3.5 stars-- because honestly, I wanted more! This was a little plot-driven for my tastes, with some serious insta-love... perhaps because of the lengt3.5 stars-- because honestly, I wanted more! This was a little plot-driven for my tastes, with some serious insta-love... perhaps because of the length, which meant it didn't get to delve into the characters much beyond their circumstances. On the other hand, I read the teaser for the first few chapters of The Preacher's Promise and I can't wait to read more. I haven't read that many inspies that I really loved, but I think the rest of this series may be the ones that change my mind? Also put in a purchase request for the full series at my library.
Besides a few (moderately explicit) sex scenes and frank discussion of sex from nearly all the characters, this didn't seem like an "erotic SF novel"Besides a few (moderately explicit) sex scenes and frank discussion of sex from nearly all the characters, this didn't seem like an "erotic SF novel" to me. Sex was something that impacted the characters' storylines and development, certainly. But it was a character-driven book, not an erotica-driven one, imo... a reader in search of titillation would be pretty disappointed on that front. On the other hand, a reader in search of a desifuturist, character-driven, sex-positive narrative with a likeable ensemble cast? This is totally going to make your day....more
That was campy, earnest, sweet fun. Potentially great for YA collections too, esp public - there's some language and content (kink) that could be a toThat was campy, earnest, sweet fun. Potentially great for YA collections too, esp public - there's some language and content (kink) that could be a tough sell for a school library.
I was cautious -- so easy to misstep when identities are such a huge part of your story -- and I can't say there was nothing off, because I didn't give it a deep and critical read. But there was a lot that I really loved, and moments where I held my breath and then the author didn't let me down. For example, in the first story (fighting giant spiders and a ridiculous bad guy on Mars):
There are two female guards in the whole sprawling expanse of the base, both wearing bikinis, chests heaving before they've even thought to pick a fight. 'Oh, how progressive!' Starlight claps her hands in mock rapture. 'I suppose there's a mud pit just behind that door?' The girls in bikinis exchange; this is outside their training.
(ME: NOOOOOOOOO! Don't start this book throwing other ladies under the bus!!)
"Look, honey. Honeys,' Sapphire, who has just helped to take out a trio of genetically-altered snake creatures, says. 'Let me explain something to you. Supervillains pay crap. And there's no such thing as an Evil League of Evil healthcare plan.' One of the women takes a questioning step forward. Sapphire holds up a hand. 'I won't make a grandiose speech about the fate of the world, or doing it for the children you'll probably never half, but I will say this -- killing bad guys is a heck of a lot of fun. And we pay overtime.' And the forces of might and justice and looking damned fine in knee-high high heels swells to fourteen.
So they join the squad and reappear briefly later on. (With bikini costumes, in a nod to their supervillainous origins.) And that in itself is significant, I think -although each of the squad IS special, it's not their "super" identity or their centrality as a character that makes them worthy of or valuable to the team. Anyfemme* (or glittery butch) could potentially be part of it if they have the courage and willingness-to-act and metaphorical sparkle to do so, and although there's a few core people, there are various ancillary Squad members who pop in and out as well. That's a really, really sweet message.
*Yes, I made a My Little Pony joke! It's... not dissimilar....more
A more well-thought-out review coming. Highlights: it took a serious chunk of time for me to be fully invested in thQueer Desi werewolves! WHAT. WOW.
A more well-thought-out review coming. Highlights: it took a serious chunk of time for me to be fully invested in the story, as I found Fenrir's POV to be stylistically frustrating and unpleasant to engage with. Once that section was over, however, Cyrah's narrative drew me in immediately. I think it took me three days to get through the first section and less than three hours for the rest.
I loved the threads of bisexuality that spun throughout, the consideration of gender, the lack of victim-blaming, and the absolute certainty of Cyrah's rape (as in, there is never any question in her mind or the other characters' whether her forced agreement is actually consent).
Well, that was some pleasant silliness! The premise was satisfyingly ridiculous and made me laugh out loud more than once. I'm afraid I haven't reallyWell, that was some pleasant silliness! The premise was satisfyingly ridiculous and made me laugh out loud more than once. I'm afraid I haven't really loved this series - a little too clunky and the writing style doesn't work for me - but this had many fun moments and things that made me laugh. ...more
Holy mackerel! It took a little getting into because there was just so much sailing vocabulary I didn't know, but I ended up reading through without sHoly mackerel! It took a little getting into because there was just so much sailing vocabulary I didn't know, but I ended up reading through without stopping (much to my chagrin tomorrow morning, I expect).
Recommended by a patron as this is the 100th anniversary of Shackleton's expedition. A surprisingly fast read and a gripping adventure, plus the added thrill of being a memoir by a man who actually referred to Sir Ernest* as "Shacks."
*("For scientific discover, give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel, give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton." says the jacket.) ...more
If you're a fan of fairytale retellings generally and feminist ones in particular, you'd do well to keep Ursula Vernon/T. Kingfisher on your radar. PuIf you're a fan of fairytale retellings generally and feminist ones in particular, you'd do well to keep Ursula Vernon/T. Kingfisher on your radar. Put this in your back pocket for all those library patrons who grew up loving Terri Windling, Holly Black, even Francesca Lia Block. Gaiman readers too.
Although it's a fairly classic style, something in the author's tone and syntax has the easy flow and punchy informality of really good (fan)fic.
My only quibble was that Bryony is just. so. clueless. The Beast is clearly trapped in a curse, you keep mentioning how he can't talk, why are you persisting in this "he's doing it on purpose" thing? There are a million ways you could figure out how to communicate effectively. When Bryony finally gets home and tells Holly what happened and Holly is like, oh my god, you are SO DUMB, I was like, yes, thank you! Her cluelessness feels contrived rather than like an intentional character development move... she has so much common sense otherwise, why is it lacking here?
OTOH, I loved that she brought Holly back with her. That was very sensible. And that was a pretty solid romance. Plus the Beast is totally sardonically wounded sexytimes Draco Malfoy. (It didn't hurt that I listened to the audiobook and the reader's "Beast" voice sounded a little like FayJay in the (fantastic) Tissue of Silver podfic.
All in all, great choice for a long car ride! ...more
I can't believe it - another contemporary I liked! Alisha Rai is so good at writing family... rounded characters with layered relationships. I think tI can't believe it - another contemporary I liked! Alisha Rai is so good at writing family... rounded characters with layered relationships. I think the family relationships in this one (and also the first in the series) shine more than the romance, and it's particularly impressive that she can do that with all that steaminess going on! Lots of small moments, but thoughtful, smart ones. ...more
Sweet, and a solid 3 1/2 stars! I rarely enjoy contemporary romance, but this was fun, light, and kept my attention on an airplane (not the easiest thSweet, and a solid 3 1/2 stars! I rarely enjoy contemporary romance, but this was fun, light, and kept my attention on an airplane (not the easiest thing to do). Absolutely a romcom, and not too explicitly steamy for a YA crossover audience.
A good rec for Jennifer Crusie fans and others looking for a fun NA contemporary! ...more
This came highly recommended by a nurse I know: she's been an NP for 20 years and was a NICU and ER nurse in Baltimore for 19 years before that, so ifThis came highly recommended by a nurse I know: she's been an NP for 20 years and was a NICU and ER nurse in Baltimore for 19 years before that, so if she tells me that a book on nursing is gripping, accurate, and worth recommending to new and aspiring nurses, I believe her (and you probably should too).
It was definitely gripping. I spent a week telling everyone snippets of the (mostly horrifying and funding-related) facts I was learning. Every time I left work exhausted after multiple storytimes, outreaches, difficult desk shifts, whatever, I said (to myself and everyone around me), "If I were a nurse, I'd still have six hours left to work AND I wouldn't have had a lunch break AND I wouldn't have been able to pee AND I probably would have been assaulted! And I definitely would have had to clean up a lot of bodily fluids!" So, perspective. Thanks, book.
The writing was smooth and readable, totally the sort of nonfiction that has a lot of potential readers and is a great one to have in your back pocket for RA. I'm grateful that it ended on a positive note, because mostly it left me feeling terrified of hospitalization, and concerned for nurses and hospital funding everywhere. (Give them adequate staffing and let them pee!) And honestly, the appendix of helpful tips if you're ever in the hospital was so practical and useful that I'm considering photocopying it for future reference. Also, I'm never paying attention to "patient satisfaction" ratings ever, only nurse-patient staffing ratios. Not that I'm likely to be someone with a choice of hospitals, but still.
I might have been the right reader for this between the ages of 12-20, but sadly I'm not right now.
I love fairytale retellings, but primarily those tI might have been the right reader for this between the ages of 12-20, but sadly I'm not right now.
I love fairytale retellings, but primarily those that imbue the characters with depth and complexity that they don't get in the plot-driven originals. This is another flavor entirely: the sort that uses the original elements and plot but imbues them with a self-consciously fantastical/grotesque atmosphere in the transformation. I think Gaiman works best for me when that particular flavor is balanced with the specific and the mundane (ie Neverwhere) . Here it falls flat and feels eye-rollingly self-indulgent.
What worked: it's beautifully made, especially that dust jacket overlay! Most of the illustrations weren't my style, but a few were really beautiful (especially the full page Snow White/Sleeping Beauty kiss). I liked future!Snow White being a warrior who lives with the dwarves, both her drive and her agency. The rest, eh.
PSA: not for most younger readers. If your kiddo's the age and disposition to be enchanted by Weetzie Bat or Neverwhere, then this is about right. Also, FYI, no happily ever after (or, in fact, romance/love/relationship) for Snow White and Sleeping Beauty here: this is not the queer princess fic you've been waiting for. ...more
Unlikeable MCs aren't my usual cup of tea, and I couldn't connect to Meche because of that edge... but I think Signal to Noise was still one of my topUnlikeable MCs aren't my usual cup of tea, and I couldn't connect to Meche because of that edge... but I think Signal to Noise was still one of my top reads of the year. ...more