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Monday, December 18, 2017

Manga Review: Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 14, by Sui Ishida


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: VIZ Signature (VIZ Media)
Release Date: August 2017
Volumes: 14.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 13.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ghouls live among us, the same as normal people in every way—except their craving for human flesh.

Ken Kaneki is an ordinary college student until a violent encounter turns him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid. Trapped between two worlds, he must survive Ghoul turf wars, learn more about Ghoul society and master his new powers.

As Kaneki and the fiercest fighter in the CCG, Arima, finally face off, several investigators launch an assault on Yoshimura, unaware of the danger that awaits them. The massive battle takes a turn for the worse when the One-Eyed Owl appears, leaving the fate of Kaneki and the CCG hanging in the balance.

Review:

This volume is a lot of all over the place—we get a big mix of backstory and present time, different fights, different characters. There's a lot going on, some deaths and some reveals. It very much feels like an ending volume, with a climax coming and this final fight growing to an end.
The two most important parts to me were the fight between Amon and Kaneki, because it has been needing to happen for a while. There was a lot leading up to it. Second, was the reveal between Kaneki and Hide. That one was... very sweet, and needed for both Kaneki and the readers, amidst all the horror.
This was a very big volume, and I would have enjoyed it more, I think, if it actually felt like an end. Cause it leads up to a big climax, and the ending even works. But then it... doesn't end. And leads very clearly into the next series. It's almost a little disappointing to me, honestly.
Saying that, though, I do still want to read the next series. I'm not in a rush for it, but I'm intrigued to see what happens next.


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

Friday, December 15, 2017

Novel Review: The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance; Geeky
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 2016
Spoilers?: Yes.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Archie and Veronica. Althena and Noth.…Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxy, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

The Cover:

I think this cover is super cute. It's definitely what attracted me to the book in the first place, but I always lean toward the geeky books. I think that the title is done really well, in that fun comic font, and that the boy on the cover just sells the image.

Review:

I think my biggest problem with this book was that I wanted something different from it. Which is my problem more than the books'. But, really, I just love a good childhood-friends-to-lovers romance, and that's what I wanted.
So, spoilers, there.
Graham has been in love with Roxy for forever. They've been friends for forever. And he's finally decided that he's going to romance her, and he's going to do it at comic-con. He has a few things planned out, but several of them keep falling through. And then, while it's all falling apart, so does his confession. Because it happens, only she's not really into him that way?
I will say that I loved all of the geeking, and the comic-con dressing and makings friends and the speed-dating. Graham meets a girl at comic-con, and the friendship forming there was nice. I also liked the two best friends that tagged along to the con. Roxy and Graham also have pretty cool families, though Roxy's is more strict.
I liked the book, and it was fun. All of the parts were good. I just wanted something else from the romance, is all, and I was hopeful at the beginning (because I did read the synopsis and the warning in it), but disappointed at the end. It was still good, though, and I will probably try another book of hers.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Manga Review: Say I Love You, Volume 17, by Kanae Hazuki


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: February 2017
Volumes: 18.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 16. 18.

Goodreads Synopsis:

LOVE AT A DISTANCE

Mei is now in a vocational school to become a preschool teacher, and Yamato is in college with the aim of eventually becoming a professional photographer. But as they get more involved in their individual pursuits, they have fewer chances to see each other, putting a strain on their relationship. To make matters worse, an unsettling message about Yamato and Yamato’s new female friend at his college have brought doubt into the future of Mei and Yamato’s relationship. Meanwhile, Meg continues to struggle with her modeling career in Paris, but a shocking discovery forces her to make a big decision…

Review:

Mei and Asami are struggling with their high school boyfriends. They aren't in the same place anymore, and they're having a hard time staying close and communicating and staying connected. Asami seems to be in a worse state, but she's trying to do something about it or get it over with. Mei, on the other hand, finally talks with Yamato. Yamato seems to realize what he's doing wrong, though, and corrects some of his actions, thankfully.
Megumi, on the other hand, is just struggling. She's having a hard time finding work, and now her boyfriend cheated on her. She's on her own, in an unfamiliar place, floundering to be herself and succeed. I'm still rooting for her and Kai, but it also seems like going to Japan might be best for her anyway. Or at least, somewhere aside from France.
I'm enjoying this series, but the romance and the plot lines aren't seeming very intense or memorable. I think that the slower release dates aren't helping this. I guess there's only one volume left, though, so I'm interested to see how it all wraps up.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Manga Review: In/Spectre, Volume 2, by Kyo Shirodaira and Chashiba Katase


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: January 2017
Volumes: 7+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

EX FACTOR
Kotoko investigates the mysterious death of former idol Karin Nanase, who now terrorizes the sleepy town of Makurazaka as Steel Lady Nanase. But with Kur missing and the threat of the Steel Lady potentially causing harm to the Makurazaka s citizens, Kotoko is left with no choice but to team-up with Kur s ex-girlfriend, Saki. And later, as the Steel Lady strikes again, the origins of Kuro s bizarre powers are revealed.

Review:

This is a relatively short light novel adaptation that I think is really well done. Sometimes they're a bit weak in character development, but this one really isn't. I quite like all of the characters, and the mystery plot is interesting as well.
Saki is trying to better herself and get past her previous relationship. Having Kotoko show up has not helped her do this. Kotoko is adorably shameless and obnoxious. She's trying to show off to Saki, but Kuro doesn't help when he doesn't seem all that in love with her. The poor guy, honestly.
I really like Kotoko; she's refreshing and definitely my favorite character. I like her relationship with Kuro and think he balances her out, but I do want to see more of their dynamic. After the time skip, it's hard to see where they stand in their relationship.
One particular high note in this volume was seeing Steel Lady Nanase's back story. She starred in some seriously cheesy movies, and I think it was cheesy and funny in the best way.
We also got a back story on how Kuro became what he is, what his family did leading up to him. It was rather disturbing, honestly.
This is a really interesting series to me. The mystery is intriguing, but there's also a lot of depth into the characters' and their stories and personalities. I really want to see how this continues.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[263]: The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass

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 Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass
Genre: YA Suspense
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:

The woods were insane in the dark, terrifying and magical at the same time. But best of all were the stars, which trumpeted their light into the misty dark.

Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.

Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.

Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

Excerpt:

All day at school my ears were perked, listening for any hint of a fire, but I didn't hear a thing.” (Hardback, pg. 82)

What are you reading?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Manga Review: Blue Exorcist, Volume 17, by Kazue Kato


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: July 2017
Volumes: 20+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 16. 18.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Rin and his exorcist classmates are caught in a secret war against the forces of darkness.
Raised by Father Fujimoto, a famous exorcist, Rin Okumura never knew his real father. One day a fateful argument with Father Fujimoto forces Rin to face a terrible truth the blood of the demon lord Satan runs in Rin s veins! Rin swears to defeat Satan, but doing that means entering the mysterious True Cross Academy and becoming an exorcist himself.
Shura Kirigakure has always been one of Rin and Yukio s most trusted friends and mentors, but her past is a mystery. When Shura suddenly goes missing, Mephisto sends Rin and Yukio to the cold and wintry north to find her. The journey is a chance for the brothers to talk over recent events, and try to sort out where things stand between them. Out in the frozen countryside, Shura reaches her destination, and a meeting with an entity who will impose an ancient curse upon her "

Review:

This volume focuses solely on Shura, pretty much. She's disappeared to her hometown, and so Rin and Yukio have been sent to help her. Rin and Yukio are already on uneven ground, because Yukio has been acting weird, and Rin is trying to find out why.
But then they find Shura, and realize she's dealing with a long-standing agreement with a demon. She's at the point where she is supposed to fulfill her part, and she's trying to refuse it while realizing that she doesn't really have a choice. Of course, Rin and Yukio have their own idea of how to deal with it.
I honestly did not really care about this arc. For some reason I don't really find Shura that interesting? I do like Yukio and Rin's relationship, and I liked seeing that grow. I don't mind Shura, though, and I liked seeing when she was a kid with Fujimoto. She has an interesting backstory.
This series has seemed to stray a little from the main plot line, but I'm not really sure where it's going at this point. I'm still liking it, though.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Manga Review: The Water Dragon's Bride, Volume 3, by Rei Toma


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 2017
Volumes: 7+
Spoilers?: Yes.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A modern-day girl gets whisked away to a strange land where she is sacrificed to a water dragon god!

In the blink of an eye, a modern-day girl named Asahi is whisked away from her warm and happy home and stranded in a strange and mysterious world where she meets a water dragon god!

Unable to return home, Asahi grows into a lovely young woman while living in this challenging world. As a priestess, she must spend time with the water dragon god for a ritual every year, but because of her connection to the water dragon god's power, someone kidnaps her! Will Asahi be able to escape unscathed?

Review:

We get some new insight into the relationship between Asahi and the Water Dragon. It's interesting to see how they spent their time during the years. Later in the volume, we get to see Asahi testing their relationship, as well. How she decides to push him into helping, relying on him and almost daring him to do something for her. They have an odd agreement between them, and I like it.
Which is confusing to me, since I also really like Subaru. He's sweet and would be my clear pick, if the Water Dragon weren't winning me over so easily. I'm very conflicted about it.
Aside from this turmoil of relationships, we get a new plot point, as—unsurprisingly--another village decides it could use Asahi's in with the Water Dragon. It should lead to some interesting action.
Another new point is that, since the beginning, this has felt like a very quiet series. Asahi lost her voice early on, and it has had an overtone of silence, with only her thoughts. In this volume that changes, and it adds a new voice, and gives her the opportunity to finally demand things and make her voice heard, instead of other people deciding things for her. It's also another moment of progress between her and the Water Dragon.
This series is surprisingly addicting, and I'm very interested for the next one.


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

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Manga Review: Dreamin' Sun, Volume 1, by Ichigo Takano


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: May 2017
Volumes: 10.
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

While loitering in the park, Shimana Kameko, who intended to run away from home and skipped school, meets a suspicious man in a kimono. This man, who had been locked out of his house, offers Shimana a place to stay. However, he requests she fulfill three conditions in exchange for her tenancy?!

Review:

I really enjoyed Orange, so I was eager to pick this one up. I'm a little unsure now, though.
This felt very much like an older shojo series, with a teenage girl who ends up living with a group of boys. I haven't read a series like that in a while, but Shimana is not the best protagonist.
Shimana runs away from home, because her father has a new kid with his new wife and she doesn't feel like she fits in anymore. It honestly feels like she's throwing a fit. In her angst, she stumbles upon an older guy, who's hungover and locked out of his house. She gets roped into getting the key from one of her classmates, along with a few other conditions in order to live there with them for cheap.
Mostly, Shimana is whiny. She's an angsty, whiny teenager. Meh. She ends up living with Asahi, who's a smart, cute guy from her school, and Zen, who is more of a loud dork. I'm actually a fan of both of them so far; I'm leaning toward Zen, but Asahi is a good guy, too.
We also meet Miku, an older woman who's slightly crazy, but I think will be a good influence on Shimana. There's some hints of a deeper meaning behind their landlord's job and his connection to Shimana, but I'm not too worried.
This was an interesting first volume, and it got better by the end. The art style looked like an earlier kind from Orange. I'll probably keep reading.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[262]: The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1) by Michelle Hodkin

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 Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1) by Michelle Hodkin
Genre: YA Supernatural
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 7th, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis:


In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.

Excerpt:

It's.. I'm—
Triggered. Triggered is the word for it, much as I hate to admit.” (Hardback, pg. 156)

What are you reading?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Manga Review: Nisekoi: False Love, Volume 23, by Naoshi Komi


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: September 2017
Volumes: 25.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 22. 24.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Love triangle! Comedic antics!! Gang warfare?!
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.
On Marika s wedding day, Raku bursts in just before the couple seals their vows. Will Raku and the gang manage to rescue Marika from her mother s minions? And when they return to their ordinary lives, how will the whole adventure affect Kosaki and Chitoge s feelings for Raku?"

Review:

This series is very clearly nearing it's end, as two characters get some kind of closure for their crushes. I've liked most of the characters in this series, but some of the romantic feelings never worked for me. Quite a few of them, actually—particularly the ones in this volume.
(Aside from the end of the date between Raku and Chitoge, of course. That was rather adorable.)
Haru has particularly been very meh to me, both as a character and a romantic option. She's just seemed like a younger version of her sister, who is better and got more character development.
The main things that's bothered me about Tsugumi, on the other hand, is how strong she's always portrayed (supposedly, at least—but let's not get into that), and yet she's always embarrassing and hurting herself around Raku, being “forced” to rely on him. It's just unnecessary and annoying.
On the bright side of this, we also got a bit of time between Ruri and Shu, whom I actually like together. I really like when Shu gets serious, since it barely happens and it's always done so pointedly and so well, like at the end here.
This was a good volume for side-romance endings. I'm looking forward to getting to the more important ones and seeing what happens there.