The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue—Worth the Wait

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee book cover
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, is a YA (young adult) historical gay romance with a happy ending. Told in present tense, first person perspective. Monty, a young English Lord, is about to embark on his Grand Tour with his best friend and secret crush, Percy, a mixed race Peer. Along the way, they’re to drop off Percy’s sister, Felicity, at finishing school (no, not that Finishing School). But when Monty, in a fit of pique, steals something from the Duke of Bourbon, it sets off a chain of events that will see the party beset by highwaymen, pirates, and alchemists.

1—Romance!

Monty and Percy have always been close but these last few years have seen Monty fall in love with Percy. Monty is a rake extraordinaire, flirting with and often bedding any young woman or man who takes his fancy. But with Percy it’s different. With Percy it’s love. Of course, Monty’s last affair with love saw him thrown out of school and beaten bloody by his father when it became known that his love was another boy. But Percy is worth the risk—if only Percy will realize Monty’s feelings are more than a fling. Continue reading “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue—Worth the Wait”

Beneath the Sugar Sky—Living Statues and Soda Seas

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire book cover
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

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. 

1—The Quest

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”

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—A Great Translation

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch graphic novel book cover
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is a graphic novel by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch, based on the Dungeons & Dragons podcast The Adventure Zone by the McElroy boys (which I also recommend) and drawn by Carey Pietsch. It follows Magnus, Merle, and Taako on what seems to be a standard boy guarding gig but turns into a disaster of epic proportions.

1—Meet the Boys

Magnus Burnsides is a human fighter with proficiencies in, well, almost everything. Taako is an elf wizard who used to have his own cooking show. Merle Highchurch is a dwarf cleric spreading the good word of Pan with an Extreme Teen Bible. And of course Griffin, their D. M. (Dungeon Master) who pops in to make comments and chat with his players. It’s kind of meta but you soon get used to the conceit and just go with it. It’s all in fun. Continue reading “The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—A Great Translation”

Overly Sarcastic Productions—History, Myths, and All Kinds of Good Stuff

Overly Sarcastic Productions
Overly Sarcastic Productions

Overly Sarcastic Productions is a simply animated Youtube channel hosted by Red and Blue, who recap classic literature—like the Iliad and Beowulf and Paradise Lost—Shakespeare, legends and myths, and history in an informative and amusing way.

1—Trope Talks!

The first playlist I went through is Red’s Trope Talks! These are videos where Red talks tropes. Though she references Tvtropes.org on occasion, I don’t believe she’s affiliated with them. One of my favorite of these videos is Red’s take on Romantic Subplots—I totally agree with all her points. She also talks beginnings, Evil Empires, Paragons, the Five Man Band, and the Power of Friendship, to name a few. As of this writing, there are twenty-two videos in the Trope Talks! playlist. I plan to watch them all again when I get through the rest of Red and Blue’s videos, which currently number about two hundred. Continue reading “Overly Sarcastic Productions—History, Myths, and All Kinds of Good Stuff”

Stardust (the Movie, Not the Book)—Fun But Not Free of Problems

Stardust movie poster
Stardust

Stardust is a romantic fantasy adventure movie based on a book by Neil Gaiman. It’s follows Tristan as he crosses the magical wall that separates his little English village from the magical realm of Stormhold.

1—Beautiful Movie

Stardust is a gorgeous movie with excellent set design, special effects, and editing. The music is often big and bold but also appropriate to each moment. Continue reading “Stardust (the Movie, Not the Book)—Fun But Not Free of Problems”

Villains By Necessity—Necessary Fantasy

Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward book cover
Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward

Villains By Necessity, by Eve Forward, is one of my favorite books. It’s a stand alone book that works both as epic fantasy and as a subversion thereof. It follows the world’s last villains—an assassin, a thief, an evil sorceress—and a neutral druid (plus one minstrel spy for Good) as they try to save the world by restoring evil to it.

1—The Premise

The armies of Good have vanquished the armies of Evil and sealed the Darkgate, thus ending the influx of evil into the world. This is a problem. The world is now out of balance and going to be sublimated in Light.  Continue reading “Villains By Necessity—Necessary Fantasy”

Goblin Quest—An Unusual Adventure

Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines book cover
Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines

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”

Tangential Links

It’s been a very busy week and I haven’t finished my book yet, so here are some sites you might enjoy.

1—Tea and Jeopardy

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.

2—Lit Brick

“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.

3—Writing Excuses

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.

4—XKCD

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.

Burn Notice—Part Two—Things Get Dark

Burn Notice
Burn Notice

So I finally got around to watching the rest of this action-filled spy thriller series and despite a turn for the darker, I’m glad I did. This review is of seasons five through seven.

1—Frigging Anson

Anson is a walking spoiler so if you’d rather avoid, I skip to the next section. I entirely blame Anson for it taking me so long to finish the series. I just don’t enjoy watching him. Which isn’t to say the actor playing Anson isn’t superb or that the scenes/episodes with him in them aren’t good. I just really hate Anson. He’s the most manipulative son of a bitch in the series and Karma Houdini right up until his death, which you could still argue is too good for him. The stuff that bastard puts Mike through… Continue reading “Burn Notice—Part Two—Things Get Dark”

Fearless—Supernatural Fight Night

Fearless by Elliott James book cover
Fearless by Elliott James

Fearless is the third in the Pax Arcana series by Elliott James and it holds up well. This time John Charming, former Knight Templar and current werewolf, is trying to rescue a psychic boy from being sacrificed by his grandfather, a powerful cunning man with designs on godhood.

1—A Plethora of Supernatural Creatures

Previous Pax Arcana books have focused more tightly on a small number of supernatural creatures. But with more than half the book centering around an underground fight club we get to meet all kinds of creatures—a siren, an aswang, a jinn, and all kinds of Japanese monsters like a kitsune, and animated skeletons, and an oni, and a woman with living hair. Continue reading “Fearless—Supernatural Fight Night”