Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Publisher: New American Library (Penguin)

 A review copy provided by Goodreads First Reads Giveaways.
Goodreads Synopsis:

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.
As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.
And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.


[Contains Spoilers!]
I won an ARC of this on goodreads before it came out, and I read it not long after I received it, which was a while ago. It sounded interesting, but I didn't have high hopes for it. It sounded like a lot of other books coming out during the Twilight high, and I didn't think it was going to be all that different. And so I was pleasantly surprised.
The story starts with Theia watching a burning man falling from the sky. She's dreaming, of course, but this is an interesting start all the same. It starts out kind of slowly, aside from that. Theia keeps dreaming about this boy, and then he starts going to her school and she's confused and intrigued. Haden, the boy, is of course mostly nice and charming in her dreams, but is distant in real life. She's confused by this, but of course she's attracted to him and so she pursues him. This part of the plot line isn't all that original. I enjoyed reading it like I enjoyed reading the other ones. Which isn't really to say that I didn't, just that it wasn't all that different from them.
Haden, though, is a demon. (Or is he half? I can't remember...) And his mother is like queen of the underworld. Haden and Theia end up going down there, I believe they're summoned by his mother. It's all very interesting down there, the creatures are neat, and his mother is done very well. She's a very good antagonist. She's good at being terrifying, and intimidating. This is one thing that's different from the others: that there's actually a good enemy.
The one thing that really made me like the book, though, is the big thing that happened near the ending. The big twist that was thrown in, in which Theia sacrifices herself for Haden in a big way. This doesn't really accomplish anything, it just switches their places. Now she's under Haden's mom, and he's up on Earth. I liked Haden before this happened, but I liked him even more after it. He was so sweet and clueless. It was so adorable. And that's more my type, so there's that.
Theia was alright. She wasn't particularly a strong character, but she wasn't weak. She stood up to Haden's mom, and after being stuck with her, she hardened up even more, kind of like Haden had been.
The writing and the story did keep me captured, as I read the book kind of fast. In a day or two, I believe. The writing was pretty, and I liked it.
I really quite liked this book. I'm looking forward to the next one, and I hope that it's just as good, if not better.

Manga Review: Crown of Love, Volume 4, by Yun Kouga

Publisher: Viz Media
Goodreads Synopsis:

How far would you go for love?
Sixteen-year-old Hisayoshi "Kumi" Tajima wasn't looking for love. But after he accidentally bumps into teen idol Rima Fujio, he can't stop thinking about her. Living worlds apart, he'll never have a chance to meet her again. Until Rima's former agent Ikeshiba gives him the perfect opportunity—by turning Hisayoshi into an idol himself! Too bad Rima only sees him as competition for Ikeshiba's attention...


I started this series a while ago but just recently finished it. It feels like there's a lot to take in with each book, like there's a lot of drama, or it's really emotional, or just full of stuff, but I don't really know if that's true. It just seems like a heavy series, or something. So it took me a while to finish it.
I read 3 and 4 together, so this might turn a bit into a re-cap of both of them.
In volume 3, Kumi meets Rima's mother, and Kumi meests this girl that's having problems in her love life that leaves an impression on him. And then Kumi and Rima have a serious relationship, where Kumi tells her that the next time she tells him she hates him, he'll take it seriously. So of course she immediately tells him that she does and then regrets it. The volume ends with Ikeshiba making a move on Rima, which she believes she wants, but it turns out that she's uncomfortable with it.
The volume starts with Rima getting home, confused with her feeling, and her mom wondering what is going on, and then calling Kumi. Oh, Rima and her mom also made up in the previous volume, and are living together again. Kumi's all upset because of his conversation with Rima earlier that day and doesn't want to answer, but does and talks with Rima's mom.
Within the next chapter, Kumi decides to run away. He doesn't do a very good job of it, because he leaves a note and then calls Ikeshiba not long after leaving. He ends up staying at a hotel like place, and the place catches on fire. He gets away from it mostly alright, and immediately heads back to town and goes to Rima's place. She's all scandalized because it's late and she's having a hard time with trying to deny her feelings for him. They have a conversation through the door and then she lets him in and there's a very intense kissing scene. It's very sweet and hot.
After that there's mostly just some closing scenes with other characters, closing some plot lines. Yurie has a conversation with Rima, claiming that she's still not going to give up on Kumi. I don't particularly like Yurie. She won't give up on Kumi and she should, he's already told her that he doesn't like her like that, and she mostly whiny and cowardly when going to Rima about Kumi. Kumi and Rima also have to work out some stuff with work because they're going out now.
Kumi and Rima are very intense and sweet together, not backing down about anything, and they're very honest about being together. It's cute, really. I actually kind of like Rima; she's kind of a spitfire, always going on the defensive. And I do like Kumi. He's sweet and honest. They're both still a bit immature and obviously need to grow up some more, but they've grown up some since the beginning of the series and will no doubt continue to do so.
I wasn't a big fan of the series at the beginning, but I actually do quite like it now, at the end. My feelings for it grew the more I read, which I'm glad for.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Manga Review: Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura, Volume 4, by Arina Tanemura

Publisher: Viz Media

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sakura is the granddaughter of a mysterious moon princess who slew demons with her Blood Cherry Blossom sword. All her life Sakura has been forbidden to look at the full moon without knowing why. Then one night, unhappy over her impending marriage, Sakura gazes up at the moon, only to see a demon attacking her...


I'm actually finding that I'm having a hard time writing this review. I just can't seem to write out, or really think about how I'm feeling so far for this series. This is probably due to the fact that I'm not feeling enough for it.
I've read all of the other stuff that's been published by her, and liked most of it. My favorite would have to be Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne, which was published by CMX (R.I.P.?). I love her artwork especially. It's so eccentric, and gorgeous. That last series of hers that was published, Gentlemen's Alliance Cross, confused me at times and I'm unsure about the ending; I should probably re-read it, really.
In this one, so far, has kind of caught my interest. I'm going to continue reading it, of course, because I like Tanemura's work. I was interested within the first volume, but it hasn't had me waiting anxiously for the next one. I liked this volume, but I feel like I don't have all that much to say about it. Like I didn't really feel for it. Which is probably why I'm having a hard time writing this.
This volume starts with Sakura arriving in Shura Yugenden with her brother Enju. We meet the other people of the village, the other people of the moon. There's some interaction with Sakura and Enju. They're trying to act like things haven't changed, trying to get back to normal, but it's obvious that that isn't going to work. I don't like Enju very much, and I can tell that he's up to something.
We meet and get the background on Rurijo. She was a stone that sucked the energy from humans before Enju took her in and made her a human body. To him, she was a temporary replacement for Sakura, which she didn't realize. I feel bad for her because of that, and I think she's interesting. I wouldn't mind seeing more of her, although I hope that she stops trying to fight Sakura. She has full reason to want to, really, since she was made as a replacement for her and now that she's back she feels that Enju is being taken away from her. But I don't like Enju, and so she should smart up a little. She fights with Sakura, and beats her up a little bit, and then Rurijo goes after Aoba in an effort to trick him, which doesn't work. It was stupid of her to do it, but she's being punished and pushed away by Enju, so I see why she did it.
Aoba and Byakuya and Kohaku and Hayate get into the village following something that Rurijo left behind. Byakuya fights Maimai and we get some of his back story. I feel bad for Maimai because of how he was treated when he was little, but not so much because of how he turned out. It's kind of understanding, because he hated the whole village and easily chose that over his love, but I don't particularly like that choice. Maimai has some serious problems, and could grow passed them, but I mainly only see more bad things happening with him.
We get hints that Kohaku and Hayate know Shuri, which is likely to be interesting, and will probably be revealed within the next volume or two. Also, I really like Kohaku and Hayate. I hope that Hayate gets changed permanently back into his human form soon, because I would really like to see more of them together. They are just so cute.
There's a bonus story about Asagiri that is both parts sad and cute. It was kind of surprising seeing how Asagiri was before being with Sakura, especially how much her attitude has changed. And I'm glad that she is how she is now.
Also, Sakura gets locked into a room by Enju after finding out that Byakuya and everyone is there. I'm looking forward to the outcome of this, as well as finding out more about the story and everything. There's quite a bit going on right now, and there's a lot to take in considering how fast this series has been moving along.

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Publisher: Dutton
Goodreads Synopsis:

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make -and the ultimate choice Mia commands.


I read this a while ago, a little before the second book came out. I'd heard a lot about it from other authors and reviewers, most saying how good it was, how much they enjoyed it. (Kiersten White especially.) I was a little wary, because it didn't sound as good, but I didn't like it as much as most people seemed to.
I did still really like it. I mostly liked the authors take on moving on, and how Mia was like a ghost while her body was in a coma. I've always found these kinds of things interesting, and wonder about them like most people do.
I probably liked this book as much as I did because of her take on that. I liked how Mia walked around and watched her family and friends. I liked most things about the book, really, except for a few things in the plot.
I liked her writing. It flowed very smoothly, and it was simple but still pretty. It kept me reading, and I didn't want to put it down. I finished it in a day, I think.
I didn't particularly feel for Mia, but I did like her enough. I did like her thoughts on all of the things she saw and what she was doing. I liked going through her memories especially. I liked how Forman did that, too. Put the book together like she did, with going back into memories as she's doing things. It was done very nicely. I did get a feel for why Mia was doing and feeling how she was, even if I didn't feel like she should be having such a problem choosing to stay or not. It didn't feel like there was much question as to whether she would stay or not, but that might have been because I already knew how it was going to end.
I definitely did feel her connection with Adam, and her friendship with Kim, and how close she was with her family. I liked all of her memories with them, and I genuinely liked all of them. Because of how well all of that was done probably also made it seem like there was no question as to whether she was going to stay or not, even with her parents and brother gone. Which, by the way, sucked. That was probably the saddest part of the book, aside from seeing her friends and family grieving for them and her.
The ending was open, but I didn't have much doubt on how I thought it had ended. But because there's a sequel, or companion if you rather, I figured that obviously something had gone wrong... I'm not going to get too into that, actually. Because I've already read it and will be writing the review of it soon, so I will talk about that in there.
Anyway. So, I actually did really like this book. Almost everything about it, really. I would probably even recommend it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Review: Leftovers by Heather Waldorf

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Goodreads Synopsis:

I make it to the flagpole second to last. No Poo Patrol for me. Not today. Today I draw the Grooming straw. Forget my own grooming; for three leisurely hours this morning, I'll be washing, drying, fluffing and brushing out the matted and dirt-encrusted coats of a dozen-odd dogs of questionable parentage. Not that my own parentage is anything to brag about. 
Fifteen-year-old Sarah Greene's father-chef by day, camera buff by night-choked to death on a piece of steak. It was the best day of Sarah's life. But a year later, Sarah still struggles with the legacy of her father's abuse. While other girls her age are determined to find boyfriends and part-time jobs and dresses for the prom, Sarah is on a search-and-destroy mission: to find the shoe box containing her father's collection of kiddy porn. After a brief skirmish with the law, Sarah is sentenced to do community service hours at Camp Dog Gone Fun, a summer program for shelter dogs. With the love of a big goofy dog named Judy, the friendship of Sullivan, a guy with problems of his own, and the support of a few good adults, Sarah begins to understand her past and believe in a brighter future.


I actually really liked this book. It was an easy read, and it wasn't amazing or anything, but it was good and I genuinely liked it.
It's about a girl, Sarah, who's father has died; a great thing for her since her father used to take kiddie porn pictures of her, leaving her scarred. After crashing her step-father's car, she is sent away to this camp over the summer for delinquents and sheltered dogs. She's not excited about it, and is surprised to see a boy from school there, Sullivan. She quickly becomes close friends, and then something more, with him, and gets attached to a dog, Judy.
I didn't get an overwhelming voice for Sarah, but I liked her, and I felt for what she was going through. Because she's trying to find the pictures that her father had taken without letting anyone know about it. Because her mother doesn't know, and she hasn't been talking to anyone about much because she's afraid. Throughout the book, she struggles with her similarities with her father, with her emotions forming for a guy, her fear of cameras, and with her family problems. It's nice seeing her overcome so many things, and seeing how she does it.
I also really liked Sullivan. He was sweet and adorable and I'd have liked to see more of him. (Not that he didn't show up much, because he was a relatively big character.) And his family was nice, and welcoming to Sarah, which she needed.
I like books with issues like this one. I haven't been through anything like it, and that's perhaps why I find it so interesting. Either way, I do and am always looking for more books with these kinds of things as I haven't read or found all that many. (Feel free to suggest some.) I think that it dealt with it rather well. The outcome was done well, and everyone's reactions were good.
The writing is nice. It's smooth, and simple. It was easy to read, while still being a really good read.
I just really liked this book.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Manga Review: Ouran High School Host Club Volume 16 by Bisco Hatori

Publisher: Viz Media
Goodreads Synopsis:

The two senior members of the Host Club are graduating and will lead separate lives at university. Everyone is mourning the loss of the Hunny-Mori Combo, but the longtime duo already seems to have ended their close friendship. Now Mori has challenged Hunny to a duel - but why?


I'm going to talk about what actually happened in this volume first, because otherwise all I will do is talk about how much I love this series. And I already did a lot of that in my other review.
So, the first chapter was the continuation of Mori and Hunny's battle and impending graduation. Their battle was good and gave the feeling that perhaps there was something deeper going on with them, some doom coming. The fight was good, and it was definitely nice, though odd, seeing those two fighting each other so intently and not holding anything back. I was unsure who was going to win, and how the winner did it was funny, while it almost seemed like cheating. The reason for their fight made total sense, and the host club's reactions were very entertaining. As were their reactions to their graduation, and the fact that they would still be coming by the school as often as they could. I'm glad that Hatori did it like this, because of course she couldn't take them out of the story, but still. She put it off so long only for the result to not be that bad. We also see Hunny and Mori's fathers, who are very fun. They're really close friends, as they should be, and it was just nice to see.
Also, at the end of that chapter, Tamaki and Haruhi have an accidental kiss. This moves in to the next chapter. I loved this. It was adorable, and I loved their reactions and everything about it. I'm so excited to see more of this, as more of this should be coming within the next few volumes.
Within the next few chapters, Kyoya and Kaoru talk about Kosaka, Tamaki's father's lawyer, and what she might be doing behind his back, what she might have to do with Haruhi's father or mother, which we see some of. And then they start the next year of school: third year for Kyoya and Tamaki, second year for Haruhi, Kaoru and Hikaru, and first year for Chika (Hunny's little brother) and Satoshi (Mori's little brother). And in this new year, Tamaki has moved into Mansion #1 with his Grandmother, which sounds good but is actually quite terrible, and has to postpone and then quit the host club. This is upsetting for everyone, and makes the dislike for his Grandmother even higher. Haruhi and everyone (excluding Tamaki and Kyoya) even go to speak with the Grandmother, only to talk to his father instead. Before and after this, there are some words exchanged that aren't very good, mostly coming from Tamaki. And then the volume ends with Haruhi curled up under a blanket alone at home during a storm. Oh, also during some of this, Haruhi's father, Ranka, is talking to Kosaka as she tries to convince him that she should be an exchange student.
There are also two side stories in this volume. The first one is about Haruhi's parents and when they first met and started dating. It's a cute little story. The second is about the twins' grandmother, and how they dislike her but are very much like her. This is a funny story, especially with how she torments the twins when they are younger.
Ahh, I want the next one! I want to know what happens next! I love this series so much, and I don't believe anything real bad is going to happen, because that just wouldn't work with this series, but still. That doesn't mean that there isn't some suffering to happen before the end. Which is always upsetting, especially because of how much I love these characters. And there are only two more volumes! Ahhhhhhh!
Um, sidenote. The author keeps mentioning her previous series, Millennium Snow. She's done it in the last two volumes. Has she been planning to continue it? Because I've looked online and I haven't seen anything about her continuing it, but that doesn't mean that she hasn't. Does anyone know if she has? Because I know that there are only two volumes of Ouran left, so there's the possibility that Viz would continue with her next series, right?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Manga Review: Kamisama Kiss Volume 5 by Julietta Suzuki

Publisher: Viz Media
Goodreads Synopsis:

After returning from a seaside vacation, Nanami is shocked to discover that the townsfolk consider her shrine abandoned. She decides to hold a summer festival for the local humans and yokai to revitalize the shrine's reputation. But Tomoe is strangely reluctant. Can Nanami pull off the festival with a little help from her yokai friends, or will Tomoe's naysaying spell disaster?


This one wasn't as good as the previous volumes. Or maybe my excitement is just going down for the series.
There doesn't seem to be a lot of plot line going on, just small story lines and not a lot of main plot development. Which might be why I'm not too excited for it anymore. Maybe, though, the stories just aren't as good as they could be, or it's losing my sense f humor.
The first chapter is about Tomoe and Mizuki, and how they don't get along and Tomoe isn't okay with Nanami having two shinshi's. Their fighting, and then being stuck together hand in hand, was very entertaining. I think Tomoe is one of the main reasons that I like this series as much as I do. He's just so mean and unconcerned in an adorable way.
The rest of the book is about the shrine hosting a summer festival and Nanami trying to do it mostly on her own, since Tomoe is against it. In the midst of it, she meets a new character that we see once, I think, but will probably be seeing again. He seemed interesting. There was also a story where Nanami goes into this dream-like state and Tomoe is acting how she would like him to, only it's very weird and she knows it's not right. And then the end of it, she does this big performance, which she's been practicing for, and it goes well and all that.
It's mostly not all that memorable or exciting, which I am disappointed in. I will continue reading, and I hope that it gets better.

Manga Review: Ouran High School Host Club Volume 15 by Bisco Hatori

5 of 5 Stars
Publisher: Viz Media
Goodreads Synopsis:

One day, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the 'Host Club', a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it's there that she discovers just how wealthy the boys are and how different they are from everybody else.


Oh my god, do I love this series. I started reading them a while ago, and then I stopped for, like, a year or something. So I got very behind. A couple of months ago, though, I decided to catch up and re-read them. I have all of them that's out, and I re-read 12 through 14 yesterday and just finished 15. This series tends to be my go-to if I'm in a bad mood or upset, as lately Tobygames on Youtube has been, because it always puts me in a good mood.
I love all of the characters. They're all so different and entertaining and fantastic. In the last several volumes it's been getting into the actual plot line and character stories, and I love it even more for this. It doesn't get too cheesy when it's serious, it's just very heartwarming and adorable and sweet. When Haruhi starts actually reacting and realizing her feelings for Tamaki, that's when I started actually liking her and start finding her adorable.
In this volume, Tamaki realizes that he likes Haruhi. And it's so simple and cute how he realizes this. And then hilarious, of course, how he reacts to it with the other host club members. Haruhi has already realized that she loves him, so it's entertaining how she reacts to him. Of course they don't know how the other feels about them, but it's not done in an annoying way, like with miscommunication or with them avoiding telling the other (even though they are), it's done with humor, as is the Ouran way. I was totally fangirling over Tamaki in this volume.
Mostly why I like this series is because I love the characters and the humor. If I didn't, then I wouldn't get it and it wouldn't work for me. But I do, and my feelings grow for it with every volume that I read.
There are story lines in this volume, like 'Ouran Orienteering Tournament', which was entertaining. I loved the episode following that one. Tamaki had discovered his feeling the chapter before it, and in this one, Tamaki is reacting around Haruhi and getting all flustered and overloaded with emotions and it's hilarious. And the host club members are taunting him and bothering him. It was fantastic.
In the next chapter, Haruhi's birthday is coming up and everyone is deciding what to get her, which is also entertaining. In the last chapter, More and Hunny are about to graduate. Hatori has been putting this off forever, which is good because no one wanted them to leave. They are very nonchalant about it, while everyone else is not. Everyone's upset about it, as they should be. Mori is getting a lot of challenges, because everyone wants one last chance to duel him. He keeps looking over at Hunny, showing that he has something he wants to tell him, and then he challenges Hunny to a duel, which freaks everyone out. I liked seeing Mori not himself, clumsy and weak because he's all stressed out. Seeing this is always entertaining. We also saw Hunny being harsh to and about Mori, as we've seen some of before. This is always kind of upsetting, because it's not something we see from him, and I like seeing the cute and hug-able Hunny.
The last extra episode is about Kanazuki, the black magic club girl who is in love with Hunny. She's trying to put a curse on Hunny so he will accept her invitation to a date. It keeps messing up, though, and so she thinks he's put a counter-curse on her. It's funny how Hunny keeps messing it up, and especially cute how he talks to Mori at the end of it and when he calls her adorable. He is so cute.
Ahhhh, I love this series so much. I will probably be posting a review for volume 16 soon as well, since I am already half way through it.

Review: Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Publisher: HarperTeen

Goodreads Synopsis:
First I find out that my boyfriend is cheating on me. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And now he’s depending on me to clear his name. Seriously?
As much as I wouldn’t mind watching him squirm, I know that he’s innocent. So I’m brushing off my previously untapped detective skills and getting down to business. But I keep tripping over dead bodies and I’m still no closer to figuring out who did it. And what’s worse: all signs seem to point to me as the killer’s next victim.
I really need to pick a better boyfriend next time.


I was hoping to like this more than I did.
The writing style was kind of... almost exaggerated, but not quite... And there were so many product placements that it started to bother me. It wasn't overflowing with them, I don't think, but I haven't read much that has very many.
Hartley, the main character, was alright. She didn't have a complete voice in my head, I don't think at least, but I just didn't feel much for her. Maybe I just didn't connect with her. She wasn't particularly a strong character, although not a stupid weak one either. She was kind of snarky, which I did like. Josh was alright, and I did kind of feel for him, even if he was kind of stupid. Chase I actually did kind of like. I didn't get much of a feel for her friend, Sam, either. She was alright.
The plot line was kind of interesting, and I did find myself wanting to know who did it. I didn't have too much of an idea because I'd ruled out everyone that could have done it. I hadn't even thought of the person that ended up being the killer, which was probably the point, because it should have been obvious. Although, the scene at the end, with the fire, didn't seem as realistic as it could have been. I've never been in a fire, but it didn't seem as well done as it could have been, and later, she didn't seem as injured as she should have been.
It was overall kind of mediocre and not as exciting as it should have been. And I didn't get much of an outstanding impression from it.

Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Goodreads Synopsis:

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.
At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

I love this series. I love Maggie Stiefvater, actually. She is amazing.
This book was even better than the first. I was kind of wary going into it, because I didn't know what was going to happen, what she was going to do with the characters, and when I saw that she added two more point of views, I was like, 'what?'. I only saw Cole's at first, though, and had only heard of him being a new character, so I thought there was going to be a love triangle thing going on, and I wasn't excited for that to happen. I was very happy to find out that it didn't.
The minor characters didn't really stick in my mind from the first one, so I wasn't sure who Isabel was, until I started reading her, then I remembered.
Now, I'm really glad that she added them, because I really like them. I almost want to say more than Grace and Sam, but that's not true. I liked all of their chapters. I've already talked about Grace and Sam in the first review, but I'm gonna talk about them some more. I got more of a feel for them in this book, and liked them even more because of it. Cole bothered me at some points, because of his self-destruction thing he was doing, because I'm not a fan of those things, but at other times, especially when he was with Isabel, I really liked him. Isabel I liked all of the time, I think. She was so interesting and very different from Grace, that I might have liked her chapters more than the others.
I still love Grace and Sam together, and that love has gotten bigger in this book. I'm hoping that something more happens with Isabel and Cole, because there is obviously something there, and I love them together.
All of the plot was interesting, and I liked all of the family things that happened, even if it was bothersome for the characters. I was really happy with what happened with the wolf thing, because I was hoping there was going to be some explanation, and I was happy with the one that it gave.
But, that ending. That ending was terrible, such a cliffhanger, and I want to find out what happened so bad. (Obviously not bad enough, or maybe I have been avoiding it for the thought of a bad ending, because I still haven't read it.)
Her writing was pretty much the same from the first book, although possibly better; very lyrical and pretty.

Review: Angel Burn by L. A. Weatherly

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Goodreads Synopsis:

Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L..A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip - and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful. They’re out for your soul . . . and they don’t have heaven in mind.


I wasn't expecting to like this as much as I did. Also, I'm not a big fan of angels, and haven't read much of them. But I do really like how the angels were done in this story. It was a really different take on them, with how they're evil and kind of killing people. And with Willow being half-angel, it was neat how she was different, and had her angel above her, and I liked what we saw of her connecting with the angel and attacking others. I'm interested to see more of that, as well as finding out more of how she came to be, since the angels shouldn't be able to reproduce with humans.
I liked the alternating point of views, as I usually do, as well as seeing what's going on with other characters in the story. I liked the writing style, it was simple, and pretty. The characters seemed pretty well done, and I enjoyed both of them, although maybe not as complex as they could have been?
I liked Willow and Alex's relationship, how they got along and how close they were. I liked the attraction they had to each other, and how close they got and how warm they were to each other later in the book. I liked how they got pushed together like they did in the book, with having to run off together to hide from the angels, like a surprise road trip, and it forced them to get to know each other.
The pacing was good, with several problems in between the actual action, and lots of time for them to just be together, especially in the cabin in the woods. With all of the down time that they had, it could have gotten slow and become boring, but I enjoyed it.
I really enjoyed this book, and, again, I was surprised by that. I'm also really excited for more of Alex and Willow. I really want the next book, but I'm confused as to when it's coming out? At least, in the US? Because it said in the edition that I got, that it was coming out soon, but I can't find it anywhere online. Maybe someone could explain this to me?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Girl Parts by John M. Cusick

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Goodreads Synopsis:

What happens when a robot designed to be a boy’s ideal “companion” develops a will of her own? A compulsively readable novel from a new talent.

David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat his “dissociative disorder,” he can’t get enough of luscious redheaded Rose — and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal “companion” is about to become her own best friend. In a stunning and hilarious debut, John Cusick takes rollicking aim at internet culture and our craving for meaningful connection in an uberconnected world.


This was actually really good. And it surprised me in several ways, actually.
First of all, the writing style was very different from what I was expecting. In a good way. He writes in third person, which I am used to, but he also does it in a way that makes it feel like he's a person overlooking everything that's going on. Kind of like someone is narrating it without an actual person doing it. For example, during a scene where there's an assembly (I think?) one of the main characters is at the assembly, but he takes the time to describe people around him. What some of the other students are doing and how some are kind of flirting and not paying attention. It kind of bothered me at first, and then I was unsure if I liked it or not, but it grew on me, and I found myself really enjoying it.
Second, the characters. I was expecting to like Charlie, and I did, but I wasn't expecting to dislike David as much as I did. Charlie was very likable, and sweet, and honest. David was very much none of these things. I was thinking he would be one of those rich kids who act like a jerk while inside is very different and likable. He wasn't. He had moment where I thought he was going to be okay, but he was still very much a jerk inside. Although I maybe feel a little bad for him.
I really liked Rose. She was interesting, as I thought she would be, because of how she's programmed for these things but then how things change for her and so she changes and becomes kind of a person. I liked how she responded to things that had to do with human contact, it was very fun to read. I also liked May, she was a very interesting character.
I was thinking the plot line would be like the other stories I've read with a robot character like in this one, so I wasn't expecting most of the things that made this one different. (I haven't really read or seen very many though, besides the manga Absolute Boyfriend.) I wasn't expecting Rose to meet Charlie like she does, or how David would react to Rose being gone. Especially not what happens to Rose later in the book after her and Charlie meet May. I quite liked that turn of events, though.
How the plot line starts, with the David going to the counselor and finding out about Sakura and then getting Rose was actually a good plot line. It was interesting, and I liked the down fall of it and how all of it was connected.
The ending I am a little confused by, and I feel like I wanted more of an explanation as to what happened with Rose. And Charlie. I pretty much understand what happened with David.
This was pretty much a surprisingly good read. I wasn't expecting most of the things that happened in it, and some of them give me a bittersweet feeling while others I liked.

Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Goodreads Synopsis:

Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will be left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance


I read this a while ago, so I am probably forgetting some things. Plus, I've read the second books, so that one's more clear in my head than the first.
I did really like it, though. It was the first book of Maggie's that I read, and I was caught from the beginning. I was intrigued by the synopsis on the back and that didn't lessen any when I started reading it. I love her writing style. It's very lyrical and pretty, calm and exciting. I've read more of her books now, and it just gets better, prettier. Her characters are very different. I usually like reading from different points of view, and she does it very well. And she creates such interesting worlds in her books, and I love how she created her wolves in this one.
I like how her wolves are actual wolves when in that form and actual people when human. It kind of bothers me that they supposedly turn into wolves in the winter and are affected by weather. It is kind of believable, and it bothers me as it should because of how it doesn't work for Grace and Sam. Mostly, as I usually do with books, I accepted it and moved on. The end, though, didn't make much sense to me. It seemed like a cheesy, cop out type of ending. I hadn't really processed that there was going to be a second book, though, when I first read it. I thought of that as the actual ending. Now that I've read the second book, I realize and understand that there's more to the story and am very happy about it.
I didn't get much of a feel for Grace or Sam in this book, actually. Not that I can remember, at least. I enjoyed reading them, and I'm pretty sure that I wasn't paying enough attention and not that the author didn't write them out very well. I remember that Grace was interesting, and I did like what I read of her. And Sam I might have actually enjoyed more, because how he thinks and with his wolf problem on his mind, I know that I liked his chapters. I don't particularly remember any of the side characters, none of them stuck out, and they got mixed up in my mind.
I did feel their connection even from the beginning of the book. I felt why Grace was attracted to Sam, was pulled to him and wanted to be close to him. It made sense to me and I liked it. I never got the creepy feeling that other people apparently did. It seemed very sweet and natural to me.
Even with it a little blurry in my mind, I really enjoyed it and it got me sucked into reading more. My review of the second book, Linger, will be up soon. Probably later in the week.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Review: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Goodreads Synopsis: 

From Jessi Kirby, a debut novel about confronting the past in order to move ahead.

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both.

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.

While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.


I was expecting to like this more than I did. I still enjoyed it, though.
The writing was kind of simple. It was pretty, like when describing the water and the scenes with her mother, but still kind of simple. It wasn't as pretty as I was expecting, I think, so I was a little disappointed. It doesn't particularly stick out to me; it was a simple, easy, not particularly remember-able read.
Anna, the main character, didn't seem as thought out as she could have been. In the beginning, at least. Near the beginning, she wanted guys attention and thought quite highly of herself in how others thought of her, and this bothered me. It seemed kind of exaggerated, or it didn't work as well as it could have. I might just not have liked it because I don't relate to that way of thinking, so that might be why it bothered me. But then she seemed more thought out later, when thinking about her mother and with the ending. Some of her thinking, like when she added that she might become friends with Jillian, seemed kind of like an afterthought. I liked the other parts of her, and she seemed to get better near the end, and I was legitimately liking her.
Tyler, I did not like. He was arrogant, cocky, and he just really annoyed me through most of it. Part of it might be that he's not my type, at all, but he also didn't seem to be showing genuine interest or seem that good for Anna. Through out most of the book I didn't understand why she was still interested in him, because he was acting like a jerk and she had even pointed this out, if subtly. I was even wondering, hoping, till about half way through, that there would be another love interest to show up. I was disappointed that one didn't. Near the end, he was starting to grow on me, and he was starting to act nice toward her. He's still not my type, though.
The one character that I really liked, and that I would have liked seeing more of, would be Ashley. She was fun and interesting. I wouldn't mind a book about her.
The plot line, about Anna's mother, was interesting. I was intrigued, even if it wasn't all that surprising, and the downfall was nice to read. What happens at the track meet, and then later at the ocean, was mildly satisfying. Things usually don't happen like that, I'll think of the idea, but they don't play out like that. I was nice seeing it actually happen, but not as satisfying as I thought it would be. Or as it could have been. The beach scene was more satisfying than the track meet. And then the scene with her dad, later, I wanted there to be more of.
I think most things in this book fell a little flat. But it wasn't as bad as I'm possibly making it out to be. I would still read her next book.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Manga Review: Kamisama Kiss Volume 4 by Julietta Suzuki

 Publsher: Viz Media

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nanami has all kinds of new responsibilities she doesn’t understand, dangers she’s unaware of, and a cranky ex-familiar who’s…actually pretty hot. What’s a new-fledged godling to do?


I'm having a hard time writing about this series. I don't know why. I am really liking this series, and am always really excited for the next one.
Anyway, within the first chapter of this volume, Nanami realizes that she likes Tomoe and then in the second chapter, she tells him. I knew in previous volumes that there were feeling forming, it was obvious, but I definitely wasn't expecting it to happen so fast. And after Tomoe and Kurama had that talk, I didn't think the outcome was going to be very good. So I was surprised that I found it quite adorable. It is quite improbable of anything like that happening while someone is falling, but I still really liked it.
In the rest of the volume, Tomoe and Nanami are having problems and then Tomoe gets captured by this sea monster that he has a debt to and so Nanami has to get him back. This kind of thing has happened before, and so I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have, but I still thought it was good.
This series just makes me happy. I like Tomoe, how he's protective of Nanami but also so harsh and mean to everyone. He's kind of adorable in that... abandoned, yet riled up puppy sort of way. You know what I mean? And I like Nanami, mostly. She's simple minded, and nice and genuine and all that. The girl main character in manga don't seem to stick out to me as much as some of the others, I guess, unless she's very different or annoying, I guess.

Manga Review: My Girlfriend's A Geek Volume 4 by Rize Shinba and Pentabu

 Publisher: Yen Press

Goodreads Synopsis:

Taiga is a college student who's always scraping by. All he wants is a part-time job and a cute girlfriend. So when he spies a 'help wanted' sign outside an office and a hot girl inside, he takes the job, no questions asked. And everything goes well, prompting him to steel his courage and ask Yuiko, a full-time employee at the office, out on date. And when she asks him if it's okay that she's a 'fujoshi', or rabid female fan of boys' love, he tells her it's fine out of sheer excitement. But poor Taiga has no idea of how much trouble he's just got himself into!

This is a very adorable series. I think Yuiko and Taiga's relationship is very cute, and their banter is very entertaining. I just generally like reading stuff when there's an otaku like character, and that's the main reason I started reading it in the beginning.
In the first chapter, Yuiko gets sick and pesters Taiga to read her some dojinshi, which he doesn't do. In the three chapters following that, Taiga is continuing to tutor a middle school boy, which he's hiding from Yuiko because of her uke-seme yaoi fetish, and so Yuiko starts thinking that he's cheating on her. I understand why she thinks that, and the fall out of it I enjoyed reading. They didn't have some dramatic fight, they talked it out and he explained things, and then the fight was over. It was nice seeing Yuiko worried about something like that, mainly because she's usually pushing him to do things for her.
The last chapter was about a fujoshi friend of Yuiko's who is having problems with her boyfriend after he finds a yaoi book of hers. It bothers me that he was totally disgusted by it, but I guess some people are actually like that? The two of them talking about it was entertaining, and the end of the chapter has me curious as to whether there's going to be more of them in chapters to come. It sounds like there's still a problem there, so I hope there is.
So, I still like this series. I like Taiga and Yuiko, and I really enjoyed their little fight in this one. I'm continuing the series and I hope it gets even better. And hopefully I'll finish the book that the manga is based off of soon.

Review: Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Publisher: Flux

Goodreads Synopsis:

Caleb Becker left Paradise eight months ago, taking with him the secret he promised to take to his grave. If the truth got out, it would ruin everything.

Maggie Armstrong tried to be strong after Caleb broke her heart and disappeared. Somehow, she managed to move on. She's dermined to make a new life for herself.

But then Caleb and Maggie are forced together on a summer trip. They try ignoring their passion for each other, but buried feelings resurface. Caleb must face the truth about the night of Maggie's accident, or the secret that destroyed their relationship will forever stand between them.


I liked this one better than the first.
First of all, I liked all of the new characters. I liked Trish and Erin, and wanted to see more of what was going on with them. Matt was a good character. At first I thought Lenny was kind of annoying but okay, later on, though, after the group thing and when he was just with Caleb, I found myself liking him even more. As well as Caleb's friend from juvie. I liked the relationships that were formed between all of them and wanted to see more of it. There's no doubt in my mind that if she were to write stories based on them, that I would get it.
I'm glad that she added them. I enjoyed reading about them, and Maggie definitely needed some friends, although I don't think she got as close to them as she could have gotten. And Caleb needed some good friends as well, so I'm glad that he got them.
I liked where the story went after the first book. The group thing that they did was good, but I think I enjoyed the bit after it more. Because the trip forced them together, which was good and made them face the problems, but when that ended, they had to choose where they were going, what they were doing. Maggie already knew what she was doing, because she'd progressed from the first book and even more throughout the trip, but Caleb had regressed throughout the first book, from deciding that he was going to do good, to deciding to run away from it all, which is all that he tried doing throughout the trip. After the trip though, Lenny decided to follow him, as he had nowhere to go. Seeing Lenny like that made him realize how pathetic it was, because he was doing the same thing as him, and so he finally chose to go face his problems. Doing that, and later making Leah face what she'd done, helped them all move forward.
I liked this one more, for several reasons, but it seemed more grown up, at least near the end. Because they weren't such immature teenagers as in the first one, although I think the biggest improvement was in Caleb.
Sidenote: The cover on this one, I did not like, at all. I think the faces were put on a little weird and made them look a little like not actual people. Although that might be because the picture behind them looked very fake. I think they could have done much better, especially when compared to the first one.