Saturday, May 31, 2014

Manga Review: Happy Marriage?!, Volume 4, by Maki Enjoji

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February, 2014
Volumes: 10
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Chiwa Takanashi has married a total stranger—company president Hokuto Mamiya—to get her father out of debt.

With her first attempt at making love with her husband foiled, Chiwa starts going out drinking every night with Yu Yagami. Hokuto blames himself for what happened, but how long will Chiwa allow her husband to keep her at a distance?

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) Rated M

There was a surprising turn of events near the beginning of the volume, but then around the middle it got rough, as Chiwa made a very clichéd decision. It got on my nerves, as it’s such an overused, unneeded plot point, and it was resolved in very little time. I can see the meaning of it for this story, and for Chiwa (kind of, I guess), but I still don’t really think it was necessary.
The ending of the volume, or the last two chapters, though, made up for it. Chiwa and Hokuto took very big steps in their relationship, finally. I’m glad that we don’t have to wait any longer, although of course something else will come up in the next book.
The last two chapters were filled with a lot of romantic, cutesy, love-proclaiming scenes, and I loved it. It also included the awaited smut, which I’m happy about. I really enjoyed them, and it’s what upped the rating.
I’m just really enjoying this series thus far; it’s cliché, and the heroine is rather stereotypical and overly shy, sure. But I like seeing the characters grow closer and develop (at least somewhat), the art is nice, and the humor fits pretty well for me. The smut in this chapter was also rather well done, nicely intense and sweet. 
I’m looking forward to reading the next volume, and seeing where the story goes from here.

Manga Review: Millennium Snow, Volume 3, by Bisco Hatori

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Volumes: 4
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1 & 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Chiyuki Matsuoka was born with heart problems, and her doctors say she won't live to see the next snow. Toya is an 18-year-old vampire who hates blood and refuses to make the traditional partnership with a human, whose life-giving blood would keep them both alive for a thousand years.


I have been excited for this book ever since I heard it was being released. I’m a huge fan of Hatori’s Ouran High School Host Club series, and have rather enjoyed the first two volumes of this series. I was really excited to see how it had changed, storytelling and art and character, after such a long hiatus.
Firstly, I particularly liked reading the author’s comments in this volume. It was nice to see how the process of getting back into this series was, and how fast Ouran took off and how that changed things for her. Also, I completely understood her horror at reading her own work over again.
Secondly, the artwork was very different. Much better, much prettier. The cover alone shows the difference. The humor was different, almost a little more exaggerated than before, sometimes a little unneeded. The story was also more thoughtful than the first two volumes, which I was surprised by, but really liked. The characters were a little different, particularly Chiyuki—she seemed a little more outgoing and open about her feelings than I thought she was in the first books.
The plot took a much more direct point of Chiyuki and Toya having a relationship than it did before. We met a new character in this volume (although I’m not sure if she’s going to stick around), but mostly the chapters and plotlines seemed more specific for developing the characters, which I liked. There was a lesson for them to learn, and that was obvious, but also not over-done. We also didn't really see as much of the other characters as we did in the first two books; there was some Satsuki and Yami, but not that much. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but I did miss them a little bit.
There was also a bonus chapter at the back, written before the hiatus, which really shows the art difference. It was cute, giving some character background for Yamimaru and Toya, and that was nice.
This was a really good volume. I enjoyed reading more of Hatori’s work. There were a lot of changes, and most of them were for the better. I really look forward to seeing how the series wraps up.

A review copy was provided by the publisher, VIZ Media, and Erik Jansen from MediaLab PR. Thank you so, so much!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Novel Review: Withering Tights (Misadventures of Tallulah Casey, #1) by Louise Rennison

Rating (Out of 5): ~2
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Release Date: 2010
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Wow. This is it. This is me growing up. On my own, going to Performing Arts College. This is good-bye, Tallulah, you long, gangly thing, and hellooooo, Lullah, star of stage.

Tallulah Casey is ready to find her inner artist. And some new mates. And maybe a boy or two or three.

The ticket to achieving these lofty goals? Enrolling in a summer performing arts program, of course. She's bound for the wilds of Yorkshire Dales—eerily similar to the windswept moors of Wuthering Heights. Tallulah expects new friends, less parental interference, and lots of drama. Acting? Tights? Moors? Check, check, check.

What she doesn't expect is feeling like a tiny bat's barging around in her mouth when she has her first snog.

Bestselling author Louise Rennison returns with her trademark wit, a hilarious new cast, and a brand-new cheeky heroine who is poised to discover plenty of opportunities for (mis)adventure!

The Cover:

I actually really like this cover. It's simple, not embarrassing, eye-catching; the colors work with the book, the style of it does, and I like that there are a few items that actually have to do with the book. And the other covers in the series match and look really good together.


  • "He was sooooo lovely. And, well, gorgeous. He had everything a dream boy should have. Back, front, sides. Everything. A head. And all in a boy shape.” (Hardback, pg. 82-83) Haha!


I did not particularly like this book. It was a little meh, a lot not really my style.
Tallulah is a bit immature, a bit young, and just not really my type of character. The writing also isn’t, a little random and with a storyline that moves all over the place. A story that pretty much follows Tallulah doing everyday things, and how some of those things go in weird places. I’m assuming it’s similar to Rennison’s previous series, Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, which I decided not to read after reading a couple pages. It just didn’t seem like my type of book, similarly to how this isn’t. It follows Tallulah around, as I said, without really going anywhere, or forming a big plot line. There isn’t one main love interest, there’s a big group of friends.
I just didn’t really care for it. It's not my type of book, although I might have enjoyed it more when I was younger.

Novel Review: The Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Genre: YA/MG Contemporary
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic)
Release Date: September, 2013
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A is for "Tink Aaron-Martin," "Aardvark," and "Amazing" in this wonderful alphabetical novel!

Tink Aaron-Martin has been grounded AGAIN after an adventure with her best friend Freddie Blue Anderson. To make the time pass, she decides to write an encyclopedia of her life from "Aa" (a kind of lava--okay, she cribbed that from the real encyclopedia) to "Zoo" (she's never been to one, but her brothers belong there).

As the alphabet unfolds, so does the story of Tink's summer: more adventures with Freddie Blue (and more experiences in being grounded); how her family was featured in a magazine about "Living with Autism," thanks to her older brother Seb--and what happened after Seb fell apart; her growing friendship, and maybe more, with Kai, a skateboarder who made her swoon (sort of). And her own sense that maybe she belongs not under "H" for "Hideous," or "I" for "Invisible," but "O" for "Okay."

Written entirely in Tink's hilarious encyclopedia entries, THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ME is both a witty trick and a reading treat for anyone who loves terrific middle-grade novels.

The Cover:

I find the cover of this book to be very adorable. I love how the girl is standing on a pile of books, with the title on them, up on her tiptoes to reach the boy. The colors are light and fun, working very well with the book. I think it's a very adorable, fitting book, even if the romance doesn't play too big a part on the book itself.


  • "People are all different: People with autism are all different, and so are people without it. So, seriously, what is the big deal about that?” (ARC, pg. 25)
  • "Kissing The act of pressing your mouth on someone else’s and squishing it around in a way that is a lot better than it sounds. I have nothing to say about kissing that I haven’t already told you. You are obsessed with kissing! It’s none of my business, but you might have a problem.” (Pg. 122)
  • "Sarcasm is irony with a twist and a shove.” (Pg. 180)


When I picked this up, I thought it was going to be a short, cute young adult novel. Instead, it’s a middle grade novel, and that changed a lot of things.
I will say that I love the premise of the book. Telling a story by the alphabet, like in an encyclopedia, is a great idea. And the cover is adorable, so that helps. The set-up, and even some of the book, was rather cute. Very light hearted. And there was some development, which I liked. I really liked Tink’s family, and their progress.
But the characters were much more immature than I thought they would be. Although, if I was younger, I definitely would have liked that a lot more. But I’m over the whole, making new words, talking in text speak, having crushes on boys and liking the popular girls and then moving on from one thing to another in days. None of that really works for me anymore. I didn’t really relate to the character, either, probably because she isn’t quite like I was when I was that age. Although, I still think I would have liked it more had I read this while in middle school. Particularly the writing, which is immature, with all capped words and exclamation points and text speak and made up words. I just don’t care for that too much anymore.
I did find some of this book cute--I did like how Tink matured by the end, and I did like her family, and even some of her thoughts on things, especially the view on autism. It was a bit cute, and very fast. But overall it just isn’t really my type of book.