Book Review: This Strange Way of Dying

This Strange Way of Dying: Stories of Magic, Desire & the Fantastic  by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


 Review by Gnu aka "Nu" is a Muslim Arab-American lifelong SFF nerd interested in diversity representation in media and media criticism. She loves to share works that wow her and for best odds, prioritizes works written by underrepresented people themselves. For more international film, gaming, and comics commentary, catch her at her WordPress blog, or connect with her on Goodreads as "New_User." 

quote open I don’t typically enjoy genre anthologies, but Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s spare, literary voice, the Mexican folklore, the relevant themes, and the eerie, gothic atmosphere made the pages fly in This Strange Way of Dying

Scales as Pale as Moonlight: Divorced after repeated attempts to conceive, Laura is still haunted by the memory of a still birth. Initially, I dreaded a premise reminding me of romance protagonists who lament their “empty wombs” and devalue themselves, but despite her grief, Laura doesn’t blame herself, as her family does, she doesn’t succumb to gaslighting or allow them to undermine her self-confidence, and she’s still independent. Every protagonist wavers and regains their confidence, but Laura’s memories of a confident girl, the self-disgust and defiance felt so authentic.

She’d been brave. Headstrong and fearless. Not like the heroine of the novel, never sniveling in the dark, never wavering as a candle sputtered. Hunting snakes without shivering..

I really empathized with a woman who, after disaster strikes as it may anyone, has lost her right to self-determination according to those around her, the assigning of blame on her for an act of God, suspicion toward a person afflicted with depression, the culture that values a woman on whether she has children or not. Smart commentary.

Maquech: Love! Mayan folklore and social class. When I read about the live beetle as jewelry, I thought they sounded beautiful and entrancing. I had no idea they were real! o.o

Stories with Happy Endings: Journalists are vampires, LOL. I liked the irony in this one. They’re tough, them.

Bed of Scorpions: I didn’t believe what I was reading at first. A lyrical but disturbing story.

Jaguar Woman: Regarding colonialism. Smart, empowering, ferocious, the focus is on the “Jaguar Woman,” not the colonizer. Man, I loved this, **** yes.

Nahuales: Sexual harassment. Except for that, the shapeshifters would make a great urban fantasy! LOL. Seriously, I want to see Moreno-Garcia write this.

The Dopplegangers: Wishing your parents were someone else. Yep, you can probably relate.

Driving with Aliens in Tijuana: Tentacles. o.o

Flash Frame: I did not get this one, but it disturbed me because cults always do.

Cemetery Man: Zombies and the Mexican Revolution. Make this an urban fantasy now. An undead badass soldadera winning free of her mad scientist maker, hello, c’mon, what’s the hold up?

The Death Collector: Serial killers and a comment on all the people dying in the City.

This Strange Way of Dying: Beautiful romance with Death.

Bloodlines: Witches! (Brujas.) The only witch story I’ve ever liked! Apparently, you have to go pretty dark, LOL. Murder, hereditary insanity, scorned women, and parricide. Plus, bullying and cutthroat hierarchy.

Shade of the Ceiba Tree: Human sacrifice. o.o Ethereal, haunting imagery and shades of Hunger Games.

Snow: Ambition. Chilling in more ways than one.

Edgy short stories with a punch, they mesh relevance and culture seamlessly, and wow, is it a relief to read unapologetic, strong women! We need more voices like this in the genre! I’m looking forward to reading more of Moreno-Garcia’s work! Four stars!close quote


You may have heard about BookCon 2014? It’s the big, grand, open-to-the-public day of Book Expo America, which is the largest book event in the country. And what did BookCon organizers do? Well, they created a line-up of literary luminaries consisting of 29 white people and a cat.  Maybe they haven’t read any of these authors.

The Stone Lions
by Gwen Dandridge
Diary of a Part-Time Ghost (Ghosts & Shadows #1)
by Vered Ehsani
Parable of the Sower / Parable of the Talents / Kindred (Earthseed #1 -2)
by Octavia E. Butler
Three Parts Dead (Craft Sequence #1)
by Max Gladstone
Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)
by Nnedi Okorafor
The Privilege of the Sword (Riverside, #2)
by Ellen Kushner
by Malinda Lo
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
by NK Jemisin
Ring (Ring #1)
by Koji Suzuki, Robert B. Rohmer (Translator), Glynne Walley (Translator)
Keep adding titles for young people and children in the comments below.

Diverse Recommendations

Goodreads readers always come through. I went on various groups and asked for recommendations for PNR and SF with diverse MCs. And woo-hoo, GR readers came thru! lol. In retrospect, I see I should have hit up only one group a day or a week. I have LOTS of books to add. But anyway, I’m starting a special shelf, even if it takes me a little while to get to them all.
I flooded my update feed with books until I remembered to turn off the option for books. There are many more to go. If you want to check them out, here’s the book shelf link-


If you have some recommendations please put them in the comments below.

Annoying Heroines

I was discussing the books by Karen Marie Moning in the Fever series. fever
I was annoyed b the heroine, Mac, from the very first book in the series and never really found her any better. However I often find the heroine of the super bad boys books annoying. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not just my jealous nature showing it’s face. :} No woman could live up to what I want for my ideal man. And of course I’d love it if I was the kind who could attach that ideal man. Am I nuts for thinking this way?

Some recent book reviews.


I’m crazy about Paranormals. Here’s my take on some I recently read. What do you think?

RetributionRetribution by Denise Jeffries
My rating: “>4 of 5 stars

Exciting adventure that keeps you breathless from beginning to end. Vampires and werewolves, oh my!

Bear's Gold (Erotic Shifter Fairy Tales)Bear’s Gold by Yvette Hines

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So sweet. Sexy hero. This erotic take on the 3 bears fairy tale made me smile.

View all my reviews

From a work in progress


So they’re going forward quickly. It’s the point where he’s supposed to leave them.


What do they need from each other?


He feels lonely and like he lets people down.


She feels like a sexless, rational being. She needs him to make her feel feminine and alive. She sees him as a distraction.


He sees himself not being able to help her.


He is driven to help her. she makes him feel less lonely.


He makes her feel feminine and beautiful. But they each have to do what needs to be done. He has to find his sister. He can’t let himself be happy until he knows his sister is safe.




At the saloon they could have a shootout. She starts fussing about the .


Bd comes after her, angry with her about the way she’s throwing herself into another confrontation. He carries her out.


“You don’t have to keep rescusing me.”


“I’m not goig to leave you to suffer the consequences of your big mouth.”




He pressed her against the wall with his body. “Promise me, you’ll take care of yourself when I’m gone, Camilla.”


“BD, I do what I have to do.”


He makes love to her.