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.

 

Netgalley: Not Now, Not Ever

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Not Now, Not Ever

Pub: 11/21/17

Cons

  • I spent so much time not liking this book
  • The last 50 or so pages I had to push myself through
  • I did not like Ever/Elliot
  • Hipness vs Banter- can not tell if these are both products of the same issue or separate issues but the story felt like it was trying to be hip at points, the banter was not doing it for me
  • Most of the characters I could not remember their names or personalities but I do remember them being annoying a lot of the time
  • Not that invested in the love story

gets on soap box: If young adult is going to have more novels about college there needs to be conversations about mental health that do not divulge into get over it/you are weak for struggling with your mental health (this soap box is not completely for this novel because the story kind of fixed this critique in the end. Mostly this soap box is in result of seeing more novels set in college/preparing for college stages of characters life. Also, a lot of the novels I have read/am reading are not dealing with mental health and college).

Pros

  • Black girl who is into nerdy culture (it surprised me at first how current the nerd culture references were)
  • It feels very current to the issues and culture of teens (the genius/AP/accelerated class teens)
  • College Libraries- one of the things I do not think people talk about is how college libraries can be really amazing. I get why she would want to go to a college for the library because there are so many books that you cannot find at a public library (even though she could have interlibrary loaned books especially since the main character is in the California area which has more books in general…)
  • There were so many small little nuggets of wisdom that seeped into the story
  • There were a lot of information about the sff community that I did not know *insert tea emoji*

Objectively *** three stars

My Mood ** stars

 

 

 

 

 

Netgalley Reviews & DNFs

(received all these from netgally for review)

Killer Fashion

Why DNF?  DNF (for now) because I waited too long on book and its expired/got archived probably going to finish it from the library later. Other than that I did not like the poems and it was only 56 pages but felt longer. I cannot tell if this feeling is because of the ebook format or just the book.

Liked: The art gave the story the right tone for what it is about, information given gives the reader a look into not only the deaths but the life of the people at the time period of the clothing malfunctions

Art The art is in black and white with red put in certain parts (like feathers, belts, etc)

Ladybug In Plant City

Why DNF? (for now) I could not really read it because how it looked on adobe reader.  I am going to get it later from the library.

Liked: Cover

Noble vol. 1

Why DNF? I read the first issue and felt that it was confusing. I just did not feel engaged by the story.

Liked: Seeing a black family

Art was okay not amazing

Black Girls Rock!

Why DNF? I realized after getting this that I am not into essay collections, for some reason I thought this was an art book. I do think that there are people who will really enjoy this way more than I would.

Liked: Celebrating black women is always a plus

Ten Cents A Pound

Art: It was okay a lot of earthy tones

Story: Stories that push long-suffering of parent who is let behind to rot in poverty = the future is young, inequality works where only small amount of people can get out. I guess it sucks the whole situation.  It is a valuable story to tell but I wish it was not a that had to be told.

Petra

Art: Simple white with not a lot of stuff in the background which (I think) is meant for reader to focus on Petra

Story: It was okay. It went by fast I felt. Petra and the art is cute.

Cloudia & Rex

Art: Kind of ultraviolet look

Story: Halfway confused by certain events in the story did not like that, liked the art, the daughter is the typically written teen (actually not necessarily something you see in young adult books but more in television/movies), in the end I feel it was okay but not something I’d probably continue