Netgalley Review: Lies We Tell Our Kids

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I received an e-arc of this book from Netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

Feb. 20th 2018

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

3 Stars

Official Summary:

From acclaimed artist Brett Wagner comes a book about the tall tales that parents tell their kids in the hopes of getting them to do something—eat, sleep, apologize to their sibling, or learn to do something the right way. Fun, heartfelt, and a little bit weird, Lies We Tell Our Kids exposes the not-so-great generational parenting tactic of lying to your child for the greater good!

Brett Wagner is a Pittsburgh-based illustrator and filmmaker with a penchant for puns and visual anomalies. A generalist by trade, he works mostly in commercial video production, while his short narrative film All Raccoons Are Bandits has been screened internationally. When not on set, he spends most of his time with a box full of Copic markers drawing colorful creatures for himself and others.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

This book was essentially…fine. A few pages made me giggle. The illustrations were really well done. But it just sort of fell flat for me. I’ve never heard of any of the “lies” show cased – and I’ve heard some weird ones – save for 3 or 4. A lot weren’t even particularly funny or sensical. It wasn’t the worst thing or anything like that, but I didn’t particularly care for it.

Check out:

 Netgalley Review: I Love You With All My Butt

and

Netgalley Review: United States of Absurdity – Untold Stories From American History

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NetGalley Review: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (But You Could Have Done It Better)

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

January 10th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

March 2017

My Star Rating:

3 Stars

Official Summary:

Anonymous break up stories from men and women, old and young, serious and silly and the cartoons that inspired them. Author and artist Hilary Campbell turns the painful into the hilarious, validating emotions from forgotten middle school tragedies to relationships that ended only hours ago.

Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and cartoonist. Her films have won top prizes at Slamdance, SF IndieFest, and more. She was the co-illustrator of Jessica Bennett’s critically acclaimed Feminist Fight Club.Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, But You Could’ve Done Better is her first book of cartoons.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I read through this book in about 30 minutes after finishing an essay in class and was waiting for everyone else to finish.

It was enjoyable enough, a short, pretty funny read.

The illustrations are well done and the funniest part of the book.

But several of the submissions feel flat, or were too similar to be repetitively funny. Others were very funny, but with the writing styles and lengths inconsistent, and all the stories being straight, probably unedited submissions from others, it felt like you should get more from a book you buy.

It was pretty funny, and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the best.

Netgalley Review: The Wendy Project

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

July 18th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Official Summary:

 

16-year-old Wendy Davies crashes her car into a lake on a late summer night in New England with her two younger brothers in the backseat. When she wakes in the hospital, she is told that her youngest brother, Michael, is dead. Wendy — a once rational teenager – shocks her family by insisting that Michael is alive and in the custody of a mysterious flying boy. Placed in a new school, Wendy negotiates fantasy and reality as students and adults around her resemble characters from Neverland. Given a sketchbook by her therapist, Wendy starts to draw. But is The Wendy Project merely her safe space, or a portal between worlds?

My Review: 

Retellings are beyond popular – and I am a particular fan of them. Some involve the fantasy world colliding with the real world (as in Alice in Wonderland retellings where in she is psychotic – or at least perceived as psychotic). Peter Pan in particular is popular for retellings. It is also popular for theories – one prevalent one being that the lost boys are all dead and Peter is their guardian angel.

The Wendy Project plays into these ideas. We follow Wendy’s point of view through her journal/sketchbook after a devastating accident where-in her brother dies – though Wendy believes him alive, and that he has simply been taken away. We see her coping with this lose and these ideas – both her high school life and ideas of Neverland in her art, colors used to differentiate reality and fantasy, and we are generally left as unsure as Wendy is.

It is well written, and the artwork is gorgeous. I particularly liked the interspersing of Peter Pan quotes from JM Barrie.

My only issue is that its quite short – and so didn’t go into the depth that it had the potential to, and feels quite abrupt at the end.

But overall, I really enjoyed it.

 

Netgalley Review: Man Vs. Child – One Dad’s Guide to the Weirdness of Parenting

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.


Original Release Date:

May 9th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

5 Stars


Official Summary:

Moms have hundreds of parenting advice books willing to tackle the more cringe-inducing questions of parenthood. But what about books for the other half of the equation: the dads? Man vs. Child is a funny, fresh take on the parenting guide, written from the dad’s perspective.

Author and popular Upright Citizens Brigade performer Doug Moe knows first-time fathers are as worried about being terrible at their new terrifying jobs as new moms are. But while most modern fathering guides center on men’s oafish parental failings, Man vs. Child forgoes condescension in favor of fresh and irreverent wit. This guide for first-time dads tackles funny but important questions, like how to be a good dad without becoming a BabyBjörn-wearing tool in the process, or what to do if your child loves your iPad more than they love you. From caring for a newborn to dealing with a kid on the verge of adolescence, author Doug Moe breaks fatherhood down into survival lessons like “Time to Decide About God” and quizzes that ask dads to reflect on hilarious parenting questions like “Is My Child Too Annoying for This Restaurant?”

Chapters include:
-Newborn: Keeping This Weird Thing Alive Awhile, Even As It Tries to Kill You
-Your Interesting Baby, Maybe the Most Interesting Baby Ever
-Man v Toddler: Does Your Toddler Want to Kill You?
-Now That My Kid Doesn’t Need Me, What Is My Life Worth?

Balancing relatable humor with heartfelt advice, Man vs. Child will appeal to any dad looking for both laughs and real guidance from a man who has had—and survived—these experiences himself. A perfect Father’s Day gift or present for a first-time dad!


My Review: 

Don’t even ask why I, a 17 year old girl with no plans to have children for – at least – a decade, has requested, read and now, reviewed a parenting book. I have a bad habit of requesting random things on Netgalley on a whim when bored.

That being said, I found this pretty funny and well written.

Man vs. Child makes no secret what it is a humor book about parenting but not really meant to offer concrete advice. There is no – or at least, very little – in the way of “scientifically this is how you care for a child” but rather a funny commentary on becoming a dad and being a stay-at-home dad raising your child. Its light-hearted, quick, and while not particularly informative, witty, well written and entertaining.

Make of that what you will when deciding to read it.

DNF Books – Mini Reviews #1

Every book blogger has DNF’d a book at least once.

I personally, don’t like doing it, especially for reviews copies. I feel I owe myself and the person who sent me the book to finish it because I decide I dislike it.

But, with an ever growing TBR pile, I just don’t have time for books I’m not into.

I might revisit these one day, if I’m ever bored and decide to give it another chance. But these are just little explanations onto why I DNF’d some books. This in no way passes objective judgement, I’m sure others might love them, they just aren’t for me.


I requested and was approved for all these books from Netgalley. Because they are review copies, I tried to stick it out, but I couldn’t. I opinions are not changed because they are review copies. I may or may not revisit any in the future. But at the moment, I have no intention of finishing them at the moment.


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A Filthy Habit by Fergus Linnane

From both the title and the cover, I assumed this would be a book of FUNNY short stories.

It wasn’t. Its just a collection of short stories from an author I hadn’t heard of before. I read the first story and a half, was entirely uninterested, and barely remember what I read now. It is more literary fiction / adult fiction than anything, two genres I don’t really enjoy.

Others have given it good reviews, and it has a really great rating on Goodreads, so if you like short stories of those genres you may like it, it just wan’t for me.

It wasn’t bad at all, I just wasn’t into it. Maybe one day in college I’ll get back to it? But for right now, its a DNF.


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The Nerdy and the Dirty by B.T. Gottfred

My reason for DNFing this one are simple: it made me uncomfortable.

While I have no problems with sex or discussions of it in books, its a natural thing, it was too much in this book, especially for a YA novel.

Of the 5% (and really, I skipped pages at a time thats how awkward they were – not in a character story sense, in a me sense – if that makes sense) I got through, I think at least 3% was discussions of/thinking of sex and masterbation. And the views of sex were very “stereotypical teen” written by someone obviously not a teen.

While I did like the writing style and the humor, and I thought the characters had great potential, I couldn’t get past the awkwardness. I did like the sex wasn’t portrayed as something only the boys like, as is often in teen fiction, but honestly? It was too much, the other plot points revolved around dating entirely, and it made me uncomfortable and a little nauseas. I might read something else by this author.

If sex in book doesn’t both you, and you like YA romances (in dual POV), then you’ll like this. It does after all have pretty good reviews and rating. It just wasn’t for me.


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Boy To The World by Eileen Walls

I didn’t have any particular issue with this one. I just…didn’t click with it.

I read a couple chapters, and was entirely un-engrossed. Already what I read has been forgotten. It was slow going, we hadn’t hit any plot yet. The humor wasn’t my style, and it fell flat for me. I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the characters.

And I thought, why am I wasting me time?

I’m sure there are others who’d like this, you can relate more to the protagonist, you have a similar style of humor where they’d enjoy it. It has decent reviews and rating on Goodreads, its just not for me.


I think, overall, the main issue here is that I over-request on Netgalley.

I request on a whim too much, and it leads to an ever growing TBR that stresses me out.

I’m stopped requesting for know, until I get it under control, and I’m getting there. But its a big reason behind the lack of time I have to push through books.

But, that I think is another discussion. Why do me make ourselves push through?

 

 

 

Netgalley Review: The Shape of Ideas

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

April 18th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Official Summary:

What does an idea look like? And where do they come from? Grant Snider’s illustrations will motivate you to explore these questions, inspire you to come up with your own answers and, like all Gordian knots, prompt even more questions. Whether you are a professional artist or designer, a student pursuing a creative career, a person of faith, someone who likes walks on the beach, or a dreamer who sits on the front porch contemplating life, this collection of one- and two-page comics will provide insight into the joys and frustrations of creativity, inspiration, and process—no matter your age or creative background.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

This is a little graphic novel type book on creativity from the perspective of an artist. Its pretty clever, using different ideas, stereotypes, etc. of art to convey a message. The artwork is really well done with a pretty distinct style that I enjoyed. Some sections were more enjoyable than others, but if you enjoy art or other creative end overs, it may be worth checking out. Its quick to get through and it made me smile.

Netgalley Review: Tash Hearts Tolstoy

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I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher via netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

June 6th, 2017

Date I Read The Book:

May 2017

My Star Rating:

5 Stars

Official Summary:

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I requested an arc of this book for several reasons:
1) a nerdy, smart, bookworm main character,
2) Classic adaptation as a blog series a la Lizzie Bennet Diaries and
3) AN ASEXUAL CHARACTER OH MY GOD.

I haven’t read much classic literature, Tolstoy included, so that didn’t grab me in more than the abstract, unlike some reviewers.

The ace representation did draw me in though. I’m ace (somewhere on the scale not quite sure where) so I was super excited to read a book with an asexual MC because I have never in my life heard of one let along read one.

Let me tell you I was not disappointed!

 To me at least, I thought the representation of asexuality was very realistic. People say stupid things about it, and it feels weird to be different, but at the end of the day, you have the same feelings as everyone else (Tash is asexual but NOT romantic which are often equated when they are NOT the same thing).

The characters are all real (occasionally flawed) people, the character growth is great and I loved it. The friendships were really realistic and I related to Tash so hard!

Plot wise, it was really interesting. YA stories featuring you tubers are particularly common now, but I thought the story of the making of their show was well done. A bit slow at times, but it balanced out.

The writing was good, quick, easy, cute YA reading.

I highly recommend this story!

Netgalley Review: One of Us is Lying

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

May 30th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

March 2017

My Star Rating:

5 Stars

Chronology:

Debut, Standalone

Official Summary:

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

Cover:

I love this cover, with the cut out faces and sharpie it looks like a defaced yearbook and it is great.
Characters:
All the characters are unique, and their voices are distinct. I did find my self most drawn to Bronwyn’s POV but since I relate most to her that’s understandable. I like that they all begin to defy their stereotypes throughout. And that their is diversity sprinkled through without a big deal being made about it. Everyone has different home lives, and not every character is straight and white. I liked he side characters and sibling relationships a lot. And I like that the romances were varied, none the main focus, and nine were instalove or an instant fix to anyone’s problems.
Plot:
There is foreshadowing like crazy and I loved it. The story is fast paced and intriguing all the way through, and lots of little details and side plots for each character really tie it together. I guessed part of the ending before he characters did, but not the whole think, and I like that it was able to surprise me. I had some issues with the legality of some of the police actions and certain things that seemed overlooked by adults irked me, but these were all things addressed later on in the story and it was good.

Top Five Wednesday: Summer Reads

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started, and is now hosted by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes.
If you want to join in checkout the Goodreads page!


May 17th: Summer Reads
–The weather is heating up (for half of the world), so what books remind you of summer and are your quintessential summer reads?


I’m going with 5 summer-y arcs on my TBR – because I need to get to these this summer…

Also, if I straight up g with summer-y contemporaries, my list will be identical to every other “Unexpected Everything”, Kasie West, and “Since You’ve Been Gone” filled list that are the first summer-y books that come to mind, arguably for many people.


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1 – Hook’s Tale – Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself

by John Leonard Pielmeier

I LOVE retellings. Peter Pan retellings being among my favorites. I also love redeeming villain stories (its a thing, go with it). This combines those two things – apparently its inspired by Wicked…which I have never seen/read/heard in full. But it seems cool none-the-less and I’m excited to read this.


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2 – Song of the Current

by Sarah Tolcser

This is another book featuring ships and the seas. I’ve been on a pirate kick lately, I don’t know. I don’t think this book is directly about pirates, but its about river gods and kickass, ship sailing females (which is close enough to pirates) and seems intriguing so I’m excited.


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3 – The Possible

by Tara Altebrando

Superpowers are just a summer-y thing to me. Probably because all the superhero movies come out in the summer (I’m dying for GotG2 and Spider-man!). I don’t know much about this, it it seems really interesting. I was mostly just hooked by the concept of X-men-like powers.


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4 – Sovereign – Nemesis – Book Two

by April Daniels

I Loved the first book (NetGalley Review – Nemesis #1: Dreadnought) which come out earlier this year. I wasn’t expecting this one to come out so soon, but it comes out this summer and I got approved for an arc on netgalley. I read and loved the first one over winter break (but I was in central america so it was summer!) and I really want to read this, so here it is.


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5 – The Comic Book Story of Video Games – The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution

by Jonathan Hennessey, Jack Mcgowan

Summer is the only time I actually have the time to play video games, and comics in general just seem a summer-y thing. So, there it goes on the summer reads list.


Some Honorable Mentions:

I have two mandatory summer reading books this year – as I’m taking AP English Literature next year school. I have to read Pride & Prejudice and Thousand Splendid Suns.

Netgalley Review: The Love Interest

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I received an e-arc of this book from netgalley and this is my honest review.

Original Release Date:

May 16th 2017

Date I Read The Book:

March 2017

My Star Rating:

4/4.5 Stars

Official Summary:

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

When I first requested this book from Netgalley I was expecting a YA version of
“This Means War”. But I was extremely pleased to be wrong.
The Love Interest is essentially a satire of every love triangle YA trope, and it is gloriously aware of that. It also subverts the love triangle in that, our narrator, who is the “Nice Boy” of the love triangle, falls for the “Bad Boy” rather than the girl whose affections they are meant to be competing for.
The romance was impossibly cute. It’s well executed, and doesn’t feel campy. I thought its pacing was good – definitely didn’t feel like instalove. Caden is an adorably awkward, out-of-his-depth narrator, who constantly feel for Dylan’s seduction tactics intended – theoretically – for Juliet. I loved the friendships in the book as well.
The pacing of the book is fast, but well balanced – it stays exciting without getting ahead of itself. The setting remains contemporary, and the romance is of heavy focus, but the book also plays heavily on action tropes and contrived scenes common in YA fiction.
It had its flaws of course, sometimes it felt too caught up in the tropes/satire. Sometimes I got frustrated that, despite everything, Juliet still often felt at times like a plot device, the lack of ability to communicate feelings for most of the book (which plagues most YA) was still present, etc.
There was a specific thing towards the end that bothered me – don’t continued reading this if you don’t want spoilers!
But towards the end, there was this whole “Dylan’s isn’t gay” thing going on that has Caden equivocating on whether he loved Dyl or Juliet and the whole thing was utterly unnecessary, not really used to further the plot, it was just annoying to add drama to an already rushed end.
But over all, I LOVED it. I definitely recommend it.