Initial thoughts: A wood-fairy-thing woman who knows how to use a shotgun gets sucked into consulting for a paranormal investigative unit full of WEREInitial thoughts: A wood-fairy-thing woman who knows how to use a shotgun gets sucked into consulting for a paranormal investigative unit full of WERECATS and other non-humans. Um. YESTHANKYOUFORTHIS.
This time in an Asian steampunk world. And it looks effing fabulous. WhFull squee-fest review found at Story and Somnomancy.
Image Comics Strikes Again
This time in an Asian steampunk world. And it looks effing fabulous. When I got an email about this series being opened up on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it. It’s been on my TBR since I was alerted to it by The Book Smugglers, and I do not regret it one bit.
First of all, Takeda’s artwork is gorgeous. It’s half manga, half Westernized comics, a perfect combination of both, and so detailed I almost wanted to screenshot every darn page. There were several times where a page was just filled with wordless panels, and my gosh, the illustrated depiction of what’s happening on that page…it certainly brings proof to the old “a picture is worth a thousand words” adage.
The main character is a feisty, stubborn, kick-ass one-armed Asian woman. She’s survived a violent war. She’s survived a traumatic enslavement experience. She’s survived the loss of a limb and the aftermath of conflict between two powerful factions. She’s seen shit. And she’s angry. On top of that, she wants to know what’s happening–and what’s happened–to her. And she’ll break down doors if she has to. I love her to bits.
The matriarchal powers that be. The series is rife with fem-power on both sides. In fact, some of the highest positions are held by women. One of the first immortal ancients we see is a Wolf Queen. The first half-breed is a powerful woman, someone who apparently shook the world. The Cumaea is an order of witch-nuns who’ve taken the highest form of power in the human government. Heck, Lady Sophia is displayed quite remarkably as a woman who buys Arcanic slaves. She’s in charge, she’s despicable, and she gives zero fucks because she has shit to do and Arcanics to experiment on. Not to mention the fact that there’s a little romance (LGBT from what I saw!) but so far it hasn’t overwhelmed the narrative. It’s female empowerment to the max.
It’s an adventure story drenched with the problems of race, war, and disability (both physical and emotional). It’s dark and merciless and it definitely makes no apology in showing the cruelties of the post-war world. Takeda’s depiction of Liu’s people makes for a great collaboration, and there’s really not much I can say against the series at the moment. I loved the entire volume....more
Initial thoughts: Can I just like this book for the first half of the story? The second bit got way too convFull review found at Story and Somnomancy.
Initial thoughts: Can I just like this book for the first half of the story? The second bit got way too convoluted and mired with characters I really didn't care about. But that first half. That first half was fabulous....more
I may have glazed through all that horse-speak and jargon like Anna for the most part, but I will admit the whole fae-kidnapping-and-doing-horrible-thI may have glazed through all that horse-speak and jargon like Anna for the most part, but I will admit the whole fae-kidnapping-and-doing-horrible-things-to-children thing hit me hard. Especially when it involved preschoolers. Ugh. Eff that crazy Gray Lord, or whatever it was....more
This book. THIS BOOK. Pulled out ALL THE PUNCHES. I swear I was reading it and it was all WHAM! Faeries and Gray Lords. WHAM! Awesome vampire dude. WHThis book. THIS BOOK. Pulled out ALL THE PUNCHES. I swear I was reading it and it was all WHAM! Faeries and Gray Lords. WHAM! Awesome vampire dude. WHAM! Fire and lots of it. WHAM WHAM WHAM! Zee and Uncle Mike and Baba frigging Yaga saving the day (seriously...the amount of times I've squeed because of what they did in Fire Touched could fill several books).
But most of all those Columbia Basin werewolves. With an Alpha like Adam (whose exploits in this book practically gave me heart palpitations), they're well on their way to a barrelful of greatness. And Mercy? Mercy rocks on as beautifully as always. It helps when she's got powerhouses on her side, too. But we all know Mercy can take care of herself.
And don't get me started on Bran. I just cannot with this book. CANNOT....more
Strikeouts: - not sure whether to find the storyline juvenile or pervy creepy, considering the protag looks like a kid, acts like a kid, and talks likeStrikeouts: - not sure whether to find the storyline juvenile or pervy creepy, considering the protag looks like a kid, acts like a kid, and talks like a kid, yet somehow we get content about whores and panels where characters are groping or thinking about groping boobs
- the women are slaves, voluptuous prostitutes, defenseless, and/or way too satisfied with their positions in life to do anything about their pitiful situations
- seriously, laylah would have been cool if she'd done something about her predicament and not let some kid with his djinni do all the work
- don't even get me started with morgiana, who seems to think serving her selfish overlord is a good thing (I'll be even more disappointed if her motive is love...like seriously can you get any more annoying)
- Ali Baba's a dumbass
- there seems to be minimal connection to the name of the characters and the stories they're loosely based on, which is another letdown considering I adore the source material itself
I'm probably being overly harsh on the first volume, but it's safe to say I'm going to be staying away from this series....more
Initial thoughts: Well that was a fun romp of YA fantasy in the South. I think it was made even better withFull review found at Story and Somnomancy.
Initial thoughts: Well that was a fun romp of YA fantasy in the South. I think it was made even better with the narrator's lovely Southern accent, though honestly Harper Price pretty much had me after killing a man with a shoe....more
Initial thoughts: I fear I've been giving too many books five stars lately, but whatever. This one merits five because IT DOES FOR ME. The second--andInitial thoughts: I fear I've been giving too many books five stars lately, but whatever. This one merits five because IT DOES FOR ME. The second--and concluding--book of The Wrath & the Dawn duology, it delivered all the promises the first book made. And it did so with a language that was a mixture of poetry and song, in a setting that was filled with wonder and magic--both literally and metaphorically. And hot damn. Those characters and their sort of...togetherness. Loved them to bits....more
Sometimes charming. Sometimes creepy (I mean...those sleepers though). Always enchanting in any case, but I kind of expected that from Gaiman. HavingSometimes charming. Sometimes creepy (I mean...those sleepers though). Always enchanting in any case, but I kind of expected that from Gaiman. Having Riddell illustrate the short story was just fabulous as well....more
Sigh. Siiiiiigh. Can I just bask in the fact that theFull squee-character-fest found at Story and Somnomancy.
Initial thoughts: REEEEEVOLUUUUUTIOOOOON.
Sigh. Siiiiiigh. Can I just bask in the fact that there was a moment here where I got to read about cake and people eating it? I know this is probably the randomest detail to bring up and has almost no bearing on the actual story, but THE CAKE IS NOT A LIE.
I have just discovered that one of my book pet peeves is having to read about the main character crying about her situation more than three tiDNF 10%.
I have just discovered that one of my book pet peeves is having to read about the main character crying about her situation more than three times in the span of two chapters and agonizing constantly about her unfair life every. single. time....more
This...got really intense at the end. REALLY INTENSE. Then I had to read the short story of Adam's POV again because I needed some extra reassurance tThis...got really intense at the end. REALLY INTENSE. Then I had to read the short story of Adam's POV again because I needed some extra reassurance that things ended as it did.
Also. If I could post up my entire text conversation with my friend about this book, it might convey my feels even better.
Or I could write an actual review. I haven't quite decided yet.
I also now understand the need for Fire Touched. And I want it. Now....more
One of my new favorite readings for children. Because this princess can trick a dragon, save a boy, and refuse her arranged marriage with only the cloOne of my new favorite readings for children. Because this princess can trick a dragon, save a boy, and refuse her arranged marriage with only the clothes on her back....more
For more Cinder and Kai goodness. For Scarlet and WolfFull squee-fest review found at Story and Somnomancy.
4.5/5 sta--actually, no, effit. 5 OUTTA 5.
For more Cinder and Kai goodness. For Scarlet and Wolf and effing Captain Carswell Thorne. For the sum of its parts. For the things to come. For giving me enough feels and reasons to get excited about narrating various scenes to my little voldie students. For fairy tales and science fiction in general. Hot damn.
For the fact that this book did not end in as much of a damn cliffhanger as its predecessor. XD...more
Initial after-reading thoughts: This was fun and silly and now I want a cocktail at 10:40 in the morning. BuFull review found at Story and Somnomancy.
Initial after-reading thoughts: This was fun and silly and now I want a cocktail at 10:40 in the morning. But I'll settle for a coffee for now, lol.
Cover aside, I was a bit tentative over starting this book because it was marketed as new adult. So far, my encounters with new adult covers and premises kind of just make me cringe and walk the other way. That said, it was probably a good idea that I mostly avoided new adult stuff, because while I did adore my college years and while I have gone through a similar rocky “I don’t know what I want to do with my life” patch post-college, I’m not very interested in reliving them vicariously through story protagonists (a few exceptions notwithstanding–like Fangirl).
Enter Bailey. A relatively smart cookie, she’s a fictional (though the real life truth isn’t far off) testament that an Ivy League education doesn’t necessarily bring you a barrel of success on the get-go. Sure, the resources are easier to tap into, and Bailey Chen is nothing if not a hard-working girl from a hardworking Chinese family. She pretty much is set to succeed. Except she doesn’t. Not at first.
That said, she’s got pluck. For a tiny Asian girl, that says everything, and I warmed to Bailey like the magical cocktails in her system (haha, yeah, I went there). Sure she had her fair share of problems and drama, and often I sighed at the stupid things she said out of anger, but on some level, she does find herself to be justified in a few of them.
But let’s get away from the characters for a moment to look at the magic system: mixology.
This book’s major appeal to me was definitely in the magic system of cocktail-mixing. As a cocktail enthusiast (which should not be equalized to “perpetual drunk” because…well, just because!), I could appreciate the intricate skill it takes to make a perfectly mixed drink. When done right and in the proper ratio, it does have a magical “feel” to it. So when Krueger tried to tie mixology to the pseudo-science that is alchemy, I was completely sold on the matter, albeit my initial misgivings of several years back.
On top of the story, almost each chapter was followed by a particular cocktail recipe, as illustrated in the fictional The Devil’s Water Dictionary. While I did find the excerpts distracting by the end of the book, I actually loved reading them. Obviously, the historical writeups are fictional at length, but it was still interesting to read through each ingredient–and it just made making a corresponding cocktail much easier to do!
Although...Can I just get a copy of The Devil’s Water Dictionary, please? That would be fabulous.
But anyway, let’s get back to the characters and their dialogue. Sometimes the dialogue made me cringe, to be honest. Bailey’s interactions with Jess and the startup company Jess represented drove me up the wall, mostly because I felt my IQ go down a bit with their exchange in conversation. You’d think this wouldn’t be the case, but it was, and I got to respecting the presence of the “Alechemists” (har har, I thought this was funny) much more in that regard. I mean, come on, Bucket was a hoot-and-a-half, but so was Zane in some degree.
So did I enjoy the book? You bet I did. It was fun, it was an easy read, and while there was a degree of danger and suspense and drama in the book, it was still a lighthearted romp into the bartending life of Chicago’s best demon-slayers.
I’d totally read a sequel if there is ever going to be one. Just saying....more