Hither, Page – Cat Sebastian

Cover shows a snowy village at night, with a couple silhouetted in the lights from a house and another shadowed figure sneaking away.

Hither, Page – A

A jaded spy and a shell shocked country doctor team up to solve a murder in postwar England.

James Sommers returned from the war with his nerves in tatters. All he wants is to retreat to the quiet village of his childhood and enjoy the boring, predictable life of a country doctor. The last thing in the world he needs is a handsome stranger who seems to be mixed up with the first violent death the village has seen in years. It certainly doesn’t help that this stranger is the first person James has wanted to touch since before the war.

The war may be over for the rest of the world, but Leo Page is still busy doing the dirty work for one of the more disreputable branches of the intelligence service. When his boss orders him to cover up a murder, Leo isn’t expecting to be sent to a sleepy village. After a week of helping old ladies wind balls of yarn and flirting with a handsome doctor, Leo is in danger of forgetting what he really is and why he’s there. He’s in danger of feeling things he has no business feeling. A person who burns his identity after every job can’t set down roots.

WAIT BUT SPOILER: HE CAN!!

Aaaaghhh I think this was my first truly HEART SCREAM novel from Cat Sebastian. It hit me right in the “but will their love WORK??” angst in that perfect, sweet way where the answer is “Yes. Life is hard, but yes.”

“I don’t think I can handle kindness,” Leo whispered, and James’s hand went still.
“I’m not sure I can be unkind to you,” James said.

*WAILING SOBS*

It’s a well balanced mystery-romance where both elements play off each other and trot along in perfect step. The romance takes a while to develop but it doesn’t really feel like a slow burn. More like a careful undressing. It’s a book where people start to find what they didn’t think they could have, but it’s not a book where one man saves another. It doesn’t pretend that love can fix PTSD or trauma. But is a book where two people can support each other, and help each other, and care for each other, and make each others lives better that way.

It’s lovely and compassionate while still being realistic. There’s murder, and old lady lesbians, and knitting, and also a flock of hens. I’m on a re-read already and it’s still great the second time – I highly recommend it.

Hither, Page is out June 18th, preorder at most e-book stores

A Lady Awakened – Cecilia Grant


A Lady Awakened – B

Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes . . . for a fee.

Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh—only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all . . . love?

So I really liked most of this book, but boy do I hate the patriarchy.

The start of this book was unexpected and delightful. It fulfills two of my favorite tropes, “we need to fuck For Reasons” and “we are always around each other but can’t have feelings For Reasons” but subverts the genre expectations of quickly falling in love or even in lust with each other.

Martha Russel is a woman who means business – and she very intentionally keeps their sexual relations businesslike. I loved her POV of Theo’s attempts at dirty talk and seduction, awkwardly bearing the indignity for the sake of her desire to conceive. It was such a great picture of the disconnect two people can have mentally even while physically intimate, and how uncomfortable it can be – for everyone involved, but especially the woman who shoulders a man’s expectations of performative desire. Theo never stops and considers that maybe Martha isn’t a frost queen waiting to be melted by his dick, but instead a woman who has some idea of how to orgasm and doesn’t want to do that with him. It was refreshing, and fun, and made me smile.

But then they just…kept having sex. So much sex that didn’t move the story along (because Martha still didn’t want to orgasm and Theo still didn’t get it), which got tedious, or was a shocking left turn into romance novel sexy rape (details at the end of this review for the curious/cw seekers). And the last chapter was a rush of changing motivations, pointless estrangement, and a sudden happy ending, all undermining the start of such an interesting take on arranged marriage tropes by having Theo’s I’ll wear her down until she loves me justified.

In the end Martha attains her goals. She’s supported and validated, and has agency. But it’s not her story. The character growth is all Theo, as Martha puts up with him, guides him, and teaches him, until he’s decent enough for them to be happy together. And for a book that started out totally upending my expectations, that was disappointing.

I’m just so tired of even subversive stories being unable to shake off men’s expectations of women in the patriarchy. When the love story only works because a woman has patiently taught a man how to shoulder some modicum of responsibility and has given up something of herself along the way…I just don’t care? I’m tired of women having to hoist men up to “decent human” standards, and I’m tired of this being both expected of women and praised in men. That is a journey I am weary of, even when it ends happily.

So, I liked this book. It was good in a lot of ways, and it’s not the fault of “A Lady Awkakened” that I’ve read too many posts screencap’d from /r/relationships where men are trash. But like a frustrating late 90s rom-com, this was enjoyable and fun and yet still, in the end, about a woman as a reward for a man becoming not-terrible.

A Lady Awakened on Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indiebound

cw: “sexy” boundary crossing, plus one instance of outright lack of consent when Theo tries to stick his dick in her while she’s asleep?? And is upset she wakes up??? And then she’s just like ok sure guess this is a thing now. I’m still not sure why she didn’t mind but I was also SO taken aback I may have missed something. It was jarring, to say the least.

Proper English – KJ Charles

Cover of Proper English by K.J. Charles has a stern looking blonde woman with an old country house in the background.

Proper English – B+

A shooting party at the Earl of Witton’s remote country house is a high treat for champion shot Patricia Merton—until unexpected guests turn the social atmosphere dangerously sour.

That’s not Pat’s biggest problem. She’s visiting her old friend, the Earl’s heir Jimmy Yoxall—but she wants to spend a lot more time with Jimmy’s fiancée. The irrepressible Miss Fenella Carruth, with her laughing eyes and lush curves, is the most glorious woman Pat’s ever met, and it quickly becomes impossible to remember why she needs to stay at arm’s length.

But while the women’s attraction grows, the tensions at Rodington Court get worse. Affairs, secrets, betrayals, and blackmail come to light. And when a body is discovered with a knife between the shoulder blades, it’s going to take Pat and Fen’s combined talents to prevent the murderer destroying all their lives.

Like many a queer romance reader I was very excited to see KJ’s first foray into an f/f title. It’s a stand alone novel featuring a background couple from her earlier Think of England, and like Think of England it features an Edwardian country house party, dastardly doings, and great main characters.

It’s utterly readable – I read the whole thing in one day, with some reluctant breaks here and there for meals and whatnot. There’s some juggling to be done in a prequel to ensure the characters are introduced in a compelling way but without forcing a reader who has already met them to forget what they already know. In the first half of the book this is done with KJ’s usual deft hand, and as a reader very familiar with the other book in this set, I found knowing Pat and Fen’s future merely increased anticipation. Seeing their beginning through Pat’s eyes is all the more wonderful knowing how well it works out.

On the other hand, this book finally found the end of my personal “character romance vs plot” scale. I say it nearly every post – I love a plotty romance. But taken as a romance novel, this one trips up on the pacing. The romance itself is nicely concluded before the bulk of the manor house mystery is in motion, and for a bit I was vividly reminded of the scene in “Clue” where Tim Curry is rushing house guests from room to room explaining who did what in the room with the thing.

So on the whole it felt more Midsomer Murders than I expect from a romance novel. That said, genre is what you make of it, and I did very much enjoy reading this mystery-novel-with-romance-in-it. The romance that is there is passionate and very well written, Pat and Fen are both darling, and I think I’m going to reread Think of England now just so I can see how they’re getting on a few years down the road.

Proper English is available for pre-order at most e-book stores

cw: much discussion of guns and shooting game

Writing Her In – Holley Trent

Writing Her In by Holley Trent

Writing Her In – B

Dara and Adrien Valliere are soul mates and best friends…but they’re not lovers. Their marriage may be unconventional, but it’s satisfying and loving, and they’ve never needed anything or anyone else.

Until they met writer Stacia Leonard.

Stacia built a career on maintaining close ties with her fictional characters while keeping everyone else at arm’s length. She avoids intimacy, apart from a few one-night stands when the loneliness and need become too much. But when Adrien Valliere, her cover model and long-distance friend, invites her for drinks, she’s too fascinated to refuse.

Dara recognizes the physical attraction between her husband and Stacia and sees it for what it is: an opportunity to help Adrien get what he needs. Dara can breathe easy knowing that both she and her husband are happy.

Before long, though, it’s clear that Stacia’s connection isn’t just with Adrien… She and Dara have something special, and it’s something neither of them can—or want to—deny.

Very sexy m/f/f romance, leaning toward erotica with the high “heat quotient” (am I using that term right? romance reviews have a whole vocabulary I barely know. Anyway). I managed not to read this blurb either so once again, pleasantly surprised to find myself reading a poly romance!

I liked the breadth of the characters’ experiences in this one. They all come from different backgrounds and need different things from their relationships. Dara I read as ace-spectrum, who has previously been, if not sex-repulsed, someone who doesn’t want or enjoy sex. Her unfolding relationship with Stacia was my favorite of the three sides of this triangle. They’re very different people with very different histories and outlooks on life, but they also come together really naturally, meeting each other where they are and both bringing out the best in each other.

If I’m a little lukewarm on the book as a whole, I sometimes felt like I was missing information about the characters. Dara sometimes refers to her husbands relationship with Stacia as “adultery”, which struck me as off given it was negotiated and consensual. I wish I’d gotten a clearer picture of why she thought that way – was it just the vocabulary she knew? Did she feel it was violating something because they were growing feelings? There’s some genre-typical big gestures that I am always a bit mottsy about, and it’s a very character-centric story, where my preference runs more toward “elaborate plot”. But that’s all YMMV, and it’s a great addition to a pretty niche category – good m/f/f romance is thin on the ground, nevermind one of the MCs is non-white written by an AOC.

Writing Her In on Amazon|B&N | Kobo

A Duke in Disguise – Cat Sebastian

Cover of A Duke in Disguise. A woman in a big poofy dress lounges on a couch. A dark-haired man leans over her from behind.

A Duke in Disguise – A-

If anyone else had asked for his help publishing a naughty novel, Ash would have had the sense to say no. But he’s never been able to deny Verity Plum. Now he has his hands full illustrating a book and trying his damnedest not to fall in love with his best friend. The last thing he needs is to discover he’s a duke’s lost heir.

All Verity wants is to keep her brother out of prison, her business afloat, and her hands off Ash. Lately it seems she’s not getting anything she wants. She knows from bitter experience that she isn’t cut out for romance, but the more time she spends with Ash, the more she wonders if maybe she’s been wrong about herself

This book was just. So satisfying. And not just because it features so many things I enjoy (which themselves are already a good sell. Dirty books! An aloof cat! Men tied to the bed! A love of cheese! Meaningful allyship!). Those were all GREAT, don’t get me wrong, but I loved this because at its heart it’s a story about Verity overcoming her own fears about love and commitment and deciding to move forward with Ash even though there’s no guarantee that their “happy for now” will be “happily ever after” and THAT is the kind of wish fulfillment romance novel I need in my life right now.

Ash is a great romance novel hero. He’s too nice to cats, takes on a commission from Verity to draw “well fucked women” for a dirty novel to be published by her press, and when he’s given power he uses it to take risks that wouldn’t be safe for other people. But Verity’s journey, the courage it takes her to leave some parts of herself behind (even if they’re parts holding her back), her vulnerability when she finally realizes she can accept help without losing her independence, that was what really made me love reading this book.

SHORT ANSWERS:

Is there LGBTQ rep? Yes! Verity’s previous relationship was with a woman and Portia is an important supporting character in the book.

What if I am not in a mood to support inherited wealth and power like, e.g., Dukes? Sometimes the best way to destroy the system is from the inside.

Puppies or kittens? A big cat who hisses at everyone from the highest place in the room. I love her.

A Duke in Disguise is out April 9th in ebook – preorder links


Governess Gone Rogue – Laura Lee Guhrke

Governess Gone Rogue by Laura Lee Guhrke – B-

How does a reader, a voracious lifetime reader, tell they’re in a slump? When they find themselves thinking that “unassailable” is a bad thing in the novels they’ve read recently? That all the books they’ve read have been everything from serviceable to very good, and yet, none of them spark that feeling of their heart clenching in their chest?

I don’t know if there are other symptoms, but I find myself in this unenviable position. Governess Gone Rogue is a lovely book by an author I enjoy tremendously. I think if there were other books recently that had just swept me away, I would be a bit more critical of this novel. But truly, I don’t know why it didn’t get me, except that nothing has gotten me lately. (Well, aside from a specific couple from a specific book and television adaptation.)

In Governess Gone Rogue our heroine, Amanda Leighton, has been wronged by a man. She is a well-educated, driven woman who was taken in by promises that were unfulfilled, and thus, we find her virtueless and prospectless. She’s a decent governess, but longs to be a tutor — except, of course, only men are hired as tutors. No matter how much education a woman may have.

Our hero is, FRANKLY, the sort of man I should be felled by. A widower who has no interest in remarrying, with two sons that he doesn’t know what to do with, and who throws himself into work so he doesn’t have to deal with human feelings and relationships. His boys have driven away every single governess and tutor he’s hired and he’s at the end of his rope — it’s off to boarding school with them.

Except, of course, Amanda overhears his predicament and has the perfect solution — why, she will just lop off her hair, wear men’s clothing and be the tutor she’s always longed to be.

There’s even a remarkable bit where our hero, James St. Clair, lets her valet for him. And, of course, finds himself a little shockingly diverted by the young smooth-skinned valet.

This is my bread and butter, you guys! It’s a really good book! It is! I actually recommend it to people, especially if this is your jam. Maybe it was the super slow burn (but I love a slow burn!), maybe it was that the last 1/3 – 1/4 of the book feels set to fast forward after the build-up. Or maybe I’m just broken! Who knows! I’ve almost talked myself into a B or B+ as I write this. But I stand by the B- for the pacing alone, and because, frankly, it’s so in my wheelhouse that if it were extraordinary, I have to believe it would have made my chest ache.

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue – D

cover of Red, White, and Royal Blue

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Thanks, I hate it!

Lol no that’s not my whole review but that’s how I feel right now, DNFing this book about a third of the way through it (it’s 432 pages long so that’s not nothing).

This is nominally a Romance/New Adult debut novel (out in May). It’s been floating around on my radar for months now so I requested an ARC when it came up on NetGalley. It already has a hugely positive group of reviews already, so why did I dislike this so much?

I was trying to figure that out myself as I dragged myself through the first few chapter. Was it confusing or was I just zoning out? Well, both. There’s no sense of time passing so I found the narrative difficult to follow, but also the author seems to be trying to avoid exposition by…leaving important details about the characters out completely until 10, 15, 25% through the book. Not important to the plot just important (or should be important) to the characters – things like Alex’s mom remarried (this is dropped 15% in) and his bff Nora isn’t just hanging around the White House for fun, she’s the VEEP’s granddaughter (25%).

But those were narrative stumbles I would have gotten over if I otherwise was into the characters or (crucially) the romance. Unfortunately, nope. The real reason I hated reading this so much? Alex is a boring dough ball of nothing. He spends all his time protesting too much about Henry, calling Henry boring, but Alex? You have literally nothing going for you either. He has the same sitcom-zinger wit as the other characters, so no interesting narrative voice. He’s in college, I guess, but this is brought up only once or twice*, he does political legwork for his mom, which is mostly off screen. He is supposedly biracial but (and I would welcome pointers to reviews by POC ), that doesn’t seem to actually contribute to his experiences on the page at all (he tells us it made things hard for him but there is no evidence of that – it felt very token diverse to me). None of the factoids that make up his character actually translate to understandable motivations on the page.

And since both characters were about as interesting to me as cardboard cutouts, the “romance”, such as it was, never pulled me in either. The whole thing was like reading a 200k royalty AU fanfiction from 2009, except less fun.

I could go on. I actually started writing up the plot of the book I would rather have read, which if not a better book was at least one I would have enjoyed more (point 1 – Prince Henry should’ve been out) but at that point we’re way past a book review.

Apparently a lot of people like this book. I kind of get it. I think 10 or 15 years ago, I would have liked it too. But sadly time has moved on and so have I, and thanks, I hate it.

*an aside: the “white house trio” characters are all nominally in their 20s but felt VERY teenager to me. Is this because I, an old, can no longer tell the difference between 15 and 25? Perhaps. But also they all seemed to have really juvenile personalities and with June and Alex living at home for handwavey reasons I just couldn’t stop thinking about them as Teens.

Behind These Doors – Jude Lucens

Lucien Saxby is a journalist, writing for the society pages. The Honourable Aubrey Fanshawe, second son of an earl, is Society. They have nothing in common, until a casual encounter leads to a crisis.

Aubrey isn’t looking for love. He already has it, in his long-term clandestine relationship with Lord and Lady Hernedale. And Lucien is the last man Aubrey should want. He’s a commoner, raised in service, socially unacceptable.

Lucien doesn’t trust nobs. Painful experience has taught him that working people simply don’t count to them. Years ago, he turned his back on a life of luxury so his future wouldn’t depend on an aristocrat’s whim. Now, thanks to Aubrey, he’s becoming entangled in the risky affairs of the upper classes, antagonising people who could destroy him with a word.

Aubrey and Lucien have too much to hide—and too much between them to ignore. Rejecting the strict rules and closed doors of Edwardian society might lead them both to ruin… but happiness and integrity alike demand it.  

Behind These Doors – A-

Wow, I have never enjoyed 300 pages of relationship negotiations so much??

I went into this having completely forgotten and/or not read the book blurb, so I was delightfully surprised when in the very first scene Aubrey’s committed thruple with the Hernedales is made explicit in the characters’ introductions. I love non-monogamous books but I’m not sure I’ve read a romance that starts with a committed polyamorous relationship and adds to it rather than having forming a poly relationship be the core of the story. Lucien shows up soon after the book starts, and when Aubrey is clearly responding to his bold flirtation, the Hernedales encourage him to run after this dashing stranger who caught his eye.

The book is a wonderful exploration of vulnerability and trust in relationships as Aubrey and Lucien commit to each other. There are mistakes and stumbles along the way, but without drawing it out too much all of them come back to discussion and negotiation. There are moments where the tension is all because one or the other won’t explain a situation, but while on the surface that sounds like the contrived miscommunication that hounds the mediocre romance novel, here it’s very effective in drawing from each character’s motivations, personal history, and social position. It’s relatable, in that there are things someone may not feel safe voicing even if they should and even if the reader knows they would be okay, and that’s very well done in this book.

Ultimately I am a reader who loves a plot, and this book never quite got there (though there’s some interesting through lines about women’s suffrage), and the book ended a bit abruptly. It’s certainly a HFN, but I was expecting a bit more to wrap it up. However, like I said, I have never enjoyed just reading relationship negotiations so much. I really couldn’t put this book down, and I’m amazed that this is the first full length novel from this author – I hope there are more soon!

Behind These Doors on Amazon

Bloom – Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau

Cover of Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau

Bloom – B+

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

So this is not quite a romance novel, it’s a YA romance graphic novel, but I’ve been looking forward to reading it and wanted to cover it on the blog.

I’m so glad we’ve come to a place where a book can be about queer teenagers falling in love without Being About Being Queer, you know? Ari has really normal post-high school issues – he wants to move out, he wants his band to take off, he wants his parents to let him stop working at the family business. All of the relationships, from Ari’s potential romance with Hector, to his friendship with Cameron (an asshole) are believable and real, and that depth of character was one of my favorite parts of the book.

The illustrations carry the story, and I think that was both the book’s strength and its weakness. The illustrations of the baking itself are perfect, I wanted to go sink my fingers into bread dough as soon as I finished this book. Moments between Ari and Hector capture something special when they meet for the first time, and when they watch each other in the bakery, each unaware that the other is watching.

However, perhaps because it can rely so much on illustration, there’s not a lot of text. The story and and even the feelings behind the romance are clear but you never explicitly get Ari’s inner thoughts, which I missed. Without it, I don’t think the problems and climaxes packed as much punch as I wanted them to.

Overall I would definitely recommend picking this up, it’s a really cute romance and a relatable slice of life comic.

Bloom – short preview and links to buy at macmillan

On Romance, High Fantasy, and Forgiving Shitty Wh**e M*n

I’m asterisking this, because I don’t want THIS to be what this blog is known for.

Recently, I had the deep displeasure of a medication hiccup and was thrown headfirst into the throes of a real manic episode which, sadly for all involved, coincided with a rewatch of Game of Thrones. Of course, this means that my manic hyperfocus zeroed in on Game of Thrones and more specifically a couple of characters and relationships (which will come up later). Therefore, instead of focusing on anything else in my life, I started re-reading the first book and scrolling through tumblr, and writing fanfic????? I haven’t written a goddamn fictional word in about 7 years.

At any rate, reading Game of Thrones also coincided with ONE of the worst Hot Takes around about rape in fiction and shitty heroes. It all sort of coalesced into a bunch of Manic Feelings.

Let me say this: I do not deny that George RR Martin knows how to build a world. The world building is terribly intricate, I think most threads make sense in the end, but let me tell you, if a romance novelist tried to get away with even a quarter of the stilted, repetitive, trite dialogue, they would be drawn and quartered ACROSS the INTERNET. The relationships are surface, at best, the characters are broadly drawn archetypes with some weird descriptive sex scenes with 12 and 13 year old girls.

But hey, it’s fine, right? It’s historical!!! Except that it isn’t. It’s High Fantasy, so you’re stuck in this alternate worlds, almost always in the Middle Ages in the style of an Arthurian legend. Only instead of taking an interesting tactic with this, subverting it, doing something different with the trappings, so many men take it as an opportunity to throw in some REAL WEIRD STUFF. Let’s just take this opportunity to have sex with barely pubescent women! Let’s have a LOT of rape (less in the books, but). INCEST! HALF THE WOMEN HAVE NO PERSONALITY! NO ONE SPEAKS LIKE ANYTHING OTHER THAN A POORLY PROGRAMMED ROBOT.

But hey. You created a pretty good parallel world with its own history. Good job, bro.

And yet, in the midst of this, here I am being total trash for a white male character with manpain. Here I am, a gold star lesbian, kind of thinking to herself, “If I allowed myself for 3 minutes I could talk myself into a place where it’s his sister’s fault that he tried to kill the 7 year old that found them fucking.” Because hey, I may be a pretty decent critic of myself, I may try to dismantle the patriarchy. But somehow, some way, I am still a sucker for a sad white man with one hand and a whole lot of Feelings.

It all leads me to a place where I am simultaneously on a downward emotional spiral into feelings myself, while trying to examine my place in the patriarchy and being critical of my consumption and the emotions I feel about the fiction I consume. If I’m busy writing fanfiction for a fandom that I find largely objectionable in its characterization and treatment of women, am I not just furthering the reach it has?

I can say all the right things. I can KNOW what the right things are. I can argue for the right things. But I can also find myself tipsy in a hot bath, crying as I create tumblr tags for a trashbag white male character while listening to Ed Sheeran. Does that make me a hypocrite? Or does it make me a critic who has to work through her own conditioning and her own internalized patriarchal misogyny while not hating herself for having to work through these issues?

I will only say this, which is something I have tweeted about. It is absolutely fine to like the characters you like. It’s another thing to allow the society we live in to tell you it’s okay for terrible, abusive, violent men to do these horrible acts because they’re sad or mistreated or misunderstood.

And finally, it’s a completely separate thing to bring real victims and real villains into this discussion and to romanticize the true evil in this world while using it to justify the books you produce or consume. Be conscientious, be critical, don’t be afraid to examine your thoughts and your feelings. But also, it’s okay to have gut reactions to things. It’s okay to like what you like. It’s not okay to drag real victims, real women, into your justifications.

Also. Please God tell me the dialogue gets better in Game of Thrones.