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Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter

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(no subject) [Sep. 22nd, 2016|02:58 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
I was reading elsewhere about things that people think should be common knowledge, and it brought up one of my pet peeves.

"Tomatoes are not vegetables, they're fruit!"
Yum, cucumber cake with avocado frosting.

Yes, scientifically speaking, a tomato is a fruit.  But scientifically speaking, there is no such thing as a vegetable. Vegetable matter, yes, but scientists don't lump all the parts of a plant except the fruit together.  Each part of the plant is labelled differently.

So if you're going to insist that tomatoes are fruit, then I want to hear you calling spinach "leaves", carrots "roots", and cinnamon "ground bark".  And just what the heck is cauliflower?  Part stem, part flower?  And if you're going to be that pedantic, make sure you refer to peaches as drupes and bananas as berries.

"Vegetable" is a culinary term.  And if you're going to use a culinary terms, you should be consistent and be referring to everything in culinary terms.  And in culinary terms, a tomato is a vegetable.  As are okra, avocados, and several other vegetables which are scientifically fruits.   Generally in food terms, foods that are sweet or most often used in desserts or sweet snacks are considered fruits.  Foods that are used most often with or as an entree, or served in a savory fashion are normally considered vegetables.  This leads to the oddity that pumpkins are considered fruit in the U.S. and vegetables in the U.K.

Pass me more of that cucumber cake, please.
linkShimmy for me

(no subject) [Aug. 1st, 2016|05:41 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
I remember when Bill Clinton was first elected.  He wasn't my choice for president - he was too facile, too much of a schmoozer for my taste.  (I don't remember who I preferred, but it was definitely not Al Gore - I knew a cousin of his and a more obnoxious, worthless waste of space I have never met).

I also remember when Bill Clinton became president and put his wife Hillary in his cabinet.  OMG, you would have thought he proposed that she run through the street naked.  Women were NOT supposed to be in positions of power, or helping their husband with his job, or anything like that.  No, women were supposed to be no more than beautiful social butterflies that took care of the children and the house and maybe talked about something they thought was important.  But only one thing, and only if asked.

Then Hillary proposed a single-payer system of healthcare, and that was even worse.  Because that was socialized medicine, and we all know that socialism is just godless communism under a different name.

When single-payer failed, Hillary retreated to the FLOTUS role.  And of course there were jokes made about her being a lesbian.  Because all strong women are either sluts, dykes, hags or ice queens, depending on how much the speaker wants to fuck them, and how approachable they appear to be for said fucking.

I even knew a particularly conservative religious person who was APPALLED because when Hillary's father died, she decided to memorialize him by using her maiden name - in addition to, not instead of her married name.

Now, remember all these people who were critical of Hillary when her husband first became president.  How often have these people believed and spread whatever lies and B.S. they heard?  How many people, if faced with resistance to one lie, would change the lie till there wasn't resistance?

And how many of y'all out there could have handled that onslaught with the humor and grace that Hillary has?

You go, Hillary - it's your turn to shine.
linkShimmy for me

Here are my problems with GMO foods [Apr. 5th, 2016|11:31 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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1.  Corporations have a very bad track record with informing consumers of problems to the point of ignoring and covering up very real health hazards. (Blue Bell Ice Cream, anyone?)
2. Health issues are hard to detect in the first place.  It can take a long time to determine when something specific is causing deaths and even longer to identify carcinogens.
3. Corporations also have a bad habit of applying the same ideas over and over.  This means that if a genetic modification works on one crop, we're liable to have that same modification applied to many different crops.

This leads me to something that I think may end up being the biggest threat and I haven't seen it addressed .
People who dismiss pesticide and herbicide worries point out that plants produce their own toxins to combat disease and insects.  This is true.  However, each species, or perhaps genus produces different toxins.
Consider this - the American Cancer society recommends that people eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetable.  I've never seen an explanation of why, except that it reduces your chance of cancer.  But what if the reason is that eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables means that you aren't getting enough of the toxins of any one plant to cause cancer, and possibly that the different toxins are cancelling each other out.  IF this is true, and IF the same GMO gene sequence is used in a variety of crops...  then the advantage of eating a variety of foods will be lost.
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Saved By The Dragon by Vivienne Savage - Good for what it is [Feb. 10th, 2016|03:20 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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Which is the standard girl meets gorgeous guy,  girl freaks out about something about guy, girl realizes she was an idiot, girl gets back together with guy, then finds out he's insanely wealthy.  Since it's erotica, every time the two characters are together for more than ten minutes, they get it on. Since it's paranormal, he's a dragon, but that doesn't really affect the story - well, that's what freaks her out, but it could have really been anything at all - it wasn't his dragon-ness that bothered her, it was his different-ness.  The author doesn't do anything with the hero's ability to turn into a dragon except have him fly around a bit with her on his back.
Lots of wish fulfillment, a little bit of character development on the heroine's part, none whatsoever on the hero's part, and very very little world building ; however, the author is a good writer, and I would probably enjoy something she wrote that had more world building and plotting.
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Kara's Wolves by Becca Jameson - erotica for specialized tastes [Feb. 7th, 2016|11:14 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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I didn't finish this book.
I could tell immediately that this book was mainly about giving the characters a reason to have sex.   The height of romance (as far as I got) was the characters meeting in a kicker bar. And immediately lusting after each other because of the werewolf "this is my mate"  pheremones.  It's that minimal level method of getting people together by  "he's hot, she's hot, they touch and the sparks fly" attraction.   But I've read several books like this.
Strike two was a certain feel that the heroine in the story doesn't quite have a choice in the matter.  The heroine acts like she's almost compelled to kiss the hero against her will or maybe just her better judgement.  But it's ok, because he's hot.  It echos the "gentle rape" scenarios of romances of the past.
And then there's the mathematical impossibility of finding your one and only true soulmate, but we won't go into that.
The final strike was that apparently the hero's best friend is apparently also soul mate with the heroine.  So, not my thing
If you want to read threesome porn disguised as a romance, go for it.  But if you're looking for a decent romance, look elsewhere.
linkShimmy for me

The Change (Unbounded #1) by Teyla Branton - Engaging soft sci-fi novel [Feb. 3rd, 2016|05:57 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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If you're looking for a romance novel, you might want to look elsewhere - the romance sub-plot in this novel plays only a very small part of the action (and there's no hot sex to be found, just a couple of passionate kisses).   Also, no vampires, werewolves or demons.  On the other hand, if you're looking for a stong female character that kicks ass and a novel that falls somewhere between urban fantasy and sci-fi, keep reading.
The basic set-up is that the heroine awakens in the hospital after a fiery accident has put her in the hospital.  (note - somewhat detailed - if fire is a trigger, this might be too much for you)  It turns out that she is one of a group of super-humans that all have super-healing, and other super-powers.  The rest of this book is the heroine learning about her new world and powers.   This is the first book in the series, and it mostly satisfies as a standalone, but it definitely leaves some things hanging.
I found the book generally engaging, and sometimes compelling, but there were also bits that made me feel like I could have done better.  There's a lot of world building to go through, and the book tends to drag in places just because of that.   And there were a couple of times when I started talking to the book going "No, you do this and this, not that".  I can understand out-thinking the person who just found out about this world, but when I'm out-thinking the characters who've been around for hundreds of years, I get a little frustrated.
So, not the greatest story to consider the implications of near-immortality and super-genetics (or magical powers - it's really no different except what you call it), but a reasonably good one, and worth your time to see if you're interested in the rest of the series.
linkShimmy for me

Cade by Tori Austin &V. A. Dold - If a Mary Sue meets a werewolf, does she become a hairy Sue? [Jan. 11th, 2016|11:18 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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This is not a novel - it is a wish fulfillment daydream written down.  There are NO problems between the hero and heroine, no differences of opinion, no missteps, one very short angsty moment of "I don't deserve you" - "Yes, you do" - "Oh, Ok!".  There is no central problem to resolve; there are only a few problems that the couple run into during their time together - problems that are solved within a couple of paragraphs.  In one noteworthy case, it took three whole scenes for the problem to be resolved.
Reading the dialogue between the main couple is like listening to a couple who have just fallen in lurrve.  "You're so wonderful"  "Oh, you're wonderful too!"   Ok, my husband and I talk like that all the time, but we don't write it down and make a book out of it.  One line I have to relate.  When the couple do the magic werewolf mating ritual to bind them together, the heroine "swore she felt their souls come together, as if tiny knitting needles rapidly closed the gap between the two halves to  leave a complete, brightly shining soul"
It is a distinct story (such as it is) and the first in a series.  At the end of the story, we are introduced to the other brothers who will be the subjects of later books.  There's a great big flashing neon arrow saying "NEXT" pointing to the characters which will be the subject of the next book.
Read this book if you get annoyed by plot getting in the way of the sex scenes.  Otherwise, give it a pass.
linkShimmy for me

By The Light Of The Moon by Jodi Vaughn - *yawn* [Dec. 24th, 2015|02:05 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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This book covered nearly every romance cliché I loathe.  It's an alpha male vs. feisty female set up and what I call the "F" plot (because they're always fighting or doing the f word).  He's hot, she's gorgeous, they're attracted instantly.  A touch of soap opera stupidity, such as when he pulls away from a steamy kiss, she decides he must not be attracted to her.  Insane demonstrations of jealousy - people, if your SO is this jealous, it's not a sign of love, it's a sign of toxic levels of insecurity!  The hero can't be with the heroine because she's some kind of werewolf royalty and he's just a nobody.  (I suspect this writer either writes medieval romances, or is at least a fan).  The plot is sparse at best, and resolved by a deus ex machina.
One trend I've noticed in this and several other books is the use of swearing.  I have no objection to vulgar language (I can swear like a sailor), but it makes for very weak writing, especially when the only swear words you use are the f-word and a couple of minor ones.  Authors, do yourself a favor - when you finish your book, find every swear word and ask yourself if there's another more descriptive word to use.  It's sort of like the verb "to say".
Two positives about this book - the actual stringing together of words is ok (which is definitely more than I can say about some of these books), and for once, while it is part of a series, it is definitely an independent book - while you meet some characters that are going to be heroes later in the series, all of the (did I mention sparse) plot lines are wrapped up in this book.
If you don't mind swearing and cliché-ridden stories that don't do anything but tread over the same paths as others, you'll love this book.  Otherwise, give it a pass
linkShimmy for me

The Ghost and the Graveyard by Genevieve Jack - surprisingly good, but I had some qualms about it. [Dec. 15th, 2015|10:05 pm]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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This book has a fairly complex mythos - the heroine is the reincarnation of a person who was more along the lines of a demi-goddess than the witch she is being described as, and the heroine needs to decide if she will take up the mantle of responsibility, and the perks and drawbacks associated with it.   Buffy has definitely influenced this work - the heroine has hints of both Buffy's calling and Willow's skills.
It is a series, and like most series, it's not the whole story.  Parts of the story are resolved in this book, but many more are left hanging, especially the romance.  There was enough of a story that what was left hanging didn't annoy me.
The romance plot here is a love triangle.  I'm not normally fond of these in romance, because it doesn't allow for the chemistry that I think marks a good romance.  It works here as this is more of a urban fantasy (with sex).  Both guys are hiding something, and both are telling the heroine to not trust the other person.  The author balances this nicely so that it's not clear who to trust, for the heroine or the reader, without resorting to the idiot ball.
What I did find problematic was some of the aspects of the sex.  One of the male leads has a level of influence over the heroine that makes it unclear to the heroine (or the reader) as to whether  she was actually up for what was going on.  It's rape-y enough that it bothered me, but I'm somewhat sensitive to this.  She is sexually attracted to him, and would probably been right there without the influence, so I'm not sure if this is intended to demonstrate that something about the guy is not kosher, or if it is to excuse getting into the sex as quickly as the book does.
There are a couple of other problems with the writing.  The quality of the writing is uneven - it flips between "I'm writing a novel" and "I'm talking to my BFF" .   And there are some holes in the plotting and flow.  One event that is part of the climax is anticipated so early that I wondered why it hadn't happened long before it actually did.  And the setup has some issues - the way it sounds the house should have been overrun with ghosts, instead of having only the two.
In the end, I think this is a pretty  good lightweight urban fantasy that would have been better with the sex toned down a bit.  Read it if the non-consensual aspect isn't a problem.
linkShimmy for me

Blood Magic by Jennifer Lyon - I want to read the book this could have been [Dec. 10th, 2015|12:00 am]
Julius Caesar's great-great-granddaughter
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This book has some really great concepts, and it had the potential to be not just a good romance, but a good fantasy novel.  But ...  nope.  It fails, by relying on some of the more annoying romance tropes.  This is one of those books where I want to regularly slap sense into the characters, and show them the obvious solution to the problems they run into!
The heroines are witches, and the heroes are witch hunters - I would have called them something else, because they're supposed to only hunt witches that have gone to the dark side, so to speak.
It has an interesting magic system (although not as realized as some I've read),  and a very creative curse with a catch-22 loophole, and the opportunity for some realistic conflict.  And while it is the first book in the series, the author does resolve the primary conflict and doesn't dangle too many loose plot lines at the end.
But every time I was really enjoying the story, the author would go back to moving the romantic plot along with Poor Communications Kills and passing the idiot ball, and maybe even a little bit of soap opera asshole.  Honestly, if someone endangers their life to save your much loved little sister, you owe them anything and everything, and you don't get pissed if they need you.  And in regard to  Poor Communications Kills if someone tells you that spell A could affect the person, but not force them to do something, for og's sake, tell the person about it.  (of course, there's at least two chapters that just wouldn't exist if your people are halfway intelligent about things)
Bottom line - If you like magic users and hot sex, and don't mind authors who use the idiot ball to move the plot along, you'll probably enjoy it.  I might read the remaining books if they show up for free, but I probably won't pay for them.
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