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esurient

esurient

Joined March 2018

review
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Fantastic Hope | Patricia Briggs, Laurell K. Hamilton
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Panpan

Somewhere between a pan and a bail. Anthologies can be a mixed bag, but this started off more uneven than most: I skipped over three authors I know from experience I dislike, I disliked the two stories I read, I DNF'd a third at the third sentence, and the remaining 10 stories didn't attract so much as my glance. Massive thumbs down here.

esurient Shinn (Not in this Lifetime) - an utterly ungrounded ghost story. I liked the friendships. I loathed that the mystery of the haunting was vastly less desirable for Shinn to explore than the romance was. And then social justice issues were introduced at the climax? 2h
esurient Briggs (Asil and the Not-Date) - I've enjoyed Briggs' writing for years now, but I'm over this series. The plot only worked if all characters were idiots. I think it was supposed to be funny, and I just thought thought it was dumb. It made me unhappy to be reading, from an author I once adored. (edited) 2h
esurient Hamilton (Zombie Dearest) - just. I need to stop reading Hamilton. I need to forget that I've been following her writing since the 90s and concentrate on the fact that the last book I've enjoyed in this series was in 2001. The writing has become unbearable and grating, the horror elements have long been eclipsed for sex, and I cannot stand the characters. I just need to remember all this the next time I see one of her works. 2h
AmandaBlaze I think I stopped reading the Anita Blake books at Obsidian Butterfly. 1h
esurient @AmandaBlaze I think I lasted through Incubus Dreams. I should have stopped where you did. 54m
3 likes5 comments
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Hm! This is a nice coda to Tor's earlier essay series on Lewis' works.

Essay, #notthetaggedbook

https://www.tor.com/2022/01/24/our-country-c-s-lewis-calormen-and-how-fans-are-r...

ozma.of.oz Oh that is fascinating! Thank you for sharing! 1d
esurient @ozma.of.oz You're welcome; enjoy! 1d
12 likes2 comments
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Silver | Rhiannon Held
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Pickpick

Mild pick. Held has a sciences background, and I liked how that perspective was built into the main character. It made the 'secret saboteur turned defender' much more grounded and nuanced.

I'll be curious if the other novellas in this series follow this character, or new ones.

Novella / Clean Install (Held)
#notthetaggedbook

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Silver | Rhiannon Held
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Right, and now for something completely different. I've previously hugely enjoyed Held's fantasy works; this seems to be her first scifi work.

Clean Install (Held)
#notthetaggedbook

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The Siren of Sussex | Mimi Matthews
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Pickpick

(Author's note quoted above.)

I broke down. I bought it. It's very sweet.

Pros: Matthews packed this story full of female friendships, descriptions of beautiful gowns primarily from the perspective of the maker, ladies on sidesaddle, gentlemen introduced first by their horses, and a POC hero. I especially loved the horses and the focus on non-noble characters.

esurient Cons: the novel is very brisk. The British occupation of India is a minor plot point and important to several characters ranging from career military involved to characters who feel they can neither claim to be English nor Indian to characters who are just discovering what British occupation means. It's a detail that would easily absorb a whole book, but there's only enough pagespace here to allow Matthews time to mention it and move on. (edited) 5d
esurient The same goes for other historical details involved here, working conditions for seamstresses and the difficulty for a POC character to set up a trade -- all absolutely real things I wanted to learn more about, and I clearly needed the book to be about a thosand pages longer. 5d
esurient And while I like the main characters and their growing feelings for each other, the romance felt too smooth. There were massive, important reasons for them to halt or delay their relationship, and while this was acknowledged in the plot, it didn't actually cause so much as pause for breath. The villains didn't pose much of an obstacle either, and could by and large be safely ignored by even the reader. (edited) 5d
esurient Matthews is planning a four book series here, so I will be interested in seeing if the brief historical elements are explored even further (I have high hopes regarding the British occupation -- there's a captain who is poised as the next hero). (edited) 5d
esurient All in, the villains were dull, the dresses were pretty, the female friendships were my favorite part, and this wasn't a bad pick. I'll look forward to the next one. 5d
8 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Hither Page | Cat Sebastian
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Pickpick

The way Sebastian grows this relationship gives me all the warm fuzzies. I've read so many books where the couple comes to an understanding in Book One, and Book Two opens with already a misunderstanding and separation -- a will-they-or-won't-they forced to drive reader engagement that I find vexing. But Leo and James are utterly different here.

The Missing Page (Sebastian)
#notthetaggedbook

esurient It's a romance in a mix of 'I don't deserve to be so lucky', 'and now what do I do', 'but wait, he wants... the same?' that I found utterly charming. 6d
esurient And I found that I heartily enjoyed the mystery angle here, too. Every part, which almost never happens for me -- mysteries are not my preferred genre. 6d
esurient All in, very solid cozy pick. I'm laying bets that Book Three (more) involves a spying angle. 6d
See All 6 Comments
shanaqui Ahhhh I want it. XD 6d
esurient @shanaqui Soon! It will wait for you! 5d
shanaqui @esurient I'm more enthusiastic than ever now that you've said it doesn't end up with a forced will-they-or-won't-they. :D That does drive me mad sometimes in series like this. 5d
8 likes6 comments
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Hither Page | Cat Sebastian
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Finally, a sequel.

The Missing Page (Sebastian)
#notthetaggedbook

shanaqui I'm so irritated I'm on a month of no non-essential purchases, because I waaaant. Maybe I'll reread the first book... 6d
esurient @shanaqui Hey, January is more than half over. You're almost there! 6d
9 likes2 comments
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Panpan

I had really enjoyed John Eyre by the same author, and when this was offered as a freebie I snapped it up.

I hated it. Loathed it. I rolled my eyes at least once a chapter, and I only slogged through to the end to see if the karma bit those characters I hated and, spoiler, it didn't.

esurient Even the romance that was the main plot was such stupid fluffy gloss that I'm rather wistfully thinking that fanfic in a future setting where the spouses murdered and manipulated each other would be a fantastic read. 3w
esurient The best I can say about this is that the writing was competent and I liked how the author deliberately introduced historical details of economics and non-aristocratic society into the book, even I wanted about 300 times more of especially the latter. 3w
esurient But I wanted to shake the stupid characters and I'm infuriated that those mild 'villain' / obstacle characters all ended the story with exactly what they wanted and barely a tsk to their actions. 3w
esurient I wanted the house to burn down. Not recomended. My next read by this author will be only if I can find a library copy. 3w
esurient (Which is a shame because I was really excited about her new one releasing next week.) : 3w
17 likes5 comments
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Let's Kill Uncle | Rohan O'Grady
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Whew. It took longer than I'd have liked for the children to try sabotaging the airplane -- in my own murderous heart, that would have been Plan A. But the fun of this book isn't really the murdering so-much as the characters at the edges.

I adore the mountain lion.

A pick. I'll look up more by this author.

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Let's Kill Uncle | Rohan O'Grady
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The depiction of child abuse is legitimately nauseating. Uncle is evil to a cartoonish level, but the writing is horrifying without being gratuitous or ever utilizing the word 'abuse' (emotional/manipulative on-page, physical mentioned as part of backstory and in a rather minimizing way).

esurient In-setting (1950s Canada), corporal punishment is described as 'old-fashioned' and given the general impression of being rather frowned-upon, although adult characters wistfully wish they could lean on that when dealing with the thoughtless and frankly cruel actions of the children when they first arrived. (The town meeting(s) following those actions I've not quoted, but the concensus building was amusing -- end-result, the children have to do... 2mo
esurient ...CHORES.) 2mo
4 likes2 comments
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Let's Kill Uncle | Rohan O'Grady
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I'm choosing to believe this is self-aware humor, using a child character as a mouthpiece for sarcasm.

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Let's Kill Uncle | Rohan O'Grady
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Christie (age 10) is wonderfully straightforward in her thought processes.

1963 novel, set in the 1950s.

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Oh snap, this sounds so good!

#pricedrop

Clare-Dragonfly Huh, intriguing! 3mo
8 likes1 comment
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Lion & the Mouse | Jerry Pinkney
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New novella release!

Knot of Shadows (Bujold)
#notthetaggedbook

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Hatchet | Gary Paulsen
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marleed Ohhh, I loved that book and the series. 3mo
10 likes1 comment
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Paladin's Hope | T Kingfisher
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Pickpick

I finished this book within ten hours of realizing it existed. The last has me torn between flinging more money at Kingfisher for, you know, more books, and flipping this one back to start over again.

The romantic bit was nice and all but I would like more books right now, please and thank you, double quick.

esurient It is nearly midnight, I start my tomorrow in five hours, and I want to read this book again. And gnoles! I need more gnoles. And more cross-cultural politics. And you know those priests of the Hanged Mother are behind all of this, that's not even an anti-hint to the underplot. And Beartongue remains CRIMINALLY UNDERUSED. 3mo
esurient AND THIS BOOK HAS NO AUTHOR'S NOTE. Do you know how much I enjoy those of 3mo
esurient Kingfisher's? HM!? No note! So sad. Gosh I need sleep. 3mo
8 likes3 comments
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https://www.bonappetit.com/story/bourdain-the-definitive-oral-biography

Oh, I'm gonna need to pick this one up. The excerpt reads like you're hanging out with everyone who was ever Bourdain's friend, and they're all telling stories about him.

fredthemoose I started the audiobook last night and it‘s great, especially if you‘re a Kitchen Confidential fan. 4mo
esurient @fredthemoose Awesome! 4mo
8 likes2 comments
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Radiance: A Novel | Grace Draven
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This book is outside my usual reading scope, but the meet-cute of a human and a non-human romantic pair, both believing the other is the most hideous thing they've ever seen, is legitimately charming.

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This is ADORABLE. Yes, that is Jason Todd tackling Damian Wayne for the last remaining part of Alfred's baking.

#notthetaggedbook #shortwork #webcomic

Batman: Wayne Family Adventures, Episode 2: The Last Cookie
https://m.webtoons.com/en/slice-of-life/batman-wayne-family-adventures/ep-2-the-...

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Then He Happened | Claudia Burgoa
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Prologue. Bail. As far as I can tell, the hero was left at the alter but this is not exactly spelled out -- although every single thought and action other than the pertinent backstory are lavishly described.

Books like this are exactly why I love preview excerpts. This immersive, emotion-laden, stream-of-conscious writing style is too melodramatic for me.

esurient Translation, snark -- Oh god this is awful! Throw it at the wall! 5mo
6 likes1 comment
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Deep Secret | Diana Wynne Jones
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Two wrenching deaths in Chapter One alone and I'm weeping. Thanks a bunch, Jones.

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Howl's Moving Castle | Diana Wynne Jones
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I love Jones' extravagant hand with the thesaurus here. Shrieked / bawled / bellowed / screamed. Delightful!

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Giving the Devil His Due: Special Edition | Stephen Graham Jones, Kelley Armstrong, Christina Henry, Peter Tieryas, Nisi Shawl, Dana Cameron, Hillary Monahan, Leanna Renee Hieber, Nicholas Kaufmann, Kaaron Warren, Lee Murray, Linda D Addison, Kenesha Williams, Errick Nunnally, Jason Sanford, Angela Yuriko Smith
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Hm, maybe for the TBR list. On one hand, it's deliberately written to tap into female rage, which I am down for, but on the other hand, my tolerance for visceral description of abuse is low.

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Mehso-so

IMO, Chambers centers her books around A Point and hammers it in with every other aspect of writing left afterthought. My favorite part of this was the lovely scene of Dex using their hard-grown tea skills. But, shortly after that we took a hard swing toward moral philosophy, and that is not, heh, my cup of tea.

esurient @readingjedi Oh heck, we had the exact same thought regarding the cover artwork! 5mo
esurient Pro: non-binary protag, thank you and pls more; adored the setup of the worldbuilding. Would happily read more about the city structures and cultures. 5mo
esurient Con: there's an entire pantheon of gods that are barely described, the cricket detail was so heavy-handed it rubbed me worse that the moralizing. 5mo
See All 6 Comments
esurient I can't decide if the crickets Dex actually found are supposed to be metaphorical here, or if Chambers is capping this one with an untimate idealized ending. 5mo
readingjedi @esurient Great minds and all that!!! It IS a fantastic cover though. 5mo
esurient @readingjedi 💕📖 5mo
12 likes6 comments
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Howl's Moving Castle | Diana Wynne Jones
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Oh, this book has spoiled me for all romantic couples fighting with each other.

Johanna414 I really need to reread this - I think I missed a lot of the subtext when I was younger 5mo
esurient @Johanna414 I'm enjoying my own reread hugely. 5mo
14 likes2 comments
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Year of the Griffin | Diana Wynne Jones
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Pickpick

Jones' books can be so gleefully madcap. I love how every single character has separate agency, and her descriptions of big noisy happy families are a relevation. Still, this particular one is a tangle of multiple vast plotline ideas and settings that I would have loved to see explanded, a series and not a novel. Beloved, but flawed. High pick.

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Pickpick

Greatly enjoyed this one. The Sharing Knife setting always felt like a spacious bit of worldbuilding, and I loved seeing it revisited. I also loved that this novella had a different protagonist -- the four books with the previous cast were plenty for me.

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Funny Man: Mel Brooks | Patrick McGilligan
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esurient This cycles back to the RWA implosion of early 2020, among the last of the before times. 6mo
esurient I am absolutely reading something heartwarming next. 6mo
7 likes2 comments
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Heck, Tor's hooked me by citing both Leverage and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries in the blurb.

https://www.tor.com/2021/08/03/cover-reveals-marion-deeds-comeuppance-served-col...

esurient Anticipated release: March 2022. 6mo
9 likes1 stack add1 comment
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I'm amazed and somewhat frightened at having followed a long-running comic for SO LONG that adult characters introduced as children of established characters is organic and natural to the story.

Something*Positive (R. K. Milholland)
https://somethingpositive.net/comic/leonoras-start

#notthetaggedbook #webcomic

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Through the Woods | Emily Carroll
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“But the prince had an uncle who wanted the throne.“

The Prince and the Sea: A Romance
http://emcarroll.com/comics/prince/andthesea.html

#notthetaggedbook #shortwork Horror genre. Gorgeous artwork. The artist has a number of her works available as a #webcomic, and her use of space in the computer medium thrills me every time.

esurient Is it too early to pick out this year's Halloween read? 6mo
7 likes1 comment
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She Who Became the Sun | Shelley Parker-Chan
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Briarley | Aster Glenn Gray
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Pickpick

Low pick. A Beauty and the Beast novella retelling with an m/m pairing. It's well-thought and sweet and largely my jam, but too dang truncated. I'd have enjoyed it much more as a fully fledged novel, with better rounded secondary characters that do more than trot on to the page, speak a scene, and trot off.

esurient The handling of the climax was bizarrely cold. 'We love each other, we've broken the time-spell, welcome to WWII, go fight on the front lines! The end.' (edited) 6mo
esurient Also, I'm somewhat miffed this was only available as a download through Amazon. 6mo
esurient The author had written an epilogue to this one, but cut it before publication. It's available on her website: https://asterglenngray.wordpress.com/briarley-epilogue 6mo
9 likes3 comments
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This is marketed as 'climate fiction / ecological grief' and it's going to gut me.

https://www.stelliform.press/index.php/octavia-cade-impossible-resurrection-of-g...

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Yaas why has this one not been revisited for the Tordotcom Lovecraft series.

Breaking the Waters (Donyae Coles)
https://pseudopod.org/2019/09/20/pseudopod-666-breaking-the-waters

#notthetaggedbook #shortwork

Horror genre. Trigger warnings under spoiler conceal:

esurient TW for rape, body modification (pregnancy), childbirth (clinically graphic). (edited) 6mo
7 likes1 comment
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I like how you think, author. Twisty and irked. I want more works of yours.

Sometimes Boys Don't Know (Donyae Coles)
https://www.nightmare-magazine.com/fiction/sometimes-boys-dont-know

#notthetaggedbook #shortwork

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Poison Study | Maria V. Snyder
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Bailedbailed

Oh no, I remember this one! I tried reading it once before. Bailed at pg. 1.

esurient Poor book is trying so damned hard to be immersive and exciting to catch readers, and it's so stereotypically YA it makes my eyes hurt. I didn't like the writing style (overwrought and without nuance); zero of the author's enthusiasm transferred to my reading experience. 6mo
esurient I got further in to this one the first time I tried reading it, and I remember being disappointed by lesser focus on Being the Food Taster than I had expected. 6mo
esurient Anyway, it's currently on sale. #pricedrop 6mo
See All 8 Comments
readingjedi Totally agree with your comments. I finished the thing, it doesn't improve 😐 6mo
esurient @readingjedi Such a bummer. Tanya Huff did a short story once that involved poison, extravagant food, and assassination, and I remember that one fondly. I need to dig it out. 6mo
esurient "Slow Poison" in 6mo
BookishMarginalia Yep, that looks pretty bad. 6mo
esurient @BookishMarginalia It's a sad feeling to nope out of a book, but I'm not sorry for it. 6mo
10 likes8 comments
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*giggles in circa 2021*

'their condition' = 'drunk as skunks'

Clare-Dragonfly 😂😂😂 subtext! 7mo
10 likes1 comment
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#andnow for something completely different. Originally published 1977.

I'm on pg. 2 and I already want this book to be from the servant's perspective.

https://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/review-an-affair-of-the-heart-by-joan-smith

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The Hollow Places | T. Kingfisher
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Pickpick

Dang, this one kept me up way past the time I should have been sleeping. It isn't a perfect book -- the pacing was uneven and took a bit to build rhythm, and the writing was sometimes on the repetitive side of circular -- but oh dang did I love the atmosphere. There are bits of horrific creativity here that I will read over and over again. Pick.

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The Hollow Places | T. Kingfisher
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There is nothing, nothing, nothing like cosmic horror beyond the scope of the human mind to make an ex pale to insignificance.

This wouldn't be suitable for the pratical approach but, where applicable, does seem like a perk.

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The Hollow Places | T. Kingfisher
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Diverting the attention of impossible monsters through the power of fanfiction infighting? Reader, I chortled in the middle of a horror novel.

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The Hollow Places | T. Kingfisher
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Objects you don't want to find after crossing through a portal, A+ for atmosphere.

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Dang. Right in the feels.

Subnormality No. 218 [untitled] (Winston Rowantree, psued)
http://www.viruscomix.com/page585.html

#notthetaggedbook #webcomic #shortwork

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Nettle & Bone | T. Kingfisher
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With the forthcoming April 2022 release of Nettle & Bone, and the summer 2022 release of What Moves the Dead, AND this untitled paladin book Vernon just tweeted about, Vernon will be getting a solid portion of my foreseeable discretionary book funds.

15 likes1 stack add
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The Twisted Ones | T. Kingfisher
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