Monthly Archives: April 2016

Emerald City Comicon: A Semi-Functional Recap

So, I’m sort of recovered from Emerald City Comicon this weekend, and I hope the reviews will start flowing again as usual. In the meantime, I do feel the need to share a few things that I thought were pretty stellar this weekend.

First off, one of my primary reasons for attending the show is the chance to meet some of the celebrity guests, attend their panels, and get an autograph. This year, I picked up two (which is less than in each of the past two years, but it’s also much better on my budget):

Robbie Amell Autograph

My first score was Robbie Amell, who is honestly a very chill guy in person. I later saw him wandering the show floor, and he was able just blend right in with the rest of the crowd.

Sasha Roiz Autograph

And the second was Sasha Roiz, who made the short trip up from Portland. He was also great to meet in person, and I particularly enjoyed his panel held on Saturday afternoon.

Chris Uminga Prints

My roommate has really immersed himself in the art scene at the show the past two years, so I accompanied him on his venture through Artist’s Alley. Although I didn’t pick up any art last year, this year I found a few that I just couldn’t resist. Pictured above are two prints by Chris Uminga–Hocus Pocus and Harry Potter (two faves!). I really enjoy his style and have already picked out places for these to be displayed in my room.

Meg Daunting Prints

I also stumbled across Meg Daunting’s table (I know her work most notably from a set of Teen Wolf fandom teas over at Adagio Teas), and of course I couldn’t resist picking up some Teen Wolf art from her. The three prints I got are pictured above.

I also got a Doctor Who themed poster from Cyanide and Happiness and a Hufflepuff-themed print from another vendor. And I purchased an exclusive TARDIS print at the charity art auction at the end of the show. I don’t have pictures for those ready to go, but maybe I’ll share them once they’re framed and on the wall.

But I absolutely can’t forget the other great thing about ECCC: FREE BOOKS! This year, I scored four–one from my tote bag purchase and three from the Del Rey table in the exhibit hall. My grabs included The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb, Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale, and Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I look forward to reading them all!

Free Books

I had hoped to also meet Peter Brett & Robin Hobb (and get some books signed), but the schedule of author autographs that was published ahead of time wasn’t actually followed and they ended up not fitting in my schedule. But I still had a great time and will work to try to have some flexibility in my schedule next year should the same thing happen with the signings.

Autumn in the Highlands by Spring Horton

Autumn in the Highlands

Autumn in the Highlands by Spring Horton

Published by: Spring Horton on January 14, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

David Dillahunt has been backpacking through Britain, seeing all the important sights. When he passes through the village of Glencreag on his way to Loch Ness, an innkeeper convinces him to stay. David’s not sure there’s too much to see, but the innkeeper, Angus, promises him he’ll see things most tourists miss. And the first thing David spies is one of the employees at the inn. The man, whose name he learns is Andrew, has a bit of mystery about him. Which works because David is as much a fan of mystery as he is history. And when David learns Andrew is the local Laird, he’s struck with even more questions. Why is the Laird working at an inn? Why would he need to work? And of course, the biggest questions of all: Is he gay? And if so, might the attraction be mutual? What David finds as he learns the answers to those questions is an even more interesting mystery to solve. And both David and Andrew just might be able to provide each other with answers to questions they’ve both had all their lives.

Sometimes things happen when we least expect them. And sometimes the things we fear will happen are just that–things we fear. But that doesn’t stop us from trying exert whatever control we might have over our lives or a situation. Giving up that control can be extremely difficult. And that’s especially true if we’ve had bad experiences in the past. These are the issues that both David and Andrew face in this story. And it not only impacts their friendship and the way they relate to each other, it has affected the ways they’ve both lived for years. If they can just be willing to let their guard down long enough to let the other person in, they might just be able to make it.

Drinker Class X by Sasha L. Miller

Drinker Class X

Drinker Class X by Sasha L. Miller

Published by: Less Than Three Press on October 30, 2013
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Laurence works in law enforcement, tracking vampires who’ve gone rogue by bucking the rules of drinking. But when he’s bitten on the job, everything changes. Now he’s a drinker. He needs to adjust to a whole new lifestyle. He also needs to learn self-control to follow the rules. It’s only if he can prove he can follow the rules that he can return to work.

To do this, Laurence must meet with a court-appointed psychiatrist. Dr. Ira Ashwood specializes in newly-turned drinkers. And while Laurence is not one for opening up about his feelings, he finds there’s something about Dr. Ashwood that feels comfortable. And then there’s the fact that the man is attractive. But everything becomes complicated when Laurence finds Dr. Ashwood has a connection to his social life. And even more so when a connection between the doctor and one of Laurence’s colleagues comes to light. In short, there’s far more to this psychologist than Laurence ever could have imagined.

This isn’t a too long of a story, and it’s interesting enough to keep readers engaged for that length. The character interactions and the mystery provide a few unexpected twists. But it also doesn’t take too much sleuthing to pinpoint the right suspect when things go south.

What is lacking here is a solid foundation for the world in which the story takes place. It comes together as the story progresses. But I do think readers will find they start at a bit of a loss. As I got closer to the end, things fell into place, but some readers might not be as comfortable with that approach. And it did make some pieces in the beginning a bit difficult to follow.

But it is an enjoyable read and it’s entertaining enough for sure.

Superhero by Eli Easton

Superhero

Superhero by Eli Easton

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on July 24, 2013
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Jordan Carson met Owen Nelson in the second grade. Ever since, the two have been inseparable. There’s always been something about Owen that held Jordan’s fascination. And as they grew older, Jordan learned exactly what that was. Jordan’s gay and Owen is the object of his affection. There’s a few problems with that, though. For one, Owen is straight. He’s also a jock, the star of the wrestling team. And they live in a small town in Wisconsin. It’s not the most open or accepting sort of community.

Although Owen doesn’t seem bothered by the fact that Jordan is gay, there’s still a strain on their friendship. Jordan wants more from Owen, even though he knows Owen can’t give it to him. The heart wants what the heart wants. And sometimes even when one knows something in their head, the heart won’t listen. So while Jordan is happy that he won’t lose his best friend by coming out, it’s a bittersweet happiness. Because he’s just not sure he can stay close to Owen while knowing they can never be more than friends.

As someone who grew up in a small midwestern town, there are many elements of this story that rang true for me. The author has done a great job of capturing the environment where this all takes place. And that adds a real richness to the story. And the characters are great. It’s not hard to like and empathize with both Jordan and Owen. Owen comes across a bit larger than life at times, but that’s coming from Jordan’s perspective. Knowing how Jordan feels, it makes perfect sense in the context of the story.

There are some expected twists here just by the nature of the story. And there are some unexpected twists as well. But it is a rather enjoyable one to read.

I’ve given this a young adult label because of the ages of the characters and the issues they face. I should note that there is some sexual content, just to be clear and upfront.

Air by Ravon Silvius

Air

Air by Ravon Silvius

Series: The WaterLord Trilogy, Book 1
Published by: eXtasy Books on June 1, 2012
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Nathan is an air mage; he has the power to control air and wind. And his skills get put to use navigating ships around the ocean. It seems like a tedious task, and in some ways it is. Add to it that he’s working for Ruthen, a ruthless fire mage, who looks down on anyone he considers to be of lesser ability. And it was Ruthen who killed Nathan’s childhood friend, Tom, many years before.

When a mysterious mage who appears to have power over water shows up on the ship, Nathan learns the story he heard might not be true. First, water mages don’t exist. Second, Tom is alive. And his power over water is exactly what a fire mage like Ruthen would fear. As the two get a chance to reconnect, both of them are hesitant. After all, Tom has plans that might be a problem for Nathan. And Nathan’s not sure if he can allow himself to fall for Tom if he’s just going to leave.

This was like a nice episode of a longer story. It set up the background and conflict for this trilogy nicely. There’s certainly not a lot of heat or steam here, but that’s not really what I felt this first installment was intended to convey. I definitely enjoyed reading it and I look forward to picking up the next book.