I found myself with a lot of questions after I finished reading this book. Devlin expertly weaves a tale in which not only is the narrator unreliable, but the entire world is unreliable. Every story has multiple sides, and every perception is skewed by the lens each person is looking through. I was both horrified and intrigued, unable to decide who was telling the truth. Perhaps they all were. And Then I Woke Up isn't terrifying for its monsters, but for the idea that perhaps we are the monsters.
In a future devastated by war and suffering the effects of climate change, Marcia is asked to join a rescue effort for a missing recovery team. As the story moves through an environment, even foreign to Marcia, a native of the area, she thinks back on her time in the war and the terrible creatures she fought. Though the AI, Queen of Reason, Athena Parthenus, has been "killed," something strange is happening in the hills of Kentucky. Raw with emotion, Rowe depicts a world besieged by mystery and foreboding. These Prisoning Hills is a great novella for those who enjoy a grim post-apocalyptic story.
Pandora's Jar is a refreshing review of some of the women of Greek myth. Haynes challenges who they are portrayed as in media and modern retellings, and who they were to the storytellers who wrote about them. Far from monsters, villains, victims, or shadows behind their male hero counterparts, they are complex human beings with their own incredible stories to tell. This is an excellent pick for anyone who loves Greek mythology, and anyone wanting to learn more about the women the stories portrayed.
Sad and sweet and wonderful. Premee writes relationships with all of their complications and struggles with raw emotion. Great post-apocalyptic story for those who want a little more hope to accompany it.
Goliath sets us down on a not-so distant future Earth destroyed by disease, climate change, and war. Those left behind to inherit the skeletal remains of society fight each day to survive as they watch their communities waste away. As dark and grim as the world is, though, Tochi Onyebuchi gives us characters fully alive with voices to lend to the fight against racism and gentrification. On every page is a deeply profound honesty and poignant thoughtfulness that cannot and should not be ignored. I am once again blown away by the magic of his words and the power of his stories. Everyone needs to read Goliath.
The Merovingians, steeped in mystery and left in the shadows of lost history, once ruled a fractured Frankia. In the 6th century CE, Frankia was divided into four kingdoms that were constantly at each others' throats. Enter Fredegund and Brunhild, two fiercely intelligent women who maneuvered through politics, war, and disease with the skill of an expert chess player. Between assassination attempts, both successful and not so much, dysentery, and the loss of their husbands, these women fought against the roles their genders would have them resigned to. Shelley Puhak's research and determination to give these queens their due is undoubted as she tells the story. The Dark Queens is possibly one of the most powerful stories ever told.
As a writer and avid reader, I've read my fair share of books on writing. I've explored the advice of more authors than I can name, and done the writing exercises. But none of them did for me what Never Say You Can't Survive has. Charlie Jane Anders, one of the most empathetic, kind people in the world, has given us permission to enjoy writing again. She tells us how to refuse to feed the imposter syndrome and lock it away. She teaches us how to wield the tools we already have.
I cannot express just how much this book has helped me and how much I appreciate Charlie Jane Anders. Every fiction writer should read this book!
Natalie Haynes refuses to let us forget the women whose lives were forever changed by the Trojan War. Their voices are clear and pure, demanding and fierce.
Calliope demands the poet tell the story of the women affected by the Trojan War. Their grief, their tragedies, their fierce determination. Tolls on both sides, taken without mercy. A Thousand Ships is beautifully written, the prose poetic and full of passion. This is the book for anyone looking for a story of tragedy, courage, and strength.
Isabel Wilkerson is thoughtful, passionate, and hopeful even as she speaks about the atrocities of slavery and Jim Crow.
This one took me longer than usual to get through. There were a lot of times I felt uncomfortable hearing the things that did and still do happen to those who aren't considered to be a part of the upper caste. But if you're not uncomfortable when talking about race, I think you're doing it wrong.
Dex is a monk who dedicates their life to helping and being present for others. But something is missing, and they can't help but answer the call when the voice inside them screams for purpose. A Psalm for the Wild-Built is the perfect example of Becky Chambers' mastery of character creation and development. The emotional responses of her characters, relatable in every respect, demands an equal emotional response from her readers.
Becky Chambers is one of those authors whose optimism weaves expertly through stories of hardship and loss. I will never pass by an opportunity visit her incredible worlds.
N. K. Jemisin is totally incapable of writing a book I don't love with all of my soul. Whether it's a fantasy involving gods, a dystopian post-apocalyptic nightmare, or a city literally fighting to be born and survive multidimensional monsters, she is THE Master of creative world building and deep, moving characters. I cannot stress how amazing this book is. Go forth and get it now!
The final book in Becky Chambers' Wayfarer series is one I lost quite a few hours of sleep over. The Galaxy, and The Ground Within is the poster child for Chambers' mastery of pacing and diverse world building. Her characters, strange as some of them may seem to us, jump out from the pages as if they were truly alive. She manages to build real tension even in scenes with little action. And within it all is a message about differing cultures and their points of view.
I've fallen in love with the universe she created and all of those who exist within it. Anyone who enjoys space operas needs to read these books.
Antiquity Grey is born into the life of an outcast. "Grey-shamed" by the rulers of her city, and bullied by other members of her community, she is determined to prove her worth. With the help of friends and former enemies, she takes on the greatest threat of all; The Imperium.
This was a fast-paced thrill ride through a climate-changed world filled with giant robots and bad guys with swords and laser guns. Myth and tech collide, creating the perfect recipe for a science fantasy adventure.
Martha Wells digs deep into what it means to be a person, human or otherwise. Murderbot returns, this time to solve a murder mystery while trying to stay out of trouble. While its friends defend its personhood, the rest of the humans need a little more convincing that they have reason to trust it. What is a person and what rights does a person have when they aren't quite human? Should a human/bot construct known for its violent tendencies be allowed to live freely among the rest of society? The Murderbot Diaries is one of the smartest series in science fiction, making every reader question themselves and their notions of what makes a person a person.
Winner of the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction * Finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction * Finalist for the PEN/E.O.
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The Known Universe may be vast, but Niko Larson and her crew have seen a lot of it. They're all set to settle down to a simple life when everything that can go wrong does.
You Sexy Thing is a story of love, hate, adventure, and tragedy. Between space pirates, alien love affairs, clandestine military organizations, and a sentient ship, I could not put this one down. I laughed. I cried. I flipped the pages well past my bed time.
Cat Rambo brings to life characters both beautiful and repulsive. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a rocking space adventure.
NEW YORK TIMES • 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2021
New York Times • Times Critics Top Books of 2021
New York Times Bestseller
Annalee Newitz is my favorite optimist. Their view of history and outlook on the future brims over with a thoughtfulness most historians overlook. While most cities fall--time buries them in sand, jungles reclaim them, and oceans drown them--the people and their cultures live on. This book is perfect for lovers of history and anthropology, and anyone who wonders what the future holds for our cities.
What can I say about Women and Other Monsters other than READ THIS NOW!?
I picked this book up with full-blown curiosity, ignited by my love of mythology and strong belief in the women's rights movement. Jess Zimmerman uses her own life experiences, mingled with monsters of ancient myth, to bring light to the ugly truth of what it means to be a woman. We are monsters--for our individuality, determination, free spirits, desires and ambitions, and our less-than-perfect bodies. At least that's what the world wants us to believe. I found pieces of myself in every chapter, and discovered just how much I wanted that to change. I highly recommend this book to women of all colors and ages, trans women, non-binary gentlefolk, and those looking for insight.
The emotionally-charged, wild ride of Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark was one I did not want to end. Clark pulled me into the life of Maryse and her band of monster hunters, and held me hostage. With beautiful language, deep, meaningful characters, and a fully immersive world, the story of vengeance and self forgiveness unfolds. By the end, I was in tears. Ring Shout is the perfect book to take on not just a dark, violent history, but an uncertain, terrifying future as well. Everyone needs to read Ring Shout.
Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries has become one of my favorite series of all time, and Network Effect is a perfect edition. Murderbot is still trying to figure out what it wants after hacking its governor module. In the meantime it spends its days protecting the humans it cares about. Of course, everything goes terribly wrong when a friend shows up to kidnap Murderbot, and its humans are along for the ride. What I love most about Network Effect is that we get to watch Murderbot continue to understand not only itself, but its relationships with others. Network Effect isn't just fun and action-packed; it's also emotional and though-provoking. I love Murderbot!
Riot Baby is one of the harder books I've read this year, its message loud and clear and filled with painful truths. Here we have Ella and Kev, siblings in a world hellbent on keeping them down. Both gifted with mysterious power, they learn to keep it to themselves. Onyebuchi doesn't hold back when putting his characters through the wringer. Ella experiences the grief and pain of everyone around her, lashing out uncontrollably, while Kev is left to survive as best he can. When he lands in jail, it's all he can do to stay alive until he gets out. This passionate story, full of rage and a yearning for justice, will go down as one of the most important books this year.
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I picked up the ARC of The Seep, somewhat intrigued by the blurb. It sounded fantastical and full of drama. And I'm not kidding when I say it delivered! Chana Porter manages to give us both a whimsical story and a tale of grief. Each character is a thread that ties this story together into one that I was totally unable to put down. Anyone who enjoys a little magic with their sorrow should pick The Seep up immediately.
Cassiopeia has had a difficult life, and it doesn't seem to be getting any easier. The story begins with a girl who dreams of a brighter future and quickly finds herself at the mercy of ancient gods. Laced with ancient Mayan myths, demons, ghosts, sorcerers and witches, this tale takes us from the Yucatan, through the depths of Xibalba--the kingdom of the lords of death--and back to Mexico where the hearts of readers are certain to break. With beautiful use of language, fantastic world-building, and a classic underdog story woven throughout, this book is a winner for me.
Of all of the Marvel characters, Loki has been one of my favorites. And Mackenzie Lee has captured the not-quite-villain/not-quite-hero perfectly. Here is a young man torn between loyalty and personal desire; caught between his overbearing father Odin, and The Enchantress Amora. This tug of war highlights Loki's own shifty personality while showcasing his witty humor and mischievous nature. I love what Lee has done with this origin story!
When people ask me what my favorite book is, I have a hard time answering. There are just so many amazing stories out there. However, I related to Tom Barren in All Our Wrong Todays more than any other character I’ve read. He struggles with family, mourns the loss of his loved ones, and is desperate to set things right. We all make mistakes, but his is a monumental one and it will change the world forever. I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s clear in the prose that Elan Mastai is speaking of something he knows. He’s speaking from his heart.
In The Fifth Season we are introduced to a world filled with danger and loss. Damaya is a child whose parents have locked her away out of fear. Her abilities are powerful and terrifying to anyone who doesn’t understand them. She’s forced away from her home and taken to a place where she must learn to always obey. Nothing she does from that point forward can be of her own volition. She is the property of the Fulcrum, and she will train under their guidance to control her unusual power. The beautiful prose and fantastic world-building in this story will leave anyone who picks this book up breathless.
The Song of Achilles follows Patroclus, a down and out prince whose father cares nothing for him. When he’s involved in the death of another boy, he’s sent away to live in the kingdom of Aegina under the care of King Peleus. It’s here that Patroclus meets and falls deeply in love with Achilles, the half-god son of King Peleus. This is a love story unlike any other. The deep bond between Achilles and Patroclus is tragically beautiful. I’ve never fallen so hard for two characters. This book will hold a special place in my heart for all of time.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a wonderful classic everyone should read. We’re introduced into an extreme world of patriarchy and submission where women aren’t allowed to read and those who can carry children are forced to do so. Our main character never really tells us her name. We simply know her as Offred, which means she belongs to Fred. Her duty is simple. Give Fred and his wife a baby. Trouble is, she’s not getting pregnant. This is a poignant and harrowing tale that gave me a new sense of responsibility.
This last book from beloved Hollywood icon Carrie Fisher is the crown jewel of ideal Star Wars gifts. The Princess Diarist is an intimate, hilarious, and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time.
Oh how I love The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. We meet Arthur Dent, a grump who’s trying to save his house from being torn down. Only, there’s a lot more going on. When his best friend, Ford Prefect explains that the end of the world is coming, Arthur is less than convinced. Soon, however, he finds himself on an alien spaceship with the knowledge that Earth has been destroyed. He and Ford will go on quite an adventure, later joining up with Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian, and a depressed robot named Marvin. It’s one of the funniest, best told stories I’ve ever read.
From a New York Times bestselling and Hugo award-winning author comes a modern masterwork of science fiction, introducing a captain, his crew, and a detective as they unravel a horrifying solar system wide conspiracy that begins with a single missing girl.
Official U.S. edition with full color illustrations throughout.
#1 New York Times Bestseller
The Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, now available as a beautifully packaged paperback
Mary Robinette Kowal's science fiction debut, 2019 Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Award for best novel, The Calculating Stars, explores the premise behind her award-winning "Lady Astronaut of Mars."
Winner 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novel
Winner 2019 Locus Award for Best Novel
Winner 2019 Hugo Award for Best Novel
One of TIME’s 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
Winner of the L.A. Times Ray Bradbury Prize
Finalist for the 2019 National Book Award
The New York Times Bestseller
Named a Best Book of 2019 by The Wall Street Journal, TIME, NPR, GQ, Vogue, and The Washington Post
The acclaimed modern science fiction masterpiece, Hugo Award winner for Best Series!
HUGO AWARD WINNER: BEST NOVELLA
NEBULA AND LOCUS AWARDS WINNER: BEST NOVELLA
“[An] exquisitely crafted tale...Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay...This sh