271: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

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Synopsis

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international best seller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

The Good

  • Cleaning booster: Listened to it on audiobook as I was reorganizing my room. It encouraged me to start really purging and cleaning, don’t think I would have purged as many things as I did without it.
  • Konmari method is simple
  • A lot of insightful thoughts and tips about tidying
  • This book is short so you can get the information you need without it taking up a lot of time. Also, if you are looking for a short popular audiobook at your library this is good one to go for.
  • In my opinion it could be a book to read to get insight into Japanese culture

The Meh

  • Some of the ideas sounded good but could not be practiced in theory with everyone. For example, the tip of getting all of a certain type of items (lets say pens and pencils) from all over the hosue in one spot. It is a very good tip but if your house is really junky you will not be able to find every single pen or pencil in the entire house.  I do not think this is a big deal because every tip isn’t going to be for everyone because everyone spaces are different.
  • Some of the ideas are common thoughts in the organization community

Overall, I think that this was a good  few hours spent as I was cleaning my room.

(image and synopsis from goodreads)

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268: The Ghoul Next Door (Monster High #2)

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Synopsis

Cleopatra de Nile
– New pet snake
– Has Deuce–the hottest guy in school–all warapped up
– Herve Leger bandage dress, strappy gold platforms

Cleo was the queen bee of the RADs, the normies, and everyone in between at Merston High. But now it’s “Frankie this” and “Melody that” . . . these new girls sure know how to get her lashes in a tangle. When Cleo lands a golden Teen Vogue photo op for her friends, everything seems to be back on track . . . until they bail to be in some film . . . Frankie and Melody’s film! Can’t a royal get some loyal?

Frankie Stein
Frankie lost her head over Brett once and vows never to do it again. Not that she has a choice: Bekka is clinging to her guy like plastic wrap. But when Brett comes up with a plan that could help the RADs live free, sparks fly, and Bekka will stop at nothing to put out the flames . . . even if it means destroying the entire monster community.

Melody Carver
The clock is tick-tick-ticking. Melody has a serious deadline to save her boyfriend, Jackson, from being exposed by the vengeance-seeking Bekka. But Cleo is making it royally difficult for the normie while threatening her acceptance into the RADs’ exclusive group . . . a group that Melody suspects she has more in common with than she ever thought.

Fitting in is out.

The Good

Cleo De Nile- is the only saving grace of this book. She is the only reason this book got a two star when it deserved a 1.

  • Her minions
  • Her time with Deuce
  • Her interactions with her dad
  • She is such a fun character

The Bad

After all the good will of Girl Meets World: Let’s Do This! (going to do this review next but have to release this review off my chest) did of getting me out of my post-Children  of Blood and Bone funk (another book that uses the racial oppression = magical oppression but better while still rubbing me the wrong way) I decided to go back to The Ghoul Next Door because it had some interesting moments with Cleo De Nile, mistake. Big mistake.

There is this weird wonky racism commentary going on throughout the story

I. Uses racism as a analogy for monster/supernaturals discrimination (which is a pet peeve of mine because most authors don’t understand the meaning of racism)

A. 99% of time racism = hate against creatures isn’t done well.

One of the problems being at the root these creatures  can be dangerous. A character in this book electrocuted a boy and landed him in hospital so it is not a stretch to say they are dangerous/have potential but real life marginalized people are not at the root dangerous. It is one of the messy parts of this analogy and it can have this weird dehumanizing effect

C.  Folks who are using racism as analogy not being past racism 101 or chin deep understanding of racism

D.  It made me realize where all these weird wonky ideas people in real life comes from

  •  oppressed being just as discriminatory/oppressive as oppressors
  • racism is easy to cure
  • The story literally equated one of the non-monster characters getting bullied to monster characters experiences who have in the past had to deal with people with pitch forks

E. Making Cleo thus oppressed folks who feel certain ways about allies/normies as villains. I don’t like it because it took away valid opinions. I also don’t like this push to make every girl who isn’t the “good”/”nice” girl a witch. Pitting the “mean” girl against the “nice” girl to push a be nice message is an entire other conversation.

Non-racial issues

  •  Melody and Frankie are basically the same person
  • As I said with the first one so much of the story is petty teenage drama which I don’t like especially since the webseries is not petty teenage drama
  • Spends a long time in the story not moving the plot forward
  • Cleo seemed to take a backseat to Melody and Frankie
  • It left a bad taste in my mouth that Cleo friends abandoned and believed she was the villain so quickly
  • Of course Melody is incredibly beautiful that she does not need makeup
  • *sigh* there are so many more wonky weird ideas in this book but I’m done

In Conclusion:

This was probably the worst book  I’ve read of the year. It is the book I picked up out of my dnf pile that should have stayed. I did it for Cleo De Nile and her only.

 

 

270:Children of Blood and Bone

 

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Synopsis

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

The Bad

Last year I did a review for the first six chapters which I enjoyed a lot.

  1. This feels like it was written with a movie in mind which isn’t a problem necessarily. The issues comes in when I noticed that it fell on movie/tv tropes.
  2. There was no characterization build
  3. It is pushed as this West African fantasy but it really did not show that enough
  4. Felt like a bunch of tropes strung together. Where another author would have steered away or softened the blow of using a trope I felt that this book many times went straight into the trope in the most stereotypical way.
  5. It felt like it needed to be put through editing at least one more time
  6. It did not need more than one pov if the characters are going to say the same things in the same ways
  7. It was repetitive the book could be summed up to: Amari/Inan: “I’m sorry for the wrong my dad has done” Zelie: *scowls* I’m mad  Again, #6 and #2
  8. Gosh if they could have built the opposing p.o.v that these maji are actually dangerous that would have been a very well done dimensional pov to have
  9. So much of the plot is driven conveniently it does not flow naturally. #1,4,10
  10. So much of the story felt inauthentic/forced
  11. The romance #2,#4,#10

The Meh

Part of me feels like the story is more about what it means for black young adult fans than what it actually is as a novel. It is about what it is supposed to represent than what it actually did. Did it actually do a good job of representing police brutality and the things that black people go through?

The Good

  1. Colorism is used as part of this society which felt so important when so many fantasy books (even the subversive ones) can barely feature poc
  2. And there are so many stories that do not show or have really dark skin characters especially as a main characters
  3. The world is majority if not completely African characters
  4. The magic (when the author showed it) was interesting
  5. The author got a 7 figure deal and a movie which as a black woman I will never disparage. In result of  #1, #3 the movie is safeguarded from certain things. I will watch the movie and I think the story will be elevated by it.

 

 

Children Of Blood And Bone is less a novel than a YA movie franchise in waiting

Another review (that is a video) that highlights the issues I had with the book

Library Checkout Reviews: The Gods Are Not Appeased

So when I picked up these books from the library I had it pointed out to me that all these books had God in the title.

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The Prey of Gods (DNF, ch 12, pg 87)

  • don’t love/really like it
  • feels like a bunch of characters that are not in same story
  • deals with social issues wonky in my opinion
  • there was interesting things happening in it which is why I read it so far

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Talon of God

  • so much repetitiveness and rehashing~ there was a large chunk of the story that felt like it was not moving forward
  • Is the story living up/using its lore/mythology to its highest level/potential?
  • It felt very surface level
  • there are some interesting seeds in the story

Made me think of Sleepy Hollow. Talon of God would probably be elevated by being turned into a show.

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Future Home of the Living God

DNF Limbo?

The main reason this got a dnf is  I don’t know if I felt that tug of needing to pick it back up. I don’t know if I’ll pick this up later but right now it is deleted off my goodreads.

 

 

Netgalley Reviews: Clearing Finale

I received all these in exchange for my review.

Novels
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The Becoming of Ellicia Wayfield

Pub: 9/22/15

Cover: Which cover is cooler?

Why DNF? From the start of the book it was a no for me, transitions are off (jumps from story point to story point), tropey (I know what is going to happen)

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The Beauty That Remains

Pub: 3/6/18

Why DNF? I enjoyed the first chapter a lot but as the story went on I lost interest.

Like: It is representative of grief in the modern age.

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Awoke

Pub: 9/10/17

Why DNF? I don’t feel this pressing need to continue.

Like: Slowly reveals stuff, immediately got pumped soon as I read it

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Tooth and Talon

Pub: 11/30/17

DNF? Emotional detachment.  Honestly, I don’t know if I’m making the right decision to dnf this.

Like: Interesting premise, starts off from jump action, does good job giving information here and there without being info dumpy, big topics (ex: colonization, immortality) that the story seems like it is going to deal with

Picture Books

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Baby Bird

3/1/18

Like: Doesn’t give bird magic cure

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Simon and the Big, Bad, Angry Beasts

Pub: 4/26/18

Art: Animals are manifestations of his anger (like they are his avatar made me think of Pokémon). It is interesting looking at how his relationship with the animals (thus his anger) changes as the story goes on. In the earlier part of the story he is with the animals directing them while in the later part he is losing control of his anger that is when the animals are attacking something without him being next to them.

Story: Shows it can be very satisfying to display your wrath, different forms of anger can take (lion = temper tantrum =loud), teach kids (and adults reading to deal with discourse), teach not bottle emotions, there is a guide at the end of the book at the end that talks about anger and mediation

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Cat Who Ate Christmas

10/9/18

Art: Glitter (looks like you can touch  it ) so I wish I could see physical copy

Story: Overall I felt the story was okay

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The Picky Eater

8/1/18

Art: Picking pigs (who eat everything) as picky eater, bright colors

Story: It was okay (for me) but I feel it may be good for kids (especially) picky eaters and offers a solution to young picky eater situation, I could see parents having their kids name foods with letter p or another letter as they read this

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Harrison P. Space Invader

8/1/18

Art: Facial expressions of animals, color were darker more earthy

Story: Cute, allowing him to be expressive but thinking about other people, teaching kids lesson but it was fun

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A Place for Pluto

8/1/18

Art: Colorful, fun

Story: The story was worthy (Pluto losing its planet status)  of being told. I just felt you could tell this was a message/facts book it wasn’t bad but I could feel things pushing so they can give you certain facts. In a way it felt like the facts moved the story.

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Gabi’s If/Then Garden

9/1/18

Art: black girl with afropuff, cute things with dog going on in background

I don’t know if kids will be able to understand coding from this. But coding can be very complex.  I do like the art and that it is talking about coding with  two girls (one of them being a black girl with an afropuff)

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Too Much! Not Enough!

8/14/18

Art: There are a lot of background objects which stands out because most of other picture books I’ve been reading recently are minimal in that aspect.

Story: Always can appreciate a fun cute picture book. They are the cutest roommates/bffs. It also does a good job having a conflict, climax, and resolution.

 

Current Reading State: Full, Digesting, Connecting

Epiphany?

  • I read almost every single genre/category
  • I read a lot = already having experience with a lot of popular authors so there is a lack of discovery with older authors
  • new authors=new ideas  which can be sometimes greater than or equal to defying genres= fixing/dealing with all or some of the issues I have with the genre
  • I read in almost every genre but in low amounts

Image result for connectingConnecting? 

My novel-reading has this here and there quality which I have connected to different feelings I have had in the past.

Feelings of being a guest- I come in read 1-2 books in genre then that is it

Exceptional vs Exception- this idea of is everything I’m reading exceptional for the genre or are they just the exception

Manifestation trying HARD-everything I do to find novels to like

resigned myself (at moment who knows how I’ll feel when I finish my 2-3 good [insert genre] books)

Remembering.

Last year I expected to read only comics, picture books, and nonfiction because I felt completely done with fiction

I actually rage quit novels- so there is a lot of residual feelings of dissatisfaction that have to be addressed for me to possibly get back  fully into novels

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Digesting? Full?

All these feelings above bring me to one of my phases I go through as a reader which is feeling full.

-currently reading a bunch of good books

-enjoying what I’m reading

-not rushing to finish books

-trying not to start new books

-season before finishing season?

Digested: Battlefront: Inferno Squad

Digesting (top 3): The Authentics, Princess in Theory, The Wedding Date

(both images are from wikicommons)

 

Book ⇆ Movie Novelization/ Tie-In TBR

Novelization

Read Before After Movie~ It really depends on if I want to get spoiled on major plots

Since novelizations are written from the movie I cannot read them directly after watching the movie.

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Black Panther

One of the few novelizations with black people as main characters and it is Black Panther so…of course I want to read it.

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Thor: Ragnarok

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

Hopefully, this catches the beats of the movie which captures awkward young adulthood. A lot of novels/movies (especially young adult fiction) don’t/can’t capture that magic.

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Alien: Covenant

For some reason I want to read this first then watch the movie.

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Kong Skull Island

This is one of those stories that feel like would be elevated by a novelization.

Tie-In

Read Before After Movie~ a long time after watching the movie not as long as novelizations though

Similar to novelizations  I have to watch the movie first then read the book a while afterwards. There is more leeway since a lot of the time tie-in books have more going on that the movie didn’t/couldn’t portray. Nonetheless, I’m hesitant with books that get turned into movies because that whole ‘this is not like the book’ feeling from reading the book before seeing the movie. Overall, there has to be this time of separation between reading the book and watching the movie.

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Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

In my head this is going to be light fun teen book/movie like The Duff. Out of the books I have been wrestling hard on should I read this before seeing the movie. Since this seems light and fun I’ve been wanting to read this because I want that more than another issue y.a. fiction (as much as I enjoy them).

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Annihilation

Neutral on this one but probably not going to like it.

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Monster

This will be interesting especially coming out the same year as The Hate U Give. How are the two movies and books going to compare against each other? It is always good to have black books about the same subject because it leaves space for different opinions.  How is a 1999 book going to be different from current young adult literature? I have so many questions.

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The Darkest Minds

Is this the tie-in cover? Doubt I will like this because its pre-2015 young adult which usually is not for me. But black main character in y.a. movie so I’ll give it a try after I see the movie.

Tie-In

Read Before After Anytime~ since these are set in the universe but not the basis of the show/movie

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Snow Falling

There are not a lot of novelization or tie-in romance novels so this is welcome. Honestly, I don’t think I will like it. It seems like it will be very campy/traditional romance not new wave romance.

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Assassins Creed: Origin

It is Assassins Creed set in Egypt. Again, the novelization/tie-in market is so dry on diversity but the film industry is a desert.

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Charmed: The Power of Three

Using the image of the first book in the series but it can be any book in the series. I really want one of those omnibuses for some reason.

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Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox

I miss this series.

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Planet of the Apes: Revelations

Pretty much cool with reading any of the tie-in novels (even the old ones).

Currently Reading 

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Battlefront II: Inferno Squad

If you listen to the audiobook for anything listen to it for the space/Star Wars sounds.