Book Review: Cold Stone & Ivy

You know that feeling when you finish reading a certain book? When you just have to tell everybody how awesome and amazing it was? You’re a reader, so you know what I mean

I finished Cold Stone & Ivy: The Ghost Club by H. Leighton Dickson a little while ago. I was in a bit of a reading slump beforehand, and boy, did this novel shake me out of it. Take a look:

Cold Stone and Ivy Cover

Book Description

Jack the Ripper gave her his heart. Now he wants it back.

The year is 1888, the clockwork British Empire is crumbling and young writer Ivy Savage has literally received a heart in the post. Terrified, her father sends her north to a strange sanitarium in Lancashire where the brilliant but unpredictable “Mad Lord of Lasingstoke” makes his home. Continue reading Book Review: Cold Stone & Ivy

Turn Back the Pages: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Squirrel Girl Cover

Life is rough.

I get it. There are bills piling up, work deadlines to meet, and God only knows what’s going on in politics. Sometimes, you just need a break. Sometimes, you need something silly and fun to distract you. Sometimes, you need Squirrel Girl.

I feel like if Marvel had tried to make Squirrel Girl relevant a decade ago, they would have given her a grim and gritty reboot complete with a traumatic backstory and skimpy costume. But that’s not the case with The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. It doesn’t just take the silliness of her premise and run with it—it straps on rocket-powered boots and blasts off with it at supersonic speeds. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Turn Back the Pages: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Delilah Dirk Cover

I seem to be reading and writing a lot about ladies with swords lately. That’s not a problem, just an observation.

The latest swordswoman I want to share with you is Delilah Dirk, early 19th century adventurer and troublemaker. She’s been traveling the world from a young age, learning all sorts of useful skills like archery, acrobatics, and no less than 47 sword-fighting techniques. When our story begins, she finds herself in Constantinople, and that’s where she meets the Turkish lieutenant, Erdemoglu Selim: Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Turn Back the Pages: Girl Genius

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Girl Genius Volume 1 Cover

Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!

That’s the tagline of Girl Genius, and the comic doesn’t fail to deliver. Read it, and you’ll get heroine Agatha Heterodyne’s adventures through a strange and dangerous alternate version of Europe where steampunk technology has run wild. She encounters a cast of quirky, memorable characters (half of whom are mad scientists or creations of mad scientists, and most of whom want to kill and/or use her) and finds romance along the way, though all of her relationships are “complicated,” to say the least.

By Phil and Kaja Foglio, Girl Genius describes itself as a gaslamp fantasy, but I’m pretty sure that’s just because it’s been around since before steampunk was a thing. You don’t get more steampunk than this. It’s got everything from clockwork ladies…

Clockwork Lady Image

To airship cities… Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Girl Genius

A Reading List of Superhero Romance

Ah, superhero romance. Back in the old days, it meant a man in a cape rescuing a distressed damsel and going to great lengths to hide his secret identity from the woman he supposedly loves. And you’ll still see that sometimes, but for the most part, romance in the genre has gotten a bit more complex over the years.

Pretty much every superhero movie and TV show has a romantic subplot and love interest these day. Some of them are great. Some of them are… let’s just say they’re not very well developed.

Doctors Strange and Palmer Gif
Remember this touching romance? Yeah, me neither.

But for those of you who want a little more love with your crime-fighting exploits, there’s a whole subgenre of superhero romance novels. Granted, there’s not a lot of them. You won’t find a shelf dedicated to it at your local library, and most online retailers don’t have a category for it, but if you’re willing to search a bit, you can find some good ones.

So get ready to save the world and fall in love (or at least read about it). Here’s a short list of superhero romance novels I’ve read and enjoyed. Continue reading A Reading List of Superhero Romance

Turn Back the Pages: Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Lady Sabre Image

When was the last time you read some good old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure? It’s probably been too long, right? Well, brush up on your sword-fighting skills, because today we’re diving into Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether.

Here are just a few things you’ll find in the pages of Lady Sabre: airship pirates, steampunk robots, stone-cold cowboys, and tons of sword duels. Now, just because you throw a bunch of cool things into a comic, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to have a good story. But Lady Sabre combines these elements into an epic steampunk adventure. And it does it with style.

Airship Image
Pictured: Style

I’d say there are two main characters despite only one being mentioned in the title. The first, of course, is the lady herself, and to quote her own introduction:

“Name’s Sabre, Lady Seneca Sabre… Fourteenth Marchioness of Cascadia, Captain of Pegasus, muse of Darent Found, and a host of other titles that would probably bore you to tears if I recite them, which I shan’t, as I’ve recited enough.” Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

Turn Back the Pages: Empowered

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Empowered Cover

Superheroes are sexy.

That’s not news to anyone. The tight spandex. The peak physical fitness. The contractually-obligated shirtless scene in every Marvel movie:

Shirtless Cap Gif

But for the longest time, comic book publishers seemed to think that “sexy” equaled a superheroine in an impractical costume twisted in a weird position to put both her boobs and butt on display. Combine that with some truly unfortunate storylines and shallow characterization, and it’s no wonder comics sometimes get a bad reputation for their treatment of female characters.

On paper, Empowered would seem like one of the worst examples of this. Its main character, the superheroine Empowered, gets her extraordinary abilities from her costume—a ridiculously sheer bodysuit that doesn’t hide anything. It also gets ripped in battle a lot, which not only exposes her but leaves her powerless. And so she regularly ends up captured by supervillains and put in bondage.

Sounds terrible, right?

But it’s actually incredibly well-done, and can be sexy, hilarious, and at times, tragic. Honestly, there’s nothing else like it in superhero media. Here’s what makes it so good: Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Empowered