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Book Review Blog

Title: A Boy Called Bat

Series: A Boy Called Bat

Author: Elana K. Arnold

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Publisher: Walden Pond Press

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Rating: ★★★★★


The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum.
For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.
But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.


My Review:

What a beautiful children's story about a boy on the autism spectrum! My first book by this author.

Ever since I bought it, my little sister, who read it for her school before, got excited and kept nagging me to read it, telling me how much I would love it. But, as I'm usually a plan reader, I kept delaying it until my mood-reader side eventually kicked in and I decided to pick it up despite having a lot of books that I still need to catch up on... how glad I finally did!

Elana K. Arnold's A Boy Called Bat was such a beautiful story with the perfect autism rep I've ever seen! As someone who's been diagnosed with minor autism at a young age, there were some things I found myself relating to Bat about.

I LOVED Bat. He is so cute, and a loveable character that readers would love.

I may not be crazy about animals, especially skunks, but it was nice learning about them; I was impressed with how Mrs. Arnold uses her knowledge of animals in this book. Also, I found it really cool how she actually used a real-life world skunk expert in this book!

Loved the illustrations.

Overall, I found A Boy Called Bat to be such a cute story of first friendship and the most unlikely pet. Would definitely recommend to young readers.

Title: The Humane Algorithm

Series: The Streetlighters Trilogy

Author: Trevor Wynyard

Published: August 1, 2021

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Rating: ★★☆☆☆


Empathy or algorithms? What should decide between life and death?
In a near future, the world is struggling with resource scarcity. Losing his father, Matt Turner has provided for his mother and younger brother since he was a teenager. But a cold-hearted government continues to force consumption limits upon the nation, monitoring every bit of electricity used.
As his mother becomes gravely ill, Matt is determined not to let her grim prognosis ruin the family’s one shot at the streetlights—the coveted enclaves for citizens worthy of investment. Seeking medical treatment, he plummets into a dark web of family lies, treachery, and political intrigue reaching far into his past—with staggering implications for his own future.
Can Matt find a way through the government’s system in time to save his mother’s life?
The Humane Algorithm is the ominous first book in Trevor Wynyard’s dystopian trilogy The Streetlighters, a powerful series exploring dark, gritty impulses at the root of human nature itself.


My Review:

Finally finished this! Can't believe it took me almost a month!

As I mentioned earlier before, dystopia is not my cup of tea, but if you know me, as someone who has an obsession with brothers and bromances, I was excited to check it out, especially after skimming through the excerpt a bit. Based on the excerpt, it seemed to have the brother trope I love where the older brother takes care of his younger brother. So I couldn't pass up the opportunity when it was available for purchase free of charge on Kindle!

Trevor Wynyard's The Humane Algorithm takes place in a world where the government limits the usage of electricity and controls who has access to treatment. So what happens when Matt Turner's mother becomes really ill and he finds himself in really bad need of that treatment? I was impressed with how it almost depicts the world we are living in today; control, control, control. When you think about it, there are actually some dystopian elements around us in real life. For instance, during COVID-19, how the whole world had to wear a mask, and how we couldn't do anything or enter anywhere without taking the vaccine. Also, the part when Matt finally took his mother to the Grid hospital and was asked stupid questions reminded me of how when my parents fill a paperwork, they get asked complicated questions, and the process never ends; they just keep asking more from you.

I agree with one reviewer on Goodreads mentioning that The Humane Algorithm is a "disturbingly realistic setting of how the world could look like". I'm not gonna lie but reading this book did scare me a little. After all, we are already being controlled as it is, and this book only reminded me that the world could get worse later in the future. 😅

Unfortunately, though, I didn't really enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would. I don't know if it was just me, but I felt like it was more of a plot-based book, which means, I felt like the author didn't dive much into the characters for me to care much about them. And as I probably mentioned earlier before, what would be the point of a good, intriguing plot when you don't care much about the characters? When writing a good story, characters ALWAYS come first. I mean, in the beginning, I admired Matt for taking care of his family and being willing to go to lengths to do anything for them. But later in the story, I found myself losing respect for him. There was one part in the story where I felt like he was a complete idiot. Even risked the life of a child!

I felt like the book was mostly dragging with most of the story basically only revolving around the brothers taking their mother from place to place trying to find the best treatment for her. Also, since dystopia is not my cup of tea, all that social commentary really drained me, and many things confused me.

But why did I pick it up in the first place? Well, the thing about me is that, whenever I have a feeling that I would like the characters in a particular book, least favorite genre or not, I would just automatically pick it up. And if I end up feeling attached to the characters, then I wouldn't notice that I'm reading my least favorite genre.

In the case of The Humane Algorithm, sure, I may have liked the characters a little, but unfortunately, not enough to be invested in them and root for them. As I said, the author just did not dive much into the characters for me to care about them.

There may have been a few brother moments here and there, but not so much. As I said, I just wasn't invested in the characters.

Overall, this book was just all right I guess. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Title: The Case of The Twin Teddy Bears

Series: Nancy Drew

Author: Carolyn Keene (Pen name)

Release Date: December 1, 1993

Publisher: Aladdin

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Rating: ★★★★☆


On the trail of a teddy bear thief, Nancy unwraps double-dealing and double-crosses!
Bess is working during the Christmas rush at Beary Wonderful, a toy and teddy bear shop, when the holiday season takes a sudden scary turn. The owner's prized collection of antique teddy bears -- cute, cuddly, and worth a bundle -- has been ripped off. But the break-in is only the beginning of a much bigger and more brazen teddy bear caper.
The attempted theft of Bess's own bear -- a replica of one of the antiques -- leads Nancy to believe that more is at stake than a couple of burgled bears. For Nancy knows that even something as innocent as a teddy bear can be stuffed with intrigue!


My Review:

As someone who's always had a thing for dolls and stuffies (even attempted to start a doll collection once before), this Nancy Drew book has been on my TBR for a long time.

Was meant to pick it up last winter, but got busy catching up with other books. With the cover of this particular Nancy Drew book giving me wintery vibes, didn't want to waste the opportunity to read it at this time of year. Loved the cozy winter vibes it gave me, such as the ice-skating party; it made me want to join. 😌

This installment in the Nancy Drew series follows Nancy as she solves the case of the missing antique bears. The Case of The Twin Teddy Bears was a fishy, complicated mystery that kept me intrigued until the end. 👀

Despite the thief stealing the antique bears, why were they after Bess's bear too, which is not antique but only a replica of one of the antique bears? Did the bears happen to be switched up for some reason? It was so complicated!

Being into things like stuffed animals really does suit Bess. Also, it was really nice seeing Ned in this one; loved how helpful he was on the case. Love when he gets involved with Nancy in the mysteries. He's always been one of my favorite characters besides Nancy!

Near the end, there was a twist in the mystery that I didn't see coming - there happened to be two mysteries involved! 😮

While I loved this Nancy Drew book and found it intriguing, I've got only a few comments to make about it that made me knock out a star.

It's not like Nancy to jump to conclusions about a person, and she wouldn't believe a criminal's lie so easily! I'm not gonna lie and I really hate to say this about our intelligent, smart Nancy we all know, but near the end of the book, she was a little dumb. ***Spoiler***What happened was this: Nancy, Ned, and Bess attempt to trap the intruder that's been after Bess's bear by hiding in Bess's house, making it look as if no one's home. Then the intruder finally appears, and after Nancy accidentally makes a small noise in the bushes by slipping on a patch of ice, the intruder hears and attempts to make a run! But then Nancy runs after the intruder, and after she manages to rip off the mask, it turns out that it was INGRID! But then Ingrid makes something up and they believe her, even Nancy, which confused me! I'm not kidding! Honestly, at first, I thought that they may be playing along with her or something, but I couldn't believe that they really didn't think it was her! I was so confused! It was so clear! Like literally clear! If Ingrid only wanted to visit them, why would she sneak in from the back with a ski mask on? Instead, Nancy accused a police officer - yes, I said that right, a police officer - who clearly didn't intrude and just knocked politely on the door, according to Ned. That was NOT Nancy! I felt like the writing was messed up in that part, like the author somehow wanted to delay the knowledge of Ingrid being after Bess's bear.***Spoiler***

Other than that, I really enjoyed this Nancy Drew book and found it to be such a perfect winter read. Would recommend to Nancy Drew fans.

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