System Collapse by Martha Wells | Book Review

I gained interesting insights, ART- drone said. You should stop worrying.

Yeah, I’ll just code a patch to stop feeling anxiety, wow, why didn’t I think of that earlier. (That was sarcasm, I have too much organic neural tissue for that to work.) (Of course I’ve already tried it.)

System Collapse by Martha Wells

System Collapse by Martha Wells

SERIES: The Murderbot Diaries (Book #7)

LENGTH: 245 pages

GENRES: Science Fiction, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 14 November 2023


Am I making it worse? I think I’m making it worse.

Everyone’s favorite lethal SecUnit is back.

Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.

But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!

Yeah, this plan is… not going to work.

My Review

I am not meant to function without multiple simultaneous inputs. If this was what being a human was like, it sucked massively.

Sooo… this review is like, extremely late. I had fully intended to post this review sometime early last week, before Thanksgiving, but I just ended up being too busy and stressed out.

But I’m back at the blog, and finally here with my review of System Collapse by Martha Wells. This was probably my most anticipated book of 2023 and it was… fine. Pretty good even. It just turned out a little differently than I expected. Honestly, I’m still on the fence about my rating for this novel – I’m torn between four stars or four and a half.

Let’s just get into it…

• The characters

ART- drone reached out a limb to Iris. My function is impaired, Iris. So is SecUnit’s.

Will you shut the hell up? I said.

You shut up, it replied.

“Let’s everybody shut up and get in the flyer,” Iris said, and shouldered ART- drone’s limb, taking part of its weight.

I’ve always felt that the characters were the strongest part of the Murderbot Diaries, particularly its titular character, and the same is still true here. But this story focused more on an internal conflict that Murderbot is dealing with. So the other characters I love from this series took a backseat in this book.

SecUnit also didn’t seem to be nearly as sassy as it usually is. There weren’t all that many fantastic and funny quotes and dialogue compared to the rest of the series that I noticed. And that’s one of my favorite things about this series – I love how sassy and fun it is. And yeah, I understand that Murderbot was working through something, but everything seemed to matter a lot less than its thoughts on what it was going through. Constantly.

But when other characters did feature, and SecUnit did interact with them, it was fantastic. These were my favorite moments reading and I wish there were more of them. ART actually had more pagetime than I initially gave it credit for, now that I think about it, and its banter with SecUnit is always a treat.

• The plot

“I’ve fucked everything up,” I’d told ART.

ART had said, That’s nothing new.

I didn’t really care about it. It was about saving the descendents of the colonists that were found on the planet in book five. But I never found myself caring about these people, then or now. They just felt like a motivation or a plot device in order for SecUnit and ART and its crew and Preservation to do stuff.

Honestly, the A plot just felt like it was stalling in order for the B plot to happen. Which was Murderbot’s inner conflict – that its organic neural tissue is starting to exhibit signs of PTSD. Which was far more interesting to me than the thing with the colonists.

• Other favorite quotes

I didn’t say anything. (I know I get pissed off when humans don’t acknowledge my work, but why is too much acknowledgment also upsetting? Sentience sucks.)


You’re stalling, ART- drone said. I am not. I can stand here and be useless without any ulterior motives, thanks.


So the next time I get optimistic about something, I want one of you to punch me in the face.


I was not even going to respond to that. ART had told Mensah it wouldn’t push me. Just because its MedSystem was certified for emotional support and trauma recovery it thought it knew everything.

and finally

Wow, you don’t think it can get any worse, and it always does.

• Final Thoughts

This review is a little shorter than usual, but I’m honestly struggling with stuff to say about it. I think that’s another reason why this review took so long. I just don’t have too many opinions on it.

But System Collapse is still a solid addition to the Murderbot Diaries. It was still fun and sassy, even if it was less so than usual. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys the rest of the series, especially since the ending sets up a new arc for the series.

Thank you so much for reading, and have an awesome day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

My review of the first six books in The Murderbot Diaries

My review of the Murderbot Diaries short story Home

Weekly Wrap-Up: 11/6 – 11/12

It’s Monday, so here I am with another weekly wrap-up.

I feel good about last week. I know I said that the week before, too, but I think things have been going well for this little blog. I got two book reviews our, and participated in two weekly posts. November’s been going pretty good so far.

Anyway, let’s get on with it.

Wednesday 11/8: Can’t-Wait Wednesday

Last Wednesday, I posted another Can’t-Wait Wednesday for the first time in a while. Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. For this one, I highlighted System Collapse by Martha Wells.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: System Collapse

Thursday 11/9: Nightbane Review

On Thursday, I posted another book review. This one was for Nightbane, the sequel to Lightlark, by Alex Aster. It’s a YA romantasy series. I gave Nightbane ★✬.

My review of Nightbane

Friday 11/10: First Line Friday

Last Friday, I participated in another First Line Fridays for the first time in a long time. First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words.

First Line Friday: 11/10

Saturday 11/11: Home Review

Ah, a rare Saturday post. On Saturday, I posted a little review for the short story Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells. It’s part of the Murderbot Diaries, and the only MD thing I hadn’t read until yet. I gave it ★★★★★.

My review of Home

Books I Read Last Week

Nightbane by Alex Aster
Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells
White Trash Warlock by David R. Slayton
Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

🎁💖 Wrapping It All Up 🎁💖

So yeah, I read quite a bit last week, and I was pretty decent with my posting. I’m hoping to do even better this coming week, though.

This week, I’m gonna finish Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries, and I’m gonna read System Collapse when it comes out. I’m also planning on continuing with One Piece and starting the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive – The Way of Kings.

Concerning non-book stuff and non-blog stuff that I’m gonna be doing this week, well, I’m gonna be cleaning up around the house in preparation for Thanksgiving next week. I’m also going to be making sure that everything is in order for the food and baking and stuff.

But yeah, here’s hoping that I get all I’m planning on done. I’m looking forward to so many things to read, and I don’t want as much work next week. 🤞🍀

As always, thank you to everyone for reading, and I hope that you have an awesome day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Home: A Murderbot Diaries Short Story by Martha Wells | Book Review

As Ephraim gets up and Ayda can finally walk out of this damn room, she replies to SecUnit’s latest requisition form. It’s for a gunship nearly the size PortFreeCommerce’s transit ring: I think you made this one up.

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory by Martha Wells

SERIES: The Murderbot Diaries

LENGTH: 20 pages

GENRES: Science Fiction, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 19 April 2021


Knowing what would happen, she wouldn’t choose a different planet, a different bond company. Because then SecUnit would still be someone’s property, would be waiting for the contract where the negligence or greed or indifference of its clients got it killed. 

This short story directly follows the events in Exit Strategy and is told from the point of view of Dr. Mensah, who is still recovering from the events of that novella.

My Review

SecUnit is looking down at her. “You can hug me if you need to.”

“No. No, that’s all right. I know you don’t care for it.” She wipes her face. There are tears in her eyes, because she’s an idiot.

This review is gonna be pretty short, as Home – being a short story – is naturally short. Like, it’s only like 20 pages or so. So none of my section/heading breaks today.

Seeing as System Collapse’s release is imminent, I finally decided to read and review the only Murderbot Diaries thing I hadn’t yet. I don’t know why I never read it when I read the others – I guess that’s just life?

So yeah, this is a little Murderbot story – but instead of our favorite SecUnit narrating it, it was a 3rd person POV from Dr. Ayda Mensah. The story takes place very soon after the fourth novella, Exit Strategy, and is probably best read then.

I rather liked it – Martha Wells always has good prose, and it’s nice to hear from another character in this universe who isn’t SecUnit for once – as much as I love that construct. Mensah is also one of my favorite characters, and I really enjoyed seeing her relationship with Murderbot from her perspective. It was also interesting to see more of the PTSD that we heard about in Network Effect, but didn’t really see – at least Dr. Mensah’s since she wasn’t present much.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

It’s looking down at her still, and she could meet its gaze to make it look away, but that won’t make it retreat. “Is that a bribe?”

She can’t help a smile. It does sound like a bribe, just a little. “Depends. Will it work?”

“I don’t know. I never had a bribe before.”

So my final verdict is: If you have access to ebooks and stuff, and enjoy the other books in The Murderbot Diaries, then definitely pick this one up. It’s a quick and wholesome little read.

Thank you for reading, and I hope that you have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: System Collapse

Good morning/afternoon/any other time of day everyone! It’s been a almost a month since the last time I made it for Can’t-Wait Wednesday. But I’m really excited for a novel coming out next week, so I thought it was more than time to do it again.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings (and was previously hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine where it was known as Waiting on Wednesday) to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. They’re usually books that have not yet been released.

This week’s book is:

System Collapse by Martha Wells!

This is my most anticipated book of 2023. Ever since I first read All Systems Red, I’ve been a huge fan of The Murderbot Diaries. It’s probably my favorite sci-fi series. And this one’s another full novel to boot, like Network Effect, as opposed to a novella like the rest of the series.

System Collapse by Martha Wells

System Collapse by Martha Wells

Are you a fan of The Murderbot Diaries? Do you like any of Martha Wells’ other works? What books are coming out that you’re looking forward to?

Thank you so much for reading and have an excellent day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Spell the Month in Books: November 2023

Guess who crashed again last night?

Spell the Month in Books is a monthly post created and hosted by Jana @ Reviews from the Stacks. I started participating in it a few months ago. It’s typically a Saturday post (as I might have mentioned above), but let’s all agree the Mar had a busy day yesterday and maybe, accidentally fell asleep before they could post.

So yeah, it’s November! Yay! The month where fall intensifies 🍂 and the holiday season begins 🎶 and everyone is cooking 🥘 up a storm whether it’s for Thanksgiving 🦃 or baking something 🥧.

Without further ado, let’s spell November with book titles!


Nightbane by Alex Aster


AUTHOR: Alex Aster

RELEASE DATE: 7 November 2023


The seductive and action-packed follow-up to Alex Aster’s instant #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and internationally bestselling novel, Lightlark.

Isla Crown has secured the love of two powerful rulers and broken the curses that plagued the six realms for centuries, but few know the true origins of her powers. Now, in the wake of a crushing betrayal, Isla finds herself hungry for distraction, preferring to frequent Lightlark’s seductive haunts instead of embracing her duties as the newly crowned leader of two separate realms. Worse, her fellow rulers haven’t ceded victory quietly, and there are others in Isla’s midst who don’t believe her ascent to power was earned. As certain death races toward Lightlark and secrets from the past begin to unravel, Isla must weigh her responsibility to her people against the whims of the most dangerous traitor of all: her heart.

Alex Aster’s intricate world expands after the riveting culmination of the Centennial games, delving more deeply into Isla’s memories of her past, as her future hurtles toward two possible fates.


Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Once Upon a Broken Heart

AUTHOR: Stephanie Garber

RELEASE DATE: 28 September 2021


Once Upon a Broken Heart marks the launch of a new series about love, curses, and the lengths that people will go to for happily ever after from Stephanie Garber, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Caraval.

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings…until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game — and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

My review of Once Upon a Broken Heart


The Village Healer's Book of Cures by Jennifer Sherman Roberts

Village Healer’s Book of Cures, The

AUTHOR: Jennifer Sherman Roberts

RELEASE DATE: 1 November 2023


In seventeenth-century England, a female healer enflames the fury of a witchfinder in this propulsive novel about murder, revenge, and the dangerous power of knowledge.

Mary Fawcett refines the healing recipes she’s inherited from generations of women before her―an uncanny and moral calling to empathize with the sick. When witchfinder Matthew Hopkins arrives in her small village, stoking the fires of hate, he sees not healing but the devil at work. Mary’s benevolent skills have now cast her and her young brother under suspicion of witchery.

Soon, the husband of one of Mary’s patients is found murdered, his body carved with strange symbols. For Hopkins, it’s further evidence of dark arts. When the whispering village turns against her, Mary dares to trust a stranger: an enigmatic alchemist, scarred body and soul, who knows the dead man’s secrets.

As Hopkins’s fervor escalates, Mary must outsmart the devil himself to save her life and the lives of those she loves. Unfolding the true potential of her gifts could make Mary a more empowered adversary than a witchfinder ever feared.


Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

Exit Strategy

AUTHOR: Martha Wells

RELEASE DATE: 2 October 2018


Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?

Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.

But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?

And what will become of it when it’s caught?

My review of The Murderbot Diaries


Masters of Death by Olivie Blake

Masters of Death

AUTHOR: Olivie Blake

RELEASE DATE: 8 August 2023


From Olivie Blake, the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six comes Masters of Death, a story about vampires, ghosts, and death itself!

Viola Marek is a struggling real estate agent, and a vampire. But her biggest problem currently is that the house she needs to sell is haunted. The ghost haunting the house has been murdered, and until he can solve the mystery of how he died, he refuses to move on.

Fox D’Mora is a medium, and though is also most-definitely a shameless fraud, he isn’t entirely without his uses—seeing as he’s actually the godson of Death.

When Viola seeks out Fox to help her with her ghost-infested mansion, he becomes inextricably involved in a quest that neither he nor Vi expects (or wants). But with the help of an unruly poltergeist, a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel, a love-stricken reaper, and a few high-functioning creatures, Vi and Fox soon discover the difference between a mysterious lost love and an annoying dead body isn’t nearly as distinct as they thought.

My review of Masters of Death


Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

Blood & Honey

AUTHOR: Shelby Mahurin

RELEASE DATE: 1 September 2020


The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

My review of Blood & Honey


Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted

AUTHOR: Gail Carson Levine

RELEASE DATE: 30 April 1997


This beloved Newbery Honor-winning story about a feisty heroine is sure to enchant readers new and old. 

At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate…

Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.

A tween favorite for 25 years—now shared with today’s young readers by moms, teachers, and other adults who remember the pleasure of discovering this fun fairy-tale retelling themselves!


The Ruthless Lady's Guide the Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner

Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry, The

AUTHOR: C.M. Waggoner

RELEASE DATE: 12 January 2021


Sparks fly in this enchanting fantasy novel from the author of Unnatural Magic when a down-and-out fire witch and a young gentlewoman join forces against a deadly conspiracy.

Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt–again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage. Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins. 

Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.

What books have you been reading lately? Have you been reading any with an autumnal theme? What have you thought of them?

Thanks again for reading, and have an amazing day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Most Anticipated SFF Reads of 2023 | Oct, Nov, & Dec 🎃🦃🎄

Most Anticipated Reads from the Fourth Quarter of 2023

This is much later than I wanted to post this, but there was stuff going on last week. So, first I didn’t have time, and then I ended up forgetting. Whoops. It’s here now though – my Most Anticipated Reads of the fourth quarter.

It’s quarter four of 2023 now, so it’s time to do that thing I’ve done every quarter again. I’m gonna go over the books that are coming out over the next three months that interest me the most. And they’re pretty much only gonna be science fiction and fantasy. Because that’s mostly what I read.

This time I have six books that I’m interested in. I know that last time it seems like I didn’t read all the books on my third Most Anticipated list from this year, but that’s cuz I unfortunately ended up DNF-ing them. I guess they just weren’t for me.

Without further ado, let’s be off!

(Also, I know that October 3rd has already passed. But I’m still gonna put releases from it, cuz this post should’ve been done already on that date, at the very least. Plus, it’s the nature of the post.)

**The book covers are all linked up! So you can find more information about the books if you’re interested!**

The Glass Scientists: Volume One by S.H. Cotugno

RELEASING: October 3rd

(Been looking forward to this ever since I discovered the webcomic a couple of months ago!)

The gothic worlds of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and more collide in this graphic novel series about buried secrets, mad science, and misunderstood monsters. For fans of stylish reimaginings like Lore Olympus and gaslamp fantasies like The Night Circus!

London isn’t the safest place for mad scientists these days. After that whole ordeal with Frankenstein, angry mobs have gotten awfully good at hunting down monsters and wiping out anything they don’t understand. In fact, if it weren’t for one extraordinary young man, every out-of-the-box thinker would have been locked up… or worse.

That young man is none other than Dr. Henry Jekyll. He believes mad scientists would thrive if they could just fix their public image, which is why he founded the Society for Arcane Sciences, a place where like-minded eccentrics could come together to defy the laws of nature in peace.

But everything changes when a mysterious stranger arrives, bent on taking the Society in a radical new direction. With everyone turning against him, Jekyll’s life starts to spiral out of control, shattering all his carefully laid plans and threatening to expose his darkest secret—one that could destroy everything he has built from the inside out.

Volume One collects Chapters 1-7 of this thrilling, humorous, beloved webcomic, which is available in print for the first time ever. It also features a brand-new side story, a behind-the-scenes look at artwork, and more exclusive bonus content!

Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

RELEASING: October 3rd

(I wasn’t sure about this one at first, but then I decided I’d give it a shot. I’ve always loved stories with cursed houses and towns.)

Starling House is a gorgeous, modern gothic fantasy from the New York Times bestselling author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

I dream sometimes about a house I’ve never seen….

Opal is a lot of things—orphan, high school dropout, full-time cynic and part-time cashier—but above all, she’s determined to find a better life for her younger brother Jasper. One that gets them out of Eden, Kentucky, a town remarkable for only two things: bad luck and E. Starling, the reclusive nineteenth century author of The Underland, who disappeared over a hundred years ago.

All she left behind were dark rumors—and her home. Everyone agrees that it’s best to ignore the uncanny mansion and its misanthropic heir, Arthur. Almost everyone, anyway.

I should be scared, but in the dream I don’t hesitate.

Opal has been obsessed with The Underland since she was a child. When she gets the chance to step inside Starling House—and make some extra cash for her brother’s escape fund—she can’t resist.

But sinister forces are digging deeper into the buried secrets of Starling House, and Arthur’s own nightmares have become far too real. As Eden itself seems to be drowning in its own ghosts, Opal realizes that she might finally have found a reason to stick around.

In my dream, I’m home.

And now she’ll have to fight.

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber

RELEASING: October 24th

(I know this series has tons of problems – and there’s plenty about these books that’s annoyed me – but for whatever reason, I can’t help but enjoy them.)

Blood will be shed, hearts will be stolen, and true love will be put to the test in A CURSE FOR TRUE LOVE, the breathtaking conclusion to Stephanie Garber’s #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling Once Upon A Broken Heart trilogy.

Two villains, one girl, and a deadly battle for happily ever after.

Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle. But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out…. but first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts.

Nightbane by Alex Aster

RELEASING: November 7th

(Very excited to hate read this one! I know it’s mean, but sometimes I like to do this.)

The seductive and action-packed follow-up to Alex Aster’s instant #1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and internationally bestselling novel, Lightlark.

Isla Crown has secured the love of two powerful rulers and broken the curses that plagued the six realms for centuries, but few know the true origins of her powers. Now, in the wake of a crushing betrayal, Isla finds herself hungry for distraction, preferring to frequent Lightlark’s seductive haunts instead of embracing her duties as the newly crowned leader of two separate realms. Worse, her fellow rulers haven’t ceded victory quietly, and there are others in Isla’s midst who don’t believe her ascent to power was earned. As certain death races toward Lightlark and secrets from the past begin to unravel, Isla must weigh her responsibility to her people against the whims of the most dangerous traitor of all: her heart.

Alex Aster’s intricate world expands after the riveting culmination of the Centennial games, delving more deeply into Isla’s memories of her past, as her future hurtles toward two possible fates.

System Collapse by Martha Wells

RELEASING: November 14th

(I love the Murderbot Diaries! I’ve been anticipating this since it was announced!)

Everyone’s favorite lethal SecUnit is back in the next installment in Martha Wells’s New York Times bestselling Murderbot Diaries series.

Am I making it worse? I think I’m making it worse.

Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize.

But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast!

Yeah, this plan is… not going to work.

The Curse of Penryth Hall: A Mystery by Jess Armstrong

RELEASING: December 5th

(Oooh, this one looks interesting. It’s been years since I’ve read a dark mystery novel.)

An atmospheric gothic mystery that beautifully brings the ancient Cornish countryside to life, Armstrong introduces heroine Ruby Vaughn in her Minotaur Books & Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award-winning debut, The Curse of Penryth Hall.

After the Great War, American heiress Ruby Vaughn made a life for herself running a rare bookstore alongside her octogenarian employer and house mate in Exeter. She’s always avoided dwelling on the past, even before the war, but it always has a way of finding her. When Ruby is forced to deliver a box of books to a folk healer living deep in the Cornish countryside, she is brought back to the one place she swore she’d never return. A more sensible soul would have delivered the package and left without rehashing old wounds. But no one has ever accused Ruby of being sensible. Thus begins her visit to Penryth Hall.

A foreboding fortress, Penryth Hall is home to Ruby’s once dearest friend, Tamsyn, and her husband, Sir Edward Chenowyth. It’s an unsettling place, and after a more unsettling evening, Ruby is eager to depart. But her plans change when Penryth’s bells ring for the first time in thirty years. Edward is dead; he met a gruesome end in the orchard, and with his death brings whispers of a returned curse. It also brings Ruan Kivell, the person whose books brought her to Cornwall, the one the locals call a Pellar, the man they believe can break the curse. Ruby doesn’t believe in curses—or Pellars—but this is Cornwall and to these villagers the curse is anything but lore, and they believe it will soon claim its next victim: Tamsyn.

To protect her friend, Ruby must work alongside the Pellar to find out what really happened in the orchard that night.

These are all of my anticipated reads from the fourth quarter of 2023. What books are you looking forward to coming out in October? November? December? Do we share any of the same novels?

As always, thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Favorite Books I Read in 2022

I wanted to end the year on a high note, and there’s no higher note to end on on a book blog than a post glorifying books.

So I’m going to be highlighting my 5 star reads from the past year. Let’s get started!

Note: Despite this being a numbered list, it is not ranked in terms of how much I enjoyed these books. It isn’t ranked at all, actually. It’s just organized in the order that I read them.

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab: I loved this book sooo much. The magic system. The world building. The setting. It was just. Amazing. One of my favorite books I’ve ever read actually.
  2. Gilded (Gilded #1) by Marissa Meyer: I absolutely loved this book. Just… so, so good. Marissa Meyer is truly the queen of fairytale retellings.
  3. Mickey7 by Edward Ashton: This book got me out of a reading slump near the beginning of the year. Going into this book, I had a feeling that I would enjoy it a fair amount, but I was surprised just how much I enjoyed it.
  4. Summer Knight (Dresden Files #4) by Jim Butcher: I started The Dresden Files very soon after finishing Mickey7 actually, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this series as a whole, as well. (Books 1 – 7 at least – I just... I haven’t gotten to reading the rest of the series yet, okay?!?) I only gave two of the books perfect 5 star ratings, however, and Summer Knight was one of them.
  5. Death Masks (Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher: I almost enjoyed this more than Summer Knight if it were possible. Everything was absolutely perfect in this novel: the plot, the characters, the sass. I loved this book. (Note: I haven’t reviewed this series yet on the blog because I’m planning to do a massive review like with The Murderbot Diaries when I finish the entire series.)
  6. The Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells: Okay, so I’m cheating a bit here. I didn’t rate all of the novellas in this series perfectly. There were two that I gave 4.5 stars. But, as a whole, this series is definitely a 5 out of 5 for me. And the only reason those two even got that score was because they were just the slightest bit less than perfect. But I still consider this to be a perfect series.
  7. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (Prosper Redding #1) by Alexandra Bracken: This was another unexpected surprise. I knew going into it that I would like this book, but once again, I was surprised by just how much. I just… I really loved everything about this one.

Book(s) Review: The Murderbot Diaries

I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.

Book #1: All Systems Red

About This Series

It’s finally time. For the long-promised The Murderbot Diaries review! So, this is normally the part where I give all the info about the book, it’s series if it has one, the page length, the publication date, and the synopsis. But since I’m reviewing an entire series for once, I thought it would probably be best to do something a little different this time. Just cuz (it might get a little repetitive, is all).

Anyway, The Murderbot Diaries is about a rogue construct (a human-robot hybrid, though not quite a cyborg, if I’m understanding some of the reviews correctly) known as a SecUnit (Security Unit). As the quote above alludes, this SecUnit – who secretly refers to itself as Murderbot, and considers this to be its true name – is quite self aware, is irritated by humanity, and just wants to be left alone to watch its favorite media. (Sanctuary Moon, if you were curious.)

Murderbot isn’t entirely “done” with humans as it were, though. It does end up making friends throughout the series, over the course of its character development. And it does enjoy doing its job – acting as security – a fair amount.

I liked protecting people and things. I liked figuring out smart ways to protect people and things. I liked being right.

Book #2: Artificial Condition

But it is a bit of an a-hole, much to the annoyance and chagrin of some of those that spend time with it. Though some of those individuals fling the sass right on back. For example:

Gurathin turned to me. “So you don’t have a governor module, but we could punish you by looking at you.”

I looked at him. “Probably, right up until I remember I have guns built into my arms.”

Book #1: All Systems Red


Pin-Lee had promised, “Don’t worry, I’ll preserve your right to wander off like an asshole anytime you like.” (I said, “It takes one to know one.”)

Book #6: Fugitive Telemetry

Pin-Lee is so sassy and smart and I love her. She’s also got some great interactions with MB, as seen above. Gurathin is also sassy, and he may be an even bigger a-hole than MB itself, but his heart is in the right place and he helps out his friends when they need it. And yes, this even includes Murderbot. MB has a lot of sassy and meaningful interactions with most of the supporting characters. But the most important one of these, is Dr. Mensah.

Dr. Ayda Mensah is, in many ways, Murderbot’s adoptive mother, or perhaps an older sister or mentor figure. (But she’s definitely its mom.) She cares so much for this snarky, emotionally repressed construct, as goes so far to help it and make sure it’s okay. In fact, as far as MB goes to save and protect her, she matches. She goes above and beyond to try to save and protect MB, even as it protests over and over again, that it is not her job. There’s another important individual to our favorite SecUnit, however.

ART said, “I want an apology.”

I made an obscene gesture at the ceiling with both hands. (I know ART isn’t the ceiling but the humans kept looking up there like it was.)

ART said, “That was unnecessary.”

In a low voice, Ratthi commented to Overse, “Anyone who thinks machine intelligences don’t have emotions needs to be in this very uncomfortable room right now.

Book #5: Network Effect

ART, otherwise known as Asshole Research Transport, is a sassy research ship that eventually becomes Murderbot’s best friend. (Though both of them are loathe to admit it, at first.) Their dialogue and banter, is the absolute best. Nothing beats sassy sort-of-a-robot versus sassy sort-of-a-ship-computer. Most of everything they have to say to each other is gold. But the best part about their friendship is how much they care about one another. Like MB and Mensah’s relationship, these two will go above what is legal, and sometimes what is moral, in order to help each other, as well as those they care about. It’s so sweet and wholesome, and I love it.

These aren’t the only characters and interactions that are fantastic. Like I mentioned above, most of the interactions are funny and meaningful. But the ones I’ve already listed, namely ART and Mensah, are the most important, as well as the best ones. My honorable mentions are as follows, though: Ameba, Ratthi, Miki, and Thiago. I love, loved these characters so much, too. And these were also very important people for Murderbot, and its continuing self-development.

This review is beginning to get really long – which, fair this is a series of five novellas and a full novel – but in the interest of keeping this a somewhat manageable length, and to keep it generally spoiler free, I’m just gonna put mini reviews for each book, and then finish it off with a few of my favorite quotes.

All Systems Red [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #1]

★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

I loved basically everything about it honestly. It’s actually hard for me to choose what I liked best about it, between the fast-paced plot, great world building and side characters, and the superb narration by the titular character.

Since I have to choose, my favorite thing about this novella was Murderbot itself. It was such a funny, interesting, and highly relatable character. I loved how its favorite hobby was watching soap operas in its spare time and how socially awkward it was. It was adorable.

I highly recommend this to everyone. And, it’s also not that long, so you won’t be devoting too much of your time reading it.

Artificial Condition [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #2]

★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

This series continues to be absolutely fantastic. Murderbot is out on its own trying to find out what really happened in the incident it named itself for. Along the way it meets some new characters, including ART (aka Asshole Research Transport) who I’m positive will return.

I loved watching MB start to slowly change and further develop as a person. It, like many humans, has started to learn that sometimes in order to get things that you want, you have to compensate by doing things that make you uncomfortable, and it makes MB even more relatable as a character. MB — through admittedly mostly external forces — is slowly beginning to realize that it is in fact a person, though it’s still in extreme denial about this and dies not even come close to acknowledging this yet. It just gives the excuse of doing the things that it’s doing for survival, which is valid, but is not completely true.

I loved seeing Murderbot’s interactions with humans, and especially its interactions with ART. Those were particularly amusing as well as important, as ART is the one to pressure MB to grow and evolve the most. And as I said above, I’m sure that ART will return. Its interactions with ‘Bot were too fantastic for it not to be so.

If you liked the first book, all I can say is that you have to continue reading because book two was just as awesome.

Rogue Protocol [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #3]

★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

That’s three perfectly rated books (by me) in a row! Yay!!

I loved this book, just like I loved the first two. Murderbot continues to be just as endearing and hilarious as it’s been in the past, and it’s my favorite part about its character.

Rogue Protocol was very important for finishing an emotional arc that MB’s been having, as it comes to a certain realization at the end of the book.

This book was also important because it finally showed a wholly positive relationship between a bot and a human in the characters of Don Abene and Miki, her “pet bot” (according to MB). These two characters genuinely love each other like family (and no that’s not a spoiler because it’s obvious to literally everyone except Murderbot from the onset) which is very different from how we’ve seen a lot of bot-human relationships so far.

(And yes, I remember ART going on and on about how great its human crew was in the last book, but those humans are never actually in that book, so we don’t get to read how they interact with each other.)

I definitely recommend this if you liked the first two, even just a little. I personally can’t wait to jump into book four.

Exit Strategy [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #4]

★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

Four for four, bay-bee!! This series really is the gift that keeps on giving if the gift you’re looking for is a great story, with great writing, and great characters. (Particularly a certain shy, antisocial, cyborg/biomechanical construct/AI who wants to be left alone so it can just watch its favorite TV shows and not talk about its feelings or interact with any humans in general, please and thank you.) It was nice to see a lot of the characters from the first book again, as I actually really liked them and their interactions with Murderbot.

Exit Strategy was a wonderful conclusion to the first arc of The Murderbot Diaries. I’m so happy that I discovered a series this late for once, as reading all four of the first novellas together really showed that they had a nice and tight story — despite some of MB’s meandering around the universe — and wrapped up the plot with very few loose ends. The ending was left open-ended with lots of room to expand the MD universe.

The ending was also really, really good. I was honestly kind of hoping for a resolution like what was written, and it did not disappoint. I can’t wait to see this series goes next!

Network Effect [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #5]

★★★★✬ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Another sci-fi, space adventure with everyone’s favorite sassy cyborg, but this time as a full novel!

It was an interesting go around this time, as this novel is twice as long as one of the four novellas that came before it. But it was a good interesting, and I think it displayed that the Murderbot Diaries can work as average length novels as well.

Regarding the stuff inside Network Effect that I liked… well, obviously MB’s snarky narrative voice is always a pleasure to read. It was top-notch as usual, too. I also liked seeing MB interact with new characters and watch them all grow and change as they had more interactions with one another. MB and Amena’s friendship was a highlight of the new character relationships for me, and I hope we see more of it in future novel(la)s.

And ART! ART how I’ve missed you, it was great to see you again! Not to mention, the banter between our favorite SecUnit and research transport was just as good as the last time we saw the two together. I also loved seeing how much these two cared about each other and how far each was willing to go for one another. Nevermind, this was (again) my favorite relationship of the book.

I also liked the plot as well. Though the characters and personalities are always the strongest parts of this series, the story was decent and relatively interesting too. It was nice to move away from the series’ usual villains for a bit and I liked seeing that they weren’t the only thing that sucked about the universe (besides the Corporation Rim of course).

As I said, fantastic as usual with this series, but I might’ve liked this ever so slightly less than all the others, so it gets a half star docked. Still amazing, though.

Fugitive Telemetry [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #6]

★★★★✬ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Martha Wells knocks it out of the park with Fugitive Telemetry, as well. But that’s per usual with The Murderbot Diaries. I’ve honestly yet to read a subpar installment of this series – it’s utterly fantastic!

This time our sassy SecUnit is playing detective with Preservation Aux’s security team, in order to solve the cause of death of a body found on the station. And we all know how much fun it is (for us readers) whenever MB has to interact with annoying humans.

This was a fun read, just like the rest of the series. Highly recommend.

And Now, Some of My Favorite Lines

I was having an emotion, and I hate that.

Book #4: Exit Strategy


So the plan wasn’t a clusterfuck, it was just circling the clusterfuck target zone, getting ready to come in for a landing.

Book #4: Exit Strategy


There was a big huge deal about it, and Security was all “but what if it takes over the station’s systems and kills everybody” and Pin-Lee told them “if it wanted to do that it would have done it by now,” which in hindsight was probably not the best response.

Book #6: Fugitive Telemetry


Unidentified One sounded even more amused. “You had better have the weapon we were told of, or I’ll take your ribs out one by one and break them in front of your little face.”

I saved that for future reference. Unidentified One seemed to have gone to some trouble with the wording of that threat, it would be a shame if they never experienced it firsthand.

Book #5: Network Effect

and, finally

I hate caring about stuff. But apparently once you start, you can’t just stop.

Book #3: Rogue Protocol

So, so many good lines! Too many, honestly, to share with everyone. If you enjoyed any of these quotes at all, definitely check out this series, if you haven’t already. To further motivate those who have not yet given The Murderbot Diaries a shot, here’s the book description for the first book in the series, All Systems Red:

Winner: 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella
Winner: 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella
Winner: 2018 Alex Award
Winner: 2018 Locus Award
One of the Verge’s Best Books of 2017
A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Doesn’t this book sound amazing? It does, doesn’t it?!? See, the sass even makes it into the plot summary! That’s definitely the sign of a great book!

In all seriousness, I really do recommend this book. Books. Highly recommend. It’s one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had reading, and I pretty much adore everything about it. So, do check it out.

And hey, if science fiction isn’t your thing, and you’re not super interested in the premise, at least check out one of Martha Wells’ other works. This lady has written a ton of stuff, and a lot of people agree that it’s all pretty great. So maybe you’ll find something to your tastes in one of her many stories.

October 2022 Reading Wrap-up

This post is gonna be a bit of a different post than usual, but I wanted to talk about my reading progress from last month.

I was dealing with a lot of stuff before I got this blog going, and it unfortunately affected my work ethic, as well as pushing me into a little reading slump for a while.

But this October, I really got everything together. I started reading books again, I started writing nearly every day, and I got this blog going. I haven’t felt this invigorated in so long, and it feels completely and utterly amazing.

So, here are my reading stats from October, courtesy of The StoryGraph. Don’t worry, I won’t go into that much detail, but I thought I’d share it.

The Graphs

Unfortunately, even though I got back into reading this month (finally), I didn’t actually read too many books.

I only read two. (I know… 😢)

But two is better than one – which is what I read in September, haha – so I’m gonna count it as progress.

From the graphs above, I guess you can guess some of the stuff I like to read. I looove humor and adventure, and some light-heartedness occasionally. But I also like lots of other stuff, which you’ll probably see as I read more books.

The books I read this past month were When Life Gives You Vampires by Gloria Duke and Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells, the sixth installment to The Murderbot Diaries.

This is a pretty accurate depiction of what I read, actually. I’m a big fantasy, sci-fi, and science fantasy reader. Sometimes I will do romance though, especially since it usually seems to weasel its way into most books.

I’m not usually a contemporary reader though, so you might see a different looking graph next month.

When Life Gives You Vampires

I just reviewed this recently. Yesterday recently, actually, but I thought I’d give it a little sample of what’s there. I really liked the main character – Lily Baines’ – personality. She had some minor things about her that irritated me, but otherwise she was a fun narrator.

The love interest, Tristan, was also dreamy, and though he had his issues, he genuinely cared for Lily and wasn’t Edward Cullen creepy. Oh, and speaking of Ed, the Twilight references are glorious.

Everything else was pretty decent, however, I wouldn’t put it above average. I gave it 3 / 5 stars: ⭐⭐⭐ (or the bat equivalent, lol).

You can read my full review here.

Fugitive Telemetry [The Murderbot Diaries #6]

I’m gonna be straight with you guys: I love The Murderbot Diaries. Everything from Murderbot’s/SecUnit’s sass, the internal narration, and the character interactions. It’s all beautiful.

Fugitive Telemetry might not be my favorite of the series, but it’s still very, very good. Since I don’t have a review yet (I’m working on a bigger review for the entire series so far), I’m just gonna give you the gist of this book. Murderbot basically has to do some detective work and figure out who killed a tourist at Preservation – the planet that MB resides on with its human friends.

And the sarcasm in this novella is just as on point as it was in the others, let me tell you. Especially because MB is dealing with people it doesn’t know, and those of us who’ve read the others know just what kind of sass-fest that turns into. I don’t have a review for this yet, cuz I’m doing that bigger review, but I rated this 4 / 5 stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Anyway, these are my reading stats from October 2022. It’s not super impressive, and I’m honestly not aiming for it to be, but I hope to increase the amount of books that I read beyond two. Haha. I think that I’m gonna do this every month, so I hope that at least a few of you were able to enjoy it. 😁

How many books did you read last month? What are your go to genres? Thanks for tuning in and have a wonderful day/night!