Spring Semester Summary

Semester Summary

In absolutely unsurprising news (to everyone BUT me): I have another semester of straight As.  This means that I’m basically 3 credits and a completed Thesis away from having my MA.

Holy crap!

This semester has been… a lot. Continue reading

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[Book Review] Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology

Title: Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology
Editors:
Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson
Authors:
Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Carrie Vaughn, Sarah Pinsker, Kate Marshall, Michael Milne, Aimee Ogden, Nathan Crowder, Keith Rosson, Stuart Suffel, Jennifer Pullen, Matt Mikalatos, Patrick Flanagan, Ziggy Schutz, Keith Frady, Stephanie Lai, Chris Large, and Adam R. Shannon
Rating: Recommended
Genre/Category: Superheroes, Slice of Life, Supervillains, Anthology
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Publisher:  Meerkat Press

Order Here: AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in review are my own. Additionally, the spoilers in this review range from mild to kind of major.

SYNOPSIS

Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others. It is partially, a prose nod to the comic world—the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.

The authors in this collection, both established and new, are all dexterous and wonderfully imaginative, each deserving of their own form-fitting uniforms and capes. Some of the stories pulse with social commentary, like Cat Rambo’s whimsical and deft “Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut” and Keith Rosson’s haunting “Torch Songs.” Others twist the genre into strange and new territories, like Stuart Suffel’s atmospheric “Birthright,” Kate Marhsall’s moving “Destroy the City with Me Tonight,” and Adam Shannon’s reality-bending “Over an Embattled City.” Some punch with heart and humor, like Matt Mikalatos’s satisfying “The Beard of Truth” and Chris Large’s adventurous “Salt City Blue,” while others punch with bite and grit, such as Michael Milne’s evocative “Inheritance,” Aimee Ogden’s poignant “As I Fall Asleep,” and Jennifer Pullen’s heartfelt “Meeting Someone in the 22nd Century.” Some of the stories feature characters who might not be superheroes in the traditional sense, yet are heroic nonetheless, such as Sarah Pinsker’s imaginative “The Smoke Means It’s Working” and Stephanie Lai’s majestic “The Fall of the Jade Sword.” Some shine a unique, captivating spotlight on supervillains, like Keith Frady’s dramatic “Fool” and Carrie Vaughn’s romantic “Origin Story.” Some are somber, ponderous works, where our heroes consider their impact on the world, like Lavie Tidhar’s regret-tinged “Heroes” and Nathan Crowder’s resonant “Madjack.” Others tread more light-hearted waters, with heroes adjusting to the sometimes-comical, sometimes-stressful life in the public eye, like Seanan McGuire’s entertaining “Pedestal” and Patrick Flanagan’s lively “Quintessential Justice.” And then there are the softer, quieter moments between heroes, as they navigate their extraordinary lives in their own unique ways, such as Ziggy Schutz’s tender “Eggshells” and, of course, Kelly Link’s captivating “Origin Story.”

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[Book Review] Greedy Pigs (A Sin du Jour Affair #5) by Matt Wallace

Greedy Pigs Cover

Title: Greedy Pigs (A Sin du Jour Affair #5)
Authors:
Matt Wallace (Twitter)
Rating: So Funny I’m Gonna Die, So Highly Freaking Recommended
Genre/Category: Politics, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Food
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Publisher: Tor.Com Publishing

Order Here: BARNES AND NOBLE | AMAZON (KINDLE)

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Me being me, tha’s basically the only kind of review I do. There are so many spoilers. But also… not enough spoilers.

SYNOPSIS

The Sin du Jour crew caters to the Shadow Government in Greedy Pigs, Matt Wallace’s fifth Sin du Jour Affair

“I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.”

Politics is a dirty game. When the team at Sin du Jour accidentally caters a meal for the President of the United States and his entourage, they discover a conspiracy that has been in place since before living memory. Meanwhile, the Shadow Government that oversees the co-existence of the natural and supernatural worlds is under threat from the most unlikely of sources.

It’s up to one member of the Sin du Jour staff to prevent war on an unimaginable scale.

Between courses, naturally.

REVIEW

Holy fucking shit.

That was my reaction to both starting and finishing Greedy Pigs and I’m sure it’ll be yours too!

If you’re new to my semi-sober reviews of Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour series, you should know that he never fails to deliver the big blows and some major WTF moments in every single book of the series. Greedy Pigs isn’t an exception and like the previous four books in the series, it had me all kinds of fucked up at the end.

And at the middle.

Hell, at the start.

Okay so if you’re a bit late to the game, let me catch you up a bit before we talk about Greedy Pigs. Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour series is an Urban Fantasy powerhouse that revolves around an ensemble cast of characters that cater (literally cater, this is freaky fantasy food service, folks) to the supernatural beings that live in – and often control – our world. For the most part, they’re treated the way that caterers and chefs are treated: as invisible and inconsequential to the people with power, but lately, they’ve been subject to the attention of some pretty awful figures. I don’t want to spoil more beyond that because I’m hoping that the uninitiated take the time to buy the series, so that’s gonna have to be it for a recap.

So let’s get started!

We’ve covered that Matt is #writinggoals for me right?

That’s never going to change.

Part of it is that he has this amazing talent for worldbuilding without info dumping and holy shit does he bring some amazingly epic worldbuilding to the table throughout this book. There are a bunch of questions that I had left over, not just from the previous book Idle Ingredients, but from theories and notes that I’d developed throughout reading the series.

Like occasionally I’m legit pissed about the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a fandom for this fantastic series because sometimes, all I want to do is talk about my SdJ theories with like-minded folks (but then I look at my latest fandom experiences and kind of… resign myself to being a SdJ super-fan in relative anonymity).

Greedy Pigs answers and/or resolves a bunch of theories that I had. I’d had questions about Lena’s role in the future of the series and of Sin du Jour and that sure as hell got answers. Same goes for Ritter’s backstory (y’all can’t see me but I am making SUCH a face right now because of Ritter). And if you ever wanted a little glimpse at what other supernatural figures live in New York – sometimes literally right under our feet (I say as if I’m not in Miami) – you’re gonna get that glimpse and more.

Also like… the plot for Greedy Pigs was so tight, y’all. It picks up pretty soon after Idle Ingredients so the characters are still dealing with the fallout from the whole book (but especially the last bit with Ritter and they don’t even know that they’re dealing with that shit until it’s too late). But it’s all clearly connected and you need to have read the previous books to pick up on details you would otherwise miss that bookend the big ones that you couldn’t have missed.

Greedy Pigs is fucked up but like… in a good way. Like I’m having “this book is about cannibalism” kinds of fucked up fun but WITHOUT the cannibalism. It’s so good. It’s so dark. I mean we’re at a serious turning point for the Sin du Jour crew in this book and shit goes sideways so fast that your head will spin.

There’s a part around one of the two inaugurations in this book (I’m not going to tell you which one) where I had to put my kindle down and like stare at my ceiling for a bit because it couldn’t possibly have happened. And then I read the scene two more times because it would explain so much about the state of current United States politics.

That’s another thing about Greedy Pigs that I loved: it feels like we’re taking a secret peak at a world within our own that we weren’t supposed to get!

Back in book two (Lustlocked), Matt wrote David Bowie as the real life actual Goblin King. (Yes, I bring this up every time I review a Sin du Jour book but I’m still not over this.) Like it wasn’t a role he was playing. He was the flipping king of the goblins – who all conveniently are Hollywood’s best and prettiest, by the way. Since this book takes place across two separate (but connected) inaugurations, you can only guess who rears their ugly orange head.

What you probably can’t guess – and what I won’t be spoiling for you – is what happens next.

I love urban fantasy where it feels like it’s our world but weirder. LOVE IT!

And that’s what Matt brings to the table with Greedy Pigs.

Except somehow, the politics in this series might be more fucked up than the politics in our world. For now…

Now it’s not a Stitch review if I don’t talk about relationships so let’s get into that:

First things first, my ship has sunk.

Which ship? Maybe all of them at this point now that I think of it. Of course my OTP me/(Lena, Jett, or Cindy) wasn’t happening but I mean… I had hope. I had so much hope.

But the kicker when it comes to sunken ships is… well it’s a huge fucking spoiler but I’m in my feels about this so just… deal:

I literally can’t see a way for this series to end with Lena and Ritter together. He fucked all the way up and, as a result, put everyone (but especially Darren) in the path of some truly awful shit. I get his motivations and I’m not writing him off as an asshole because of the choices he made (because honestly… I can’t say that I wouldn’t have made them in his shoes, but like…

Lena’s family is basically just Darren and maybe sort of the crew at Sin du Jour and Ritter fucked that all up. All of it. Like… when I realized what Ritter made possible and how he fucked everything up for his crew but also and especially Lena and Darren…

Wow.

Ritter has been my book boyfriend since Envy of Angels but now… I think we need to see other people. At least until he redeems himself in Lena’s eyes (provided that the effort doesn’t kill him).

On top of that, Lena and Darren’s relationship goes from fragile to fractured. Like it’s not either of their faults (this is why I’m SO MAD at Ritter) and Darren probably doesn’t even realize what’s going on but basically every time he was in a scene after a certain point, I wanted to ugly cry because he’s my baby.

The good news, when it comes to relationships, is that I might be okay with Dorsky having one now. I mean he’s not perfect but he’s trying and okay he had a REALLY cute moment with Nikki and while I don’t think I ship it yet… I could.

Now folks, while I may not be sure if I want to live in the weird world of the Sin du Jour series, Greedy Pigs makes it crystal clear that maybe, just maybe, we’re already there. And that’s what makes Greedy Pigs such a fantastic read.

GO BUY THIS BOOK!!

 

 

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So Long and Good Riddance, Sleepy Hollow

boy bye gif

Back when Sleepy Hollow first started, it was basically everything I wanted in an TV show. This was a few months after I’d officially given up on Supernatural as a show so not only did I need a new Urban Fantasy series, I needed one that wasn’t so white from the get go.

And Sleepy Hollow delivered.

At first. Continue reading

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For a Howling Good Time, Try Moonlighters!

Moonlighters Cover

I don’t just adore Space Goat Productions’ Moonlighters series because the talented writer on the book is my pal (and fellow Comics Alliance alumus) Katie Schenkel or because artist Cal Moray is equally talented and that they draw the cutest werewolves I’ve ever seen.

I love it because Moonlighters is basically everything I’ve ever wanted in family friendly urban fantasy.

Continue reading

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[Book Review] Buns by Alice Clayton

Title: Buns (Hudson Valley #3)
Author: Alice Clayton
Rating:  Recommended
Genre/Category: Contemporary Romance, Comedy, Found Family
Release Date: May 23, 2017

Publisher: Gallery Books

Order Here: BARNES AND NOBLE | AMAZON

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in this review are my own.

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

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[Video] PCAACA 2017 Wrap-Up

So I got back from PCA this morning at the butt crack of dawn and between being sick all day and my usual anxiety, it took me a while to get this up. (This is still way faster than I’ve done anything else this semester so… I’m taking this as a win.)

This wrap-up and response to the experiences that I’ve had this past week are super rambly but genuine. I adored the interactions I had with people I’d only known through a computer screen and I still can’t get over people knowing who I was based on my blog and social media presence (and liking me anyway lol).

I’m already excited fro PCA 2018 and I can’t wait to see how this past conference will change the way that I work as an academic and person in the future.

Please keep an eye out for me to record the presentations for the Flash powerpoint and the Padme one from last year’s small conference because those are definitely coming. Yell at me if you don’t see either presentation by the end of next month.

Thank you all for your support and your understanding of my lengthy silence in the past weeks! Please feel free to get in touch with me for writing opportunities, job opportunities, or heck, anything else.

I appreciate all of y’all so much

 

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The Trouble With Trips – Asra and Katan

Note: This is set a few months after Breaking and Entering‘s sequel-in-progress, but the only real spoiler for what I’m writing is “blink and you’ll miss it” tiny. Unless you didn’t guess that Asra and Katan would be in a relationship the next time you saw them… This story was originally on my now-deleted Patreon page.


The Trouble With Trips - Asra and Katan

Asra and Katan share their fears. The trouble with trips is that sometimes, it’s hard to get the person you want with you the most to travel.

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“You don’t have to come with me to the train station,” Asra says as he watches Katan tie back his silvery white hair in the mirror. “I can walk there as easy as anything and it won’t take me too long to find my train.”

Katan’s mouth twists with a frown before he arches one sleek eyebrow.

“The last time you said that, you wound up sending me a letter from the Sellsail Islands saying that you took the wrong ship and weren’t anywhere near Marran,” Katan points out with a dry note to his voice that makes a blush burn in Asra’s dark cheeks. “Forgive me for worrying that history might repeat itself again.” Continue reading

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[Book Review] The House of Binding Thorns (Dominion of the Fallen #2)

Title: The House of Binding Thorns (Dominion of the Fallen #2)
Author: Aliette de Bodard
(Twitter)
RatingHighly Recommended
Genre: Fantasy,  Angels & Demons, Political Drama, Vietnamese Mythology/Culture
Release Date: April 4, 2017

Publisher: Ace

Order at: AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and that’s what you’re all getting. There will be minor spoilers for character relationships in this book, but I’ll do my best not to dump any major spoilers.

The multi-award winning author of The House of Shattered Wings continues her Dominion of the Fallen saga as Paris endures the aftermath of a devastating arcane war…

As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the Great Houses of Paris, ruled by fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital.
House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Philippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal—to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic may be more than he can bear.

In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater Dragon Kingdom—and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear…

As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength—or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.

Continue reading

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[Book Review] Zombies, Migrants, and Queers: Race and Crisis Capitalism in Pop Culture by Camilla Fojas

Zombies Migrants and QueersTitle: Zombies, Migrants, and Queers: Race and Crisis Capitalism in Pop Culture
Author: Camilla Fojas
Rating: Your Cup of Tea Maybe?
Genre: Nonfiction, Pop Culture, Media Criticism, Race/Racism
Release Date: February 28, 2017

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

Order at: UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESS | AMAZON

Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and that’s absolutely what you’re getting.


At first glance, Zombies, Migrants, and Queers: Race and Crisis Capitalism in Pop Culture seems like it should be right up my alley. It’s about pop culture after all, and in-depth critiques of pop culture and placing into specific cultural contexts s kind of my thing.

Unfortunately, and I’m really bummed about this, this book didn’t hook me. Continue reading

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