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review 2018-08-17 13:37
Don't Know if I Dislike This More Than the Cursed Child...
Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli

Sigh. I don't know why there always has to be a follow-up to a popular book before an author can work out the kinks and or think to themselves is the book in question necessary. "Leah on the Offbeat" was not good. This book ruined characters from the first book in the series "Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda." Leah is also a jerk, I didn't like her and I wasn't rooting for her at all. There is still an issue with the author not really getting African American communities at all and how they are towards those who identify as gay. It's not realistic to just keep showing things as perfect. It just feels like there are blinders up in order to force fit a HEA that doesn't work for the book.

 

Leah who was introduced in the first book is dealing with the fact it's senior year and all of her friends seem to be moving on. Even her mother seems to have found someone to be with and is moving on from her father leaving them both years earlier. We quickly find out though that Leah has a crush on someone (that comes out of left field) and makes zero sense in context to the first book. So the entire book is just Leah thinking about this person, obsessing about this person, and getting mad this person isn't doing what Leah wants them to do. 


I hard cringed though this whole book. There is no there there with Leah. The Leah in the first book was a drummer, into magna it seemed, and was fierce about her friendships with Nick and Simon. This Leah doesn't play the drums once in the whole story. Is totally absent from Nick's life it seems, and only seems to talk to Simon here and there. She's also fighting with her mom and her friends from the band. Everyone seemed to have a total personality transplant and it was maddening. 

 

Nick doesn't feel real anymore, not even Abby or Morgan, Nora, etc do. Instead these are just people moving in and out of Leah's story. I don't know if Albertalli meant to do that, but it really felt like Leah had no one really in her life. 


The romance felt forced in this one instead of like a happy surprise that it was when we were following Simon and Blue. It didn't feel real or earned and I hated that Leah had the nerve to argue that someone should be forced to come out before they were ready when she hadn't even told her mother or friends about her liking this person or even hinting that she could like girls. It was like Albertalli forgot what a garbage person Martin Addison was for blackmailing and then outing Simon in the first book. 

 

I also feel frustrated because I really wanted a book that accurately portrayed the lengths the African American community needs to still go with regards to accepting and acknowledging LGBT people. 

The book taking place in Georgia once again didn't seem to be that realistic. It's 2018 and the book references Hamilton and other things that show it's taking place in our here and now, but not very well. There is a whole sub-plot about Leah calling out someone from her friend group for being racist and I kid you not it didn't seem believable to me at all. It felt shoehorned in there so Leah could be a better person, but even I got sick of her self righteousness after a while. This person eventually apologizes to Leah saying she needed to be a better ally and I rolled my eyes. 

 

The writing felt more empty this time. There are not emails going back and forth between love interests. Just Leah moving through her day and getting texts here and there. There is eventually a road trip that also didn't help matters. I felt like I was in a totally different book.

 

The ending was a joke. We have a time jump so we don't get to see the immediate fall-out to Leah and her new love interest. Instead we get an email (finally) between Leah and Simon and Leah is just giving a quick recap on people who once again don't feel real. I can say that the friendship between Simon, Leah, and Nick seems to be over and that made me sad. 

 

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review 2018-08-17 13:18
Great Look at LGBT Teens
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

I really enjoyed "Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda." Even though it was short, Albertalli did a great job of making all of the characters in this story feel like three dimensional characters. The only reason why I didn't give this story five stars is that Simon's love interest is of a race that often treats gay men terrible. I don't know how realistic it was that everything ended up with hearts, kittens, etc. since this story also takes place in Georgia. I am not going to complain though since it was nice to just read a LGBT story with a happy ending.

 

"Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda" is about 16 year old Simon Spier. Simon is gay, but hasn't come out to his family or closest friends. When he forgets to log out of his email account one day at the school computers, a guy from his school (Martin Addison) finds out his secret. Martin blackmails Simon into helping him get with Abby Suso who is close to Simon's friend group. Things go awry and Simon is afraid that his email relationship with the guy he calls "Blue" could end.

 

Simon was wonderful. I really enjoyed this character. I sometimes have trouble with Young Adult books since the teens portrayed are often whiny or just jerks. Simon was a really good kid who is scared that coming out to his family and friends will change things and cause them to turn away from him. His long standing friendship with his best friends Nick and Leah is going through some upheaval since Nick has a crush on Abby Suso and Leah is jealous of their tight threesome breaking up.

 

Simon's parents were hippies on overload. They love Simon and his two sisters. They do fun family activities. 

 

Simon and Blue's email exchanges are sweet and also full of longing. I can't imagine trying to hide who you are from your family and friends. They both give each other advice and are there for each other.

 

I loved the other characters we see in this book, NIck, Leah, Abby, Blue, Simon's two sisters. Albertalli does a good job of having them in the story and providing enough details that they feel real.

 

I would say that the character of Martin Addison is going to make you grind your teeth. He is garbage and I hated how I still don't think this character thinks he did anything wrong. You eventually have things coming to a head, but I hated how it was resolved. 


Albertalli does a good job of showing how far people still need to go without bullying people who are different from them too. I loved the teachers in this one, for once we didn't have a Young Adult book where I wondered if all of the adults were terrible.


The writing was really good and the flow as okay too. I think the only thing I really didn't care for was when Albertalli went into the whole trope of Simon having a crush on everyone thinking they can secretly be Blue. It was beyond annoying after a while. 

 

“I actually think people would be cool about it,” Martin says. “You should be who you are.” I don’t even know where to begin with that. Some straight kid who barely knows me, advising me on coming out. I kind of have to roll my eyes."

 

Yeah my thoughts too.

 

"I take a sip of my beer, and it’s—I mean, it’s just astonishingly disgusting. I don’t think I was expecting it to taste like ice cream, but holy fucking hell. People lie and get fake IDs and sneak into bars, and for this? I honestly think I’d rather make out with Bieber. The dog. Or Justin."

 

I just laughed. 

 

“Good-bye, cute Simon,” says Peter, hugging me, and then kissing me on the forehead. “Go be seventeen.”

 

That was so sweet. 

 

The setting of Georgia seems a bit removed from a Georgia that I know of. It seems like most of the students at the school Simon goes to are white. And though Albertalli shows some incidents of kids bullying Simon, I have to wonder about what happened with Simon's love interest. Everything tied up way too neatly.

 

The ending was very sweet and hopeful. 

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text 2018-08-16 21:39
Reading progress update: I've read 70%.
Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli

What is this book? I don't know what happened but we had some truly unrecognizable people in this one. Reading Simon and then this next really showed the flaws in book #2. No spoilers on Leah's love interest, but it came out of nowhere, didn't work at all and I started to get really annoyed by her and her love interest.


This book right here is a good point for not doing sequels to popular first novels/series if you are going to just rewrite/change up characters the readers already know in order to throw shocking twists at readers that make zero sense based on what you already know. Looking at you Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 

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text 2018-08-16 21:35
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

Such a great book! I don't have time today to really enthuse but Albertalli totally hits the right notes with Simon and all of his friends. Not really feeling the sequel that much, but this one was fantastic. I want to throttle Martin Addison. That is all.

 

FYI my Kindle book version ended at 83 percent. So this was a fairly short book.

 

 

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text 2018-08-16 10:00
Freebie Book Blitz! The Last Resistance: Dragon Tomb by Ricardo Alexanders!

 

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

 

Set in World War II China, fantasy author Ricardo Alexanders takes you on an action-packed thrill ride full of twists and turns in DRAGON TOMB.

 

While defending his country against Japanese invasion, archaeologist Chuan-Jay Hoo is taken as a prisoner of war when a behind-enemy-lines rescue mission goes horribly wrong. His captors force him to take part in the excavation of an ancient tomb, a process that unearths the true origin of Chinese civilization.

 

The excavation ends; but China is still in dire need of help. Teamed up with American adventurer Dr. Harry Jones, a close friend of President Roosevelt, Chuan-Jay returns to the tomb and convinces the guardians of the tomb to interfere human affairs.

 

The tide of the war is turned but no one sees what is coming next: the rise of an otherworldly evil. Neither the Allies nor the Axis powers can stand in its way. Soon, our world is at the brink of Armageddon. At the final moment of human civilization, Chuan-Jay finds himself standing alone in the tomb of the First King, as the last line of defense for the survival of mankind.

 

 

BOOK INFO


The Last Resistance: Dragon Tomb by Ricardo Alexanders
Series n/a; standalone
Genre Adult Historical Sci Fi Fantasy
Publisher Independent
Publication Date November 8, 2017

 

Amazon https://amzn.to/2nqBtGw

 

Trailer https://youtu.be/qbs7k1nXAv4

 

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36567207-the-last-resistance

 

 

 

 


Intro


The year is 1939. An expedition to the most mysterious tomb in China awakes a nameless force and changes the fate of mankind forever… In the prison camp, protagonist Chuan-Jay (CJ) Hoo stumbles into Akagi Hikoichi, his old roommate at Boston University and the commander of the Japanese expedition force. One night, Akagi confesses that he is looking for the Ninth Cauldron, a mythical device said to be buried with the First King. He tells CJ that Japan can win the war with the power of the Ninth Cauldron and he has convinced Emperor Hirohito about that. CJ does not believe a word out of Akagi’s mouth.

Dragon Stone


“This is crazy talk, Akagi! Xia may have existed and the tomb could be under one of these hills. But the dragon and all that supernatural crap… I don’t know how you even convinced yourself. Akagi, you are an archaeologist!”
“You will believe me once you see this.” Akagi reached into a hidden pocket in his winter jacket and took out an eyeglass case. He opened the case. There was the necklace CJ had seen many times from a distance.
Akagi picked up the chain and let the small, slightly blackish pendant dangle in the air.
“Diamond?”
“Yes. Take a look.” Akagi nodded.
CJ took the necklace from him. It appeared to be an emerald-shaped solitaire diamond with a slightly dark-reddish hint. It looked like about one carat, not too big, not too small, with one end sitting on a four-pronged white-gold setting. Dangling in front of Akagi’s gas lamp, the stone’s surface appeared to be smooth and shiny.
“A small stone with visible inclusions. What about it?”
“Take a close look.” Akagi handed him the magnifying lens.
Something is inside.
CJ realized this immediately, as there were some strange reflections of light from within the diamond.
“The polarizer,” Akagi reminded him.
As he held the lens, CJ’s jaw hit the ground. The inside of the diamond was like nothing CJ had seen before. Beneath the hard surface was a core with the shape of two identical tetrahedrons superimposed over each other in opposite directions. The core looked purple and appeared to be spinning clockwise, like it was floating on water in the middle of the hardest thing in the world.
Even more bizarre, the core appeared to have a mind of its own. Most of the time, it spun at a very low speed. Sometimes it would speed up a little, then slow itself down. Its rotation totally disregarded the motion of the diamond.
“What…How…” CJ, dumbstruck, finally managed to utter a few incoherent words.
“It is called the heart of the stone. The corner pointing up channels energy down from the sky to the Earth; and the one pointing downwards draws energy up from the Earth. Together, they create a perfect balance.”
“What is this stone?”
“It was said to be the amulet of the First King. According to my secret scrolls, he lost it in one of his last battles. When it resurfaced about twenty-seven hundred years ago, it was named the Dragon Stone. Others call it the Blood Dragon Stone.”
“The secret scrolls? Can I read them?”
“No, you can’t. They are locked safely in my museum in Tokyo. About another thousand years later, the Dragon Stone showed up again briefly before it disappeared from this world.”
“It is indeed out of this world.” CJ agreed on this part. “How did you find it?”
“I bought it. The guy I bought it from said it was kept in his family from the time of Xia.”
“He lied, just trying to score a sale.” CJ knew the antique business too well and had not heard of anyone in China with a family tree that could trace back to the time of the Xia Dynasty.
“He probably did. But when I took it back to Tokyo and studied it, it really fit the pieces of information of the Dragon Stone that I pieced together from those scrolls.”
“According to the -quote- Secret Scroll -unquote- again.”
“It was also said that part of the king’s soul had grown into this stone and it will wake up once it gets close to the king’s dead body.”
“So that is why you were…”
“Yes. Every time I put it close to my heart, I can feel something special, maybe the soul of the First King.”
“Really? Can I try it?”
“No. Not unless you agree to join me.”
“No. Like I said before, I am not going to help you steal our national treasures.”
“Not so quickly, CJ. Think it through.”
“What’s to think through?”
“Well, let me give you a little hint. You probably already know that this is a top-secret mission. The whole expedition force was shipped directly from Japan and operated under a fake unit name. Only our highest commander in China, General Yasuji Okamura, was briefed. So…” Akagi stopped for a second. “At the end of the mission... I am pretty sure you know what I mean.”
CJ fully understood Akagi’s words.
“I can get you out alive. So think about it. Don’t rush.”
Not saying anything, CJ stood up and prepared to leave.
“You speak perfect Japanese. I might even be able to get you a Japanese passport.” Akagi added, “Then you can go wherever you want and do whatever you want.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY

 

To celebrate DRAGON TOMB by Ricardo Alexanders, we're giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and two autographed paperback copies of the book! Once your initial entry is confirmed, additional entry options are unlocked!

 

 

LINK: http://bit.ly/2Osyton

 

 

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. Three winner will be chosen, one to receive a $25 Amazon gift card, and two to each receive an autographed paperback copy of the book. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Ricardo Alexanders. Giveaway ends 8/17/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted. Winners will be chosen on or about 8/22/2018.

 

 

 

ABOUT RICARDO ALEXANDERS:

 

Ricardo is a descendant of the Great Yyu, a.k.a. the first king of China. He lives in Massachusetts and enjoys experiencing all kinds of cultures around the world. After obtaining his doctorate in science, he became fascinated with time-travel. As an aspiring writer, he loves to write time-travel fictions that blend fantasy, science, and real history together.

 

In 2017, he published his debut time-travel novel Dragon Tomb, the first book of his TLR (The Last Resistance) pentalogy. This history science fiction series starts from World War II, during which a young archaeologist discovers the true origin of Chinese civilization and saves the world from Armageddon.

 

 

AUTHOR LINKS


Website http://ricardoalexanders.com/


Twitter http://www.twitter.com/alexanders_h


Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/bollywood.invasion/


Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17314511.Ricardo_Alexanders


Amazon https://amzn.to/2MpFgOX

 

 

 

 

http://puretextualitypr.com

 

 

 

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