Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Alma Katsu | Do Women Make Better Spies?
Author Guest / May 25, 2021

Alma Katsu is an award-winning novelist who happens to have spent 34 years in intelligence with CIA and NSA. Her first spy novel, Red Widow, the story of two women CIA officers pitted against one another in a race to find a deadly mole inside Langley, was named a NY Times Editors Choice and has been optioned for TV by FOX. In the world of espionage, it seems there’s finally a place for women—at least on television and, to a lesser extent, movies. Carrie Mathison (Homeland). Elizabeth Jennings (The Americans). Sydney Bristow (Alias). Maya (Zero Dark Thirty). If you look at lists of espionage novels, you’ll see that this is where things break down a little. Lists of the most popular spy novels tend to be dominated by male writers and male protagonists. If women write in the field, it tends to be historical fiction, standalone novels about women in the resistance during World War II or toiling away in the steno pool during the Cold War. And while these books are inspiring, as an intelligence professional it was a little disappointing to not see the work of my female peers being represented in literature. This was my main motivation…

Debbie Wiley | Blame It On Baby Yoda…
Author Guest / May 10, 2021

by Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley Streaming companies had a huge economic boost during the last year or so, and I have to admit I’ve hopped on that bandwagon. Normally, I watch very little tv and only go to the movies occasionally, so I blame Baby Yoda specifically for my latest tv marathon viewing, as it all started with The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda! After all, who can resist that little adorable frog-eating, egg-stealing, tiny force-wielding hero?! A few of my favorites since then have been The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and of course, this long-time Godzilla and King Kong fan couldn’t resist Godzilla vs Kong – the movie that made me want to go back into a theater even when it still wasn’t a good idea for me (and is why I now have HBO Max LOL). Obviously, most of my favorite movies and series to watch tend towards the sci-fi or hero themes, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. After all, my all-time favorite book character is Harry Dresden from the Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series as his heroism shines through even in the worst of times as he strives to do the right thing, even when…

Debbie Wiley | Finding Welcome Distraction in Urban Fantasy/Dark Fantasy Recs
Author Guest / June 18, 2020

Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley 2020 has been a difficult year–a global pandemic, economic turmoil, and racial injustice finally being called out. . . Discussions about how to move forward are hard to comprehend, let alone actually have. As a social worker, I am in a position to see and hear about these issues firsthand, and there is much more work to be done. While I find myself scrolling through news posts and continuing to work through the things I want to improve on, I turn to my favorite way to find solace during difficult times–books. Urban fantasy and dark fantasy may not be the genres for everyone during all of this, but for me, escaping to a different world is a welcome distraction for a little while. Thankfully, there are a plethora of phenomenal books out there to keep me entertained! DEVOLUTION by Max Brooks is one heck of a scary thriller, particularly when read during this quarantine, and I can guarantee you’ll think twice about all those modern conveniences we take for granted (looking at you, Amazon one-click shopping, lol). Mt. Rainier has erupted, and the tiny ecological experimental town, Greenloop, is now cut off from the rest of…