Sunday, December 30, 2012

Manga Review: The Earl and the Fairy, Volume 4, by Ayuko and Mizue Tani

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5 (maybe up to four)
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 4

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lydia Carlton is a fairy doctor,one of the few people with the ability to see the magical creatures who share our world. During one of her rare trips to London to visit her father, Lydia’ s quiet life is suddenly transformed when she is rescued from kidnappers by a mysterious young man.

Available on Amazon.


This was a pretty nice ending to the series. It got a bit (only a bit, not overly so) intense there for a while.
So, the last book ended with Lydia being locked up in some abandoned warehouse, and… Um, she finds that she’s not the only one there, and then Nico shows up, and then Edgar and Raven show up. They find out something much darker is going on, and Edgar has a big confrontation with Rosalie (which was great), and… some other stuff happens until the case is solved. I don’t want to ruin everything, since this is the last volume, so I’m not going to go into any more details on that.
The final fight, or whatever, scene was a little anticlimactic, which was a bit disappointing. It’s just… so much was worked up to it, and then it just kind of happened, there wasn’t some big move to do it, Edgar and Lydia barely even had any part in bringing that plot to a close. It seemed a little like not a lot of effort or thought was put into it, like maybe the author only had a certain amount of pages to work with, and she’d already used up so much. But maybe that’s just me.
The romance actually had a rather satisfying end, in my opinion. There were some sweet scenes between Lydia and Edgar, and while there wasn’t any kissing or real confessions or anything, they’re friendly with each other and are going to continue working with each other, and it’s at least hinting that something is probably going to happen in the future. Of course, I wouldn’t mind seeing any of that, but it’s a pretty good end for the two, considering; this didn’t seem like the type of manga that would have had some big confession or over-the-top romantic scene, anyway, so what happened was good for me.
Given my mediocre feelings toward most of the series prior to this book, I would say that this was a rather good ending, especially since I even upped the rating about half a star. This was a very nice ending to the series; I’m happy with it.

Novel Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

My cover, but I prefer this one and this one.

Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5 (a bit waver-y on the rating, could move up to four or down to three)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Spoilers?: No.

Amazon Synopsis:

Everyone's sorry. But no one can explain why.Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going—California.
Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except…Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down—again.

On Goodreads.


I had rather high hopes for this book, and, I wouldn’t say that it totally disappointed me, but it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be. It turned out to be kind of mediocre, maybe a tiny bit higher.
I found the characters interesting, including how Harper, Laney, and Jake go on a road trip together and what goes on during that, and how they all handled June’s death. I liked all of that and the interactions between all of them, but I just… didn’t feel as invested, or as into it as I would have liked. I’m not sure why, maybe this just wasn’t the book for me or something; I did overall enjoy it, I just don’t hold it very high, or feel very strongly about it, for some reason. I mean, I think the writing was good, and the characters were pretty well written, and I understood their feelings toward everything, and I really did find what happened on the road trip to be entertaining.
I think maybe I was just expecting more, or I didn’t connect with the characters very well, or something. I don’t know.
I do still want to read Harrington’s next book, Speechless, as I wanted to even before this one, because it sounds really interesting and more like my type of book, so maybe I’ll enjoy that one more.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Novel Review: Smart Girls Think Twice (Girls Do Or Don't, #4) by Cathie Linz

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5 (can, maybe, up it to four)
Publisher: Penguin (Berkley Sensation)
Spoilers?: Somewhat Minor (gave away the, um, ending, which wasn't a surprise)

Goodreads Synopsis:

 Sociologist Emma Riley?s new research project depends on a sexy bartender who wants nothing to do with her project?and certainly nothing to do with Emma. Too bad she?s way too smart to ever take no for an answer.

Available on Amazon.


This is probably going to be a pretty short review, because I don’t have too much to say about this book. It was a really cute, sweet story, and I enjoyed it.
Getting into the book was easy; I liked the romance between Emma and Jake, and how it progressed. The ending for them was very sweet, if a bit cliché and predictable, but I can get over that. The epilogue was… I mean, it was sweet, but it kind of bothers me that for a lot of these types of stories, it’s not a happy ending unless the two characters get married. In this story, there was actually some time for the characters to get to know each other, time actually went by, but still not enough for me to be happy about them getting married so quickly. It’s just… I don’t think that there has to be marriage in order for there to be a happily ever after.
But whatever, I still liked the story.
As I said, I enjoyed the scenes between Emma and Jake, and there was even some nice sex, but not very much and that’s fine. I also liked the scenes between Emma and her family; I found those to be really entertaining, which was nice. My least favorite storyline was probably the one involving Jake, and that was only at the beginning, since it got better. Emma was sweet and, at times, fierce, and Jake was funny as well as sweet. Her family was fun and a bit pushy, and their small town was eccentric; I liked meeting all the different characters.
The story flowed rather well; it wasn’t a super-fast read, but it didn’t take very long, and overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was sweet and fun, a very light read.
When I got this book, I didn’t know that it was part of a series, but that doesn’t seem to matter too much, given that each book stars a different character. I do plan on reading more books by Linz, though.
Also, sidenote: I don't think the title, or the cover, portrays the novel very well. I mean, it made me think that the main character would have two different guys to choose from, but that wasn't the case. There was only ever one guy, really. I can't even think of another contender existing, so if there was, they were obviously very minor. I'm thinking the title maybe has to do with how the two fight and then she has to rethink if she wants to be with him, but I still don't think it fits very well. They could have thought of something better, even have gone with something even more cliche like 'Take a Chance On Me' (since this phrase was actually used in the make-up scene) or something.

Manga Review: Alice in the Country of Hearts, Omnibus Volume 2 (#3-4), by QuinRose and Soumei Hoshino

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5 (can be upped to a four)
Publisher: Yen Press (Previously by Tokyopop)
Volumes: 6; Omnibus: 3

Goodreads Synopsis:

Kidnapped by a handsome man with rabbit ears, Alice Liddell finds herself abandoned in an odd place called Wonderland and thrust into a "game," the rules of which she has yet to learn. Alice, ever the plucky tomboy, sets off to explore and get the lay of this strange land, intent on finding her rude kidnapper and giving him a piece of her mind (and her fist). But little does she know that she's wandered right into the middle of a dangerous power struggle involving just about all of Wonderland's attractive, weapon-happy denizens. And the only way for Alice to return home is to get acquainted with the lot of them?! How in the world will she manage that and still manage to stay alive?!

Available on Amazon.


I am really liking this series. It’s not like a five star, ohmygod this is the most amazing, well written, book I have ever read, but at the moment I would rate it at a very solid, high 3.5, but it’s a very good, very enjoyable 3.5.
Oh, before I really get into this review, I want to say that there will most likely be more spoilers than there were in the first books’ review. In that one, since it was the first in the series, I was trying to be vague; in this one, not as much. I don’t know how detailed I will be, since there is just so much to go over, as so much happens in each book, with two volumes, and I’m not going to go over every little detail; I’m going to keep some of it open and vague, so there’s still the experience of reading the book to look forward to. Also, I do plan on going into detail of each character, especially the love interests.
A lot of this book, much like the first, was just scenes of Alice getting closer to all of the men in Wonderland. And I’m a bit frustrated to say that I kind of really like all of the men. In the first book, I liked some of them and found others cute, but now I’m kind of a fan of almost all of them, and I don’t know what to think of that. I haven’t really read a book before where I actually liked all of the love candidates and could see the heroine with each of them.
In the first book, I found Peter White, the rabbit, to be a bit annoying, and wanted him to back off of Alice, even if some of it was humorous. But then, almost immediately into this book, I saw more of him, and found that his desperate love for Alice was really adorable, and then he turned into his bunny form ‘cause Alice wanted him to, and I just kind of almost love him now. He’s still a bit too pushy for my taste, but he’s adorable.
Then there’s Julius, who I just liked in a simple way in the first book, but now I see is actually a love interest. I like him, and there was one really sweet moment between him and Alice in this book, but I still don’t really think of him as a huge love interest. I mean, I guess it could work, but I see them more as platonic friends, in the way that she could go to him for help, that he’s there for her if she needs him and she would repay the efforts, but not so much in a romantic way. Although, now that I think about it…
Next there’s the hatter, Blood Dupre. He’s not really crazy like I think the hatter should be, but he does seem dangerous and I don’t think I’m a huge fan of him at the moment. Plus, there was this one big moment between him and Alice in this book that was not good, but that I won’t spoil. And then he has this thing with the Queen… So, I’m a tiny bit intrigued, but not too big a fan of him at the moment. I do suspect him to become a bigger contender, though, or something to be revealed about him that is supposed to make me like him in the last book, so we’ll see.
Oh, Elliot March. I like Elliot, he’s sweet and cute, kind of an innocent contender even if he knows how to shoot a gun. I don’t see him as a big romantic interest, either, but I guess it could work. I do like him, and find him rather adorable.
A bit like Elliot and Julius, I actually see even less potential in Gowland. He just doesn’t strike romance, or any kind of heat, in me, and I don’t really think there’s been anything to cause it between him and Alice either. So, I don’t think he’s very big in the competition, so maybe they’re just going to be friendly with each other?
Ah, Ace. In the first book, I really liked him and found him interesting, and was expecting him to become a bigger love interest, to fall for him even more. That is not what happened. Instead, he took a rather dark turn in this book, and now I’m feeling very wary of him. He’s dangerous, and quite crazy, and there’s something very off about him, and I don’t like it. Dangerous in a way that, one wrong move, and he’ll kill you, not even joking. I don’t like it, and I don’t like that I don’t like it. I was actually even expecting something very bad to happen to him in this book, but it didn’t. We’ll see if he gets any better, or worse, in the last book, I guess.
Lastly (kind of), Boris. I love Boris. I found him to be adorable when I first met him, and then there was just something about him that I liked, and those feelings grew by a lot in this book. He is just so freakin’ sweet and adorable and I love him. I want more of him. He is probably my favorite of the group at the moment, even if I doubt he’s even in one of the top spots realistically for who Alice is going to choose.
Now, onto the characters that aren’t in the main guy group. Dee and Dum. Those two are cute little boys, but they are rather dangerous. I like them, but I’m also a bit wary of them, especially after a certain scene between them and Alice in this book that I won’t spoil.
The Queen, Vivaldi. We got to know her a bit more in this book, and I’m kind of ‘eh’y about her. I don’t really mind her, I don’t find her to be too dangerous at the moment (although that could always change), I don’t dislike her, I feel a tiny bit of sympathy and interest toward her. I’m just ‘eh’ about her, mostly. One thing I do like about her, is the way she calls herself ‘we’. I usually find those little eccentricities interesting, and I find it especially works here. I mean, it shows that she holds herself in high regard, but it’s also just a neat tick of hers, and it fits.
And, Nightmare. He, I guess, love Alice as well. He’s not really in the competition, we don’t see very much of him, and I honestly don’t really have much to say about him. I’m pretty sure he’s sick or something, as he’s always coughing up blood, but I don’t know why. Maybe if I got to know him more…
We found out in this book that, I’m assuming, everyone in town gets to dream and speak to Nightmare. Particularly, we see Peter and Julius talking to him, conversing about their wanting Alice and what they want for her in particular, and we see that they all openly know that the other guys are falling for her. Apparently because only someone who everyone would love is able to enter Wonderland? I wasn’t too sure on that, but the whole thing is interesting to me and I hope to find out more.
A lot happened in this book, and it was good, but I’m not going to spoil too much. This book did end off with an invitation to a ball the Queen is hosting, and everyone in town is required to go as part of the Game. Not much more development happened with the Game, though. Mostly the book focused on the characters and some almost-killings, we didn’t get to see how much more filled Alice’s glass is, and she keeps thinking about home while everyone tries distracting her from it, and she keeps telling everyone that she is set on going home, even if that’s maybe not true anymore?
These books are really good, they’re entertaining and also a bit dark, but I feel like the dark element of them should be expanded upon. It just seems like it’s giving us glimpses of the darkness lying in each person, but not fully expanding on it or showing us it, that it’s downplaying it by a lot, when it could be a lot creepier. I wish that it were more creeper, but I am enjoying it nonetheless.
I’m excited to read the next, and last, book, and I’m sure it’ll be good, hopefully even better than the first two, but I am wary. I just don’t see how everything can get cleared up in one(two) volume(s), that doesn’t seem like enough space.
Oh, there was an extra chapter at the end from Alice in the Country of Joker. Mostly, I just don’t see why it was there. It was interesting and all, it did make me intrigued to read the rest of it, given that it ended with Alice agreeing to play a Game with the Joker, but why show us this when we haven’t even finished this series yet? I mean, I know there are a shit ton of spin-off’s of this series (and, yea, I’m already debating which ones I want to read) but you should at least let us finish the original series first.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesday[26]: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling (Also, Merry Christmas!)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• 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!


Merry Christmas! Or, Happy Holidays!
So, it’s Christmas today, and New Year’s is coming, and then school starts again, and it’s all happening so fast. It didn’t feel like Christmas was so close, and then it was happening. Where did the time go?
I did almost no reading this past week, although I did get some actual good Christmas shopping done, and I did post reviews; so, I was at least partly productive.
This week, I am kind of reading several books at once. I’m trying to get through several manga, plus at least two books that I had on my list to finish before the year was over. Obviously, I have not made as much headway as I would have liked, given there is less than a week left in the year. I did, however, reach both of my reading goals (as shown on Goodreads), as I read over two hundred books including manga, and my separate goal of reading a hundred novels was also surpassed (yay!) by, at the moment, nine. That’s eight more than last year, which makes me feel super good. I’m not done reading (never done!) for the year, though, of course.
Anyway, here is this week’s book, which is super intimidating in length, and I know that I’m super late with this, and it has taken me forever, especially since I read the first three, like, two years ago, and I own the full series, but…:
Genre: Children’s Fantasy/Fiction
Publisher: Scholastic

Goodreads Synopsis:

The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can't wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are spells to be learnt, potions to be brewed and Divination lessons (sigh) to be attended. Harry is expecting these: however, other quite unexpected events are already on the march...


“’Go!’ he hissed at Sirius. ‘Go! There’s someone coming!’
Harry scrambled to his feet…” (Hardback, pg. 335)

“Harry seized one of the POTTER REALLY STINKS badges off the table and chucked it, as hard as he could, across the room. It hit Ron on the forehead and bounced off.” (Hardback, pg. 335)

Sounds exciting, right? (Or, perhaps, familiar if you’ve read the books or seen the movies.)
What are you reading right now, on this fine Christmas day (or, you know, whatever day you’re reading this)?