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Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

Currently reading

The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow

Review: Babylon's Ashes

Babylon's Ashes - James S.A. Corey

Woo! Polyamourous Space Pirate Queen!


This is the best book since the second in the series. It's also one of the few books in the series that isn't plotted around imprisoning a female character - the last one managed to have two different women go missing. And it fixes my only issue with the third book by finally making Pa a POV character. It also closes out one long running arc in favor of opening up a far-more-interesting-to-me future for the series.


I  am so looking forward to book 7. 

Review: Rescue, or Royer Goldhawk's Remarkable Journey

Rescue Or, Royer Goldhawk's Remarkable Journal - Amy Leigh Strickland

Okay plot spread over far too long.


I'm really glad I did this as an audiobook since it's so freaking repetitive that it benefits from sitting for long periods of time between reading sessions. I am also really annoyed at the audiobook for not balancing the audio so the volume is all over the place. Repetition can provide such wonderful effects in fiction, but like any tool, works only as well as the craftsperson that wields it. Here is a sample from the last paragraph on page 2:


I would not have believed the tale of this remarkable journey had I not seen it, written in my father's own hand. These are the secrets that he kept locked away and never spoke about. All of this tells of the scars he never explained, why I never met my grandparents, and why he absolutely refused to visit New York. As I have said before, I never would have believed it, had it not been written in his handwriting.


*screams wordlessly into the void*



Also the writing includes a lot of extraneous details that I couldn't care less about. I seriously don't need the sartorial continuity of knowing not just what the protagonist is wearing, but what he does with the layers he isn't wearing.


The most "remarkable" thing about this book is how it can contain so much boring extraneous detail and repetition and only be 160 pages long. First in a series I am unlikley to continue.

Roxane Gay Update - WTF S&S?!

S&S are no longer going to publish that book, but Gay isn't going back with her project. 


"After I pulled my book, they changed the release date of Dangerous from March to June 13, the day my next book, Hunger, comes out. I said nothing because I was neither threatened nor concerned but it did reinforce for me that this was not a company I wanted to do business with."

This Year's Nebula Nominees

The Verge pulled together links for the stuff that's on line for free, so I'm linking to their piece rather than building my own list with links. 


I've read hardly anything on the this year's list, but wow is that Novel category hot as fuck. 

2017 book pre-orders

Amberlough - Lara Elena Donnelly The Stars Are Legion - Kameron Hurley The Beauty - Aliya Whiteley

These are the physical books I've pre-ordered. Most from the almost-local book shop, unless otherwise noted. Like the e-book post, the ribbon only contains the books BL had covers for.



Lesbians in Space - Kameron Hurley: Will be the next thing I read. B&N was selling signed copies from their online store, so that's what I have.



Amberlough - Lara Elena Donnelly: Spies, smugglers, and fascism. I've heard many good things, but my copy is in another city waiting for me to pick it up.


The Classic & Craft Cocktail - Clair McLafferty: We wrangled Clair and another bartender into doing a multi-course cocktail tasting when she was still tending bar. Another time we took a stirred cocktail class from Clair. She is great, and I'm buying multiple signed copies from her to gift to friends.



Gwenpool, The Unbelievable Vol. 2: Head of M.O.D.O.K. TPB - Christopher Hastings,Irene Strychalski:  Technically haven't pre-ordered yet, but will acquire from the local comic shop. Did anyone see the video of the car driving through a comic shop that made the rounds recently? That's my local shop.


Tender: Stories - Sofia Samatar: A short story collection from one of the best writers.
Dichronauts - Greg Egan: I have no idea what this is about, but Egan. Always Egan.
An Unkindness of Magicians - Kat Howard: This author + this imprint + this title would be hard not to pick up.


The Broken Heavens - Kameron Hurley: Last book in the amazing Worldbreaker trilogy.
The Breathless - Tara Goedjen: YA thriller with romance that starts with a mysterious death, what could go wrong.  
The Beauty - Aliya Whiteley: Billed as "a dark slice of the New Weird, encompassing dystopian post-apocalyptic fiction, dark fairy tale and horror"
Persepolis Rising - James SA Corey: 7th book in The Expanse. Book 6 was great, looking forward to more.

Review: The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin

An excellent sequel to an amazing book. If you haven't started this series yet, drop whatever you are doing and start The Fifth Season. I am so looking forward to the third book!

Review: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States

Lafayette in the Somewhat United States - Sarah Vowell

When I got to the end of this book, I immediately purchased two more of Vowell's books in audio format even though I already own them in print. This is an entertaining jaunt through history with acerbic wit. A pleasure to listen to.

Review: Geek Feminist Revolution

The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley

There are a million great reviews of this book already, you don't need mine. Instead I'm going to nitpick one essay, then give you links to better review, and links to some of the essays as samples if you aren't already sold. 


But seriously, buy this book. Read this book. There will be a quiz. Every day of your goddamn life is a quiz this book has answers to.


Part 1, in which I am tedious and pedantic.


Hurley loves narrative. It's her day job, her dream job, her whole life. Her essay trying to sell me on narrative, though, I have to give a little side eye to. Her "isn't narrative great!" example is how she successfully sold people something they didn't need. And her rabid enthusiasm for the subject comes across like that of people I know who are super into firearms. Yeah, it's great, but in the hands of the ignorant or the malicious, it's also a fucking terrible weapon we are all vulnerable to. If you need evidence of that, just look at who we just fucking elected. In my firearms metaphor, narrative with no basis in fact is a gun with the safety off. So here, even in complaining, I'm not disagreeing with her. You're right, Hurley, it's great. It's fucking amazing. Please be careful where you aim it and always act like its loaded, even when you "know" it isn't.


Part 2, better posts you should read.


Ana at The Book Smugglers (review)

Silvana at GR (review)

Aiden Moher at B&N (review/interview)


Part 3, a few of the included essays.


Gender, Family, Nookie: The Speculative Frontier

On Public Speaking While Fat

Female Rage Doesn’t Exist In A Vacuum


Part 4, there's always an epilogue.


I lied. I'm not ready for an epilogue. I'm too busy kicking the world square in the nuts. 

2017 e-book pre-orders

Martians Abroad: A novel - Carrie Vaughn Hunger Makes the Wolf - Alex Wells

I'm a bit late posting this, as I'm currently reading one of these. This is just my kindle pre-orders. The list is longer than the 2 pictures shown, those were the only two BL had covers for at the moment.



Martians Abroad: A novel - Carrie Vaughn: Currently reading this fish out of water tale, and looking forward to picking up a paper copy for my niece.   



Hunger Makes the Wolf - Alex Wells: Interstellar travel and bikers.  



Owl and the Electric Samurai (The Owl Series) - Kristi Charish: The third book in this UF series following the ongoing shit show that is Owl's life as she fails social interactions and turns every bad situation into a catastrophe. I am a big fan of this series.


River of Teeth - Sarah Gailey: Hippos and such.



The Prey of Gods - Nicky Drayden: This looks to be some sort of misfits save the world kind of thing.  


The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter - Theodora Goss: Hate the name, love the concept. Supernatural mystery with links to horror and SF classics.



The Rift - Nina Allan: Sisters and trust for the win. 


Strange Practice (A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel) - Vivian Shaw: Cults, murders, and a doctor of the undead.


At the Table of Wolves - Kay Kenyon: Alt-history, supernatural spy thriller.



White Trash Zombie Unchained - Diana Rowland:  Book 6 in a series that's been quite fun so far.



Barbary Station - R. E. Stearns: Pirates in space!  


I have a separate list of physical books on order with my almost-local indy shop. I'll try to post that list in the next few days.


Review: The Lost Tribes

The Lost Tribes - C. Taylor-Butler

I picked this one up at WorldCon after hearing the author on a panel.


This book is a lovely object. It's heavy and there is some lovely detail in the printmaking used to create the part divisions.


Storywise, part one is terribly interesting. A group of friends tries to solve puzzles in the best video game ever (it is possible that puzzle laden adventure games are a favorite of mine), which includes some actual, solvable code breaking puzzles in the text. Then they're on the run, and that's less interesting. Finally, they get to the big reveal, and then part 3 is dedicated to setting up a sequel rather than reaching a satisfying conclusion.




A really strong start, and some cool characters, but I definitly preferred the first half.

Review: The Jumbies

The Jumbies - Tracey Baptiste

If you love Uprooted and have a younger reader who isn't ready for it, may I suggest The Jumbies? Folktale fantasy adventure where a girl saves her friends and family from the darkness in the forest, but for ages 10-13. I liked this one quite a bit.

Review: The Suffragette Scandal

The Suffragette Scandal - Courtney Milan

I spent the first half of this novel expecting it to be my favorite in the series. Free was already my favorite character, and Edward is a wonderful character. However, based on the last act, I'm falling back to Heiress Effect as my favorite. This is still quite good, fantastic, even, but there's just a bit more angst and less explicit text than really aligns with my interests.


And even in that last act there are some just wonderfully satisfying scenes. Gosh this whole book is full of wonderfully satisfying scenes. Has someone already started a Manfeels Park variant of this? Or, heck just make me a graphic novel version of the actual book. More than any other story in this series, this book wants that treatment.


A final complaint, I wish Amanda had gotten more screen time, or had gotten her own short story, or both. Yeah, both. Or maybe a spin-off series? *crosses fingers*


I only have one short left before I am out of Brother's Sinister. I have no idea what I'm going to do!

She Persisted T-Shirts for thems what wants one

Teespring had 750 results for "She Persisted" when I did a search earlier today. There are a lot of options for design, a subset of which include partial or full donations of proceeds to various organizations. And, hey, if you are going to buy a shirt marking your support for something, why not have some of your money go towards it?


The following is an incomplete list of results sorted by what organization the donation is to, as Teespring doesn't appear to have a filter for that. The organization name links to their home page. The word "shirt" links to each shirt.


ACLU: shirt#1 / shirt #2 / shirt#3 / shirt#4 / shirt#5 / shirt#6


Planned Parenthood: shirt#1 / shirt#2 / shirt#3 / shirt#4 / shirt#5 / shirt#6


Planned ParenthoodSouthern Poverty Law Center: shirt

Utah Women Uniteshirt

Warren Campaign: shirt#1 / shirt#2

Being Black at School: shirt

Emily's List: shirt


If you know of others, please add them in the comments. You are also welcome to share this post.

Review: Smek for President

Smek for President - Adam Rex

Follow up to True Meaning of Smekday, clearly penned after the movie deal as it includes a joke about that movie. The biggest difference between Home and TMoS isn't plot, but target audience age. This book feels like an attempt to split the difference. Plot wise a sequel to the book, but reads like it is intended for the age range of the film audience.


Still quite a fun read, but never quite as sharp or funny as the first book.

Review: I Hate Fairyland

I Hate Fairyland Volume 1: Madly Ever After - Skottie Young

Decent premise and nice art, but kind a boring, shallow read. 

Review: The Heiress Effect

The Heiress Effect - Courtney Milan

Amazing! I think this is my favorite in the Brothers Sinister series so far. The heroine is brilliant and the hero is just the right kind of jackass. 


The writing is so sharp. Equal parts warmth and wit. Great plot, great sex, great characters. This series is fantastic. I desperately want to read the UF/PNR version of these.