Review: Perfect Liars by Kimberly Reid

September 23, 2016 Diversity 3, Reviews 0 ★★

Review: Perfect Liars by Kimberly ReidPerfect Liars by Kimberly Reid
Published by Tu Books on May 15, 2016
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: ALA Annual 2016
Goodreads
two-stars
Andrea Faraday is junior class valedictorian at the exclusive Woodruff School, where she was voted Most Likely to Do Everything Right. But looks can be deceiving. When her parents disappear, her life and her Perfect Girl charade begins to crumble, and her scheme to put things right just takes the situation from bad to so much worse. Pretty soon she's struck up the world's least likely friendship with the juvenile delinquents at Justice Academy, the last exit on the road to jail and the first stop on the way out.

If she were telling it straight, friendship might not be the right word to describe their alliance, since Drea and her new associates could not be more different. She s rich and privileged; they re broke and, well, criminal. But Drea s got a secret: she has more in common with the juvie kids than they d ever suspect. When it turns out they share a common enemy, Drea suggests they join forces to set things right. Sometimes, to save the day, a good girl's gotta be bad.

Diversity Rating: 3 – Closer to Reality

Racial-Ethnic: 4 (Andrea and her brother are biracial; Xavier is Korean; I believe Gigi is Latina)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 2 (plenty of acknowledgement of how different Andrea’s life is from Xavier’s because of her family’s ill-begotten wealth)

Tu Books is probably one of my favorite publishers and yet this is the first time I’ve read one of their books. Seems silly, I know, but their dedication to publishing diverse, representative books and the truth that flows from their Twitter feed daily has always impressed me. Meeting the tweeps behind the account at ALA was lovely and my copy of Perfect Liars has a dedication that I’ll likely remember the story behind for the rest of my life!

But to cut to the chase, I didn’t like Perfect Liars very much. It’s a deeply introspective caper and will need just the right reader to appreciate that. Read more »

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Review: Interference by Kay Honeyman

September 22, 2016 Diversity 1, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review: Interference by Kay HoneymanInterference by Kay Honeyman
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on September 27, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
Goodreads
four-half-stars
As a Congressman's daughter in Washington, D.C., Kate Hamilton is good at getting what she wants -- what some people might call "interfering." But when her family moves to West Texas so her dad can run in a special election, Kate encounters some difficulties that test all her political skills. None of her matchmaking efforts go according to plan. Her father's campaign gets off to a rough start. A pro tip for moving to Texas: Don't slam the star quarterback's hand in a door. And whenever Kate messes up, the irritatingly right (and handsome) Hunter Price is there to witness it. But Kate has determination and a good heart, and with all her political savvy -- and a little clever interference -- she'll figure out what it takes to make Red Dirt home.

Terrifically funny and sweetly romantic, with whip-crack dialogue and a wise perspective on growing up, INTERFERENCE is the perfect next read for fans of Jenny Han, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth Eulberg, or Sarah Dessen.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 1 (Ana and Ms. Serrano are Latina)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Politics and football: two things I love and despise in equal measure. I’ve grown up on football, but the culture of football is bad for the players (see: the concussion stuff) and I’m tired of seeing players get away with sexual assault and/or domestic violence; politics are honestly fascinating and important to pay attention to as a good citizen, but it also brings out the absolute worst in people. Interference manages to mix the two and create a cute but sharp read with more than a little influence from Jane Austen’s Emma. Read more »

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Review: We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash

September 19, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0

Review: We Know It Was You by Maggie ThrashWe Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash
Series: Strange Truth #1
Published by Simon Pulse on October 4, 2016
Genres: Mystery, YA, YA Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Goodreads
zero-stars
Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars in acclaimed author Maggie Thrash’s new Strange Truth series.

It’s better to know the truth. At least sometimes.

Halfway through Friday night’s football game, beautiful cheerleader Brittany Montague—dressed as the giant Winship Wildcat mascot—hurls herself off a bridge into Atlanta’s surging Chattahoochee River.

Just like that, she’s gone.

Eight days later, Benny Flax and Virginia Leeds will be the only ones who know why.

SPOILER WARNING TIME. I’m spoiling some major stuff here.

Diversity Rating: -5 – What the Fuck is This?

Racial-Ethnic: 0 (one Nigerian girl and three Korean men, but they’re ALL villains; Benny is Jewish)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

WOW, have I been waiting to rant about this. I read We Know It Was You alllllllllllll the way back in April 206 because my TBR Jar told me I had to. Seeing as I was legitimately excited, I wasn’t keen to defy the almighty jar either. Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars sounds fascinating and twisty! Well, it’s a lie. Instead of the magnetic surrealism of Twin Peaks, we get cockamamie bull that’s also kinda racist. Read more »

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Review: Girls Mans Up by M-E Girard

September 15, 2016 Diversity 3, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review: Girls Mans Up by M-E GirardGirl Mans Up by M-E Girard
Published by HarperCollins on September 6, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
Goodreads
five-stars
All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty.

But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth—that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.

Diversity Rating: 3 – Closer to Reality

Racial-Ethnic: 4 (Pen and her family are Portuguese; Olivia is half-Asian; other minor POC characters)
QUILTBAG: 2 (Pen is lesbian, Blake is bi)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 5 (perhaps not in the usual sense, but the nature of Pen’s story and its handling is excellent)

Thanks to all sorts of psychological stuff I learned about in high school, bright colors on a book cover make me think a book will be happy and fun and sweet. Something something schemas, our brains are like Google AutoComplete, something something. Girl Mans Up has a bright red cover, but it’s really representative of how you’ll be seeing red while reading. Pen’s story is necessary and beautiful and relatable no matter your gender or sexual identity, but you’re going to be mad at just about everyone in Pen’s life.

Read more »

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Pretty Preview (3): The Dead Boyfriend

September 13, 2016 Pretty Kitty Preview 0

I own so many books I know I can’t review them all, but I want to make sure they’re seen. You never know who might pick up the book on a whim and then love it! That’s the core of my new feature: Pretty Preview!

The rules:

Post a roughly page-long excerpt from a book you own but haven’t read yet.

Whether it came out two years ago or comes out in two months, it’s fine!

Excerpts come from the first 50 pages (less than 300 pages) or first 100 pages (300+ pages).

This week:

The Dead Boyfriend by R.L. Stine!the-dead-boyfriend

(excerpt comes from p. 41-42)

I saw Deena slide her lands off the glass countertop. She edged back a step.

Popcorn began flowing over the sides of the machine like lava pouring out of a volcano. I struggled with the soda dispenser. The levers were stuck. A river of soda ran behind the counter.

“I know we’ll talk,” Deena said. And then she whispered, “Sorry about your bracelet.”

Over the rattle of the popping popcorn and the rush of the soda spilling over the floor, I wasn’t sure I heard her right. “What did you say?”

But she turned and began to stride quickly toward Auditorium Four.

Ricky stepped breathlessly to the counter. “What’s happening? What’s happening here? What did you turn everything on?”

“I didn’t!” I cried. “I didn’t touch anything.”

Ricky swung himself over the counter. His shoes splashed in the soda on the floor. He reached behind the dispensers and pulled the plugs. I hit the Stop button on the popcorn machine again and again. Finally, it slowed and the crackling and popping stopped.

Ricky and I both stood there, breathing hard, staring at the incredible mess.

“This is impossible,” I muttered, shaking my head. “This can’t be happening.” I turned to Ricky. “I didn’t touch anything. I swear. I was talking to the girl from school and… and…”

Ricky swept a bony hand over his hair. “Must have been a power surge,” he said. “Some kind of power problem. From the electric company. That’s the only thing that could have caused this.”

“Yes, I agreed. “A power surge.”

But I didn’t believe it. I believed it was a warning from Deena Fear.

Ricky walked to the supply closet to get more mops. I pulled a large trash can behind the counter and began shoving the extra popcorn into it.

I had no idea the evening was going to get even worse.

Like what you’ve read? Add it on Goodreads!

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When I’m Not Reading,… (2)

September 9, 2016 When I'm Not Reading 2

You may have noticed that I’ve been periodically disappearing from the blog lately and leaving the poor thing post-less on days there should be posts.

Oops. Sorry about that. I’ve been desperately applying for jobs since I graduated college in May and having no luck so far, so I live in a cycle of “apply for jobs, do a thing to de-stress from the applying process, realize I’m definitely not gonna hear back from the places I applied to.” What’s the thing I do to de-stress?

When I’m not reading, I’m probably playing Pokemon.

pokemon

Back when Pokemon Yellow came out, my brother fell in love with it. Naturally, he bought Pokemon Silver when it came out in the US in 2000 and then its updated edition Pokemon Crystal in 2001. He logged ridiculous amounts of time on all three games and I quickly got in on the fun with him once I learned how to understand the games and read. (All that came to me fairly quickly even though I was six/seven at the time.)

Even now, I have fond memories of stealing his Game Boy Color and his three games in order to play around a bit and train his Pokemon. He was pretty angry at me at first, but since I never restarted the games, he learned to deal with it. My brother and I have always been polar opposites and Pokemon became a safe way for us to play with each other. Most other attempts ended with one of us trying to stab, suffocate, or damage the eardrums of the other.

(We still don’t get along and Pokemon is still one of the only ways we do get along.)

I was hardly going to get away with stealing my brother’s Pokemon games to play with forever, so when Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire came out in 2003, my parents let me have my own Game Boy Advance and my very own copy of Ruby. For the first time, I could play through the adventure on my own instead of watching my brother play or spiriting away his copy to train his Pokemon further once he’d beaten the game.

I’ve been playing ever since and track news about Pokemon Sun and Moon like a woman obsessed.


Quick fact round:

Favorite generation: Gen 3/Hoenn region

Favorite region (mild difference): Unova region

The regions ranked according to how much I like them in their generation:

  • Gen 3 (Hoenn)
  • Gen 5 (Unova)
  • Gen 1 (Kanto)/Gen 2 (Johto)/Gen 6 (Kalos)
  • Gen 4 (Sinnoh)

Favorite Pokemon: Glaceon and Inkay

glaceon inkay

Favorite legendary: Suicune and Latios

suicunelatios

The Pokemon games I’ve played over the years: *takes a deep breath and underlines titles I still own*

  • Yellow
  • Stadium
  • Hey You, Pikachu!
  • Stadium 2
  • Silver
  • Crystal
  • Ruby
  • Sapphire
  • Emerald
  • Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire
  • Colosseum
  • Channel
  • XD: Gale of Darkness
  • Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team
  • Ranger
  • Pearl
  • Platinum
  • Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness
  • Ranger: Shadows of Almia
  • Dungeon: Explorers of Sky
  • HeartGold
  • Ranger: Guardian Signs
  • Battle Revolution
  • Rumble
  • White
  • White 2
  • Rumble Blast
  • Dungeon: Gates to Infinity
  • X
  • Omega Ruby
  • Alpha Sapphire
  • Rumble World
  • Go

Do I watch the show?: Did when I was little like many kids, quit around the time they moved on to Diamond and Pearl. So no!

Excitement level for Gen 7: SO FUCKING EXCITED OMFG. I liked a lot of changes they made in Gen 6, such as allowing us to customize our characters in X and Y, and they seem to be going in yet another new direction for Gen 7 with the island challenge and the Alola forms of Gen 1 Pokemon like Meowth, Raichu, and Vulpix.

I expect Alola Ninetales to become one of my new favorites and I’ll never tire of Alola Exeggutor because it’s the Meme Pokemon. SO BAD-LOOKING. BUT SO BEAUTIFUL.

My brother and I both want Moon, but because we like to trade to complete our Pokedexes, we always get the opposite versions. He’s usually the decision-maker (aka he gets the version he wants and I get the other one), but because I’m tracking the news of new Pokemon and developments for him, I get to be the decision-maker this time. Thus, I’m getting Moon. I got to be the decision-maker for X and Y as well!


I do replays fairly often as well. It means restarting my games and often losing all my progress from the last time I played, but I do my best to get the worthwhile Pokemon to a different version so they’ll be saved from the great erasure. Getting Pokemon Bank has made it so much easier to get my beloved Pokemon from older versions to the most current!

Right now, I’m in the middle of an ordinary replay of Pokemon HeartGold and a modified Wonderlocke run replay of Pokemon Omega Ruby.

What the hell is a Wonderlocke run? Well, some YouTubers I watch on occasion decided to do it in a friendly “who can beat the game first” versus and I got inspired. The regular set of rules for going Wonderlocke are pretty strict, so I went with a modified version that follows these rules:

  • You can only catch the first Pokemon you encounter in a new route.
  • You take the Pokemon you caught and Wonder Trade it away. Even your starter goes into Wonder Trade.
  • Got duplicates or Pokemon of too high a level for you to use from Wonder Trade? Put ’em back in!
  • If one of your Pokemon faints, it goes permanently into the PC.

Definitely an easier, less complex version of the challenge, but it retains the heart of what makes it and its father challenge the Nuzlocke so difficult.

So far, I’ve been having a blast! I got a ridiculous number of duplicates and unusable Pokemon, but I eventually pulled together a team that included a Charmander and a Froakie (!!!) because some beautiful souls breed the starters and put the hatched level 1 Pokemon into Wonder Trade.

As of right now, I’m getting ready to challenge the fourth gym and the game is significantly easier not just because it’s Omega Ruby (admittedly a much easier game to play than its original version Ruby) but because all of my Pokemon being trades means they level up much faster. Then again, it’s a double-edged sword; twice now, my Pokemon have gotten to too high a level too quickly and they stopped listening to me until I got the gym badge needed to get them listening to me again.


And now you know I’m a huge Pokemon dork if you didn’t already know. Are you into Pokemon too? Let me know! I’m always here for fellow Pokemon fanatics to talk to about the games with.

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Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

September 2, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★½

Review: Heartless by Marissa MeyerHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8, 2016
Genres: Magical Realism, Retelling, YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: ALA Annual 2016
Goodreads
one-half-stars
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 0 (Hatter has a thing for Jest, but it falls into old tropes)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

The gleeful absurdity of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has always been up my alley, but no adaptation of it so far has impressed me. The renowned Disney film annoyed me the many, many times my teacher in elementary school put it on for the class and the live-action film was a boring technicolor nightmare. Heartless made me wonder for a hot minute if the key was to tell the origin story of Queen of Hearts instead, but it turned out to be worse than either film. If I were the Queen of Hearts, I’d want this book’s head in a heartbeat. Read more »

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