“Ancillary Mercy” by Ann Leckie

Recommended to me by: reading Ancillary Justice, the first book in this series.

This book has more plot drama and more heavy-handed social justice messages than the first two books. I imagine that works for the target audience of young space opera fans, but it didn’t suit me as well. It felt like the […]

“Ancillary Sword” by Ann Leckie

Recommended to me by: Reading Ancillary Justice

The nice thing about waiting a year or two to read a good book is that the sequel is already available! This sequel to Ancillary Justice was more about the troubles of 17 year old girls (and boys), and so didn’t pull me in as much. It […]

“Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie

I loved this book. I saw it recommended all over the place as unusual for space opera, but it took a friend loaning me his copy, and some spare time, to sit down with it. It opens with what seems to be a dead body, so I almost put it down again, but then […]

“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

I clearly remember not wanting to turn the light out, the first time I finished reading this book, spooked by mind control. I was around 9 years old, new to having my own room, lined with bookcases of my parents’ books.

Rereading it now, it’s interesting to see which parts I could practically recite, […]

“Mass” by Leonard Bernstein

I heard Bernstein’s Mass on the radio as a kid and was hooked by both the words and the music. I bought the double CD set at some point, but hadn’t listened to it for years. I got it out recently, thinking about interfaith. It’s a theater piece of a full Latin mass, interspersed with […]

“Sea Change” by S. M. Wheeler

Recommended to me by: s.e. smith at this ain’t livin’

This wild fantasy felt true to me, true to inner journeys and struggles and transformations. It has violence in it, but not a lot compared to the modern fashion, and deaths are grieved instead of being passed over without comment. Heroes, villains, and monsters […]

“The Stone Lions” by Gwen Dandridge

Recommended to me by: Knowing the author and reading early drafts long ago

I expected this book to feel a little repetitive since I read so many early drafts. Instead, it was riveting! I found myself not wanting to stop to go to bed, and wanting to pick it up again the next morning […]

“What Every Singer Needs to Know About the Body” by Malde, Allen, Zeller

Authors: Melissa Malde, MaryJean Allen, Kurt-Alexander Zeller

I read this as a followup to What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body, since I’m a singer, not a musician. I expected it to be similarly playful and filled with illustrations more than words. I also expected it to cover very similar material.

I […]

“Bloodchild and Other Stories” by Octavia Butler

Recommended to me by: Marissa Lingen

Octavia Butler wrote apocalyptic science fiction stories full of the rawness of humanity and survival. One story addresses how stranded humans could pay rent on a foreign planet. Another looks at a terrible disease that is genetically dominant. Another is a vignette from a future when an epidemic […]

“Pure” by Julianna Baggott

Recommended to me by: s.e. smith at this ain’t livin’

This is a layered, well-crafted dystopian science-fiction novel offering both entertainment and examination of modern issues. It has scientific advances and their consequences, predictable heterosexual teen romances, well-developed female characters, adventures, violence, nuances of interaction, and a detailed sense of place.

Where many books […]