This is a great post-apocalyptic novella in the vein of the film, Annihilation. Long after the war with the AI-controlled Voluntary State of Tennessee, there is rumor that one of its most fearsome weapons is still around, hidden by the hills of Appalachia. Marcia, a native there, goes with a troop of Federals to find it. I don’t want to give too much away as it is a short, tight telling. Instead, I’ll say, go read it. It’s really good.
The Demon Tailor, by Susan McCauley
I found this novella miss-shelved in the YA section at the bookstore. It’s an adult horror set in 1500s France and based on a true story of a serial-killer. It was OK. The setting was well done, but the characters (few of them as there were) are flat. The story follows 16 year-old Marie as she goes on a hunt for a wolf that has been taking her villagers and winds up being taken by the true killer who is human. The story is mostly about her trying to escape and then succeeding. It wasn’t very horrifying and read more as trauma porn to me.
Bluebird, by Ciel Pierlot
A fun, far-distant space-capade about a brilliant woman on the run from the three factions that rule the universe. When a group of soldiers comes for her, she teams up with another woman who is a talented assassin in order to rescue her sister who is being used to lure her back to the faction she escaped from. An enjoyable adventure with plenty of action and lots of space travel. My biggest complaint is that ten thousand years in the future women are still wearing bras. Can’t we imagine a better world already?
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, by Becky Chambers
Another sci-fi cozy from one of my favorites. This is the sequel to A Psalm for the Wild-Built, which I loved. This continues the story of robot, Mosscap, and human monk, Dex. The two have returned from the wild and making their way through villages on their way to the capital. I’m in love with this series, so calm yet thought-provoking. Another just read.
Eclipse the Moon, by Jessie Mihalik
This is the second in Mihalik’s Starlight’s Shadow series, and like all her books it is a space-opera romance. Kee is the tech genius in her crew and is trying to hunt down a former general who might be trying to provoke an interstellar war. But she is distracted by her attraction to Varro, a powerful Valovian telepath, who is working with her crew. Lots of action, lots of romance, always fun. Maybe not my favorite of her books, but always worth a read. Although, I have the same complaint as I did with Bluebird. Why do bras still exist?!?
The Drowned Country, by Emily Tesh
Sequel to Silver In the Wood which I read earlier this year. This time new Greenman, Silver, has to help his paranormal investigator mother take down a vampire. This throws him into the path of his true love Tobias—for the first time since they split up. But a vampire might not be their biggest problem. Well-written and interesting. My overall feeling is the same I had with Silver in the Wood, good but not great, interesting but not intriguing. I guess maybe I had high expectations for this duology that just weren’t quite met.
How to Do Nothing, Resisting the Attention Economy, by Jenny Odell
This book is not about doing nothing, but doing everything with a different, slower, more meaningful kind of attention. It’s a very thought-provoking book and relates its concepts through art, writings, and practical examples from the life of Odell. Ultimately, the book is about thoughtfully giving your attention, not just letting the attention economy take it.
Taproot, by Keezy Young
In this graphic novel, Blue, the ghost of a young man, has fallen for the living man, Hamal, who can see ghosts. When the veil between life and death cracks, Blue will have to sacrifice himself in order to save Hamal from Death. Gorgeous artwork, uneven story. I would have liked to have seen the romance between Blue and Hamal filled out more. Good though.
What Moves the Dead, by T. Kingfisher
Based on Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, this story follows retired soldier Alex Easton as they rush to the deathbed of their childhood friend, Madeline. What they find is a country estate that is falling into disgusting decay, Madeline under the thrall of a strange illness, her resigned brother, and an unusual American doctor amidst an overwhelming fungal infestation. While it’s supposed to be horror, it’s more gross and alien than scary. Not my favorite Kingfisher horror, but she’s always worth a read.
See You Yesterday, by Rachel Lynn Solomon
A terrific time-loop romcom. Barret is excited to start college after a disastrous high school experience, but on the first day everything, literally everything, goes wrong. Dreading her second day, she wakes up on the first day of school…again. She soon finds that there is someone else is caught in the time loop—another freshman, uptight Miles. As they work to find a solution to their time loop problem, and then begin to do crazy fun things, they grow closer. Unlike a lot of time loop stories, these characters aren’t bad and need to improve themselves. Barrett and Miles are kids who have closed themselves off from other people and learn to open up. A fun YA that I definitely recommend.