Sunday, September 30, 2012

Novel Review: Undead and Unappreciated (Undead, #3) by MaryJanice Davidson

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Penguin (Berkley Sensation)
Spoilers?: Some.

Goodreads Synopsis:

 Reluctant vampire queen Betsy Taylor may rule the topsy-turvy world of the undead, but now Betsy's discovered that she has a long-lost half-sister who's the devil's daughter--and destined to rule the underworld.


I really enjoy Davidson’s style of writing. I like her random, Gilmore Girls’ esque style, and I enjoy the stories she tells. The one thing that bothers me, and that I really don’t want to get too tired of, is how similar all of her stories are. Her main characters tend to have a hard time opening up to love, are very open with how much they cuss, the guy tends to fall first, and a lot of the time they even kiss or have sex before they’ve fully fallen. And I don’t mind all of these things, but doing it in every story can get a bit old. I just hope that I don’t get too tired of it too fast; which might mean that I should slow down the time between books.
Anyway, this is the third book starring Betsy Taylor, and I have been enjoying this series so far. In this book, Betsy finds out that she has a step-sister, while dealing with the fact that her step-mother is pregnant. And then, when she tries to read that all-special Book of the Dead, only to kind of turn evil for a short while. Some drama goes on between her and her best friend Jess, and then something happens between her and Sinclair before she finally admits to herself that she loves him and they become engaged. But only because it will make her feel more official about it, while it’s already official in his head, what with their being King and Queen together. Also, her step-sister is the daughter of the devil and is supposed to cause the end of the world, but she doesn’t really have any interest in that.
That pretty much sums up what happened in this book, in as little detail as possible.
I already said that I enjoyed it, and I did.
I’m looking forward to reading the next one, as soon as my local bookstore gets it in. I’m interested in all the wedding stuff that’s going to happen, now that Betsy and Sinclair are married, as well as just the general romance between them. I want to see more of their friends, and just whatever drama is going to come up next.

Novel Review: Sweet Spot (Richmond Rogues, #5) by Kate Angell

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Spoilers?: Very minor.

Goodreads Synopsis:

James "Law" Lawless is the star second baseman for the Richmond Rogues, the wildest group of free swingers ever to barnstorm their way through the big leagues. So when he hooks up with a seductive stranger at a costume party, it feels like he just hit the winning run of the World Series.

Extra Innings
Catherine "Cat" May was the hot number in that skimpy Wonder Woman costume. But she's not about to let Law know it--especially after he hires her to help him expand his off-the-field business empire. But how's she going to keep her identity secret when his every touch urges her to make him her very own. . .


I’ve read all of this series by Angell, and have really enjoyed each book. (Oh, well, excluding the short story in that anthology, because I can’t find it in a bookstore, damnit.) It bothers me that her books are so hard to find, as I think several of them are out of print, or at least most stores don’t seem to carry them, because they’re so good. I found the first one in the series, luckily, at the used bookstore in my town, just on accident. It was in the wrong section, I’d never heard of her before, but it sounded interesting. If I hadn’t seen it there, I probably still wouldn’t have heard of it, either, so I’m glad I did.
Anyway, about Sweet Spot. This one… wasn’t my favorite, but was in no way bad. It focuses on James Lawless (Law), who’s a second baseman for the Richmond Rogues baseball team (and, while I know nothing about sports, any sport, I don’t mind reading about them so much, particularly when they’re in the romance genre). He’s been with the Rogues since the beginning, I think, but we haven’t seen much of him till now. He decides to expand his investing, and ends up with Cat working for him, who he unknowingly romanced at a masquerade-esque Halloween club.
This goes pretty much where you would expect it to, and it does it in a good way. They work together, have a bit of a hard time accepting it but do fall for each other, the whole having a fling thing is revealed, happily ever after. It’s a sweet story, and there’s very little sex in it, as there usually is in Angell’s stories. The one thing that bothered me with their story was that, at one point, Law reveals some of his past without really meaning to. He's barely known the girl, even if he has a connection to her, and after telling her something personal, he wonders why he did that. This is a ploy that has been done before, but is never really done all that well, including here. Because, if the character isn't the type to tell others personal things, why would they with someone they barely know? And making them wonder, afterward, why they would say so much, doesn't make it any better. You can get the point that they have a connection with each other in a different way, and probably already have several times already (including with that 'pretty, magical' writing, and maybe some sparks flying between them).
There's also a side story romance between another baseball player, Brody, who's a major playboy, and his old sweetheart who he kind of got engaged to but left behind and never talked to again, Mary. There wasn't a lot of this story, and it was just okay at first but did grow on me. And, again, this goes pretty much where you'd expect.
I think this is the last Rogue’s book, which sucks. She has some other books out, though, and I hope to get them at some point, but they’re so hard to find! Ridiculously hard.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Manga Review: Marmalade Boy, Volume 5, by Wataru Yoshizumi

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Tokyopop
Volumes: 8

Amazon (because, for some reason, the synopsis on Goodreads is in Spanish?) Synopsis:

Miki Koishikawa's ordinary life as a high school sophomore is turned upside down when her parents suddenly announce that they are getting divorced in order to swap partners with a couple they met in Hawaii. They seek her approval of the shocking change, and at a dinner where Miki meets the other couple as well as their son Yuu, who is about her age, she reluctantly agrees to the arrangement. Yuu, while at first a jerk who takes every opportunity to make fun of Miki, turns out to be fun and attractive, and Miki finds herself falling for him. Little by little, she accepts her new family arrangement, and opens up to Yuu as they become friends.


This series is great. It does several cliché things, but I don’t really mind them. Sometimes the translations are a little rough, but it doesn’t bother me too much. Because I’m enjoying the ride, the journey, that the story is taking me on, that I’m going on with these characters.
The volume starts where the last left off, with Yuu, Miwa, and Miki talking with Miwa’s dad, who is only Miwa’s dad. Who is also a bit of a womanizer, but that’s beside the point. The point is that Yuu has suspicions that he is someone else’s kid, but he is not Miwa’s fathers’. Afterward, Yuu and Miki part ways with Miwa, and the two have a talk. There’s a very cheesy moment between the two, where Miki convinces him that it doesn’t really matter, because he is a part of their family, no matter if it’s blood related or not. My biggest problem with this is that I want to know who his father is. I want him to confront his mother and find out who his real father is, if it actually isn’t Youji.
This scene is also where the two proclaim their love for each other and kiss, and end up getting sick from being out in the bad weather. In the next chapter, they each tell Ginta and Arimi, who are accepting even while a bit upset. They also go out with their parents, as it has apparently been a year since their parents married, which is insane since that was only, like, two volumes ago. Meiko agrees to go on a coffee date with Miwa, and then there is another cute moment between Miki and Yuu.
Next, we see that, perhaps, Ginta is growing some feelings about Arimi. I’m not surprised, and am looking forward to seeing what happens with him next. Later in the volume, we find out that Arimi has a fan club at her school, with several older boys falling all over her, and Ginta seems to, maybe, be getting a little jealous, but is currently denying it.
Meanwhile, Yuu gets work in a commercial from Miki’s mother, which is quite comical, but his co-worker is a pretty girl named Suzu. Miki is worried, and even when Yuu starts tutoring her and she claims to like him, he’s not bothered. She’s a middle school girl, but seems to think that Yuu and Meiko should be together. She doesn’t seem to be too forceful, but isn’t very impressed with Miki, and is sure to cause trouble later.
Then, Miki decides to get a job after her and Yuu make vacation plans together. The volume ends with her and some unknown guy startling her and the two falling on the ground together. It’s not in as precarious a position as it could be, but she drops her bracelet and, surprised, runs off, leaving him alone. This is surely going to cause problems with Yuu, and even though it’s very cliché, I am undoubtedly looking forward to reading it.
I am looking forward to the drama and sweet moments between Miki and Yuu, and seeing what happens next with Meiko and Ginta. Also, for when Miki and Yuu tell their parents about their relationship, as that hasn’t happened yet. This series is just getting better the more I read of it, and it’s a bit upsetting that I only have three volumes left, but I’m excited to read them.

Manga Review: Oresama Teacher, Volume 7, by Izumi Tsubaki

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 14+

Goodreads Synopsis:

Reads R to L (Japanese Style), for audiences T. Mafuyu is the no-nonsense, take-charge and hard-hitting leader of her high school gang. But when she gets expelled for being a delinquent, her mother, fed up with her daughter’s wayward ways, sends Mafuyu to an isolated school far off in the country.

Mafuyu finally discovers the truth behind Takaomi’s bizarre bet with the principal of Midorigaoka Academy! The twisted tale elicits her sympathy, and she decides to put her all into helping him out. But her all may be less than she hopes as she faces down the looming threat of…finals!


The first chapter continued where the last ended, with Mafuyu and Saeki talking about some serious stuff, and Saeki is kind of, maybe, sweet, and Mafuyu promises to help him with his bet to get the school.
The rest of the book is comedic, though; no more serious stuff. In the next chapter, finals are coming up, and Mafuyu is doing some serious studying. She’s never really focused on it before, but she knows now that it matter to Saeki, so she studies a whole bunch and exhausts herself with it, and maybe doesn’t do all that great? I wasn't really sure with that one, because we saw one of her tests with a not-so-good score, but only because of a small mistake, and she said later that she aced them, so I was a bit confused on that part.
The next two chapters are summer vacation, and Mafuyu goes home because all her friends are busy and she is not. She’s trying to avoid her old gang members, because it’s only been a month since she left, and she feels like she’d be imposing and they wouldn’t care all that much after the big goodbye. She goes to a festival with Sakurada, who I didn’t really remember, but was still funny. Then she has a big showdown with Kangawa, her old second and the new bancho of her old school, which is actually really funny and sweet.
The almost-last chapter shows a storm and several different groups of boys getting locked up in a dorm building, all of them freaking out because of ghost stories and funny coincidences with the others running around. This could have been really funny, and wasn’t even all that bad, but I was having a hard time telling who was who. There are so many guy groups from different schools, with only a couple characters differentiable, that I had no idea who was from what school, what school they were at and why they were there and how they got there. The coincidences were funny, there are just too many people that I don’t know.
After that, there was an extra chapter that I did really enjoy. It showed when Saeki was in school and what happened when he met Mafuyu. He, apparently, does not like kids, but slowly opened up to Mafuyu. That was nice to see.
And the book ends with a bunch of comic strips. Some were funny, some were okay. Mostly it focused on the festival Mafuyu went to in her home town. But, again, there are just too many people and too many schools  and I have a terrible time remembering who is who and where they are from and why I care about them.
Unlike in the last volume, though, there was a Story & Character index at the beginning of the book, which I really appreciated.
The characters can get somewhat frustrating when I don’t know who’s who, but I am still enjoying this series. I have the next one, and will be reading it really soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesday[13]: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

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 TeaserTuesday participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


This has been a pretty slow reading week for me. I start(ed) school this week, which is(n’t) exciting. I haven’t decided yet, as I haven’t been to all of my classes yet. (College… urgh?)
I’ve been reading a bit of manga, slowly getting through my stacks of books. Got quite a bit of reviewing done, though, which is very good, and makes me feel productive, which is always a good thing.
Here’s this weeks’ book:
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Goodreads Synopsis:

When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister's urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.


“’I have this rule—‘ he pauses, fumbling with the knob to the house and pushing the door open, all the while holding me up with his other arm ‘—of not getting into philosophical debates when one party is sober and the other isn’t.’
‘Well, then you should’ve gotten drunk.’” (Paperback, pg. 114)

“The world is stupid, stupid and unfair. I can’t help but think that June would never have ended up with her head stuck in the toilet after a stupid bender. Or if she had, she wouldn’t been much more graceful about the whole thing than I am. That’s just the way she always was. She always better.” (Paperback, pg. 115)

            What are you reading right now?