Every Heart A Doorway—Dark and Lyrical

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire book cover
Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart A Doorway, by Seanan McGuire is the tale of Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children—that is, children who went through a magical door to another world, and then ended up coming back. The children no longer belong to the world they were born into, their parents think they’re crazy, and so they come to Eleanore’s school. Except someone has started murdering them.

1—Every Story Has to Start Somewhere

And this story starts with Nancy arriving at Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children. Nancy went to an underworld, The Halls of the Dead, where she learned to be slow and still. She’s desperately trying to hold onto her stillness in this world so fast and bright. Every child at Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children is trying to hold onto the survival skills they learned in the world they went to, hoping that they’ll find their door again and get to go home. Though Nancy’s roommate Sumi says, hope is a bad word. Continue reading “Every Heart A Doorway—Dark and Lyrical”

The Resurrection Game—Family is Bloody Business

The Resurrection Game by Michelle Belanger book cover
The Resurrection Game by Michelle Belanger

The Resurrection Game, by Michelle Belanger, is the third Shadowside novel. An urban Fantasy told in first person perspective, it follows Zack Westland—the mortal name of the Anakim angel Zaquiel—as he battles one of his own brothers bent on revenge for an act Zack doesn’t remember committing.

1—Memory Troubles

Zack’s lack of memory is still getting him in trouble. He’s apparently done something to one of his Anakim brothers named Tashiel that’s set Zuriel on his hellbent quest for vengeance. Zuriel has sworn to destroy Zack’s life, to kill all those close to him. It starts with a woman named Marjory, a woman very important to Zack if for no other reason than she holds some of the keys to his past. Now Zack is looking for Marjory’s daughter and hoping he finds her before Zuriel does. Continue reading “The Resurrection Game—Family is Bloody Business”

Murder on the Orient Express, the Movie (2017)—A Well-Done Version of a Classic

Murder on the Orient Express movie 2017
Murder on the Orient Express

Directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh as the inimical detective, Hercule Poirot, Murder on the Orient Express is adapted from one of murder mystery maven Agatha Christie’s best known books.

1—Well Paced and Characterized

Murder on the Orient Express has a lot to set up in little time, lots of clues and characters to introduce, but neither pacing nor characterization feels cheated. Everything flows naturally, including the gradual shift in tone from the lighthearted beginning to the emotional struggles of the climax. Continue reading “Murder on the Orient Express, the Movie (2017)—A Well-Done Version of a Classic”

Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel—The Monster Doctor is In

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw book cover
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Strange Practice, by Vivian Shaw, follows Dr. Greta Helsing, Lord Edmund Ruthven, and Sir Francis Varney as they try to stay alive while being hunted through modern day London by mad medieval monks. It’s a lot of fun.

1—Mad Monks and Blue Light

There’s been a series of killings in London but what no one knows is that the killers aren’t just targeting humans but supernatural creatures as well. At least they don’t know until Varney turns up on Ruthven’s doorstep stabbed half to death and babbling about monks. Turns out there’s a new/ancient order running around “cleansing” the world of the wicked—and everyone is wicked. Continue reading “Strange Practice: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel—The Monster Doctor is In”

Penny Dreadful Season One—Dreadfully Good

Penny Dreadful tv series
Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful is a Gothic horror series that mashes up stories from the 1800s—Dracula, Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, etc. The story centers on Vanessa Ives, who along with Sir Malcolm Murray and several others, try to save Sir Malcolm’s daughter Mina from a vampire.

Be aware, there is full frontal nudity of men and women in this show. Not a lot, but it’s there.

1—Monsters

The vampires in Penny Dreadful aren’t the suave sexy kind—they’re grey-skinned, have many sharp teeth, and rip into people, and were never human. The vampire’s human servants are transformed to an extent—white-haired women, all craving blood and fresh flesh. There’s Frankenstein’s Monster, strangely sympathetic for all his murderous ways. It could be said that all the characters are monstrous in their way. There is also a werewolf. Continue reading “Penny Dreadful Season One—Dreadfully Good”

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”

American Gods—An Unusual Journey

American Gods by Neil Gaiman book cover
American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, follows Shadow after he gets out of jail and comes to work for someone who calls himself Wednesday as he tries to rally the old gods for a war against the new.

1—The Gods

We meet gods from many pantheons during the course of Shadow’s journey with Wednesday. Wednesday himself is Odin, from the old Norse pantheon. There’s Mr. Nancy, Anansi, from Africa. And Kali from India. Some of my favorite are Mr Ibis and Mr Jaquel—Thoth and Anubis—and Bast and Horus from Egypt. Easter herself makes an appearance. Czernobog and the Zoryas. And then of course there’s the hall of forgotten gods that Shadow dreams about. Continue reading “American Gods—An Unusual Journey”

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”