To intro a bit, these are the new version of “Books I’m Never Reviewing”. I kept feeling like the connotation was that I wasn’t fond of said books, when often, quite the opposite was true. Also, the name was clunky. The bottom line is this: These are considered legitimate reviews by absolutely no one. Why? I don’t feel like it, nor do I have to. But apparently, my ego dictates that I still think you care whether I liked them and/or I feel like shouting about them. And so, I shall.

These are all books that I read recently, as in, 2018. And if I don’t say something about them now… well, let’s be real, I will forget I ever read them, so that’d be sad.

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Series: Reign of the Fallen #1
Published by Razorbill on January 23rd 2018
Pages: 375
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Odessa is one of Karthia's master necromancers, catering to the kingdom's ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it's Odessa's job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised--the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa's necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead--and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer's magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

So, this was a super unique premise. I liked it. I also liked the characters and their tight-knit, loyal friendships. And it’s definitely a darker sort of book, which I am always here for. OH! And a bisexual MC. So lots of wins. I probably would have fully fallen in love with this, but I found it predictable. Almost too much so. Val had read it, and I kept DMing her saying “X did Y, right?”  because it was a little too easy to guess.

But the world was awesome, and I hear there’s a sequel, and I’m probably down.

Spinning by Tillie Walden
Published by First Second on September 12th 2017
Pages: 400
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review
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Poignant and captivating, Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden's powerful graphic memoir, Spinning, captures what it's like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.

It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.
Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.

She was good. She won. And she hated it.

For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden's life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. It was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But over time, as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the figure skating team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. It all led to one question: What was the point?The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she'd outgrown her passion--and she finally needed to find her own voice.

My first thought when I was reading this was “Hold up, do you think people want to read about my swimming days? Because…. I can provide that! I’ll provide the shit out of it!” And I can, but instead of Tille’s great art, you’d get… stick figures, and a rectangle that I’d try to pass off as a pool.

If only you could write books with GIFs… 

I digress. I wasn’t really going to read this one, but then I saw I, Tonya and then the Olympics happened, and I guess skating is just in the air, so here we are. And it was a good story and all, and the graphics were well done, I just had so many questions about so much of it- there were loose ends galore. And I was kind of confused because during the book, the author’s family is… well they’re mostly awful, especially her mom. But in the acknowledgements, she thanks them for their “love and support” but they were legit never there for her, so…?

But still, not a bad read. How can you call someone’s life story “bad” anyway? I can’t.

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely
Published by Jimmy Patterson on January 2nd 2018
Pages: 422
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James Patterson presents a bold new heroine—a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow's West.

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity "Pity" Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She's been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great....

In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity's struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

I liked this one. I love a dystopian, obviously, so this shouldn’t be a huge shock. There were moral gray areas (yay!) and I liked the characters. I wanted to know more about the world and such, I have no idea if this is a standalone- so many books start out as such, but how many end up being series, you know? The setting was great- it was a Vegas-like scene, and of course nothing was as it appeared, and Pity (our MC) didn’t always know who- if anyone- she could trust. The characters were a fun bunch, too.  I think I’d bump this up to 4 stars if it was a series start, but it didn’t provide me enough details/wrap up if it’s a true standalone.

The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson
Series: The Extinction Trials #1
Published by Usborne Publishing Ltd on January 1st 2018
Pages: 384
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Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival.Welcome to the Extinction Trials.

In Stormchaser and Lincoln's ruined world, the only way to survive is to risk everything. To face a contest more dangerous than anyone can imagine. And they will do anything to win.

But in a land full of monsters - human and reptilian - they can't afford to trust anyone. Perhaps not even each other...

The positives: Freaking dinosaurs, mate. (Yes, I said “mate”, seems appropriate for dinos, and also I do what I want.) Also, who doesn’t love a deadly competition? Sign me up. OH and worlds that are a mess and worse than this one? Yep. It was also a really quick paced book, full of action and excitement. And I liked the moral questions it posed.

Here for this brand of dinosaur. 

The negatives: I would have connected to these characters far more had the narration been first person. Also, a little predictable. OH and where even are we? Earth? I have no idea, I hope it’s explained more in the next book(s).

But I’m here for more dino time, so sign me up for book two.

Have you read any of these books? Agree? Disagree? Let us chat about them!

Posted February 19, 2018 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Quasi-Review, Review / 11 Comments

11 responses to “Inarticulate Book Musings: Recent Reads

  1. I read a Sarah Glenn Marsh book that I (mostly) liked- Fear the Drowning Deep- so I was curious about Reign of the Fallen. And it sounds like a totally different thing! Cool cover also. Gunslinger Girl- almost a 4 star? That has possibilities. Extinction Trials- obviously I liked that one but yeah- what about the world? What exactly is “Earthasia”? I needed to know more too. Still… dinosaurs. 🙂

  2. I can’t decide if I love or hate the cover of Reign of the Fallen. I mean, the crown on the skull is cool, but it also looks kinda cheap/cheesy. Like they did it on shoestring budget. LOL Interesting about Spinning… Walden thanking her awful family for their support. Maybe she’s thanking them for signing the release forms so she could talk about them in the book. Ha! The Extinction Trials sounds so good but I would definitely feel lost and need more info. Nice reviews, mate. (I wanted to play along. If you can say what you want then I can, too.)

  3. That is interesting, what you said about Spinning. I remember my co-blogger telling me about The Glass Castle, when she read it in high school, and I asked her about it again when the movie came out, because I read an interview with Walls where she spoke so highly of her father. Maybe it’s more a gratitude for making her, who she is through the not so positive experiences. I don’t know. I had high hopes for that one though.

  4. shooting

    I felt about the same with Spinning – it wasn’t bad, but I didn’t love it that much. I mean it’s an intriguing life – and you can’t really critique someone’s REAL life, you know? LOL

    I’m curious about Reign of the Fallen but bummer it was a bit predictable.


  5. Honestly saying “freaking dinosaurs mate” just WORKS. I don’t think you could say it any other way tbh this is perfect. Annnnyway, none of these super jump out at me (omg I’m growing old and PICKY in my ancient age) except for Reign of the Fallen which I read last year and adored ahh!!😍😍 I’m so here for stories where straight isn’t the fault, and in fantasy worlds? EXTRA YES.

  6. I read Reign of the Fallen and quite enjoyed it. I had my own bits with it though, a bit different from you. I have the Extinction Trials because I was sold on the whole dino aspect but yet to read it (to be fair, I only have had it for 2 weeks haha).

  7. I was thinking about just buying Reign of the Fallen outright, but I hate to pay money for book that I may not love. I plan on going the library route and then if I do love it, maybe I’ll buy it down the road once the price goes down.

    Also.. I’m the baby.. gotta love me! Hehe! I loved that show as a kid/still do 😀


    Also yes Reign of the Fallen was sooooo predictable. Like there was so much potential and the characters were great but the plot was just meh.

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