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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

Reprintable: Promises

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Synopsis

Carlie and Gordie…
They had know each other since early childhood. Gordie had moved into the house behind Carlie’s when she had been only five years old. They had been inseparable for seven years until Gordie’s father had received another assignment and moved his family to Germany. For four long years Carlie had missed Gordie.
Now he had written her to tell her they were coming home. Carlie was having a fit. Had he changed over the years? Would he still be her best friend? Or would they greet each other as strangers?

The Rad

  • Has black teen characters but does not has race as a plot while not erasing the racial dimensions of the characters.
  • Friendship between a boy and girl. The story centers this strong relationship it could be said that this is the true love story.
  • Subplot which I will not reveal because spoilers but I liked it and it added dimensions to the main conflict.

The Damage

  • The shortness/there needed be a some sort of subplot or something that went beyond Carlie dealing with Gordie.
  • There was not enough put into the main plot or subplots that did exist.

Subplots that could have been beefed up

A. Friendship between Gordie and Carlie

B. Gordie *spoiler* plot

C. Carlie life outside of Gordie

The As If

There was some questionable things presented such as Gordie saying one girl was the bad girl who he would date but Carlie is the good girl who he would take home.

Felt a way about how the family took Carlie on like she was the wife or something to Gordie. I don’t know how to exactly explain it but it felt like too much for a teenager girl to take on.

If this was printed today…

– there would be at least a 100 more pages

-there would be more subplots and a beefed up main plot

-it probably would not be painted as a romance (but also I feel I read it as a romance based on the cover and the “first love from silhouette”/”Americas favorite teenage romance” tags so it may be based on my assumptions because the synopsis does not read at all like romance)

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)

 

Being A Y.A. Returner: Being Y.A. Returned

A while back I talked a bit about Being An Adult In Y.A./Being A Y.A. Returner so today I want to talk further into some observations about my y.a. reading.

Here are a couple of things that I have noticed about my young adult reading.

  • Own Voices/diverse books are the majority

A. Young adult is more diverse (or at least there is a community to push up the diversity happening)

B. Young adult that talks about so many different things that past y.a. did not

This could be a post in itself but I just enjoy so much about reading diverse books.

  • #1 Genre Read = Realistic Contemporary

Diverse books are mostly in the realistic contemporary genre (what I would give for a good fluffy contemporary). It will be interesting in 2018 with more genre expansion and particularly sff for diverse books how that will affect my reading.

  • Unknowns are my favorites

Most of the books I liked/loved I did not plan to read. On the opposite end some of the books I got really excited about I did not like or finish.

  • Mainstream ≠ me

A. Diverse books do not necessarily become mainstream (which actually sucks now that I am thinking on it).

B. It is a weird thing where I am into y.a. but not extremely into it. In the past I have described it as being a guest, coming into y.a. to read certain books then leaving out.

  • Nothing later than 2010’s or Future/Present YA is my realm

Anything not between 2015-17 seems to not be for me. Sometimes this can be awesome because everything I am reading is pretty new. On the other hand it can be annoying waiting on the newest book to come out.

Overall, I am just excited about being back. I did not expect after everything that I would be back but I am enjoying it.

Since it has been troublesome deciding what post to do next in this series I need your help.

Analyzing Book Covers

Quick catch-up: after a mostly great months reading novels I’m in a not slump but everything that I’m reading is okay.  They are in that ugh middle ground of being neither bad or amazing. Bummer.

So a couple of days ago I randomly analyzed a book cover which was really fun so now I want to do more. All of these are from my goodreads to read shelf so I know at least a little bit about them making this not a just based on cover alone thing.

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Monday’s Not Coming

First thoughts: The cover is atmospheric the red color makes me think of an alarm blaring. Look at her facial expression and body language. She doesn’t have her hands around her knees but it still looks hectic with the color.

Second Viewing: A couple of things I did not notice or know how to pinpoint- I did not notice that the red is not just a background that the character is sitting on top of it is lighting her skin, shoes, and clothes (I know there is a word to describe what the red is doing to her but I can’t think of this exact word/wording).The red lighting makes the white  words stand out even more. I did not notice that the words are basically white chalk.

Further into her facial expression which I couldn’t pinpoint. Looking at it now it seems like she is distracted, her mind is somewhere else. This probably ties into her being distracted thinking about her missing friend.

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Princeless Short Stories Vol. 1

Black girl riding a light pink/purple dragon in the air. She looks like she is ready to go into battle seeing as she has her knife out in the air. She and the dragon are not going angry or sadly into battle but happy. The warrior princess is very in line with the Princeless series.

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Babysitter IV

Tagline: Her life is still on the line…

She is obviously in the kitchen on the phone. This is the fourth Babysitter but she has the window opened…drapes opened…(Or the blinds are those type of drapes that cannot be closed).  Also, she has her back turned to the window with all the aforementioned things… Definitely can tell it is the 80s-90s because she is on a cordless phone (side comment: some people say the cellphone killed a lot of horror trappings). It is midday about to turn to the darkness of nighttime so she is doing all of this when it is about to be dark out.
Her face is scared and she is holding the cord on the phone tightly. It makes me think of Scream since I sampled (but did not finish) the script and saw the movie trailer. I feel like a scary movie character wore the exact outfit the main character wears on the cover but I have not seen enough scary movies to really tell.

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Tooth And Talon

Don’t remember what this is about so this is going to be interesting?

The main character has a high tech suit in a forest. What does that mean? Is the forest she is going into dangerous? There are red leaves that look like feathers so is the “Talon” referring to a bird she is trying to get to? Look at how huge the leaves are they are almost taller or are taller than her. What is the blue-ish bulbs on the leaves?

The woman pictured has a look of searching that blank what is going on look.

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The Legend of Shadow High

Tagline: Ever After High meets Monster High!

Mirror: The broken window in the middle I’m assuming signifies the portal between the worlds. In the mirror is the forest which is usually something you see in Ever After High than Monster High.

Sides: From monster high there is Frankie Stein and Draculaura, from ever after high Raven Queen and Apple White (these are  usually the spokesman from both worlds which ugh since I don’t like Draculaura and Frankie Stein but that is another conversation)

Anyway, the emblems around the mirror incorporates monster high skull (bottom) and ever after high girl with hood (top). On the top above the ever after high emblem is the two skull crests leaning on each other. All of the emblems and lining around mirror are in gold and black.

Background: There is a grey symbol that starts off big then gets smaller. The symbol is distinguishable at the top until it all bunches all in together at the bottom.

The overall style is something that Ever After High first series by Shannon Hale does which makes sense seeing how the story is set in Ever After High and written by Hale.

It would be interesting next time analyzing covers of books I know absolutely nothing about or have already read.