Review: SILVER IN THE WOOD by Emily Tesh (2019)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: 2019
Source: My own hard copy

This romance between a four-hundred-year-old forest being and the twenty-three-year-old proprietor is as lush as a primordial forest. The imagery was lovely, as soft as moss. There isn’t too much more I can say without giving away the whole story, but if you also want revenants and evil ex-boyfriends, Greenhollow is the place for you.

This book also features a formidable mom, a very good cat, and an angry dryad.

ARC Review: OUT OF BODY by Jeffrey Ford (2020)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Horror Novella
Year Release: May 2020
Source: Physical ARC

Read an ARC given to me by the publisher

Librarians sure are having a time in the spotlight in recent months. In this horror, a librarian witnesses a murder during an attempted robbery which comes with a side effect of being able to wander the night as a sleeper while his flesh remains at home.

I really liked the depiction and use of sleep paralysis in this one. Trauma can have different effects on an individual and Ford found a great way to make sleep come with a veneer of control. Melody, his tutor, had also been great as a mentor character without seeming too omniscient on the exact workings of being a sleeper. The book didn’t go too heavily into the machinations and lore, but at under 200 pages, there was enough established about the sleeper experience that it ultimately didn’t matter. In addition, it was a nice touch that the main character served as a side kick to the hunts in motion, as opposed to becoming preternaturally good at being a sleeper.

A quick eerie read about a librarian with sleep paralysis who’s in over his head when it leads to out-of-body experiences and monsters. Perfect for readers who want to revisit Scott Westerfeld’s Midnighters for a moment.

Author to Author with K.M. Szpara (#Docile)

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In an alternate future of the United States, debtors sell their debts to the wealthy and becomes Dociles. Harrowing and seductive, Docile takes its time depicting complexities of power and consent against a glittering, sexy back-drop of the ultra-wealthy. On this release day, author K.M. Szpara stops by to talk a bit about the process of crafting this phenomenal debut. Continue reading

ARC Review: FINNA by Nino Cipri (2020)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Year Release: February 25, 2020
Source: The author

Received an eARC from the author

The nightmare of IKEA—I’m sorry, LitenVäld—is made so much worse when it turns out that there are multiple versions of each one scattered throughout a multiverse. It doesn’t help when you have to navigate it with your ex who is also your co-worker.

The relationship between Ava and Jules is so completely. Both of them are bona fide disasters. Cipri expertly sets up the conflicts and that ended their relationships as the kinds of arguments which help them survive being lost at sea and cannibal sales associates. It’s another one of those books where you’re rooting for the main characters to both be brave enough to be cowards and cowardly enough to be brave. Did I cry at the end? Yes. Retail is a hellscape, but can be survivable with the right people at your side.

Wormholes, retail hell, and a queer love story. What more can you want?

ARC Review: UPRIGHT WOMEN WANTED by Sarah Gailey (2020)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Alternate History/Future (Speculative Fiction)
Year Release: February 4, 2020
Source: The Publisher, Tor.com

Received an ARC from the publisher, Tor.com

The Wild West seems to be a having a very small moment. If you enjoyed Gailey’s first novella, River of TeethUpright Women Wanted will tickle those cowboy needs, albeit with fewer swamps and hippos.

The femmes in this novel are all so complex. Queer librarians actually spying for the resistance on horseback? A tough cinnamon roll who followed all the rules only to run away from there? A non-binary who code-switches when going into towns to protect the mission at large? Casual polyamory? Betrayals? This novel has so many trappings of a great desert adventure on horseback and so much more. The world-building is great and gives context to the work these librarians do without actually having to spell it out for the reader. In addition, it doesn’t flinch away from the mundane nastiness of life on the road, and I found that magical.

It bears repeating: if you liked Gailey’s first two novellas, you’re going to be enamored with this one.

 

ARC Review: PROSPER’S DEMON by K.J. Parker (2020)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: 2020
Source: NetGalley

Read my NetGalley eARC

Content warning: possession, gore, violence

I love me a good sarcastic narrator. Our nameless narrator in this very short demon possession story clearly knows better, but choose the more uncouth option every option. I really enjoyed the use of pronouns here, especially because Parker establishes early on that you can see the effects of demons, but never the demons themselves. The two primary demons, He and She, have such different energies, especially Her. She is the titular Prosper’s demon and, wow, is there a symbiotic relationship. It looks rad on page and I can’t say anymore, given the brevity of the read.

A quick read for those who enjoy demons and asshats.

Author to Author with Martin Cahill

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I met Marty at a reading with Maria Dahvana Headley , Victor LaValle, and Daniel Polansky. I’m so glad to have introduced myself to him because he is so active as a writer. He does reviews and pieces for Tor.com and has several of his own short stories out for you to read. He took time to answer questions that I had about short stories and long form that might be helpful to those pursuing both styles of fiction. You can find the most recent line-up of his work here.

Continue reading