Reader Jaye sent us this Rec League, searching for characters with a particular background. Here’s the request:
I’d love to call on the Rec League for books that feature protagonists who had terrible childhoods and/or dysfunctional families with one of the main characters being the child of a narcissist. I love seeing characters who had it tough growing up find their HEA!
Examples of what hits my sweet spot would be Lisa Kleypas’ Smooth Talking Stranger (heroine raised by narcissist mother), Nora Roberts’ Vision in White. I enjoy both contemporary and historical romances.
Now romance has no shortage of unhealthy upbringings, but can we find narcissist parents specifically for Jaye?
Welcome back to Stuff We Like, a regular column where we shop and share items we think you’ll love. By reader request, I’m building a Stuff We Like series on one-bag packing and tools to help you organize and travel light.
You’ll need to be signed in to Google.com using your Gmail address. Once you’re logged in, click the link above to view a copy of the spreadsheet.
Important! The above link is view-only, but you can save a copy of the sheet for yourself. Here is what you should do.
Click the link! Magic, these internets, I tell you.
The spreadsheet shall appear!
Click FILE, and then Make a Copy:
Name the copy or leave the name as-is, and save to your Google Drive:
That copy is yours, and you can edit it as much as you like – and you should, to make it useful for your travels!
Do I use this on a computer or do I print it out?
It’s up to you, but for most family trips, I print it out and cross off, highlight, and add things to the page as I go. I’ve also printed copies for my sons to let them pick out the clothing and items they need.
There is a small space next to each item, and you can either specify a number for items needed, or put a “Y” for “Yup, I totally packed that.” Again, do what makes you feel comfortable and prepared!
This packing list has spaces for two adults and three children. What if I have more than three children, or less than three? Or a surfeit of adults?!
Easy! You can add a column to the spreadsheet. Here’s how.
Click the letter at the top of the column where you’d like to add space for another person.
Click the tiny dropdown arrow next to the column letter:
Click “Insert 1 right” to make another column appear!
Make sure to do this twice so you have a column for the item itself, then a column to indicate how many or to check it off the list.
You can add individuals — adults, children, or pets or whatever you need!
Ready for a tour? Let’s do this!
Let’s start with the obvious part: Essentials! This packing template is similar to the Calm Traveler Business Packing list in that you identify essentials first – this time for everyone in your family:
My essentials are similar to the prior template – mouth guard, medication, Epi-pens. The same rules apply: essentials are the most important, irreplaceable, absolutely necessary personal items you need to have for this trip, and every trip. If it’s crucial and hard to replace, it’s an Essential.
You’ll note that for the kids, “bear,” “teddy,” and “dolly,” are essentials alongside “passport” and medications and inhalers. Essential has a wide definition when kids are involved!
If your children or your adults have more essential items than there is room for here, you can easily add rows to the packing list by right-clicking on the row number and clicking “Insert 1 above.”
Then, we come to Toiletries and Miscellaneous for each person.
Pretty self explanatory. As I mentioned in my last post, my toiletry bag stays mostly packed, and I’ll be going into more detail about that later. But for this trip, I’m assuming everyone will need sunscreen (unless you like to buy at your destination) and bug spray. I put “period supplies” in italics because you don’t always need to bring them, but if you do, you’ll want some with you!
Each person has their own water bottle on this list, though in my family, unless someone is ill, we share one. Obviously everyone has their own toothbrushes and hairbrushes, but only one child’s list has toothpaste – unless you have finicky toothpaste users, one tube should work fore everybody, and a small one at that! And if folks like their own toothpaste, that’s cool. It’s not like it’s a piano and takes up all the room in the bag, right?
Unlike the Business Traveler Template, I don’t have outfit planning on this template, because much of the time, vacations may not require outfit planning. This sample template I envisioned for a trip somewhere with a beach or pool, mostly casual, with three kids. I’m also assuming no laundry facilities – hence 7 pair of underwear.
The method in which you’re traveling also influences how much you bring. Checking multiple bags can get awfully expensive, so consolidating and requiring items to do double-duty means fewer pieces of luggage. Double-duty means larger items can be worn more than once. Some t-shirts can be worn twice, or in some cases washed and hung to dry if you’re somewhere for more than a week. Merino wool and travel fabric t-shirts are great for this, and there are excellent ones available new and used. I have a separate entry on travel clothing coming soon!
And, if you can do laundry, you can bring less! This is awesome. I love when a place we stay on vacation has laundry facilities. But even if there isn’t laundry options nearby, shorts and some shirts can be re-worn, especially if you’re going somewhere that you’ll be spending a lot of time in swimsuits.
Though you can wash undergarments in a sink and hang to dry, they don’t take much room. Everything else I presume will be open to being worn twice, unless one person is like OH HECK NO. This does happen, as I well know, so you can adjust accordingly.
What’s the special pink section at the bottom?
This is the clothing you’ll wear while you travel – shorts or sweat pants, shirts, maybe hoodies if you’re always cold like I am. Sneakers take up a lot of room in luggage, so I wear them when I travel, especially on airplanes (also I don’t like walking barefoot through TSA).
When I travel with my family, I typically look at the actual travel part of the trip as a separate thing to plan for. On this template, it’s a section apart from the destination and items we’ll need there. This is especially true if the journey involves a flight or a long drive.
Items I need during the trip go in this section. If it’s a long car ride or series of flights, I might bring Anker batteries to recharge devices, and I might have a separate snack list if we’re driving all day.
One of my kids can get carsick, so I pack Dramamine. We also have bags stashed in our cars, but if we’re going somewhere and we’re not in our own vehicles, I’ll add “bags” to this list in case we need them.
Pretty self explanatory. If I plot out the weather (and any major things we’re doing, like rafting or going on a tour or something) I know what to expect while we’re gone and I don’t have to go looking for that info while I’m packing. It’s already here.
This is a separate list area for anything you need that doesn’t quite fit in the other sections. Laptop, camera, knitting (although I know for the knitters, that goes under “Essentials”). Items for keeping young humans busy, like coloring books and crayons, stickers, or activity books, that kind of thing, could also go here.
The other items are sort of obvious – a deck of cards, UNO, games – anything that travels well that your family enjoys? Bring it. We tend to play a lot of card games in the evenings when we’re on vacation.
There are some electronic accessories in this section, as I tend to think of watching movies or playing on tablets as “activity” rather than “miscellaneous,” though these two items could go in either location.
The “Four USB Plug” is this plug here:
I tend to bring one of these with us because it turns that one really convenient outlet into a charging portal for everyone.
And if that’s not a good option, I also sometimes travel with a “squid” style power trip:
I don’t typically fly with one of these but if we’re driving somewhere, I bring one. It’s the more-useful cousin to a power strip, and turns one outlet into a Mega Charging Station (sounds like something out of Power Rangers, right?) for devices, phones, etc.
If you need to plot your outfits for specific days of your family trip, you can easily use the Miscellaneous section for that. And if there are items your family needs that aren’t easily added to this template, you can add as many columns and sections as you need. This is meant to be customized, and I’d really like to hear from you about how you’d alter this template to suit your needs!
I’d said in the last entry that I’d write next about what I pack my clothing in – but I had so many requests for family travel with so many of you planning trips that I moved this up. So I’ll be back with packing advice and accessories. There are so many choices – packing cubes, compression bags, plastic pouches – and I’ll share my research into what works really well for me. I’ll also be sharing my master Toiletry Bag list, too.
If this series is completely your catnip, please consider signing up for the Organization Academy mailing list. I send out weekly tips on digital and personal organization, and I send templates and guides like this one to the group early, too.
I hope this template helps present and future you and your family. If you have questions or suggestions, absolutely let me know!
What are your must-haves when you travel with your family?
I wanted to post this for May the Fourth, AKA Star Wars Day. It is a page and a half from the "Treasury Edition" of Marvel's adaptation of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. And I'm posting it because I have a question about Yoda's original opinion of Luke Skywalker.
This RITA® Reader Challenge 2017 review was written by Leigh. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Best First Book category.
Music means more than anything to high school student Cate Reese; it’s also what unites her with Cal Woods. Devoted classical guitar players, Cate and Cal are childhood friends newly smitten by love—until a devastating car accident rips Cal out of Cate’s life forever. Blaming herself for the horrific tragedy and struggling to surface from her despair, Cate spirals downhill in a desperate attempt to ease her pain.
Fellow student David Bennet might look like the school’s golden boy, but underneath the surface the popular athlete battles demons of his own. Racked with survivor’s guilt after his brother’s suicide, things get worse when tragedy darkens his world again—but connecting with Cate, his sister’s longtime babysitter, starts bringing the light back in.
As Cate and David grow closer, the two shattered teenagers learn to examine the pieces of their lives…and, together, find a way to be whole again.
Trigger Warnings: suicide, rape, attempted rape, drug use, physical abuse
I stopped playing the flute after sixth grade. As much as I enjoyed orchestra performances and placing in competitions, I hated practicing and it became clear this would not change. For that reason alone, musicians have always intrigued me. Their dedication to their craft and their willingness to practice for hours (HOW?!) is impressive and I enjoy novels that allow us to peek behind the curtain into their world.
Cate Reese and her best friend Cal Woods are talented classic guitar players. They first met at summer music camp years ago but now they see each other in more romantic light. There was a delightful amount of angst as Cate pondered whether they should take things to the next level. There’s also a fair amount of hero worship on Cate’s part since Cal is pretty much a musical prodigy.
After music camp, Cate returns to Middleburg, where her parents have relocated their family. They’ve summered there the past four years and Cate is happy to live in the same town as her best friend Laurel, even though it means starting at a new school and Laurel keeps overly busy with her girlfriend, whom Cate doesn’t like. She goes to water the plants at the Bennet house while they’re on vacation (she’s babysat for Kimmy the previous summers.) But the house isn’t empty. Plot twist!
Kimmy’s older brother David, a senior, is there, convalescing from an accident while camping in Canada. He won’t talk about what happened to anyone but Cate can see he’s not his usual buoyant jocky self. Even though she’s super tongue tied around him, she reaches out and they start spending time together.
This confuses Cate. Because she likes Cal. Right?
This confuses David, too. Because he doesn’t deserve someone as sweet and innocent as Cate. Right?
In the meantime, Cate and Cal finally go on a date but Cal gets into a car accident while driving them home and dies. In the midst of her grief over losing her best friend- and the inevitable survivor’s guilt- Cate is also trying to figure out what Cal meant to her. He wasn’t quite her boyfriend but he might have been.
The portrayal of Cate’s grief was gripping and realistic, particularly how she does or doesn’t deal with it. Her relationship to her guitar is irrevocably altered without Cal, her muse, around. Her grief is a slow descent into hell. This happened so organically that her spiral out of control almost surprised me. Is she a reliable narrator? Yes and no. She’s a grieving teenager. Take that as you will.
David was wrestling with his own grief and survivor’s guilt. He’s decided not to play sports anymore, in defiance of his dad, and he doesn’t hang out with his friends all that much either. He’s not quite depressed; it’s more like he’s figuring out who he is post-accident.
David and Cate observe each other grieving more than they talk about it but the bond is there. They also have lackluster families in common. David isn’t a musician but he starts working at a music store and has some great insights for Cate’s guitar playing.
We should be rooting for them to get together but I couldn’t get fully on board. David never grew on me. Plus, the two spend more time apart than together. Were this not supposed to be a romance, that would be fine, but as a romance, I needed David and Cate to have more positive interactions.
We get both Cate’s and David’s perspectives, with Cate’s POV being more predominant. As a result, her character growth was stronger. I felt like I knew Cate and her motivations much better than David but I still wanted more from both characters.
The sheer number of things happening in this novel almost makes me want to suggest making a Bingo game out of it, were not so many of them potential trigger warnings. The list includes suicide, rape, attempted rape, drug use, physical abuse, deadly car accident, drowning, bullying, and neglect. Anyone else feel the need to take a deep breath?
The story would have been better served by only focusing on a few of these and let them be the driving force. We’d start to see how a character was processing one thing before we’d be whipped along to the next. While these are heavy issues, I didn’t experience this as a heavy book, likely because most of these plot points weren’t fully developed.
The dynamic between David and his dad (a vile POS) could have used more exploration, as well as Cate’s relationship with her parents. I wanted to know what David and Cate were learning, particularly given the traumas Cate faced. Their inner monologues could get choppy and often what they said they said didn’t match up to their actions. Yes, that can be true for all of us but the “why” matters.
Case in point: David was basically a manwhore. Along the way, he comes to see how he is using these girls for his own satisfaction. This was a great realization but it didn’t lead to much change in terms of his interactions with his past girlfriends.
His past girlfriends are pretty one-dimensional stereotypical depictions. He was such a jackhole to them. Toward the end of the book, as he’s finally starting to pursue Cate, he sleeps with an ex. It was disconcerting to say the least and why I didn’t trust his motivations concerning Cate.
By the end, David and Cate have moved toward one another and taken a chance on love. At long last David shares what happened to him in Canada and it was way, way, way too brief. For all his brooding, this should have been the payoff, not a whimper.
The best parts of the book dealt with music. The descriptions of Cal and Cate playing and getting lost in the music and theory, the scenes of David and Cate listening to music and giving each other band recommendations, Cate figuring out what kind of musician she actually wants to be. It’s clear the author has a musical background and her perspective is imbued on each page. If you love music, it’ll be worth reading this just for those parts alone.
I let go, still not with my guitar, but with my voice.
And this time, when I stop playing, the band fills in the blanks. Their sound swells around me. Waves carrying me atop a sea, their instruments making up the fact that mine is missing…Playing with a band is like having a parachute of gossamer and steel. It’s having people who have your back, who know your secrets, who know you.
Singing with a band is trampolining with your breath. A sound you make, that makes you, too.
I liked the depiction of grief, any part related to music, and the deliciousness known as teenage angst. It felt like a First Novel with too much crammed in it but it made me curious about what Mimi Cross does next. Particularly if she continues to place her characters in music-related contexts.
It’s the last Wednesday in June and we’re inching ever closer to the Dog Days of Summer. Yuck! We hope you’re all having a great week and are looking forward to some awesome weekend plans.
The Book Club Chat is tonight at 8:00pm EDT! Because I’m a procrastinator, I started Radiance last night and almost pulled a Bad Decisions Book Club. I’m really enjoying it and I can’t wait to talk about it with everyone!
I was recently introduced to your work while building a website to showcase the romance novel covers my dad illustrated for Harlequin in the 70s – 80s – 90s. It’s a little sliver of Harlequin history, from the illustration point of view. I’m not an expert, but I had a front seat view.
Love movies? What about book-to-film adaptations? Well, Parchment Girl has compiled a list of adaptations coming out between July and December of this year! I think I’m most excited about Valerian, mainly because it’s being directed by Luc Besson who did The Fifth Element, probably my favorite movie ever.
Across the internet, trolls disproportionately target women and members of other underrepresented groups. On Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Wikipedia, and other open platforms, victims of harassment are forced to make a difficult choice — go silent and preserve their mental health, or try to ignore the abuse and continue expressing themselves openly online. As the wounds deepen, that latter choice becomes harder and harder to justify.
When people get forced off the web, their voices disappear from the internet’s public squares. The ideas and memes that dominate skew even further toward a white male perspective. The web becomes less interesting, less representative, less valuable. We all lose.
But on that Friday night, Temple-Wood had an idea. For every harassing email, death threat, or request for nude photos that she received, she resolved to create a Wikipedia biography on a notable woman scientist who was previously unknown to the free online encyclopedia. She thought of it as a giant “fuck you” to the anonymous idiots seeking to silence her.
She said, “I read this and love what she is doing so so much. But I read all the quotes and kept looking for some indication that she had backup. She sounds so alone.”
Tonight at 8:00pm ET, the window below will go live with a text-based chat, and we’ll be there, probably with a tasty beverage, to discuss Radiance by Grace Draven.
If you’ve participated in the book chats we’ve hosted before, the format is the same: I ask nosy questions, I concoct silly polls, and we chat about the book for about an hour. The author will join us around 9pm ET for a Q&A, which is always fun.
We’re so excited to talk about this book and I hope you’ll join us for the Smart Bitches Book Club chat – see you tonight!
Stormy Persuasion by Johanna Lindsey is $1.99 at Amazon! There’s no price-matching and I don’t think this is a Kindle Daily Deal. Readers loved the opposites attract element of this historical romance, while others found the plot to be a little all over the place.
James Malory sets sail for America to honor a promise he made to his in-laws: His and Georgina’s daughter, Jacqueline, will have her come-out in America. Judith and Jacqueline Malory are not simply cousins; they are inseparable best friends. Refusing to miss Jacqueline’s come-out in Connecticut, Judith convinces her parents to let her delay her London debut by a few weeks so she can accompany her cousin. Neither girl intends to fall in love during her first Season. But Judith’s plans are overturned when aboard ship she comes face-to-face with the ghost who has been haunting her dreams.
Unknown to the Malorys, deckhand Nathan Tremayne is a smuggler with a noose around his neck. Determined to carry out a covert mission in America that could gain him a pardon, Nathan senses that beautiful Judith Malory is trouble. Somehow the minx knows his secret—and now she’s blackmailing him into doing her bidding. While passions can soar on the high seas, Nathan knows this aristocratic beauty is merely amusing herself with a scoundrel like him.
When the unthinkable happens in Connecticut and the elder Malorys’ hands are tied, Nathan takes command of a dire situation. Captaining his own ship, he turns the tables on Judith, as he steers them into some intense Caribbean heat where he will fight with all his mettle to win the right to her heart.
Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch is 99c! This is the first book in an urban fantasy series set in London and (I believe) was a previous DABWAHA nominee. It was also recommended by author Lauren Willig on a recent podcast! Some reviewers on Goodreads felt the first book was missing something, but liked the setting and story well enough to continue with the series.
Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.
Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson is $1.99! This is a work of historical fiction with romantic elements. Though it’s the third book in The Great War series, it can be read as a standalone. Readers say they loved that they could tell a lot of research went into the book. However, some readers found the romance aspect to be a bit weak.
USA Today and internationally bestselling author Jennifer Robson takes readers to 1920s Paris in an enthralling new historical novel that tells the riveting story of an English lady who trades in her staid aristocratic life for the mesmerizing salons and the heady world of the Lost Generation.
It’s the spring of 1924, and Lady Helena Montagu-Douglas-Parr has just arrived in France. On the mend after a near-fatal illness, she is ready to embrace the restless, heady allure of the City of Lights. Her parents have given her one year to live with her eccentric aunt in Paris and Helena means to make the most of her time. She’s quickly drawn into the world of the Lost Generation and its circle of American expatriates, and with their encouragement, she finds the courage to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.
One of those expats is Sam Howard, a journalist working for the Chicago Tribune. Irascible, plain-spoken, and scarred by his experiences during the war, Sam is simply the most fascinating man she has ever met. He’s also entirely unsuitable.
As Paris is born anew, rising phoenix-like from the ashes of the Great War, Helena realizes that she, too, is changing. The good girl she once was, so dutiful and obedient, so aware of her place in the world, is gone forever. Yet now that she has shed her old self, who will she become, and where, and with whom, does she belong…?
Sugar on Top by Marina Adair is $1.99! This is book 2 in the Sugar, Georgia, series, and it has a 4+ star average. Readers who liked this one – and there are many – really liked the heroine, who has been living with a bad reputation in a small town after some big mistakes when she was younger. Plus, several reviews mention that the dialogue is very funny. Have you read this one?
She’s sassy and sweet
The last thing Glory Mann wants is to become chairman of the Miss Peach Pageant in Sugar, Georgia. Spending months hearing nothing but the clinking of pearls and judgment? No thank you! But when Glory is forced to take the rap for a scandal she didn’t commit, the judge sentences her to head the committee. Even worse, her co-chairman is rugged, ripped . . . and barely knows she’s alive.
He’s ready and willing
Single dad Cal McGraw can’t take any more drama in his life. After a difficult divorce, his little girl became a boy-crazy teenager and his hands are full. The last thing he needs is to spend his down time with the town bad girl. Glory is pure trouble-tempting and tantalizing trouble. But he can’t deny the strong chemistry between them-or how her touch turns him inside out. Now as squabbles threaten to blow up the contest and the town of Sugar itself, Cal must risk everything on the sexy wild card to get a second chance at love . . .
If I’m coherent at the end of this recap, it will be a miracle.
Pour yourselves a drink, people. I’ve got just enough rum to see me through the night.
Last night everyone went to Norway. Well not everyone. The cast of The Bachelorette.
Peter and Rachel may have had sex in a hot tub. Lee and Kenny went on a two-on-one date with Rachel where Lee continued his line of racist bullshit, telling Rachel that Kenny had been violent with him – a total lie.
We learned that an African Ringneck Parakeet named Mr. Tweeters lives in Lee’s hair.
It’s a lot to process and tonight promises to be intense. Or ridiculous.
Take a shot. It’s showtime!
We’re back to the two-on-one date in the Norwegian wilderness. Lee is spouting lies that make Kenny out to be an angry Black man. Rachel is processing the information she’s getting – Lee telling her that Kenny is violent and Kenny telling her that Lee is straight up lying.
Rachel tells both men that the day was “informative” and that the situation comes down to who she believes and trusts. She tells Lee she doesn’t trust him and she sends him home.
Mr. Tweeters lets out a sad chirp.
Rachel tells Kenny that she needs to spend more time with him before she decides whether or not to give him a rose.
Lee responds by saying, “That’s okay, sweetheart, but I just want you to know that when he came back over here he threatened me.”
It’s like Lee literally cannot speak without lying. Also his “sweetheart” remark was super condescending and gross, and honestly, this is a man who desperately needs to be pushed into the river he’s sitting next to.
I hope it’s cold.
Rachel and Kenny walk toward the helicopter. I like to think that Lee was left alone in the wilderness to die, but I doubt that happened. Your cowboy boots and hair gel won’t help you now, dude. Are there things in Norway big enough to eat Lee? Are there wolves? I’m on Team Wolves right now.
Which Nazgul will rise up to replace Lee? We don’t know.
Before they can depart, Kenny tells Rachel that he needs to “say goodbye” to Lee.
WHY? JUST LEAVE HIM THERE TO ROT.
“This is so stupid,” Rachel says. “I feel stupid. You’re still giving him attention! I’m so annoyed about this!”
Despite all the promos implying the men would come to blows, Kenny tells Lee that somewhere inside him is a decent man (nope, just an exotic bird) and leaves. But I’m pretty sure Kenny blew his chance with Rachel.
Rachel and Kenny have some one-on-one time. There are delicious chocolatey snacks on the table, snacks that they are not allowed to eat because the mics will pick up the noise.
They have a conversation about the fact that Rachel was disappointed that Kenny wanted to have the last word with Lee, but she’s still willing to take a chance on him. She gives Kenny the rose.
Kenny Facetimes his daughter. Every time he talks to her, I melt. He’s so proud of his daughter and so obviously devoted to her. He cries every time they talk because he misses her.
Then it’s time for The Dreaded Rose Ceremony. Kenny and Will both got date roses which means that they’re immune from elimination.
Peter is wearing a paisley tie and plaid scarf which is not a great look IMHO. He does get a rose, however.
Chris steps out of the shadows to tell us that we’re down to the final rose. THANKS CHRIS!
Josiah and Anthony are eliminated. Josiah spends some time telling us why that was the wrong choice, but I’m drinking, not listening.
The next day everyone goes to Denmark!
The first one-on-one date is with Eric. The two of them explore Copenhagen together. They seem to have some genuine chemistry.
“How many kids do you want to have?” Eric asks.
“Four,” she answers.
“Oh, wow,” Eric says.
“Is that a lot?” she asks.
“No, I mean, I want ten, so…”
They bust up laughing.
It’s super cute.
They spend some time in a hot tub too. Because hot-tubbing is basically a requirement on these shows. Chris Harrison can summon a hot tub at will with his dark magic.
During dinner Eric tells Rachel that he’s never been in love. He also tells her that his mom never gave him love which is why he’s run from relationships in the past.
“I think for me, love is what I’m missing,” Eric says.
Rachel gives him a rose.
The next day a bunch of dudes go on a group date where they dress up like Vikings. They row a Viking ship and my fibro starts flaring in sympathy. My rhomboids would not enjoy that.
They row to an island where they will learn to fight like Vikings. At the end of the day, the two best contestants will fight for a rose.
YES! Chris Harrison screams. FINALLY WE FIGHT TO THE DEATH.
They play a game that, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP, is called “Greased Stick.”
The woman holds a greased stick and if the dude can pull it out of her hand, he gets to marry her.
I thought the point was to put the “Greased Stick” in her hand, but what do I know.
Dean says, “I think I would have made a great Viking. But, you know, a Viking that doesn’t necessarily fight very much.”
Good story, Dean.
I bet I’d make a great neurosurgeon. But, like, one that doesn’t do surgery or practice medicine or know anything about the human body in general.
The instructors decide that Kenny and Adam will fight for the rose. They have swords and shields.
Both Kenny AND Adam wind up with bloody eyebrows during the fight. They manage to smack their shields together at the same moment, clocking themselves in the face. They get patched up.
Oh, hey, remember when ABC showed us clips of Kenny bleeding and made it seem like he and Lee got into a fight (thereby adding credence to Lee’s bullshit racist “aggressive” comments?).
So you know what, ABC? FUCK YOU.
FUCK YOU FOR PERPETUATING LEE’S RACIST BULLSHIT.
During the cocktail hour, Rachel and Peter spend some time together. My theory here is that Rachel has already picked Peter. The chemistry between the two is super intense. Like eye-fucking. Like Rachel looks like she wants to climb him like a tree. Whenever they are alone together they look like naughty teenagers, giggling and looking for a place to dash off to in order to fool around. I’m convinced Rachel would send everyone else home already to be with Peter.
TEAM PETER FOREVER
Of all the dudes, Kenny feels the most vulnerable. He tells Rachel he’s really struggling, especially being apart from his daughter.
They have a really candid conversation. Rachel suggests that Kenny go home, and Kenny agrees with her. It’s an amicable departure and both of them are super mature about it. When Kenny calls his daughter from the car she says, “I’m so proud of you! You got to go to two amazing places! You got to do an awesome thing. I’m proud of you that you made it that far!”
The group date rose goes to Peter.
The next day (I guess?) Rachel and Will go on a one-on-one date to Sweden. Rachel comments that Will always seems shy and distant with her. She wonders what’s holding him back. Will tells Rachel physical intimacy is really important to him, which is weird because he doesn’t even hold her hand.
Rachel comments on the lack of passion between them and declines to give him a rose, thereby sending him home.
Cut back to the hotel. Adam’s eye is looking a little crusty. Get some antibiotics dude. Neosporin at least.
At this point I’m pretty tipsy. I’m missing Mr. Tweeters. I have a cat on my lap and I have to pee real bad.
So I’m relieved when we get to another Dreaded Rose Ceremony.
Chris Harrison is waiting for Rachel. “You seem solemn tonight,” he observes. Then he plays her a song on his pipe organ that’s hidden in the basement.
We are down to seven dudes and only four roses remain.
CUE DRAMATIC MUSIC.
Rachel talks about Denmark and Hamlet and quotes the play and at least three dudes fall asleep immediately.
Suddenly she breaks down in tears and walks out of the room.
She returns after a few minutes, pulling herself together.
Eric and Peter already have a rose. Rachel gives roses to Matt, Dean, Bryan (who I forgot existed again), and Adam.
Hopefully now that he has a rose, Adam can go to a walk in clinic to get that eye looked at.
Alex goes home. I forgot Alex existed too, if I’m being honest.
The dudebros blur, you know? The rum probably contributes to that.
And that’s it for this week, thank god. I’m going to leave some ibuprofen and bottle of water on the nightstand.
There’s no episode next week so I have a chance to rest my liver.
Are you still watching? What do you think of the remaining six men?