Showing posts with label urban fantasy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label urban fantasy. Show all posts

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Review Time! - The Voices of Martyrs by Maurice Broaddus

The Voices of Martyrs title image




flower divider




Title: The Voices of Martyrs
The Voices of Martyrs book cover

Author: Maurice Broaddus

Genre: anthology, short stories

Genre (of individual stories): historical fiction, contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, vampires, urban fantasy, horror, dystopian, magic realism

Amazon: UK - USA








A few starting notes:


I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

Honestly, I like me some short stories - and I never fail to be impressed by Rosarium Publishing - so I figured, why not? And decided to give this a shot.





Premise:


A collection of voices - an unforgotten collected memory that encompasses the past, present, and future.

These short stories are tales of strength, pain, sacrifice, and life. These are the voices of martyrs.



Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Month in Review(s) - February 2017

February. The shortest of months, and the one with Valentine's Day crammed into the middle there.



book heart image






Which may explain why four of the 5 books I reviewed this month were romances - guess it even got to yours truly! (I'm not going all soft on you though, dearest nerdlets, I'm still your Rebel Valentine! Lol.)



Monday, 13 February 2017

Review Time! - Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone

Santa Muerte title image


flower divider image



Title: Santa MuerteSanta Muerte book cover

Author: Lucina Stone

Genre: New Adult/NA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Witches, Vampires*, Werewolves*, Historical Fiction* (*ish)

Series: The Daniela Story #1

Amazon: UK - USA








A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author, Lucina Stone, who I'm in contact with on Twitter.

This does not affect the content of my review; my review is fair and honest.

I agreed to read this with only the vaguest of notions of what it was about - I had read Naz @ Read Diverse Books' review of it, but had mostly forgotten about it by the time Lucina Stone contacted me.

I definitely didn't realise that it was urban fantasy - so that was a pleasant surprise!

I love urban fantasy - a subgenre of paranormal which involves magical-type-people (witches, vampires, etc.) faffing about in cities and/or towns in which they have their own societies (sometimes open to human society, sometimes hidden.)

It's strange, really, since I don't like cities in general - too much of a rural kind of girl. *shrugs* But there you have it.






Premise:

Turns out there's more to Daniela's family than she thought there was.

In the year 2030, Daniela sees no end to the pain. Depressed and hurt by an abusive relationship, she tries to take her own life...

...and wakes up somewhere strange.

This can't be happening. She can't be in the 1920s... right?

Dani doesn't get this time period, has no idea about magic, and, with a farm-girl named Daphne in tow, is being chased by a bunch of people who want her dead - or at least in jail.

All she wants is to go home to her mothers, but that seems almost impossible from here...







Best bits:

I love the chatty tone of this book. Stone grabs hold of you and says, 'come on guys, this way!' Which is spot on.

And the time travel element is well done! DID YOU HEAR THAT???? THE TIME TRAVEL ELEMENT IS WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!

Too often, time travel gets unnecessarily messy, or even just plain naff, but not here.

Here we have the reality of suddenly finding yourself in a world full of racism and rigid gender rules (Daniela ends up posing as a dude because of her short hair and trousers.)

And it's an element which is missing from your average time travel plot: the day-to-day-ness of living in that period, especially as a person of colour (PoC) in the USA.







girl image






I liked the Mexican variations on the stalwarts of urban fantasy.

All of the different species of the paranormal and urban fantasy worlds - vamps, wolves, witches, etc. are removed from their White European stereotypes and instead seen through the lens of Mexican folklore.

Most notably we have the brujas - the Mexican witches - who are written with skill and intrigue, and are far removed from the average urban fantasy witch-chick (who is normally a white goth-girl and/or biker-chick.)

The depression representation is good overall, devastatingly realistic as a whole - but I did have a minor issue with it, which I'll write about in the next section.

The sense of hopelessness and worthlessness depicted is accurate and heart-breaking, and Daniela doesn't magically get better the moment she ends up in 1923, meaning it's not treated as just a plot point.

And we get a same-sex, lesbian, parenting couple - which is awesome.








Not so great bits:

First thing, as ever, is first, here's the potentially distressing content from this book (hold on, there's some stuff to get through):
  • depression
  • attempted suicide
  • suicidal thoughts
  • hanging
  • abusive relationships
  • low self-worth/self-esteem
  • racism
  • racial slurs (including the 'n' word)
  • the KKK
  • lynching
  • segregation and discrimination
  • sexual abuse
  • child abuse
  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • torture
  • kidnapping
  • burning (as a form of torture)
  • attempted murder
  • homophobia
  • grave-robbing
  • missing persons investigation

I think that's everything - v. sorry if I've missed anything out.

There's swearing and violence; if you can handle all the other stuff though... *shrugs*

At one point, the phrase totem pole is used in as a metaphor in a non-native setting, which is seen as cultural appropriation, affecting some First Nations tribes (this piece by Robin R R Gray explains more.)

It was only once, but was still disappointing, and I hope won't occur again in future books.







eye image







Also, and this one is more of a personal preference, the relationship between Dani's mothers is referred to as a lifestyle. I don't like this.

I'm aware that a lot of LGBTQ+ people are ok with it (especially from older generations,) but I am personally not a big fan of the term.

But then, a lot of LGBTQ+ people find the term queer very offensive, but I personally identify as both sexually fluid and queer.

I guess you just have to understand that some people will be offended by both of these terms, and you need to examine how and why AND WHETHER YOU SHOULD use them in any given context.

Occasionally it felt like the representation of Daniela's depression was a little bit hit-and-miss, simply because at the times when it wasn't affecting her so much it was almost as if it didn't matter any more.

Honestly though, the representation of depression was, overall, heartbreakingly affective.






Verdict:

This is a great book - a strong foundation for the series, with great characters and interesting paranormal elements.

If you're an urban fantasy fan, this is a must. But those not so familiar with the genre will love it too.




UPDATE 22nd APRIL 2017:

A couple of people have raised issues with the lesbian and depression representation in this book, as well as a few other matters. Some people have equated Dani's lesbian mother having sex with a man with biphobia.

I personally don't agree with the lesbian rep/biphobia criticism - because if anyone knows that sexuality is fluid, it's yours truly. But I see the validity of the points made.

For an overview of the issues that some people have with this book, see C T Callahan's Goodreads review.

I do find C T Callahan more than a little harsh on this book, but you guys all know that I believe in having all the cards on the table so that you can make up your own minds.

















flower divider















Monday, 23 January 2017

My 7 Top Picks of 2016's Books

(This post contains a flashing/fast-moving gif which may cause problems to those with photosensitive medical conditions.)


2016 wasn't 100% bad - just, like, 85%, or something. Anyway, there were some pretty awesome books!

I've purposefully picked books with 2016 release dates here - but I should point out that I also read some pretty great 'back-list' (pre-2016) titles during the year, they're just not on the list.




trophy post-it







So, these are my picks of books released in 2016, that I read in 2016. Everyone got that? Great.

(And yes, I know this post is technically 'late' - but I make my own rules dammit!)













I'm also uber-pleased to note that most of these are diverse books - so anyone who says diverse books are lower quality needs to go and ask themselves some serious questions 😇

They are also all written by women - girls rock!





Here we go then (and in no particular order, because I am a wuss who can't rank books over each other):




divider




Nina Is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi


Nina Is Not OK book cover

Amazon links: UK - US




For my international readers (and boy is that a phrase I'm never going to get used to,) who may not have heard of her, Shappi Khorsandi is an Iranian-British comedic genius.

Her first novel though, is not light-hearted. It's not funny. It's not for the faint of heart. And it's freaking incredible.

Seriously, this is one that I'm sooooo happy I had a digital review copy of, because I was so privileged to be one of the first people to read it.

Since then, I've basically been like 'read the thing!' whenever it's been possible to recommend it.

And I'm clearly not the only one, since it was recently nominated for the inaugural Jhalak Prize - though Khorsandi unfortunately withdrew the book from the longlist out of concern that drawing attention to her ethnicity might alienate white readers.

It's a disappointing decision, but it's far from my place to tell a person of colour (PoC) how to market their own book.

And it really is a fantastic book guys! You can see my full review here.






divider







Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan


Swan Boy book cover

Amazon links: UK - US




Nikki Sheehan is a definite talent. I can't wait to see what she comes up with in the future.

Swan Boy is a remarkably artistic and lyrical kids' novel (middle grade/MG) and it's just... a stunningly beautiful read.

Honestly, it's amazing.

Check out my full review of Swan Boy here.






divider







Blood Stain, Vol 1 by Linda Sejic



Blood Stain Vol 1 cover

Amazon links: UK - US




Linda is an amazing person who writes awesome and oh-so relatable comics that make me laugh and bring me smiles when I need them.

You will love the hapless Elliott as she tries to make her way in this bizarre world of adulting (and she has levels of clumsiness and bad luck that most of us will recognise!)

You can see my full review of Blood Stain, Vol 1 here.






divider






Monstress, Vol 1: The Awakening


Monstress Vol 1 book cover

Amazon links: UK - US




ORHGUIREJNGOIRGHNKETMNHOEIROIJTGGWMKRNGHTOI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are very few books which I consider '5 star' books guys.

(And I have issues with the arbitrary and restrictive nature of star ratings anyway - which is why I don't use them on this blog!)

But, if there is such a thing as a five-star book, then THIS IS A 5 STAR BOOK.

It has everything - fantasy, world-building, a disabled Asian protagonist, and stunning artwork.

And I want to adopt the small fox child. Soooo cute!

The ladies in charge here - Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda - have a lot to be proud of.

You can see my fangirling ramble review here.





divider







Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone



Santa Muerte book cover

Amazon: UK - US


One which I haven't reviewed yet (but I will dammit! I will!)

Santa Muerte is an awesome-sauce first instalment in a new-adult urban fantasy series by the lovely Lucina Stone.

What is urban fantasy? It's only an uber-incredible sub-genre of paranormal and fantasy that involves paranormal-types faffing about in cities and/or towns!

Add in the focus on brujas (witches,) and a chatty prose-tone (that's totally a phrase now. Shh,) and what more do you want?!






divider






Luna the Vampire: Grumpy Space by Yasmin Sheikh


Luna the Vampire book cover

Amazon: UK - US




Do you want grumpy internet-style humour with bright colours and a millennial attitude? Of course you freaking do!

Seriously, Luna makes me smile. And will make you smile too.

Check out my review here.







divider






Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova



Labyrinth Lost book cover

Amazon: UK - US



Another bruja book, although a lot different to Santa Muerte, Labyrinth Lost is the beginning of a YA series about a bisexual Brooklyn Latina girl, Alex, who has a big mess to clean up.

This one is so involving, and those of you looking for a new YA obsession and/or fandom need look no further!

You can see my review of Labyrinth Lost here.












Like this post? Try these:









Tuesday, 18 October 2016

The Greek Mythology Tag

I was tagged for 'The Greek Mythology Tag' by both the lovely Emily @ The Paperback Princess and the fantabulous Tina @ As Told By Tina.

Go check out their awesome-sauce blogs because they officially rock!











Zeus - God of the Sky: Favourite Book of Your Own Category




I am going to pick the uber-specific category of favourite vampire detective novel (yes, yes this is a thing; a thing that I read; do not judge me until you've tried my way of life.)

My favourite vampire detective novel is the first in Tanya Huff's Blood books: Blood Price (UK - US.)








Not only is there a vampire detective who writes romance novels in his spare time, but he's also the illegitimate, bisexual, son of Henry VIII - really, what more could you want?!

Plus, this is the series that really got me hooked on urban fantasy - though, unfortunately, it's no longer easy to get hold of copies in the UK (argh!)








Hera - Goddess of Love and Fertility: Favourite Book Couple




At the moment, I'm shipping Linda and Sarah from Robin Talley's Lies We Tell Ourselves (UK - US,) to the point where they're nearly at OTP status right now (plus, canon F/F romance!)









You can read my review of Lies We Tell Ourselves here.



(Fangirling notes:

Shipping = wanting characters to be in/approving of romantic relationships.

OTP = One True Pairing. A relationship you will defend to your last breath. Despite the name, most people have several OTPs.

Canon = Official.

F/F = same-sex female romance.)










Poseidon - God of the Sea: Book that Drowned you in Feels




The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (UK - US.)







I really don't think I need to say any more.









Athena - Goddess of Wisdom and Handicraft: Series with the Best World Building




The Hollows series by Kim Harrison does such a great job of setting up a post-tomato-apocalypse (I kid you not,) urban fantasy world, where vampires, witches, etc. are living out in the open.

Plus LGBTQ+ characters! :)











Hades - God of the Underworld: Book with a Dark Plot




OK, so many I could go for here... you know I like the gothic-y-ness...

I'm going to go with Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (UK - US.) This is definitely not one for the faint of heart.






Even those who've seen either of the film adaptations will be surprised at the brutality and grit of this book, as well as the hugely uncomfortable plot-aspect of the paedophile who is manipulated by our vampire-child, Eli.

Scandinavian horror is a step past Scandinavian noir - though (in this case at least,) exceptionally skilled. You have been warned.








Aphrodite - Goddess of Love and Beauty: 2016 Release with the Most Beautiful Cover




I don't know - a lot of the time, the UK has different covers to other countries anyway...

Oh! I know! The cover of graphic novel The Beauty, Vol 1 (UK - US.) Wow, that is still one of the most striking covers I've seen.





You can check out my review of The Beauty, Vol 1 here.










Ares - God of War: Most Violent Book you've Read



Hahahahahahahaha - OH MY GOD, do you know who you're talking to????

All of the gothic-y-ness often leads to the stabbage. #TrueStory.

It's really hard to measure one type of violence against another, but I'm going to go with The Crow (UK - US) here.







A legendary graphic novel, this includes rape, violence, and a core of pain, melded with James O'Barr's poetic skill and ability to somehow make bleak scenes beautiful.









Hephaestus - God of Blacksmiths: Scorching Hot Character



Loki. Obviously.








(When Loki is Lady Loki, she's also pretty damn hot; #JustSaying)









Artemis - Goddess of the Hunt and Fertility: Kick ass Female Character



Red Sonja - that famous comic heroine who is so often de-clothed and subjected to out-of-character actions by unskilled, misogynistic, hands - is, at her very heart, the woman who will save a kingdom and cut the hand/thing off a molester on the same day.











Apollo - God of the Light and Healing: Sequel that Redeemed a Series


Actually can't think of one right now - my brain is just throwing white noise at me. Sorry!











Hermes - Messenger God: Book with the Best Message



Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig (UK - US.)






Why? Read my review.








Hestia - Goddess of the Home: Book that's the Most Relatable


Luna The Vampire: Grumpy Space by Yasmin Sheikh (UK - US,) because I, too, am a grumpy millennial space vampire.





You can check out my review of Luna The Vampire here.








Demeter - Goddess of Agriculture: Favourite Bookish Setting


I don't know - I tend to forget places pretty easily. Narnia, maybe.










Dionysus - God of Wine and Celebration: Anticipated Release

Ummmm... nothing in particular, in honesty. I have enough books to read right now!

Ooh! I know! There's a new Robin Talley book slated for 2017 called Our Own Private Universe - and I really want to read that!







Liked this book? Try these: