The Series Series: The Bone Witch Trilogy by Rin Chupeco

We aren’t supposed to judge books by their covers but the cover of The Bone Witch looks like THIS:

The Bone Witch

So…yeah. That’s that.

The Books

The Bone Witch

The Heart Forger

The Shadowglass

The Author

Rin Chupeco began her career as a technical writer who was obsessed with horror and fairytales and now blends them together.

I will be reading everything she’s every written, because I loved this series. Did I give away the end of this blog? Seriously though, this was a delight.

Series Structure

This is a trilogy, three books that tell the story of Tea Pahlahvi, a Bone Witch or Dark Asha, magic users who’s role in society feels like something in between university professors and geisha, in the society of 8 kingdoms in the book. Tea’s power allows her to raise the dead as well as commune and subdue legendary creatures known as daeva that often threaten her world.

The story alternates between Tea’s telling her own story and a bard (who is more than he seems) who she has engaged to tell it for you. Tea has done terrible things and she is ready to reshape the world, if she has the strength to do it.


Oh there’s a lot at work here, responsibility, accountability, civil inequality, the redeeming properties of true love (and all true love, not just romantic.)

Favorite Book

It’s probably The Heartforger although The Shadow Glass grew on me as it went along. But I devoured The Heartforger which answered a lot of questions and mysteries from the first book and did actually have me thinking that we were watching the birth of a supervillain. (We weren’t, but in the interest of spoilers, I won’t elaborate)

Least Favorite Book

The Bone Witch was lovely and sucked me into the world, but Chupeco has a lot of world building and character introduction to do. This is where the two timelines and narrators came into play as important. I wanted to know how Tea got to where she was in the flash forward sections, so I was willing to get through, “This is how I found out about my powers, this was my training” even when I wasn’t overly invested

Favorite Character

There are, alas, not direct pop culture paralells this time around for me to default into love, but I was deeply fond of Tea’s great True Love, Kalen. He’s a stalwart captain of the guard type…he uh, reminds me of someone…a little…can’t put my finger on it…anyway.

Reread Possibilities

I don’t know that I’ll reread this, but I’m not opposed to it. I very much enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to Chupeco’s other work, but I don’t know that I’d pick up this series again.

Our next series will be Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, I’m already halfway through it. Waiting on Book 5.

Early Rising

I am so excited for this new chapter, y’all.

It’s time for Athena. She’s a whole lot of fun.

The Marina Chronicle

“Good morning, beautiful,” I groaned and pulled the covers over my head. “Athena, love, the sun’s coming up.” I groaned and stretched rolling over. Carlton DuJarms smiled at me. “You look like an angel.” I grinned and pulled him close and kissed him.

“But you know I’m not,” I whispered. He laughed.

“Gods, I’m going to miss Dovetail,” he moaned as I straddled him.

“Oh, do you not think that you’ll have nights like last night back in Dorin?” I whispered in his ear before nipping it. I like Carlton, he’s dumb as a rock but he knows his way around a bed. He’s decent with a sword too.

“Unlikely,” he said, “I don’t think many of the debutantes are interested in our activities.” I laughed and stood up, looking for my underdress. “You could come back with me.”

“Ha,” I snorted, “no I can’t.” I only half belong to…

View original post 767 more words

Nerd Girl Book Club

If there’s anything that the past two and a half months have made me grateful for it’s my friends.

I miss them like crazy but that’s only because they are some of the greatest people to ever live. I had a huge breakthrough in therapy last year when I realized that unlike most people my intimacy issues do NOT come from my family, but from a series of terrible falling outs with long term friends.

I have trouble trusting people because a good chunk of the people I trusted left me behind. A few didn’t, but most left either when things got tough (more understandable) or it was convenient to move along (less understandable). I won’t get into specifics because those are not my stories to tell for the most part.

But, they’re relevant here because of Aless, who introduced me to her friends and reopened my heart.

Anyway, that’s all old news. I’ve written about them. About my love for them. I’ve also written about the friends that held on to me in the hard transition time. (Juli, Chrissy, Maggie, Katie)

But a month ago, when Jess, Sara and I got on a Zoom call to discuss a book we all read (Bonds Of Brass by Emily Skrutskie) and when we realized we’d come across something special. Our dynamic of intelligent, nerdy, interesting women was worth investigating.

So we put the call out to those who we thought would be interested. And so many answered. I brought Maggie and Kristi into the conversation. Other people brought others. We read All The Stars And Teeth by Adalyn Grace, and we got on a Zoom call and I was reminded all over again of how lucky I was to have never felt the seductive sting of “not like other girls/women”

Because how much I would have missed. I’d have certainly missed this call, where we talked about the book. (Great world building, reasonably interesting characters, lame plot!) And where we got to know each other. Learning our tolerance for love triangles, and Rape As Character Development and our Hogwarts Houses and top fandoms.

We’re going at least one more month and I’m SO PSYCHED to move onto our next one.

After my sister’s bachelorette party, our friend Meghan said to Mary, “Thank you for curating a wonderful group of women.” and Mary and I took it as the greatest compliment.

I was honored to be a part of a curated a wonderful group of women yet again with this book club.

Also, we’ve all pledged to meet in person when we’re allowed, and while I also can’t wait for that, I also was so grateful for our call on Saturday, when I realized, OMG Jess and Maggie could talk about video games together, and Sara and Kristi had kids around the same age and so many other things.

What have we been robbed of by society keeping women apart and in competition with one another?

Not quite the point, but a little bit the point.

Anyway, I’ve been lucky in my life to drift into the orbit of exceptional women, and then to form real bonds with them, and to introduce them to each other.

Nerd Girl Book Club is everything I was hoping it would be. I miss talking about books from college and I miss women talking together, without outside interference from men, something I had growing up with my mom, sister and aunts, and in high school with IHA.

It’s hard to value something you’ve never known so I get why other people don’t value and miss this thing that was a part of my life for so long. But I’m so glad to have it back.


Introducing “Fangirl Recipes” In Which I Publish What I’ve Been Eating these days.

I’m working on learning how to write recipes in an entertaining and useful fashion. I’m not a great cook, but I’ve come really far from three years ago when I could basically only make Ortega tacos and a halfway decent Chicken Parmesan.

I do know I hate a whole story BEFORE a receipe so I’ll get the recipe in and THEN there’ll be the story at the bottom:

Recipe Assumes It Is a Lazy weekend. Hence the title. (Also maybe you’re social distancing and working from home, as I currently am, so you can make it whenever)


For Egg:

1 Egg – Room Temp
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
Ground Ginger, Garlic Powder, Kosher Salt and Onion Powder to taste

For Protein (I used Shrimp):

1/2 lb Protein
Same marinade as egg
1/2 Shallot 
1 clove garlic
1/2 inch ginger
Olive Oil 

For Broth & Noodles

1 Package Dried Ramen (Any flavor, I used chicken)
1/2 Bell Pepper
1/2 Carrot
1/2 Shallot
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 inch ginger grated
2 Cups Chicken Stock (Veggie or Seafood would probably also work)
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 lime, juiced

Ramen Egg:

Soft boil egg for 6.5 minutes

After peeling sit in marinade of soy sauce, rice vinegar, Hoisin sauce, ground ginger, garlic & onion powder, until you’re ready to eat. (If you have Sake people recommend throwing that in as well, I don’t keep Sake in the house, and I wanted to create this recipe with just stuff I had around)


Pick a protein, I went with shrimp this time, but I’ll probably try with chicken and tofu at others, and use the same marinade as the egg, let sit for about an hour

When you’re ready to eat pull out pepper, carrot, shallot, ginger, garlic 

In a frying pan Sauté half shallot, half inch of ginger and one clove garlic in olive oil for about 1 minute before adding shrimp sauté for a minute or so and cover to keep warm

Broth And Noodles

In a medium sauce pan sauté veggies, other half of shallot another half inch of ginger and a clove of garlic for about 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups of chicken stock, Ramen flavor Packet, 1/2 tbls of brown sugar, 1 tbls of sriracha sauce and the juice of 1 lime to sauce pan, bring to boil and add noodles.

Once noodles are cooked add shrimp and aromatics from frying pan to broth and noodles. 

Transfer to whatever bowl you’re eating out of. Slice egg in half and place on top of bowl. 

Slurp the noodles down with chopsticks, picking your protein out at it hits. Drink the bottom of the broth. It will have been sitting for about a half hour by then and be absolute heaven.

OK, so here’s the obligatory, Food Blog Recipe Story.

Like I said, I hate nothing more than having to scroll to get to the recipe through the story, but also, I wanted to write one and they can be useful for figuring out if the recipe is right for you. (I once avoided disaster when looking for a bolognese recipe by reading the story and seeing the blogger recommended putting the sauce over zoodles or steamed veggies. YES I AM GOING TO WASTE A SAUCE THAT TAKES ALL DAY TO MAKE AND HAS SOME OF THE MOST INDULGENT SHIT ON THE PLANET IN IT ON STEAMED FUCKING VEGGIES. I kept searching and found another)

Anyway, Saturday was really gross, so my initial plan of order a pastry and coffee someplace downtown, pick it up and walk around went down the tubes, so I instead decide to approximate some restaurant food and watch romantic comedies all day, and made breakfast tacos. (That recipe coming soon too!) And then, after two couch bound, still in my nightgown mimosas, remembered a conversation with my friend Jon a few weeks ago where we discussed missing Ramen. 

Not instant ramen, the kind you ate out of the microwave in college, but real, bowl as big as your head, packed with spice and umami and veggies and meat ramen, usually eaten after waiting for a table at least 20 minutes in a restaurant not much bigger than my apartment.

We also both miss bars with live music and karaoke and vowed to do all three in one night as soon as we’re allowed. (I’m holding you to this one Jon!)

So, I read a few Pinterest recipes to get the gist of the order I should do things. I really didn’t know whether to cook the protein and veggies separately (protein yes, veggies no), what to use to add spice to the broth. (Next time I might scale back on the Sriracha. It was HOT.) And specifically how to do the egg. 

Every version of the egg marinade called for Sake, but I didn’t have any so I skipped it. It was still delicious. 

But my general plan of “eat brunch at 11 and then eat whenever I got hungry” was a little iterrupted by the inaugaral meeting of The Nerd Girl Book Club (You’ll hear about them tomorrow) and also I drank all of the Cava I was using for Mimosas and switched to Rose. 

Hence the name of the recipe. By the time I was actually cooking (except the eggs) I was good and sauced.

Also, I maybe put too much Sricacha in the broth, because I had to go grab a sleeve of crackers to cool my mouth down. But otherwise I was thrilled with the whole dish. Or bowl in this case. I’m going to try it with both chicken and tofu instead of just shrimp but the shrimp was EXACTLY the right amount of protein. 

Also, I cooked and ate this ramen while watching Notting Hill and Four Weddings And A Funeral which are great movies for cooking to, if you’re wondering. 

Magical Movies Tour: The Rescuers

I don’t know if it was the quarantine, or that I watched this on a day with four other movies, or that Penny is just the saddest character in the history of the world, but I was very emotional watching this one.

Seriously, I think I cried four times and the movie is only an hour and twenty minutes long.

First of all let’s talk about that airy seventies guitar pop soundtrack. I love that crap, I did have to double check that it wasn’t actually Linda Rondstat singing the songs (it wasn’t it was Shelby Flint) like in An American Tail, which has a lot in common in this movie, as it is also about the secret paralell world of tiny animal people, and involved Don Bluth. (Bluth actually got bumped from this movie when the older Disney animators decided they wanted to work on it.)

Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart are wonderful as Ms. Bianca and Bernard two mice working for the Rescue Aid Society, an internation coalition of mice who help the helpless, and who meet in the walls of the U.N. (Like, so cute) They’re on a mission to find a little girl who’s message in a bottle was found by the society. That little girl is Penny, a six year old orphan who just wants to be “dopted” but keeps being passed over for cuter,, younger kids. (Oh I’m sorry, was that an onion ninja?) Penny’s been kidnapped by Madame Medusa, who owns a pawnshop near the orphanage and needs a little kid to go into a pirate cave to get a diamond.

It’s a needlessly complicated plot, but the whole thing is very emotional and seriously, every time that little girl opened her mouth I burst into tears.

OH there’s also an albatross who is also a plane? Look, I loved this movie, I don’t know what to tell you.

Next week is The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, which, if I know me and my emotional state, means I will be crying more. (And also technically was released BEFORE The Rescuers but in the same year and because Disney Plus sorts The Rescuers first, so I watched it first.)


We reach the end with Annalise.

Or the end of what I know. Next week we pick up with Athena.


The Marina Chronicle

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Marina rush through undressing me so quickly before. I have a feeling that I am about to be 30 gold pieces richer. I wish I could laugh, or tease her about it, but she’s vibrating at such a high frequency, and all I can think about is that Tristan is going away.

It’s been less than a year and the idea of life without him feels unbearable. I try sleeping, it doesn’t happen, so I do something I haven’t done since I was very small. I go to the basin that’s been set up in my bedrooom. I swept the small amount of water out, and grabbed the vial of sea water from the North Sea that Duchess Norvine gave me.

I’ve never done anything this selfish with magic before. Anselm would have been furious, and it feels somehow, dark, and wrong. I swallow…

View original post 399 more words

The Lady Of Winterfell

It’s been a year, am I allowed to talk about Game Of Thrones again? I know we were supposed to chuck it into the ocean and never look back, but I can’t do that.

Because I think about Sansa Stark a lot.

I grew up reading fantasy. I loved it. I’ve always loved it, but there were never girls I related to in those fantasies. If there were girls, they hated being girls, or what was interesting about them was that they rejected the world of girls. There was Alanna, there was Eowyn, there was Leia. Or they were romantic heroines, which I loved but wanted more. The flip side of that coin was Belle, Ariel, Cinderella.

There weren’t girls like Sansa. Girls who wore their femininity in all it’s power as armor. Girls who used embroidery and marriage and the selfish love of the men around them as weapons. Girls who loved their families and wanted handsome princes to come save them but when those dreams shattered didn’t cower but fought, not in battles but in the ways they understood.

I think about Sansa Stark a lot. I think about how she got into my blood and mind. And in the past few years, as I’ve let the floodgates open to more and more fantasy I see that I couldn’t have been the only girl who hungered for that. Because there are these books now, you see, these books written by women around my age, filled with girls. Some who are like Alanna, Eowyn, Leia, who put on armor and pick up swords and fight alongside men. Some like Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, who long for true love and princes. And there are so many Sansas.

So many girls who fit into their world of privelege and beauty and when it’s hollowness was revealed, didn’t reject it, didn’t say, “there’s nothing here,” didn’t see the other women held by it as stupid, shallow or weak, instead took those things and made them the tools of their fight.

Yesterday I finished Queen Of Shadows, the fourth book in the Throne Of Glass series. It’s going to be a while before I finish this series, because I’m waiting on Empire Of Storms and I’m the eight person in line for 5 copies at my library. But Sarah J. Maas’s series is full of Sansas. I had trouble getting into it because the lead, isn’t, and my GOD does this girl hate other women at the beginning of her journey. And that begins to unravel, slowly as the series progresses.

“I’m not like other girls,” is a hell of a drug. I’ve never understood it. I’ve always loved other girls and women, but it’s a really hard thing to kick in society that tells us that there’s no room for us to be who we are. But I’m so grateful to see that it is starting to shift.

I think about Sansa Stark a lot. I think about how overjoyed I was to find her eight years ago. I think about how she got an ending full of justice and triumph without ever compromising who she was.

I think about Sansa Stark and I cry, because she exists, in print and on TV for girls like me to find, and know they aren’t wrong or weak or stupid. There is space for them in these stories. And oh that matters so much.

The Ten Album Challenge

If you’re on Facebook. (Which I am. Too Much) you’ve probably seen the following coming out of your friends and family lately.

I’ve been nominated by *Insert Name Here* to post 10 albums, 1 per day for the next 10 days which MOST influence my musical taste, without any caption or explanation. I’m gonna tag a friend each day to share the same.

Well, 10 days ago, my sister Mary tagged me to do it, and since what I do, like all the time is talk about the media and art that has influenced me and hit me and made me happy throughout my life, the “no explanation” part was hard for me. So I journaled the explanation and I will now be sharing those quick paragraphs with you.

Day 1: Green Day Dookie


This is the album that taught me the glory of basic, 3 chords and some angst rock and roll. So much came to be because of this love and I still, to this day, will turn up the volume when a song from this comes on. (Hell, “Basketcase” came on the radio on Sunday and I cranked it and rolled down the windows.) This isn’t even getting into the “hidden track,” which is stoner humor perfection. “And did I mention…I was all by myself,” still makes me giggle.

Day 2 – Backstreet Boys Millenium


This is the album that made me fall in love with pop music. It also happens to have the three best songs ever recorded by a boy band, “I want it that Way,” “The One,” and “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely.” I will defend the music of this time forever, I will not however, defend the haircuts.

Day 3: Sara McLachlan “Mirrorball”


I like people singing sad songs with pianos. I don’t know why, but I do. I think a big part of it was being 11 when this album hit. But I also love live albums, especially from eras I missed. I was too young to really experience the whole Lillith Faire thing, but I’ve always loved the soft acoustic energy of that festival.

Day 4: Zac Brown Band Uncaged


I have a deep appreciation of musical artists who think genre is bullshit, and the person who I think does this the best is Zac Brown. He’s a country artist who refuses to discount his rock and roll roots for the poppier Nashville sounds, and Uncaged is the album that made me fall wildly in love with his ability to use romantic imagery to tell classic country stories. (“She’s a natural disaster, she’ll tear the land in two. She’s running to be running but that’s all that’s left for you.”)

Day 5: Original London Cast Recording Les Miserables

Les Mis

Look, choosing what Showtune to put on this list was practically impossible, so I went with my earliest memory, and Patti Lupone. Also, “One Day More.”

Day 6: Bruce Springsteen The River


This is the Springsteen that I love the most, the party song mixed in with the heartfelt ballad storyteller. I love Springsteen infinitely, but this album is my favorite, the one that clicked for me as a kid, understanding why exactly it is that my family worships this man.

Day 7 Coheed And Cambria Second Stage Of The Turbine Blade

Second Stage Of The Turbine Blade

There’s a piece of wisdom out there, which is, “you will always think the music you loved when you were 14 is the best.” And for the most part, this list isn’t that (it actually skews a bit younger) but I was 14 when Second Stage Of The Turbine Blade imprinted on me, and Coheed And Cambria came to be everything to me. It was like nothing I’d ever heard before and I’m still chasing that high by seeing them play live every year. (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let Manhattan be having concerts in September!)

Day 8: Billy Joel Songs In The Attic

Songs In The Attic

My father gave us all the incredible gift of loving the B side. Movies that weren’t quite hits, songs that didn’t make it on the radio, restaurants that you have to walk a little bit from the main tourist drag to get to. Songs In The Attic is that impulse contained in an album, a collection of songs that Billy loved, but hated the album cuts of, and that the record company wouldn’t promote. So he made an album of the live versions, and they’re perfection. “Miami 2017” and my favorite song ever “Summer, Highland Falls” make appearances too, so I can’t complain.

Day 9: The Postal Service Give Up

Give Up

Deciding whether to go with Give Up or Ben Gibbard’s other band, Death Cab For Cutie’s Plans, I realized quickly that in addition to the fact that I still listen to Give Up, in it’s entirety regularly. It also opened a whole world for me, as a teenager, to that whole synth based, indie rock world. (Basically the other thing up for this entry was the Garden State soundtrack. That whole scene)

Day 10: Carole King Tapestry


I am a white woman who loves rock and roll, to not include Carole king would be beyond strange. (Much like she isn’t in the hall of fame! WHY NOT? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?) Anyway, this album is the best, and everyone should listen to it all the time.

Anyway, those are my 10 albums and some little entries explaining why I chose them! Hope everyone is staying safe, still. Love you all so much.


Magical Movie Tours: Robin Hood

Is there a more magical moment in this era of Disney Animation (considered a bit of a dark time, if you must know) than the illustration of Alan O’Dale as a Rooster, coming to life on the page and explaining the conceit of this film, that it’s the animal kingdom’s version of Robin Hood, and singing, “Robin Hood and Little John, walking through the forest, Ood-a-laddy, Ood-a-laddy, Golly what a day!”? I can’t think of one, but I’m only two movies in. (I figure from The Aristocats to Oliver And Company) 

I loved this one too. It’s funny how as we movie closer to the time I’ve been alive (this is still a good 14 years before my birth) I’m starting to like more of the movies, rather than the previous every other. We’re not quite in my exact zone of nostalgia yet, that hits with Oliver and the so called Disney Renaissance, but I still watched these ones more as a kid than the early films.

Anyway, Robin Hood is a delight, the meta conceit that we’re seeing a version of the legend told over again, it’s a story about stories in it’s way, and it’s also got some fun character designs, even if they are mostly recycled, and the music is cute and catchy.

The love story feels reasonably organic, if cut off abruptly because the final set piece of rescuing the townsfolk gets in the way, but I still love Robin and Marian’s walk through the woods after the tournament, and the accompanying song, “Love,” which I thought was the most romantic thing in the world when I was little.

Unlike a good number of my generation and ilk (nerdy queer folks) I’m reasonably sure that Robin Hood did not turn me into a furry, largely because I am not a furry, but I can totally see why if you were inclined that way this movie would awaken it, because DAMN, that fox is ATTRACTIVE. Which is to say, I do agree that Disney made us all into a bunch of weirdos. (I blame my wild obsession with musical theater and poofy princess dresses on the company.)

Next week we talk about The Rescuers and their adventures in children saving and super 70s soundtracks.

Hello, Goodbye

Just one more week of Annalise, before we switch to Athena.

I swear I’m getting somehwere, but for the moment, well, that somewhere is inside of Athena’s head.

The Marina Chronicle

I was dressed for dinner and on my way down to the ball for Marina’s winter festival when I saw Tristan. I walked over to him and swallowed.

“You’re going?” I whispered.

“Yes,” he said softly, I took his hands. “Soon, at least, I knew we’d discussed it, but everyone is back now, and,” he sighed, “I don’t know exactly when, it depends on my grandfather.’ I nodded and hugged him tightly.

“I know why you have to go,” I whispered, “but I wish I could change it.”

“Lisette,” he said softly. “Don’t tempt me.” I looked up at him. “Of course you can’t help it.”

“Hello you two,” Athena said, “Tristan, The General wants to speak to you, something he wants done when you go up North.” He nodded and we let go. “You know he’s going tonight?”

“Yes,” I whispered, “I mean, I gathered. What do you need?”…

View original post 572 more words