Transcript: Not Now, I’m Reading Hamilton’s Battalion

CHELSEA: Welcome back to Not Now, I’m Reading, episode 17, your one-stop shop for all things genre. My name is Chelsea.

KAY: And I’m Kay.

CHELSEA: And today, we are talking about Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole, and Rose Lerner.

KAY: Yessss.

CHELSEA: Yay!

KAY: Thank you so much to the authors for giving us e-galleys of this for review consideration.

CHELSEA: Yes, thank you so much. We had so much fun reading this collection. It’s always really interesting to read novella bindups. This one had a particularly interesting theme and kind of structure around it, but before we get more into that, we’re gonna do what we always do and tell you about what we’re currently reading or just finishing. You go ahead and go first this time.

KAY: I am reading all of the things, as per usual. I just finished up Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Which literally everyone has already read except for me, because they turned it into an HBO miniseries.

[Chelsea laughs]

KAY: That won a bunch of awards. And the only reason I read it is because my mom wanted to watch the miniseries and I wanted to read the book first even though I know they changed a lot of stuff. Like it’s not even set in the same country. Cause it does originally take place in Australia.

CHELSEA: Really? I don’t think I knew that.

KAY: Yeah. I’m pretty sure Liane Moriarty is Australian and sets most of her books there. This is the first book of hers I read. Um. It was fine? It wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t great. I thought the pacing was fairly good. I liked the use of tons of viewpoint characters. I did this back and forth between the audiobook and the ebook. Which is one of my preferred ways to read things, cause you can just have the same book on the go no matter where you are or what you’re doing, which is nice. Like if you’re driving you can have the audiobook playing and you can get where you’re going, you’re sitting in a waiting room and can switch to the ebook. It’s nice. It’s not always fiscally doable, so I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like, but I had an audible credit and then my library had the ebook available because they bought so many fucking copies of it when it got made into a miniseries that I didn’t even have to wait on a hold list to get a copy of it. If you like women-centric thrillers slash women’s fiction. It was kind of an interesting borderline between the two. It mostly reads like women’s fiction, but it has a thriller through-line. Have you read this yet?

CHELSEA: I have not. I don’t really have a lot of interest in it.

KAY: I think it’s a pretty good book, it just wasn’t something I normally would’ve read. It’s fine. If you were gonna read it, you probably already read it. If you were thinking about it, it’s not terrible and the audiobook is quite good if you’re just listening to an interesting audio read. It’s long. I did not realize that it was as long as it is. The book is actually, it’s almost 500 pages, I think. Which is quite long for a book that got this popular. So I was actually vaguely impressed with everyone. Way to go for reading a book this long, guys.

CHELSEA: That’s yeah.

KAY: Pretty long. That might just be the ebook copy is really long. But the audiobook was, I think, at least twenty hours if you listened to it at normal speed. And I also just started, I really should not have started this e-galley already, because this book does not come out until next February.

CHELSEA: Which one did you start?

KAY: It’s By the Book by Julia…I don’t know how you say her last name, sorry. I think it’s Sonneborn. Sonneborn? Sonneborn? It’s S-o-n-n-e-born. I’ve never seen it before, it’s Nordic or something. It’s basically a modern retelling of Persuasion. So of course I was gonna wanna read that. I have just started it. I’ve only finished the first chapter, but it’s really charming and breezy so far. I think it’s very interesting that she’s doing a modern retelling in which Jane Austen actually exists in-universe. The main character is an English professor and there is immediate mention of Jane Austen in the curriculum. So I was like, oh. That’s interesting. That’s one way to go. I’ll update you on that if it’s really good or if it’s terrible. So far I like it and I think it’s her first book, so way to go. First book! And I’ve got a couple of fic recs for today. The first is in progress, but completed. They’re just posting once a week until it’s done. And when this is going live there should be three or so chapters up already. I think Chelsea probably knows what this is, because I linked it to her earlier in the week and it’s by one of our perpetual fave fic writers, thehoyden. It’s called With a Crown of Stars. It’s a Hannibal fic, it’s Will/Hannibal. And it’s about wishbabies. if you are not familiar [laughs] with this particular fandom trope/concept it’s where you literally wish, intentionally or unintentionally, for a baby and they show up on your doorstep like they got dropped off in a basket. I don’t know what fandom this originated in. I have no idea. I’ve read a couple of these in hockey rpf. And a couple of them in Teen Wolf or various other fandoms where magic is actually a thing. As far as I can tell this is not otherwise a magical universe. There just happens to be wishbabies in this one. And it’s great.

CHELSEA: There’s something intrinsically delightful about the term wishbabies.

KAY: Wishbabies. I’m just gonna read you the summary real quick.

When the call connects, Will says, “I know what kind of crazy I am, but I’m not this kind of crazy.”

“Will?” Dr. Lecter says.

“Yes, hi, sorry,” Will says. “It’s me. There’s a baby on my porch.”

[Laughter]

CHELSEA: It’s so good.

KAY: Which is basically all you need to know to know if you’re in or you’re out on that one. You know?

CHELSEA: So in. So in, so hard. I broke my phone I clicked so fast. It’s so good.

[Laughter]

KAY: And then, in celebration of the Stranger Things trailer dropping, I’m gonna go ahead and recommend you some Stranger Things ot3 fic. So it’s darling, you gotta let me know by callunavulgari. It’s Jonathan/Steve/Nancy fic.

CHELSEA: It just. My love for that ship and my excitement for this new series to come out because of that shit. He kept the bat, he kept the motherfucking bat. I’m so excited.

KAY: So good.

CHELSEA: Very psyched for Stranger Things.

KAY: Yeah. But it’s basically just the ot3 figuring out the ot3 thing fic. It’s only 6,000 words. And it’s lovely. I don’t know if you’ve read that one, Chelsea?

CHELSEA: I have not.

KAY: But callunavulgari is consistently awesome, so I’d recommend you check that out.

CHELSEA: I was gonna say, I’ve read some of their fic, but not that one. I need to go back and check out some of my Stranger Things ot3 bookmarks now that the trailer’s coming out. Because I love those stupid high school babies figuring out all their emotions for each other. Real good.

KAY: And I believe the new season will be dropping the week this episode airs, if I’m doing the math right, so enjoy the new season, friends!

CHELSEA: Check that out, yes.

KAY: That’s all I’ve got for the moment. What about you, Chelsea.

CHELSEA: Wonderful. I have no actual published fiction to recommend to you today.

KAY: None. Nada.

CHELSEA: I just don’t.

KAY: Zip. Zilch. Zero.

CHELSEA: Nothing. But when I tell you why, I think you’ll understand, the fic I have tor recommend to you, and I only have one fic to recommend to you, is 270,000 words long.

KAY: What the actual fuck, Chelsea? [Laughs]

CHELSEA: Which is, according to my Google Reader, like 800 pages?

KAY: Yeah.

CHELSEA: So that’s why.

KAY: What the fuck is this?

CHELSEA: It’s This Dangerous Game by MissDisoriental. It’s a Hannibal fic. It is a Hannibal fic in the time period of Jack the Ripper’s London. So, uh, 18th century case fic where they are —

KAY: So it’s like gaslamp detective shit.

CHELSEA: Yep. They are bringing detective Will Graham from America to England to help catch Jack the Ripper. Or some serial killer who is vaguely Jack the Ripper-esque, but also it is Hannibal Lecter and hey fall in love and it’s very dark, but real good and real, it’s very long.

[Laughter]

KAY: Goddamn, you would never catch Hannibal Lecter back then. That would just, he would just rampage through Europe for his entire life. [Laughs]

CHELSEA: Hannibal does a pretty good job or rampaging for a good chunk of time as it is.

KAY: I was gonna say, it’s 275k, I assume most of it is not spent with him in jail.

CHELSEA: oh no. And because it is set in a Victorian era there’s uh, the prose is highly stylized. Freddie Lounds is waking for basically a yellow paper tattler. There are, Alana Bloom pops up working for Scotland Yard, so yeah. It’s really good, but it is really long. And if —

KAY: I had no idea you were reading that. [Laughs]

CHELSEA: Well, I didn’t wanna tell anybody, cause that’s a lot of investment. That’s a real long thing to be reading, but I finished it and it was real good. Check the tags, as always. But if you have some time and actual published fiction is just not sticking for you the way it’s just not sticking for me right now that might be one to check out and put on the back burner. So. That’s literally all that I have to recommend, because that’s all that I’ve been reading.

KAY: That’s beautiful. I love it.

CHELSEA: Cool. Alright, so we are gonna go ahead and talk about our Trio of romances. Hamilton’s Battalion. There are three novellas in here. Promised Land by Rose Lerner. The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan. And That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole, which definitely wins the award for best title. What are these about, Kay?

KAY: So conceptually these are basically three novella romances kind of based on the premise that, this is a real thing, Mrs. Hamilton, after Alexander Hamilton passed, was trying to collect stories of her husband’s life from throughout his life. And these are focusing on various soldiers who served with him at the Battle of Yorktown, right?

CHELSEA: Yep, Battle of Yorktown.

KAY: And these three are all very different in style and in character and I just, it’s a very interesting array of stuff, okay? The first one we’ve got is Promised Land by Rose Lerner. And it’s got girl in trousers trope, which I’m always a big fan of. We’ve got Rachel who is pretending to be Corporal Ezra Jacobs and her past life kind of catches up with her when she spots her — we’re gonna get spoilery about this in a minute.

CHELSEA: We’re gonna just have to get spoilery, because it’s too hard to talk about it we don’t.

KAY: It’s too hard to talk about it, so we’re just gonna get into spoilers kind of right away. So if you don’t want to hear about any spoilers, know that overall we really liked this collection and we would recommend picking it up, but we’re gonna go ahead and get into spoilers now. Sorry.

CHELSEA: They’re just too short to talk about without getting into spoilers.

KAY: So anyway, she’s in camp and sees someone all too familiar and it is her husband, who she knows is a Loyalist. So she yells out spy and they capture him and it’s everything that happens after that. Then we’ve got The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan which is about a black American soldier who gets invalided out at Yorktown and a British officer who can’t freaking stop talking and who deserted his post. It’s basically like road trip, but they’re just walking. So it’s a road trip fic, but historical version. And then we’ve got That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole, which was my personal favorite in this collection. Which is about Eliza Hamilton’s assistant, Mercy Alston, who’s a black woman working to help put together all this information Mrs. Hamilton’s been collecting about her late husband. And Andromeda Steel, who is the granddaughter of one of the storytellers that Mrs. Hamilton is getting in touch with. Who also happens to be a business owner and a dressmaker and a flirt. It’s a really interesting thing about this collection. You’ve got a male/female romance, you’ve got a male/male romance, and you’ve got a female/female romance, which you very rarely see, particularly in historical collections it tends to be all white cishet romances. So I appreciated that a lot, especially from a historical collection. Do we wanna go through each of these and talk about our thoughts? Do we wanna just get the Rose Lerner one out of the way, because neither of us liked it very much?

CHELSEA: Probably. You can probably tell just a little bit that of the three the one that we cared for the least was Promised Land by Rose Lerner.

KAY: There were things about this I really enjoyed, but there was a fundamental problem I could not get past. Two. There are two fundamental problems I could not get past.

CHELSEA: Okay.

KAY: One was the way that she set up a frame tale in it. And the other two did not structure in quite the same way. But the way that she kind of had the timeline bouncing back and forth between the battle and the now-timeline, which is 1820, did not work for me. It felt very intrusive and awkward. I did not think those transitions worked at all. And they were kind of unnecessary.

CHELSEA: It took me a minute to even realize what was happening. They weren’t done well.

KAY: Just unnecessary.

CHELSEA: Yeah. I didn’t like it.

KAY: I did not like that. And then the other thing that I did not like, again, massive spoilers. This is your bailout point if you don’t want spoilers.

CHELSEA: For real.

KAY: The heroine faked her death.

CHELSEA: yeah.

KAY: She legit let her husband think she was dead. For —

CHELSEA: With the help of her mother-in-law, which is prettyyyy…

KAY: Which is also awful. But she let him think that she was dead for three fucking years. Okay?

CHELSEA: He sat shiva for her. He mourned for her. He talks about he did all of that because he thought that she was dead and then she just is not?

KAY: Which, you get the comparison of how deeply and religiously observantly he mourned her mother’s passing. And for her to think that literally he just would be fine? And would not miss her at all when he was in love with her and she knew that he was in love with her? It’s just awful. It’s awful. I don’t know how you could do that to someone even if you don’t like them and didn’t want to marry them in the first place. When you know that they love you.

CHELSEA: Yeah. I also found the conflict of that to be a little, I dunno. There was something about it that just didn’t ring super true to me. I understand that he married her so that he could help pay her mother’s medical bills and that is, you know, not necessarily the best reason to get married to somebody if they’re not into you. But the whole way that conflict was structured just didn’t feel like it led to the resolution of her faking her death to then run away.

KAY: Right? Right.

CHELSEA: There was something about the pacing of it that felt off.

KAY: I just felt like there were other ways she could’ve set it up —

CHELSEA: Yes.

KAY: — where I would’ve been happy to hand wave it. This particular setup just didn’t work.

CHELSEA: Yeah.

KAY: I really loved the hero in this, though. I thought he was great. I thought that all the attention to the various ways you can be observant in various times in your life was really interesting.

CHELSEA: Yeah.

KAY: And how there were several different Jewish characters who all had kind of different views on how observant you needed to be while you’re at war and et cetera. I thought that was wonderful and very interesting.

CHELSEA: I agree, cause it gets a lot into kind of the scale of just observancy in general, but then also when will God understand that you’re making exceptions. And when is it okay to embody the spirit of the thing if not the practice. And it is incredibly interesting especially if you don’t, like I don’t necessarily know a ton about Jewish culture and ritual when it comes to, like, holiday celebration and religious observance. So there were a lot of details in there that I found super, super interesting.

KAY: I do, but only because I lived in the kosher/halal house at my college for two years. So I learned a lot about holiday observances and particularly about food stuff, which I’ve always found really interesting. And fucking kudos to people who are observant about all that shit, cause it’s a lot of effort to keep track of the Jewish calendar and all of the various things you need to do.

CHELSEA: I also did like the reveal scene. There is a scene, which, spoilers, there is a scene where her squad mates discover she might be a lady and she goes to Hamilton to help convince them she’s actually a man.

[Kay laughs]

CHELSEA: She basically explains everything and then he comes out and is like, not only is she a man, but that penis is a big one.

[Laughter]

CHELSEA: I mean, he doesn’t just say it like that, but it’s basically that.

KAY: He’s like, there’s an extra inch or two or something and just oh god. Also, I liked the thing that Hamilton is a bro and is gonna help her out with this.

CHELSEA: Give her the extra boost. There are good scenes and good moments, it just definitely suffered from some structure and pacing problems more than the other two in the collection.

KAY: Yeah. Still a nice story, but I wouldn’t. If it was being sold on its own, I wouldn’t pick it up. Or if the other stories in the anthology weren’t any better than this one I probably wouldn’t pick it up, but they are.

CHELSEA: They’re both really good. So. I guess, let’s go ahead and talk about story number two. The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan. This is the one, like Kay said, that is basically a road trip fic, but no, cause they’re walking.

[Laughter]

CHELSEA: So after the battle of Yorktown, oh, what are their names? I’m so bad with names.

KAY: John and Henry, right?

CHELSEA: Is it John and Henry? After the battle of Yorktown, John is an African American soldier who’s going to be making his way back to Rhode Island to his family. He’s got concerns about his sister and his brother-in-law. And kind of through a series of unfortunate events and before he knows it he’s being accompanied by a British soldier who cannot stop talking. Henry just cannot bring himself to shut up and at first it bugs the shit out of John, but over time it becomes endearing and they learn more about each other and this story is, it gets a little bittersweet before you get your happy ending. It gave me all of the feelings and lots of emotions. This was my favorite story in the whole collection. I just thought that our British soldier was completely adorable. He’s, heh reminds me a lot of my husband and my husband has really, really bad attention-deficit disorder. So there’s a lot of chattering that just goes on in our house. So I found that particular aspect to be super endearing. John Hunter and Henry Latham, so there are their names.

KAY: It was just gonna bother me if we were talking about them and didn’t know their names. [Laughs]

CHELSEA: Like we’ve said, profesh to death. We should probably get those names out there. But it’s Corporal John Hunter and British soldier Henry Latham.

KAY: The thing that I always love about Courtney Milan’s stuff is how hilarious it is.

CHELSEA: Yes.

KAY: And it is intentional, she is trying to be funny and she wins at funny snarky.

CHELSEA: There’s an ongoing thing about cheese.

KAY: The cheese is a lie!

CHELSEA: And the cheese is a lie!

KAY: The cheese is a lie is a direct quote form hits. [Laughs] I just, it’s so funny.

CHELSEA: But also at the same time —

KAY: It’s so good.

CHELSEA: — it’s a really nice metaphor for their relationship works.

KAY: Yeah.

CHELSEA: It’s also a funny cheese joke, it just works on so many levels. I liked this one a lot.

KAY: I think one of the reasons you love this is one of your favorite relationship combos is the motor mouth [laughs] the motor mouth and the stoic [laughs].

CHELSEA: The obnoxious motor mouthy sassy people with like stoic, yes.

KAY: That’s Chelsea’s favorite.

CHELSEA: Fucking fave.

KAY: I could name off like five OTPs of hers, right now, that that would apply to.

CHELSEA: All of them.

KAY: So I knew she was going to love this.

CHELSEA: It’s my favorite dynamic. I love it so much.

KAY: It’s very funny. It’s very breezy. It’s very well paced. I thought that the ending was really interesting and took a turn I was totally not expecting. When they do have to separate for some years. Again, major spoiler territory, here. But they end up separating for a number of years before they’re able to actually be together and that makes it even better when they reunite and they’re both still really fucking in love. [Laughs] And have been writing to teach other from across the sea. [Laughs]

CHELSEA: And that’s the part I was talking about, it being bittersweet, like so many feelings. Cause it gets to that point and obviously it’s a romance novella so you’re gonna get that happily ever after, but it gets to that point in the story where everyone acknowledges it cannot happen because of race and class and war and family and so many things. Like, these people have to go to different places and can’t. So you’re just like. But how will they be in love and be happy together they have to separate? And obvi it’s gonna be worked out. And I really like the way it worked out. They basically get to be, not pirates, but they run a shipping company together so they’re gonna be like sailors on the ocean and it’s gonna be great. I wanna read the follow-up novella to this novella real soon. Real hard.

KAY: If she wrote a full length or a follow-up novella to —

CHELSEA: Take my dollars. All of them.

KAY: If there was follow up to either of these final two novellas we would be beyond excited. So on board. I didn’t have any favorite quotes from Promised Land, I don’t think, but I had plenty from the other two. There’s so many. I mean, there’s the John was utterly, bewitchingly lovely, and Henry had been already predisposed to bewitchment.

CHELSEA: It’s so good.

KAY: There’s so many great ones about the cheese. “The man I bought it from told me it was an acquired taste,” Latham said. “I’ve yet to acquire it. I have been trying, though.”

CHELSEA: I’m trying to find one of the ones that, I love the cheese jokes, but I also love the part where they’re talking about the Declaration of Independence

KAY: There’s a couple parts about that that’re really good. “Are you capable of having a straightforward conversation? One that starts at the beginning and continues on in a straight line to the conclusion?” Henry considered this. “Yes,” he finally said, “but it has to be a very short line.”

[Laughter]

CHELSEA: Oh, man. See, I like that one. “Well, they may be words, but they worked.” Henry folded his arms. “An ideal set in motion is a dangerous thing. You can’t control who believes it, or whether they take it to heart. ‘All men are created equal.’ Think of the power of that phrase.”

KAY: See, there’s these very serious moments and then you’ll get things like, “Ah, me!” Henry brightened. “My favorite topic of conversation.” It’s just, she has this really great way of mixing serious melancholy things with really funny moments of levity that keep you from ever falling into the pit of despair when terrible things happen.

CHELSEA: She’s just so good. “Maybe my ideals only feel so intense because my hope is so desperate.” “Ha, John said.” What do you know of desperation?” “I don’t. I don’t know. But right now, I have blankets and you are freezing. If you are going to sit outside fretting, I can do something about that. Come here.” [screeches]

[Kay laughs]

CHELSEA: And then my heart exploded.

KAY: Of course it did.

CHELSEA: So we’re not just gonna read this whole book to you, in like little bits and pieces. We promise we’re not gonna do that.

KAY: We’d like to.

CHELSEA: We would like to. Copyright might have a little something to say about that, so we will go ahead and move on to the last story in the collection, which is the Alyssa Cole That Could Be Enough.

KAY: [sighs] Which was my favorite in the collection.

CHELSEA: Yes, and which I said wins points for best title. Because like I said, great title.

KAY: Also there’s so little female/female historical. And this is female/female black women historical. Which just, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one of those before?

CHELSEA: Nope.

KAY: I’m sure they exist, but I’ve not found them.

CHELSEA: They’ve not crossed our radar.

KAY: And also it’s by Alyssa who is just one of my perpetual faves cause she’s wonderful.

CHELSEA: So good.

KAY: We love her.

CHELSEA: And this is a tie into or one of the relatives in this is the relative of a set of main characters in another one of her novels. Series?

KAY: I’m pretty sure it’s a novella.

CHELSEA: Oh, is it? Is it another novella? So if you like this one, there’s definitely some good crossover potential, there. In addition you should just read anything Alyssa Cole ever writes. Just ever. So this one is about Mercy Alston and Mercy Alston is the secretary to Eliza Hamilton and she’s collecting all these stories. She’s also a writer in her own regard, but she’s kind of tamped down on some of that creativity because of somethings that have happened in her life. And then Andromeda Steel walks into her life to tell her grandfather’s story to tell Eliza for the Hamilton collection and Mercy and Andromeda basically fall in love.

KAY: Okay, sorry, I was totally looking up Be Not Afraid. Which is about Elijah Sutton, Andromeda’s grandfather, and it’s currently on sale for $.99. So we’ll definitely go ahead and link that. Hopefully it still is by the time this episode goes live. We’ll have links to all of this stuff in the show notes, obviously.

CHELSEA: So, yeah. Why is this, not that it’s not great, but why is this one your favorite, Kay? Out of all three.

KAY: I loved that it was a female/female historical, which you almost never get to read. They’re theoretically not marketable, except hello, we are the market. [Laughs]

CHELSEA: I will give you all of my dollars to give me that one specific thing.

KAY: Please.

CHELSEA: We’re your market, so what the fuck are you talking about.

KAY: And I love Alyssa. Her pacing and her prose are just A+ for me. I was reading some of the reviews for this and people did not like this one cause they thought the pacing was weird. I was like I thought it was perfect. I thought that everything happened at a really nice pace. I like how everything unfolded. And I loved how deeply bruised Mercy is in her soul. And how she basically has just decided that love is not a thing for her, that she gets to have. And then she gets to fall in love and have a happy ending. How is that not wonderful? It’s so good. It was so good for me. [Laughs]

CHELSEA: You always have to love a good writer character and Mercy having, you know, lost her kind of creativity or inspiration to write through heartbreak and then finding that back? That’s always a good, juicy plotline.

KAY: I got this quote from the very first chapter. There’s a couple in the first chapter, that just really tell you exactly how Mercy feels about romance at the beginning. “These Hamiltons didn’t let go of what they’d cherished. They tended to their love like keepers of the flame, nourishing it with ridiculous hope and hoarded memories. Mercy didn’t understand them; she’d smothered her own flames, drowned them in tears and stirred the ashes until she was sure no embers remained.” Like, she is fucking done with romance, guys. She’s really done with romance.

CHELSEA: She is over it. Here’s another good one.

KAY: Was it the ‘that was a thing no one told you about great love’?

CHELSEA: No, but that, that, that’s a good one, too. “I’m bothered that people use love as an excuse to spend their lives pining away or devoted to some sainted memory. Love is impractical and unrealistic, and indulging it to such a degree is unsavory.” Girl is fucking down, man. Until Andromeda shows up.

KAY: And then later on you get quotes like, “She’d tried to temper her emotions, but she couldn’t. One couldn’t remove foundation stones from a dam and expect it to hold.”

[Chelsea gasps]

KAY: And I just like. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Also. [Laughs] This quote made me laugh really hard, but it was very perfect. “Her death wouldn’t be an honorable one. Her tombstone would read Here lies Mercy Alston, asphyxiated in the throes of lust.

[Laughter]

KAY: Also I love, I don’t know if she does it in all of her books, but at least in a lot of her books, Alyssa has references to the Bard and I love all of her Shakespeare nods in this.

CHELSEA: Yeah, the kind of underground theater of all black Shakespeare players in this short story is fantastic. I wanna see that. I wanna see all of that.

KAY: I want that movie. I want that miniseries.

CHELSEA: I want that book. I want it on a t-shirt so I can wear it around and everyone else can experience it, too.

[Laughter]

CHELSEA: Give it, all of it, to me.

KAY: All the envy. I loved it.

CHELSEA: I loved it a lot. And it was a really great way to end the collection.

KAY: Yeah.

CHELSEA: It’s interesting, cause Kay read these stories in reverse order to the way they are in the collection.

KAY: I did.

CHELSEA: And I read them in the way that they’re published.

KAY: Mmhmm.

CHELSEA: I just think it’s interesting, because you don’t have to read them in any order. They stand alone or all or any of them.

KAY: You can read them individually.

CHELSEA: But it is interesting, the way it’s set up, each character is mentioned in the following novella. So the Courtney Milan makes vague reference to characters in the Rose Lerner and the Alyssa Cole makes vague reference to the Courtney Milan. And you don’t need that to understand, but it is kind of an interesting structural thing that I think is kind of nice. I think sometimes my issue with collections is they’re all a little disparate even if they’re all structured to be around the same thing.

KAY: I am glad I read it in reverse order, because since the Rose Lerner was my least favorite, if I’d read that one first my expectations would’ve been pretty low, I think.

CHELSEA: Yeah, maybe. Maybe a little bit.

KAY: But I loved the Alyssa Cole one so much. And I really, really, really liked Courtney’s as well. So. And Rose’s was not awful, it just did not work for me. And I talked to a couple of people who that was their favorite one in here, so obviously your mileage may vary.

CHELSEA: Obviously, as is always the case. It’s just one of those things where it is in a collection with two very strong stories. So definitely check it out. There will be something in this collection of three stories that works for you and that you enjoy. That’s the great thing about kind of the diversity of all of these novellas and a great thing about the way the collection is structured. We really liked it and you should definitely check it out.

KAY: Mmhmm.

CHELSEA: Alright, well in that case, we will go ahead and wrap up. We are going to, as always, be back in a week talking to you guys about Not Your Villain by CB Lee, that is the follow-up to the first book, Not Your Sidekick, which came out, I believe last year, maybe the year before that.

KAY: I think it was last year.

CHELSEA: That Kay and I have also read and really, really enjoyed. So we’re looking forward to talking about that. Then after that is a super special episode I’m really excited about. It’s our retro fandom episode. Kay and I are basically gonna get together and talk about two of our favorite fandoms, The West Wing and Stargate: Atlantis.

KAY: Which, like, obviously those are not that old of fandoms, but it’s retro for us in fandom timeline in our life.

CHELSEA: Fandoms we’ve been in either for long times or that’ve made a pretty big difference in fandom life. So we’re gonna recommend two episodes and a bunch of fan fiction to you guys. So come back and check that out. Until then, you guys know where you can find us on the internet, website, twitter, Gmail, all that good stuff. Check the show notes, and take care of yourselves. Bye.

KAY: Bye!

Outtakes:

KAY: What are friends for, if not to urge you on in the commission of crimes by men of immoral character.

 

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