Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Teaser Tuesday[57]: The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble

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!


The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble

Genre: YA Supernatural

Publisher: Soho Teen

Publish Date: May 14th, 2013

Goodreads Synopsis:

“I found out two things today. One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.”

So begins the diary of 14-year-old Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad eighth-grade year. Her single mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was eight. Her 16-year-old brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs— difficult, as he’s stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. When she collapses one day, Casey tries to race her to the hospital in their beat-up Prius and crashes instead.

Jenna wakes up in the ER to find Casey beside her. Beatified. Literally. The flab and zits? Gone. Before long, Jenna figures out that Casey didn’t survive the accident at all. He’s an “A-word.” (She can’t bring herself to utter the truth.) Soon they discover that Jenna isn’t just dying: she’s being poisoned. And Casey has been sent back to help solve the mystery that not only holds the key to her survival, but also to their mother’s mysterious depression and father’s disappearance.


“‘I look hot,’ he remarked, sounding half giddy, half scared.
‘Gross.’” (Hardback, pg. 103)

Reading anything interesting right now?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Manga Review: Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Volume 16, by Karuho Shiina

Rating (Out of 5): ~4-4.5
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)
Volumes: 18+
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine...for a horror movie. Nicknamed "Sadako" after the haunting movie character, everyone is afraid to come near her for fear of being cursed. But her whole life changes when she befriends the most popular boy in class, Shota Kazehaya. While their friends’ romantic relationships deepen, Sawako feels Kazehaya pulling away. Will a big Christmas party bring the troubled couple back together, or will Kazehaya continue to hide his pain from the person who most wants to help him?

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for teen audiences.


I love this series. I don’t even care what’s happening anymore, who the focus is on, or how long I have to wait between volumes. I just love this series, it’s so good. And I think I’m going to keep this review short, because I don’t want to go into too much detail about what happened this time, nor do I have too much to talk about (I don’t think).
This was a bit of a slow volume, whereas progress shows. Chizu and Ryu are in pretty much the same position as before, with very little-to-no attention given them as a couple. Chizu seems to mostly be thinking about things, about Ryu and what she wants to do.
Meanwhile, it’s obvious that Kento has feelings for Ayane. Ayane, though is hesitant, and trying to avoid him and stop anything from happening. Kento, surprisingly, has a cute, helpful conversation with Kazehaya about it. And Ayane talks with Sawako about some stuff, including her bad self-image.
The big couple, Sawako and Kazehaya, are being stupid. Sawako has no idea what Kazehaya is thinking, doesn’t understand why he’s pulling away from her, when all she wants to do is be closer to him. And Kazehaya is conflicted about her, including kissing her, and is just reacting to everything badly. To sum it up, they’re miscommunicating, or just not communicating at all, which they seem to be very good at, as we know from before the became a couple. They need to learn to just talk things out, go to each other and talk about it if they have a problem. I really hope that they clear stuff up soon.
Christmas is coming, and the volume ends with everyone arriving to their class Christmas party. Which is surely to be good. I’m rather excited for everything, for whatever happens next. I really hope that it focuses on Sawako and Kazehaya, but I would be happy if it focused on someone else, too.
Overall, just very happy and excited about this series.
Oh, there was also a lot of extras at the end of the volume, all of them being drawn by other known mangakas, some of it just pictures of the Kimi ni Todoke cast, but some of it also little comics. Some of them were just okay, but some were also funny, and very pretty, and I find it neat seeing other mangakas, particularly ones that I read, drawing another authors characters.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Manga Review: Kare First Love, Volume 1, by Kaho Miyasaka

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo)
Volumes: 10
Spoilers?: Some.
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. (Almost Out-of-Print)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Karin Karino finds herself torn between keeping the friendship of her classmate Yuka and entertaining the advances of a boy named Kiriya, who also happens to be Yuka's object of affection.


I read several books in this series a long time ago, and remembered really liking it. I’ve had my eye on the series for a while, wanting to read more of it, but just not getting around to getting any of the volumes. I’ve finally decided to jump on board with it, though, and got a few volumes the other day, and am in the works of getting the rest of the series.
It’s starting out similar to what I remember, but so much of it is a blank for me, that I’m enjoying re-reading it so far. Also, the beginning of the series: not very good in terms of story and character. It gets better, though (I think?), and I’m excited for that.
So, Karin, our main character, is a quiet, ‘ugly’, shy, and awkward girl. She’s also holding in a lot of anger. But she’s ‘friends’ with Yuko, a very ‘pretty’ and popular girl at her school, who is constantly putting Karin down but making it look like she’s being nice/it’s all a joke, and also always flirting with boys. Karin incidentally meets this popular, playboy from another school, who's interested in Karin from the start, but who Yuko is trying to win over, and yet who Karin is trying to ignore.
Karin, at this point, is just okay. I’m not a huge fan, but I don’t dislike her very much at the moment. She gets better, I believe/hope, but at the moment her anger is a little over the top, and yet she is also not doing anything about it. Plus, her reactions are always done so over the top, and that’s just kind of annoying at the moment.
Kiriya is alright too. He’s nice, and he’s tough (I guess?), and he has good intentions. We don’t actually get to know him very well in this volume, so I’m looking forward to finding out who he actually is as a character.
I don’t like Yuko. She’s just an over the top bitchy popular girl, in a very stereotypical fashion, and I’m looking forward to her plot line being finished. Karin is also starting to interact with another girl in her class, Nanri, who is collected and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. I like her. And I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. 
Overall, this volume was a little weak. It’s falling very easily into the mean girl trope with Yuko, including her already threatening Karin after finding out she was hanging out with Kiriya. Hopefully that plot will end in the next volume (or two, at most), and something better with happen. And I don’t remember how far I got in this series before (about halfway, I think), but I’m enjoying reading it over again, especially since I remembered so little, and I’m looking forward to getting to the story that I don’t remember anything about.

Novel Review: Wild Roses by Deb Caletti

Rating (Out of 5): ~2
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Simon Pulse)
Publish Date: March, 2008
Spoilers?: Not Really.
Teaser Tuesday.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan lives with a time bomb (a.k.a. her stepfather, Dino Cavalli). To the public, Dino is a world-renowned violin player and composer. To Cassie, he's an erratic, self-centered bully. And he's getting worse: He no longer sleeps, and he grows increasingly paranoid. Before, Cassie was angry. Now she is afraid.

Enter Ian Waters: a brilliant young violinist, and Dino's first-ever student. The minute Cassie lays eyes on Ian she knows she's doomed. Cassie thought she understood that love could bring pain, but this union will have consequences she could not have imagined.

In the end, only one thing becomes clear: In the world of insanity, nothing is sacred....

Something Specific:

  • "'Love is not something that can be measured, Cassie. Sometimes love just is. Sometimes it’s a force with its own reasons. Reasons we don’t necessarily understand, but with a power that is undeniable.” (Paperback, pg. 115) I like this thought. But, right before this, as they’re talking about giving up something you love when it gives you pain, Cassie says that it would depend how much she loves it versus how much pain it gives her, and I understand her side very well.
  • "It was another one of those moments when I would have killed to hear what was said, but I also would have done anything not to hear it, ever. I was having a lot of those times lately, where what I wanted and what I didn’t want were the same thing.” (Pg. 224) I understand this very well.
  • "'I try to do the right thing, but sometimes the wrong thing gets the better of me. The human condition.’” (Pg. 229)

The Cover:

I just think this cover is pretty. It kind of fits with the book, I suppose. The title works. The snow works. The heart works. I feel like the contents of the book could be represented better, but this cover works, and I think it looks nice.


I’ve read two other books by Caletti, one of which I really enjoyed (the Nature of Jade) and one of which I thought was more meh (the Queen of Everything), and this one ended up being rather below meh, and a very big disappointment since I had thought it would be very good.
Cassie Morgan lives with her mother and her mother’s new husband, Dino. Dino is a genius musical composer, and he’s going literally crazy. He’s beyond paranoid, sometimes goes a bit off the deep end for very little reason, is snippy often, and is also just a general ass about things. Cassie does not like Dino, nor has she ever, but she’s stuck living for a majority of the time with him, going only on weekends to her father’s house. And then Dino starts teaching Ian, a boy Cassie’s age, who is also a very talented violinist, hoping to get into a very big, hard school several states away.
The book opened very good, the premise was very good, and even the Dino storyline was rather good. I liked the time Cassie spent with her father, her mother was frustrating but understandable. It was Cassie and the romance that I didn’t like.
I guess it’s not really Cassie herself that I didn’t like; she actually seemed okay. But she gave several slut-shaming comments that bothered me. One pertaining to a girl in her school whose nickname, apparently, is Whore because her last name sounds similar, and because she supposedly wears revealing clothes that show her big breasts. Another was a jibe about girls who sleep around. They were both distasteful and offensive, they didn’t particularly seem to be needed, and they bothered me a lot.
The second thing that really brought me down was the romance. I was rather looking forward to the romance, and even at the beginning, when Cassie was forewarning about the first time she saw him and that it was practically love at first sight, it didn’t bother me. Caletti seems to have a way of making love at first sight, that people are destined to be a part of another's life, natural, at least to me. So I was okay with that. But then, pretty much the first time Cassie ever has a conversation with the boy, they kiss. And they kind of fight a couple of times but move on from it, and she acts like she’s devastated that he has to go away for school. And throughout the whole thing, the reader barely ever gets to read an actual, intimate conversation between the two that doesn’t last more than a couple of pages. They say they love each other rather early. And while their relationship does expand throughout a year, I never felt the connection. No swoon, no actual love, nothing. Their interactions were just so small and there were so few that actually seemed to mean anything. I was very disappointed by this.
But even while saying that, and overall being unhappy and disappointed with the book, there were good parts. The ending for Dino and Cassie and her mother was pretty good, I liked seeing Dino’s downfall and paranoia (even though I feel his storyline could have been made more intense), and there were just a lot of small thoughts that I enjoyed reading. I liked Cassie’s father and her Nannie (particularly her Nannie). That’s why the rating is a wavery 2 stars, no higher, but I don’t think it’ll waver lower (although it might go to a 1.5, with time). 
I still have three Caletti books to read from forever ago, and I hope to read one somewhat soon. And I can only hope that they’re better than this one.