Friday, August 28, 2015

Monkey High vol.4 by Shouko Akira

Haruna is convinced that school life is like a monkey mountain; all the monkeys form cliques, get into fights, and get back together again.
Macharu's best friend Atsu is really starting to fall for Haruna, especially since she's been working at the same place he works and they've been spending more and more time together. With a jealous Macharu waiting and a persistent Atsu pursuing, who is Haruna going to choose in this bizarre love triangle?
After her politician father is disgraced in scandal, Haruna Aizawa transfers to a new school. Haruna is convinced that school life is just like a monkey mountain--all the monkeys form cliques, get into fights, and get back together again. She even meets a boy named Masaru who reminds her of a baby monkey!

Published: December 2008
Pages: 210
Series: Fourth volume in the Monkey High manga
Rating: 5 stars

I started reading this manga a long time ago, I'm not even sure when, so I was very excited when I found out that my library system had gotten a new volume. I had checked several times, when I had just finished the previous three volumes, and the library only had the first three volumes. My brother pointed out the other week that they had the fourth volume on the shelf and I was very excited to hear it.

I couldn't remember exactly what the story was, only that I had quickly fallen in love with the style and the characters. In short, it's a book about a romance between a rather childish boy and a smart, pretty girl...two people that you might not have put together. It's not extremely serious, but there are little conflicts between friends and misunderstandings. It's a sweet manga and I really enjoyed it. 

This volume deals with what Haruna and Masaru do over the summer and how the deals with some slight changes to their relationship. I spread out each chapter in this volume for as long as I could, limiting myself to one a night. I'd highly suggest this manga if you like a romantic comedy and a more relaxed storyline.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick Review

Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever (if that's possible) and what's worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora's archenemy, Marcie Millar.
Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn't been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something.
If that weren't enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.
Published: October 2010
Pages: 427
Series: Second book in the Hush, Hush series
Rating: 3 stars

The base idea of this series interests me a lot. And the characters are mysterious and have some interesting secrets and hidden pasts that slowly unfold. However...they can also be a little annoying. Nora was really annoying in this book, she broke up with Patch and then the rest of the book was either jealous, bitter, or trying to make him jealous. Honestly she was a bit of a mess. I like the whole fallen angels and supernatural aspects to the story. Sadly the characters brought things down a little (mainly Nora) and there were also some cliches that had me going Really? 

So overall, this is an okay book and I probably will be picking up the third book to try...but at the same time be forewarned that Nora is very petty and a poor heroine, in this installment of the series at least. Patch can also be a bit eh as well and there are flaws to some of the character building or how unaware Nora's mom is at times. It's an engaging read though and there are several nice turns as Nora finds clues about her father's death. So, read at your own risk depending how much you think Nora will bother you. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Getting Older and TBR Lists

The truth about getting older is that things change. They change drastically and you can even become a very different person then who you proclaimed to be at age eight. You'r perception of the world changes, your appearance is altered and among other seem to have less and less time on your hands.

I've begun to feel this all to much lately. I never seem to have enough time to study as much as I should. Nor do I have enough time for my hobbies, reading included. Since I've gotten into high school (I'd say the change probably happened around sophomore year) my reading has dropped to an all time low. I've never not read this much, not since I learned how to read anyway. And it's because of that annoying little problem I have. There's not enough hours in the day to get around to everything I need and want to do.

Thus far, I've dealt with this by almost ignoring it. I still check out tons of books from the library and try to get around to reading, don't laugh, one or two books a week. Yet sometimes that's all that I manage in an entire month. Yes, I'm over here shaking my head at the horror too. So with that being the amount of books that I read (roughly estimated) you can imagine what happens as I'm still checking out a lot of books. I'm having to turn back in armloads of unread books.

I have some kind of weird mentality where I almost always finish a book if I start it. In the same way, it hurts to have to return a book that I didn't even start. And in a few terrifying cases, I've started the book and gotten a few pages or chapters in when it's due, all too soon.

So here I am, in this endless cycle of checking out book after book, yet only being able to finish a few here and there that I desperately wanted to read. It bothers me, yet I'm somehow unable to do anything to change or fix the situation. Then, tonight, a thought struck me.

This must be why people have TBR lists.

I've never really seen a great need for them for myself and if I ever do make any book lists, they're generally quite long and I never take them very seriously. Now, however, I can see how great they can be. It's like a shopping list when you go to the grocery store. In my family, my mom often likes to buy extra, possibly miscellaneous items that aren't on the grocery list. That has caused my dad to have to remind her to stick to the list and really try not to get anything extra. Now, in my mind, a TBR list is much like a shopping list. If I could limit myself to only checking out the books that I've preplanned to read, why then I could stop getting a bagful of books each trip to the library. Instead I could add that book that catches my eye to the list and simply wait until I get far enough through the other books on the list to read it.

And in this way I could finally break free of the cycle of books I've been checking out and turning back in without having read them. Not only will this keep my wandering eye in check, it'll also satisfy the part of me that loves lists and planning.

So, what do you think? Have you ever come to time in your life where you've been to busy to read? Or have you just gotten sucked into the internet and fallen away from the adventures and characters that used to lure you in so easily (because I've experienced that as well). Do you use reading lists? Do they help you or do you pace yourself fine without them? I wanna know ;)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Opal Crown by Jenny Lundquist Review

Action, romance, sibling rivalry and court intrigue combine for a page-turning read in this sequel to The Princess in the Opal Mask, which VOYA called “engaging and action-packed.”
In the year since she was betrothed to the crown prince of Kyrenica, no one has suspected that the Masked Princess has been a decoy. That Elara, the secret twin sister, has been pretending to be Princess Wilha all along. The royal family has kept Elara’s identity hidden from the world, and for the girls, swapping lives has not been easy. Galandra is quickly declining, and the sisters continue to be a pawn in the Guardian’s ever-changing endgames.But the stakes rise when Elara and Wilha’s younger brother, Andrei, takes the Galandrian throne after their father's death, and he reveals the girls' deception to Kyrenica’s royal family. Viewed as traitors, Elara and Wilha realize they are now fighting for their lives—and for their country. However, with only one crown and one throne to overthrow, Elara and Wilha must decide who will become queen. Or rather, the next savior for their people.The sequel to the Princess in the Opal Mask.

Published: October 2014
Page count: 368
Series: Second book in The Opal Mask series.
Rating: 4 stars

My librarian recommended this two book series to me and I'm honestly quite glad she did. I love the mix of fantasy and fairy tale type, add in a bit of political drama and several characters vying for the crown and I'm very happy. I enjoyed the first book a lot and I thought there were some really good plot twists. This one, I think, didn't have as many. I felt like the main focus of this book was the crown and Elara and Wilha trying to become sort of friendly with each other. There might not have been as much action either, except for a mob or two and a few attacks and sneaking about ;) But the vibe of the story was still enticing and I finished this book fairly quickly. I was nearly finished with the book last night when I realized how late it was and decided to finish it this morning, haha. I also think this is a good sequel and demonstrates how things are changing and the twins are developing and maturing. Depending where I was in the book, I was often on one girls' side or the other. Now that I think about it, that's pretty realistic. There were times that I wasn't happy with something Elara had said or a way Wilha had handled a situation and that's how it is irl. 

The writing style fits the setting so well. I don't think that I've read any of the author's other books but she has created such a great group of kingdoms and villages for this series. Then there are legends, secret passageways and all kinds of fairy tale-esque things that I loved. Character wise, I liked both the girls (except for the few odd scenes or moments) and their love interests. At first I was rather confused as Wilha had been seeing someone when the girls were in another kingdom, yet when she returns home to Galandria she goes back to swooning over her sort-of-beau from before she left. It was explained later, but at the time it felt odd to me that she seemed to immediately forget about this other boy she'd been with for months. I liked that Wilha was quiet yet the one who could handle a sword masterfully. I liked how strong and determined that Elara often was, I felt that she also could really understand what the Galandrians are going through in this book. The ending was satisfying, although there was just a little hint of something at the end that would almost make you wonder about another book...but it seems like this is the final one so oh well :)

Overall, while this sequel wasn't quite as good as the first book, I still liked it a lot. It's got a cool setting, two fiery main characters, and turned out to be a pretty nice ending. I really liked this series as a whole and found the romances sweet and the twins (although a bit irritating in this book because they don't communicate with each other well) lovely princesses with good hearts. I'd definitely recommend if you like a good medieval/fairy tale sort of book.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Heart's Disguise by Colleen Coble Review

In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young woman searches for her lost love at the edge of the West.
The Civil War has destroyed Sarah Montgomery's marriage before it's even begun.
After Sarah receives word that her fiance, Rand Campbell, has been killed fighting for the Union, her brothers and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to Ben Croftner--despite her strong misgivings. But when Sarah finds out that Rand is in fact alive--and that Ben Croftner knew it--she indignantly breaks off the engagement and goes in search of Rand.
But Ben Croftner does not take rejection lightly--and a single woman with a sick father makes an easy target. When Sarah is abducted by her treacherous fiance, Rand finally comes to her aid . . . only to reveal that he has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and intends to take her there as his wife. But could Sarah leave her dying father's side for the love of her life? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?

Published: March 2015
Page count: 90
Series: First book in the A Journey of the Heart series
Rating : 3 stars

It was quite interesting for to read this book. You see, it's the first book in this series and Colleen Coble explains it's actually the first series she ever wrote that's now been published at last. I've read a lot of her other books, not all because there are quite a few, and I found it wasn't quite up to their standard. Maybe it's because they were some of her first stories or maybe because it's a bit shorter and I'm used to having her books being longer. Either way, it's still a charming little read, somewhat along the lines of a Janette Oke book. 

In the little note at the beginning of the book, Colleen Coble explains that this is going to be a six book series and that she split up what was originally two books. So far, I'm quite interested in the story and there have been a few twists and turns. There are some interesting characters and I love the setting. It's just after the civil war was finished and now there was still the drive to move west lingering in a lot of people (or that was the vibe I got). So I'm pretty sure we're going to get some very scenic settings in the next few books. The romance is pretty sweet and I can't wait to see how it will develop.

Overall, it's a good book, but if you got super excited that Colleen Coble has a new release out you may be a little disappointed with this book when compared to some of her others. I liked this introduction to the characters and I plan on reading the rest of the series :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Talon by Julie Kagawa (April)

Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant.  

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.  

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?

Why I'm excited: I love this author. I've read every book she's written and caught most of her short stories in anthologies too. I love her writing style and she's had some great series too. There was her vampire dystopian series, her, what I would call, fey fantasy series, and now her modern-day dragon series. I liked the first book well enough, so I'm hoping that I'll get even more into the story with this book. I adore dragons so I was very excited to hear that she would have them as a main part of this series. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Rook by Sharon Cameron (April release)

History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place.                                             
Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?
Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. 
But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.  

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

Why I'm excited: Just based on the synopsis I'm excited to read this book. It sounds like a really fun dystopian romance mix. I've read a steampunk series by this author previously and enjoyed them fairly well. So I have hopes this one will be interesting and great dystopian book, as I do love a good dystopian story. This book is scheduled to be released April 28.