Beneath the Sugar Sky, a novella by Seanan McGuire, finds us back in Eleanore West’s Home for Wayward Children—where the children who go to another world and then come back to ours go in hopes of finding their way back to that other world. When a girl in a cotton candy dress falls out of the sky and into the turtle pond, the students find their questing days aren’t yet over.
Rini—the girl who fell out of the sky—has come to get her mother Sumi and bring her back to the world of Confection—except was murdered in the first book in the Wayward Children series. Rini, Kade, Cora, Nadya, and Christopher decide to go on a quest to resurrect Sumi before the Queen of Cakes—whom Sumi was supposed to/will defeat—comes back from her own death to oppress Confection. Also, so Rini can exist in the first place—pieces of her keep disappearing. But first they have to find all the parts of Sumi—her bones, her soul, her shadow/nonsense. And to do that, they’ll have to travel to various worlds that aren’t quite home—but might be closer to home than Earth is. Continue reading “Beneath the Sugar Sky—Living Statues and Soda Seas”→
I’m still working my way through my new book, so here’s a collection of podcasts that focus more on the business side of being a writer—important for both indies and traditionally published authors to know, since either way, being a published author means being a small business owner. Also, I’ve posted about most these podcasts somewhere before, but not in in a collection with this focus, so I’m doing it anyway.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve developed anxiety, which isn’t helped by the current everything-ness of the pandemic right now. But I have developed a new strategy to help myself be able to read new things. I’ll be reading two fiction books at once—first I’ll read the new book (currently Seanan McGuire’s Beneath the Sugar Sky, which I’ve been looking forward to getting to for a long time) until I can’t stand the tension anymore, then I’ll switch to my comfort read book (currently Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger). If I still feel like reading when I’ve had my fill of the comfort read, I’ll switch back to the new book. Hopefully I’ll have a review for you next week or the week after. Wish me reading luck.
Meat Cute, a short story by Gail Carriger, is the story of how Miss Alexia Tarabotti and Lord Maccon meet. If those names mean nothing to you, that’s ok, this story is really for the fans of the Parasolverse.
Note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, which is, as of this writing, the only version of Meat Cute in print, but it’s available in ebook and audio book.
Basically, Sophronia and Soap set up Alexia and Connal to meet. Takes place just before Soulless. There’s other Easter eggs in the story, if you’ve read ALL the Parasolverse stories, but even if you’ve only read the novels, or just the Finishing School series or just the Parasol Protectorate, you should like this short story. If you have not read either of those, maybe wait until you have to read Meat Cute. But yeah, I adored this little gem.
Romancing the Inventor, a novella by Gail Carriger, follows Imogene, a maid at a vampire hive, as she falls in love with a heartbroken lady inventor.
Heat level, open door on the sex scenes but not terribly graphic.
Note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, but Romancing the Inventor is available as a stand-alone.
Everyone thinks Imogene arrogant because she won’t take a husband, but the truth is that no man appeals to her. She secretly pines for women, a thing illegal in Victorian England. So Imogene takes a job as a maid with the local vampire hive, hoping the countess might take an interest in her—supernaturals are exceptions to the law—but the countess, indeed all the vampires, ignore her. Continue reading “Romancing the Inventor—Unexpected Chances”→
Ask the Bards is a podcast for writers by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson, both New York Times bestselling authors. I’ve read and loved their jointly authored Tales of Pell series, so I decided to check out the podcast. It’s only two episodes in, as of this writing, but I’m enjoying it. They cover both the writing and business sides of being an author, with the advice—at least so far—being geared for beginning authors. If you want to ask them a question, you can hit them up on Twitter with the hashtag #askthebards .
UPDATE: Ask the Bards has stopped at 14 episodes, but if you want to hear authors plot a book live, in real time, they do that for three episodes and those especially are worth the listen.
Romancing the Werewolf, a novella in the Parasolverse by Gail Carriger, follows the reunion of Biffy—newly minted Alpha of his werewolf pack—and Lyall—who’s been pack Beta for hundreds of years. This is a full-on romance, with a tiny bit of a mystery—who’s leaving infants on the doorstep pack’s new home and why? But mostly it’s Biffy and Lyall navigating their ways to their new relationship.
Note: no explicit sex scenes in this one, that stuff is under the author’s G. L. Carriger name.
Also note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, but Romancing the Werewolf is available as a stand-alone.
1—A Love Both Old and New
When Lyall returns from twenty years’s service to another pack, so much has changed that now neither he nor Biffy is certain the other still wants him, and neither wants to take advantage of the other. They were lovers once, but under very different circumstances. On BIffy’s part, he’s not certain his new position as leader wouldn’t constitute a breach of ethics. On Lyall’s part, he doesn’t want to complicate Biffy’s life since Biffy is still learning to be a leader. It’s totally in character for both of them, and each’s worries and not wanting to impose on the other feels natural, rather than something contrived keeping them apart at the beginning. And since this is a novella, it’s not too long before they get together. Continue reading “Romancing the Werewolf—Sweet, Fluffy, and Mildly Angsty”→
The Princess Beard, by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, is the third and final book in the Tales of Pelltrilogy, though it works fine as a stand-alone. The Lady Harkovrita wakes from a magical slumber in a tower to find herself with a beard and a decision—go back to her life to be married off to some jerk, or leave and find an adventure. She chooses the latter, and a new name, Morgan. On her way to becoming a pirate, she’ll become part of the weirdest crew to ever sail the seas, and save a lot of otters from a dastardly conspiracy.
There’s a whole cast of characters in this book, but I’m just going to introduce the main ones. The pirate captain, a talking parrot named Filthy Lucre who also goes by the moniker the Clean Pirate Luc. Tempest, a dryad who wants to become a lawyer before she turns into a carnivorous tree (and my favorite character in this book). Vic, a centaur misogynistic swole boy who can conjure tea and pastry and who, by the end of the book, I actually didn’t hate anymore (personal growth and all that). AndAlobartalus, an un-elfly elf who just wants to get away from the other elves and meet his hero, the Sn’archivist. All of these people, with the possible exception of Captain Luc, are trying to avoid their destinies and all of them must face said destinies head-on. Continue reading “The Princess Beard—Pirates, Parrots, and Otters”→
I’ve done a post on my favorite “comfort food” tv shows , so here’s one on my favorite comfort food books series—even if the latter might only be comforting to me. I’ve been battling with my anxiety—the power outages aren’t helping—and again having trouble reading or watching anything. So after I finish my current book—hoping to have the post up in a week or two—I’m diving into Fan Service, a compilation of two of Gail Carriger’s novellas and a short story. After that I’m going to re-binge-read the Finishing School series. Once I’m back into the habit of reading, I hope it’ll come easier. On with the comfort reads!
As well as the aforementioned Finishing School Series, Ms. Carriger has penned in the same world several other series (which you can find reviewedon this site), and numerous novellas (which I need to pick up, minus the aforementioned Fan Service ones). I’ve also read and reviewed her SF/Cozy Mystery/Romance book, The 5th Gender. All these book series end happily, as do the individual books (minus a romantic subplot cliffhanger in the second book of the Parasol Protectorate). What’s more, they feature supportive friendships, healthy romances, and downright interesting worlds. Much recommended, especially with a cup of your favorite tea. Continue reading “Comfort Food Books Series”→
The Affair of the Mysterious Letter, by Alexis Hall, is a mashup and mixup of Sherlock Holmes fiction and Weird fiction. The reserved expatriate ex-solider John Wyndham takes rooms with the profligate sorceress Shaharazad Haas. Shortly thereafter, one of Ms. Haas’s former lovers comes to her demanding Shaharazad find out who’s blackmailing her.
Told in the first person as the reminiscences of John Wyndham, this is the tale of his and Shaharazad’s first adventures together. Miss Eirene Viola comes to Shaharazad believing it to be she who’s sending Eirene notes threatening to expose her past to her fiancé, Miss Cora Beck, thus ending their engagement. When convinced Shharazad has nothing to do with it, Eirene plies her former lover to help. Mostly out of boredom, Shaharazad agrees. Thus does John find himself dragged all over the city of Khelathra-Ven and beyond. Continue reading “The Affair of the Mysterious Letter—Mysterious and Weird, As it Should Be”→