Review: “Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances” by Aliette de Bodard

Release Date: June 28, 2022
Series: Dragons and Blades #2
Publisher: JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
Genre: Historical Fiction

Description

It was supposed to be a holiday, with nothing more challenging than babysitting, navigating familial politics and arguing about the proper way to brew tea.

But when dragon prince Thuan and his ruthless husband Asmodeus find a corpse in a ruined shrine and a hungry ghost who is the only witness to the crime, their holiday goes from restful to high-pressure. Someone is trying to silence the ghost and everyone involved. Asmodeus wants revenge for the murder; Thuan would like everyone, including Asmodeus, to stay alive.

Chased by bloodthirsty paper charms and struggling to protect their family, Thuan and Asmodeus are going to need all the allies they can—and, as the cracks in their relationship widen, they’ll have to face the scariest challenge of all: how to bring together their two vastly different ideas of their future…

A heartwarming standalone book set in a world of dark intrigue.

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Review: “The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer” by Janelle Monáe

Release Date: April 19, 2022
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Science Fiction

Description

In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, activist, and worldwide superstar Janelle Monáe brings to the written page the Afrofuturistic world of one of her critically acclaimed albumsexploring how different threads of liberation–queerness, race, gender plurality, and love–become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape…and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.

Whoever controls our memories controls the future.

Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborating creators have written a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. Dirty Computer introduced a world in which thoughts–as a means of self-conception–could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, A.I., or other, your life and sentience was dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.

That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.

Expanding from that mythos, these stories fully explore what it’s like to live in such a totalitarian existence…and what it takes to get out of it. Building off the traditions of speculative writers such as Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Becky Chambers, and Nnedi Okorafor–and filled with the artistic genius and powerful themes that have made Monáe a worldwide icon in the first place–The Memory Librarian serves readers tales grounded in the human trials of identity expression, technology, and love, but also reaching through to the worlds of memory and time within, and the stakes and power that exists there.

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Review: “Fire Becomes Her” by Rosiee Thor

Release Date: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Description

In Rosiee Thor’s lavish fantasy novel with a Jazz Age spark, a politically savvy teen must weigh her desire to climb the social ladder against her heart in a world where magic buys votes.

Flare is power.

With only a drop of flare, one can light the night sky with fireworks . . . or burn a building to the ground — and seventeen-year-old Ingrid Ellis wants her fair share.

Ingrid doesn’t have a family fortune, monetary or magical, but at least she has a plan: Rise to the top on the arm of Linden Holt, heir to a hefty political legacy and the largest fortune of flare in all of Candesce. Her only obstacle is Linden’s father who refuses to acknowledge her.

So when Senator Holt announces his run for president, Ingrid uses the situation to her advantage. She strikes a deal to spy on the senator’s opposition in exchange for his approval and the status she so desperately craves. But the longer Ingrid wears two masks, the more she questions where her true allegiances lie.

Will she stand with the Holts, or will she forge her own path?

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Shocking, Intimate Fantasy: Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

Release Date: May 10, 2022
Publisher: Tordotcom Publishing
Genre: Historical Fantasy

Description

“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill–but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.

But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes–even if that means becoming the monster herself.

Siren Queen offers up an enthralling exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page.

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Review: “Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue” edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, & Troy L. Wiggins

Release Date: January 18, 2022
Publisher: Third Man Books
Genre: Anthologies

Description

Trouble the Waters gathers the tidal force of bestselling, renowned writers from Lagos to New Orleans, Memphis to Copenhagen, Northern Ireland and London, offering extraordinary speculative fiction tales of ancient waters in all its myriad forms. Meet techno savvy water spirits, bayou saints and sirens, robots and river rootwomen, a pod of joyful space whales, and a castle of water-born terrors and mysteries. Including work by Nalo Hopkinson, Jaquira Diaz, Andrea Hairston, Linda D. Addison, Rion Amilcar Scott, Marie Vibbert, Maurice Broaddus, and other breakout beautiful voices, these stories and poems celebrate the most vital of elemental forces, water.

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Review: “Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space” edited by Zoraida Córdova

Release Date: February 15, 2022
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Anthologies, Young Adult

Description

Follow princesses warring in space, haunting ghost stories in Argentina, mermaids off the coast of the Caribbean, swamps that whisper secrets, and many more realms explored and unexplored; this stunning collection of seventeen short stories breaks borders and realms to prove that stories are truly universal.

Reclaim the Stars features both bestselling and acclaimed authors as well as two new voices in the genres: Vita Ayala, David Bowles, J.C. Cervantes, Zoraida Córdova, Sara Faring, Romina Garber, Isabel Ibañez, Anna-Marie McLemore, Yamile Saied Méndez, Nina Moreno, Circe Moskowitz, Maya Motayne, Linda Raquel Nieves Pérez, Daniel José Older, Claribel A. Ortega, Mark Oshiro and Lilliam Rivera.

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Review: “The Kindred” by Alechia Dow

Release Date: January 4, 2022
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Description

To save a galactic kingdom from revolution, Kindred mind-pairings were created to ensure each and every person would be seen and heard, no matter how rich or poor…

Joy Abara knows her place. A commoner from the lowly planet Hali, she lives a simple life–apart from the notoriety that being Kindred to the nobility’s most infamous playboy brings.

Duke Felix Hamdi has a plan. He will exasperate his noble family to the point that they agree to let him choose his own future and finally meet his Kindred face-to-face.

Then the royal family is assassinated, putting Felix next in line for the throne…and accused of the murders. Someone will stop at nothing until he’s dead, which means they’ll target Joy, too. Meeting in person for the first time as they steal a spacecraft and flee amid chaos might not be ideal…and neither is crash-landing on the strange backward planet called Earth. But hiding might just be the perfect way to discover the true strength of the Kindred bond and expose a scandal–and a love–that may decide the future of a galaxy.

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