Happy Wednesday! How is your week going so far? It’s definitely one of those weeks where I can’t remember what day it is. We’re steadily making our way through August and inching ever closer to autumn. Hooray!
A bit of a personal announcement. I adopted a cat! He’s 9 years old and a Maine Coon mix. He’s fluffy, dreamy, and really likes making sure I’m awake at 5am.
Let me introduce the Bitchery to Linus!
If you’re curious as to why women’s clothing doesn’t have more pockets, I found this article to be incredibly interesting:
Much has been written about how sexism dictates whether a garment gets usable pockets. While class unquestionably plays a part, men’s clothing tends to have capacious, visible pockets; women’s clothing tends to have small pockets, if any at all. Content with their pockets, men have little to say about them, but women have been complaining about the inadequacy of their pockets for more than a century. “One supremacy there is in men’s clothing… its adaptation to pockets,” Charlotte P. Gilman wrote for the New York Times in 1905. She continues, “Women have from time to time carried bags, sometimes sewn in, sometimes tied on, sometimes brandished in the hand, but a bag is not a pocket.”
A BAG IS NOT A POCKET! Say it with me, fashion industry!
I love these pens far more than is probably natural. They write smoothly, they erase for real (yes, way!), and they come in a bunch of colors. I have one with me at all times.
If you’re looking to add more Filipino romances to your TBR pile, @Chachic_ on Twitter has some recommendations and many of which are 99c!
— Chachic (@chachic_) August 7, 2017
In the chance you ever get lost while hiking or doing whatever else people do in the wilderness, Atlas Obscura has some handy tips for wayfinding:
Tristan Gooley is an expert at what he calls “natural navigation.” In a series of fascinating books, most recently How to Read Water, but also The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs and The Natural Navigator: The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide, he shares incredibly useful tips and insights aimed at helping people notice simple truths about the world around them. Gooley’s particular genius is that once he shows you something about nature that you didn’t realize before, you’ll never be able to not see it again.
Recently, we sat down with Gooley and asked him to share five of his favorite natural navigation tricks with Atlas Obscura readers. The illustrator Chelsea Beck then took Gooley’s concepts and created gorgeous animations for each one. The words that accompany them are Gooley’s.
Not sure if I’ll remember any of these, but it’s pretty helpful regardless
Food artist, David Ma, has started a video series combining food porn while mimicking famous directors’ styles. So far, there are four videos, with my favorite being “What if Tarantino made Spaghetti & Meatballs?” but the Wes Anderson one is a close second.
Don’t forget to share what super cool things you’ve seen, read, or listened to this week! And if you have anything you think we’d like to post on a future Wednesday Links, send it my way!
Cotillion by Georgette Heyer is $2.51 at Amazon and $2.99 elsewhere! It’s also part of a huge $2.99 Heyer sale in honor of her birthday! This has a fake relationship trope and was recently the inspiration for a Rec League on unassuming heroes. Readers who love beta heroes and low-key, relaxed romances might love this one. However, some readers mention that the first quarter of the book takes some effort to get through.
Kitty Charing can inherit a fortune from her irascible great-uncle Matthew when she marries one of her cousins. Kitty is not wholly averse, if the right nephew proposes. Unfortunately, Kitty has set her heart on Jack Westruther, a confirmed rake.
To make him jealous and to see a little more of the world, Kitty convinces cousin Freddy Standen to pose as her fiance. In London with his family, she hopes to render the elusive Jack madly jealous.
New friends embroil her in their romantic troubles, sprinkling witty banter with Parisian phrases. Her French cousin, Camille, a professional gambler, has won the heart of Olivia, in turn the object of Jack’s dishonorable intentions. Doltish cousin Lord Dolphinton has fallen for a merchant’s daughter in conflict with his mother. Kitty herself wonders who is really right for her.
Working Stiff by Rachel Caine is $2.99! This is the first book in The Revivalist urban fantasy series where a funeral director heroine discovers her boss is turning the dead into zombies. Books one in Caine’s Weather Warden and Outcast urban fantasy series are also on sale, if you’re looking for new series to start. Readers found the plot to be really original, but wanted the heroine to be more active and aggressive in dealing with issues.
Bryn Davis knows working at Fairview Mortuary isn’t the most glamorous career choice, but at least it offers stable employment–until she discovers her bosses using a drug that resurrects the clientele as part of an extortion racket. Now, Bryn faces being terminated–literally, and with extreme prejudice.
With the help of corporate double-agent Patrick McCallister, Bryn has a chance to take down the bigger problem–pharmaceutical company Pharmadene, which treats death as the ultimate corporate loyalty program. She’d better do it fast, before she becomes a zombie slave–a real working stiff. She’d be better off dead…
The Rancher’s Surrender
The Rancher’s Surrender by Jill Shalvis is $1.99! This is the first book in The Heirs to the Triple M contemporary western series. This was originally published in 1999. Readers enjoyed the sisterly bond in the book, but had some difficulties with heroine’s selfishness. Have you read this one?
In the first book of New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis’s classic series, The Heirs to the Triple M, three women practically raised as sisters discover one of them has inherited a ranch. But which one?
Zoe Martin vowed not to let the Triple M ranch slip into Ty Jackson’s hands. Although his smooth charm brought most women to their knees, Zoe didn’t trust him. After all, he’d wanted the ranch for himself, and Zoe wasn’t about to let him take what could be her only chance for a true home.
It’s obvious to Ty that Zoe needs help—the woman is a complete greenhorn. But working side by side with Zoe is dangerous. She makes him feel strong and wild and crazy. Crazy enough, maybe, to offer her the home she craves…
The Turncoat by Donna Thorland is $2.99! This is an American historical romance set during the Revolutionary War. Some readers thought this was historical fiction rather than historical romance and had some things to say about the amount of sexytimes in the book. However, others enjoyed the great balance of action combined with the romance.
They are lovers on opposite sides of a brutal war, with everything at stake and no possibility of retreat. They can trust no one—especially not each other.
Major Lord Peter Tremayne is the last man rebel bluestocking Kate Grey should fall in love with, but when the handsome British viscount commandeers her home, Kate throws caution to the wind and responds to his seduction. She is on the verge of surrender when a spy in her own household seizes the opportunity to steal the military dispatches Tremayne carries, ensuring his disgrace—and implicating Kate in high treason. Painfully awakened to the risks of war, Kate determines to put duty ahead of desire, and offers General Washington her services as an undercover agent in the City of Brotherly Love.
Months later, having narrowly escaped court martial and hanging, Tremayne returns to decadent, British-occupied Philadelphia with no stomach for his current assignment—to capture the woman he believes betrayed him. Nor does he relish the glittering entertainments being held for General Howe’s idle officers. Worse, the glamorous woman in the midst of this social whirl, the fiancée of his own dissolute cousin, is none other than Kate Grey herself. And so begins their dangerous dance, between passion and patriotism, between certain death and the promise of a brave new future together.
In the game, you play a single dad with a teen daughter named Amanda (she’s way cooler than me) who just moved to the small town of Maple Bay.
In Maple Bay, there are seven dads available to romance:
- Mat – hipster dad with tattoos and a love of baking and coffee
- Craig – athletic, bro dad who has the cutest little baby
- Hugo – dapper dad who happens to be your daughter’s teacher
- Brian – the burly redheaded dad with a corgi
- Damien – goth dad! It was also confirmed on Twitter that Damien is transgender.
- Robert – bad dad who wears a leather jacket and hanging out at the local bar
- Joseph – preppy dad who has four children, a wife, and is a youth minister
There’s pretty much a dad for everyone! Right from the start, I knew my first dad pursuit was going to be Damien.
Before we get to the game, a note about these sorts of dating sims and visual novels. It’s been tough to find these sorts of games for women to play in English – where you play a woman and pick from a host of men to romance – and while this isn’t exactly that, I’ll take it. Now, I’ve played some Japanese visual novels before using all manner of computer rigging, such as running a translator program simultaneous with the games. The text would come up on the game, feed into the translator, and hopefully I’d get some readable text. In those narratives, there are usually good endings (happily ever afters) and bad endings.
I do know that there are both happy and not very happy endings in “Dream Daddy.” Some players would prefer to collect every ending, but if you’d rather just go for the happy ones and read about what the other ones are, there are guides available online.
Also fair warning: a couple of the dads don’t have HEAs at all and the only ending you get is a “bad” one. You can read about them here and to be honest, I think the reasoning is sound, despite my disappointment.
Before you start the game, you have to create your dad-sona.
I’d like you all to meet Doctor Spaghetti. He has a great backstory – according to Sarah. Doc is a bisexual Italian national. He had his daughter Amanda with his longtime lover/girlfriend who happens to be an international photographer, which is where Amanda got her sweet photog skills. Because of his lover’s hectic, globe-trotting lifestyle, they separated and agreed that Doc would have primary custody of Amanda.
Doc moved to the U.S. to continue his pursuit of a medical career, but soon realized his schedule was becoming just as busy and he didn’t want his daughter to feel neglected by her two incredibly busy parents. So Doc quit his medical career and began pursuing his dream of being a food blogger, making cooking homemade Italian meals approachable for families. As a bonus, Amanda does all the food photography his blog.
Plus, with a name like Doctor Spaghetti, it’s easy to know what he’s about, right from the get go.
Most of the game is bopping around town and meeting dads and other residents. You communicate and pick from three conversation options. If a dad likes what you say, hearts pop out and scatter across the screen. You dad-sona also does some pretty dad things, like referring to coffee as “bean juice.”
There are a few mini games involved as well. For example, you and Brian have a brag-off about your daughters and it’s setup like a Pokemon battle where each brag lessens your opponent’s health until one of you reaches zero.
I don’t want to inundate you with too many details and ruin the fun discovery elements of the game, like how and when you encounter characters, so I’ll just move on to my initial thoughts. The game is incredibly text heavy; prepare to do a lot of reading. For me, it’s not a game I can successfully binge play like I would with an RPG game like Fallout 4, where there’s shooting and action. On the bright side, the game will keep you occupied for a long time and you can replay it and pursue other dads.
The inclusiveness of the cast is great and it was honestly tough choosing the dad I wanted to romance. I thought I was set with Damien, but interacting with Brian was really sweet. HE’S SUCH A GREAT DAD TO HIS GENIUS DAUGHTER. There are some fantastic customizable options – you can choose whether Amanda has a mom or two dads, and whether she was adopted or conceived with you partner, which means certain details and interactions can change depending on which options you pick.
I think that’s really the most attractive element of this game: the options. My main critique is that your relationship with your daughter is the most fun and interesting thing. Amanda is funny and confident and such a cool teenager. At times, it overshadowed my interest in romancing DILFs because I just kind of want to hang out with my daughter. To be honest, I’d love a dating simulator in the future with Amanda as the star. Maybe when she starts college?
It’s such a fun game, despite how my attention would wane at times. That just means I have to pace out my play time! The art is wonderful and the dialogue is cute, quirky, and hilarious. Now if only I could get happy endings with all the dads! ARGH! But given the success of Dream Daddy so far, I’d love to see what this team does next.
Dream Daddy is available to purchase and download on Steam.
Pay very close attention to these cake pairs, now; I wouldn't want you to get the Wreck mixed up with the Inspiration Cake. [eye roll]
Elodie M. asked her baker to do this, only with far fewer rose petals. The baker obliged by providing this:
Ah, nothing symbolizes the beginning of a new life with the one you love quite like shriveled old rose petals. On the plus side, at least they distract the eye away from the poor cake construction. The weird grass sprigs sprouting haphazardly from the side and top help in that arena, too.
Next, Claire G. discovered the hard way how important "pipemanship" (as opposed to penmanship) is.
What she wanted:
What she got:
Such delicacy, such grace...
By the by, I don't monogram much, but I think the middle initial is supposed to be larger than the other two. I also think that if "msk" were a word, it would accurately describe the leveling job done on the leaning wonder here.
And lastly, Hannah W. asked for this, only with square tiers instead of round:
She even brought in the brown ribbon and fresh blue hydrangeas for the bakery to use. Pretty simple, right? Just make some white square tiers. But you know how some bakeries are, always complicating things...
Let's see. Misshapen layers, lumpy icing, no ribbon, electric teal icing "flowers"... What seems to be the problem, Hannah?
|Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad could be here, right now.|
Gil Thorp, 8/16/17
OK, see, when it comes to my nostalgia-fueled love of returning former Gil Thorp teens who are now All Grown Up, even I have my limits. Like, Trey and Jaquan, a couple of guys who hadn’t appeared in more than a decade? I’m jazzed as hell, man! But True Standish, the star quarterback who graduated last year? Ennnnnnh. Under True’s steady hand, the ranking of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons offense apparently dropped from 114th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision to 124th, but at least this summer when he crushes his receiver’s hopes and dreams, it’ll be the outcome everyone’s rooting for.
Mark Trail, 8/16/17
Oh, hey, remember when Johnny straight-up rode over a cliff on his horse? Well, surprise, that was just some fancy illusion work from Mark’s old buddy, and he’s not dead at all! Unfortunately, back two months ago (side note: Mark and this motley crew have been out on the Dakota prairie for two months??? Jesus) when Mark and Johnny plotted to use Johnny’s trick riding skills to defeat their enemies, they were still under the impression that the she-kidnapper was a hostage (despite Mark’s big talk about knowing all along she was on the side of evil), so probably Johnny is about to chivalrously ride to her rescue, with disastrous results.
Funky Winkerbean, 8/16/17
You know, some people view me with pity just because I somehow retain huge swaths of plot and character detail for Mary Worth or Gil Thorp in my head, but in my defense those plots and characters are, for the most part, fun. Take Funky Winkerbean in contrast: despite the fact that I’ve read it and been annoyed by it every day for more than a decade, I routinely forgot a lot of its byzantine world-building, because honestly why bother. So, like, for instance, up until today I would’ve sworn that Darrin’s pal/coworker Mopey Pete was another one of the strip’s seemingly endless supply of clinically depressed Northeast Ohio natives, but nope, I guess he’s a “New York and L.A. guy,” a proud bicoastal elitist who nevertheless dresses like that. Anyway, I’m sure he’ll find something that interests him in Centerville! Probably a lady, for sex.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 8/16/17
Sorry, gag-a-day strip writers: no so-called “punchline” you could come up with would be funnier than panel three of today’s Rex Morgan, M.D., in which we see the gears of June’s mind spinning wildly in her attempt to avoid the responsibility of raising her dying childhood friend’s toddler.
|Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad here, right now: $0|
This month for Stuff We Like, I want to share some products that, no kidding, have changed my anxiety levels about cleaning things.
But before I get started, I wanted to give you all a heads up that this fall I’ll be launching the first Organization Academy online course! Yay! Each course will be all about saving time and reducing stress (and creating space for you to do what you’ve been wanting to do), and the first one will focus on Meal Planning Mastery.
You might recall my earlier series here about meal planning and Google Calendar. The course is an expanded version of that series, with worksheets, tutorials, step-by-step guides, and cheatsheets to help organize your meal planning, and help save you time and money doing so.
Basically, if you hate not knowing the answer to the question, “What’s for dinner?” as much as I do, you’ll like this course.
I’ll be announcing the course registration to the Organization Academy mailing list first, so if you’d like more information, plus weekly organization and time saving tips, drop your email right here:
Thank you to everyone who has written to let me know how much they appreciated the packing series! I met a number of people at RWA who said packing cubes changed the way they traveled to Orlando — that’s so cool.
Ok, now on to Stuff We Like! This month: a few items that have recently rocked my world. This one, specifically:
I have two dogs, and two cats, and they all have fur. All of them, can you believe that? And if you have furry house residents, you probably know that sometimes the hair does not come off, not with the special vacuum, nor with the sticky rolling things.
This stone BLEW MY MIND with how well it took hair off one of our pieces of furniture. It’s basically a glass brick of bubbles, and you rub it over the surface of whatever you’re trying to clean – upholstery, a carpet or rug, car seats or floor mats, whatever.
LOOK AT THIS:
That was about 10 minutes of work on the upholstery.
The hair is mostly from Buzz, who loves the purple chair a lot.
It might be easier in the long run to train him not to get onto the furniture, I realize, but Buzz the Anxious hides in the chaise when he’s scared or upset. I don’t want to take that away from him, but I also know he gets a lot of hair on that thing.
Check out that pile of hair. It’s like a Furminator for the furniture.
A note: it’s very lightweight, but it is foamed glass, so it will wreak hell on any manicure you might have. Be careful. Also, don’t use it on leather unless you don’t like that leather very much. It’ll scratch the hell out of it.
Seriously, I love this thing. And if you’re weird, like me, and love seeing the before/after transformation of something, this is immensely satisfying with very little effort.
Another item I love that makes me happy every time I use it (it’s a little embarrassing how much glee I get out of this thing) is the Ikea Hemnes Shoe Cabinet, $99:
This cabinet holds a lot of shoes, and is only 11.75″ (30cm) deep, so it doesn’t take up much room at all. The big drawers in the middle and bottom tip out to hold pairs of shoes, and the top drawer is where I keep the pet hair remover rollers for clothes, and the new Stone of Hair Magnetry (aka the Fur Zoff) lives in that drawer, too. The only thing it can’t hold well is giant winter boots. Otherwise, most of our shoes are in there.
Part of the reason I’m a little obsessed with furniture is that we just bought a new chair and some side tables (after searching for ages, so making the decision was a rush, too). So not only am I looking at the hair, but I’m also after protecting the tables.
These are cracking me up:
Those are a bit of money, though, and if you’re after cute and noticeable, how about small vinyl records?
And speaking of drinking, I have to share these, because they crack me up. Should you need to tote your potent potables incognito, there are terrific options.
Golden Goddess Sunscreen Flask. I found one of these at Target and bought it as a gift for Amanda, and she thought I’d sent her a bottle of sunscreen until I told her to look again. They’re very realistic looking.
There’s also a two-pack of Sunscreen Tube Flasks for $10:
They’re also available in faux ice pack form, too.
And then, as we transition to fall, there’s the Umbrella Flask, $16:
And hey, if you’re not interested in hiding your portable potent potables, that’s cool! The Ladies would be delighted to help you out with that:
August marks the 75th anniversary of Two-Face's first appearance (Detective Comics #66). To celebrate I figured I'd post a few Two-Face comics throughout the month.
First up is Bruce Timm's 'Two of a Kind' from Batman: Black and White.
( Scans under the cut... )
( Unstoppable! )
I’m aware I’m on thin ice with Brian’s fans, but it wouldn’t be Brian Braddock for me if he didn’t occasionally get peevish at the ongoing madness of the world of capes. - Al Ewing
( Read more... )
( 5/15 pages) )
And that is the tale of how Supergirl hung up her cheerleader frock after, what, 12 years of wearing the exact same thing every day? Something tells me she would have changed things up a lot sooner if not for wanting to avoid a fight with her stick-in-the-mud cousin and his small town Kansas prudery.
This HaBO comes from Emmy, who’s hoping to find two books:
My school library stocked these romance novels with very large print fonts, and usually pastel blue or pink colored covers. I am actually looking for two novels – one had a heroine whose dead husband had been a spy and she was scarred because he had been abusive. Enter our hero who is a spy himself and needs the heroine’s help in stopping South China Sea pirates, which our heroine had done research on.
In the meanwhile, they pretend they’re married, he buys her an extremely expensive black opal ring, they fall in love, and when the pirate leader asks her to show her devotion, she agrees to slice off her little finger for the hero’s sake. Ring a bell, anyone?
The second novel had our hero and heroine infiltrate a dubious pseudo-communist country to search for her lost father. They dance the csardas, he calls her ‘gypsy’ a bunch of times (UGH), and then he gets caught so she and her dad can flee. And later they are reunited after the hero’s country ransoms him back or something.
I am being driven mad, since my Google-fu is not working. HELP!
Not sure if the second romance is related to the first or not.
( click to see the results, published about 8 months later )
New York, Actually
New York, Actually by Sarah Morgan is 99c! This is a price-matched Kindle Daily Deal. Feel free to check out the rest of today’s deals. Some readers found this to be a charming contemporary romance, while others took some issues with the hero’s behavior in pursuing the heroine.
New York’s most famous agony aunt, she considers herself an expert at relationships…as long as they’re other people’s. The only love of her life is her Dalmatian, Valentine.
A cynical divorce lawyer, he’s hardwired to think relationships are a bad idea. If you don’t get involved, no-one can get hurt. But then he finds himself borrowing a dog to meet the gorgeous woman he sees running in Central Park every morning…
Molly and Daniel think they know everything there is to know about relationships…until they meet each other that is…
First to Burn
First to Burn by Anna Richland is 99c! This is the first book in her Immortal Vikings series and readers had mixed feelings about the hero. Many found him unique and loyal, but others remarked that he had a lot going on with his immortality and PTSD. This book has a 3.7-star rating on Goodreads.
A soldier with secrets
Immortal Viking Wulf Wardsen once battled alongside Beowulf, and now serves in Afghanistan. He’s trusted the mortal men on his elite special operations team to protect his secret, until an explosion lands Wulf in a place more dangerous to him than a battlefield: a medevac helicopter.
A doctor with questions
Army captain Theresa Chiesa follows the rules and expects the same from others, even special forces hotshots like Sergeant Wardsen. She’s determined to discover the secret behind his supernaturally fast healing, and she won’t allow his sexy smile to distract her.
An enemy with nothing to lose
Even as Theresa’s investigation threatens to expose him, Wulf is stirred by her passion. Dreaming of love and a normal life, he wants nothing more than to build a future with her. But the lost Viking relic needed to reverse his immortality is being hunted by another—an ancient enemy who won’t hesitate to hurt Theresa to strike back at Wulf.
Just One Damned Thing After Another
RECOMMENDED: Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor is $3.99! Redheadedgirl recently read this one and gave it a B:
If you’re a fan of Connie Willis, I would suggest you give this series a try. It doesn’t take itself quite so seriously, and Max as a heroine and audience surrogate is a lot of fun. It’s potentially a commitment, given that there are 9 books and a bunch of novellas, but I’m looking forward to making a dent in my TBR pile to read the next book.
“History is just one damned thing after another” – Arnold Toynbee
A madcap new slant on history that seems to be everyone’s cup of tea…
Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary’s, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don’t do ‘time-travel’ – they ‘investigate major historical events in contemporary time’. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power – especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.
Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document – to try and find the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process.
But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And, as they soon discover – it’s not just History they’re fighting.
Follow the catastrophe curve from eleventh-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake…
Irresistible You by Kate Meader is $1.99! This is the first book in a brand new sports romance series and it just came out this week. Readers really loved the banter between the hero and heroine, though others mentioned it took a while to warm up to the hero. It has a 4.4-star rating on Goodreads.
Hot in Chicago series author Kate Meader returns with her all new, scorching Chicago Rebels hockey series, featuring her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (Romantic Times). Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.
Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem, a chip on his shoulder, and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.
Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?
He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…