Tag Archives: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

“Is that a guy following us with a knife? Maybe it’s a chupacabra.” (Kyle Kinane)

83. Tales of the Otherworld – Kelley Armstrong

In the introduction to this collection, Armstrong mentions that although she put these stories up on her website for free essentially as a thank you to her readers, they were still consistently pursuing her to publish them traditionally…which is one fun aspect of the great ebook debate. Currently at the university I work for, they mention repeatedly that the ebooks they’ve bought are being used. In the department I work for, if you let a patron know we already own a book in eform, they send you an email saying they want a copy they can hold in their hands. It’s an ouroboros. Armstrong’s solution to feeling like she had to sell something she was trying to give away on purpose was to make it a charitable endeavor and to add a new story – a lovely compromise. Tales is the second volume of previously free tales and although the other collection dealt exclusively with the male werewolves in her oeuvre, this volume still deals with some of werewolves, thankfully.

My “reward” for my readers involves these adorable photos of my guinea pigs. Look how free and adorable Ozma is. Freely enjoy

“Bewitched” – After Elena, my second favorite character of Armstrong’s Otherworld is Eve Levine. She’s a witch, so my favor surprised me because I really enjoy her werewolf stories more than any others, but she’s an ornery witch. “Bewitched” is the new, non-already free story in this collection and it’s about her relationship with Kristof Nast, the before-time of Savannah’s story. Yay!

“Birthright” – Logan’s introduction to his pack, of course, he didn’t even know he was a werewolf…oh, those absentee dads. He comes to Stonehaven and tells Clay he looks like he’s in a frat. I like Logan, he was much more levelheaded than some of the other wolves and so it’s nice to get a few more snippets of his character.

Ozma is pretty sure her birthright involves not being stuck on a couch with Horace and Peregrine. She’s not wrong.

“Beginnings” – I thought this was also the title of that two part Buffy finale where she has sex with Angel and he goes evil-Angelus. That’s “Becomings,” but in Googling to double check myself, I found that there’s some Buffy fan-fiction called “Beginnings;” I forget about fan-fiction sometimes… Moving on, it would have been a nice coincidence that both this story of Elena and Clay meeting and Buffy and Angel falling apart would be called the same thing, but they’re not, so… Moving on again. Elena struggling for money in college and being underestimated and antagonized by Clay at first is quite fun to read. It also really grounds Clay in his anthropological background, which always seems like it might be a put-on when reading some of the books. It’s there, mentioned randomly, but as someone who has studied both art and anthropology sometimes it feels like when they make Tara Reid a scientist in a horror movie. The words are there, but do they understand them? Having Clay act like that toward Elena proved to me that he is a solid visiting faculty member at a university. Throw in a scene of finding a book they said they lost a year ago in their office and calling the library to ask that they be reimbursed for the bill and it would be complete.

“Just bring your books back, Finny!” Ozma, as a librarian.

“Wedding Bell Hell” – Paige and Lucas get married. It’s like a reunion of all kinds of fun characters and a little mixed up but positive and that’s how Paige always seems to me anyway.

“The Case of El Chupacabra” – I never really expected Armstrong to branch into mentioning Chupacabras. Ever. They seem far too far south for her Canadian characters, but then again, there’s some stories in Miami, but it’s still weird to see Mexican goat suckers involved in one of her stories. I mean, it’s not really there, but, still. Weird. This one is a case for Paige and Lucas and of course gets in to all the Cortez Cabal intrigue and those aspects of the Otherworld have always bored me. I’m just not super into corporate/mobster/overly powerful dudes in suits doing shitty things or Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate-ing. I would’ve been happier if a real Chupacabra was in charge, which is why I keep capitalizing that word when I don’t think I need to.

Ozma escapes the plastic alligator skull, the closest thing I have to a chupacabra.




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If only we could do something about those wacky billionaires.

46. Stolen – Kelley Armstrong

Adding witches, vampires, demons, a mad scientist, and a sadistic billionaire to her urban fantasy (but this one’s mainly set in an isolated compound) series may have seemed like a good idea at the time for Kelley Armstrong. Second book in the series, throw in everything. And in fact, the Otherworld books are usually fun to read regardless of how many types of supernatural characters have been thrown in – besides, Charlaine Harris did the same thing and it happened on Buffy and Monster Squad and there are so many, many more. If one supernatural thing is real, they all must be! Here’s a kitchen sink for your trouble! It does get tiresome having to learn everyone’s powers over and over – oh you’re not all demon, you’re just half demon and a jerk- okay. On something else, you’d be super tortured and whining about not being able to find love or something…

In the context of Stolen, which came directly after Bitten – a novel dealing entirely with werewolves – it’s quite the expansion on what I thought was going to be a series dealing with the issues of one main species. And in the setting it has – some jerk billionaire uses his resources to capture and hunt different supernatural species, it makes it work. Armstrong’s female characters are very strong and very capable and I appreciate that. Even the imprisoned witches and Elena the werewolf are resourceful and making the effort to make do with their circumstances while finding a way out. It’s far more realistic than panicking and waiting for male characters to help them out…and sometimes it seems like stories have to be set in a fully supernatural universe for that to be truly understood.

Ozma, planning her escape from the couch full of pumpkins.

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Fighting my internal grammar.

4. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened – Allie Brosh

Much has already been said about this book, much. “ALL THE THINGS” have already been said. I too enjoyed Allie Brosh’s blog once it was pointed out to me by my friend David and I very much enjoyed reading the book and of course, as I also have depression that gets pretty serious on occasion (like lately, whee! By the way, “SPRING BREAK!” is my new shorthand cry for help/asking that you please understand that I do not feel good and I would like assistance with potentially slight cheering so I know I should stick around) this book means a lot to me. I’ve found that one of the things I consistently heard about it and the blog posts is that it helps people who don’t have depression understand how depressed people feel – and that’s true. It’s not like one of those miracle “As Seen on TV” things, it really does do that. So if you want someone to understand your depression better, it is a good idea to read the depression parts (make sure you relate, it’s possible you won’t) and hand the book to the person you want to understand and ask them to read the part about the corn nibblet under the fridge. (Side note, why is Word trying to underline “nibblet” like I don’t know how to spell corn words? Suck it, Word. Oh, that’s a fragment, huh? Whatever.)

I would like to entrust all you gentle and not-so-gentle readers with my own recent version of the corn under the fridge story, it’s going to be less skillfully told and it involves a clown and Sean O’Neal. I am a writer and people have purchased my works, I’m sure you can tell based on how well I am telling the story I told you I was going to tell you. Moving on, I am regularly on my own, a solitary woman who does like Neil Diamond, so, it’s easy for me to stay in my depressive states when they suddenly smack me in the head and say, “Don’t enjoy anything. … Keep not enjoying anything. … No one’s coming to ask you if you’d like to enjoy anything ever again, so, holding pattern.” Sometimes though, sometimes, I can find something to break me back out on my own instead of having to rely entirely upon my guinea pigs. On more than one occasion, that something has been an article by Sean O’Neal of The A.V. Club, who apparently also has depression. Ugh, I’m still doing a terrible job getting to the part that matters… Anyway, one time in the recent past, I guess it was July now that I looked up the article , it was a dark and stormy night in the middle of the afternoon and I was looking for reasons to keep my chin up on the internet. Normally a terrible idea. I stumbled across a Newswire article about the new version of Stephen King’s It with a droll title. I started reading, unphased even by the prospect of a scary clown picture and just past multiple paragraphs of graciously deployed O’Neal snark and a terrifying clown illustration was this sentence: “Plump, kissable clown lips—oh so kissable.” and I could not stop laughing. I nearly fell off my couch and found the will to live again. Anti-climactic. Thank you, Sean. Thank you, Allie. Thank you for putting up with that, Gentle Reader. Goodbye, most of my ability to tell a decent story using words.

Merricat, poised for a dramatic escape. Peregrine, poised for a dramatic nap. Spring break! Fight or flight or..sleep.

Merricat, poised for a dramatic escape. Peregrine, poised for a dramatic nap. Spring break! Fight or flight or..sleep.

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Have a good summer.

9. Freeze Tag – Caroline B. Cooney

Unhappy children may contain special powers. It’s a good thing Lannie can’t just zap people into the corn field…although freezing them is pretty close. Lannie uses her special power, the origin of which remains unexplained – I assume it’s something along the lines of the invisibility that comes over Clea Duvall’s character in the first season of Buffy- to wedge her way into a loving family, much to the chagrin of narrator Meghan. Lannie is just a little bit too sad for an evil character and unfortunately for her, freezing people isn’t as convenient as becoming invisible, so it’s very unlikely that she’ll be recruited as a spy. Downer.

A very unfrozen Ozymandias. He managed to find a loving herd after being rejected by his first family- and sort of got recruited as a spy by Danger Crumples.

A very unfrozen Ozymandias. He managed to find a loving herd after being rejected by his first family- and sort of got recruited as a spy by Danger Crumples.


1. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears
2. Shattered Me – Bass Drum of Death
3. Some Kinda Hate – Misfits
4. Asking for It – Hole
5. #1 Crush – Garbage
6. Frisk – The Big Pink
7. If I Had a Heart – Fever Ray
8. We Wear Mittens – The Gay Blades
9. Spirit Walker – Ween
10. Power – Fields of the Nephilim
11. Nekrodamus – Kvelertak
12. Withered Hand of Evil – Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
13. She Owns the Streets – The Raveonettes
14. When You Sleep – My Bloody Valentine
15. Everything Will Be All Right – The Killers

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The suspense in this book was a lot like the suspense in Parasite by Mira Grant.

14. The Fever – Diane Hoh

This book was a bit of a cross between the hospital episode of Buffy way back in the second season with Der Kindestod and Emergency Room , that oh-so-specific tale from Caroline B. Cooney. Duffy Quinn has enemies, apparently, and she’s sick. And she’s confident and has no trouble finding boys despite being in the hospital and apparently very ill, unlike her chubby best friend. Duffy is bed-ridden, but she still makes time to pity her pretty faced-chubby best friend…what a peach. She also uncovers a scandal in the hospital and is plagued by delirious dreams of weirdly squeaky noises and a malfunctioning wheelchair and all the volunteer workers she knows don’t believe her! Well, maybe they do. Especially after she makes her chubby best friend do the work to prove there is a scandal afoot. I guess it is helpful to have a friend who isn’t sick and isn’t so busy trying to hit on the hospital staff.

Mixtape 6:

1. Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer – Morphine

2. Fast Fuse – Kasabian

3. Sidewalking – Jesus and Mary Chain

4. The Sanity Assassin – Bauhaus

5. Naked Cousin – PJ Harvey

6. Aneurysm – Nirvana

7. So Long Goodnight – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

8. Running Joke – Queens of the Stone Age

9. D.R.U.G.S. – The Raveonettes

10. Eleven O’Clock – Morphine

11. Drain You – Nirvana

12. Hang Wire – Pixies

13. After Hours – Electric Six

14. Vomiting Mirrors – Clockcleaners

15. The Difference Between Us – Dead Weather

16. Ulysses – Franz Ferdinand

A beast! A sweet little beast!

Shortly after Danger Crumples made it to my house, I found that Thaddeus had symptoms of pneumonia…it was massively stressful. Six weeks of medicine later, all six pigs who took it pulled through and baby Danger never showed any symptoms. Now he’s three and a total beast.

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If the apocalypse comes, beep me.

47. Hater – David Moody

David Moody is a hit or miss author for me thus far. I was totally underwhelmed (“if that’s a word, I know it’s not ’cause I looked it up,” hee hee, Sloan) by Autumn and so I chose not to read the rest of the series. It probably got better. Hater and Dog Blood were both recommended to me before I knew that they were by the same author – and I have to say, I was much happier with the pacing, the characters, and the setting of Hater and its sequels. There’s an end of the civilized world for everyone. Some of them are more interesting than others and more action packed.

I’ve read that Guillermo del Toro has the rights to Hater, although not much seems to be happening with it. The recent World War Z adaptation made me think of what would happen if you forced the Haters from this series to mate with the dead on a global scale, and I’m not sure that’s necessarily good. World War Z was all right, as nearly the universe is aware by now; not much like the book I love so very, very much, but tense to watch and it followed an interesting journey. It was actually kind of nice to see so many location changes in a zombie movie, especially when each one was ruined in short order. I guess the global scale was the part of World War Z the film writers thought was useful.

As a fan of plagues in general, the fast zombies or infected people who can still talk don't totally bother me... but I will always have a special place in my heart for the shamblers. They're the ones I want for my own apocalypse.

Belvedere was really, really good at biting people in places where there wasn’t much between skin and bone. He’d be good in a epidemic biting plague.

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I wonder if Suze ever wandered down to the Murder House, they needed some exorcising…and less decorating.

6. The Mediator: Shadowland – Meg Cabot

These books are a very good mid-point between Buffy and chicklit. My impression of Meg Cabot has always been that she writes books that appeal to your traditional girly-girl, and I’m still pretty sure she does. These are the only books of hers that I have read, and I read them because they added something that usually appeals to me – ghosts. And they are very teen, there’s slightly forbidden romance, and Suze Simon is a very teen-girl character, she’s from New York, she moves to California, she judges everyone for wearing pastel colors, she worries about her fashions, and she tends to lost souls. One thing I have to say that I appreciate quite a bit in these books is that Cabot does not lose the family dynamic. Suze is a teenager, she has to live with her now blended family, she has to deal with rules and consequences that normal supernaturally inclined characters don’t have to deal with because they’re orphans or abandoned by their dad or they run away because of their calling, etc. etc. It is important to demonstrate how a character such as Suze can function in a real life context, obviously, she gets in trouble a lot. But, being grounded has its perks in Suze’s case, in the form of a house ghost named Jesse.

Anyway, in Shadowland the series kicks off with a poltergeist and a very normal teenager conflict – Suze stole this ghost’s former boyfriend. What a bitch. So the poltergeist tries to kill both her ex-boyfriend and Suze and Suze gets in trouble because her mentor-mediator Father Dominic would rather she tried the gentle approach when dealing with ghosts, encourage them to move on instead of straight-up exorcise them. But whatever works.

I made Pammy move this one time, and she did move in with Thaddeus, but they received a little house and a little bridge to hide under so no harm was done.

7. Ninth Key

The second entry in the Mediator series mixes Buffy with a little Veronica Mars. Rich people doing scandalous things, trying to trap young Nancy Drew-types inside their blazing inferno estates, Nancy Drew-types kissing the wrong boys and letting ghosts interrupt them, etc. My one real qualm with this series is that it really feels like one book with small asides. I guess Suze is, like, learning things about herself along the way and young people have short attention spans, but this was published in 2001 when Harry Potter and books the size of doorstops were totally possible. Maybe just not for girls, who were still expected to be learning to cook and doing their daily exercises of embroidery – or was that the seventeenth century? In our modern political climate, I sometimes get the centuries confused.

Pammy caught this goat all on her own in between fending off her suitors, of which there will always be many.

8. Darkest Hour

So, as usual I read this series out of order. Some jerky real teenager was reading book three when I needed to read it and so I had to put it on hold at the library and wait. Ergh. Anyway, the story had certainly moved along in this fourth book and Jesse the house ghost took on a much bigger role than cute dead dude. You know, there are times when I wish these books had taken place in San Dimas, California. San Dimas High School football rules! Anyway again, it seems that the house ghost/cute dead dude had an evil fiancee. Highjinks ensue and before you can say “Deacon, you ditched Napoleon?” everybody’s a mediator and/or dead. Well, deadish, as in for a time. Some people stay dead. Mostly the previously dead ones. Ghosts, eh? What’re you going to do?

Pammy narrowly avoids a kiss from Thaddeus, who is not an evil ugly dude. He has also never ditched Napoleon at a water park.

9. Haunted

Boyfriend fight! Well, one potential boyfriend and one creepy extortionist boy that’s not really a friend fight. Did you know that ghosts can punch you in the face? I bet there are several people who know that, and one of them lives in Las Vegas and spends a lot of time on his hair. As I mentioned previously, these books feel like one big book and that becomes much more apparent once the “real” storyline starts to pick up speed in book four. I do not recommend reading these without getting your hands on all of them simultaneously…which is more possible now that they’re being republished as multi-book editions – at least the first two books have been re-published that way, with a less colorful cover. It’s one of those “oh look there’s some random girl on the cover of this young adult book” sort of covers. At least her back is turned, showin’ some intrigue.

What? There’s a young adult cover without some photograph of a girl’s face looking serious on it? Published within the last five years? Blasphemy! Surely it is an abomination.

10. Twilight

The last one in the series involves time travel. Because that’s how supernatural ghost-exorcising powers evolve. Duh. But no phone booths. And it works out the way it needs to in order to be a teenager romance without a vampire involved.

Pammy is trying to time travel by hiding under this pillow. It may work at some point.

11. Reunion

So in the fourth book in the series Suze tries out a plot line that was later somewhat co-opted by American Horror Story and lets some previously murdered teenagers attempt to get their revenge on their still deranged killer. This is also the book where the main story arc kicks off. And I read it last.

So this one time, Pammy and Twiglet were on top of the pillow and it still didn’t work as a time travel device. A cuddling space, definitely, but no time travel.

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I wish winter was coming to kill Joffrey, speaking of angsty young men. Any minute now would be good.

12. Fade – Robert Cormier

Robert Cormier is a master of the young adult genre. He does not hold back and try to make things palatable and I really wish that it was easier to get today’s youth to read classic YA like Cormier; his work is excellent for youthful boys who think that only girls read. It’s twisted (this book particularly), it confronts angst and bleak feelings and situations that are very relevant to any young person growing up. Especially ones with tumultuous feelings. Everything is not happy all the time. And it can’t rain all the time. Ha.

Fade is as dark and mysterious and has as angsty a main character as the other Cormier works that I’ve read, but it also has some strange turns. It’s set in 1930s Massachusetts and the majority of the story revolves around this kid named Paul. In each generation of Paul’s family one person is born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires…wait, no, they fade. Paul is warned about the dangers of fading by his uncle and in turn winds up warning his nephew Ozzie about the fade. Paul also ends up writing a memoir which ends up in the hands of his distant cousin. The book covers three different generations of the family and gets to be a bit too long to be fair, perhaps Cormier could have taken out the random incest.

Random incest, you say? Ozymandias and Danger Crumples never had a chance to hit on their aunts, sisters, or daughters, like some guinea pigs I know…or the Lannisters. Sigh.

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Those wacky champions.

8. Buffy Season Eight: Twilight – Brad Meltzer, Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty…

So, classic couples twist. Okay. Right. I think this review, which pops up on Amazon as an example of the reviews, and rightly so, says it all: “The big reveal makes very little sense” – SJ Parker. Thanks, SJ, that’s exactly how I felt.

Let’s bring back that whole “cookie dough” discussion, shall we? Because it wasn’t hard enough to hear it the first time, and then that time during that Angel episode (I liked “The Girl In Question”, some people didn’t, but Angel and Spike banter is where it’s at when you’ve read many, many whiny vampire stories, it’s nice to hear them properly sound like five year olds instead of being expected to take the whining seriously), and now they’re here again- Baking! Oh the shenanigans!

Murderface does the lean of dissastisfaction.

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That I do, Sir.

7. Buffy Season Eight: Retreat – Jane Espenson, Joss Whedon, Georges Jeanty…

I don’t think I’m liking this eighth season deal. Now that May is unofficial vampire month here, I might as well deal with the confusing mass that is Buffy: Season Eight. At least in a couple of volumes. So I read graphic novels sometimes, usually only when they’ve made it to trade paperback collections because I don’t like to wait and I’ve never really been a Wednesday person. Buffy and Spaced are my two favorite television shows of all time. Sometimes Metalocalypse makes its way out of my mouth (obviously) when asked about my favorite shows too, but if we’re talking live-action it’s Buffy and Spaced at the top of Favoritism Mountain. Any continuation of Buffy is something I’m interested in (or Angel) but there’s something extremely off-putting about this series of comics. Maybe it’s the gigantic change in format, maybe it’s that some of what happened throughout the volumes would have been reserved for separate seasons if it were still a tv show and really that just goes back to change of format, maybe it’s my inability to remember what happens in these for more than an hour after I read them…but it’s not as much fun for me. I feel like I’m reading a Syfy Channel imitation movie of Buffy where now she can do absolutely fucking anything. Anything. And everyone’s come up against wacky new creatures who need no explanation whatsoever or context – Thricewise? If it’s a comic and we’re not restricted to a one hour broadcast time perhaps providing lots of context is possible. Maybe it’s possible! I should read the collections again but my first impressions of each volume lean mainly toward “annoyed” in retrospect. Perhaps some completely frozen CGI birds would help.

Retreat continued the disjointedness by removing some magic and presenting Oz, his wife, and baby and then some attempts at meditation and other happinesses. I’m still confused about parts of it and sometimes I find the idea that one could attain a totally clear head and be at peace irritating. Right now, in the middle of this stressful journey away from the enemy, they can clear their heads? Really? It’s just beyond my threshold of suspension of disbelief, behind the grazing pony and those frozen CGI birds.

Baby Belvedere has become the chosen one of his family – he did not use that positioning to mar the legacy of any late 90s television shows with extraordinarily random plotting or peacefulness.

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