Rummanah Aasi
 Lauren Myracles Internet Girls series has been a target for challenged books for the past few years due to the frank and open discussion of sexual situations in her book. Written in completely text and instant messaging, the Internet Girls series focuses on the friendship of three high school best friends who give each other support and advice. In their latest book, the trio are trying to survive their first year of college. Please note that this review is based on the advanced reader's copy of the book that I received from the publisher via Netgalley.

Description: Now it’s freshman year of college for the winsome threesome, and *everything* is different. For one, the best friends are facing their first semester apart. Way, way apart. Maddie’s in California, Zoe’s in Ohio, and Angela’s back in Georgia. And it’s not just the girls who are separated. Zoe’s worried that Doug wants to break up now that they’re at different schools, and Maddie’s boyfriend, Ian, is on the other side of the country. In the face of change and diverging paths, Maddie’s got a plan to keep the friends close, and it involves embracing the present, making memories, and . . . roller derby!

Review: There are many books that talk about high school seniors who are excited about college, but there are a few books that actually talk about the wide range of emotions that college brings from starting from square one at a new place with new people to nerves and uncertainty. Myracle does a good job in showing how freshmen year of college can be for three very different individuals. Maddie, the driving force of the winsome threesome, comes up with the theme for the new school year, yolo (i.e. you only live once), and challenges her girlfriends to make the most of their freshmen year. Ironically Maddie seems to have the most trouble as she doesn't quite fit in at her school in California. Meanwhile party girl Angela is uncertain about joining a sorority in school at Georgia. Zoe is somewhere in the middle and mostly concerned about losing her high school boyfriend Doug as they try to work out a long distance relationship.
  Since the book is written completely in text form, it is very quick and easy read especially for reluctant readers. Each of the girls has their own different personalities that shine through in their texts. I like the fact that these girls are ordinary and so are their problems. Instead of turning to their love interests to help solve their problems, they turn to each other. I found the plot to be realistic and frank about the issues the freshmen class will face in college such as homesickness, partying, and soul-crushing rejection without being preachy or heavy-handed. I think this book would be a good read for those jittery freshmen who want some reassurance for starting a new school year. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drinking, an attempt of sexual assault, frank discussion of sex though not explicit, and some crude humor. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: 3 Willows by Anna Brashares, Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Liz Craft
Rummanah Aasi
  It's Monday and time for Manga Mondays! Manga Mondays is a meme hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read where bloggers can share their passion for reading mangas. It's a great place to get new manga titles to try and to meet new bloggers. One of my favorite manga series, Vampire Knight, is going to be finished very soon with a total of 19 volumes in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed Volume 18 which sets up the finale quite nicely and I'm very curious to see how this series ends.

Description: Yuki and Zero team up to go after Kaname. Yuki and Kaname fight each other in the headquarters of the Hunter Society while Sara tries to control Zero through her blood. The female progenitor’s origin metal intervenes, and Yuki realizes there is only one way to stop Kaname

Review: Vampire Knight Volume 18 is the penultimate volume full of action sequences and surprising twists which sets up the events for the finale. The running theme of this volume is sacrifice. Each character must make a decision to lose something precious to them. 
  Yuki and Zero continue to chase Kaname down - trying to reach him before the purebloods seal his fate, however, the progenitor furnace is also reaching its critical mass - and with it, all chances the humans have to fight the vampire menace. Yuki will learn some hard truths about Kaname in this book before taking a drastic final act at the end. Will she align with Kaname or will she join Zero who she realized she can not live without?
  Unlike a lot of the previous volumes of this series, I had to reread this volume a couple of times because the pacing is at a break-neck speed and I thought I missed a few things in my first read. The Sara arc is finished quite nicely and I'm glad that it didn't extend into the next volume. I'm still confused as to why Kaname killed a certain pureblood and was disappointed to not see his reasoning in this volume. 

  This volume has a lot of full page visuals and too many close-up of characters. I love the emotional intensity between the characters which leap off the page when it is depicted in the wide panels. It is clear that Yuki is at a crossroads and neither paths she can take are easy. I can't wait to see how this series, particularly this love triangle ends.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence and some language. Recommended for teens and up.

If you like this book try: Vampire Knight Volume 19 by Matsuri Hino, Black Bird series by Millennium Snow series by Bisco Hatori
Rummanah Aasi
Reading a book in the Charley Davidson series is a lot like reuniting with a great friend that you haven't talked to in a while, you just pick up right where you left off as if the absences never existed. For me the main draw of this series is its trademark humor which never fails to make me laugh out loud. I know Charley's humor can be over-the-top for some readers, but that's what I love about her.

Description: Charley Davidson isn't your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper. She's more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire. However, she gets sidetracked when Reyes Farrow moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case. Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth...but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason. When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma is the serial killer's next target, Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes's help. Arsonist or not, he's the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.

Review: For me, Fifth Grave is where I started to become a Reyes Farrow fan. Though I acknowledged his physical appeal, I didn't see much beside that until I read this book. Reyes is a completely different person than from the first few books in this series. He becomes more human, displaying his vulnerabilities to Charlie and that's what made him click for me. I really liked his character development in this hope and I hope that continues in the future installments. I also really enjoyed the mystery behind the roomful of girls whose spirits are stuck here. I wasn't able to solve this mystery as easily as I did the others.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, crude humor, some strong violence, and a few sexual situations. Recommended for mature teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: Accidental Friends series by Dakota Cassidy, Peper Martin series by Casey Daniels, Undead series by MaryJanice Davidson, and the Chicagoland Vampire series by Chloe Neill


Description (edited to avoid spoilers): Charley Davidson is a paranormal private eye and grim reaper-in-training who is known to be a bit of a hell-raiser, especially after a few shots of caffeine. Her beloved Reyes may be the son of evil, but he is everything Charley could hope for and want, but when the FBI file on Reyes' troubling childhood happens to land into her lap, Charley can't help herself: She opens it. and then the real fun begins. First, Charley finds a naked corpse riding shotgun in her car. Then, a man loses his soul in a card game. Throw in a Deaf boy who sees dead people, a woman running from mobsters, and a very suspicious Reyes, and things can't get any worse for Charley. Right?

Review:  In this installment we do get a few answers to some of the questions and a couple of background histories that we have been waiting for, however, the real truth behind Charley's true powers as a grim reaper are still mystery. Though there are plenty of clues or little hints that Jones drops for us, we still don't know how the pieces of the puzzle fit.
   Sixth Grave has a nice balance of dark, sad moments along with the humor and sweet romance between Charley and Reyes. We are introduced to a new character, the Dealer, an escaped empathetic demon who helps people who are willing to sell their soul to him. He may know all the details that Charley wants to know about being the grim reaper but she will need to tread carefully when working with him. The Dealer is definitely going to shake things up for Charley and I do not completely trust him. Unfortunately, Sixth Grave ends in a huge cliffhanger that can completely change the course of the series and I'm super curious to see where Jones takes this story. I just hope this series continues to be entertaining and not take a dive (I'm looking right at you Chicagoland Vampires). Thankfully, Seventh Grave and No Body releases next month so the waiting game isn't too long. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, crude humor, some strong violence, and a few sexual situations. Recommended for mature teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #4), Accidental Friends series by Dakota Cassidy, Peper Martin series by Casey Daniels, Undead series by MaryJanice Davidson, and the Chicagoland Vampire series by Chloe Neill
Rummanah Aasi
 Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! This week I'm eagerly awaiting the release of Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder, which is a continuation of the Study series despite the publisher's weird notation of a new series called Soulfinder. This book will take place sometime after the events of Spy Glass.


Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
 Expected Pub Date: February 2015
Publisher: Mira

 
The Study series was one of the first book series that was recommended to me by one of my students after we chatted about Graceling by Kristin Cashore. When I started the Study Series, I immediately fell in love with the world and characters that Snyder created. I devoured each book and incessantly checked Snyder's website for any indication that we could revisit Yelena and her world. I was thrilled to find out that three more books in the Study series are in progress! I plan on rereading this series as well as the spinoff Glass series before picking this latest book up. 

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.

Once, only her own life hung in the balance.

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret - or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is - while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous


Rummanah Aasi

  It's Monday and time for Manga Mondays! Manga Mondays is a meme hosted by Alison at Alison Can Read where bloggers can share their passion for reading mangas. It's a great place to get new manga titles to try and to meet new bloggers. We have finally reached the last volume of Boys Over Flowers, but there is an added bonus volume to the series which was fun to read.


Description: Boys over Flowers officially ended with volume 36, but Yoko Kamio, one of the most beloved shojo creators of all time, just couldn't stay away from her beloved characters! Jewelry Box contains two short stories that take place one year after the end of Boys over Flowers volume 36.

Review: Boys Over Flowers: Jewelry Box is a supplemental read for the manga series. This volume is solely created for fans of this story as it contains contains two short stories, both of which take place a few years after the end of the manga. In the first story Tsukasa is still overseas and Tsukushi misses him dearly. Despite their best attempts to stay in a long distance relationship, it is still hard. Rui has been coming over quite frequently, much to Tsukasa's dismay when he discovers this. Thankfully Rui is only there as a friend and knows that Tsukushi has no romantic feelings for him. As a surprise, we get to go on a trip and see Shizuka's wedding as Tsukushi and the F4 reunite. The second short story is entirely about Rui, a character that is still a bit mysterious and someone who I can't really figure out. In his short story he reflects over everything that has happened over the course of the series & wonders whether or not he can truly move on or if he is capable of loving again.  While this supplemental volume doesn't entirely give a lot of closure to the series, it was a pleasure to read and seeing the characters again.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language and crude humor. Recommeneded for teens and up.

If you like this book try:  Kare Kano: His and Her Circumstances by Masami Tsuda, Mars by Fuyumi Soryo
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