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Hugh Likes Fiction: Idle Ingredients

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Idle Ingredients (Sin du Jour Book 4)
Written by Matt Wallace
Published by Tor

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Matt Wallace is back again with the fourth course of his ‘Sin du Jour’ novellas. Each bite-sized course of these epicurean Urban Fantasy series is an utter delight, and I’ve been looking forward to this one. As usual, Wallace doesn’t disappoint.
Still reeling from their last big job in Los Angeles, Sin du Jour line chef Lena Tarr goes on the lamb. Bronko and Nikki bring her back to the kitchen on the very reasonable assumption that the armies of Hell that are after them will kill her without the protection Sin du Jour provides. But there’s a new face at the catering company, ‘Government liaison’ Luciana Monrovio and Lena is immediately suspicious of the hold she seems to suddenly have over all of them, particularly the guys.
This novella is a bit more serious than the last three, but that’s not surprising after the major throw down at the end of “Pride’s Spell.” The thing I did like about this one is that it packs in a lot of character growth for characters we haven’t seen too much of before. Darren gets some nice page time, and really starts to come into his own, even as Lena is shown as more vulnerable than we’ve seen her in the past, and planning assistant Jett gets a cool arc too. Wallace’s strength is in keeping all of his plates spinning so flawlessly. Sin du Jour, as in his previous novella series, Slingers, has a huge cast of characters. Matt manages to breathe life into all of them, and progress their individual stories, in a breathtakingly short amount of pages. Each bite-sized book contains more character growth and personality than your average doorstop fantasy epic.
Sin du Jour book four, Idle Ingredients, is out now from Tor. You can purchase it from Amazon or wherever you get books.

Podcast: Update

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Hello listeners!
This is a short update to let you know what’s up with me and the podcast, as well as to let you know some of the other stuff I’m up to. Thanks for your patience and support!
Click HERE to listen!
You can read The City on Wattpad!
You can find my Patreon HERE!
and you can now listen to The Dark Wife on Audible!
Thanks again, and stay tuned!

The Dark Wife on Audible!

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Fantastic news, Friends!
After a lot of work these past few months, I’m ecstatic to announce that The Dark Wife is now available on Audible and other Amazon-related audiobook services!
This version of the audiobook is read by Veronica Giguere and is music and sound-effect free! So if you are the type of listener who prefers to hear the narration without any extra embellishments, this one’s for you.
The podcast version of The Dark Wife remain up at The Way of the Buffalo podcast site, and will always be available for those who can’t afford or do not have access to the Audible version. A central part of this project has always been to make this novel available for anyone who might need it regardless of their circumstances, and that hasn’t changed.
So if you haven’t listened to The Dark Wife yet, go ahead an give it a listen. And if you have, please review and spread the word so we can share this amazing story with as many people as possible!

Podcast: CCRC19: Voltron

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Watch along with Hugh, Opopinax, and Jurd as they watch the first episode of Dreamworks’ “Voltron: Legendary Defender!” It’s lion-robot-tastic!

Click HERE to listen to the commentary!

“Voltron: Legendary Defender” is available on Netflix Streaming in the US and Canada!

This podcast was originally posted at Skinner.FM on February 9, 2017.

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please review or share it! You can support Hugh on Patreon for more great content!

 

Podcast: CCR32: Metropolis

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Hugh, Jurd, Opopinax and Rich the T T consider the groundbreaking silent classic “METROPOLIS.”

Click HERE to listen!

And HERE to watch on Youtube!

Chrononaut Cinema Reviews is presented by http://skinner.fm and Way of the Buffalo, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

This podcast originally appeared at Skinner.FM on February 1, 2017.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it. Or, support me on PATREON for more cool stuff!

Hugh Likes Video Games: Letter Quest Remastered

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Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered
Bacon Bandit Games
Played on PS Vita
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On the whole, I’ve never gotten into touchscreen games on the PS Vita. The functionality works for the most part, but feels imprecise and gimmicky when I have a suite of perfectly good buttons right there. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised by Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered.
An enhanced port of a computer puzzle game, Letter Quest is a riff on the Puzzle Quest formula of mixing turn-based RPG and Puzzle Game mechanics. The twist is that the game in question is Boggle rather than Bejeweled. Players have a grid of fifteen letters to arrange into words using the touch screen, which works remarkably well here. Each letter scores points which the hero, a cute cartoon death named ‘Grimm’ turns into damage against an enemy. Each level has a few enemies that have different stats and abilities in addition to attacking the hero. For example, they can change the letters on you tiles or give your tiles nasty effects like poison or spikes for a few turns. Outside of combat, players can level up their abilities or tweak the design on their scythe or tile sets.
The puzzle combat is simple and addictive, as it should be. While the ability to level up attacks and boost particular word damage can allow children or limited wordsmiths to power through, the game has a long list of bonus objectives for completionists or players looking for a greater challenge.
As for the design, the monster and character designs are cute, and the remastered scores are pleasant but repetitive, but there isn’t much here in terms of plot. What story there is gets laid out through a set of comic panels players unlock as they progress. It’s all inconsequential and breezy, and seems almost as though these were assets left over from another project, but they all work well enough. The design doesn’t feel the need to justify itself, it’s just a pleasant background to try and rack up a ten-letter SAT word against. But that’s just fine for the price.
Letter Quest Remastered is a pleasant diversion for bibliophiles of all stripes. I played it as a part of Sony’s PS Plus collection, but it, or its slightly downgraded predecessor, is available on just about every console or mobile device store.

Hugh Likes Fiction: The Shootout Solution’ by Mike Underwood

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Genrenauts: The Shootout Solution
Written by Michael R. Underwood
Published by Tor
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Writing metafiction is a difficult needle to thread. Fiction about fiction can easily become maze-like and incomprehensible, and it makes the reader very aware of the author. By its very nature, it doesn’t suspend disbelief. Metafiction done well can be cathartic and clever. Done poorly, it just feels like a writer bragging about their MFA in literature. So I was a little leery approaching Michael Underwood’s “Genrenauts” novellas, but after finishing the first one, he’s managed to pull off something extraordinary.
Leah Tang is a standup comedian struggling to make her big break while holding down a boring day job she hates. When a strange man offers her a dream job, she is skeptical at first, but jumps at the chance.
She joins the Genrenauts. An elite, highly secret team that travels to parallel worlds and fixes problems before they bleed over into our world. Leah’s first mission is to help a desert town in Western World. But the Genrenauts don’t save the day. They put stories back on track, which is a much more difficult proposition.
Underwood’s concept of genres as alternate realities is fun and has a lot of possibilities to it. He gets to show off his own savviness with tropes and conventions, but giving these discussions to the characters rather than the narrator softens the rough edges. It makes for a quick novella read that gives old tropes new tricks. Making genres living, breathing worlds might not have worked in a longer book, but it sets the stage quickly and lets the reader get right to the plot without too much fuss here.
The other real strength is the Genrenauts team, whom the reader only gets introduced to here. Leah is the newbie on the team, and there are a lot of first impressions, but the characters seem to all have a lot of hidden depths. Putting them up against genres that often rely on stock, pulpy characters is an interesting dynamic.
Genrenauts: The Shootout Solution is a quick, delightful introduction to a novella series that is built on a great premise. I can’t wait to see what adventures the Genrenauts have ahead of them, and what other adventures they’ll have to fix. Genrenauts is available in ebook from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, MichaelRUnderwood.com.

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