280: The Duff

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Synopsis

Soon to be a major motion picture! Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, a biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. But things aren’t so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.  

Cover: This movie tie-in version is the best.

The Good

  • fun comparing it to movie (after a while I stopped comparing it to the movie because it is pretty different beyond the premise of the story)
  • main character voice-she is opinionated. People don’t like these type of girl teen voices (I feel she sounds like me as a teen)
  • the main character (Bianca) had a multifaceted voice
  • feminist (in ways)- sexually progressive  (allowing the main character to not feels shame for sleeping with someone casually)

The Bad

  • Last 70 or so pages felt like the last 5 episodes of a k-drama (or most Asian dramas)- filler city and prolonged problems between characters
  • lack of diversity (noticeable more since in the movie one of the friends, Casey, is Latina)
  • falls back on sexual progressive conversation (or shows internalized misogyny)
  • Her friends were a bit interchangeable

The Meh

All these young adult books are catching up with me. This one made me think about high school young adult reader me. It is interesting coming back to ya and reading something I feel I would not have enjoyed as an actual young adult.

I want to read essays about The Duffs feminism now but cannot find any.

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)

21 Days of Comics #8-14

Introductory Post

Comics #1-7

Comics #15-21

 

69 days later I finally push myself to finish this post.

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DNF-Cold Space

I just was not into it.

Little Tails On Halloween!

Reads young for me but the animals were cute

Tim Burthon’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

Ok. but already know story and eh. *why ruin your legacy with racism?*

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Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Volume 1: Hooked On A Feline

Really funny, interesting probably one of the few good comics I read through in this 21 Days of Comics thing.

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth

“Wisdom and Idioms”

Written and Illustrated by Cory Godbey

An all-new short based on Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. The Wiseman and his bird try to find some humor in the magical world of Labyrinth.

ugh (jokes are free but you are not funny)

Iscariot

Written and Illustrated by S.M. Vidaurri

Young Carson discusses magic and time with a wizard in this special preview of the upcoming Archaia original graphic novel written and illustrated by Iron: Or, the War After creator S.M. Vidaurri.

eh better than last but eh still

Mouse Guard

“Service to Seyan”

Written and Illustrated by David Petersen

An excerpt from Mouse Guard: Baldwin the Brave and Other Tales. Gwendolyn learns about her mother Alma and the great warrior hall of Seyan.

boring, average fantasy story, what is even going on

Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake: Card Wards

Created by Pendleton Ward

Written by Jen Wang

Illustrated by Britt Wilson

A brand-new Fionna & Cake short from writer Jen Wang (In Real Life) and Britt Wilson (Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake)! Fionna and Cake are on the search for an opponent for Cake to play against in Card Wars.

bright and colorful not bad but not for me

Regular Show

“Coffee Shop Special!”

Created by JG Quintel

Written by Kevin Church

Illustrated by Coleman Engle

Based on the hit Cartoon Network animated series, Eileen and Margaret make Muscle Man his special drink.

colors were not dull was not long enough I did not love it

Peanuts

“Dogstoevsky”

Created by Charles M. Schulz

Story by Charles M. Schulz

Pencils by Vicki Scott

Snoopy looks to finally become the World’s Greatest Author, but Lucy’s help may not be the helpful push he needs.

feels like a story the Peanut always does so if like them  you will like this story

Garfield

“Fast Feline”

Created by Jim Davis

Written by Mark Evanier

Illustrated by Andy Hirsch

Nothing can keep Garfield from a good meal, even if it means having to beat the fastest cat to get it.

This anthology is reading young so far/unremarkable

Looks unimpressed for next four books *rant why I don’t like anthologies*

Lumberjanes

Created by Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis

Written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis

Illustrated by Brooke Allen

When the Lumberjanes aren’t taking care of pesky critters or crazy demigods, they’re making fun crafts like friendship bracelets. Friendship to the max!

Munchkin

“Table of Contents”

Written and Illustrated by John Kovalic

Fight the monsters, steal the treasure, and backstab your buddy! A wandering monster table appears in this short from the illustrator of the hit card game Munchkin, John Kovalic.

Help Us! Great Warrior

Written and illustrated by Madeleine Flores

Based on the hit webcomic and new miniseries from Madeleine Flores. Great Warrior gets attacked on the road!

  • Lumberjanes: Mixing It Up (skipped)- I don’t like Lumberjanes
  • Giant Days: [Untitled]- feels like people who like Lumberjanes would like this. ugh.
  • The Backstagers: [Untitled]- too short
  • Goldie Vance- have to question if missing info or lack of whatever makes story not good vs it is just not for me. I read this before and I am sure it is missing stuff.

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Mockingbird #1

Pro It is interesting and feels unique-ish.

I felt at a distance from it when I read it. It probably felt separated because I went to a funeral so yeah. Also, I finished a novel and i’m feeling eh about reading honestly. I probably need to take a break for a bit.

Silk #1

I do not know what is going on with me and Silk, for some reason I’m not into it into it.  I hope as I read further I can get into it.

Discussion

This one was super underwhelming/overall underwhelming comic reading week. This was what I was trying to avoid when I first started this. I am supposed to be reconnecting with the good comics.

In my last post I did a whole discussion about fiction taking up space and then I spent most of this week reading a novel. When I read the novel I pretty much put everything else (novels included) to the side to read it. The only time I got back into the comics was when I took a break from the novel.

How am I going to rectify this comic problem?

  • read better comics (top answer I think)
  • push harder (if every facet of social media is about comics and my pickiness makes me not like novels as makes me work harder to find good novels then I need to push harder with comics too.)

Missing Books On Goodreads

I realized that I did not even mark comics I read from last week as read. A lot of the comics I read this week I could not mark as read because they are not on the site database. It made me think about all the comics I have read in the past that are left unmarked because I am too lazy or forgot to add them. So I may have read more comics this year but they are not shown on the site.

(all images are from comicvine)

21 Days of Comics #15-21

Introductory

21 Days of Comics: #1-7

21 Days of Comics: #8-14- Skipping  for now because it is the longest of the three so it needs a lot more polish.

Since I basically went over the 21 Days I decided to read some comics from Free Comic Book Day 2017.

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Monster  High

+Clawdeen and Cleo parts

-Draculaura/Frankie, welcome to monster high world

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Descendants

-not that bad (probably cause my expectations were low)

+world

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Loud House

+It is like the show which I like, art

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Rebith: Vixen

Why are there teens who keep trying black women?  (in Storm #1 a teenager was yelling at her too about what she has not done like okay lol)

I enjoyed this a lot because it was fun to read. I did not leave it feeling underwhelmed like a lot of other comics have left me.

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Jem #14-16

Dark Jem arc was okay. I wonder if my waning interest is because of the Dark Jem arc? I hope that my interest comes back now that this arc is over. I don’t know if I am excited about the Stingers though.

Discussion

I know me posting this took so long but I’m having problems with comics now so it is not that surprising. I think I am in a bit of a comic/overall reading slump. Part of me feels that I just have not found that comic that gets me super excited. Jem is usually the comic that really is fun but recently it has been a bit underwhelming.

Organizing

I’m finally organizing my comics. I think that organizing so far is helping me to get a feel for the comics I own. I can be reminded of comics that I forgot about. The only problem is that it is so daunting. Maybe my overall reading (books own/tbr/ and etc) is cluttered. I don’t know. I just want things to get better with comics and not get to the point that I am with novels.

279: Spartacus: Morituri (Spartacus #2)

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Synopsis

BLOOD UPON THE SANDS Spartacus is the hit TV series which has captivated viewers with its blood-soaked action, exotic sexuality, villainy and heroism. This original novel from the world of Spartacus: Blood and Sand relates a thrilling new tale of blood, sex and politics set in the brutal world of the arena. Spartacus and his fellow gladiators endure bout after bout of fierce and bloody fighting, while their opponent’s numbers never seem to shrink. Can Batiatus’s ludus survive against such odds? An epic battle ensues against a vicious enemy determined to soak the arena in the blood of his rivals.

The Good

This book is set around season 1

  • Seeing stuff from season 1 that does not exist past that season
  • Captures the characters voice and their motivations well- which is what you want from a novelization. Seeing words that I could see coming out of the characters mouth made me ultimately decide to buy this book.
  • Diverse cast: just like the show
  • Hits on the important povs: most of the people who have a point of view in the show make an appearance
  • Intrigue- like the show
  • Roman mythology

The Bad

  • Repetitive- feels like the story got stuck in a loop for a large amount of the novel and only got out of it in the last 100 or so pages.

The Meh

I question if the sexual violence shown in the book was handled well. Then again does the show handle sexual violence well?

What next?

I did a Top Ten Tuesday list of my novelization tbr

Currently reading: Man of Steel

 

 

 

Mini-Reviews: Netgalley

I got all of these books from netgalley for my honest review.

Saints and Misfits

Saints, Misfits, Monsters, and Mayhem is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Pub: 6/13/17

(this is an arc so it may be different from the finished novel)

Pros: Getting the viewpoint of one arab-indian muslim teen girls life which is important to mention because throughout the story you see that her identity is important. It is something that is apart of her everyday. One of the things that I had to think about is that this is probably the only book that shows a teen (or adult) whose religion is prominent in their life.

Another thing that surprised me out the gate is how dark this book is (which would not if I had really read the synopsis…). It brought up some Muslim intra-faith and interfaith conversations up (liking these contemporaries bringing up issues in a way that many poc deal with them. Not everyday is a heavy day). It is an everyday contemporary dealing with her everyday issues being a teen: school, dating, and etc.

Cons: I did not like this story as much as I expected/wanted to. Part of it is possibly because I did not like My So Called Life.

Meh: (disclaimer all things that I did not like can probably be attributed to this being from point of view of a teen so yeah) Janna- I did not like her most of the time and her evolution felt out of nowhere. She was so judgmental, selfish, and mean. It felt like she kept people at a distance from her (probably because of the event that happened at beginning of book) but it felt like she was just there at times and nobody was actually her friend.

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Linden Hills (DNF)

Pub: 3/14/17

-20%

Pros:  From what I read so far it does bring up a lot of black racial topics (colorism, assimilation, respectability, and the problematic bits of affluent black neighborhood)

Why DNF? This sounded so good I thought this is going to be a literal or more direct Dante’s Inferno with black folks. In my head it was going to be sci-fi, I think.

What about black women? I can’t tell if it is a good representation of how black men view women during this time period (or in general) or another book with black women as set pieces. Or I did not read it far enough to get to the nuanced women. Overall, I just was not enjoying it and felt it was a conversation that has been had a lot already in more reachable/non-black women exclusionary ways.

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Cinderella and the Furry Slippers

Handsome princes, fancy castles, extravagant balls . . . in this girl-power fractured fairy tale, Cinderella learns that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is, and it’s better to create your own happy ending.

Cinderella is dying to go to the ball. She’s seen pictures of the fancy castle and the handsome prince, she’s heard the fairy tales about true love, she’s found the perfect dress in Princess magazine and she’s even found an ad for a Fairy Godmother. She’s all set.

Except the fairy godmother doesn’t look like the one in the ad. And the castle doesn’t look like the picture. And the prince . . . well, Cinderella decides her fairy-tale ending is going to look different–and be a whole lot more fun.

Pub: 8/10/17

Pros:   It is a unique Cinderella retelling, fantasy world built-in the story (my favorite part of the story), the last three pages of this book which makes me wish that it would have started with Cinderella leaving Prince Charming. Then the rest of the story could have been her discovering herself in the fantasy world  around her.

Cons: I found the last three pages of  this book more interesting than the all the pages before it.

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Tobor

After receiving a special gift, Ben comes to understand that friends come in all shapes, sizes – and types. Ben receives a very special present for his fifth birthday. Unlike Ben’s stuffed animals who can’t move on their own or talk, Tobor is different; with a press of his square nose, Tobor comes alive, suggesting and playing games, talking and asking questions and soon he becomes Ben’s best friend. Sometimes friendship develops where you least expect it.

Pub: 8/11/17

Pros: Art, Idea (toy robot)

Cons:  It does not feel like it has a middle point where problem happens (or that much of) to have a conclusion

 

 

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)