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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Manga Review: Kagerou Daze, Volume 2, by Mahiro Satou, Jin (Shizen No Teki-P), Sidu, Wannyanpuu-

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: 2015
Volumes: 8+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Momo Kisaragi has a problem. She has to be the center of attention. In fact, she can't get people to stop looking at her. But when a chance encounter leads her to discover the strange truth behind her eye-catching ability, she's thrust into a deadly hostage situation that's far more than she bargained for--and that's before she runs into her shut-in brother, Shintaro!

Review:

I really want to like this series, and the idea of it still intrigues me. But given that this volume was in the same time as where the first one started, I’m feeling more unsure now.
I do typically like seeing alternate points of view, seeing what happened in other peoples minds. It was done well here, given that this time we’re with the sister, and she is meeting the group in a very different way. We get to see them and know them better here, and see what happens in the hostage situation better. I do like the group of characters—they intrigue me a lot, and the idea of what is happening is interesting.
But there wasn’t much progression in this volume. I’m still not much closer to the characters or figuring out what is happening, or what the objective is. I’m a little confused.
I might pick up the next one when I get the chance, but I might not. I’m just feeling iffy about it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Manga Review: Game x Rush, Volume 2, by Mizuho Kusanagi

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: 2009.
Volumes: 2.
Spoilers?: No.
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble.
Volume: 1.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Japan's greatest bodyguard and greatest assassin caught in a deadly game...

The mystery behind Yuuki's sordid past is revealed, but can Memori tell the difference between what is fact and what is fiction? And what if the truth has something to do with Memori's own mysterious past?

From the creator of Mugen Spiral and NG Life comes hot bishonen action with a deadly twist!

Review:

This is clearly a weaker series, probably an earlier series, by Kusanagi. I have quite enjoyed her previous ones, whereas this was more meh.
The humor is rather exaggerated but funny, and a lot of the chapters are episodic with only hinting of something deeper. Until we finally get further in this volume, and we finally see what Yuuki has been hiding. And, honestly, it is really bad. It’s dark, and I feel terrible for him.
Having lived in such a terrible situation when he was a kid, and then finally finding the real child who should have been there. It’s bad, and I feel for him. But the reveal needed to happen, and I think it worked out understandably. The ending was fitting.
Overall, it was an okay series.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Manga Review: Blue Morning, Volume 1, by Shoko Hidaka

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: SuBLime (VIZ Media)
Release Date: 2013
Volumes: 7+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

At only ten years of age, Akihito Kuze suddenly inherits the Kuze viscountship after his father’s death. The family's capable butler, Tomoyuki Katsuragi, takes over the task of raising the boy, serving as his tutor. However, the handsome and intelligent Katsuragi, well respected even among the aristocracy, remains cool towards his charge. Akihito finds himself relentlessly drawn to Katsuragi, frustrated by the distance between them and driven to discover the reasons why.

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for mature audiences.

Review:

I heard quite a few good things about this, and it made me intrigued to pick it up. This is a historical series, about high class society and characters. I will admit that I see interesting thought put into it and possible plot points that are intriguing. But it was also kind of not interesting to me.
I must admit that I’m not a historical reader, I don’t really care about the society politics here, or the hierarchy between the main characters. And because of that, most of the plot in this volume didn’t interest me. There was a lot of discussion on those things, and just bleh to me.
I was more interested in the characters and relationships, and the romance. And there wasn’t much chemistry to me. I didn’t feel Akihito’s feelings for Tomoyuki, and I didn’t see the attraction between them at all. So all the hints and tried sexual moments just made me feel uneasy and I didn’t care for them.
I wanted to like this, but I really didn’t. I really wish I had, too, since I've heard such good things about this series.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Manga Review: My Neighbor Seki, Volume 6, by Takuma Morishige

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Release Date: January 2016
Volumes: 9+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 5. 7.

Goodreads Synopsis:

School Day Shenanigans

Seki's complicated games manage to distract Rumi... even when he's absent from school. Not only does Seki try to literally rewrite history, he performs surgery (on stuffed animals), and brings live creatures to cooking class. Meanwhile, Rumi focuses on saving the Earth itself.

Review:

I do enjoy this series quite a bit, though it’s more of a fun one-off to pick up for a little fun reading. There’s not an overall plot to follow. It’s a reprieve, really.
Seki is causing more and more trouble to Rumi, as she keeps getting caught up in the game that at this point she’s barely paying attention to class either. I enjoy the ongoing jokes and themes, like the robot family that Rumi is protective of. Rumi’s friend in class is still believing they’re having a love affair, and is even worried that Seki is bad for Rumi. Seki’s sister visits class, and Rumi tries helping, while we get to see how similar the siblings really are.
I don’t really have much to say about each volume of this series. It’s fun and easy, what you should be looking for when you pick it up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Manga Review: The Ancient Magus' Bride, Volume 2, by Kore Yamazaki

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: 2015
Volumes: 6+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Great power comes at a price...

Chise Hatori's life has recently undergone shocking change. As a sleigh beggy--a person capable of generating and wielding tremendous magical power--she has transformed from an unwanted child to a magician's apprentice who has been introduced to fae royalty. But Chise's newly discovered abilities also mean a cruel fate awaits her.

Review:

The first part of this volume concludes the cat story. It’s sad and a little horrifying and it exhausts Chise’s power supply. Which leads to us meeting the faerie queen and king, which is quite comedic and sure to lead to something later on. There’s a bit of calm, with Chise settling into her new home, and then she goes on another job with Elias, and comes another cliffhanger.
I’m enjoying Chise’s character, and I like seeing how she’s getting used to her new home and family. She’s never had anyone be so nice to her as Elias, and it takes some getting used to, but she's growing attached to him. There’s also more chemistry between her and Elias forming; before, it seemed more fatherly, but there were actual romantic attachments between them in this volume, even if nothing’s happened yet. Given that she’s supposed to be his bride at some point, this is a nice development.
We’re also learning with Chise what her magic is doing to her, and what it could lead to in the long run.
This is a slow, subtle series. Small moments of development and humor, a lot of different characters and creatures introduced. I’m enjoying it so far.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Manga Review: The Knockout Makers, Volume 3, by Kyoko Hashimoto

Rating (Out of 5): ~2
Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: 2008
Volumes: 3.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2.
Add on Goodreads.

RightStuf Synopsis:

Be they homely, happy, chubby or busty, the Knockout Makers exist to help girls feel beautiful, inside and out. They'll tackle any tangle, blush any cheek, and even cross dress if they have to, all in the name of feminine beauty. But after five years and nearly a hundred makeovers, are makeup artist Toshihiro, hair stylist Nobuo and fundamentals expert Ryouhei ready to retire?Story and art by Kyouko Hashimoto.

Review:

Meh. I’m just disappointed and underwhelmed with this one.
Three guys work together, in a secret, special group, to make women feel beautiful and happy about themselves.
Most of this is quite shallow, which is annoying. But mostly there was so little development. The cases are all episodic, understandably, but we barely got to know the three guys. There were glimpses of pasts and personalities, and even possible romances, but none of it went anywhere. No real development, nothing serious, and then it just kind of ends.
I wanted more, and so I’m disappointed.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Manga Review: Big Hero 6, Volume 2, by Haruki Ueno

Rating (Out of 5): ~1.5
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: 2015
Volumes:  2.
Spoilers?: Yes.
Volume: 1.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hiro teams up with Baymax to resolve the mysterious disappearance of his brother and role model, Tadashi. With four reliable friends and an upgraded Baymax by his side, Hiro finally confronts the masked man, the one who holds the key to the truth!! Spurred by his desire for revenge, Hiro corners the masked man,but then something goes wrong with Baymax?! Read the wonderfully miraculous conclusion to the story of a boy and his kindhearted health-care robot!

Review:

This volume brings this small series to a conclusion, and I’m just so disappointed.
The big moment where Hiro’s revenge and sorrow grow to climax happens, but it’s not as powerful as the movie. The reveal about who is behind everything happens, as are his reasons, and it’s not powerful at all. There’s no more development with the side characters, little development with the villain, and even with Hiro.
There’s one change from the movie—the villain’s daughter and his reason for revenge, is changed to a kid in this version, as opposed to an adult in the movie. And this just makes no sense to me. The little development behind it doesn’t make it any more powerful, any more sympathetic. But mostly, why would he put his daughter in such a terrible position, one where she could die? And how is it okay for him to do that to her, when she’s not even old enough to decide for herself to do it, unlike an adult? How could he do that?
My biggest disappointment, though, is that Tadashi’s ending isn’t any different from the movie. He’s still dead. Why change his death to one of uncertainty, instead of absolution like the movie had it? That’s just hurtful, for no reason.
Then there’s the whole resurrection of Baymax, and how Hiro and his friends are superheroes now. But by that point I was done, and it was so briefly mentioned, there was no importance or power behind it.
I’m just disappointed with this whole thing. I almost wish I hadn’t picked it up in the first place. Ugh.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Manga Review: Barakamon, Volume 10, by Satsuki Yoshino

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: April 2016
Volumes: 13+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 9. 11.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Don't lose sight of what you set out to do!

The cold north wind sets in on the island and handsome young calligrapher Seishuu Handa longs for his winter clothes. But instead of Kawafuji making the delivery, Handa's parents decide to make their island debut--and come bearing much more than just winter clothes...! Double the trouble arrives on the island in this chaotic, hot 'n' hearty comedy! Go back to the country and back to the basics in Volume 10 of Barakamon!

Review:

I just eat up every volume of this series. I love it so much at this point.
This was another humorous, fun volume, full of antics.
In this volume, the main point is that Handa’s parents come to town. They get to see the place that Handa has been living, the tiny town he’s staying in, and the group of people that he’s formed friendships with. It’s not quite what they expect, and his mother especially doesn’t know how to handle it. Naru, in particular, gives her a huge scare at one point.
Handa also forms an understanding with his father, whom he has always thought didn’t like him and who he’d never measure up to. Being forced into a calligraphy competition with him shows him a different side of his father, while also an ego-blow at times.
Then there was that cliffhanger…
I can’t wait for the next one, this series is always a delight to read.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 2, by Mizuho Kusanagi

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Volumes: 21+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A red-haired princess loses her family and her kingdom… Now she must rise and fight for her throne!

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!

While on the run, Yona and Hak head to Hak’s hometown, where she attempts to heal her broken heart. However, she can’t rest there for long once she discovers that Su-won may soon become king! What will Yona choose to do in the wake of this news?

Review:

Yona and Hak arrive in his hometown, where they take shelter for a little while. Yona gets a sense of where Hak grew up and what his family and friends are like. But during all of this bonding time, they know that there are people after them, right on their tail.
Which leads to them going back on the road, and the run.
I do really enjoy Yona and Hak's relationship, and enjoy seeing how close they are and how much they care for each other. It's good that their bond is so solid from the very beginning. It gives Yona something to hold onto and someone to lean on as she's trying to get back on solid ground. It also gives her something to defend, someone to care for enough to push herself harder as she gets stronger on her own.
I'm happy to see how strong she is getting already, that she's already taken a step toward standing up for herself and seeing what she needs to do. She needs a lot more work, of course, but it's a good start.
I'm already really enjoying this series. I am a rather big fan of Kusanagi at this point, and I'm happy to see how much better her writing and pace has gotten; the characters have always been great.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Teaser Tuesday[229]: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (Dash & Lily, #2) by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

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!

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The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance; Christmas
Publisher: Knopf (Random House)
Release Date: October 18, 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:
 
New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan are back with a life-affirming Christmas romance starring Dash and Lily.

Dash and Lily have had a tough year since readers first watched the couple fall in love. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the holiday magic of New York City in December.

Told in alternating chapters, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily reunites two beloved characters and is bound to be a Christmas favorite, season after season.

Excerpt:

Lily went to the base of her bookshelf and picked up a tissue paper-wrapped package. 'Here,' she said, handing it over.” (ARC, pg. 41)

What are you reading?