Review: When to Hold Them (Bluewater Bay #9) by G.B. Gordon

When to Hold ThemOne of the things that I love about this series is that the creators of the world recognize that the entire town of Bluewater Bay does not revolve around the television show being filmed there, however much the characters mention the “Hollywood Invasion.” So much of the Pacific Northwest is protected national park (for now), that I was pleased and not surprised to find an installment featuring a park ranger.

Xavier was a credit to his profession, and it was clear that the author did their research without ever falling into the trap of wanting to show the reader every single detail that they learned. On the contrary, Doran was a character that I’m not sure I’d ever read before — a recovering gambling addict out on very supervised probation. The match shouldn’t have worked, but I enjoyed every bit of it.  Continue reading

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Review: ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean

ApocalyptiGirlA post-apocalyptic story starring a strong female character and her adorable pet cat? This should have been right up my alley. But despite the art being streamlined and stunning, the story never quite grabbed me.

Though the internal narration conceit was very cool, it seems the author erred on the side of “less is more” when it came to world-building. Unfortunately, that “less” led to a world that didn’t make much sense. I also did not figure out Aria’s place in it soon enough to care, and only finished the story because it was so short.  Continue reading

Review: The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay #8) by Amy Lane

Deep of the SoundI was thrilled to see that the next book in this series was by the same author (and featured the same characters) as my favorite story in the Valentine’s Day anthology, “Nascha.” In fact, that story takes place over the same time period as this novel, and it was fun to see what was going on in Cal’s life “for real” rather than from the unreliable narration perspective of his great-uncle.

The downside to this, of course, was that the short story essentially spoils the ending of the novel. Getting there was still an amazing journey, and obviously you know that you’re getting a “happily ever after” no matter what, but I’d have liked to be a bit more surprised regarding the details.  Continue reading

Con Report: Farpoint 2018

Farpoint2

Last weekend, I attended my first Farpoint convention! You could say that I got my start in speculative fiction as a Star Trek fan, so it was nice to get back to my roots, as it were.

FRIDAY

Since this is a “local” convention for me, I commuted from home rather than staying at the hotel. After working half a day in the morning, I headed north of Baltimore by mid-afternoon to get the lay of the land. My first panel was at 4 PM, which involved a fantastic discussion with other authors and readers about creating immersive worlds in speculative fiction (and writing in general). We discussed how to incorporate just enough detail (but not too much detail!) to allow a reader to suspend their disbelief and go along for the ride in any genre.

My second panel was immediately after, where I switched gears into fan mode and discussed “All Things Winchester.” Supernatural is currently in season 13, and not everyone was caught up, so we kept it general in our discussion of how the show is successful thematically, various character issues, favorite episodes, and theories regarding the upcoming spin-off, Wayward Sisters.

I didn’t have any of my usual writing tribe at this convention, so I steeled myself and asked if I could join one of my fellow Supernatural panelists, cosplayer Jessica Crouse, if I could join her group for dinner. I’m so glad that I did, because I made some amazing new friends over the course of the weekend through that one act of courage! We had a great dinner and evening of hanging out, then it was back to the hotel for the evening book fair.  Continue reading

Review: Lights, Camera, Cupid! (Bluewater Bay #6)

Lights Camera Cupid“Just Another Day” by L.A. Witt: I loved this quick check-in with our first Bluewater Bay couple, actors Carter and Levi. Levi is his usual cantankerous and loveable self, Carter is still too perfect for words, and I’d be jealous of those cats if I didn’t own three ridiculous Siamese of my own. Also, those guys have to stop breaking social media in the best ways possible. 4 stars

“Nascha” by Amy Lane: I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed AND cried this much during a short story before. Continue reading

Review: Intraterrestrial by Nicholas Conley

IntraterrestrialDisclaimer: I received a free electronic version of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.


This is one of those speculative fiction books whose actually genre is hard to pin down. Though the medical issues lend a realistic air to the story, the adventure Adam embarks on feels more like science-fantasy than traditional science-fiction. At times, I even considered whether I’d misinterpreted the back cover description and that I was actually enjoying magical realism instead. But when one of the major story point of views is an unreliable narrator due to his traumatic brain injury (TBI), you’re forced to sit back and enjoy the epic ride rather than analyzing the story’s structural supports.  Continue reading

Build Report: First Order Stormtrooper

Since I built the Parisian Restaurant over the holidays, I couldn’t really justify putting together another massive LEGO set so soon, even though I wanted to do something to celebrate completing the first draft of my most recent novel. Luckily, my sister- and brother-in-law gave me this weird dude for my birthday. I was actually pretty excited about it, because there was no way I was going to buy one of these poseable figures, and this way I still got to experience putting one together.

First Order Stormtrooper (75114): 81 pieces

This was an incredibly quick build that I actually did in bed while my husband watched Dragon Ball Super and I held a cat on my lap. Most of the tiny LEGO bits are used to construct the two blasters, while the figure herself (because mine’s totally a bad-ass chick who was abducted as a young child and now emulates the escaped Stormtrooper known as Finn and is merely biding her time to make her own way out into the galaxy…but I digress) is made of movable joints that you attach the armor to.

Lego stormtrooper front

It’s a little odd that the rear of the figure lacks as much armor. The better for Sabine to take her out, I suppose (at least until JL-1231 rips off her helmet and asks for Sabine’s help to escape, which Sabine absolutely does despite Kanaan’s misgivings, and I know I’ve made my timelines wonky, but I don’t care).

Lego stormtrooper rear