Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Get Intisar Khanani's THORN for $0.99

Y'all surely remember Intisar Khanani's THORN, last year's breakout star of A More Diverse Universe. I reviewed the book as part of the event and continually recommend it to people who enjoy fairy tale retellings. Khanani's version of the Goose Girl story is complex, nuanced, and emotionally charged. You want it in your life.

And hey! It's on sale for $0.99 through to April 7th!

Intisar is helping a friend adopt two young boys with Saethre-Chotzen Syndrome, so all proceeds from sales of THORN during this period will go to the Allison family's adoption fees. It's a prime opportunity to get the book for a great price and help Intisar help her friend at the same time.

THORN is available for purchase on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Google Play.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review: The Virgin by Tiffany Reisz

Cover of The Virgin, featuring a woman's silk-draped posterior and upper thighs. The entire cover is tinted purple against a black background.
THE VIRGIN is the third book in Tiffany Reisz’s White Years sequence and the seventh Original Sinners novel overall. Like the previous books in the subseries, it’s a prequel wrapped in a present day framing story; and like all the rest, you’ll enjoy it most if you’ve already read everything that came before it.

That’s your mission, friends. Find yourself a copy of THE SIREN. Read it. Move along to THE ANGEL. Proceed in publication order from there, with occasional breaks to read the various short stories set in this captivating world. And once you're primed and ready, you can start THE VIRGIN.

Yeah, yeah; I know it seems like I’m asking a lot, expecting you to read six other books so you can read this one, but trust me: it’s worth it. You’re gonna have a hell of a good time. Just see if you don't.

So, yes. This book. THE VIRGIN begins in 2015, the night before a wedding often described as "Nora’s." Everyone needs a break from the stress of event-planning (and partner-satisfying), so Nora, Søren, and Kingsley hole up together and trade stories of the year they all spent apart after Nora left Søren. Which is to say, Nora describes the most exciting parts of her time in her mother’s convent (which: nun sex and writerly shenanigans), Kingsley tells the other two how he met Juliette (which: beach-moping and hot-lady-wooing), and Søren listens.

It’s a structure designed to hook the reader right off the bat. Of course we want to know whose wedding it is (I guessed right! Hurray!). Of course we want to know what went on with Nora and Kingsley during the year nobody ever talks about. Of course we’re gonna dive straight in and come up for air as seldom as possible.

The story proper is packed with Reisz’s trademark blend of hot-ass sexy times and emotional payoff. Everyone has lots of kinky, enjoyable sex. Everyone fosters deep connections with people, some of whom they sleep with and some of whom they don’t. I live for this, y’all. Give me a book packed with kinky bisexuals who feel a lot of things and I’m a happy girl indeed.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: March 22nd to 28th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by placing every book I read in close proximity to my tiny, skittish dog. Sometimes he runs away. Sometimes he lets me take his picture. It's a crapshoot, basically.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I edit them and appear here in digest form every Sunday.

Not pictured: I never make Murchie pose with the comics I get through Marvel Unlimited. Last week, I devoured NEW MUTANTS (2003), a series I started mostly because it was co-written by a woman and ended up really enjoying. I also jumped on Bendis and Marquez's MILES MORALES: THE ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN as soon as a full arc's worth of issues was up. I enjoyed it very much, but I think I'd have gotten more out of it if I were familiar with the wider Ultimates universe. It's on my list.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, curls in a tight ball atop a fuzzy red blanket. Before him sits a white Kobo with The Virgin's cover on its screen. The cover features a woman's purple-tinted, silk-draped posterior and thighs against a black background.

Here it is, friends! One of my top ten most anticipated releases of 2015--and boy, did it ever live up to my expectations. I loved the hell out of it and will have a full review for you next week.

I may have loved THE VIRGIN, but I read it so frickin' slow. I don't know what's wrong with me, y'all. It doesn't seem to matter how much I like a book--I just can't settle down and read prose fiction.

I'm still limping along through LONG HIDDDEN, too. Even my comics consumption has taken a sharp downturn over the last couple of weeks. I hate periods like this. I want to read ALL THE BOOKS, but my stupid brain just won't focus on them.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Year With Marvel: Non-Superhero Comics

Marvel is known for their superheroes. Teams like the Avengers and the X-Men are staples of the Marvel canon with a wealth of books related to each group on the go at all times, Spider-Man and his associates are everywhere, and a flurry of other superfolks--heroes, villains, or ambiguous types working alone or in teams--round out the stable.

Y’all know I love me some superheroes, but many of the comics readers I talk to on Twitter or elsewhere disagree. They’re iffy on the whole costume-and-powers thing, or they prefer fantasy to science fiction, or they’re confused by the continuity and have no idea where to start.

Marvel, alas, isn't exactly brimming with books for these sorts of readers, but I've uncovered a few titles that may be of interest. I offer 'em up to you now.

Outright Non-Superhero Titles

Cover of Mystic #1, featuring two pale-skinned girls in fighting stances.

MYSTIC: THE TENTH APPRENTICE by G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez

An out-and-out secondary world fantasy miniseries about two childhood friends who find themselves on opposite sides of a class-driven magical conflict. It’s a CrossGen book that sits outside Marvel continuity, and it’s fab. I wish it were a full series with seventy-five issues and counting.

An ongoing MYSTIC series did predate this one, but Marvel didn't revive it when they purchased CrossGen's stock and it's out of print due to the company's bankruptcy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review: Alex + Ada, Volume One by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

Cover of Alex + Ada Volume One, featuring a pale-skinned man facing a pale-skinned woman. She has a white plastic drop sheet draped over her face and down her back, like a bridal veil.
Alex has an entirely average, mostly pleasant life. His automated house wakes him up and delivers his breakfast at the same time every morning. His job is fairly predictable. He has a nice group of friends who bake him birthday cakes and let him pet their Corgi. He is pretty bummed out about his love life, though, and his wealthy grandma is downright worried about it. In a bid to cheer him up (and help him get some), she buys him an android for his twenty-seventh birthday.

Alex is horrified. He does not want a sexbot. The whole thing creeps him out.

He’s fully prepared to return the android, but she looks so much like a person that it feels wrong to ditch her. So he keeps her, and spends time with her, and begins to wonder if the factory programming is really the limit of her personality. The news is full of stories about androids who seem sentient, but Ada is so... flat. Alex's quest to uncover the truth takes him deep into the the underground world of android rights, and forces him to question how far he’s willing to go to help Ada discover who she really is.

Let’s get the big, squicky issue out of the way first: Alex does not sleep with Ada.

Whew, right?

In that respect, and so far as the general situation goes, ALEX + ADA reminded me very much of CHOBITS, Clamp’s 2001/2 manga about a student who finds a persocom--that is, an android who takes the place of a personal computer, and whom many users treat as sexbots as well. The two series cover similar ground, but they tackle their subject matter with enough differences that there’s plenty of scope for crossover readership. Please don’t feel you should ignore ALEX + ADA just because you’ve read CHOBITS, or vice versa. They work well in conversation with one another.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: March 15th to 21st

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two of them together by photographing my tiny and adorable dog next to every book I read, barring the comics I get through Marvel Unlimited.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I edit them and appear here in digest form every Sunday, with commentary.

Not pictured: last week, I used Marvel Unlimited to explore some 80s comics. I began with Nocenti and Adams's LONGSHOT, a miniseries I first heard about on Panels, then moved along to Defalco and Wilshire's FIRESTAR. The pair of 'em took me longer than normal since 80s comics are dense, but I got some good insights for two future My Year With Marvel posts.

I've finally begun rereading ASTONISHING X-MEN, too. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday's run was the only X-related thing I read between the point where I quit buying single issues and the day I got Marvel Unlimited. I'm enjoying it a lot more the second time through, and I'm excited to get to Marjorie Liu's run.

I also devoured two volumes of Michael Alan Nelson's FALL OF CTHULHU, but they were loaners and I couldn't get Murchie to hang around near them for several longwinded reasons with which I shan't bore you.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, lays on a red and white blanket. Before him sits a white and red iPod with Anna and the French Kiss's pink-tinged cover on its screen.

New audiobook time! I finished RED QUEEN late last week and dove straight into ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Y'all have had only good things to say about this contemporary YA novel by Stephanie Perkins, and I'm pleased to report I'm enjoying it very much. It makes excellent listening material during daily walkies.

Speaking of which...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Year With Marvel: Exploring the Young Avengers

Cover of Young Avengers Volume One, Sidekicks Cover of Young Avengers Volume One, Style Trumps Substance.

Marvel Unlimited’s front page features a widget designed to showcase what's popular this month; or maybe what they want to be popular this month, seeing as how rarely changes. Until mere days ago, YOUNG AVENGERS held pride of place--and if you want the truth, I used to wonder why I should pay attention.

I like the Avengers. I like young people. Stick the two of ‘em together, though, and I just didn’t know. My teenage self loved young superhero teams like DC's Legion of Superheroes, but as time rolled on I began to feel like young superheroes were, well, corny. And while I’ve got a decent tolerance for corniness, it ain’t exactly my favourite.

But then I read HAWKEYE, and I fell in love with Kate Bishop (light of my heart; breath in my lungs), and I developed a powerful need to see where it all began for my favourite superheroic archer.

And you know what? It was awesome.