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« October, 2023 »
The Seven-Year Slip

I picked this up thinking it was a time travel book which it sort of was. However, it turned out to be much more of a romance. Like, this is a romance novel. Which was not a bad thing at all, it’s just not a genre I know much about or read frequently. Thanks to a recent NELA presentation (thanks Robin!) I did have a fair idea of where it was going which was nice enough and made the classic “Will this work out okay?” tension a little less of an issue. The story made a little more sense when I read the Afterword. Engaging but don’t think too hard about the time travel part.

Starter Villain

I love Scalzi’s books because I can read the humor in them in pitch-perfect internet-person voice and they’re just lovely like that. This was a story about a guy whose distant uncle dies and... leaves him in charge of what may be a massive criminal enterprise. And there’s a lot of figuring out what’s what, and it’s amusing in parts, serious in others. There are a lot of fun twists and turns and a lot of cats (and some dolphins) which play important roles. I enjoyed it. I was sad when it was over.


I’m not sure how or when I got this book. I started reading it thinking it was one of my sci-fi novels, waiting for the story to get weird. And it does get weird but not like I expected (and it’s not sci-fi). It has that “book within a book” format for a lot of it which I have an irrational hatred for. A lot of lovely descriptions of big houses and plants and animals in South Australia and Sydney. A convoluted story of a maybe-murder and complex motherhood. A lot of different stories being told. A mystery that I found a little foreshadowed early on. Good not great.

The Surviving Sky

Another really great first novel with epic worldbuilding in a future-Earth where the planet is uninhabitable and the humans take to the skies using a method that greatly taxes the people maintaining it and creates a class-stratified society between “architects” and everyone else. At its core, however, it’s about a marriage and two people who fight an awful lot. I loved the first aspect and found the second aspect hard for me, personally. Like there is a lot of these two people deciding to be apart and then get drawn back together and it’s unclear even if they should be together or not. I liked the world building parts but it’s one of those stories where people keep a lot of secrets and you feel like the arc of the story might be a lot shorter if they would just talk to one another. An excellently diverse cast of characters. Probably will not pick up the sequel.

Against Technoableism

If you’re familiar with the social model of disability you will probably like this and also probably learn more about it. Shew is an amputee with brain fog from chemo and she talks openly and honestly about her own situation and what she knows about other situations (including neurodiversity, why Autism Speaks sucks &c.) by being in disability activism communities. It’s a short and interesting book that I wish had been longer.


This book had lovely writing and such a bleak story. A man decides to homestead in Alaska right before statehood. He’d seen some shit when he was in the armed force but we’re not sure exactly what. He meets a young woman who is looking to escape a bad family scene in Texas, raised by an unloving grandmother,mom not really in the picture. They meet and marry and move into a bus on their land and slowly build a cabin and get to know each other. There are a lot of ways to tell this kind of story, and this way was one of the more spare and gritty ones. There’s some amazing Alaska information and facts. Sometimes even a bit too much. This story is loosely based on some people in Moustakis' own family and some if the recounting of forms that get filled out are clearly real-world things but don’t make for as good real-world reading.

The Best of All Possible Worlds

This book seems like it might be a multiverse story but it mostly isn’t. I’m not sure how it wound up on my radar, but it’s about a few different and distinct types of humans who wind up together on a planet after the destruction of one of the race’s planets. There’s a lot of travel, exploration of other cultures on the planet, a little bit of relationship stuff (there’s a high value placed on marriage and also the destroyed planet’s survivors want to preserve their culture). There’s some good “where did this book come from?” explanation in the afterword. I liked it. It was sort of snoozy and not much happens but the world building and culture building are interesting.

And Now I Spill the Family Secrets

I did not read this book earlier b/c I was afraid it was a “dead mom” book because there is a mom’s suicide attempt on page one. The mom, however, lives. This is a story about growing up in a family with a mother with a serious maybe untreated mental health issue (and a brother with one which is alluded to more than it’s explained until very late in the book) where people don’t talk about the important things. It has a spookiness to it that I did not enjoy and I was left with more questions about the author’s life than answers.

Thirsty Mermaids

From the person who brought you Lumberjanes. It’s not quite like this is “the same only underwater,” but if you appreciated the same affirming and inclusive cast of characters of that book, you’ll probably love this one. It’s a story of people who live in the water who come to land to check it out and then get a little stuck there without a lot of knowledge of non-water culture. Slightly difficult to read in a restaurant (for me!) because there are at least a few topless merpeople but it’s just titsy, not otherwise a sexy story except in that way body positivity can be sexy.