Friday, October 31, 2014

Comic Review: Nightmares and Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time..., Volume 1, by Serena Valentino and FSc

Rating (Out of 5): ~3-3.5
Publisher: SLG Publishing
Release Date: 2004
Volumes: 4
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

This haunting first collection of Annabelle's memories are filled with frightening stories and dark fairy tales about her various owners . Featuring the first 6 issues, as well as some other spookirific surprises, including an introduction by Tommy Kovac (Skelebunnies, Stitch and Autumn) as well as a guest page by Jhonen Vasquez and other SLG creators.


This was a very dark, but very good, comic.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect, especially since I don’t read a lot of these, but it looked good. The art is gothic and dark, in a good way, with long necks and horrifying faces.
The storyline is really creepy. There’s a different one for each chapter, although ultimately they all revolve around a cursed doll. Annabelle wants to be loved and happy, and yet every owner that she has ends up dying horribly.
There are the normal stories, one about a girl and her friends, one about a girl and nuns, most of whom die somehow. There’s also a normal little girl who ends up being taken from her horrible parents and living with a nice lady, thankfully. There are two fairytales retold: Snow White and Cinderella. Both of them have horrible journeys but end somewhat nicely.
These are all horrible, nightmare-inducing stories, and they’re all very well done. The Snow White story particularly stands out to me. It was surprisingly good, and I’m glad I picked it up. I would like to find more stories like it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wishlist Thursday[81]: Kiss of the Rose Princess by Aya Shouoto & The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 1 by Aya Shouoto

Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Volumes: 9

Goodreads Synopsis:

Anise Yamamoto has been told that if she ever removes the rose choker given to her by her father, a terrible punishment will befall her. Unfortunately she loses that choker when a bat-like being falls from the sky and hits her. Anise is granted four cards representing four knights whom she can summon with a kiss. But now that she has these gorgeous men at her beck and call, what exactly is her quest?!


This series sounds like it’s just for me. It sounds cute and funny, and what I’ve seen of the art looks very pretty. This seems like a very cute reverse-harem series, and I hope it’s as good as I feel like it will be, because I’m getting a very good intuition feel from it. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book.


The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3) by Michelle Hodkin

Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller/Horror Romance

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.


I am so excited for this book. I have been loving this series so far, and even been impressed by some of it, and I cannot wait to see how this series ends. And after the release date being moved back, I’m even more eager. And given that I’m in the mood for something spooky, this cannot come soon enough. (Although, to be fair, I hadn’t even realized that this was coming out so soon!)

What are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Manga Review: Manga Dogs, Volume 1, by Ema Toyama

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Volumes: 3
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:


Kanna Tezuka is a serious 15-year-old manga artist, already being published as a pro. So when she finds out her high school is starting a manga drawing course, even she gets excited. But it's a fiasco! The teacher is useless, and the only other students — three pretty-boy artist wannabes — quickly adopt Kanna as their (unwilling) sensei. But they all have ridiculous delusions about being an artist, and if Kanna can't bring them back down to Earth, she'll never get any work done!

A sharp-witted satire of the manga world from the creator of I Am Here! and Missions of Love!


I was not quite expecting this. I’ve read and enjoyed both of Toyama’s other series released, and was looking forward to picking this one up as well. Her art is just so pretty, and her characters are also very enjoyable. And given that her two other series were rather different from each other, I was looking forward to seeing what this one was going to bring to the table.
I was definitely expecting a reverse-harem romance, along with some comedy. But this is actually pretty straight-forward with the manga-making parody. It’s full of comedy, and while there are some hints of romance (since Kanna is very inexperienced and is suddenly surrounded by three boys), none of it is really brought to the forefront. There isn’t really even a leaning toward one particular boy. It’s more comedy, all around.
And the comedy bits are quite funny. Kanna is a new mangaka, having debuting but still trying to make a name for herself. And the three boys want to become rich mangaka, only they’re thinking about everything but actually drawing manga. And the chapters are short, too, dealing with one of the boys’ ideas at a time, like a pseudonym or research by reading or what to do with the money. The boys are similar, but different enough—one a quiet ‘smart’ type, the cutesy boy, and the happy-go-lucky type. Then we meet a new boy at the end, who seems to have a problem with people debuting. Not to mention that they’re in a manga program at school, consisting of them, with no real teacher. It all adds up to a lot hilarity, and frustration for loner Kanna.
There are only three volumes in this series, and I’m looking forward to reading more, especially now that I’m expecting comedy. This should be good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday[122]: Firebug (Firebug, #1) by Lish McBride

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!


Firebug (Firebug, #1) by Lish McBride

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ava can start fires with her mind . . . but is it a blessing or a curse?

Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren't caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She's one of their main hit men . . . and she doesn't like it one bit. Not least because her mother's death was ordered by Venus—who is now her boss.

When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can't say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in. Preferably keeping the murder to a minimum.


“‘Who was near your drink?’
‘Ryan, of course, and the bartender. Maybe some of the waitstaff…’
‘Is that what you call careful?’ Lock said. ‘Would it be faster for you to list who isn’t a suspect?’
‘Don’t yell at me!’” (Hardback, pg. 122)

What are you reading right now?

Monday, October 27, 2014

(Short) Manga Reviews: Dragon Ball Full Color: Saiyan Arc, Volume 1, and Max Steel: Hero Overload, Volume 2

Dragon Ball Full Color: Saiyan Arc, Volume 1, by Akira Toriyama
Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2014
Volumes: 3?
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Son Goku is the greatest hero on Earth. Five years after defeating the demon king Piccolo, he's grown up and had a family--he's married, and he has a child, Son Gohan. But what is the real reason for Goku's incredible strength? A visitor from outer space arrives bearing terrible news--Goku is an alien, and the visitor, Raditz, is Goku's brother! When Raditz turns out to be a ruthless killer, Goku must fight his incredibly strong brother to save his family and the entire human race. A surprising alliance may be Earth's last hope: Goku will team up with his old enemy Piccolo—archenemies united to save the world!"

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


I have never read or seen any of the Dragon Ball series, including any of it’s spin-offs or other versions. The most I’ve ever seen of this series is the image of a few of the characters. So my understanding of this series was minuscule when I received this book, and I was a little deterred when I thought this was the first, only to find out it was a later arc of the series.
I’m even more surprised to say that this wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be—it was even a little enjoyable. I didn’t mind reading it.
I was thrown into the world with little explanation, but everything was explained well-enough along the way. I got at least some understanding of their powers and how they worked. There was a bit more violence than I expected, and I didn’t grow too attached to the characters, but it was interesting. The fight scenes were pretty easy to follow. The art wasn't too bad, either.
I didn’t really appreciate that the SFX were translated at the end of the volume, but I respect their decision not to clutter the panels. And this is definitely a sturdy, pretty volume. It’s full color, with a solid spine and thick pages; it is not a flimsy book, which is nice.
This was a pretty average book for me, and I’m happy with that, given I had no idea how I would feel about it. I don’t know if I want to pick up more volumes, but I’m not so turned off from watching the show now, at least. And I have a better understanding for why so many people like it.


Max Steel: Hero Overload, Volume 2, by B. Clay Moore and Alfa Robbi
Rating (Out of 5): ~2.5
Publisher: Perfect Square (VIZ Media) and Mattel
Release Date: January 2014
Spoilers?: No.
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells. RightStuf.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Maxwell McGrath is just your average 16-year-old boy…until he starts experiencing uncontrollable Turbo Energy! To control this superpower, he must merge with a know-it-all alien ultralink named Steel. Together this unlikely duo will battle to save the earth as the ultimate turbocharged superhero—MAX STEEL!


I received this book for review, and it isn’t really something I would normally pick up. I just don’t read a lot of middle grade, cartoon network, superhero stuff.
But it was all right. The artwork was all right, the story was okay. It was pretty average for me, honestly. The humor wasn’t that great, it was a little exaggerated with the overall plot predictable. The moral lesson at the end was good, although it was pretty much just tacked on to the last two pages.
But I do think that elementary, maybe grade school, kids will enjoy it. I’m just not the target audience.

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