[Book Review] Em Ali’s Graham’s Delicacies (+ Aesthetic)

Pretend this review went up uh… yesterday as I lost track of days again… Please and thank you.


Graham's Delicacies Cover

Em Ali’s Graham’s Delicacies is a super cute follow-up to her previous book Soft on Soft. This collection is home to a trio of interconnected stories about the various intimate relationships between the people work at the titular bakery.

I got a copy of the collection from the author in exchange for an honest review and the chance to read a book about non-binary cuties, so let’s get started by diving into the stories!Read More »

[Small Stitch Reviews] Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London #7)

Note: This short review contains some spoilers for the previous book in the series.

lies sleeping cover

Lies Sleeping, the seventh novel in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, is so good that I stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning – on a day I had to wake up at 5:30am – to finish it. Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series is one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series and the list of things I love about it would take up several single spaced pages in one of my notebooks.Read More »

[Book Review] Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Reluctant Royals #2.5) by Alyssa Cole

Note: I received a copy of this novella from the publisher as part of my participation in the blog tour for Pure Textuality  in exchange for an honest review. (Pure Textuality is also hosting a giveaway of a paperback of the first novel in the series! Yay giveaways!!)


Book Cover - One Ghosted Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole.jpg

SUMMARY

Alyssa Cole returns with a fun, sexy romance novella in the Reluctant Royals series!

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy—so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.

 

REVIEW

At this point in my life as a romance reader, I can safely say that I love Alyssa Cole’s writing more than I love naps. If you know anything about me, you’ll how much time I spend sleeping at the most ridiculous parts of the day and how much napping is part of my “routine” Me saying that her writing is better than the naps I take at least once a day? Now, that is a serious claim to make.Read More »

[Book Review] Minimum Wage Magic (DFZ #1) by Rachel Aaron

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Fantasy writer Rachel Aaron has had one hell of a year in publishing. She’s teamed up with her husband Travis to write Forever Fantasy Online (the first in a trilogy of fantasy novels), published Garrison Girl, an original novel set in the Attack on Titan universe, and opened up the year by releasing the fifth and final book in her amazing Heartstrikers series, Last Dragon Standing.

Her newest release, Minimum Wage Magic, returns to the Heartstrikers series main setting, the Detroit Free Zone (DFZ for short) with a new cast of main characters and a DFZ that is the most stable it’s been in a while. Set twenty years after the original series, this novel revolves around Opal Yong-ae, a freelance mage that works as Cleaner in the city, who fumbles her way into a mystery when she finds the dead body of a mage in one of the apartment she’s supposed to be cleaning.Read More »

Wonder Woman:Earth One – Volume 2  – Somehow Worse Than The First

Note: This review contains descriptions and images of things from this book that include (but are not limited to): Nazis, sexual assault, the whole MRA and negging plots Morrison writes and Paquette illustrates, and all the misogyny that really has no place in a Wonder Woman Book


WWEO - Credits Page

If you thought that two years would lead Wonder Woman: Earth One creators Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette to figure out that maybe their approach to a reimagined version of Wonder Woman in the previous volume wasn’t acceptable and was in fact frankly misogynistic, well… you’d be wrong.

I talked about all of the issues in the previous volume two years ago (including a comment where I described Paquette as having a “Greg Land-esque art style, incredibly sexualized”), but there’s literally no sign of growth or an awareness of what feminism actually is in the second volume of DC’s Wonder Woman: Earth One series.Read More »

[Review] The Neon Boneyard (Daniel Faust #8) by Craig Schaefer

The Neon Boneyard Cover

We’re eight (and a half, there’s a novella) books into Craig Schaefer’s Daniel Faust series and I’m still as huge a fan as I was when I cracked open the first book a couple years ago.

Schaefer’s Daniel Faust series is urban fantasy that blends the supernatural with elements that wouldn’t be out of place in heist/gangster movies. Daniel Faust is a con-man, a practitioner, and a pain in the ass to a whole bunch of powerful people in the supernatural and mundane parts of Las Vegas.Read More »

[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.


A Princess in Theory Cover

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 »

[Book Review] Meet Cute

Meet Cute Cover

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

All About Mia Cover

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 »

The Great Big Anita Blake Reread – Circus of the Damned

Circus of the Damned

“He’s dead, Richard, a walking corpse. It doesn’t matter how pretty he is, or how compelling, he’s still dead. I don’t date corpses. A girl’s got to have some standards.”

— Anita on why she won’t give in to Jean-Claude

Circus of the Damned, the third novel in Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, has some serious shapeshifter issues.

Published in 1995, the book introduces Anita and the readers following along on her adventures to several of the powerful (and problematic) lycanthropes that populate St. Louis. After a series of murders committed by an unknown group of vampires sees Anita called in to work with the police force once again, the character is forced to deal with several different, stressful things.

To start, Anita has master vampire Jean-Claude panting after her and trying to do everything in his power to make her a proper human servant. Then, everyone who’s anyone is out trying to find out who the master of the city is. With two of Jean-Claude’s marks on her and a reputation for working in the master’s employ, Anita is basically the woman of the hour. Which leads to shenanigans and even more attempted murder.

Circus of the Damned isn’t terrible (and in fact was one of the better Anita Blake books), but it has some problems that keep it from being close to perfect.Read More »

[Book Review] Archangel’s Viper (Guild Hunter Series #10)

Archangel's Viper Cover

Title: Archangel’s Viper (Guild Hunter Series #10)
Author:
Nalini Singh (Twitter)
Rating:
Highly Recommended
Genre/Category:
Urban Fantasy, Angels and Demons, Vampires, Diverse Romance
Release Date:
September 26, 2017

Publisher: Berkley

Purchase Links: AMAZON | AMAZON (PRINT) | BARNES & NOBLE

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

SYNOPSIS

Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn’t a vampire or an angel…or human…

Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman–it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.

Now, someone has put a bounty on her head…

Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself–because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening…

No one is safe.

REVIEW

While it’s far from the end of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, Archangel’s Viper is almost too satisfying to be real.

Not only does Archangel’s Viper answer a bunch of the questions that the series has given readers since it began with 2009’s Angel’s Blood, but it also gives us a deeper look at characters that have been with us from the start of the series.Read More »

[Stitch Elsewhere] “Rupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth” Review @ Strange Horizons

Rupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth

To the gods and ghouls that he cooks for, Rupert Wong is little more than a mouthy piece of meat. At best, the titular character of Cassandra Khaw’s gloriously gory series hardly registers as anything more than an annoyance. At worst, he’s viewed as a tool to be used up, until he can only serve as fuel and food for divinity.

Part of Abaddon Books’s shared “Gods and Monsters” universe, the sequel to Khaw’s 2015 novella Rupert Wong: Cannibal ChefRupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth plucks main-character Rupert Wong from the familiarity of his life in Kuala Lumpur, dropping him headfirst into a conflict between some heavy hitters of the Greek pantheon and members of a mysterious organization known as Vanquis. Persona non grata in his hometown due to events in the previous book that lead members of his own pantheon to view him as a traitor, Rupert is removed from everything that is familiar and is transplanted, rather abruptly, to a dreary London neighborhood that seems downright lousy with Greek gods and figures from other European mythologies.

There are two huge things that Cassandra Khaw does in Rupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth that make the book—and the characters that inhabit it—too interesting to walk away from. First, there’s what drew me to Khaw’s writing in the first place: how she writes about flesh and food in a way that makes reading about the go-to nourishment of ghouls and gods a chilling, but captivating experience. Then there’s the way that Khaw writes the remains of the Greek pantheon struggling to gain a foothold in a world that has largely written them off as obsolete—and whose new gods are far less open to sharing.

If you’ve been paying attention to me at any point over the past year, you probably noticed that I’m a bit… fixated on cannibalism in fiction. From Tokyo Ghoul to Hannibal to an actual non-fiction book about how very natural cannibalism is, I’ve been hip deep in media and non-fiction centering the subject. It’s been great and gross!

Back in 2015, author Cassandra Khaw (who happens to be one of my pals on top of being a fantastic writer)  wrote a novella called Rupert Wong Cannibal Chef and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. And when the sequel came out this year, well… I just had to review it. When else would I get to talk about one of my favorite writers’s work, cannibalism, and Greek mythology?

Head on over to Strange Horizons to read my review of Cassandra Khaw’s gloriously gory Rupert Wong and the Ends of the Earth today!

[Book Review] Miles Morales – A Spider-Man Novel

Miles Morales Cover

Title: Miles Morales: A Spider-Man Novel
Author:
Jason Reynolds (Twitter)
Rating: Super Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Superheroes, Slice of Life, Spider-Man, Young Adult, Race and Representation
Release Date: August 1, 2017

Publisher:  Marvel Press/Disney Hyperion

Order Here: AMAZON (KINDLE)  | AMAZON (HARDCOVER) | BARNES AND NOBLE

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

SYNOPSIS

“Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.

But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It’s time for Miles to suit up.

REVIEW

Jason Reynolds’s Miles Morales: A Spider-Man Novel is the kind of Miles Morales content that I’ve been craving since the second Brian Michael Bendis had Miles straight up not get that him being “the Black Spider-Man” was significant representation for kids.

Reynolds’ novel portrays a version of Miles that fans of the character (and some of his lingering detractors) need to be reading. It is, easily, a portrayal of Miles that is more honest and authentic than any we’ve seen so far. Reynolds’ imbues the novel (and Miles’s life) with details about his day to day life at home and in school, giving us a look at Miles’s life that we so far really haven’t seen in the comics themselves.

What’s fantastic about Miles Morales, is that this is a novel where we really get to know not just Miles, but the people around him. When Spider-Man Homecoming came out, everyone was beyond pleased with the fact that we had more time with Peter and his friends and in his neighborhood than ever before.

We got to know the kid under the mask.

That’s what Jason Reynolds does for Miles.Read More »