There's a cafe, and in that cafe there's a seat, and from that seat a person can travel in time. There are a lot of rules (you can't leave your seat or you are instantly transported back), a time limit (you must finish your coffee before it gets cold) and you must except that you can't change the present, no matter what you do. Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a story told in four parts, four different people have a desire to travel in time for various reasons. There are some seriously sad moments in this book, but overall it's really a story about these characters having a moment they wanted back just so they can move on in their life without the a huge what-if weighing on them. The story is simple, the emotions complex, and I really enjoyed my time spent in the hole-in-the-wall cafe.
This was a charming and disarming book, perfect in its written simplicity and perfect in the power of its messages. We all wonder about alternative paths in our lives. In a very simple setting - a tiny coffeehouse - four people travel in time (three backward, one forward) and gain wisdom from a very brief encounter with important people from their lives. They don't necessarily get what they want; they get what they need. Kawaguchi’s book is inventive, a joy to read that is packed with the punch of a much longer book.
— Kay Wosewick
Anna in a hench. She just doesn't have an evil boss to work for, but that soon changes after she uses a special temp agency that places henches with villains. The work she does for her super-villain doesn't involve anything physical (they have special skills people who they called Meat for that) or require driving or proficiency in IT; nope, Anna is particularly skill at boring office work - excel sheets and whatnot are her forte. After a run-in with Supercollider (think Superman), she's sent to the hospital with a messed up leg and a termination notice from her employer. That's when she starts down a path to scrutinize Heroes and what they actually do for the world. Broken down but not out, Anna starts to gather her life together again, and for the first time, people start to take notice of her. Natalie Zina Walschot created a world where all our assumptions are turned on their heads, and the villains are hiding in plain sight with a smile on their faces.
— Jason Kennedy
If your employer is evil, are you evil as well? Anna Tomedlov is a hench, temping for various low-rent villains to make ends meet. Her work is making spreadsheets, not holding people hostage or making death rays. When a superhero inadvertently ruins her life, she decides to exact revenge in the only way she knows how: compiling data that proves that superheroes cause way more damage than supervillains. Beginning to end, this novel is so compelling that reading it was effortless. Anna is such a relatable character - like so many hourly workers, she's just trying her best to survive and pay rent. Sure, there are superpowered people in this story, but make no mistake: this is the story of an ordinary young woman using her greatest asset, her brain, to gain power and agency.
— Rachel Copeland
This was so fun to read! Meet Anna, your average everyday Hench, finding jobs through a temp agency and just hoping to get placed somewhere with good benefits. The day-to-day life of a Hench is not all that different from working any other job. Sure, you may be building a freeze-ray or doing field work with the boss, but most of the time you're just another worker bee putting in her hours. And, if you're like Anna, you go to work, punch in, and get started in the exciting world of data entry. When Anna starts her new job, everything is business as usual, until she's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Becoming another causality of a "superhero" rescue, Anna loses her job and is laid up on her friend's couch for weeks. Healing from her encounter with the world's most indestructible hero, Anna starts thinking of all the money she's lost by being out of a job, not to mention the dead coworkers left behind; she's inspired to create a formula to determine the cost of years lost not just for herself but for the world. What does it cost when the most powerful superhero flies in to save the day? Armed with her data, Anna starts to gain a following online and finds herself recruited by one of the most elusive villains there is. Hench delightfully twists the perspective on superheroes. You will think twice next time you root for those caped heroes!
— Jen Steele
This book put me through the heart pounding, adrenaline rushing, emotional ringer! A poignant and dynamic novel about humanity, sacrifice, and hope. When Lydia and her son Luca survive a brutal massacre, Lydia knows that they must leave everything behind and endure the brutal journey north. Trying to stay alert for every waking moment, trying to outthink the man that wants to see them dead takes a toll; Lydia will do everything in her power to ensure her son lives. As they make this arduous crossing, pushing themselves to the brink, Lydia and Luca will encounter people of all walks of life, many who seek to do harm and many more who will shine a hopeful light helping them see the good in people. Jeanine Cummins delivers a powerful glimpse into the lives of people seeking a better life, a safe life with dignity and grace. American Dirt is one of those books that will stay with you forever.
— Jen Steele