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Posting this later than I’d like, both in the day and in the month. But hey, January’s the door to a new year so it totally makes sense to post this as it closes. Right? Right. This one’s thanks to the folks at Tor.com, here’s Beneath the Sugar Sky. Enjoy!

Beneath the Sugar Sky cover

An impossible girl landed in the turtle pond outside of Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. Rini came to Earth to find her mother, Sumi, and take her back home. The problem is, Sumi was killed long before she could have had Rini and logic is quick to realize that an impossible girl shouldn’t exist. With a world to save and her existence on the line, Rini will have to find a way to put her mother back together. Luckily for her the students of the Home for Wayward Children are used to quests and ready to help.

Seanan McGuire is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers and Beneath the Sugar Sky is a really good example of why. This is a solidly written story with great character work and really interesting stakes. It is something I enjoyed so much that it’s actually really hard to write about because I just want to fangirl about how much fun I had with it.

So let’s start with the characters. Unlike Down Among the Sticks and Bones, which focused on two particular wayward children and their trip through a door, Beneath the Sugar Sky widens that focus to a number of students both new and old. This was a thing that I wasn’t sure on before I started reading, because I haven’t gotten to read the first book yet, I didn’t know Kade or Christopher or Nadya. But McGuire does a fantastic job of introducing them here through Cora’s perspective. There’s a sort of easy familiarity here that works really well.

The setting is interesting on a number of levels. Baseline, I like the idea of so many disparate worlds that can be accessed by the right people. The storytelling potential of that is awesome and those same people winding up back on Earth looking for a way home is a fantastic story hook. McGuire uses both amazingly here, both showing us a couple of the worlds and the sheer longing the cast has when faced with something close to theirs. It makes for some really good moments and some really great world building exposition.

The flipside to that potential and the possibility of characters going back to their world is that I’m very used to protagonists being fairly set.  It took a little adjusting to this new cast and the idea that characters might drop in and out of the story because of the doors. I like it, but it did feel weird for a good chunk of the book. It also left me wanting to see similar stories done for other characters though, which is a definite plus.

I knew less than half way through Beneath the Sugar Sky that it was a five out of five book. It made me want to jump to the first book and read the series again as soon as I finished it, so that I could see what came first and then re-see the second book and this one in that context. So, yeah, I had a lot of fun and really look forward to the next book in the series.

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House Keeping 1/30/18

This has been an oddly long month and I’m not sure why. Maybe that weird time warping after the holidays where everything just drops off is to blame, maybe not. I’m kind of hoping not, because things tend to stay slow for a good while at work.

I’m still trying to get some more content built up for here. It’s going, just not as quickly as I’d like. But not quickly is still going, so I can’t be too worried. I don’t feel like I’m going to fall back into a pit anytime soon.

I feel pretty good actually. Maybe it was getting to spend a weekend with my friends and see people having fun at the con. Maybe it’s something else, but I feel like I’m moving and that’s exciting and a little terrifying. Mostly exciting.

The thing I mentioned last week with that game, Doki Doki Literature Club, makes me want to talk about methods of story telling. It’s more than a bit outside of my usual thing, so if I do wind up doing that it might be a bit rough. The game fascinates me though and I want to talk about its story and how it presents it.

I’m also wondering if I want to do something for Valentines day. It’s going to be on a Wednesday, so I’ve already got a review going up, but if anyone can think of something else I could do as well that would be pretty cool. I can think on that more as it gets closer anyway.

And, of course, if you like what I’m doing here you can feed the comment section your words or you can feed my caffeine addiction by buying me a Ko-Fi. Enjoy!

I had this written last week I was ahead, and then I opened the file and wasn’t really happy with what I’d written. I did a rewrite and still feel like I could do better if only I’d ever seen the original Ghostbusters movie, but that’s a thing for later. Anyway, here’s the trade paperback of Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call. Enjoy!

Ghostbusters 101 Everyone Answers the Call cover

The Ghostbusters are kicking off an internship program and, in addition to that, a day camp program. Why not, it’ll help them make a little money and find promising new recruits? It seems like a perfectly reasonable plan until their interns cause an accident that starts merging their New York with the New York of another universe. With another universe come more Ghostbusters ready to answer the call and help prevent reality from collapsing in on itself.

In concept I really like Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call. I like the idea of the Answer the Call Ghostbusters and the classic Ghostbusters meeting up and working together. I like the idea of the contrast between the teams and seeing how their tech compares. This mini-series wasn’t exactly that though. While there was some fun interactions and nifty ideas this felt more interested in the classic Ghostbusters and setting up later comics in the shared universe than in the Answer the Call Ghostbusters. I don’t think this was something the team planned on so much as they were more used to and comfortable with the classic Ghostbusters and so tended to use them more out of habit. That isn’t a knock against the comic in and of itself, I just have no attachment to the classic Ghostbusters and that effected my enjoyment of the comic.

The stage is set when an intern sticks his hand through a dimension door and gets grabbed by a ghost leading to that ghost trying and pull itself back together, thus merging the dimensions. The effects of that dimensional merge aren’t really felt until the third chapter/issue and then the cast gets to know each other. In a longer graphic novel this approach could have worked well and built to the teams working together and learning from each other. This was six issues though, so we get some bits of the teams working together but fast tracked. Classic Ghostbusters have been at this longer and so have more of a grasp on busting ghosts, Answer the Call Ghostbusters are by turns interested in this and bothered by it.

This is where the thing I mentioned earlier comes in. I feel like the team on Ghostbusters 101 wasn’t much interested in the Answer the Call Ghostbusters or didn’t know much about them while writing this. So the Answer the Call Ghostbusters have a tendency towards feeling really flat, kind of like the writer was given a two sentence description of each and just went with that. I know that isn’t entirely fair to Erik Burnam, since he was juggling a pretty huge cast and these are fairly new characters. It still stands that the Answer the Call Ghostbusters can feel like parodies of themselves while the classic Ghostbusters feel a lot more rounded. Holtzmann, I think, probably gets it the worst with teasing from the movie having become a tendency towards out right rudeness and needling people until they’re desperate to get rid of her. Conversely, Patty had her historian aspect ramped up and gets a couple of nice moments related to knowing about the places they visit, so that was pretty cool.

The art here is interesting, it’s very stylized. There’s a level of cartoony-ness here that works in some places, like with the more monstrous ghosts, but then not in others, a lot of the expression work is strange. The character design as a whole is a little odd. There’s a fantastic array of different body types even in crowd clusters, but then there’s something about the faces that I can’t quite put my finger on. The backgrounds tend to be pretty awesome, with really cool detail work. The backgrounds add a lot to the feel of a scene, which is something I’m not entirely used to but appreciate.

There was a bit at the end that was pretty great, showing different possible worlds and iterations of events. I would have liked more stuff like that. Over all though, I’m a little cool on Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers the Call as a finished series. It isn’t bad, just not what I was looking for. It gets a three out of five, mostly for being one of those things that I would have probably enjoyed more if I had just happened across it rather than having spent a few months looking forward to it.

House Keeping 1/23/18

A continuation of nothing new and my job being all over the place.

I have thoughts about the Answer the Call comic compared to the 101 Ghostbusters comics. I’ll probably write something on that after the “What Dreams May Come” arc is finished.

Also, I really need to hole away and read for like a weekend. My kindle is full of stuff that’s just gathering e-dust, so that’s a thing to dig into.

Also again, I started playing Doki Doki Literature Club because I want to see what the big deal with it’s horror elements is. So, I’m not super far in and I keep pausing because I know that something is going to happen but not when or how. It is intensely frustrating in a way I don’t really know how to words about.

As standard, review is going up tomorrow. If you like what I’m doing here leave a comment or you can feed my caffeine habit and buy me a Ko-fi.

This one is for kind of an older book. I’d actually originally stumbled across this back when I worked at the bookstore. I was hoping to find stuff featuring Batwoman and then here was this. It popped up on my BookBub suggestions not too long ago and I finally had a chance to give it a read. So here’s Alexis Hall’s Iron and Velvet. Enjoy!

Iron and Velvet cover

Private Investigator Kate Kane should know better than to take a job from a vampire, much less a vampire prince. She should know, but bills need paying and jobs are a little thing since her partner died. She’s got a dead werewolf outside a vampire’s nightclub, some kind of horrific ooze, and not a lot of clues to go on. Stepping wrong on this case could lead to a war or, worse, her dead but at least she’s got scotch.

I am mostly happy with Alexis Hall’s Iron and Velvet. The main character is by turns enjoyable and frustrating with an implied back story that I really want to find out more about. The back story elements made for awesome character building without devolving into an angst fest. The parts that did get angsty felt tone appropriate and were generally balanced out with a thread of humor.

There were a couple of rough spots early on, with the cast being introduced, where the writing went off the rails a bit. The initial descriptions for our hedonist vampire prince and lingerie model alpha werewolf got kind of male gaze-y and uncomfortable. That said, the resident incubus got similar treatment and this did improve later on. I did find myself much more into the book after the introductions were past and I got into the meat of the story.

The mystery itself unwinds slowly with a couple of false starts and room to get to know the major players while still holding enough back that it’s still a solid mystery. There’s build to a solution but then there’s more. Kate finds herself trying to solve the problem without making any more problems or setting off a supernatural war. Things get a little fiddly there and while I liked the issues it brought up I feel like more could have been done with it. I would probably say that regardless though, I have a tendency of wanting more out of tense situations where the protagonist is out of their league.

That actually leads me to a big positive I had with this book. Kate was noteably out of her depth at various points and, instead of hard headedly going for it anyway, went for help. She had contacts from her previous P.I. work that she could ask for details and she goes to them when she realizes she needs help. It was super refreshing and I would really like to see more of that.

So, that’s kind of where I’m left with this one. There was some stuff I was iffy on at the start, but then the book rolls on and got really fun. There’s a ton of implied back story that I’m really interested in, possibly more so because it isn’t just spelled out for me. Iron and Velvet gets a four out of five from me. I’m definitely going to go find the second one in the future.

House Keeping 1/16/18

So, it is way past last Friday. Sorry about that, I’m not quite as on the way to catching up as I’d thought and last week was a mess.

Standard stuff, review is coming as are the articles I’m working on, work is a pain, and I am drained pretty constantly. Working past those last two, it’s slow and not fun but it needs doing.

Enjoy!

I wrote 17 up there and corrected it back to that like three times. Early year stuff is always weird.

Running late on stuff this week. Work has continued to be super busy and I’ve been too tired to do much of anything after getting home. That’s not to say that there’s not going to be a review this week, it’ll be here tomorrow, but it is late. Everything seems just a touch shifted to the side and I’m stuck trying to figure where that means everything has gotten to.

To Much Monday is doing a one day special that makes me wish I’d gotten this posted earlier today. If you sign up for one of their subscriptions today and use the code “FreeShip111” you get free shipping for the life time of your subscription. Or, as per standard, you can use the code”Tympest” to get fifteen percent off your first box.

It’s being a slow start getting back into the swing of things, but I’m thinking I can get this going on a steady schedule sometime within a month. Things are in the works and I feel pretty good about my chances of getting pulled back together.

If you like what I’m doing or think there’s things I could fix leave a comment below. You can also help support my caffeine habit by buying me a Ko-fi. Here’s to a good weekend. Enjoy!

I’m back! A little down to the wire tonight but doing good and very reminded that I adore the Answer the Call Ghostbusters. Going to have to give that a rewatch sometime soon. Anyway, comic review, I’ve been looking forward to this for months. Enjoy!

Issue 2 What Dreams May Come cover

Everything is awful. Dr. Kruger has escaped his house, escaped the Ghostbusters, and is drawing ever more power from the people of New York. Things have never looked this grim. The Ghostbusters need a plan or, better yet, a weapon capable of stopping a rampaging class 7. All they have to fear is a spirit wielding fear itself. Sometimes though, sometimes, fear is enough.

Issue two of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come is a fantastic follow up to issue one while still mostly being build up. That’s kind of to be expected though, this is the second of five issues so we’re going to see our characters hit a wall so that they can build to the triumphant finally. It works really well because this is where we’re shown just how powerful Dr. Kruger is.

This issue is the moment where we get the impact of how big a threat the villain, but it also gives us insight into our heroines. I have so, so many words about how much I love the nightmare sequences here. The sheer fact that we get these bits of how the Ghostbusters react to their fears and is a great thing for me, this is made even better by how the fears themselves are handled within the nightmares.

The art and colors here are expressive and fantastic, Corin Howell and Valentina Pinto do a great job. There’s this quality of not quite cartoony-ness to the art that results in a lot of nifty reactions without making the characters feel off model, for lack of a better term. Things are exaggerated when it fits the tone of a scene, most notably the nightmares, but otherwise is kept in the realm of regular human facial expressions. Dr. Kruger is a notable exception to this, being as he is a ghost and doesn’t have to follow physical rules. Even then though, the art for him does a great job of making him that much more threatening and other worldly while still maintaining a set form.

I am really excited to see where we go from here and how the rest of the What Dreams May Come storyline unfolds. I’ve read this comic something like seven times since picking it up earlier today and I’m still bouncing. This has been one of those reading experiences that I’ve enjoyed on all levels and am super ready for the next part, we’re getting into the meat of the story and I am ready. So, yeah, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call: What Dreams May Come issue two gets a five out of five. It was worth the wait.

So, things fell apart a little at the end of the year there. These things happen more often than I’d like to admit.

I’ve got a couple of reviews on the way. One’s going to be going up later today, because I am ridiculously excited for Ghostbusters: Answer the Call issue two. The others are gonna drop in the next couple of weeks.

Those article- ish things I was going to do after Nanoshock are still on the way. I’ve got some ironing out to do on most of those as well as the actual getting them written part. It’ll be great fun.

More later, there’s going to be a continuation of the weekly housekeeping posts starting next week. Have fun all and, as always, enjoy!

House Keeping 12/22/17

Hey all, no review this week. I didn’t get the book finished so, that’s fun. I’ll have it up next week.

Nothing big is coming up until the new year. I’m going to take the time between then and now to try and get things prepared.

Happy holidays!