Grave Importance, by Vivian Shaw, is the third and final book in the Dr. GretaHelsing series. Greta has been called in by a friend to temporarily run Oasis Natrun, an exclusive health clinic for mummies. Something is causing the patients to black out and it’s up to Greta to find out what. There’s also the matter of her best friend being cursed and needing to be taken to Hell, Sir Frances Varney proposing, and reality itself coming under attack.
1—The Whole Gang
All my favorite characters show up. Greta, of course. The vampire Ruthven and the vampyre Varney. But also the vampires Grisaille (who’s now Ruthven’s sweetie) and Emily from the second book. And from the first book there’s Cranswell—Ruthven’s friend who works at a London museum—and Nadezhda, Hippolyta, and Anna, Greta’s team at her London clinic. Not everyone gets a starring role, of course, but they’re all there. And there are new people to meet too—mummies, and angels, and Dr. Faust himself.
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.
Midnight Riot (also printed as River of London), by Ben Aaronovitch, is an urban fantasy told from the first person point of view of Probationary Constable/newly apprenticed wizard Peter Grant as he attempts find out what force is causing people to murder one another and mutilating their faces.
After interviewing a ghost, Peter Grant gets apprenticed to DCI Thomas Nightingale and enters a world of monsters and magic, a world where genius locii battle for control of the River Thames. Nightingale teaches Peter how to sense vestigia, the sense of life and events that permeates the world, not to mention a couple of spells. Peter also goes on a trip through the spirit side of London, through various layers of time to back before there even was a city. Continue reading “Midnight Riot—The Spirits of a City”→
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”→
Charming, by Elliott James, is an urban fantasy and volume one of the Pax Arcana series. John Charming, former modern-day Knight Templar and current fugitive, is just trying to get by without trouble when trouble comes walking into his bar and sweeps him up in a much larger adventure.
Charming is told in first-person smartass, a trope I particularly like. Mr. James is good at weaving the worldbuilding in through John’s observations, and there’s a lot of worldbuilding to be done. John’s observations of the world color the narrative, as this is essentially his journal. There’s a Prelude and an Interlude to help explain how the Pax Arcana works, but they’re amusing. For the most part though, information is woven into the narrative. Continue reading “Charming—Knights and Valkyries and Vampires, Oh My”→
These are just some of the anthologies I’ve enjoyed over the years.
1—The Chicks in Chainmail Series
Edited by Esther Friesner, I believe this series is still ongoing. Humorous tales of damsels who refuse to be in distress, warrior women who want equality with their male fellows, and just generally to have more sensible armor than a chainmail bikini. Lots of fun.
2—Witches, Vampires, and Werewolves, Oh My
Witch Way to the Mall, Fangs for the Mammaries, and Strip Mauled are also edited by Esther Friesner. Also humorous, this set of set of anthologies focuses on witches, vampires, and werewolves respectively.
3—Anything by Martin H. Greenberg
Some of the books I have that he’s co-edited are A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Monsters, the Catfantastic series, Warrior Princesses, and Wizards, Inc. I’m sure there are more in my collection but some of my books are still in boxes from the move.
Harsh Gods by Michelle Belanger is the sequel to Conspiracy of Angels. An Urban Fantasy told in first person by Anakim angel Zaquiel—mortal name Zachary Westland—as he tries to save an autistic girl from possession by something she calls the Whisper Man.
1—Angel Still Unaware
Zack’s lost memories continue to be a problem but Father Frank, the priest who called Zack in for the exorcism, knows Zack’s real name, as well as having a more intimate link to Zack and his past life. Beyond that, Zack is still tormented by the flashes of memory that surround the missing events—scents and sounds, vague impressions that flee as soon as he tries to grab them. It’s understandable Zack is depressed. But it’s fun watching Zack interact with strangers who know him.
Beyond that though, Zach is realizing he may not like the person he used to be. He has instincts and thoughts that sicken and terrify him, most of them violent. But some of them have been acquired through his still-active connection to the Eye of Nefer-Ka, the magical artifact that gutted his memory. Continue reading “Harsh Gods—More Shadowside Fun”→
And I am so happy he did. Deadpool is an R-rated superhero movie and they make the most of that rating. It’s filled with bloody violence (as oppose to bloodless violence, see below), inventive swearing, and lots of sex or talk about sex. Seriously, this is NOT a kid’s movie. It is damn fun for us adults though.
1—Read the Intro Credits
No, seriously. Just do it.
2—In Medias Res
Deadpool begins in the middle of a lengthy action sequence which is then broken up several times with copious amounts of backstory—backstory which is in fact the bulk of the movie. But it works. The pacing is solid where that of a more linear narrative would’ve been too slow followed by too fast. I love well done action sequences but it becomes numbing, not to mention boring, when they go on for too long.
And by breaking up what is linearly the penultimate confrontation, it allows the final battle to shine as the climax (insert your own sex joke). Continue reading “Deadpool—The Merc with the Mouth gets His own Movie”→
I find myself drawn to stories of girls and women who are clever and brave, and who make their own path. Likely because I seek and struggle to embody those qualities myself. This will be a short post, as I could go on forever if I don’t limit myself. So here are a handful of my favorite book heroines, in no particular order.
Aly—Daughter of the Lioness
All of the heroines in Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books fit the bill but Alinanne of Pirate’s Swoop most embodies cleverness. Aly is a quintessential guile hero, trained from the cradle in spycraft and chosen by a Trickster god. Said Trickster sweeps Aly off to the Kyprian Isles to be the last piece in a centuries-old game which is about to culminate in bloody rebellion. It isn’t easy to manipulate allies and enemies alike, much less from the position of slave girl, but Aly has her own tricks and games to play. Continue reading “Some of the Un-Book Reporter’s Favorite Heroines”→