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Riley RSS Feed (Oakland, CA USA)

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A Grammar Book For You and I...Oops, Me
A Grammar Book For You and I...Oops, Me
by C. Edward Good
Edition: Hardcover
52 used & new from $2.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, April 20, 2015
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Arrived as described and within projected timeframe.


Three Wolves Mountain (Yaoi Manga)
Three Wolves Mountain (Yaoi Manga)
Price: $3.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, Explicit and Kindle-Friendly, January 17, 2014
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I discovered this manga, b/c I had been searching for other kindle offerings from SuBLime publishing. That's because I have become a fan of their digital offerings since they are so kindle friendly (bold print, zoomed in manga pages, and additional zoom capabilities to one quarter of the panel). I've downloaded other manga onto my kindle, and I've usually had to deal with faded lettering, difficult to decipher panels (b/c the drawings are too fine or the words are too small).

At first, I wasn't sure that I'd like the story, since I wasn't really into super natural romance. However, this was such a nice surprise. The characters are quirky, carry baggage, but lovable. Although there are some weighty parts to the story, overall it an enjoyable and hilarious read. I especially love the panels when we see the chibis (I hope that's the correct use of this term) or mini-versions of the characters. And this didn't disappoint with the love scenes, where body weren't whited out (as I found with one manga) or strategically covered. I hope that there are other offerings from SuBLime by this mangaka in the future on kindle.


Devil's Honey, Vol. 1 (Yaoi Manga)
Devil's Honey, Vol. 1 (Yaoi Manga)
Price: $3.49

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adorable Romance and Awesome E-Book Readability, January 17, 2014
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This story takes place between a teacher and student. Unlike other stories that I've read with this set-up, the romance isn't instant and has some believable backstory. It's both cute and funny. I like all the characters -- main couple and the sidekicks. If there were a Volume 2, I would definitely buy it especially if it's from this publisher (SuBLime).

I've read a number of manga on my kindle, and I have struggled at times to read the faded letters (and forget about reading those smaller side comments next to the dialog box). I've had to forego even considering any dialog heavy manga, b/c it would have strained my eyes. Since I discovered these kindle manga from SuBLime recently, I've searched their website to see what other offerings they have in e-book format. As I've noted with my review for "Honey Darling," I love how (a) the words look bold on the page, (b) that the manga page uses up the entire kindle book as though it's already in kindle zoom mode and (c ) that I can zoom in to look at one quarter of the panel, making it easy for me to catch those nuances in both drawing and small letterings that the mangaka intended.

I definitely recommend this manga, and hope that there is Volume 2 soon.


Honey Darling (Yaoi Manga)
Honey Darling (Yaoi Manga)
Price: $3.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Story and Awesome E-book Readability, January 17, 2014
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This is a sweet story, with slow but rewarding romance development. The animals, especially the cats, are adorable. Plus, this manga includes a couple entertaining side characters.

I would have normally given this a 4-star rating, b/c of the (literally) whited-out more explicit scenes. However, this was offset by the awesome e-book readability from SuBLime publishing. I like the convenience of reading manga on a kindle. And this was the first publisher who produced something that (a) ensures that the lettering is bold enough to be easy to read, (b) uses up the full page of the kindle which is what I would normally see after I used the kindle zoom feature on other kindle-enabled manga and (c ) enables you to zoom in to one quarter of the page which makes it easy to read the side comments next to the dialogue boxes.

I would definitely look for more offerings from this publisher.


Unraveling
Unraveling
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 Stars - Veronica Mars Meets X-Files!, June 13, 2012
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This review is from: Unraveling (Kindle Edition)
This book kept me on the edge of my seat. It started out as a mystery, and I thought it would be limited to the usual YA mystery boy with a secret that cannot be shared with anyone else. Boy, was I wrong! There was so much more to the story than I could have anticipated.

First of all, I loved the voice of the main character, Janelle, who reminded me so much of Veronica Mars. She's smart, funny, resourceful, vulnerable and a constant source of surprise. I've gotten so tired and annoyed of reading about characters who find themselves in difficult situations because they were impulsive/irrational/recklessly curious, but Janelle does not fit that stereotype. She's mature in many ways, but there is a compelling reason for her behavior and thoughts. I also really enjoyed reading about and her interactions with her friends and family. They also don't fit stereotype, which is so refreshing.

Then, there was the mystery that needed to be solved or there could potentially be some unknown but hinted at dire consequence. And you're made aware of that through a countdown clock for every chapter. It's just unclear what's going to happen, but the author did a great job of keeping the pace going. I don't remember any slow moments, which is probably why I finished this in one sitting. Unlike a normal mystery, I felt as though I was transported into an intense episode of the X-Files almost from the beginning.

I also liked the love interest/mystery boy, Ben, and yet the author continues to keep us guessing as to whether he's the good guy or not. There were some sweet moments in the book as well, but I wish there were just a smidgen more romance and fewer casualties. Otherwise, it was a fantastic read!


Easy
Easy

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives Up To The High Ratings - Easily Makes My Top Reads for 2012!, June 2, 2012
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This review is from: Easy (Kindle Edition)
I just finished reading this at 3am this morning after downloading the book last night. I heard about this book through some author blogs, and then saw the high ratings on Amazon, so I downloaded a sample although I've become leery of books with high ratings delivering against my expectations. I've been disappointed more often than not. However, this book was the exception!

At the heart of this book is a beautiful romance, although it deals with a tough and sensitive subject (which is why many reviewers noted that this is for mature YA). Unlike many YA books that I've read, this book does not deal with easy stereotypes. Instead, it offered a balanced view and insight into the characters and how they handled this situation and why. I loved the fact that we weren't getting cookie cutter characters, answers or situations.

I was thrilled at how well the author describes Jacqueline's thoughts and behaviors. This character was so relatable and mature. Add in a tortured, hot and intelligent male lead via Lucas, a number of interesting secondary characters, a great story/plot, descriptive writing that makes it so clear what's happening that it's like watching a movie while reading, and you've got a hard to put down book. This will definitely go into my to be re-read pile!

I know this review is not doing this book justice, but all I can say is that it's rare that I gush about a book like this.

I highly recommend this book for mature YA!!


Taste
Taste
by Kate Evangelista
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.33
24 used & new from $2.22

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cool Story Premise, Overshadowed By Distracting Main Character and Believability issues, May 23, 2012
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This review is from: Taste (Paperback)
I don't like giving low ratings, but I veered between giving this book a 1 star up to a 3 star rating depending on where I was in the book. I purchased this book based on the summary and the high ratings, plus the fact that I enjoy reading YA paranormal romance. This was another take on flesh-eaters or zombies, but it had an interesting premise reminiscent of the "Vampire Knight" manga (***mild spoilers in parentheses***which features a Day School and a Night School of unique students and a lot of political intrigue).

I liked the plot, the world-building, the action sequences, the male protagonists and even the "mad" scientist in the mix. The problem was that I had a hard time liking Phoenix, the female protagonist. She had some great snarky thoughts, but she generally annoyed me throughout the entire book. While I get that she's a tortured or troubled teen so she's behaving accordingly, she repeatedly does things that are all about her needs and gets instantly mad / irritated / rebellious / reckless the moment that she's asked/told not to do something for her safety. She has a temper, and she has difficulty reigning it in so that she's constantly getting herself and others into trouble or danger, yet somehow it works out through circumstance. I get that she's had a difficult time with something that happened in her family, but the same scene is repeated at least four times in the first half of the book and I never feel the pain, I'm just told what happened.

I got to the point where I wanted to stop reading, but made myself finish the book. However, things started picking up near the last 30% of the book, and I was really hopeful that things would turn around. Unfortunately, we move from a Phoenix that is still stubborn and somewhat immature, to one who suddenly has a strong opinion on who should lead this different race of people based on very little information and again mainly based on her own needs.

Although this is perhaps minor compared to the main character, I also had a hard time understanding why the two male leads, who were described as beautiful and clearly very powerful in this world, were so into Phoenix. It was this strange insta-love that didn't make sense, and somehow Phoenix's safety became more important than other priorities that had been building in this alternate world.

Overall, I like the story premise and wish I liked this book more, but I just couldn't stay hooked because of my concerns with the main character and some believability issues.


Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy Book 1)
Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy Book 1)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Steamy With New Take On Nephilim, But Almost Too Sweet?, May 22, 2012
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I was in a reading slump when I came across this book, but I liked the summary, title and cover so I downloaded a sample. It didn't take me long before I was hooked. I ended up reading this without stopping, because I was so interested in this new take on the Demon / Nephillim mythology.

I like the main character Anna who is strong, brave and mature for her age. Unlike a lot of YA heroines that I've read about, she doesn't do the "reckless stupid thing" that always frustrates me. She's also vulnerable and open with her feelings, but also learns to quickly adapt when she understands how precarious her situation is. I also like Kaiden, who plays the main love interest, but is also his own person. In other words, he doesn't turn into some wimpy version of the original bad boy that we first meet. And I love that there is a lot of uncertainty in their relationship. The heat between these two main characters is palpable, and we are treated some some deliciously steamy scenes while generally still falling in the G rating camp. Lastly, I wanted to learn more about the world that the author created. We learn a lot about the Nephilim, but it's clear that there's so much more that will happen in the next books pertaining to what makes Anna unique, the Demons and Angels.

At the same time, not a whole lot happens in the book until near the last 15-20%. It's not boring, we're learning a lot about the characters and their world and their relationships, but this is definitely not an action-packed book although things get very interesting near the end. The other thing to note is that Anna is almost too sweet. She doesn't break rules, lie, gets along really well with the parental figures in her life, doest rebel....you get the picture, which seems a bit unrealistic given that she's a teenager. The other thing to note is that there were definitely religious overtones that came across in the book. It didn't detract from the story, but there were enough moments pertaining to God that it was noticeable, compared to other YA books in this genre that I've read.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, and am looking forward to the next one in the series.


City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments)
City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments)
by Cassandra Clare
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.66
206 used & new from $0.52

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice But Not Awesome Addition To The Series, May 13, 2012
I wasn't sure what to expect before I read CoLS. I loved the first three books in this series, and was so excited that there would be three more books starting with CoFA. However, I was disappointed with CoFA, and thought "haven't we put Jace through enough already?" I hoped, but wasn't sure if I would feel good about CofLS, and now I'm so glad I read this installment.

This was a nice addition to the series. It put us front and center with Sebastian's murky thoughts and motivations, enabled me to see Jace and Clary and the rest of the characters in the series in a new light (whether it was growing and maturing or making mistakes due to insecurities). I also enjoyed getting a better sense of Jocelyn in this book, and how similar or dissimilar she and Clary are.

The pacing felt different than the prior books. I felt as though we were spending more time in each of the different characters' heads, instead of mainly focused on Clary or Simon or Jace like in the prior books. While it sometimes slowed the action down, a part of me almost needed it, b/c I felt myself tense every time the action switched back to any scene with Sebastian in it.

At the same time, it also made the book feel a bit fractured, like there were multiple scenes with different people happening concurrently, all with different pacing. It was easy to follow, but sometimes I found myself less interested in some of the characters I was reading about (like Maia and Jordan) when I really wanted to skim to the other characters in the book (like Izzy, Simon, Sebastian, Jace, Clary). While at times I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next, there were other times when I was comfortable just putting the book down and getting back to it later.

Overall, this was a packed book, with lots of character development, action, definitely romance and a nice sense of closure, even though it does set up for the last book in this series. I'm definitely looking forward to CoHF!


Blood War: Blood Destiny, Book 8
Blood War: Blood Destiny, Book 8
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 Stars - Another Great Installment, May 7, 2012
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Since I started on this series back in December, I expected my interest to wane and the writing to disappoint given a series with this many installments. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the stories and the writing continue to deliver consistently good results. I'm usually a die-hard paranormal romance reader (lately young adult), but the world and characters and stories that Connie Suttle develops and weaves together in this series and in the Ir'Indicti series are so engaging that I have no problem breaking out of my genre shell. Her writing is so consistently good that each time another book comes out, I immediately download it. I don't even have to wonder if I'll like it.

Not only that, unlike other book series that I've read, where the main character practically becomes omnipotent, we have this powerful main character, Lissa, who still experiences very real human emotions and disappointments and tries to rise above the constant challenges that she faces.

Blood War continues from the last book and we experience Lissa's challenges in being a new Queen, face some heartbreaking betrayals and get some great action sequences. I read this in one sitting, and wanted more when I finished. The only slight hurdle was keeping up with all the characters. I know that they're there for a reason, but I find myself stopping periodically to try to remember who they are. However, this doesn't take away from the main storyline. Overall, this was another great read!


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