March 28, 2021

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #22 Colleen Nelson, Kali Wallace, Sean McGinty


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.

March 22, 2021

Tim Pratt: "Doors of Sleep"

Title: Doors of Sleep [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Journals of Zaxony Delatree (1st of 2 books)
Author: Tim Pratt [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Multiverse, Sci-Fi
Year: 2021
Age: 14+ (I shelved it as Adult because of the characters' age range, but it's suitable for teens)
Stars: 3.5/5
Pros: Inventive take on the multiverse genre. Original, resourceful side characters.
Cons: Packs in a lot of worlds and adventures without giving them the time to unfold (some get no more than one paragraph). The deuteragonists are stronger than the lead..
Will appeal to: Doctor Who aficionados willing to trade space and time for multiple universes. Fans of cat-and-mouse narratives with a peculiar twist.

Blurb: Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. He has no control over his destination and never knows what he will see when he opens his eyes. Sometimes he wakes up in technological utopias, and other times in the bombed-out ruins of collapsed civilizations. All he has to live by are his wits and the small aides he has picked up along the way - technological advantages from techno-utopias, sedatives to escape dangerous worlds, and stimulants to extend his stay in pleasant ones. Thankfully, Zax isn't always alone. He can take people with him, if they're unconscious in his arms when he falls asleep. But someone unwelcome is on his tail, and they are after something that Zax cannot spare - the blood running through his veins, the power to travel through worlds... (Amazon)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on Edelweiss. Thanks to Angry Robot for providing an ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.

POINT OF DEPARTURE

Zaxony Delatree is, for all purposes, a not-so-distant cousin of Doctor Who (though the author admits being influenced by Quantum Leap as well). Imagine an alien much like us humans who, instead of hopping through time and space in a TARDIS, travels through different worlds (mind you, not through different versions on the same world) every time he's unconscious...though it's not like the poor guy voluntarily chose that path. Now imagine him having temporary companions (as long as they're willing to be in physical contact with him when he travels, and to actually sleep with him...only not "with him" LOL). And last but not least, imagine him doing his best to save/help the worlds/people he meets along his (multidimensional) way. Oh! And imagine him having an archi-nemesis he used to think of as a friend (though unlike the Master/Missy, the Lector isn't a childhood friend of his). Except, despite all these surface-level similarities, Zax is very much his own character, and his story is very much unique, as are the worlds he visits (seriously, kudos to the author for his endless creativity). Similarly unique are Zax's latest companions: a sort of woman/plant hybrid (for lack of a better word) called Minna and a crystal intelligence named Vicki, both endearing and extremely resourceful, not to mention, with their heart in the right place (yes...the crystal intelligence too). Pratt's creativity shines again in that department, and Minna in particular is an example of resilience and adaptiveness at the same time, very much in tune with her partly plant-like nature, and yet so very human. [...]

March 15, 2021

Rin Chupeco: "The Suffering"

Title: The Suffering  [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: The Girl from the Well (2nd of 2 books)
Author: Rin Chupeco [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Afterlife, Supernatural, Horror
Year: 2015
Age: 14+
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Top-notch horror/mythology. Compelling action. Vibrant characters. Tug-at-your-heartstrings situations. Writing that maintains an inner poetic quality even in the midst of such horrors.
Cons: Paranormal romance rears its ugly head (though not in any conventional sense).
WARNING! Violence/gore. Death by suffocation.
Will appeal to: Those who enjoy an eerie quality in their horror.

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Tark knows what it is to be powerless. But Okiku changed that. A restless spirit who ended life as a victim and started death as an avenger, she's groomed Tark to destroy the wicked. But when darkness pulls them deep into Aokigahara, known as Japan's suicide forest, Okiku's justice becomes blurred, and Tark is the one who will pay the price... (Amazon)

Review: The sequel to The Girl in the Well (where, incidentally, the perspective switches from ghost's to human's) is even better than the original. But the paranormal romance angle prevented me to rate it higher, though I realise that it's different from your usual "dating-the-creature" perspective...

COLLISION COURSE

The sequel to The Girl from the Well is partly inspired by another well-know Japanese piece of lore (the Suicide Forest)...except this one is, alas, firmly grounded in reality: Aokigahara is, indeed, a Japanese forest, and according to Wikipedia, one of the world's most-used suicide sites. No need to worry though: the setting is used to tell a very different - if horrifying - story. Also, before we get there, we spend a third of the book on American ground, getting up-to-date with Tark (now 17) and Okiku's living (or dead, ha!) arrangement, and their vigilante work. At the end of The Girl from the Well, Okiku and Tark's fates got intertwined in a peculiar way (no spoiler if you haven't read Book 1), so it's partly out of necessity if Tark teamed up with her in order to stop serial killers who fly under the radar; then again, there's more to it (as Tark will eventually realise), and at the same time, the human vs. ghost perspective makes for some interesting dynamics. Also, while Tark deals with your average YA stuff (like school, bullies and girls) and the teenage voice is spot on, he's far from being your average teen (let's be blunt, he's always been, even before Okiku - and that's precisely the reason why she was drawn to him), and the juxtaposition is partly funny, partly tragic, always juicy[...]

March 09, 2021

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Social Media: Love Them or Hate Them?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings in order to discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging (and some slightly more personal matters thrown in for good measure). While Heidi is on an extended hiatus, there are five of us who are hosting it and providing the questions. The current team is composed of Berls at Because Reading Is Better Than Real LifeJen at That's What I'm Talking AboutKaren at For What It's WorthLinda at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell and Roberta at Offbeat YA. This week's question is...

SOCIAL MEDIA: LOVE THEM OR HATE THEM?

I've only ever joined two social media sites in my life: Twitter and Facebook (if you don't count Goodreads, that doesn't exactly do a good job at being a social platform). Facebook was the first one I joined, a few years ago...I had an account in Italian, as a radio personality, except I didn't like it in there, since I only seemed to attract people who wanted to increase their friend number - so I bailed. Apart from all the recent controversy about it, FB doesn't have what I'm looking for in a social media. You can write a two-thousand-word rant and nobody will give it the time of day, so what's the use? At least on Twitter you're bound to throw less words to the wind LOL.

March 02, 2021

Tell Me Something Tuesday: What Are Your Favorite Tips and/or Tools to Help Keep Your Blogging (or Real Life) Organized?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme created by Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings in order to discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging (and some slightly more personal matters thrown in for good measure). While Heidi is on an extended hiatus, there are five of us who are hosting it and providing the questions. The current team is composed of Berls at Because Reading Is Better Than Real LifeJen at That's What I'm Talking AboutKaren at For What It's WorthLinda at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell and Roberta at Offbeat YA. This week's question is...

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TIPS AND/OR TOOLS TO HELP KEEP YOUR BLOGGING (OR REAL LIFE) ORGANIZED?

I've been keeping a blogging AND a posting schedule (as in, using actual spreadsheets - the latter being just a list of the posts I hope to publish every month, while the former is an all-rounder) for a few years now, and the quality and reliability of my blogging has improved tremendously thanks to it. From the number of pages I mean to read per day to the drafts I plan to write and the posts I intend to put forth, everything goes there. With time, it evolved into a real-life planner of sorts (though still blog-centered) so that I always know if I have commitments that will prevent me from reading or blogging on a specific day. The downside of it is that I tend to overschedule (as in, plan too far ahead), which sometimes forces me to backtrack when life gets in the way...so I have to reschedule everything AND lose a lot of time that I could have spent blogging or reading LOL. But as a whole, this method is the only one that's guaranteed to keep me on track. Also, I LOVE to fill in spreadsheets...yep, I'm aware that I'm rare 😅 😜.