Creative Commons license icon

lions

Review: 'Learning to Go' by Friday Donnelly

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

7087188.jpgLearning to Go is a sweet, romantic read with a light touch and plenty of humour; no mean achievement for a book with BDSM and abusive relationships as its core themes.

Rufus the tiger's life is stable without being fantastic. He's in a relationship with Victor, a lion, although they argue a lot. He's got a good job, although he works with Victor, which is a major cause of friction.

The incident that upsets the status quo comes early on: Rufus, reeling from another argument and taking advantage of his relationship's open status, hires the services of a sex worker to scratch an itch Victor has been unwilling to explore with him.

When professional dom Bennett, a German shepherd, arrives at his apartment, Rufus is able to see beyond his job (and his good looks), treating him as a person. He'd like to have Bennett as a friend, but this would dangerously blur the boundaries of their arrangement; most friends don't charge $200 an hour to hang out and chat.

Jaffa Books, May 1, 2015, ebook $5.50, 256 pages. Cover by Peta Fenton.

Review: 'ROAR Volume 6: Scoundrels' edited by Mary E. Lowd

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

roar6.jpgMary E. Lowd takes over the editing helm of the ROAR series from Bad Dog Books, taking on the theme of "Scoundrels" for this year. The 28 stories in ROAR volume 6 explore scoundrels from the light-hearted to the most dire.

Ms. Lowd went out of her way to look for writers who hadn't written for the furry fandom before and quite successfully brought back gold (along with fan favorites like Kyell Gold).

By the way, the table of contents is slightly off. There's a story out of order and the page numbers get a bit off. Considering the wayward story is about a dog being chased by his future father in law, you might say that he's trying to do this.

FurPlanet Productions, July, 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (294 pgs.). Edited by Mary E. Lowd.

Disney to produce new 'Lion King' direct-to-TV movie in November

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

Whoa; we didn’t see this one coming -- so soon, anyway. Multiple sources (abc.news.go.com; Animation Scoop; ComingSoon.net; Variety; etc.) announced yesterday that the Disney Channel will present a brand-new Lion King direct-to-TV short movie in November: The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar. The movie will be a prelude to a new The Lion Guard TV series that the Disney Channel will present in early 2016.

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar will be about the adult Simba and Nala’s juvenile son Kion, and his forming a new Lion Guard team – traditionally the pride’s bravest adult lions, to police the African savannah – with his own juvenile friends: Bunga, a honey badger; Ono, an egret; Fuli, a cheetah; and Beshte, a hippo. Their adversaries will include the juvenile sons of the evil hyenas in The Lion King; from the teaser, it’s obvious that the crazy hyena Ed has a son.

Further details are in the articles. More will be presented at Disney’s D23 expo in Anaheim on August 16.

Update 10/15: A new trailer has revealed the date will specifically be Sunday, Nov. 22.

Review: 'Blacksad T.5, Amarillo', by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (5 votes)

Blacksad Tome 5 Amarillo As is now usual, I want to thank Lex Nakashima for ordering this from Amazon.fr and loaning it to me for this review.

Spanish writer Juan Díaz Canales and artist Juanjo Guarnido met while working at an animation studio in Madrid in the early 1990s. After both moved to Paris, they met again and agreed to collaborate for the French comics market on this anthropomorphic crime noir/hardboiled detective series set in America in the 1950s, featuring feline private investigator John Blacksad.

The first album, Somewhere Among the Shadows was published by Dargaud in November 2000. The multiple prize-winning comics series has been published in 23 languages. So far there have been five 56-page cartoon-art novels, set in Hollywood, Chicago, amidst the Red paranoia/nuclear bomb-shelter craze, New Orleans and now the Midwest.

Paris, Dargaud, November 2013, hardcover €13.99 (56 pages), Kindle €9.99.

The Lion Blocks

Perhaps it was inevitable that someone would turn Lego toys’ popular anthropomorphic fantasy series Legends of Chima into a comic book — and Papercutz were the ones to do it. No less than three volumes of Lego: Legends of Chima have hit the stands now, in both hardcover and trade paperback editions. They’re written by Yannick Grotholt with full-color art by Comicon (yes, that’s the name). “Chima— a world reigned by animal tribes, divided by the battle of the noble lions against the evil crocodiles. In High Risk [Volume 1] Laval, prince of the Lions and his friend Eris, a warrior of the Eagle Tribe, engage in a training race on their Speedorz. As the two speed through the jungle, they stumble upon a Gorilla convoy transporting CHI that is being attacked by the Crocodiles. Will Laval and Eris save their Gorilla friends? Or will they become Crocodile Meat?” Papercutz has a web site dedicated to the series.

image c. 2014 Papercutz

image c. 2014 Papercutz

Review: 'Songs in the Year of the Cat', by H. Leighton Dickson

No votes yet

Songs in the Year of the Cat This is Book 3 of the Tails from the Upper Kingdom; the direct sequel to To Journey in the Year of the Tiger and To Walk in the Way of Lions. In those two, Captain Kirin Wynegarde-Grey, a genetic lion-man (yes, he has a tail) and commander of the Empress’ personal guard in a far-future post-apocalypse dynastic China (with touches of feudal Japan) that has forgotten its past, leads an expedition consisting of his geomancer brother, his snow leopard-woman adjutant, a young tiger-woman scholar, a cheetah-woman alchemist, and a mongrel-man (mixed feline) priest into unknown western lands. They encounter canine nomads in what was Mongolia, and really exotic animal-peoples in what was Europe; and they learn the true history of the world and the apocalypse that destroyed it. The expedition is much smaller when the survivors return to the Empress’ court in the Upper Kingdom two years later, just as the Year of the Tiger has ended.

In the Oriental Zodiac, the Year of the Tiger is followed by the Year of the Rabbit – except in Vietnam, which recognizes the Year of the Cat. (True; look it up.) In this novel, the future Vietnam is called simply Nam, and there is no word for rabbit. (In the real world and the present, the Vietnamese word for rabbit is ‘tho’.)

And so, we begin our story with the birth of a baby, the weeping of a dog and a cup of hot sweet tea, naturally in the Year of the Cat. (p. 1)

CreateSpace, July 2013, trade paperback $14.99 (i + 312 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Return to the Pridelands!

Here it is, straight from Variety this morning: “Disney is looking to get new mileage out of its Lion King franchise with a new animated series and TV movie planned for its Disney Channel and Disney Junior cablers. Disney Television Animation is producing The Lion Guard, a series that continues the storyline of the Mouse’s boffo 1994 hit feature. Lion Guard will bow next fall with a TV movie and transition to a regular series in early 2016. ‘We look forward to introducing a whole new generation of kids to both the Disney legacy characters and to new friends and heroes,’ said Nancy Kanter, exec VP of original programming and G.M. of Disney Junior Worldwide. The series incorporates strong environmental and conservation messages as it revolves around lion cub Kion’s role as a member of the Lion Guard group tasked with preserving his family’s natural habitat. Series will revive Lion King characters including Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa. Ford Riley developed Lion Guard and is exec producer.” Keep watching this space for news of the premier!

image c. Walt Disney Television Animation

image c. Walt Disney Television Animation

If He Only Had the Nerve

This month, with the second issue of the 5-issue mini-series Tales from Oz, Zenescope Entertainment focuses on the Oz fans’ favorite furry when Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Tales from Oz: Cowardly Lion hits the shelves. (Whew, long title!) According to the preview at Previews World: “No race in Oz is more fierce or proud than the Kavari. Their traditions go back hundreds of years and both Thane and Thorne have been born into tribal royalty as the son of the chief. Competition against each other since birth for the right to rule the tribe their rivalry reaches its climax when they both fall in love with the same woman…and must fight each other to the death to determine who will win her hand.” This full-color issue was written by Joe Brusha and illustrated by Miguel Mendonca. The furriest of several variant covers were created by Marat Mychaels and Harvey Tolibao.


image c. 2014 by Harvey Tolibao

Furry novella anthology 'Five Fortunes' to debut at Further Confusion 2014

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (6 votes)

Five Fortunes Fred Patten will have a new anthology, Five Fortunes, on sale at Further Confusion 2014. The 415-page tome, published by FurPlanet, presents five brand-new novellas by fan-favorite Furry authors, four of them featuring their popular characters or settings:

The wraparound cover is by Terrie Smith, illustrating Phil Geusz’s “Chosen People”.

Review: 'Wereworld: War of the Werelords', by Curtis Jobling

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (6 votes)

Wereworld: War of the Werelords It’s over! This is Book 6 and the conclusion of Jobling’s Wereworld series, which began with Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, and continued through Rage of Lions, Shadow of the Hawk, Nest of Serpents, and Storm of Sharks.

The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms and their dutchies, counties, and baronies are ruled by a Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”.

It could also be called the Lyssian civil war saga. The island-continent of Lyssia is divided into seven kingdoms (see Jobling’s map), often called the Seven Realms, dominated by Westland which was ruled by the wolflords.

A generation before the series began, King Wergar of Westland was murdered and the dynasty of the wolves was overthrown by the lionlords, whose leader, Lionel, became the new King of Westland and began exterminating the wolflords. The other six realms of Lyssia, each ruled by a different werelord dynasty – bears, boars, and others – grumbled but accepted the new order.

The Penguin Group/Viking, October 2013, hardcover $16.99 (xvii + 503 pages; map by the author), Kindle $9.78.

Review: 'Wereworld: Nest of Serpents' [and] 'Wereworld: Storm of Sharks', by Curtis Jobling

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

These are Books 4 and 5 in Jobling’s Wereworld saga. Book 1, Rise of the Wolf, was reviewed here in May 2012, and Books 2 and 3, Rage of Lions and Shadow of the Hawk, were reviewed in January 2013. The final volume, War of the Werelords, will be published on October 8.

The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms is ruled by a therian Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”. In Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, teen farmboy Drew Ferran learns that he is adopted and is really the werewolf son of the murdered Wolf King Wergar of Westland, Lyssia’s most powerful nation, which has been usurped by Lion King Leopold who has replaced the old wolf aristocracy with his own lion nobility.

In Rage of Lions and Shadow of the Hawk, the animal nations of Lyssia fall into civil war over whether to acknowledge Drew’s claim to the Westland throne, or whether they should acknowledge any ruling nation rather than declaring their independence; while the supporters of the Lions try to reconquer the whole island-continent. Drew gains allies, but he is betrayed several times, and loses his left hand.

How complex the series has become is shown by Nest of Serpents beginning with a Cast of Characters that takes four pages. Wolflords, Lionlords, Catlords, Staglords, Hawklords, Ratlords, Crowlords, Jackallords, Bearlords, Foxlords, Horselords – you name the animal, and there is probably a werelord for it. (I don’t think there are any Skunklords or Raccoonlords – but those are North American animals, and these are American editions of British books.) And lots of human commoners.

“Wereworld:?Nest?of?Serpents”, Jan.?2013, hardcover?$16.99?([xiv]?+?494?+?[4]?pgs.), Kindle?$9.78.
“Wereworld:?Storm?of?Sharks”, May?2013, hardcover?$16.99?([xvi]?+?454?+?[10]?pgs.), Kindle?$9.78.
Both by Curtis Jobling, published by The Penguin Group/Viking, with a map by the author.

Review: 'Tails from the Upper Kingdom', by H. Leighton Dickson

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

To Journey in the Year of the Tiger

It was hard to believe that a man could see twenty-three winters before he began to live. It is harder even to believe that his life began all at once, on one night, with the occurring of three obscure and apparently random things; the death of a bird, the flash of golden eyes and the first of One Hundred Steps. But for Kirin Wynegarde-Grey, it did happen, just this way. His life began, as all great and terrible things do, in the Year of the Tiger. (p. 1)

And that, boys and girls, is how to begin a novel!

It is the reader’s option whether to take Dickson’s Tails from the Upper Kingdom series, of which these are Books 1 and 2, as science-fiction, set about 5,000 years in the future, or as high fantasy.

This is a powerful, post-apocalyptic story of lions and tigers, wolves and dragons, embracing and blending the cultures of Dynastic China, Ancient India and Feudal Japan. Half feline, half human, this genetically altered world has evolved in the wake of the fall of human civilization. (blurb)

Kirin Wynegarde-Grey is a genetic lion-man, and there are plenty of other half-feline men and women – leopards, tigers, ocelots, cheetahs, jaguars, lynx -- in these two books to please the reader.

“To Journey in the Year of the Tiger”, by H. Leighton Dickson. North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, September 2012, trade paperback $14.99 (i + 343 pages), Kindle $2.99. 2nd printing, May 2013.

“To Walk in the Way of Lions”, by H. Leighton Dickson. North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, October 2012, trade paperback $14.99 (i + 347 pages), Kindle $2.99. 2nd printing, May 2013.

Ha! Thrust! Parry! Spin!

Chivalry and Knavery is an on-line black & white comic strip created, written, and drawn by P. T. Cooper. Now in its eighth year, this comedic sword & sorcery adventure strip is rated as a Reader Favorite on Belfry.com. It’s also made it up to #53 in the rankings at thewebcomiclist.com. Join Kira the fox wizard, Sir Toby the lion paladin, and Ulf the human barbarian in their many battles — both mundane and fantastic. Visit www.chivalryandknavery.com to see the latest installment. There you’ll also find information about P. T. Cooper’s two published novels (Rin Tin Tin and the Lost King and The King of the Cats), as well as a gallery of the strip’s characters drawn by guest artists.


image c. 2013 P. T. Cooper

Animation: 'Dorothy of Oz' becomes 'Legends of Oz'

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

Cartoon Brew reports that, “Now that Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful is a box office hit, let the Wizard of Oz remakes commence.” CB goes on to report via Variety that, “Clarius Entertainment will theatrically release the 3-D CGI pic Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return in the first quarter of 2014. We posted the film’s trailer last fall, back when the film was called Dorothy of Oz, and the reaction was tepid.”

Flayrah announced Dorothy of Oz too last September, and it did get 13 comments. The link to the trailer still works. See Tugg the talking tree, Wiser the owl, the marshmellow soldier, and the new anthropomorphic characters in addition to the familiar Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the flying monkeys, and all of the beloved others.

Review: 'Wereworld: Rage of Lions' and 'Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk', by Curtis Jobling

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (6 votes)
U.S. cover: 'Wereworld: Rage of Lions' 
U.S. cover: 'Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk'

These are Books 2 and 3 in Jobling’s Wereworld saga. Book 1, Rise of the Wolf, was reviewed here last May. Viking has ignored my request for review copies, so I had to wait for the Glendale Public Library to get them. Sorry for the delay.

The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms is ruled by a Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”. In Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, teen farmboy Drew Ferran learns that he is adopted and is really the werewolf son of the murdered Wolf King Wergar of Westland, Lyssia’s most powerful nation, which has been usurped by Lion King Leopold who has replaced the old wolf aristocracy with his own lion nobility.

Thrown into the Seven Realms’ therianthropic politics whether he wants to be or not, Drew finds friends and allies such as Princess Gretchen, a fox shapeshifter, and Hector the young Boarlord; enemies such as King Leopold and his sadistic son Prince Lucas, and the Ratlord Vankaskan; and those who may be friends or enemies like the dynamically charismatic but utterly untrustworthy Count Vega, the Sharklord.

“Wereworld: Rage of Lions”, by Curtis Jobling. Map by the author. NYC, The Penguin Group/Viking, June 2012, hardcover $16.99 ([5] + 407 + [2] + [7] pages), Kindle $10.99.

“Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk”, by Curtis Jobling. Map by the author. NYC, The Penguin Group/Viking, October 2012, hardcover $16.99 ([6] + 475 + [8] pages), Kindle $10.99.