Hexes and Hemlines, by Juliet Blackwell, is a cozy mystery told in the first-person perspective of a witch who acts as the detective. Not part of the San Francisco Police Department—though she was asked to unofficially consult on this case, Lilly Ivory owns and operates a vintage clothing store.
1—Accidentally Breaking Things
When Lilly is called to weigh in on a murder victim surrounded by bad luck symbols—a broken mirror, a ladder in front of a doorway, black cat, etc—it sets off a series of events in the magical community. Apparently she’s broken some decades old pact between witches and Satanists not to get into each others’ business. As the murder victim was the son of the head of the Church of Satan, Lilly finds herself in deep trouble, trouble that will extend out to her friends. Continue reading “Hexes and Hemlines—Things Start Getting Complicated”→
A Cast-Off Coven, by Juliet Blackwell, is the second in the Witchcraft Mystery series (I’ve read but not reviewed the first in the series, Secondhand Spirits—I liked it). It’s a cozy mystery set in San Francisco starring Lilly Ivory, witch and vintage-clothing store owner.
1—Murder in the Bell Tower
Lilly is called in to kick the ghost out of the school’s haunted bell tower—at least that’s her job until finding rich scumbag and patron of the art school Jerry Becker dead at the base of said bell tower. Now in addition to the ghost, Lilly has to deal with a murder. And then she finds out there’s a demon in the third-floor closet. Continue reading “A Cast-Off Coven—Demons, Ghosts, and Art School”→
Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins is an urban fantasy told in the first person perspective of Tate, a human welder-artist.
After moving to New York’s magical district, Golgotham, Tate is immersed in the magical subculture. In Golgotham, there are no cars—centaurs pull carriages and satyrs pull rickshaws. Leprechauns have their own bars. And six-fingered, neon-haired Kymeran sorcerers work their magic, for a price. Continue reading “Right Hand Magic—City of Wonders”→
Goblin Quest is a semi-parodic adventure novel by Jim C. Hines. The goblin Jig gets taken captive by adventurers to be their guide in their quest to retrieve the Rod of Creation. The problem is that Jig doesn’t know where it is.
1—Poking Fun at Adventuring
When I say that Goblin Quest is semi-parodic, I mean that it pokes fun of the absurdities of adventure novels and Dungeons & Dragons type quests, but also that it fully works as an adventure. There’s a Necromancer, a Dragon, and plenty of monsters—though as the story is told from the point of view of one of “monsters” the term becomes a subject of debate, if only in Jig’s mind. Continue reading “Goblin Quest—An Unusual Adventure”→
A podcast hosted by Emma Newman who, with her politely evil butler Latimer, interviews authors, illustrators, agents, and all kinds of people over tea and cake. After which, the guests find themselves in some form of peril they must creatively escape.
Each week finds Emma and Latimer in a tea lair as well, and since acquiring their time machine, this can be anywhen as well as anywhere.
“Sequential Comedies of Literature” as it says in the subtitle. John S. Troutman reads classics from the Norton Anthology and draws comics about whatever comes into his head. Hilarious, amusing, pick your adjective.
Another podcast, this one by a set of authors. Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor (who writes and illustrates the webcomic Schlock Mercenary), Dan Wells, and Mary Robinette Kowal (who also narrates audiobooks) talk about writing and everything to do with it. A must listen for writers, especially their series of podcasts on elemental genres.
Stick figures and diagrams have never been so entertaining. Written and drawn by Randall Munroe, who manages to explain complex things with simple words in a way that I actually understand what he’s talking about but don’t feel talked down to. Some comics are just silliness. Either way, read the hover text, it’s always funny.
Let’s Pretend this Never Happened is the memoir of Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess. It’s an irreverent and delightful, at least to me, look into a life even weirder than my own. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is Jenny’s first book and contains stories of her childhood, youth, and some from adulthood. It is, like her second book, a look at all the fucked up in life and finding the humor in it.
Heroine Complex is a hilarious and touching story by Sarah Kuhn. Told in first-person perspective, it’s the story of Evie Tanaka, personal assistant to San Francisco’s superhero, Aveda Jupiter. When Aveda gets injured, Evie has to pose as her boss/best friend and disasters ensue.
And kittens, and statues, and celebrities. Little is known about the demons that periodically invade San Francisco, and only San Francisco, except that they imprint on the first thing they see and that they love the taste of human blood. The portals appear at random and leave behind stones with strange writing on them. Nate, the demonologist in team Aveda, collects and tries to decipher them. Continue reading “Heroine Complex—Learning to Embrace Anger and Power”→
Crimson Peak is a gothic romance-horror movie directed by Guillermo del Torro.
The ghosts in Crimson Peak were both creepy and gross, being skeletal-muscular and either black or red. The movie builds good atmosphere, especially via the butterflies and conversations. There’s some violence, mostly at the end, and someone gets stabbed in the face. That was sufficiently gross, despite a lack of gore. Most of the gore is in the ghosts themselves. Continue reading “Crimson Peak—Creepy but Slow”→
The movie version of Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children lacks the charm of the book. It starts off slow, gets really morbid, the ends as a fluffy action movie. It also had some time travel consequences that didn’t make sense to me, namely the grandfather coming back to life—I know I’ve mentioned I hate time travel, something that didn’t even occur to me while reading the book. Also, I didn’t buy the romance between Emma and Jake.
It wasn’t all bad though. The monster designs were cool, and the special effects were great. Worth seeing once for the scenes in the underwater ship. I also liked Eva Green’s performance as Miss Peregrin.