Two Minute Reviews: Winter Wrap-Up

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hello again loves, welcome back to another mini review round-up, this time as I break down some of the books I read this winter. These are all books I have something to say about, but maybe not enough to fill a whole page on their own. Hopefully you enjoy!

Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes - ★★☆☆☆

Read/skimmed though the ARC of Blood of Wonderland, the big six reskin of the self-pub'd The Wonder. My initial impression was positive as the original language has been cleaned up and some annoying quirks like random italics have been removed. Side by side comparison of the first two chapters shows a lot of superfluous details, (repetitions of how hungry Dinah is, scenery descriptions,) have been whacked to improve flow. The bones are the same though, and unfortunately that includes the Yurkei. I'm sorry to anyone who read my original review of The Wonder. I didn't recognize how racist the depiction of a savage, nomadic tribe was. Caterpillar, the evil, hookah smoking shaman who lures Dinah in with bad magic is particularly gross, stereotypical, and should have been removed in the two years between self and traditional pub. Again, I'm sorry.

I still like the world of pink snow, color changing flower oceans, and living trees. Dinah's got a Young Elites thing going, which I like and I'll be interested to see if she goes full baddy if book 3 ever comes out, but I'm not happy with this sequel.

So For Real by Rebekah Weatherspoon - ★★★☆☆

Crap, I did not love the close of this series. Weatherspoon's Kayla and Michael are so cute and a great match for each other. They're also sexual and kinky and a refreshing change of pace in the billionaire romance genre. So why is so much of this book about the stressors of working moms, drifting apart from your bffs, and pregnancy issues? And didn't Michael have a grown kid in the first book? It's weird that that was literally never mentioned and he acted like the new babies were his first? Maybe I'm just a grouch, but with so much time devoted to Kayla being sick and sad and overwhelmed I didn't find a single scene sexy. :\ Michael is still super romantic and there's fun banter, but it wasn't what I wanted. (I think I just hate baby books, guys.)

This cover is so bad, tho
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers - ★★★★☆

Can you believe this is my first Courtney Summers? I bought Some Girls Are last year for banned books week, but I didn't get to it in time. Plus it looked like it was going to hurt. 

Well after reading the author's take on the zombie apocalypse, I know it's going to hurt. On the day Sloane has made the decision to kill herself, her friends and neighbors turn into flesh eating monsters. Sloane knows a little something about monsters, with an abusive father and a sister who's skipped town. In what is known as dramatic irony, she's rescued from the zombies by five other teenagers who barricade themselves in the abandoned high school. Their phones, the radio, all contact with the outside world is reduced to a single message: this is not a test. As the world collapses outside their doors, the book is actually a stunning investigation of isolation, guilt, and paranoia. There are very few jumps and boos, just a lot of hard decisions made by children. Fuck you Summers for that ending. My heart can't take it.

Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire - ★★★★☆

Finally I'm seeing the Toby Daye series Ysabet and Christina see. The world building has been stacking up over the last three books, but this was the first time I finally understood Fairie and its inhabitants. It's not coincidental that this is also the first time we're really hearing what the hell happened prior to book one. Revelations about Toby's powers and heritage were surprising but worked really well considering all of the bonkers stuff we've seen her go through and survive. Everything in Shadowed Hills was aces, but especially the confirmation that Sylvester loves her as a daughter. I'm dead. 

Oh, and I'm firmly, 100% driving the Tobalt ship, but I liked the Connor scenes. I'm fickle.

And this book features a former omen of death named May Daye. And she's gay and dating another omen of death, a shape-changing Raven named Jazz. Lesbians and puns - if that doesn't sell you I don't know why you're on my blog.

 The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - ★★☆☆☆

Bah bah, black sheep. This book took me 47 days to read. I found the writing basic and boring. Full of color changing, fantasy eyes, (Tariq's silver eyes must be mentioned 16,000 times in the last hundred pages,) and bizarre descriptions like, "vertical lines formed along the bridge of Tariq's nose". Wat? The magic is so poorly integrated and unimportant until the climax you can 100% forget this is a fantasy. The love triangle is dumb. Shazi and Khalid fall into such intense instalove that Tariq might as well not exist. His return to the climax feels like forced sequel bait. 

I have no idea why any of them love each other. Shazi is a prideful action girl who blows her "sweet and innocent" cover the first time she's asked to fake being bad at shooting. Tariq loves Shazi because the book says he does, And he helped an old man once. That's literally all the character development he's allowed. Kahlid is just the word "SECRETS" wrapped in a pretty sword belt. None of them have depth.

The plot isn't even a retelling of 1001 Nights. Shazi does stave off her execution date with the story of Aladdin, but that, (and a hamfisted attempt to use the Bluebeard tale as a metaphor for Khalid not trusting her,) is the only story telling shown on screen. Cut, I guess, to get more of the sweet, sweet snark between Shazi and her slave that everyone was clamoring to see.

Let's just say if I'm ever dead at he hands of a supposedly power-mad boy king, send literally anyone else to avenge me.


  1. Glad to see two books in there that you seemed to really enjoy. Sorry, the others didn't turn out so well for you. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about The Wrath and the Dawn. It seems like people either love it or hate it.

  2. You're already up to four in Toby Daye?! I haven't picked up the second one yet because I've been TRYING to stick to a schedule but now I'm in a slump because I was forcing myself to read things I didn't want to read. Hope to get back to it (and catch up) soon! :)


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