Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Devil and Her Love Song by Miyoshi Tomori

I'm sorry I've been absent and not very active in the community, but junior year is kicking my butt. On the bright side hopefully within the next couple of weeks I'll get back to blogging. I also haven't been reading a lot because I've discovered American Horror Story and I think that show is life. Seriously if you haven't watched it yet, you need to. I watched Murder House in two days, Asylum in four, and I'm half way through Coven. It's amazing. I'm so excited for Freak Show. Anyway I'll try to stop by and start writing and filming more videos. I miss my blog, but life is busy.


A Devil and Her Love Song by Miyoshi Tomori

First Volume

3 stars

Maria has just transferred from a Catholic school and she seems to have a knack for reading people. This doesn’t win over her classmates, but Yusuke and Shin seem to want to be her friend. This is a pretty disappointing manga. It’s nothing great and it lacks in comparison to other realistic shoujo manga I’ve read. I went in thinking that this would be a paranormal manga. I was wrong! This is very much contemporary and while that isn’t a bad thing, I feel like A Devil and Her Love Song was poorly executed. There were times when the tone was very dark and then would randomly throw in light undertones and completely stop focusing on the original plot point of the chapter. It was very annoying and I found myself becoming less invested in the characters as I continued to read, but I may continue with the manga series all because there was a cliffhanger.

The art is quite beautiful. While the light and dark plot changes bugged me, art wise it was beautiful to look at. The art is simple and not very different from most popular shoujo mangas, but it was still aesthetically pleasing.

Cover Thoughts: I love the cover. It was why I bought the volume in the first place. It just has this badass vibe to it. Sadly the book is not as badass.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jackaby by William Ritter


Jackaby William Ritter

2.5 stars

Abigail Rook has just arrived in New England. She isn’t supposed to be there, but she can’t contain her wanderlust attitude and hope for adventure. She meets R.F. Jackaby at a bar in an odd encounter and finds herself working for him as an assistant to his investigations. Jackaby isn’t like other investigators though, he sees things that aren’t really there- or at least seem like they wouldn’t be. As a series of gruesome murders begins to occur Jackaby and Abigail must uncover who the vicious killer is before it’s too late. I was so excited for this one. The cover is gorgeous. I was really intrigued by all what this novel had to offer, but everything just fell flat. Jackaby is novel that is mediocre. There’s no other way to describe this novel. It’s simple in plot, writing style, characterization, as well as suspense build up. If it wasn’t for the interesting crime scene visits or the remaining fifty pages, I would’ve gladly DNFed this novel. I expected quite a lot out of Jackaby and was disappointed. I do have to commend Ritter for the usage of paranormal and fantasy lore. It was very entertaining at times, but at others it was randomly thrown into a scene and just seemed like information overkill. The easiest way to describe this novel is odd. That sometimes is a great thing, if done correctly. Sadly, Jackaby lacked in the departments necessary to make an odd novel entertaining and fun to breeze through.

The main female character is Abigail. I have nothing to say about her. She was a heroine, but she was also more of a cardboard cutout than character. I feel that besides her want to be adventurous, I know nothing about her. I didn’t connect to her. She has zero personality. I just didn’t connect to her at all.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 3

The main male character is Jackaby. Jackaby and Abigail have no romantic relationship, which is kind of nice. It makes their partnership strictly businesslike and not all lovey-dovey. Jackaby does have more characterization than Abigail. He seems slightly more solid, but still not really a solid enough character for me to form any thorough opinion on liking or disliking him.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 3.5

The Villain- I did like the lore behind this villain. It was very different from what I usually read, but still not a solid enough characterization or buildup of lore to qualify as anything other than me scratching my head and asking if that’s it.

Villain Scale: 4

The side characters are all very entertaining. There’s a banshee, an old assistant turned duck, a ghost, a homeless woman who isn’t as crazy as she seems, a werewolf, and a crabby police chief. It’s very entertaining, but also some of these characters felt like fillers to add in random information that wasn’t necessary to the investigation or novel.

Character Scale: 4.5

Jackaby is mediocrity at its finest. I’m extremely disappointed in this one, but that doesn’t mean that somebody else won’t like it. I recommend this to fans of paranormal mystery. I don’t recommend this to fans of Sherlock because that would feel like a bit of a letdown to go into thinking this is Sherlock with Supernatural combined.

Cover Thoughts: The cover is absolutely gorgeous. I just love the colors, the fading effect, and how classy it looks. It’s a beautiful cover. If I loved this book I probably would’ve bought it to show off on my shelf for the cover alone.

Thank you, Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth


The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth

4.5 stars

Devin has always lived on a farm and when his grandfather dies he knows it’s his time to go into the city. What Devin finds in the city is a world of poverty. The rich are the ones living in houses, drinking water, and eating. The homeless are children and people who can’t afford to live nicely. Devin meets a girl on the streets and they become fast friends. Rumors of a home where homeless children go to be adopted are whispered amongst the homeless, but Kit says they are just stories. Until they aren’t. Devin is offered to go to the home and he’s taking Kit with him. Not everything is what it seems in the home. Horrible things are being done to the children and there is no escape. I’ve never read The Giver or Among the Hidden, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I was highly impressed by this novel. I hit a lot of sour reads through Netgalley and even more mediocre ones. I always get so excited when I find books that are genuinely fantastic on there. This is one of those books! I was very thrown off at first. It is an odd book from the beginning. This is a dystopian novel. It doesn’t seem like one but it is. I like the feel of that in writing. I know the world is horrible, but it feels like today’s current world only in the behind the scenes. Our world is wreaked with poverty whether we want to acknowledge it or not. In that sense, this novel heightens the form of poverty to no middle class. You are either rich or homeless. There’s no in between.

Dystopians can always seem predictable. There’s your basic regime government of supposed utopian society gone downhill. There’s a revolution in the underground waiting to break free that the main character discovers and leads. Your basic romance that can sometimes just be absolutely gut-wrenching (I’m looking at you Suzanne Collins). Dystopians have a basic set up, but The One Safe Place goes against your basic backdrop. We have absolutely no interaction with the government and there is no revolution. We do meet someone who in a way governs the orphans, but is in no means the government. There’s no takedown per say, but there is a conclusion that leaves hope for the characters. There is also no romance, just a strong friendship that could be more in the future. I loved all these differences. It’s refreshing. It made me enjoy this book. I went from apprehensive to absolutely thrilled.

The main male character is Devin. It’s interesting to be thrown into a dystopian where the main character hasn’t grown up in this environment. His family has lived on a farm as a way to escape this world. As Devin journeys into this world we feel the same confusion and questions about this world that Devin has. It was an interesting perspective and I really enjoyed it. Devin also has synesthesia. I have never read a book with a character that has this disability, but I have quite a few on my TBR list. I thought it was a very interesting take for Devin, but I don’t feel like it was fully touched on or even touched in the proper way. I’m not sure though since this is my first time reading about or even really getting knowledge on it.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 7.5

The main female character is Kit. There’s no romantic connection between Kit and Devin. It was hinted at as a possibility, but when you are fighting for your life it’s put on the back burner for these characters. This is something I really enjoyed. It doesn’t have to be all about romance and it was refreshing for it to be put on hold to let the plot be the main focal point of this novel. I didn’t particularly like Kit though. She could be very na├»ve about things and as well as annoying. I understand her reasoning though.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 6.5

The Villain- That twist?! The problem that orphans face in this utopian home is that they all go into a Dream. The Dream was not what I was expecting at all. I was completely blown away by the actual thought behind the Dream. It was just so cool.

Villain Scale: 8

I loved the orphans. They were such a colorful cast of characters. How could I not smile at the simple jokes? Also the pig was just such a fun touch to the novel.

Character Scale: 8

I’m highly impressed with The One Safe Place. It’s very different from current dystopians and worth the read. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a dystopian that is different from Divergent or The Hunger Games.

Cover Thoughts: I really like the cover. It’s simplistic, but it’s not amazing. I just really like the simplicity of it.

Thank you, Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Summer of Reading: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I had to read four books this summer for AP English. This is the first book I read this summer and I decided to finally review it.:)


East of Eden by John Steinbeck

4.5 stars

East of Eden focuses on the lives of the Trasks and the Hamiltons. The Trasks have lived a life of brothers plagued to play out like Cain and Abel. The Hamiltons are a quaint, poor family in the Salinas Valley. That’s the best description of this book without giving anything away. Believe me; you don’t want to be spoiled for this book. This book is my favorite classic. I hold classics in a different regard to books published long ago (In Cold Blood is a classic and it’s a big favorite of mine, but it’s nonfiction so I hold it on a different standard). As a fictional classic, East of Eden is superb. Steinbeck is the classic writer of a good drama. This book is insanely dramatic. Yes, it’s lengthy. Are there a lot of unnecessary descriptions? Sure, but most of them have something relevant to the plot. Everything Steinbeck writes means something. I enjoyed every minute of this novel. It’s whirlwind ride of deception, psychos, bad brothers, and secrets. I have so much to praise and talk about but I don’t want to spoil anything or give too much away of the brilliance of Steinbeck’s characters.

A Breakdown of Characters:
There are so many characters in this novel and each of them are connected in some huge way to another. We have the main family line which starts with Adam. His mother killed herself when he was a baby and his father instantly remarried and fathered another son named Charles. Adam loved his brother, but Charles hated him because their father loved Adam more. This is a reference to Cain and Abel as their father being God because he is a high authority to them. Then we are introduced to a quaint but very poor family of Irish descent in the Salinas Valley. They seem to hold no point to the main story but later Adam meets Samuel Hamilton and they become fast friends. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with Samuel? He’s an awesome guy with good beliefs and has great perceptions of reality that he loves to discuss. Then we are introduced to Cathy. Cathy is the original psycho. She’s absolutely insane. Manipulative, deceitful, spiteful, and calculating; Cathy always has a plan and she wants money. Cathy somehow finds her way with the Trask brothers. Adam instantly falls for Cathy and she wraps him around her finger. They get married, but she sneaks into Charles’s bed. Then Cathy finds out she’s pregnant. Then chaos ensues. Whore houses are introduced, the Hamiltons slowly self-destruct, and Adam’s twin boys are pitted against each other constantly. My favorite characters of this novel were Lee, Samuel, Cathy, Adam, Caleb, and Abra. I love Lee because he shows the stereotypes towards Chinese people and also provides great philosophies and is a great second father to the boys. Samuel as I said before also is philosophical, but he’s a great father, inventor, friend, and person. Cathy is a horrible person, but I love how psychotic and crazy she is. I just love it. She made this novel for me. Without Cathy this novel wouldn’t have been nearly as fantastic. Adam is great because he offers a look at the war, homeless life, brokenhearted-ness, fatherhood without a mother to help, and a man with ideas that don’t seem to work. I love Caleb. He could be cruel to Aron, but he was also just a great character. I adored him and I can’t help but ship him with Abra. Abra is a little girl that Aron and Caleb met as children. Aron instantly falls for her and she likes him a lot more than Caleb. As they grow up though she begins to realize that Aron doesn’t see her, but what he wants her to be. Much like his father saw Cathy. It’s man’s greatest downfall to see things in a way completely different from the way they are.

Character Scale:10

I don’t think I have to spell this out for anyone, but people don’t seem to realize the most obvious comparison to Cain and Abel. The characters all have a C or A name: Cain and Abel, Charles and Adam, or Caleb and Aron. I just thought it was really cool of Steinbeck to be so straightforward with him saying this is who I’m allusioning.

I just really loved East of Eden. It’s a great literary piece, but it’s also a great drama. I highly recommend this if you love stories with plots, psychos, and philosophy.

Cover Thoughts: I love my cover of East of Eden. It’s how I pictured the Salinas Valley to look and I think the art is just beautiful. 

Have you read East of Eden? What are your thoughts on it? Let's rave about Cathy's insanity below!:D

Short Stories That I Enjoyed in the Last Two Weeks

Hey, everyone! I've been away for a while. I moved into my apartment, started my intern teaching tenth graders at a local high school, d...