Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone—The Beginning of the End of the World

Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning book cover
Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning

Warlock Homes: A Study in Brimstone, by G. S. Denning, is a fantastic, comedic take on Sherlock Homes, and is just as ludicrously fun as it sounds. Being the journal of one Dr. John Watson, it chronicles his first cases with the bumbling but powerful Warlock Holmes, and starts with John’s apology for ending the world.

1—The Characters

I loved the characters in this book. There is, of course, Dr. Watson, who narrates. Watson is observant and sarcastic—not to most of the people he speaks with, but to his reader, and, once comfortable with him, to Warlock. Next there’s Warlock Holmes himself, who is less than observant, and yet endearingly so. There’s Vladislav Lestrade, a nihilistic vampire and Scotland Yard detective, as is Torg Grogsson, an honorable ogre with a love of ballet dancers. There’s also a host of characters that don’t repeat from story to story, each with their own individual quirks. Continue reading “Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone—The Beginning of the End of the World”

Monster-in-Law—A Comedy of Relationships

 

Monster-in-law starts off as a RomCom, complete with a series of meet-cutes. Then we meet the male love interest’s mother, and she and the female love interest hit it off—emphasis on “hit”.

1—Gaslighting, Poisoning, and Physical Abuse

All of which are played for humor, and rather successfully—though the nut-allergy thing isn’t funny, given how severe a problem they are in real life. Viola, the monster mother-in-law, starts by trying to drive Charlie, the prospective bride and daughter-in-law, crazy by moving in with her and acting crazy herself. When Charlie catches on, the war really begins, each woman trying to drive off the other without letting Kevin, the son/prospective groom, in on things. Continue reading “Monster-in-Law—A Comedy of Relationships”

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”

Kill the Farm Boy—Not Your Average Epic Fantasy

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne book cover
Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

Kill the Farm Boy, by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, is the tale of a Chosen One who runs away from home and promptly gets crushed to death by Fia, a seven foot vegetarian warrior who feels really sorry about it. This accidental death kicks off a quest by Fia and a ragtag crew of others for, well they don’t really agree on what they want. But they all want something and the best way to get it is to cross the lands of Pell in an epic-ish journey.

1—Meet the Adventurers

There’s Fia, of course, who just wants to settle down and grow a rose garden. There’s also Gustave the enchanted talking goat who ran away with said Chosen One farm boy to avoid being made into curry and now hangs out with Fia hoping to maintain same. And Agrabella, the only Wakeful person in a castle cursed to sleep, a bard who decides it’s time to leave said castle and follow Fia to find out what the heck happened. There’s the Crepuscular Lord Toby, who really wants some artisanal crackers and cheese, and to become a full blown Dark Lord. And lastly, there’s Lord Toby’s huntswoman Poltro, who got dropped on her head once too many times as a child but does her best as a rogue despite a crippling fear of chickens. Together they all venture forth to visit Grinda the Sand Witch. Continue reading “Kill the Farm Boy—Not Your Average Epic Fantasy”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard—Unexpectedly Romantic

The Hitman's Bodyguard
The Hitman’s Bodyguard

The Hitman’s Bodyguard, directed by Patrick Hughes, stars Samuel L. Jackson as the hitman and Ryan Reynolds as the bodyguard. Michael Bryce (Reynold’s character) is contacted by his ex-girlfriend, Interpol Agent Amelia Roussel, after a mission to transport a witness goes horribly wrong. She asks Michael to protect hitman Kincaid and take him to The Hague so he can testify against a genocidal dictator. It’s more fun that it sounds.

1—Great Chemistry

The chemistry between Jackson and Reynolds is great. Kincaid has tried to kill Reynolds in the past but that’s quickly set aside for the mission. Rather, uptight, has-a-plan-for-everything Bryce and…I wouldn’t call Kincaid laid-back, precisely. More that he just goes with the flow of life while ending the lives of others. Anyway, they spark off each other and bicker throughout the whole movie. It’s great. Continue reading “The Hitman’s Bodyguard—Unexpectedly Romantic”

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”

The Good Place Season One—A Good Twist Ending

The Good Place
The Good Place

The Good place is a fantasy sitcom (I think it’s a sitcom) about a woman who accidentally gets into heaven—the titular Good Place—and all the things that go wrong as she tries to keep her secret.

1—A Quirky Sense of Humor

Not that Eleanor is a Quirky Girl (TM). She’s actually a selfish jerk. But with the help of her “soulmate” Chidi, who was an ethics professor in life, Eleanore tries to learn to be a good person who actually deserves to be in The Good Place. Continue reading “The Good Place Season One—A Good Twist Ending”

Alien Tango—Business as Unusual

Alien Tango by Gina Koch book cover
Alien Tango by Gina Koch

Alien Tango is the second in Gini Koch’s Alien series (I’ve read but not reviewed the first book, Touched by an Alien—I liked and recommend it). Following the adventures of Katherine “Kitty” Katt and her boyfriend from Alpha Centauri as they deal with threats both terrestrial and extra.

1—Nutjobs Everywhere

After defeating the psychotic head of the Alien Super-Beings in the first book, things seem to be settling down for Kitty and Jeff Martini (the alien boyfriend), which for Kitty means boredom. But then Alpha Team is summoned to Florida to deal with a problem no one will explain to them and things go wrong one after another. There’s an anti-alien conspiracy afoot, something incorporeal has hitched a ride back to Earth with the crew of a top-secret space mission, and Kitty’s garnered a muderous stalker. Continue reading “Alien Tango—Business as Unusual”

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”

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)—Mostly Funny, Sometimes Sad

Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson the bloggess book cover
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

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.

1—Things You Shouldn’t Laugh At But Will Anyway

Things like Stanley, the Magical Talking Squirrel (I won’t spoil the surprise on that story), or getting your arm stuck up a cow’s vagina (it makes sense in context). Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is made of these moments. Moments of extremely awkward conversation at parties, or the results of taking too much laxative. They’re funny because Jenny invites us to laugh with her about them. Continue reading “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)—Mostly Funny, Sometimes Sad”