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Month: April 2013

COVER REVEAL AND GIVE AWAY: This is Forever, S.A. Price

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If you downloaded my short story Sex, Lies, and Inventions, you may have noticed the dedication to Stella Price. Stella is an entire romance industry unto herself who runs the insanely fun Authors After Dark conference (I just confirmed I’ll be at the 2014 event in Charlotte, NC and I wish it were already here!), designs covers (including the one being revealed today), and writes scorching hot stories with her sister, Audra, under the name S.A. Price. Stella and Audra have a new book out, and I was so pleased to be included in their cover reveal and give away for This is Forever, a New Adult novel in their Thirteen Shades of Red series. So, I’m going to let them take it from here, and if you know other readers who enjoy New Adult, pass on the news!

Maybe you have seen this little graphic about?

Did it get you curious? Winter is the very sexy bassist for the band 13 Shades of Red, and his book, THIS IS FOREVER will be releasing December 2013. Wanna see the cover?

Now isn’t that just sexy? From now till December if you check out some of your favorite blogs that are rocking the mini graphic on the side column, we will be giving some teasers, excerpts and interviews about the book, on the 10
th of the month. 
Believe me; it really is going to be a Long Hard Winter. *wink*
And now… for a sexy sneak peek at THIS IS FOREVER…
(sneak peek and give away announcement after the jump!)
Seeing Lola after eight months was a fucking kick in the teeth. She had changed her hair, it was purple with black streaks, and she was wearing one fucker of an outfit. Platform Mary Jane’s, her signature, purple torn fishnet thigh highs with garters that ended in bows with skulls on them, micro mini in black satin with a lace trim. She had tripled up on her belts, her little baby tee molding to her torso like a second skin. It was razor cut in places, showing skin and the purple of her lace bra. Her arms warmers were knitted with little skulls on them. He was pretty sure she wasn’t wearing underwear also, the girl just loved to shock. Dare he think it was for his benefit? He wasn’t sure he even saw her, thinking he was dreaming the perfection before him.
But dreams don’t blow you off… at least his didn’t. His dreams, her especially, blew him. When dreams blew you off, those were called nightmares, and those sucked. Sucked like life was sucking right now. She had walked in with the rest of her band, greeted everyone but him, her gaze lingering a little too long on Colin, Rhys’ little brother, but then moved on as she kissed cheeks and hugged people.
 He had to adjust his groin, discreetly of course, when she and Saffron hugged and snuggled. Apparently over the past several months Saffron and Lola had become quite the BFF, with Lola staying at Saffron’s place in New York when she had to go in for several shoots and meetings with her record company. Rhys had teased him about getting face timed and seeing both of them in little booty shorts and white tank tops… but he didn’t think they were that close.
And worse, he didn’t think seeing her all snuggly with Saffron would illicit the images rolling through his head. Not that Saffron wasn’t hot, but he just didn’t dig his best friend’s girl like that.  He grabbed a tootsie pop and unwrapped it, sticking the thick ball into his mouth. He watched her move from person to person, but never to him.
What. The. Fuck.
When everyone sat down, she sat at the other end, didn’t even bother to look at him. He went through dinner in a blur, his anger getting to him more and more. What the fuck was going on? He was beginning to feel like he was invisible. Maybe it was a nightmare?
When she got up and went to the bathroom, he followed, after exchanging a meaningful look with Rhys.
“So you’re just not going to say anything to me?” he said as he caught her coming out of the bathroom.
She looked at him and then sighed. “I didn’t want a public thing to happen.”
Public thing?
He cocked his head and scowled. “And what the fuck does that mean?”
She looked him up and down. “I don’t know if I’m ready to say hi like I want to.”
Winter rolled his eyes. “So you can wrap yourself around Saffron, eye Colin up like he’s a steak, which by the way he’s not even eighteen yet, eww,” he ticked off on his fingers, “Yet you can’t even just turn and wave at me?”
Lola shook her head. “It’s not what I wanted. And Colin is going to be very popular…”
“You just didn’t wanna talk to me at all?” he asked, thoroughly confused. She was the one that pushed for the tour, and by all accounts she didn’t have issue with their past. It was what gave him hope.
She moved closer and shook her head. “That’s not it.”
“Then what’s it?” he bit out, his hands clenched at his sides. Gods, only she could infuriate him like this. Fuck she smelled good. All honey and warm clover… no one smelled like Lola.
Her voice lowered. “Do you like my outfit Winter?”
He growled. Fuck yes he liked her outfit. Loved. Wanted it crumpled on the floor of his bedroom. Wanted to peel it from her slowly, kissing every inch of skin he exposed.
She reached for him, her fingers tugging him closer by the belt loops of his jeans. “Good. You’re supposed to. You don’t get anything from me Winter Tulane. No greeting, no, little wave, no explanation. Eat your heart out baby.”
She got closer, her lips just against his, a slight almost imperceptible move of the hoop through the middle of his lip and then she was gone, back towards the party, her ass shaking with a sashay that had blood rushing from every place in his body to his cock. Fuck. What the hell was going on?
“Hey Lo,” he called after her. She gave him the finger and kept walking.
Game on. Game fucking on, he thought as he followed her back into the room. Confusion didn’t even convey how he was feeling about what happened, but holy fuck the signals she was throwing off were so convoluted he didn’t know if he should fist pump for getting her so close to him or brood over her words.
LIKE? Add it to your TBR pile at GOODREADS:
Books before this: Giving Up the Ghost (#1):
Wanna Win something awesome? Well easy peasy!
Add THIS IS FOREVER to your TBR pile on goodreads and you will be entered to win:
A Merch Package: t-shirt, Poster, Pin, Card, Door hanger, tote bag, and Keychain, a 25$ GC to, a Print copy of Giving Up the Ghost with a special short story from Saffron’s past and a Print copy of You Burn Me. Book MUST be ADDED between April 19 and April May 1st. Winner will Be announced on May 4th!


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Trigger warning: I’m going to talk about the bombing. There will be no pictures, if that makes a difference for you.

Today, I got up and went running.

It wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I haven’t been running in weeks, I haven’t been in tiptop shape, and I really overdid it.

But I’m totally grateful.

Last night, after promising myself that I wouldn’t go looking for graphic images of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, I went looking for graphic images of the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. I always do this, whenever there’s a national tragedy. I’m not a ghoul (well, I am a ghoul, but my gleeful celebration of the macabre doesn’t extend beyond gory fiction); I just always find myself imagining in the worst things possible. Then I seek out photos to prove to myself that whatever I’ve imagined is far worse than the reality.

This has never been a successful tactic. Often times, the things I am imagining have a dramatic, Hollywood tone to them. For example, in the aftermath of 9/11, I sought out pictures of the jumpers. Because that was the most horrifying aspect, to me, that fabled rain of bodies the media kept talking about. I went looking for pictures, expecting to see fear and panic on the faces of the people plummeting to their doom. What I saw were grainy photos of tumbling bodies, and some horrific images of pools of blood and torn clothing on the ground. The fact that the reality looked so unreal, that it didn’t fit my Hollywood perception of what a disaster should be like, made it even more difficult to cope.

Yesterday, I vowed I wouldn’t let that happen again, and yet again I couldn’t keep my promise to myself. Those of you who struggle with mental illnesses like depression and obsessive thoughts will understand what I mean when I say I had no choice in the matter; the longer I avoided the news sources, the more graphic and morbid my thoughts became. And even though I knew that looking would not make me feel any better, I did. I found pictures of people covered in blood and dust, bodies laying on the ground, first responders checking pulses. There was blood, too, so much of it that it didn’t seem real.

And I saw a photo of a young man in a long-sleeved t-shirt, being pushed in a wheelchair by three first responders. And the flesh of his calf was gone. It was just gone. The bone was still there, sticking out surreally from the ragged end of his knee. But the injury wasn’t the most shocking thing about that photo. It was his face. He wasn’t screaming. He didn’t look shocked or horrified or even in much pain. He looked like he was grieving. As though the moment that photo was taken, he was just realizing how his life, his body, had been irrevocably changed. That only minutes before, he was standing, or walking, that he had the ability to stand and walk. That only minutes before, he had legs.

I don’t know if he was a runner. It’s hard to tell, from his clothing. Maybe he was a spectator, cheering on a friend. Maybe he was thinking, “Gosh, [friend/relative/partner] is so crazy, I can’t believe anyone would do this to himself,” in the gentle way we non-marathoners think about our marathoning friends. Maybe he had dreams of qualifying one day, himself.

My husband tried to comfort me by reminding me about prosthetics and physical therapy. All I could think about was the time table involved in that. It isn’t like this guy is going to go home tomorrow with a new plastic leg and life will be normal. It’s going to take weeks of surgeries and rehabilitation to walk again. Not to mention the life-long mental devastation of being the victim of an act of terror and forever being branded “that guy with his legs blown off in that photo.”

So, when I got up today, I decided I would run. Not because I could change anything that happened, or because I thought I was doing something supportive or helpful or anything like that. It wasn’t a prayer or “sending energy,” it was my own selfish expression of how grateful I am to have legs. And, again selfishly, I hoped that if I could appreciate the fact that I can still run, I would forget that picture, and that man’s gray, mournful face. That I could actually outrun what I had seen.

I don’t know if that man died. Traumatic amputation is one of those things very Hollywoodized in our minds as a survivable injury. But often, it’s not. That man could be dead now. He could be alive.  I don’t know. But that picture, and the expression on his face, are going to be in my memory forever. I can only imagine how affected the people on the scene were, the kind of images they will try to outrun. For the rest of us, maybe rather than seeking out more about the tragedy, more speculation, more rumor, more graphic images, maybe we should protect ourselves. Be good to ourselves. And never stop appreciating how fragile our lives are, and how quickly everything can change.

“Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.” – Carl Sagan

Recap schedule update

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Hey everybody! My ongoing medical bullshit has sidelined me again, and I’ve been partially bed-bound for four days. I try to not too talk a ton about my super fascinating personal problems, but in case I haven’t mentioned it before (I feel like I mention it constantly), I have Fibromyalgia, a fun syndrom marked by chronic, widespread pain, debilitating fatigue, and roughly 50% of everyone you meet offering you advice on homeopathic remedies that worked for their aunts. It also affects how your brain functions, so basically for the past four days I’ve been sick and stupid, which is an awesome combination that doesn’t make for getting much work done, but I am tearing my facebook games UP. As such, the recap is delayed until I can get out of the grips of this flare up that has knocked me down.

However, in the interest of not just saying, “I’m sick, shit isn’t getting done,” for the forty-billionth time this year, let me offer you a selection of what I feel is my finest blogging work, that you may not have seen before:

So, tl;dr, the recap will, like a beautiful allergy sneeze softly illuminated by the setting sun, happen when it happens, and thanks for your patience.

Let me fix that for you, Mr. Howey.

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Hugh Howey, author of the phenomenally popular book Wool, made a blog post today (were y’all aware that it’s not April 3rd today, but is, in fact, April 12?) that is making the rounds on twitter. And not in a positive way.

The post is titled: The Bitch from WorldCon.

Now, I’m not a big fan of men using the word bitch. I feel that coming from a man, it’s never going to be anything other than a misogynist slur used to denigrate and devalue a woman. Yes, even you, gay men. Stop doing that. So, right off the bat, I thought, “You know, he’s made a misstep here.” But then the post went on. And on. And on. And I got more and more angry. I sat there thinking, “Oh, so you’re FINE with “crazy” people, huh? We’re all so RELIEVED that you like us. Oh, you can tolerate people with austism? Let me help you pin this medal to your chest.” By the time I got to the part where he’s openly mocking the woman’s appearance by comparing her unfavorably to Mayim Bialik (really, you gonna crack on Blossom in front of God and everybody?!), I was ready to hit the comments and rip him a new one.

And then I thought, you know… there’s no point. There are already tons of people commenting about how great it is that he’s refreshingly un-PC (can we just take “PC” as a term out to the woodshed and pull an Old Yeller? Because it’s clearly spreading disease at this point). They can’t be reasoned with, and they’re the only voices that Howey is going to hear.

So I decided instead to use his blog post as a teaching tool for other author/bloggers. Since so many of you are writers or aspiring writers, and I know a bunch of you blog, we can talk about how to avoid his missteps.

For starters, he could have used his WorldCon story as a way to explain what is/isn’t appropriate behavior when approaching authors at cons. I don’t think anyone would disagree that what the woman in his story did was rude. It was. You don’t walk up to someone and say, “Hey, you’re self-published? That’s a totally invalid choice. Let me, a stranger, tell you how to run your career.” It’s super rude. As a self-pubbed author who has done extraordinarily well in his career, Howey has a platform he could use to give good PR to self-published authors everywhere. While self-publishing is gaining ground, there are still hold-outs who feel it’s unprofessional and kind of a joke. Rather than proving them right with a blog post about how that “bitch” at Worldcon can “suck it,” he could have made a post calling out that kind of behavior and how wrong it is for people to disrespect self-pubbed authors. Not because some far-off day a self-pubbed author might win an award and tell all those rude haters to suck it, but because making assumptions about a stranger’s success or lack thereof is super duper shitty.

Second, he could have just told the story without referring to the woman as a bitch, insinuating that she’s ugly, and comparing her to a woman on tv he finds unattractive. If this woman at the con had been conventionally beautiful, if she had been a sexy cosplayer, would he have not found her behavior so offensive? What if she had been a he? Furthermore, why the need to include that his wife thinks it would have been okay for him to “slap the bitch?” Leaving any of this out wouldn’t have hurt his point in any way: that it’s shitty for strangers to make assumptions and criticize your life when they don’t even know who you are. In fact, I think a lot of people would have valued his point a lot more if it hadn’t been obscured by his vitriolic, gender-specific hatred.

Third, dude, why the bizarre pre-apologies to “crazy” people and people with autism? Especially if in the next sentence he was just going to go on and stereotype them by talking about bad skin, comic books, and D&D? What did that have to do with anything in the story? Nothing. And I know that his characterization of the mentally ill and non-neurotypical turned off at least one potential reader today.

Look, I understand the desire to get the big movie scene comeuppance. I have revenge fantasies about at least 108% of people in writing business. “Just wait until x happens, I’ll show her!” But I recognize that these fantasies are fruitless and destructive, and they’re not helping me get anywhere.

Case in point: I was at a con last year. At cons, my fashion sense falls somewhere between “shut in” and “mall goth.” I was leaning toward the latter at the first icebreaker of the week. Standing in line behind me and my friends was an author and an editor from a New York publisher. They looked smart. They were dressed professionally. Because we were in line a while, I introduced myself (because that’s what I’m there for, right?), mentioned that I was an author, too, and they asked me about my books, where I had been published before, etc. The moment our conversation ended and I turned around, I caught a glimpse in the mirror beside us of the author leaning over to the editor to say something in her ear. The editor responded, “No, I don’t think she is, either,” and they smirked to themselves. Basically, they were looking at me and saying, “I don’t think she’s really an author.”

Was my first reaction super kind and not at all full of gendered insults? I’m not even going to try to lie. The first word in my head was, “Bitch.”

Later that week, I did win an award. But when I got up to accept it, I didn’t think to myself, “Ha, I’m showing that bitch.” It was, “Oh. my. god. My readers are the fucking best. I can’t believe they turned out and voted for me. I can’t believe I won this. Shit. I didn’t write a speech. Maybe I should have taken Stella’s email about writing a speech more seriously. I hope I don’t swear. I really hope I don’t swear.” I got up, I swore, I was elated, I sat down.

But you know what? If I had gotten up there and thought, “SUCK IT, BITCH!” that would have robbed me of the entire experience. All that joy would have just been gone. Because revenge isn’t satisfying. Showing people up just makes you feel more mean, and it makes your accomplishments all about them. That’s no fun.

I think about that a lot when people say, “When your book is bigger than 50 Shades you can tell E.L. James to suck it,” or whatever. Holy shit, guys. If I ever wrote a book that got bigger than 50 Shades, the last thing I’d want to waste my time on would be running around trying to make sure everyone I didn’t like (especially people I’ve never met in person and who have never personally wronged me) knew I felt that I was better than them.

And that’s how Howey’s post came off. “Look at me, I’m better than this ugly, possibly mentally ill, probably autistic (because autistic people act like that, amiright?!) bitch that my wife wanted to slap! I am validated!”

Mr. Howey. You were already validated by being a really good writer. By the success you have, and the support of your readers. There will always be someone who wants to make themselves feel important by acting like they’re “in the know.” There will always be that guy at the book signing who asks you how long it took to get your book published, and then follows up that question with, “But what if it’s good, how long does it take then?” There are going to be people who offer their really good ideas to you, who want to tell you about this awesome new way to publicize your book, or who loftily offers to see if they can maybe get your story into their friend’s zine “if there’s space.” But their behavior doesn’t take away from your success. It’s a sign of your success. Ignore it. Roll with it. Call them out if you want, because that woman needed someone to say, “Hey, it’s not cool to bash self-publishing in front of a self-published author.”

But don’t write a blog post calling her a bitch, calling her ugly, calling fucking BLOSSOM RUSSO ugly (she is the voice of a generation, goddamnit!) and making assumptions of your own about the importance of an intern experience. You alienated a lot of readers today. You alienated women, crazy people, autistic people, Canadians, Blossom fans, interns… all those people probably would have bought and enjoyed your book. You didn’t “show” the bitch at WorldCon anything, but you sure showed your ass to a lot of people who are now regretting buying your book. What did you gain from that? A momentary sense of mean satisfaction you could have easily gotten from just having this conversation in private with friends who won’t ask you to explain your “tone.”

And P.S., this:

is the only man I will tolerate “suck it, bitch,” from, thank you very much.

Firmoo Sunglasses Review or “How to review sunglasses when the sun has apparently died.”

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Several weeks ago, I was contacted by to try out a pair of sunglasses and review them. I said okay, they sent me the glasses and…

Every. Single. Day. Since.

So, how does one review sunglasses when the Michigan weather is being so very Michigan-y?
You have to get creative.

What am I getting for my money?
When you order glasses from, they come with a lot of accessories:
The glasses came in the blue plastic case, and they really put a lot of bubble wrap in there to keep them safe. So, if you’re wondering, “Hey, if I order glasses from these people, will they come to me as expensive shards?” the answer is no. They will get to you in one piece. They will also come with a cool black drawstring pouch, a chamois thinger for cleaning, and a really awesome eyeglass screwdriver and extra screws.
And of course, you also get some nice glasses.
So, how do they look?

Pretty freakin’ sweet is how they look.
Pretty. Freakin’. Sweet.
How do they work?
Well, since I’ve angered the gods and the dark one has devoured the sun, I’ve only really been able to test them out on the computer screen. But that’s also the place I use sunglasses the most, so six of one, half-dozen of the other, I guess. Due to my numerous and sexy medical problems, I have real issues with my eyes that make it difficult to stare into a bright screen all day. So, it’s a good thing my job requires me to stare into a bright screen all day. What I really like about these particular sunglasses is that they’re not tinted brown. They have a blue gradient tint that slowly becomes clear toward the bottom. I found that this greatly reduced the strain on my eyes. I was protected from the glare on the screen, but I wasn’t straining to see through a muddy brown tint. I’ll probably use this pair all the time now.
TL;DR review: things are notably dimmer.
Does this place have a lot of different styles? I’m kind of picky.

I was surprised at the number of styles they had, and that each style had a number of color options. At first, I started looking at the site, going, “None of these are my style,” but then I noticed you could change the color options on pretty much every pair. I bet you can find a pair that you like.
Also, they have separated out their “nerd” glasses into their own category, so you can find the nerdiest possibly glasses, if that’s what you’re going for. And if you’re reading this blog, that’s probably what you’re going for.
What’s the quality when compared to other sunglasses at the same price?

The glasses they sent me retail for $49 USD. They are plastic with metal ornaments. The plastic is light, so it’s super comfortable, but it doesn’t feel chintzy or brittle. The lenses aren’t loose and they don’t creak or pop when you lightly flex them. Compared to a pair of aluminum framed ones I have from another brand for about the same price, these are far superior in terms of comfort and durability. I gave them to my four year old daughter to play with for a day and they lived to tell the tale, so that, right there, tells you it’s a quality product.
But how will they look on my dog?

They’ll look okay, but he’ll turn into a total diva and be like, “No pictures!”
Will they fit on a papier-mache Cyberman head?
No. No, they will not.
Is there a way to remove the horrible, sun swallowing curse?

Yes, but the ritual is surprisingly complicated. It helps to know a high priestess or a lvl 20+ shaman.*
*Note: I do not hold responsible for our lack of sun.
Last, but perhaps the most important question you probably have:
Will they make my potted plants look amazing?
Absolutely, but don’t take my word for it. Check out these before and after pictures:
Before: Hot Topic sunglasses I got for two-dollars on clearance:

 After: Gorgeous, high-quality sunglasses:

Doesn’t the second picture really say it all? Look how stylish and sophisticated the plant looks wearing the glasses.
So… you’re saying I should give this company a shot?

I would say yeah, if you’re in the market for glasses or sunglasses, definitely check out If you wear prescription eyeglasses, they have a great deal running where you can get your first pair free (you just pay shipping and handling) if you go to this link. They keep you updated through every step of the ordering/shipping process, and ordering was super easy. They also have a “virtual try-on” area on the site, but I didn’t try that. If anyone does, let me know how it goes.
Disclaimer:  I received the product reviewed above for free, in exchange for an honest review. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Big Damn Buffy Rewatch s01e07, “Angel”

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In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will complain nonstop about the cramps she’s having. Jesus, when will this whole reproductive thing end?! She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:

  1. Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
  2. Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
  3. Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
  4. Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
  5. Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
  6. The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
  7. All the monsters look like wieners.
  8. If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
  9. Angel is a dick.
  10. Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
  11. Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
  12. Some of this shit is racist as fuck.

WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it.

Look, episode, right off the bat, I don’t like you. You know why? Because you go, “Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and it’s NOT GILES SAYING IT. If you’re like me, dear reader, and you’ve watched the entirety of this show over and over again to the point that your family has considered staging an intervention, then you’ll know that on most episodes, the voice over line, “Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” is delivered by Anthony Head.

You know how I feel about Mr. Head.

So, obviously random voice over guy must go. PISTOLS AT DAWN, RANDOM VOICE OVER GUY!

So anyway, after the “she alone will stand against the vampires” part, we see the Anointed One throwing rocks into a sewer hole for fun. Like you do when you’re a newly made vampire in the body of a child, forced to live in a subterranean, possibly Hellmouth prison with a creepy old vampire who’s got a bad case of bat face. Darla enters, and The Master informs her of another vampire who’s died at the hands of the Slayer, despite being strong and careful. He asks the Anointed One (whose name, we learn, is Colin) what he thinks they should do, and his answer is, “Annihilate her.” Ah, the simple wisdom of a child.

After this, he and The Master go out to the quarry to poke a dead body with a stick.

Darla asks The Master to let her kill Buffy. Oh, you mean you want to kill the chick you straight up ran from last time you fought? Yeah, you really proved yourself, go get your second chance. But rather than rub her nose in that horrible failure, The Master cites her “personal stakes” in the death of the Slayer as a reason to send The Three instead.

Cut to the very, very naughty act of smoking a cigarette. Smoking cigarettes, by the by, will become shorthand for evil many times in this series. We see a mean-looking skull zippo, the end of a ciggie, and the camera pans out for a classic Buffy misdirect, in which three big, tough dudes, standing around and smoking (OMG THEY’RE THE THREE, RIGHT?) scatter at the sight of three bigger, tougher dudes with vamp faces and various pieces of armor on.

You thought it was these guys…

But it was really these guys! Gotcha!

At The Bronze, Cordelia is seen frantically stomping a cockroach, which she then cheerfully hands over to the bartender in payment for a drink. Then we see the sign over the bar, which declares it’s a fumigation party, and anyone who finds a roach gets a free drink.

I have a few problems with this promotion. I’m pretty sure the health inspector would, as well.

More troubling, however, is that Cordelia is picking up a half-smashed, still somewhat wriggling, cockroach. And she’s smiling about it. As the series go on, we learn that Cordelia is, if not the richest, at least one of the richest kids at Sunnydale. She can afford to buy a damn drink. We also learn that she’s terrified of anything even marginally gross. So I just don’t think it’s an in-character move for her to handle a squished bug for a drink she could have easily paid for on her own.

At another table, Willow is explaining the annual fumigation party tradition to Buffy, who is clearly not listening. When Willow calls her on it, Buffy admits she was spacing out and ignoring her because she was thinking about the lack of a romantic partner in her life. Willow suggests that Angel could be that romantic partner, but Buffy rejects the idea. She likes Angel, but he only shows up to warn her about grave danger, and she doesn’t see that as a lot of potential for romance times. Buffy says that when Angel is around, it’s like all the lights dim, and Willow understands what she means, because she still has it super bad for Xander.

Speaking of Xander, what’s he up to? Dancing very badly up on a girl who is clearly not interested in him. Only her giant boyfriend can scare him off, and scare him he does. Xander tries to bad-dance casually away and ends up colliding with Cordelia. They have this exchange:

Cordelia: “Ouch! Please get your extreme oafishness off my two-hundred dollar shoes!”

Xander “I’m sorry, I was just -“

Cordelia: “Getting off the dance floor before Annie Vega’s boyfriend squashes you like a bug?”

Xander: “Oh, so you noticed.”

Cordelia: “Uh-huh.”

 Xander: “Yeah, thanks for being so understanding.”

Cordelia: “Sure.”

Xander: “You know, hey, I don’t know what everyone’s talking about. That outfit doesn’t make you look like a hooker.”

The two-hundred dollar shoes line backs up my earlier assertion that Cordelia wouldn’t stomp a roach, but there’s some more important to cover here. Throughout the first and for part of the second season, Xander treats Cordelia like total shit. The audience is supposed to believe that it’s because Cordelia isn’t nice, and she deserves this treatment because she’s a bully. And yes, she does bully people. When we see Cordelia bully people, her insecurity is stemming from a need to establish herself as the economic better of her classmates (for example, when she belittles Willow about her clothes coming from Sears). That’s not okay, it’s still bullying, but something about the angle Xander is coming from seems squickier to me.

Xander knows Cordelia is out of his league, in terms of dating and sex. He’s never going to “get” her. Willow and Buffy, however, he feels he might have a shot with them. So, he’s nice to them. Immediately after insulting Cordelia, he joins Buffy and Willow and makes another crack about Cordelia. This is after being brutally rebuffed by two other girls on the dance floor. He can’t have those girls, he’ll settle for the company of these girls. Then, he makes another crack about Cordelia. He seems to view women only in terms of what they can do for him. “Will this girl have sex with me? If yes, be nice to her. If not, call her a hooker.” Classic. Nice. Guy. (5)

Buffy decides her bad mood is catching, and rather than ruin her friends’ evening, she’s going to go home. Xander practically begs her not to go, and he’s clearly not happy to be left with Willow, the one girl who actually is interest in him. But Willow isn’t good enough, because she’s Willow. Ever notice how, instead of sitting her down and saying, “Hey, Willow, it’s obvious you’ve got this crush on me, but we’re never going to happen,” Xander lets it go on and on, giving her false hope and such? (5)

As Buffy leaves, we see Angel just lurking behind the stairs at The Bronze. So… has he been listening to their conversation this whole time?

Pictured: Lurky McLurkerson
Buffy senses someone is watching her, but when she turns around, Angel is gone. She starts walking home, and realizes that a vampire is nearby. Exasperated, she tells the unseen vamp that it’s late and she wants to go home, and the vampire drops to the pavement behind her. She’s about to quickly dispatch him when two others grab her, and she’s trapped by The Three right as the opening credits roll.
Back from the opening, Buffy is about to be killed The Three, when Angel shows up and starts fighting them. Keeping in mind that the Slayer, the chosen one who is a walking weapon, couldn’t fight these guys off, but Angel can, how did she not get that he was a vampire? Like, right off the bat? Angel beats up two of the vamps while Buffy struggles futilely in the grasp of the third, shouting helpful things like, “look out!” and basically becoming the spiritual embodiment of Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. That is to say, totally worthless. Once a man shows up to fight for her, Buffy becomes set dressing so we can watch that man whomp on some vampires. Say, who wrote this episode, anyway?
David Greenwalt. A dude wrote this episode. I am sure surprised. (I’m not, and #6).
Buffy breaks free of the vamp holding her, and they manage to subdue – but not kill – all three before Buffy shouts that they should run. With The Three in hot pursuit, Buffy and Angel run to her house, where she screams at him to get inside before once again struggling to close a door on a vampire trying to get in.
Why is this always so hard for her? Are doors like Slayer kryptonite or something?

Once the door is shut, Angel tells Buffy they’re safe; a vampire can’t come into a house unless he’s invited. Okay… so why was that one trying to get through the door? And why was it so important to have the door closed? Buffy says she’s heard that before, but she’s never tested the theory, and I get where she’s coming from, but she knows how strong vampires are. Did she really think her front door was going to keep them out if they could come in?
Angel got injured in the fight, so of course he has to take his shirt off. Because Buffy is more or less the foundation for every single YA novel in the recent YA boom:
Exhibit A: Tattooed bad boy.

Exhibit B: Longing look.

Buffy tends to his sexy, shirtless wounds- because as I said before, this is a YA- and Angel confesses to “maybe” liking her. As they flirt, Buffy hears the front door. Her mom is home, and Buffy cuts her off at the pass, suggesting that since Joyce looks so tired she should go straight to bed and Buffy will bring her some tea. Joyce isn’t falling for it, and then she sees Angel. Buffy tries to pass him off as a college student tutoring her in history, but Joyce shuts it D-O-W-N, saying it’s too late at night for tutoring. Good job, Joyce. Credit where it’s due. She tells Buffy she’s going to go to bed, and the implication is pretty clear that Buffy is expected to get this guy out of the house. Joyce goes upstairs and we see Buffy loudly saying good night to Angel and shutting the door… but of course he’s still there.
Angel can’t go outside because The Three could be waiting for him, so Buffy’s plan is to hide him in her bedroom. He protests, because he doesn’t want to get her into trouble, but when she points out that he could be murdered by vampires, it’s not like he can be all, “No, it’s cool, I’m a vampire, too.”
Wait a minute. While Buffy was tending his wound, didn’t she notice that he was like, kind of room temperature?
Anyway, Buffy tells Angel to take the bed because he’s wounded, but he’s gallant and says he’ll take the floor. Then he looks out the window while Buffy changes for bed. He does not look into a mirror like Xander did, because he’s not a jerk. While Buffy gets into her pjs, they have this little convo:

Buffy: “You know, I’m the chosen one. It’s my job to fight guys like that. What’s your excuse?” 

Angel: “Somebody has to.”

Buffy: “What does your family think of your career choice?”

Angel: “They’re dead.”

Buffy: “Was it vampires?”

Angel: “It was.”

So Buffy gets it into her head that Angel fights vampires to avenge his family. Angel tells Buffy she’s pretty even when she’s going to sleep, and they settle in for what is probably a long, sexually frustrating night. And let me tell you something… when I was a teenager, this scene would have been all bells and whistles for me. It would have been emotional porn.
The next day, Buffy, Willow, and Xander are in the library, and Xander is freaking out about Angel spending the night in Buffy’s room. Willow wants to know if Angel tried anything, and then both girls get all swoony over the fact that Angel didn’t try anything. He didn’t try to rape you in the night? Ah, romance. Xander sees nothing but nefarious intent in Angel’s actions, presumably because if it had been him sleeping on Buffy’s floor, he would have totally tried something. But there’s no time to talk about that, because Giles is here, he has a book, and he’s super grumpy about Angel spending the night with Buffy, as well (2). He wants to focus on the vamps who tried to kill her. He tells the kids about The Three, and suggests that The Master is stepping up his game, so they all should, as well. Xander says Buffy can stay at his house for safety reasons (5) and Giles immediately goes Team Angel.
Let’s not be too hasty, only competition for Buffy that I have according to the parameters I created for Slayer dating.

Take note, everybody, because it’s the last time Giles will be Team Angel ever again.
Giles tells them that now that The Three have failed, they will “offer up their lives” to make things right with The Master. So… why does Buffy need to step up training again (other than as an excuse to spend more time with Giles and not Angel or Xander)? If this is the worst The Master can throw at her, and they’re all going to die… that’s a good thing, right?
We cut to The Master’s den of gloom and doom, where The Three are doing exactly as Giles predicted. They offer up their lives, and The Master tells the Anointed One to pay attention, because “with power comes responsibility.” Which isn’t from Spiderman, by the way, it’s from the fucking Gospel of Luke: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” So, people need to stop attributing that quote to Stan Lee and Uncle Ben. Anyway, The Master tells the Anointed One that taking a vampire life is a serious thing, and killing them will bring him little joy. Then he walks away, and Darla takes great joy in killing them.

So, here’s the thing. You have an elite, ancient killing force so feared that people have written about them in musty old books. They offer their lives if they’ve fucked up, and they’re still alive, so they must be pretty good. WHY KILL THEM? Over one mistake? If they had the best chance of killing Buffy, why not let them have another crack? Because once they’re gone, you’re down to your second string, and they haven’t been doing that great, either. This show doesn’t always make sense.
Meanwhile, back at Sunnydale:
Because “Closed for kickboxing” raised too many questions.

And we finally get to see what Giles has locked up in that cage:
You would not believe the fines if you don’t return this shit on time.

Buffy is all about the crossbow. Like, all about it. She asks Giles what she can shoot with it, and he takes it away, because apparently some people get all nervous around a teenage girl with a crossbow and an itchy trigger finger:

Giles: “You must first become proficient with the basic tools of combat. Let’s begin with the quarterstaff. Which will, incidentally, require countless hours of vigorous training. I speak from experience.”

We’ve talked in the past about how Giles will sometimes say or do things that hint that he’s somehow secretly badass, but none of the other characters pick up on all these weird skills. This is a prime example. He just told Buffy he’s had countless hours of vigorous training with a quarterstaff. This is not the experience of most people.

Buffy makes fun of Giles for suggesting such an archaic weapon, while Giles puts on a ton of safety gear but doesn’t take off his glasses. Do we ever see him actually break his glasses during the run of the show? It seems like that should be happening once a week, minimum. He tells Buffy to put on protective pads, and she laughs it off and says she won’t need them to fight him. Giles is pretty confident that he’s going to kick her ass, but things don’t go as planned. She straight up brutalizes him, and he winds up on the floor.

It’s like he missed the day of Watcher training where they said, “Hey, these chicks are going to be really strong.”

Buffy gets home and Angel is still in her room, lurking in the shadows. She gives him some dinner she brought in a ziplock bag (why didn’t she just bring a plate? Do they not have those downstairs in the kitchen?), and asks him what he did all day. When he says he did some reading, Buffy freaks out and assumes he’s read her diary. She immediately begins to spill all her darkest secrets in an attempt to deny them. Angel interrupts her and tells her that her mother moved her diary when she came in to straighten up (he was hiding in the closet) and he never read it. He tells her that he can’t be around her, because all he’s thinking about when he’s with her is how much he wants to kiss her. You know what, let’s put that in quotes. He wants to “kiss” her. I firmly believe that Buffy The Vampire Slayer is responsible for current YA tropes, and everyone knows that in a YA, a kiss is the stand-in for sex. Kissing in YAs is a big, big deal.
Angel tells Buffy that he’s older than her, so they can’t be a thing, and Buffy asks him how much older he is. And then they kiss.
They kiss a lot.

Things are getting heavy when Angel suddenly turns away from her. Buffy asks him what’s wrong, and…
This is what’s wrong.
And Buffy takes it… 
Not well. Not well at all.
While Buffy screams her head off, Angel dives out the window. Joyce comes running to ask Buffy what happened, and Buffy says she was scared by a shadow.
After the commercial break, Buffy fills Willow, Xander, and Giles in on Angel’s vampireness, and laments the fact that the guy she liked is really a vampire:

Buffy: “Can a vampire ever be a good person? Couldn’t it happen?”

Giles: “A vampire isn’t a person at all. It may have the movements, the memories, even the personality of the person that it took over, but it’s still a demon at the core. There’s no halfway.

Willow: “So, that’d be a ‘no,’ huh?”

While his friend is in her time of need, Xander is of course, super supportive.

Just kidding, he tells Buffy she should kill Angel, and he does so almost gleefully. Buffy’s broken heart isn’t a big deal to him, just the promise of competition removal. (5)

Giles somewhat reluctantly backs Xander up on this. Xander says that since Buffy obviously doesn’t love the guy, it’s no big deal, and when Buffy doesn’t have an answer, Xander shouts, “You’re in love with a vampire?!” super loud. Behind them, Cordelia exclaims “What?” in total disgust, but she’s not reacting to their conversation. She’s reacting to the fact that another girl is wearing the same dress she is, and hers is supposed to be one-of-a-kind. She chases the other girl down, shrieking about knock offs and free trade agreements. At least Buffy can laugh about it.

Angel heads home to his apartment, which is surprisingly nice compared to the shitty hallway he enters from, He finds Darla waiting for him. He asks her what’s up with the school girl outfit, she asks him what’s up with the school girls.


It’s clear from the conversation that Angel and Darla know each other. They apparently got down in Budapest during an earthquake, killing people and having a good time. Darla isn’t into his nice guy act, and tries to remind him, using every vampire cliche in the book, that he really wants to eat people and be evil. Darla suggests he should tell Buffy about “the curse,” but that if Buffy still doesn’t dig him after finding out he’s cursed (I know that’s what I look for in a dude, amiright, ladies?) that she’ll be waiting for him.
Back at the library, everyone is silently researching until Giles finds something of note and startles them all. He’s reading old Watcher diaries- which leads Willow to talk about how romantic it was that Angel didn’t read Buffy’s diary- and he found mention of Angelus. He asks Buffy if Angel has a tattoo on his back, and Xander freaks out that Buffy has seen him “naked.” Giles tells them that Angel is two-hundred and forty years old, which is not that old for a vampire. He also says that about eighty years ago, Angel left Europe for America, and there’s no record of him hunting humans since. Willow cites this as evidence of Angel being a good vampire, but Giles says that just because there isn’t a record, doesn’t mean Angel isn’t killing. He tells Buffy that before coming to America, Angel was like every other vampire, “a vicious, violent animal.” And Buffy makes a really sad face:
She is so pretty I could die.

Darla begs The Master to let her kill Buffy. She wants to get Angel to kill Buffy and join their little gang again. The Master says he misses Angel, because he was the most evil vampire out of all of them, and he approves of Darla’s plan to bring him back into the “family.”
I don’t want to get a Christmas card from that family. I bet the picture would be disturbing.
In the library, Willow is trying to get Buffy to study history, but all Buffy can think about is how Angel would have already been over a hundred years old during the Civil War. Willow asks if they’re going to study history or talk about boys. You can guess which one they pick. Willow tells Buffy she has this fantasy of Xander grabbing her and kissing her (“kissing”) and Buffy tells her that she has to speak up about her feelings. Then they start talking about Angel again, and we see Darla listening to the conversation as Buffy wrestles with the decision to kill Angel. When Buffy says she’ll try to work on history for another half-hour, Darla vanishes.
At home, Joyce is enjoying a cup of tea in her dark and silent house when she hears a noise.

Guess who!

When Darla explains that she’s a friend of Buffy’s, Joyce invites her right in. I’m a little confused as to how Joyce doesn’t remember that her daughter doesn’t go to Catholic school, but whatever. She lets Darla in, school uniform and all. Angel is outside the house, debating whether or not to knock, when he hears Joyce scream. He bursts into the house to find Darla mid-snack, and she pushes the now unconscious Joyce at him. He catches her, wrestling with the temptation of human blood, when Buffy comes home.
This is what she sees:
It’s not what it looks like, I swear.
And after the break, this is what we see:
The first of many times that window needs to be replaced.

Buffy warns Angel that if he comes near them again, she’ll kill him. But she clearly can’t do it right then.
Buffy calls for an ambulance to 1630 Ravello drive, so now we know her address. I love knowing fictional characters’ addresses, so this is really a treat for me. If you haven’t seen the entire series, I won’t spoiler anything, but those of you who have watched the entire series, check out this pose:
Just leaving this here a minute…

Xander and Willow enter through the kitchen door, and Buffy tells them that Angel did this to her mother. Cut to the hospital, where Giles is rushing to Joyce’s bedside, despite never having met her before. Joyce is in the middle of telling Buffy the last thing she remembers- that Buffy’s “friend” came over- and that the doctors told her she slipped and fell on a barbecue fork. Which Joyce finds odd, because they don’t have a barbecue fork. Giles comes in with absolutely no cover story for being there at all. He just explains that he came to wish her a speedy recovery, and Joyce, rather than being like, “Buffy, why is your librarian here?” decides this is proof that Sunnydale is a good school full of caring teachers. Either #8 is catching, or Joyce is absolutely stuffed to the gills with pain meds. 
In the hallway, Buffy blames herself for inviting Angel into her house. Though Giles, Willow, and Xander all try to argue that she can’t change her feelings for Angel by killing him, Buffy crossbows up to take him on. At Angel’s place, Darla is taunting him, telling him that the Slayer is out hunting him and he’s super stupid for thinking she could ever love him. She tries to convince him to go out and kill the Slayer, and it looks like it’s working.
Buffy is outside The Bronze when she hears a noise and starts climbing up to the roof. Back at the hospital, Giles is sitting with Joyce, who tells him that Buffy talks about him all the time. Giles tells Joyce that Buffy has made “quite an impression” on him, as well, and Joyce MUST be drugged, because hello, your daughter is so close to this random adult male you’ve never met that he feels comfortable just showing up at the hospital to offer support. Joyce asks him about Buffy’s bad track record with studying history, and then she mentions Darla, the friend who came over before the Great BBQ Fork Massacre of ’96. Giles realizes that Angel wasn’t the one who attacked Joyce… and Buffy is out there trying to kill him right now. He rounds up the gang and they head off to try and stop her.
Now, people who have seen the series before… how does this contrast to what Xander does at the end of season two? Yeah, unfavorably, is my thought. Giles wants to prevent Buffy from killing Angel because he knows it’s going to hurt her, emotionally. End of season two Xander? Yeah. Fuck that guy.
Buffy enters The Bronze, even though it’s closed for fumigation. OMG, Buffy, do you even know what poison is? You don’t want to be in there! Once, when I was little, I was at a neighbor’s house and they bug bombed their house while everyone was still inside it. Seriously, I was coughing and dying and they were all like, “What? It’s not that bad.” Probably because they’d done it a billion times before and they were all immune to poisonous gas. But whatever. That place is full of bug poison, don’t go in it.
Angel confronts Buffy and tells her to “get it done,” long before “Git ‘er done!” was a thing, but now all I can think of is Larry the Cable Guy. They fight, and Buffy pulls the crossbow on him as we fade to commercial. Luckily, we’re in the same place after the fade out, with Angel snarling at Buffy while she debates whether or not to shoot him. His face morphs back to looking human, and Buffy shoots the wall instead. She asks Angel if he didn’t attack her when he had the chance because he was playing some sick kind of game. Angel tells Buffy that he killed his own family and all of his friends, that he enjoyed killing until he fed on a gypsy girl whose clan restored his soul as punishment. He’s trying hard to convince Buffy that he’s an evil guy who deserves to be killed, go so far as to tell her that he wanted to kill her. She offers him her neck, and when he can’t take the initiative and bite her, she knows he’s full of hot air. He can’t kill her, because he really is a “good” vampire.
It’s cool that they come to this realization and all, but then Darla comes in and ruins the moment, talking about how the saddest thing in the world is to love someone who used to love you. It’s pretty obvious that she’s talking about Angel. Faced with competition for Angel’s affection, Buffy attacks Darla’s looks, fashion sense, and age, because as a female character, these are the biggest problems with Darla. Not, you know, that she’s an evil vampire who kills people (6). 
Darla gives a great breakup speech to totally demoralize Angel (and revealing that they were not only lovers for generations, but she was the one who made him a vampire) before telling him that he’s going to watch Buffy die. And then Darla whips out the one thing none of the other Slayer-hunting vampires have tried so far:
Duh, right?

Angel gets shot and Buffy dodges bullets, while outside Xander, Willow and Giles hear the shots and head inside to help. Buffy gets a bolt off the crossbow, but she hits Darla in the stomach and not the heart. Also, Darla apparently has a limitless supply of bullets in her guns because she shoots everything like a thousand times and never reloads. Willow yells to Buffy that Angel didn’t attack her mom, and Giles makes noise to try and distract Darla, but ultimately it’s Angel who steps in and stakes Darla to save them all.
Buffy realizes what a huge sacrifice it is that Angel just killed the vampire who made him, but he leaves without a word.
In his hidey hole, The Master is freaking the fuck out over losing Darla. The Anointed One tells him that Darla was weak, and he should forget about her. For a kid, the Anointed One gives a pretty good pep talk.
Walk it off, buddy!
The Bronze is open for its post-fumigation party, and Buffy tells Xander and Willow that she hasn’t heard from Angel yet. Good news, Buffy! He’s right over there. Willow and Xander have a seat while Buffy goes over to Angel. They talk about how there’s no way they can be together, because Angel is 224 years older than her. But they end up sucking face anyway, while Xander ignores them and Willow watches them with the enthusiasm of a soccer fan at the World Cup.
I’m not sure how they divide up the points here, but I think they’re both winning.

Buffy tells him she’ll see him around, and she leaves. The camera pans down to reveal that her necklace has burned him:
Love hurts.

And that’s the end of the episode. I wasn’t kidding when I said I think that this show, this episode in particular, set the genre rules for the YA boom in the 00’s. While the big vampire reveal in this ep has a lot in common with L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries (another trend setter for modern YA), it takes it once step further in that the heroine not only rejects the idea of dating a vampire, but decides to kill the fuck out of him to solve her dating problem. This is a much better reaction, IMO, than when Bella realizes Edward is a vampire in Twilight. Anyway, if you’re currently writing a paranormal YA, you should definitely watch this episode as research.
Also, as much as I will harp on Angel being a total dick (because I believe with all my heart that he really is super dickish), this episode does give me the warm fuzzies. Angel loves Buffy enough that he was willing to kill the vampire who made him just to protect her… even though he knows they can never be together, anyway. 
Contented siiiiiiiigh.

Stuff that has been going on in my house, in no particular order.

Posted in Uncategorized

  • Two nights ago, when I stumbled wearily to bed, I used the last of the toilet paper in the upstairs bathroom. Because I am a loving wife, I used my lipstick to make a note on the mirror, to warn my husband of the situation: “TP BEFORE U POO.” This morning, husband I found the message neatly corrected, in a different shade of lipstick, in our eleven year old’s handwriting: “TP AFTER YOU POO.”
  • Firmoo, an online eyeglass store, contacted me about reviewing a pair of their sunglasses. I accepted, received the glasses, and… we haven’t had even a little bit of sun since.
  • Yesterday, D-Rock, Mr. Jen, and I made the biggest Secret Breakfast yet. Pancakes, bacon, candied bacon, chorizo breakfast burritos, chicken fried steak and gravy, hash browns, scrambled eggs, and orange juice hand-squeezed by D-Rock. And we ate it up before the kids came home from church. Behold the insanity:
  • D-Rock spat in my eye.

New Buffy recap will be up tomorrow. In the meantime… TP after u poo.

50 Shades Freed recap chapter 12, or “How’s your Aspen?”

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My tweep Purva alerted me to this really dumb slide show. Let’s all suffer together, shall we? I think the most frustrating one was the cupcake one. Since when do cupcakes need a fucking backstory to enjoy them? Also, who the fuck wants to eat a pile of fondant as big as those decorations were? And they’re sex themed cupcakes. The only way that’s okay is if there is some kind of gooey, salty filling in them. That’s the only way I’m on board.

Tweep Anna sent me this link to David Bunce’s review of 50 Shades of Grey. It’s definitely worth a read.

Okay. Let’s get this over with.

LOL, remember when recaps used to start with, “On to the recap!”? All enthusiastic and shit because my soul wasn’t irreparably withered? Just for reference, when I started reading these books I was a church-goer. Now I’m an atheist. I’m not saying they’ve destroyed my faith in God all on their own, I’m just suggesting they may have been a contributing factor.

When we last left them, Chedward had just told Ana that he was born in Detroit, and it is apparently a mind-blower:

“I though you were born here in Seattle,” I murmur. My mind races. What does this have to do with Jack?

I don’t know, maybe your crackerjack narrative will tell us at some point. You know, after you murmur and muse about it for seven or eight chapters, and then the big reveal ends up being something incredibly stupid. But yeah, no reveal in this chapter.

Since it’s been two weeks, I’m going to remind you guys that at this point, he’s done orgasm denial that caused her to safe word and she broke down crying. He’s yet to ask her if she’s okay or if she needs anything, and we’re now talking about his traumatic childhood and the conversation is all about him.

This is the face I’m making right now.

Christian explains that he and Elliot were both adopted in Detroit, but Grace wanted to leave, to be on the west coast and away from “the urban sprawl.” Which is pretty rich, considering Seattle’s geographical size is about half a square mile less than Detroit’s. Ana asks Christian how he knew Jack Hyde was from Detroit:

“I ran a background check when you went to work for him.”

You know, like any non-psycho boyfriend does.

Of course he did. “Do you have a manila file on him, too?” I smirk.

Christian’s mouth twists as he hides his amusement. “I think it’s pale blue.”

I’m glad they can joke about Christian’s repeated and obsessive invasions of privacy against people in his life and people who are only marginally connect to people in his life.

Ana asks what’s in Jack Hyde’s file, and Christian is all, “‘You really want to know?'” like it’s going to shock Ana so badly he needs to protect her fragile female brain from the terrible reality of who Jack Hyde is. When Ana asks how bad it is, Christian immediately reminds her of his horrible childhood:

“I’ve known worse,” he whispers.

No! Is he referring to himself?


I didn’t mean for TLJ to become a thing, but it seems like this is the recap where he becomes a thing.

Rather than just telling Ana what’s in the fucking file,
“What’s in the fiiiiile?”

they talk some more about his horrible childhood and how he’s like, clearly 100% over it:

Christian stiffens. “I wasn’t talking about me. I don’t want your pity, Anastasia. That part of my life is done. Gone.”

“Except for when I need to manipulate you into doing something or staying with me when I’ve treated you like shit,” he definitely did not say next. “So let’s never talk about it, because if you think I’ve gotten over it, I won’t be able to use it as a weapon against you anymore.”

Even Ana knows that’s bullshit, and she calls him on it:

“That part of your life is not done, Christian – how can you say that? You live every day with your past. You told me yourself – fifty shades, remember?” My voice is barely audible.

But before you’re like, “Right on, Ana, call him on his bullshit so he has a microscopic chance of healing or whatever, as if I even gave a shit what happens to this guy,” she continues:

“I know it’s why you feel the need to control me. Keep my safe.”

“And yet you choose to defy me,” he murmurs, baffled, his hand stilling in my hair.

Whatever, “Jareth.”

I frown. Holy cow! Do I do that deliberately? My subconscious removes her half-moon glasses and chews the end, pursing her lips and nodding. I ignore her. This is confusing – I’m his wife, not his submissive, not some company he’s acquired. I’m not the crack whore who was his mother… Fuck. The thought is sickening. Dr. Flynn’s words come back to me:

“Just keep doing what you’re doing. Christian is head over heels… It’s a delight to see.”

That’s it. I’m just doing what I’ve always done. Isn’t that what Christian found attractive in the first place?

Oh, this man is so confusing.

So was literally ALL OF THAT. What thought is sickening? The thought of his mother? Of being his sub? Of him acquiring companies? And no, dummy, your personality isn’t what Christian found attractive. The fact that you looked like his mother is what made you attractive to him. You already know that. He could have never been attracted to your personality, because in the first book you never said more than a few words at a time to him, because you were terrified of him. He found you attractive because he thought you were going to be a fuck doll he could manipulate and abuse until he got tired of you and threw you away.

Ana tells Christian that she’s just doing what Dr. Flynn told her to do, and she defies his orders to get him “‘away from your past,'” which would make sense if she didn’t bring up his fucking past every time they had the slightest argument. We’re in Ana’s head, so we know how often she’s thinking of him as being some grubby, abused toddler. Christian is not impressed that his psychiatrist suggested something that he feels might actually help him, and Ana says:

“Christian, I know you loved your mom, and you couldn’t save her. It wasn’t your job to do that. But I’m not her.”

He freezes again. “Don’t,” he whispers.

“No, listen. Please.” I raise my head to stare into wide eyes that are paralyzed with fear. He’s holding his breath. Oh, Christian…  My heart constricts. “I’m not her. I’m much stronger than she was. I have you, and you’re so much stronger now, and I know you love me. I love you, too,” I whisper.

Okay. First of all, Christian’s mother was a single mom, a drug addict, a prostitute working in unsafe conditions and under the control of her abusive pimp. She was trying to raise her son in abject poverty in Detroit in the 1980’s (not one of the city’s finest decades). She was not weak, Ana, you ignorant, privileged asshole. Strength has nothing to do with that situation.

I fucking hate, hate, hate this book.

Second, you tell Christian it wasn’t his job to save his mom, and you’re not her, but then you tell him you’re strong because of him. Which completely contradicts the point you were trying to make about not needing to be saved in place of his mother.

I fucking hate, hate, hate this book.


 You know what’s coming.

His brow creases as if my words were not what he expected. “Do you still love me?” he asks.

“Of course I do. Christian, I will always love you. No matter what you do to me.” Is this the reassurance he wants?

She will always love him, no matter what he does to her. So… he doesn’t really need to change. He can keep abusing and isolating her, forcing her to make “choices” that are already pre-decided, and run her off from her dreams and aspirations until she’s exactly the person he wants her to be. That must be a load off his mind.

Christian tells Ana that when she asked him earlier in the day if he hated her, he didn’t understand why, and Ana asks if he still thinks she hates him. He says:

“No.” He shakes his head. “Not now.” He looks relieved. “But I need to know… why did you safe-word, Ana?”

What the hell kind of question is this? Wait, let me clarify: what the hell kind of question is this for Christian Grey to ask? Because a good Dom is going to ask, “What was it about the situation that made you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, and is there anything I can do next time to avoid making you feel that way?” That’s not how Christian is asking it. He’s asking why she safe worded because he sees it as an act of betrayal against him. The implication here is that she used the safe word because she hates him or wants to punish him.

What was Ana’s reason (Trigger warning):

What can I tell him? That he frightened me. That I didn’t know if he’d stop. That I’d begged him – and he didn’t stop. That I didn’t want things to escalate… like – like that one time in here. I shudder as I recall him whipping me with his belt.

If the control issues in their relationship were confined purely to their sex play, if they had a healthy BDSM relationship in which one partner didn’t expect their D/s roles to continue outside the bedroom when the other partner didn’t have that same expectation, this would be a fine and a sensible answer. In this context? It’s Ana admitting that she’s afraid of her husband and the fact that he uses BDSM as a way to abuse her.

I swallow. “Because… because you were so angry and distant and… cold. I didn’t know how far you’d go.”

She doesn’t trust him enough to submit to him. End of story. They should not be engaging in D/s play at all. Lack of trust is what makes their sexual relationship abusive, because Christian has been aware of her lack of trust and has done nothing to build her faith in him. He prefers her frightened, so he can manipulate her.

Ana asks Christian if he was eventually going to let her come, and he says no. Which is totally shitty, because he never said, “Hey, are you cool with some orgasm denial?” before they started. In fact, he made it seem like they were going into the Red Room for mutual satisfaction. He can’t get Ana’s consent if he doesn’t ask for it, so once again, we read a rape scene dressed up like sexy sexin’ times. He also tells her that he’s glad she safe worded:

“Yes. I don’t want to hurt you. I got carried away.” he reaches down and kisses me. “Lost in the moment.” He kisses me again. “Happens a lot with you.”

Oh? And for some bizarre reason the thought pleases me… I grin. Why does that make me happy? He grins, too.

“I don’t know why you’re grinning, Mrs. Grey.”

“Me neither.”

Me neither.

“It means I can trust you… to stop me. I never want to hurt you,” he murmurs.

I love how he always says this RIGHT AFTER HE HAS DONE SOMETHING TO HURT HER. And by love, I mean I want to set myself on fire.

There’s nothing wrong with a Dom expressing gratitude for the trust he has in his sub’s ability to stop him from crossing the line unintentionally. But I think we’re all aware that Christian is making Ana solely responsible for controlling him when they’re together. If she forgets to safe word because she gets into a bad place mentally, well, open season I guess, because we already know from the belt incident that Christian feels the onus is on Ana to keep the scene from going too far. Which is really funny in a “this writing is so fucking pathetic” way, because Christian goes on and on about how much he needs to control Ana in every aspect of her life, but he can’t exert any control over his own actions in his role as Dom. It’s another case of the author telling us what kind of a person the character is, while showing us tons of evidence to the contrary.

This is the heart of our dilemna – his need for control and his need for me. I refuse to believe these are mutually exclusive.

This is the heart of every abusive relationship. One partner’s need to exert control over the other partner, through any means necessary, and the abused partner’s utter refusal to accept the reality of his/her/zir situation.

“I need you, too,” I whisper, hugging him tighter. “I’ll try, Christian. I’ll try to be more considerate.”

Moving on, because I’m not going to be able to handle the rest of the fucking scene in which Ana earnestly apologizes to Christian for not being a good enough abused wife for him, Ana wakes up, still in the playroom, and Christian is, predictably, having another manipulative, thrashy nightmare.

This is what Christian Grey looks like when he’s sleeping.

She wakes Christian from his dream, and they immediately start fucking:

“Ah!” I cry out, not from any pain, but from surprise at his alacrity.

Alacrity means being ready to do something in an cheerful way. Like, “The alacrity Jenny showed sprinting toward the liquor store was truly impressive.” It’s not the right word to use when someone has just woken up from a violent, screaming nightmare and starts desperation fucking the nearest available hole. They fuck, he comes, she doesn’t, and finally, FINALLY, he asks her if she’s okay:

“You okay?” I breathe, caressing his lovely face.

Oh, shit, no, HE STILL DIDN’T ASK HER IF SHE’S OKAY, SHE ASKED HIM. Because he is the most important.

Now, a lot of people have been like, “Oh, he fucks her again and leaves her hanging,” but he really doesn’t. When he realizes she didn’t come, he immediately heads south and gets her off orally, and then, with practically no refractory period required, fucks her again, and this time they both come. So, he does take care of the orgasm thing. And that’s where she could have used the word “alacrity.”

They get up and head back to the bedroom, and I’m not sure why we need a scene of them discussing this, especially since the scene takes up approximately a page of text. Other than to show them going from the playroom to the bedroom, which could easily have been done in a single sentence in the next section, which begins:

My eyes spring open. Something is wrong. Christian is not in bed, though it’s still dark. Glancing at the radio alarm, I see it’s three twenty in the morning. Where’s Christian? Then I hear the piano.

You know why she had the feeling something was wrong? Because there wasn’t an “Edward plays Bella’s lullaby” scene in this book yet. It’s weird that Ana is waking up all the freaking time to find Chedward not in bed with her (this is because Edward Cullen, a vampire, never slept, and in Breaking Dawn Bella wakes up to find him not in bed with her, so it has to be a theme E.L. beats to death in her fanfic) and yet she always finds it so alarming and crazy. “He’s not in bed with me? This has only happened a hundred and fifty other times! SOMETHING IS WRONG OMG HYDE MURDERED HIM.”

Also, why is it important for us to know that the alarm clock has a radio in it?

Quickly slipping out of bed, I grab my robe and run down the hallway to the great room. The tune he’s playing is so sad – a mournful lament that I’ve heard him play before. I pause in the doorway and watch him in a pool of light while the achingly sorrowful music fills the room. He finishes, then starts the piece again. Why such a plaintive tune? I wrap my arms around myself and listen spellbound as he plays. But my heart aches. Christian, why so sad? Is it because of me? Did I do this?

Yes, Ana. Your abuse is all your fault and you should feel bad about making him do that to you. OMG THIS BOOK IS SO FEMINIST BECAUSE IT MAKES ME PLAY WITH MYSELF.

When he finishes, only to start a third time, I can bear it no longer.

That is a really long time to stand and creepily watch someone play piano. After Ana goes over and sits by him, he tells her the piece he’s playing is Chopin’s “Prelude No. 4 in E minor (Suffocation),” so that means Ana stood there for like, almost six minutes listening to him before she said anything. Go stand and silently watch someone do something for six minutes. It’s a long time.

Also, it’s pretty funny that we’re supposed to be all, “Oh, he’s so talented, playing the piano in the night like some tortured genius,” because that’s actually not a very complicated song to play. A friend who teaches piano told me she uses that piece to strengthen an intermediate student’s left hand timing. And I was all, “That’s what she said,” and then she hit me. But whatever. Christian’s playing a pretty simple tune and we’re all supposed to be impressed at his skill.

 Reaching over, I take his hand. “You’re really shaken by all this, aren’t you?”

He snorts. “A deranged asshole gets into my apartment to kidnap my wife. She won’t do as she’s told. She drives me crazy. She safe-words on me.” He closes his eyes briefly, and when he opens them again, they are stark and raw. “Yeah, I’m pretty shaken up.”

More proof that Christian Grey should never, ever Dom. Ever. EVER. He takes the use of a safe word as a personal insult, a thing that shakes him up. Remember, Ana was sobbing, she didn’t want him to touch her, she felt violated, but he’s shaken up by it?

I squeeze his hand. “I’m sorry.”

She’s sorry. For safe wording, for not mindlessly obeying him. She’s apologizing, again, for him abusing her.

“I dreamed you were dead,” he whispers.

Ana comforts him over his awesome dream, his pajama bottoms hang THAT WAY, and they go back to bed.
Ana wakes up with Christian laying all over her, like usual:

Hard to believe that the man lying beside me, looking so serene and young in his sleep, was so tortured last night… and so tortured me last night.

So, file “tortured” away with “beat” and “hit” from the first book.

But am I strong enough for both of us? Strong enough to do what I’m told and give him some peace of mind? I sigh. He’s not asking that much of me.

Just that you relinquish all personal autonomy and live in his glass castle, never leaving or having any contact with the outside world but always ready to sexually service him and listen to him cry about his childhood. That’s not too much to ask at all, is it?

I flit through our conversation of last night. Did we decide anything other than to both try harder? The bottom line is that I love this man, and I need to chart a course for both of us. One that lets me keep my integrity and independence but still be more for him. I am his more, and he is mine. I resolve to make a special effort this weekend not to give him cause for concern.

That’s right, Ana. You need to shoulder the burden of fixing your relationship, and be a better person for Christian so he doesn’t have to do anything. Because he didn’t decide to try harder the night before. He just let you apologize over and over for making him abuse you.

This book is fucking sick. I remember when I was first reading them, and everyone was like, “You’re going to change your tune when you get to book three, because he’s sooooo different and gets sooooo much better.” No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t change at all. If anything, he gets slightly worse, but only because with a ring on her finger, he’s emboldened to let his diseased personality run wild. The only person who changes is Ana, because she makes a concerted effort to put up with his abuse.

Christian wakes up and they have their intensely belabored dialogue, as is standard for their mornings:

“Good morning, Mr. Grey.” I smile.

“Good morning, Mrs. Grey. Did you sleep well?”

Every time they wake up, they remind me of the fish from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.

“Oh look, Chedward’s being eaten.”

Ana asks Christian what he would like to do today, and he tells her he wants to take her to Aspen. Then they talk about how they’re going to get there and blah blah blah, we can skip to the next scene. Taylor drives them to the airport, where Christian’s corporate jet is waiting.

He looks dreamy, all tousled hair, white T-shirt, and black jeans. Not CEO-like at all today.

There’s that damn description again. He either looks exactly like a CEO, or not at all like a CEO. At this point, I’m begging for just one variation on the theme, like, “He looks nothing at all like a rodeo clown,” or “he looked every bit the guy who obsessively brushes his teeth.”

He takes my hand as Taylor glides to a stop at the foot of the jet steps.

“I have a surprise for you,” he murmurs and kisses my knuckles.

I grin at him. “Good surprise?”

“I hope so.” He smiles warmly.

Hmm… what can it be?

Considering you ran into a bit of pronoun confusion and this tender exchange has taken place with Taylor, not Christian, I hope the surprise is that Taylor is going to murder your husband and steer that jet to Europe.

But you know what? Taylor doesn’t deserve to put up with your bullshit, Ana. He can stay with Mrs. Jones.

They get into the plane:

Christian and Stephan shake hands. “Good morning, sir.” Stephan smiles.

 This is going to make the scene somewhat bearable guys, just roll with it.

“Thanks for doing this on such short notice.” Christian grins back at him. “Our gests here?”

“Yes, sir.”

This week, Seattle’s hottest club is GEH Jet. They have everything: a sadistic billionaire, a timid brunette, her nosy best friend –

I turn and gasp. Kate, Elliot, Mia, and Ethan are all smiling and sitting in the cream-colored leather seats. Wow! I spin around to Christian.

Uh… if they’re RIGHT THERE, why did Christian have to ask if they were there? Just for the drama?

Ana is speechless to find her friends there. Okay, not strictly her friends. Her friend, her friend’s brother, and Christian’s brother and sister. But still, more people than she’s usually allowed to associate with:

“You said you didn’t see enough of your friends.” He shrugs and gives me a lopsided, apologetic smile.

If he was really apologetic, Jose would be there, right?

This is exactly how I felt when I typed that sick burn on a totally fictional character. My life has meaning.

Ana is totally grateful, and of course it’s time for her to show her gratitude by being objectified, so Christian puts her over his shoulder and marches her past the friends she’s there to spend time with in order to go straight to the bedroom. There is a description of Elliot “whooping like a demented gibbon,” and all I can think of is the comment someone left on another recap that read “I come loudly, whooping like a demented gibbon,” and I cannot stop laughing.
Alone in the private part of the cabin, Christian says:

“That was fun, Mrs. Grey.” And his grin widens. Oh boy. He looks so young.

 He is 27. In what universe, even to a twenty-two year old, is twenty-seven not young? As Kody Thomas points out in her analysis of the plagiarism in the series, both Edward and Christian are depicted as seeming older than their years. But that’s because Edward is a vampire. It makes no sense for Christian to be thought of as old. At all. Except for the part where he was plagiarized off a vampire.

They have a moment in the bedroom of the jet, and Christian reveals the reason for the trip:

“[…] I thought it would be easier to avoid the press in Aspen than at home.”

The paparazzi! He’s right. If we’d stayed in Escala, we’d have been imprisoned. A shiver runs down my spine as I recollect the snapping cameras and dazzling flashes of the few photographers Taylor sped through this morning.

Leaving aside the part where I imagine Taylor actually speeding through hapless photographers, their bodies exploding like water balloons filled with blood and bone chunks, and the part where we’ve already discussed that Americans don’t give a shit about the day-to-day lives of industry tycoons who aren’t fictional,  WTF? You’re going to Aspen to get away from paparazzi? Great plan, because as everyone knows, NOBODY FAMOUS EVER GOES TO ASPEN, RIGHT?

Christian and Ana rejoin their friends, because it’s time for takeoff. Now, I know I just told you that, but I’m also going to let Stephan tell you that, so you can imagine Bill Hader is on the plane with them:

“Please be seated, ladies and gentlemen, as we’ll shortly begin taxiing for takeoff.” Stephan’s voice echoes calmly and authoritatively around the cabin. The brunette woman – um… Natalie? – who was on the flight for our wedding night appears from the galley and gathers up the discarded coffee cups. Natalia… Her name’s Natalia.

“Good morning Mr. Grey, Mrs. Grey,” she says with a purr. Why does she make me uncomfortable?

Because she’s female?

Maybe it’s that she’s a brunette. By his own admission, Christian doesn’t usually employ brunettes because he finds them attractive.

So, because Christian can’t trust himself to behave ethically around an employee he finds attractive, he actively discriminates against certain types of women? HE’S SO DREAMY I NEED TO TOUCH MY NO NO.

But Ana is distracted from further misogynistic musing on the subject of bitches who want to steal her man, because she’s going to think about Christian instead:

He seems relaxed and happy, even though we’re with company. Idly, I wonder why he can’t always be like this – not controlling at all.

No, not controlling at all, even though you’re on a last-minute surprise trip out of state that he planned so he could micromanage your socialization. Not controlling at all.

Remember how in the first two books, and to a lesser extent, in this very book, everybody described Ana as “bright” or “intelligent” within two paragraphs of meeting her? Keep that in mind during this next exchange:

“Hope you packed your hiking boots,” he says, his voice warm.

“We’re not going skiing?”

“That would be a challenge, in August,” he says, amused.

 At tonight’s performance, the role of Jenny Trout will be played by Dule Hill.

I hate so, so much being TOLD by an author than a character is a certain way, when the character’s actions are SHOWN in a completely contradictory way. Ana is super duper smart… and she thinks they’re going to go skiing in AUGUST. But don’t worry, reader, she’s bright, and you know that because the author said she was. As it is written, so mote it be.

Natalia runs through the plane’s safety procedures in a clear, ringing voice. She’s dressed in a neat navy short-sleeved shirt and matching pencil skirt. Her makeup is immaculate – she really is quite pretty. My subconscious raises a plucked-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life eyebrow at me.

Ana starts to think something complimentary about another female, and her subconscious puts the lid on that right quick. Plus, I love that we just got this detailed description of the flight attendent, but I still have no fucking clue what Elliot looks like. I mean, from any of the information in any of the books, not just in the scene. There are minor characters I could draw a police sketch of, but secondary characters who are just faceless blanks shambling around in the story.

As they taxi out, Kate asks Christian questions about Jack Hyde. Because, you know, the guy she’s been with for exactly as long as Ana has been with Christian (longer, because she and Elliot didn’t break up due to him going sickhouse on her with a fucking belt) is at risk of being murdered by Jack, as well. But Ana doesn’t see it this way. She sees Kate’s questions as an intrusion, so when Kate asks why Christian fired Jack, this happens:

“He made a pass at me,” I mutter. I try to kick Kate’s ankle beneath the table and miss.

She tries to physically assault her best friend because Christian wants to be in complete control of the information flow regarding Jack Hyde.

I also want to point out that Christian beefed up security for Mia and Elliot, but Kate never mentioned anything about getting security for herself. If Jack is so deranged that he wants to hurt the Greys at any cost, wouldn’t he go after Elliot’s girlfriend? But Christian doesn’t care, because let’s be honest, if Kate dies, he gets Ana all to himself.

They keep talking about Jack Hyde, and there’s no new information revealed, really. It’s all about how Kate is so exasperating and terrible, asking all these questions. Even when Elliot gets in on it, it’s unacceptable:

“What do you know about him?” Elliot asks, oblivious to the fact that we are hurtling down the runway in a small jet about to launch itself into the sky, and equally oblivious to Christian’s growing exasperation with Kate.

Elliot, who has to have extra security because of Jack’s secret and horrible internet search history, isn’t entitled to information about what makes Jack a threat to his safety. Christian explains Hyde’s background:

“We know a little about him,” Christian continues. “His dad died in a brawl in a bar. His mother drank herself into oblivion. He was in and out of foster homes as a kid… in and out of trouble, too. Mainly boosting cars. Spent time in juvie. His mom got back on track through some outreach program, and Hyde turned himself around. Won a scholarship to Princeton.”

Yeah, I’m not buying that someone who had a record and spent time in juvie would be admitted to Princeton. It seems like that would be one of the things they’d use to weed out applicants.

I’m getting a little pissed off at the stigma against single mothers and low-income families in this series. Christian and Jack were both kids from impoverished backgrounds who became successful, but they’re both emotionally fragile, apparently because of their upbringing. Their childhoods were marked by violence – Jack’s father died in a bar fight, Christian was abused by his mother’s pimp – and addiction – alcohol; crack – and they were both “saved” by money. Christian was adopted by wealthy parents, Jack got into a prestigious school. And yet both of them are still so scarred by their upbringings that they fall apart at the slightest stress. Christian snaps and whips Ana with a belt, Jack loses his job and decides to start sabotaging helicopters and stuff. Because growing up without two parents in a heteronormative nuclear family environment leaves you irreparably damaged, and every person who comes from a background of poverty or fatherlessness is in the same situation.

Think about it – Ana’s parents are divorced, but she’s “normal” because of the presence of Ray or Charlie or whoever in her life (I honestly can’t remember which dad is in which book) and his masculine influence. Everything useful that Ana has ever learned, she learned from Rarlie. What has she learned from her mother? A legacy of bad decisions about men. Because of this masculine influence from her stepfather, Ana is a whole person. Christian and Jack are incomplete, because their mothers weren’t “strong” in the way Ana is.


This is exactly how I looked when I realized I had uncovered yet another problematic aspect of this book.

I thought I was done finding things there were wrong with this crappy series. But there. Right there. No fucking wonder Ana’s subconscious is always reading Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. THIS IS SUPER JUDGEY ANTI-POVERTY PORN. Poor urchins are saved spiritually and physically by huge doses of vitamin $.

“Princeton?” Kate’s curiosity is piqued.

“”Yep. He’s a bright boy.” Christian shrugs.

1. Kate’s curiosity was already piqued, it’s why she’s been asking questions the whole time.
2. Further down the page, we learn that Jack Hyde is thirty-two. So Christian is only calling him “boy” because Edward was a vampire.

Much as I’d like to know what’s going on, I don’t want to encourage Kate’s questions. I know they’re irritating Christian, and I’m sure she’s on his shit list since Cocktailgate.

If a friend told me I was on her husband’s “shitlist” because she chose to go out for drinks with me when he’d asked her not to, I would never speak to that person ever again. I am not submissive to other people’s men, thanks a bunch and go fuck yourself.

Ana asks Christian if he thinks Jack is working with Elena “the bitch troll.” I will never tire of that delightful phrase, let me tell you. Christian says:

“You  do like to demonize her, don’t you?” Christian rolls his eyes and shakes his head in disgust.

Yeah. People tend to demonize adults who prey on emotionally damaged teenagers in the hopes of grooming them into the perfect sex slave. Something about that doesn’t sit right with most people, for some reason.

There is some back and forth between Christian and Elliot, and Elliot and Kate are suddenly not getting along great – because obviously, Elliot needs to rein her in and make her stop annoying the billionaire important man with questions about the guy who might end up killing her – and Ana thinks about how since she’s Christian’s first real girlfriend, Mrs. Robinson and the fifteen subs don’t matter.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be cruising at an altitude of approximately thirty-two thousand feet, and our estimated flight time is one hour and fifty-six minutes,” Stephan announces. “You are now free to move around the cabin.”

In my head canon, this is where the lights go out and the human suitcases roll down the aisle.

Now, it’s a pretty well-established rule of novel construction that your chapters should end with some kind of hook, something that will make the reader want to continue reading even though they’ve reached a convenient break. This can be the revelation of important information, a sudden exclamation, or a resolution of a minor problem that creates new questions the reader will be anticipating as they move into the next section of your story. Here’s how chapter twelve ends:

Natalia appears abruptly from the galley.

“May I offer anyone coffee?” she asks.


Masterful. Positively masterful.

The Boss!

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If you’re reading The Boss, chapter ten has been posted! It’s here.

If you’re following the read-a-long for The Boss, the post for chapters 9 and 10 are up! That’s here.
And if you’re waiting patiently for a 50 Shades Darker recap, I’ll be working on that all day today and hopefully it will be out this evening. Because everyone knows all the hip kids are staying in and dicking around on the internet on a Saturday night.
Trout out.