I am Currently at Furry Migration 2016

Hello everybody! I just wanted to inform you that today is day one of me visiting Furry Migration 2016, a furry convention held annually at the wonderful Hyatt in Minneapolis. Today, I’ll be visiting fellow furry writers, including the artistic Ursula Vernon, author of the Hugo award-winning “Digger” webcomic, and the talented Kyell Gold, author of “Waterways” and countless other books!. I hope to give you photos, advice for writers and artists, tales of what I’d been up to, etc. I can’t guarantee I’ll give consistent updates, but I do hope to share my experience at my second furry convention!

Have a wonderful day, and I’ll give you updates soon! 🙂

 

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Top 10 LGBT YA Novels I Recommend

Before you read, I’d like to dedicate this post to all the families and victims hurt in this morning’s tragedy. For those who for some reason haven’t heard, a lone shooter mercilessly massacred fifty people and injured just as many at a gay nightclub (called Pulse) in Orlando, Florida. Police are still investigating into further detail, but it is a known fact that this wasn’t just a random shooting. This was a hate-fueled attack meant to kill and harm innocent people.

If anyone is reading this, don’t pray for repentance or hate, but pray for the families and friends that have been affected by what many are calling the worst mass shooting in United States history. Do not call for gun control. Reports are coming in that the gunman was posing as a security guard and guns were not allowed in the club. If there is anything we should call for, it’s for the acceptance of LGBTQA+ people everywhere, and to fight homophobic attacks like this with love and understanding.

To everyone affected by the shooting, everyone is hearing your cries. And to everyone else, I have a quote for you from a Holocaust survivor named Henry Golde, “Hate is nothing, and love is everything.”

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          Gay literature is an iconic part of the LGBTQA+ community, especially towards teenagers and young adults, so in celebration of LGBT Pride Month, I’ve decided to make a Top 10 list for the best gay young adult novels I wholly recommend. Now, there are a few rules to this for anyone who’s reading. The first rule is that these entries have to have an LGBT person as the protagonist and not just as a side character. Second, it cannot be explicit and must be readable for anyone from fourteen to even nineteen years of age. And third, having no more than two of an authors’ works is acceptable by my standards because granted, I haven’t read every gay book for young adults; heck I’m even including ones I’ve reviewed on here already. And keep in mind that this is a recommendation list and not a list of the greatest LGBT young adult novels.

With that said, here’s the Top 10 List of LGBT YA Novels I Recommend.

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Review: “Openly Straight” (Openly Straight #1) by Bill Konigsberg

For my first post of LGBT Pride Month, I’m reading a gay romance novel that caught my eye while looking in a bookstore. The cover seemed nice, but the idea behind the book and the possibilities of it really caught my attention. I’ve heard of a few people say that they do not enjoy gay literature because according to them it’s the same old awkward romance you see in regular love stories. While it can be true in some cases, I have to disagree. Typically a gay romance doesn’t always have to have the romance as its focus, such as “Willful Machines” (which I reviewed a while ago). Much like zombie stories or horror films, a gay romance can be good with different variety and good characters, as well as an interesting story. And “Openly Straight” by Bill Konigsberg is one of these stories.

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Review: ‘Tri-Angles series: Land Sharks’ by Katharine M. Nohr

So I was asked by a good editor friend of mine if I could review a novel she’s having published next month, and I decided to review this. If you have the time after reviewing this, please be sure to order it via the link below 🙂 Thanks!

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Legal dramas, whether they be on TV, film, animation or literature are practically a dime a dozen in this day and age. And who can blame us? Many people love popular media that takes place in the court room, from old movies such as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ to modern ones such as ‘Law and Order’. It has become a staple of popular television and literature everywhere. However, if you are going to make your legal drama stand out, it is considered wise to make it creative and new.

Katharine Nohr’s ‘Land Shark’ is in many respects that kind of legal drama.

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Update: New deadline for book reviews

If you’ve noticed recently, I usually have random days I give book reviews on here, so I’ve decided to have a set deadline for book reviews to be posted. Every Thursday evening every two weeks (starting February 11th), basically around 5:00 or 7:00, I’ll post my reviews so you won’t have to come back and forth to see if I’ve posted anything new (which I still recommend XP). If you have any questions, please contact me, and have a wonderful day!

Review: ‘A Thousand Pieces of You’ by Claudia Gray

The idea of parallel universes in fiction isn’t that new, where the main character goes on an adventure through space and time and sees different parts of himself in different situations. In fact, it has almost been done to death whether it be TV, film, books, or even video games. So if you’re going to do this sort of genre in science fiction, it’s best to do it from a differently creative angle. ‘A Thousand Pieces of You’ kind of does that, where the author Claudia Gray does have some imaginative ideas, but I was expecting a little bit more. Maybe I’m a bit picky?

The book follows an eighteen year-old girl named Marguerite Caine, or Meg for short, whose parents are brilliant scientists who became famous for reportedly discovering a way to travel through the multiverse. The way to do this is with a locket-like device called the ‘Firebird’, which the traveler wears to occupy the body of their other self in another universe. With this, a large corporation called Triad is willing to fund their project.

Unfortunately, tragedy strikes when it’s discovered Meg’s father is murdered and the culprit is a research assistant of her parent’s named Paul Markov, who escapes from the authorities with the help of a Firebird. Determined to exact revenge on her father’s killer Meg and another research assistant named Theo build two more Firebirds and use them to travel across parallel universes. Even with evidence pointing at Paul as the killer, Meg slowly begins to find out there’s a conspiracy that spans across dimensions, and it may lead to no one being safe.

Probably the strongest elements of this book is the characters, settings, and atmosphere as a whole. Claudia Gray has done her homework on giving enough background descriptions to provide a clear picture of the magnificent environments, but doesn’t commit solely to scenery porn. There’s basically enough to showcase the splendor and unique dimensions our characters. Meg and Theo travel to a dimension where the Tsars still rule Russia, where London is 100 years more advanced, and much more.

Meg herself is a fairly interesting character, especially since she wants to be an artist as opposed to scientists like the rest of her family. She’s determined and self-confident, but also patient and understanding towards other people when her emotions don’t get the best of her. She can be calm and seemingly innocent one moment but be quick at escaping a nasty situation the next. Even when Meg is questioning Paul being a murderer with bad intentions, she can’t deny the connection and attraction she has for the grad student turned fugitive.

Speaking of which, Paul’s also a magnetic person. At first, we’re not so sure what to make of him other than an eccentric protégé of Meg’s parents, but he warm up to him eventually once we learn the truth of what’s going on. As for Theo, he seems like a nice guy as well, but I often feel like he didn’t get as much time of connecting to him as we have with Meg and Paul.

Before I go on with the review, I should state I find it refreshing how the main characters of this book are Russian (in Meg’s case, she’s a Russian-American) protagonists. Aside from one other book I’ve read in the past, the only novels I’ve read with a Russian character have them portrayed as either a stick-in-the-mud Cold War spy or xenophobic sociopath with anti-hero qualities. Personally, I like how these characters are the opposite of that and are likeable without going into the cliché.

The rest of the book is fairly adventurous and imaginative on its own. The way it paces itself and goes it reminds me of a book called ‘Summerhill’ by Kevin Frane. It was about an anthropomorphic coyote born on a strange planet who possesses the ability to travel through space and time. Much like this book, there was never a sense of urgency, but it did have the moments of intense action and heartache when drama came.

Unfortunately, my nitpicking mind got the best of me and I was expecting a bit more imagination, like how ‘Bioshock Infinite’ or Cloud Atlas’ journeyed to a whole new level in the idea of multiverses and how one decision can make a difference in time. I loved these dimensions the characters travel to, and maybe even make it more adventurous? Still, I can’t complain since

Anyone who does not know much about the multiverse theory or Schrodinger’s Cat may not get at first how this all works, but I have to give ‘A Thousand Pieces of You’ credit for making it simple enough for our generation to understand. There’s especially a disturbing flaw to the Firebird: if a trans-dimensional traveler removes the Firebird around his or her neck, they’ll slowly lose their memory of being from another dimension, and be trapped in their other self’s body…forever.

Overall, ‘A Thousand Pieces of You’ is fun. It isn’t as deep and thought-provoking as ‘Summerhill’ or ‘Bioshock Infinite’, but Claudia Gray gives us enough thrills and written visuals to mix well with the character development. The story is well-paced, the ending plot twist incredibly good, and the book is more than entertaining enough to make you want to read the upcoming sequel.

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If you have any questions or already have an opinion on the novel, feel free to leave any comments. Thanks!

Review: ‘Death Nell’ by Mary Grace Murphy

‘Death Nell’ is another book requested that makes me scratch my head after reading it. The title is a play on the word ‘death knell’, a bell that rings whenever someone dies. I was given the request a while ago but have been busy until now to read it. At first, I was expecting a mildly amusing mystery story centered on a middle-aged blogger, but got something a little bit more in the end.

LaNell ‘Nell’ Bailey is a popular but unknown food critic that owns a blog named ‘Nell’s Noshes up North’. Most of the restaurants and grills she goes to are met with glowing reviews. However, after unfairly giving a well-liked local restaurant called ‘Sam’s Slam’ a bad review, Nell starts receiving awful messages from a troll on her blog regarding her critiquing skills and the review of Sam’s Slam. Not long afterward, the body of a woman also named ‘Nell’ scares her into thinking a killer is after her. With the help of her friends, Sam from the restaurant she gave a bad review to, and herself, Nell must try to solve the case and figure out who wants her dead.

Before, I go on with this review, I should probably state that this book is not meant for everyone. The demographics for this is obviously leaning toward older women, mainly either housewives in their late forties to early fifties and female foodies with too much time on their hands. I’m not saying this is exclusive to those types of people, but ‘Death Nell’ isn’t written for everyone’s interests in mind.

I myself was expecting a serious mystery book centered on a food blogger with dark themes and a big mystery, but instead got something else out of this. Not to say it didn’t have those sort of elements (the reveal of the murderer is surprising and the way the bodies were found shocked me), but oddly enough, the focus of the book was also on Nell’s interactions and daily life while going through this. We see her try to keep a positive attitude, keep her weight down while being a food critic, interact with her dogs named after ‘Seinfeld’ characters, and slowly forming a friendship with Sam. Granted she can be condescending and whiny at times, but Nell makes up for this with her trait of realizing her mistakes and trying to fix them.

One other thing I like about this book is the fact it brings up how influential blogging and reviews are on business, and that a critic should not let their emotions control what they write. So many authors and writers like myself need to take this into heart in order to succeed. I thought it was subtle the way it was brought up.

Much like ‘Sorceress Rising’, another book set in my lovely home state of Wisconsin, so many businesses and landmarks are incorporated in the pages and setting. I’m also not too sure if some of these locations and restaurants even exist, but I have to give the author credit for making these places seem real with real customers. That’s what I like about a book; when they make a place seem too real to be fiction.

So what’s my verdict on this? Honestly, this book isn’t for me. I give it credit for having its own charm and charisma for the characters and a lively setting of Wisconsin towns. However, this type of book isn’t meant for the readings I’m interested. If you like this type of literature, that’s fine. I may even read it once more in the future, but I personally would place it among my favorite novels.

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If you have any questions or already have an opinion on the novel, feel free to leave any comments. Thanks!