Monday, March 31, 2014

Manga Review: I.N.V.U., Volume 2, by Kim Kang Won

Rating (Out of 5): ~2
Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: 2002
Volumes: 5 (hiatus)
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

When 16-year-old Sey's mom departs suddenly for Europe, she leaves Sey with a new family, the Kangs. This "family" is supposed to be normal, but when her foster brother turns out to be a sister, Sey begins to think that her new home is weirder than her old one. She looks for a job so she can get her own place and escape her crazy life, but the more time she spends with her new sibling, the more she discovers that their lives are intertwined.


I’m just not very impressed with this series. I don’t think I’ll be getting the rest of them, unless I find them for very cheap or something.
I’m just not invested in any of the characters. I don’t think I know enough about them, or have gotten to know them very well deep down. The point of view changes are weird, there are too many characters with too little development, very skin-deep while trying to make them more in-depth but with too little focus. I have to read it the American way, which I’m not a huge fan of (but I would do, if I felt more strongly about it).
I mean, I’m intrigued, but I think my biggest problem with it is that it’s unfinished. It’s on a long hiatus in Japan, and volume 5 over here is very hard to find. If it had been continued, and continued published over here, then I wouldn’t mind reading more and getting more invested, because I am intrigued. But as is, I’m just not very interested, or motivated to continue. I would rather spend my money on something ongoing, or completed.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Novel Review: Be With Me by Maya Banks

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Genre: Erotica/Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Heat (Penguin)
Release Date: 2008
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

She has a killer on her tail and three men in her bed?

An author who knows how to please turns up the Heat in a sizzling new novel of erotic suspense?

Hutch, Cam, and Sawyer were juvenile delinquents when they formed a friendship with the wealthy but lonely Regina. She felt loved for the first time in her life?by all three. Today she?s a police officer and wary of resuming her relationship with the hot trio?until an attempt is made on her life. When they jump in to protect her, an all-new bond is formed, one riskier than ever before because now a killer looms in the shadows.

The Cover:

I honestly like both of the covers for this book. The one above, while obviously embarrassingly erotic, I like the look of it. It's pretty, the colors work really well together, and it represents the book pretty well. (And it looks better in person.) The second one, while I'm not too sure how well it represents the book, is just overall kind of gorgeous. I love the lace, how pretty it is, the colors on it, and how non-embarrassing it is, while still obviously a romance; also, it looks really good on the physical edition, with that neat feel to it, and with it being a mass market paperback.


This was a surprisingly good Banks book for me, with a lot less sex than I thought there would be.
I really liked the friendship between the characters, the openness between them, and the way they worked through their problems. Sometimes they were a little hot headed and impulsive, in frustrating ways, but overall they were there for each other. It was obvious that they all loved each other, and that was nice. The camaraderie between them, even dis-including the romance, was really nice.
I liked each characters background and how they were developed, even though I do think more time on that would have been nice. The serious plot line was important, and not too much time was spent on it, which was nice. A lot of time was spent on the relationships, which I liked a lot. And the ending was very nice.
There wasn’t too much sex, and the sex there was, was very nice. Maybe a little vanilla for the most part, but nice, hot, with some variety.
Overall this was a pretty good, if a little average, of a read for me. And I hope to pick up another of Banks’ books in the near future.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Manga Review: Strobe Edge, Volume 7, by Io Sakisaka

Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November, 2013
Volumes: 10
Spoilers?: Not really.
Volume: 1. 6. 8.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A heartwarming story about first love that’s one of the most hotly anticipated new shojo series among U.S. fans.What is love, anyway? Ninako Kinoshita’s friends tell her it’s one thing, but Ninako wonders what this mysterious feeling really is. When she meets Ren Ichinose, the handsome, enigmatic guy that all the girls worship, her life takes an unexpected turn. With just a few words and a smile, he changes her world...

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


It’s been a few months since I last read a volume of Strobe Edge, and it reminded me how much I enjoy this series. This series is adorable, and hilarious, and cute, and sweet, and thoughtful, all at the same time. Moving from one to the other seamlessly, and I love it. I was grinning and laughing the entire time while reading this volume, it’s so freakin’ good.
Ninako and Ren’s relationship is still simmering. Neither of them thinking the other feels the same, but hanging out and talking mostly normally. There’s a lot of looks exchanged, though, and Ninako’s feelings are really starting to bubble over. I’m excited to see when they finally tell each other, and who does it first. I’m betting on Ninako, but Ren finally being upfront about it would be a nice change (and I do think he’s getting there).
I am really surprised by how much I’m liking Ren. Ando wasn’t in this volume much, and Ren might even be moving ahead in my mind. Ren is really maturing, and it’s really showing in how he’s reacting after the breakup.
There was also a lot of drama between Sayuri and Daiki in this volume. I wasn’t expecting it, and it was a bit angsty at one point, but it turned out really well. Those two are seriously adorable together. Daiki gets so happy when he sees her, it’s so sweet. I love them, seriously. And it seems like we might get to see some of the other minor-ish characters getting attention next, and I’m looking forward to that. Also, some real drama for Ren and Ninako (and probably Ando), oooh. 
This is probably one of my favorite series at this point, especially given how happy I get while reading it. I’m seriously loving it, and am really, really excited to get the next volumes.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Manga Review: Peach Girl: Change of Heart, Volume 10, by Miwa Ueda

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Tokyopop
Release Date: 2004
Volumes: 18 (8 for first series, 10 for Change of Heart)
Spoilers?: Not really; hint for guy chosen
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble.

What Will I Miss?:

  • I will probably miss the drama; it's over-the-top at times, but sometimes you're just in the mood for that, and this type of series really fills that craving.
  • Also, the artwork and possibly the story-telling gets better the more she writes, which really makes me want to read her newer stuff.


I am so glad that I finally got this series, because it was so good. I wasn’t sure at first, and it was really only the last couple volumes where my emotions really got going, but overall it was really freakin’ good.
Since I watched the anime, I did know a lot of what happened, but it’s been so long and there was enough deviation, that it was all really refreshing to me. There’s so much drama, and Sae never really goes away, but it’s all just so good.
I remembered loving Kiley, but I found that I really liked and understood Toji as well in the mange. In the end I was a very big fan of Kiley, though; he’s like a poor, sad puppy dog that you just want to hug, and I’m so happy with how the story ended. I feel a little bad for Toji, but I do like Kiley more. And Momo is happy, which is also very good. Sae seemed to have changed in a good way by the end of the series as well, even if she’s still, you know, Sae. It makes me wonder what’s going to happen in her spin-off, which I will be reading soon (at least, the first volume).
This was a really good series, I’m so glad I picked it up, and that I’ve read it now (especially since I’d been staring at it for so long). And I really hope that someone picks up another of Ueda's series to release over here, which I think would be Kodansha, and I’m going to be optimistic in that they will do so, since they seem to be expanding their shojo line. 
Also, as a sidenote: does everyone else remember when Tokyopop didn’t translate all of the Japanese? Like for the sound effects/SFX parts? There was a lot of that in this series, and I even noticed some of it in their later series, like Karakuri Odette. And, god, that drives me insane. I don’t understand why they did that, and I’m pretty sure that none of the other companies did, or at least that they don’t any more. Why did they do that? It really annoys me when I’m reading a supposedly completely translated book, only to have a panel with large Japanese text and a character with a startled look on their face, and having no idea what happened until I read the next couple panels, when I would have known from the noise made. Sorry, that just really bothers me.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wishlist Thursday[50]: Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends, #1) by Kelley Armstrong

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: April 8th, 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.


I’ve heard some iffy stuff, but I’m optimistic. I really enjoyed Armstrong’s previous YA books, and liked what I read of her adult stuff (although I’m way behind). This doesn’t quite sound like it’s in my area of interest, and much more high fantasy than I normally go for, but it still sounds interesting, and I’m giving Armstrong the benefit of the doubt. I’m looking forward to picking this up, and hoping that it’s good.
Also, for the longest time, I wasn't even sure if this was YA (I'm still kind of not, maybe?). The synopsis doesn't hint at their age, and the cover looks more adult than YA. I like the cover, it's very pretty and intriguing and not-embarrassing, but still.

What are you looking forward to reading?