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A Backlist Fantasy That’s Still Timely

Most books from the ’90s can come across as rather, well, dated. But this book covers issues that are timely even today.

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Hello, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful and restful spring break. 🙂

Today I’m reviewing a book that’s been available for a couple of decades. And unlike most of my other reviews, this is a traditionally published book by a well-known author— Terry Pratchett.

So, which of his many books am I referring to? None other than Jingo.

Like other books in the vast Discworld Series, Jingo is packed with fabulous puns. And it features many of the Night Watch characters you may already know and love.

You might be thinking, okay… so what?

What makes this book so timely?

In a word? Islamomisia. (By the way, this post is a great primer on why to use -misia instead of -phobia.)

In this story, the British coded citizens of Ankh-Morpork are pitted against the Middle Eastern Islamic coded citizens of Klatch.

This book has mystery, murder, and politics with a big helping of humor. But it also points out the inherent inanity of racism. And it takes a healthy stab at sexism, too. Click To Tweet

If you have yet to read any books in the Discworld series, I can’t recommend them enough. Terry Pratchett was a brilliant author. And the world lost him much too soon.

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A Book With Magic and an Ancient Evil

Don't Let the Dryads in This Book Fool You #bookreview fantasy book, books, reading

Magical isn’t always better.

Don't Let the Dryads in This Book Fool You #bookreview fantasy book, books, reading

A Book About Fighting an Ancient Evil #bookreview fantasy, epic fantasy, books, book, reading
A Book With Heroes Who Must Save a Magical Forest #bookreview books, fantasy, classic fantasy, RPG style read, books, book, reading

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This is another NetGalley book I finished a while ago and haven’t gotten around to reviewing until now. Oops! If you enjoy epic fantasy, this book will be right up your alley.

Road of the Lost by Aidan Russell is slated for release in early January 2018. Personally, it took me a little while to get into this book, but that has more to do with my slight aversion to keeping track of kingdoms, deities, races, etc. If you enjoy complex and intricately-built worlds, you will love this book. And even for me, the story became more engrossing the longer I stuck with it.

I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the various characters’ supernatural abilities. It reminded me of various moves I’ve used in MMORPGs online, which was pretty cool. And some of the magical areas and creatures are painted with vivid detail that made me feel like I was right in the middle of things.

However, sometimes the flow of a discussion or battle got bogged down a bit by the insertion of description or purple prose. Overall, though, the pacing of the book is pretty good and picks up steam as you go. I am curious to learn more about the history of this world and see where the storyline goes next in future books.

Rating: 4.9 out of 5

P.S.: Read this review if you prefer more dragons in your fantasy.

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19 Dragon Blankets You Won’t Want to Miss

 

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As we dash into fall, it’s time to start thinking about how we’ll stay warm through the long winter months. My favorite way to stay cozy is by snuggling up in a soft, thick blanket. A nice, plush throw is the perfect accessory for a lazy day reading in bed.

In a pinch, a plain-colored blanket will do the trick. But you know what would make it even better?

Dragons.

Yes, dragons.

Dragon Blankets for Everybody

Everyone’s favorite fire-breathing fantasy creature will help you think warm thoughts through the worst of the blistering cold. Here’s a round-up of some top-rated blankets fit for a dragon lover.

1. I Love Dragons Baby Blanket


This adorable baby blanket features an equally adorable baby dragon on a corner of the blanket. How cute! The dragon print measures up to 10″ by 10″ while the entire blanket is 32″ by 37″ with a 1/2″ trim. Made of ultra soft cotton, this blanket is perfect for swaddling your little one to keep them nice and comfy. And the non-dragon side even had polka dots! Who doesn’t like polka-dots?

2. Dragon Queen Size Mink Style Blanket


This fierce-looking comforter is made with 100% acrylic fibers and measures about 79″ by 94″. Though not as heavy as standard mink blankets, this luxurious throw is just as warm on those long, cold nights. Incredibly plush and every inch dragon-approved.

3. Silver Dragon Mink Plush Blanket


This regal dragon is metallic enough to give Fairy Tail’s Gajeel a run for his money. (If you’ve never read the manga or seen the show, I definitely recommend it.) The blanket is 100% polyester and should fit most queen size beds. The captivating design is part of K2 Skate’s signature collection. Even though it’s machine washable, pilling might cause the design to lose a bit of its clarity. This might be avoided by handwashing or spot treating as necessary, instead.

4. Magic Dragon Super Soft Fleece


This purple dragon means business. Look at those vibrant colors! Measuring 58″ wide by 80″ long, this high-quality blanket is a breeze to wash. Unlike the Silver Dragon blanket, this one is 100% machine washable, quick drying, and anti-pilling. It even features classy black satin trim. This is the perfect blanket to step up your dorm room design game.

5. Dragon Sleeping Bag by Lovely Pumpkins

Okay, so this one is technically a sleeping bag. But, still. It’s soft, it’s comfy, it’ll keep your kids warm. It’s basically a blanket with a nifty little pouch that’s a comfortable size for toddlers through tweens. Though it’s marketed toward boys, this makes a fantastic gift for girls and nonbinary children, as well. Whether they’re camping, curled up on the sofa, or generally feeling a little drafty, this blanket will warm them right up. Plus, it looks like they’re being eaten by a giant dragon, which is pretty funny.

6. Green Dragon Korean Mink Blanket by Solaron


Want a dragon that can tie itself into near-Celtic knots? Well, here you go. This is also great for people who want blankets on the heavier end. Made of ultra fine polyester mink fibers, this blanket weighs a whopping 12 lbs. This blanket is durable, too. It features reinforced trim stitching so the ends won’t come loose. A fabulous comforter to keep you toasty at night.

7. Dragon Monster Fleece


Now that’s a feisty-looking dragon! This incredible and fiery design comes from a company called The Warmth. How’s that for an appropriate name? This super soft fleece blanket is easy to wash and fold. It also comes with black satin trim. Equally suitable for picnics or master suite bedrooms, this throw comes in three different sizes. Bonus: they will make custom blankets, too. All you have to do is send them a picture.

8. Red Dragon/ Dragon of Chaos Reversible Korean Mink Blanket


Double the dragons, double the Super Saiyan power. Or maybe they’re Twin Dragons? Puns and outdated cultural references aside, this is a pretty nifty blanket. Though not as heavy as the Green Dragon blanket, it weighs in at a comfortable 8 lbs. This queen size comforter is machine washable, dryer safe, and doesn’t shed. However, that won’t stop your cat from shedding on it. And odds are, your cat will love this blanket as much as you do.

9. Chinese Dragon on a Korean Style Blanket


This dragon seems mildly confused. I don’t blame him. This is another Korean mink style blanket. Super plush and cozy but not the top choice for an Antarctic winter. It’s a little bit lighter than most other mink blankets, and it’s made in China. Approximately 74″ by 90″, this blanket comes with a storage bag.

10. Mysterious Dragon Large Fleece Blanket


This vibrant fleece throw features an armored knight riding a freaking armored dragon. How cool is that? It’s like something straight out of the Dragonriders of Pern by Ann McCaffrey. Great for cuddling under and reading about dragons. Five stars.

11. How to Train Your Dragon Plush Throw by Northwest


Who doesn’t love Toothless? This children’s blanket features characters from DreamWork’s How to Train Your Dragon 2. (And the original.) I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out these magical films are based on the books by Cressida Cowell. But back to the blanket. Admittedly a little on the thin side, this is better suited for snuggling throughout the day than it is keeping the chills away.

12. Love Dragons Fleece Blanket

What better way to warm your loved one’s heart than to give them this sweet and super soft blanket? This colorful and beautiful design highlights the softer side of dragon kind, plus it’s uber snuggly. By far, this is the most romantic of the dragon blankets on this list.

13. Obscenely Cute Dragon Throw Blanket


It’s incredibly difficult to see that hatchling dragon without squeeing. Those eyes, those claws, that tail! Out of all of the the dragon blankets on this list, it’s definitely the cutest. This blanket is 50″ by 60″ and the design is printed using premium ink. They even offer a 100% money back guarantee that the obscenely cute dragon blanket you order is exactly what you receive. This item is great for student dorm rooms or as a lucky blanket when you go to a sports event. I mean, your team can’t POSSIBLY lose if they have a baby dragon cheering them on. Right? #DragonsAreMagic

14. DreamWork’s Dragons 2 Tapestry Throw Blanket by The Northwest Company

Toothless and the gang are back at it again. Hiccup and Astrid are all fired up and ready for an adventure. This woven throw features a colorful fringe on all sides and was made in the U.S.A. Dimensions are around 60 inches by 46 inches. Note: this is NOT a plush blanket.

15. DreamWorks Dragon Flight Micro Raschel Blanket

Though this isn’t the fluffiest blanket in the world, it is soft, vibrant, and easy to clean. This would be a good birthday gift for the dragon-loving child in your life. Especially if they like Night Furies.

16. Dragon Yin Yang Fleece Throw Blanket

This ferocious pair is caught in an eternal struggle for balance. I have no idea what the Chinese characters say. But this throw is 100% machine washable and uber comfy.

17. Anne Stokes Gothic Fantasy Art Asian Dragon Dancer Fleece Blanket

My favorite part of this design is how happy she looks. Even though she’s probably about to be eaten. This lovely blanket features officially licensed artwork and is produced by 2BHip.

18. Skyrim Emblem Dragon Fleece Blanket


This would make an awesome gift for the gamer in your life, especially if they’re a Skyrim fan. Incredibly beautiful and soft, this blanket is officially licensed and produced by a company called JUST FUNKY. This is the only one of these dragon blankets that seriously pwns.

19. Chezmoi Collection 7-Piece Dragon Jacquard Comforter Set

Now, this is a great housewarming or wedding gift for the classy adults in your life. This 7-piece comforter set oozes class and style. Out of all the dragon blankets in this post, this one is by far the most elegant.

That’s the end of the list! Which one of these dragon blankets was your favorite? Be sure to share in the comments below.

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YA Fantasy Book Recommendation

I love books.

A kingdom divided, magic-wielding monks, and a whole lot of dragons.

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Dragon God, by Ava Richardson, is a magical journey reminiscent of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern. The story opens with Neill Torvald, the illegitimate son of a powerful warlord. Neill has been sent to a monastery of the Draconis Order as a student and a spy. Can he discover the source of the monks’ magical power, and do they really control dragons?

His peers at the monastery come from across the three kingdoms. One of his fellow students, Char, is the illegitimate daughter of a prince. She introduces him to Paxala, a dragon she’s secretly raised outside the monastery walls.

But when Niell’s brothers grow impatient and attack the monastery in a bid to seize power, he will have to decide where his loyalties lie: with his warlord father’s domain, or the new friends he has made in the wider world.

~Excerpt from the official Amazon blurb

If you love magic and a good dragon book, this is the novel for you.

Content Warning Note: The world of the book contains a race which is named after a racial slur for the Romani peoples and also contains negative stereotypes. Neill’s mother belonged to this race, and he endures a great deal of racism from teachers, peers, and half-siblings alike. For more information on why Roma and Romani are more appropriate terms than the widely used “g*psy” word, please read here.

More by Ava Richardson

Website: Ava Richardson Books

Goodreads: 17 books

Facebook: Ava Richardson Books

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed this post! Is there a particular book or genre you think I should review? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time I’m…

Wishing you the best,

Ditrie Marie Bowie


Did You Catch These Book Reviews?

Issola · Reversion · The Dead Room · Naheli’s Sacrifice · The Reviled · After Jessica · Running Out of Time · Wixon’s Day · Little Computer People · The Book of Jhereg · The Adventures of Technicality Man · When the Future Comes Too Soon · Love is Love · The Bear


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Ditrie Marie Bowie (née Sanchez) is a Puerto Rican in British Columbia, Canada who writes fiction. She is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and co-editor of Strange Stories to Tell in the Park. Bowie is also the creator of the webcomic, This Writer Can’t Draw. A classically trained pianist and former educator, she has lived in three different countries spanning two continents. And she met her spouse in a video game.


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Fillius Glint Finally Comes to Print

Grab Bag Post

Taco trees, teleporting messenger squirrels, and a serious case of the houseplants. What’s a world of magic without a little mayhem?

Fillius Glint Print Cover

Physical copies are available to booksellers worldwide starting TODAY! Print copies feature a brand new cover and afterword.

Ask your local bookstore if they have Fillius Glint in stock. And don’t forget to add Fillius to your shelf on Goodreads!

Not sure what’s so great about this book? Still on the fence about whether or not it’s right for you?

To help you decide if this is the kind of novel you would enjoy, here’s what early reviewers have said about Fillius Glint so far:

“An animated, inventive, and infinitely entertaining sci-fi tale.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy Terry Pratchett’s books, who want to read a fresh and utterly different style, and who like fantasy mixed with humour and a dash of absurdity, in the most positive sense of the word.”

—Rabea Scholz, fantasy author

Seem like the book for you?

Fillius Glint

Thank you so much for stopping by. Please come again soon! *waves*

Wishing you the best,

Ditrie Marie Bowie


Image of Ditrie Marie Bowie
Ditrie Marie Bowie (née Sanchez) is a Puerto Rican in British Columbia, Canada who writes fiction. She is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and co-editor of Strange Stories to Tell in the Park. Bowie is also the creator of the webcomic, This Writer Can’t Draw. A classically trained pianist and former educator, she has lived in three different countries spanning two continents. And she met her spouse in a video game.


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LP QUEST

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I’m counting on you.


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Fantasy Book Rec

I love books.

Dragons, gods, demons, vampires, undead necromancers, telepathic shoulder lizards, and an ex-assassin. This book has a lot going for it.


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Issola, by Steven Brust, is part of the Vlad Taltos series which began in 1983. For those who are unfamiliar with the series, Lord Vlad Taltos is a witty ex-assassin with curmudgeonly tendencies and the ability to control magic. Being a witch helps. So does having a pair of telepathic jhereg (basically small dragons) as friends.

There are currently 15 Vlad Taltos books spanning a variety of points of view from Vlad to Rocza the jhereg. The ninth book in the series, Issola is written entirely from Vlad’s point of view. And Vlad’s a pretty funny guy. The book does reference characters and situations earlier in the series, which may be confusing to new readers. But don’t feel like you need to start the series at the very beginning.

One of the questions I’m most often asked is: “In what order would you recommend reading these books?” Unfortunately, I’m just exactly the wrong guy to ask. I made every effort to write them so that they could be read in any order. I am aware that, in some measure at least, I have failed (I certainly wouldn’t recommend starting with Teckla, for example), but the fact that I was trying makes me incapable of giving an answer.

Many people whose opinion I respect believe publication order is best . . . The choice, I daresay, is yours. In any case, I hope you enjoy them.

–Steven Brust, 1999, in the notes for The Book of Jhereg

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, action-packed-from-cover-to-cover plot, this is not the book for you. But if you enjoy witty banter, magical and transdimensional exploration, and a good, old-fashioned rock ’em sock ’em with demons and dragons, you’re in the right place. Issola dives deeply into the mythology of  Dragaera, pitting the ancient forces of creation and destruction (magic and chaos) against each other. It’s a fantastic read for a lazy afternoon.

Spoiler Free, Guaranteed

When the book opens, Vlad and his jhereg companions are living in the woods in an attempt to hide from the Jhereg (as in House of Jhereg and the Jhereg Council, which has little to do with jhereg, the really cool shoulder lizards). Presumably, Vlad did something in earlier books to get on the Jhereg’s bad side, but no details are given in this book.

Despite his precautions to guard himself magically and psychically (courtesy of the Phoenix Stone he wears around his neck), Lady Teldra locates his hiding place. The good news is Teldra isn’t a Jhereg. In fact, she’s an Issola and servant to the Dragonlord Morrolan.

Okay, so maybe Vlad isn’t super fond of Morrolan or his cousin, Aliera, but at least the Dragonlords aren’t actively trying to kill him. The bad news is nobody’s heard from either of the aforementioned Dragonlords for days, which is saying something because they’re psychic.

Lady Teldra teleports Vlad to Dzur Mountain to meet with Sethra Lavode. Sethra is a vampire. I’m going to repeat that. Sethra Lavode is a vampire. But she’s also an old acquaintance, so Vlad is much more worried about obtaining a cup of good klava (a coffee-like drink) than he is about becoming supper.

During their klava break, Sethra reveals her suspicion that the two Dragonlords have been taken by the Jenoine, entities with godlike power who were around during the creation of the world. Little is known about the Jenoine’s plans and motivations outside of their hatred of the gods. Not particularly a religious or reverent man, Vlad can certainly understand the sentiment, especially whenever he interacts with Aliera’s mother, the Demon Goddess Verra.

Still, he can’t stand by and allow the Jenoine to kidnap his acquaintances willy-nilly. Against his better judgment, he accepts Sethra’s request to rescue the captured Dragonlords.

Oh well, what’s a little cosmic battle with beings who control time and space? It’s better than hunkering down in the woods without even so much as a drinkable cup of klava.

–Vlad Taltos (Steven Brust) Source: Issola book blurb

Content Warning Note: This book was written long before content warnings came into use, and there is a lot of systematic crud many of us have internalized and are working through. That being said, if you are sensitive to ableist words and phrases, you may want to give this one a pass.

More by Steven Brust

Goodreads: 45 Books in 5 different series
Music: A Rose for Iconoclastes (also on Spotify)
Blog: The Dream Café
Twitter: @StevenBrust
Patreon: Support his work

Hope you enjoyed this post! I’ll try to squeeze in a book review every Wednesday from now on. Until next time, I’m…

Wishing you the best,

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Book News and an Interview (of Sorts)

Fillius Glint by Ditrie Marie Bowie

In a previous post, I mentioned that Fillius Glint would be available for purchase as an ebook soon. Here’s a quick blurb to let you know a bit more about the general mood of the book:

When you are an adult, living with your parents can be awkward. All Nigel Iffik wants is one quiet night alone with his hand. Instead, he unwittingly unleashes a malicious virus which infects his entire family’s network of electronics and Universe Growers. Trillions of sentient beings succumb to destruction as his sister, Nancy, scrambles to undo the damage to her mostly unprotected Universe Grower. Will the anti-viral protocols stop the digital onslaught in time?

Follow four residents of one such endangered universe as they chomp tacos, battle the absurd, and uncover a secret that will change their lives forever.

If that sounds remotely entertaining to you, (and my beta reader assured me it was) then fantastic news! It’s available for pre-order now on:

Amazon

iBooks

Kobo

This list is still being updated, so don’t forget to check my Books page for the most up-to-date information.


And Now the Interview-ish Section

Thanks to Utterly Write for the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination. Dispensing with the rules, I hereby tag anyone who reads this post. Participation is entirely up to you. You can copy and paste the same questions or come up with eleven of your own.

  1. What is your favorite book and why? This question is impossible for me to answer because various books are important for so many different reasons. I love the opening line of Fahrenheit 451, the magical humor of Jim C. Hines, Jim Butcher, and Terry Pratchett. I think The Jungle is a difficult, heart-breaking book that should be mandatory reading for politicians. Of course, there’s Harry Potter and the Dragonriders of Pern. And for nonfiction, I also greatly enjoyed Climbing the Mango Trees. I don’t generally read nonfiction, but that book introduced me to the concept of taste memory. As someone with a dull palette, it gave me access to a world which I never knew existed.
  2. If you had the chance to be immortal, would you be? Only if my husband could remain immortal as well. And if there were extreme health complications involved with immortality, I would rather stay mortal.
  3. Describe your favorite character you have written. My favorite character that I’ve written so far is in my upcoming novel, Fillius Glint. Unfortunately, I can’t talk much about him without some spoilers, so I’ll have to hold my tongue on that one.
  4. If you were an animal what animal would you be? Why? An echidna because this looks like fun:
  5. If you had the chance to live in a dystopian fictional universe of your choice would you? (But all the problems would remain unsolved) Nope, nope, nope.
  6. Name one (or more!) odd writerly thing you do. I try not to get into the habit of doing odd things around writing. I was diagnosed with super mild OCD in my early twenties and have found that avoiding rituals altogether (however painful that is sometimes) really helps me tone the illness down. To be clear, I am in no way suggesting other people with OCD can simply stop their rituals of their own will. This is simply what works for me. Lately, though, I have found myself wearing specific articles of clothing when I work on certain characters or listening to the Westworld intro theme on loop when I was at a particular stage of the editing process for Fillius Glint. (For my master’s thesis script, I had the Inception soundtrack on loop). And there’s always lots of pacing involved when I write; circulation helps me think better.
  7. What book do you really want to be turned into a movie? I don’t. Haha. Movie act structure is incredibly different from a novel. It’s leaner, cleaner. But when you take a detailed, in-depth book and translate it to film, you get a pixelated version of the overall story. The film may be fantastic, but it will rarely hold up to the original. I’d rather see the movie first and then read the book for more depth, but I dislike going the other way around.
  8. What was the weirdest thing you wrote about? Oh gosh. Fillius Glint is kind of weird. To be honest, I forget most of what I write once it’s finished. My friends have shown me pieces I’d written years ago, and I have a hard time recognizing those stories as my own. It’s entirely possible I’ve written about wildly unusual things that are simply floating out there in cyberspace somewhere. I have no idea.
  9. Would you rather write something which you are really proud of but everyone hates, or write something you hate but everyone loves? Why? The latter because I hate all of my work at one point or another. At least the second way, I’m able to reach people and hopefully impact their lives for the better.
  10. Invent a worldwide event/ holiday and describe it. International Political Jungle Day. All politicians worldwide read The Jungle or similar books appropriate for their culture in their native language. They can gift each other boxes of tissues as their hearts grow three sizes that day. And the world would be a better place.
  11. Pitch your current WIP (Work In Progress) in exactly 11 words. Nested universes. Mistakes are made. Magical mayhem. Misfits uncover a secret.

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Character Spotlight: Jim C. Hines’ Jig the Goblin

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a stickler for reading a series in order. I literally pull books off the shelf at random. But I’m excited for the day that chance leads me to the third book in this trilogy (which I’m almost certain we have buried around here somewhere).

And I’m looking forward to it because Jig the Goblin is that much fun.

He’s a scrappy little guy with a pet fire spider, Smudge. And he’s not very brave. In fact, he’s excellent at running away and hiding. But when the universe nudges him out of the daily grind, he fumbles his way through it with extraordinary results.

To get a taste of what makes Jig so loveable, here’s a brief excerpt from Goblin Quest where he interacts with some adventurers:

“Where are you going?” Jig asked. “And what’s a cartographer?” He couldn’t figure out what carts had to do with anything. Unless they planned to build a cart to carry the treasure out with them. That made sense.

Haha, isn’t that great?

If you love fantasy, especially of the RPG and tabletop variety, you’ll recognize many of those elements at play here. Through Jig’s eyes, we get to see an adventure from the low-level mob’s perspective. And it’s a fascinating role-reversal that has you rooting for the monsters in the best possible way.

If you haven’t met Jig yet, I can’t recommend these books enough.

Bonus: Jim C. Hines supports the transgender community and victims of rape. He may not be a goblin, but he’s a hero to me.


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