Author to Author with Aden Polydoros (Bone Weaver)

Bone Weaver tells the story of a girl raised by benevolent undead, a tsar on the run, and a boy witch helping each other survive in a secondary world fantasy inspired by imperial Russia. Its layered world-building, examination of monstrosity, sisterly love, and queer characters make this an enchanting read that will delight any fan of historically-grounded Slavic dark fantasy.

Today, Aden tells me a bit about putting this dark fantasy adventure together, from its open image to the research behind the tale. He also shares how the story evolved and what he’s working on next.

Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

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ARC Review: THE UNBALANCING by R.B. Lemberg (2022)

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: September 20th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an ARC from the publisher
Content warnings: earthquakes and the aftermath of natural disasters, references to past ableism

Gelle-Geu is an island city whose star god is restless and earthquakes come closer and closer. Ranra has taken on the role of starkeeper, and her first task is to unravel the problems left attended by her predecessor. She seeks the counsel of Lilún, a poet whose ancestor is begging them to take on the role of starkeeper. Their relationship ignites while disaster strikes, and it’s a race against star charts and magic to possibly save the city.

This novel has all the dreaminess of poetry and being told a bedtime story with intense calamity on the horizon and tender romance at its core.

An interview with the author will be posted to celebrate the release of Geometries of Belonging: Stories and Poems from the Birdverse on November 29th, release day.

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August 2022 Reading Recap

August saw me flying from New York City back to Texas and spending a bunch of time recovering from psychic damage I’m not going to get into. I also did a bunch of painting, had a weird episode with my Instagram, and just. What a ride of a month it was!

I am nearing the end of my revision journey, and then I’m going to be doing more focused reading lists that I may or may not share as part of the recovery phase after finishing an intense project.

This month’s blog interviews were:

September is off to a hype start, with me getting to announce a short story with the inaugural edition of the Best Served Cold zine.

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Author to Author with Freydís Moon (With a Vengeance)

I’m so thrilled to have Freydís Moon on my blog today to talk about their debut novel, With a Vengeance. Kye is a human who has a lot on their shoulder: grief, a family estate, a demonic haunting, and a rogue ICE agent sniffing around. This dark paranormal erotic romance is as affirming and as it is hot, while featuring a nuanced exploration of culture, family, grief, healing, and the things people do to keep their community safe.

Today, Freydís chats with me about the origins of this novel, the myriad projects coming down the pipeline, and the works they’re looking forward to most.

Buy Links: Amazon | Signed Paperback

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ARC Review: BONE WEAVER by Aden Polydoros (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Dark Fantasy
Year Release: September 20th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore | Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an advanced copy on NetGalley
Content warning: on-page murder and violence, decapitation, gun violence, body horror, off-page dismemberment, reference to the mutilation of corpses, religious and ethnic persecution, death of a parent (off-page)

Toma lives in the wilderness with her benevolent upyri parents and younger sister. A dirigible erupts near their home, where the found family nurses a boy back to help. He turns out to Mikhail, the tsar who is on the run from violent revolutionaries. The two run off to find Toma’s sister, Galina, stolen by enemies, and pick up a snarky boy witch on the way.

With layered world-building that examines monstrosity and otherness with an endearing cast, this one is a must-read for fans of historically-grounded Slavic dark fantasy.

An interview with the author is going up on September 20th, release day.

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Author to Author with Naseem Jamnia (The Bruising of Qilwa)

Happy debut day to The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia. This novella is among the tightest I have ever read. It has a bit of everything: medical fantasy, slice-of-life, a mystery, found family, given family, the difference between the best choice and the right choice, and a world that centers trans people and people of color. It’s so dense, and I’m so thrilled to have gotten to read this one early.

Today, Naseem Jamnia tells me all about how the layers of Qilwa came together, the research and craft journey of this novella, and what they’re reading and working on now.

Buy Links: Tachyon PublicationsBookshop.org | Unabridged Books

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July 2022 Reading Recap

July was…heavy, to say the least. There was some writing professional news that netted out less than positively, a meteor of a personal emergency that is still unfolding, and I think I finally figured a writing time management system that works for me (and a realization that I definitely write to run away, and there is a lot I want to run from).

I also went to NYC to see my family and catch up with some friends. Equally restful and stressful. I’ve stayed safe from disease the best I can, and wish the same for you and yours.

This month’s blog interviews were:

In August, I have four days off from my dayjob, which I intend to use for making lots of paintings

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Manga Review: LAND OF THE LUSTROUS Vol. 1 – 11 by Haruko Ichikawa (2017-2021)

Genre: Fantasy Seinen
Year Release in English: 2018-2021
Source: Barnes & Noble Physical Copies

Reminder: The star rating reflects overall opinion of the series.

In this blend of science fiction and fantasy, the Earth has been long abandoned by humans and is now inhabited by the Lustrous, gem people whose literal crystals are occupied by micro-organisms called inclusions. Every so often, they’re attacked by the Lunarians who take them to the moon for unknown reasons. The story starts with the primary character, Phosphophyllite “Phos”, asks Sensei for a job. It only gets existential and angsty from there.

This series is meticulously researched with evolving world-building and plenty of heart-shattering moments, I’m so glad it’s back on hiatus and resuming chapters because I’m so invested.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Author to Author with Izzy Wasserstein (All the Hometowns You Can’t Stay Away From)

Happy release day to All The Hometowns You Can’t Stay Away From, a collection of speculative fiction short stories from Izzy Wasserstein. There are multiverses, quests, terrifying boarding schools, haunted museums that need to be emptied, people resisting, people trying their best, and more. I’ve found many treats within these pages, and I can’t wait for other people to discover them as well.

In today’s interview, the author tells us about how she finds inspiration, the spawn points of stories, putting this specific collection together, and what she’s working on now.

Buy Links: Neon Hemlock | Unabridged Books | Bookshop.org

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Review: IN THE BEDROOM OF MEDUSA by Magen Cubed (2022)

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: 2021
Source: Kindle

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warning: snakes

Evelyn Horne is an escort met with an enigmatic new client proposition in the form of Lady Demetria Balaskas, whose presence is powerful and enigmatic, accompanied by hissing and rattling. Evelyn is invited to live on the Balaskas estate and dalliances plus feelings ensue.

What I particularly love about this novella is how much respect there is for every working person. From the maids to the secretary to Evelyn’s work as an escort itself, there is an attention and care there that I haven’t personally seen in erotic works so far. In Lady Demetria’s house, all women are women, sex work is work, and all workers are deserving of their dignity. I particularly loved the secondary relationship between Lucy and Evelyn for many of these reasons and, honestly, wouldn’t mind a spinoff that’s just their friendship.

The novella has rad slice-of-life elements taking shape as wish fulfillment for being financially and personally taken care of by a monster dommy mommy.

Oh, and the sex is very hot.