November 10, 2019

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #16 Ryan La Sala, Parker Peevyhouse, Rob Rufus


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!

NOTE: I've fallen into a routine where I post a mini-review round every two months. However, I'm making an exception and posting one just three days after my latest because these are all NetGalley ARCs, some of which are coming out soon - the first on December 3rd - so I wanted to post my minis before I started to share my full reviews closer to pub date. Here's my official full-review calendar for them:

Reverie by Ryan La Sala: November 20th

Strange Exit by Parker Peevyhouse: December 14th

The Vinyl Underground by Rob Rufus: February 10th

So, here goes...

Reverie by Ryan La Sala


Rated 4.5 really.

Reverie is like sensory overload made novel, something that will probably mess with your mind for a while and totally win you over halfway through, once you get used to living in a limitless (and oops, potentially deadly) fantasy multiverse. Not to mention the bold queerness of it all. Not to mention the kids with a soft, wounded core under their powers' facade (sounds typical? oh, but there's a twist behind it). Not to mention the spot-on take on the power of dreams, and their need to find a chink to manifest in the open, lest the dreamer becomes the dream and the dream swallows the dreamer whole in turn.
In plain English...this was awesome. Especially if you like reluctant heroes who still want to do the right thing, unabashedly queer characters, imaginative monsters, strained yet loyal sibling relationships and friendships, breath-taking worlds, and surprisingly, an inner logic behind it all. And I plan on grabbing a physical copy for my collection.
Note: I assume this is an uncorrected proof, but I couldn't help but notice a few typos/errors (one of them even in the acknowledgment section) that I hope will get edited in the final version.

Full review to come on November 20th. Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire! (Goodreads pre-review)

Strange Exit by Parker Peevyhouse


Peevyhouse excels at virtual reality, as Reef's section of her debut book Where Futures End already proved. This one goes one step ahead though - from a Pokemon-Go-like setting to a full-blown simulation you can live, grieve, and in a sense die, in - and still manages to feel believable. Chock-full of twists and turns, vivid (something lush, sometimes dilapidated) landscapes, and details that feel fresh within a genre that's been spinning for decades, with teen heroes who are both strong and flawed, a pervading sibling theme and a touch of romance: if you have to read only one YA sci-fi book this year, make it this one. I'm definitely going to grab a physical copy for my collection when it comes out!

Full review to come on December 14th. Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge/Tor Teen! (Goodreads pre-review)

The Vinyl Underground by Rob Rufus


Rated 3.5 really.

TVU is the vivid, pulsing portrait of an age (1968 - the Vietnam war, Martin Luther King's assassination, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, the magic of rock'n'roll) and a heartfelt friendship story featuring four relatable (if a bit too fond of doing drugs, but hey, it's the psychedelic era, folks) 17 y.o. kids - and look! they're three guys and a girl! And of course it helps that she's a tough one, but she never really feels like "one of the boys". It's also a story about being brave and foolish and full of messy feelings and inconsiderate, the way only real teens can be. Fresh, original and compelling, though I would have liked to "feel" the characters a little more.

Full review to come on February 10th. Thank you NetGalley and North Star Editions/Flux! (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 have been seeing a lot of hype for Reverie, and wow! It sounds like it really lived up to it. I had my eye on TVU. Sort of wished you liked it more, though, you had some really good things to say about it.

    1. Reverie seems to be one of the rare popular books that I've read (and liked) 😂. TVU is more a "me" thing, I suppose. I need to see a piece of me in the characters, and it didn't happen to the desired extent. But you can still grab it on NG, I think (if they approved me, they HAVE to approve a contemporary reader like you!).

  2. all your books are new to me, but you grabbed my attention with Reverie. That sounds like one I would love. I am disappointed that the last book set during the sixties didn’t rate higher with you. I am always fascinated by this era.

    1. Reverie is wild! if you don't mind dark spots in your books (which it's my understanding you don't). TVU is a good book - my only problem is that I need my characters to reflect my teen self more, and it didn't happen a lot with this one. But it's an accurate depiction of the era, to the best of my knowledge, and it's still on NG if you want to request it.

  3. Reverie sounds really good! And I love it when I try a book and love it so much I need a physical copy. that's usually the sign of a keeper. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm a rereader, so I would hate not to have a physical copy. I hope I inspired you to try Reverie, but Strange Exit is good too, especially since you do like sci-fi!

  4. I am definitely eyeballing Reverie because I'm a sucker for characters who are soft inside, but also LOOK HOW PRETTY THAT COVER IS. And it's about dreams. The cover definitely looks dreamy. I'm not a huge fan of sensory overload, so I might have to tread carefully when and if I pick the book up.

    GOOD EVENING ROBERTA. You might not read this until tomorrow morning and if that's the case, well, GOOD MORNING ROBERTA.

    1. Those are not your average dreams, but alternate realities the mind creates and people inhabit without realising (the dreamer included). But I have a full review coming that will tell everything you need to know (I mean, minus the spoilers LOL).

      Ha! It's evening! But you got me covered 😂.

  5. These all sound pretty great! I'll definitely be looking for a copy of Reverie (SBF is one of my favorite publishers), and maybe the Peevyhouse one at some point. (It's still Read Now on Netgalley. I'm tempted, but... I still have three NG books queued to read. Hard decisions of a bookworm! 😂)

    1. But you're a fast reader, and the NG books only expire after 54 days...I say you can do it! 😉

      I'm still bummed you weren't approved for Reverie. I can't believe they chose little me instead...

  6. I remember you talking about Vinyl Underground a while back and have been meanign to pick that one up.

    I haven't heard about the other two but I guess I'm out of the loop about Reverie lol

    Karen @ For What It's worth

    1. TVU should still be available for request on NG. And LOL, how come I read a fairly popular book and you haven't heard of it? Though on second thoughts, that's our typical counterbalance 😂.


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