Categories
Fantasy Romance

Read Warmth of His Light

Read Warmth of His Light (Blanchard Coven #1)

When Eos Hawthorne went to meet a friend one evening, he never expected his entire life to change. As if stumbling across a group of men fighting in an abandoned lot by his home wasn’t shocking enough—one of those men suddenly attacks him…with fangs and claws.

Vampire coven leader Julien Blanchard is having a bad day. After failing to apprehend a murderer and traitor to his coven, the absolute last thing he needed was a hapless human stumbling into the picture— especially an intriguing young man who, as it turns out, happens to be his mate.

Eos doesn’t know if he believes in mating, and knows nothing about the supernatural world he is suddenly thrust into. Julien is a vampire who has always put his coven and his duty first.

This was a little goofy, but I was in the mood for light fluff. The setup is very contrived. Thought about bailing at 75% but finished. Probably wouldn’t read another in this series.

The two love interests were a little flat, the human’s main interest was watching reality TV. I know that’s super normal but it’s kinda boring to read about. The building is described as cold and sterile and perfect, but later the human decides it reflects the vampire’s personality because it has thoughtful touches like a bowl of fruit and a historic photo of the building 🤔

I thought it was funny the vampire was like “oh my long long life” and it’s later mentioned he’s 75. The bad guy needed more motivation. I wanted to know more about the Witch Mother (?).

Categories
Fantasy Romance

Read For the Throne

Read For the Throne by Hannah Whitten

Red and the Wolf have finally contained the threat of the Old Kings but at a steep cost. Red’s beloved sister Neve, the First Daughter is lost in the Shadowlands, an inverted kingdom where the vicious gods of legend have been trapped for centuries and the Old Kings have slowly been gaining control. But Neve has an ally–though it’s one she’d rather never have to speak to again–the rogue king Solmir.

Solmir wants to bring an end to the Shadowlands and he believes helping Neve may be the key to its destruction. But to do that, they will both have to journey across a dangerous landscape in order to find a mysterious Heart Tree, and finally to claim the gods’ dark, twisted powers for themselves.

This was a very frustrating read, and I don’t think it stuck the landing. The solution didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I didn’t believe the heroine would choose what she did. The resolution between her and the antihero was weak.

There was no need for this to be 500 pages. There were seriously like five dream sequences. At least one other POV could have been cut. I would frankly have cut all the other viewpoints besides Neve. I thought it very odd to have one chapter each from the sisters’ love interests.

Honestly the story just didn’t quite work. It wanted to be the story of two sisters, and it wanted to be a romance, and it wanted to be epic fantasy. Unfortunately, by not choosing one it did all three poorly. It probably should have focused on the sisters instead of the romance, based on the ending.

At the halfway point, I started skipping all the other viewpoint scenes until the climax. They telegraphed too much, without adding value. Knowing the end, I don’t think they paid off. The author used them to create tension by keeping you away from getting resolution from the main storyline, which I feel is a bad sign when the tension isn’t enough on its own and you have to stall.

Categories
Fantasy

Read For the Wolf

Read For the Wolf (Wilderwood, #1)

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

Gnarly ending, but fitting. Parts felt YAish, probably because the heroine and her sister are twenty and blindingly dumb sometimes. I had to roll my eyes at the sister a lot — for someone trained to be queen, she is pretty oblivious. The magic system is cool and creepy and very bloody. I like the way the forest itself gets an arc. It’s a good Beauty and the beast retelling, though a weird choice to put so much weight in story on the red cloak, and to put it on the cover, so you expect it to be riding hood 🤷‍♀️

Categories
Fantasy Romance

Read The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Read The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?

Quite enjoyed this mashup of wild west meets ancient Greek / Norse / Egyptian mythology meets The Shop Around the Corner meets zombies. I liked that it was as much about the romance as it was friendship and family. I have minor quibbles with some aspects of the ending but it got to a good spot.

Categories
Fantasy Romance

Re-watched Tangled

Watched Tangled from m.imdb.com

The magically long-haired Rapunzel has spent her entire life in a tower, but now that a runaway thief has stumbled upon her, she is about to discover the world for the first time, and who she really is.

Disney does story structure well. Quite a lengthy introduction to the two love interests before their meetcute around 20 minutes in, but does a good job setting up their external quests. The 50% everything changes beat ties the plot and emotional journey together nicely, his admission of a secret prompting her to share one that then offers a solution to their conundrum. Talk about an all is lost moment SPOILERS he legit *dies* and she thinks she’s lost her powers and her abusive kidnapper who she nevertheless has feelings for has just died also — and then she magically mysteriously brings him back to life (with love?).

(Ugh I can see when this stuff works in other people’s stories, why is it so hard to reverse engineer and apply to mine? 😂😭)

Disney can also be good at humor, when they don’t fall back on body shaming — mime interrupting a chase scene good, mocking a guy who wants true love for his appearance bad. Also they cannot handle not vibing the villain as an oversexualized contrast to the pure innocent heroine, with heavy eye makeup and low cut top in a rich red on the mother and no makeup and a lavender dress on the golden haired princess. Is it just me or is the villain also coded Jewish? 😬 (OK not just me 😬😬😬)

The abusive mother is almost too painful to watch, I fast forwarded through her where I could.

Sigh, they cannot resist those traditional gender roles — irritates me every time that it ends with him teasing her that she asked him to marry her, but then admits he asked her after she complains. Maybe they wouldn’t put that in today? 😒

I bought this a while back digitally on Amazon and hot damn that video quality is bad. Did I not spring for hi def or are they cheaping out on their hosting, because that was dithered and fuzzy.

Categories
Comics Fantasy

Read The Tea Dragon Festival

Read The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon, #2)

Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

Cute art, charming story, cozy world. Love that the art includes sign language! Nice lessons.

Categories
Fantasy

Read A Mirror Mended

Read A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables, #2)

Zinnia Gray, professional fairy-tale fixer and lapsed Sleeping Beauty, is over rescuing snoring princesses. Once you’ve rescued a dozen damsels and burned fifty spindles, once you’ve gotten drunk with twenty good fairies and made out with one too many members of the royal family, you start to wish some of these girls would just get a grip and try solving their own narrative issues.

Just when Zinnia’s beginning to think she can’t handle one more princess, she glances into a mirror and sees another face looking back at her: the shockingly gorgeous face of evil, asking for her help. Because there’s more than one person trapped in a story they didn’t choose. Snow White’s Evil Queen has found out how her story ends, and she’s desperate for a better ending. She wants Zinnia to help her before it’s too late for everyone. Will Zinnia accept the Queen’s poisonous request and save them both from the hot-iron shoes that wait for them, or will she try another path?

I liked the idea of this better than the execution. The MC was more annoying than I remember from the first book. I didn’t buy the romance. The ending in particular I had problems with; I’m not convinced the MC really learned the lesson she needed to. The book wasn’t bad, but the feeling of potential that it could have been better is frustrating.

Categories
Comics Fantasy

Watched The Batman

Watched The Batman from m.imdb.com

When a sadistic serial killer begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption and question his family’s involvement.

I liked Robert Pattinson’s rendition of Batman a lot. This version feels like a real Batman could become — a traumatized, reclusive orphan obsessed with justice and vengeance, who dedicates all his resources to his obsession. Desperate to feel in control and empowered, he turns his time and money and energy to direct action when other courses would likely be more effective. He looks wan and sickly — a man who doesn’t see the sun, who sleeps too little, who pushes himself too hard and cares little for his body. His hair falls lank over his face — this is no playboy. Driven by emotion, he doesn’t take time to think or plan, but dives headlong into danger heedlessly. A risk taker who relies heavily on intimidation — he walks with swagger, radiating aggression, boots falling heavy.

I appreciate the nod to his detective origins. I also like the struggles he must face as the mystery unravels.

Visually this looked great. The vibe of the film is dark and gritty, even in the daylight scenes — this is a grim and dangerous city, dirty, treeless, lit by too few outdated sodium lampposts. There’s a cool fight scene lit by the strobe of gunfire. Bruce’s home is dripping with gothic ornamentation.

Selena and Gordon seemed well-cast. I love that Selena keeps trashing on rich people to his face.

Categories
Fantasy Romance

Read Origin

Read Origin (Scales ‘N’ Spells, #1)

Cameron wants to make it clear that he did not go into the festival to find a dragon mate. Germany is supposed to be an escape. With a n…

As the first book in a series, this had a lot of work to do, and I think they weighed too strongly on the worldbuilding and setup. It was a slow 400 pages, with a limited action plot, a lot of training montage, and a heavy angst plotline. The king’s self-loathing and guilt are A Lot. There were weird specifics on how gay couples could have kids with magic. I’d be willing to try one more in the series and see if it picks up the pace.

Cool cover. Maybe feels a little paranormal?

Got for free through a Kindle promotion.

Categories
Fantasy

DNF The Rings of Power S1E1

Watched A Shadow of the Past from m.imdb.com

Galadriel is disturbed by signs of an ancient evil's return. Arondir makes an unsettling discovery. Elrond is presented with an intriguing new venture. Nori breaks a deeply held community rule.

Husband fell asleep and I was bored and pissed I couldn’t reach the remote 😂 He woke up and we bailed at two-thirds through.

Felt perfunctory and generic. Too many storylines with not enough connection. Weirdly slow storytelling, going for atmosphere I’d guess. They did too much backstory at once yet not enough character development for me to care about anyone. I always roll my eyes at scenes starting with a child version of the character, especially with bullies.

They chose poorly on what lore to include, weighing down the story with worldbuilding we didn’t need. Almost all that shit should have been in backstory flashbacks worked in throughout the season. In storytelling you’re encouraged to start your story as late as you possibly can… and instead the writers were like, but this is Tolkien, he does All The Lore, and the fans will be mad if we don’t too!

Episode specific comments below the fold.