See my more of my Past Picks Here.
Giovanni's Staff Picks:
January Cole is the head of security at the Paradox Hotel, where the ultra-rich are able to vacation in any point in the past. But after years of exposure to time travel, January has become Unstuck. She flashes back in her own past and occasionally sees things that haven't yet come to pass. Now there are four trillionaires bidding to buy the hotel, someone trying to kill them and a dead body only she can see. Also three dinosaurs running around. It's going to be a day... A fun and philosophical romp around a hotel with a sassy Security Lead and chaos abounding.
Mickey has died a total of six times. As an Expendable, that's literally his job. Every time he dies, his personality, memories and brain patterns are uploaded into a freshly printed copy of himself. It's unpleasant, both the dying and waking up covered in goo and feeling like he just came back from a six day bender. When he doesn't die on his last mission, but is presumed dead and abandoned to the harsh elements, the colony prints a new Mickey, Mickey 8. So when he walks back to the colony to find 8 already in bed, fresh from the tank, things get complicated... and a little weird.
Dead Silence reads like a sci-fi horror movie. With alternating chapters covering THEN and NOW, we see the story of a small crew on the edges of known space find the ultimate scavenger's prize: The Aurora, a luxury cruise ship equivalent to the Titanic, out for a tour of the Solar System, which disappeared twenty years previous. What they find on board is beyond nightmarish. With life support functions off, engines off, gravity off, The Aurora is a scene of frozen horror and death. Whatever happened on the Aurora is happening to the small crew of the LINA. And Claire Kovalik is determined to put it all to an end.
The Kolyma Highway in Siberia is real. The story of soviet prisoners buried beneath the permafrost during its construction is real. It is estimated over half a million people died and were plowed under during Stalin's USSR. Christopher Golden blends the terrible history and deadly environment with Siberian folklore to bring about a horrifying journey through the world's coldest and deadliest human settlements. One of the most terrifying aspect of horror fiction is the concept of isolation. And on the Road of Bones, it isn't just the remoteness and the elements you need to be worry about.
Giant man-eating bats, a living god, and a prophecy of the end of the world? SIGN ME UP! James Rollins is not a name one would associate with Fantasy, but he does not disappoint. Intertwining the story of a young foundling girl, nearly blind, but excelling in her education despite her impairment, and a thief who absconds with a living bronze statue, an artifact of supposedly immense power, these stories combine to tell a tale of a dark prophecy; A young woman destined to destroy the world, and the very Moon itself plummeting to Urth.
AO has several necessary bionic augmentations due to birth defects and an accident that crippled her further as a teenager. Because of these augmentations, she is often viewed as less than human. DNA is a Fulani herdsman, determined to live a simple and traditional life among his people and his cattle. After an incident in a market leaves several people and dozens of cattle dead, DNA is seen as a terrorist and ostracized from his community. Blending themes of identity and culture, Noor is a beautiful novella about finding love and acceptance in a world that has rejected you.
A Locked-Room Mystery set in space! Honestly, I almost put this down after a few pages to move on to something else. But I kept going. And I finished the book within a day's time. Once it gets going, it really gets going. Michelle "Shell" Campion finds herself on her first space flight, a twenty year round trip to the colony planet, Bloodroot, with a passenger cargo of 1000 people and an advanced AI pilot. Shell's job is basically to sleep there and back, but be backup in the impossible scenario something goes wrong with the AI. When she wakes up orbiting Bloodroot and finds 31 passenger pods empty, the real mystery begins.
This was a very quick, yet very dark, read. A group of "friends" (there are weird ties between each character bringing them together) gather in an old Japanese mansion abandoned for decades. Reportedly, a bride to be was buried alive under the foundation awaiting her groom, who died on the way to the wedding. Now the house demands a sacrifice, and what better sacrifice than a bride to be, coming to the haunted mansion for her own wedding? Quick, dark and utterly terrifying, this was a great read
Craig Russell tackles an old and familiar study in human psychology in a new and exciting way: that of human duality. Captain Edward Henry Hyde is a gentle and intellectual soul, belied by his imposing stature and stony features. Yet he suffers from a condition that brings terrifying lucid dreams and he finds himself often in new or familiar locations upon awakening. One such occasion is when he finds himself first on the scene of a grisly ritualistic murder. With no recollection of the events leading him to the remote village, he must hunt down every lead, even if it ends at his own doorstep.
Brom mixes beautiful imagery with magical twists on folklore and storytelling. Abitha, a headstrong and independent young woman, struggles to fit in in Puritan Sutton, CT. Recently widowed, she risks losing her farm and her freedom to her deceased husband's tyrannical brother. In an unlikely alliance with a pagan spirit known as Father, Abitha will do everything in her power and in Nature to keep her freedom. Brom brings myth and folklore to life accompanied by breathtaking gothic original paintings.
Monsters are real and they walk among us. They have always lived among us, though always in secret or whispered in folktales and children's stories. But when a controversial video of a police shooting is leaked to all major public news and social media sites, monsters can no longer remain hidden. Turnbull has crafted a beautiful and interconnected narrative with a diverse cast of characters: Some who wish to reveal themselves in Monster Solidarity, some who wish to remain in the shadows and manipulate the narrative, and some who are only trying to understand the new reality they are living in, where their friends and neighbors may not be all they appear to be.
Tetley is the most beloved girl in Garbagetown. Or so she says to herself. Frustratingly optimistic in ways, she chooses to see the world around her through rose colored glasses, accepting the trash heap she and her neighbors live in. She refuses to despair, even though she is the only one who knows the truth of their world. At once a lyrical story about a young woman and the hope she strives for in life, and a call to action about dangerous climate change and our reckless consumption and disposal of goods.
This was a break from my usual reading. No one died or got murdered. The robot did not have a vendetta against humanity. It's more character driven, following a non-binary monk who feels unsatisfied in life, so decided to try being a Tea Monk. They fail miserably at first, but then develop a reputation as the best tea monk in the country. But even this tires them. They seek more out of life, and decide to embark on a pilgrimage to an old temple. This, too, does not go smoothly. Even when they meet a robot, one that hasn't been seen in years. Its mission is to find out what humans need. A seemingly impossible task. Sometimes the answer is as simple as a quiet moment with a cup of tea.