Audiobook review blitz – Invisible Women, This Is How You Lose the Time War, & When Dimple Met Rishi

Being off from work for the holidays has set me behind a little on my audiobook listening, but I’ve finally gotten through another round of three, and you know what that means: more mini-reviews! This time, we have a nonfiction, feminist, data-driven book; a queer sci-fi romance; and an #OwnVoices YA contemporary/rom-com about two Indian-American teens at a summer coding program. Let’s get started!

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

Author: Caroline Criado-Pérez
Genre: Nonfiction, social science, data science
Narrator: The author herself, and she does a great job! Excellent/appropriate enthusiasm and articulation, without sounding pompous. Also, she has a delightful British accent that’s oddly soothing, even though the content is (deliberately) infuriating.
Plot summary (in 10 words or fewer): Women not included in research = women’s lives are negatively impacted.
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Best parts:
– Fantastically researched, with plenty of data to back up all claims
– Intelligent, well-articulated arguments, explained in a conversational, easy-to-follow way
– A look at a really serious problem that many people don’t even think about (I mean, not thinking about the gender data gap is literally the reason it exists)
– Covers women from a wide variety of races, social classes, even countries, for a more global and intersectional perspective

Worst parts:
– There was a politics section that went pretty heavily into British politics, and there were a lot of acronyms that I (as an American) am not super familiar with. They were briefly explained at the beginning, but on an audiobook it’s kind of hard to go back and check that sort of thing, so I was occasionally lost…but this isn’t a flaw with the book so much as it is a flaw with me
– A couple small components of some of her arguments seemed to be a bit of a stretch, but not impossible–and I think that’s kind of the point, that because we don’t have the research, these problems really could be legit

This Is How You Lose the Time War

Author: Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone
Genre: science fiction, romance, literary fiction
Narrators: two, both excellent, and really capture the emotions and personalities of Red and Blue. (I also recognized one of them–Emily Woo Zeller–because she’s also a narrator on the audiobook for Shadow of the Fox. I liked her better on this book than I did on that one.)
Plot summary (in 10 words or fewer): Two time-traveling rival agents swap love letters. Chaos ensues.
My rating: 5/5 stars

Best parts:
– It’s so beautiful and intelligent? Some people might find it pretentious, but I loved the mix of intellectualism, pop culture (literally references the song “Blue Da Ba Dee”), and general weirdness (also references the anagram “a man, a plan, a canal, Panama” randomly) that peppered the two agents’ letters and thoughts. Pretty sure I caught most of the references.
– Unapologetically, casually sapphic (I’m always here for the queer rep)
– Also, just great variety and presence of female characters in general–even the commanding officers are women!
– Super creative premise, executed cleanly, with meticulous detail and laserlike precision
– A compelling love at the heart of it, born not from attraction but from a mutual respect and admiration, and expressed artfully
That ending. The explanation of the shadow. And how it all wrapped up. I was mind-blown. Brilliant.

Worst parts:
Part of me wishes it was longer, but I know it really was the perfect length–if they made it any longer, it might have diluted some of its magic and tight pacing
– I know there was no good way to do this, but I wish I could have seen more about how their world got to where it is
– Tbh can’t think of any actual negatives; this was just so dang good

When Dimple Met Rishi

Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: young adult, contemporary, romance
Narrators: one for Dimple, one for Rishi. Both did a great job of bringing their characters to life (and was impressed with how well they could do stronger Indian accents for the parents, too). It did strike me as kind of weird, though, that even though the two narrators had slightly different accents, their impressions of each other’s characters in dialogue didn’t reflect those accents.
Plot summary (in 10 words or fewer): arranged marriage, coding summer camp, Indian-American rom-com
My rating: 4/5 stars

Best parts:
– Super cute story in general, lots of feel-good vibes
– Girls in STEM!
– Solid #OwnVoices representstion of Indian culture and the conflict between parental expectations, personal beliefs, and societal pressures
– Casual queer rep (Dimple’s roommate, Celia, is bi)
– Awareness of class differences and commentary on how bad things like bribery, sexism, and favoritism get in the tech world
Did I mention how CUTE it was??

Worst parts:
– Some low-key girl-on-girl hate, without even a good reason
– Like most rom-coms, it’s pretty dang cheesy at some parts, and the plot is totally predictable
– Rishi in particular is like a walking cliche
– There’s some stuff Dimple does that breaks Rishi’s trust in a major way, and he is mad at first but later ends up forgiving her completely, and that struck me as a poor choice

That’s all for now, folks. Have you read and/or enjoyed any of these? Want to look into any of them in the future? Leave a comment and let me know!

All the best,

Kathryn (“K-Specks”)

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