Saturday, October 31, 2015

Manga Review: QQ Sweeper, Volume 1, by Kyousuke Motomi

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Volumes: 3 (with sequel)
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Kyutaro Horikita, the tall, dark and handsome cleaning expert of Kurokado High, is about to meet a sleeping maiden at the school: transfer student Fumi Nishioka! Fumi’s going to learn how to rid the school of nasty spirits with Kyutaro’s help, and her heart will surprisingly be “cleansed” too…!

In the old campus of their school, a mysterious room has a door that beckons Fumi, even though she shouldn’t even be able to see it! Kyutaro goes in after her, but will he be able to save her before she gets devoured by otherworldly creatures?


Going into this, I was a little worried it would be really similar to Dengeki Daisy, given the description. But I’m surprised to say that, even with the similarities, it’s quite different. And even more fun than I expected.
Fumi has just transferred to a new school, after being thrown out all on her own. And somehow she stumbles upon the supernatural cleaning service that Kyutaro and the headmaster run.
Fumi is determined to find a rich prince charming, much like Cinderella. Even with that, though, she doesn’t intend to get in the way of true love, much like a potential suitor is already experiencing, and like what she thinks Kyutaro is stuck on. As soon as she sees that, she moves right along to a new possibility. I like how honest and kind this makes her, and I also like how trusting and close she grows to Kyutaro so quickly, even while not thinking of him as a romantic interest.
The plot seems to be growing thicker at the end of the volume, and I’m excited for more. I like the world she’s stumbled upon, what Kyutaro does and how determined she is to learn and help. The supernatural element is interesting, something I haven’t seen before in this way. I like that.
I do think that Motomi has gotten better, too. Her characterizing is better, and the humor is used in a more thoughtful way, but still exaggerated like in her other series. But there was also a lot of really thoughtful moments and clear scenes. I’m impressed.
This volume was more fun than I expected, and I can’t wait for the next one.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Novel Review: A Whole New World (A Twisted Tale, #1) by Liz Braswell

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Genre: YA Disney Fairy-Tale Retelling; Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

The Cover:

I love this cover. I couldn't quite see it online, but on the physical book, the front has the image of Jasmine, with her crown and flowing hair, and the image on the back is of Aladdin, with his red hat. Plus the city of Agrabah worked into it. It's beautiful.

Given how huge a fan of Disney, and Aladdin in particular, that I am, I was hopeful but wary going into this. Depending on the author, this was either going to be amazing or terrible. And I’m surprised to find that I’m in the minority here, thinking it wasn’t that bad.
Granted, the first twenty percent is pretty much word for word like the movie, only with a little more detail and depth added. But I didn’t mind that, actually quite enjoyed seeing it again and being more in Aladdin’s head for it. Plus, the small details that were changed made sense to me, though I might have liked some more changes. And, really, this is published by Disney and specifically references Aladdin—what were you expecting?
But after the twist in the plot, everything changes. And I liked the thought put into each change. It’s made more realistic—Jafar, taking power like he wanted, is turned really evil. He kills people, including important characters in the movie who I won’t spoil. Jasmine is taken captive, unable to do anything. And that means she has to get smart and tactical really fast. Aladdin, on the other hand, is stuck inside the cave and has to figure out how to get out. Then he has to find a way to undo what Jafar did.
The biggest change to me was Jasmine’s character. And by the end, I do feel like I lost a sense of who she was, and who Aladdin was as well. I don’t know if that was purposeful, because of everything that happened, but I didn’t like that.
But there were also the little things. Like that Jasmine meets the Genie before Aladdin does. And I appreciated that the Genie stayed true to who he was in the movies. There was also the realistic look at what was happening. The Sultan was given a new perspective, as  a ruler; Jasmine got to see what was happening in her city, what kind of ruler her father really was, and what to do about all the poverty. And from that, she had to stand up and rule her city like she needed to. We also saw realistically what the Genie’s-made guards and dancers were really like—identical and fake. There was also more insight to Aladdin’s childhood with a prologue, and we met other street rat friends of his. We got reference of where Genies/Djinn's come from.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked the new take on the story, with the twist and the new look at things. Some things could have been better, like the characterization, but I didn’t think it was too bad.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wishlist Thursday[131]: Idol Dreams by Arina Tanemura

Idol Dreams 1 by Arina Tanemura

Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)

Release Date: November 3, 2015

Volumes: 2+

Goodreads Synopsis:

At age 31, office worker Chikage Deguchi feels she missed her chances at love and success. When word gets out that she’s a virgin, Chikage is humiliated and wishes she could turn back time to when she was still young and popular. She takes an experimental drug that changes her appearance back to when she was 15. Now Chikage is determined to pursue everything she missed out on all those years ago—including becoming a star!


I am a huge fan of Arina Tanemura, and I have read all of her book released over here. Given that they’re all from Shojo Beat, I was not surprised to hear their licensing her newest series—I knew it was just a matter of time. Still, I’m super excited for this one. I think it’s a little lighter on the supernatural stuff? Either way, I can’t wait to read this.

Is this on your list?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Manga Review: My Neighbor Seki, Volume 2, by Takuma Morishige

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Release Date: April 2015
Volumes: 7+
Spoilers?: Minor.
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository. Powells.
Volume: 1. 3.
Add on Goodreads 

RightStuf Synopsis:

Every day is a new surprise at the back of Rumi Yokoi's classroom. And she is consistently being inconvenienced by her neighbor Seki, at least he hasn't been caught... Or so she thought. Apparently someone else has noticed Yokoi and Seki back there, and this person can only imagine what that pair are conspiring.


This series is so fun and so adorable.
Yokoi and Seki are getting into lots of classroom antics again. Seki is blindfolding himself while creating a face on his desk. He’s making armies out of his food and boardgame pieces, trying to win jenga. Challenging himself to think of funny or sad memories. On a fieldtrip, he tries hiding his past games, inadvertently getting Yokoi to help. When he brings out his robot friends at the pool, Yokoi gets motherly and steals them again.
But they’re not the only ones anymore. The girl sitting behind Yokoi, not seeing what Seki is up to, starts thinking that they’re having a love affair. When Seki tries making a game involving the guy in front of him’s back, he’s almost found out. He’s almost caught by a teacher in the yard.
This series is so fun, and I’m always looking forward to reading the next one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Teaser Tuesday[173]: Infinite Days (Vampire Queen, #1) by Rebecca Maizel

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!


Infinite Days (Vampire Queen, #1) by Rebecca Maizel

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: 2010

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you... no one.”

Those were some of Rhode’s last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face.

It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste.

Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust.

I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn’t Rhode.

But Justin was... daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream.

I never expected to be sixteen again... then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me...


“ ‘Staying in tonight?’ Tracy asked, looping her arm through Justin’s. I looked into Tracy’s eyes as a vampire would. A stare that pierced deep into the pupils. Though I saw no depth to her soul.” (Paperback, pg. 138)

What are you reading right now?