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.


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.

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”

Some of the Un-Book Reporter’s Favorite Heroines

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”