Monday, August 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesday[9]: The Ghosts of Ashbury High (Ashbury/Brookfield, #4) by Jaclyn Moriarty

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading! All you have to do to participate is:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Okay, I swear, I am going to try harder to do these every week from now on. I just… I don’t like doing them on days other than Monday, and usually I finish a book over the weekend. Sometimes I’m not really stuck on a certain book yet, or I just forget that it’s Monday and Tuesday is tomorrow. Last week I didn’t do one because, for one, I forgot Tuesday was coming, and two, I was kind of busy. It was my last week on vacation, and now I’m back home, so my schedule should be somewhat back to normal. Although school starts in a couple weeks, and I don’t know how normal my schedule will be then (plus I’m gonna try to get a job, and that’s sure to mess everything up!).
Anyway: I read one book over the weekend, (or, um, more than one? I can’t remember; I was in an airplane for most of one day, and the rest was spent focusing on going in an airplane). And I just got a bunch of manga, so that’s what my main focus is at the moment, but I’m pretty sure the YA book (and I say YA, because I might also be reading several smut-filled adult romances, and I just haven’t decided which ones to get serious about) I’m going to focus on is:
The Ghosts of Ashbury High (Ashbury/Brookfield, #4) by Jaclyn Moriarty
Publisher: Scholastics, Inc. (Arthur A. Levine Books)

“Anyhow, we sang ‘Happy Birthday,’ and when Toby went to blow out the candles, Astrid stepped forward to help. I don’t know why. I think she was overexcited. Anyway, she leaned forward to blow --- and her hair caught on fire!
There was so much screaming!” (Hardback, pg. 224)

·        lockers that wouldn’t open
·         hair being unusually frizzy
·         a toothache
I have to admit, a lot of these things can be explained as normal, day-to-day life rather than as paranormal activity.” (Hardback, pg. 225)

So, what are you reading right now?

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Rating (Out of 5): ~2.5 (maybe 3)
Publisher: Penguin (Razorbill)
Spoilers?: Minor.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.


I am disappointed. I was expecting to like this, and I did not.
The Replacement about Mackie, a changeling. He’s the baby that replaces the baby that the fairies stole. This, on its own, is a really good idea. That alone caught my interest. And Mackie has lived longer than most in his place seem to, and he’s having a hard time living surrounded by everything human. His family knows, and the town knows this happens but not that it happened to him. And he’s badly affected by all the iron and steel in the world, in cars and in blood. And then he meets people like him, who pull him in and help him, but it’s not that easy. Because someone he knows sister was taken, and it’s just going to keep happening, and he doesn’t like it.
This sounds very good and very interesting, and those things I listed, are. But then there was all this stuff that didn’t need to be there. Mackie and Tate’s relationship for one. I didn’t mind that it happened, and I didn’t mind Tate, even liked her in one scene of the book, but their relationship didn’t work. They fought, and she got pissed off at him, and she was a bitch and yet he still wanted to make out with her, and there was no reason for any of it. He had an attraction to her from the beginning of the book, but there was never any reason for it. It was just suddenly there, for no reason, and wouldn’t go away. And then she would be pissed at him, no reason given. It wasn’t quite insta-love, because it wasn’t love, it was just attraction.
Another thing that bothered me: A lot of stuff wasn’t explained. It was hinted that people knew things, that there were stories told, and that his friends knew things about him, but you never really knew how much. I guess because they never talked about it, until finally they did. With his best friend, Roswell. And with Tate. For some reason, she starts coming to him, bothering him about things, with no reason, and he blows her off, tries to avoid her, and it doesn’t work. But it’s never explained why she hounds him so much, when it’s never really explained that everyone thinks he’s weird. Because, why would everyone think he’s weird and still hang out with him so much? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
And those things took so much time. Mackie took a lot of time with not knowing what to do, wanting something and then suddenly wanting something else. Ignoring something one minute and then trying to talk about it the next. It was like he couldn’t make up his mind, only he never thought of it like that. There was never an in between for his thoughts to change, they just suddenly did.
A lot of the book focused on Mackie and Tate, and then Mackie and his family, and then Mackie and the people like him. With nothing getting done. And then, when things started happening, it took forever. It was so slow going, so anticlimactic. One scene, within the last fifty pages, was exciting and really good, but the rest just took forever.
I wanted Mackie to finally just kick someone’s ass, beat someone up, get it over with already, but he fought so weakly, with no force. It was ridiculous and I did not enjoy it.
I liked: Emma, Mackie’s older sister. Their relationship was done really well. She took care of him since he was young, and so they got to be really close. They were loyal to each other all the way through, and I liked that.
I did quite like Roswell, and maybe even Danny and Drew, but I don’t think there was enough of them to really make it official for me.
I liked the set-up for everything, too. The lore, what Mackie is, what the people like him are like, that was all really interesting. And the writing was good. It was pretty and then disturbing when it needed to be. The ending wasn’t too bad, either. It was just the characters and the lack of action that bothered me; that didn’t keep me interested.
I don’t know if I’m going to read another of Yovanoff’s books. I might give her another try, but I might not, and it might take a while if I do decide to.

Review: Johannes Cabal (#1): the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Random House (Doubleday)
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

 A charmingly gothic, fiendishly funny Faustian tale about a brilliant scientist who makes a deal with the Devil, twice. 

Johannes Cabal sold his soul years ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. Now he wants it back. Amused and slightly bored, Satan proposes a little wager: Johannes has to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever. This time for real. Accepting the bargain, Jonathan is given one calendar year and a traveling carnival to complete his task. With little time to waste, Johannes raises a motley crew from the dead and enlists his brother, Horst, a charismatic vampire to help him run his nefarious road show, resulting in mayhem at every turn.


My brother has been wanting me to read this for a while now, and I finally got around to it. And, like he thought I would, I enjoyed it.
Johannes Cabal, the main character, is a necromancer. And he’s a bit of an ass and a cynic and full of himself (almost, but not, in an exaggerated way, and with some reason). Also, he’s sold his soul to the devil, which is what gets him into the mess of running a carnival and collecting souls before his time runs out.
This book was really fun to read. Johannes was sarcastic, and while the book was in third person, we got little bits of his thoughts that were very entertaining. We also get to meet his brother, Horst Cabal, who is the complete opposite of him, but who I also liked quite a bit. I’m not sure who I liked more, but I am very upset about what happens with Horst.
We also meet several smaller characters that work for the carnival, all who are very fun to read about but who didn’t get much of a part. Along with several other characters along the way, but most or all of which didn’t last very long. Although, the last couple people we meet, I’m not sure whether they are going to show up in the next book or not. I hope so, but it’s quite possible that they won’t.
I really enjoyed this book. It was funny, but serious at some points, and overall was really enjoyable to read. Sometimes there would be long paragraphs of description that lost a bit of my interest, but that wasn’t too big of a thing to get over.
The ending was kind of a cliffhanger, and intensely makes me want to know what happens next. Up to that point, you aren’t given a reason for why Johannes is doing all of this, although I suspected, and now I just really want to know what happens next.
I don’t know when I will be getting to read the next book, though. Hopefully somewhat soon, but it could be a while.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teaser Tuesday[8]: Johannes Cabal (#1): the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading! All you have to do to participate is:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


Oh, and I was doing so well, too. Damn.
            Although, honestly, I was still kind of reading the same book as the week before. Which totally sucks of me. Plus, the last week has somehow disappeared. Seriously, it felt like Sunday came, and then there were minor parts of the week, and suddenly it was Sunday again. I have almost no idea where the last week went. It’s ridiculous, and I have not been reading nearly as much as I should be. But, you know, excuses excuses.
            Anyway, here is what I am kind-of, maybe, hopefully, I’m trying to be, reading right now. It was suggested to me by my brother, who is a huge fan of it and wants me to read it really bad. This is weird in the fact that my brother is super picky and hardly ever finds anything he likes or gets very excited about things. It’s not YA, but it does sound good, so I’m giving it a try.
            Johannes Cabal (#1): the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard
            Publisher: Random House (Doubleday)

“Cabal had grabbed him by the lapels. ‘How you wished you’d remembered to put an exit in? Is that what you said? Is that what you said?’” (Hardback, pg. 126)

“… Cabal ignored them. He was already on one knee by the body and checking its pulse. None; the blow had killed him outright, which was just as it should be. But he waited. His own heart sank as the corpse’s stuttered back into life, finrillated, and stabilized. The rapid reconstruction of the broken skill and presumed re-formation of the liquidized brain within predictably followed. By the time the former dead man’s eyes had flickered open and he’d said, ‘Ouch,’ Cabal had already lost interest. So---there was no death here, either.” (Hardback, pg. 127)

            So, what are you currently reading?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: The Beginning Of After by Jennifer Castle

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5 (maybe 4)
Publisher: HarperCollins / HarperTeen
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Laurel’s world changes instantly when her parents and brother are killed in a terrible car accident. Behind the wheel is the father of her bad-boy neighbor, David Kaufman, whose mother is also killed. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laurel navigates a new reality in which she and her best friend grow apart, boys may or may not be approaching her out of pity, overpowering memories lurk everywhere, and Mr. Kaufman is comatose but still very much alive. Through it all, there is David, who swoops in and out of Laurel’s life and to whom she finds herself attracted against her better judgment. She will forever be connected to him by their mutual loss, a connection that will change them both in unexpected ways.


I had higher hopes for this book. At least, in the romance department. I had heard that there was more than there actually was; or, I took it to believe that there was more.
There was swoon, I will say that, but not a lot of physical stuff, until the very last bit of the book.
Um, anyway: this book is about Laurel, who’s family gets in a car accident with Davids parents, a boy she’s known since she was little, but isn’t very close with anymore. A lot of the book focuses on her trying to face what happened and get over it.
She tries to play it cool, like she’s alright, pretty quickly, before facing that she’s having a hard time and misses them and doesn’t want to do anything. It was pointed out a couple of times that she was being selfish, focusing only on herself and not on the people around her that are still there for her, but I didn’t really agree with that. First of all, she does have some reason to be, at first, but then later, for quite a bit of the book, it didn’t feel like she was focusing on herself. She just wasn’t focusing on anything, and just didn’t seem all there. Which is understandable as well.
I liked Laurel enough, understood her and maybe felt a little bit of a connection with her, but not enough. She didn’t pull me in or capture me like some have; which, I guess, is also understandable in some way, with how she was written. She just wasn’t there for a lot of the book, not feeling anything and trying not to feel anything, which I did kind of enjoy reading about. Not enough, though, I guess.
I think I just had a hard time with this whole book. I had a hard time with Laurel, the romance was taking too long, nothing really seemed to be capturing me or putting me off; it was all just, eh.
It did get better near the ending, I will say that. I started to enjoy it a bit more as it got more interesting, the romance really got going, and the ending was good. It left at a good place, and even though I would have liked to see more of her going to college and being with David, that was enough for me.

Review: He's With Me by Tamara Summers

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Scholastic (Point)
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

 Just in time for summer comes the perfect beach read! Humor and romance abound in this fresh, fun take on summer love.

Lexie has always had a crush on Jake, her brother Colin's best friend. But she knows Jake thinks of her like a sister, and has never made a move. But when beautiful alpha girl Bree McKennis sets her sights on Jake, he has to come up with a plan to turn her down...without incurring the wrath of the most popular girl in school. That's when Colin comes up with the plan: Lexie can pretend to be Jake's girlfriend. But Lexie has never had a real boyfriend, let alone a pretend one! Can she manage to convince Jake that they're meant to be...and avoid getting killed by Bree McKennis?


This book was… pretty much average to me. I’ve read some of Summers’ other books, and both were perhaps better than this one. Although, I read them both a while ago, so maybe I’m blurry on that.
This book, and others like it, tend to be lighthearted, fluffy, girly, romance-centered, no heavy plot, very fast to read (I read it in less than a day). Somewhat stereotypical. They’re like adult romances, only for little girls. You know, no sex, no grown-up problems, nothing real serious. Which, sometimes is alright, or what you’re looking for. And I used to read them all the time, but I think I prefer the more adult ones now. Which, really, shouldn’t have surprised me.
This book was about Lexie, who is crushing on her twin brothers friend Jake. For some reason, everyone likes him, because he’s so cute and whatever, even though he hangs out with Lexie and her brother, who no one seems to really care for. Anyway, Lexie and Jake end up going to the same camp over the summer, taking Tennis lessons and playing pool volleyball. And then the popular girl from their school starts liking Jake, and a boy at the camp starts liking Lexie.
The book was enjoyable, for the most part. It wasn’t bad. It was just very light, nothing heavy, pretty stereotypical, very predictable. It started with no surprise and ended with no surprise. One thing that bothered me, is that it seemed like it could have ended so much earlier. I've read one-shots online, one chapter long, with this type of storyline that were much shorter. It didn't seem dragged on, there was just more story where there didn't need to be. More of the characters not thinking the other one liked them, or didn't like them enough, when there didn't need to be. 
I didn’t feel too much for the characters, although I could have. The relationships that formed could have been really good, been done really well, but were too light and easy, with not much under the surface. Lexie and Sally could have been really close, and I love twin sibling relationships, and this one wasn't done badly... There just wasn't much there, when there could have been.
I still have a bit of a soft spot for these type of younger chick-flicky books, but will probably read more of the adult ones. So, yea. Just alright, mostly.

Review: Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Random House (Alfred A. Knopf)
Spoilers?: No (with some hints).

Goodreads Synopsis:

 For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it’s just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it’s her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn’t be any stricter—but that doesn’t seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.

Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past—and the year she sets herself free.

Told with unmatched depth and humor, this novel—which swept the pool of Australian literary awards and became a major motion picture—is one to laugh through and cry with, to cherish and remember.


I’ve only read a couple of Marchetta’s books (both of which I should, and want to, re-read), but have enjoyed all of them. This one wasn’t one of my favorites, but I still liked it. Although, for some reason, it took me way too long to finish it.
Josephine Alibrandi, the main character, is very dramatic. She tends to blow things out of proportion, freak out over anything; she feels her emotions very strongly in the moment. Which is alright. It wasn’t done over the top, although at certain points, I rolled my eyes at her blatant teenagery angsty attitude. She wasn’t whiny or anything, though, for the most part. She was very much a teenager that needs to do some more growing up. And she did do some growing throughout the book, although I don’t think enough. She starts trying to connect with her family, the people around her, and gets a more uplifting look on life, and gets the idea that living isn’t such a terrible thing, that while some things suck, she actually enjoys it.
Throughout the book, she meets her father, who unknowingly left her mother pregnant. She doesn’t know how she feels about having a father now, but their relationship grows, and I really liked her father. He was fun and clever, and became quite a great dad. Her mother, through all of it, was also really great. Her grandmother was a little harder to like at times, and some of the things she did in the past kind of sucked, but she grew on me a little bit by the end.
Aside from her family, she also has some problems with two boys. And then her friends. First, the boys: she already knows both of them, John she has a big crush on, and Jacob she starts growing feelings for. Pretty soon, you see that something is wrong with John. I felt bad for him, but was hoping what I was suspecting wouldn’t happen. And then, just when I was starting to think it really wouldn’t, it happened. I wasn’t crushed by it, but it was still a bit upsetting nonetheless. So that left Jacob, who she was with, but who she had a hard time being with. Their relationship tended to include a lot of fights and make ups, and he was a little pushy at some points, but I liked him for the most part. They both needed to do some more growing up, though, so the ending made perfect sense for them. The ending just in general was good, though, and fit really well.
Now, her friends. Some of her friends were okay, but she didn’t seem as close with them as she could have been. And she didn’t seem to care as much as she could have about them, either. Sera, in particular, I didn’t like. Lee and Anna seemed like they had potential, though. I’m not too sure where her friend situation was going by the end of the book, though.
I feel like there could have been a couple ‘big’ moments, where she realizes something, or just something big could have happened. She found things out about her Grandmother, and they got resolved between them, but not really between her mother and her Grandmother, when I thought they should have been. I also felt like something could have happened between her Grandmother and her past coming to the present. But whatever on that. Then something big could have happened between her and her friends, and a little thing did, but nothing really seemed to change between their relationship. I don’t know; none of these things are bad, but maybe a little disappointing.
This wasn’t my favorite book of hers, was probably just a little over average, but I enjoyed it for the most part. The characters were fun, but it took a little bit for it to pull me in. I will probably be picking up another of her books, if I can find one, the next chance I get, though, so we’ll see.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Rating (Out of 5): ~3-3.5 (maybe 4)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Simon Pulse)
Spoilers: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

"Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn't know how lucky I was."
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends -- her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.


This book… This book is just wow. I’m not even sure what to say about this book, honestly.
I’d been intrigued by it for a while, and had read some of Scott’s other books, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. I got the opportunity, though, and finished it rather quickly, seeing as it’s a very short book. And it kind of surprised me.
I do find these types of books interesting, but they aren’t my normal genre, and so I don’t get around to them as much. And when I started it, I wasn’t too sure how far it was going to go, and it definitely went farther than I was expecting.
It didn’t blow my mind, or anything; I know these kinds of these happen, have read things about them, and know that they can turn out like this, I just wasn’t expecting a YA book to go that far, I guess. And I feel bad saying that, as I know YA books go farther than most people (people that don’t read the genre, at least) think, but still. It was darker than I expected. And because of how dark it was, I have a hard time deciding what to rate the book, and how exactly I feel, and what really to think about it. It’s just, there was so much. So much to take in, or something.
I felt bad for the girl, and then I didn’t feel so bad for her. I felt sad for her, I guess, because of her situation and how it turned her into what she was. I understood it, in a way. I wasn’t too surprised, even if I didn’t quite like it.
I didn’t like the guy, as I really shouldn’t have. I did like that he was given a bit of a back story, a little bit of a reason for why he turned out the way he did, why he likes what he does. I didn’t like it, but still.
I felt bad for… Well, I just felt bad. For the situation, for her, for what they were planning to do.
And the ending. I’m not sure what to think of the ending much at all. It fit, really well. I’m not sure that things could have turned out okay in any other way, but it was still sad. For her, not him. And, well, and the other two people involved, by a lot. (I’m not going to ruin that, though, because you’d have to read to really understand and get what happened, and I don’t want to spoil it, in any way, no matter how much I want to talk about it.)
I guess I liked this book; it definitely wasn’t bad, and I didn’t not enjoy it. It’s just the kind of book that gives you mixed feelings, that you have a hard time saying you enjoyed when the subject was so bad and depressing, and the ending was what it was.
One thing that I really did like about the book, was the writing. It was written in a really neat way, going to the past and then the present, skipping around all over the place, being stuck inside her head, with all of her depressed, statement-like thoughts. The whole thing, really, was done really well, and that did impress me.
So, yea, I did enjoy it. I might have to pick up some more of Scott's books, as well as some others with this type of subject, as there are some that I've been eying.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Manga Review: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volume 1, by Naoko Takeuchi

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: KodanshaUSA
Volumes: 12 (I think? 18, originally, but these are omnibus, so, 12?)

Goodreads Synopsis:

  Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together, they fight the forces of evil!


So, um, I actually enjoyed this one a little bit. I was surprised by how much, though.
We meet four of the Sailor’s in this volume, of course starting with Sailor Moon (or Usagi), and then Sailor Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter. I don’t know who I like most yet, and am looking forward to getting to know them all, but none of them really annoy me yet, which is good. Particularly Sailor Moon. She’s a bit of a crybaby and maybe a little weak, but I’m not too bothered by it yet, so hopefully that will continue.
Most of the chapters introduced the characters to us, and I’m sure some of the coming ones will do that as well, so I’m just looking forward to getting to know them and finding out who I like most. And, maybe, who I don’t.
Although, my favorite character at the moment might possibly be Tuxedo Mask. I don’t remember much of the show from when I was younger and watched it (like, early elementary school, maybe), and my more recent experiences haven’t been very good, but I’ve always been intrigued by Tuxedo Mask. Probably because I’m a romance/shojo junkie, but still. I’ve wanted to know what his and Sailor Moon’s connection was, how they met, and while I was surprised he showed up so early, I definitely didn’t mind it. I was expecting not to see him until, maybe, well into the second volume, if not later, but he was in one of the first chapters. I’ve enjoyed seeing him each time he’s shown up so far, and look forward to every encounter in the future. And, to be honest, his name kind of bothers me. I always kind of thought of him as Tuxedo Man, and now knowing that it’s Mask bothers me. It just… doesn’t sound as good, I guess.
There wasn't too much going on aside from meeting the characters and fighting minor villains. There's some hints to a bigger villain but not much has been given up, and they are all on a search for something.
Takeuchi seems to have put more effort into this book, as opposed to Sailor V, which I appreciated. There was actual plot development, and the artwork seemed better, like the smaller panels and side characters seemed to have actually been drawn instead of sketched or scratched on the pages. That was nice to see, and really makes me look forward to the next book, instead of dreading it or just thinking that I should get to it at some point. I was surprised, but glad.