[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!

 

 

The Consort – Prologue

THE CONSORT

Iirin receives a visitor that will change his life forever.

On the Moonsday morning that changed Iirin’s life, the kitchen that fed the temple-orphanage’s dozens of inhabitants was empty. The lack of noise and of the usual clattering noises of chaos from the staff should have been an omen to Iirin, a sign that everything as he knew it was soon to change.

Instead, Iirin was busy making breakfast for almost three dozen hungry little demons because the temple-orphanage’s half a dozen cooks and assistants were nowhere to be found and as always, Iirin had been left in the dark about everything beyond what time Matron wanted him to be at work in the kitchens.

Halfway through preparing the weak rice porridge for the littlest ones who were still teething, the doors that connected the kitchen to the dining room flew open with a bang that made Iirin flinch and nearly drop his ladle into the bubbling porridge.

“I knew I’d find you in here,” Matron said, her voice a taunt that never failed to make Iirin’s jaw clench. She spat the words out as if she was accusing Iirin of some horrible deed rather than yelling at him for doing the very task that she’d told him he was responsible for only the night before.

Iirin never stopped stirring the porridge, only half-turning so that he could look at Matron’s livid face and the twin pinpricks of red that brightened her cheeks.

“Matron,” Iirin said, dipping his head in a shallow show of respect that the demon in front of him had never once tried to earn. “What is it that I’m being accused of this time?”Read More »

[Book Review] Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages

Wicked Wonders CoverTitle: Wicked Wonders
Author:
Ellen Klages (Twitter)
Rating: Recommended (Sort of)
Genre/Category: Slice of Life, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Story Collection, Queer Fiction
Release Date: May 2, 2017

Publisher:  Tachyon Publications

Order Here: AMAZON | TACHYON PUBLICATIONS

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. Additionally, one of the stories in the collection I’m reviewing reads as kind of not cool to me when it comes to genital reveals so I’m going to talk about the story to make sure that people interested in this book know what to expect.


SYNOPSIS

A rebellious child identifies with Maleficent instead of Sleeping Beauty. Best friends Anna and Corry share one last morning on Earth. A solitary woman inherits a penny arcade haunted by a beautiful stranger. A prep-school student requires more than luck when playing dice with a faerie. Ladies who lunch—dividing one last bite of dessert—delve into new dimensions of quantum politeness. At summer camp, a young girl discovers the heartbreak of forbidden love.

Whether on a habitat on Mars or in a boardinghouse in London, discover Ellen Klages’ wicked, wondrous adventures full of cheeky wit, empathy, and courage.

 

REVIEW

There are fifteen short stories in Ellen Klages’ newest short story collection Wicked Wonders.

Out of those fifteen, thirteen were basically everything I ever wanted in a short story. Two were… not. One of those two was a story that just didn’t catch me while the other was a story that had me invested right until it chose to reveal a characters’ genitals for what feels like shock value and then proceed to misgender them for the (short) remainder of the story. It was quite a disappointing experience.

Which sucks, because I otherwise love Ellen Klages’ writing. I’m working my way through her Tor.com novella Passing Strange, taking my time because hello I adore narratives set in or revolving around the 1920s. I think she’s a brilliant, talented writer who knows how to use words to set up mental pictures so pretty that they belong in a museum. But I mean… that second to last story sure is a doozy…

Argh!

Well, let’s get started!Read More »

Breaking and Entering – Original Fiction

Notes: This original fantasy (almost romance) story has been in the works for a LONG time and I’m happy that I can finally share it with you all! The gorgeous art pieces in this post are all parts of a commission that I got from my awesome friend Vi (who also did lovely concept art of my two boys) who is super sweet and talented!


 

Breaking and Entering

Asra has spent much of his life alone, traveling across Anatea in search of the home he never had. On an unplanned return trip to the capital city’s God Quarter, Asra finds himself taking shelter from the rain in a seemingly abandoned temple. When Asra meets the god whose temple sits gathering dust in a lonely part of the God Quarter, he isn’t expecting much beyond a swift kick in the rear. He certainly isn’t expecting that he might finally find the home he’s always wanted to have.

❧❧❧❧Read More »

The Bride’s Choice – Original Fiction

the-brides-choice-graphic

Promised to a being that lives in the waters between her village and the rest of the world, a young woman walks to what will surely be her doom.

❧❧❧❧

I walk until I see the shoreline, the hem of my white wedding dress turning darker and darker with every step that I take dragging it through the mud and silt that line the path down to the sea.

Every single step that I take reminds me that I am not doing this for myself. I am not striding towards my death and doom because I want to find myself carried away or crushed by whatever it is that lives in the murky waters between my village’s land and the outside world.Read More »

Breaking and Entering – Birthday Art and Story Snippet

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My darling and talented friend Vi (who I’ve commissioned to draw art for this story because she’s GREAT) surprised me with a super cute birthday sketch of Asra, one of the main characters  in my short story “Breaking and Entering”.

Not only did she give me permission to share this sketch, but also an early piece that she did of Asra and Katan when getting a feel for the characters. So now, y’all can see what my presh babies look like before the story eventually goes live! Please join me in basking in Vi’s amazing art and how beautiful she’s made my babies because WOW!

Under the cut is the aforementioned art as well as a snippet from the main story.

Enjoy!Read More »

[Book Review] The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson

The DQ of VB CoverTitle: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
Author:
Kij Johnson
Rating:
Recommended
Genre/Category: Fantasy, Multiverses, Alternate Worlds, Adventure, Lovecraftian Horror
Release Date: August 16, 2016

Publisher: Tor.com

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

Note: I received a free copy of this novella from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in review are my own which should be clear because no other weirdo would admit to their desire to fist-fight Lovecraft as often as I do.


Normally, I stay far away from stories inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and his writings because they do far too much reinforcing and celebrating Lovecraft’s racism and misogyny and not enough subversion of the tropes in his work. But there’s something so amazing about Kij Johnson’s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe that makes me want to read more of these purposefully subversive takes on Lovecraft’s work.

Read More »

The Pup – Original Fiction

Killer Whale

Kabi didn’t mean to adopt a killer whale pup.

Note: A shorter version of this piece was originally hosted on Patreon!


Kabi didn’t mean to adopt a killer whale pup.

She’d been swimming several leagues from the village, chasing her own tail in lazy circles as she kept an eye out for any predators too pumped up on hunger to realize that a selkie was an entirely different creature when compared to a seal.

And then, she saw it it.

The shadow of a massive whale gliding just above her head.

At first glance, Kabi was quick to assume that it’s a narwhal, one member of the playful pod that often hung around her people. Then, she noticed the lack of a horn and, shortly after that, the rounded, black and white body that reminded her of the dolphins that the slimmer, sleeker selkies in the South Seas often played with.

At the sight of the killer whale, Kabi’s body locked up as fear sped up her spine.Read More »

[Book Review] Every Heart A Doorway

Every Heart A Doorway
Title:
Every Heart A Doorway
Author: Seanan McGuire (Twitter)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Fantasy, Multiverses, Alternate Worlds, Mysteries, Murder
Release Date: April 5, 2016

Publisher: Tor.com

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

 

Every Heart A Doorway is the book of my dreams. I am so glad that my local library offers it for us to take out on Overdrive because it showed up in my “Recommended” list and I nearly screamed as I rushed to check it out.

Read More »

[Book Review] The Jewel and Her Lapidary

Wilde Jewel LapidaryTitle: The Jewel and Her Lapidary
Author:
Fran Wilde (Twitter)
Rating:
Highly Recommended
Genre/Category: Fantasy, Politics
Release Date: May 3 2016
Publisher:
Tor.com

Order Here: AMAZON  (KINDLE)| AMAZON (PRINT) | BARNES & NOBLE (PRINT)

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are my own. Spoilers abound!


By the time I finished reading The Jewel and Her Lapidary, I was well on my way to an ugly crying session. I’ve read books that broke my heart before and I’ve read some truly stellar fantasy. However, what Fran Wilde does with this book basically wrecks me.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 »

The Kelpie in the Canal – Now Up On Patreon

The Kelpie in the Canal.png

At first, when Danae sees the horse in the canal, she thinks that she’s dreaming.

This is one of the stories that is going to show up in my fantasy collection sometime in the early parts of next year. Set in South Florida, along the same stretch of road that I would walk along when coming home from student teaching, this story is set to be humorous with an edge of intensity.

Hope you all enjoy reading the story!


 

This story is available only to monthly Patreon subscribers at the $5 level for anyone interested in reading the story and supporting me in my endeavors as a writer. It comes in .PDF, .MOBI, and .EPUB formats so that you can read on whatever device you want!

Don’t know from nothing – Original Fiction

Originally posted on Tumblr on September 28, 2013.


After closing, Naeem’s bodyguard Malachi arrives at the café to deliver plenty of harsh words for Josie along with her clothes for the evening. Later, Josie gets the rug pulled from underneath her feet when Naeem introduces her to someone that truly shouldn’t exist.

Ricky’s closes at half past six.

By the time that Josie finishes stacking chairs and sweeping the floors, the sky outside is dark and everyone else has gone home except for Ricky himself who lives upstairs in a heavily warded apartment.Read More »

“A product of their time” – Observations on racist (but lauded) writers after Octopussy

Octopussy CoverYesterday I decided to use my last Audible credit on a collection of Ian Fleming short stories.

I’m working through Fleming’s original canon very slowly and when I saw that the audiobook for “Octopussy and The Living Daylights, and Other Stories” was read by Tom Hiddleston, I just had to have it. Tom Hiddleston reading James Bond seems like the perfect combination of my interests and I have been talking about how badly I wanted to see Hiddles in a Bond movie. I figured that this was the closest I’d get.

Here’s the thing though: as much as I have complained about the racism in the James Bond films, the books are much worse.

The audiobook does not help. In fact, hearing Tom Hiddleston narrate Fleming’s weird and clunky prose on top of the racism that the first story is rife with is pretty terrible.Read More »