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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[234]: Every Breath (Every, #1) by Ellie Marney

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

------------------------------------------

Every Breath (Every, #1) by Ellie Marney
Genre: YA Mystery
Publisher: Tundra Books
Release Date: 2013

Goodreads Synopsis:

When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft's numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft's passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn't right--and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.

     While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he's busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den--literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again...

Excerpt:

I close my eyes. 'Mycroft, I want to go. I think...'” (Hardback, pg. 104)

What are you reading?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Manga Review: Black Butler, Volume 22, by Yana Toboso

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: May 2016
Volumes: 24+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 21. 23.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Revealing themselves to be wolves in sheep's clothing, the villagers of Wolfsschlucht nip ferociously at the heels of Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his entire household--indomitable butler Sebastian included. With aid coming from surprising corners, the company makes a quick getaway with the Emerald Witch in tow. But even as preparations are made and wounds rested for the passage to England and the inevitable meeting with the queen, word of the Undertaker stubbornly hangs over the proceedings...

Review:

Lady Sullivan gets introduced to modern life in England in this volume. After being saved from her crazy village, she has to learn how to be a real lady; how to eat and talk and sit. For half of this volume, there's a lot of easy, relaxed moments. Lady Sullivan gets new clothes, she gets training. Elizabeth visits for a while, and she's delightful even as she almost kills Ciel. We see a few other favorite side characters.
Then there are all of the serious underlying moments. We see the Undertaker again, and he hints at a possible plot thread to be explored later, something that Ciel will surely look into. The reapers also show up for a small scene, so we know they're doing something in the background at all times.
This series is both hilarious and delightful, and so dark at the same time. It's nice to see Ciel taking an adult role over Lady Sullivan, since he already knows how to act like an adult when he needs to, and she hadn't needed to calm down and handle things before. And, of course, Elizabeth. Love her.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Manga Review: Honey So Sweet, Volume 4, by Amu Meguro

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 2016
Volumes: 8.
Spoilers?: Light.
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A charming high school romance between a tender hooligan and an orphaned girl with enchanting artwork by Amu Meguro.

Little did Nao Kogure realize back in middle school that when she left an umbrella and a box of bandages in the rain for injured delinquent Taiga Onise that she would meet him again in high school. Nao wants nothing to do with the gruff and frightening Taiga, but he suddenly presents her with a huge bouquet of flowers and asks her to date him—with marriage in mind! Is Taiga really so scary, or is he a sweetheart in disguise?

Although Nao Kogure was once afraid of the delinquent Taiga Onise, she was soon touched by his kind soul. Taiga is dating Nao, and his friend Futami knows this but still pursues Nao anyway. After Futami confesses his feelings to Nao, can Taiga and Futami truly remain friends?

Review:

This series is just so utterly adorable, god!
In the first half, we conclude the drama with Futami. This really just proves how great a guy Onise is, because even though there's a guy after his girl, he's okay with it. The trust between him and Nao is so complete, it's heartwarming and ridiculous. There's no doubt to the reader or to them, that she's going to choose Onise. But there's also the fact that Onise still completely wants to be friends with Futami. Their bromance is real.
The second half is taken up with Yashiro's messed up love life. We meet her boyfriend, who isn't a bad guy, but isn't loyal to her either. Misaki gets very upset about this, and wants to fight on her behalf, even when she doesn't want him to. I'm rather impressed with how we see that Yashiro is being cheated on, and that's bad, but also that she loves her boyfriend and he loves her, and it's not bad like it could be. But how she decides that she does deserve more. It was an impressive plot line all around.
This series is so sweet it should literally give you cavities. It's so over the top goodness and I just love every bit of it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Manga Review: So Cute It Hurts!!, Volume 9, by Go Ikeyamada

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 2016
Volumes: 15.
Spoilers?: Very light.
Volume: 1. 8. 10.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Kobayashi twins discover that cross-dressing as each other leads to trouble and true love!

The Kobayashi twins, Megumu and Mitsuru, were named after historical figures, but only Megumu has grown up with a taste for history. So when Mitsuru is in danger of losing his weekends to extra history classes, he convinces his sister to swap clothes with him and ace his tests! After all, how hard can it be for them to play each other?

Megumu manages to keep Aoi and Uesugi from brawling, but when they air their old grievances, she ends up learning more than she expected about Aoi’s past. Will this new information strengthen her relationship with Aoi or just drive a bigger wedge between them?!

Review:

Meh. Meh meh meh.
In this volume, there's more drama caused by Uesugi. And we finally get to see what is actually under Aoi's eyepatch, and why he's so afraid of touching women. He even freaks out on Megumu at one point, as he's being pushed and contemplating telling her what really happened to him.
There's also some moments between Mitsuru and Azusa, mostly of Mitsuru realizes what Azusa has been hinting at this entire time. Also, her fantastic way of narcissistic-ally confessing while also telling him that he's going to fall in love with her so hard that he'll be the one begging.
But mostly there's Megumu and Uesugi and Aoi. I think it's mostly the over-ly cheesy moments, the unnecessarily embarrassing scenes, mixed with all of those chibi images and dumb faces for humor. It all just seems too childish to me, while at the same time trying to be new and creative and hilariously cute. It's too much, too badly done.
For one thing, though, I'm sure I would have enjoyed this more when I was younger. So I'm sure actual high-schoolers would enjoy this a lot more than I am now.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Manga Review: Attack on Titan, Volume 19, by Hajime Isayama

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: August 2016
Volumes: 20+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 18. 20.

Goodreads Synopsis:

CAGE MATCH
The Survey Corps is engaged in a desperate, final battle to retake Wall Maria and defeat the Titans once and for all. Eren must use his new powers to seal the holes created five years ago in the Shiganshina District gates, not to mention to finally reach the basement of his old home and find what secrets lie hidden there. But the most difficult part of the operation will be surviving whatever clever traps the Colossus Titan, Armored Titan, and Beast Titan have prepared for them! Now that Erwin is gambling with every last human life, who will triumph?

Review:

The group meets up with the rebels in this volume, the human titans who are fighting the humans. Eren fights with the armored titan for a while.
It's mainly when Armin attempts to talk to Bertolt that we get some kind of understanding what their goal is. It still doesn't make much sense, though. Bertolt claims that everyone inside the walls needs to die—they just do. He's decided this. Even when Armin tries talking sense, or just understand what his reasons are, he doesn't give much else. It's an interesting conversation to see play out, though.
And then the volume ends with a large blast in the middle of town, as he changes into a titan. It might have killed a lot of people, though.
The long time between each volume makes the enthusiasm lessen, and gives me more time to forget what's happening in the series, sadly.
Still, the next volume is always on my list.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[233]: The Art of Wishing (The Art of Wishing, #1) by Lindsay Ribar

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

-----------------------------------------------

The Art of Wishing (The Art of Wishing, #1) by Lindsay Ribar
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 2013

Goodreads Synopsis:

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else's hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie -- he's also a sophomore at Margo's high school, and he's on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

Excerpt:

'I know what I want,' I interrupted, letting out an exasperated laugh. 'And for the record, I still think it's weird that you know it, too.'” (Hardback, pg. 53)

What are you reading?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Manga Review: Love Stage!!, Volume 5, by Eiki Eiki and Taishi Zaou

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: SuBLime (VIZ Media)
Release Date: May 2016
Volumes: 7.
Spoilers?: Light/No.
Volume: 1. 4. 6.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Izumi Sena is an average guy born into a family of famous celebrities. A college student and total otaku, he works hard every day with the goal of someday becoming a manga creator.

Izumi's career as an entertainer is in full swing. He's costarring in a TV show with Ryoma and showing extraordinary promise as an actor, but that only deepens Ryoma's anguish. Will they be forced to choose work over love? As the two try to figure things out, disaster strikes!

Review:

Just as Ryoma and Izumi are fighting, and we're seeing how seriously impressive Izumi's acting skills are, Ryoma gets hypnotized to forget all about Izumi. This causes a whole new level of frustration for Izumi, and he starts seeing how much he really loves and misses Ryoma now that he doesn't remember him and isn't paying him any attention.
It's interesting to see how Izumi attempts stepping up and seducing Ryoma, in ways reminiscent of how Ryoma did in the beginning. And Izumi really has no pride, or rather, no shame, as he has no problem coming onto Ryoma and confessing his love and relying on Ryoma even when he has no reason to accept it.
The volume ends with a sexy scene, the two of them trapped in a room together.
This is a fun series to read. By no means is it perfect, as some of the methods used are iffy and even Izumi can be annoying. But it's just fun to read.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Manga Review: So Cute It Hurts!!, Volume 8, by Go Ikeyamada

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: August 2016
Volumes: 15.
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 7. 9.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Kobayashi twins, Megumu and Mitsuru, were named after historical figures, but only Megumu has grown up with a taste for history. So when Mitsuru is in danger of losing his weekends to extra history classes, he convinces his sister to swap clothes with him and ace his tests! After all, how hard can it be for them to play each other?

Chiharu Uesgui’s devious ploy to use Megumu against Aoi has only brought the lovebirds closer together. And it’s also given Megumu an intriguing glimpse into Uesugi’s past with her boyfriend. Can she figure out how their friendship went sour before Uesugi tries something even worse?!

Review:

The entire plot line with Uesugi is just bad, in my opinion. It's trying to be a new, cuter take on the dramatic romance (like Peach Girl, for instance). And sometimes it works.
Uesugi tries to take advantage of Megumu, to prove that Aoi is weak, and instead Megumu turns it back on him with a big speech. It's supposedly powerful, I guess.
There's also a lot of plot movement with Azusa and Mitsuru. Mitsuru is on the hunt to find her stalker, and they join together to fight them. Then the cliffhanger goes back to Uesugi making a move on Megumu.
Meh. That's what I feel for this series. Meh.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Manga Review: Maid-sama!, Volume 9 & 10, by Hiro Fujiwara

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: August 2016
Volumes: 18.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1&2. 7&8. 11&12.

Goodreads Synopsis:

As if being class president of a predominantly male high school isn't hard enough, Misaki Ayuzawa has a major secret-she works at a maid cafe after school! How is she supposed to keep her image of being ultrasmart, strong and overachieving intact once school heartthrob Takumi Usui discovers her double life?!

Misaki tries to get reelected as student council president, and it becomes an all-out showdown between her and Soutaro Kanou! She wants to win the spot fair and square without Usui’s help, so she distances herself from him… But in the meantime, is she finally realizing her true feelings for Usui?

Review:

We're finally in new territory in this volume! Ah, I'm so glad I finally get to see what happens next in this series.
The student council election finally comes to an end, and we see how things work out between Misa and Kanou. It's surprising how much we see that Kanou has grown in this volume alone, how he matures and decides what he wants to do with himself and his place in school. Misa has had a good influence on him, and we see that he would actually make a good president.
Kanou is a good character, and I like seeing more of him and Yukimura.
Misa's birthday happens, and she forced to accept how much her friends at work care about her. And that even Usui wants to do something special for her.
The second volume in this one, though, focuses a lot on Usui. Misa realizes how little she really knows him and demands that he tell her, especially when people from his past keep showing up and hinting at things that she doesn't understand. I like the way that she finally confronts him about the things he isn't telling her. She's still conflicted about if they're actually dating or not, so it's nice to see them talking maturely like that.
This is such a fun series, and I'm really looking forward to reading the next one.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Manga Review: Nisekoi: False Love, Volume 18, by Naoshi Komi

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2016
Volumes: 25.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 17. 19.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A laugh-out-loud story that features a fake love relationship between two heirs of rival gangs...plus, a mission to find out which girl actually holds the key to Raku's pendant—and his heart!

Love triangle! Comedic antics!! Gang warfare?! You won’t want to miss out on Shonen Jump's laugh-out-loud feel-good manga series! It's hate at first sight when Raku Ichijo first meets Chitoge Kirisaki. But much to their chagrin, the two are forced into a false love relationship to keep the peace between their feuding gangster families.

It's day three of the school trip, and Raku visits a temple known to be a power spot. Little does he know that it’s a place famous for magical bows and arrows that have romance-fulfilling properties! With all the girls determined to shoot him down, which huntress will bring down her prey?!

Review:

Much of this volume continues the school trip arc, in which there are a lot of antics for all of the characters. Roku gets dragged into a lot of schemes, and he gets hit by several of the girls.
And then we get the news that Chitoge is moving away, and thus her and Roku don't need to pretend dating anymore. This brings about a lot of sadness for everyone, including Tsugumi. The surprising part is when Chitoge starts trying to barter with her family/Claude to get them to let her stay, and when instead they lock her up.
I don't have many doubts about her staying in Japan, especially with what Roku is even doing to try to help, but it should be interesting to see how it's wrapped up in the next one.
This is fun, harem-y goodness. Will be reading the next one soon.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, for an honest review. Thank you so, so much!