Review: This is How You Lose the Time War

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Genres: Science Fiction, Novella
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.


At this point, This is How You Lose the Time War has won every major science fiction award there is to win. Every reviewer, bookseller, blogger, and book personality has talked about why this book is so good. I’m not sure there’s anything I can contribute to this conversation, other than to say I cosign ALL OF THAT.

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Review: Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanen McGuire

Series: Wayward Children
Genres: Fantasy, Novella
Maturity Level: 5-
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.


This review is going to be one of my shortest ever, because I don’t have a lot to say. Guys … I didn’t love this book!

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Review: All Systems Red

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Series: The Murderbot Diaries
Genres: Science-Fiction, Novella
Maturity Level: 4-
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Rating:
⋆⋆⋆⋆

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.


What an enchanting read! All Systems Red was a perfect blend of sci-fi adventure with hard science fiction, all packed into a quick, light novella. It was funny, sweet, moderately thought-provoking, and entertaining as heck.

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Review: Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Genre: Fiction, Novella
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers’ style of dress and speech patterns so she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko’s contented stasis—but will it be for the better?


I feel as though I should start this review by saying that I know very little about contemporary Japanese culture, and next to nothing about Japanese literature. There is a very good chance that I did not fully understand this book, so I don’t feel I am qualified to write a real “review” or to make a recommendation. I’m just going to reflect on my personal reading experience. Okay then.

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Review: Shopgirl

10873Shopgirl by Steve Martin

Genres: Fiction, Novella
Maturity Rating: 5
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Rating: ⋆


Lonely, depressed, Vermont transplant Mirabelle Buttersfield, who sells expensive evening gloves nobody ever buys at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills and spends her evenings watching television with her two cats. She attempts to forge a relationship with middle-aged, womanizing, Seattle millionaire Ray Porter while being pursued by socially inept and unambitious slacker Jeremy.


Ouch, one-star? Sorry Steve. I wanted to love your book as much as I love your movies, but I just didn’t. The humor style was completely different than I’m used to seeing from you, and I didn’t connect with it at all.

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