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Showing posts from October, 2016

SHADOWED SOULS - Q&A with Kerrie L. Hughes!

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The Dresden Files is probably one of my favorite series out there, and was quite conceivably my proper introduction to Urban Fantasy.  Thinking back, I know I read fantasy within contemporary and urban settings, but this grumpy, sarcastic, and too stubborn for his own good wizard caught my attention.

And then this collection comes across my radar.  With not just a new Dresden Files story, but stories by some of my favorite authors.

Shadowed Souls is an excellent collection of dark and urban fantasy, and a decent introduction to the genre for the curious.  If you're already a fan of urban fantasy but don't recognize the authors... pick up this collection, you've been missing out.


And editor Kerrie L. Hughes gave us some of her time to answer questions about working on anthologies!  Read on!

Hello!  Thank you for your time, both in answering these questions and the time invested in such a great anthology.
How do you get started with an anthology project?
This varies from proje…

[Book Review] Slave Hunt (Subs Club)

Slave Hunt (The Subs Club #5) / J. A. Rock

Previously reviewed:
The Subs ClubPain SlutManties in a Twist24/7 I removed the disclaimer for the review on this book that I've included on the first four.  It's not as necessary beyond informing the reader that this is a kinky erotic novella.  It's light, fun, and hot, but is a group story and lacks the almost painful depth of intimacy that the first four books bring out.  The relationships are established, now it's time to play.  However, I do recommend not starting with this book, as it is built on the story grown over the previous four books.


In Slave Hunt, the Subs Club (and their partners) gear up for a game day put on by Riddle.  Tops hunting bottoms with paintball guns, with prizes for most caught, staying free, and of course the enticement of play time with caught bottoms.  The story gives us the tops' voices for the first time, and even lets Maya have some time as a narrator.  Juggling ten narrators is usually ov…

Lord of the Rings : The Towering Read - Book 4, Chapter 6

I don't have much to say about this chapter, and in many ways it stands as a last calm before the storm.  There's conflict, but as far as conflict goes, a rather minor one, and one that results in Frodo gaining free passage through Gondor.

Beyond the location within a secret cave, I don't get the inviolate nature of the pool that Gollum fishes in.  But that's the way it is, and Gollum becomes the elephant in the room.  While Frodo saved his life, this whole encounter probably marks the sharpest change in Gollum's overall attitude towards the hobbits.  When Frodo comes upon him, Gollum is muttering about how he was left behind as the Master went off with new friends, then only to be tricked by the Master and taken captive by men.


Things are a bit more serious and weighty in the film, with Frodo caught flat out in a lie, rather than just omission.  This forbidden pool is right out in the open, so I'm pretty sure all sorts of beings end up in it.  The betrayal of…

Lord of the Rings : The Towering Read - Book 4, Chapter 5

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There's a lot that goes on in this chapter, with the interview of Frodo, the accidental test of Faramir's character, the history lesson, and the revelations.

I have to be honest, I'm pretty team Samwise at this point.  To me he's the real hero of the story and the reason the Ring isn't lost a dozen times over.  Frodo has more polish... and that often referred to "light" or "Elvish air," but he's of limited effectiveness.  Frodo changes over the course of the story, is forced to change, but never really grows.  Sam, on the other hand becomes far more than just a gardner.

This chapter really brings to light how things might have gone differently had Faramir gone to Rivendell, not Boromir.  Faramir has far more respect for the history of Middle Earth, the rise and decline of the Numenorans, the lessons to be drawn from it, and even holds the grace of Lothlorien sacred.  He knows of Isildur's Bane and desires it not, both as an abstract and …

[Book Review] Wrong Place, Right Time

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Wrong Place, Right Time (The Bourbon Street Boys, Book 2) / Elle Casey (Powell's Books)

Previously reviewed:
Wrong Number, Right GuyLife as a single parent is a challenge, and with her children's well-being a priority Jenn isn't looking for adventure or any more uncertainty.  Her sister working for a private security firm is more danger than she wants in her life.  Then she's offered a generous payment for a one-time consulting gig for the Bourbon Street Boys, with auntie babysitting thrown in to sweeten the deal.  Things go well... until someone crashes into the building and she's pulled into a security lock down room with the veritable giant Dev.

Stability and security rules in her life, and it feels like that's all slipping away.  Her job may not appreciate her, but it's steady unlike going freelance.  Nothing about the Bourbon Street Boys seems safe, especially falling for one of them.


When I read Wrong Number, Right Guy I said I'd definitely read mo…

Queerbrarian

It's National Coming Out Day.

It's been an interesting year.  In 2015 we celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage; this year we've seen floods of anti-queer legislation, shootings at gay clubs, and continued violence in rhetoric.

So fuck it.  I'll talk about my orientation, my gender, and my "coming out."

I literally cannot remember a time when I was not attracted to both men and women.  The first crushes I can remember having were on Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Dr. Beverly Crusher.  I was maybe five years old.  Did I understand it as a nascent sexual attraction?  No, I didn't have the concepts for that to even occur to me then.  I knew I wanted to be Han or Luke because they got Princess Leia (in my defense, the whole sibling thing didn't register for some time, even if Return of the Jedi was my favorite of the three).  Of course, Leia had her pick of those two as well as both rocking that bikini and kicking butt.

I remember …

[Book Review] Dawn

Dawn (Xenogenesis #1) / Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler always makes for an interesting and possibly uncomfortable read.  I've wanted to do something by her for Virtual Speculation, but I was torn between choosing something new or rereading Fledgling.  Dawn comes up often as a good place to start with Butler, so I went for it for the August read.

Lilith awakes alone in captivity, yet another awakening in an uncertain amount of time.  But this time, her captors introduce themselves.  It's been 250 years since humans nearly destroyed the Earth and themselves.  The humans that remain have spent much of the time since in stasis, rescued by the alien Oankali.  But everything has a price. The Oankali survive through the exchange of genetic information, not just among themselves to reproduce, but with other species.  Humanity has been changed on a physical and genetic level, changes made from an Oankali understanding of what is best.

Discussion Fodder:
How does the book discuss bodily a…

2016 Mass Book Awards!

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For those of you who heard me make allusion to a book award that I was involved with, I can finally actually talk about it!  The winners for the 2016 Mass Book Awards have been announced!


This was loads of fun, if a bit chaotic.  I read a lot, but I read for several book clubs as well as review copies furnished by publishers... on top of any personal reading I want to do.  Shoehorning in a box of 12 books to read over about two months was plausible but required me to actually schedule reading.  Also, since I can't have one crazy thing in my life this also overlapped almost perfectly with the two month period from putting in an offer on a house to closing, as well as moving from part-time to full-time at my library.

I took part along with several others as judges for Adult Fiction, with the purpose of whittling down the long list (the 12 finalists) to one Winner and three Honors.  Some of the books were very easy to eliminate from the running, others took some dithering.  Th…

Lord of the Rings : The Towering Read - Book 4, Chapter 4

A brief respite for the hobbits, traveling in lands less touched by Mordor.
Sam is ever pragmatic starts thinking about food, and the necessity of more to even reach their destination, let alone maybe make it home.  Maybe they have a chance?  Sam more than anyone is incredibly pragmatic.  After all, even if they are on an impossible quest, food is necessary until althe bitter end.  Asking Gollum to hunt them a rabbit reflects on that pragmatism, his love for Frodo, and the direness of the situation.
"I does ask. And if that isn't nice enough, I begs." The relationship between Sam and Frodo has always been an interesting one.  Technically, Frodo is Sam's master, but there's always been more between them.  There's more to Frodo than when they started with everything that has touched him, and the nature of their relationships shifts along with it all.  A few quotes to think about things:
"He was reminded suddenly of Frodo as he had lain, asleep in the hous…