Saturday, December 31, 2011

December Books

The Rainbow Boys Trilogy (which consists of Rainbow Boys, Rainbow High, and Rainbow Road) was, in my opinion, a totally awesome series to read! It centers around these 3 gay guys who all go to school together. Every alternating chapter is told through one of their points of view. Each of their personalities were really interesting, and it was fun reading about what happened to them.

The Death Cure, the last book in the Maze Runner Trilogy (unless you count the prequel James Dashner is rumored to be working on), made a pretty good ending to the series. I hadn't read the other books, Maze Runner and Scorch Trials, for a long time, but it brought me up to speed quickly, and I cared a lot about what happened to the characters I remembered and loved. It was quite tough, because a couple of my favorite characters (not gonna say who!) died, and Thomas, the main character, gets completely torn up over them. Near the end, it kind of reminded me of how Harry Potter ended, because (spoiler alert!) Thomas is required to give himself up basically to die, and it very nearly looks like he's going to die, and he accepts it. But despite that, the story has a pretty happy ending, and it's open, so the reader is left to decide what happens next.

All in all, I'm glad I read these books, and highly recommend them. Sorry these were rushed reviews. =P But now it's a new year tomorrow! YAY!!! ^_^

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Books I've been procrastinating reviewing.

I'm sorry that I've let it come to this. I have such a bad habit now of forgetting to review the books that I read. I'm not even sure if I have all the books I've read this month listed here. I may have forgotten one or two. I wish I could remember them all...

Well hey, it's not like I'm really writing for anyone besides myself these days. I don't see anyone hanging on my every word, which is a little sad for me... but moving on. This is Bettina's Book Club. Even if Bettina is the only one in this club, I'm still going to post about these books, if only for her sake.

I won't go into too much detail, but will just give you the basic idea and impression I got out of each book.

Bossypants, by Tina Fey ~ I read this so long ago, I hardly have anything to say about it. But I'll say a few things about it anyway. It was random, it was funny, it's a great representation of who Tina Fey is as a personality. It was a great reflection on her, snarky and sarcastic and clever writing. My favorite part, I think, was when she talked about being Sarah Palin for SNL. What an experience that must have been for her. I also liked that when she taked about how, in her teen years and well later on, she was/ s great friends with gays and lesbians. Whoo!

There are quite a few chapters where it's simply Tina writing jokes, making excuses to tell funny stories. Hey, I liked her stuff. She has a great sense of humor. If you like Tina, you should check out her story.

Button on Burton, by Mark Salisbury ~ It took me a while to get through this book. One reason was because my brother Adam was reading it at roughly the same time I was. He's a really huge fan of Tim Burton and his films. Really, though, I was probably just busy with other stuff. But whenever I wanted to relax and decided to pick up this biography, I enjoyed myself a lot and I always learned something great.

This book takes you through all of Burton's movies, from Pee-Wee Herman to Corpse Bride (The book was published in 2005, so yeah, it doesn't have a lot of his latest stuff), and how he felt working on each project. It was a good read, definitely something to pick up if you like Tim Burton.

The Only Ones, by Aaron Starmer ~ One of the only reasons I picked up this book was because right on the top of the cover, there was a blurb from one of my biggest author heroes of all time, James Dashner. He said, "One of the most unique, captivating books I've ever read. I was completely pulled into it's pages and they never let me go!" Hey, if Dashner says a book is that good, I HAVE to see what he's talking about, so of course I checked it out.

I wasn't disappointed either. The premise was fascinating, the characters were unique, funny, believable and relatable, and by the time I was done reading it I was thinking, "Whoa, this is some deep stuff..." I think what made me like it so much was that it felt a little like how James Dashner's Maze Runner books were written. It also reminded me of the book Gone, except the kids don't have superpowers. It's confusing at first how all the grownups disappear, but then the way they come back will really amaze you and throw you for a loop.

Half-brother, by Kenneth Oppel ~ I liked this book a whole lot, probably the best out of this bunch! Everything about it was engaging. The fact that it took place in the 70's, in Canada, and from the point of view of a teenage kid of scientists who wanted to see if they could teach a chimp, Zan, to act like a human and talk. No, not with his voice, but in ASL, American Sign Language. It was a very interesting experiment. I was quite convinced that the animal could talk.

What took precedence for me in reasons I liked it, though, was all the interaction with the kid, Ben, and the other characters. They felt real and organic. The boy's relationship with his dad, his crush on a girl at school, how he feels about having a chimpanzee, for all intents and purposes, as his little brother. By the end, you see just how much Ben loves Zan and how he changed as a character. This is a book I highly recommend.

Not that it really matters, but I also have read a couple of manga volumes from this series called Otomen. Basically it's a guy who everyone thinks is so cool, good-looking and masculine, but secretly he has girly interests, like baking, sewing, and cute things. I don't know how, but this doesn't mean he's gay. He has a crush on a girl, so he works hard to hide his inner-self and be all manly for her, but you know how those things work out in stories. It was an alright story for a while, but I don't think I'll read anymore.

I know I keep threatening to shut down this blog and never come back to it again, but then I know I'll find a great book I want to recommend to the Internet and post about it. So I don't know... Perhaps I won't do full on reviews for single books anymore. I'll probably just keep much better track of the books I read in a notebook or something, and then maybe at the end of the month I'll do a report on my best findings. How does that sound to you?

*crickets chirp*

Awesome! Sounds like a plan to me!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Triple Threat book review

Who knows why I keep posting these book reviews, since it seems hardly anyone reads them now except for me. Because I'm too lazy to write a separate post for each book review, I'm putting them all into one post. I liked reading each of them very much in their own right. Here's what I thought after reading them:

1~ Daniel X: Game Over, by James Patterson
This is book 4 in the Daniel X series. All the way back in April (whoa, does time fly or what?!), I read the first 3 books plus the graphic novel and liked them all well enough (see the review here). Game Over was a pretty good continuation of the series, and does quite well on it's own, I think. I mean, if I had forgotten any of the characters and adventures from the previous books (which I didn't), this does a good job of reminding me and bringing me up to speed.

Basically, the new mission of our titular hero, Daniel, is to take down these 2 aliens who are trying to destroy Earth by brainwashing our video game addicted youth into becoming violent and wiping out the human species. The story takes place in Japan, which in itself is quite awesome, and the evil duo disguise themselves as Japanese video game tycoons. Things are kept interesting when Daniel makes friends with the aliens' son, who doesn't seem to have inherited his parents' vicious ways.

A fast and satisfying read. What do you expect? It's James Patterson. ^_^

2~ Anatomy of a Boyfriend, by Daria Snadowski
Now this was an amazing romance novel, a refreshingly simple girl meets boy story that felt... real. Think Twilght, only there are no vampires and werewolves, and the heroine is a more likable, relatable and strong character. Yes, she has her faults, but she doesn't act stupid. The guy is really sweet, too. When you get to the bottom of it, it's a pure example of first love and how it (unfortunately) crumbles.

Really, in a nutshell, the story goes like this (sorry for the spoilers!):
  • Girl embarrasses herself in front of Boy

  • Girl and Boy hang out at a couple of parties

  • Girl finds herself thinking about Boy all the time

  • Girl and Boy kiss

  • Girl and Boy officially become a couple (dating and making out)

  • Girl goes to separate college than Boy and tries to keep a long distance relationship

  • Boy breaks up with Girl, because it's not working, and Girl takes it badly (VERY badly. It was actually kind of scary how she lost her temper like she did)

  • Girl moves on
For those hopeless romantics, like myself, this is a great read that I highly recommend.

3~ Boyfriends with Girlfriends, by Alex Sanchez
This book was extremely interesting to get into. I was browsing the shelves in my library and happened to come across this author, Alex Sanchez, who seems to have written a lot of stories about gay teenagers and their own romances. After reading this book, I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy the rest of Sanchez's works. This has a much more complicated story than Anatomy of a Boyfriend, which made for a half slighlty confusing, half incredibly intriguing read.

See, there are two pairs of friends, and all four of them gets a little of the story told from their point of view. There's the gay guy and his friend the straight girl, and then there's the bi-sexual guy and his friend the lesbian girl. Gay and Bi try to become a couple, though Gay finds it hard to accept that Bi really is bi, since he can't relate. Bi only recently broke up with his girlfriend, and he hasn't tried having a real relationship with a guy yet. Meanwhile, Straight girl and Lesbian become really good friends. Lesbian develops a crush on Straight girl, but she already has a boyfriend, so she's off-limits. However, Straight girl is questioning her relationship with her boyfriend and keeps thinking about Lesbian. She even dreams about kissing her! So maybe she's bi too?

I loved reading this book, because I got to read about interesting bisexual characters, in addition to gay and lesbian. I don't believe I've encountered a lot of bi characters in books or movies, so it was really educational for me. In the end, you really don't care what sexual orientation the characters are, because they are truly all unique personalities and have their own hopes and dreams besides who they are attracted to. (btw, I'm hoping that my referring to the characters just by their preference and not their names doesn't offend anyone. Their names were that forgettable. It's like my referring to Girl and Boy in Anatomy of a Boyfriend. It's just an easier way to identify the characters.)

I am definitely going to try and read more books like these.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Room, by Emma Donoghue

It sure looks as though I haven't been reading many books these days. Well, I did finish reading the old classic "Wuthering Heights", which took me weeks to read. But now I've finally got a fantastic book that is worth posting about. My favorite aunt, Lisa, recommended it to me. As soon as she told me about it, I looked it up on the iPad and downloaded a sample from the iBooks app. (I have discovered that reading samples is even better than borrowing from the library, because this lets me know whether a book is really worth reading or not! For example, I got to read a sample of "The Death Cure", by James Dashner, and it's not even out yet! It was just a few chapters, but it is awesome! I can't wait to read it for real!) After getting my first taste of "Room", I knew it was gold, so I reserved it from the library, and it came in surprisingly quick. Now I'm done with it.

What a great story! Told from the point of view of five-year-old Jack, it's the tale of a boy and his mother who have lived in the same small room all of his life. It's where he was born, and he has never been Outside, so all he knows are the things in Room. He addresses all the objects in the room as if they are his friends, like Bed, Wardrobe, Rocker, and TV. When he watches TV and sees all the wonderful shows, he believes that none of it is real, and everything outside of Room is Outer Space. The only real people in the entire world are him and his Ma. Except, perhaps, the mysterious and scary Old Nick, who brings them food and other important things and comes in at night sometimes...

It wasn't always like that. When Ma was nineteen, she got kidnapped by Old Nick and became trapped in Room. Seven years later, she is still in that room, and Jack has gotten so big that it is even more important that they find some way to escape. When she tells her son the entire truth, that there is a world out there, that all things from TV are actually real (except for Dora and Spongebob, of course), it is almost too much for young Jack to comprehend. Even scarier is when she proposes their escape plan, where he has to pretend that he's sick, so that Old Nick will take him Outside and Jack can run to a police and rescue Ma. It is the biggest thing Jack has ever had to do in his young life, but he does it, and the pages turn themselves as you race to find out what happens next.

I loved reading this, because it was so wildly original. The childish narration is incredibly charming with it's many grammatical errors, but you totally accept it, because after all, this is a kid telling the story. Also, this book started out with such a unique idea that really makes the reader stop and think, and look at the world a little differently. You don't come across books like that all the time. I say get your hands on this book right away and get ready to sink your teeth into an awesome story.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chobits, plus the rest of Absolute Boyfriend

I finished the manga series of Absolute Boyfriend online quite some time ago, and I've been wanting to do this review for a while. It's okay though, because I recently finished another series very much like it, so I'll just talk about both of them.

Absolute Boyfriend, as I explained in my most recent post, is about a girl who buys a hot robot who is designed and programmed to be her ideal boyfriend. She has to keep his true identity a secret from everyone while sorting through her feelings for this robot and her old childhood guy-friend who has a crush on her, but is afraid to admit it. Hilarity ensues. I loved reading this 6-book series immensely, due to the colorful characters and great premise.

In the last few volumes, however, some of the scenarios got a little crazy, things started happening without much explanation or reason, and the characters made decisions that didn't make sense for me. The ending is sort of predictable, but in a way, I guess it was satisfying... In any case, it was a cheerful, light-hearted romp that I, personally, liked a lot.

I'm still watching the Japanese tv show, or the dorama, based on the series, and enjoying that a lot. Currently I'm on episode 7 now. It keeps some elements from the manga intact, but the characters are largely different from their counterparts, and for some reason there's an emphasis on the characters trying to make the perfect desert? I guess because the setting is a company that produces fancy pastries.... Anyway, it's an entirely unique experience, one that I'm very much enjoying.

Now for the other series, Chobits. This was something my sister Annette came across when we were looking for other manga to get into. This is a very quick series to get through, at 8 volumes long, and carries the same themes of people falling in love with human-shaped robots. There are a few key differences, though. For one thing, it takes place in the future, and humans and their robots, or persecoms, live side by side. So the main character doesn't really have to keep it secret that he has a robot. Oh, and the story is told from a guy's point of view, not a girl's. The hero, Hideki, who is young and broke, finds a cute, long-haired, child-like female persecom lying around in the trash. Since they're so advanced, persecoms are very expensive. Excited at his good fortune, he takes her home and "turns her on". (Warning, younger readers: this carries a very innuendous double meaning. =P)

At first, the persecom seems broken, and the only thing she can say is "Chi", so that's what he names her. She has no memory, no data at all, but it soon becomes apparent that she's an incredibly powerful machine with unknown function. She has learning capabilities, though, so Hideki goes around teaching Chi everything, all while juggling cram school and his job. Even though everyone says it's impossible, that persecoms don't have emotions and only do as they're programed to, Chi slowly becomes aware that she is in love with Hideki. And even though he knows full well that she is a machine, Hideki can't help but fall in love with his persecom as well, as many have before him.

I think this series goes a lot deeper into this moral dilemma than Absolute Boyfriend did. Perhaps because, in this world, robots are more common-place. But why do people dream of making and using machines that are shaped like us, only smarter and more perfect in appearance? What happens when you develop feelings for those robots? Can you call it love, or are you just deluding yourself? How about the robot? Is it doing everything you ask, trying to please you, because it was programed that way, or because it actually wants you to be happy?

One thing this also gets deeper into is mature content, especially the anime. I don't want to point any fingers, but perhaps it's because it's largely taken from the male mentality? I don't know, Hideki sure notices how attractive his landlady, teacher and coworker are, and thinks a lot to himself how cute Chi is, but how he shouldn't be thinking of her that way, since she's a machine.

This manga was also turned into a tv show, only an animated one, much to my pleasure. The anime is hilarious, colorful, great quality, and very true to the story and characters with only minor changes. I've seen 3 episodes out of 26, and it is fantastic. I highly recommend both the manga and the anime. I can't find a good preview for the Chobits anime, but here's a collection of some of the show's funniest moments, to pique your interest. I'm sure you'll get quite a kick out of it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Absolute Boyfriend

One of the most fabulous manga series I've had the pleasure of reading yet! I first learned about it when I saw the recommendations list in the back of the Sand Chronicles books.

Our heroine, a high-school girl named Riiko, is unlucky in love and doesn't have a boyfriend. She meets a strange business man who directs her to a website where she can customize her "ideal boyfriend". Thinking it's a game or something, she actually ends up ordering such a "figure" from this website, and the very next day she gets a special delivery at her door... a totally hot and naked guy! O_O She finds out that he is actually the robot she ordered, and when she "activates" him (gives him a kiss) and he comes to life, he brightly claims that he is now her boyfriend!

In my personal opinion, the robot boyfriend, whom Riiko names Night, is just a fabulous character!!! For one thing, he's absolutely cute (just take a look at him! ^_^). He reminds me of what a certain friend of mine looks like in manga form. To me, Night really is the perfect guy. He's sweet, caring, totally romantic, protective, really smart, has super-hero strength and agility, and all he thinks about is making his girl, Riiko, happy. He's always got this playful, innocent attitude and the most adorable smile on his face! You almost forget that he's not really human, but a robot specifically designed to be the perfect boyfriend.

Of course, there's also Riiko's childhood friend and school-mate, Soushi, for Night to contend with. I like Soushi well enough. He's like the underdog, a total contrast to Night. He's the strong, silent, studious type. He's a good friend to Riiko, and gets jealous when he finds she has a new boyfriend. It's a great love-triangle!

I read the first volume for real, but then I found a website where I could read the rest of the manga online, and so far I've read the 2nd and 3rd volumes, which are equally awesome! I believe there's 6 volumes in all, so I'll probably finish this very quickly.

Just warning you: as you can probably see from the cover of the first book... Night likes to get naked. O_o He's always asking Riiko when they can, uh, do it. So this series may not be for young readers who haven't gotten the talk about the birds and the bees. =P But for the rest of us, it's totally awesome. ^_^

Something else I was happy to discover is that Absolute Boyfriend was developed into a Japanese drama series, called "Zettai Kereshi". I've seen 2 episodes of it so far, and it is amazing! Just warning you though, the drama differs wildly from the manga, like a ton! For example, the characters aren't in high-school; they're young adults in a business setting. For another, Night is much more of a robot, and more easily damaged. He's not as hot as he seems in the manga, but he's cute enough. The character of Soushi is completely unrecognizable. He's not Riiko's childhood friend, but her lazy boss who just starts developing feelings for her.

But really, I'm watching this drama for the main actress who plays Riiko. She is just adorable! Also for the novelty of the thing. I love seeing a foreign TV show, listening to the characters speak Japanese (I read the English subtitles), and getting a little taste of their amazing culture! Anyway, it's an interesting story. What if you had a robot boyfriend?

Take a look at the trailer for the series, and see if it doesn't hook you into it.

Graphic novels I read in Boston

I spent a lot of time at the library when I was up in Boston for a week, particularly in the teen section, where I got to read graphic novels to my heart's content. ^_^ I read 3 more volumes in the Sand Chronicles manga series, and a standalone book called "Hereville".

Unfortunately, there's not much for me to say in this review without spoiling all the books. It gets a lot more complex as the story advances and the characters get older. The love situation gets very confusing, because Ann and Daigo break up (nooo!) and get a new boyfriend and girlfriend, but it's complicated, because they both still love each other. It's a whole triangle, or love square, or whatever shape you want to call it... it's a messy love web. But it's still a great story.

I also read this fascinating book, "Hereville". It's about this Jewish girl with a big imagination who dreams of slaying dragons and being some sort of hero. She meets a witch and a talking pig and gets in crazy messes. I'm not sure how else to describe it to you, but it was particularly interesting to me, because I'm Jewish myself. There's a little bit of Yiddish spoken in the book and interesting Jewish traditions I didn't know about, and I liked that there were little footnotes that explained what these things meant. It was a quirky story that I enjoyed a lot and would probably recommend.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Remember Me?

This is an appropriate title for my blog post, since it's been a while since I did any reviewing. =P But guess what? That's actually the title of one of the books I read this last week.

Sophie Kinsella's "Remember Me" was a book Annette and I found when we went to Boston and stayed in our apartment there. It was one of the books a past tenant just happened to leave behind, and the premise on the back seemed very interesting, so we thought we'd check it out.

Well, I loved it! Great characters, great humor, great romance, and a very cool story idea. Imagine this: You get in a car crash and knock your head a bit. Next thing you know, you're in the hospital and you're told that you have amnesia. But a very specific type of amnesia. You remember who you are and have memories of your life, luckily, but you forget the last 3 years of your life. Think about it. So much can happen in 3 years!

That's what happens to the main character, Lexi, a twenty-five-year-old woman from 2004, who suddenly finds herself in the year 2007, and nearly everything about her life has changed. She used to be a low-level office worker, but now she's a driven and ambitious head honcho at her company. She's filthy rich partly because of this, but also because she married a hot multi-millionaire. She didn't have a steady boyfriend before, so suddenly having a husband... let alone a dream husband... is the shock of her life. She lives in a very swanky mansion, owns tons of fancy clothes, and even changed her appearance a little. In a word, everything changes for Lexi.

It was very cool to read about how this character handled her bizarre situation, and came to terms with her new life, because she gets lots of surprises. One of the more interesting ones is that she has a secret affair behind her hot husband's back. At first she thinks, "Why on earth would I want to leave my husband? I'm not the unfaithful type. Yes, I don't know him, but apparently we love each other..." But eventually she realizes that the guy she married isn't as perfect as she thought. I won't spoil anything, but it's a really great story. Maybe the ending is slightly anti-climactic, but the rest of the story was good enough that I wasn't disappointed.

This book really made me think... a lot can happen in 3 years! I mean, imagine what would happen if I got this selective amnesia and forgot the last 3 years of my life! I was such a different person at 17 years old. For example, I didn't blog 3 years ago! That has absolutely changed my life. I can't imagine forgetting all the books I've read, and all the fantastic friends I've made... I wouldn't have known how to drive as well as I do now! So yeah, I'm very grateful that I have all my memories and I'm living the life I have now, and this book absolutely gets a thumbs up for me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1 James Patterson, 2 Jeffrey Browns, and 3 Hinako Ashiharas

Well, it's been over a month since my last book review post. I'm not sure I'll do a great job reviewing here, but I just wanted to keep a record that these are some books I've read recently, that are really good. You might want to look into them.

For example, I read the 7th book in the Maximum Ride series, "Angel", a few weeks ago. I wanted to review it much earlier, honest I did! I just kept forgetting to get to it. Sorry. =( But it was definitely an awesome book, just like the rest before it. I thought it was weird that it was called "Angel", though, because the character Angel didn't seem to be that important in the story, in my opinion. It's still mostly Max's story. Anyway, there was great love-triangle romance going on, some awesome action scenes, and it ends on a cliffhanger, so I'm going to look forward to the next book in the series, which I hear is called "Nevermore". I wonder if it'll be the last adventure...

I believe I read these over a week ago. Pretty recent. This author, Jeffrey Brown, has a very fascinating art style in his graphic novels. Extremely sketchy and cartoony, but the characters still seem like real people. Both books are based on true stories from Jeffrey's life, about his relationships with old girlfriends. "Clumsy", his first book, is very non-linear and all over the place. Really random. But I still enjoyed it. I appreciated, though, that "Unlikely", the prequel about his first girlfriend, had more of a definite time-line that I could follow. I didn't like her as much as the girlfriend in "Clumsy", but it was a good book.

Warning: both books contain very mature material. Not for young readers' eyes at all, if you know what I mean.

Finally, the last time I was at the library, I was scanning the shelves for a good manga I could get into, and came upon this charming series: Sand Chronicles. I read the first volume in one sitting at the library, and liked the story so much that just before we left, I grabbed the 2nd and 3rd volumes and checked them out. I'm quite happy I did. ^_^

Basically, it's a coming-of-age series that follows a young Japanese girl, Ann, on her trials, tribulations, and budding romance. It starts off when she's 12, when she and her mother move from Tokyo to a small village. Ann's mom dies suddenly, so her grandparents take care of her, and the friends she makes in that village help her cope. There's the hot-headed boy, Daigo, who Ann kind of has feelings for, and a brother and sister, Fuji and Shiika, who come from a wealthy family.

After that, there are lots of stories, such as Ann and friends going to a summer camp together, her moving back with her father to Tokyo for high-school, and her romantic long-distance relationship with Daigo. Fuji, who is more the quiet, strong-silent type, seems to have a crush on Ann, and near the end of Book 3, it seems Shiika has a thing for Daigo. Needless to say, this Shojo manga is heavy on the romance. Personally, as I grow older and more mature, I really like that in a series. ^,^ There is also a lot of neat Japanese culture throughout the books, which is one of things I love most about reading manga, or watching anime.

I think there are 10 books in the Sand Chronicles. I'm sure I'll glide through all of them in a heart-beat, when I get my hands on them. Lol.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dramacon 1 & 2, by Svetlana Chmakova

I started reading Book #1 of Dramacon in my library, just to pass the time. A few pages in, however, the artwork and story and characters drew me in so much that when we had to leave and I hadn't finished reading the manga yet, I was sad. (As a rule, I don't check out graphic novels, since I usually read them so fast that there's little to no point in taking them home with me.)

Lucky for me, I was able to find a website where I could the rest of the manga online, so I was able to finish it at home! ^_^ Of course, it was kind of annoying how slowly every freakin' page had to load. I read the sequel as well, and thankfully I was able to read 2 pages with every load. I would have read the next one, but it doesn't look as if it's available online right now. No matter. I'll just review these two books here.

What a funny story! It's about a shy teenage girl named Christie who goes to her first anime convention with her friends, who are con-veterans. (I've never been to an Anime Con myself, so I could totally relate with her.) She has a boyfriend, Derek, but he doesn't pay much attention to her. He'd rather make goo-goo eyes at the hot costumed chicks. During the convention, Christie keeps bumping into this handsome and friendly (but mysterious) guy who wears shades all the time, named Matt, and she develops a crush on him.

She also meets a Manga author/artist who is a huge hero of hers, which I loved, because it makes me think of when I'll someday meet some of my own heroes. I hope I can be half as lucky as Christie in my encounters. There's a lot I'm not mentioning here, like the other friends Christie makes and all the drama that unfolds between her and Matt, but I'll leave that for you to find out.

Dramacon #2 was also very nice to read. Christie comes back to the same Anime Con a year later, graduated from high school, with a new haircut, and brings a new friend, Beth, who is the noob this time instead of her. (I love it when stories come full circle. ^,^) Together they make some new friends, but Christie also runs into Matt again, who she hasn't talked to since they said goodbye... and he has a girlfriend! O,o

I liked this book okay, but was sad that the story didn't focus so much on the romance between Christie and Matt than it did on Beth and her dreams to be an artist. See, she and Christie make a comic together, and they try to sell it at the Con. Christie writes it, and Beth does the artwork. Beth gets offered for a job at a manga publishing company, but she's hesitant to take the job. Something about her mother not wanting her to be a starving artist... I don't know, I wish there was more Christie and Matt! Because I loved the romance between them in Book 1. ^,^ Oh well. It was still a good read.

I've heard that the 3rd book is a little bit better, so I'll keep my eye out for it. I definitely liked this manga series a lot, and highly recommend it. It was funny, had a romance I could root for, and had very entertaining drama.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm back... again. =P

Hey guys... whoever is left reading this now...

It's been a month, but I decided to come back and post here after all, for a couple of reasons.

One: I got a blog award! It's so pretty, isn't it? ^_^ I put it on the very top of my sidebar. I don't think I've ever gotten an award like this! I've been kindly mentioned on a couple other sites in the past (which you can see very close to the bottom of the sidebar), but haven't gotten an honor like this before.
Creative Blog Award!
I got my "Creative Blog Award" from someone who commented on my last post (you know, when I said I was completely done with book reviewing? =P). Her name is Dierdra Eden-Coppel, and she's a proffesional author/illustrator. Here's a link to her blog.

If you read the nice comment she left me, you'll see that in addition to giving me this award, she offered to interview me as an avid reader. Can you believe it? I couldn't when I first read it. ^,^

So yeah, I agreed to the interview and have, since then, submitted my answers to her questions. Dierdra told me that she'll post my interview on her blog on July 21st. I unfortunately won't be around at that date, so you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for it yourself.

Who knows? Perhaps as I result of my interview, I'll get a few more readers on my blog.

Two: I've read a few books that I actually really want to review! I decided I didn't want to let down any potential new followers, so I'm going to try making a come-back in reviewing. Lucky for you guys, I've had my hands on some pretty good reads. ^_~ You're welcome.

Books 3 through 6 of the Maximum Ride series = total awesomeness! This James Patterson series is truly fantastic! I couldn't rave enough about his writing. I finished reading "Fang" just today, which is why I thought it was high time I get back to book blogging ASAP, before I forgot how I felt about this series.

I am so in love with the characters! Max, Fang, Nudge, Iggy, Gazzy, and Angel are all incredible kids with full-fledged personalities that shine through-out the pages of the books. Max, the titular character, in particular, is one of my favorite bird-kids. She masterfully led me through the story, narrating most of the Flock's adventures (sometimes Patterson goes out of her head and writes in 3rd POV for the plot's benefit), and I hung onto her every word.

There's a little bit of everything in these books. Action, suspense, mystery, drama, humor, even a bit of romance. You've got kick-butt fight scenes, a love triangle (well, that was only introduced in the last book, but still), unexpected revelations, a good message about global warming, and a constant driving desire to just keep turning pages!

I wasn't able to before, but just now I reserved the next book, "Angel", from my library. Hopefully it will get here quickly! I hear it's the second to last novel in the series, followed by "Nevermore", which is slated for February of next year.

I said in my last post that I'd wanted to read a couple of Dan Savage's other books, and I did. They were just as great as "Skipping Towards Gomorrah" had been. First I read "The Kid", which chronicled how Dan and his boyfriend Terry adopted their son. It was another fascinating look into the life of a gay person, as well as a peek into the world of adoptive parents-to-be. A wonderful true story that I sincerely recommend.

Next, I read "It Gets Better." I absolutely loved it. Dozens and dozens of touching short stories, essays, and interviews by the LGBT community (as well as a couple celebrities and politicians), assuring the reader that life isn't as hopeless as it might seem to some. True, the aimed audience is for gay teens, but I think this should be required reading everywhere, for every age. It's a truly inspiring message that I've stood wholeheartedly behind since the day I first learned about it. It's a message that I hope never, ever dies. It does get better. By the time you finish this book, I'm sure you'll believe it, too.

So there you go. Bettina's Book Club is back in business. ^_^
Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blog Retiring... again

I'm sorry guys. I don't think I'll be able to do the book reviewing thing anymore. And I mean it this time. I still love reading, more than anything else, but when it comes to reviewing them... if I get lazy just once, I start getting backed up on a whole line of books! I just want to keep gobbling books! I can't keep going back into the one I just read. I'm hungry for more!

So yeah, this is pretty much what I've been reading since my last review. All really good books in their own right. ^_^
  • Born Digital ~ Very educational, bringing up all the issues and boons of today's wired generation
  • Maximum Ride, Books 1 & 2 ~ I am so psyched about this series! Patiently awaiting #3 from the library. I will chase down Max and the flock's adventures right to the very end, I'm sure. ^_^
  • I am the Messenger ~ This was by the guy who wrote The Book Thief (see my review here). I really enjoyed it!
  • Skipping Towards Gomorrah ~ ...
Okay, if I'm going to be doing a proper review on any of the books I read, I might as well do this one.

I was very surprised when I found this book on our living-room shelf! I mean, a book by Dan Savage! The guy who started the It Gets Better project! He is one of my heroes now, and my parents just happened to have a book written by him, long before he got to be famous (well, in my eyes, anyway)! ^_^ I took this to the beach and had a blast reading it.

Warning though: this book is for really mature readers. Dan Savage is very frank in his language, and he's not at all afraid to talk about things like sex-related stuff, drugs, etc. It was kinda weird for me, reading all that, (blush *,*) but it was really refreshing to get such an open and honest take on the 7 deadly sins.

I learned a lot, was taken outside my comfort zone, and enjoyed reading about Dan's many sinful adventures. I reserved a couple of his other books, because I enjoy his writing style a lot!

There. I think that will be the last book I review here now. I'm serious this time. If I'm going to mention that I read a great book, I'll say it in passing on my home blog. I'm sure you can find yourself there without my linking to it.

Happy reading, all! ^_^

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And Another Thing... by Eoin Colfer

It seems pretty appropriate that the title of the post is "And Another Thing..." This feels a lot like an after-thought, seeing as I started posting book reviews here again with the great promise of regular updates, but then I fell back on the wayside. ~,~ Oh well. I guess I can't really promise you guys anything.

But anyway, here's a really great book that I read recently!

I bought "And Another Thing..." on one of the last days our Borders store was still open (R.I.P. Borders !,!). I've read and thoroughly enjoyed the other Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (or H2G2) books by Douglas Adams in the past. This series has a few zany characters, wacky story elements, and very witty ideas. This 6th book in a trilogy is no different. (*Double-take* O,o Yes, that's what it's referred to as, the 6th book in a trilogy. LOL)

I don't know how Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series (I like those books okay), got the opportunity to write this sequel, but I figured since it was an author I knew, it wouldn't be that bad a read.

Turns out he was pretty faithful to the H2G2 series while putting his own hilarious spin on it. ^_^ A lot of the old characters come back, like Arthur Dent, Trillian, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect, and the Vogons, and there are lots of funny new characters too. (I was kind of sad though that the main character, Arthur Dent, didn't seem to have a lot to do in the story. He didn't have any major character development or anything. He was just... there. He was simply along from the ride, while all the other characters got to have their extremely interesting and unusual adventures.)

Some of the jokes in this book are really funny. You get put in a very silly state of mind when you read something like this, with every turn of the page leaving you thinking, "huh? oh, lol!" There's a lot of convenient and humorous world-building, and the whole story is actually pretty well-written. It felt like an H2G2 book, so I was happy. It wasn't the best, but it was decent.
Oh, and another thing... lol. I've wanted to post this combo review for a long time now, but just couldn't get around to it. So here you go.

The Daniel X series, by one of my new favorite authors, the awesome James Patterson. ^,^ Now having said that, I wasn't absolutely crazy about this series... but I've got to hand it to JP. He sure knows how to keep you turning those pages. (It must be those dang short chapters and cliff-hangers. =P)

Anyway, the story follows a teenage boy named Daniel (who is secretly an alien) whose destiny is to be an Alien Hunter and protect Earth from bad guys. It kind of reminded me of Men in Black in that respect.

So how does Daniel fight off the alien villains? Well, this kid has one of the coolest and actually most imaginative super-powers I've ever read about: He can create. He can make just about anything he can imagine. From thin air. Just with the power of his mind. He can even make whole people, with full personalities! Oh yeah, and he has other super-powers too, like shape-shifting ability, genius intellect and mind-reading.

While the story and the story-world was pretty interesting, the thing that put me off most about the books is what an overly perfect character Daniel is. I mean, since he can create anything, things come really easy for him. It's almost impossible for bad guys to trick him. Yeah, he does have a couple weaknesses, like getting distracted by girls (hey, he's a teenager. What're you gonna do?) and being a bit cocky. But for the most part, he's a pretty flawless protagonist. I don't know about you, but personally, I prefer my protagonist with a couple flaws in him/her. Also, the books seem to have a couple of preachy messages, like "don't litter", and "read a book, it's better than TV". I don't know. Kinda weird.

Reading the graphic novel of the first book was pretty cool though. It was quite accurate and true to the story. I actually think I liked it a lot better than the book, because I could see what the characters were doing, and what the aliens looked like. Also, I love reading graphic novels because they are such a breeze. ^_^
If you're interested, the 4th book in this series, "Game Over", will be coming out this September. I think I'll give it a try, when I can get my hands on it.
Oh, and ANOTHER thing! (I promise, this is the last other thing I'll mention. Then you'll finish this review. ^,~) I've also recently read the first 3 Maximum Ride graphic novels, based on the series also by James Patterson, and I gotta say, they are pretty awesome! ^_^

Having read "When the Wind Blows" and "The Lake House", I was kind of familiar with the flying children characters. In this series however, most of them were given different names. Except for the main character, Max, naturally. Also, unlike WtWB and TLH, these kids with wings are completely the main focus, instead of partially.

I'm still waiting for the actual first Maximum Ride book, "The Angel Experiment", to come in for me from the library. I bet it'll be worth the wait though. ^,~

Also, did you know that the 4th graphic novel was released just today? What a coincidence, huh?
And another thing... no, I'm just kidding. I had you going for a second, though, didn't I? lol. ^_~