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review 2017-06-30 14:39
Slow on the uptake
The Deadly 7 - Garth Jennings

Alright, I'll admit it. I'm often drawn to a book because of its cover. There's nothing wrong with that. Why else would they hire people to make them attractive and spend so much time designing them to be eye-catching? And then there's the blurb on the back of the book. These can range from evocative, cringeworthy, perplexing, or in some cases spoiler-y. Even after reading the back of the book jacket of today's book and seeing the title and looking at the cover image I was still surprised to discover just what this book was about. Maybe you're all smarter than me. Can you guess what Deadly 7 by Garth Jennings is about just from the name? What if I told you that it was about a little boy who had 7 little monsters accompanying him on a rescue mission and each of them had a very separate personality? The main character of Deadly 7 is Nelson who comes across a machine which creates 7 monsters that only he can see. One is always sleeping, one is angry about pretty much everything, one keeps stealing everything in sight...have you figured out what they are yet? I almost hope you haven't because then I won't feel like such a dolt. This is Garth's debut novel but he's no stranger to writing as he was the genius behind the movie Sing. However, this book is pretty much nothing like that movie. This story feels like it could be rooted in our present but with a decided twist. There's an ever-present feeling of dread while flipping the pages of this book which honestly I think that a lot of kids feel at this age. Remember the anxiety and fear when you realized that you were changing and you didn't know into what? Jennings taps into that and uses the monsters as a way to illustrate it which I think is rather brilliant. I have to say that the plot of this is kinda all over the place but the writing is solid so I have hope that further books by him will be tightened up and be even better. Nonetheless, it was a quick read and entertaining and I think it would be a good springboard for conversation. It's a solid 6/10.

 

PS Here's an article where Jennings talks about writing the book.

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-05-26 03:15
"Barb and Dingbat's Crybaby Hotline" by Patrick Jennings
Barb and Dingbat's Crybaby Hotline - Patrick Jennings

So, it's interesting that this book is written entirely in phone conversations. Barb was annoying at first, but quickly, I felt her deceit was justified. Jeff was face-palmingly frustrating. That kid is more shallow than a kiddie pool. It bothered me that Barb called him a friend at one point, even though she specified that they're only friends on the phone.

 

I like to imagine that Barb finally gives up on Jeff completely after the events in the book. He never learns his lesson. He seems to get a clue once or twice, but quickly reverts back to the same Jeff he always was.

(spoiler show)
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review 2017-04-10 05:51
Review: Gauntlet by Holly Jennings
Gauntlet (Arena) - Holly Jennings

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/04/review-gauntlet-by-holly-jennings.html

 

After falling in love with Holly Jennings’s intense, exciting world of virtual gaming in Arena, I had extremely high hopes for its sequel. Gauntlet was everything I’d hoped for and more. It’s imaginative, addictive, and tense. You never know what will be thrown at Kali and her team next, and that’s just the way I like it.

Kali Ling, the youngest team owner in the history of virtual games, is out to change the world of gaming. In a world where gamers are celebrities, their images managed, their moves dictated, and their addictions covered up, Kali is determined to have a team that’s clean, honest, and the players can be exactly who they are. But being a manager is a hell of a lot harder than being a captain. Kali’s drowning trying to be a manager, player, and friend, and that’s without the added problem that her actions have pissed off the Virtual Gaming League. Even with all that on her shoulders, Kali has another new challenge: her team has been invited to play in a new all-star tournament. But this game is unlike any anyone has ever seen. It learns, it adapts, and it will push Kali and her teammates to their very limits, both physically and psychologically.

Like Arena, Gauntlet is suspenseful, engaging, and just plain cool. The added twist of the new game that learns and adapts (plus a few other elements I can’t reveal without spoiling the story) upped the ante. The obstacles facing Kali, Rooke, Hannah, Lily, and Derek forces them to grow, and I loved watching them develop as characters and come together even closer as a team. While Kali is the heart and soul of the book, I cared about each member of team Defiance and loved seeing more of their true selves come out.

Compelling characters aside, I loved the new challenges thrown Kali, both in the game and outside of it. I enjoy not knowing what’s coming next, loved facing each new challenge alongside Kali. Her frustration, pain, and determination were palpable and had me reading late into the night, wanting to see what she would do next. I hated having to put Gauntlet down, and my only complaint is that the end of the book left me on the edge of my seat, eager to see what happens next.

It’s difficult to write about Gauntlet without revealing things that would spoil the story. The fun is in not knowing what obstacles Defiance faces and what internal and external challenges they will have to overcome. I’m not a gamer, but I loved all the detail Ms. Jennings has put into her elaborate world of virtual gaming. The Arena series is vivid and wonderfully entertaining. I can’t wait to see where Ms. Jennings takes Defiance next!


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/04/review-gauntlet-by-holly-jennings.html
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review 2017-02-16 19:56
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen - Jazz Jennings

I don't often read nonfiction. Not because I don't like reading it. It's just something I don't naturally gravitate towards. I tend to reach for more fantastical worlds as a way to relax from the ever polluting realities of our own world. However, this year I want to do something a little bit different. This year I want to read more nonfiction. I want to educate myself about different cultures and experiences. I've always been a very diverse reader, but I want to do that with my nonfiction reading as well. So when my partner and I saw Jazz Jennings memoir at the library, we both decided we HAD to read it.

 

I really enjoyed reading Jazz Jennings's memoir. She writes in a very conversational tone. Almost as if she is in the room with you, just chatting about her day. It was a very relaxing way of conveying her story and message. I enjoyed reading about all the advocacy work she does and I especially loved learning about how loving and supportive her family was. I am fully aware that for some transgender teens and adults, that's not always the case, but I am so happy that Jazz Jennings has a family that loves, supports, and protects her so she can be herself. To be happy. I thought that was beautiful.

 

That's not to say that her life wasn't without struggle. Being transgender, she encountered difficulties when it came to using the girls' restroom in school or being prohibited from being on any female teams when playing sports. Her family fought long and hard so that Jazz could be treated fairly and equally just like other girls. And in the end, it paid off! What makes this an amazing accomplishment is that they paved the way for other transgender kids to have these same rights without having to go to court and fight for them. (Although, I know that no matter what, there will always be struggles for anyone who is transgender or who is considered "different" in our society. But this is why I believe educating yourself and having an open mind could help us better understand one another, so that there's less hatred and violence. Please treat each other kindly.)

 

All in all, I really liked this book. I think if you know a teen who is transitioning or is thinking about transitioning, this is a great book to introduce them to the idea. Or if you know any adults who has a child or teen that is transitioning, they should read this book so that way they can learn to be understanding of their child and their needs. To support their child in any way they can. Parents, more than anybody else, need to try and understand that their child is their child. No matter what. And parents should love their child unconditionally. Whether their child is male, female, trans, intersex, non-binary, etc., remember to always love your child. The world is cruel enough as it is. Do not add to the hatred by discriminating against your own child. 

 

So I do recommend this book for people to learn from. The only downside to this book is that Jazz Jennings writes from a very privileged perspective and she knows that. She points out throughout the book multiple times that she is fully aware she's lucky to have been blessed with understanding parents and the financial needs to transition. So, a lot of the treatments and experiences she talks about in her book are not something everyone will be able to afford or experience themselves. Nevertheless, I still think there are things in this book everyone can benefit from by reading it. Please give this book a read if you come by it. A little bit of education goes a long way.

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review 2017-02-16 03:53
Good Story and Characters
Tangling with the London Tycoon - Suzi Jennings

Kitty couldn’t afford to let the opportunity of Rosco Redmond pass by. Kitty had never walked away from a challenge since she was sixteen. Then her mother had died and left her alone. Rosco was CEO of his family’s Investment And Publishing Groups. Kitty only had two hours to get things together and get to Rosco’s home for the photography assignment. He wanted Kitty to photograph his sister’s wedding but his way. He would make sure of the pictures she took and oversee them. Amanda was happy to be all over the social media but Rosco was in negotiations to win the contract for the pictorial history of the Duke of Sandford’s private palace that were almost over and Rosco wanted nothing to come between him getting this project. Rosco felt attraction to kitty but he didn’t get personal with employees.  The media was trying to link Rosco with Titania who was a pop star and on the wild side and Rosco definitely wanted to stop that rumor even though Titania was part of  the bridal party. Eighteen months earlier Kitty had found out she had four half sisters now they all lived together and had businesses in the warehouse they had refurbished. Kitty had agreed to run interference with the Titania situation as well as his aunts if Rosco would let her give him a presentation of her Bedouin project. Rosco ended up kissing kitty while hiding out from his aunts. Then Rosco shows up at Kitty’s sister restaurant and offers them a project they could work on together for him. But there is also still the attraction.

I liked this book a lot. It was a fun read but also pulled at your heartstrings how both Rosco and Kitty didn’t have a loving upbringing. I liked how Kitty found a room for her and Rosco to hide and almost get found out. I laughed out loud and choke up while reading this story and that is a good thing I felt like I was there.I like how Rosco and Kitty opened up to each other it added to the story that they trusted each other with a very painful part of their lives. It was a good plot and an enjoyable read. I loved the characters and the ins and outs and I recommend.

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