Two Minute Reviews: To All The Books I Forgot to Review Summer 2016 (Part 1)

Thursday, August 11, 2016
Why am I the worst at summer, guys? I read all the time, but I never review them for y'all. Is it the heat? The fact that I don't feel pressure to review backlists the way I review ARCs? The fact that I'm an actual human disaster? Regardless, we did these round ups for spring and here they are again: two minute (or less) reviews of May, June, and July books I forgot to do at the time.

Title: Burn For Me
Author: Ilona Andrews
Genre: urban fantasy
Series: Hidden Legacy #1
Pages: 400
Published: October 28th, 2014
Source: Borrowed, Library
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

After my library stopped carrying the Kate Daniels series, I decided to try Ilona's other UF audiobooks. And Burn For Me is...ok! The story of Nevada, a private eye from an indentured family with the magic to tell when people are lying, being forced to track down an unstable "Prime" with fire magic, joined by "Mad" Rogan, another Prime magic user with a bad reputation and his own reasons for hunting her target. The romance is sexy and the situations can be fun, but the world building is bland compared to KD or The Inkeeper Chronicles. Come to think of it, I described the first KD book very similarly, so I'll probably give White Hot a try.

Title: Mine Till Midnight
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Romance
Series: The Hathaways #1
Pages: 376
Published: January 1st, 2007
Source: Borrowed, Library
Rating: DNF at 23%


I DNF'd this book because it was racist as shit to the Roma people. Amelia's family once saved a Roma boy, Merripen, when he was found "battered and unconscious" on their property. A character asks to keep him, like a dog, and their father smiles indulgently at her. I should have stopped there. Merripen decides to stay and act as a slave to the family. Fifteen years later, Amelia is looking for her nogoodnik brother and Merripen ends up taking her to a gambling den run by another Roma man, Cam. They hate each other. It will turn to love. She fetishizes his exotic looks and his "half-civilized" manners. G*psy is thrown out a lot. This book is less than ten years old; there is no excuse for this. This wasn't my first Kleypas, but it very well may be my last.

Title: Monstrous Regiment
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Discworld #31
Pages: 389
Published: August 31st, 2003
Source: Owned
Rating: 5 out of 5

Dare I say, Pratchett's best?

Polly Perks is a barmaid in her family's tavern in poor but religious Borogravia. They've been at war with their neighbor Zlobenia since time immortal, and despite "everyone" saying otherwise, Borogravia is losing. Polly's brother Paul has gone MIA, so despite being one of the god Nuggan's Abominations, Polly disguises herself as a boy and joins the army to find him. Meanwhile, Sam Vimes has been dispatched to find a way to stop the war and the staff from The Truth are along searching for what else?

The story is about gender, gender roles, women's strength, and all sorts of beautiful feminist ideals. It's also about war and jingoism and how our foremothers let us down. It takes a lot of inspiration from Joan of Arc. And there's a vampire addicted to coffee.

Sergeant Jackrum you guys. Oh my god.

Title: Blackout
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Horror
Series: Newsflesh #3
Pages: 621
Published:May 22nd, 2012
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 out of 5

While I don't necessarily agree with all the choices Mira made regarding Shawn and Georgia and how they end up, the end of this series is aces. It's tense and political and scary. The twists and turns with the CDC are a great and don't feel like a retread to the previous two stories. I could have done without the trip to the Masons, but the Monkey and his girls - whoa. The questions of humanity, clones, and ethics is something I love in sci-fi, so I was super excited to see Mira's take on it as well.

Title: The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Horror
Series: Newsflesh #3.3
Pages: 84
Published: July 14th, 2014
Source: Borrowed, Library
Rating: 4 out of 5

So obviously as soon as I finished Blackout, I had to request all the Newsflesh novellas. The first to come in was the story of Elaine Oldenburg, a teacher at one of the few elementary schools left after the Rising. This story is brutal and sad, both for the school eight years before Feed, and for the way it connects to the larger story. Kids make bad choices. Kids die. Lives are ruined. But the story is triumphant and action packed and a good read all the same.

Title: San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Horror
Series: Newsflesh #3.1
Pages: 120
Published: January 1st, 2012
Source: Borrowed, Library
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

WARNING: ANIMAL DEATH (and it will make you cry)

My second Newsflesh short story and this one was a lot harder for me than TDtDCtSaT. I think it's because the hopelessness of the situation was there from the word go. It's compelling and I'd been longing to visit the world of 2014, but the sheer bleakness kept me from engaging for the first 70 pages, which is a problem in a 120 page novella. The story follows the interconnected last hours of several people at ComicCon in 2014, one of the biggest losses when the zombie apocalypse initially broke out.

I do really like the way Mira has woven these stories into her existing world by making them news pieces for After the End Times. It lets the world grow without putting the existing characters in unbelievable (for a zombie poli-horror series?) situations.

Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Pages: 11 hours, 41 minutes
Published: October 20th, 2015
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 out of 5

Remember how in my spring round-up I said I was already re-reading Illuminae and it had to be experienced in dead-tree format? Yeah, I was wrong. Gun to my head, I can't pick between hardcover and audiobook. They both provide amazing and completely different experiences for one of the best books of the last year. This is a full, radio-drama worthy recording with multiple actors, sound effects, even Mozart at crucial moments. Before I was even done listening to it, I'd sent a copy to Jess so she could experience it. I'm obsessed with how they did the casualty lists.

Now, negatives: the very visual medium of the propaganda posters doesn't translate well the audio. You miss some in-jokes, like Taylor, Laini being the test subject. AIDEN wasn't flat enough. On the other hand? "Pretty birdy".

Title: Shadows of Self
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Mistborn #5
Pages: 384
Published: October 6th, 2015
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5

I can't get over how much I love how this series came to be. "I have three trilogies planned out in this world. But what if I just wrote a story in the Old West to connect them? And what if I turned that into a trilogy? Ooops, I'm having trouble writing book two. Best write another book between it and the planned end as a writing exercise." Unfortunately, while I love all of the cameos from the first Mistborn trilogy, the plot of Shadows of Self wasn't my favorite. It's clearly leading to something bigger, but in the small scale I had trouble getting why the villain did as she did. I'd also had one of the big twists spoiled for me, so that did take away a lot of impact. It's a good low fantasy, maybe even excellent, but it's not great.

Title: How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Horror
Series: Newsflesh #3.2
Pages: 132
Published: January 1st, 2013
Source: Borrowed, Library
Rating: 5 out of 5

My favorite short story in the series and maybe even better than Blackout. How Green This Land is a love letter to Australia. It's brutal and beautiful and almost certainly wants to kill you, but then it was before the Rising too. Mahir travels to Australia to meet a few of the Aussie reporters for the site and to do a piece on the rabbit-proof fence. The people have shored it up and manned it with guards and have just...let the zombie animals have the Outback. Mahir, raised with big city fear of outbreaks, cannot comprehend it, and neither can the readers who just got done reading about the ComicCon massacre. But the research into zombie joeys and reservoir conditions fit nicely with Dr. Abbey's science and it's amazing to see a completely different take on outbreak procedures. My only quibble, I could have done without the side romance.

Title: Apocalypse Scenario #683: The Box
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Horror
Series: Newsflesh # 0.1
Pages: 21
Published: January 1st, 2011
Source: Borrowed, Library
Rating: 3 out of 5

And here is where Mira comes closest to a miss. Despite being listed on GR and my library as a Newsflesh book, Apocalypse Scenario is not in the existing world. It's a standalone (very) short story about a group of five friends who have met every week since high school. They've grown up, hooked up, but they keep coming back for the Apocalypse Game. Every week they take turns proposing a way to destroy the world and then debating the feasibility. Cole has been missing sessions for work and its her turn to give a scenario, so she sends her boyfriend with a tape recorder and her proposed plot. Once her job as a government scientist comes out, the end is pretty clear.

I want to like this story more than I do. The length is the biggest problem. I don't have enough backstory to understand why the Apocalypse game has gone on for fourteen years. That is an insane amount of time! And since there's not enough pages to learn about the characters, its hard to care that they all might die.

Title: White Sand, Vol. 1
Author:Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin
Genre: fantasy
Series: White Sand #1
Pages: 160
Published: June 21st, 2016
Source: ARC via NetGalley
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The plot definitely reveals that Sanderson wrote it early in his career. It's a bit dated and the magic system is simplistic. The book needs a glossary. The fauna reminds me too much of Stormlight Archives, like the ideas were reused later. Yet, I like the story of Kenton, a boy with little natural magic but a desire to be a Sand Master. His run though the Master's test was very exciting and compelling. After an ambush leaves Kenton the last of his order, he joins with Khriss, a duchess from the other side of the world with secret motives, to travel to the capital. Khriss is beyond important to the larger Cosmere, and while this beginning doesn't give a lot of hints as to what she'll become, the fact that we're exploring her origin at all is fascinating to me.

Art wise, it's on par with other fantasy graphic novels. It's nice and the color palette is soft and dynamic. It reminds me a lot of the New Spring graphic novels. I do want to know who the fuck designed Khriss' outfit, because it's insane.

Title: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Author: Oscar Wilde
Genre: Classics
Series: N/A
Pages: 222
Published: June 1890
Source: Purchased
Rating: 4 out of 5

Did you know Spotify has audiobooks of classics? Right?

The Importance of Being Earnest is one of my favorite stories and typically the only "classic" I ever list. But being a devout Wilde fangirl, I always knew I needed to read his most famous work. I've tried a few times and the Victorian writing just drags at me. But audio. Audio I can do.

This book is hella gay. I mean I know it was used as an exhibit in Wilde's trials, but I always thought, "oh it's an allusion, one of those things English professors try so hard to get us to see." No.


Hella. Fucking. Gay.

And really great and a classic and you should read it because Wilde's wit will never be matched but seriously, so. gay.

And on that truly visionary note, that does it for me this time, loves. Read any of these? Did you have a summer slump? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I really should do this. I have about a dozen books I've read in the past few months and not taken time to review. I may just 'steal' your idea!

    1. Do it! It's a great way to get thoughts out on books that are kind of middle of the road or you were just lazy about (it me)

  2. Ah god, I loved Illuminae as an audio book. Honestly, when I first heard about it I was not impressed with reading it as a book. It seemed odd to me but I was strangely intrigued how they did it as an audio book. OMG. I completely understand AIDEN wasn't flat like a computer system should be, but just the fact that he sounded so human during some of those scenes. I have recently read Gemina and...well....I liked it but I realized that I prefer this series in audio book and this is amazing to me because I DO NOT like audio books.


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