Review: A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw

Author: Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Released: November 29, 2022
Received: Own (BOTM)

3 kitties

Book Summary:

Vega has spent her whole life keeping a secret from the world – a secret that has been scored into her flesh. She is the Last Astronomer and must find the Architect before it is too late. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the fate of humanity rests in her ability to find a person she has never once met.

The world Vega must traverse to find the Architect is far from safe. People are sick and dying, and that makes them desperate. Desperate people can be dangerous. Vega’s journey forward will be full of danger, loss, and pain.

“The Astronomer and the Architect, fated like Perseus and Andromeda.”

My Review:

Full disclosure: I’ve only read one other novel by Shea Ernshaw, A History of Wild Places. I absolutely adored that novel and made a promise to myself to read everything else of hers (when I can set aside the time, of course). So I went into A Wilderness of Stars with pretty high expectations.

Vega’s story starts pretty heartbreakingly, which makes it easy to sympathize with her. It’s even easier to get invested in her story. There’s an air of mystery about her quest – we know that she is the Last Astronomer, yet we don’t know what that means. Likewise, we know she needs to find the Last Architect, but again, we don’t know what that means.

The story unfolds slowly throughout the novel, though most of the relevant information comes out right at the end. It makes for one hell of a twist. More accurately, the ending is more like three or four significant twists in one. It’s a bit of a brain-bender, truth be told.

Ultimately, I felt like this was a decent read. A Wilderness of Stars has a solid start and an interesting beginning. The twist at the end was less satisfying, as far as I’m concerned. However, I will acknowledge that it was a unique risk to take.

Highlights:

  • Sci-fi/fantasy elements
  • Romance
  • Dystopia
  • Astrology

Trigger Warnings:

  • Sickness
  • Parental death
  • Stalking
  • Abuse

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Review: The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford

Author: Jamie Ford
Publisher: Atria Books
Released: August 2nd, 2022
Received: Own (BOTM)
Warnings: Generational trauma

3 1/2 kitties

Wow. There was no way I could read the description of The Many Daughters of Afong Moy and successfully walk away. This is one of those books that demands to be read, you know?

Dorothy Moy is an artist who uses her personal trauma and mental health condition to fuel her art. It’s not ideal, but Dorothy has accepted her lot in life. That is until she noticed her daughter exhibiting very similar behavior. That’s when Dorothy realized something had to change.

Dorothy signs up for an experimental treatment option to give her daughter a better future. If successful, it will eliminate any inherited trauma, ensuring that her daughter will not have the save ghosts lingering over her shoulder.

“Dorothy remembered an old line of poetry from Rupi Kaur: If people were rain, men would be drizzle, and women a hurricane.”

I’ve seen several novels portraying generational trauma. However, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy marks the first (that I’ve seen) that combines it with heavy science fiction elements. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least!

There are five main perspectives in The Many Daughters of Afong Moy, though it’ll probably take a minute for the number to become clear. These perspectives jump around quite a lot, covering different generations and their stories.

However, it always felt like Dorothy was the primary perspective, which I’m sure was the intent. She’s the one delving into the past to try and save her daughter’s future, so she plays the biggest role out of everyone.

I’ll confess that it took me a while to piece together all the perspectives and how their stories fit together. Some people may enjoy putting that puzzle together. Others may find it off-putting. I think that I was somewhere in between, not loving it but certainly not hating it.

Overall I would have to say that The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is a solid reading. The writing style is by far the best part, though certain characters found a way to shine as I read, which I always appreciate.

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Review: The Last Raven by Steve McHugh

Series: Riftborn #1
Author: Steve McHugh
Publisher: Podium Publishing
Released: November 8, 2022
Received: Review Request

4 1/2 kitties

Book Summary:

Fantasy meets noir in this thrilling new series by Steve McHugh. Here we have a world torn apart by prejudice and rifts. The rift-fused didn’t ask to be the way they are, yet they certainly are doing their best in this strange new world.

Enter Lucas, a riftborn fighter with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. When FBI and RCU agents begin getting murdered by the dozen – many of them his friends – Lucas is unable to stay out of the fray any longer. It is time to tackle this head-on, which means putting himself in the path of a killer (or worse).

My Review:

I love diving into new series, especially ones I haven’t heard much about. I adore that there are zero expectations, just a fresh start, and a whole new experience. The journey The Last Raven set me upon was no disappointment. This was a thrilling read from start to finish. Also, it feels like it’s been far too long since I read an urban fantasy series (read: no more than a few weeks), so I was happy to come home.

Lucas is what we call a tortured soul. He’s been through hell and back – much of that was before the novel began. It almost feels like salt in the wound after a time. Yet he’s the perfect protagonist for this series, as he is clearly invested in the outcome.

The world itself is fascinating. I have so many questions, enough to keep me looking forward to the next novel in this series. Readers are introduced to the world relatively slowly, but it’s enough to paint a picture over time.

Overall, I enjoyed the vibes and themes of The Last Raven. It really did feel like a merger between fantasy and thriller, with a dash of noir thrown in for good measure. It’s a perfect balance, and I would love to see more of it.

Highlights:

  • Urban Fantasy
  • Unique magical system
  • Detective vibes

Trigger Warnings:

  • Prejudice
  • Gore/violence

Thanks to Podium for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Reading Challenges – PopSugar Reading Challenge

A little while ago, I made a post talking about the reading challenges I’m attempting for the year. To be clear! I’m being fairly casual about these reading challenges. That means I’m not going to stress if I don’t finish them all (which is good because I picked too many of them…). I’m also going to try to fit books from the TBR to fit the prompts as much as possible.

One of the challenges I decided to pick up is PopSugar Reading Challenge. PopSugar is probably one of the biggest reading challenges around (that I’m aware of), and I’ve been meaning to do it for years. I actually started the challenge with the new year but didn’t want to overwhelm my blog with ten(ish) challenge posts all at once.

If you’re curious about the PopSugar Reading Challenge, click HERE to read about it and get a list of the prompts.

Without further ado, here’s my progress so far:

I know it looks like I’ve made a lot of progress, but I just got lucky with the prompts. I think I knocked all the easy (for me) ones out of the way. So I’m probably going to be making significantly less progress over the next month or two. We’ll see!

What book challenges are you currently doing, if any? If you’re not participating in a challenge, have you read any of the above books? If so, let me know what you think of them!

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Review: Sweep of the Heart by Ilona Andrews

Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #5
Author: Ilona Andrews (Ilona & Andrew Gordon)
Publisher: Indie
Released: December 13, 2022
Received: Own

Can we just take a moment to dance and celebrate the release of Sweep of the Heart? This series is phenomenal!

Book Summary:

Dina Demille and Sean Evans are Innkeepers. They keep the peace, maintain secrecy, and protect their guests – at all costs. Yet Gertrude Hunt seems to be gaining a reputation of sorts, as they consistently take upon the most dangerous of situations.

Gertrude Hunt will be the new location of a famous spousal selection – of intergalactic proportions. The stakes are high, but Dina and Sean need to do this. It is the only way they’ll be able to save their friend.

My Review:

They’ve done it again! House Andrews has written another brilliant Innkeeper novel, and I am here for it! This makes the fifth book in the series, and I sincerely hope many more will come!

It’s been a while since we’ve spent time at Gertrude Hunt, so it was pleasant to come back and enjoy their adventures. However, I don’t think any readers could have anticipated the scale for Sweep of the Heart. It is, forgive the pun, out of this world.

To say this was a dramatic read would be an understatement. We had politics, plotting, romance (a la the bachelor), and more. So much more! The biggest thing, for me, was how this latest addition to the series really began to delve into the mystery and secrets we’ve been dying to understand. We still have many questions to answer (along with a few new ones thrown into the mix), but I’m thrilled with what we’ve been given so far.

As with all of the Innkeeper series, Sweep of the Heart was originally updated every week on the Ilona AnAdrews blog. Unlike the others (thus far), it was HIGHLY interactive, letting readers vote on their favorite spousal contenders as we went along. It was a blast and a half to experience. If you missed out this time around, I highly recommend you sign up for updates from the blog so you don’t miss out the next time!

Long story short – Sweep of the Heart was everything readers could have hoped for. Go read it!

Highlights:

  • Sentient building
  • Urban fantasy
  • Intergalactic Bachelor
  • Space hedge-hog chief
  • Super important house cat
  • Space werewolves
  • Magical inn
  • Ongoing Series

Trigger Warnings:

  • Animal death
  • Stalking
  • Abuse

Audiobook Review:

Narrator: Nora Sofyan

Since I absolutely fell in love with Sweep of the Heart (no pun intended, but appreciated), I jumped at the chance to listen to the audiobook version. Narrated by Nora Sofyan, this novel once again swept (heh) me off my feet.

I’ll stop kidding around – Nora Sofyan did a brilliant job bringing the characters to life. I was delighted with her portrayal of our main characters, not to mention the many (many) secondary characters and cameos. It added a whole new layer to the world. Now I’m going to have to go back and listen to the rest of this series on audiobook because, clearly, I’ve been missing out!

Thanks to NYLA and #NetGalley for making this (audio)book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel

Author: Anne Heltzel
Publisher: Nightfire
Released: May 17, 2022
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Rape, child abuse, drugging, attempted suicide, forced impregnation, infant death (mentioned), infertility

3 kitties

Just Like Mother, by Anne Heltzel, is one part thriller and one-part horror. In other words, it’s the perfect combination of the two for readers that love a bit of thrill and chills! So obviously, I had to read it.

Maeve’s cousin managed to do the impossible: she ran away from the cult that raised her. Andrea cut herself off from nearly everything, and everyone – Maeve included- to protect herself. Or rather, that used to be the case.

Now Andrea is welcoming Maeve back into her life. Rather than finding this suspicious, Maeve jumps at the chance to have her best friend and cousin back in her life. Things quickly begin to take a strange turn, forcing Maeve to confront the ghosts of her past.

To say that Just Like Mother is a lot would be an understatement. This is not a book for everyone, as it has A LOT of trigger warnings (Warnings include: rape, child abuse, drugging, attempted suicide, forced impregnation, infant death, and infertility).

I know that horror novels aren’t always bright and sunny – they’re meant to have a darker side. Still, there were times that Just Like Mother felt like too much to me. Perhaps that is human, and thus Anne Heltzel did a fantastic job portraying this side of things? It’s hard to say.

What I can say is that the writing is solid. Heltzel does a fantastic job of building suspense, creating a situation that feels subtly off right from the start. With each scene, it became clearer that something was wrong. Why it was wrong took more work to suss out.

Thanks to Nightfire and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: Summer at the Cape by RaeAnne Thayne

Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Publisher: HQN
Released: April 12, 2022
Received: NetGalley

4 kitties

I just can’t resist titles that start with “Summer at.” I’m going to blame my lingering winter blues on that one! Summer at the Cape is one of two books with this general theme, and honestly? I have zero regrets about reading both.

Cami has always kinda been the sore thumb in the family. And really, everywhere she goes. It isn’t her fault. Her little sisters were twins, her mother a free spirit, and her father a lawyer. It’s impossible to fit into any of those categories. The divorce just made all these differences more apparent.

Twenty years later, Cami’s relationship with her family still isn’t what it could be, especially when it comes to her sisters. But one phone call is still all it takes to alter her world. One of her sisters is dead.

I feel like Summer at the Cape has a little bit of something for everyone. It’s a contemporary romance and women’s fiction rolled into one, but that statement doesn’t grasp all that Summer at the Cape offers.

This was such an emotional read. As an only child, I couldn’t personally relate to many parts of this story, and yet the words pulled at me and made me feel like my heart was along for the ride. That’s the story I’m looking for when hunting for an emotional read. It’s also something that Summer at the Cape truly nailed.

It was easy to become invested in this cast of characters, especially Cami. Her story is so human, even while dealing with the worst that life offers. Perhaps I should say especially that it probably depends on your perspective.

I am so happy to have taken the time to read Summer at the Cape. This was the first novel I’ve read by RaeAnne Thayne, and you better believe I’ll be adding her to my list of authors to keep an eye out for.

Thanks to HQN and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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WOTN: A Longer Fall by Charlaine Harris

A Longer Fall

A Tale Worth Reading in A Longer Fall

A Longer Fall is the second novel in Charlaine Harris’ Gunnie Rose series, and it carries just as much impact as the first. Gunnie Rose is an alternate history, set during the Great Depression – but with several fundamental changes. Most notably, the inclusion of magic.

Picture a classic western full of gunslingers and the like, and then throw in a dash of Russian influence and magic, and you’ve got a decent idea of the setting for this story. It’s unique and fun while also being free to show the darker sides of humanity.

Lizbeth Rose is a Gunnie – that is her way of life, and she’s damn good at it. After losing her entire crew in the first novel, she’s taken up with a new team. Only luck is not in their favor, and it doesn’t take long before Rose is pulled into a whole new set of adventures and danger.

Writing

Charlaine Harris has done it again. A Longer Fall is dark, charismatic, and memorable. While in many ways, this novel reads differently from the first (An Easy Death), many of the essential elements were carried over, including the main character herself, Gunnie Rose.

Rose is one of those characters who is truly kind-hearted, despite any assumptions that might be made based on her career. Yes, she can and does kill people. But never without reason. She’s also the sort of person who is talented at getting herself into trouble. Granted, Eli tends to bring her most of that trouble.

The world of Gunnie Rose is a unique blend of Western and fantasy, but it works well here. I’m quite in love with this world, as dangerous as it may be. I’ll be sad when the series ends, as I want to see so much more of it.

But speaking of this world, we were granted the opportunity to see a different city in A Longer Fall. This is a town entirely unlike the others we’ve seen so far. It opened the door for some interesting discussions (see below) and reminded us of how massive this world really is.

Development

A Longer Fall was a fast-paced read, taking little to no time to throw us into the thick of things. It certainly seems like any crew that Rose signs up for is cursed. We’ll have to see if that pattern holds true for the third book.

This plot seems to carry less tension than the first novel, focusing heavily on character development and interaction. That isn’t a bad thing, but I feel it is still worth saying. But don’t worry; there’s still plenty of action and gunfights.

Take a moment to think about the setting and location of Gunnie Rose. There are several elephants in the room here, and Harris went above and beyond in addressing them in this story. Sexism and racism are major focal points for the main plot, though sometimes they’re subtly woven in.

Character development was a significant focus as well in this novel. That seemed to come to a head later in the novel, and the ending is more than enough to leave fans eager for news on the next book. At least, that’s certainly the case for me.

Conclusion

A Longer Fall was a fun read, allowing us to revisit characters we’ve come to know and love. It wasn’t afraid to show the darker sides of humanity, but those scenes were almost always balanced out with something brighter. It made for an intense but compelling read from start to finish.

I’m looking forward to this series’s third (and likely final) novel. Unfortunately, since A Longer Fall just came out, we’ll be in for a bit of a wait. But I do not doubt that it will be worth it!

This review was originally written for Word of the Nerd, but has been ported over to Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks now that the site has shut down.

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Book Tag! 10 Books Challenge

It’s time for another book tag! (Okay, I’m actually quite overdue. Whatever). This week I’m doing the 10 Books Challenge. I don’t know who created this tag, but the earliest incarnation I’ve spotted was by A Rambling Reviewer. So thank you, A Rambling Reviewer!

The Rules:

  • List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way.
  • Do not take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard.
  • They do not have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.
  • Paste these instructions and tag 10 friends.

A Book That Made Me Think: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

So, why did I pick All Systems Red? I guess I would have picked all of Murderbot Diaries if I could have. I’m addicted to this series, and it is the series I have done the most theory-crafting for. So naturally, it was the first thing that came to mind when I considered a “book that made me think.” Am I skirting the rules a little bit? Maybe. But I am being honest about what first comes to mind.

A Book That Surprised Me: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth (The Ninth House #1) by Tamsyn Muir

I read Gideon the Ninth early in the Gideon-hype phase, so I was UNPREPARED for how much I would love this book. Seriously. It blew me away and continues to blow me away with each read. The humor is all sorts of surprising, including hidden memes and other internet references. Not what I was expecting, but very much something I loved.

A Book That Made Me Happy: Magic Tides by Ilona Andrews

Recently the latest Ilona Andrews book was released, and it was a return to the Kate Daniels world- one of my favorite series of all time (seriously, do not underestimate how much I love this series). It made me so happy I nearly cried. This novella was a hit right to the feels, and I loved every minute of it. And now I want to reread the whole series (again). So yeah, Magic Tides counts for this section!

A Book That Made Me Sad: Saga, Volume 10

Okay, if we’re being honest here, almost all of Saga has made me sad. And yet I keep reading it, go figure (sorry to all the friends that I have made read this series alongside me). However, the last two volumes have been pretty rough. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to spoil it, but it certainly made me sad. To put it lightly.

A Book That Made Me Feel Nostalgic: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Ah. The Secret Garden will always make me feel nostalgic. I loved the book and the movie as a child; both hit in different ways. When I think of either, I remember the family I have lost, who loved this world with me. It makes me a little bit sad, in a bittersweet way. It also reminds me of all the good times and is certainly part of the reason why I love gardening as much as I do.

A Book I Have A Love/Hate Relationship With: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Okay, so this one took me a minute to think about. It was hard for me to find a book that I both loved and hated. Ultimately, Mockingjay was the first one to come to mind. I love it when a series ends at the planned time, but I also hate goodbyes. So that alone makes it a love/hate for me. But more than that, I didn’t love how this particular series ended while absolutely loving certain elements of it. It left me feeling all mixed up, exactly as a love/hate relationship would.

A Book That I Have Re-Read The Most: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I think most avid readers have that one book they return to time and time again. For me, it’s Pride and Prejudice. Whenever the winter blues start getting me real bad (read: every freaking winter!), I pick it up and read through it. It’s become my “I need help coping” book, and I’ve probably read it over a hundred times. I wish I was joking.

A Book That Made Me Want to Travel: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

Honestly, any traveling circus-themed book will make me get the urge to travel. I think it’s inherent to the plot. So my answer is probably a little obvious and plain, but it’s also the truth. I enjoyed the magical elements woven into this particular story, which is probably why it came to mind so quickly.

A Book That Gave Me All The Feels: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Many books have given me all the feels, even if I just look at the last month’s worth of reads. However, one of the standouts from the last year has to be Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow. If you’re looking for a book that will make you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same moment, this is the book to read.

A Book That I Wish I Hadn’t Read: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Is there a book I regret reading? I guess I’d have to pick Death of a Salesman. To be clear! I don’t hate that I read this book. I hate that it got assigned to me FIVE TIMES during high school and college. Why did I have to read it so much? Why couldn’t we have read a different book by a different author? When I look back and see the lack of diversity in my school reading and then see how many times I read books like these, it makes me want to scream.

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Review: Someone in Time Anthology

Someone in Time: Tales of Time-Crossed Romance
Authors: Nina Allen, Zen Cho, Rowan Coleman, Jeffrey Ford, Sarah Gailey, Theodora Goss, Elizabeth Hand, Alix E. Harrow, Ellen Klages, Lavanya Lakshimanarayan, Margo Lanagan, Seanan McGuire, Sam J. Miller, Sameem Sadiqui, Catherynne M. Valente, Carrie Vaughn
Editor: Jonathan Strahan
Publisher: Solaris
Released: May 10, 2022
Received: NetGalley

4 kitties

Someone in Time: Tales of Time-Crossed Romance is, as the title may suggest, a collection of short stories with two dominant themes. Or requirements, depending on how you want to look at it. The stories all involve time travel – and romance. Best of all, the wide variety of authors involved in this project means that there is very little in common between each story, despite the themes they share.

I originally picked up Someone in Time because I spotted a few favorite names on the cover. However, I also went into this read, hoping to find a few new authors to love. That has always been my favorite part about anthologies.

Included in this anthology, you’ll find stories written by: Alix E. Harrow, Zen Cho, Seanan McGuire, Sarah Gailey, Jeffrey Ford, Nina Allen, Elizabeth Hand, Lavanya Lakshminarayan, Catherynne M. Valente, Sam J. Miller, Rowan Coleman, Margo Lanagan, Sameem Siddiqui, Theodora Goss, Carrie Vaughn, and Ellen Klages.

As with any anthology, some stories sang to me, while others didn’t connect. My personal favorites from Someone in Time would have to be Roadside Attraction, First Aid, and Romance: Historical. Read below for full reviews of them, plus all the others.

Roadside Attraction by Alix E. Harrow

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Roadside Attraction is the perfect start to this collection. It imagines what would happen if time travel was really possible – and treated like a roadside attraction (hence the name). However, Harrow takes this concept a step further, bringing in broken hearts and fresh love. Also, I love that it tackles the concept of destiny.

“The day after Candace Stillwater broke his heart, Floyd Butler decided – with the reckless haste of a twenty-one-year-old who knows they must act quickly before good sense intervenes – to go time traveling.”

The Past Life Reconstruction Service by Zen Cho

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Zen Cho has a brilliant mind, can I start by saying that? This story explores what it would be like to hop into the lives of your past selves, glimpsing into the future. The romantic plot was a surprise but was perfectly worked into the narrative.

“You sure you don’t have anything to ask? This is your last chance to back out.”

First Aid by Seanan McGuire

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Yes! I knew that Seanan McGuire’s story in this anthology would be one of my favorites, and I wasn’t wrong! First Aid starts out on one path, but quickly changes directions, giving the readers one roller-coaster ride with a romantic plot coming along for the ride.

“She bit her tongue as the tingle spread across her entire body, reminding herself over and over again that her name was Bridget now; this was a one-way trip, and ‘Taylor’ was not a girl’s name in 1575.”

I Remember Satellites by Sarah Gailey

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

I Remember Satellites kind of reminded me of an episode of Doctor Who. When you read it, you’ll know exactly what episode I’m thinking about (I think). In this world, time-traveling is a job, and nobody wants to the job that sends you back in time for the rest of your life. It’s an emotional and evocative read, one that you shouldn’t miss out on.

“Everybody draws the short straw in the end.”

The Golden Hour by Jeffrey Ford

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Huh. I like that The Golden Hour made me stop and think. A time-traveling writer bumps into another time traveler. What happens next? This was a fun and light journey, one that I really appreciated.

“I never directly confronted him on the outlandish nature of his time travel escapades.”

The Lichens by Nina Allen

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

The concept of time travel being used to access something vital in the past is not new. But Nina Allen makes it feel new here, and I love that.

“The eye was a mirror – it saw what you wanted it to see.”

Kronia by Elizabeth Hand

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Kronia is the perfect balance of a time travel story and a romance. It’s like a less problematic version of the Time Traveler’s Wife, but better? It’s a love story told via vignettes, and it resonates beautifully.

“We passed each other twenty-three times.”

Bergamont and Vetiver by Lavanya Lakshminarayan

Rating: ★ ★ ★

What would you do to protect the past (and thus the future)? Where do you draw the line? Bergamont and Vetiver explore this concept, creating a piece full of food for thought.

“The first rule of temporal research is do not mess with causality.”

The Difference Between Love and Time by Catherynne M. Valente

Rating: ★ ★ ★

I like the core concept of this one, but for some reason, I really struggled to get into it. It isn’t the whole space/time continuum part (if it was, I wouldn’t have read this anthology!). Maybe I just wanted more time to know the characters first.

“The first real actual word the space/continuum ever said to me was: “Nothing.”

Unbashed or: Jackson, Whose Cowardice Tore a Hole in the Chronoverse by Sam J. Miller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Ow. My heart. Ow. This story reads as far too read at times, and it is heart-wrenching. I don’t know if I can describe it without spoiling it, so I’ll say this instead: prepare your hearts.

“Your strength was mine, for the moment.”

Romance: Historical by Rowan Coleman

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Romance: Historical is one of my top three from this anthology. Not only did I love the writing, but the feeling this story evokes…it’s hard to pass up. It’s beautiful and very much hits on both the time travel and romance themes. Oh! And book lovers will appreciate it.

“Mum had always said she wasn’t meant for this world.”

The Place of All the Souls by Margo Lanagan

Rating: ★ ★ ★

The Place of All the Souls explores many different versions of time and reality, portraying two characters as they dance through the ages. In some realms, they are perfectly in love. In others, they’ve never met.

“A Dreadful howling climbed through Ciaran’s dreams.”

Timed Obsolescence by Sameem Siddiqui

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

I love the idea of two work-weary people crossing paths and stopping for a cat. The fact that they are both time travelers makes it all the better, at least for me.

“It’ll be hard when they tell you that you can no longer be a Memographer.”

A Letter to Merlin by Theodora Goss

Rating: ★ ★ ★

I feel bad giving this one a lower rating because it is my bias showing. A Letter to Merlin is, as the title should suggest, a time travel adventure involving Merlin and Guinevere. Honestly, I am very very burned out on Arthurian stories, so I struggled through this one.

“Perhaps I have written to you more than thirty times, I don’t know. I have lost count of how many times I have lived this life.”

Dead Poets by Carrie Vaughn

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

I loved Dead Poets, especially for one quote in particular (see below). It’s perfection, don’t you think? Even if not perfect, it certainly is accurate. Throwing time travel into the mix just made this quote hit all the harder.

“The study of literature is the process of continually falling in love with dead people.”

Time Gypsy by Ellen Klages

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

I adored the hopeful nature of Time Gypsy. As a fan of Solar Punk, I feel like we need more empowering and uplifting tales like this – perhaps especially in time-traveling stories.

“Sara Baxter Clarke has been my hero since I was a kid.”

Thanks to Solaris and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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