‘Wild’ a Lovely ‘Psalm’ for the Discontent

Not to judge a book by its cover or anything, but frankly I expected more robots in Becky Chambers’ Psalm for the Wild Built. I mean, there’s one on the cover, but you don’t even hear about a single robot until halfway through. That said, once I moved past my precious expectations, I found this PsalmContinue reading “‘Wild’ a Lovely ‘Psalm’ for the Discontent”

‘Seek You’ Brings Connection to Loneliness

In case anyone’s noticed, we’re in a pandemic right now. The last two years have been, in many places and for many people, a study in loneliness. Throughout 2020, bloggers and news outlets weighed in on how to combat “skin hunger,” the phenomenon of longing for human touch. We keep searching for a “new normal”Continue reading “‘Seek You’ Brings Connection to Loneliness”

‘Chouette’ is Strange, but Lingers

Claire Oshetsky’s new book, Chouette, has one of the strangest and most gripping beginnings I have ever read: “I dream I’m making tender love with an owl. The next morning, I see talon marks across my chest that trace the path of my owl lover’s embrace. Two weeks later, I learn that I’m pregnant. YouContinue reading “‘Chouette’ is Strange, but Lingers”

‘Rising’ Tension Drives ‘Malibu’

All happy families are alike, as Tolstoy says, but that’s not the case in Malibu Rising, which follows a quartet of super-close siblings who would probably describe themselves as a happy family—even if poverty, fame, and necessity have made their version of happiness looks a little more complicated than most. Nina Riva, a 25-year-old modelContinue reading “‘Rising’ Tension Drives ‘Malibu’”

Character Goes Deep in ‘Luminous Dead’

I love the Nathan Pyle comic about reading. The simple four-panel comic really nails the immersive reader experience. Sometimes the immersion is as good as being on a sailing ship exploring new waters. Sometimes it’s tainted with magic and quarreling gods. And sometimes, it thrusts you in a dark, unpredictable cave where sight and soundContinue reading “Character Goes Deep in ‘Luminous Dead’”

‘Upright’ Lets Characters be Themselves

A few months ago, I read and loved Anna North’s Outlawed so much that it made me give the side-eye to Sarah Gailey‘s Upright Women Wanted because the premises have so many similarities. Both feature fierce young women who chafe against the bleakly misogynistic Wild West backdrop to the degree that their lives are threatened.Continue reading “‘Upright’ Lets Characters be Themselves”

‘Spy’ Too Compelling to Put Down

Every good spy story has coded messages, secret info drops, tense crossings of international lines, sordid love affairs, stakes of life or death and the threat of world war, and a few good turncoats. Ben McIntire’s The Spy and the Traitor has that and more—and perhaps most notably, is nonfiction. Oleg Gordievsky is a goodContinue reading “‘Spy’ Too Compelling to Put Down”

‘Last Stone’ an Uncritical Story of Iffy Policing

A lot of the books that end up on my TBR come from other reviews, which isn’t ideal for reviewing purposes but usually by the time I get around to reading them I’ve forgotten what the book is about, let alone what a reviewer said about it. That’s the case with The Last Stone byContinue reading “‘Last Stone’ an Uncritical Story of Iffy Policing”

‘Sensor’ Sends Chills

I’ve mentioned before how much I love a good spine-tingling tale. I have to say, though, few stories have as tight a grip on the macabre and the uncomfortable as Junji Ito, for whom the ordinary is only fodder for nightmares. I got my introduction to the manga writer through Uzumaki and have shuddered everyContinue reading “‘Sensor’ Sends Chills”

‘Blackened Teeth’ Will Devour You

I was once told the pacing for a novella should be no different than that of a novel, just scaled down to an appropriate size. While I can see some argument for that, I disagree. Novellas can pack big stories into a slender volume, but they get to the point much faster. There aren’t asContinue reading “‘Blackened Teeth’ Will Devour You”