[Review] Shadow’s Bane (Dorina Basarab #4) by Karen Chance

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Forty-one chapters in, there’s a moment in Shadow’s Bane where one (fully-clothed and French) vampire beats the holy hell out of another (naked and British) vampire.

While I’d loved the book prior to that chapter and hold up the Dorina Basarab series as one of my favorite vampire series in the genre, that scene in Shadow’s Bane took the series to a whole other level.Read More »

[Review] Brooklyn Ray’s Undertow (Port Lewis Witches #2)

Note: This review contains spoilers for the first book in Brooklyn Ray’s Port Lewis Witches series.


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Things get extra tense in Undertow, the second novella in Brooklyn Ray’s Port Lewis witches series.

Now, I seriously enjoyed my introduction to Ray’s writing in Darkling and thought it was a fantastic read, but Undertow is even better.

For one thing, Undertow introduces us to some more of the mysteries present in Port Lewis’s witch community – including a conflict between demons that shapes their lives.

Undertow is set shortly after Darkling, the novella that introduced us to necromancer Ryder Lewellyn and his friend-turned-boyfriend, Liam Montgomery, a witch whose magical affinity tends towards water. Liam is the focus of this novella and I think he’s an incredibly solid protagonist, fleshed out even more than he was in the previous novella.Read More »

[Review] Soulless (Awakening of the Spirit #3) by Montiese McKenzie

Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I received an advanced copy of this book from the author. All of the opinions in this review are my own and entirely honest. There are no significant spoilers beyond what’s in the “Content Notes/Warning” section directly below the review.


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Soulless, the third novel in Montiese McKenzie’s Awakening of the Spirit series, is an urban fantasy crime drama with expansive cast of interconnected characters, a thrilling main plot, and a frightening villain called the Darkness looming over the protagonists’ lives and manipulating the world around them.

Honestly, it kind of has a little bit of everything thanks to the book’s focus on found families, immediately aww-worthy relationships, intense action scenes, and McKenzie’s vivid writing style.Read More »

[Review] Brooklyn Ray’s Darkling (Port Lewis Witches #1)

Note: I won an ebook copy of this novella from the author themselves in a giveaway last week. That has no influence on my enjoyment of the book and all opinions herein are my own.

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Darkling CoverDarkling, the first novella in Brooklyn Ray’s Port Lewis Witches series is a dark and delicious deep dive into a magical world unlike many I’ve seen before.

In Port Lewis, a small town in the state of Washington, magic practitioners of all types are kind of commonplace in everyday life, with different families bringing their specialties to the table.

Darkling primarily focuses on Ryder Lewellyn, a late-blooming trans dude who happens to be a necromancer with an affinity for fire, and his close friend (and future lover) Liam Montgomery, a witch with an affinity for water.Read More »

[Small Stitch Reviews] Medusa Uploaded by Emily Devenport

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BUY HERE

I stayed up until 2AM reading this book.

It’s good.

Generation ships are a staple in the science fiction genre, with the theme showing up across the genre for decades with vary levels of success. The idea of a generation ship is interesting enough, a hypothetical form of interstellar travel that’s basically a space ark for humanity (or another group of beings) traveling to a usually unnamed and partially unknown destination after the destruction of their homeworld.

Medusa Uploaded is about life on one such ship, but it’s also about a brilliant, kind of murder-prone augmented human named Oichi Angelis navigating the politics of the generation ship and the ruling class that are responsible for the death of her loved ones. I love Oichi. Seriously. Her evolving worldview, coupled with the fact that she’s literally just ready to kill at a moment’s notice, makes her one of my favorite characters in a sci-fi novel. And she was ready to kill before she got a bad ass AI suit.

Imagine what she does with it…

Medusa Uploaded is a brilliant book with beautiful writing, tons of exquisite violence, characters of color in different positions of power, and an interesting plot that opens the universe up even further.

I liked it, and I think y’all will too!

And, as always, if y’all come across any commentary or criticism on race in the book, feel free to send them my way!

[Small Stitch Reviews] May 21st

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Whatever for Hire by R. J. Blain

A paranormal romance novel with jokes everywhere and a minor enemies-to-lovers relationship between the main characters, what makes Whatever For Hire fall flat for me is the copious use of the g-slur. Yes, that g-slur. The main character Kanika is half-Egyptian and half-Rromani (but also, maybe not even that considering the hints that the literal devil kept dropping), but did this book have to be rife with the g-slur being dropped willy nilly all over the place on top of Orientalism out the butt? (Aside from Kanika, all of the Egyptian characters were evil, teenager-selling, forced-marriage-having assholes so… problem much?)

Whatever For Hire could’ve been decent but instead, it was kind of a mess where the little moments that I disliked wound up adding up fast.

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Ship It by Britta Lundin

Ship It, as you can tell from the title, is about shipping and fandom. It’s about Claire, a teenager who watches a Supernatural-esque primetime drama and ships the main characters. When she actually gets a chance to talk to one of the two leads on the show at a convention, things go pear-shaped when she brings up shipping and representation and he kind of… doesn’t react well.

I know a lot of people that liked Ship It in my group of fandom nerds who also read young adult fiction. I wanted to like it too. I even requested it on NetGalley because I thought it’d be amazing.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get into Lundin’s debut novel even though I tried my hardest. I’ve been stalled at 40% for a few weeks now and while I might eventually return to it, right now I’m not that into the portrayal of fandom or fans. While Lundin’s writing is fun and full of snappy banter between the characters, I found it incredibly difficult to care about most of them or what they were going through.

I also, honestly think that with everything I’ve been going through in fandom, this kind of book would’ve been a good read for 2013!Stitch or younger – you know, before I got in the thick of things with the discourse.

[Small Stitch Reviews] A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Technically, there are spoilers for Black Panther in this review… Right there at the top.


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If you walked out of Black Panther on your first (or third) viewing and were hit by a craving for some sweet romance in the same vein as the sweetness between Chadwick Boseman’s T’challa and Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, boy do I have the book for y’all.

A Princess in Theory, the first book in Alyssa Cole’s new Reluctant Royals series, is a fantastic “lost royalty” story centered on the evolving relationship between a potential princess that doesn’t know her own past (but does know her way around a lab since she’s an epidemiologist) and the prince who happens to believe in happy endings (but needs to do a bit better about his big reveals).Read More »

[Book Review] Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

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Title: Let’s Talk About Love
Author: Claire Kann (Twitter)
Genre: Contemporary, Queer Fiction, Queer Romance, Ace/Aro Representation
Rating: Highly Freaking Recommended

Publisher: Swoon Reads/Macmillan

Publishing Date: January 23, 2018

LINKS: AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

SYNOPSIS

Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting—working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice told her she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating—no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

 

REVIEW

Straight up, I wish that I’d had Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love back when I was a teenager trying to figure out who I was and what the heck I was doing. Like me, Alice is the baby of her family. She’s the youngest daughter and a surprise baby to her parents who have to be in their mid to late fifties in Let’s Talk About Love.

This book seriously matches so much of my experience as a queer, Black, lady-oriented person that’s on the ace-spectrum that I kept having to put the book down in order to squish my own face.

(In case you didn’t know, face squishes are the HIGHEST sign of my pleasure when reading.)Read More »

Small Stitch Reviews – Bingo Love

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Title: Bingo Love
Creators: Tee Franklin (writer), Jenn St-Onge and Joy San (Art), Genevieve FT (Cover)
Genre: Slice of Life, Queer Romance
Rating: Highly Recommended

Publisher: Image Comics
Publishing Date: February 14, 2018

Preorder on AMAZON!


I can’t settle on just one adjective to describe Tee Franklin’s Bingo Love.

Beautiful.

Sweet.

Heart-breaking.

So many different words apply because in many ways, Bingo Love is the queer comic of my dreams! I signed up to support Tee on Kickstarter the moment that the comic project was announced and I finally got the chance to sit down and read my copy today.

Bingo Love is so good. It’s incredibly powerful to see a story of Black queer love told across decades and you can see just how much work Tee, Jenn, and Joy put into this book. This slice of life graphic novel holds nothing back as it focuses on Mari and Hazel’s relationship with one another across their lives (including both internalized and external societal homophobia). It made me tear up MULTIPLE times because it just hit all of the right emotional notes and that ending — oh!

Seriously, if you haven’t pre-ordered Bingo Love yet, you need get on that right now! Because Bingo Love is one of the best comics I’ve ever read and we should all be excited to see where Tee goes from here!

 

 

 

[Book Review] Meet Cute

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Title: Meet Cute
Authors: Jennifer L. Armentrout; Dhonielle Clayton; Katie Cotugno; Jocelyn Davies; Huntley Fitzpatrick; Nina LaCour; Emery Lord; Katharine McGee; Kass Morgan; Julie Murphy; Meredith Russo; Sara Shepard; Nicola Yoon; Ibi Zoboi
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Anthology, Queer Fiction, Queer Romance
Rating: Highly Recommended
Release Date: January 2, 2018

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Buy Links: AMAZON (KINDLE) | AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

 

REVIEW

I just love a good meet-cute, so it sure is convenient (and awesome) that I was approved for a book all about meet-cutes by some of the best authors currently writing Young Adult fiction!

Meet Cute is a delightful anthology full of well-written and frequently complex short stories. I think, honestly, that there might be something in this story for everyone. If you’re as big a fan of meet-cutes as I am, that is! Many of the stories aren’t necessarily “Happily Ever Afters”, they’re snapshots of a happy (or bittersweet) moment in a complicated life, but that’s definitely a good thing to read! Many of the stories center characters that are queer and/or characters of color and that’s awesome!Read More »

[Book Review] All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

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Title: All About Mia
Author: Lisa Williamson (Twitter)
Rating: Recommended
Genre: Contemporary, Black heroine, Diverse, Coming of Age, Young Adult,
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Release Date: September 12, 2017

Buy Links: AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: Please message me if you require trigger/content warnings for this novel beyond the alcohol abuse I reference in my review.

SYNOPSIS

One family, three sisters.
GRACE, the oldest: straight-A student.
AUDREY, the youngest: future Olympic swimming champion.
And MIA, the mess in the middle.

Mia is wild and daring, great with hair and selfies, and the undisputed leader of her friends – not attributes appreciated by her parents or teachers.
When Grace makes a shock announcement, Mia hopes that her now-not-so-perfect sister will get into the trouble she deserves.
But instead, it is Mia whose life spirals out of control – boozing, boys and bad behaviour – and she starts to realise that her attempts to make it All About Mia might put at risk the very things she loves the most.

REVIEW

A good summary for All About Mia is:

LOCAL MIDDLE CHILD HURTS HERSELF AND OTHERS ON HER WAY TO FIGURING OUT HER PLACE IN THE WORLD.

I mean… at least I think so at least.

I’ve got complicated (but mostly positive) feelings about Lisa Williamson’s All About Mia.

Caught between her “perfect” older sister Grace and her “primed for the Olympics” baby sister Audrey, Mia doesn’t feel as if she has anything that’s truly her own. Her sisters get what appears to be the focus of their parents’ positive attention and Mia, a chill teenager who likes to party a bit too intensely, gets yelled at… a lot and feels super overlooked by everyone in her family unless she messes up. She feels super overlooked in favor of her sisters and that… kind of leads to acting out in the form of drinking and staying out with her friends.Read More »

[Book Review] Gluttony Bay (A Sin du Jour Affair #6) by Matt Wallace

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Title: Gluttony Bay (A Sin du Jour Affair #6)
Authors: 
Matt Wallace (Twitter)
Rating: So Funny I’m Gonna Die, So Highly Freaking Recommended
Genre/Category: Politics, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Food, Cannibalism
Release Date: November 7, 2017

Publisher: Tor.Com Publishing

Order Here: BARNES AND NOBLE AMAZON (KINDLE)

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I’ve been doing drunk reviews of Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour series from the start because well…

I like drinking.

I also do it because I want to and it’s fun.

I started Gluttony Bay, the penultimate book in the series, while sober. I made it to the end of the first chapter before I straight up needed liquid courage to tackle this book. (If you’re wondering, I went with a rum-vodka-juice mix in my Homecoming glass.)

Matt’s one of my favorite authors and people. He’s writer goals to the nth power. He’s one of like five authors I feel comfortable talking to in my reviews (and then showing them to him afterwards). He’s cool as hell.

But man… Gluttony Bay had me all kinds of fucked up.Read More »

[Book Review] Citywide (Five Buroughs #5a) by Santino Hassell

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You can purchase Citywide from Amazon or directly from Riptide Publishing.

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Santino Hassell’s Citywide is basically EVERYTHING to me.

From the second that he announced the title, I was prepared to go into full-squee mode. I love Hassell’s Five Buroughs series to the point where I wrote a grad seminar paper on Sunset Boulevard because I loved the way the narrative used “space” in the text.

I fan-Stitch over him on the regular.

And Citywide continues to validate my love of his writing thanks to three fantastic stories and the way that he fleshes out Queens crew (characters that are friends with the Rodriguez brothers from the first two books of the series) on their way to Happily Ever Afters.Read More »

[Book Review] Not Now, Not Ever

What I’m Reviewing: Not Now, Not Ever

Who It’s By: Lily Anderson

What It’s About:

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mom’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her determination, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and run away to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College—the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program, and her dream school. She’s also going to start over as Ever Lawrence: a new name for her new beginning. She’s even excited spend her summer with the other nerds and weirdos in the completion, like her socially-awkward roommate with neon-yellow hair, and a boy who seriously writes on a typewriter and is way cuter than is comfortable or acceptable.

The only problem with her excellent plan to secretly win the scholarship and a ticket to her future: her golden-child, super-genius cousin Isaiah has had the same idea, and has shown up at Rayevich smugly ready to steal her dreams and expose her fraud in the process.

This summer’s going to be great.

You should check this book out if you like: tons of references to Oscar Wilde, nerdy Black heroines, sweet romance development, and stories set in summer camps.

Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2je47Ih

Giveaway Link (Sweepstakes End Friday night): https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/5bec7b8b273f2abd?ref_=pe_1771210_134854370#ts-fo

Thank you so much for watching my review and I’ll do my best to get a transcript together asap!

[Book Review] Sightlines (The Community #3) by Santino Hassell

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Title: Sightlines (The Community #3)
Author: 
Santino Hassell (Twitter)
Rating: 
Super Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Urban Fantasy, Queer Fiction/Romance, Psychics
Release Date: October 9, 2017

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Order Here: RIPTIDE PUBLSHING 

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

Content Notes: Sightlines has scenes of torture, child/spouse abuse, implicit and explicit hints to eugenics and “breeding” psychics, and threats of sexual assault (but also most people aren’t consenting to the program for creating more psychics…)

SYNOPSIS

Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He’s the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He’s the son of the Community’s founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he’s nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he’s ever loved is there too.

Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn’t the haven he’d believed in and Chase was the only person who’d ever truly tried to protect him. Now they’re surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.

With Chase playing the role of a tyrant’s second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase’s mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.

 

REVIEW

Seriously, I have yet to find a Santino Hassell book that I didn’t devour within hours.

There’s something about his prose…

He stitches his characters’ lives so seamlessly into worlds that seem so much like our own that I half imagine that if I went to New York, I could find myself bumping into them just on my way to buy a beer.

Reading Sightlines is a lot like riding a rollercoaster in the middle of the night. In the dark. While you know that there’ll be twists and turns and some drops, there’s no way to tell when they’re coming until you’re on them. It’s one hell of a thrilling book and Hassell is excellent at balancing the darker aspects of the unfolding world with making you care about the characters that live in it.Read More »