Reviews in a Minute: The Early Februaries (Round Two)

I legit had like 8 or 9 review copies to review on February 5th. A few I did/will do during blog tours, but here is the first batch, now let’s get to a few more! Though, I had to throw in a substitute from the 12th because a blog tour took out one of my 5ths, but that’s okay!  

Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins
A People’s Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers edited by Victor LaValle & John Joseph Adams
Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok



Reviews in a Minute: The Early Februaries (Round Two) Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins
Series: Dark Stars #1
Published by HarperTeen on February 5, 2019
Pages: 416
Format:eARC
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Edelweiss
GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository

“Endearing, exciting, and very clever, Danielle Rollins' Stolen Time is the kind of time-travel story I'm always on the lookout for. I know I can't really speak for him, but I feel like Doc Brown would be onboard with this one.”—Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series

“The hauntingly evocative prose seduced me, the compellingly nuanced characters captivated me, and the twisting storyline ensnared my thoughts in an infinite spiral that refused to release me until the final word.”—Romina Russell, New York Times bestselling author of the Zodiac series

Seattle, 1913
Dorothy spent her life learning the art of the con. But after meeting a stranger and stowing away on his peculiar aircraft, she wakes up in a chilling version of the world she left behind—and for the first time in her life, realizes she’s in way over her head.
New Seattle, 2077

If there was ever a girl who was trouble, it was one who snuck on board Ash’s time machine wearing a wedding gown—and the last thing he needs is trouble if he wants to prevent his terrifying visions of the future from coming true.

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This was a fun and fast-paced time travel! I read it quite quickly, and enjoyed watching Dorothy adapt to the future! Let’s break it down, shall we?

The Things I Liked:

  • The characters worked so well together! I love when a group dynamic just works, and this one does. Even though most of the characters could not possibly be more different from one another, they were an incredible team working toward a common goal. And, they seemed to have grown to genuinely care about each other, which is an added plus.
  • In addition, there’s quite a bit of character growth that takes place. When we first meet Dorothy in particular, she’s… a little irritating actually. But it all starts to make sense when you understand how she grew up, and she makes a lot of progress during the book, and starts to realize a lot of things about both herself and the world (and people) around her.
  • The atmosphere was on pointThe author did a great job at distinguishing the feelings of the different time periods. No two seemed the same, which is huge, as I want to not just know I’ve changed times, but to feel as though I have too. The bleakness of 2077 was certainly necessary too, to understand the desperation of the characters.
  • It was an action-filled story that moved quickly. The chapters are shorter, and interspersed with letters left behind from another traveler (whose importance you’ll learn all about!) and it makes for a great flow during the book. I was eager to hop back in to the story every time, as it was just plain entertaining.

The Things I Didn’t:

  • It was fairly easy for me to predict most of the things. Now, it was still entertaining and enjoyable, so this wasn’t a complete dealbreaker, but I guessed one of the biggest twists from almost the start. So that was a bit of a bummer. And I guessed a few more minor details. But again, not a dealbreaker.

Bottom Line: I’ll definitely be reading the sequel to see what happens to these (hopeful) saviors of the future!


Reviews in a Minute: The Early Februaries (Round Two) A People's Future of the United States: Speculative Fiction from 25 Extraordinary Writers by Victor LaValle, John Joseph Adams, Charlie Jane Anders, A. Merc Rustad, Lizz Huerta, Maria Dahvana Headley, Malka Older, Sam J. Miller, Tananarive Due, Ashok K. Banker, Omar El Akkad, Daniel José Older, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Justina Ireland, Violet Allen, Gabby Rivera, Tobias S. Buckell, Hugh Howey, Jamie Ford, G. Willow Wilson, N.K. Jemisin, Charles Yu, Kai Cheng Thom, Daniel H. Wilson, Catherynne M. Valente, Seanan McGuire, Alice Sola Kim
Published by One World on February 5, 2019
Pages: 432
Format:eARC
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley
GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository


What if America's founding ideals finally became reality? A future of peace, justice, and love comes to life in original speculative stories that challenge oppression and embrace inclusiveness--from N. K. Jemisin, Charles Yu, Jamie Ford, and more.

For many Americans, imagining a bright future has always been an act of resistance. A People's Future of the United States presents twenty-five never-before-published stories by a diverse group of writers, featuring voices both new and well-established. These stories imagine their characters fighting everything from government surveillance, to corporate cities, to climate change disasters, to nuclear wars. But fear not: A People's Future also invites readers into visionary futures in which the country is shaped by justice, equity, and joy.

Edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams, this collection features a glittering landscape of moving, visionary stories written from the perspective of people of color, indigenous writers, women, queer & trans people, Muslims and other people whose lives are often at risk.

Contributors include: Violet Allen, Charlie Jane Anders, Ashok K. Banker, Tobias S. Buckell, Tananarive Due, Omar El Akkad, Jamie Ford, Maria Dahvana Headley, Hugh Howey, Lizz Huerta, Justina Ireland, N. K. Jemisin, Alice Sola Kim, Seanan McGuire, Sam J. Miller, Daniel José Older, Malka Older, Gabby Rivera, A. Merc Rustad, Kai Cheng Thom, Catherynne M. Valente, Daniel H. Wilson, G. Willow Wilson, and Charles Yu.

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Goodness, where to begin? Okay look. If you plan to read any anthology in your reading lifetime, it should probably be this one. Not necessarily because of all the raucous good times you’ll be having, but because of how well done these stories are, and how completely relevant and important they are. Let us discuss why this is fabulous:

  • Uh, did you see the author lineup? This is like, some kind of League of Amazing Writers™ or something. Can they team up for regularly scheduled anthologies and call themselves this? Because I am here for that.
  • There is truly not a bummer in the bunch. You know how anthologies always have a few stories that leave you a tad underwhelmed? Not so here. Every single story contained at least some kind of worthwhile message. And they were incredibly engaging, well thought out, and yes, entertaining.
  • Holy diversity! Just as the author list is gloriously diverse, so too were the stories. Representation of so, so many people, in all sorts of situations, such a win.
  • Timely, significant, and powerful. These stories highlight the all-too-plausible future we could be facing, given the current trajectory of society. It’s terrifying, but more than that, it’s necessary. 

My one word of caution: I read these stories back to back, all in a row. And it might not be the best way to do it? They’re all fabulous, like I said, but I think they might have more of an impact if you read a couple, then take a breather. They’re powerful, and it can be a lot all at once. But worth it, without a doubt.

Bottom Line: Written by what has to be the most incredible group of authors to have ever joined forces, and written well, these stories will leave you deep in thought long after you close the book.


Reviews in a Minute: The Early Februaries (Round Two) Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Published by Tor Teen on February 12, 2019
Pages: 368
Format:eARC
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley
GoodreadsAmazonBook Depository

A YA murder mystery in which a young reporter must use her supernatural visions to help track down a killer targeting the young women of Paris.

Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day's new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered--from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie's search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie's strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer's identity--and she'll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

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Oh, this is so delightfully messed up! I mean it, it is sometimes downright gruesome, so if you can’t handle death and morgues and such… might want to skip it. But if you can handle it, this was a really good one! Let us discuss why!

  • Nathalie was morbidly curious, yet still relatable. I mean, I don’t frequent places of death personally, and I imagine most of you don’t either. But I understood Nathalie’s inquisitiveness too. Especially since apparently, this was a legit pastime in France. (Can we please have another shout-out to how delightfully strange old-timey France was? Love it.) Plus she isn’t like, messed up- just interested in death and the macabre a bit more than the average bear. No shame, girl.
  • The mystery kept me on my toes. I cannot tell you how many times I wrote “wait maybe it was him!” in my Kindle notes. I was usually wrong, so sue me. That’s the good part though- I was wrong, because the mystery was good. I love a good whodunit. And this was one.
  • It was thought-provoking. So many questions about death, and choices, and more stuff that I can’t talk about because it would probably be spoilery, but I loved it.
  • Friendships FTW! I love me some strong female friendships, and they were front and center in this novel! Again, I don’t want to give too much away because they are important to the story, but the relationships felt really authentic.
  • It tugged at my heartstrings a bit! That was unexpected, actually. It’s not often that a murder mystery gets me teary, but here we are. (Also, does the fact that I list “crying” as a positive make me a complete masochist, or…?)

My only real qualm was that I would have liked a bit more from the ending? It definitely answered some questions, but then others were left more open. I assume there’s a chance this will get a sequel? I do hope so, as I’d definitely be reading it! Also, it’s pretty much romance-free, which isn’t exactly a negative, but I wouldn’t turn one down, either!

Bottom Line: Pretty messed up, but in the good way! A mystery that kept me guessing and characters I enjoyed make me hope this doesn’t end up being a standalone!

Have you read any of these books? Planning on it? Let’s talk about them!

Posted February 8, 2019 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in In a Minute, Review / 18 Comments


18 responses to “Reviews in a Minute: The Early Februaries (Round Two)

  1. Though it’s not my thing, I am impressed that the anthology was so well put together. Usually, I always find one or more, that don’t work for me, but it seems this all-star group of authors meshed well together. I had Feb 5th releases to read, that were listed on my spread sheet for later in Feb (how did that happen?) Looks like a successful group of reads for you though.

    • It was seriously SO good. Like even in the (very few) stories that weren’t “me” stories, I could still see how well-written and timely they were. I was impressed! And yeah, it was a very successful group! The rest of February didn’t fare so well bwhahah.

  2. Yay! You liked Spectacle! I thought about preordering that one, but then I didn’t. I’ll get to it eventually. I’ve never heard of A People’s Future Of The United States, but it’s going on my TBR list right now. Great reviews!

  3. Danielle Hammelef

    A People’s Future of the United States is new to me, but sounds amazing. Headed to Goodreads right now to check it out.

  4. I’m really excited for Stolen Time, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Predictability can be so frustrating, but I do love that the character are strong. A People’s Future of the United States has such an incredible author lineup, wow! I’ll definitely be looking into that one. Also looking forward to Spectacle. Great reviews!

  5. Beth W

    Well, that’s three more I’d never heard of that I need to add to my list. Huzzah! (and also…weepy checkbook). Thanks for reviewing these and posting this- it’s awesome how many good ones there are this round!

  6. Okay A People’s Future sounds pretty awesome- a 5 star for an anthology? That’s impressive. And Spectacle- I mean 1887 Paris and gruesomeness? Sounds like a win. The whole morgue thing’s a little weird but hey… to each their own. I like the sound of it though.

  7. I always admire you for getting so so many reviews up on time *flails* I am…forever behind. 😂Sometimes I just cry when Tuesdays come round with release days because I HATH FAILED. Ahem anyway, yay that these were all solid good reads!! I have seen Spectacle come up a fair bit and I am curious. 👀

  8. Ash

    Really glad to hear a positive review for Spectacle! I’ve seen some not so positive reviews which bums me out, because I’m so excited for it! I can’t believe I haven’t heard of Stolen Time! It looks so good!

  9. It sounds like all of these three books were all such good reads for you! I am always intrigued with books about time travel – so Stolen Time sounds good to me. It’s a shame it’s so predictable though but I actually don’t mind reading predictable books at all! So I will happily read this one. I also think that anthology sounds amazing. The thing is that I gave up reading anthologies like that because inevitably I would always like one book more than the other. But it sounds like this wouldn’t be the case here and maybe I should give it a try regardless. I have been seeing so many positive reviews for Spectacle as well. So I am happy to hear that you enjoyed it too x

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