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

 

 

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Netgalley DNFs #2

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

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The Takedown

Pub: 4/11/17

Kyla Cheng doesn’t expect you to like her. For the record, she doesn’t need you to. On track to be valedictorian, she’s president of her community club, a debate team champ, plus the yummy Mackenzie Rodriguez has firmly attached himself to her hip. She and her three high-powered best friends don’t just own their senior year at their exclusive Park Slope, Brooklyn high school, they practically define the hated species Popular. Kyla’s even managed to make it through high school completely unscathed.

Until someone takes issue with this arrangement.

A week before college applications are due, a video of Kyla “doing it” with her crush-worthy English teacher is uploaded to her school’s website. It instantly goes viral, but here’s the thing: it’s not Kyla in the video. With time running out, Kyla delves into a world of hackers, haters and creepy stalkers in an attempt to do the impossible-take something off the internet-all while dealing with the fallout from her own karmic footprint. Set in near-future Brooklyn, where privacy is a bygone luxury and every perfect profile masks damning secrets, The Takedown is a stylish, propulsive, and provocative whodunit, asking who would you rely on if your tech turned against you?

Why DNF? It reminded me of Before I Fall which I did not finish either because the main characters were not nice people. The thing is that I do like ambiguous/possibly mean/possibly villainous characters. What I do not like is that the main character meanness is just an average high mean girl meanness. The way that the main character built things up she was going to be more than that. I don’t know what is going on in terms of the story and what I see doesn’t catch me at all.

Questionable: There is a lot of mention of thinness in the first few chapters, conversation about how main character would rather girls who advance forward in life because of their brains (a woman can use her brains to use sexism to advance her forward)  I only read a few chapters so it may deal with these things later.

Liked: There is a relationship between two people of color, the embellishments in each chapter

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Girl Out of Water

Pub: 5/1/17

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.

Why DNF?  Girl Out of Water is not a bad book and that is the hard part about letting it go.  I just know that I could (and have) put it down and forget about it. It is in that middle area of its okay but I’m not engaged by it.

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Hollywood Homicide

Pub: 8/8/17

Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.

But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.

And there are no second takes in real life.

Why DNF? Once I got to later part of the first chapter when we reached the mystery that is when things went down for me. I didn’t find the mystery interesting.

Liked: I liked the first chapter a lot. The idea (and follow through) of the main character being a former child star was really entertaining.

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Rotten Stepbrother

Pub: 8/1/17

AGAIN, Holden?! First you broke Cinderella, now Beauty and the Beast? Your stepsister is ready to strangle you. Pointing out that the Beast kidnapped Beauty and only fell for her looks has somehow put the real Beast in jail! Now there’ll never be a happy ending. You need to go into the fairy tale world of rural France and– what do you mean you don’t speak French?!

Why DNF?  I did not realize that this book was part of a series (it’s the 2nd book). The first book comes out the same day as the second so I cannot review it. Also, what I read so far I was not into.

Liked: Cover (the beast and beauty are my favorite part of it)

Netgalley DNFs #1

I requested all of these books from netgalley for a review. It sucks to request a book then be picked just to DNF the book.

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Finding Mighty

Pub: 5/30/17

Along the train lines north of New York City, twelve-year-old neighbors Myla and Peter search for the link between Myla’s necklace and the disappearance of Peter’s brother, Randall. Thrown into a world of parkour, graffiti, and diamond-smuggling, Myla and Peter encounter a band of thugs who are after the same thing as Randall. Can Myla and Peter find Randall before it’s too late, and their shared family secrets threaten to destroy them all? Drawing on urban art forms and local history, Finding Mighty is a mystery that explores the nature of art and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Why DNF?  Overall the bit that I did read was okay but I was not engaged into the story.

Liked: Has an Indian main character, mentions micro-aggressions that happens to Indians in a middle grade novel

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Judas Cypher

Pub: 3/23/17

In a war between man and machine, he must find a way to protect them all…

After a devastating war forced humans to rely on synths for survival, the two have learned to coexist peacefully.

Until now….

When detective Dhata Mays is called in to investigate a homicide, what he uncovers threatens the serenity of this futuristic society. The gruesome murder means only one thing: someone is ready to incite another war. Now, it’s up to Dhata to ensure that the truth stays hidden—to protect both sides of the battle. But can he be unbiased in a black and white world that forces him to take sides?

Why DNF? Feels like average mystery P.I. story with sci-fi added to it (which is good if you are into that type of story), “synthetic racism” which gave me a bad taste of trying to equate racism with not liking synths, all in all it could be summed up with I just am not caught by the story

Liked: Sci-fi bend to a mystery story, the murder and mystery is actually interesting, also the cover

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I’ll Eat When I’m Dead

Pub: 5/2/17

When stylish Hillary Whitney dies alone in a locked, windowless conference room at the offices of high-concept magazine RAGE Fashion Book, her death is initially ruled an unfortunate side effect of the unrelenting pressure to be thin.

But two months later, a cryptic note in her handwriting ends up in the office of the NYPD and the case is reopened, leading Det. Mark Hutton straight into the glamorous life of hardworking RAGE editor Catherine Ono, who insists on joining the investigation. Surrounded by a supporting cast of party girls, Type A narcissists and half-dead socialites, Cat and her colleague Bess Bonner are determined to solve the case and achieve sartorial perfection. But their amateur detective work has disastrous results, and the two ingenues are caught in a web of drugs, sex, lies and moisturizer that changes their lives forever.

Why DNF? The mystery from what I read so far was not grabbing me.

Liked: Cover it is very eye-catching

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Willow Born

Pub: 6/1/17

You’d think waking up fifty years after she died would be the least of Collette’s problems. 

Years ago, witch hunters came to Carolina and devoured the Willows. Sixteen-year-old Collette, a powerful empath, was one of them. A part of a long line of witches that stretches back as far as the slave auctions of Charleston, she was especially gifted.

Decades later, a series of strange kidnappings prompts a member of her secret coven to make a plea for help and Collette is chosen to answer the call.  But things have changed. Angels have come out of the divine closet and everyone is on the lookout for the supernatural.

Snatched from the Void, she has to choose between a normal life and following the warrior path of the Willows, a coven she didn’t know she belonged to. Soon, problems pile sky-high as she struggles to keep the boy who could blow her cover at arm’s length and her sanity as family secrets come to light in the midst of a serial killer.

In the end it all comes down to destiny, death  and the grey places between good and evil. But then again, when you’re Willow Born death can be just the beginning.

WILLOW BORN is a  stand alone Paranormal Fantasy. Fans of Natalie C. Parker’s Beware the Wild and  Zoraida Cordova’s Labyrinth Lost will be delighted with the book’s mix of supernatural drama, romance and Southern fantasy.

Why DNF? Fatphobia (one of side characters is described as weak and fat) I did not read far enough to see if the label put on him is challenged. Of course on the opposite spectrum the love interest is muscular thus brave. The story overall needs to be polished more.

Liked: black love interest, main character is reborn (born? reincarnated? summoned?) knowing her past, I think overall the story is a good idea

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Pub: 3/1/17

1931. Bronzeville. Chicago. The mage, Frank “Half Dead” Johnson, is a marked man. Literally. A drunken decision fueled by tragedy has left him with half a soul, sorcerous powers, and two centuries to work off his debt to Scratch (aka The Devil) himself.
Watch as “Half Dead” attempts to save his own soul, pay his debt, and help as many people as he can along the way. It’s a hard-hitting Hoodoo Noir highball with just a splash of Southern Gothic. Smack-dab in the dark heart of the Windy City. Hold on tight! It’s going to be a bumpy ride down Hard Times Road.

Why DNF? I did not like the story just based on investment sake. I did not feel propelled to finish it.

(images are from goodreads and synopsis are from netgalley)

 

 

DNF: The Martian

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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

The Good

The new additions that broke up the narratives  flow was an interesting one. I don’t want to give away the story so this is vague.

The Bad

  • This feels like a chemistry book

The biggest problems I struggled with so much that I stopped reading the book for months on is how much the story feels like a chemistry book. Much of it is given a and c how do you find b. Oh, wait I did it but it caused all these other complications. I think reading a couple of sci-fi books recently that I’m more of a soft sci-fi person. I like seeing the sciency stuff but get bored with finding out how the sciency stuff works.

  • The main characters (Mark Watney) personality

At first I found his personality a good thing but over time he started to get on my nerves. It felt like his personality was trying too hard to be something. He became obnoxious.

Why the DNF happened?

Ultimately, I decided to let this book go because the story went back into Mark Watney trying to problem solve something. At page 158 with 212 pages left I could not do it. I thought about what I liked about this book and came up very empty.

DNF: How To Be A Good Wife

how to be a good wife

After making a  bookmark and book cover for this book to carry around at school…

After finding this great cover that I feel  fits this book so well…

I couldn’t do it.

[I read 40-50 pages or about 16% in total.]

I’m going to input a paragraph that is actually from September when I first read 2 chapters from this book (It’s still very relevant and sums up my feelings). I wanted to take this with me to school to save on backpack weight instead of A Feast For Crows but it’s not good enough to do that. I just finished Confessions of a Sociopath so my limit on books I requested/won that I’m not that into is low. They both are not bad but not amazing or engrossing. People  compare this book to Before I Go To Sleep which can be a good and bad thing. I definitely feel Before I Go To Sleep is better and the feel and premise works better there than here so far. I feel like this book is trying to say some things about feminism and be a mystery at the same time. I am eh about the feminism that I see so far and the feminism I will see in the future because it is going to get the light tap special. It is going to lightly focus on the inequalities that women face. It is not going to go address the feminism in a way that cuts people. I want to see feminism and so many other topics addressed in a way that will cut into the inequities of our society. Honestly, I don’t care about this book all that much. That sucks because I requested this and was honored by getting it sent to me. I’m thankful for being able to win/get requested books but I’m just not that into most of  these books.  Let me pretend for a minute that this book is going to get better and go somewhere amazing (sigh it is not and that is boring).  Yeah, to lukewarm books.

Now

Same but now I am not skirting around the b word, boring. I’m in college now so I don’t have time like in the past (even though if a book is not for me all the time in the world will not save it.). This is a fact many people are probably tired of me saying. Like I said above Before I Go To Sleep is better and everything fit in that story. How to Be A Good Wife  jumps around without explaining things, one of my top pet peeves.  I found myself just reading without feeling any investment in the characters. I think this book is not for me.

DNF: The XX Factor

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I made a plan that I was going to do a 19% first impressions review with this book and another book I was receiving for review. This plan did not happen like most of the plans I make. I make all these grand plans only to dnf the books.

I won this book off of goodreads the latter part of last year. As you can see it took me a long time to review this book. I did not review this book until now because I had a fear that this book would be one of those books that would say women need to get back into the house and blame women for every problem. Recently, I decided to read this in result of my lack of interest in fiction. I felt that I needed to read non-fiction for a bit. Well, things did not go as planned.

The Good
The introduction made me feel that this book would be thought provoking. I was even prepared to not like everything the author said if it made me think. I actually wrote out my first impressions for the introduction for the 19% impressions plan.

Introduction:(My uncorrected proof copy says How The Rise of Working Women Has Created A Far Less Equal World so that is most of where my first reaction is coming from)So far I like it. My opinion so far is that I don’t care is women’s place that they are taking in the workplace is creating an unequal world. I feel that women need a world that has them in the equation. My attitude as of late dealing with all these issues (race, gender, publishing, etc.) is that if society does not have that group(s) in mind why are should they be present. They want to profit off of people but don’t want to give them equal opportunities. Society was never equal in the first place so yeah. Personally, I’m tired of considering these people when those people do not care about me.

I like that the book is addressing that all women are not created equal. Many women are entering the work force out of necessity not exactly to get a leg up. Many women do not have a choice of not working. You cannot grow as a society and expect everyone to stay the same. Society needs to grow to fit the need of its people in general. To get women out of the workforce there has to be many changes that I don’t think that the other half is going to make.

To Sum it Up
1.This world is unequal in the first place.
2.Why should these marginalized groups think about people when they do not think about me in their equation?
3.Many women have no choice in working.
4.Are we going to talk to men about their role in things or are we going to just police women?

I do think some of the ideas such as more part-time jobs for people would be good. I don’t know if it would be good for economy or anything but it would be good for many people.

The Bad

After the introduction this book lost my engagement. I started to force myself to keep going with this book. I think many other reviewers for this book hit the nail on the head for why I lost interest in this book.

One of the main reasons my interest was lost was because it feels so repetitive. How many ways can you say that the more education the less likely a woman is to have kids? This entire point and the reasons why are common knowledge. That is another problem I had, most of the information seems like common knowledge stuff.

Thank you Alison Wolf and goodreads for sending me this book for free in exchange for my review.

A Senseless Quest -Unbookhauling

So I got around to reading the new books I got yesterday and some books that I own.

I will admit that I picked most of these books up because I thought I would not like them.

My General Reaction to most of these books:

– Umm…nah/eh

-the more the descritption the less the cares

-gosh, my patience is not here for this

-yawn

Disclaimer: I did not read an entire chapter for most of these books because most of these books are eh level and I could sense it. I started fidgeting wanting for something to happen that would make me care.

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This books was not awful but not good enough to keep my attention. My caring or excitement was absent so I’m done. I actually read the Pride and Prejudice Zombies graphic novel last year, I think, did not like it. I liked  the movie for this book and decided to try it out. I will never learn.

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I read  two or three pages then decided to read what the book was about to see if that may interest me, nope. It was very basic. I want fantasy/sci-fi to wow me and I am shown repeatedly the many ways it can bore me.

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Starting off your story like it is a basic contemporary novel is not interesting. Then the town is diverse but of course the main character is not. The main characters were so eh.

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I was not interested so I just left. I want mystery to be interesting too but it is too busy not ever really doing anything. I literally went to sleep on this one.

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This is the first book to Bevis. I feel too old for this book for one thing. Another is the story went straight into stuff happening without explaining what is going  and started off with so much description. It is a classic so a lot of description is usually a thing. Then it was jumping around from point to point without describing what is going on in the first place.  I just did not feel it was for me at the end of the day.  I just let this one go.

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The more the description the less the cares I give.

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eh, eye rolled once because of course the main character gets the tiniest bit embarrassed then it is his character motivation.

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The main character rubbed me the wrong way and did not get my attention to keep going.

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One page feels like a million.

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I realized that I dnf Heart of Darkness  by him already so I dnf this one by association.

Authors

  • please start your novels off better
  • please create more creative stories with diverse characters
  • please create distinct characters

Thank you