Monday, July 30, 2012

Teaser Tuesday[7]: Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

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!


I am kind-of inbetween books at the moment, since I just finished one, but I think I’m going to be reading this one for the moment.
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Random House (Alfred A. Knopf)

“’She wants to be a doctor and she works in a pharmacy. Well, big deal,’ I laughed. ‘Because all she sells are condoms, tampons and Dr. Scholl’s arch supports.’
‘I think I get the drift,’ he said drily. ‘I hope you won’t be boasting.’
‘Of course I will.’” (Paperback, pg. 154)

“’Would you believe me?’
I looked at his eyes. They were so dark and similar to mine. His eyebrows seemed so thick and fierce when he frowned or worried. He was a worrier, I realized. That was human.
‘I don’t think you’d be a liar.’” (Paperback, pg. 155)

Happy Reading!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Teaser Tuesday[6]: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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!


I have not done one of these in a while. Um, sorry about that. I’ve been gone, away from home and most of my books (and even a computer) for most of it, and am still away (or, again). So, again, sorry ‘bout that.
            I also tend to only do these when I (a) am intently reading one book at the time and (b) know that Tuesday is coming up. Because, sadly, sometimes it will be halfway through Tuesday, or already Wednesday, by the time I realize that Tuesday had come and I could have done a post for it. And I keep meaning to do this regularly, and then end up not doing that. Which, yea, means I suck. Sorry about that, or whatever.
            I have been meaning to get around to this one for a while, have heard a lot of good things about it, but hadn’t gotten around to it till now. I probably would have put it off for longer, but I brought it with me on vacation, and eventually want to get to the second one, as it seems more my type. But I want to read them in order. I hope to finish it within the next couple of days, which shouldn't be hard seeing as I'm really enjoying it so far. Anyway, here it is:
            Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
            Publisher: Penguin (Speak)

“’Race you!’ And I run toward the closest crypt entrance. My pounding feet echo throughout the building and the tourists are all staring.
I. Am. Going. To. Die. Of. Embarrassment.
And then --- he shoots past me. I laugh in surprise and pick up the speed. We’re neck and neck, almost there, when an angry guard leaps in front of us. I trip over St. Clair trying to stop.” (Paperback, pg. 170)

“And then we hear a grating American voice behind us. ‘Don’t walk behind him. We’ll be stuck here all day.’
St. Clair tenses.
‘He shoulda stayed home if he was so afraid of a couple stairs.’
I start to spin around, but St. Clair grips my arm. ‘Don’t. He’s not worth it.’” (Paperback, pg. 171)

            Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Stargirl (Stargirl, #1) by Jerry Spinelli

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Spoilers?: Ah, yes.

Amazon Synopsis:

Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.

Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity and the thrill and inspiration of first love.


I had heard a lot of good things about this book, but hadn’t really wanted to pick it up till now. It reminded me a little of Flipped, which was really good, but isn’t really my style. I tend to go for the mature, romantic ones more often. But I was looking for small, cheap-ish books at the time, and decided to grab it, almost as a last-moment decision. And I’m glad that I did.
Stargirl is about Leo, a normal boy going to a very normal school, and a girl named Stargirl who transfers to that school. She’s been homeschooled until now and is very different. She’s loud and bright and has a pet rat and plays the ukulele and she’s everyone’s cheerleader. The people at school, though, have a hard time accepting all of these things about her.
Leo was kind of sweet. I liked him and Stargirl, until he decided to care so much about what everyone thinks. It wasn’t unexpected, it was always there, but he should have tried more for Stargirl. Instead, he tried changing her, which worked for a while. But no one liked her at that point, and her changing did nothing. And she wasn’t happy. She accepted, pretty easily, that Leo cared much more than she did, and so she let him go. He wasn’t going to change then. Which is especially sad, since I liked them together. They could have worked. I would have liked for them to have worked.
Stargirl was fun. I liked her, and I agreed with her on several points, and she really does make you want to be a better person. I mean, why not pay more attention to people’s birthdays and sing them a song and get them a present secretly? Leave change somewhere to make some kids’ day? Be everyone’s Cheerleader? I loved it all. To see her change, sucked, and to see her upset, sucked even more.
I wasn't expecting them to be in high school. I'd just assumed they were younger than that, and so was pleasantly surprised to find out they were older. There wasn't a lot of physical stuff going on, romantically, but there was more than I expected. And I enjoyed it, especially the little hints it gave that they were messing around; it was done in a really sweet, cute, innocent or nostalgic, way. A little like My Girlfriend's A Geek hinted at the romantic stuff, but in a more innocent way. Of course, I enjoy the more straightforward stuff, but this was nice, too.
The ending was a little upsetting and surprising, since I had expected it to take more a route a la the If I Stay series by Gayle Forman or Just Like That by Marsha Qualey, an ending where the two characters meet up again later. I don’t think this one is like that, and I’m not sure if that makes me happy. I don’t think it does, actually. I do plan to read the next one soon, whenever I can get it.
Throughout this book, I wanted to be inside Stargirl’s head as well, wanted to know what was going on in her mind, and so am looking forward to finding out. I’m unsure what will happen, given that I’m pretty sure her and Leo don’t meet up later (unless the book was lying to me, or it was much later), but want to find out either way.
This is definitely a book that I wold recommend. 

Review: Things I Know About Love by Kate le Vann

Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Publisher: Random House (EgmontUSA)
Spoilers?: Maybe. But not outright.

Goodreads Synopsis:

 Things I know about love.

1. People don't always tell you the truth about how they feel.
2. Nothing that happens between two people is guaranteed to be private.
3. I don't know if you ever get over having your heart broken.

Livia Stowe's past experiences with love have been nothing but disappointing, but all that is about to change.  After years of illness, she's boarding a plane for the first time to spend the summer in Princeton, New Jersey, with her brother who's studying abroad.  This Brit is determined to make the most of her American summer and to record every moment of it in her private blog.

America is everything that Livia's ever dreamed of.  And then she meets Adam. 

Swept up in the promise of romance and the magical New York City that Adam shows her, Livia is smitten, but with all she knows about love, is Livia really ready to risk her heart again?


I had been eying this book for a while now, since about the time it came out, maybe a little after. But it was in hardback, and it was so small, and I kept convincing myself out of buying it for some reason. Finally, I got it, cheap, a couple weeks ago, and read it not long after. I was expecting something small and light, fluffy with not much substance. An easy read. It was… small, and a little light, very easy to read, but there was a lot more to it than I had been expecting.
Things I Know About Love is about Livia, a British girl who is flying to New Jersey to visit her older brother at college. She has to convince her mother, seeing as she is still getting over cancer, but is doing just fine now. She’s staying for a few weeks with her brother during the summer, and is planning to find out as much as she can about love, while writing it all down in her private blog. And then she meets Adam, a fellow Brit and friend of her brother who is also visiting his brother for a few weeks.
I loved the way it was written, and just being inside Livia’s head. She was fun and sweet, and was just enjoying everything. She’s very close to both her mother and brother, seeing as they’re all she has and pretty much all she’s known for the last while, ever since she got cancer and had to stay in hospital. We get a little look into her past, her relationships with everyone in school, and how she had a lot of friends and then she got sick and they faded away. She was curious about everything, about love, and was open to it all. She’d been in a relationship before, only to be pushed away and then dumped when her cancer stuff started happening again, and so a bit wary. She’d kind of jumped into it before, and wasn’t too sure if any other guy would stick around. She was still a little upset about the old guy, and when another one showed up, she was sure of her feelings, and even while a little cautious if she were feelings the same things as before, she was pretty sure that they were different. And that Adam was different from the boy before. Which he was.
I love Adam. He’s British and sweet, and he loves Livia and knows that he loves Livia. He knew that she was different from the first time he met her, a couple years previous to when the book takes place, when they only met very briefly. It could be considered insta-love, and it really kind of is, but it just worked so well her. It seemed so believable, and it was just full of swoon to me. He even knew about her cancer stuff and that only made him worried for her and made him want to hold her closer.
The book is written in journal-style, as Livia is writing everything that happens into a private blog, which I really enjoyed. I wasn’t expecting there to be small chapters in Adam’s point-of-view, though. I was surprised when they first showed up, and then just excited for each one. They’re so small and there are only a few, so they were kind of like treats to me.
I really liked reading about Livia and Adam, as well as her relationship with her brother and mother. There was also a little insight into her brother’s love life, which I enjoyed and felt a little sad about. I am probably partial to her brother, though, since I have a thing for brother-sister relationships (which is just my personal opinion, since I am very close to my own brother).
Now, the ending. The ending made me cry, just a little. Which, for me, is a lot; I barely ever even get teary-eyed at most things. I really don’t want to spoil it, since it was so unexpected, even though there were a few obvious signs saying that I should have been wary to this. But I wasn’t, and it hurt so badly. It hurts so badly, still. It reminds me a bit of The Fault In Our Stars, which was amazing and a little light but still heavy. Probably a little more heavy than this, but just as sad. The ending didn’t leave me unsatisfied, but it did leave me sad.
I’m… no, I’m not going to say anything more. That’s probably giving away too much, as it is.
I loved this book, a lot, and will probably be holding it close to me for a while now. I loved the characters, grew close to them, wanted more of them. I don’t think I want to let go of it quite yet. I am definitely planning to look for more of le Vann’s books.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Manga Review: Sakura Hime: The Legend of Princess Sakura, Volume 7, by Arina Tanemura

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 10+

Amazon 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...
Every time Asagiri uses her powers, she shortens her life span. In spite of this, she continues to use her powers to fight her former lover, Ukyo. Though Ukyo will not attack her, this is a fight Asagiri cannot win.


I haven’t really been a huge follower of this book, and I’m not sure why. It just hasn’t grabbed my attention, or kept my attention, as well as I would like it to. I read it, and I’m starting to remember what happens in each volume better, but I don’t think about it much after I finish it. It doesn’t seem to be leaving much of a standing impression, I guess.
The first chapter of this volume continues showing Asagiri and Ukyo’s story, which I actually enjoyed quite a bit. I found that I liked them, and that their relationship is right up there with Hayate and Kohaku’s relationship, which is still my favorite. My liking of them definitely made what happened between them even worse, and I was really not happy about it. This carries into the next chapter, where Aoba and Sakura have been reunited and they are all running away, trying to get out but end up being caught by Enju (Sakura’s somewhat-evil brother).
Within these chapters, there are some moments that I will not explain in depth, but that make me dislike Enju even more. He’s just… I don’t like what he’s doing to Sakura. There’s a point where she can choose to turn her back on him, and while she should openly fight with him, I understand why she doesn’t. Even though he’s not the same person she knew, he is still her brother, and that’s hard to turn away from.
There’s some fighting between everyone, and Sakura ends up in this mirror world, where people that are killed by her sword go or something. While there, she finds out that Enju has been working to get the pieces of Princess Kaguya back together, which is kind of a bad idea. Mostly she’s upset because she thinks Kaguya will be replacing her, but otherwise I’m not sure what to think of it. I didn’t think Kaguya was a bad person (is she, and I just haven’t been paying attention?), but I’m curious as to what she is like, especially because this doesn’t sound like it could be good in any way. And we got to see her, kind of, and that was definitely creepy. Maybe it’s just that the whole, bringing people back from the dead is a bad thing? ‘cause I know it is.
Then Fujimurasaki (the emperor or whatever) shows up and they all run away as the ‘bad guys’ hide out is set on fire. The volume ends with Sakura promising to defeat Enju, which is good, but makes me wonder what is going to happen next, since apparently it’s moving into a new story arc.
After that, there are some comic strips showing the other team (the ‘bad guys’ or whatever), in which they are goofing around and doing human things, while not being very human. It was entertaining, but a little weird to see all of them acting comically, when I have only seen them serious and fighting thus far.
Again, this doesn’t seem to be giving me much of a longing impression, but I do mostly enjoy the books when I get them. I’m not even thinking about stopping the series or anything (I have read all of Tanemura’s previous published books, and don’t intend to stop with this one; besides, I am enjoying it), but I hope that it starts getting better, and I begin enjoying it even more and feeling more strongly about it.

Manga Review: Codename: Sailor V, Volume 2, by Naoko Takeuchi

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: KodanshaUSA
Volumes: 2 (in omnibus)

Goodreads Synopsis:

  Its Valentine’s Day and chocolates are being exchanged, but Minako Aino can’t decide if she wants a crush to give her chocolates to, or just to eat them all herself. If stress of Valentine’s Day wasn't already enough, now Sailor V has to contend with a chocolate shop fatting everyone up, and an evil spa draining people of their life force. It’s up to her to defeat the Dark Agency and their servant deVleene and maybe even find a Valentine of her own.


So this book took way too much time for me to get through. I started it around the same time I finished the last one (or, um, maybe a bit after), but then it took me quite a while to finally get around to reading all of it. Mostly I think it was because every chapter had a new villain that Sailor V had to go defeat, in which most of it was filler type stuff. That just doesn’t interest me enough.
I am glad that I finally got around to finishing it, though, particularly because the last two chapters had an actual plot and point. Honestly, the fact that Takeuchi decided to wait until the last two chapters to show me that she could actually write a story with plot and character development and a point, kind of infuriated me. I mean, I somewhat suffered through one and a half volumes before she showed that she could write something worthwhile.
And I was kind of suffering, too. I don’t know if it was just the mood I was in while reading it or something, but I was nitpicking almost everything that was happening. Not that I didn’t have reason to.
The first half, or maybe six chapters, in this volume were terrible. Dumb. Sailor V was shallow, as was every other chapter introduced. There was one chapter in particular, where a villain used chocolate to make everyone fat and then a spa or workout place to make them think that they were getting skinnier, and every single person was obsessed with it and upset about being fat. It was utterly ridiculous and unrealistic. Another chapter showed that everyone wants to be in love, and how Sailor V needed to find another guy to fall for, which is also dumb. (Really? You can’t just be happy on your own?) Another thing that bothered me was how Takeuchi kept making Artemis pushy and whiny about how Sailor V needed to be focused and couldn’t have any fun, ever. Which, yea, she should have been more focused and actually trying to save people, but some of the things he tried stopping her from doing was just useless, and there was no reason for him to be so pushy.
Another thing that bothered me: how she seemed to only care about being Sailor V in order to be popular and get attention. When Phantom Ace, another superhero or whatever, showed up and began stealing Sailor V’s spotlight, she was all ready to give up being Sailor V and worship him instead, which was just dumb. She’s supposed to be focusing on saving people, but she acted like she couldn’t care less about that.
I try not to nitpick how fighting the villain goes, but I just can’t help myself: the fighting only takes place for a couple of pages, and when it does, Sailor V pretty much only uses her crescent beam mirror with no problems, which it seems like anyone could do, so I don’t understand the significance to why she has to. I’m sure there are tons of people better for the job than she is. It just…
Ugh. Almost everything about this book seemed to bother me.
The last two chapters are what bumped my rating of the book up, though. Originally it would have been a three, but I was a little impressed by the last bit.
Within those chapters, we got a look at her past life and how she lived on Venus and what her significance there was, and how she and, ah, this guy had a special relationship. Sailor V actually grew just a little, I think, character wise, from meeting the guy she had loved again and realizing some things about herself. Some of her growing seemed a little farfetched to me, seeing how nothing like it was even hinted at in previous chapter, but I can mostly accept that. 
I actually kind of liked the guy, or at least was intrigued by him, so what happened with him was a little sad to me. Other than that, I actually enjoyed the end a little bit.
The main thing that bothered me about this, is that there wasn’t more of that throughout the series, and how the author decided to wait so long to show me something actually a little good. I have hope that Sailor Moon, which I plan to start soon, will actually have plot and a point, so I am looking forward to that. I’m just ready to move on to whatever is next, I guess.

Review: What Boys Really Want by Pete Hautman

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

Goodreads Synopsis:

 National Book Award winning author Pete Hautman lets us in on the secret.

Lita is the writer. Adam is the entrepreneur. They are JUST FRIENDS.

So Adam would never sell copies of a self-help book before he'd even written it. And Lita would never try to break up Adam's relationship with Blair, the skankiest girl at school. They'd never sabotage their friends Emily and Dennis. Lita would never date a guy related to a girl she can't stand. They'd never steal each other's blog posts. And Adam would never end up in a fist fight with Lita's boyfriend. Nope, never.

Adam and Lita might never agree on what happened, but in this hilarious story from Pete Hautman, they manage to give the world a little more insight into what boys and girls are really looking for.


I was surprised by some of the things in this book, in a good and bad way. I liked it alright, but it wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping, in some ways.
This book is about two friends, who have known each other forever, and how one of them decides to write a book about what boys really want, while the other has a blog snarkily answering questions related to boys and girls, mostly.
It’s told in alternating point of views, for which I was glad, because otherwise it might have only been in Lita’s head. And I wasn’t a big fan of Lita. She could have been really enjoyable, too, what with having a blog and how her answers were always very entertaining. But instead she was almost always angsty and moody and it got kind of annoying. It might be because I’m not a moody person, especially not aloud, and how she was upset about things for no, or little to no, reason, all the time.
Adam, on the other hand, I really enjoyed. He’s pretty much a dumb, clueless, teenage boy, but I still really enjoyed him. He was kind of sweet, and he was trying, and it wasn’t really his fault that he was so dumb about how publishing works and why Lita was always mad at him.
The ending is probably my favorite part of the book. Adam was an idiot through most of the book, and Lita was moody, but they both met some pretty sweet special someones, and I wasn’t expecting how the relationships between them turned out. It wasn’t a typical, boy and girl are friends forever and so of course love each other, even though there were several hints to that that weren’t cleared up. Either way, it was actually a pretty good ending.
This was not as good as I was hoping, but I enjoyed it enough, and do plan to read another of Hautman’s books.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Manga Review: A Devil and Her Love Song, Volume 3, by Miyoshi Tomori

Rating (Out of 5): ~4-4.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 13

Goodreads Synopsis:

Reads R to L (Japanese Style), for audiences rated teen. 
Meet Maria Kawai—she’s gorgeous and whip-smart, a girl who seems to have it all. But when she unleashes her sharp tongue, it’s no wonder some consider her to be the very devil! Maria’s difficult ways even get her kicked out of an elite school, but this particular fall may actually turn out to be her saving grace... 
 Hana Ibuki, a cheerful soul, waltzes into Maria’s life and befriends her right away. She even convinces wary classmates to join Maria’s choral group. There’s something suspicious about Hana’s help, however, especially since misconceptions about Maria occur every time Hana is involved. Is Hana really a friend or actually a foe?


So, I am officially impressed with this series. I’m not really sure why, or what exactly happened in this volume to pull me over the edge, but I am now kind of loving this series. I want the next one, now, and am not looking forward to the wait, although I know it should be a normal length-ed one.
In this volume, Maria is still dealing with her jerky classmates, but now there’s another one. The girl coming back at the end of the last volume shows up, and her name is Hana, and apparently everyone likes her. She’s practically the exact opposite of Maria. She ends up taking Maria’s necklace, the one that the teacher took, and that’s not a very good start. Maria doesn’t make a big deal of it, but others ask her about it, and like with most things, she plays the victim card and cries.
She’s nice to Maria, and doesn’t like that the class is fighting and split up, and so makes them team up again. She makes Maria uneasy, though, and Maria doesn’t believe all of the nice things being said to her. They have a falling out, not surprisingly, and Hana does a couple of things to set her up, all of which were cliche and none of which did as much good as she wanted, which I am glad for. Maria wants to have some kind of relationship with her, though (which I was surprised by, but in a good way), and so, funnily enough, says that they are ‘frenemies’. Hana doesn’t know how to take Maria’s blunt personality or odd behavior, at all.
The volume ends with Maria agreeing to do this big show in front of a TV crew recording her classes song (which is Amazing Grace, a song that Maria tends to sing to herself a lot), where her classmates, Hana in particular, will come out looking like angels making up with Devil Maria. I don’t think it’s a good idea, but I understand why Maria agrees to it, and I’m intrigued to find out what happens with it in the next volume.
Also, there’s a very small extra chapter at the end, showing Shin and Yusuke when they first met and how they started to hang out. It’s cute, but way too short. I was hoping for more, more of an insight, as to how they became friends, and hope there’s more to come, but I still enjoyed it.
I like Maria. I’ve said this before, but I like how blunt and straightforward she is. She deals with people in her own way, and keeps things inside most times, and I like it. It’s very refreshing. In this book, she also realizes that she has friends. After a small debacle with Hana, she goes up to the roof, upset but still keeping it mostly inside. Shin, Yusuke, and Tomoyo come up after her, and end up telling her how they care about her and that they’re friends. It’s the first time Maria has had friends, and she feels much happier and calmer and reassured upon realizing this. It was nice to see that. Also, there was a super cute moment between her and Shin here, in front of everyone, where he gets all flustered and holds her to his chest. It was just really cute and funny. Oh, and she does finally get her necklace back, which was good.
I just really enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to the next one. I’m glad that I enjoyed it so much, too, because I was hoping that it would grow on me, as I could tell that it would normally be something that I would enjoy. Even the artwork grew on me more, and I’m liking it as well. And Yusuke.
I wasn’t really too big a fan of him, which is weird, since I normally like the happy-go-lucky characters. He’s kind of growing on me, though. Shin is still my favorite, though, and I really enjoy the scenes between him and Maria. And there was a chapter in this volume, like in the first volume, in his point of view, which I enjoyed. He's so awkward and such a loner, and it's just kind of adorable. I don't know, I just like him, I guess.
I’m just unabashedly enjoying this series now, which was an unexpectedly fast turnaround. I’m happy about it, though.

Manga Review: Dengeki Daisy, Volume 9, by Kyousuke Motomi

Rating (Out of 5): ~4-4.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 12+

Goodreads Synopsis:

Reads R to L (Japanese Style), for audiences T+. 
After orphan Teru Kurebayashi loses her beloved older brother, she finds solace in the messages she exchanges with DAISY, an enigmatic figure who can only be reached through the cell phone her brother left her. Meanwhile, mysterious Tasuku Kurosaki always seems to be around whenever Teru needs help… Could DAISY be a lot closer than Teru thinks? 
As Teru comes to terms with Kurosaki’s past wrongdoings, Kurosaki searches for the culprit who is trying to resurrect the “Jack Frost” virus he created. But when he learns that Teru might be in danger, will he keep his promise to leave her alone, or will the two be reunited?


I just love this series. It’s so cute, and sweet, and I enjoy each volume so much. The humor and the characters and the way it’s told are just so perfect for me or something. The art took a little getting used to when I first read something by her, but now I really like it. This series just makes me happy, I guess.
In this volume, Teru and everyone are trying to find Kurosaki, and finally just trick him into meeting up with Teru. That turned out to be really funny and then super adorable and sweet, and made me love them together even more. There was this one scene, though, where Teru talked to Akira, and it made me unsure whether she was going to fall for some trap or not. I felt that she was smart enough to see through him, and she is, but I was worried at first whether or not Motomi was going to make her do it just to cause problems. I was happy with the way it turned out, though.
There’s some catching up and cute moments, and then things go back to normal, which is nice. I guess. I don’t know, I think it was just weird seeing them both in custodian outfits again, since they haven’t been in a while, which I hadn’t realized. And things are calming down a little, probably not for long, but still. It was weird to see.
I just love Teru and Kurosaki, and I want them to kiss and be together. Right now they’re kind of awkward around each other, what with knowing that the other likes them but not being together, still getting used to being around each other like that. It’s cute, and I am enjoying that, but still. They’re still working through everything, too; they talked about Daisy, and Teru showed/said that she doesn’t want to be away from him, which was so cute. And I loved getting to see Kurosaki’s reaction to Teru, and what she says to him; that was really nice, and he totally deserved it.
In the last chapter, there’s a scene between Kurosaki and Akira, but a big revelation came out with Jack Frost in this volume, so I think things between all of that has cooled down, but I’m not sure if something else is going to come up with Jack Frost or some other problem entirely. Either way, I’m looking forward to the next volume.
I believe that the next volume is already out, and so am hoping to pick it up the first chance I get, and I don’t know when what that will be (it could be really soon, it could be several weeks from now). After that, though, I’m pretty sure it will be a while until the one after that comes out. I’m not looking forward to the longer waits between volumes, now that we’re almost caught up with Japan. But oh well, I guess.
(Also, sidenote, I’ve noticed that several of the main series from Shojo Beat are almost caught up with Japan: Black Bird, Kimi ni Todoke, and now this one. La Corda d’Oro, Otomen, Ouran High School Host Club, and probably some others, we’ve been caught up for a while and so have been having slow releases. This always sucks, but I'm sure that’s why they’ve started releasing several new series lately, which does not suck.)

Review: Taken by Storm (Raised by Wolves, #3) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Rating (Out of 5): ~4 - 4.5
Publisher: Random House (EgmontUSA)
Spoilers?: No, but things hinted at.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Bryn knows first-hand that being the alpha of a werewolf pack means making hard decisions, and that being human makes things a thousand times worse. She's prepared to give up her humanity, but the wolf who promised to Change her is waiting - though for what, Bryn doesn't know. Still human, she must take her place in the werewolf Senate, the precarious democracy that rules the North American packs. Standing side by side with werewolves who were ancient long before she was ever born is enough of a challenge, but Bryn soon learns that the Senate has been called to deal with a problem: the kind of problem that involves human bodies, a Rabid werewolf, and memories that Bryn, Chase, and the rest of their pack would rather forget. With bodies stacking up and political pressure closing in from all sides, Bryn and her pack are going to have to turn to old enemies and even older friends for help - especially when it starts to look like this time, the monster might be one of their own.


Is this the last one in this series? I thought that this was a trilogy, but now I’m wishing that there’s more, and am unsure if there is going to be more or not. I could deal with that ending, I guess, but, you know, I want more.
A lot happened in this book that I wasn’t expecting. Some in a good way, and some in a way that truly upsets me. Like with what happened with Chase. I’m not going to ruin that, but I am very not happy about it. I didn’t want to accept it when it happened, and I didn’t really let myself think that it was going to happen before it did, and I still don’t want to accept it. That just… that’s not okay. Not at all.
Anyway. In this book, Bryn has to deal with the other Alphas for a bit, and she finds out that there’s a rabid out there, doing stuff, and they need to be taken care of, and there’s also some stuff with Lake that I enjoyed, and with Jed and Caroline, some of which I liked. There’s just… a lot. A lot happened in this book. I don’t want to spoil too much, but there’s another supernatural element thrown in that I wasn’t expecting, and then some alpha stuff happens that I wasn’t expecting, and some of which I’m happy about. But I’m a little upset over Devon (and Chase), and I want to know what’s going to happen with the other alphas. I kind of like what happened with Devon, though, and I knew it was going to happen eventually. And I do like what was going on with Bryn and Callum at the very end. That needed to happen, and I was looking forward to it.
This was just really good. I liked it, and I want more.
Now, the few things that bothered me, and that I know could bother other people. Barnes tends to write long sentences, with lots of punctuation. That’s not really a bad thing, as I know that I do it a lot, but I try to shorten it and add variety, which I think she could try doing a bit more of. And she emphasis that Bryn and most of her pack are Resilient way too much. It’s almost shoved in your face with how many times she says it, and how insistent she is to make the point that they can survive and all that. That’s obviously something I can overlook, neither of these things bothered me too much, but she could still tone them down a little.
I read this a couple of weeks ago, but I think I’m still reeling. Mostly from what happened with Chase and Devon, because I’m not very happy about it, and I want more. I want her to continue this series, very badly, and I don’t know if this is the last one or not. I hope not.
(Sidenote: The covers. I liked the first one, but didn't enjoy the second one, and like this one even less. I'm not sure why, but I think the colors are a little off, and maybe I don't like the model and how she's posed. Maybe it looks a little fake to me, or something. What do you guys think?)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Manga Review: A Devil and Her Love Song, Volume 2, by Miyoshi Tomori

Rating (Out of 5): ~3 (Maybe 3.5)
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 13

Goodreads Synopsis:

Meet Maria Kawai—she’s gorgeous and whip-smart, a girl who seems to have it all. But when she unleashes her sharp tongue, it’s no wonder some consider her to be the very devil! Maria’s difficult ways even get her kicked out of an elite school, but this particular fall may actually turn out to be her saving grace...
Maria’s bold attitude may be exactly what she needs when she inspires an unlikely ally to come to her defense. And when she’s given the task to lead her class in a choral competition, she’s going to need all the gumption she can muster!


I am enjoying this series, for the most part. I think it’s still growing on me, though, as I haven’t fully warmed up to it yet.
In this volume, Maria makes a kind of friend in Tomoyo, who she was having problems with in the last volume. She’s still having problems with her classmates, in a major way. And both of the boys are making a move on her, trying to worm their way closer to her, on pretty even grounds with each other, as well. More attention was put on Yusuke in this volume than Shin, though.
I hate (or, really dislike, I’m not really sure which) her classmates, and how they’re treating her, giving her almost no chance to really explain herself or understand where she’s coming from. They do have reason to dislike her, seeing as how blunt and rude she is about everything, but they still give her no wiggle room, and are so shallow. It’s a bit annoying. And the volume ended with showing a girl coming out of the hospital and going back to school, which I’m sure means nothing good.
Maria was put on the spot several times in this volume, but took it pretty well. She’s put in charge of some choir-thing, and even though all of her classmates call it stupid and don’t want to participate, she still tries, and is still going through with it.
I actually kind of like Maria. Again, I’m not having very strong feelings for anything in this series yet, but I do like her. She’s not whiny, she’s blunt and honest, and I like how different she is from most heroines. And even though she puts out a tougher exterior, she loves frills. Also, she’s growing (or, is supposed to be), which is nice. Shin pushes her a bit, and she is kind of seeing her flaws, which is good.
Normally I would like Yusuke more, but I’m actually favoring Shin. I’m not sure why, if it’s something to do with Yusuke’s personality or not, but I like Shin more. I’m looking forward to seeing more of them both, though, and seeing where things go from here.
The art is not my favorite (still?). I’m not sure what my favorite thing about this is, or what I like much at all. It’s just… different from what I’m used to, maybe? I like how it’s written, that’s one thing. Her inner thoughts are deeper, and more thoughtful, maybe, than most are. The humor isn’t amazing, the art isn’t, the characters don’t really have strong impressions in my mind.
I don’t know. It’s all still growing on me, I guess. But I think I’m starting to enjoy it more, and I kind of want to know what happens next, but more with the characters than with the dramatic school-room plot, and I have the next one, so I should be reading it soon. We’ll see.

Manga Review: Dengeki Daisy, Volume 8, by Kyousuke Motomi

Rating (Out of 5): ~4/4.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 12+
Spoilers?: Yea, somewhat minor, though.

Goodreads Synopsis:

After orphan Teru Kurebayashi loses her beloved older brother, she finds solace in the messages she exchanges with DAISY, an enigmatic figure who can only be reached through the cell phone her brother left her. Meanwhile, mysterious Tasuku Kurosaki always seems to be around whenever Teru needs help.


I really like this series. It’s one of my current favorites from Shojo Beat, and I’m not happy about the fact that we’re pretty much caught up with Japan and so will have to wait longer between volumes.
It doesn’t really even matter if something exciting happened or not, I’m still enjoying it and looking forward to the next one.
This volume was a bit slower than the last, but still very good. It started with showing us that Kurosaki is gone and Teru is upset. Kurosaki is trying to get some answers, beating up people and stuff, and Teru is upset about what happened and Kurusaki’s disappearance. And Kurosaki has ideas about how she would react to it all and that it was a set up, but still avoids her. (Augh, Kurosaki! Not cool.) Eventually, Teru gets cheered up and determined with the thought that she needs to get to Kurosaki and help him, instead of having him help her like he usually does. Aside from that, the majority of the volume focuses on Teru being told the story of Kurosaki and her older brother Soichiro and the Jack Frost virus.
I hadn’t really thought about when this would happen, but I enjoyed the story. I liked learning how Kurosaki got involved with it all, and seeing the quiet pretty boy that he was at first, and how he grew to think of Soichiro as an older brother as well. It was sweet and funny and well done, and I liked it, much like I enjoy everything else to do with this series. Motomi is really good at these kinds of scenes, the ones that can be cute and funny, and then heartwarmingly sweet, and maybe a bit nostalgic, which is what this volume is filled with.
I’m not surprised by most of the story (although, there were a few parts…), and was glad to see it all told like this. I just really enjoyed it, mostly. I did like getting to see all of the minor characters. Several of the people that worked with Soichiro got mixed up in my head, and I was glad to get to see who they were, what their part was, and get an actual idea of their personalities. And while I already knew and liked Boss, I liked seeing his part in it. How he worked very under cover, and took in Kurosaki. That was just sweet and adorable.
I just really like this series, as I’ve already said. I like pretty much everything about it, and just eat up the books as soon as I get them. I already have the next one, and want to start it as soon as possible, so the review for that will probably be up very soon (or at least, it should be). I’m hoping, and expecting, Teru and Kurosaki to meet up in the next one, and am really looking forward to it; for them to work everything out, and for the impending romance between them to spark up (probably wishful thinking for it to happen so soon, but still).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Rating (Out of 5): ~2.5
Publisher: Random House (Vintage Books)
Spoilers?: No. (Or, very minor.)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.
This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.


I found this at a local used bookstore, and thought that it sounded interesting. It sounded like something I would like, and after some debating (and a few trips), I got it, although I figured it would take me a while to finish it. Just because it’s not a quick, easy read that would capture my attention like some others. I took it with me to Japan, and it was the first book I finished. And I was expecting to like it more than I did. Which is a bit disappointing, honestly.
The book is about a boy who has a hard time dealing with people and understanding them. I want to say he’s autistic, but I’m not sure if that’s the correct term, the right… disorder or whatever. And I don’t want to be insensitive, or anything of the like, about it. Aside from that, some stuff happens with his parents and neighbors, which he wasn’t expecting, and didn’t react very well to. I’m not going to spoil anything beyond that, though.
At first I enjoyed the book. It was interesting and I liked the boy, found how he handled the world, or tried to handle it, really interesting, and I liked it. But then it got closer to the end of the book, and I wasn’t enjoying him so much anymore. He started showing that, whatever it was that he had, autism or not, he had a more severe case than I’d thought. (And I am going to assume that he has a more severe case, instead of my first take on it, that it was badly written and exaggerated, because I don’t know anyone with a severe case in which they can’t interact socially very well at all, but have only heard about it. And it might very well be like this.) I didn’t like his choices and how he reacted to things with his father and mother, and I was upset about them. But I am going to accept that he reacted that way because of how he is, how his brain works differently than most. I don’t like it, but I’m going to accept it and move on.
I did like how it was written. I see why it might bother someone, with so much repetitive starting and and’s, but I enjoyed it, and thought that it made sense, what with being in the main characters head. It added to the voice, which I did like. And while I didn’t like the character after a while, I did enjoy some of his smaller, clever little characteristics throughout the book, and the drawings in the book.
I don’t really have much else to talk about, I don’t think. That was the biggest thing that I had a reaction to. The ending brought my rating way down, and I am a bit upset about it still. Ah well.