in the 2016 RONE Awards, won a silver medal at the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Awards and won Honorable Mention at the London Book Festival. Her third chick-lit book, Mimi Plus Two, is causing all kinds of controversy and who the heck knows where it will land. Although, it was a finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Awards and a Runner-Up at the London Book Festival.

In addition to her love of chick-lit, Whitney has also written a series of adventure books for middle readers. The first two books in her series, Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory and Who the Heck is Harvey Stingle? are both available now. Book three, Beware of the Basement, is due to be released in the spring of 2017.

Whitney and her husband, Jimmy, have relocated to the beautiful Pacific Northwest to raise their children, chickens, and organic vegetables.

 

 

Contact Information

Website: https://whitneydineen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Whitney-Dineen-11687019412/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WhitneyDineen

Blog: https://whitneydineen.com/category/musings/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8145525.Whitney_Dineen

EXCERPT:

Calling a Spade a Spade

I grew up in a household where girl parts were called vaginas, boy

parts were called penises and pooping was called a bowel

movement. My parents believed in calling a spade a spade. There

was no mystical voodoo surrounding these perfectly natural parts

of life.

Imagine my surprise when I met and married my husband, only

to learn these ordinary words were taboo to him. In his puritanical

Victorian thinking, girl parts were girl parts, boy parts were boy

parts, and pooping was ding ding. No, I’m not kidding.

When we had children, I was unyielding that our daughters

learn the proper terms for both body parts and functions. He was

equally adamant they hear some watered-down version of the

truth. After much heated discussion, I finally agreed to let him

have his way, but only while the girls were very young. As

questions arose and curiosity developed, I vowed to arm them

with the correct scientific words. A sort of truce was called.

During the potty-training years, Margery came up with her

own terminology. She pottied out of her front door and pooped

out of her back door. This jargon stuck in our household. I

recently had a discussion with both girls where I introduced the

correct terms for their female bits. Both were pretty nonchalant

about the whole thing. They didn’t have any questions so we

seamlessly moved on to watching a show on the mating rituals

of seahorses.

I hope to always be open and honest with my children, even

if they venture into uncomfortable territory. From my

recollection, seventh grade seemed to be the age I hit my mom

with all kinds of forthright queries. For instance at the lunch

table, the boys began throwing around the word, “dildo,” like it

was the best word they’d ever heard.

When I got home from school one day, I asked my mom

what a dildo was. Without a blink, raised eyebrow, or demand

to know where I’d heard such a filthy word, she seamlessly

responded, “A dildo is a fake penis, honey.”

Wow, awkward. I dropped the subject right then and there.

While I wanted to know more, like, what in the heck do you do

with a fake penis? Who thought up such a crazy idea? And where

in the world would you buy something like this? It felt like a

change of subject was the best course of action.

Not too long afterwards, I asked her about the word douche.

It seemed when the boys weren’t calling each other dildos, they

were busy referring to each other as douches. My mom’s

explanation that a douche was a female hygiene product, did very

little to enlighten me on the reason this term was being bandied

about so often and apparently, incorrectly.

A couple months later, I inquired what it felt like to have an

orgasm. My mom thought for a minute before responding, “It’s

like having an itch and getting it good and scratched.” Needless

to say, I scratched my arm bloody that year and just didn’t get

what the big deal was.

I hope I can be as cool and informative as my mom was. I

mean, no one wants to talk to their children about this stuff, but

what an honor if your kids are comfortable enough with you to

ask you anything.

Margery and Hope’s cousin, Nikki, introduced them to the

word “wiener” last summer. OMG, they took to it with such

wild abandon I had to threaten them daily with, “If I hear the

word wiener one more time, I’m going to take away sweets for

the entire summer! NO MORE WIENERS!”

Then the son of one of my friends lost his swimming trunks

at the pool. This was the girls’ first sight of a boy’s business and

a slew of conversation ensued. Margery demanded to know why

that “little bit of stuff” on the front of a boy was called a wiener.

She insisted on knowing where the term came from. I did my

best to explain.

I’m not looking forward to all the uncomfortable dialogue

ahead, but I darn well plan on having it. After all, nothing can

be as bad as the summer of the wiener.

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Book Tour: Ahe’ey by Jaime Le Fay

By Domoni

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Morgan is a strong, passionate woman who is fighting for women and girls to have equal opportunities. She is strong willed and determined to battle stereotypes and inherent privilege that makes the world more difficult for females. As her voice becomes more respected, her feminist views put her in danger from angry men who want to keep  women subservient and diminish their worth. She has come from London to New York to give a lecture for her foundation, but she didn’t realize just how much of a risk she was taking.

In Ahe’ey, women are the ruling class. After a savage attack by men who raped and killed many, they have strictly enforced gender divisions. Cousins Sky, Bastion and Gabriel have large expectations and responsibilities thrust onto them. Being some of the last of the pure blood, they are expected to share their genes to keep their people strong. They are also fierce warriors protecting their people. When Gabriel falls for the human Morgan, things get very complicated. Morgan is brought to a land that could be paradise, and shown more than she could ever imagine.

This was an interesting read. At first the jumps through time and from one character to the next confused me, but it did not take long to get on track. I fell in love with the strong fierce women of this story and loved having a book that captured some of my favorite genres, dystopian, epic fantasy, with a look at today’s modern world. Tackling troubling political, moral and social struggles that are happening in the world around us and facing them head on from a fantasy point of view was brilliant. I absolutely loved this book and devoured it in one reading.

5 out of 5 stars.

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Morgan is a dreamer, change maker and art lover. She is a feisty, slightly preachy, romantic feminist full of contradictions and insecurities. Morgan uncovers a world where women have the power, and where magic is no longer just a figment of her wild imagination. Sounds like a dream, but it may, in fact, turn into a nightmare. 

The world of the Ahe’ey challenges and subverts her views about gender, genes, and nature versus nurture.

The strong and uninvited chemistry between her and the dashing Gabriel makes matters even more complicated. His stunning looks keep short-circuiting her rational mind. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Jamie Le Fay is the author of Ahe’ey. She was born in Europe and spent her early adult years traveling around the world working in information technology and focusing on her passion: empowering women and girls. Jamie lives in Sydney, Australia where she is involved in a variety of initiatives that hope to contribute to the safety, well-being and education of girls globally. Jamie is an accomplished writer and speaker that focuses mainly on topics related to girlhood, feminism, gender equality, and the misrepresentation of minorities in media and marketing.

 

Links

Links to all Book Sellers: https://www.books2read.com/aheey/
Website: http://www.angeelseries.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34459933-ahe-ey
Twitter: https://twitter.com/angeelseries
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamieLeFay/

 

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Book Tour Blood Phoenix: Imprinted by Alisha Costanzo

Imprinted Offical Cover
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Ria is a vampire with special powers. She is learning to live in a world new to her and training to fight for it. Surrounded by those who want her and those who want to hurt her, what can she trust? This is a third book in a series and I had not read the previous books. This created a problem for me trying to follow the story and understand what was happening. Ria seems to be a powerful vampire who is only starting to accept her immortality. She also seems to be on her 7th reincarnation and able to magically recall memories of her past lives, as well as other peoples memories.

The author writes an interesting story in a vivid world that could be easy to immerse yourself in. Not having read the previous books, I know I am missing a lot of the necessary information. However, this story intrigued me enough to put those previous books on my TBR list.  There were a few things about this book that bothered me. Ria claims to love a specific character in the beginning, then 20 pages in she is sleeping with another character she claims to love and not too much further in she is sleeping with another person. For a book that claims to be a romance, it didn’t come off very romantic to me. The rest of the story was enough for me to overlook the things that bothered me.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Urban Fantasy with satirical, horror, and romantic elements
Date Published: May 9, 2017
With an old war raging between vampires and shifters, Ria must learn to refocus her life if she’s going to survive.
Her renegade fight was just the beginning. The queen is recruiting new soldiers. Ria’s going on vicious missions with her battle buddy. And her explosive abilities are malfunctioning at inopportune moments.
So now, Ria must forgo her selfish desires to compartmentalize her life, but what’s she to do when she can’t save everyone she wants to? One girl may not be capable of taking down an empire. Good thing Ria’s got help.
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About the Author

Alisha Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. She’s the author of BLOOD PHOENIX: REBIRTH, BLOOD PHOENIX: CLAIMED, BLOOD PHOENIX: IMPRINTED, and LOVING RED, and co-editor of DISTORTED. UNDERWATER, and AFTER THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. She’s currently editing her new 2017 fire-themed anthology, writing about Ria’s father, and crafting her new YA novel for its 2018 release. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.
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