April 28, 2018

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #7 Seanan McGuire, Karen Healey, Barbara Stewart


Hello beauties!

Welcome again to my own brand of mini reviews! I never thought I'd do minis, until I recapped a few of my long reviews in some digest post in 2014, and then guest-posted some shorties for a blogging event in 2015. And Karen from For What It's Worth started praising my short recs/recaps 😊. Just to be clear,  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...

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
(Wayward Children #2)


I have a love/hate relationship with this series. On one hand, there are the exciting premise (since McGuire gives a new spin to the portal fantasy trope), the imaginative worlds, the highlightable quotes, the unflinchingly diverse characters who quietly take the spotlight just by being themselves. On the other, worlds that are often gloomy and full of harsh rules/violence/adults who take advantage of children. I can't really wrap my mind about all those kids wanting to escape their own reality so bad, that those alternate worlds would appeal to them as much as they do - no matter how hard their home life may be. Then again, I loved Jack in this one, especially the decision she makes in the end - and the indirect role Alexis has in it. Despite all my perplexities, still a diverse book in more than one sense.

Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

When We Wake by Karen Healey
(When We Wake #1)


Rated 4.5 really.

(Edit, June 2019: When We Wake was originally a 4 star book for me, then I finally decided to rate both this one and its sequel, While We Run, 4.5 stars).

Despite the amount of people complaining about its SJW vibe being too in-your-face, I enjoyed this one, and I beg to differ. A smart, woken teen who is revived a hundred years from her "now", only to find a confusing world where sex and race are not an issue, but immigration policy decidedly took a turn for the worse, is bound to ask herself questions (not to mention, wonder how she fits into all this). Also, this book is full of teens who care. Please don't treat them like someone did with the March for Our Lives kids.
Of course, ethics is all around in this story - it encompasses not only politics, but also religion, science, and environmental issues. But I never felt like someone was pulling my sleeve. On top of that, you have a relatable lead, a fast-paced story, strong friendships, and even a bit of romance, if you're so inclined. Nothing spectacularly new, but compulsively readable and well done.

Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

The In-Between by Barbara Stewart


I'm not sure how I feel. Elanor's story is so ambiguous and poignant, walking a fine line between mental trouble and magical realism. I believe the main twist is well done (can't vouch for it though, because I accidentally spoiled myself) and Elanor's voice is achingly beautiful...until she starts fat-shaming not only herself, but a number of characters, even random ones. Also, she does something horrible at one point (and I mean SHE, not someone who may or may not guide her hand - which happens later in the book), and though I sort of understood her reasons, I didn't have any sympathy for her in that moment. Her plights did get to me, I was invested in her story, and the story in itself paid off - but I would have liked this one more without the incidents I mentioned. Still, a great, atmospheric, creepy read.
Trigger warnings: attempted suicide, self-harm, depression, fat-shaming, some ableism.

Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

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. I post mini reviews after reading a few children's books. There's not always a lot to day about a 15-page book with 35 words, lol. I also use mini reviews for books that I was meh about. I don't always have a lot to say about those, so it helps to just combine those books into one review and be finished with it.

    I haven't heard of these three, but The In-Between looks interesting! I'll add it on Goodreads. I hate that you accidentally spoiled something for yourself--never fun!

    Do You Dog-ear?

    1. The way you use minis makes sense...mine are usually first impressions I post on Goodreads while waiting for the right moment to write a longer review. Then I collect 3 of them and voilà, a blog post! 😂

      You didn't know of Seanan McGuire's series, "Wayward Children"? (The one above is the second installment, to be precise). It's actually one of the few popular books I've read LOL.

    2. I physically write down my thoughts as a I read/listen to a book, and then I go back and look at those notes when I write a review. The books that get very little written about them usually end up as a mini review! It means I don't have a lot to say.

      Really? I'll look into the series!

    3. Very well organised! I usually wing it as I go.

  2. I'm a huge McGuire fangirl, but I can see your point about some of the issues with the series. I love the kind-of-terrible fantasy worlds, but that's typical for me. The grimmer the better. xD I wonder if you'll feel better about it in Beneath the Sugar Sky, if you're planning to stay with the series. (LOVE Jack. I really want a Kade story too.)

    The other two sound really interesting! I love how you find books with strange, quirky plots and concepts that don't come up often in YA. (I mean, I know that's the name of your blog and everything. Just saying, you're really good at it! <3) I end up wanting to read almost everything you review.

    1. I do plan to stay with the series. And my issue is not that the worlds are terrible...but that they can appeal so much to young children/teens, what with all the harsh rules they have to abide or live by. Sometimes they sound like glorified slaves, if you know what I mean.

      LOL, thank you! But the concepts of these two aren't totally unheard of. The sequel to When We Wake (that is, While We Run) bears some similarities to The Hunger Games sequel, if I understood that correctly...I mean, I haven't read it because I wasn't feeling the premise, but from what I heard, it does, up to a point. The In-Between is...well, I don't want to spoil it, but let's say it's in the same vein as 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma, though it only focus on the lead's issues. Sorry for being so cryptic LOL.

    2. Yeah, absolutely. I think that's really apparent in this book, especially. Jill doesn't have a lot of options, and it's kind of just lucky that being a vampire's mistress works for her. She doesn't have much choice in the matter. On the other hand, it isn't really "luck", since the doors chose them knowing they'd fit perfectly in that world. What seems harsh to us just makes sense to them. Again, I'm excited to see what you think of Sugar Sky, since it sort of addresses this question. It's the first close up we have of a Nonsense world, and a lot of the characters are super uncomfortable with it.

      True. Dystopia tends to have some overlap. I liked The Hunger Games trilogy. If I'd read it as a teenager, I probably would have loved it. LOL. You're totally fine. Between cryptic and spoilers, cryptic is probably the better option! I haven't read 17 & Gone yet, but it's definitely on my list. I like Suma's writing style enough to read all her books eventually. If I end up liking it, maybe I'll circle back around to this one. :]]

    3. Quote: "Again, I'm excited to see what you think of Sugar Sky, since it sort of addresses this question."
      That's interesting. I plan on getting to it in my next book spree...whenever it is LOL.

      Suma has become an auto-buy author for me...which is the rarest thing!

  3. Haha, I don't know about auto-buy, but I feel like I have more auto-TBR authors all the time.


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