Netgalley Reviews: Penguin Teen Game-Changers & Starswept & Picture Books

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Penguin Teen Game-Changers

Pub: 9/12/17

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Warcross

Pub: 9/12/17

The first five seconds into this one it was a hard no because of the main characters voice did not appeal to me.  I’m not engaged by this one.

+Older heroine who lives a different lifestyle

-pacing (which probably is because (I read a couple of pages of this and knew I did like it.)

Continue? Nope

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Jane Unlimited

Pub: 9/19/17

+different view of teens (dropout)

-voice of the characters it felt like they were trying hard to be quirky at times, it did not engage me

Continue? No

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Someone Inside Your House

Pub: 9/26/17

I wanted this to do well because I do want more horror non-supernatural young adult to do well.  It is readable. Emotionally I am just not into it.

+Main character is Hawaiian, it was readable (it did not feel heavy)

– It was not scary/suspenseful to me

Continue? No

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Things I’m Seeing Without You

Pub: 10/3/17

+Short chapters, different lifestyle (high school boarding school dropout)

-voice of main character

Continue? No

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Pub: 10/10/17

I like the description of this the most so I thought I will actually like this one. I was right.

+I really liked the mythology, pace, that it  showed early on it can be dark/gory (saying to me yes I can and will go there). The chapters were short which ties into the pacing and the overall good job she does with giving the world and mythology info.

Continue? Yes

Overall

It was an okay sampler, did not like 4 of 5 of the books. There was variety in terms of the characters lifestyles, and genre.

Favorite Cover: There’s Someone Inside Your House

Favorite Book: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Other Netgalley Reviews

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Starswept (DNF)

Pub: 8/29/17

4% (according to my kindle app)

Like: The setting being a music school in space

Why DNF? The info dump was heavy and I just was not engaged by it.

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From Far Away

Pub: 8/8/17

Like: Art, smooth transition, imagery of dark skin woman on cover, showing difficulties that a kid who is not from America would deal with (skeleton)

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Tiny Tale of little Pea

Pub: 9/5/17

Like: Ending surprised me (I thought this is what is going to happen, then this will happen, after that it will end like this), art, this is what a person who is the size of Thumbelina would go through (was surprised the cat did not try to pick with him)

Off The Top Of My Head TV/Movies That Should Get Novelizations

Since I even thought about the prospect of reading a novelization I had a list of shows that I want need to be books. Also, I have been thinking about covers that books turned to or from movies get. The cool thing about movies/shows turned into books is there is more unique cover choses. Here is my list off the top of my head in no particular order.

Belle poster.jpg

1. Belle

Image: Wikipedia.

There are not a lot of cover options but I like this  a lot as you can see since I talk about it a lot on here.

BeyondtheLightsposter.jpg Beyond the Lights poster

2. Beyond The Lights

Image: the first image is from Wikipedia and the second is from New DVD Release Dates. Which one do you think is better? I think I lean more toward the first because of the color pallete used.Image result for empire tv show posters

3. Empire

Image: imdb

Empire is another hard one because it has multiple seasons and lots of really amazing covers. It has so many beautiful posters based off this theme alone. What I think is important for the cover to have is all of the family/reoccurring characters because in my head all of them are going to get a point of view chapter.

Quick spoiler: there can be even a cover of the Empire logo when Hakeem took over

File:Jane the Virgin season 1 poster.jpg

4. Jane the Virgin

Image: Wikipedia

Wanted to keep this one non-spoilery so first season poster. I know this one will be at least 300 pages because so much happens.

Claws Poster

5. Claws

Image: imdb

As soon as I saw Claws I thought this could be a novel. It could be in the genre that  book like Hap and Leonard are classified as.

Since these are all popular shows/movies they have an audience behind them who can buy the books. If you have any diverse novelization recommendations please give them below (I need diverse recommendations badly). If you watch these shows what poster from the show do you like the most?

(header is from tvline)

Prom Queen Review

 

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Synopsis

A spring night, soft moonlight, five beautiful Prom Queen candidates, dancing couples at the Shadyside High prom—these should be the ingredients for romance. But instead they’re a recipe for terror…

The Good

I could pretend that I did not read Prom Queen in October of 2016 but I will not.

I liked that it was small and short. I miss the small mass market paperbacks that you can put in your purse. I miss the artsy cover arts of the 90s. I miss feeling like there was an expansive world out there in horror *sigh*

The Bad

I like the idea of Fear Street, the nostalgia, more than what the story is today.

Image result for Tiara TemplateBook version of jump scares (ugh)

Image result for Tiara Templatefeeling detached/underwhelmed by it all

Image result for Tiara TemplateThere was seriously a point where I was like I do not actually like this book. I wanted to put it down which is never a good sign.

Image result for Tiara Templatecharacters mesh together/they are not distinct. Did not like any of the characters because they were all mean. I am not into this thing where people are mean to each other and call themselves friends (unless it is fun which it was not in this case)

Image result for Tiara TemplateKind of guessed who did it early on (which probably was easy because I read almost all of the Fear Street books as a kid)

Image result for Tiara TemplateI wish I liked it because the books are old enough to be easily and cheaply accessible in used book market. I just did not feel any excitement while reading it. Overall it was blah.

I need some good (diverse) horror books in my life.

(image and synopsis are from goodreads)

Allegedly Readalong: Chapters 17-18

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Pre-reading Thoughts Before Final Chapters:

I get that there are no easy answers so it makes sense if the ending is open but I will probably not like it. Again, this I do not feel like talking thing with Mary is old on page 200/218.

Chapter 17

I can see they are trying make Mary’s mom three dimensional but eh.

Q: So Mary brother died of natural causes or what? And is that what made her mom become who she is today?

Q: How believable is Mary (as a nine year old) keeping the cross and burying it all without prints?

Like she knew she would have to testify now. Unrealistic! Also, you could have had this ready 50 pages ago when you first met the lawyers.

Q: So the whole Dr. Cross meeting was dropped or what?

Chapter 18

Okay, Dr. Cross meeting came through. Mom and daughter thing is annoying!

Q: Why is Mary changing her story now? Weak!

Ending (Initial reaction):

It feels like an unpolished mess in ways. She either (or both) could not commit to one true ending and/or could not create a future for Mary because “realism”.

Q: So all of this was a plot to be the perfect daughter for white people? So did she kill Alyssa or not?

Ending (after a couple of days and further thought. since I finished the book before I could finish doing these posts week by week I had the time to actually go over what I wrote while drafting them. It has given me greater perspective.)

I think that the ending makes sense now but I still do not like it.The story did build up the idealization Mary has of Alyssa and her family. In the earlier chapters I did actually find it weird how Mary was acting.

I was ranting to my brother afterwards saying having the main character hold something back from the reader is one of the things you just do  not do in a first person narrative. It is probably one of the rules of writing to not do (especially in the mystery genre).

Q: Do you think the story left itself open for a sequel?

Yes! There are so many unanswered questions left behind. The only thing she would have to deal with is this whole Mary doing this for this idealized image of Alyssa family. Basically, making it where Mary is guilty.

I am definitely going to do a review that talks that collects all (or most of) my thoughts on the book after having some time to think about the book as a whole.

Allegedly Readalong: Chapters 13-16

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Chapter 13

I forgot about Alyssa father. We are going to see more of outside reactions now (also, misogynoir). I guess it is good for her to make strides without Ted.

Chapter 14

I told you new girl is a psychopath.

Q: Why is Dr. Cross so creepy? Is she lying about files she has on Mary? How does Mary know her?

I think she met Mary as a child way before Mary could remember and will serve to fill gaps in Marys past. I do not think she is lying about the files she has on Mary. If anything the files “conveniently” disappeared some other way since everyone hates Mary.

Chapter 15

So sick of Mary hoarding secrets so the plot can continue!

I do not know how I feel about new girl turning into a villain.

Q: Can you get into school with a big criminal record?

I get running away thing but this plan seems (sounds) good on paper but not actually  good. I do not know if I completely feel either plan (Ted vs Lawyer). Long term if she wants to be a teacher or almost any professional profession she needs to be exonerated.

Chapter 16

Q: Are we ever gonna find out  who Mary real parents are?

Please Ms. Richardson do not adopt Mary baby!

Mary is being real dumb about meeting Ms. Richardson thing. I get that it may have had to happen for plot reasons but ugh.

Overall

We had a lot of “realistic” conclusions- Ted having to be distant.

I feel I am going to be disappointed with the ending since it is more than likely going to be open ended. It will not solve anything thus making Allegedly a contemporary and not a mystery.

Personally, I wanted them to get more into the actual court proceedings. If they don’t drop this bomb with mom (that mary has been hoarding from reader even though this is first person story) it will probably get a star knocked off.

Allegedly Readalong: Chapters 9-12

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Chapter 9

Q: Does new girl have a plot with lawyers and/or Kelly? Did Kelly do crimes on purpose?

I think she did it on purpose.

Questions Marys mental stability.

Interesting that Mary is friends with the white (innocent) girl. Again, thinks about the questionable race stuff in this book.

Chapter 10

I feel like the lawyer is exploiting Mary.

(We finally get the events of what happened with Alyssa according to Mary)

Q: So what was all this about Mary blacking out? The story and some of what we read do not match.

File:Broken Heart symbol.svg

Ted has a point! Remember he has no experience and a record of doing the horrible crime he has done. It is real that he would get involved into some shady stuff to have somewhere to stay.

Q: Did Ted low key say he is a pimp?

Chapter 11

Word of the day: Exploitation

Mary is not getting any money for anything that profited off of her. If Allegedly says anything it says something about the exploitation that happens on these murder cases.

I do not like Alyssa mom (I get it and all). Nonetheless, I do not like Alyssa mom. So she thought Mary did not do it but she still carried on letting Mary go to jail. She really made me mad.

Chapter 12

The reality is that even if she is found not guilty people could still not believe her. Mary could still deal with condemnation especially since she is a black girl.

All these people do not care about her. The only people she had in her life have left her in the cold. Her mom let her take fall for a crime she did not commit. Alyssa mom just let her take fall even though in her heart she felt she did no do it. It made me feel like so any black woman/girl would do.

Mary very much mythicizes Alyssa mom and white people in general- dad is white savior, Alyssa mom is greatest mom ever.

What I do not think we are going to get answers to:

  1. Who is Mary father?
  2. What did the other girls do?
  3. Does her father know about her?
  4. Does her mom even know who her father is?

What we have left to cover in book:

  • trial
  • all reveals/reactions of people

Q: Do you think the portrayal of mental illness is done well? A lot of books use it for short hand=criminal.

The story overall has been a mix of hopefulness with dose of  “realism”.

Allegedly Readalong: Chapters 5-8

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Chapter 5

Q: Why did Mary’s mom kill Alyssa?

I want to know more into Alyssa’s family.

Q: What did Alyssa mom see?

Q: What does “I didn’t mean to throw her” mean?

Q: How is stirring things back up going to go?

Chapter 6

We get a bit of the public view  of Mary’s “alleged” crime. There were activists and stuff which felt current.

Q: What is life like for a famous killer after serving their time in real world?

Alyssa was bruised before death according to mom.

I like the idea of Mary getting someone beyond Ted.

Commentary on Push (or Precious) by Sapphire was interesting. Push has been such a controversial book for its representation of black women (and black men).

Mary has an anger inside her. It makes sense seeing everything she has gone through but you know it is one of those red herring she may have done it moments.

Chapter 7

Showing actual  psychopathic killer which matters because they do exist in foster care systems too. The scary thing is that they are there alongside the non-psychotic killers.

Q: Is the girl trying to kill Mary dark skin? That is questionable since Mary is light skin (possibly biracial). It feels like all the white/light skin people so far are good while the poc/dark skin characters are bad/against Mary.

Q: So what did Kelly “new girl” do?

Chapter 8

Q: What is Alyssa and Mary relationship again? The way Mary talks they had more than an acquaintance relationship.

Doubt (for me ) is casted on Alyssa mom from this chapter. Think about it all we know from Alyssa mom point of view is from second person information so Alyssa death could have been a set up (between Alyssa’s mom and Mary’s mom).

There is still reasonable doubt if Mary still did it or severity of what she did. She blacked out and the story is still side stepping what happened that night.

I like the idea of restorative justice more than just throwing people in jail.

Q: Are the lawyers exploiting or not?

Beautiful landscape lake - Public Domain Picture
Ted+Mary

 

Q: Does Ted have the right to explain? What could have happened?

(I have a theory but I will keep it for now.)

Q: Who is Mary father? We learn that he is n/a on the birth certificate so either Marys mom does not know or she just did not put it on there.

50% Feelings:

Pros: naturally brings up race in a way that black people would bring it up

Cons: Allegedly has q

uestionable things in terms of certain things (such as colorism). Lack of transitions can be annoying and confusing (I cannot tell if it is because it is an ebook)

Randomish Thoughts:

I wonder if Mary being isolated is about being a self-insert /more relatable to teens (middle to upper class teens) than a more hardened (by system/world) kid.