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review 2018-12-24 05:30
The Walled City
The Walled City - Ryan Graudin

This book was so,,,,,underwhelming????? That's the only way that I can think of putting it, I don't know if it was just me but I was expecting something completely different from what actually happened. I don't even know what exactly I was expecting it just wasn't, that.

In terms of writing, there wasn't anything terrible about the writing itself or the style. It wasn't purple prose or anything, it was suitably descriptive it's just the content itself. I'm not gonna lie it was pretty boring until the last maybe 100 pages of the book and by that point, I was already skimming but I got the general gist of what happened.

I think my biggest problem with this was that the suspense dragged on for too goddamn long. It should not have dragged on until deadass the middle of the book before we found out what the fuck Dai was talking about with his angst and stuff. THAT'S TOO LONG FOR A BOOK THAT IS PAINFULLY SLOW AND BORING.

Stuff simultaneously happens throughout the book with also absolutely nothing happening at all,,,,,if that makes any sense. I know that there were some things that went on but they lacked lustre and didn't really stand out from the other parts of the story. Everything was pretty much treated in the same tone as everything else so even if something was important it wouldn't stand out in your memory when you thought back on it.

The romance was stupid it has no solid foundation, it wasn't really based on anything necessary for a relationship? Everything happened literally just because Mei Yee was pretty which just further goes to show how far pretty privilege will get you in this world.

And the thing is, there was a story being told one hundred percent but I don't feel as if I read a proper story. I see the beginning, the climax, and denouement and all that good stuff, but it doesn't actually feel like I read a novel, it reads like someone's really boring diary.

I know Hak Nam was based on Kowloon Walled City and as I'm sure the history of Kowloon Walled City is interesting, I feel like the content of this story would've been better if it had just been a collection of stories from people who had actually lived in Kowloon City instead of the fictional story that the author actually created.

And I think probably the biggest thing that affected my reading of this book was that I'm just not really in a heavy mood to be dealing with the content that was in this book, especially considering the current political and social climate and how content such as prostitution and rape are being handled in modern times. I just feel so drained from reading news article after news article every day of another woman stepping forward with how she was raped that I just don't have any left to deal with it in a book.

So all in all, it's not a terrible book, I'm just not in the reading mood for it at the moment (and even if I was in the mood for it, I don't think my opinion would change all that much, it's just not my type of book).

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review 2018-08-25 05:51
The Death of Mrs. Westaway
The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

I had some really high hopes for this book because I heard so many things about it and it was hyped up to my knowledge,,,,and I was kind of let down. I expected something that was a lot more suspenseful and had a different tone than the one that was in the book. I don't know how to describe but what I expected wasn't exactly what I got.

My biggest problem with this book is that it's really slow and really boring. I got to the 160 page mark,,,,and nothing of note had happened except for Mrs Warrens being a right pain in the ass. Nothing really picked up until the last 68 pages or so.

I get that the purpose of the slow build was for the big reveal and to real shock us, and believe me, shock me it did. But I think it missed that mark of being just the right pace. I had to keep making myself read this because it was a library book and it has to go back soon. And you really have to make yourself keep reading because this book is just exhausting to get through.

By the time I hit the 280 something page mark of the copy I had, I said fuck it and just skimmed most of what I had remaining and I don't think I missed much. Obviously the juicy stuff I slowed down and read properly but the rest of it, I just didn't care. I spent the entire book hearing about Hal's worries and concerns that by the end I just didn't care about what her next concern was going to be.

And I feel like the bit in the summary made it sound like the entire family was bonkers or serial killers or something when it was really only two people, everyone else was just kind of,,,,,a normal dysfunctional family.

I will say this though, the plot twist at the end, it was wild. My heart started beating so fast I went into fight or flight mode, I'm in the middle of an adrenaline crash as we speak. It was good. It was the only reason I gave this 3 stars.

Pacing aside, the writing was fine, I'm not great with punctuation so if there were any mistakes with it, it completely escaped me. And because of that plot twist ending, I'm gonna go ahead and say that the characters were pretty dang good too. I liked the tarot card reading element of the story since it essentially is the ticket to solving the entire mystery and you don't even notice you've been given the hints the entire time until you get to the end.

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review 2018-08-06 22:51
Not the Girls You're Looking For
Not the Girls You're Looking For - Aminah Mae Safi

I was really hoping that I would like this book, unfortunately, it seems that I did not. I was really excited to read it because it focuses on a Muslim girl and her life, which you don't see a lot of in YA fiction. But it just let me down in pretty much every area.

I'm not going to lie to you, I knew pretty much right off the bat that I probably wasn't going to like this book. It starts off with no beginning, in fact, when you first start reading the book, it reads as if you picked up in the middle of a book as if it was the continuation of a sequel. There's no easing you into the stories or the characters, it just starts in the middle of something and keeps on going. Like I finished the book and honestly, I still don't know what the hell even happened or anything about these characters.

There's no plot in this book, at least none that I could see. I know it's a coming-of-age story but there should've been at least something to push the story along. The closest thing that came to a plot was I guess the string of parties everyone kept going to. I know that for some stories it's not the plot that carries it forward but the characters but to be perfectly honest, this didn't have great characters or even interesting ones to keep it moving or to keep you reading.

Moving onto the characters which was my biggest problem and why it took me so long to get through a book that would've normally taken me half a day. I didn't like any of them, they were all assholes and uninteresting, and I pretty much knew nothing about them and I still don't. In fact, I even question why Lulu and her friends are even friends. From what I could tell, they had nothing in common, they were constantly judging each other and trying to put each other down. They never listened to reason.

And most of the problems seemed to come down to simple miscommunication and I hate to tell you this but if your entire story is hanging on some simple miscommunication that can be easily fixed ... then your story probably isn't that good. There, I said it.

Lulu is so like, up her own ass that I just don't get her. Every interaction she had with her love interest at the start of the story was so baffling because he was being portrayed as being the bad guy or being offensive and half the things he did weren't even that bad. Like I get why the "you're not like other girls" thing is bad and a terrible pick-up line but a simple "no thanks" would've sufficed and she could've just gone on her way. But instead, Lulu literally drags that small line on for 2 pages and for what? It was so unnecessary, it was such an overreaction to something that wasn't that big of a deal.

Or she goes to a Battle of the Bands type of bullshit and he asks her "oh are you a fan of the band?" and she literally????? gets so mad????? and for what??????? She takes it as him trying to mock her or provoke her into proving that she's a "real fan" which is literally not what he's doing, he's just asking if she likes the band. Like Lulu is constantly accusing this guy of being an asshole but as far as I could see, she was the asshole in literally 99% of her interactions with everyone. And she kept describing him as looking confused when he was talking to her, and for good reason, because she was taking the conversation in a completely different area than where it was headed and the poor guy was just tryna follow along.

The only thing James, her love interest, did that was actually kind of yikes was take her to see belly-dancing because she was Arab.

Lulu is literally just so antagonistic for no reason over E V E R Y T H I N G. It's really hard to sympathize with a character who is constantly victimizing herself and making everyone else out to be like some kind of idiot who isn't as woke as her. And the funny thing is, she just makes an ass of herself every time because she thinks she's so much better than everyone else, the Ramadan incident being exhibit A.

Sis barely knows any Arabic, hears the word whore in a sentence half of which she can't even translate, and assumes it's about her mother like shut up. Your relatives, assholes they may be, can not only swear at you in Arabic and English but probably like 2 other languages as well, meanwhile you refuse to even tell people how you feel in English, sit down.

Her friends were just so????? I don't even know how to put it but like I said, I don't get why they're friends. I would say they're realistic but other than their interactions with each other, I literally don't know anything about them or their families or their interests, nothing. They're all also assholes in their own right.

Let's start with Audrey who's literally the worst person in this book. 

This girl always has something to say about not only Lulu's sexual activity but literally everyone else like you're an alcoholic at the age of, what, 16? I really don't think you're in any position to be judging someone, get off your high horse. And at the end she comes crying to Lulu like no fuck you, you're a terrible person goodbye.

The only thing that was irritating about Lo was the fact that she was trying to fuck the racism out of Scumbag Luke or something like for someone who has her head set straight like she does, I literally didn't get this one lapse in judgement from her. It just made no sense from what I understood about her character. And then at the end of the book, she's crying because Scumbag Luke turned out to be a scumbag like literally everyone said he was. She even knew that he was a racist, homophobic asshole, it wasn't a mystery, it was a well-known fact throughout the book. So did I feel sorry for her? No.

Next.

Emma, didn't do anything, she honestly might as well have not even been in the book because she literally contributed almost nothing, she only served as some sort of plot point because she's gay, but other than that, she didn't need to be there.

To conclude, is this book worth reading? Not really. I'm just glad I borrowed it from the library instead of buying it.

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text 2018-05-15 05:35
Backlash
Backlash - Sarah Darer Littman

I literally hate this book with every fibre in my being. This is literally the most ridiculous portrayal of cyberbullying that I have ever had the misfortune of reading of my own two eyeballs. I literally don't even know where to begin.

First off, the writing in this is literally so ... mediocre? It literally reads like mediocre fanfiction. And full offense this author literally hasn't spoken to a teenager after 2010 and it shows. I'd feel bad for saying it but I'm getting so tired of adults who have literally no idea what the teenagers of the modern day are like and writing them as whatever stereotype they have in their head. I would've let this slide if this had been written in like 2009 but this was literally published in 2015 so like ... get with the times.

People my age don't use Facebook all that much anymore, at least they don't use it in the way that it's portrayed in the book. Nobody puts you on blast and tells you to kill yourself on a Facebook post in the year of 2015. They just don't. They'll do it on a spam account on instagram or on their snapstory but even then they'll be shady about it, they won't ever mention any names.

Which someone would know if they had ever actually spoken to someone between the ages of 13-20.

Moving on.

All of these characters are like caricatures of human beings, not to mention they're all fucking sociopaths. Everything is so exaggerated to the point that it literally wouldn't work this way in the real world.

Lara is literally so annoying and I should probably feel bad for saying this considering her situation, but she was a fucking idiot. I get where her self-esteem issues came from, seriously I do, but I feel like the way that they were handled was so poorly and it honestly didn't feel like it came from somewhere deep. Maybe it's just me but I literally do not understand why someone would give two shits about the opinion of any boy, especially one they've never met in person. I don't know what it was but her situation just didn't feel real to me.

You mean to tell me, this girl goes from being perfectly fine for weeks and months on end and enjoying life ... to attempting suicide because one boy told her the world would be a better place without her? I don't know, maybe I don't know enough about this type of thing yet to be able to judge whether or not it was realistic, maybe someone really can make a complete 360.

Her sister Sydney is literally ... so self-centered. Her sister literally tries to kill herself and this girl thinks her life is hard because she can't make it to her audition. How fucking hard it must be for you to have a mentally ill sister. Why doesn't she just put on hold so that you can have some attention for five minutes. God she was so annoying but as annoying as she was, she was also one of the only sane fucking people in this book and that wasn't all that hard to achieve since everyone was batshit insane.

Bree is a fucking sociopath, I feel bad for saying this but honestly this girl deserved everything she got and I can't believe the book actually tries to make you feel bad for her. Boo hoo you dumb bitch you didn't make the cheerleading squad get on with your life Christ. Literally who even fucking thinks it's an appropriate thing to create an entire fake account so you can emotionally damage someone you used to be friends with. I literally can't put into words how fucking insane that is.

HER MOM WAS EVEN WORSE.

This woman, instead of scolding her daughter and punishing her for being a literal terrible human being decides tO JOIN IN ON THE CREEPY CATFISH FLIRTING TO BE PETTY AT LARA'S MOM BECAUSE SHE'S AN UNFULFILLED MIDDLE AGED WOMAN. 

The only decent, sane person in this entire book is Liam who calls out his sister for her absolutely insane behaviour and tells her that she's a literal piece of trash.

Look I get it, cyberbullying is a big thing in the age of technology and it's important to talk about ... but this book does a really bad job of it and I feel like if anything, makes it seem a lot simpler than any cyberbullying situation would be.

This book is terrible and I didn't even bother with the last 20 pages, thank you for listening to my TedTalk.
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review 2018-03-02 19:49
I'm Bored - Michael Ian Black,Debbie Ridpath Ohi
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I'm a little conflicted about this one. It's a fun, entertaining, hilarious, engaging book, but in the past week, I've read it over and over again with a few 3-5-year-olds and now they all love to say how bored they are. But I still think it's a great book, because any book that kids demand you read over-and-over again until you almost never want to see it again has got to be good.

I'd say this is a good book for older children. You know, the ones who say "I'm bored" all the time. the ones this book was meant for. It has a great message about children and boredom. Downside to reading it to younger kids is that I basically just taught them all to say "I'm bored" all the time (I'd like to publicly apologize to all of the parents of the children I work with). The message at the end is pretty subtle and it can easily be missed by young children.

I loved how random the picture were. Every time I got to the first potato page, the kids I read it to were like "Potato?" The looks on their confused little faces were great and the way their eyes widened because they wanted me to keep reading so they could find out what was going on was priceless.

This is also a great book to take turns reading. The text is within the pictures and is usually physically near the character who speaks the line. My kids had a blast taking on the lines of the potato. 

This is a pretty great book and I'm not afraid to admit that I enjoyed it just as much as the kids did.
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