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]

#Diverseathon Wrapup: Comics & Picture Books

(Dates: Sept 12-19)

 

Sept.12

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This book (and most wordless books) force you to really look at the art. A lot of the time I look but am focused on reading the text so I miss a lot of things. I really appreciated the different art style and structure of the book.

It is in French I believe but it still lets you get an idea of how this book is structured.

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It is interesting that what this book is about is different from my interpretation.  I don’t want to spoil/warp someone else interpretation of the book so I can’t go into that aspect.  I did like it for the art and story.

Sept. 13

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I seriously need to read more books that deal with South American in general culture! I really liked the different art styles used for this picture book. Viva Frida helped me to learn more about Frida Kahlo, who I need to read a non-fiction book about soon.

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+You can really tell when there is a #ownvoices because it sounds authentic (I could  hear my cousin in the little boy character), Art,  all kinds of diversity background, creative, looking at beauty in your surroundings (especially in poor neighborhoods which you are told are ugly and etc all the time),  It has commentary/stuff that adults can get out of it too.

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+Art, creative story (this story stands out compared to other stories)

It has a sense of loss which makes it feel kind of sad. It is the viewpoint of someone who is older retelling a story basically saying I remember when.

I don’t like the heavy emphasis on the men of the  civil rights movement without any women being shown.

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+Art, thing we do to get through rough periods, depict depression/sad period because of point in life.

I like that it is bringing depression and sadness to a younger audience. We as a society don’t talk about sadness, depression, mental illness, and etc enough. There is so much put on strength=being emotionless/hiding or holding in emotions.

Sept 16

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I could tell what this one was about and I liked it. I like the commentary that came out of this.

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I liked its message about accepting yourself. It is also important to show a black girl being encouraged and beating the odds.

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The art is good but the story was o.k. I understood what was going on at the beginning but I started getting confused towards the middle. Of course I did not read what it was about before reading it. What is the fun of a wordless book if you know what is about before reading it?

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+Art, commentary on one child rule/Chinese culture

~On Wordless Picture Books and Graphic Novels

I don’t know if I like authors telling you what a story is about instead of letting you interpret it yourself. I can understand why many of these books explained because what the books are portraying kids (and many adults) may misunderstand what they are about.

Overall, I really enjoyed all the books I read. Most of them were creative and unique  which does not always happen with picture books. This makes me want to seek even more diversity in picture books than I already do.

Before You Buy More Books Checklist

After buying a bunch of books I decided I wanted to read City of Bones. I mean I really wanted to get this book on a whole different level.  I know part of it is that I watch the show now which I strangely like. Anyway,  I decided to use this want to power bringing down my TBR.   In creating this checklist I did not want to have a number of books or time to wait before getting new books.

My three main goals are:

  1. Get up to date with comics my brother has read.
  2. Empty Shelves
  3. Purge, Declutter, and Organize books

Get up to date with comics my brother has read

My brother has read more comics than I have in result of them being pretty much his only source of reading at school. Also, he just reads comics faster than I do. I think that catching up with my brother is a more fun than saying I will read x amount of comics. My reward for reading each comic is having someone to talk about these comics with.

  • Black Dynamite #3
  • Concrete Park vol. 1
  • Black Panther #1
  • Saga vol. 1
  • Fight Like A Girl vol. 1
  • Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #1
  • Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #2
  • All New X Factor #1
  • Sensation She-Hulk #1
  • Sensation She-Hulk #2
  • Duck Tales #1
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast #13
  • Futurama #16
  • Thing She-Hulk-The Longest Night #1
  • Rose & Thorn #1
  • Rose & Thorn #2
  • Rogue #1
  • Ororo #2
  • Ororo #3
  • Ororo #4
  • Avengers-The Enemy Within #1
  • Storm + Gambit (one shot)
  • Storm #1
  • Storm #2
  • Storm #3
  • Storm#4

Empty Shelves

1) Goodreads Currently Reading

A. Finish 1 book

B. Get to 50% on all books

2) Book Apps

Read/Purge 5 books from each

  1. Kindle
  2. Nook
  3. Kobo
  4. Comixology
  5. DC
  6. Marvel
  7. Google play
  8. Darkhorse
  9. Marvel unlimited

3) Read picture books

On one hand I want to purge until there is none so I can have space for other books on my shelf. On the other hand I have only a small amount of picture books. Either way I am going to come out of this bringing down my TBR.

Top Ten 2016 Reading Resolutions (with books I plan to read this year)

Create space for who I am/want to be as a reader

Everything is in support of this ultimate goal.

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1. follow people who read comics and picture books.

I want to fully dive into comics. I can’t do that if I’m following people who read away from where I want to go in my reading.

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2. Read predominately picture books and comics
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3. Ignore Books Left To Read list
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4. Review more..

A. comics and picture books I’ve read

B. finish drafted reviews

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5. Do things outside reviewing books
Most if not all of the posts I do are book reviews and that needs to change.
  *Book Discussions/Random Rants
  *Recommendations
  *Random Book Finds
These are just a few things I want to do off the top of my head.
 She-Hulk, Vol. 2: Disorderly Conduct
6. Don’t put a number on reading diversely
Last year I said I wanted to read 75% diversely which I abandoned quickly when the year started. It gave me numbered book challenge vibes which is something I fought to get away from. I think actively working towards seeing more diverse books instead of putting a number on it is better for me. I think if I create an environment that is filled with people who read diversely it will be something I continuously naturally do.
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7. Read more, plan less
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8. Start off small
This goes under the read more and plan less idea. I get caught up in what a book would mean for me a lot of the time than looking at if I actually will like the book/liked books like it in the past. I need to start off with one book then go from there.
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9. Don’t start any new…
  A. Non-fiction
  B. Novels
(Exceptions: Series I’m already into such as Ever After High and A Song of Ice and Fire)
I do not know how this goal will go as the year progresses but right now it feels like something that I need to do. This goal seemingly contradicts some of the topics I want to read in 2016.  This brings me to my last goal.
 Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur #1 Cover A Regular Amy Reeder Cover
[image from midtown comics]
10. Challenge the perceived limitations of picture books and comics.
[all images are from goodreads except Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur]

Library Checkout {38} Along Came A Spider

I actually managed to checkout less than 20  books from the library.

Preliminary DNFs

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I just don’t feel I will like these and my brother confirmed that I wouldn’t.

Picture Books/Graphic Novels

I only got two picture books but Long Tail Kitty is technically a graphic novel (structurally and style wise).  I need to probably get more picture books next time to break up all the graphic novels I get.

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I don’t know how I am going to feel about Scalped. It is one of those books that I keep passing over because I feel I wouldn’t like it. One of the main reasons it did not get passed over again is my brother picking it up. Ms. Marvel vol. 2 on the other hand I am looking forward to immensely since the first volume was really good.  Young Avengers seems like it could be really good but I don’t know. Knowing myself as a reader it could miss me completely.

Spiderverse

Did not realize when I was reserving books that I got so much of the spider universe.

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When I reserved this I did not realize that this was:

A. So big -624 pages

B.  Compiled entirety (or most) of the Spiderverse

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Hence why I got this not realizing that this volume is in  the Spiderverse book. It does make sense now  that the library site doesn’t say volume 1 or 2 but does say simply Spiderverse. Also, the cover on the Spiderverse on the library site is the same as the Edge of Spiderverse cover.

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It is a good thing I did not get as many books as I usually do so now I can read some of the comics I own between these spiderman comics. Probably won’t read all of these this haul but I’m excited about all of these.