Welcome to Book Bites! This is a series focused on highlighting multiple titles in a more concise format. Rather than looking at a book in depth, I’ll be focusing on the most important thing: why you should read it! Today, we have three miniature reviews – On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu, Drowned Country by Emily Tesh, and The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polanksy! I enjoyed all three of these, and The Seventh Perfect was particularly interesting and experimental. … More On Fragile Waves by E. Lily Yu, Drowned Country by Emily Tesh, and The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polanksy
I started a “Best of 2020” list. Then, I started over. I scrapped it. Started again. I looked through my books, ran my fingers down their spines, and tried once more. I threw together a spreadsheet from Goodreads, sorted it by date, then by rating, then by author. Deleted it in frustration when the books didn’t feel the way I needed them to. I couldn’t do it. … More Finding What Was Meaningful – a 2020 Retrospective
Dragon Tamer is irreverent, light-hearted, and a joy to read. It’s everything I want from a cute fantasy romance. It even has puns in it! Really dumb ones! The BEST ones. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and the whole book is better for it. The main pairing is a bookish dragon prince devoted to pacifism and an extremely fighty Viking-esque himbo lady who’s got some really impressive muscles. AND THEY ADOPT A MAGIC PUPPY TOGETHER. … More Dragon Tamer by Ophelia Silk
Within the context of its time, The Player of Games is a shockingly progressive novel. Given that it was written at the height of the AIDS epidemic, I’m impressed that Ian M. Banks chose to deliberately and consciously include queer themes and explicitly endorse homosexuality as something that is not just okay, but also a perfectly normal part of a healthy utopian society. … More Does The Player of Games by Ian M. Banks Hold Up to a Modern Reading?
When Niovi tried to smuggle her mother’s ghost into the new country, she found herself being passed from one security officer to another, detailing her mother’s place and date of death over and over again.
“Are you carrying a ghost with you, ma’am?” asked the woman in the security vest. Her nametag read Stella. Her lips were pressed in a tight line as she pointed at the ghost during the screening, tucked inside a necklace. She took away Niovi’s necklace and left only her phone. … More My Country Is a Ghost by Eugenia Triantafyllou
Chaos Vector was an excellent follow up to Velocity Weapon! O’Keefe has dramatically improved as a writer; the pacing was much, much better in this sequel. The twists are just as punchy as you could hope, though I’m not sure ANYTHING can top the one in Velocity Weapon. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Plotlines connect, merge, and shift when you least expect. … More Chaos Vector by Megan O’Keefe – Punchy & Character-Driven in the Best Ways
In The Salt Witch, Martha Wells explores the intersection between heritage and individuality within a patriarchal culture steeped in gendered expectations. Juana, a witch attempting to traverse the sea in a broken sailboat, instead finds herself washed ashore a ghost island filled with the victims of a hurricane and held captive by a malevolent force residing in its center. … More The Salt Witch by Martha Wells
This is a fast-paced novella chock full of intrigue, murder, and the fantastic. De Bodard thrusts the reader into her Dominion of the Fallen universe head-first and expects them to sink or swim to keep up. Personally, I found it to be an energetic experience; as this was my first introduction to her world, there was something new on each page to keep me eagerly flipping the page for more. An underwater Vietnamese dragon city below Paris? Crab shifters? Possible poisonings? I was here for it at every turn. … More Of Dragons, Feasts, and Murders by Aliette de Bodard
The stakes have been raised, and the winds are changing. Joron will find himself flensed to the bone, losing everything he holds dear. He will be hammered and tempered into steel before he can live out his destiny… or reject it entirely and shape a different future from what has been foretold. … More Call of the Bone Ships by RJ Barker – A Lush, Nautical Epic Fantasy
I was flattered when I was invited to join the project as a sensitivity reader. It was a joy and a pleasure working with Scott, and I can say in my opinion he’s done a stellar job at balancing the different representations of gender and sexuality within the text. d’Artagnan has become a hotheaded young woman while Aramis identifies as nonbinary. Athos is a wise, older woman, and Porthos remains a distinctly flamboyant monsieur. The diversity of the new cast is astounding, and brings so much more interest to a story that otherwise might not have quite as much to offer a modern audience. … More The Three Musketeers – retold with a diverse range of queer characters in a seventeenth-century France where colonialism just somehow never existed.