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.

 

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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

 

 

Netgalley Reviews & BookishFirst: Mostly Late

(I received these books unless stated otherwise from netgalley in exchange for my review)

Gracie La Roo

3/1/18

Why DNF? I could not get into it but I think it is just not for me.

Liked: How bright and colorful the art is

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Shai & Emmie Star In Break An Egg!

10/3/17

Why DNF? It is not for me but I think other people will really be into it.

Like: That it is ownvoices, interesting that it is set in a performance arts school

 

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Jade City

11/7/17

Why DNF? I just could not get into it

Liked: Setting, Gems giving characters abilities, it seemed already very complex from the few chapters I read (it would be one of those stories that goes against a readers expectations)

 

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Nick Newton Is Not A Genius

10/21/16

19%

Why DNF? Not enough is happening, it feels like the same thing happens each chapter

Liked: The art, idea of kid who is not genius among genius family

 

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I Love My Purse

9/12/17

+Art, the idea of pushing for acceptance of people particularly boys who go against our societies standards of them

-very simplistic (probably the adult in me) in how it talks about toxic masculinity and being different.

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Chester Raccoon and the Almost Perfect Sleepover

5/16/17

Art: very detailed (texture fur, bugs as something they eat)

Story: Realistic in terms of what the animals eat (I don’t know if this can be attributed to artist or writer) and it just was a fun adventure in these characters lives.

BookishFirst

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The Belles

2/20/18

Samples two chapters courtesy of BookishFirst for a possible free print copy of the book

World~

Pro The world is interesting, the implications exist for this story to really say something about beauty, the representation of different body sizes and skin tones

Con My biggest worry is how the beauty aspect will be handled.

Finishing these chapters I was left with a few questions…

Questions: Have there been more than six beauties at a time? Where do the old beauties go? How does beauty save in this world? What is beautiful to this society?

 

(Cover images are from goodreads)

 

Netgalley Reviews: Good Batch

(I got these for review from netgalley)

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Children of Blood and Bone Excerpt/Preview (Chapters 1-6)

3/6/17

Cover: is actually representative of what is in the novel. The colors are so eye-catching and vibrant.

Pros

  1. Fantasy world- it’s not clunky/info-dumpy, it is interesting to have a world that is majority if not completely filled with black people
  2. How it deals with the problems of the world- the greatest thing about having a world with majority/completely filled with black people is that the story can be intraracial issues such as colorism. It also does a good representation of systematic oppression ( there is even some commentary about misogynoir )
  3. Brutal- the stakes are high and real

I really did not have anything I did not like about it so I’m ready  for it to come out. I’m actually a bit annoyed at myself for sampling something coming out next year in March.

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My Nana and Me

8/1/17

Art:  Black girl with black doll, good drawing black people, dream like different images that blend into one

Story: love between grandmother  and her granddaughter

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Sweet Dreams, Super Girl

2/1/18

Art: mix comic and picture book-transition for young superhero lovers, poc children

Story: takes everyday lessons and adds superheroes to it

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Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament

9/5/17

Art: colors bright, black people in background (different between black and white features)

Story: actually kinda funny, was history lession without me realizing its a history lesson (didn’t feel messagy)

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)

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

 

 

Picture Book Reviews: Netgalley

I received all of these picture books for free in exchange for my review from netgalley.

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Pub: May 16 2017

Liked: Cute main character and book. She is a rambunctious main character, has the diversity (parents are interracial couple is normalized), art

Disliked: It was very this event is happening then this event is happening (but it is for kids so yeah)

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Pub: April 15 2007

Liked: Making worry into a monster that is kind of scary,  lurking and hiding waiting to pounce. In the end I liked that the story not only shows what worry does but also how to combat it.

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Pub: Nov 1 2016

Liked: Creativity of plot (made me think of Inside Out at first but it goes beyond that to be more). It is about holding onto something to get through adversity for kids, Latina main character

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Pub: Oct 11 2016

Liked: Teaches kids about facing their fears and it is a unique story.

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Pub: May 16 2017

Liked: The art is really cute and bright. It is not an obviously you are learning things type of potty training book. If you are trying to get kids to potty train you could sneak this in.

[all images are from goodreads]