Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Someone in Time edited by Jonathan Strahan

As I have said before on more than one occasion, I am wary of anthologies - I worry about changes in quality and tonal whiplash between stories in themed multi-author collections. But when I saw the lineup for this time travel romance themed anthology I had to try it! (Thanks again to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.) Some of my favs are in here, including Seanan McGuire, Catherynne Valente, Theodora Goss, Sarah Gailey, and Alix Harrow. I really enjoyed the McGuire story especially.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire

 


I feel like I have been waiting for this book for years! I really, really enjoyed it, but I might have built it up in my head a little too much. 


I love Seanan McGuire. (Note: I review a bunch of her books so I am copying part of some of my other reviews here to save time.). She has quickly become my favorite living writer and I feel very lucky that she is so prolific. I was first introduced to her work when her book Parasite, written as Mira Grant, was nominated for a Hugo Award. I loved it and quickly devoured the Newsflesh series before I realized that Mira Grant and Seanan McGuire were the same person. 


I started reading her works under her own name, starting with Sparrow Hill Road, which is amazing, but I picked it because I was intimidated by her long running October Daye series. I had read some Urban Fantasy before, and I fondly remember Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde books, but my tastes run more to science fiction and then secondary world fantasy, so I was hesitant to dive into such a long series. I picked up the first book, Rosemary and Rue, when it was on sale as a kindle daily deal, and I found it somewhat disappointing compared to her other work. I reminded myself that it was her first published novel, so I cut it some slack. Then Incryptid was nominated for the Best Series Hugo in 2018 and I dove into that instead. I loved it! So I vowed to give Toby another chance. And I was so glad that I did! It is no one of my favorite series. 


I really enjoyed Middlegame when it came out and voted for it as best novel on the Hugo Awards at the time. The writing there was lyrical and a little dreamlike in a way that was a little different from most everything else of hers (but reminded me of the Parisitology books a little). 


I remember going to a comic book store in October 2019 when I got her to sign some Ghost Spider and Nightcrawler comics (she was amazing, BTW, and was so kind to my then 7-year-old daughter, who was wearing a ghost spider hooded sweatshirt) and asking her if there would be a follow up to Middlegame. She couldn’t tell me that there would be, so I was extra excited when Seasonal Fears was finally announced. I was even more thrilled when I realized that it was a book she had been talking about for years on her livejournal blog. 


So I was overjoyed when The publisher and NetGalley awarded me an audio eARC of Seasonal Fears (I had already preordered a kindle copy beforehand).  This was a fantastic book in so many ways. I loved the writing style, so very reminiscent of Middlegame. I loved Harry and Melanie, and how real they felt as little kids in the earlier parts of the narrative. I loved the entire Seasonal control structure we learn about in this book. I wish we had spent more time with Harry and Mel as teenagers before their world changed, so I could’ve appreciated their loss more. And I feel like there was a place about 1/3 of the way through where the story dragged a bit, when Harry kept asking Jack the same things over and over again. I also felt the conclusion was a bit rushed. That being said, I really enjoyed this book a ton, and as a bonus, it was nice to see Roger and Dodger again!


I was less pleased with the audiobook narrator. I loved Amber Benson on Buffy, but she just left me feeling flat on this audiobook. She didn’t engage me and I kept feeling myself drifting. I don’t think she did anything wrong, but her style just didn’t work for me. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

Batman: The Detective by Tom Taylor

 



I have enjoyed every comic book by Tom Taylor that I have read. He’s great! I especially loved his run on All New Wolverine (Gabby is the best!) and X-men Red. I also really enjoyed his time on Nightwing. I know there’s a lot of great stuff he’s written that I haven’t gotten to yet, which is why I was so pleased when NetGalley and DC gave me an eARC of Batman:The Detective. 


This was a very satisfying Batman story. It hooks you right away at the beginning and I always appreciate a Batman story that leans into “Worlds Greatest Detective“ rather than just “Caped Crusader.”  And it had Knight and Squire! One of the things I most appreciated about the Batman Incorporated run is that it introduced me to these previously-unknown-to-me characters. And now Squire is all grown up and is Knight and has her own Squire! I love seeing this kind of growth and change in comics. The mystery was fun, the action was great, and I would recommend this to anyone who likes Batman. 

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller



I love a single-author short story collection. I find it a fantastic way to get to know a new-to-me author. I enjoy sampling their writing in bite-sized chunks and experiencing the breadth of their styles and depth of their skill. And Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller is the quintessential example of why I feel this way. 


I had heard of Sam J. Miller when his Blackfish City was nominated for a Nebula but I hadn’t gotten around to reading it, so I was very happy that NetGalley and his publisher were able to grant me an eARC of his new short story collection (which I hope is the first of many) in exchange for an honest review. 


The stories in this collection run the gamut from scary to angry to sad to kind but they all have a raw humanity that I loved. I recommend this book highly and hope to read more from Mr. Miller in the future. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Teen Titans Academy Vol. 1: X Marks The Spot By Tim Sheridan

It has been a while since I read a Teen Titans comic. I fondly remember the year I borrowed the entire Geoff Johns run from the library. Wow, where does the time go? I also loved the original Teen Titans cartoon on Cartoon Network (before the “Go”) so I was intrigued by this new volume that appeared to introduce Red X into continuity. 


This was a fun book. I liked the introduction of lost of new kids with weird or possibly no powers. It really felt like it was trying to go for a Generation X feel. The older classic Titans characters didn’t get quite enough focus, but that’s hard with such a big cast. I particularly liked the kids from Gotham. 


This was a fun read! Thanks to DC and NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, May 9, 2022

The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison





Yay! Unexpected sequel to amazing book that was as good as the previous volume!


Like many people, I first encountered Katherine Addison when I found the Goblin Emperor on a bunch of awards ballots and was immediately enchanted. Within six months of reading it, I doubled back and listened to the audiobook  - that novel was charming and delightful and wonderful.  (I also adored her unrelated book, the Angel of the Crows, and I think more people need to read that.) I was thrilled beyond belief when Tor and NetGalley gave me an eARC for The Witness For the Dead, a related book in the same universe as The Goblin Emperor.  That book was a book of my heart -  It was the most enjoyable reading experience I had in months when I read it the first time.  


So I felt triply lucky when Tor and NetGalley gave me an eARC for The Grief of Stones, the direct sequel to the Witness for the Dead.  And it was perfection itself! We resume with Thara Celehar, the Witness for the Dead, continuing to hear petitions and talking to the recently deceased.  He solves some mysteries, has some adventures, and continues to visit the gentleman who runs the opera company that he became friendly with in the last book.  


This book filled me with joy. I almost missed my stop on Metro North because I was so close to the end and I didn’t want to stop! Content warnings for several suicides, several murders, and a stillborn child.  


If you liked The Witness For the Dead or The Goblin Emperor you will adore this book.  I can only hope there is a follow up soon!

Friday, April 29, 2022

January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky

 


I first heard of Rachel Swirsky when reading Camestros Felapton’s Hugosauriad (which was, as he explained, “a dinography of the Hugo Awards — tracing the history of the awards via the medium of dinosaur stories”).  That is where I learned of Ms. Swirsky’s short story If You We’re a Dinosaur, My Love, a lyrically beautiful story that touched me deeply. I have always kept my eyes open for more work by her, so I was very excited to see a new novella by her on NetGalley. 


January Fifteenth is set in a near- future USA that has enacted a Universal Basic Income. The story examines a slice of life of four women on the titular day when they get their UBI check. We see each of the protagonists throughout the day from morning til night - a woman on the run from her abusive ex wife, a reporter raising her orphaned younger sister, a spoiled rich college kid, and a pregnant fifteen year old FLDS kid. We see many of the good and the bad changes wrought on society by a UBI. This book gave me a lot of food for thought, but the best part is the characters - they all feel very real and well rounded. This book was excellent and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is nominated for a Hugo and/or Nebula next year.