Mini Reviews: Binti, Robots VS Fairies & This World is Full of Monsters

mini-reviews.pngI have been reading quite a few anthologies, novellas & short stories of late. While I often enjoy these titles, we all know that attempting to provide a full, in-depth review can be challenging. So it is time for another round of Mini Reviews.

bintiBinti (Binti #1)
By Nnedi Okorafor
Genre: Science Fiction


Thoughts: This is a brilliantly executed science fiction novella that manages to pack a lot of diversity into a small amount of time. It successfully navigates self discovery, culture and tradition all while tackling the heavy topic of war and its remnants. Binti is bold and defiant (much like its self titled protagonist) with a fast pace, creating an immersive experience, that quite honestly ends too soon. I have already picked up the next two titles as well as a few others by the author. I would love to see these combined into a full length novel.


Robots vs. Fairies
By Dominik Parisien ((Editor), Navah Wolfe (Editor)
Publisher: Saga Press
Genre: Anthology/Sci-fi,Fantasy

Challenge Prompt: A book by 2 authors (ok this was more, but I think an anthology counts?)


Thoughts: This is a collection of short stories centered around, you guessed it; robots and fairies. Who is superior? Featuring a familiar cast of sci-fi and fantasy writers, it offers an entertaining and easy read. I was expecting a bit more complexity than what was delivered, but the end result was still worth the few days I invested. Maybe not memorable, but delightful. A few of my favorite short stories included: QUALITY TIME by Ken Liu, BREAD AND MILK AND SALT by Sarah Gailey & THE BURIED GIANT by Lavie Tidhar
*I think I may be team robot based on the stories I favored, but that is debatable 😉

worldThe World is Full of Monsters
By Jeff Vandermeer
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Science Fiction


Thoughts: First of all, let us take a moment to admire that cover. Yeah? OK, so I connected really well with Borne and quickly established that Vandermeer seems to have a knack for the bizarre.  This was no exception. If anything, it really takes the unnatural talent and showcases it. But with that being said, for such a short read, it requires a bit of effort. The writing is superfluous at times, drawing out more than I felt necessary. Yet tucked within still lies those hidden messages. The problem here, is finding the patience to reveal them. I feel that Vandermeer’s writing is left open to the readers own interpretations and will impact each in a very different manner.

You can actually read this one for free on right now. Check it out here.

Have you read any anthologies, novellas or even short stories that appealed to you recently? I find that they are necessary from time to time to sort of cleanse the reading “palate” and shake things up. Do you have any recommendations?

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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Vices and Virtues: An Anthology of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Dark Virtues ~ Sneak Peek

I am excited to take part in the Vices and Virtues Blitz Tour today with Xpresso Book Tours. Stick around to for a sneak peek and a giveaway for a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Don’t forget to pick up a copy!

Vices and Virtues: An anthology of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Dark Virtues
Publication date: November 14th 2017
ASIN: B0772Q82X5
Genres: Adult, Horror, Supernatural, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Suspense/Thriller



Sins will weave you into their webs. They become the Vice you’re unable to shake. There are the values, taught from birth, which ride a razor’s edge. They turn into Dark Virtues, a twisted mockery of their true meaning.

Pride, envy, lust, gluttony, anger, greed and sloth all have their place in the tapestry of life. They are the Vices who lost sight of the Virtues: charity, temperance, forgiveness, humility, kindness, chastity and diligence.

Enter the worlds where the tales of the most sinful of Vices and the darkest of Virtues will entice and intrigue you…

…for even among the most devout there is a dark side.

On sale for $0.99 for a limited time only!

Purchase on





Throwing caution to the wind, I slipped my feet into a pair of runners and walked down the road, telling myself it was to clear my mind. But really, I was on the prowl for fresh meat. Someone vulnerable—easy prey. I had to be smart about it; it was broad daylight after all.

Every person who walked past became a possible target. In my mind’s eye, I pictured a computer log for each one, listing their attributes. Having limited knowledge on the ins and outs of cannibalism, I had no idea what the perfect body type was for consumption. Would it matter if they were male or female? Was it better if they were lean and muscular, or was a layer of padding more flavourful? How was I to choose?

Turns out, I didn’t need to think about it at all. On my walk back home, I was knocked off my feet by a man out for a jog. He’d been too busy flicking through the playlist on his phone to see me, and by the time we’d both looked up, it was too late. We collided, my forehead into his chin and mouth. My hands automatically went up, pressing against his chest and sending us both bouncing off each other, landing on our behinds. Apologising profusely, he offered me his hand and pulled me to my feet. The impact had left a red egg on my head and skinned my palms raw. He, however, came across a little worse for wear, sporting a newly chipped tooth, and fat, bleeding lip. As soon as I got a whiff of the blood on his breath, I knew, he was the one.

I pointed to my house across the street, inviting him in to clean up while he called the emergency dentist. It was the least I could do.

Ushering him into the bathroom, I had him perch on the edge of the bath while I rummaged through the cabinet for the first aid kit. I needed to knock him out somehow. There was no way I could do this without it… unless…




Enter the Giveaway Here

This giveaway is offered through Xpresso Book Tours is International and not sponsored by Books, Vertigo and Tea.

  • $25 Amazon gift card
  • 2x $5 Amazon gift cards
  • Surprise gift card
  • Direct to Kindle e-copies of the already published authors’ back list of books:
    • Maggie Jane Schuler (hers and other’s books, winner’s choice)
    • J.M. Butler
    • Stacey Broadbent
    • Alana Delacroix
    • QT Ruby
    • Trinity Hanrahan


I would like to thank Giselle and Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this blitz.

Happy Reading and Good Luck ❤


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Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling



Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling
By: Monica Valentinelli & Jaym Gates (please click title to see full list of contributors on Goodreads)
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Format: EBook
ISBN13: 9781370692279
Pages: 366
Genre: Anthology/Fantasy


Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories, poetry, and essays edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates. Over two dozen authors, ranging from NYT-bestsellers and award winners to debut writers, chose a tired trope or cliche to challenge and surprise readers through their work.

Read stories inspired by tropes such as the Chainmaille Bikini, Love at First Sight, Damsels in Distress, Yellow Peril, The Black Man Dies First, The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood, The Singularity Will Cause the Apocalypse, and many more…then discover what these tropes mean to each author to find out what inspired them.

Join Maurice Broaddus, Adam Troy-Castro, Delilah S. Dawson, Shanna Germain, Sara M. Harvey, John Hornor Jacobs, Rahul Kanakia, Alethea Kontis, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Haralmbi Markov, Sunil Patel, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Ferrett Steinmetz, Anton Strout, Michael Underwood, Alyssa Wong and many other authors as they take well-worn tropes and cliches and flip them upside down.


Relationships with anthologies and short story compilations can be a seriously complicated matter. It seems that regardless of who is contributing, there will be highs and lows. From my experience, this is unavoidable, and I approach each collection with this knowledge in advance. Such was the case with Upside Down.

This varying collection of work ranges from short stories to poetry and offers multiple approaches to addressing all too familiar tropes. It attempts to place a new or unexpected spin on them, providing the reader with an unanticipated read.

Perhaps to better understand what the overall goal is within Upside Down, we should exam tropes momentarily. So what is a trope? As a reader, many of you are painfully familiar with them. Some we come to love, others we avoid at all costs. Tropes can perhaps best be explained as overused and recurring themes or plots that we find within stories. A few common examples include:

  • The love triangle.
  • The tortured protagonist who must rise above.
  • The chosen one.
  • Damsel in distress.
  • Insta love
  • Gendercide

I think you see where this is going, and I am sure you have encountered them all at some point. This is a very small list. Feel free to elaborate and share your own favorite or least favorite tropes. I often see dystopia listed among tropes, but I will adamantly disagree. In my opinion dystopia is a sub genre/genre. I stand by that statement.

I have discovered that YA titles often feel like a never-ending stream of tropes. Perhaps this is why YA is a love or hate relationship. As many of you know, I am struggling significantly with it of late. I attribute this to my disdain for the “love triangle” and certain common tropes and themes.

Upside Down has endeavored to evolve the trope. We are presented with a collection of shorts that begin with your typical and expected themes, but manage to end in a less that typical way. A new spin on the old classic if you will. Unfortunately for myself, each scenario still resonated too heavily with predictable. I did not feel that the authors fully accomplished the common goal here. There was still a solid presence of the cliché and foreseen. I was not caught off guard and the “twist” really did little to inspire a feeling of change or the new.

I am not going spend time dissecting each story, poem or essay. If I am being honest, which I always am, most were engaging or satisfying to an extent but not of the caliber that will leave a lasting impression. There was only particular story that was the highlight of my experience with Upside Down and that was Can You Tell Me How to Get to Paprika Place. The writer takes what is comparable to the world of Sesame Street and turned into a dystopian tale of death and sorrow. This short was the most successful in accomplishing the general goal of the anthology for me.

“1,2,3. I am angry that’s okay. 4,5,6. Count to ten and breathe today. 7,8,9 and 10. Now I’, fine and I can play.”

I became hopeful at this point as I picked up a Black Mirror sort of vibe. For those of you who are not familiar (and I do recommend you remedy that) Black Mirror is a spectacular British television series that features standalone episodes that are satirical tales addressing technophobia or paranoia. It is dark and very clever. It also happens to be available on Netflix currently. You can thank me later. Back on track, I was hoping this vibe continued moving forward but it was lost and so was I.

The quality of writing varied as each story felt it was written for an entirely different audience. Ranging from captivating to mediocre, this anthology was at times an uphill read. It was transparent that the choice of writers ranged for debut to more experienced. But there was one redeeming asset in the end, the index of tropes. I actually enjoyed reading through this small section more than I did the rest of the collection. Here within the index, each writer provides a detailed explanation of the trope contained in their contribution.

This is an anthology that I might struggle to recommend to most, but it has seemed to have found an audience among many others. I did however, manage to muster up a certain amount of appreciate for a few of the more solid attempts and how well the collection was actually compiled. It was a promising concept that just did not fully hit the mark for me.

*My appreciation to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this copy. This review is my own, unbiased opinion and thoughts.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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