February 25, 2021

Adrian Tchaikovsky: "One Day All This Will Be Yours" (ARC Review)

Title: One Day All This Will Be Yours [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Adrian Tchaikovsky [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi, Dark Comedy
Year: 2021
Age: 16+ (note: for the complexity of some of its concepts, it's best appreciated by grown-ups, but it's suitable for young adults as well) 
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Complex, clever, perversely funny. Packs a lot of surprises for a book so short, and even manages to pose a serious question despite reading like a politically incorrect romp.
Cons: If you don't like anti-heroes and open endings, this one won't be your cup of tea.
Will appeal to: Time-travel aficionados who aren't afraid to dip their toes into dark humour.

Blurb: Welcome to the end of time. It’s a perfect day.
Nobody remembers how the Causality War started. Really, there’s no-one to remember, and nothing for them to remember if there were; that’s sort of the point. We were time warriors, and we broke time.
I was the one who ended it. Ended the fighting, tidied up the damage as much as I could.
Then I came here, to the end of it all, and gave myself a mission: to never let it happen again. (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on NetGalley. Thanks to Solaris/Rebellion Publishing for providing an ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way. Also, please note: this is a very short book (under a hundred pages), so that's why my review is shorter than usual and not broken down into sections.

Since the book's blurb is enthralling (enough for me to request a review copy), but a bit cryptic, here's mine: After the war that broke time itself, the last man living in the last future goes out on a limb to preserve his never-ending peace, until an unexpected visit changes everything. But, you know - whatever. ODATWBY has got a killer premise (no pun intended) however you look at it, and one I've never encountered before.
This is such a perfect little book. I mean, it knows what it wants to accomplish, and it's perfect in that regard. I usually reserve 5-star ratings for books that - among other things - sport characters who really vibe with me on some level, but the rules don't apply here. The main character is an anti-hero if you ever saw one...but the author manages to have us sympathise with him. The other characters have their own agenda as well, and will stop at nothing until they get what they want...except they're not evil. Judging from the official blurb, one would expect the lead to perform a noble act or two in order to avoid more destruction, and maybe to go back in time in order to prevent it to happen at all...but that's not the case, because after all, humanity has never been able to abstain from breaking everything that is - even time itself eventually - so why bother? Also, didn't going back in time use to be a huge chunk of the problem, until it became THE problem? And isn't time irreparably damaged anyway? Part philosopher, part misanthrope and part cynic (but with a dark humor streak), the nameless lead - supposedly the last man living in the last future - just want to keep enjoying his high-tech (mock) Arcadia and playing with all of history...or what shards of it remain...except one day (so to speak, because in the last future there aren't "days" anymore) a big, totally unexpected "something" thwarts his plans big time (or so to speak, because time...well, you know the drill).
So...this novella is outrageous, over the top, entertaining and hella creative, packed with small and not-so-small twists and (mostly) never-heard-of time-travel outings, and even peppered with the cleverest spin on the grandfather paradox. On the other hand, as I said, it poses a serious question: is there anything humanity can be trusted not to break, although in good faith? Really, the best of both worlds 🙂.

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February 20, 2021

Kali Wallace: "Dead Space" (ARC Review)

Title: Dead Space [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Kali Wallace [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi, Thriller/Mystery
Year: 2021
Age: 16+
Stars: 4.5/5
Pros: Tight, adventurous, diverse, surprisingly moving in places, socially relevant.
Cons: There's a bitter (if fitting) undercurrent that hardly ever lets up. Also, the ending might be a tad too open for the tastes of some.
WARNING! Some gore. Death/near death by burning mentioned.
Will appeal to: Those who like speculative fiction with a heart and a social conscience.

Blurb: Hester Marley used to have a plan for her life. But when a catastrophic attack left her injured, indebted, and stranded far from home, she was forced to take a dead-end security job with a powerful mining company in the asteroid belt. Now she spends her days investigating petty crimes to help her employer maximize its profits. She's surprised to hear from an old friend and fellow victim of the terrorist attack that ruined her life - and that surprise quickly turns to suspicion when he claims to have discovered something shocking about their shared history and the tragedy that neither of them can leave behind. Before Hester can learn more, her friend is violently murdered at a remote asteroid mine. Hester joins the investigation to find the truth, both about her friend's death and the information he believed he had uncovered. But catching a killer is only the beginning of Hester's worries, and she soon realizes that everything she learns about her friend, his fellow miners, and the outpost they call home brings her closer to revealing secrets that very powerful and very dangerous people would rather keep hidden in the depths of space. (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on Edelweiss. Thanks to Berkley/Penguin Publishing Group for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


Kali Wallace is the whole package. She knows how to write sci-fi with a considerable degree of accuracy (and has the background to do so), but she also excels at plots and characters - which is, after all, why we read books in the first place. Dead Space follows a damaged (in more than a way) character - a (queer) AI research engineer who survived a space terrorist attack at the expense of a metal-patched body, not to mention the destruction of both her career and the brilliant electronic brain she had created. Bitter and disillusioned, yet empathetic and fiercely loyal at her core, Hester embarks on a (literal) journey in order to find out who killed an old friend and to clear his name, uncovering a bunch of startling secrets in the process. It was refreshing to read about a disabled heroine (as I said, the doctors fixed her up with metal/cybernetic prostheses, but she's far from an enhanced human - her patches come with a whole set of problems), and if at various points in the book Hester is either despised or fetishised for being the "ultimate frontier" between human and machine, as far as representation goes, hers is honest and arguably accurate. I mean, I speak from an able-bodied perspective, but her pain (both physical and psychological) feels real, and her difficulties, as peculiar as they are, feel real, as do her inner strength and courage. We need more disabled characters in sci-fi, and Wallace is proof there's lot of room for them in the genre. [...]

February 16, 2021

2021, I Hate You Already (+ a Reading, Blogging and Failing-at-Stuff Update)

💚 Hello sweeties,

so, as I promised, here's the recap of my recent health issues, plus a reading/blogging update, because I've been...erratic in my blogging lately (not when it comes to consistency, but absolutely so when it comes to content), and I wanted you to know why. I'm also adding a small life update (non health-related) for good measure. Sorry if you have already read my previous posts (or tweets) about my health debacle and you'll hear the same story twice (sometimes with the very same words, because I don't feel like writing everything down from scratch). Here goes...

On December 31st (because I have good timing), I develop an ache under my right shoulder blade. At first an anti-inflammatory med seems to keep it at bay, but then it comes back with a vengeance - it hurts like hell to breath. At the E.R., they give me some paracetamol and do bloodwork, an EKG and an x-ray. They do see a shadow of sorts where my 5th rib is, but since in the meantime the pain has receded a bit, they send me home advising me to get a CAT scan. Knowing what I know now, I can't believe they patched me home like that without doing the scan themselves...

February 12, 2021

C.W. Snyder: "Goddess of Nod" (ARC Review)

Title: Goddess of Nod  [on Amazon | on Goodreads
Series: The Balance (3rd of 3 books)
Author: C.W. Snyder [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife, Fantasy, Mythology
Year: 2021
Age: 16+ (this series started as YA - albeit dark - transitioned to NA, and now it takes a definite turn toward Adult)
Stars: 3.5/5
Pros: An imaginative, pull-no-punches ending to a series rich in mythology and adventure.
Cons: Complex, weaving in an out of worlds, often taking disorienting detours.
WARNING! Horror and gore.
Will appeal to: Those seeking a dark, yet poetic (and sometimes funny) example of revisited and enhanced tropes with a queer main character.

Blurb: An easy peace has descended on the land of Nod, but when an old ally turned enemy returns, loyalty and the fabric of the afterlife are stretched to their limits. To save the land she loves, Alice must choose to sacrifice everything she knows for the greater good, or be swallowed by the vast black of the encroaching Nothing. (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I received this book from Parliament House in exchange for an honest review. To be more precise, I specifically requested a review copy. That didn't affect my opinion and rating in any way.


Like all the books in The Balance trilogy, this last installment is both surprising and multifaceted, full of characters and twists...and twisted characters (as in, characters who turn from friends to enemies and the opposite). Snyder's afterlife is always ebullient and in need of a saver, and the Balance has to be restored once and for all (or, until the next enemy rears their head, I suppose 😉). So, Alice and her friends Maggie (more than a friend, really - a wife in name if not in deed) and Zee embark on a journey that, alas, sees them separated early on. From here, some of the action moves onto the real world (with the characters virtually resurrected), though with a foot firmly planted in the afterlife and its multiple universes. We get to revisit some places (and more than anything, faces) we're already familiar with, and at the same time to cover some new, exciting territory, and to meet new characters who surprise us with their demeanor (Lucifer). Also, Alice's magic is still strong, but different from what it was before, and it's interesting to see how she copes and find new ways to tap into it. [...]

February 07, 2021

Tooting Your Trumpet #17

Some people toot their own trumpet. I mean to toot yours. On the first Sunday of every month, I'm sharing your posts, your sites, anything interesting I stumble upon during my internet vagrancies. This month on TYT...
  • TROY TALKS CORPSEY'S CHEAP CHILLERS (an interview on Gaily Dreadful by guest Erin Callahan with author Troy H. Gardner about his indie feature-length film, with a link to the thing itself!)
  • READ MORE BOOKS – FREE, LEGAL ALTERNATIVES TO PIRATED BOOKS (a list on Shealea's blog Shut Up, Shealea)
  • ALL THE POSITIVES WITH NEGATIVE REVIEWS (a think piece/discussion post on Rivka's blog The Orangutan Librarian)
Please note: all the graphics featured in these posts are property of the blog/site owners, and are only used in association with their blog/site links.