A Few Thoughts & Goodreads Ratings on Books I Failed to Review

Unfortunately, time seems to be against me these past few months as I notice that I am accumulating a list of “read” titles on Goodreads that I never managed to review. So I thought I would share a few thoughts and my final Goodreads rating on them today.


the_atrocitiesThe Atrocities
By Jeremy Shipp

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Final GR rating: 3/5

This was a wonderfully creepy novella that hooked me from the start. I was instantly drawn into the mystery of Isabella and the gothic setting. I appreciated the author’s ability to immediately set the stage for a mysterious and fast-paced story that managed to deliver something original. It did feel like it began to unhinge slightly toward the end, however, lowering my final score to an even 3/5. I would still easily recommend this to fans of supernatural and horror novellas.

into_the_drowning_deepInto the Drowning Deep
By Mira Grant

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Final GR rating: 3/5

This is an author I am still trying to find my ground with. While I admit that I enjoyed Into the Drowning Deep much more than her Every Heart a Doorway, it was a slow start. But when I finally gained my footing I found that this was simply entertaining and for that worth my time. I love the idea of mermaids and sirens and will always appreciate any author who attempts to connect them to their darker origins (which is certainly the case here). My chief complaint would be that I found the characters less than engaging at times and the execution felt off. The pacing seemed to fluctuate a lot. I did enjoy the exploration of the creatures’ anatomy and the scientific elements incorporated throughout. Perhaps I was expecting something a little more frightening? Still, if you are into the mysterious deep dark sea and mythological creatures, you might try this on for size.

the_shape_of_waterThe Shape of Water
By Guillermo del Toro, Daniel Kraus

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Final GR rating: 3/5

Okay, so here is the truth; I wanted to love this book and I did not. I loved the film, but somehow I struggled with certain aspects of this story on page. I appreciated the additional insight and backstory that are provided here though. I feel it is a wonderful addition to the film, but also one of the rare cases where I would suggest watching before reading. I think that the alternating PoVs started to weigh on me, as there were certain characters I truly disliked reading about. And at times the pacing was too slow for my taste. It just failed to move me or engage even remotely close to the way the film did. Which is something you will rarely hear me say! But then again, I hold a special affection for del Toro’s films and maybe my expectations were too high. It is still an incredibly beautiful story that as we have come to expect of his work challenges humanity and dares to question who the real monsters are.

brave_new_girlBrave New Girl
By Rachel Vincent

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Final GR rating 4/5

This was an on the whim audible listen that was surprisingly perfect for me. It is a dystopian tale that follows young Dahlia 16 who is part of a series of clones bred to be anything but unique or different. Doing so means being flawed. Being flawed leads to recalls (i.e destroyed). So what happens when she starts breaking all of the rules? Ok so this one was not overly complex and is somewhat brief, but it felt like an honest start to something truly appealing. The author’s writing was fluid and the protagonist viable. All elements here just worked for me and I was hooked. Simply put, it was fun!

the_changelingThe Changeling
By Victor Lavalle

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Final GR rating: 4/5

Gah! I do not even know where to start with this one. I am just going to be upfront and state that this was close to being a 5 star read until things took a detour during the last 25% or so of the story. It is beautifully written and full of the unexpected. Think modern fairy tale for adults with that added moral compass and valuable message we expect from them. It is ambitious, engaging and for the most part, wonderfully executed. Unfortunately, the final events deviated too far for me and it left me with mixed feelings.


Have you read any of the above books? If so, what were your thoughts? Which are you most likely to pick up?

Happy Reading,
Danielle ❤

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2 for 1 Tuesday: Book Reviews & Giveaway

I received both of the following copies courtesy of the publisher. The following reviews are my own, honest & unbiased opinion.

I also have an extra paperback copy of each book that I am giving away to one lucky reader 😉 This is open internationally, as I will be shipping them. Link to Rafflecopter after reviews.


thewarriorwithinThe Book

The Warrior Within
By Angus McIntyre
Publisher: Tor.com
ISBN13: 9780765397102
Pages: 175
Science Fiction

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Angus McIntyre makes his debut with The Warrior Within, a mind-bending science fiction adventure about a man with many people living in his head.

Karsman has a dozen different people living in his head, each the master of a different set of skills and hoping to gain mastery of Karsman’s body. He survives on a backwater planet dominated by the Muljaddy, a mostly ambivalent religious autocracy, where devotion and prayer can be traded in for subsistence wages and enough food to survive. Surrounded by artifacts of a long-dead civilization, the population survives off its salvage, with Karsman eking out an uneventful life as the unofficial mayor of his small town.

But that life is soon interrupted, when a group of commandos arrive, coming from the wastelands as only off-worlders could. They’ve come to kill a woman, or so they say. At first, the commandos merely threaten as they search. Unable to find what they’re looking for, they begin to ratchet up their measures, separating the men from the women, instigating violent encounters, and eventually staging a coup against the Muljaddy and his Temple.

Faced with the task of protecting his quiet town and a woman he might love from the commandos who could want to kill her, Karsman must balance between maintaining his personality and harnessing the personas whose skills he desperately needs.

My Thoughts

I think we have established that I am a huge fan of Tor.com. When it comes to short stories and novellas, they bring one of the biggest “A” you can find on the market. If you crave sci-fi and fantasy, you will find it. The Warrior Within is no exception.

Set in a futuristic world scattered with remnants of past civilizations, we meet Karsman. He is a man of many talents. Talents which can each be attributed to the multiple personas living within him. He presides over his current town as the “Mayor” or so many of the locals have dubbed him. Overseen by the Muljaddy (dominant extraterrestrial beings), life is a rather quiet and uneventful affair that can easily be sustained through prayer and worship.  This all changes when a group of soldiers arrive, claiming to be in search of a woman they must assassinate. When their searches prove fruitless, they begin to take more extreme measures, forcing Karsman to enlist the help of his personas and their skills while maintaining a firm grip on himself.

This is the rare example of a successful story accomplished in limited time that manages to leave you wanting more in the best of ways. Characters development is a process of revelation and gratification. There is a lot of mystery shrouding Karsman and his personas, but the eventual explanation helps to complete him, adding a new layer of depth that is hard not to appreciate.

The setting is incredibly robust with a well-constructed world. References and traces of the past civilizations are cleverly placed throughout, accompanied by a narration that is fluid and knowledgeable. All resulting in what feels and reads like the beginning of a potentially beautiful space opera. My biggest complaint would be that I just wanted more time with Karsman and his homeland to explore and learn. And well, that is not a bad complaint to have!

tea cupEnjoyed over a nice cup of cinnamon, chai tea.

Purchase links: Amazon.com Book Depository


The Only Harmless Great Thing RD3_quote4_pms2_pinkThe Book

The Only Harmless Great Thing
By Brooke Bolander
Publisher: Tor.com
ISBN13: 9781250169488
Pages: 96
Alternate History/Science Fiction

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In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island.

These are the facts.

Now, these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted. Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey that crosses eras, chronicling histories of cruelty both grand and petty in search of meaning and justice.

My Thoughts

The Only Great Harmless Thing is a fantastic dose of alternative history that manages to accomplish many great things despite its brevity. Set in the early 20th century, we are introduced to two specific issues; female factory employees who are being slowly poisoned to death by radiation and an elephant who is sentenced to a public death by electrocution.

Bolander elegantly weaves both tales together, providing the reader with a with an alternate view of a shameful past. The effects are powerful! This is a hefty dose of capitalism gone very bad and one incredible bond that is established as a result, that will have lasting ramifications.

While I admit that it took me a hot minute to adjust to the alternating narration (between elephant and girl), it was cleverly utilized to solidify the emotion and anger contained within our protagonists. An observance of mankind at his worst presented in the most clever and rewarding manners imaginable. Simply stunning!

tea cup Devoured over a cup of iced, green tea.

Purchase links: Amazon.com Book Depository


Giveaway

Enter Giveaway

Giveaway is open internationally to anyone 18 or older (or with parental consent). Winner will be contacted via email or dm and must be willing to provide a shipping address. *The publisher is not responsible for this giveaway. Please contact Books, Vertigo and Tea with any questions.

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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Mini Reviews: Tor Books

mini reviews

I have decided to start the week of on a lighter note with several small recaps of some recent short stories/novellas I have completed. As I mentioned not too long ago, these brief encounters offer me a chance to cleanse the “palate”. Particularly when I am combating a slump or finding myself indecisive. Often more so than not, that right short story will point in the best direction 😉


Tor Books

With an affection for all things fantasy and sci-fi, I am certainly no stranger to Tor Books and Tor.com. As many of you probably know, they boast some incredible reads. They also happen to publish a very wide and rewarding range of short stories and novellas. I will often turn to Tor when seeking a casual, quick read. So not too surprisingly, this week’s short story collection happens to be all Tor titles.

burdenA Burden Shared
By Jo Walton

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This is a very brief story with a strong residual after effect. Portraying a life where we are given the ability to transfer pain between individuals, it shows the effects of a family choosing to share a daughter’s burden. A Burden Shared raises significant questions and addresses the importance and value of our own pain. As a mother and a woman living with chronic illness, this was an amazingly heavy hitter at only 19 pages.

mdiplopiaMental Diplopia
By Julianna Baggott

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This is an elegantly sad tale that explores the downfall of humanity during a unique virus that returns people to their past memories before eventually killing them. At only 31 pages in length, I feel this one should be left to explore without further insight. Haunting and lingering.

 

deaddjinnA Dead Djinn in Cairo
By P. Djeli Clark

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While maybe the least memorable of my recent short story reads, A Dead Djinn in Cairo still packs a nice punch. Set in 19th century Cairo, surrounding the investigation of, you guessed it, a dead djinn, this story cleverly spins elements of the supernatural and mythical into a fast paced and fun urban fantasy that goes off without a hitch.

 

motoHello, Moto
By Nnedi Okorafor

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Okay, I am convinced I will read anything with this author’s name on it. Ever since I began Binti, I am hooked on her ability to weave fascinating stories that offer a nice dose of diversity and unexpected elements. Here she has combined witchcraft and science to create a brilliant story in the mere span of 16 pages.


Have you read any of these or would you? What, if any, short stories have you read recently?

Lets Chat!

Danielle ❤

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