My sister bought this book for me for Christmas this year, knowing how much I read various cat-related comics. I have also lived with two cats for theMy sister bought this book for me for Christmas this year, knowing how much I read various cat-related comics. I have also lived with two cats for the last fourteen years, only recently losing one of them, so I am was able to relate to nearly all of the observations presented. It made me smile, made me laugh, and made me thankful for the cats that have ruled my life all these years. It's just what I needed....more
I have been following both Yuko and Ananth's work online for a number of years now, and their current project, Johnny Wander, has been a definite favoI have been following both Yuko and Ananth's work online for a number of years now, and their current project, Johnny Wander, has been a definite favourite. I have been reading the online comic since it began, and tend to go back and read it all over again every now-and-again. It's cute, funny, and very easy to relate to.
I purchased both this volume and volume 2, directly from the Johnny Wander website - there was a little bit of savings for getting both at once, plus the mention of little "extras" for those who ordered both. For me, these extras included a snicker, a little dinosaur felt sticker, and a temporary tattoo of a brontosaurus. Sure, they're not really anything major.. but it's cute and I am sure to put them to use at some point.
It's true that one can simply read all of these comics online, but there is definitely something to having a book to read, in one's hands. Plus, for all of the wonderful work both authors create, it's good to give a little something monetary back in their direction.
So, if you haven't yet done so, check out Johnny Wander. Start at the beginning, spend an hour or two, and just enjoy what there is to see. I also recommend checking out the posts below the comic (some are included in the book, while some are not.) In some cases it'll give you a little extra information behind the story, and even the comments section has some interesting conversations going on.
It'll definitely be worth your time. You don't have to tell 'em I sent you....more
First off, I should mention that while I know of Ellen DeGeneres I do not follow her work or her show. (Not that I haven't seen an episode or two, butFirst off, I should mention that while I know of Ellen DeGeneres I do not follow her work or her show. (Not that I haven't seen an episode or two, but it just hasn't kept my attention.) Nor have I checked out any of her previous books, so I knew little of what to expect. I purchased her book simply because I found the description on the back cover to be amusing, and it brought a smile to my face. Instead of quotes from other authors about the book, she chose to go with her own "quotes" of compliments toward her reader. It's an interesting way to do it, and it got my attention - if the inside of the book was anything like this, well.. I was sure to enjoy it.
Well, that wasn't exactly the case.
While portions of the book made me laugh aloud, some for a few minutes at a time, there was a lot missing from this book. Many chapters seemed only added to increase the page count to something reasonable. We were given multiple "colouring pages" for children in one chapter, one that featured "sounds" for Audio readers, while another was a 140 character Tweet! What is this?
The message, apparently, is "Be Happy!" but I never really got the sense from the book. Some parts were funny, sure, but it gave nothing I did not already know. And a lot of it really wasn't all that interesting, inspirational, or even funny. Much of the book is of trivial things, and we are given little-to-no insight into Ellen's life.
I purchased this book at Chapters for $30, will a 30% discount, so the price wasn't too bad. Still, it was definitely not worth it, at all. If you really want to check out the book, read it in store or borrow it from a friend. Don't buy it - you'll just be wasting your money....more
The most noticeable thing when starting this book was the style of writing for the way the main character, Charley Davidson, speaks. The story is presThe most noticeable thing when starting this book was the style of writing for the way the main character, Charley Davidson, speaks. The story is presented in first person and the way she talks is very... distinct. It's as if the character is trying to present herself as bold and witty, but doesn't always succeed. Sometimes it's funny, very funny, and others I find myself just shaking my head at the attempt. It's just too much of that, and not enough plot progression.
Around the half-way point for the book, I got really, really tired of Charley's attitude. She would say something that sounded (almost) sincere, in her narration, and then end it with "Not". That, to me, is very childlike behavior. I was under the impression she was in her late twenties, as a P.I., and out of college. Charley acts far younger than her age and experiences suggest, and this makes it difficult to relate to her.
Sadly, I was skimming through much of the novel - especially the chapters that contained nothing but dialogue. Charley and her best friend, Cookie, sit in a room as Charley relays memories of her own childhood. The action we get are Cookie's widening eyes, tense posture, or slight movements as she tries to feed herself. (But is just too enthralled by Charley's story!) Yes, the information is important.. but sharing it this way is incredibly boring.
Charley also lacks any real emotions and appears to be is a constant state of lusting, snarky, sarcastic, or pissed off. She is constantly getting beat up between her moments of (unreasonable and unexplained) rudeness to other certain characters. There is a huge lack in personality in all other characters, as well - we are not given much at all in regards of who they are and what motivates their world. This is why I say Charley has unreasonable reactions - she is rude and nasty to Swopes, a coworker, and we are given nothing to back it up. Who is he? Why does Charley hate him?
And then we have Reyes, the Love Interest. Apparently, he's Hot. And our Charley is totally in lust with him because he is Hot and Mysterious. Most chapters deal with her feelings for him, which are always the same. Something about weak knees, swirls in her abdomen, and an intense heat. In the end, he's a Mysterious character with Mysterious motives and is surrounded in Mystery. It's very repetitive.
First Grave on the Right is still an "alright" read. It's simple, it's quick, and there was enough to keep me reading - if only to just figure out where it's all leading. However, unless the second book is a major improvement over the first, I highly doubt I would want to read it. It is definitely a taste I have not acquired....more
Apparently the School Hotel is a place where the people who can’t show their true self at school can be themselves. The story begins when Tenno TorikoApparently the School Hotel is a place where the people who can’t show their true self at school can be themselves. The story begins when Tenno Toriko, an intelligent doormat at the High School, is invited to the School Hotel.
Seriously, walk all over her. She doesn't mind at all. Until she changes her clothes and does a complete 180 personality change and starts screaming at her new-found peers. And then decides she likes being her true-self more than hiding. Within the same chapter.
Maybe I was expecting something akin to Ouran High School Host Club when I started reading. I really don't know. It wasn't... this. I don't even know what this is....more
I didn't really know what to expect when I picked up this series - the title would normally be enough to drive me away completely, but the cover is juI didn't really know what to expect when I picked up this series - the title would normally be enough to drive me away completely, but the cover is just so beautiful that I had to, in the very least, open the book.
It did not take me long to finish the volume, either. The romance is very light and believable for the setting, and it seemed to take a back-seat as the story was unfolding. It's more about the world, the culture, and the people than about the romance between the new bride and her (very young) husband.
The artwork is, well.. it's amazing. It's complex and beautiful, and works perfectly with a story such as this. The expressions, too, were done very well and honestly, I spent most of my time admiring both that and the backgrounds.
Later on in the series there is a slight divergence from the main story line, and I stopped reading about the same time. It's a beautiful work with an interesting world, but the type of slow-paced stories like this are not really to my liking....more
Hana to Akuma (literally: The Flower and the Demon, Demon With Flower, the Demon's Flower) is a story following the young Hana and her trials growingHana to Akuma (literally: The Flower and the Demon, Demon With Flower, the Demon's Flower) is a story following the young Hana and her trials growing up in a house of demons. I read the first volume before realizing the story is listed as a romance, which did draw some concern for me as I recalled another series.
To start off, the artwork is certainly not terrible, but it does leave something to be desired. Certain character angles come across as awkward, stiff, and give an entirely different mood than what was intended. Other portions seem crowded and rushed, and there a number of characters that do look a lot alike. I forgot who many of the characters were when their names weren't mentioned in the chapter - they really weren't all that memorable.
This series, unlike one I reviewed previously, comes across as much more innocent and sweet. Hana is 14, though looks and acts much younger, and it's really just a cute story about a human girl that gets whatever she wants, without seeming too spoiled. (Her outfits are very elaborate.) As things progress, though, relationships and events become more complex but, even at far as I have read, nothing beyond a kiss had occurred. And it seems that nothing will ever go further than that - by chapter 42 the plot is dancing in circles and moving out of the "cute" phase and into the slightly-more-serious "tedious" phase of repetition.
I had to stop reading here. Hana to Akuma didn't make it into "creepy" territory, but it certainly went right into a circle waltz. Hana is being torn every which way emotionally and, I assume it was intended to bring the reader along with her. (It really wasn't working.) There is far more tension than necessary and characters are acting in ways to hurt each other for the sake of hurting each other. There is no reason for it aside from stalling the plot. I stopped caring for the characters at all, and just wanted the series to end.. but not enough to keep wading through the spinning plot points. It's like a manga romance is not a romance unless it fulfills its quota of plot devices. Bonus points for cramming them all into the same story arc. With a guideline like that, Hana to Akuma passes with Aces....more
Hana no Kishi is a series by Mai Nishikata (西形 まい) that spans 5 volumes. As far as I am able to tell, it is currently not licensed in North America -Hana no Kishi is a series by Mai Nishikata (西形 まい) that spans 5 volumes. As far as I am able to tell, it is currently not licensed in North America - the only way to read the story would be by translated versions online. (I read the manga here.) It seems to now be completed, and should be available to read on various sites until (and if) it is licensed.
The series follows Ran Kurono's life as First Knight (which is similar to a body guard, or even servant in some sense) to Sei Ohtori. It's really a sweet story, focusing on the friendship between Ran and Sei, and later Ran and a number of other Knights. It's very light on the romance, which I found worked very well. The characters and situations came across as believable, in context with the story, and I found the series quite enjoyable. More so in the later volumes - the second felt somewhat weaker, though I can't really place a definite reason on the why.
The artwork is quite pleasing, too, and flows very well from frame to frame. Mai Nishikata has a good understanding of facial expressions really makes her characters beautiful without going over-the-top with it.I did notice anatomy seeming off in some scenes, especially when showing a character walking swiftly, or running. They seemed stiff and incredibly awkward. It might be intentional, to express how the character is tense, but I am not so sure.
While the series does seem a little short, it has a definite ending and does not drag on and on (and on and on and...) like some similar mangas do. It is well thought out and that's really what I appreciate about it....more
Unexpected Relationships is a sweet short story from the world of Carpe Diem, a webcomic by Graveyard Greg and Redkam. It is a gay-themed story focuseUnexpected Relationships is a sweet short story from the world of Carpe Diem, a webcomic by Graveyard Greg and Redkam. It is a gay-themed story focused on the lives of various young friends, both at the gymnasium where they work/meet, and in their homes. The characters are anthropomorphic, commonly known as "furry", and are based on a variety of animal creatures (such as pandas, tigers, giraffes, or rhinos) but are realistic and human-like, at heart.
I read the webcomic, Carpe Diem, some years ago and came across a familiar image -the book cover- while looking through Smashwords for something interesting to read. I purchased the book for $0.99, and I knew from Greg's previous work that I would enjoy this one as well.
This story focuses strongly on the relationship and the love between the two people. Sex is mentioned, of course, but within the story it is never a focus and the work contains no explicit scenes. It's sweet and endearing, and the characters seem real and motivated by true experiences.
Unexpected Relationships is, as expected, pretty awesome. It is a story I would recommend for those interested in the Romance genre, even if only slightly....more
**spoiler alert** The first two volumes are by far the strongest, and Flutter takes a serious nose-dive in comparison. I will not be reading the fourt**spoiler alert** The first two volumes are by far the strongest, and Flutter takes a serious nose-dive in comparison. I will not be reading the fourth, which is out now, as I do not feel the series can be redeemed. There are so many repeating phrases that I could not help but start counting their occurrence, while reading, and it really pushes one away form the story. Too often someone speaks "not unkindly" or curls a lock of hair behind an ear, or asks "are you coming with?" The last question I find annoying on its own, but I understand some people do talk that way - especially younger people. I can't imagine a 300-year-old vampire speaking that way. I can't accept every single character in every book (that I have read) by Amanda Hocking speaking that way. That just doesn't work for me.
Anyway, Alice is a vampire now and is even weaker now than in the previous novels. She has no aspirations to become anything more than she currently is and continues to get things handed to her on a platter. She has no drive to do anything with, or for, herself. The world ends without Jack at her side. Or in her face. Whichever. It's getting sickening now. One would think becoming a vampire would do something to her, aside from make her hot, apparently.
More in the third book than in the previous, I am beginning to ask myself questions on the direction of the story. Normally I have a sense of a goal, quest, or change that is upcoming. Here, I don't know what Alice's goals are, where she is going, or the point of the story at all. It's getting to the point where it's Just a Bunch of Stuff That Happens. Near the half-way point for the book, I started to skim - we have gone into Angst Alley and there is a traffic jam. The plot is going nowhere. Plot lines are introduced and them completely forgotten or ignored. I had begun to believe that the sole point of the series is for Alice to have sex with Jack.
(Spoiler in Hollowland to follow) And when that finally does occur, the scene seems oddly... familiar. It turns out that it is a near copy of the scene in Hollowland, between Remy and Lazlo near the end of the book.
He kissed my mouth, my neck, my shoulders, everything he could reach, and I moaned against him...Gasping for breath, he relaxed, but he propped himself up so he wouldn’t put the full weight of his body on me. He rested his forehead against my shoulder and tried to gain some composure. When he gently kissed my collar bone, my skin trembled underneath his lips. --Flutter (My Blood Approves #3
He kissed my mouth, my neck, my shoulders, everything he could reach, and I moaned against him... Gasping for breath, he rested his forehead against my shoulder and tried to gain some composure. When he gently kissed my shoulder, my skin quivered underneath his lips. --Hollowland
And if that's not laziness, a pure lack appreciation or respect in her readers, I don't know what else could be. I consider it to be an insult to a persons' intelligence and a lack of care in the work she is releasing for them. Is it so difficult to write scenes of characters having sex that you need to copy from one book to another? Nearly word for word?Now I am done with your books, Amanda Hocking. Your laziness and poor quality of work gets no more money from me. Shoddy work is still shoddy whether its trying to eat your brains, suck your blood, or be a troll. Don't waste your time on any of these books. I was willing to forgive a multitude of other short-comings, but this is just pathetic....more
**spoiler alert** The premise is nothing new, and really nothing special. I found this series more compelling than the others I've read (Switched, an**spoiler alert** The premise is nothing new, and really nothing special. I found this series more compelling than the others I've read (Switched, and Hollowland) and found it slightly easier to ignore the spelling, grammatical, and tense errors peppered throughout the book. (But only Slightly.)
One of the big issues I have with the main character is, well, her lack of character. Does Alice have no sense of self preservation? She is so flippant in her constant talk of others killing her, and even asks, dares, or begs others to do it. (In more than one instance.) Okay, okay, it's a romance about vampires, I get it. The main character has to have something odd in her head to want that kind of... relationship(?) - but it gets annoying in its repetition. Alice is just so plain and lacks any real character qualities, aside from passive, whiny, and pitiful. She can't seem to do anything for herself, from driving to cooking - someone else must do it for her. She must be genetically susceptible to the virus of Mary Sue, which seems to plague far more heroines than it should. Tragic, really.
There is also a lot of explaining regarding the brands characters wear. Every single time someone changes clothes, we get a list of brands they are wearing. A description makes sense, but this listing of brand names clothes is lazy and does no help at all. I get the sense the clothing is expensive, but the brands do nothing for me - I shouldn't need to look up brand names to figure out what characters are wearing. Dickies or Converse - just tell me it's a t-shirt, shoes, or pair of shorts, and let's move on.
Within the second book, Fate, especially, I get the impression the author doesn't entirely understand what it means to be gay, and holds onto a number of stereotypes or preconceived notions regarding those who are gay or lesbian. The following line, here..
"He sat on my bed with his back to me, and he appeared to be filing his nails, or something equally gay." -Fate (My Blood Approves, #2)
I found the observation from Alice to be somewhat odd, as many others like it littered throughout the series. Okay, yes, there is a character who is gay. We were told this in My Blood Approves, multiple times. (Awkwardly.) It felt like it was a forced addition, to add some kind of depth to the story... but it really doesn't. It's Alice realizing he's gay and "should've seen it sooner" because of a list of trivial things that have nothing to do with a person being gay. Nail-filing? Really? That falls under personal hygiene which has nothing to do with a persons' sexual orientation....more
The last book by Amanda Hocking that I read was... not as enjoyable as I would like. Zombies and Horror are not my usual reads but the description cauThe last book by Amanda Hocking that I read was... not as enjoyable as I would like. Zombies and Horror are not my usual reads but the description caught my attention and seemed interesting enough. It was not until I was a few pages in that I checked who the author was. Oh. Well, her work deserves another chance, I suppose. I shouldn't judge all of what she does on one book, after all... (Plus, I have been hearing Good Things about Amanda Hocking, so perhaps there is just something I missed before.) And then I come across missing words, misspelled words, and odd punctuation within the first 10 pages. This is not a good starting point.
The characters are a little odd, to say the least. Lazlo follows Remy around like a lost little puppy, despite Remy treating him terribly at certain times. Remy, meanwhile, seems a stronger character in the beginning, but that seems to lessen as the story progresses - not that she is wimpy (she is the one in charge, for some reason) but there is something lost. As if her actions don't need justification - no one really speaks against her, or hold their ground with her for long. Also, the supporting characters aren't given much of a background. They have names and vague descriptions, but we aren't really shown much in depth of who they are. It's like Remy doesn't care to think of them, so they don't matter to the story at all. Is she that unobservant?
At one point, a Big Deal is made out of the car running out of gas - the driver is blamed and takes responsibility for it. And repeatedly mentions taking the blame for it. I found this... odd. In the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, where fuel is hard to come by and stations are few-and-far-between, how is anyone at fault for a vehicle -an SUV for that matter- running out of gas? Does no one have a back-bone in this book? Did the virus deteriorate that, too?
I am able to take in that there is a virus that creates zombies - that's no problem. The unbelievability in the story comes from the characters themselves, and their reactions to the situations. It has, at times, more of an "I am doing this because the plot says I should" instead of "I am doing this according to how my experiences tell me to react." And there really isn't a big sense of character development at all.
There was some.. pronoun confusion in Hollowland as well. There is a male character referred to as her at one point, and that all goes back to editing and proof-reading. (I doubt it was intentional, given how it was used.) This kind of thing really bugs me, and I doubt this will be the last time I mention it. Unfortunately.
I liked the sample available on Smashwords enough to purchase the book, but it definitely got worse from that point on. Amanda Hocking is a popular author and has many fans, so there's something there for others. I guess. Samples of her books (around 20-25% of the book) are available to read online before purchase. I'd say it's best to check those out first, along with other reader reviews, to see if any of the stories are for you. The next book in this series should be out October 2011, according to Goodreads, but I don't think I'll be picking up that one. Hollowland was a little too, well, hollow, for me. Amongst other things.
Suggestions for awesome post-apocalyptic would be greatly appreciated. Bonus points if it's an e-book that I can check out a bit of before-hand....more
I saw Wake on the shelves a year ago and always intended to 'pick it up next time.' When I finally did go searching for it a few days ago, I find thatI saw Wake on the shelves a year ago and always intended to 'pick it up next time.' When I finally did go searching for it a few days ago, I find that not only is the second book available, but the third is out in hardcover as well. So... I bought the first two and promised myself that I will purchase the third when it is available in paperback. Hopefully my memory serves me better this time around and I actually do pick it up when it comes out. (And not years later.)
Wake follows a few characters and events and, while not all interact with each other, they are tied together in other ways. I am sure this will become more important later in the series, and I am interested in seeing how it all fits together. Robert J. Sawyer does an amazing job of connecting the reader to the story. I could not put this book down until I finished - and that really didn't take long at all. It is wonderful to find a science fiction novel that is perfectly science fiction. It's intriguing and full of wondrous ideas that are explained in such a way that is easy to understand and isn't overly technical.
I often found myself considering an idea within the book, and... seeing things in a way I had not considered before. (And totally staring off into space like a moron.) It's really great when a book can do this, and it does not occur often enough. It was amusing, too, in more than one sense. The main character, Caitlin, was funny and intelligent, and her little puns and jokes made me smile if not laugh outright. The writing style worked well for this too, and it never came across as silly or unintended.
Fun Fact: this is one of the few books I've needed to use a dictionary to find the meaning of a word. Usually I can discern the meaning based on how it is used in a sentence - I have been reading since I was a young child and like to think I am beyond using a dictionary. This time, though... not a clue. On the first page too -- Inchoate. Never seen the word before and, even in the sentence... Made me feel very smart. We all need to be brought down a peg or two once in a while, I suppose. ...more
As a science fiction romance, the story is.. interesting. I can't help but wish there was a little more science in the fiction, however. The ideas areAs a science fiction romance, the story is.. interesting. I can't help but wish there was a little more science in the fiction, however. The ideas are there but not taken far enough, and I wish the author had taken that time to go more in depth with the world and technology she created. For a brief glimpse on a world raged with war and dangerous viruses, it works well enough. The writing keeps things moving along, but does not elaborate enough on the world - I cannot even tell you the name of the planet. Or country. It is an easy enough read, but not a book I would particularly recommend or go back to.
When I located the book on Smashwords, there was no indication that this was a book in a series, let alone #6. Even reading the story I had no idea - not until I went searching for it on Goodreads to add it to my 'read' books. Which also makes me wonder if the title is "Ghost in Her Heart" or "Ghost in My Heart"? It's just not consistent between editions.
The main issue I had with this was the grammatical errors littered throughout the novel. I noticed multiple problems in just on one read - how does one miss all this? "Where" and "were" were mixed up more than once. Have we heard of proofreading? One can't just spellcheck and publish.. And, the thing is, this really isn't the only book of Autumn Dawn's that has this issue. I have read a few pages of Solar Flare, before realizing the book was not for me, and within the first paragraph is a sentence missing a word. Normally, this does not bug me too much - I understand these things can be missed sometimes. However, considering how many times this occurs throughout Ghost in Her Heart and, I assume, more than one of her other books, I'd say it's something that needs to be given more attention. Leaving entire words from sentences shows negligence and is, simply, really, really lazy.
This is the first, and last, book I will read by Autumn Dawn. Apparently making an e-book makes it okay to publish works half-finished. This was just disappointing. ...more
When I read novels, very rarely is the genre strictly Romance. I tend to go for the fair mixture of urban-fantasy, sci-fi, or adventure mixed in withWhen I read novels, very rarely is the genre strictly Romance. I tend to go for the fair mixture of urban-fantasy, sci-fi, or adventure mixed in with it. Romance is an after-thought, not the focus of the story. More recently, however, I have been checking out some more novels within this genre. Because the books are, quite honestly, humourous. They're short and quick reads and I am often laughing at the descriptions and characters... even though that's not the intent at all. Some Romance is done well, or is incorporated well enough into a story that it seems normal - natural, even. And that's fine. I have no problems with it.
And then we get stories like The Tide of the Mermaid Tears.
I know that Ember Taffee wanders -sorry, meanders- the seashore twice daily. She also likes mermaids, mermen, the sea, and trinkets. Lily Taffee, her sister, likes to paint and.. uh.. umn.. tease Ember, I guess? Ridge West appears ashore and we know he's handsome and Ember is desperately in love with him for some reason. Desperately. And sometime near the center of the book we have Tempest Taffee, their mother, telling Ridge West of her tragic, sad, desperate past that is very sad and troubling, and stuff.
I got a bit tired of the story by this point because nothing interesting had happened yet. It can be all summed up with the previous paragraph. Aside from that, the way the characters think and speak... it doesn't seem natural to me. I couldn't get into the flow of the story. Even when Ember and Ridge are together, there is only so much I can take with this talk of "mouth-watering" as reaction to their own thoughts of kissing each other. To the point where I can only picture are two people gazing dreamily at each other with saliva running down their faces in a torrent.
Seriousness is Ruined Forever. I had to start skimming the book by this point....more
Impulse Control is a short story and prequel to Hush Money. I found it an enjoyable and informative read regarding the world and helpful in showing usImpulse Control is a short story and prequel to Hush Money. I found it an enjoyable and informative read regarding the world and helpful in showing us what State Schools are all about. (Rather than just being some Mysterious Thing to be Avoided.) As a plus, it's also available on Smashwords to read for free.
I don't want to go too much into the plot and spoil all the fun.. but I will say it's a nice introduction to the series for newcomers, or as an add-on for those who have read the others....more