“The Heroine Complex”, Take 2

27209443Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
DAW: July 5, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Free From Publisher

The view was nice, but the food was bad

At the beginning of June Stacey reviewed and raved about Heroine Complex, having loved the main character, Evie’s personal growth. My reaction to the book was quite different.

The concept of this alternative San Fransisco where humans have gained strange abilities is an intriguing one, as is the fact that a select few in this world have developed powers, and some are even able to channel those abilities into a sensational career as a superhero. Evie’s best friend since childhood, Annie, was able to successfully transform herself into Aveda Jupiter, San Fransisco’s beloved heroine because of her telekinetic powers she developed after an earthquake. Of course, every heroine worth her salt needs a back up team, and that’s where Evie comes in. Evie, with powers of her own, prefers to stay out of the limelight, managing the more mundane aspects of Aveda’s life and basically ignoring the fact that she even has powers. However, when Aveda is injured Evie is forced to take centre stage and start to reconcile her own feelings towards her volatile abilities. (more…)


Teenage Superheroine: “Ms. Marvel”

20898019Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona
Marvel: October 30, 2014
Genre: Graphic Novel
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!

I picked up Ms. Marvel on the recommendation from a friend. I’d also heard a fair bit of buzz about the series due to it’s diverse main character and relatable storyline.

Kamala Khan is your average Muslim teenager living in New Jersey. She’s struggling to find her identity and dealing with family and friend stuff. But then, Kamala gets superpowers!

After a mysterious fog cloaks the city, Kamala finds that she can transform into Captain Marvel, but the shift into the blonde and booted superheroine is not exactly what Kamala imagined it would be. Kamala thought she would be just like everyone else, but of course, it doesn’t work that way. Most of volume one is about Kamala discovering that who she is okay and it’s also okay not to have all the answers right now. The whole identity issue is a huge part of volume one and it sends a powerful message to readers. Kamala is struggling with her family’s expectations and how they conflict with her own ideas and quite frankly this is a universal experience during those oh-so-fun teen years. (more…)

Heroine Complex: It’s Complicated


Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Berkley Publishing Group DAW: July 5, 2016
Source: Free from publisher

I’d go there again!

In a familiar-but-different San Francisco, a portal to another dimension opened eight years ago and spewed demons bent on conquering Earth. A handful of San Franciscans received minor otherworldly magical powers from the first demons to arrive. Ever since, smaller portals have opened that spew mini-demons who tend to take the form of the first thing they see, such as cupcakes. Cupcake demons, folks.

Evie is personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, San Francisco’s local demon-fighting superheroine, who also happens to be Evie’s best friend. Evie, Aveda, and their friend Scott are a few of the people who received magical abilities. Aveda Jupiter, in fact, does not have enough telekinesis to fight demons, so she relies on her physical abilities and a strong PR strategy instead.


Book Adventures Weekly: Issue 28

Seven things the mainstream media gets wrong/doesn’t tell about Native Americans.

For a dose of reality in the imaginary, take a peek at these images that show what superheroes would look like with average bodies.

This interview with acclaimed author Elena Ferrante, on the themes in her novels and why she chooses to use a pen name, sort of makes me want to read her books, even though they’re not my type.

Seanan McGuire is one of my new favorite urban fantasy authors. Tor offers a free read of her “Midway Relics and Dying Breeds.”

You’ve probably heard about it by now, but here’s the Smithsonian’s report of the loss of Baalshamin in Palmyra. As old as the temple itself (or older), the willful destruction of the “threat” of oppositional ideologies still hurts. H

Here’s a lengthy and fascinating interview with Canadian author Alice Munro.

That’s all for this week, fellow adventurers! Check back in a week for the next installment of bookish and not-so-bookish news.

Chinese Dragons and Romance in “Dragons of Heaven”

dragons of heavenThe Dragons of Heaven, by Alyc Helms Angry Robot: June 2nd, 2015 (Fantasy)*


The view was nice, but the food was bad (meh)**

In The Dragons of Heaven, Missy Masters is trying to live up to her grandfather’s legacy as Mr. Masters, one of the original superheroes of the mid-twentieth century. We are introduced to her present-day struggles to be taken seriously and to defeat a Chinatown crime boss in San Francisco. The narrative is split between the present-day and some time in Missy’s past. It’s also split between San Francisco and China. In one plot line, Missy is a superheroine fighting crime when mysterious magical walls spring up around all Chinatowns in the world, and around China itself. This launches Missy into the world-saving business, as she is the only person who can dissolve the walls. In the other, she travels to China to learn from a Dragon and become a better superheroine. (more…)

Book Adventures Weekly: Issue 16

At long last, faithful readers – a new issue of the Book Adventures Weekly, with the most interesting recent bookish news.

I know I’ve been missing these for quite some time, but I hope to be back on the regular weekly schedule from now until… the next big Life Thing.

Happy reading!

I recently read Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1 – No Normal and quite enjoyed it. The Book Smugglers review it on their blog. If you’re interested in reading a book, as opposed to a graphic novel, about a young woman in a world with superheroes, do check out Superheroes Anonymous.

The Book Riot has 25 old(er) films you may not have known were originally books… now that you know, will you go read any of them? Which ones?

From Mental Floss, images of literary maps of America. Some are pretty, some are not.

More in literary tourism: a list of American author museums, compiled by Book Riot.

Women in SF & F month comes to a close at Fantasy Cafe, with links to posts by authors about things. In one of the links, Michelle Sagara discusses writing and not writing romance.

Superheroes Anonymous: Pure Fun!

superheroesanonymousSuperheroes Anonymous by Lexie Dunne
Published by Harper Voyager Impulse, November 18th, 2014 (Speculative Fiction / Urban Fantasy)*

My Rating: Outstanding Adventure! vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3vintagesuitcase3

I had the most fun reading this story. Gail Godwin is Hostage Girl. In a world full of superheroes and villains, she has unwittingly become, due to her small stature (her “portability”), and the rumored secret identity of her boyfriend, *the* girl that villains want to kidnap. They all want to draw out her “boyfriend,” the superhero Blaze, and know that he will rescue her. Because he does. Every single time.

Gail herself is quiet, unassuming, and not very self-confident. Small wonder, given that her only worth, as viewed by others, is to do most of the work at her office, and to be a hostage. So she plods along, being taken captive and being rescued, until the day she’s dumped by her boyfriend, and discovers that both he and Blaze are moving to Miami – at the same time as her boyfriend. She is firmly convinced that her boyfriend (sluggish, selfish, rude 24/7 gamer – in fact, I never liked him even a little). Villains lose interest in her, and her life finally returns to normal. Until the day a villain that didn’t get the memo about her breaking up with “Blaze” kidnaps her one last time.

This is such a FUN book.  Nothing gets very dark, although there are dark moments. There’s a pretty even balance between butt-kicking male superheroes and butt-kicking female superheroes, which I enjoyed – one of the latter is named Plain Jane, which I really enjoyed. The life of a superhero is filled with comedic moments: medical visits and fitness tests, physical training sessions with a sadistic Brazilian superwoman, human awkwardness, and eating astonishing amounts of food to fuel superpowers.