[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] Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone (Five Chapter Preview)

Children+Of+Blood+And+Bone Cover

The first five chapters of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone are the most stressful things that I’ve ever read. And believe me, they’re so worth it.

When I first heard of Adeyemi’s success and talent (the bidding war and the upcoming movie), people were comparing her to George R. R. Martin. I get it. I do. At this point, when faced with an epic fantasy series full to the brim with political intrigue and the kind of vivid writing that leaves you able to visualize the world, Martin’s works are kind of the “go-to” for that sort of thing.

But Adeyemi’s writing is next level amazing. (I’m not going to be like “She’s better than Martin” but like…)

In the five-chapter preview, we’re introduced to three very different characters in different roles of life. There’s Zélie, a diviner trained to fight against the guards that oppress her and others like her in the name of King Saran. Then, there’s King Saran’s two children: Amari, who comes face to face with ugliness in her family, and her brother Inan, a young man who appears to be torn between duty and desire.

All three of the POV characters introduced in the first five chapters are fascinating figures that I want to know more about. The world they live in is dark and distressing, but even in these five chapters, I got the feeling that we’re going to see so much more unfold as the book (and subsequent series) goes on.

I think that the best thing about The Children of Blood and Bone is seeing multiple characters on the page that look like me and my family. Epic fantasy series aren’t exactly known for their stunning racial diversity and it’s been hard to get into the subgenre of fantasy considering it’s yet another one that I can’t picture myself in.

But I can with this book. I can visualize the characters and the setting they live in without having to jump through hoops like whoa. I know that when the movie comes out, it’ll be like Black Panther where I sob all over the place from the first trailer on (but better) because Black people – especially Black women – don’t get to be the Chosen One. We don’t get to save the day or have a prince (maybe) fall in love with us.

We deserve that.

We do.

And Adeyemi delivers in a big way.

You can check out the synopsis for Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone on her website along with the first few chapters of the novel. If you read the preview and like what you see, consider not only pre-ordering the book, but spreading the word!

 

 

[Book Review] The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch

The Furthest Station Cover

Title: The Furthest Station (PC Peter Grant #6.5)
Author: Ben Aaronovitch (Twitter)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Urban Fantasy, Ghosts, Magic
Release Date: June 30, 2017

Publisher: Gollancz

Order Here: AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: I received a copy of this review from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Whoo! Also this review contains mostly mild spoilers for the novella!

SYNOPSIS

There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.

Enter PC Peter Grant, junior member of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Assessment unit a.k.a. The Folly a.k.a. the only police officers whose official duties include ghost hunting. Together with Jaget Kumar, his counterpart at the British Transport Police, he must brave the terrifying crush of London’s rush hour to find the source of the ghosts.

Joined by Peter’s wannabe wizard cousin, a preschool river god and Toby the ghost hunting dog, their investigation takes a darker tone as they realise that a real person’s life might just be on the line.

And time is running out to save them.

With this new novella, bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch has crafted yet another wickedly funny and surprisingly affecting chapter in his beloved Rivers of London series.

REVIEW

So who exactly do I have to shake in order to get an entire series of young adult books about Abigail Kumara snarking her way through London’s supernatural underworld and getting into all sorts of trouble behind her cousin’s back? Because I’m ready to start shaking some people.Read More »

Links I Liked – May

I don’t want to say that this will be a regular feature since I’m shit at regular features, but here are some links to cool and interesting things I’ve read or seen online this month!


Links I Liked

Brown bodies in white spaces: On meeting Riz Ahmed

The funny thing about writing about race is that my instinct is to always start off with an apology. Sorry, I’ll think, imagining readers clicking on the piece, sorry I’m going to make you uncomfortable.

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

As I’ve said before in my review of Empire of Shadows, I have a complicated relationship with SJM’s books. Some of her worldbuilding interests me, as do one or two of her characters, but her worlds and stories are so problematic and so white, cis, allo and straight that now I’m just waiting to read the last books of her series to say good bye to her writing completely.

A Response to Zetta Elliott’s “Minstrelsy is the New Black”

While I certainly can’t speak for every black writer and their intentions, but based on my own work and experiences in understanding and loving blackness in all its complexities, nothing about my work speaks to the Mantans of the American entertainment world. Truth-telling, providing context within the story, and humanizing black children is my main focus. A far cry from minstrelsy.

Read More »

[Book Review] The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon

the-caped-crusade-glen-weldonTitle: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture
Author: Glen Weldon (Twitter)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Nonfiction, Batman, Comic Book
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Order Here: AMAZON  (PAPERBACK)| AMAZON (KINDLE) 

Note: This review was originally written for a graduate level course I took last semester where we had to write a review for a scholarly book that was related to our thesis. As this book actually inspired my current thesis project (about queer readings of a queer-coded Joker and the role that homophobia plays in these readings), I couldn’t pass up on the chance to review this book.


A regular panelist on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, Glen Weldon is probably the best author that could have ever been drafted to write a book about how Batman’s creation shaped the development of nerd culture and fandom as it exists right now.

His book The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture seeks to put Batman into a certain cultural context, looking at the way that the character’s history has shaped generations of fans, comic and film creators, and the fans that would grow up to become these creators. Weldon looks at how, over the course of the past seventy-seven years, Batman and nerd culture have participated in certain cycles that alternated between “camp and cheery” and “grim-dark and gritty”.

In The Caped Crusade, Weldon approaches the heterocentric canon of Batman’s various texts through a perspective that only a gay man can bring to the table. In his close queer reading of Batman’s history, canon text throughout the decades, and the fan community (or fandom) that sprawled up around him, Weldon looks at how queerphobia shaped Batman’s trajectory and inspired hundreds of thousands of fans to eschew the very idea of a queer Batman while queer fans clung to the potential opened up for them by the subtext embedded within the character.Read More »

[Book Review] Midtown Masters by Cara McKenna (+ Giveaway)

midtown-masters-coverTitle: Midtown Masters (Sins in the City #3)
Author: Cara McKenna (Twitter)
Rating:
Recommended
Genre/Category: Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Queer Romance, Queer Fiction
Release Date: February 21, 2017

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group: Intermix

Pre-Order Here: AMAZON (KINDLE)  | BARNES & NOBLE

Note: I received an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed here are my own. This review has some spoilers for the book but they’re not major ones that you couldn’t guess from reading McKenna’s other books or the book blurb.


It’s Valentine’s Day folks and that’s kind of the perfect time to talk about the third book in Cara McKenna’s steamy Sins in the City series. Midtown Masters, comes out in a week which gives you plenty of time to read the other two standalone novels in the series if you’re a fast reader.

Out of the three books in the series so far, Midtown Masters is my favorite. Starring a pair of close friends who cam together for well-paying customers and the mysterious client that winds up sparking a deeper connection with one half of the duo, Midtown Masters has so much to it that was genuinely enjoyable.Read More »

[Book Review] That Potent Alchemy by Tess Bowery

that-potent-alchemy-coverTitle: That Potent Alchemy
Author: Tess Bowery (Twitter)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Genre/Category:  Historical Romance, Regency, Erotic, Queer, Entertainment,
Release Date: October 4, 2016

Publisher: Seamchecker Ent.

Order Here: AMAZON (KINDLE) | BARNES AND NOBLE

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


That Potent Alchemy, the third book in Tess Bowery’s “Treading the Boards” series blows all of the historical romances I’ve been reading clear out of the water. One of my frequent complaints about diversity in publishing is that it’s very difficult to find authors who write characters I can relate to because they’re like me. Because they’re queer and brown and gender-whatever like me.

And That Potent Alchemy gave me that sense of belonging, that “I could be here” feeling that I rarely find in the historical romances I read.

In Tess Bowery’s England, there’s room for queer women and genderfluid people to be.Read More »

[Book Review] Lustlocked: A Sin du Jour Affair

LUSTLOCKEDCOVER

Title: Lustlocked: A Sin du Jour Affair
Author: Matt Wallace
Rating: So Freaking Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Urban Fantasy, Fae & Faries
Release Date: January 26, 2016

Publisher: Tor

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

It’s officially tradition for me to be tipsy when I review the awesome Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour stories. I started that tradition back in October when I picked up Envy of Angels during a half-drunken stress-shopping run. It was so worth it.

Fast forward to last Tuesday when my kindle sent me a notification letting me know that Lustlocked was ready for me to read on my kindle. I started making high pitched noises then and I haven’t stopped yet. Yes, I am making high pitched noises in between swigs from my delicious Strongbow cider and somehow I haven’t choked yet.

Lustlocked is amazing from the opening pages where we’re reintroduced to Moon and the other members of Sin du Jour’s stocking and receiving department. I really love how Matt sets the stage with this part of the crew. Read More »

Comic Review – Red Thorn

Red Thorn 1 CoverWriter: David Baillie

Art: Meghan Hetrick

Colorist: Steve Oliff

Letters: Todd Klein

Publisher: Vertigo Comics

Release Date: November 18, 2015

 

Red Thorn #1 combines three of my favorite things: mythology, pretty characters, and a twisty plot. Written by David Baillie (2000 AD) with art by Meghan Hetrick (Fairest, Batman Eternal) and colors by Steve Oliff (Image Firsts: Spawn, New Avengers) this new series focuses on a Isla Mackintosh, a young woman looking for answers after being drawn to Glasgow, the place where her older sister died before she was even born.

Told in a sort of flashback form, we start in Glasgow with Isla looking for information about her long-dead sister Lauren. One thing that stands out from the beginning is how Baillie sets up the mythology from the start. There are little hints dropped about how every town has a local legend or monster and with what we know of the book, we can tell that that reality won’t bode well for Isla.

Or any of the people around her, most likely.


 

The rest of this review can be read at Word of the Nerd!

[Book Review] Sorcerer To The Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown CoverTitle: Sorcerer to the Crown
Author: Zen Cho (Twitter)
Rating:
Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Historical Fantasy, AWESOME
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Ace

Purchase Links: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE


I have basically been on the library waiting list for Zen Cho’s Sorcerer To The Crown since it came out. I finally got to get it from the library on one of my recent Library Hauls and yesterday, in between writing sessions, I read the entire thing.

I wanted to tweet about it yesterday and give Zen Cho props from then, but I paused because I wanted to do it right and review it as best as possible (without many spoilers because I know there are people who read my reviews who haven’t read it yet).

So let’s get the most important thing out of the way: I love this book. (Like for real, if I could marry a book I’d be in a poly relationship with Sorcerer to the Crown and Matt Wallace’s Envy of Angels.) Read More »

[Book Review] Envy of Angels: A Sin Du Jour Affair

Rating: So Freaking Highly RecommendedEnvy of Angels

I am 100% writing this short non-spoilery review while tipsy.

So it’s super honest.

So very honest.

I stress-bought Matt Wallace’s Envy of Angels last night while looking at career sites. It’s like, the thing to do you know? Buy stuff as you wail about not being able to buy stuff. And in this case, it was so breaking worth it.

Matt Wallace is amazing. We became tweeps yesterday (hella!!) and I am excited to see what else he writes. Why? Because Envy of Angels hit all of my buttons. It had amazing characters (Lena is bae and Darren’s not far off), religion but not like religion, and FOOD!Read More »

[Book Review] Sing Down The Stars (The Celestine Series Book 1) by L.J. Hatton

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review with opinions that are entirely my own. Mild spoilers for the book will follow.


Sing Down The Stars CoverTitle: Sing Down The Stars
Author:  L. J. Hatton
Rating: Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Dystopian, Young Adult, Science-Fiction
Publisher: Skyscape
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Purchase Link: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

Blurb:

When they arrived, they spread across the sky like a sea of jellyfish—silent, unknown, alien. When they left, a year later, it seemed as if nothing had changed. But soon, certain girls were born with peculiar abilities—inhuman abilities. An international commission was formed to investigate…and fear began to spread. Families were swept from their homes and, one by one, any girl that was different disappeared.

Penn Roma’s four sisters were born with these dreaded powers: they control the elements of fire, water, earth, and wind.

Penn is the unimaginable fifth child, one with the power to call down the stars.

Her father has hidden his daughters’ powers for sixteen years. Then, one explosive night, Penn loses everything: her sisters are taken, her family destroyed. Now, Penn must do the unthinkable and use the power she’s spent a lifetime suppressing. To save her family and herself, she must travel to the very heart of her world’s darkness and discover the truth about her terrifying gift.


Read More »