Camp Spirit is a YA graphic novel set in the 1990s in Ontario, where high-schooler Elodie has been appointed as a camp counselor for the summer. Elodie is very 90s grunge, is not at all interested in camping or the outdoors, and is the opposite of excited for her summer job. What starts as a frothy, pulpy sort of story takes a sharp turn about mid-way through, and turns this summer romance into a a graphic novel full of intrigue, mystical nightmares, demonic presences, and urban legends. Even through this shift, though, the book never loses its center- the growing friendship (and maybe more) between Elodie and camp counselor extraordinaire, Catherine.Continue reading “Review: Camp Spirit by Axelle Lenoir”
Review: Everything is an Emergency by Jason Adam Katzenstein
I don’t think I have ever felt more seen in a book than with this little illustrated memoir. This is the story of Jason Adam Katzenstein, famed cartoonist and writer, and his struggle with Obsession Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”).
This book makes me want to talk about my OCD, something I only do with very close family, and that, in and of itself, is telling.Continue reading “Review: Everything is an Emergency by Jason Adam Katzenstein”
Review: The Body Double by Emily Beyda
You know when you start a book and think it’s going to be a certain way and the book actually goes there and it’s super satisfying? And you end up not disappointed by a book you thought was going to disappoint you? The Body Double was that kind of book for me. This book was wild and had some amazingly well done paranormal-esque twists that were, in my opinion, very successful.Continue reading “Review: The Body Double by Emily Beyda”
Review: Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler
Here’s where I have to admit something that’s embarrassing as a science fiction blogger and former English major: I had never actually read any Octavia Butler works before now, and I am honestly pretty ashamed of myself. I have known of Butler for years, but for one reason or another, hadn’t ever made time for her books. When I was given an eArc of Subterranean Press’s forthcoming collection, Unexpected Stories, by the one and only Octavia Butler, I knew it was time to finally dig into some of her work.Continue reading “Review: Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler”
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo: A Fantasy Novella Full of Strength and Female Friendship
I usually gravitate towards Tor.com titles because, let’s be honest, it’s where you can find some of the best science fiction out there today. While I enjoy fantasy, my genre sweet spot is almost always “speculative” and light science fiction. Well, The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo, changed my mind about fantasy novellas for good. This little novella packs such a punch, and is simultaneously heart-wrenching and heart-warming; it’s feminist as heck, and doesn’t hold back or apologize for it’s presence.Continue reading “The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo: A Fantasy Novella Full of Strength and Female Friendship”
Review: The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp
The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp is one of the best graphic novels I’ve read in a really, really long time. This YA graphic novel is from DC Comics, and tells the story of Barbara Gordon, who becomes Oracle in the Batman/DC comic universe. Don’t be fooled, though– there are practically no superheros in this novel. Instead, we get a beautifully crafted story that is wonderfully diverse, fierce, and full of mystery and intrigue.Continue reading “Review: The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp”
Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
My first foray with Robert Jackson Bennett came with my reading of Vigilance, a recent speculative fiction novella of his, which might well pan out to be one of my favorite books of the year. I knew as soon as I finished it that I wanted to read more by him as soon as possible.
While I had heard of Foundryside, I was put off by some misconceptions I had heard from other people’s reviews of the book. Foundryside is usually described by other reviewers as an epic fantasy about a thieving crew. And it is that. And it also isn’t. Foundryside is fantasy, science fiction, and steampunk all wrapped up with a lovely dystopian bow. It’s epic fantasy in that the world is completely new and not at all our world, but that’s about it. There is no “magic” or “magic system” per se; rather, the magic comes from technology and science.Continue reading “Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett”
Girls with Sharp Sticks & Girls with Razor Hearts Review And Discussion
When I read Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young earlier this year, I was blown away by how much I actually enjoyed it. As much as I love speculative fiction and Sci Fi, I find few YA titles in the genre to be compelling or successfully-crafted. That is not the case with Suzanne Young’s Girls with Sharp Sticks and, its sequel, Girls with Razor Hearts.
Girls with Sharp Sticks follows Mena and her friends, all of which are students at the exclusive and secretive girls-only boarding school, Innovations Academy. When some girls at the school start acting differently and disappearing, Mena begins questioning everything. Such as, why does she never see her family outside of school? Or, what goes on in all those therapy and “impulse control” sessions? And, what exactly happens to the girls after graduation?Continue reading “Girls with Sharp Sticks & Girls with Razor Hearts Review And Discussion”
Sea Change by Nancy Kress
Sea Change, a forthcoming novella by acclaimed writer Nancy Kress, is everything I love about speculative fiction. The story has a compelling near-future setting, is full of smart characters with sharply written dialogue, and is so thematically rich and progressive. It’s character driven, scarily close to reality, and covers topics often overlooked by other media.
Not unlike my previous review of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s upcoming novella, Firewalkers, Kress’s Sea Change also centers on our world following devastation caused, primarily, by climate change. However, whereas Firewalkers is set in a time that feels very distant and in a place that feels far from our present world, Sea Change is set in the 2030s in America and feels very true to a near-future picture of the country.Continue reading “Sea Change by Nancy Kress”
Hearts of Oak – Genre Bending Speculative Fiction at it’s Best
Hearts of Oak starts with a king, an architect, a magically growing city, and a talking cat, and, somehow, it manages to keep these pieces at it’s (oak) heart, even as the story itself expands and changes. What starts as a tender, character focused fantasy about an ever-growing city shifts into a very different story mid-way through. The result is a beautifully clever genre-bending experience, with a story that is part whimsical fantasy and part provocative science fiction.Continue reading “Hearts of Oak – Genre Bending Speculative Fiction at it’s Best”