Stitch Reads Rafael, Chapters 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, and 32

Notes: This big installment has relatively graphic descriptions of violence, my desire to do violence (it’s really bad, I want to end the villain myself), Hector remains a sex pest near the end, body horror, some death by rats, and I guess I might cuss across this. I don’t know. I wrote this all while screaming.


On the surface, it looks as if I’m having mercy on you all by doing a speedrun through the last six chapters of this book.

But I am not.

If I were to have mercy on either of us, I would make up an ending where they all died and then move on to one of the books I want to go over because of how good they are. Instead, I am consolidating the suffering… by making the few of y’all still here go through six chapters all at once because in total that’s only gonna be like 5000 words max anyway!

Enjoy/Suffer Well!


Read More »

Stitch Reads Rafael (Anita Blake #28)- Chapters 8 & 9

When we last left Anita and her unwieldy polycule + Claudia and Benito, they were being homophobic as hell over one challenger to Rafael’s throne (the hella homophobic Nestor) and Rafael just dropped the bombshell that another, Hector, might be his long lost son. This, by the way, should be impossible as born-shifters are incredibly unlikely because of Hamilton’s own worldbuilding.

Either they kill the human mother partway through gestation and work sort of like a chestburster… or the shifter mother shifts during the full moon early on and just… has a period. It’s only recently (the Las Vegas book) where we found out that tiger shifters can “take pregnant women’s beasts” so they don’t shift and miscarry at any point. They only just started teaching other shifters how to do that.

Read More »

Stitch Reads Rafael (Anita Blake #28)- Chapter 2

We’re back at Rafael, beloveds, and I just… please tell me you see what I’m seeing when Rafael and his bodyguard are first introduced on the page after Anita escapes the bitch-off with Kane:

I was more bothered by Kane than I’d thought, since I didn’t sense Rafael’s energy with his main bodyguard, Benito, right beside him. Even without the otherworldly energy they were both tall: dark, muscled, and handsome for Rafael, more sinister for Benito. They both had short black hair and brown eyes, but Benito had deep facial scarring from something that looked like more than acne, but it wasn’t just the scars. I had other people in my life who had facial scars, and none of them seemed like a villainous henchman in a superhero movie, but Benito did. Maybe it was the fact that he worked so hard being scary as Rafael’s main bodyguard.

Like –

Y’all see this too right?

Like the sheer racist cringe on display here? It’s not as bad as the first time that we see Rafael introduced by how gosh darned Mexican he is, but it’s not actually that far off if you’re a recurring reader of the Anitaverse and can clock that this is basically just that? The bonus of Benito being described as menacing because of disfiguremesia – a brilliant term coined by my dear friend Mikaela a few years back – and because he’s Mexican… It just makes me itch.

Read More »

Link Lineup June 2021

Finding Queer Asian America in the Margins

When I began the research for Last Night at the Telegraph Club in earnest, I knew that I needed to know more about those lesbians of color. More specifically, I needed to know what it was like to be a Chinese American lesbian in San Francisco in the 1950s, but they were nearly invisible in the historical record. The few times I came across references to Asian American lesbians, they were mentioned in passing or relegated to the footnotes.

It was enough to make one think that queer Asian Americans didn’t exist back then, but I knew that wasn’t true. What has happened is that our experiences have been erased or marginalized, deemed less important than the experiences of white LGBTQ people.

If you’re like me and you like learning more about queer histories of color, please check out this piece and get hyped for some awesome histories that you probably didn’t know before! 

Read More »

Bloodbath (Harietta Lee #2) by Stephanie Ahn

Bloodbath Cover

I spent a lot of time reading Bloodbath (Harrietta Lee #2) and wondering how on earth Harry manages to make it from one day to the next. To be fair, I’m pretty sure that she has no idea how she’s managed to survive as long as she has either.

In case y’all somehow missed me talking her up, Stephanie Ahn is currently my favorite urban fantasy writer in the game.

Her first book, Deadline, left me stunned by how amazing it was. My introduction to Harry, a dashing and disgraced witch booted from her community after making a bad call and dabbling in some demonic magic that led to the death of her mentor, really changed the way that I flat out looked at the urban fantasy genre.Read More »

The Great Big Anita Blake Reread: Approaching the Ardeur (An Explainer)

The Great Big Anita Blake Reread_ Approaching the Ardeur (An Explainer)

As I’ve dragging my heels on finishing Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake #10) for the next installment of my reread series, I’ve realized that there’s one small problem with how I talk about the Anitaverse. I keep assuming that you all have already read the series and are familiar with how everything works and therefore I don’t slow down to explain things that are probably confusing to the uninitiated.

So for the next two or three months, I’ll be writing mini-primers to three of the biggest worldbuilding bits that are semi-constant across the Anitaverse that I haven’t explained (but really need to before I keep going any further).

For this month, I’ll be covering the ardeur.

Content warnings for this primer: descriptions of sexual assault, “fuck or die”/”sex pollen” scenarios, rape culture, and sex-negative feminism framed as “sex positive” feminism, homophobia, a reference to an adult having sex with a teenager


“I thought you would be angry with me for giving you the ardeur, the fire, the burning hunger.”

The ardeur is first named in the thirteenth chapter of Narcissus in Chains after Micah assaults Anita in the previous chapter while she’s under her first brush of the ardeur.

In the chapter, after Anita shamefully admits to having sex with Micah (and again, it was rape), Jean-Claude confesses to having hidden this power from her and to denying his own hunger for sex because he know she wouldn’t approve.

Here’s the first of many issues with the ardeur.

Prior to this book, there’s nothing within the Anitaverse that tells us that Jean-Claude has this power hidden within his body.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 »

Sporking For A Good Cause: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Shutdown (Anita Blake 22.5)

sporking for a good cause

First things first here is a list of charities that you can (and should) donate to in order to help people directly affected by the government shutdown here in the US. Many of these people aren’t going to get paid even once the government re-opens and right now they’re suffering greatly. If you can donate, you can help someone get a little bit of financial security in these trying times.

Now, some backstory:

In October 2013, the US government was shut down for several days as a result of the Republican congress really hating the idea of letting the United States people get anything close to universal healthcare.

In response to the shutdown and ostensibly for her readers impacted by the shutdown as government workers, Laurell K. Hamilton posted “Shutdown”, a short story (or, more likely, a deleted scene from  the novel that had come out in July of the same year, Affliction) about the werewolf alpha Richard Zeeman introducing his newest human lover to Anita Blake and her main-shapeshifter squeeze, the wereleopard alpha Micah Callahan. This 7200-word story is a quick and frustrating look into the life of one of Anita’s former main lovers.

As Hamilton posted this story with good intentions and reuploaded it with the threat – I mean, promise – to figure out a sequel or original short story if the shutdown continues – with good intentions as well, I am sporking it with the best intentiions at heart. I would appreciate it if my followers/readers donated to one of the charities or organizations I linked to at the beginning of this piece.

So, now that you’ve (hopefully) donated to an organization that’s going to help folks impacted by the government shutdown, let’s start the sporking (for a good cause). The usual trigger warnings for any conversation about the Anitaverse apply here as I’ll be talking about the consent issues in the short, internalized misogyny, kink/sex shaming, and sexual violence. So read carefully if you can!

Note: If you prefer to listen to your sporking, here’s the MP3 narration I did! Don’t forget to donate, you nerds!
Read More »

The Great Big Anita Blake ReRead: Blue Moon

Content Warning: This installment talks in detail about sexual violence, abuse in relationships, and false rape accusations on top of racism, rednecks, and my usual rage over the series.

blue moon - us 1998 cover
Blue Moon‘s 1998 US Cover

First published in 1998, Blue Moon is the ninth Anita Blake novel and the second in the series to take Anita outside of her normal territory in St. Louis.

While I previously said positive things about how the series takes Anita out of her comfort zone by removing her from her base of operations and her main allies (back in Bloody Bones), sending Anita to Myerton, Tennessee was not the greatest idea because it wasn’t necessarily executed well and relied on stock portrayals of prejudiced southerners to provide a lot of the background characters and minor villains.

After werewolf alpha (and Anita’s ex-boyfriend) Richard Zeeman is falsely accused of and arrested for rape in Tennessee while on a research vacation, Anita takes the initiative to travel down south to keep Richard’s werewolf-y secrets from coming out. The only problem, is that Richard’s pack and family aren’t very fond of Anita and neither is the master of Myerton, a vampire with more power than common sense.

Throw in pack politics, the ghost of the rapist Raina, a bunch of rednecks, and a mystical conspiracy to find the mythical Spear of Destiny and you’ve got one big ole book.

Strap in folks, we’re about to talk about what Blue Moon does decently, what the book gets wrong, and what parts of the book should’ve been killed by magical fire in the woods of Tennessee.Read More »

Urban Fantasy 101: My Eight Favorite Urban Fantasy Reads of 2018

Urban Fantasy 101 - Fave Reads.png

2018 was a great year for me for urban fantasy reads and for my Urban Fantasy 101 series overall. I had more hits in the genre than misses and I found books and authors that I’ll always adore. I was able to develop really interesting thoughts on worldbuilding from reading tons of urban fantasy books and I think I’m finally finding a balanced approach between celebration and criticism.

While I read a ton of urban fantasy in 2018, a fair amount of it wasn’t actually published this year. So, I’m going to wrap up the year by talking about the ones that were. Here are eight of what I thought 2018 had to offer as the best urban fantasy reads (that I’ve read all the way through)!Read More »

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

Minimum Wage Magic - Cover.jpg

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 »

Urban Fantasy 101: Definitive-Ish

Urban fantasy 101_ Definitive Ish.png

Wikipedia’s definition for “urban fantasy” is pretty unhelpful in its broadness.

Basically, it calls urban fantasy “a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has an urban setting” and goes on to mention that urban fantasy works are “set primarily in the real world and contain aspects of fantasy”.

It’s definitely a definition, but it’s not exactly an clear one.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 »