Folding Paper & Spilling Ink

I'm an avid reader, literacy advocate, poet, and long time independent bookseller at Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins, Colorado. When I'm not reading or recommending books I spend my time writing them. While I read a variety of genres I primarily focus on curating the poetry and science-fiction sections at my store, which is where I focus most of my reading attention. I also have a soft spot for a good teen read, and enjoy digging into graphic novels whenever I get the time.

Hanged Man (Tarot Sequence #2)

The Hanged Man -  K.D. Edwards

This was such a fun sequel to Last Sun! It had all the fun world-building and magic as the first book, plenty of character development and quiet beats to further flesh out both the story and characters, and still managed to pack in lots of action. The stakes are even higher in this book than the first and we get to learn a lot more about the Arcana, and boy howdy are they cool. The Hanged Man himself was such a deliciously creepy and imaginative villain. I really hope we get another book in this series - while this book had a strong ending it left me wanting to see what comes next for our heroes.

Blackfish City

Blackfish City: A Novel - Sam J. Miller

This book is an interesting tapestry of a story. The city takes center stage early on, becoming a central focus for both the storytelling and the feel of the book. Usually I disengage when a book spends a lot of time on setting, but this time it worked for me. I think the reason this worked for me was that the world-building was less concerned with getting all the details perfect and more focused on evoking a mood and tone. And that mood? Very cyberpunky. The push and pull between humanity and technology, and the haves and have nots, was central to the world and the feel. The story, less so.


About the story. Weirdly the main plot landed with mixed results for me. Written in alternating POVs you get to see the city through different lenses. Eventually each individual storyline weaves together into a greater whole, and once that form began to emerge my enthusiasm waned somewhat. This is one of those reads where I liked the set-up more than the conclusion. The core story the plot ends up telling is one of family and blood, and with so much of the tension earlier in the book being found in other avenues I was a bit disappointed it went the direction it did. (I don't want to get into spoilers.) That said, I did like at least half of the characters and the world they walked through enough to buy in. The writing style also kept me turning pages even when I wasn't always engaged with a specific plot thread or character.


This one was a bit of a mixed bag, but in the end it came down to feel for me. It's been awhile since I read a book that pulled me into a setting quite the way this one did. If you're wanting something urban fantasy adjacent, chock full of an orcamancer kicking ass, you will disappointed. If you're looking for something set in a bleak decaying future, with a diverse cast of broken characters, and a slow build, this might be up your alley. I'm curious to see how this author grows in the future and I'm onboard for new adventures.

Storm Cursed - Mercy Thompson #11

Storm Cursed - Patricia Briggs

This is one of very few long running series that I still keep up with. Visiting Mercy's world is a comfort. This wasn't my favorite offering, but it was still fun. The focus in this book is on witches, black magic, and even some zombies.  All in all it was a fun romp but nothing terribly memorable.

Witchmark: Kingston Cycle #1

Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle #1) - C. L. Polk

Do you like gaslamp/steampunk fiction? Do you like old fashioned murder mysteries? Are you in the mood for something light, frothy, and hopeful? Would the icing on the cake be if there was romance, and that romance was gay? Look no further, this is your new favorite book!


Slight problem for me, I don't like any of those things at all except the gay part. (At least I'm honest.) I would never have read this if not for it being a book club pick - the bike on the cover alone let me know this likely wasn't going to be my bag. (There is a bike chase! Are you excited?) Many people I whose opinions I trust loved this book, and I can see why. Alas, it's not my thing. (And I really hated Mile's sister, so the fact that the next book follows her POV dooms any chance of my continuing the series.) I *do* give this book points for being well crafted and readable, saying some interesting things about PTSD and war, and having a romance I cared about.

I think a lot of people will love this book, and if it sounds up your alley I encourage you to snap it up as I doubt it will disappoint. If you're like me and do not like historical fiction or murder mysteries it will likely not be, ahem, your cup of tea.

The City of Brass

The City of Brass - S.A. Chakraborty

This is one of those books that I found perfectly serviceable and fine. I didn't love it, but I didn't dislike it either. It pulled me along at a decent rate and I didn't feel the urge to abandon it at any point. Conversely I don't feel compelled to pick up the sequel, though I hope the people I know who read it give me the rundown.


The world building had some interesting points, but it was unevenly delivered so that there were times where I felt adrift and others where I felt overly saturated. The characters were very tropey, but that didn't overly bother me. What did bother me was what the author decided to show versus tell. There would be long sections I would have considered cutting or condensing, while other scenes I very much wanted to see in full were skipped over entirely - I was vexed by what did and did not make it onto the page. I will say there were several choices made as far as plotting that surprised me. When I was a third of the way through the book I thought I knew exactly where the story was going, but I was wrong.


If you're looking for a fantasy set in a world of djinn that's heavy on politics, and brimming with lush descriptions, this might be a solid win for you. If you're looking for something really original with memorable well drawn characters you might want to look elsewhere. Your milage may vary.

Plum Rains

Plum Rains: A Novel - Andromeda Romano-Lax

This book is slow, character focused, and not much happens...and I really enjoyed it! If you're looking for action or detailed world-building this isn't the book for you. What you get instead is a deep dive into the lives of two women, and a well-crafted exploration of what it means to be human, to have agency, and ultimately to belong. The writing was lush but not so much it bogged things down. The characters were well drawn. It was emotionally cathartic. And I liked the robot. It was a nice mid-winter read.

Aurora Burning (Aurora Cycle #2)

Aurora Burning - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

Holy shit. This book. This damn book. Kaufman and Kristoff are absolute magic when they combine their powers for evil...err...good.


Look, here's what you need to know:
It is better than the first one in the series. It is absolutely non-stop with stakes through the roof. It has a heist, time wonkery, derring do, aliens and critters, psionic powers, hopeless odds, found family, twists, and All The Feels. It also has a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers.


I haven't had this much fun reading a book in a long time, and I absolutely cannot wait for book three.


Many thanks to the publisher for the review copy. Aurora Burning hits shelves May 5th.


Fence #3

Fence volume 3 - C.S. Pacat

Just as cute and fun as the previous two volumes. I'm still enjoying the art art and the writing, and the characters remain endearing. And at long last we finally get to find out who makes the fencing team. My only wish is that there was just a bit more meat on the bones - I tear through these so fast and it takes quite a while between collections.

Network Effect - Murderbot Diaries #5

Network Effect - Martha Wells

What can I say about Murderbot that hasn’t been said already? This series is quite possibly one of the best things being published in the science fiction genre right now. Who would have guessed that a Murderbot would be one of the most relatable and human characters I’ve read in years? This is good crunchy sci-fi except it also has lots of heart and humor.


I don't want to give anything away so I'll be very brief. This is the content you've come to expect and love from the novellas, except more of it. There are some old friends and some new. Plenty of problems interfering with Murderbot's Sanctuary Moon viewing agenda, and even some juicy character growth. Word to the wise: this builds on the novellas, so don't start here. This isn't a standalone - this is book five in a series. And if you're not already reading Murderbot then you should remedy that immediately. And if you are, well, you are in for a treat this May.

Dark & Deepest Red

Dark and Deepest Red - Anna-Marie McLemore

It’s no secret that I love McLemore’s work. Anna-Marie is probably my favorite author writing in Teen right now, and whenever a new title is announced I do a little happy dance. As it turns out that happy dance was very much in the spirit of things as this latest offering is a retelling of the classic story of the red shoes. This book is absolutely gorgeous. It has all the lush lyrical writing I’ve come to expect, as well and an emotional core that hit me right in the heart. Even better is that McLemore uses the story of the red shoes to tell both a very old story and a very new one all at the same time, and never gets bogged down or hamstrung by what came before. The story manages to feel familiar and fresh all at once. McLemore remains a master and I am ensorcelled by the sheer beauty of storytelling and wordcraft in this book. Dark and Deepest Red hits shelves on the 14th and you absolutely do not want to miss it.

Anita Blake #23

Jason (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter) - Laurell K. Hamilton

Look, this was trash. But I was prepared for that. Since this book is packaged as erotica it doesn't bother me that there's really no plot to speak of. I do wish there were better character moments, but hey. At least this novella was what was advertised. It gets a bonus star for centering around characters I actually like (mostly).

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me - Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O'Connell

This was a such an honest and unsentimental look at toxic relationships and young love, and how they can consume you if you aren't careful. It made my heart ache, but it was also sweet. The messages and lessons this book brings to light are important ones, especially for readers who are newly navigating relationships. I appreciated how universal the story was while simultaneously being a distinctly queer love story. The diversity in this book made my heart happy. The thing I enjoyed the most is probably the art though. The use of color, detail, negative space, and the way the panels are arranged on the page were absolutely wonderful. The art style was warm, emotional, and lovely to look at. I'm glad I picked this one up and heartily recommend it.


Victor LaValle's Destroyer - Dietrich Smith, Victor LaValle

This is a really interesting take on the Frankenstein story. It focuses in on the nature of monstrousness and uses the old familiar story to say some interesting things on themes of race and family. The art is striking, full of reds and sweeping brush strokes, and fits well with the story being told. A really solid addition to the Frankenstein mythos and standalone graphic novel in its own right.

Affliction: Anita Blake #twenty-whatever

Affliction - Laurell K. Hamilton

Look, it was bad. I knew it was going to be bad. No surprises here.

Plenty of Edward.
Also Nathaniel if you're into that. (And Micah too I guess.)
Zombies aplenty!
A couple great actions scenes.

Terrible writing. But we knew that, yeah?
Still too many side characters I do not give a fuck about.
Most of the book is hanging out in the hospital and brooding about relationships. Seriously, most of the book takes place in the hospital. There's even a hospital shower scene (big no to that). So yeah, if you don't wanna read a book set in the hospital skip this one.
Were-hyena level up. I guess? Because why not?

Look, at this point I read it for the nostalgia points. I did this to myself.

Hunger Makes the Wolf

Hunger Makes the Wolf - Alex Wells

This is a tough book to rate - I'm rounding down because the pacing dragged a bit for my tastes. This is a very fun space western, and I admit I have a weakness for that particular blend. The world building was interesting if not terribly in-depth. The magic was subtle but enjoyable. And I appreciated how the bulk of the plot and world building centered around the plight of the "little guy" versus an exploitative mega-corporation. The Weatherman was a nice dash of creepy. The Bone Collector was my favorite part (surprise surprise). The book dragged a bit for me in part because I was continually more interested in the side characters than the main characters, that's probably a me problem though. (I am very put out about one person in particular being lost to the desert. That hurt my feelings.) All in all this was a fun romp, and while I'm curious to see what happens down the road I was satisfied with how well this book stood on its own.

The Only Good Indians

The Only Good Indians - Stephen Graham Jones

This is a truly strange book, and I like that about it. Jones really nails the whole creeping dread, slow burn, unhinged reality thing. And I am here for it. I also appreciated how much of this story was tied to Native American experiences and storytelling. This book couldn't have been written by, or about, white people and been even remotely similar. The horror, characters, and narrative all tie so tightly into native topics that you could never pull them apart. It was probably my favorite part.


I don't want to say too much about this one because I'm so glad I went into it blind, and I recommend avoiding spoilers as much as possible. All you need to know is this is a uniquely Native American take on the horror genre and it is chock full of tragedy, humanity, striking visuals, creeping dread, and a supernatural element that will chill you to your core. I was gritting my teeth and fighting the urge to look away, even as I read past my bedtime. If any of that sounds like it might be up your alley give this book a try.



The Only Good Indians hits shelves in April of 2020.

Thank you to the publisher for the ARC!

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