Category: Not-A-Review

Review: Hazel’s Theory of Evolution by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Posted September 16, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books / 0 Comments

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Review: Hazel’s Theory of Evolution by Lisa Jenn BigelowHazel's Theory of Evolution by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
Pages: 336

“Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t make it illogical.”

Hazel knows all about life on Earth. She could tell you anything from what earthworms eat to how fast a turkey can run. That’s because when she’s not hanging out with her best friend, Becca, or helping care for the goats on her family’s farm, she loves reading through dusty old encyclopedias. But even Hazel doesn’t have answers for the questions awaiting her as she enters eighth grade.

Due to redistricting, she has to attend a new school where she worries no one will understand her. And at home things get worse when she discovers one of her moms is pregnant. Hazel can’t wait to be a big sister, but her mom has already miscarried twice. Hazel fears it might happen again.

As Hazel struggles through the next few months, she’ll grow to realize that if the answers to life’s most important questions can’t be found in a book, she’ll have to find them within herself.

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Review: Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

Posted September 9, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books / 0 Comments

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Review: Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee ThorTarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor
Pages: 384

The Lunar Chronicles meets Rook in this queer #OwnVoices science-fantasy novel, perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer and Sharon Cameron.

A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher's chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog -- donning the moniker Technician -- to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner's tyrannical laws.

Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner's son, has never had to fear the law. Determined to earn his father's respect, Nathaniel sets out to capture the Technician. But the more he learns about the outlaw, the more he questions whether his father's elusive affection is worth chasing at all.

Their game of cat and mouse takes an abrupt turn when Eliza, a skilled assassin and spy, arrives. Her mission is to learn the Commissioner's secrets at any cost -- even if it means betraying her own heart.

When these uneasy allies discover the most dangerous secret of all, they must work together despite their differences and put an end to a deadly epidemic -- before the Commissioner ends them first.

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Let’s Read Academic Asexual Literature

Posted January 2, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, News, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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After some deliberation, I opted to write and post this today as to give people a decent length of advance notice in case anyone wanted to join in.

As many of you know, I have a strong and vested interest in asexual and aromantic literature, whether that’s fiction with ace and/or aro characters or literature about asexuality and aromanticism.

One of the main aspects of my studies is, currently, simply looking at what individual authors have done with asexual representation and what, if any, patterns in representation that we can find in them. (The latter resulted in an 8,500 word essay examining tropes.) Asexual and aromantic studies are, to my knowledge, incredibly new, so I’m going slowly, making sure that I, well, study the trees before I really start looking at the forest. (It’d be remiss of me not to point out that asexual and aromantic studies are a subset of queer studies as a whole. They are.)

Anyway, one thing that I really want to do – partially inspired by the reception tweeting my initial reactions to Asexualities and partially by fellow Patron creator Sandstone‘s literary work – is share more of that reading with you all.

Which means that I’ve found something to fill up my Wednesday posting slot! At least for a good chunk of the year: I’ll be reading and discussing or commenting on nonfiction relating to asexuality and/or aromanticism. Mostly the former, admittedly. This means I’ll be rereading or revisiting nonfiction I’ve read too.

As with the livereacts I’ve been doing last year, the first post for each book will be publicly available to everyone and the later chapter will be available to Patrons only. I’ll also be commenting on the articles and books as I go on Discord, so Patrons of $5+ can join in with the discussion of specific points or not as they please. That said, due to my erratic scheduling in offline life, they will not be regular or announced with much warning. I’d like to think the fact that they’re books and cover nonfiction topics makes them more accessible than the livereacts were.

What does that mean in concrete terms? Well, the very first book I want to read for this is Asexuality and Sexual Normativity: An Anthology edited by Mark Carrigan, Kristina Gupta and Todd G. Morrison. This anthology was originally published as a special edition of Psychology and Sexuality. The book was published by Routledge in 2013. The special edition comes from 2011.

That means the articles in this anthology are already somewhat older compared to our understanding of asexuality and aromanticism today. Which I’ll cover in more detail in the discussion of the introduction because I have things to say. Unless I forgot them in which case I had things to say. I’ll be reading through and commenting on one article per week on, as mentioned, Wednesdays.

If you’re wondering why I’m not starting with Anthony Bogaert’s Understanding Asexuality, that’s partially because I don’t have a copy and largely because I’m honestly more interested in what people did after that book was published, but I do want to read and discuss it at some point.

I mean, at present it’s one of three academically published books about asexuality. Oh, don’t get me wrong! There are more nonfiction books about asexuality – The Invisible Orientation by Julie Sondra Decker springs to mind as an excellent introductory resource – but they’re more popscience than academic.

After reading Asexuality and Sexual Normativity, I’m not sure. I just know I want to start with that one because it’ll allow me to build a stronger nonfiction list of works cited when working on my own essays.

To that effect, I’d like to share some papers and titles I’ve got access to that may be of interest. If it’s marked with an asterisk I’ve read it before. (Note: This is not all that’s out there. This is what I have access to right now.)

Books

  • Asexuality and Sexual Normativity
  • Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives
  • The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality *
  • All About Demisexuality *
  • Demisexuality and the Asexuality Spectrum *

Papers

Aaaand that’s it so far, but that should easily keep my occupied for… at least half a year? I mean the first book I’m reading is going to take me three months to get through at this pace. That said, please please if you have suggestions for things I could read, throw them at me because I keep getting lost in rather a lot of articles about asexual reproduction in biology which is, um, not what I’m looking for. (Yes, even when I narrow it down to literary articles.) And I’d rather know an article exists (and can’t afford it) than not know it exists at all.

Anyway, that’s the current plan! Starting next week, January 9th 2019, Wednesdays are Talk About Asexuality And Aromanticism In Nonfiction Days until I run out of material to talk about.

Come join me. It’ll be fun. 😀

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Game Talk: Ember

Posted March 26, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Games, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Ember is a gorgeous indie RPG in the vein of classic RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate as well as action RPGs such as Diablo. This game is utterly gorgeous to look at. The environments are detailed, vibrant and lush. They’re (obviously) not up to modern AAA standard, but they’re charming, engaging and immersive.

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Livetweeting William Elliot Griffis’ Dutch Fairy Tales for Young Folk

Posted January 5, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Way back at the beginning of December 2017, I started a livetweet of a book I’d found on Project Gutenberg called Dutch Fairy Tales for Young Folks by William Elliot Griffis, an American. I was looking for a collection or an anthology to help a friend with a project and, well, I stumbled across that and I was curious. Do not make my mistakes.

I got about 5 stories in before deciding that I had to do a livetweet of the experience. And it is an experience because these stories are terrible. It’s not that Dutch fairy tales are inherently terrible – they are few, but there are some nice ones – but that Griffis just… isn’t a good storyteller and, sometimes, doesn’t know what he’s talking about to such an extent that I was left seriously doubting whether he’s not just made at least half of these stories up himself.

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Book Talk: The King’s Name

Posted December 16, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: The King’s NameThe King's Name by Jo Walton
Series: Tir Tanagiri #2
Pages: 347

Years have passed since the Jarnish invasion, and Sulien ap Gwien has worked tirelessly alongside her lord, King Urdo, to restore the King's Peace to Tir Tanagiri. But the man Sulien believes to be the greatest of his time is seen by others as a potential tyrant. Urdo's vision of a nation of citizens bound by a single code of law is viewed with increasing mistrust, and this soon gives way to civil war.

Sulien must take up arms again. But where once her enemies were barbarian invaders, now they are former comrades and loved ones. As the conflict tears her country and her family apart, Sulien must fight harder and harder to hold onto Urdo's vision of the future.

Also in this series: The King's Peace
Also by this author: The King's Peace

The King’s Name is set several years after the ending of The King’s Peace and starts with the first suggestions of civil war. The last time I read The King’s Peace I sadly didn’t have access to this sequel and time and my already massive TBR let it slip from my mind. Not so this time as I picked it up immediately after finishing The King’s Peace and I’m terribly glad I did.

CW: Suggestions of mind control. Also mentions of mass murders and attempted terrorist attacks.

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Book Talk: The King’s Name

Posted December 7, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: The King’s NameThe King's Peace by Jo Walton
Series: Tir Tanagiri #1
Pages: 548

Sulien ap Gwien is seventeen years old when the Jarnish invasion begins, and strong enough to match any one of their raiders in battle. But when they do come, she finds herself unarmed and at their mercy. As she watches her attackers walk away from where she lies bound, she vows revenge.

With the land around her disintegrating and no help forthcoming, Sulien rides out in search of King Urdo, a young ruler fighting to create unity in a country where there is none.

What follows is the beginning of an alliance that will shape the course of history in Tir Tanagiri as well as the rest of Sulien's life.

Also in this series: The King's Name
Also by this author: The King's Name

(Note: 2,531 words including quotations of surprise!book discussion. Let me know if this is an approach or format you’d like to see more of!)

The King’s Peace by Jo Walton is actually a reread for me. I first read it in, so my records tell me, 2013, which will have been right around the time I heard about asexuality for the very first time and when a lot of what is happening in this book will have resonated in a vague inexplicable way. Now, I’ve been rereading it for a variety of reasons, but notably the part where it’s frequently cited as being a mainstream publication with an asexual (aromantic asexual, actually) protagonist.

It is, hands-down, one of the best books I’ve read for aro and ace rep to date. This includes the indie books that include explicit and deliberate representation that don’t require me to put a TW for rape on the book and lack the insinuation that the character is (aro)ace because of the resulting trauma. (Point of note: I don’t think the book is saying that. I do think it is very easy to miss that the book isn’t actually saying that.)

As such, this will not be the usual kind of review for me. I want to try and do something new. See how we all like it when I do something a little, um, different from the way I usually tackle reviewing. There will be spoilers.

TW: Rape, mention of rape, religious zealotry (including but not restricted to forced conversions and discussions about the same), dealing with the emotional fall-out of both rape, becoming pregnant through rape and also coming face to face with one’s abuser and being forced to be in the same general area as said rapist. Also depictions of PTSD.

I’m probably missing stuff. This is a book of which 90% or so takes place during a war in a country just starting to see the emergence of a new (and powerful) religion, so… Basically: if you need warnings for anything related to that topic, assume this book comes with said warning.

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Livetweeting Sera Myu New Legend of Kaguya Island (Revision) – Marinamoon Final

Posted September 30, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Film & TV, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Sera Myu Marinamoon Final Cast Moments during the last on-stage song.

I AM TOTALLY NOT OUT OF SERA MYU MUSICALS. ABSOLUTELY NOT. ANYONE WHO TELLS YOU DIFFERENTLY LIES. LIES, I SAY.

Honestly, though, I am sad to wrap up the Sera Myu musicals. Here’re the final livetweets for the Marinamoon Final. I’ll admit that I wasn’t a big fan of the changes made in this particular revision. I’ve had so much bad luck with the kaiteiban of these musicals and this, sadly, was no exception. So I did my best to just sit back and let myself get swept up in the energy of this musical and end my old!Myu viewings on a bang rather than a whisper.

That… didn’t quite work. But you know what? I’m thoroughly and entirely glad that I went through with the project to watch every single musical I could get my hands on and watched all of them. Even when the musicals didn’t thrill me as much as I’d hoped, I still enjoyed myself and now, months after the project began, I’m still kicking myself for not seeking these musicals out when I was younger and more likely to appreciate them the way that I knew I could have.

These musicals are… Well, I’ll be honest. The stories are a bit of a mixed bag, but the love and enthusiasm everyone has for them is delightful and make even the worst of the musicals a fun experience if you let yourself get caught up it in.

I don’t rightly remember what I was expecting of Sera Myu, short of hours upon hours of musicals that would cheer me up and remind me that there is good in the world still, and wowdid the musicals deliver on that front. I adore them. <3

And… yeah. Basically, that’s all I’ve got to say at the moment. I’ve just finished watching the Marinamoon Final as I write this and I’m still letting things sink in and settle. I just… I love Sera Myu. So much.

And thank you all for joining me on my wacky musical adventures as I’ve livetweeted them to the best of my abilities and putting up with my stream of all-caps and reaction moments and general tendency to SHOUT AT THE SCREEN even though I know perfectly well it doesn’t change a thing. I hope you’ve all have a fantastic time as well. And go watch the musicals if you haven’t already. They’ve brought so much cheer and goodness into my life. <3

Just <3 everyone. <3

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Livetweeting Sera Myu New Legend of Kaguya Island

Posted September 14, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Film & TV, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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The senshi and Mamoru flailing about.

OMG! I love this musical. I love it so much. Circumstances were such that it took me a ridiculous long time to get around to actually watching it, but OMG this musical was so much fun. Here’s the Storify!

It’s a revision of the original Legend of Kaguya musical and… I just. I already adored those and this one just… It pretty much took everything that I wanted to see more of and then gave me more of it. Sometimes, apparently, SeraMyu gives me a revision that has everything I wanted in it.

This is also the penultimate musical of the old!Myu musicals and I’m… kind of scared to watch the last one. It’s a revision of this musical and I just really don’t want to change anything right now.

HAVE TISSUES ON HAND, THOUGH! You’ll need tissues. But OMG we got so much back story for Loof Merrow and the Artuqa kingdom and so so much more character development for everyone. Save Dark Plasman’s group, but really the whole part where they’re another mass of evil that’s solidified into a personality kind of balances it out and the narrative actually manages to incorporate it into the narrative to some extent. It’s really beautifully done.

Why is this musical over? Why am I almost out of old!Myu musicals? WHAT WILL I DO WITH MY EVENINGS?! T_T T_T T_T

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This post previously appeared on Patreon and is sponsored by generous patrons. Thank you so much for your support! It means the world to me! <3 I love you all!

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Livetweeting SeraMyu The Advent of Princess Kakyuu – The Second Stage Final

Posted September 8, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Film & TV, Not-A-Review / 0 Comments

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Full cast of Sera Myu The Advent of Princess Kakyuu

Finally, some time to write up some general thoughts on this musical! For those who missed last week’s livetweet, here’s the Storify for SeraMyu The Advent of Princess Kakyuu.

This is the final musical from the second stage, the musical in which we say goodbye to Yuuko Hosaka, the longest-running Sailor Pluto. This is a revised version of the First Stage Eternal Legend. Like Eternal Legend both this musical and the previous Starlights musical follow the same pattern in that, in the original musical, Kakyuu makes no appearance, but the revision was significantly altered to include her in the musical.

Here I was thinking it was going to be a continuation of Starlights that focused on a battle with Sailor Chaos as they search for Kakyuu, but nope.

So, in some ways, this musical was a bit of a disappointment because it was so different from my expectations (and so close to something I’d already enjoyed in the First Stage), but I actually had a blast with this musical too. It was great fun to watch. Filled with energy and the plot was nicely done. It added some really fantastic little twists to the story about Galaxia reviving Beryl and the Dark Kingdom that I would have loved to see explored in a little more detail.

It had some delightful WTH moments, such as Mamoru and Haruka dueling with swords on bicycles for… no apparent reason that I could tell. (Seriously, though. Bicycle. Sword. Duel. That is just awesome.)

It reused some of the plots from the Stars manga and anime, though largely it reused elements from other older musicals to (usually) great effect. (I’m looking at you, Pluto who just randomly decides Beryl needs saving.)

I do have quabbles, yes, it’s true, but overall I really loved this musical. My one regret is that I’m now always out of Old!Myu musicals. NOOOOOOO. What will I do with my Saturdays?!

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This post previously appeared on Patreon and is sponsored by generous patrons. Thank you so much for your support! It means the world to me! <3 I love you all!

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