My February Reading Log

Fiction:
In the course of reading Coming to Terms: Consequences Impend (Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle Book 12) by L.A. Hall, I discovered I had somehow missed Tricks and Traps: Tables Turned (Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle Book 10)! Which I had not noticed, because both volumes 9 and 11 were further back in the continuity. It was good to find out my memory is not that terrible, that I had in fact missed an installment! And I still managed to enjoy reading it.

Tricks and Traps: Tables Turned (Clorinda Cathcart’s Circle Book 10) is a plotty entry in the series with a good role for Bet Bloggs/Leda Hacker, and check-ins with series characters old and new.

#TBR Challenge – Pembroke Park by Michelle Martin.

Fanfiction:
Wherein was bound a child by lotesse is a three-story sequel to Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising” sequence, in which an adult Bran Davies meets again with Will Stanton and regains some of his memories of book events. The first story’s plot is all about finding Will, who has been declared a missing person, so content warning for his grieving family until there’s a happy ending. In the second and third stories, Bran and Will became a couple, and it turned out I was totally there for that, and also for Will’s family being all over the place, and for discussions of agriculture and special appearances by Herne the Hunter, and the genius of the Thames wearing snazzy couture.

He Dreams in Kaiju Blue by Ardatli remixes “Pacific Rim” with Young Avengers, but I don’t think you need familiarity with Young Avengers to read; “Pacific Rim” knowledge is more necessary, I think, or at least the basic premise of the movies. In an odd congruence with the previous story, Billy Maximoff is essentially missing while in a coma, but seems to be present and cognizant in the mind of Teddy Altman, who’s taken his place as the co-pilot of Magnus Echo. While the Marvel characters do not have their superhero powers, there is magical (?) science related to Jaegers, and there are Young Avengers as Jaeger pilots: Kate Bishop paired with America Chavez, Eli Bradley with Josiah X, and Cassie with her father Scott Lang. Also keep an eye out for characters from Runaways and X-Men. There’s a happy ending, but it takes a while to get there; the plot starts to pick up steam about halfway through. I realized later that this is first in a series.

The Messrs. Carter and Potts Expansion Pack by alby_mangroves and Speranza completes the Avengers: Endgame fixit time loop, focusing on Steve and Bucky, and with bonus Captain Marvel. Poignant yet also happy and satisfying.

I re-read Lilac City by nwhepcat, an all-time favorite sequel series to Buffy: the Vampire Slayer. Her post-series versions of Xander are, in my opinion, far superior to the character we saw on screen, and he’s the point of view character here. A recovering alcoholic, he’s fled to Spokane after painfully splitting from the Scooby Gang, and manages a grocery store on the night shift until Things begin to happen, and he has to remember his vampire-killing skills, and other things that make life worth living rather than just existing within. It was just as good as the previous few times I’ve read it, and I aspire to someday writing something this good. Highly recommended. Content warnings for alcoholism and sad deaths-by-vampire, but there’s also Found Family and reconnection with both people and skills. I think of this as the “guitar story.” Read it to learn why.

Another excellent Avengers: Endgame MCU fixit is a flame in two cupped hands by notcaycepollard. This series is comprised of three stories, each with a different point of view character, and involves the “second chance” type of time travel. The first story is Natasha; after she sacrifices her life on Vormir, she awakens as a teenager in the Red Room, at a moment of one of her greatest regrets. And then she begins to change things. I won’t spoil the rest, because I loved this, and could happily read quite a bit more in this alternate universe. Trigger warning for 9/11/01 events.

Victory Bonds by copperbadge posits the formation of The Justice League in 1947. Clark Kent narrates how wartime experiences shift into superheroing for Superman, Batman, Green Lantern (Alan Scott), and Wonder Woman, with bonus Robin and Flash towards the end. There are all sorts of delightful twists on comics canon to make this AU feel fresh and new. But the best reason to read this story is Lois “Louis” Lane. This is The Best Lois.

The Life Which He Has Imagined by bluesyturtle is a different take on post-“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Bucky Barnes. On the run from Hydra after the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D., Bucky makes his way to New York City and ends up being represented by Nelson and Murdock and making friends with Deadpool. This is a very Soft story of Found Family, and I enjoyed it for those aspects as well as because the story didn’t follow the path I expected.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. Her blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and occasional author interviews.
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