Sunday, August 21, 2022

REVIEW: Ready or Not (live action movie)

Ready or Not is a horror comedy. I bought my copy brand new.


Grace grew up in foster care. The one thing she wants most is a family of her own, so she's both thrilled and worried when her boyfriend Alex Le Domas asks her to marry him. It seems like several members of Alex's family hate her, and she's worried they may be judging her because she doesn't come from wealth like Alex. The Le Domas family is part of a gaming empire that spans several generations.

Alex tells her that it's a Le Domas tradition for newcomers to the family to play a game at midnight after their wedding. She'll only have to do it once, and after that she'll be accepted into the family. Unfortunately, when it comes time to pick the game she has to play, Grace draws the worst possible card: Hide and Seek. Although she doesn't know it at first, she's now in a race for her life, as the rest of the Le Domas family tries to find and kill her before dawn.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

REVIEW: ISAN: International Sensory Assassin Network (book) by Mary Ting

ISAN is YA sci-fi romance. I bought my copy brand new.


After her mother's death, Ava ended up in foster care, and then juvenile detention. Her life might have continued on a downward spiral if it weren't for Russ's arrival. He selected her to join ISAN (International Sensory Assassin Network), a secretive organization that supposedly helps the world by quietly assassinating particular people. Not that Ava knows much about the reasons behind her assignments. She does as she's told because she doesn't really have any other choices - ISAN is her only home now, and she can't leave except for brief recreational outings in which she and the others on her team are always closely watched. 

Ava and her team complete regular "mental missions," virtual reality practice missions in which the girls accustom themselves to fighting and killing, achieving particular goals within time limits, and, most importantly, learning how to use their HelixB77 serum-enhanced senses and abilities. The serum makes them stronger, faster, and more fearless. It also gives certain girls, Ava included, special abilities - Ava can see a map of her surroundings in her head and, occasionally, dots that tell her where certain things and people are located.

Ava's world is thrown into disarray when she's somehow contacted by a guy who calls himself Sniper. She's intrigued by him (honestly, she's intrigued by anyone male who either is or might potentially be attractive) but also wary, because no one from the outside world is supposed to be able to contact anyone in ISAN or vice versa. When she finally meets Sniper, she's left with more questions than answers. He claims that they used to know each other, but if that's true, why doesn't she remember him?

REVIEW: Phase of Fate (book) by CoraLee June

Phase of Fate is urban fantasy with a strong potential for paranormal romance. I bought my copy brand new.


In the world of this series, werewolves bond with prodigies and keep them safe. Halle comes from a long line of prodigies, although it skipped her father and seems to have skipped her as well. Halle's sister Mona, however, is a gifted violinist bonded to Jax. Halle loves her sister, although part of her wishes she didn't have to constantly live in her shadow. Mona is scheduled to go to Australia when the unimaginable happens: Jax, the werewolf who should have been her lifelong guardian, suddenly turns feral and kills her, right in front of Halle. 

A year later, Halle is still a mess, the prodigy-werewolf system is on rocky ground, and more feral bonded werewolves have turned up. Halle and her family have gone from having a close relationship with werewolves to barely speaking to them, and when Halle unwillingly finds herself bonded to a werewolf named Theo, her first reaction is fear that he, too, might turn feral and kill her the way Jax killed her sister. However, Theo is somehow spared from whatever it is that's turning bonded werewolves feral, and suddenly everyone wants to study Halle and whatever it is that makes her bond to Theo different.

REVIEW: Passing Strange (novella) by Ellen Klages

Passing Strange is a lesbian historical fantasy novella. I bought my copy brand new.


The back of the book says this is the story of six women, but in reality only three of them are very prominent. The story begins at the end: Helen Young has received bad news from her doctor and knows she doesn't have long. It's time for her to keep a promise she made decades ago, so she retrieves a very special pastel painting from its hiding spot and prepares to sell it.

The story jumps back in time to San Francisco in 1940. Loretta Haskel is an artist who paints pulp magazine covers in order to pay her bills. She's married, but her husband left ages ago and she's perfectly happy without him. She found her place in the city's LGBT community and a circle of supportive friends (which includes Helen, who's also her lawyer).

One evening Helen and Haskel go to Mona's, a lesbian bar, and Haskel finds herself entranced by a singer called "Spike"...who happens to be a young woman she recently met, named Emily. Emily is in need of a place to stay, and Haskel has room.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

REVIEW: Barbarian Alien (book) by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian Alien is the second book in Dixon's Ice Planet Barbarians erotic romance (or erotica?) series. I bought my copy brand new.


This starts near the end of the first book and features a different couple, Liz and Raahosh. Raahosh knows immediately that Liz is his mate but does his best to hide the way his khui (a worm-like alien symbiont) responds to her. When it comes time for the humans to either accept a khui of their own or die from the planet's effect on them, Raahosh takes the opportunity to both ensure that Liz accepts a khui and to kidnap her, taking her to a cave only he knows about so that he has a better chance of convincing her to accept him as his mate without others' interference.

Liz is understandably angry about this at first, especially as her new khui makes it impossible for her not to lust after Raahosh. Granted, she'd been somewhat interested in him all along, but he was also surly and she would've appreciated the chance to choose who she had sex with. Eventually, though, she begins to thaw towards Raahosh. However, what sort of future will they be able to have now that he's broken one of his people's laws and endangered a precious female?

Sunday, August 7, 2022

REVIEW: The Girl With All the Gifts (book) by M.R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi/zombie novel. I bought my copy used.


Content warning for this book: descriptions of dismembered kids, people and at least one cat being eaten while still alive, and probably other stuff I'm forgetting.

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell for the two men who will come to take her to class - one to aim a gun at her and one to tighten her restraints. It's the only life Melanie and her classmates have ever known. Their teachers change regularly, and some are better than others - Melanie most looks forward to Miss Justineau, because her classes are always interesting and wonderful. She reads the children stories and teaches them Greek mythology.

One day, however, Melanie's entire world changes, and suddenly she, Miss Justineau, Dr. Caldwell, Sergeant Parks, and Private Gallagher are out in the wider world, fighting for their lives and trying to make it to safety. Miss Justineau wants to keep Melanie safe, while Dr. Caldwell has other plans. Gradually, Melanie learns more about herself and the world she lives in.

REVIEW: Edge of Tomorrow (live action movie)

Edge of Tomorrow is a sci-fi movie. It's an adaptation of Hiroshi Sakurazaka's novel All You Need Is Kill.

This review includes spoilers.


Major William Cage is a military public relations officer with zero combat experience who suddenly finds himself shoved onto the front lines of humanity's war against the Mimics, alien beings who've been slaughtering humans pretty much since they first appeared. He lasts only a few minutes into the battle before dying. Then, for some reason, he wakes up at the beginning of what turns out to be a repeating time loop. His only clue as to what's going on is Sergeant Rita Vrataski, known as "the Angel of Verdun" due to her unheard-of Mimic kill count at the Battle of Verdun.

It seems that one of the reasons why Vrataski was so successful in Verdun was because she'd also experienced time loops. With Vrataski's help, Cage learns what causes the time loops and how to use them to more effectively fight the Mimics. However, there's one thing that Cage has to do in order to save humanity that even Vrataski couldn't manage: find and kill the Omega Mimic.