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betty's books

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The Four Profound Weaves (2020, Tachyon Publications) 4 stars

Wind: To match one's body with one's heart

Sand: To take the bearer where they …

a strange and wonderful tapestry

4 stars

This book will occasion comparisons, I think, to Peter S Beagle or Patricia A. McKillip, if either of them were interested in transing the genders. The world feels like a strange and wonderful tapestry, and the characters within it feel like they have been produced by that world.

This is a story about two people later in life whose lives seemingly have left them at loose ends. One character has finally been freed by the death of his partner to make the change she made him promise not to make. The other character, Uiziya, has been betrayed by her aunt and mentor who as going to pass on the Four Profound Weaves she had spent her life hoping to learn. The man, who calls himself nen-sasaïr, (no name) because he doesn't know how to name himself as a man, doesn't know how to order his life. The culture he comes …

Penny Aimes: For the Love of April French (2021, Harlequin Enterprises ULC) 4 stars

Sexy romance that delivers

3 stars

Content warning Spoilers for another book, Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters

reviewed Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Torrey Peters: Detransition, Baby (Hardcover, 2021, One World) 4 stars

A whipsmart debut about three women--transgender and cisgender--whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces …

An excavation of the crevices of the human heart

4 stars

I feel a need to start out by explaining that this is not my sort of book. Usually when books are not my sort of book, I simply do not read them. This one, however, engaged me sufficiently to pull me effortlessly through all the bits that were not shaped in a way familiar to me, which is very much to its credit.

The general shape of this book is as follows. Ames is living a somewhat boring (to me? But also to him, I think) job at an ad agency and having somewhat thrilling (to him, mostly) sex with his boss. (Probably the fact that this is self-evidently a bad idea adds to the thrill.) Until his boss calls him into her office to ask why she is pregnant when he had assured her he could not get her pregnant. He had been under the impression he could not, …

Ruthanna Emrys: A Half-Built Garden (EBook, 2022, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

On a warm March night in 2083, Judy Wallach-Stevens wakes to a warning of unknown …

I want to see more of this Garden

4 stars

I've found myself reading more Climate Fiction recently, not because I've been searching it out, I don't think, but because it's so much on everyone's mind that more is getting published. In any case, I would not have expected to enjoy it, but I've had a recent run of "climate fiction" that I would describe as optimistic. Possibly, it used to be that it felt like the urgent agenda re: The Climate was convincing everyone it was really that bad, but now it feels like the urgent agenda is convincing people that there is something to be done about it.

In any case, A Half Built Garden falls into the latter camp, but it is also a first contact story, which I am predisposed to like. In this story, the Earth is covered by autonomous but interconnected "Dandelion Networks" who work to restore Earth's ecology and strictly measure out their …

Casey McQuiston: Red, White & Royal Blue (Paperback, 2019, St. Martin's Griffin) 4 stars

What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When …

Review of 'Red, White & Royal Blue' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This book's lineage is, at a guess, Hamilton/The West Wing/That brief liberal mania after the election of Obama. It is very much a fantasy of a different political system, one not captured by big money, where politicians may be ruthless or use means you don't approve of, but are serving in politics because of something they believe in. It is a fantasy of an America that could elect a divorced woman president.

On the other hand, if you can't have fantasies in your romance novels, where can you?

I didn't check this out for a long time because I find celebrities, politicians, and royalty, all vaguely squicky, and this book is written on the assumption that all of these are something you are at least a little into. However, the book doesn't rely on your kink for the aforementioned; it has a lot going for it. The book has a …

Allie Brosh: Solutions and Other Problems (Hardcover, 2020, Gallery Books) 4 stars

Allie Brosh returns with a new collection of comedic, autobiographical, and illustrated essays.

Solutions and …

Review of 'Solutions and Other Problems' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Not a great year for getting reading done, so if I finished a book this last year, it was either very good, or extremely my shit. This is the former, rather than the latter. I'm not usually into autobiographical meditations on mental health or the absurdity of mortality, or grappling with the unfairness of why things happen to people.

But if you think those things wouldn't absolutely destroy you, this is an attempt to engage with those things humanely and hopefully.

P. Djèlí Clark: Haunting of Tram Car 015 (2019, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments …

Review of 'Haunting of Tram Car 015' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Just long enough to whet your appetite, in an alternate history Cairo that is a collision of modernity and history. (In this context, "modernity" means "modern, Djinn-powered technology".) Agent Hamed is middle-aged, and gives off a faint air "I'm too old for all these new-fangled things" that isn't so regressive that it made me annoyed with him. He's like 'I guess it's time for women to get the vote?' but also happy to get help from various women in exorcising the haunted tram car.