December 11, 2020

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #20 Danielle Stinson, Kate A. Boorman, Seanan McGuire


Intro


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: all the mini blurbs (in italics) are of my own creation.

Before I Disappear by Danielle Stinson

★★

A resourceful girl and four other teens find themselves stranded in an alternate-universe no-man-land, and have to survive a series of ordeals while searching for her missing brother and a way out of there.

***

Rated 2.5 really.

I had VERY high expectations for this one, but it was too confusing and it never managed to make me feel connected to the characters (not even Charlie, the brave, sweet, somehow otherworldly missing brother) like I hoped it would. The science bordered on the supernatural too often, despite the whole thing having a definite Stranger Things vibe. Everyone had so much baggage, and their stories had the potential to break your heart - but for some reason, mine was largely unaffected. Also, it didn't help that there were a few tropes thrown in for good measure, like the reformed bad boy with a heart of gold and the dreaded instalove. Bonus points for a brave girl handy with tools and a poignant, non-HEA ending.

Note: definitive review (I don't have enough to say to justify writing a full-length one later, and of course I don't plan to reread this book).

What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman

★★★★★

Two estranged siblings take a spooky trip through the Nevada desert in the footsteps of their missing parents, all while trying to mend their damaged relationship and figure out what's real...and what used to be.

***

This one brings "mindf**k" to the next level. Ridden with half truths, false (yet obliquely pertinent) flags and misplaced memories, it's a time-bending, gripping trip through human darkness and juvenile trauma, with two deeply flawed, yet in a way innocent characters, who have to come to terms with the rift between them and figure out their buried past (no pun intended) if they want to have a chance at moving on. Not recommended for fans of spelled-out endings, but it will be your thing if you love Nova Ren Suma.

Full review to come (Goodreads pre-review).

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

★★★★

An early-deceased ghost girl volunteering at a suicide prevention hotline while waiting for her due time to come teams up with a witch to save fellow ghosts from a dire ending.

***

Rated 4.5 really.

Leave it to McGuire to build a whole world and make you care for her characters in less than 200 pages.
Melancholic (with a touch of funny) and warm, with a lead who, albeit not a hero, strives to do the right thing, a strong supporting cast and a cool magic system that - while building on familiar tropes - brings lots of fresh elements to the table. Not to mention McGuire's peculiar brand of strong, evocative writing. My only complaint would be that the lead couldn't possibly be the first ghost to figure out a certain solution to a certain problem...and that I wanted to spend so much more time in her world.

Note: definitive review (due to time commitments, I've decided not to write full-length reviews anymore for short stories, novellas and anthologies, except in special cases or unless they're part of a series).

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?

12 comments:

  1. I've tried a book by Nova and it didn't work for me but I'm very curious about What We Buried. Sounds like it would make a good audiobook!

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    Replies
    1. Nova Ren Suma is a master of magical realism, but one has to like the genre to begin with of course. What We Buried is an underrated gem! I hope you'll decide to give it a try!

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  2. I used to post mini reviews but I don't really do them anymore. However, I love reading them. Sometimes all you need is a little "morsel" of a book to decide if it interests you.

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    Replies
    1. To be honest, I ALWAYS write a full review later (when I have reread the book) or closer to pub date if it's an ARC...so, technically, I'm cheating LOL. I'm glad there's an audience for minis as well though!

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  3. Sorry about Before I Disappear. Low ratings always make me sad. It's good to see McGuire continues to dazzle you. I don't think I have ever seen you disappointed by one of McGuire's books.

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    Replies
    1. The lowest I've rated one of her books was 3.5.

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  4. Excellent mini of What We Buried! That sums up my feelings pretty much perfectly. 💛 I still haven't gotten around to Dusk or Dark. I have no excuse, even, it being so short. 😂

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  5. Oh that first one has been on my TBR for a bit! Sorry to hear it didn't work for you. I might just let that one go. Not a fan of instalove... sadly, I had some high hopes.

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    Replies
    1. It did sound far more exciting than it turned out to be, and...yeah, the instalove 😖.

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  6. I haven't read any of these but I have read a couple of books by Seanan McGuire and enjoyed them.

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    Replies
    1. Since you love "creature books", I guess the Toby Daye ones? 🙂

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