[Funin’ and Sunin’ by Kevin MacLeod plays]
C: Welcome back to episode 33 of Not Now, I’m Reading, your one-stop shop for all things genre. My name is Chelsea.
K: And I’m Kay.
C: And we are here today to do our most recent patron-voted episode. There was a three way tie.
K: So we’re gonna do all three of them! [Laughs]
C: We’re eventually gonna do all three of them. We already did one of the books.
C: Which we were probably planning to do one way or another. We’ll link that in the show notes. This is the second one we’re doing. We are doing Act Like It by Lucy Parker, which is, I th- I’m willing to say in your top five favorite books, like ever?
K: [Gasps] Oh, I mean.
C: Pretty close.
K: It’s definitely close.
C: Definitely in the top ten.
K: It is my go to rec for people who are new to romance.
C: Let me put it this way: she’ll listen to it on audio. Which if you know Kay at all.
C: She won’t listen to romance on audio.
K: Yeah. I don’t. And I have both of Lucy Parker’s books, so far, on audio. By the way! Lucy Parker’s next book is called Making Up. It is in the same London Celebrities series as both Act Like It and Pretty Face. And it comes out May 28th, so it’s just a couple weeks if you wanna get your preorders in.
C: Which we do recommend.
K: We highly recommend!
C: We really, really love Lucy Parker a whole lot, you guys.
C: So this was voted on by our patrons. If you would like to get the chance to vote on an upcoming book we’re going to talk about on our regular episodes, you can go check out our Patreon at patreon.com/nnirpodcast. You can take a look at all the different reward levels and at what level you can do what. And you can toss up a couple of spare dollars if you have them. Obviously we’ll be here coming to you guys with ridiculously long podcasts.
K: I was gonna say. We could not stop talking about books if we tried. [Laughs]
C: Could not. Literally could not it’s in our mission statement.
K: It’s fine.
C: it’s fine. So we are going to be talking about Act Like It by Lucy Parker, but first, as always, we are going to be telling you guys about what we are currently reading or have just finished up. Why don’t you go ahead and go first this time.
K: Okay. This is kind of another random fandoms.
C: Oh, hardcore, you guys, very weird and sporadic rec week on the fanfic front.
C: Like, for me also. That’s going to be happening.
K: Mine aren’t super random.
C: Mine are.
K: But, they’re fairly random. Okay, first one is by one of my favorite writers, who I wish was still writing, cause I think the most recent thing they wrote is this fic I’m about to recommend and it’s like five years old. [Whispers] Please come back, cyerus.
K: But this is called Love’s a Battlefield (and the Navy Did Not Train Steve for This Shit). [Laughs]
C: I mean. Good title.
K: Keeping with this episode’s theme of Act Like it, which is a fake dating romance, this is a fake dating fic.
C: Did you do all fake dating fics?
K: No. I thought about it.
K: I refrained. I refrained. I thought about it. But this is a fake dating fic for Hawaii Five-0 fandom. It is a Steve/Danny au in which Steve makes up a boyfriend so that all of Chin and Kono’s various terrifying aunties will stop trying to set him up with people. And the person he is describing is not someone he actually knows, but he basically perfectly describes the character of Danny. So he realizes he has promised he was going to bring this new significant other to a thing and he needs to be going to the thing in several hours, so he yells into a parking lot this name that they made up, and a person who perfectly matches the description he created is there. Which is so wacky, but also so delightful.
C: That’s delightfully wacky.
K: It’s so delightful. And this fic is just over, okay, well, this fic is 12,700 words. So it’s not super long, but it’s not short.
C: Not a short one.
K: Very charming. Very cute. The summary is: The Kalakaua-Kelly clan are determined to matchmake Steve. Out of desperation, Steve makes up a boyfriend named Danny.
It doesn’t quite go according to plan.
So, super charming. If you, like me, are a sucker for fake dating. You really need no context of the show to know what’s happening here cause it’s a complete au.
C: I might actually go read that.
K: Super cute. cyerus is the author who wrote, if you read Sherlock fic at all, there’s this fic that sounds like it’d be total crack, but it’s not. But its John is a bomb detection dog that was somehow magically turned into a person. And it sounds so cracky and yet it’s actually really beautiful and heartbreaking. I know. Don’t @ me. But seriously, it’s so good. It’s so good.
C: I mean. I’ll try to withhold just a smidge of my judgement, cause I know you hopped in and back out of Sherlock relatively quickly.
K: It’s called Gone Is My Past.
C: I’m not saying they don’t come up with great titles.
K: ‘John is an army bomb detection dog who has been turned into a human. Angst. No, really. Angst.’ [Laughs]
C: I love that you found that very quickly.
K: It’s by the same author!
C: Very little searching.
K: it’s by the same person, I just clicked over.
K: Don’t judge me. It’s been bookmarked over a thousand times. It’s not like I’m the only person who’s read this shit
C: I say nothing. There’s a crack dog au in every fandom.
C: I’ve ever run across. At least one. I’m not really judging.
K: You definitely are.
C: That’s fine. I’ll go ahead and do mine. I usually end with my Barisi rec, but I’ll go ahead and start with it this time, just to mix it up a little bit.
K: Get that shit out of the way, it’s fine.
C: This is The Cuban by AHumanFemale, an often-recommended author of mine in this particular fandom. And this is the second installment in a series that she’s doing from the perspective of Lucia Barba, who is Rafael Barba’s mother. The first one is called The Italian. This one is about the Cuban, and it is actually about her and her relationship with her son. She kinda shows up one day when Rafael and Sonny are having a fight. This takes place in the SVU timeline after Rafael Barba has been receiving death threats so he’s assigned a security detail, which conveniently is also the last season that show was any good. So. The fic that’s set right after that season usually takes a pretty delightful bent because forced time spent together due to protective detail usually works pretty well for me, like in a way that works for me, specifically, your mileage may vary. Anyway, the fic itself is just under 6k, so it’s not like super long, but it’s a nice little short story length, so I really, really enjoyed it. That’s The Cuban by AHumanFemale.
K: Next up I have a The Last Jedi time loop fic, because, guys, I am not normally a huge time loop person. But I am a huge fan of time loop in Star Wars as a plot point, because it feels like the kind of thing that the Force would actually do in canon. It feels like a thing they’ve got in their back pocket if they ever fuck up. So this fic is fantastic. It’s by Elenothar, who, I’m trying to remember what fandom I started following them in. Cause you guys know one of my top tips is if you find an author who you like at least a couple of their fics, just start following them. [Laughs] And they will probably lead you to some great new fandoms as they work their way through Fandomland writing various things. I’m pretty sure I started following them when they were writing Avengers fic, but I’m not gonna lie, it mighta been The Hobbit. Those were some dark days, but there were some great people who came out of Hobbit fandom, including Elenothar. This fic is Always comes around again, and it’s Poe-centric and kinda pre-Poe/Finn. It has some of my favorite Star Wars tags, including: Poe & Leia have a lot to sort out, Loyalty, protectiveness, pilots, emotional hurt/comfort. Chelsea. Chelsea! Also, let the resistance live, and meddling force ghosts. Which, meddling force ghosts are one of my favorite canon shenanigans thing that actually shows up in any canon. Cause force ghosts are so bananapants as a concept, and yet they make perfect sense in-universe, and the ones in this are particularly delightful. The summary of this fic is: All it takes is one stray thought, growing and shaping, fed by despair. I wish I could go back and change it. The Force and its unquiet ghosts are listening. So it’s excellent. It’s just under 20,000 words and you should definitely go check it out if you are a Star Wars fan. Obviously, The Last Jedi spoilers. But in case you didn’t catch that. It’s a The Last Jedi time loop fic, so spoilers.
C: Okay, so. Speaking of disparate fandoms and, to be just a little extra, particularly for me, I have two het ships I’m gonna talk about this time, which I think I can probably count on one hand.
K: I was gonna say, I have way more het ships that I ship than you do.
C: I can literally probably count on one hand especially if we’re talking recent and not deeply old, I mean like, Boy Meets World is a het thing. Dawson’s Creek is a het thing. Cause at that particular age the variety of queer ships are slimmer, but contemporarily? It’s just never been my bag. But! We’re gonna talk about a couple today. One of which is my dear Penelope and Derek from Criminal Minds. If you’ve seen that show at all you know exactly what I’m talking about. You know exactly why. They keep it purely platonic on that show, but they walk that line so much of like not platonic.
C: Banter and innuendo when they speak to each other that it’s just delightful.
K: And not just when it’s the two of them. Like, obviously around other people.
C: One of my favorite scenes, and I know you know the one I’m talking about.
K: I definitely do.
C: Cause okay, if you’re unfamiliar with Criminal Minds, it takes place with the Behavioral analysis Unit, like psych profilers, and they go out and track serial killers and call back to Garcia who is their tech analyst and she does their computer stuff from the office. Derek Morgan is incredibly beautiful.
C: and has this relationship with Penelope.
K: Which, he has his own show this season? Doesn’t Shemar Moore have a show where he’s the head of —
C: I think so, I think that’s why he left the show.
K: He’s the lead.
C: He left Criminal Minds for the lead in a new procedural thing.
K: I think it’s maybe a SWAT tv show or something. Whatever, we love Shemar Moore, but meh.
C: With Criminal Minds I don’t watch it concurrently, but I watch it whenever they add the new seasons to Netflix or whatever. So I don’t. And that’s how I’ve always done it. I always watched it on Ion when we had cable or Netflix, I’ve never caught it live, just because it’s never. I’m good at watching procedurals in like…
C: Bulk. Putting it on in the background and bingeing it. But anyway, this is all to say there is a particular scene where he calls her and she picks up and says something flirty and he tells her to be good, baby girl, you’re on speakerphone. And baby girl is a very affectionate nickname that she consents to letting him have. I understand it can sound paternalistic, but it’s actually very cute on the show.
K: They’re precious.
C: And after he says be good, knowing she’s on speakerphone, she says or what, you’ll spank me? And then he just makes the most turning, blushed embarrassed face and you can tell she’s spoken without thinking cause she just looks kind of horrified. But it’s delightful.
C: Anyway, this fic is called out of the blue uninvited by biblionerd07. Who is a new author I found, this is yet again one that Kay has linked me to.
K: Biblionerd07 is great, just FYI.
C: It’s not a 5+1, cause it doesn’t have the +1 but it’s a five things fic, which I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned before is one of my absolute favorite structural formats for fic.
K: If you are trying to start writing fic, this is a great format to use to write. Yeah!
C: The first fic I write in almost any fandom is almost guaranteed to be a 5+1. Almost.
K: There you go.
C: Honestly, usually if I’m getting ready to start a new original thing, I love doing 5+1 or five things mini fics for character development.
K: It can give you a good feel.
C: So this one was particularly delightful. The summary is: Five times JJ wasn’t really interrupting, plus one time she definitely was. It’s really great. It’s super fantastic. It’s not very long. It’s, again, just under 6k. So I highly recommend that you check it out if you’ve ever dabbled in procedural fic or Criminal Minds or if you just really like a story of a best friend continuously interrupting the almost get togethers of her mutual set of friends? I really really recommend this one. It’s very cute and I’m very excited to dig through biblionerd’s back catalog.
C: I’m very excited to get into this ship. Very excited. They’re every cute.
K: This is the main pairing for the Dallas Stars. It’s Jamie Benn/Tyler Seguin. They’re adorable IRL. They’re both shitheads and have made some pretty big gaffs in the press cause they’re both frat bro shitheads.
C: But in that adorable like brothery fuck boy kinda wait.
K: This is basically amnesia fic which makes more sense in Hockey RPF than most fandoms because head injuries. So, unfortunately.
C: I feel like if you told me concussion fic was really popular in football rpf I’d be like oh is it now, I’m shocked and amazed.
K: The summary of this fic is so perfect:
Still, though—no way. People don’t just forget four years of their lives. “You’re gonna need to give me way more than that if you want me to believe you,” Jamie says.
“Did he wake up yet?” someone asks, and Tyler fucking Seguin walks into the room.
. It’s so good. And I’m not usually into the hurt/comfort type thing, but this is basically a hurt/comfort amnesia fic and it’s delightful. It is just over 11,000 words. That is, again, A Fool for Lesser Things by Linsky.
C: Alright, my next one I’m gonna talk about, let’s see, which do I wanna do next. The next one I am gonna talk about I’m okay so I don’t know. There are many good Tumblr shots or tweets that are basically comparing the research you do starting an original fic to the research you do starting a fanfic.
C: Basically saying with original fic you’re like whatever and when you’re researching fanfic it’s ten hours on Wikipedia for a detail that’s never gonna matter.
K: Can’t even tell you how much research I’ve done for Wonder Woman fic that’ snot even long fic. Not even long at all.
C: And probably not even for something that’s gonna be a pivotal plot point.
C: Just a one line throwaway thing.
K: Guys, I know so much about where specific things are happening in various parts of World War II in 1943.
C: Just one of those things that comes with fic writing that whereas even if I’m writing original historical romancey fic drafts I’m just like fuck it I’ll figure it out later. Insert thing highlight reminder.
K: It’s the zero draft, where it’s just shit and you’ll fix that stuff later.
C: Insert historical shit here later.
C: All of which is to say part of what I do before getting into a new fandom is to do a broad like search of terms that I’m thinking about writing fic under just to make sure one I’m not repeating a thing that’s been done…
K: A million times.
C: Eighty thousand times by a lot of people and two just to get kind of a general vibe of like we’ve talked about before fandom style and fandom tone and just kind of the way people speak about the characters when they’re writing the fic and so as part of that I am deeply considering writing some Love, Simon or Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda fic because I love those characters a lot. I think there’s a lot of interesting stories to be told from Blue’s perspective, considering he’s the non-white, non-Christian gay character in that movie, not Simon. So for Reasons I just feel there’s a lot.
K: Can you imagine how much more interesting that book would be from his perspective?
C: Yeah, and like I’m not saying I considered rewriting the entire book from Blue’s perspective, but I didn’t not consider it.
C: So. I don’t think I’m gonna be starting out that big, cause there’s even fic a lot of part of that narrative that aren’t necessarily mine to tell, but I just think in general a lot of more interesting ways to come at their relationship. I think a lot of Simon’s friends have more interesting aspects of their lives and school and stuff than Simon does.
C: So there’s a lot of potential there. This is the love of his young life by darkjaden825698. And this is hm, basically, a shorter, I’ll just read you the summary: Maybe it had been wishful thinking, or maybe he’d picked up on some of the clues. The clues that nobody else would have noticed, because they didn’t understand. The way Simon’s smile would drop whenever Nick made a joke about him and Leah dating. The way his face would light up whenever Cal Price was within a 50 foot radius of him. The way he sang to Bram at the party, like he was trying to say the things he so desperately wanted to say, behind the voice, the words, of somebody else.
But maybe it wasn’t just wishful thinking. So this is, basically, Bram and Simon, but from Bram’s perspective, much abridged. It takes largely in the scenes leading up to the Ferris wheel scene at the end of the movie, which if you’ve seen the movie or read the book you know what it’s all about. It’s not super long. It’s only like 4k. Just under 4k. Like 4,000 words. So it’s very intense. It packs a lot of motion into what it’s trying to get across and what it’s carrying but if that scene is something you want expanded on or if that scene is one you wanted from Blue’s perspective in addition to Simon’s, I highly recommend that you check this out. It’s also fairly indicative of what the general tone is for the fandom so if that’s something you’re interested in or that’s a fandom you’re just starting to get into it’s very small, a very small fandom. Which not shocking cause the movie just came out and book fandoms are knowingly small.
K: Especially for standalones.
C: Especially for standalone queer ya, just in general, there’s not a ton of it. It is what it is. Again, that’s the love of his young life by darkjaden825698.
K: Very nice. My next one, guys, it’s a work in progress. It’s a work in progress! I’m not saying this is ever gonna get finished, but they have been regularly updating it for over a year and a half so. Take that how you will. It’s i might only have one match but i can make an explosion by bryndentully. And you can probably guess by that username that this is a Song of Ice and Fire fic. It is an au where Ellaria and Oberyn arrange for Sansa to be spirited out of the Red Keep just after they’ve managed to successfully off Joffrey. And it’s basically an au that takes off from there. So it’s got Queen Sansa. It’s got aged up characters. It’s got lots of plotty politics stuff going on. Lots of appearances of characters from the books, who I don’t know if they ever show up in the show, cause I’ve not watched the last few seasons, I think, of the show. And I’ve not read all of the books, but I was familiar with most of the names here. It is a Sansa/Ellaria/Oberyn pairing fic, which I know Chelsea loves a good OT3 so I might get her to read this one when it’s done. But I just really love this version of Sansa a lot. Just a lot. It’s currently at just over 87,000 words, so it’s a big chunk of reading there even if they don’t finish it. I love it a lot. And they most recently updated it at the end of March, so it’s been fairly recently updated. Anyway, again, it’s i might only have one match but i can make an explosion by bryndentully.
C: Aright, well my turn, I’ll go ahead and do my Game of Thrones rec because look at that what is even happening, it’s also another het ship. This is, this is one of those fandoms I don’t necessarily, I don’t have a super hard ride or die ship pairing in mostly because many of the ships in that show squick me out on a deeply viscerally uncomfortable level. #incest
K: Both canon and fanon ships for that. It’s just a lot.
C: However there are some queer ships in that I’m super here for. This is Enough Left by astolat, which, first of all, love astolat. Always. Like, I probably would not necessarily have read this fic or this particularly this pairing if it was not.
K: Yeah, I definitely read this fic.
K: Cause astolat.
C: I’m pretty sure you sent it to me. Actually I dunno, I mighta just found it browsing through astolat’s back catalog stuff.
K: I probably linked you to it right after I read it.
C: I went on a mini SGA rereading binge, so it’s possible I just went and found this.
K: If you’re unfamiliar, astolat’s Naomi Novik, and that’s not a secret.
C: Yeah no.
K: So if you’re a Naomi Novik fan, hey, she’s written literally hundreds of thousands of words under this name.
C: And it’s all great it’s wonderful. Like I said, this is a Game of Thrones fic, it’s Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth.
K: Which is a very popular pairing.
C: Which if you’ve seen the show or read the books makes sense.
K: Also those are two very beautiful people.
C: Well, I mean also, first of all eyes. Gwendoline Christie is like ten times hotter than Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. I said it.
K: Gwendoline Christie is ten times hotter than almost everyone, so.
C: Everyone living alive on the planet right now. I love her a lot.
K: I just want to look at her for a while.
C: We might have to put more than one Gwendoline Christie gif in the show notes.
K: I just really want her to be a romcom lead.
C: Can we talk about the video of her and John Boyega having to put their hand in the box and the adorable chemistry between them? And how much I just want to see her in a romcom.
K: Or! Or: Big Barda.
C: Guys, I don’t even have words, I just literally spent so long inhaling and fantasizing about how delightful that would be.
K: Think about all the many people you could have to be your Mister Miracle who are much smaller than her. Like Oscar Isaac. And Gwendoline Christie as Big Barda. Cause X-Men done him so wrong. [Laughs]
C: Every movie with Gwendoline Christie and Oscar Isaac.
K: That movie, if you have a movie with mister Miracle and Big Barda it’s gonna be the romcom superhero movie if they do it right.
C: For sure.
K: Which is not necessarily gonna happen, but both of those characters are gonna show up soon and it’s gonna be great.
C: Anyway back to this fic! The thing I like about it and the thing I like in the show is that Brienne brings out all the good things in Jaime.
K: All, like, three of them?
C: Aw, okay, yes. But also to be fair, I will say, I am not here to stan for Jaime Lannister, TV show or book version, but much like several characters in this book, he is somewhat a victim of his own circumstances and he does try, at times, to embrace the better parts of his being and she helps him do that. Especially in the show. And it is made even more apparent when they pit her directly against his sister who brings out the gross and awful parts of him. So the summary on this one is: He’d never imagined it for himself, saying the words. He couldn’t imagine it, because he wasn’t whole; he belonged to the other half of himself only. So this is a huddling for warmth fic. It’s the only tag on it. It’s the only tag you need. It’s only 1700 words. Guess what they do guys? They cuddle for warmth and it is amazing. It is Enough Left by astolat. And it’s a Jaime Lannister/Brienne of Tarth fic.
K: I’m always here for astolat. Always. My last rec for the day is by one of my favorite writers from Star Trek fandom, although this is not a Star Trek fic. This is called These American Dreams (ain’t no white picket fences left for me). It is a Steve/Bucky fic that is not Civil War or anything after that compliant, depending on when you are hearing this episode, other things may have come out since then. The tags on this, though, are just. [Sighs] Hope, angst, pining, slow build, tea shop, imperfect world, memory, romance, therapy pet, not a coffee shop fic. And I just am gonna read you this summary: In which Bucky has a house, a dog, an herb garden, and a serious case of insomnia. Welcome to Havensport, Indiana (population 8,294), where Tom’s Neighborhood Grocer stays open all night, little old ladies call the car shop to get their refrigerators repaired, and the heat of summer days and the length of summer nights can make you think that this perfect world will last forever.. It is gorgeous, as all things by kariye are. I feel like if you followed my Trek Rec a Day fic recs you’ll probably recognize that name. But I just. For Gladness of You and With My Feet Toward the Stars (let me remember you as you were when you existed) are two of their fics that I could just read a million times over and both of those are novella-length or longer, also. And their prose is just chef’s kiss. Chef’s kiss! I love their characterizations in every fandom I’ve ever read their fic in. And if I ever find out who they are, if they have pro-pubbed anything, I will buy all of the things. And their stuff’s so polished I would not be surprised if this is the pseud of someone pro-pubbed somewhere cause just. [Sighs] So good. Again, this is These American Dreams (ain’t no white picket fences left for me) by kariye.
C: Which is a great title. So my last rec is The Captain and the Cadet by timetogoslumming. This is a Newsies fic, I know I have told you guys before that I have a lot of love for the Newsies fandom and for Newsies as a piece of media that exists. This is not my favorite ship in this particular fandom, but it is one that is delightful. It’s Spot Conlon/Racetrack Higgins. You may not know who those people are because they don’t have big roles in the movie, they do have bigger roles in the stage production. But this is basically a complete au where you don’t really need to know anything because they’re not Newsies, they’re palace guards.
K: Well, sure. Are they like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern-ing it up over here, or?
C: I mean kind of basically. Scott Conlon runs the Brooklyn territory and they have to get him to agree to help the Newsies of Manhattan out with their Newsies strike, you know, solidarity amongst different organizational institutions of labor, and Racetrack is one of the guys that works with the Manhattan Newsies, so it’s this cross-borough kind of enemies to lovers or competitors to lovers or not kind of structure. They’re very much so kind of background-y characters who don’t get a ton of screen time so you might not know who they are. So not my favorite ship in this, but it’s really really delightful cause it’s that one of them is going away to a potentially very deadly situation and the other one is left at home pining and dealing with a lot more feelings than they originally thought they had.
C: Oopsie! Feelings sneak up on me.
K: Whoops! Feelings is one of my favorite tropes.
C: I love it a lot. And it’s only 3,000 words it’s a really really short, but it’s really delightful and if you like Newsies at all or you are interested in a complete au that is that pining situation I just described this one is definitely worth checking out. And that’s The Captain and the Cadet by timetogoslumming.
[Funin’ and Sunin’ by Kevin MacLeod plays]
C: Alright, friends, well in that case we are gonna go ahead and talk about our book of the episode. We are very, very, very, very excited to talk to you guys about it. And, in fact, we just literally finished.
K: A reread.
C: Listening to it on audio today as we were coming back from Avon’s KissCon mini-convention in Kansas City. It was super, super great. This book is awesome. It is Act Like It by Lucy Parker. It is also one of the books that was in our patron poll for last month, so this is one that patrons voted on.
K: We’re doing all three of them. It’s fine. So that’s gonna be Hurts to Love You.
C: Then this one.
K: And then we’re also going to read Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. Which is maybe my all-time favorite middle grade book.
K: It’s super funny.
C: I’ve never read it. But we wanted to give you plenty of advanced warning for whenever we have that in the roster.
K: Your library will for sure have a copy of that book if you are in the states. It’s, this series, that series is so wonderful. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are just a never ending delight. If you are familiar with Mark Oshiro who does Mark Reads and Mark Watches he did at least the first book of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles for his blog slash vlog. Whatever he calls it. When he’s doing the read along where he’s actually reading the book and putting up videos. He did one of those for Dealing with Dragons. If you can’t get a hold of the book and like Mark Oshiro, you could just watch him read it to you. It’s quite delightful.
C: I actually really like having people read to me, which is not a surprise because audiobooks, but it’s a delightful experience.
K: It’s super cute.
C: All of which is to say, guys, we’re here to talk about Act Like It by Lucy Parker. It’s super fucking great. It’s super. You should sum up this one. I actually think you could do it. First pass.
C: you’ve read it so many times.
K: So I didn’t even do a full reread before we did this because I’ve read this so many times, but I listened to Chelsea finishing it today. We listened to the last two-ish hours?
C: Just about.
K: Which was actually more like four hours because we were listening to it at double speed. Aw, it’s so good. So this is the first book in the London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker. They are all set in the West End theater world. If you’re unfamiliar, that’s like the UK’s version of Broadway, except it was around much earlier. They have a lot of really beautiful grand old theaters, and this takes place among the cast of one of these beautiful theaters who are doing an imaginary play. It is not a real play, but I really want to see it. So the main pairing in this book is Lainie Graham, Elaine Graham who goes by Lainie, mostly, and she is such a delightful heroine. She is, I don’t know if she’s specifically addressed as being plus-size, but she is definitely curvy enough that it’s an issue for her when she’s doing styling and stuff. She’s a redhead, which you don’t see a ton of. And she is just a delight. She is an up-and-coming theater actress. And then the hero, Richard Troy. Not exactly a bad boy of theater, but he’s got a bit of a reputation for being kind of an aggressive, cold, I mean, I’m not saying dickhead, but kind of a dickhead. And he’s from old family money, his dad was an MP and his mother was fairly famously I don’t wanna say a trollop, but kind of a trollop, but died alone in another country. And so he has a sad, tragic backstory. Whereas Lainie has a really lovely supportive large family with, you find out fairly early in the book, her younger sister Hannah who was a beautiful, late in life hellraising wonderful child, died of cancer not long before the start of the book. I think just under two years, maybe? So Lainie actually helped start the Shining Lights UK foundation which helps communities that have lost young people with cancer, basically, as far as I can tell that’s what they do. Which is kind of what gets her into trouble. Because this, guys. This is a fake dating story. Which you guys know I love so much! But basically to sort of repair Richard Troy’s reputation a little bit in the press.
C: Not always the nicest guy.
K: And people have sort of played it up in the press to make it much worse than he actually is. They think that if he dates Lainie, who has a fairly shiny, clean reputation, it’s gonna rub off on him a little bit. So they are fake dating and she agrees because they say they’ll put a bunch of the proceeds for the play they’re currently in towards her Shining Lights UK foundation. There’s this one line that’s basically like, Hannah, you can always make me do the craziest things, my pet, that she thinks right before she agrees to this scheme. And I’m just like feelings! But also, ohmygod. [Laughs] So you can obviously tell we really like this couple. Cause it’s like, it’s not enemies to friends to lovers. It’s mostly ambivalent acquaintances to friends to lovers. Which is not a thing I knew I loved before we read this. And it’s not a slow build romance. Which, you guys know I am mostly a slow build person, but they move from fake dating to actual dating relatively quickly in this.
C: Pretty quickly.
K: They just have a lot of chemistry.
[Chelsea leers and laughs]
C: There’s a scene where they make out and she’s just run a 5k and she’s in her sweaty Lycra and there’s a scene where she talks about how unsexy her sports bra is.
C: And the sweat and
K: He still thinks she’s so hot.
C: And I’m just sitting here being like Lucy Parker, you fucking magician, cause I don’t know how you did it, but I’m super into this scene that should make me very, very uncomfortable just like it’s making her.
K: There are not particularly explicit love scenes in any of Lucy Parker’s books, but even just where scenes where people are just holding hands or glancing at each other or kissing are just blistering hot. But there’s just an aching in my chest, right here.
C: And it is hard to write sex scenes in general.
C: But it is harder to write kissing scenes, especially ones that like.
K: Which, aces.
C: Take place over an extended period of time on the page and Lucy Parker is so good at it! That I am just like, it is, I’m not kidding when I say that she’s a fucking wizard. She’s legit amazing.
K: This is not technically her debut novel, but it’s the first I think that came out with both a major publisher and with this pseudonym. She previously wrote Artistic License with the penname Elle Pierson, I think it is. Which, as far as I can tell, is currently out of print, but I’m hoping will come back into print because it is quite delightful. (It’s currently available as an ebook on Amazon!) And that is actually set in New Zealand. The rest of her books so far have been in this London theater scene. So it’s a bit of a different setting and setup, obviously. Sorry, sidetrack, but always shout out things you love by the same author. But Act Like It is so good. And I think the pacing is wonderful and all of my quibbles about it are so minor that I barely even want to mention them. I don’t think we’re gonna do any spoilers in this, are we?
K: Cause this is a fairly quick read. I think it’s just under 300 pages. There is a scene and a subplot where Lainie, our heroine, accidentally diverges some information that was told to her in confidence by Richard. And I really wish she went into more detail when she admitted she did the thing, because she doesn’t actually give him all the information she should give him about how it all went down. And it’s the most minor of quibbles, but it’s like literally the only thing that takes this book from a five star to a four, four and a half star for me, is I don’t love how that subplot plays out.
K: But it’s all resolved really beautifully, eventually.
C: We don’t wanna give any spoilers, but we do wanna give a heads up and a content warning that there are mentions of and allusions to suicide in this book. So if that is something that is going to be a trigger to you or something that’s going to bother you in any way, know that going in so you can prepare. Or perhaps steer clear and pick up a different Lucy Parker.
K: And also obviously to the death of a loved one from cancer, a young loved one from cancer, which I know is a big thing for some people.
C: All kinds of grief triggers related to both of those things.
K: They’re handled very well, but it’s still, it can be deeply upsetting and we understand that. Also there is an incident [Sighs], I mean, this is played out so well, but obviously could be triggering for some people. They go to an event at the home of a grand muckety muck with one of these theater people societies, right, and he basically corners Lainie in the bathroom and tries to, he cops a feel and tries to go further and she and Richard stop him and report him to his superior at the society, basically.
C: All handled in the proper ways to handle that, but. As always, we want to not give you guys spoilers if we can help it, but want you to be fully aware of what’s going on before you open any book.
K: Also, infidelity. Not between our main couple.
C: Doesn’t bother me nearly as much, but it’s there.
K: Just prior to the start of the book, basically, Lainie’s previous boyfriend, who is also in the cast of their play and is a dickhead. He cheats on her and she finds out through the press. He never actually tells her that he cheated on her. And then he is subsequently dating the person he cheated on her with. So if that’s gonna be uncomfortable, know that also. I feel like with most things you can give people a lot of various warnings about them, this is actually not that may. [Laughs] But they’re all things I do want to just shout out and be like here’s the thing.
C: Some of the most common potential things to be aware of going into this. But all of those potential dangerous areas.
K: Dealt with very well.
C: On the page, but these books are so fucking funny. The scenes with her and her family? And her brothers? And guys, I am a sucker for an older brother.
K: The family shit is so good.
C: And I am such a sucker for a good fictional older brother being older brother-ly and I just, it’s so good in this one because each of her brothers reacts to Richard in a very different way, but that all still feel very in line with them coming from the same family. Which that can be hard to do when you’re doing a large sibling cast and your characters necessarily don’t each have a ton of screen time to differentiate them very well. Yet another thing Lucy Parker did fantastically. Those scenes made me laugh more than anything else in the book.
K: there’s all these really lovely just beautiful one liners that are so great. This book opens with: Almost every night between nine and ten past, Lainie Graham passionately kissed her ex-boyfriend. She was then gruesomely dead by ten o’clock, stabbed through the neck by a jealous rival. If she was scheduled to perform in the weekend matinee, that was a minimum of six uncomfortable kisses a week. Which, what a wonderful, wonderful opening.
C: I am not always a person to say that your opening line is going to make or break your story, but also there is something to be said for a really good opening line. Not just to continue about things we love in a totally nonsensical pattern, but as a former theater kid, can we just say that like give me all the theater romances. Give me this like costars working on PR, give me the director actor.
K: Which is the second book in this series, which is Pretty Face. Which is a five star read for me.
C: Give me I want stage manager. I want costume designer. I want…I want PR team. I want all of them, gimme all the theater romances. We get sports ones. We get motorcycle clubs. Where’s my budding subgenre of theater-based romances. If you have them, guys?
K: Please rec us.
C: Send them to me. I’m not kidding, I don’t know where they are. I found the fics. I found the theater au fics. Where is the pro-pubbed stuff I can give my dollars to?
K: There’s more of it in YA as far as I can tell, which is fine.
C: And that’s being very much so of the like drama club drama school particularly age variety where you have more access to be participating in the drama, but authors I will, I know so many theater people who are romance people.
C: Who will give you dollars for things like this. Please write them. Please.
K: So give us theater stuff. Give us funny. There’s just random lines in this where I just snort so hard. ‘It was a measure of how bad the past couple of days had been, that when Richard’s dressing room collapsed around him in a dust pile of rubble, his primary reaction was irritation.’ I just. [Laughs] Which tells you a lot about Richard and is also hysterically funny to me. But guys, this book is also really swoony. In the classic, I just am clutching at my chest periodically way.
C: Especially like, and I mean, it’s such a Richard especially when they’re working on, when they have their confrontation after she slips and odes the thing and they have their miscommunication he’s being very forthright about the way he feels. And he has this nickname where he calls her Tig throughout the book.
K: For Tigger, because she was bouncing in her seat.
C: Which of course is very sweet and very romantic when he’s using it, but then when he’s using it in those heartbroken scenes it’s just like. [Sighs]
[Exaggerated crying noises]
C: This is also a good moment to say that Billie Fulford-Brown who does the audiobook is amazing. She does a fantastic job. She also does Pretty Face?
C: Oh, that’s unfortunate.
K: But the narrator who does Pretty Face is also great.
C: Well, that’s good. So these also do check out really well on audio, but they are so swoony. So funny. Equal parts heroine and hero, they are both so fantastic and well-developed in their own way.
C: He is such a silver fox Richard Armitage grumpy with a heart of bubbly fire underneath it all. As we were listening to the audiobook I literally said to Kay, ‘I love, like, ice-hearted people with that tiny burning ember on the inside so much.’
K: There’s this one scene where Lainie is mentally comparing Richard and her ex, Will, because on paper they sound like they should be very similar in looks. They’re both about the same height and in surprisingly good shape for guys who hate the gym and both have dark hard and chiseled jawlines. But Will looks more like he’s a Calvin Klein pretty boy and Richard just looks like a man. [Laughs] and she’s just like, I’m trying to remember exactly what the lien is, but Will is the kind of good-looking you wanna put on a wall and look at and Richard is the kind you wanna cuddle up with at night. That’s just such a beautiful distinction, cause I’m sure they’re both dreadfully attractive, but in very different ways. [Laughs]
C: Yes. And that’s the thing. Will sounds like the quintessential.
C: Hollywood, well not Hollywood, but theater.
C: Pretty fuckboy.
K: He cheats on her with a footballer’s estranged wife and I’m just like, you are a walking cliché. [Laughs]
C: But also he sounds so pretty. That’s the thing, that’s the lure, he sounds classically attractive. There’s this scene where they’re in play rehearsal and it’s after the two of them have gotten together and Richard and Will have to play this scene onstage and they are saying the dialogue, but they are fucking going at each other in the way they’re acting with the subtext and it’s so good. It’s so perfect. The way the scene plays out and the way Lucy Parker plays it and the lines of the play they’re doing, it’s so good. I literally forgot what I was gonna say
K: I dunno. We have to wrap this up. We’re already at like an hour.
C: I don’t even know what we’ve already said. I’ve just been babbling incoherently about how much I love this book.
K: We’re really bad about talking coherently about this book. Both because we’ve read it a lot of time and we love it so much. But also because I don’t wanna spoil anything, because I feel like the way everything unfolds in this is fantastic. So fantastic. And I don’t wanna spoil various plot points. But here are scenes that happen with various plot pointy things that I just adore.
C: I just really like.
K: There’s some stuff at a fundraising fete that’s just really delightful.
C: Her friends are fantastic.
K: That’s one of my favorite things about Lucy Parker’s books. Even very minor side characters feel like real people and are delightful and I want books about all of them. [Laughs] Give it to me, now. Which, the best friend of the main character in Pretty Face, the second book, is going to be the heroine of the book that comes out later this month, which is Making Up. If you have read Pretty Face, her pink-haired best friend Trix is the heroine of the new book.
C: We are both so excited, but in an actual shocking turn of events, neither of us has read it yet despite both having a copy.
K: We’ve been saving it.
C: For a special moment.
K: That should tell you so much about how much we love Lucy’s work. That we save it for when we’re feeling down in the dumps.
C: And that’s the thing. Everybody has that book or those authors or that thing they save for those times where they’re feeling really bad and I am specifically, like, when you have mental illness it’s just a matter of time before the next bad brain day hits.
C: So I’m specifically saving this for when that happens, because nothing turns it around like a, a new Tessa Dare, or b, Lucy Parker. And we just don’t get new Lucy Parkers nearly as frequently as we get new Tessa Dares, but her books are like being away at college.
K: And you get a care package from home.
C: You get a treat only your mom knows how to make perfectly so you save it for the worst possible moment.
K: So my mom cannot cook or bake to save her life. I love you Mom. I hope you’re not listening to this, but if you are, I love you. But you admit it also. My dad makes amazing molasses squares. Which people don’t really make anymore. But it’s my great-grandmother’s recipe and they’re wonderful.
C: Can I tell you something? I went to college forty-five minutes from home so I didn’t get care packages. My parents would pick me up once a month and take me to Costco.
K: I mean, that’s delightful.
C: That was my care package. I’m not complaining, it was still wonderful.
K: I’m not complaining, I literally had to take three planes to get from home to my school, cause I was living in Massachusetts for school and my family was still in Boise when I started college. So it was literally you’d fly Boise to Denver, Denver to Chicago, Chicago to Hartford, Connecticut. Awful.
C: Surprised they had you do the Chicago and Denver layovers, but unfortunate. See I hate flying, so that sounds awful.
K: I don’t mind flying at all, but that definitely makes it you literally are spending an entire day. Especially going West coast to East coast cause you’re eating up those time zones.
C: Yep, yep, yep, I feel that. I’m so tired.
K: This is so irrelevant, guys. So irrelevant. We love Lucy Parker, we love all of her books. If you haven’t read Act Like It before pick up a copy. The audiobook is wonderful. The ebook is great.
C: The physical book. However you wanna read the words. They’re fantastic.
K: These covers are gorgeous.
C: There’s already two for you to pick up. There’s one more coming very, very soon.
K: This month. Making Up.
C: You’ll be able to go pick it up off the shelves right around when this episode comes out?
K: Couple weeks later.
K: May 28th if I’m remember correctly.
C: You’ll be able to pick it up off the shelves in a couple of weeks, so you have time to catch up on her first few books.
K: Yay! Cause they are technically a series. There wasn’t really anything spoilery in Pretty Face from Act Like It, other than the couple from the first book shows up happily still together.
C: I feel like we as a caveat never consider the HEA a spoiler of a romance. If you read other books in a series you should know which couples end up together.
K: If you’re new to romance, literally the only requirement of the genre is that there has to be a happily ever after or a happily for now for the main couple by the end of the book. So they’re gonna end up together.
C: It’s not really a spoiler to say that the end of the book two people end up together otherwise it doesn’t count as a romance.
K: If you read Making Up without reading the other ones I’m sure it will stand alone fine, but also the main character of the third book is the best friend and a fairly large side character in Pretty Face, which is the second book. So I don’t know if there’ll be spoilers, but there’s a lot of talk about a previous ex of Trix’s in Pretty Face.
C: So some context.
K: Some context might be a little helpful.
C: So, those are all of our very, very loving if not disparate feelings about Act Like It by Lucy Parker.
K: We know we were super vague, but we just want you to read it and not be spoiled. It’s a delight.
C: And we love it. And we, if you guys have been listening, that’s no surprise. We talk about these books, Kay specifically talks about these books.
K: A lot. I know I talk about them too much, guys.
C: It’s okay. We each are fully well aware that we each have a few books and fics that we talk about all the time.
K: If you have ever asked me for a romance rec and you are new to romance, I definitely recommended Act Like It to you, because it’s my go to contemporary romance rec for new romance readers.
C: I can attest to that. That’s why I read it the first time.
K: But guess what? It’s great.
C: It’s cause it’s great! It’s so fantastic.
[Funin’ and Sunin’ by Kevin MacLeod plays]
C: Thank you guys so much for joining us for our very long, mostly coherent but sometimes not feelings about a book that we love a whole, whole, whole lot. [Sighs] We just like, we’ve given you all our words. We have no more words, except for telling you guys what we have coming up in the future. In a couple weeks, we are thrilled to say that we have another special guest coming. It’s the same special guest we had last time!
K: The only guest.
K: She’s our resident Star Wars expert bro and I’m so excited to have her on.
C: She was on, you will have heard her on our Phasma episode.
C: From last year’s Star Wars December.
K: We liked this new book much better. [Laughs]
C: So much better. This is the new Han and Lando novel. Uh, lemme try that one more time, the new Han and Lando novel.
K: I mean, Lando calls him Han. When you listen to the audio.
C: Does he really?
K: yeah! [Laughs]
C: Really? That’s adorable.
K: You didn’t notice?
C: I didn’t notice. But we loved it.
K: So good, guys.
C: So much better than the last Star Wars book we read.
K: We spend like forty-five minutes talking about our recs before we even get to the book in that episode. Cause there are three of us.
C: Expect a bonus extra-long episode.
K: And Di just brought her fucking A game on her recs, guys.
C: Di has some really great recs for you guys. So enjoy listening to that in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you guys can find the podcast in one of its two internet homes: nnirpodcast.wordpress.com, or if you’d like you can come and find us at patreon.com/nnirpodcast. All of the content from the WordPress is also cross posted to the Patreon. And then we also have our bonus patron-only episodes and some other goodies if you wanted to take a look at those when you’re hanging over there. In the meantime you can find me on Twitter @anoutlawlife.
K: And you can find me @kaytaylorrea.
C: And until next time, friends, go pick up Last Shot because it’s amazing. Go pick up Act Like It and every Lucy Parker book including her new one.
K: Don’t forget Making Up comes out May 28th.
C: Go get them now.
K: it’s so good. So good!
C: No, we can’t start it again.
C: We literally just did that for forty-five minutes we can’t do it again.
C: Okay, guys, take care of yourselves, take care of each other. Have happy reading. Bye.
[Funin’ and Sunin’ by Kevin MacLeod plays]
K: Someday we’ll just have to do a super-cut of all these fucking bits of us just losing our shit over nothing.
C: Do you remember that time when we just said Megan, Megan, Megan, a bunch of times talking about Batman?
C: Definitely cut that out and sent it to her to use as a ringtone.
K: The Ancient Ones? [Laughs]
C: We can’t do this anymore, guys. Oh no, my browser crashed! It’s okay. I’ll… [uncertain] fix it?
K: Will you?
K: All things are possible through the Force. Not through Him who strengthens me [laughing], just through the Force. So blasphemous, I’m so sorry. Tomorrow is Easter. Just cut all of this out, please. [Laughs]
C: [Disbelieving] Wow.
K: [Laughs] Uh.
C: I am an agnosticy heathen, but.
[Kay laughs larder]
C: That is just a thing that you said on our recording.