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johnny dangerously.'s books

2023 Reading Goal

Success! johnny dangerously. has read 16 of 12 books.

And Then I Woke Up (2022, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

In a world reeling from an unusual plague, monsters lurk in the streets while terrified …

Review of 'And Then I Woke Up' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I like zombie fiction, I like it a lot. I like the narrative of survival, I like the tense situations, I like the potential for worldbuilding and the way it can put character development at the forefront. But zombie fiction, like most post apocalyptic fiction, is inherently conservative, falling victim to a 'come and take it' ideology that prioritizes hoarding, us-vs-them tribalism, and a particularly Evangelical flavor of paranoia about the future. It's the end times, after all, and in the Christian West, an event that has not ever happened, no matter how many times it's been predicted, is something that feeds into the constant background static of our culture and policy decisions.

But I still want to read zombie books and watch zombie shows and play zombie games. It's fun.

This novella is fun. This novella is about zombies. This novella is also what we think about when we …

Review of 'New World Begins' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Absolutely excellent, this is my new reccomendation for anyone who wants an introduction or a review of the French Revolution. Unlike many books that cover this period, it isn't afraid of casting the obvious parallels between the events of the revolution and the modern era, showing how the French revolution was a first or at least codifying example of early socialism and early despotism. The book never forgets to track the progress of Haiti's independence, something that almost every review of the French Revolution conveniently 'forgets', despite the fact that the two events are deeply intertwined. Popkin remembers the influence of woman and people of color in the movement, and how their lives were changed during different moments, how they contributed, triumphed and failed. The book isn't afraid to praise successes and criticize failings, treating all involved with an even hand, even when I, personally, would prefer it wouldn't. It …

The Gone World (2019, G.P. Putnam's Sons) 4 stars

Time-travel secret agent Shannon Moss visits future time periods for clues about a Navy SEAL …

Review of 'The Gone World' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I will be thinking about this book for a long time. I will be thinking about Shannon Moss. I will wonder at the possibilities in her life, the branching roads mapped out, hypothetical and real. This is the best time travel book I've ever read, the best mystery (simply because it has so many, unfolding like a rose), the best book about spaceflight and the apocalypse and sacrifice. Is anything really the end? The world keeps changing, blossoming, blooming. Everything is beautiful and simultaneously terrible. Time is an uroboros.

While this is undeniably a genre novel, it's also very much an adult contemporary novel, and I think it bridges the gap wonderfully, of interest for both crowds. If you like detective stories, stories about serious women solving serious crimes, this one's for you. If you like twisty pulpy benders with inexplicable unreality, this one's also for you. I am so …

House of Hunger (Hardcover, 2022, Ace) 3 stars

Review of 'House of Hunger' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This book absolutely shines with promise, but its parts are greater than their sum. I genuinely loved large portions of this book, but they often felt stitched together and oddly out of place. The prose quality would go from sublime to sub-par between chapters. Plot developments were shocking and intriguing, but also frequently rushed and jolting. The characters are likeable and memorable, but often their most memorable moments are rushed, without enough foreshadowing or internal characterization to justify a change of heart. The novel expects us to know the tropes inherent in the genre and expect them in kind; it often fails to put in the elbow grease to explain, for example, sudden changes of heart beyond the fact that this is the part in the gothic novel where the heroine changes her heart.

None of this makes the book not worth reading. In fact, I recommend it! I'll be …

Yellow Jessamine (2020, Neon Hemlock Press) 4 stars

Powerful shipping magnate Evelyn Perdanu lives a tight, contained life, holding herself at a distance …

Review of 'Yellow Jessamine' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This is very much an awkward story, but the vibes are immaculate. The craftsmanship leaves something to be desired, but considering I read Starling's later, much better constructed work first, I may be judging it too harshly. There are a few too many eleventh hour revelations, and the ending feels vaguely pasted on, but I really respect the commitment to not giving characters an easy way out, or readers an overly detailed play-by-play. Ultimately, this story does all the good things I expect every Caitlin Starling story to do: make me scared, make me happy, not let characters off the hook, and make me briefly question the nature of existence.