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!