Size Doesn’t Matter (11): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (11): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerThe Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller
Narrator: Jason Segel
Length: 7 hrs, 20 mins
Series: Nightmares! #2
Published by Listening Library on September 8, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible

Nightmares! The Sleepwalker Tonic is the sequel to the hilariously scary New York Times bestselling novel Nightmares! by multitalented actor Jason Segel and bestselling author Kirsten Miller. You thought the nightmares were over? You better keep the lights on!

Charlie Laird has a dream life.

1) He has a weirdo stepmom who runs an herbarium.
2) He lives in a purple mansion with a portal to the Netherworld.
3) Since they escaped from the Netherworld, he and his best friends have been sleeping like babies.

But Charlie can’t shake the feeling that something strange is afoot. Charlotte’s herbarium used to be one of the busiest stores in Cypress Creek. Now her loyal following is heading to Orville Falls for their herbal potions.
Weirder, though, Orville Falls is suddenly filled with . . . zombies? At least, they sure look like the walking dead. Rumor has it that no one’s sleeping in Orville Falls. And Charlie knows what that means.

Things are getting freaky again.

These are really fun. I definitely don’t think I’d be reading them at all if the audiobooks weren’t narrated by Jason Segel (I have a major weakness for celebrity audiobooks,) but I’m glad I gave them a shot.

If you’re a fan of Jason Segel, I think you’ll like the audiobooks too. I really like when I can tell that the person narrating the audiobook is having a ball; this is why Katherine Kellgren’s so fabulous. Segel’s clearly enjoying himself immensely, getting to do all sorts of silly voices.

There’s a lot of silliness in the Nightmares! series that doesn’t really work on me as a grown up (boring old person that I am), but I’m sure they’d be lots of fun for the kids out there who love horror and creepy stuff.

Size Doesn’t Matter (11): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerThe Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason
Series: Stoker & Holmes #1
Published by Chronicle Books on September 17, 2013
Genres: Steampunk, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 356
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.

You know, I was seriously questioning my decision to take a copy of the third book in this series from BEA. I mean I’d only read the first book, and I was sort of eh on it anyway. Nonetheless, since I took it, I decided to reread The Clockwork Scarab before embarking on the series.

The first time, I listened to the audiobook, because it was one of the nominees for the Audies. I was not impressed. You see, The Clockwork Scarab has dual female narration by Miss Stoker and Miss Holmes, but the audiobook was narrated by one woman. I could not tell the two women apart in the audiobook version, which is a damn shame since the voices are actually quite well done in the print. Miss Holmes’ narration has a certain precision and prissiness to it that makes her and Miss Stoker quite distinct in their voices.

I had a blast rereading, and the book went by so fast. I’m really excited to carry on with the series and see how my ships turn out. I’m very much on board both the ship Pix/Evaline and the frigate Mina/Grayling. I’m just concerned about Dylan, and what Gleason’s plan is for him. DON’T MESS WITH MY SHIPS, DYLAN.

Size Doesn’t Matter (11): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerA Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegen on October 6, 2015
Genres: Historical, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

I am just so very impressed with Mindy McGinnis’ novels. She is three for three in writing high quality books about strong heroines (of varying types no less). A Madness So Discreet is my favorite thus far, a historical CSI on the role of women and the nature of insanity.

Grace Mae has been put into an insane asylum until her shameful little secret is no longer…showing. Word on the posh streets she’s from is that she’s on a European tour. Grace wants to stay in the asylum; she dreads the day she’ll have to return to her true nightmare: her home.

How can you not be grabbed by this premise? A Madness So Discreet is monstrously dark and fucked up. Unapologetically so. I really love it for that. I love that Grace in no way fits the mold for either a historical woman or a modern woman. Grace is herself, incredibly bright but deeply flawed. The novel very much shows that those in the asylums are people, some sane and some not. Ultimately, though, it’s hard to tell who’s sane and who’s not. Expect to feel a lot of rage for why women end up there.

The murder investigations are fun (in the morbid way that such things are fun), but they’re going to be sort of uncomplicated for anyone who’s ever watched much of the sorts of programs where the criminal mind has been discussed much. It makes sense since they’re sort of pioneering that methodology, but it’s not going to be particularly twisty or shocking. View Spoiler »

I will confess I was a bit disappointed by the lack of romance. Objectively, I totally get why it’s not there and can admit it’s probably better that way. Subjectively, I love my messed up ship and I wanted to see it sail off into a disturbing sunset. View Spoiler » So yeah, that’s a personal thing, and it’s not a flaw of the novel by any means, but I will still be hanging out in my totally unhealthy headcanon.

The ending is really perfection, I think. View Spoiler »

I very highly recommend A Madness So Discreet, especially to readers who love Cat Winters’ novels.

5 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (11): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger”

  1. Caroline says:

    I love these mini reviews! And I had similar feelings about AMSD, McGinnis’ strength is in her amazing visual elements and her lyrical and smart writing. I also felt the crime-solving was a bit “eh” but I loved the exploration of everyone’s madness. And I think it was just me, but I totally shipped a Grace/Falsteed thing. I loved Falsteed and wanted to see so much more of him!
    Caroline recently posted…Review: Invasion of the TearlingMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Haha, I may have totally made it up (I’ve been known to do that), but I pictured Falsteed as in his early 60s or so. Thus I wasn’t really feeling that romantically. I don’t think I had any textual reasons for that, but for some reason that’s what my brain did. :-p

      Yeah, I didn’t mind at all that the mysteries were simple because everything was dark and messed up and the atmosphere was perfect. Plus, Grace is such an untraditional heroine. 😀

      • Caroline says:

        I thought that at first too, but then when Grace saw him he noted he wasn’t that much older than her. And totally, all of McGinnis’ heroines are so unique, one of the reasons I like her books so much.

      • Christina Franke says:

        I love when heroines don’t fit in the small societal box for “feminine.”

  2. Lyn Kaye says:

    ARG I haven’t read A Madness so Discreet! I am dying to push that spoiler button!!!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: Library of SoulsMy Profile

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