NetGalley

Thumbs up for The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity. Young adult graphic novel.

A wonderful teen graphic novel about a modern girl obsessed with Gothic novels, who rescues a gentleman from drowning only to find herself swept to an island universe that obeys the rules of a Gothic novels. Worrisomely, the universe seems to be having issues….… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto. Crime.

Meddelin Chan accidentally kills a guy on a blind date; her aunties leap into action with a plan to dispose of the body, while simultaneously managing a two-thousand-guest resort wedding for their family business. Insanity ensues. I was a little mislead by the fact that after “humor” this book was categorized as “romantic comedy”; it is in fact a crime farce, and while the heroine’s attempt to get back with her ex is important to her, it’s a fairly minor point in a wildly complicated plot.… >> Read more

Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for The Identity Thief by Alex Bryant. All ages fantasy.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I read it pretty much in one sitting, so certainly I found it engaging. And I laughed quite a few times. But did I really find it enjoyable? I’m not sure. What I was thinking, as I read, was: This is a book I would give to a kid as a bang-up fictional example of how discrimination spreads throughout a populace, and what role the media plays in shifting public opinion.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Regency Years: During Which Jane Austen Writes, Napoleon Fights, Byron Makes Love, and Britain Becomes Modern by Robert Morrison. History.

I was puzzled, at first, by this book: why in heaven’s name does it start with crime, punishment, and riots? The violent political backdrop of the Regency is certainly important, but starting there—in a somewhat academic style no less—immediately excluded this book from being what I thought it perhaps was: a narrative primer of the period.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee. Science fiction.

If you love Leckie’s Ancillary Justice books, you should read Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy. But don’t read Revenant Gun until you’ve read the first two books; it will make zero sense. To be honest, I have read the first two and while I (mostly) always understood what was going on in Revenant Gun, I sometimes had no idea why.… >> Read more

Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Hidden Universe Travel Guides: Vulcan by Dayton Ward. Science fiction.

A nicely done fake travel guide to the planet Vulcan, for hardcore Trekkies only. The author must have put in a lot of work. I appreciate the callbacks to a couple of the better novels, such as Uhura’s Song by Janet Kagan, as well as the reference to Mark Gardner’s Vulcan Language Institute (very politely sourced, even!).… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Paperbacks from Hell: the Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix. Literary history.

When I requested an advance reader’s copy of this from the publisher, my expectations were low. It might have been a boring catalog of authors and publishers. Or it might have centered around mocking old horror paperback cover art, while being light on historical detail.… >> Read more