Book Review #20: The Saga of Rex

7890024Okay, this was cuter than expected. Also, no quote this time because this book is 98% no text.

STORY:

In The Saga of Rex by Michel Gagné (200 pages), basically, a frog-like God of some alternative universe akin to Noah’s ark created and paired animals together (the beginning had me confused but who cares). Also, somehow the God collected/teleported real creatures to the world. Anyway, Rex, a cute little fox creature, got teleported to the weird world and was paired with a purple-shapeshifting squirrel-fox, Aven. Rex doesn’t have a clue about his new surroundings, but he just wants to follow his new mate.

I hadn’t expected there to be such a violent part in the book (a creature was about to be sacrificed, a creature was pierced through the stomach with a bloody knife, and a creature died), but it was okay because nothing stayed too sad for long.

ART:

The art was very beautiful! There’s a climatic part when Rex loses a unicorn horn that is just mesmerizing to see. When Rex and his mate become one (nothing vulgar or sexual; kids won’t even pick up on the symbolism) was another beautiful part. I loved the color direction in this book as well.

CHARACTERS:

Rex was an absolute cutie and Aven seemed to be a lot of fun.

OVERALL:

To sum this book up, it’s message was “travel all you can with the one you love.” Or maybe it was really “this book was kind of weird and I didn’t understand most of it, but I loved the pictures.” Either way, it’s worth picking up! I found the ending so sweet.

Book Review #19: Piecing Me Together

25566675Diverse fiction? Yes! Diverse fiction with a black main character? Yes, yes! Diverse fiction with a female black main character? So many yes’s! Bonus points for the main character being darkskinned and round. I have read a few (there is a severe lack of them) books centered around black girls and that is a rare combination because in most books the girl is brownskin and thin.

STORY:

“My life is full of opportunities. Give an opportunity to someone else.

But girls like me, with coal skin and hula-hoop hips, whose mommas barely make enough money to keep food in the house, have to take opportunities every chance we get” (pg 7).

In Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (272 pages), Jade hates that she is labeled as an “at-risk-youth” for many factors but tries her best to take advantage of the opportunities given to her. Instead of being nominated for a study-abroad trip in South America (that she is more than qualified for), she is recommended to apply for an African-American Girls’ Mentorship program, Woman to Woman. Throughout the program, Jade receives a flaky mentor, gets exposed to new places, and has to wonder is it all worth it. Is she just a charity case?

Jade and I have some things in common such as, both our favorite colors are yellow, we both learn Spanish, and love art. I also completely relate to having a mom who always has a comeback ready and not always having a good reply myself.

“It’s okay,” I tell her. It’s not, but what else am I supposed to say?” (pg 39)

See? Jade gets me.

I enjoyed how short the chapters were (bite-sized pieces!), and how they began with a Spanish word (usually infinitives). I thought Jade’s propensity to nickname people in her head like Book Girl, Glamour Girl, and Afro Woman, all characters you will know when you read the story, was cute.

As much as I like reading it, I’m glad that there was NO ROMANCE. Nothing to derail the focus. This book is going to leave you with something.

I liked Jade’s narrative immensely, and many of the chapters ripped off metaphorical bandages. Chapter 21 was real, just real.

“And this makes me wonder if a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone” (pg 86).

“Maxine is right and wrong. Those girls are not the opposite of me. We are perpendicular. We may be on different paths, yes. But there’s a place where we touch, where we connect are the same” (pg 132).”

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“I don’t know what’s worse. Being mistreated because of the color of your skin, your size, or having to prove that it really happened” (pg 137).

This book is too undeniably real.

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CHARACTERS:

The characters are really human, in a sense, that the nicest characters have flaws and good points, help and hurt, and ignore and understand.

OVERALL:

After reading this, I just want to play Solange’s “Cranes” and persuade someone to buy this book and parade it on their bookshelf.

Piecing Me Together is thought-provoking and will make you do some serious self-reflection and introspection.

FIVE STARS! Read this. Read this. It’s deserving of all its accolades.

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Mini Review #4: SuperMutant Magic Academy

22752445STORY:

“That’s not real life. Not everything has a moral or is tied up neatly with a bow” (pg 168).

In SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki (274 pages), some of the comics were funny, morbid, and/or philosophical. I didn’t particularly like this series because it felt too edgy or a bit tryhard and a lot of the characters’ personalities were horrid (which is actually realistic because people in real life can be horrible).

I couldn’t stand Marsha but unrequited love is pretty sad. Frances the art student, on the other hand, was hilarious!

ART:

The illustrations are loose and lackadaisical, a perfect portrayal of the average high school student.

OVERALL:

I like dark humor sometimes but I just wasn’t thrilled with it in this book. You might think differently though, so check it out!

Book Review #18: Everything, Everything

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Just in time for Mother’s Day! This book has a huge focus on the mother-daughter relationship!

Everything, Everything was everythang! Nicola Yoon has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I reviewed The Sun is Also a Star before this, and Yoon’s first book is just as good (TSIAAS is just a bit more polished).

STORY:

“…The world barely knows I exist. I mean, I exist online. I have online friends and my Tumblr book reviews, but that’s not the same as being a real person who can be visited by strange boys bearing Bundt cakes” (pg 29).

In Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (310 pages), Madeline Whittier (I’m going to be calling her Maddy throughout the review) is sick, in a way, she’s allergic to the entire outside world. Her mom and the best nurse ever, Carla, keep her monitored closely and on a tight schedule. Nothing in Maddy’s life is unplanned or out of the ordinary until (wait for it…) a boy, parkour-black-clothes-only-wearing boy with one dimple in his right cheek, moves in next door.

Yoon is awesome at “showing” and not telling. I love reading her descriptions of characters and things, basically just nouns. She describes nouns well.

“Maddy: What color are your eyes?

Olly: Blue

Maddy: Be more specific, please.

Olly: jesus. girls. ocean blue

Maddy: Atlantic or Pacific?

Olly: Atlantic. What color are yours?

Maddy: Chocolate brown

Olly: More specific, please

Maddy: 75% cacao butter dark chocolate brown

Olly: hehe. nice” (pg 51).

I also like how the real-world references didn’t feel cringy. This book taught me a word that I never knew existed, uxorious. Aww! My favorite English word is pugnacious (or adore), but it might change!

“Maddy: Friends don’t kiss, Olly.

Olly: really good ones can” (pg 123).

I want to say Olly and Maddy were attracted to each other too quickly (instalove!), but if you were basically trapped in an impenetrable bubble your feelings might be intensified. Also, hormones.

There are some mentions of domestic abuse (not with Olly and Maddy btw), and a heavy-handed hint at mental trauma. Oh yeah, there’s a sex scene too, a little edgy but not explicit. Blink and you miss it. I don’t know how I feel about it.

No one had to tell me, but I just knew from the minute I picked up this book that there would be adorable “aww-worthy” moments and some punches in the gut. This book has a mean right hook.

CHARACTERS:

Maddy was sheltered and compliant, but her head was also in the clouds (or rather outer space) and Olly sent her thoughts and health awry.

Olly was agile, witty, and fun. He harbored a lot more pain than he let on, and Maddy intrigued him in every way. He also loved black clothing but wasn’t goth.

Wow. The mom was so believable. I just… She really loved Maddy, almost to a fault.

I loved Carla! She was the absolute best!

OVERALL:

I enjoyed it! The characters, the humor, and, even though it made my heart physically drop, those gut punches. The climax was very climatic. I can’t wait for the movie!

Book Review #17: Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith

34808110Disclaimer: Received a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review!

STORY:

“Don’t let what your eyes tell you disrupt what your heart already knows” (pg 209).

In Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume (468 pages), the book opens with a girl named Betony and her non-talking animal sidekick, a blackbird called Ronan. One chapter later, our real main character is revealed (Guess who. Really, it’s easy. There’s an obvious hint in the book title). Ewan Pendle’s a normal boy with a not so normal ability. He’s being raised by non-affectionate foster parents, so unimportant that their names are John and Jane Doe, and bullied and ignored by his four brutish foster brothers. Ewan’s life has dragged on monotonously until the appearance of a strange lady who announces that he will be shipped to Firedrake Lyceum, a school with other children that see monsters just like Ewan. While there, an assassination attempt made on the Queen of England’s life (not the one you’re thinking of) fails, and it’s up to Ewan and his friends to prevent another one.

Reminiscent of HP’s four houses, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith has five cliques, Witch (magic-users), Pyros (explosive-users), Stealth (in a sense, ninjas), Vanguard (think knights/swordsmen), and Martial (wrestlers/martial artists). I had assumed everyone would practice magic, but the cliques have their own unique twist. I would most def be in Stealth clique.

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I am not used to so many female characters in a novel centered around a boy hero. Usually, it’s just mom, sister, and female love interest. At one point, I wondered had Ewan been dropped off to an all-girls academy. I think it’s awesome and essential that the girls of this book each played a meaningful role.

“The man wasn’t just old, he looked ancient like his face and body had died a long time ago, but somehow there was still someone home” (pg 21).

There’s also a bunch of old people that aren’t relegated to only all-knowing wise roles.

I have mostly praises for this book, but I have to acknowledge that there were annoying tidbits for me. Way too many references to “coal black dreadlocks” and “liquid black eyes.” You could make a drinking game out of it whenever this character was mentioned. You can’t think for a minute that the girl’s gone bald or wonder what color her eyes were. Also, one of Ewan’s friends Carrie was sweet, but I can’t really stand sickly nice characters.

CHARACTERS:

Ewan’s adorably a bit shy and awkward and definitely confused about his monster-seeing ability, lineage, and Firedrake Lyceum. He’s a little plain like white bread, but when you add his ingredients of cheese (courage), tomato (loyalty), and lettuce (cleverness) he makes an alright sandwich.

One of Ewan’s friends, Mathilde was fun! Bubbly and so optimistic, it’s no surprise her classmates were ignorant of the home life that she was glad to escape from.

Enid, the pirate girl, had a tough disposition and a major attitude in the beginning that stemmed from her upbringing. She hailed from a very large and poor pirate family. I didn’t like her much when she appeared, but she ended up as my favorite character. Little girl can pack a punch!

The Rosethorn twins, Sneath and Scarlett, were a nasty, demonic pair of kids. It was as if someone perpetually spat in their cereal each morning. Just awful!

Enola, the strange woman that brought Ewan to the academy is strange. Ewan could do no wrong in her sight, and I have no clue why. She was a cool lady with a strong air of authority around her with just enough kindness.

OVERALL:

It’s a little long but once you get to know the characters you won’t be bored. I liked the twist at the ending too! Word of advice: If someone offers you a pirate kiss, say no and run away. You don’t need context but just remember that.

I have never read any Harry Potter books (I know the gist of the story though), so I’m not sure if this will excite or disappoint an HP fan. Just have an open mind! Also, I gotta raise my hand because I had no clue what a wraith was until now. Anyway, maybe it’s good I’ve never formally read HP. I was able to read this unbiased and thought it was a fun adventure. I give it four stars!

Happy Friday: Book Haul

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I have a bunch of books (and an e-book) that I will be reading! I don’t know which ones I will review or not, but I do know I look forward to being engulfed in a good book.

SN: I have noticed that I tend to type really fast sometimes and make many typos. I have to work on that! ^^;

Mini Review #3: Off the Page

29358306So, I stayed up until 1 am last night (or day? I don’t know, man) because I just had to know what happened in the last book. Did the book redeem itself? Would I actually care about Deliah and Oliver’s love? How would Oliver be in the real world?

“The really crappy thing about being a teenager is that even if you have a legitimate, monumental problem– the sky is falling or the zombie apocalypse has begun or you’ve contracted the plague– you still have to do your geometry homework” (pg 295).

Well, Off the Pages by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer (368 pages), got better and worst.

What did I like? I thought the death in the book was handled pretty good. I know it sounds morbid to like a fictional death, but I hadn’t expected it in such a cookie-cutter book. Thankfully, there were no do-overs either! Some of Oliver’s confusion of the real world was somewhat fun. The author (the real one) tried to add some last-minute depth to the mean girl, Allie but it was like trying to add pecans to an already cooked cookie. You know what I’m saying?

I thought some scenes in this book could have been condensed like Deliah helping Seraphima pick out a bra at Victoria Secrets because all her fat goes to her breast! Yeah, that was an actual line in the book.

The romance was dry. Oliver and Deliah are just too perfectly in love. I don’t feel anything for them.

The ending was going to be unsatisfying either way. I don’t want to say it, but the ending was a bit on the garbage end. It was so unrealistic… And I am someone that loves happy endings!

I still liked Edgar (and Jules) the most as they had the most personality out of everyone.  Chris was a cool one-note character!

OVERALL:

Off the Page gets 2 stars from me. Should you read this book? I don’t think anyone over the age of ten would be amazed by this story. It’s a cliche book (but the premise is not) but some might find it fun and innocent!