March 20, 2016

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #1 Nova Ren Suma, Dawn Kurtagich, Ilsa J. Bick


Hello beauties!

So, I've finally gotten around to starting my own brand of mini reviews. I was strongly motivated by Karen from For What It's Worth, who has been raving about my minis since I first recapped a few of my long reviews in some digest post, and was at it again in 2015 when I guest-posted during the Summer Blogger Promo Tour. I'm NOT taking a break from writing long reviews - no such luck LOL. But while I'm making up my mind about a new book I've read, I might as well give you the short version 😉. Just be warned - this feature will be VERY random! So, here goes...

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma


This book has one of the strongest first chapters I've ever read. And one of the most poignant and unexpected endings. In the middle, two stories (intertwined by a third one) that you may have read a thousand times before, except you haven't. Not the way they're told here.
One of the big truths slapped me in the face after reading two-thirds of the book (see chapter "They Called"). Other things were slowly revealed, some even implied. But if you think you know who's going to do what in the end, and what really happened, think again.
Also, the writing. Deep and poetic and raw rolled into one.

Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich


Rated 4.5 really.

The only thing that prevents me from giving this book 5 stars is that it's very ambitious - maybe a tad too ambitious. It mixes so many different ingredients, and there's an aspect of the story that requires a huge suspension of disbelief - but then again, we don't REALLY now if certain things that Kaitlyn mentions in her diary are true, or just a figment of her imagination. A remarkable debut novel though, made stronger by the powerful yet poetic writing.

Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

 White Space by Ilsa J. Bick
(Dark Passages #1)


A disorienting, demanding, pull-no-punches, ingenious book. Yes, it will test your patience, and yes, it will drop you in the middle of merciless horrors. But it will repay you with a quilt of stories entangled to form the biggest story of all - what literature really means, where books come from, how they affect our lives and our lives affect them in return. How a book REALLY is a small but huge universe, an eternal Now into which our lives bleed and which bleeds into them.

(If all that is too meta for you, White Space is ALSO a horror masterpiece about lives intertwining and scared kids putting on a brave face and sacrificing for one another and believing in themselves against all odds. But you have to deal with the meta part. Be warned).

Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

The Dickens Mirror by Ilsa J. Bick
(Dark Passages #2)


Multiverse and metafiction galore! And even then, the characters manage to feel so real. I'm not a fan of historical fiction, and to be honest, I'd rather have had more Emma/Elizabeth and less Doyle...but the whole package blew my mind and won my heart. In my Now, after closing the last page, all those kids, all the multiple versions of them, are living inside me. And I feel blessed and richer.

More proper and coherent review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

I also have to say that, lately, I've been talking a little with both Dawn Kurtagich (@dawnkurtagich) and Ilsa J. Bick (@ilsajbick) on Twitter. Those two fine and sweet ladies are among the authors who always find the time to reply to/like your tweets, which NOT every writer necessarily does, even if you're raving about one of their books and letting them know. Dawn sounds like a sprightly, enthusiastic young woman who - I think - feels genuinely blessed for writing her first book and immediately becoming a full-fledged and renowned author. Ilsa was on her way to a convention when I tweeted about The Dickens Mirror, but she took the time to read my Goodreads pre-review, like it, and have a Twitter conversation with me. She even volunteered to do a guest post for my blog, but out of honesty, I told her it's a small thing really...Anyway, who knows, one day we could reprise that particular conversation. For now, I'm just glad we got the chance to talk, and from the sound of it, it's likely we can talk again in the future. I'm not pushing it by any means of course, but it's a nice prospect :). Oh, and I'm going to review the Dark Passages duology next!

So, have you read/are you planning to read any of the above? And if you have, what do you think of them? Do you post mini reviews? Do you like to read them?


  1. Mini reviews are great, Roby! I'm glad you decided to go ahead with your own brand of them (love the title you chose for this feature!). I only wishy I could do them sometime soon. Vera does, but even though I've been meaning to, I always end up with long, long reviews for the blog :D

    That being said, I'm really excited about trying something y Nova Ren Suma, and this book sounds like a great place to start! Lovely reviews, Roby :))

    Check out my latest review here

    1. Lovely comment Ruzi! :))

      I suffer from the same problem - can't seem to avoid venting out for SOOO many paragraphs. I realised I could be more succint quite by chance...Then again, I have a soft spot for lenghty - err, long - reviews ;). Know what? I'm sure you can do that too - the minis, I mean. If I can, it shouldn't be a problem for anyone LOL - especially a bright young woman like you!

  2. I picked up The Walls Around Us just a few weeks ago based on that fantastic first chapter, but haven't had a chance to delve into it yet. I'll be looking forward to your full review. I also need to check out White Space - it sounds crazy weird!

    1. TWAU is an immersive experience...and well, Bick's duology too LOL - though in a different way. I'm going to write a review for White Space in a few days, then I'll do The Dickens Mirror. Can't get those books out of my system! And yes, they ARE crazy weird - in the best way! My review for TWAU will come later.
      And you're right, the first chapter of TWAU is, indeed, hauntingly beautiful. I always read a sneak peek of a book before I decide if committing to it or not. That one

  3. !!!!! Mini's!!!!

    I just want to point out that my love of your mini reviews isn't a dig at your longer reviews. They're appetizers to the full course lol

    I think I'm jealous at how well you encapsulate an entire book in a short paragraph. I'm always like OMG I neeed that book. lol

    Karen @For What It's Worth

    1. -speechless for once-

      Thank you! This does wonder for my ego LOL.

  4. I love mini-reviews and I love your formatting of them. These are also all books, especially The Walls Around Us and The Dead House, that are on my TBR pile. Well, not the Ilsa Black, but her books are on my mental TBR shelf- the one filled with books I'll probably break down and buy even while surrounded by piles of unread books.

    1. LOL. I definitely recommend all the above titles to you - I think they're perfect for the kind of reader you are. Ilsa Bick is a MUST READ. Sorry, I can be a little pushy sometimes LOL.

      And thank you!


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