Tuesday, July 7, 2020

ARC Review: Haunted Heroine by Sarah Kuhn

40740848Title: Haunted Heroine
Series: Heroine Complex #4
Author: Sarah Kuhn
Source/Format: Netgalley (Publisher); eARC
More Details: Urban Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: DAW Books; July 7, 2020

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Synopsis from Goodreads...
The fourth book in the smart, snarky, and action-packed Heroine series follows Evie Tanaka, Aveda Jupiter, and Bea Tanaka as they combat a new supernatural threat. 
Everything in Evie Tanaka's life is finally perfect. As a badass superheroine, she defends San Francisco from demon invasion on the regular. Her relationships with superhero partner Aveda Jupiter, little sister Bea, and hot, half-demon husband Nate have never been stronger. Maybe it's possible for a grad school dropout turned put-upon personal assistant turned superhero to have it all? As if things can't get any better, Evie learns she's pregnant. She's overjoyed, but also worried about whether she's cut out for motherhood. Before she can dwell on her dilemma too much, a women's college reports a string of mysterious "hauntings," and Evie and Aveda are called in to investigate. When the hauntings turn deadly, they decide to move into the dorms full-time, going undercover as grad students. As she lives out a bizarre version of her grad school life, Evie can't help but wonder about the road not taken: what would her life be like if she'd stayed here instead of pursuing superheroing with Aveda?
If there was ever a series that needed more books, it was this one. I was excited when Haunted Heroine got announced, and now that I’ve read it I can say for certain that the excitement was well deserved. Haunted Heroine was a fantastic addition to the Heroine Complex series. It was an excellent continuation for the characters of the series—and as they embarked on the next chapter in their story, they were literally and figuratively being haunted by things from the past and present. With this kind of story, it was an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, and I was rooting for the characters every step of the way.

Haunted Heroine is told from the perspective of Evie Tanaka, one of my favorite characters. Her POV is what introduced the series, and her perspective was just as delightful to read from as the first time around, in Heroine Complex. While the beginning was looking at her future—with her husband, Nate, and her pregnancy—much of the story explored Evie’s past. That also included an old relationship that has haunted (no pun intended) Evie in previous books in the series. It had affected her relationships with others, as well as how she saw herself. So it was great to see it finally addressed. Plus Kuhn’s handling of the emotional side of the character arcs was fantastic. It was one of my favorite aspects about the story, and I felt like a lot of the lingering plot threads from previous stories reached a satisfying resolution.

It was also great to see how the other characters in the series were adjusting to changes in their lives/ what they were currently doing after the end of the third book—including Evie’s younger sister, Bea, Aveda, and everyone else. Evie and Aveda’s friendship has always been one of the highlights of the series, even with the ups and downs. I liked how they were both still working on their friendship, but there was never a doubt that there was a bond there.

Overall, I liked Haunted Heroine’s story. It took place in October, and the setting—Morgan College—was different from the more familiar urban city setting of San Francisco. The grounds of the college afforded for something of a spooky atmosphere, and it was a perfect place for the latest mystery to play out.

Haunted Heroine is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. If you’re a fan of this series, then this one should be on your TBR list.
About the author....

Sarah Kuhn is the author of the popular Heroine Complex novels—a series starring Asian American superheroines. The first book is a Locus bestseller, an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee, and one of the Barnes & Noble Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog’s Best Books of 2016. Her YA debut, the Japan-set romantic comedy I Love You So Mochi, is a Junior Library Guild selection and a nominee for YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults. She has also penned a variety of short fiction and comics, and her hotly anticipated graphic novel Shadow of the Batgirl is coming out in early 2020 from DC Comics. Additionally, she was a finalist for both the CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) New Writers Award and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer. A third generation Japanese American, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and an overflowing closet of vintage treasures.
Goodreads     Website     Twitter     Instagram
Disclaimer: This copy of the book was provided by the publisher (DAW Books) via netgalley for this review, thank you!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Music Monday (121): Bonnie Tyler, Kane Brown, and John Legend

  • Music Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren Stoolfire at Always Me that asks you to share one or two songs that you've recently enjoyed. For the rules, visit the page HERE 
Breana: Lately, I've been listening to a lot of music by Bonnie Tyler again.  Tyler is responsible for some of my all time favorite songs like Holding out for a Hero and Race to the Fire. 

Total Eclipse of the Heart is another one of my favorites.

Andrea: I hope this post finds everyone safe and well. I am excited to find out what everyone is listening to this week. Although, I don't always comment on everyone's posts. I often have time to visit your site. And I appreciate the music that each of you share each week. It is my goal to allot time for comments this week--even if I have to stay up a little late.

This week I am listening to Kane Brown and John Legend. While watching the BET Awards, I saw Kane Brown perform Worldwide Beautiful. I absolutely fell in love with the simplistic yet beautiful message. Since I wasn't familiar with his music, I searched the internet for other songs by Brown. I eventually came across Last Time I Say Sorry by Kane Brown and John Legend. As such, Worldwide Beautiful and Last Time I Say Sorry are my song selections for this week.

What are you listening to this week?

Friday, July 3, 2020

Quarterly Recap: April-June

It’s hard to believe that it’s already seven months into 2020, but here we are. It’s also time for the usual quarterly recap. As usual, I’m starting with reviews.
April Reviews

May Reviews

June Reviews
Other April Posts

Other May Posts

Other June Posts
Looking ahead, I really don’t have any solid plans for the next three months, and I’m not trying to make any. 2020 has been fairly unpredictable, and I plan on just rolling with the flow. I do have a couple of upcoming posts this month that I’m fairly excited to share. I recently read one of my most anticipated books of 2020: Haunted Heroine, book #4 in the Heroine Complex series by Sarah Kuhn. My review for it will be on the blog on the release day. Next, I listened to Chloe X Halle’s latest album, Ungodly Hour, and I have a post for that too (which will be up sometime this month). I also checked out Lindsay Ellis’s debut novel, Axiom’s End, so there will be a review for that too this month.

What have you been reading recently?

Monday, June 29, 2020

Short Stories I Read In May

Today, I’m here to talk about the short stories and miscellaneous posts I read in May. It was definitely a slower month, and I didn’t read as many things as I would have liked. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed everything I did read. So without further ado, here is what I read…

Beyond The Dragons Gate by Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.Com, May 20, 2020)

Reading Beyond The Dragons Gate was an experience. I loved this story, and in a lot of ways it reminded me of the Imperial Radch series by Ann Leckie. It was due to the questions that it asked (and the commentary) about the sentience of the AIs present in the story—and if those same AIs really had a choice in the face of duty (for soldiers too). In a lot of ways, this story was way too short. I’m happy with what I read, but I would definitely like more of it.

Have your #Hugot Harvested At This Diwata-Owned Café by Vida Cruz (Strange Horizons; Issue 4 May 2020)

Food and heartbreak are at the focus of this story. I liked it a lot, especially the descriptions about the food, the people who worked at Heartbreak Café, as well as the idea behind the establishment to begin with. This story also handled its themes well, and all around this one was another great read.

From Around the Web

Friday, June 26, 2020

I Listened to Telephone by Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas

Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas is a band I’ve followed for a couple of years now. I’ve been a fan of their work in the past and present. Recently, they released a new song called Thank God, which I mentioned on a music Monday post a few weeks ago. So I ended up listening to one of my favorite albums again.

Telephone is such a solid body of work. It’s light, breezy, and incredibly fun to listen to (and it also has its deep and meaningful moments too). It’s easy to get in to, and it’s often one of the albums that I put on repeat whenever I listen to it. It also invokes an almost nostalgic feel, with its creative use of sounds. There was a mixture too, with light rock influences and even some synth sounds.

Bombay is a great intro. It sets up the tone of the rest of the album, and offers an excellent example of the kind of stylish delivery that is one of the defining aspects about Telephone. Parts of the album have a little bit of a swing music flare. One example is the song Hummingbird. Other parts are incredibly groovy, such as the song Hot To Trot. Fire and Ice is a perfect note to end on, and leaves an overall positive impression of the album as a whole.

There is also a Spanish version of Telephone, and it’s equally as good as the English version. I recommend giving both a listen, because it’s worth it.

Telephone is still one of my favorite albums for myriad of reasons, and I will likely listen to it a lot more in a future. Have you listened to any music by Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas? If so, what are some of your favorite songs?

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