Wrap Up

I have mentioned in my “about me” section that this blog was created for a college English course. This course has been one of my most challenging classes, but I think I have learned a lot. Hopefully, I am a better writer than I was before, and I know my MLA format has gotten a million times better.

To be honest, I have always wanted to start a blog where I reviewed books, but there was never the so-called “right moment.” If I had not taken this class, I still would not have a blog dedicated to books. At least, I know how to use gifs now!

The theme of my English course was banned books, and many of the books I have reviewed were banned or challenged. I would not have read some of these books like Blood and Chocolate or Julie of the Wolves without the assignment. Am I better from having read these books? I don’t know, man. Julie of the Wolves bored me, and I practically roasted Blood and Chocolate. But I loved Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging and read four of the sequels. I need to get around to reading the fifth book, Away Laughing on a Fast Camel. A little off-topic but the newer realistic covers for the Georgia Nicholson series lose the vibrant, cartoony feel without the illustrations.

 blush GIFSincere thanks to anyone that has liked, followed, or commented or even just read any of my posts. It’s pleasant to think that someone out there actually enjoys my content.

 

Just so you know (in case, some of you started tearing up) this is not my last post. Yeah, I will continue reading and reviewing. This is just a farewell post for my English class. More reviews to come! I hope you all will stick around.

 

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Monday: What I’m Reading Now 4/10/17

Monday’s almost over but whatever.

Well, finals are coming up, so I have at least 1-2 weeks left of school. I am so relieved because this felt like the longest semester ever. To be honest, I hadn’t planned on doing an IMWAYR post, but it gives me an excuse to put off some homework ( I know procrastination is bad).

What I’m Reading Now:

32145067Wide as the Wind by Edward Stanton

I have entered what feels like a million Goodreads contest, but this is the first (and currently the only one) that I have won! Concerning the presentation, it looks pretty nice, sleek cover and I like the small font. I have read 0 pages so far.

 

22292486 X by Ilyash Shabazz (and Kekla Magoon)

I have read 0 pages so far because I have been so busy! Mind you, I have been writing papers all week.

 

 

22238420Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era edited by Lean’Tin Bracks and Jessie Carney Smith

Super long title! I am writing a paper on black women’s contributions to the Harlem Renaissance, and this was my absolute favorite source.

 

10337115Defining Moments: The Harlem Renaissance by Kevin Hillstrom

Another one of my sources. I have read 35 pages of it so far. This book gives a great chronological overview of the Harlem Renaissance.

On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance by Kareem Abdul-Jabar (and Raymond Obstfield)

83755I have read 0 pages so far, but I think the presentation is nice! And yes, this is another one of my sources.

 

 

What I Read Last Week:

12558285 Splintered by A.G Howard

I was so done with this book. Everyone’s like ohmygawd Morpheus! Nah, Morpheus can go sit in the corner with Jeb too. Something that annoyed me with this book is why could Jeb never be wrong (Alyssa always reasoned herself to be at fault), and why all the white girls had fake dreadlocks. Not to mention mental issues and medical procedures in this book were not handled very well. Overall, I am not interested in any of the sequels.

I will say the best scene was when the mad tea party goers chased that poor duck and ripped it to shreds. I don’t know why I found that scene funny because it was supposed to be brutal.

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Anyway, if finals don’t take all my time, I will try to do some reading outside of my sources.

imwayr-2015-logo
Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

 

Book Review #14: The Name of the Blade: The Night Itself [Book One]

20819649 This book started off a little meh to me, and there are some cringy moments. Also, I think I glossed over the part where Mio starts calling her sword he/him, which is fine because that humanizes it.

STORY:

“You will do what is necessary,” said Shinobu, not a trace of doubt in his voice. “You will do what must be done. And you will do what is right. You will always do what is right, Mio” (pg 297).

In The Name of the Blade by Zoë Marriott (368 pages), Mio takes her deceased grandfather’s katana (Japanese long sword; think samurai) to a costume party as a part of her Rukia cosplay. Guess what? It was not a good idea, as it births a bunch of evil.

Dreams play a big part in this story (I know the dreams trope is cliche but a little fantasy never hurt), and I like that because I generally enjoy stories where the character finds a connection between their dreams and the real world. Something that happened that was equally cliche and not really a spoiler was the arrival of the warrior, Shinobu. And yes, I enjoy the main character’s inanimate object turns into a human and becomes their partner or potential love interest trope as well.

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The entire Mio-Shinobu attraction happened very quickly, not necessarily a bad thing depending on what you like but just something that I noticed. Insta-love was present.

The ending did not shake me for one moment. Like, really? You want me to feel bad for a character I barely know? Well, barely care about, though I did not dislike that character.

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CHARACTERS:

Mio was a big source of the mehness. I don’t really have a good grasp of her character, but I think she was sarcastic and bold. To be honest, she felt a bit like a reader-insert.

Shinobu came on a little strong and at times had an overly poetic/flowery speech, but I do like that he was a gentleman. I guess he was my favorite character or maybe Jack.

Jack was fine.

I actually found Mio and her relationship with her dad interesting, and I wanted to know why they were always at each other’s throats.

OVERALL:

“We were death. Vengeance. Power.

We were the night itself” (pg 346).

The Name of the Blade is an okay book. Nothing that’s going to make you do cartwheels, but a good read for a lazy afternoon. If you are into Asian folklore, specifically Japanese, there are a lot yokai present like nine-tailed kitsunes (foxes) and Nekomata.

I am not super-inclined to read the sequels, but a small part of me wants to see if Mio and her dad’s relationship will get better/worse and what happens with Shinobu afterward.

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Book Review #13 The Sun is Also A Star

28763485The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon (348 pages) gets 4.5 stars out of 5 for me, but let’s just round that up to 5, okay?

I’ve heard raving reviews for Nicola Yoon’s work, so I decided to check it out for myself. First, the multiple narratives surprised me because I thought it would be Natasha and Daniel’s perspectives at the most. Yoon does a phenomenal job “showing” and not telling, and that made me really enjoy the descriptions in this book.

STORY:

“Yes, it’s obnoxious. But I have a good reason for this behavior that involves a completely empty train one night at two a.m. (way past curfew) and a man with a big-ass snake wrapped around his neck who chose to sit next to me despite there being one thousand (give or take) empty seats” (pg 43).

There are some parts in this book that made me giggle and smile like a delirious loon. Then there’s that part where Natasha meets Charlie, Daniel’s brother, and his Dad. I really cannot believe how nonchalant she was! I could not deal with no racist in-laws. No one has time for that! Also, I love how this book addressed the history and politics of why Korean hair stores are always in black neighborhoods.

Oh yeah, the karaoke/ norebang scene… Girl… Hormones galore!

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CHARACTERS:

I love the two main characters, Daniel and Natasha. I even love the one-off characters like Joe, the Chopsticks lady, and the religious bus driver. Some of the characters are pretty zany, but the story is set in New York City.

“Observable Fact: I don’t believe in magic.

Observable Fact: We are magic” (pg 170).

Natasha reminds me a bit of myself, although not as cynical, scientifically-minded, and opposed to love. She’s very realistic like someone you know and not a character in a book.

Daniel is what those tumblr kids call a sweet cinnamon roll.  Dude is a decent guy who is in touch with his emotions! *GASP* Yeah, he’s not the brooding, emo bad boy love interest (even though I like those too) readers have come to know in YA fictions.

I like the emphasis on parental relationships as well. In so many books, it’s easy to forget the main characters are teens who have parents. I feel slighted that there was no chapter from Daniel’s mom’s perspective, and I would have liked another one from Patricia, Natasha’s mom. Samuel Kingsley, the reason Natasha’s in this mess, was so infuriating but believable.

I kind of want to see Jeremy Fitzgerald fall down a flight of stairs into incoming traffic. Yeah.

OVERALL:

“I try to give her a look that says don’t argue with the old security guard with the lung problem, otherwise he won’t let us stay here and makeout, but even if she interpreted my facial expression correctly, she ignores me” (pg 264).

So many good quotes and that ending! Guys, I cannot… I can’t. It’s a little bittersweet but optimistic enough. I felt my heart drop.

Okay, if you can get over the “fall-in-love-in-a-day” heavy chick-lit tone then you will really like this book. Even if you’re not a romantic like me, you will at least be entertained. For me, the hype was justified, and I gotta add this to my bookshelf. I will probably be reading “Everything, Everything” soon too.

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Book Review #12: Boy X

31213700Boy X by Dan Smith (274 pages), started off terribly slow. I picked this book solely off of its cover because the main character looked like a person of color. I am always ecstatic for some diverse fiction. Unfortunately for me, the story had a doomsday/dystopian feel, which I do not like and explained why in my IMWAYR 3/27/17 post.

“It might help if there is someone to share it with you, someone to strengthen you, but sometimes you have to accept things for what they are- learn to live with them” (pg 51).

STORY:

I was not super enthused with the beginning. It felt like a lot of telling and not enough showing. Also, Isabel just magically appeared like, “Hey boo, I’m ’bout to be a main character.” I understand Ash, the actual main character, did not know anyone, and the first person he saw was her, but I wish their introduction would have been more imaginative.

This is a really dark book for kids due to all the deaths, viruses, and again that dystopian flavor. For me, it teeters between Young Adult and Children’s Fiction because the subject matter is mature, but the writing itself seems like it’s catered to a younger audience than teens.

CHARACTERS:

Ash starts out as a confused kid who does not know anything or himself, really.  To be honest, nothing jumped out to me about Ash’s personality. He was somewhat like a reader-insert because he behaved how the average person would with his circumstances. With that being said, I did not dislike him and I thought his “I am Ash McCarthy” mantra was cute.

Besides Isabel’s boring uneventful introduction, I liked her. She’s been dealt a crazy situation and tried to maneuver through it while being Ash’s emotional support. She was not a damsel-in-distress either.

OVERALL:

“Like a superhero?”

“No.” He felt embarrassed at the suggestion. “Not like that. More like…” He tried to think of a way to explain it. “More like when you play a video game for the second time and it lets you keep all the upgrades” (pg 124).

It took at least a hundred pages for this book to become exciting. I almost dropped it on page 83, but I am glad I stuck with it.

The reveal of what Ash’s mother was really working on in the laboratory, from the mouth of the least-expected person, kept my interest. I think Boy X’s strength was in its climatic moments, which is ironic because most books have better build-ups and bad climaxes

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Monday: What I’m Reading Now 3/27/17

My big brother’s really gone, guys, and not in a dead way. He has moved and found a great job, which is, again, great but the vacant room next to mine seems a little lonely. Things have to change eventually. At least, books are always a constant.

Also, nostalgia has brought me to rewatch episodes of Code Lyoko and other French-origin cartoons (Totally Spiez, Cedric, Corneil and Bernie, Dragon Hunters etc) dubbed into English. I remember watching the show in the afternoons on Miguzi. Ulrich was always my favorite character, and Aelita used to take her sweet time with those towers. The entire Yumi/Ulrich couple was frustrating but fun to watch, and I never cared about Jeremie lusting after Aelita. Most people remember the show for those massive foreheads, but I always think about how angsty and dramatic it was. To be honest, Code Lyoko was my soap opera because Yumi and Ulrich could never get their romantic relationship together, Xana always tried to kill people in the most soap opera-ish way possible, and of course, Aelita’s family issues.

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Enough strolling down memory lane! Most of you wanna know what I have been reading, so I’m going to tell ya.

What I’m Reading Now:

31213700Boy X by Dan Smith

I have currently read 84 pages, and I am not super impressed with any of the characters yet because they are pretty bland as of now. I have never been a fan of dystopian-like stories. I guess there is just enough depressing junk in real life that I don’t want to read about it arbitrarily. Of course, this is not a slight on the story itself. Once I finish it, my review of this book will be up soon!

What I Read Last Week:

17408897 Princess X by Cherie Priest

Pretty good! Here’s my review!

imwayr-2015-logo
Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

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Book Review #11: I Am Princess X

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The presentation for this book is wonderful. The book cover, chapter design, and illustrations are what drew me in. The purple theme is fitting because y’know royalty=princess.

STORY:

“The princess became their alter ego, their avatar, their third best friend” (pg 8).

In I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest (256 pages), May and Libby bond over Princess X a character they mutually created in fifth grade, May wrote and Libby drew. Their friendship comes to a drastic halt when Libby passes away in a car crash. May thought Princess X died with her best friend, but apparently, Princess X is very much alive.

“Nobody ever… (pg 172)” [I forgot to write down my favorite quote from the book in its entirety, and I’ve already given the book back to the library. ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ ]

Here’s a quote I like from the book, that I actually wrote down:

“The cement turned a satisfying cherry red, like the pavement was bleeding” (pg 1).

I really liked that detail.

So, concerning the story, junk got real very fast. No lie, page nine hits the reader clean in the face. Pfft, it probably rearranged your nose.

I thought  I knew who the great antagonist, Mr. Needleman, was but I was wrong!

CHARACTERS:

I liked reading about these characters a lot.

May was likable but a bit bland. Of course, she knew that as well because Libby’s the one who brought liveliness to their lives.

Libby’s half-Asian (half-Japanese to be exact) so there’s 50¢ of diversity. But, she dies in the first ten pages so…giphy

Anyway, I liked Libby a lot, to the point, I wished she would have narrated the story. For me, May could’ve been Princess X and let Libby shine by herself. Also, there was so little reaction for Libby’s dad.

Patrick was a lot of fun!

My favorite would have to have been Jackdaw! He seemed a bit like an anti-hero. I don’t know many people who would have done as much as he did.

OVERALL:

A pretty good thriller with a few surprises, 4 out of 5 stars! I wanted a cupcake more of suspense, but I acknowledge I had to read this book quickly (before its due date). Maybe I needed more time to ruminate on the ending. And for those who don’t enjoy it, there was NO ROMANCE.

I recommend this book for any teen, though some of the hacking/computer stuff could possibly make someone paranoid.