January 29, 2017

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #4 Janet McNally, Seanan McGuire, Janet Tashjian


Intro


Hello beauties!

Welcome again to my own brand of mini reviews! I had never though I'd done minis, until I recapped a few of my long reviews in some digest post in 2014, and then guest-posted with some shorties for a blogging event in 2015. And Karen from For What It's Worth started praising my short recs/recaps :). Just to be clear,  I'm NOT taking a break from writing long review - no such luck LOL. But while I'm making up my mind about a new book I've read, or in case I want to draw attention to some old ones I've already reviewed, I might as well give you the short version ;). Just be warned - this feature will be VERY random! So, here goes...

Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally

★★

Rated 2.5 really

I went into this one with all the great expectations a bunch of raving reviews could generate. The truth is, Girls in the Moon is not the next Luna-C I assumed it would be. Yes, there are conflicts - only, they're resolved too easily, or ultimately glossed over. There's a former almost-famous rockstar mother who broke her band and her marriage because she couldn't handle fame and (mostly) wanted to protect her daughters from it, because of course that's what mothers do instead of pursuing their dreams (or, mothers stop having dreams to pursue, period). There's an elusive previously-famous father who makes lame excuses for his absence and whom you can visit in search of answers and then move on. There's an up-and-coming band-vocalist sister who can love and hate everyone in her family to various degrees or even at the same moment, and might have encountered a huge bump in her road but of course not, because it's either being a mother or being a singer and she's the lucky one in that respect (not to mention, the one who wants to succeed where her mother failed). There's a nice guy with issues in his past but recovering from them, and did I say nice? as in, really nice? And there's a younger sister whose only talent is to write lyrics and who's trying to figure out what her place is in her dysfunctional family, with the help of said nice guy. Are you surprised now?

The writing is good, but mind you, it's not like I highlighted any sentence.

And I'm angry at this book, for not being what I thought it would be, but mostly (and more honestly) for not trying to go unexpected places and break unwritten rules. It's time for books to do just that, or go home.

Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

★★★

Rated 3.5 really

I hear everyone who complained about this book being too short, not focused enough on the actual worlds the characters visited, plagued by a sudden mass-murder mystery that shouldn't fit. And then again, I can't envision EHAD in a different way. This is one of those books that live by their own rules. You can argue that the characters don't talk like teens, neither act like ones - though the places they went probably account for that; you can have a hard time believing they would actually feel at home in those places to begin with; you can suffer from a huge case of suspension of disbelief about how the murders impact the whole household. But all these odd features together create a different kind of beauty. Maybe not perfect, but enthralling in its own way. Also, did I mention the ace main character and the general diversity?


Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

For What It's Worth by Janet Tashjian

★★★

Rated 3.5 really.

I did want to rate this one higher - the only reason why I didn't is that the story didn't suck me in, but it's not its fault. FWIW successfully blends coming of age, rock'n'roll mystique and civil awareness in the tale of a 14 y.o. music buff dealing with first love, family issues, rock stars both alive and dead, and the shadow of the Vietnam war. Teens on the younger spectrum will take a lot away from this one - if they are willing to make a bit of a musical research, that is ;). (Mini-bios of many artists of the era are included, disguised as the column the main character writes for the school paper - but of course, you have to hear the music in order to fully understand).


Full review to come. (Goodreads pre-review)

So, have you read/are you planning to read any of the above? And if you did, what did you think of them? Do you post mini reviews? Do you like to read them?

10 comments:

  1. I loved Every Heart a Doorway! The concept was amazing! I can't wait for her new book- it's not a sequel, but rather a story set in the same universe.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I read your review on Goodreads :). I'm looking forward to Book 2 (the one you mentioned) and 3 too. I wasn't wowed, but this novel was different enough to keep me interested.

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  2. I really want to read Every Heart A Doorway. I've heard buzz about Girls In The Moon, but it really didn't jump out at me. I agree with you, that if it's just a retread of something that's been done a million times before, then it's not worth the time.

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    1. I expected Girls in the Moon to be a different kind of book altogether...not only wasn't I surprised, but it sounded so, let's say, politically correct, that I felt like crying...

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  3. MORE mini's??!!! Don't spoil me lol

    I love how you say EHAD had flaws but couldn't be written another way. Interesting observation.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Collecting my Goodreads pre-reviews is a great way of buying time while I try to bring myself to write full ones LOL. But I have to admit, I kind of like some of my minis more than the complete reviews...

      About EHAD...I don't know...it felt that way. I even rated it 4 stars at first, then lowered my rating by half a star because, upon closing the book, I realised it wasn't lingering that much into my brain, so to speak. But honestly, it's a book of its own. Neither a novel nor a novella, to begin with.

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  4. I honestly love mini-reviews and I am glad that you are sticking with them. I still love your long reviews, but short reviews are good too!
    I write mini-reviews sometimes, but definitely not as often as I write long reviews. Plus, when I try to write minis, they end up about the same length as a full review any way. (I have a problem with writing too much sometimes!)
    Anyway, I have been eyeing Girls in the Moon, but I think I am going to skip it. Your review pointed out a lot of things I try to avoid in books, like too easily solved problems and stereotypical YA parents. Thanks for the reviews!

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    1. Thank you! Haha, I have a problem of being long-winded too - maybe you noticed ;). GITM itself is a bit too long for a mini, but I had to vent out. Anyway, I found a compromise in writing both versions of a review - the short one as a pre-review on Goodreads, the long one later. Since I don't read a million books a year, it's feasible for me.

      I've been so bummed out by GITM. The raving reviews are still coming...I'm in the sheer minority here. I suppose it's a book that ticks all the boxes people who like contemporaries need to see ticked. I do like contemporaries, but...well, I tend to ask for a little more from them, I suppose. Anyway, if you want to read a really good book about people in the music biz and teens struggling with making it, read Luna-C. Seriously.

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  5. I feel like EHAD is familiar... I don't know. Must be the door? I haven't read any of these books so... Sadness.

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    1. You might like EHAD, I think. It has a fantasy component that should appeal to you, though it's not exactly an adventure.

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