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Books Received, March 27 — April 2

3 Apr, 2021

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Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in Ryka Aoki’s Light From Uncommon Stars, a defiantly joyful adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six. When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate. But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found. 

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March 2021 in Review

31 Mar, 2021

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March 2021

22 works reviewed. 13 by women (59%), 9 by men (41%), and 10 works by POC (45%)

Year to Date

64 works reviewed. 37.5 by women (58%), 25.5 by men (37%), one by an author whose gender is unknown (2%) and 27 works by POC (40%)

Grand Total to Date
1812 works reviewed. 1020 by women (56%), 755 by men (42%), 21 by non-binary authors (2%), 16 by gender unknown (2%), 506.75 by POC (28%)

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Books Received, March 20 — March 26

27 Mar, 2021

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Her fiction is a breath-taking piece of a cinematic art itself. Reminiscent of the world we experienced in Matrix, Inception, and Dark City, still it leads us to this entirely original structure, which is a ground-breaking, mystic literary and cinematic experience. Indeed, powerful and graceful.” — Bong Joon-ho, Oscar-winning director of Parasite

In this mind-expanding work of speculative fiction, available in English for the first time, one of South Korea’s most treasured writers explores the driving forces of humanity — love, hope, creation, destruction, and the very meaning of existence — in two pairs of thematically interconnected stories.

Two worlds, four stories, infinite possibilities In I’m Waiting for You” and On My Way,” an engaged couple coordinate their separate missions to distant corners of the galaxy to ensure — through relativity — they can arrive back on Earth simultaneously to make it down the aisle. But small incidents wreak havoc on space and time, driving their wedding date further away. As centuries on Earth pass and the land and climate change, one thing is constant: the desire of the lovers to be together. In two separate yet linked stories, Kim Bo-Young cleverly demonstrate the idea love that is timeless and hope springs eternal, despite seemingly insurmountable challenges and the deepest despair.In The Prophet of Corruption” and That One Life,” humanity is viewed through the eyes of its creators: godlike beings for which everything on Earth — from the richest woman to a speck of dirt — is an extension of their will. When one of the creations questions the righteousness of this arrangement, it is deemed a perversion — a disease — that must be excised and cured. Yet the Prophet Naban, whose child” is rebelling, isn’t sure the rebellion is bad. What if that which is considered criminal is instead the natural order — and those who condemn it corrupt? Exploring the dichotomy between the philosophical and the corporeal, Kim ponders the fate of free-will, as she considers the most basic of questions: who am I? 

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Books Received, March 13 — March 19

20 Mar, 2021

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A WORLD INSIDE

All Hiroto has ever known is a life on a tiny coastal speck of Japan. Much of the country has been swallowed by Yokohama Station, a mysterious, ever-growing series of buildings that’s been around for as long as anyone can remember. The few who live outside its many entrances have never seen Inside and know only rumors and legends of the station’s interior. That all changes when Hiroto is given an 18 Ticket, a mysterious item that lets him enter the massive complex for five days. The young man has always sought a purpose, but the one he finds may not be the sort he’d hoped for… 

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Books Received, March 6 — March 12

13 Mar, 2021

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Out in the darkness of space, something is targeting the Greatships.With their vast cargo holds and a crew that could fill a city, the Greatships are the lifeblood of human occupied space, transporting an unimaginable volume — and value — of goods from City, the greatest human orbital, all the way to Tradepoint at the other, to trade for xenoglas with an unknowable alien species. It has always been Marca Nbaro’s dream to achieve the near-impossible: escape her upbringing and venture into space.All it took, to make her way onto the crew of the Greatship Athens was thousands of hours in simulators, dedication, and pawning or selling every scrap of her old life in order to forge a new one. But though she’s made her way onboard with faked papers, leaving her old life — and scandals — behind isn’t so easy. She may have just combined all the dangers of her former life, with all the perils of the new . .

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Books Received, February 27 — March 5

6 Mar, 2021

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No one knows where it came from. Or why, for that matter. Maybe the Stronghold has always been there. Silent. Foreboding. Expectant. Generations came and went. Wars raged. Kingdoms rose and fell. But the Stronghold stood and observed the history as it was written before it in blood, fire, and tears. Not a single soul has ever made it inside the Stronghold. But some sure tried…A parable of despotism and religious oppression, Stronghold” was banned in its country of origin. It took Kesha Bakunin years to rewrite the book in English. With censorship on the rise in many parts of the world, it might be the last chance for him to share this cautionary tale about the most insidious kind of tyranny-one which is welcomed by its subjects as virtuous.The secret of the Stronghold awaits its claimant. The question is who will have the courage to peek inside. 

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February 2021 in Review

28 Feb, 2021

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February 2021

20 works reviewed. 12.5 by women (63%), 7.5 by men (38%), and 8 works by POC (40%)

Year to Date

42 works reviewed. 24.5 by women (58%), 16.5 by men (39%), one by an author whose gender is unknown (2%) and 17 works by POC (40%)

Grand Total to Date
1790 works reviewed. 1007 by women (56%), 747 by men (42%), 21 by non-binary authors (1%), 15 by gender unknown (1%), 496.75 by POC (28%)

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Books Received, February 20 — February 26

27 Feb, 2021

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The Compton Crook Award-winning author weaves her trademark blend of science fiction and dark humor in this dazzling story that continues the imaginative saga begun in Escaping Exodus, in which a society lives in the belly of a beast — and an entire civilization’s survival depends on a pair of uneasy allies who must come together for one epic battle.Nearly a thousand years removed from Earth, the remnants of humanity cling to existence inside giant, space faring creatures known as the Zenzee. Abused and exploited by humans for generations, these majestic animals nearly went extinct, but under the command of its newly minted ruler, Doka Kaleigh, life in the Parados I has flourished. Thanks to careful oversight and sacrifice by all of its crew, they are now on the brink of utopia, and yet Doka’s rivals feel threatened by that success. The Senate allowed Doka to lead their people believing he’d fail spectacularly — a disaster that would cement the legitimacy of their long-standing matriarchy. Despite vocal opposition and blatant attacks on his authority, Doka has continued to handle his position with grace and intelligence; he knows a single misstep means disaster. When a cataclysmic event on another Zenzee world forces Doka and his people to accept thousands of refugees, a culture clash erupts, revealing secrets from the past that could endanger their future. For Doka, the stakes are bigger and more personal than ever before — and could cost him his reign and his heart. He has fallen for the one woman he is forbidden to love: his wife, Seske. Doka and Seske must work closely together to sway the other Zenzee worlds to stop their cycles of destruction. But when they stumble upon a discovery that can transform their world, they know they must prepare to fight a battle where there can be no winners, only survivors. 

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Books Received, February 13 — February 19

20 Feb, 2021

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How close would you hold those you love, when the end comes? In a society where self-preservation is as much an art as a science, Norah and Arthur are learning how to co-exist in their new little world. Though they hardly know each other, everything seems to be going perfectly — from the home they’re building together to the ring on Norah’s finger. But survival in this world is a tricky thing, the air is thicker every day and illness creeps fast through the body. And the earth is becoming increasingly hostile to live in. Fortunately, Easton Grove is here for that in the form of a perfect little bundle to take home and harvest. You can live for as long as you keep it — or her — close.

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Books Received, February 6 — February 12

13 Feb, 2021

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Katherine Addison returns at last to the world of The Goblin Emperor with this stand-alone sequel.When the young half-goblin emperor Maia sought to learn who had killed his father and half-brothers, he turned to an obscure resident of his Court, a Prelate of Ulis and a Witness for the Dead. Thara Celehar found the truth, though it did him no good to discover it.Now Celehar lives in the city of Amalo, far from the Court though not exactly in exile. He has not escaped from politics, but his position gives him the ability to serve the common people of the city, which is his preference. He lives modestly, but his decency and fundamental honesty will not permit him to live quietly. 

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