They finally got it: Parents in cartoons.

I’ve had issues with how parental figures have been portrayed in young adult fiction and cartoons in the past. Being a parent can warp how you see media; and I won’t be elitist in saying parenthood is the only trigger. There are plenty of people in my age group who have had their perspective shifted when it comes to the media they consumed in the past versus what we consume now. Where once we identified with the impetuous kid, we now can relate to the worrisome adult. The best part is that we can recognize that and become better people as a result. I can’t tell you how often I was able to empathize with my own offspring, allow them their freedom while still imposing reasonable restrictions (that they still get all puberty about but at least there is more talking than screaming).

And that brings me to Camila Noceda:

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In the season finale before the hiatus, I can say without spoilers, Camila is brave, understanding, smart, and heartbreaking. Yes, I may be an adult who still watches cartoons and you can judge me all you want for that but seeing an adult handle their special magical child in such an earnest and realistic way will hopefully pave the way for better depictions of parents in young adult media. Not all parents will be understanding but maybe there’s a weird kid out there who won’t believe all adults will be overly critical and closed-minded. Some of us can be worried about you without being lame, judgmental, or overprotective. We can be worried, we won’t be happy if you lie to us, and fighting demons may not be the profession we’d like you to have, but it comes from a place of love and some of us will understand.

More adults like Camila, please! Young people and adults deserve it.

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New Stuff!

Ah, it has been a while but I have been mentally drained from slowly going back to working in the library some days and some days from home. It’s anxiety-inducing to not be just doing one or the other and also dealing with how differently we have to run things without letting the public into the building.

I have some reviews pending and I’ve been doing more cleaning out. I unearthed a bunch of old books that I’ve decided to put up on eBay. I’ve also been encouraging my daughter to clean out, so there are a couple kids books up for sale. It’s all free shipping and I make sure to ship things within 48 hours on business days. As I clean more, I’ll be adding more stuff so keep an eye out.

Lenni Reviews: “Imitatore” by A. Rose

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Born with multiple magical abilities, Sophie knows she is destined to do great things. But when she meets Oliver, an Imitatore who has the gift to use her powers and amplify them, her destiny rushes headlong at her, upending her life and leaving her with few she can trust and the future of the world at stake.

This book encapsulates every trope of YA fiction: Very tell, don’t show, simple sentences, and a wayward protagonist. By ‘wayward’ I mean the plot seems to blow her along; not leaving her to make many decisions. I do appreciate the diverse cast; a dark-skinned main character and non-gendered costar. There’s some cool world building but this is absolutely geared for someone younger than myself. I still had fun reading it, though. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Black Bull of Norroway” by Cat Seaton & Kit Seaton

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Sibylla is given a prophecy as a young girl that she will marry a monster named The Black Bull and despite dreaming of a life of adventure, she goes willingly when the beast appears at her door years later. They embark on a quest to break his curse but no one will tell Sibylla why this curse exists or if it should be worth her life to end it.

This is an impressive and interesting start to a young adult series with very strong characterization for such a short volume. Sibylla is a strong woman obviously out of her depth with all the mystical things suddenly surrounding her but she strives to learn as much as she can. I enjoyed following her through this journey and I look forward to the next one! 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Markswoman” by Rati Mehrotra

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

After her first mark, newly initiated Markswoman Kyra lives to avenge the death of her clan. But her duties to the order of Kali take precedence as she tragically loses her mentor to what is obviously murder. Kyra embarks on a quest to expose the traitor in her order and bring them to justice.

I am honestly shocked this is marketed as YA but I loved reading this book. Kyra manages to be both determined but inexperienced without pandering or getting annoying. The fantasy world building is tight without a bunch of info dumps and the action is badass. I especially liked that Kyra’s journey is chosen instead of forced. She elects to go; not cast out.

The ending kinda felt a little bit of a copout as well as a cliffhanger but I am SO down for the sequel. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Sinless” by Sarah Tarkoff

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Grace lives in a world where your sins are physically manifest on your body. Pretty people are good and bad people have been punished with physical deformities and are ostracised from society until they earn forgiveness. When she encounters a boy seemingly immune to Punishment, it starts a chain of events forcing her to face some rather ugly truths about the world she lives it.

While an awesome concept, it feels immature in execution. About halfway through the book, Grace comes off to me as stumbling over the line between “flawed character” and “spoiled brat” so I found her hard to relate to; even as a YA novel. As things go on, (spoiler maybe??) she turns into the Queen of Being Kidnapped as this happens WAY too often in order to get her to the next plot point.

It’s a good thing this is essentially told by an older character because I am way more interested in adult Grace than teenage Grace. I almost want to read the next one with that want in mind. Despite not being thrilled with the protagonist, I still wanted to know what happened next enough to read through to the end. 2.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Sovereign” by April Daniels

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

In this sequel to Dreadnought, Danielle is working hard as the new hero in town but between kicking butt and maintaining her reputation with the press; and without even being fully licensed due to her age, she is feeling the strain. But Dreadnought is needed now more than ever as a worldwide threat lingers on the horizon.

I can’t quite put my foot on what it is but this is not as enjoyable as the first book. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a well-written superhero story with high stakes and plenty of thrilling action; by no means a bad book. A teenager dealing with the harsh realities of being a superhero AND transgender AND some topical threats to humanity deserves this darker tone. But in comparison to the first, the darkness is unpleasant instead of intriguing or compelling. I want to like this more than I do. If you ware interested in following Dreadnought’s next steps as she develops as a hero, this entry is just ok. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Water Memory” by Mathieu Reynès and Valérie Vernay

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Marion’s mom inherits a home after her divorce and decides to move there. As Marion explores around the private beach and the sea, she finds strange carvings and a cranky old sailor, Virgil. Rumors and legends about the carvings are everywhere and the reclusive Virgil is hesitant to reveal a single word but Marion is determined to find out more.

This is a lovely little story. Marion is a fearless little girl and her character is written realistically for a kid her age; smart but innocent and not creepily wise beyond her years. And in keeping with the water theme, most of the book has a blue tone. This book is short and gets to the point, well drawn and fun; perfect for a young audience. 3.7. out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Dreadnought” (Nemesis – Book One) by April Daniels

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*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted at Otakus and Geeks.

Danny is out secretly buying nail polish and ends up thrust into the middle of a superhero battle. Defeated, Dreadnought transfers his powers to Danny, giving him super human abilities but the female body this transgender teen has always wanted. But not only does Danny have to deal with coming out as the new Dreadnought, she also must come out to her strict parents, the Legion of other heroes, and content with Utopia, the cyborg villain who killed Danny’s predecessor.

After reading “Black Angel” I was a little nervous about another LGBTQ YA novel. However, this book is much like “Rebel Genius” in that I was hooked and entertained for most of this despite being a sorry old lady outside the target demographic.

This novel touches on the good and bad about being a trans teen with the added flight of fancy that if anyone bullies you for being trans, you can pummel them into the ground. Danny is such a great kid, you can’t help but root for her and just outright DESPISE what she’s put through. And, as a comic book geek, this also makes for an awesome superhero story. There is genuine peril Danny has to deal with as a budding super-heroine and despite the world ending consequences; the story doesn’t feel like it gets bogged down when dealing with the issues surrounding a transgendered individual. Some reactions are almost TOO evil but I think that’s just the part of me that is desperately holding on to a shred of hope in humanity. It doesn’t pander, it doesn’t preach; “Dreadnought” is a well-written, wild ride, and if it’s the start to a series; I look forward to more. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Black Angel” by Kyell Gold

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Meg, an asexual otter, is having strange visions of another life. As these visions become more vivid, she grapples with her feelings about her friend, Athos; who has obvious interest in her.

This is a YA, fantasy, furry novel and while it is so important to have all types of sexuality represented for young adults, I had SO much trouble getting into this book. When it gets to the point – meaning the meaning behind Meg’s visions – it is interesting. Otherwise, it’s a slow journey through scenes I skimmed just so I could get to the point. I wanted to like this, I really did and it is very likely this book missed its mark because I am NOT the target audience but I didn’t enjoy this book. I give it a 3 out of 5 for being competent and representing a sorely ignored demographic.

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