September 23, 2022

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #36 Rin Chupeco, Kate A. Boorman, Rob Hart


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 (though for anthologies, shorter books or books that I didn't enjoy/I don't have enough to say about, I decided to stick to minis). 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.

The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco

★★★

A Hollywood troupe filming on a supposedly cursed Filipine island starts to fall prey to its very real and very threatening magic, and it's up to the mysterious, non-binary local teen they hired as a guide to try and save them - all while falling for the bisexual influencer son of the producer.

***

First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on Netgalley. Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.

After loving their Girl from the Well duology, I jumped at the chance of reading more Chupeco in the same vein. And mind you, this isn't a bad book by any means, but alas, it left me wanting more. The natural horror was both creepy and enjoyable (in a dark way of course 😉), but it didn't spook me as much as its ghostly counterpart in TGFTW did. The romance was a bit too fast and casual, because really, pretty much the only thing these two teens have in common is that they're both good-looking and queer (I did love that aspect though, and the way no one, not even the cynical and or/evil Hollywood people, stomps on their rainbow hearts. They're queer, and it is what it is). The big reveal at the end didn't come as a surprise for me, because it's not like the author did much to cover their tracks in that respect - there's a significant void in the narrative that caused my antennae to go up more than a whole bunch of red herrings would have...Regardless, I liked the open, sort of poetical (if ominous) ending.
I think the worst thing I can say about The Sacrifice is that it doesn't bring much novelty to the table - though the core idea (the one that coincides with the reveal) is really cool. It will probably work better as an introduction to horror for newbies/casual readers of the genre than as an addition to a seasoned horror reader's library...which I happen to be 🙂.

Note: definitive review (I don't have enough to say to justify writing a full-length one later).

Into the Sublime by Kate A. Boorman

★★

Four girls in search of a thrill - or maybe with ulterior motives - set to find a mythical subterranean lake that is said to have the power to grant you a wish...if you come back from it alive.

***

Rated 3.5 really.

Though Into the Sublime lacks the sheer brilliance of What We Buried (from the same author) and its premise isn't as imaginative, it's still a solid thriller/horror with a paranormal edge that will keep your eyes glued to the pages. The four protagonists' being strangers (they met via a challenge site) adds an extra layer to their predicament, because they're blank slates to one another, which only makes their agendas more unfathomable and their connection tenuous enough that they can't count on their sense of camaraderie (not that friends can't stab one another in the back, as they're particularly wont to do in YA thrillers, but this is next level 😂). Secrets are revealed, alliances shift, visions intensify, guilt feelings surface, all while the underground set of caves the girls are exploring seems hell-bent on trapping them more than willing to grant them their wishes. A pulse-pounding narrative jumping from past to present - from the actual events to the investigation that follows - with distinct (if not memorable) characters and some strong (if not terribly original) twists.

Note: definitive review (I don't have enough to say to justify writing a full-length one later).

The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart

★★★★★

The grumpy head of security at a facility for time travellers, suffering from time displacement attacks that allow her to see her dead girlfriend - but that will kill her eventually - finds herself caught in a time-travel-centered conspiracy that might end reality itself, but also change her in unexpected ways.

***

I literally drank up this book in two days, so a few of the time-bending (and mind-bending) occurrences/explanations went a little over my head (I'll have to pick them up on my second read), but wow - what a wild, humorous, heart-warming, heart-wrenching ride. I didn't even care that there wasn't any actual time travel involved, because who needs that, when you have multiple instances of time displacement (which is even more exciting when handled well, as it is the case here), a complex mystery to crack, an adventure that never lets up, a lead with sharp edges whom you still can feel for, a tragic yet uplifting romance, a drone sidekick with a knack for banter, tons of diversity, and baby dinosaurs roaming the place? If you like sci-fi with a heart and a sense of humour, this is the thing.

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?

14 comments:

  1. I've only read one book by Rin Chupeco, Wicked As You Wish. I'll be honest and say that I didn't like that book, and I just don't know if their books are for me.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe some of them would work better for actual teens than adult/new adult readers? This one was dark, but not remarkable enough if you've read a lot in certain genres or don't like certain YA tropes. So maybe WAYW was the same?

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  2. Hmm, I guess the Chupeco one is hit or miss. And ooh Boorman! Another cool cover, although doesn't sound as good as the last one. Caves, though... but the one I'm super interested in in PAradox. NEED it!

    Baby dinos????

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    Replies
    1. Yes LOL. Paradox was a real trip. I KNOW you would love it.

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  3. First I see a five-star rating (I can't remember if I have seen one from you before, if so, it's rare), and then you refer to a romance as uplifting. Hart must be quite the author to make such things happen for you.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I give plenty of 5-star ratings, though 4 is more common for me, and indeed I haven't had many 5 lately. LOL - I can appreciate a little romance when it's not the focus of a book...

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  4. Paradox Hotel was a lot of fun! I think I liked his last book, The Warehouse, a little more, but he's one of those "must read" authors for me.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure if The Warehouse would be for me - TPH was more my jam as a concept - but he sure is an author to watch!

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  5. The Paradox Hotel sounds cool, I might check it out sometime. :)
    -Quinley

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    Replies
    1. Not to be missed if you like your sci-fi all timey-wimey 😂.

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  6. Into The Sublime sounds like a good one.

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    Replies
    1. If you like scary stuff and twisted group dynamics, yes!

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  7. I haven't read anything by these authors before and I would say they aren't to my taste but what even is my taste anymore?? lol I'm reading all over the place so maybe?

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    Replies
    1. But you "have" read Boorman - What We Buried! 😂 😉 This one is a bit more run-of-the-mill, but yeah...maybe?

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