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”

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”

Harsh Gods—More Shadowside Fun

Harsh Gods: A Novel of the Shadowside by Michelle Belanger
Harsh Gods by Michelle Belanger

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”

Singer of Souls—Dark and Magical

Singer of Souls by Adam Stemple book cover
Singer of Souls by Adam Stemple

Singer of Souls by Adam Stemple is an urban fantasy novel given to me by a friend. Street musician Douglas “Doc” Stewart moves to his grandmother’s in Scotland trying to keep his heroine habit kicked when he meets an Elf woman who gives him a gift, the ability to see the Fey. Trouble soon follows.

1—Slow Build

Singer of Souls was an interesting read, different from most other urban fantasies I’ve read. It’s a slow build to the fantastic parts, about a quarter of the book until we start seeing the magic. And then there’s still world building to be done before the plot really takes off halfway through. I was never bored or impatient though. There are shorter term conflicts to keep the action going, and Douglas’s musical perspective on the world around him is interesting and fun. That said, this is a dark story.

2—A Dark Story

Major spoilers in this section. You’ve been warned.

Despite the magic it turns out Douglas has, he spends much of the book helpless to do much beyond survive, largely because he doesn’t know how to wield said magic. He gets beaten to all hell, and there’s a serial killer priest who preys on Fey. Not that I’m sympathetic to the Fey creatures as they kill humans for ingredients and steal babies to be raised as slaves. But the Father Croser’s basement is disturbing as fuck. Then There’s Grandma McLaren’s gruesome death. And while the book ends with victory, there’s not much humanity left in Douglas.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the book, with Stemple’s musical descriptions, even though I don’t know music well enough to put notes to them. And while not a typical happy ending, there is something satisfying about a vengeful triumph. Singer of Souls is a beautiful, dark, satisfying story.

Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children—Enchanting and Visceral

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a unique YA (young adult) novel as part of the tale is the vintage photographs scattered throughout the book.

1—A Peculiar Tale

I wasn’t certain what to expect when I opened Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children but what I got was subtle magic threaded through with both wonder and unease, punctuated by brutal violence. The story opens with Jacob finding his grandfather brutally killed and from there the story is a journey of discovery—equally a mystery and an adventure—about who his grandfather really was.

Continue reading “Miss Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children—Enchanting and Visceral”

Imprudence—The Spotted Custard Returns

Imprudence by Gail Carriger book cover
Imprudence by Gail Carriger

Imprudence, the second outing of The Custard Protocol series by Gail Carriger, is a fun supernatural steampunk adventure with a dash of romance. I love Ms Carrger’s turns of phrase and wit as well as her plotting, and I was not disappointed by this latest novel.

1—The Adventure

We are again following Rue and her crew, this time to Egypt. Rue (short for Prudence, which is also the title of the first book) needs to transport her parents there, into the zone of effect of the God-breaker Plague before her father, a werewolf, goes mad from Alpha’s curse. Of course that isn’t the only complication. Rue’s navigator and head engineer are in a academic snit—a snit which naturally leads to fisticuffs—over who published what discovery without crediting the other. And of course there’s the attacks of unknown source on Rue’s ship. And did I forget to mention the quest to find a lost pride of werelionesses? Continue reading “Imprudence—The Spotted Custard Returns”

Daredevil Season One—I’m Hooked

Daredevil web tv series

Daredevil is a web tv adaptation, available on Netflix, of yet another of Marvel’s many, many comics properties. This one is about a blind lawyer who spends his nights as a vigilante. Though part of the MCU, Daredevil’s storyline is self-contained. So you won’t have to do a ton of “homework” watching other movies and shows to be able to enjoy it. I approve of this.

1—A More Realistic Approach

Notice I said “more” and not “totally”. I’m fine with some fantastic elements, mainly the extent of Matt Murdoch’s “sight” via his other senses—he wouldn’t be Daredevil without it. I also think there must be some healing factor there, no matter what they say about meditation helping with that. I’m willing to buy a combo of meditation and genetics though. Matt’s father was renowned for being able to take a beating. Continue reading “Daredevil Season One—I’m Hooked”

Ghostbusters (2016)—So Much Fun

Ghostbusters (2016) movie poster
Ghostbusters (2016)

I’m so glad my friend and I went to see the new Ghostbusters movie. For those who don’t know what the movie is about, the title is fairly self-explanatory. Four people banding together to research and trap ghosts.

1—It Was Funny

I won’t say too much here because the delivery is so important, but I enjoyed the jokes and situational comedy. One of my favorite things was the running gag with the wontons, and no I’m not going to explain it. You’ll have to watch the movie. Continue reading “Ghostbusters (2016)—So Much Fun”

Alice Through the Looking Glass—Adventure on the High Sea of Time

Alice Through the Looking Glass movie poster
Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass is a solid adventure, beautiful to look at and fun to watch as Alice travels through time into Underland’s past. The movie can be taken as fluff or something a little deeper, depending on how much you want to think about it.

1—Headstrong and Heartstrong

The whole movie is driven by Alice, by her decisions and desires. She wants to save her friend, enough to risk her life and all of Underland—though it’s debatable how much damage she realizes is done by her theft of the Chronosphere, at least at the beginning. But even once she does know, Alice is determined to finish her mission and save her friend the Hatter, who’s gone madder than usual. Though Alice doesn’t save the Mad Hatter’s family, she does learn their fate—as Time suggested, she learns from the past, even though she cannot change it. Continue reading “Alice Through the Looking Glass—Adventure on the High Sea of Time”

Master of None—Damn Good First Outing

Master of None novel by Sonya Bateman
Master of None by Sonya Bateman

Master of None by Sonya Bateman is one of those books I knew I’d be rereading even before I finished it. An urban fantasy told in first person POV, Master of None is Ms Bateman’s first book and I loved it. Here’s why.

1—It’s All About Character

The characters are what make or break a story for me and I fell in love with most of Master of None’s as soon as I met them. Gavyn, our narrator, the world’s unluckiest thief. Jazz, his acerbic getaway-driver ex. Ian—Gahiji’an—the even more acerbic djinn who turns out to be a distant ancestor of Gavyn’s. They’re all great fun to watch argue. Then there’s Tory and Lark, the djinn and mortal lovers, who also spend a good amount of time arguing with Gavyn. Basically the only people who don’t argue with Gavyn are trying to kill him instead. Which brings us to the villains, Trevor and Lenka, both nasty pieces of work—a torturer and a genocidal maniac, respectively.  Continue reading “Master of None—Damn Good First Outing”