MINI-REVIEWS: Heaven, Spirited, Summerland

103. Heaven by Mur Lafferty
Publication: Restless Brain Media (April 27, 2011), ebook, 150pp / no ISBN
Genre: Fantasy
Read: June 9-10, 2012
Source: Freebie


Unfortunately this is one of those things where the expectations of how good a book will be don’t match up to the reality. I generally enjoy books where the characters start off dead and do exciting things afterwards, but this book is so plodding and lackluster that I couldn’t get up any enthusiasm for it. I did like that there were so many different afterlives, including ones I wasn’t already familiar with (Shinto, for example), and there does seem to be the possibility of better things to come in the later books, but for this one all I can seem to work up is “boring.”

Don’t think it helped that my copy of the book had words missing, either. Typos aren’t the end of the world, but they DO make a reading experience worse than it should be.

Apparently the audio version of this book came first, as a podcast. Maybe that’d be better than this text version?


I probably won’t read the rest of the series.

109. Spirited anthology
Publication: Leap Books (October 24, 2011), ebook, 332pp / no ISBN
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance, Horror, Sci-fi
Read: ?-June 19, 2012
Source: Bought


I was SO disappointed with this anthology. Not just because it had way more paranormal romance than I thought it would, but also because the stories included were, well…not very good. Some of them weren’t terrible, and a few were even pretty good, but the majority were just blah.

I think what was wrong with the blah stories was that they read like outlines of full-length books instead of self-contained plots. Who wants to read a book that’s filled with mostly outlines? It’s just boring.

Plus, well, yeah: the PNR. I think I bought this book assuming it’d have more fantasy/horror/sci-fi than PNR in it, but that assumption was wrong. You’d think I’d have learned by now, but whatever. I live in enternal hope that eventually I’ll find another YA PNR that doesn’t annoy me to death.


Mostly bad, although there were a few gems.

112. Summerland by Michael Chabon
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (February 16, 2004), Paperback, 512pp / ISBN 0786816155
Genre: MG Urban Fantasy
Read: June 30-July 1, 2012 (reread)
Source: Bought


The great thing about this book is that it’s enough like Neil Gaiman’s books to appeal to those fans, and it’s UNlike NG’s books enough to appeal to people who don’t like NG’s books. Sometimes NG’s kids books have weird bits in them that ruin the overall story, but there isn’t anything like that in Summerland. It’s perfect all the way through, which is kind of amazing.

I liked the mixing of old mythology with new, and I liked that baseball tied it altogether. I’ve never played much baseball, myself, and I don’t particularly enjoy going to games or whatever, but even I’ve been infected with the idea that baseball is some special American thing (maybe because of movies like these) that’s as close to magic as you can get. So featuring kid baseball players in an urban fantasy epic adventure thing just makes a lot of sense, don’t you think? Plus it’s just so darned fun to read about.


I loved it!

5 thoughts on “MINI-REVIEWS: Heaven, Spirited, Summerland”

    1. I just. I WANT to like PNR, SO MUCH. So I keep trying to find a PNR that I can love. And so far all I’ve really found is Kelley Armstrong’s books. Which, yay, Kelley Armstrong, but boo, why aren’t there more YA PNRs like her books?

      I have really high hopes for Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan, though! It seems to be exactly what I want, which is nice.

    1. That’s very true. The first Chabon book I ever read was his Sherlock Holmes pastiche, which I hated. Then I read Summerland and I loved it! So I suppose I sit somewhere between the love-hate fences, lol.

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