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The Terraformers (Hardcover, 2023, Tor Books) 4 stars

From science fiction visionary Annalee Newitz comes The Terraformers, a sweeping, uplifting, and illuminating exploration …

Should have been a Trilogy

4 stars

Newitz built a tripartite story, spread across millennia, and it's very good (as expected for previous readers). But, the characters aren't given QUITE enough room to breathe, and expanding this single novel into three, rather than the current three connected novellas, would really have been my preference.

Still, great book, but I want to know what else happened!

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (2022, Knopf Incorporated, Alfred A.) 4 stars

In this exhilarating novel by the best-selling author of The Storied Life of A. J. …

People and Places

5 stars

This is a very good book about relationships of all kinds - familial, romantic, friendly - and the relationships that are harder to define in a single word. Sure, it's also about video game design, narrative structure, being empathetic and kind, and a little love letter to Southern California. It feels like the 1990s, and also timeless. Zevin writes wonderfully about gender, race, age, and all the ups and downs of those definitions across generations.

Very highly recommended, for people who like people.

The Great Gods (EBook, 2023, Morangeles) No rating

The long-awaited first volume in the Time Wars series, The Great Gods find young Camber …

Great Addition to the Continuing Time

No rating

no spoilers, so forgive the vagueness

Moran's latest, the LONG awaited new book in the Continuing Time series, is another phenomenally good read. His talent for explaining the world/universe without feeling like an infodump remains, and if anything his dialog has become sharper over the decades. The reader wishes they were half as clever or as confident as any DKM protagonist.

This short novel offers a great glimpse into the K'Aillae society and their mixed support of the humans in their fight against the Sleem. We will have to wait for some future story to explore the war with the Sleem, which is just how Moran builds his audience.

We also get a bit of detail about how the Tremodian clan began, and some hints of where it's going. He also explains why there was a planet named Tin Woodman.

But that's just worldbuilding. The action, the story, the interpersonal …

Everybody Wins (2022, Asmodee Editions, Aconyte) 5 stars

Review of 'Everybody Wins' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

It's a "coffee table book," so it's filled with photos and sideboxes of facts and insights. For all that it is a genre leaning toward the lighter end of narrative, Wallis was able to fit a lot of interesting insights into Everybody Wins. If you're interested at all in tabletop gaming over the past forty years, this is a great overview of the places we've been and recent trends.

Review of 'Colleen Hoover Ebook Boxed Set Slammed Series' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

This was chosen by my book club, and it is fine for what it is. I think it may appeal more to angtsy teen girls than to jaded middle-aged men, but the club spoke!

Plotting is good, the italics and bold in the text made the slam poetry appropriately hipster, and there were some tear-jerking moments, but overall the story was predictable YA romance.

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (2018, Washington Square Press) 4 stars

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. …

Review of 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Reid performs a fun balancing act of switching viewpoint characters, as well as sprinkling in ephemera from the history of the fictional protagonist. It's a very smooth and easy read, a real page-turner. While there are surprises and twists, they all feel very well-earned. It's a story of love, a story of devotion, a story of ruthlessness and of generosity.

By the end of the book, I really wished that Evelyn Hugo had been a real person, such is Reid's ability to create real characters. Monique and Harry and Celia all feel fully-realized as well, and even the characters who barely get any "screen time" act like people. The dialog is snappy and I'd love to have a snarky conversation with Evelyn.

Recommended to anyone who likes books about people and social norms.

Review of 'Overnight Guest' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

While certainly a page-turner, the book stumbled a bit towards the end. I don't think the final revelations are truly earned by the previous text. Certainly, a thriller should throw a surprise at the reader, but upon looking back at the previous chapters, it should feel like the answer was there and we didn't see it. I don't believe that is the case here. There are also a number of grammatical choices that are counter to what we all learned in school (sentence fragments, comma splices, etc.) which pulled me from the story at times.