I read this book over Thanksgiving and that is exactly what "Legends & Lattes" is about, being thankful for the people (or hobs, rattkins, succubi...) in your life.
Viv is a retired orc with a love of coffee, a magic stone and her life savings-enough, she hopes, to make a new life for herself. But new lives don't come easily without the help of others and it will take employees and neighbors, rivals and old friends to make Viv's dreams come true.
This novella went in directions I didn't see coming.
Part sapphic love story, part hardboiled detective crime novel, CL Polk imbues 1940s Chicago with magic and intrigue. I want more of this world and I'm also wholly satisfied.
A man dealing with the sudden death of his wife then has to deal with the evil that follows him even when he tries running away. A little omniscient technology horror, a little haunted house horror, a little Mexican folklore horror. And Moreno's writing, Moreno's writing, Moreno's writing. Intimately written in the second person POV as if we were Thiago's wife. Funny, poetic, sharp and round. (Also a good soft eerie horror for the newbies.)
The Mountain in the Sea" is a mesmerizing read, like watching an octopus shift seamlessly from one camouflage to another. It is at once a hard scifi novel exploring the mapping of the human brain, a first-contact tale in which the sentient alien species we encounter comes not from the sky, but the sea. It is also an environmental thriller, complete with corporate espionage and weapons tech. But at its heart it is an elegy to the aquatic world we are on the verge of destroying, with perhaps a ray of hope at the end.
I've read everything this guy has ever published, and after 25 years since his first (and best) collection, Civilwarland in Bad Decline, he's still coaxing the dark out of us and showing that people are neither bad nor good: they're both. This collection contains classic George Saunders—the story "Ghoul" is set in a hell-themed amusement park—as well as new, subversive modes of storytelling. If you haven't read him, literally anywhere, right now, is a great place to start.
Think "While You Were Sleeping"... but replace the coziness of Christmas with the spookiness of fall; finding a new family with putting an old one back together; a fake engagement with death itself.
Never seen that movie? Then pick this book up just for the buckets of yearning and emotional growth!
Our favorite unhinged medeians are back and better than ever. I can't say too much without spoiling it, so I'll leave you with an excerpt;
"Put a pin in this weird moment you're having, would you?" she said, addressing him disinterestedly over her shoulder. "And don't drink anymore, you're bound to get all morbid. And don't kill anyone," she added as an afterthought. "Or do. It's really none of my business."
"Have you ever been in love?" Callum asked her.
"Jesus Christ, never mind. Here," she said, shoving her glass of champagne into his hands. You're embarrassing all of us."
This is not a "read for the holidays" romance. This is a "read anytime you need heartwarming, queer, neurodiverse, steamy romance where you end up rooting for every. single. character. romance". I didn't know I liked marriage of convenience tropes, but Ellie and Andrew had conflicts and fears that made all the implausible, plausible. Add in some snow magic and wild familial dynamics -- this book is just brimming with delights.
This book feels transfixing in the way fluorescent convenience store lights are, with a low-grade eerie buzzing. The writing is slow yet staccato, but at less than 200 pages it'll fly by. It's uncomfortable yet an enthralling take on how comfortable work, routine, and capitalism can be and how much a job can control your very being.