Oct 2020, fave media

October was a funny month in that I didn’t really love the books I read. Luckily, The Old Guard fandom provided in spades, lol.

Here’s what I did enjoy this month! Lots of articles this time.


Music

Jhené Aiko’s Tiny (Home) Desk Concert

Unsurprisingly I loved this with its live backing band, way more than the original tracks. The piano! The harp!

Linda Diaz’s Honesty for Tiny (Home) Desk Concert

A song about clear and proactive communication? Hell yeah.

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Sept 2020, fave media

Ok this one is late because I’ve been binge-reading The Old Guard fanfiction, but hey, whatever gets me through 2020. #NoRegrets

Books

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (The Masquerade #3)

Baru reckons with the cost of her actions.

Ok so after how bleak (but also funny!) book 2 was, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this. But… dang, did not disappoint. Also, TAIN HU!111 *pterodactyl screaming* I’m surprised at her much she’s felt throughout books 2 and 3. Please let Baru be happy and love again!

Mikoto and the Reaver Village by forthright (Amarathine Saga #4)

IDEK how to plot summary these books, because they’re often an ensemble affair, but: Mikoto has one last chance to win his childhood love, but magic is afoot this summer…

Forthright’s work continues to be go-to comfort reads for me. I always appreciate how highly intimacy is valued, especially in non-sexual/romantic relationships. So much so, it’s pretty queer. Also I screamed when at the “last chance to win their first love” line appeared in the text because *spoilers *

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if you wanna be my lover

you gotta fill out this application.

I created this application half in exasperation at men sexualizing me (thus some of the flipness) and half because I am serious about communication. While this might not be your exact situation, I think you can adjust this for your own purposes – COVID hangouts, cuddle puddles, new friend dates, whatever’s clever. These questions aren’t new by any means, but I hope they get you thinking about what you want.

Please free to take what is handy to you, adapt as you need, and discard the rest.

(The Republican question specifically is actually asking: “do your politics undermine my right to exist as a person in this world?” But I phrased it the way I did to troll people. And yes, when I IRL said “Republicans need not apply,” I got some pissed people in my inbox. *shrug* This pussy don’t pop for you, not sorry.)

Credit:

  • thanks to Octavia, who encouraged me when I said, “I’m tempted to just interview dudes who want to sleep with me, including asking for their exes as references.”
  • Some of these questions were directly inspired by Midori and Zoe Ligon’s video.

[Name here],

Your interest in having sex with me has been noted. Please respond to the following questions, and I will reply to you at my leisure.

Basics

  • Are you a Republican? Y/N
  • What name should I call you?
  • What are your pronouns?
  • Best way to contact you? I will use this for any subsequent contact and/or to let you know if I test positive for COVID or an STI.
  • Does the experience you want include just me and you, or does it involve additional people? If the latter, please have each individual fill out their own application.
  • Why should I share the gift of my time and attention with you? Let alone my body?
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Aug 2020, fave media

August taught me a lot about patience, in my writing and with the fires. At least PG&E hasn’t done a public safety power shutoff cut my power like it did last year. *knocks on wood*

Here’s what I consumed that got me through this brimstone and fire month.


Books

DIE vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Hans

After getting sucked into a D&D campaign Jumanji-style as kids, four adults find themselves back in the game they thought they outran.

lasjfkdsl;ajlf This was so dang good. Ash is also exactly the kind of woman I’m a sucker for – charismatic, manipulative, powerful.

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July 2020, fave media

The main reason I started this blog last year was to write more creative nonfiction. Unsurprisingly, 2020 threw a wrench into that. I haven’t done much of that at all this year. Instead, I’ve been reading a ton, and re-reading old favorites (a new feature in these 2020 roundups).

I’m trying to remember that I only need to create what brings me joy/comfort, and not what I feel obligated to (often by capitalism). So I’m trying not to stress about this aim of this blog shifting. Thanks to Asali Earthwork for that reminder via a tarot pull on Asali’s Patreon.

Here’s what brought me joy and pleasure in July.


Books

Of Dragons, Feasts, and Murders by Aliette de Bodard (Dominion of the Fallen #3.5)

Murder and intrigue ensue when dragon prince Thuan brings his fallen angel husband home for Lunar New Year.

De Bodard’s been on my radar for awhile, but I didn’t like In the Vanisher’s Palace, so I wasn’t sure what else to try from her. As de Bodard mentions, these characters are a “do-gooder bi dragon prince and his husband, best described as lawful evil with ground rules and no scruples,” so I gave this a whirl.

I liked this so much I went and started the original books. (It was the power play undertones that sold me, lol.) I binge-read books 1 and 2 (The House of Shattered Wings and The House of Binding Thorns), and am waiting for my hold to come in on The House of Sundering Flames. On paper, this trilogy isn’t in my wheelhouse, but I got sucked into Shattered Wings in the first two chapters.

De Bodard’s Patreon here.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert (Brown Sisters #2)

After asking Oshun for a fuck buddy, Dani Brown gets more than she bargained for when she winds up fake dating Zafir, the security guard in her building.

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June 2020, fave media

June was a weird month for me. Two of my fave authors, Nalini Singh & Joey W. Hill, both released new books that I was looking forward to… but I just wasn’t in the right mood to enjoy them. Finding the right book for the moods I was in was difficult. So, while I read a ton of books, this list is heavy on short stories on articles.

Books

The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso (Rooks and Ruin #1)

With flawed magic, Ryx’s sole charge is to make sure the Obsidian Tower is never opened. But warring diplomats, a group of traveling spies with their own agenda, and Ryx’s own family throw everything into chaos.

I was ambivalent about Caruso’s The Tethered Mage, but I loved The Obsidian Tower. I was hooked from the get-go. Mystery! Power! A heroine who can’t touch people but longs to! Bad-ass grandmother! Queer people everywhere! A mystery talking cat!


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May 2020, fave media

Another month of shelter-in-place meant another month of me seizing stress-relief and pleasure by reading in the sun. I haven’t been forcing myself to write, since I’m just trying to keep calm and my eczema under control. Oh, right, I did participate in the #Decolonize30for30 poetry challenge over on my IG back in April. For May, I began doing edits on a short story; I haven’t had to exert myself this much since Vivian’s essays tbqh.

Anyways, here are my faves from May!

Books

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

A magical-child welfare worker pays a visit to a unique orphanage and falls in love with its caretaker. A coming of age story with a middle-aged fat hero.

Fkdlas;jf found family feels. Sweet cinnamon roll romance between two middle aged men. If you liked Becky Chambers’ focus on found fam, you’re gonna love this. I’m not usually a fan of books about kids, but this one won me over.


Revisiting old friends

Anita Blake books #4-25 by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake, vampire hunter and police consultant, reckons with her own shortcomings, tries to be happy, and grapples with her magic – particularly the ardeur, which requires her to have sex if she is to live.

Y’all this is the bulk of what I read in May. I have no idea why I was so driven to devour these, but I’m sure I’ll learn why eventually. I have a lot of thoughts about this series, enough to make a whole post about it, but I’ll leave that for later. Suffice to say, while I started the series for hardboiled!Anita, I keep reading because of all the characters I love. Micah/Nathaniel/Anita 4lyfe (+ Jean-Claude).

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April 2020, fave media

A whole month of shelter-in-place. Reading remains my comfort and my joy, so I’ve been reading voraciously. Shoutout to City of Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Francisco for having such deep ebook collections.

One of the things I noticed during this wild period, is I’ve been revisiting series I’ve enjoyed from my childhood. So, they get a special section this time.

Stay safe and seize your joy, comfort, and pleasure where you can friends.

Books

Swordheart by T. Kingfisher

The widow Halla winds up on a road trip with a magic sword haunted by a ghost, and a nonbinary lawyer-priest to get her inheritance back from her evil in-laws.

First of all, this book is hilarious. Never have I laughed so much. There’s also a lovely romance between Halla and the man trapped in the sword. I also appreciate how Halla utilizes the sexist notion women are dumb to get out of situations without bloodshed, and often hilarity.

I’ve read Kingfisher’s fairy tale retellings, but this is a totally different tone and style, and I am now a die-hard fan. I already have Paladin’s Grace, set in the same universe, on hold, and am eagerly awaiting the other two books in this series.

Kingfisher (aka Ursual Vernon)’s Patreon.

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March 2020, fave media

So… I started sheltering-in-place this month, so I’ve been reading a ton because of the free time and because it’s a go-to when I’m stressed. If you need good books, please consider purchasing them from your local indie bookstore, or using your library card to access ebooks. I have multiple library cards, and I’ve been using them a ton for their ebooks.

Reading in the sunlight has been an unexpected joy, and the tight neck from reading so much an unexpected pain, lol. Other unexpected pleasures have been revisiting some old faves that you’ll see below!

Books

The Queen’s Bargain by Anne Bishop (Black Jewels #10)

I haven’t dipped my toes in this universe in probably 10 years. I had some apprehension because of Spoilers, but man oh man am I glad I picked this up. In all the stress of shelter-in-place it was such an immense joy to revisit this world and its characters. There’s never been another fantasy world quite like it.

The Chaos Curse by Sayantani DasGupta (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #3)

I stand by my previous reviews. Smart, funny, feminist. A fun blend of pop culture, myth, and a physics-based magic system.

When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey

Okay, I’m recommending this just because I see so much of my experience in a women’s college here. Down to the parts that seemed ripped straight (har har) from my life.

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first times, false starts

This was supposed to be a lulzy recounting of my first time having sex, but then the examination of my sexuality took a turn elsewhere.

Word count: ~2,600.


1.

“And if they feared the power, would they try to cut her off from it by breaking her? A Virgin Night performed with malevolent skill could strip her of her power while leaving the rest intact.”

– Anne Bishop, Daughter of the Blood

It’s been years since I read Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels books, but here’s how I remember it going down: a witch’s first time having sex is a make or break experience. Men looking to destroy a witch’s power rape her. For the others, sex is a rite of passage to be navigated with a safe (cis male) partner to ensure her power continues growing.

There’re problematic parts of this of course. The absence of pleasure, the cis hetero normative narrative, sex as a universal, the absolutism of it. But I do think there’s some truth to it. Our first times matter in the same way first impressions do. Have a shitty first time, and it’s harder to recover from than an underwhelming one.

It’s a rite of passage to be born, not done in pleasure. And isn’t that what sex is right now anyway?

Which is why I’m glad I chose the circumstances of my sexual first time by placing an ad on Craigslist*.

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