Two Minute Reviews The Secret of the Ooze

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


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 - 




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


(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?” 

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.

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.

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