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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Feb 2020, Fave Media

When I released the expectation of writing a non-fiction blog post a month, one flew right out of me for February. So I spent the back half of February just letting myself write slowly on whatever struck my fancy. Honorable reading mention to Stephanie Garber’s Caraval.

Books

Fed Up by Gemma Hartley

Hartley got this book after her article on Harper’s Bazaar went viral. I read the book because I struggled immensely with the article (for personal reason). I was very surprised at how much I loved the book, and was even more surprised when it took a Brené Brown-like turn into perfectionism.

The Assassin’s Curse & The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke

These books were damn fun and a breeze to read. I love Annanna’s voice as our 1st person narrator, that she’s a pirate, and she bucks her arranged marriage. Also love the manticore who just wants to be groomed and eat manflesh. XD Also, magic/psychic bonds. Also also, kudos to the author for that ending, which would usually drive me to fanfic, but instead made me sigh wistfully.

Note: both books were subsequently republished in one volume as Magic of Blood and Sea.

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Jan 2020, Fave Media

Like many people, I started the new year off with the cold that went around. I did however, get to binge watch 3 seasons worth of Killjoys. Which gets an honorable mention for the utterly hilarious and amazeballs villain/villain lesbian romance that begins in S3.

Books

K. Eason’s How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (Thorne Chronicles #1)

While I wouldn’t describe it as Princess Leia-like as others have, it’s a fun (and funny thanks to the narrator) space fairy tale. I will be picking up the next book whenever it comes out! I hope it follows the same characters.

ed. Angie Manfredi’s The (Other) F Word

Beautifully laid out, and a broad range of voices, races, and genders reflecting on fatness.

Nahoko Uehashi’s Beast Player (Beast Player #1)

Think early Robin McKinley and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. __ just wants to learn more about the animals in her world (and love them!). But when she hand-rears a rare animal, others wants to co-opt her skill for political gain. This isn’t an adventure novel, but a quiet novel about a young girl growing up and just loving animals. That quietness reminds me of McKinley’s early fairy tales novels. Note: This book ends on a minor cliffhanger. While the Beast Player duology has been out in Japan for awhile, the next book will not be translated into English until 2021!

Music

Just Liv ft. Budda Foster’s Big Time

Jordan Rakei’s Mind’s Eye (Live at NPR’s Tiny Desk)

Vienna Teng’s Mercy Street (Peter Gabriel cover)

I don’t like Peter Gabriel’s original version, but I am obsessed with the moodiness of Teng’s cover. Also, the subtext of the lyrics is kinda wild? Looking for mercy, asking for your daddy a ton, and “the tremble in the hips of kissing Mary’s lips,” plus a confessional described as a “warm velvet box”??

Podcasts

KinkMedia’s network

Raquel Savage is producing a number of (NSFW) podcasts under the title KinkMedia. B Nasty’s Toybox (sex toy reviews), Domme Nation (black Domantrix Ashley Paige & Mistress Marley talk shop), and the Savage Life (BFFs shooting the shit about sex). Note: all of these are behind a paywall on Savage’s Patreon and B Nasty & Domme Nation are short videos with subtitles.

Family Ghosts

I just listened to the 3-parter on the Clotilda in S3, and that was enough for me to subscribe. This gets plugged in a lot of other podcasts, but I held off thinking it was going to be like the Moth, but so far it’s more NPR-like than I expected. (Patreon here.)

Sunstorm

Ashley Garza and Ai-jen Poo’s new podcast! I’ve subscribed to see where it goes. Their first interviewee was Chani Nicholas.

Videos

UMI’s Youtube channel

She has a short film/music video series I thought was super interesting, and she does full moon witchy videos. Both are a joy that leave me feeling happy after I watch them.

2019, Fave Media

Despite working part-time in 2018 and full-time in 2019, I’m very pleased as punch that I read only 7 books less in 2019! Everything I read can be seen on Goodreads here.

Please note this list is not limited to books published in 2019, just books I read in 2019. Where possible, I’ve linked Patreons.

Books

(aka HAVE YOUR READ THIS???)

Alyssa Cole’s A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals #3)

Alyssa Cole’s Can’t Escape Love (Reluctant Royals #2.6)

Sayantani DasGupta’s The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1)

Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire series, particularly the “Glass Cannon” novella in Hexarchate Stories

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice

Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1)

Honorary mention:

Eds. Caorlynn Calabrese & Rachel Weiss’ Eternal Witchraft: a Comics Spellbook (POMEpress/mag)

P. Djèlí Clark’s A Dead Djinn in Cairo

Zen Cho’s If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again

Bethanie Deeney Murguia’s Toucans, Too

Eds. Winona Guo & Priya Vulchi’s Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, and Identity

Jeffe Kennedy’s With a Prince (Missed Connections #2)

Kiese Laymon’s Heavy: An American Memoir

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow

Aarti Sequeira’s Aarti Paarti: An American Kitchen with an Indian Soul

Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings: Hungry for More

Mariana Zapata’s Luna and the Lie

Fave Authors / Sequels

Ilona Andrews, Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy #4)

Seth Dickinson’s The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade #2)

forthright.’s Tamiko and the Two Janitors (Amaranthine Saga #3), Followed by Thunder, and Dragged Through Hedgerows (Songs of the Amaranthine #2 and #3 respectively)

Nalini Singh’s Wolf Rain (Psy-Changeling Trinity #3)

Tasha Suri’s Realm of Ash (Realms of Ambha #2)

KB Wagers’ Down Among the Dead (Farian War #2)

Podcasts

ClitTalk

Duolingo Spanish

How To Survive the End of the World (Patreon)

KPFA’s Letters and Politics, particularly for its impeachment coverage (Donate)

Our Opinions are Correct (Patreon)

Where Should We Begin?

Yoga is Dead (Patreon)

Film/TV

Dir. Julia Hart’s Fast Color

Jane the Virgin S5

Good Eats The Return

Watchmen HBO

Dec 2019, Fave Media

Hi friends! January has me working on a submission for an Asian-American mother-daughter zine that anakrael sent my way. I’m also kicking around a blog piece on desire and eczema.

Books

Jessie Mihalik’s Aurora Blazing (Consortium Rebellion #2)

The third work of Mihalik’s I’ve read, but this one blows the rest out of the water. Adventure, romance, banter, and secrets (that each person figures out, but waits for the other to broach). What’s there not to like? Will definitely be keeping up with Mihalik’s releases after this.

Courtney Milan’s Unraveled (Turner Brothers #3)

I read this back in 2017, but forgot why I’d given it such a high rating. Well, I’m happy to say the high rating was well-deserved! There’s really nothing to complain about in this book. Interesting characters, gruff hero who secretly pets kittens, a heroine determined to seize life and call the hero on his BS, and a delightful rebuttal of a blackmail plot.

K.B. Wagers’ Down Among the Dead (Farian War #2)

Ooof, Wagers was not playing with the content warning at the beginning of this. I’ve loved Hail and her adventures since the Indranan War Trilogy, and I still love her, her tenacity, and the people who love her.

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