Two Minute Reviews The Secret of the Ooze

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


I'M FINALLY CAUGHT UP FUCK YEAH I'M AWESOME

Now someone remind me to never get three posts worth behind again? You (should have) read the last two intros, let's do some quick and dirty (dirty) reviews.


Takeover by Anna Zabo - 

Pretty hot m/m BDSM romance (toeing the erotica line) that plays with dominant personalities IRL vs Dominant personalities in a scene. Sam is a CEO, in control all day long, so in bed, he's into submission. He meets Michael, an Aloha shirt wearing computer nerd, at a bar in Curacao on a break between buying and selling tech companies. Michael, also seeking his own one night stand, leads a hardcore, no names domination fantasy and both men return to the US confident they will never see each other again.Of course that goes perfectly to plan.

I could have done without the weasely little antagonist, as I think the sale of the company and the social stigmas were enough conflict and frankly the guy is just so punchable. Like you don't even root against him, that would require more effort than he deserves. TW for homophobia including slurs and description of a hate crime in a character's backstory.



The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - 

My third or fourth reread of one of my favorite novels, but that rating is solely for the audiobook. Narrated by Claire Danes, it's almost like she sucked the power out of Offred. Every section; pre-Gilead, pre-commander, post-commander, post-Nick are all stated in the same lifeless monotone. The narration doesn't try to match Offred's changing nature. Scenes where she's reckless, almost daring to get caught, are told exactly the same as the initial ceremony night when she's been brought as low as she can go. 


I don't love everything about the Hulu series, but I'd love to hear Elizabeth Moss re-narrate this one as Danes doesn't capture it at all for me.


The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma - 

Oh.

My.

God.

I'm not super into paranormal. Like UF sure but ghosts and monsters and scary things? Not my cuppa.

READ THIS BOOK.

(And then tell me who did it)


DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 3: Uprising by Marguerite Bennett - 

I'm out.

The Batgirls were the worst part of Vol. 2. They're annoying, there are entirely too many of them, and they pull focus off the main plot and lead characters. And did I mention they're annoying af? So of course they're back in a hamfisted, fourth wall breaking plot about Donald Trump Harvey Dent and internment camps. Super.



Ffs with the hair and the tie and the UGH.


The main plot, it's kind of whatever. Since they rushed to kill off Stargirl, Supergirl has no real purpose. They finally got everyone in one place which was nice. The Atlantis plot, I don't understand how Mera got her powers or lost them or anything. There are still three trades in this run and I just don't understand how.


Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole - ★★★☆☆

Promised Land by Rose Lerner - ★★

This was the one story in the anthology that didn't work for me. Rachel was too mercurial and I couldn't understand why she was now in love with Nathan. The backstory with her evil mother-in-law was torturous. I did like learning about Jewish history in early America from Rose's notes, but the actual characters weren't for me.

The Pursuit Of... by Courtney Milan - ★★★★

I really like Henry and John and Henry&John. This is banter the book. It's also a solid look at white privilege, untreated ADHD, and how freedmen's lives weren't as free as they sound. Very sweet and feelsy romance with a great, meaningful plot.

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole - ★★★★

*insert seventeen heart eye emojis here*


A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole - ★★★★★

A phenomenal start to a new series. From the second Ledi deleted the first email as Nigerian prince spam, I knew I was going to love this book. The first half, Ledi and "Jamal" in New York was a sweet, funny romance that fleshed out both characters and really made me root for them. After "Jamal" is revealed as Thabiso and the story moves to his homeland of Thesolo, I miiiight deduct half a star because the mystery seemed pretty obvious to me. 

The three sex scenes were great, very focused on Ledi's pleasure. Thabiso asks permission to kiss her, not only the first time but again after their fight when there's doubt, which awesome yes yay! (She turns him down the second time he asks and he leaves with no pressure??????????????)

I'll take Portia's book now please.


Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine by Sarah Lohman - ★★★☆☆

DNF at 34%. I liked the book but I just wasn't compelled to finish it and my library hold ran out.

I think it's really interesting that American cuisine can be broken down into these eight imported flavors and I loved the way authentic recipes and reinventions were woven into the narrative, but there's something a little offputting in the black pepper chapter glorifying America for treating with the growers instead of colonizing India a'la the British. Like give America a hand for doing the bare minimum. Likewise I think it's great that the author wanted to see the actual vanilla orchids of Mexico but there's a whiff of objectification and fetishistic reverence to the whole story, from eating at the roadside restaurant that "hasn't seen an American in five years!" to the actual descriptions of the plantation. It's a little Eat, Pray, Love-y.


Two Dukes are Better Than One by Lorna James - ★★★☆☆ 

Hot, hot, hot menage book with a good focus on consent and not rushing the heroine (except the honeymoon scene. Sideyeing both love interests on that one.) Unfortunately, the actual plot holding it all together is not good. As for the supernatural elements, it's true Victoria made the occult briefly popular for the ton, but Sophia's interest in it and her fortune telling mom would be a non starter. Then the last act is so rushed with books falling off shelves and secret babies and new characters being introduced in the last 30 pages. It doesn't jibe with the rest of the book. I never understood Huxley's desperation to see and speak to Rose again or the "destruction" that would have been wrought if he'd just courted Sophia.

And don't get me started on the whole "she sees babies in her future". Girl, you know full well you can't have either of their babies in this situation and Huxley is going to have to marry someone else. Don't be naive. 


Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds - ★★★★★

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

I know what you're thinking. I know how you feel about books in prose. I need you to forget all of that and read possibly the best book of the year. 

Will's brother was killed yesterday, shot in the street. He knows the rules, no snitching on the guy who definitely (probably?) did it, no crying, get revenge.

In this horrible and moving tale of the cyclical nature of revenge, Will is confronted by six ghosts, one for each floor he travels down on his way from his apartment to what could ultimately be his doom. Reynolds' way with words is inhuman, a masterwork. He packs more emotion into a single page than some authors do in a thousand. Read it once in a flurry of emotion and words, but read it again to savor the writing.


Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire - ★★★★

What's the point of a Seanan book except to break my heart? What's the point of a prequel except to drive the knife deeper?

If you loved Jack in Every Heart a Doorway, allow me to introduce you to a Jack who hasn't yet had her heart broken:
“I could give you children,” said Jack, sounding faintly affronted. “You’d have to tell me how many heads you wanted them to have, and what species you’d like them to be, but what’s the point of having all these graveyards if I can’t give you children when you ask for them?” 
I LOVE HER SO FUCKING MUCH YOU GUYS.

But again, this series is clearly Seanan's heart books. Look at this prose. 
The moon worries. We may not know how we know that, but we know it all the same: that the moon watches, and the moon worries, and the moon will always love us, no matter what.
WHY DOES THE END HAVE TO COME? ;_;

But this book isn't just about Jack but also Jill and how growing up in your sister's shadow can effect you, both of you, and how parental expectations can ruin you. Get your tissues ready.

Review: Fierce Reads: Kisses and Curses ed Lauren Burniac

Monday, December 11, 2017
Title: Kisses and Curses 
Editor: Lauren Burniac
Genre: anthology, fantasy, contemporary
Series: The Lunar Chronicles 0.5, Razorland #1.1, Birthmarked #1.5, Crewel World .1, The Grishaverse #2.5
Pages: 390
Published: May 12, 2015
Source: borrowed library
Rating: 3/5

Beloved of readers and booksellers, our Fierce Reads program has garnered tons of enthusiastic fans since its inauguration in 2012. Now, the authors you know and love are coming together in one book! With standalone short stories from a handpicked set of FR authors, this fabulous collection will include a mix of original content and popular favorites, and will often feature characters or worlds from existing Fierce Reads books. Extended, personal introductions from each author will make this a must-buy for fans as well as a fantastic portal for engaging new readers with the program. With a wide range of genres and subject matter, there will be something here for everyone!

Glitches by Marissa Meyer- 4 Stars
Previously read, still a good introduction to the world. I think it's really necessary before Cinder, actually. It answers a lot of my questions about her family and how she got where she is.

Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski - 3 stars
The story was okay. It didn’t didn't tell me much about the characters or the world; it’s a pretty tenuous link to the Winner’s Curse series, but the actual fairy tale of how stars got into the sky was very pretty. I wouldn’t seek out the actual series based on this story.

Dynamite Junior by Jennifer Mathieu - 3.5 stars.
The Truth About Alice is one of my all time fave contemporaries. This companion was good but confusing. There are a lot of time skips and Mathieu tried so hard to obscure the secret of Jorge that I had trouble with the pacing. I’m glad she dropped Carmen as a potential POV, but I’m also glad to meet her here.

Monster Crush by Anna Banks and Emmy Laybourne - NR
Haha, no. Not with that formatting.

Fixer by Courtney Alameda - 3 stars
I wish they wouldn’t include stories in these collections that require you to have read the series already. This was fine, gave me some insight into the world of reapers and Hellsings and zombies, but since I don’t know the characters? *shrug* No emotional resonance.

Unstolen by Jennifer Brody - 2 stars
The main character of this series is named Seraphina and she has purple eyes.

Secret Heart by Ann Aguirre - NR
Why is this even here? It’s one scene, rewritten. It’s six pages. I think Ann’s intro is longer. I can’t rate something that can’t be more than a hundred words.

Death & Waffles by Lish Mcbride - 4 stars
This is what I want in a tie in short story. It stands alone but makes me want to read the Necromancer series. It’s funny and sad and introduces the world, but doesn’t overstay. Ash seems like a really cool character.

Krisis by Lindsay Smith - 4 stars
Sekret never held any appeal to me, but I really liked the writing of this story. As with Death & Waffles, a self contained story that made me long to know the larger world. Good job, I’ll add Sekret to my TBR.

Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things To Mend Deleted Scenes by Katie Finn- 2 stars
Finn was just desperate to spoil the reveal in this book, huh. Good job, editor.

Tortured by Caragh M. O’Brien - NR
Intro warned for spoilers and I haven’t read Birthmarked yet. Shame, I loved Vault of Dreamers and this was one of the stories I was looking forward to. I’ll just have to move the series up the ole TBR.

Blue Moon by Nikki Kelly - 0 stars
This story opens with a quote from one of my least favorite comics of all time, the masturbatory wankfest that is Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum. So we’re off to a great start and it just goes downhill. The writing is terrible. Skimmed, found nothing I wanted.

The Cypress Project by Gennifer Albin - 3 stars
A prequel to Crewel, which I anticipated so highly and ended up not liking at all. I never continued the series, so this was actually good to confirm a theory I had re: "the War" and the worldbuilding timeline. I’ve read one other short story set in this world and it was better. Lucy and Joshua were fine, but the story didn’t need four POVs.

The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo - 4.5 stars
Hey look, the story I borrowed the anthology for. Loved this take on Little Red Riding Hood. I have a slight quibble with the end, which keeps it from a full five stars, but Bardugo did a great job building the world and making it feel Russian/Ravkan in a really short space.

Two Minute Reviews Boogaloo

Friday, December 8, 2017


Look, another round up! So I started this post literally the same day as the last round up I posted because Jess is always like Dani, don't put 18 mini reviews in one post, put them in two posts. Then we have two days of content. She's smart like that.

But if you read the monthly wrap-up, you know why this post didn't get finished. So here it is, a month late. I think we're going to have to make it a three parter, even, as I read 12 books since I finished part one.

I'm a disaster.



Young Avengers, Volume 1: Style > Substance by Kieron Gillen - ★★★★

Gillen and McKelvie, the masterminds behind my obsession, The Wicked + The Divine started together here, Young Avengers, with an utterly gorgeous collection from the sadly defunct Marvel NOW! This brand was basically Marvel's YA, focusing on teenage heroes in relatable situations, like balancing caping with school or dealing with bigotry. It gave us Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, the all female X-Men, and pizza dog. You've probably seen more scans from this time period on social media than all the others put together. And it was awesome.


Kid Loki is assembling a new superhero team for totes not suspicious reasons. (Kid Loki being how Loki reincarnated after he removed his name from the Book of Hel, effectively becoming immortal. His kid persona eventually chose to follow its own path and turned his evil personality traits into its own entity, a magpie named Ikol. Then stuff and stuff and the two reunited and now you can never really tell if it's Ikol or Loki running the show.) He has his eye on America Chavez, approaching her first to take out Wiccan and his boyfriend Hulking (I've always hated that name, Teddy's only relation to the Hulk is that he's also green.) America tells Loki that if she ever sees him again, she will murder his face until it can't be murdered any more. Which, in a way, is a shame, as Loki was trying to stop Wiccan from summoning an interdimensional parasite known as The Mother.

Once the entity is released, Loki gives up his quest for murder and brings Teddy, Billy, and America together with Marvel Boy and his hookup and joyrider, Hawkeye. It's a great team against a good villain. The writing and art play off each other very well. The dialogue is snappy and funny. Except for the whole origin of Kid Loki, it stands on its own. (The scene with the two Lokis will confuse even veteran comic fans.) My only criticism is McKelvie's female faces can run together a bit. America's head is copy pasted from (well I guess to considering this came out the year before) Laura from Wic + Div.




Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two #1 by Tom Taylor -  ★★★★☆

Starting at the funeral of ████ ███, despite the call for a day of cease fire to mourn, tensions between the two superhero factions continue heating up. With █████ out of commission in the Tower of Fate, it's up to Black Canary to lead the charge against Superman and his superpowered human army. Recruiting what can be trusted of Gotham's police force, and with the help of Superman's superpill, the fight takes to the street as a much larger threat appears over space. The Guardians have decided Superman is a threat and they've sent Guy and John to sort him out. When that goes as well as you'd expect it turns to all out war as every Lantern is recalled to Earth. The dichotomy of the two battles is interesting, though Superman's police force does turn totalitarian kind of out of nowhere. The real interest here is the villain who joins Superman's team, and his machinations. I think if I'd read one and two as a combined volume, as I did for year one, it would have flowed better.




Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year Two #2 by Tom Taylor -  ★★★★☆

This book broke my fucking heart. If you're here for the Batangst, look no further. A comic book based on a Mortal Kombat rip-off made me cry. It made me scream. It made me awww at a decibel not found in human beings. This book pays off the war with the Lanterns and sees Superman cross a line that can't be uncrossed, even more dire than the (mostly) accidental killing of ████ ███ at the end of book one. Of the two year two books, it's the better, but they really would work better in a complete collection like year one.


Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - ★★★☆☆

This book is terrible and I was living for it. I was really into Mead's adult series, The Age of X, but since I was apparently the only one into it and the third book has been shelved indefinitely, I thought I'd give her most famous work a try. This is a pretty fun take on the vampire craze of the early Thousands. Rose is basically Blade, a half human, half vampire trained from the cradle to kill (evil) vampires. She attends St. Vladimir's Academy, a typical catty boarding school stereotype except it's full of (good) vampire royals and the dhampir guards training to protect them.

Lissa, Rose's best friend and future liege, has a secret that's created a bond between the girls that hasn't been seen since the bible. The vast majority of the book is them navigating high school cliches and "forbidden love" (which in this case means Lissa's in love with someone from a lower social status and Rose is in love with her twenty-four year old fighting instructor). There's a kidnapping and one pretty badass fight between Rose and a bad vamp, but for the most part it's a relatively standard YA that happens to feature vampires.

This review is of the 10 year anniversary edition which also featured four short stories: The Turn and the Flame, which looks at Christian's back story (it was fine), From the Journal of Vasilisa Dragomir, Lissa's journal from the times immediately prior to this book (also just fine), The Meeting, an utterly pointless retelling of the first chapter from Dimitri's point of view, AND Hello My Name is Rose Hathaway, a five star short story that is so much fun. The dhampir have a scavenger hunt on Halloween that sees Rose and stick-in-the-mud Dimitri flirting like SO MUCH. I was on the fence about the ship until this one.



When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - ★★★★★

It's been a long time since I've loved a character as much as I love Dimple. She's so unabashedly Slytherin in a world that doesn't want women and especially women of color to be cunning, ambitious, and driven. Weird how Hermione punching Draco was totally cool with this community but Dimple throwing a (n iced) coffee at what she assumes to be a crazed stalker made her violent and unlikeable. Things that make you say hmmmmm.

Rishi is so unbelievably sweet and it's great to see the script flipped and the male character as the romantic, ready to settle down one. The banter is off the charts. The book is so. funny. Could the last couple chapters have been tighter, yes, but oh my gosh science and art cuties making an app together and good parental relationships and realistic friend fights and I'm screaming again.

Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty - ★★★☆☆

Nothing but respect for MY Moriarty.

The book was fine. I skimmed a lot of the middle, which isn't like me. I'm a read every page girl. But, I didn't feel the romance and I thought the killer was pretty obvious. Everything leading to him seemed like filler. 

I did like the end where Mori actually seemed like her namesake and got ruthless and broke the rules but Lock was so flat. 


Monstress: Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu - ★★★

This is still one of the most beautifully illustrated graphic novels I've ever read, but while the main plot is actually picking up, (I found it slow in book one,) I'm increasingly frustrated with the way the world building is doled out in expositional dumps at the end of each chapter. Generally set as a classroom where the nekomancers teach history to the young cats, it's just so lazy and poorly integrated. It's not working for me.

Maika is so hard and angry and I won't lie, she's hard to read, but she's so sad and her bond with Kippa just keeps getting stronger. I can't wait to see her fully heroic.


Lumberjanes, To The Max Edition, Vol. 2. by Noelle Stevenson - ★★★★☆

Collecting Lumberjanes 9-12, 14-17, I really liked the second omnibus. I found the storyline was much more cohesive than the original 8 issues. We're finally getting the real info on the forest and residents, including an extremely interesting call home which seemed to prove time passes differently in Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp For Hardcore Lady-Types. The new antagonist made a lot more sense than the deitic war.

What's more, there's actual on screen romantic content from Molly and Mal, which was definitely sweet and kind of figuring stuff out in the first volume but they go on a date! And then there are raptors! 


A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. - ★★★★★

Don't come for me. The sex scenes are bad. The prose is lurid. There's a distinct lack of drive though the middle sections, despite having a world ending, time sensitive antagonist. Tamlin's flipped on a fucking dime and Feyre's transformation into a high Fae is still ludicrous.

DON'T CARE LOVE FEYRE HEY RYS HEY


I am what I am.



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