I’m From Nowhere by Lindsay Lerman

Quietly pre-apocalyptic, I'm From Nowhere explores the intersections of grief, self-identity, and womanhood. The raw aftermath of grief is captured through a surreal sense of numbness, apathy, and deeply conflicting emotions. The despair, fears, desires, and hope of recently widowed Claire are the compelling force of this completely character-driven novel. Readers are with Claire every step of the way as she contemplates her life thus far, her role in this world, and begins to live for herself.


Seven Sides of Self by Nancy Joie Wilkie

The way Nancy Joie Wilkie executed the overarching theme of Seven Sides of Self is one of the strongest I've read. Short story collections don't always have a sense of cohesiveness, but everything about this one, from how it generally fits together into a greater work, all the way down to the tiny threads that connect the stories to each other, was just superb. "Of the Green and Of the Gold" stood out most for me. I loved the use of color and an alien society to explore coded transphobia (and briefly, homophobia). I felt like it stripped away everything superfluous, so that all we are left with is a clear sense of how we should treat one another. "Perhaps…


Ghosts of You by Cathy Ulrich

Each short chapter of Ghosts of You begins with the line: "The thing about being the murdered _____ is you set the plot in motion." Then the story describes, in second person, the aftermath of that loss, focusing on those left behind. Some chapters read more like the plot of a TV crime show, and others are heartbreakingly realistic. Each is a thoughtful look at the different ways people react to the news of a murder, whether they were close to the person or far removed. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and appreciated its unique premise and clever format.


Masterworks by Simon Jacobs

For the first four stories in Masterworks, Jacobs' writing is fast-paced and to-the-point, yet vibrantly descriptive. Vibrant like when you dream in color and it's a little bit trippy; and he didn't need a ton of extra words to create that effect. How did he pack so much creativity and forward motion into such a short space? I couldn't put the book down. "Let Me Take You to Olive Garden" includes a cis guy who is friends with a trans girl. Even though they were friends before she came out, the author handled it without needing to deadname or misgender her. Thank you! I absolutely loved the unique, sometimes absurd settings in each scene of "Partners." They were the perfect…


Trans Power by Juno Roche

I haven't read any book on trans experiences quite like this one. TRANS POWER brings up perspectives and conversations that you don't tend to hear very often. The intimacy, the love for people in the community is so powerful I almost feel protective of the words inside. I love how NOT binary this book is. It creates an incredibly affirming, empowering space. Juno says after interviewing Michael, "They always push me to extend my line of thinking beyond my comfort place to a place where it tests the idea." And really, that's what TRANS POWER does for its readers. This is an emotional read that encourages readers to push their intellect beyond simplistic statements of what it means to be trans into deeply nuanced discussions. Best of all, it…

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The Warehouse by Rob Hart

Boy oh boy, is the world Rob Hart has created in The Warehouse ever messed up. And it's just near-future enough, and realistic enough, that it's creepy as all get out. If you enjoy dystopian novels that hit close to home, this is definitely a page-turner. It's smart and clever in a relaxed, never-pretentious style. Gibson is the CEO of an online retail giant named Cloud. Gibson doesn't seem so bad at first, but then you get to know him on a deeper level. His portrayal is so, so good. It's not over-the-top, look how evil this guy is. It's way more subtle. You get the feeling Gibson truly believes what he's doing is good for people. And then you…


Escape! by the Writing Bloc Cooperative

Short story anthologies can be hit or miss, especially ones that dare to include a variety of genres, as Escape! from the Writing Bloc Cooperative does. 20 stories by 20 writers, ranging from political satire to speculate fiction and sci-fi to literary fiction (and everything in between), all on the theme of escapism. There were only two stories that I DNF'd in this collection, and one other story that I read but just didn't like. That can make it difficult to rate the collection as a whole, but the remaining 17 stories grabbed my attention so fully, I have no regrets. I found a number of new-to-me writers that I've been sure to follow on Twitter/Goodreads so I'm sure not…


The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney

"A curmudgeon and his eccentric new roommate join together to plan an epic escape in this charming, poignant tale." In Dan Mooney's novel The Great Unexpected, Joel and Frank are nursing home roommates and, despite huge differences in their personalities, quickly become the dearest of friends—and partners in crime! Through Joel's experiences and feelings, we are reminded of how we as a society tend to treat the elderly. We might mean well, yes, but forgetting to include them in important decisions that directly affect them, stripping their sense of agency can seriously impact a person's mental health. I liked how Mooney had readers sympathizing with Joel's frustrations, and at the same time, understanding why his family, friends, and the nursing…


The Stonewall Riots by Gayle E. Pitman

In The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets, Gayle Pitman gives younger readers (middle grade and up) a history of LGBTQ discrimination and the fight for equal rights, with Stonewall as the pivot point. In an age-appropriate but non-reductive way, Pitman conveys how dangerous it was for people to be gay in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as how widespread internalized homophobia was. She also puts the gay liberation movement in context with other movements going on in the '60s, giving readers a sense of how quickly and dramatically these movements arose, and how people had to utilize direct action because traditional forms of political activity (naturally) weren't effective. She shows the complexity of everything leading up to…


The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

Last year I read Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky, which was an incredible reading experience. I mentioned in my mini-review that I was fully invested in the characters of that book, and felt like I was part of its world. The same holds true for Anders' latest novel, The City of the Middle of the Night. Anders has been called "this generation's Le Guin," and that is spot-on, especially in the way she created the political, economic, and sociocultural aspects of the Argelan, Xiosphant, and Gelet. This novel has that "epic journey" feel you get when you've been with characters through their intense adventures and personal growth. I loved all the layers and nuance. I enjoy…


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