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.

 

 

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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

276: Man of Steel

cat, cute, facebook cover, lithuania, love cats, world

Synopsis

(This is synopsis is weird so I scratched out the not really important information)

SUPERMAN IS BACK – THE OFFICIAL MOVIE NOVELIZATION!

The film, from director Zack Snyder, stars Henry Cavill (The Tudors) as Superman/Clark Kent, three-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams (The Fighter) as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane, and Oscar® nominee Laurence Fishburne (What’s Love Got to Do with It) as her editor-in-chief, Perry White. Starring as Clark Kent’s adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, are Oscar® nominee Diane Lane (Unfaithful) and Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves).

Squaring off against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Oscar® nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road), and Faora, Zod’s evil partner, played by Antje Traue. Also from Superman’s native Krypton are Lara Lor-Van, Superman’s mother, played by Ayelet Zurer, and Superman’s father, Jor-El, portrayed by Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator).

Rounding out the cast are Harry Lennix as U.S. military man General Swanwick, as well as Christopher Meloni as Colonel Hardy.
 
Man of Steel is being produced by Charles Roven, Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder. The screenplay was written by David S. Goyer, from a story by Goyer and Nolan, based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are serving as executive producers.

The Good

  • Krypton~ (best part of the entire novel) most of Superman stories do not spend that much time here. Usually, the story starts five or ten minutes before Superman is being put into the ship to earth. So spending six chapters learning about krypton government, culture, and society really enriched the story.
  • More insight into characters
  • Analyzing the whole conflict between Zod and Superman/Jor-El

The Bad

  • suffers from flaws of the movie: they made superman all dark/superman manpaining/can we have superman just enjoy being a hero like Wonderwoman
  • suffers from flaws because it is not a movie: scientists, military, and government mambo jumbo  was boring
  • boring for large part of the book
  • Lois Lane

The Meh

  • The Destruction of Metropolis: reading the novel made me realize the destruction  that Superman did with the entire fight of this movie (people talked about this a lot when the movie came out but I do not know why I could not see it). The destruction seemed like the sort that is extreme global catastrophe level but has not been delivered on (doubt it will be)
  • Lois and Clark has zero chemistry

[featured image from https://favim.com/image/625255/ and the synopsis  is from goodreads]

Mini-Reviews: Please Look After The Disembodied Devotion of A Star-Touched Queen

 

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Like: black woman who games system and nuances of race, passingness, white threat and how all this can effect people view of cases/things justice # fair/colorblind

Dislike: repetitive (cannot get super mad because black folks especially women are hard to get info on) but it feels bare like there are missing details /their is not enough details

It sucks I did not like this because it was my most anticipated non-fiction for two years

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281: Please Look After Mom

Like: The first part (mom  and daughter/ youngest child experience)

Dislike: Everything after first part, guilt!!! you must feel it, may have been too long, after a while the guilt and random stories got old, mom is too perfect

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Like: Indian mythology heavy, doesn’t insta-love everything, lyrical

Dislike: Toward the ending I was like ok time to end this, love was not earned enough so felt sappy at times (I like building relations vs relationship so yeah I need it to feel relationships)

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282: The Devotion of Suspect X

The Good

Adaptations to watch later, Japanese characters and setting, dimension and interesting characters, challenging stereotypes (underbelly of japan), see all killer(s) mistakes in real time, know killer(s) so have to like or find killers interesting

The Bad

People who hoard info, can talk about aspect toward ending but the reveal of why and reasoning was ugh

Netgalley Reviews: Fairy Tale Retellings

I did not plan for this random fairy tale theme actually.

(I received these for my honest review from netgalley)

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Girls Made of Snow and Glass

9/5/17

12%

Why DNF? The way the writing was set up (the two main characters stories paralleling each other) was confusing. So I would keep mixing up Lynet and Mina. Where are the fantasy elements? The story was slow going and barely had any fantasy which as a personal preference I do not like in fantasy unless the characters are really compelling.

Like:  idea of the fantasy elements (glass heart), idea of exploration of snow white and evil queen relationship

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Little Red Wolf

10/3/17

Art: artistic (play around with color and style), reminiscent of fairy tales, font fits what would be in a fairy tale book

Story: I liked the twist on red riding hood and how the story captures fairy tales essence well. It captures the brutality, whimsicalness, and the beats without it being an average fairy tale story.

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)

Try Chapter Tag: Reading Groove (Mostly Black Women Authored)

I did do Diverseathon but because of reasons as you will see I stopped midway through the readathon.

Diverseathon

These are just the non-comics/picture book books I read.

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Red Queen Dies

+it is very current in certain aspects about the political climate of future (it is set in 2019)

-the mystery is boring sounding, narration/voice is ugh

Overall the story does not make me want to continue it. This sentiment is very much prevalent in everything I read for diverseathon. No

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Ardency

1st poem: this may be too lyrical for me

further on: I don’t know if I like poetry books and upon further reading most of it feels like an inside joke that I don’t get. I’m not super familiar with the Amistad which is what the poems are about. Again, I just am not invested. No

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The Secret of Magic

+more back story into characters than Red Queen Dies (even though as a story Red Queen Dies is more interesting)

This is set during the civil right movement time period so it is kind of dark. The first chapter (spoiler!) ended pretty bad. I’m really at a place that I’m not into just doom and gloom.  I just did feel interested after first chapter. No

I really want to see a psychological thriller with a black woman as the main character from the publishing industry in the future.

I was not enjoying the books I picked up for Diverseathon so I hit a reading slump that I hope that I can get out of it in February.

Non-Diverseathon

I have read these in the last couple of months or so.

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Living Violet

-main character is kinda judgemental (I know many teens are judgemental but I think it is deeper than her being judgemental it is me finding her voice as an issue), average mean love interest

+It is interesting (it has been a while so I do not know what exactly past me thought was interesting)

No

It is basically a black girl main character filling the space of the average girl who is introduced to fantasy world. The problem comes when I already have an issue with the genre of teen paranormal romance girls. I have a problem with the voice of most y.a. characters in general so yeah.

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Bad Feminist

Jumps around in the first essay in a weird way. I think it is because of  the informalness with which she is writing. I want to like it more but it feels like a rehashing of things but not in a fun way.  No

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Randomly decided to read Allegedly even though I was super afraid I would not like it. It kinda reminds me of Fosters which is a good show.

+the main characters voice is way more fun to be around than a lot of others in y.a.

-fatphobia is present in here

I probably will not finish this book knowing me (my relationship with y.a. and fiction in general) but right now Yes

Questions (don’t actually answer/spoil it)

Did she do it? And why?

Did her mom do it? I think her mom left her alone with the baby and she as a nine year old made a mistake she has blocked out. Or her mom is a psychopath who did it but blamed her daughter. I like the second theory because it is devious and can have a dramatic reveal towards the end.

What is the difference between baby jail and juvie?

Is she related to the child that died? How does she know the child who died? I think the child who died is actually not related to her because I sort of read the back which makes it seem like it is just a baby someone left for her mom and her to babysit.

The true winner of this Try A Chapter Tag is Allegedly since it is the only book I half-way liked. So I am going to read that and hopefully finish a non-fiction book sometime this year.