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Monday, July 24, 2017

Manga Review: In/Spectre, Volume 1, by Kyo Shirodaira and Chashiba Katase


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: November 2016
Volumes: 6.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

KINDRED SPIRITS
The 17-year-old Kotoko has a unique situation. When she was a child, she was kidnapped by spiritscalled yokai, and returnedmissing one leg and one eye. Since then, she has been able to communicate with otherworldlyforces, both benevolent and dangerous. Kotoko is alone in her power until she learns that the crush she's watched from afar, Kur, has had his own encounter with yokai! As if being touched by the supernatural wasn't enough, Kur 's personal life is also in shambles. With their shared experiences and understanding, Kotoko and Kur form a partnership to deal with mysteries, from ancient demons to the ghost of an idol. But for a girl who's used to dealing with spirits, winning love might prove to be the bigger challenge!

Review:

This series intrigued me a little when I first heard about it, but it's taken me a while to get around to starting it. The artwork is pretty, though I hadn't really read the description.
We meet Kotoko at the beginning, a girl who was kidnapped by yokai when she was young, and has to visit the hospital regularly for check ups. She has a crush on Kuro, a boy who also regularly visits the hospital, but she hasn't really talked to him until now. He also has an interesting connection to yokai that Kotoko is curious about.
I like Kotoko from the beginning. She's tiny, looks much younger than she is, but she's smart and she doesn't mind the scars she's earned to be where she is now. She's very upfront and shameless in the way she talks, and I appreciate that.
In the second half of the volume, we skip forward some, and we see what a different character has been up to. I'm intrigued to see where the next volume goes, given the switch of characters, and I like what I've seen so far.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Manga Review: The Water Dragon's Bride, Volume 2, by Rei Toma


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Volumes: 6+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 3.

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 is sacrificed to a water dragon god! What plans are in store for her, and what will happen when she comes face to face with this god?
After a ritual in the village leaves her hovering on the brink of death, Asahi is rescued by the power of the water dragon god! Has he awakened to feelings of compassion, or does Asahi need to flee this treacherous world before something irreparable happens to her?

Review:

So far, this series seems beautiful and sad. Asahi and Subaru have a true friendship, a connection despite everything going against them. The Water God is making it hard on them, and Subaru's mother is awful, and even the village as a whole is awful. Then the Water God punishes the village, in a move that he thinks helps Asahi. In a strange twist, suddenly the village doesn't want Asahi dead, and they start treating her like royalty. She even gets a helper, an older boy who looks after her.
The Water God is still looming over her, though, waiting to take her away, and Asahi has to deal with that and the fact that she can never go back home.
At the end of the volume, it looks like we're going to be skipping forward in time, to a new arc. I'm surprised by how good this series is so far, and I'm really looking forward to reading the next one. 


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

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Manga Review: Ten Count, Volume 4, by Rihito Takarai


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: SuBLime (VIZ Media)
Release Date: May 2017
Volumes: 5+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Corporate secretary Shirotani suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder in this doctor-patient romance fraught with compulsion!

Corporate secretary Shirotani suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. One day he meets Kurose, a therapist who offers to take him through a ten-step program to cure him of his compulsion. As the two go through each of the ten steps, Shirotani’s attraction to his counselor grows.

At the mercy of Kurose’s hands and words, Shirotani finally hears the full reason Kurose fell in love with him. The truth is such a surprise that Shirotani runs away from him in shock, and it isn’t long before his body starts aching for Kurose’s touch, causing Shirotani to soothe his own desire. But in doing so, he scares up memories of the traumatic event at the core of his compulsion.

Review:

I think I've just given in at this point. I know that this series has some serious issues regarding healthy relationships. But as a guilty pleasure, I really like it.
This series is so dirty. Explicitly dirty. I love it.
We get to see what started Shirotani's problems, and why he feels so shameful and bad all the time. It's honestly heartbreaking.
Hearing Kurose's reasons for wanting to be with Shirotano is actually more unhealthy and problematic, in my mind. It's even a little disturbing, and the way he's mean to Shirotani is a bit upsetting. And yet I like the way that he reassures Shirotani afterward. It is sadistic, for sure, at times.
I honeslty really enjoy this series, and am looking forward to the next one. They're bad, and yet so good at the same time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Manga Review: Assassination Classroom, Volume 14, by Yusei Matsui


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5 
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2017
Volumes: 21.
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 13. 15.

Goodreads Synopsis:

What does a pathetic class of misfits have in their arsenal to combat their schoolteacher’s alien technology, bizarre powers and...tentacles?!

Ever caught yourself screaming, "I could just kill that teacher"?

What would it take to justify such antisocial behavior and weeks of detention? Especially if he's the best teacher you've ever had? Giving you an "F" on a quiz? Mispronouncing your name during roll call...again? How about blowing up the moon and threatening to do the same to Mother Earth—unless you take him out first?! Plus a reward of a cool 100 million from the Ministry of Defense!

Okay, now that you're committed... How are you going to pull this off? What does your pathetic class of misfits have in their arsenal to combat Teach's alien technology, bizarre powers and...tentacles?!

Lowly Class E and elite Class A compete for the most customers at their school festival booths. So far, the students of Class E are holding their own, despite their location on the mountaintop. Then a parade of familiar faces, some welcome and some…not so much…drop by with surprising consequences. Will Principal Asano’s son Gakushu be able to maintain his position as the illustrious leader of Class A? Who could possibly replace him in hopes of leading the students to victory and subjugating the weak…?

Review:


I haven't read any of this series, and honestly barely even knew what it was about. So this was a surprising volume for me.
Koro Sensei is such a weird character. He's an octopus-like thing, who seems to be challenging people to kill him, and yet also a little worried about that?
Class 3-E is competing against class A to win at the festival, and I'm actually surprised when Koro sensei tells them to stop and not push themselves. His point in teaching them doesn't seem to be winning against other people, so much as winning for themselves in what they can do.
Next there's an exam coming up, and everyone in class E needs to be in the top 50. It's difficult and takes a lot of studying, and the principal has made the exam near impossible for anyone. And yet they still win at it.
This was a surprisingly enjoyable volume, and even the exam questions were shown in a unique battle style as the students worked through them. The principal seems to be a particular evil, just mindlessly trying to tear people down and brainwash them.
This volume was interesting, and I don't think I'll mind reading more.

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

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[252]: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

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!

-------------------------------------

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: 2015

Goodreads Synopsis:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Excerpt:

'Yeah. Definitely good strange.'” (Hardback, pg. 99)

What are you reading right now?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Manga Review: Liselotte & Witch's Forest, Volume 3, by Natsuki Takaya

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: January 2017
Volumes: 5 (Hiatus)
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Liselotte, the daughter of a feudal lord, has been exiled to the lands east of the east of the east and now lives with her servants (Anna and Alto), the mysterious Engetsu, and the impertinent familiar Yomi, at the edge of the witches' forest. Despite Alto's objections, Lise's new family somehow continues to grow. But her troublesome past has caught up with them, and Engetsu is gravely injured. Can Lise save him and also continue to live as optimistically as her heart desires...?

Review:

I love all of the colored pages in this series. They are just so pretty.
After that last volume, we see Liselotte pleading for the tree to save Engetsu. She makes a deal for him to be saved, only Liselotte doesn't know what she has to lose to get him back. It's a surprise for her, though it does make sense—given the tree spirit's personality. It's interesting to see how it affects them both—how uncaring Engetsu acts at first, and how Liselotte changes her view and becomes determined to start new. Liselotte is rather optimistic, and straightforward in her wishes. She's unbothered by how other people react.
I like seeing how Liselotte affects the people around her, like the step that Alto takes in getting closer to her. There's a glimpse of, I believe, her brother at the end of the volume. I'm intrigued to see what happens next there.
This is a rather good series so far. I'm intrigued by the story, what happened to Liselotte before all this and what's going to happen with Engetsu next.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Manga Review: The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Volume 8, by Aya Shouoto


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: 11+
Volumes: April 2017
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 7. 9.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Himari Momochi inherits a mysterious house that comes with its own gorgeous demon guardian.

On her sixteenth birthday, orphan Himari Momochi inherits her ancestral estate that she’s never seen. Momochi House exists on the barrier between the human and spiritual realms, and Himari is meant to act as guardian between the two worlds. But on the day she moves in, she finds three handsome squatters already living in the house, and one seems to have already taken over her role!

Himari Momochi inherits Momochi House, an estate which exists on the barrier between the human and spiritual realms. Since his battle with Nachi, Aoi has been unable to transform back from being the Nue. Aoi must recover his lost human memories, and Himari enters the spiritual realm to retrieve them.

Review:

Himari goes on a quest to discover Aoi's past, hoping it will let him return to his normal form. It's interesting to see her interactions with the Nue, since he's so different from Aoi. It makes me wonder, though, since it seems like the Nue is actually a different side of Aoi, not a different person all-together. Himari seems very determined to have only Aoi, and not any of the Nue.
We get to see Aoi's past in this volume, as well as meet his parents. It makes me sad for little Aoi, but it also makes me wonder what his parents' view of it is. I'm curious to see what happens next. The series doesn't seem to be ending soon, so I'm curious where it will go next.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Manga Review: Oresama Teacher, Volume 21, by Izumi Tsubaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2016
Volumes: 23+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 20. 22.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Can high school delinquent Mafuyu clean up her act and still kick some butt?!

Mafuyu is the no-nonsense, take-charge and hard-hitting leader of her high school gang. But when she gets expelled for being a delinquent, her mother, fed up with her daughter’s wayward ways, sends Mafuyu to an isolated school far off in the country.

Review:

I almost wish that I had been following this series more closely. I do quite enjoy the humor here, and while there are too many characters to keep track of, I do enjoy the comedy and antics involved.
At the beginning of the volume, there's a chapter involving crossdressing, in which one guy pretends to be a girl and has to reject a guy that confessed to “her”, and Mafuyu gets to pretend to be “her” boyfriend. There are a lot of misunderstandings and silly competitions involved.
After that, there's an impostor Super Bun running around campus and causing havoc, stealing stuff. Mafuyu is confused by it, but also very freaked out at having so many of her masks all over the place. I do quite enjoy all of the comedy involved, misunderstandings and the confusion that ensues.
This series is quite fun, and I do enjoy reading it. I look forward to seeing who this fake super bun is in the next one.


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

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Manga Review: Haikyu!!, Volume 6, by Haruichi Furudate


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: December 2016
Volumes: 26+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 5. 7.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Shoyo Hinata is out to prove that in volleyball you don't need to be tall to fly!

Ever since he saw the legendary player known as “the Little Giant” compete at the national volleyball finals, Shoyo Hinata has been aiming to be the best volleyball player ever! He decides to join the team at the high school the Little Giant went to—and then surpass him. Who says you need to be tall to play volleyball when you can jump higher than anyone else?

After having overcome the Iron Wall of Date Tech, it’s finally time for Karasuno to have their rematch with Aoba Johsai! Kageyama and Karasuno claimed victory in the practice match, but how will they fare in a real game? Tensions are high as Tohru Oikawa is out to crush Kageyama once and for all.

Review:

Karasuno continues their game against Date Tech, and it's intense. They're trying hard, and they're ever optimistic. Date Tech proves to be a very good competitor, too, with their Iron Wall that makes it very hard to hit past.
When that game ends, the group gets to go home for a night, then are back the next day. They get a little practice in, and to talk about their next competition—this time with Blue Castle. Blue Castle proves to be even harder, with their head man good at encouraging his team mates and very watchful of subtle movements.
Oikawa's team mates like him and look up to him, and I do admit that he's good at working his teammates. But he's also a huge jerk, and I don't like him at all. I honestly don't see how anyone else does, when he feels rather fake to me. He's definitely smart, though.
We're left on yet another cliffhanger, and I really can't wait to see what happens next. I want to see how this game end—I'm really not sure if they're going to go forward or not.


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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[251]: The Body in the Woods (A Point Last Seen Mystery, #1) by April Henry

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 Body in the Woods (A Point Last Seen Mystery, #1) by April Henry
Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:

In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.

Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.

This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series is full of riveting suspense, putting readers in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.

Excerpt:

He thought but didn't say that the camera hadn't stopped the woman's blanket from being set on fire.” (Hardback, pg. 98)

What are you reading?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Manga Review: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, Volume 16, by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki, and Yuki Morisaki


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump Advanced (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2017
Volumes: 25+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 13. 17.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Food fights and fan service—what more could a fan want?

Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school! Can Soma really cut it in a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

Day three of the Autumn Moon Festival has begun, and Soma is still trying to recover from ending deep in the red on its first day. Looking to finally overtake Restaurant Kuga in overall profit, Soma unveils his ace in the hole—a new mapo tofu recipe! Will it be enough to push this first-year to victory over a Council of Ten member?

Review:

I've missed several volumes, and this one starts in the middle of a food business competition. Soma has decided to compete against Kuga, in Chinese cooking. Kuga has a popular restaurant, with extremely spicy food. Soma has a small food cart with Megumi, and they apparently did very bad on the first day. They finally start trying new things and calling in extra people on the next two days, though. In the midst of this, we also get glimpses of what the others are up to, and what amazing food they're making.
During this, Erina gets a surprise guest, and he throws everything into a bit of chaos. We finally get to see what made Erina the way she is today, though—why she's so cruel and snobby about food. It's interesting to see the overthrow of power, as well, and who is on what side.
I'm looking forward to seeing where this plot goes next. 


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

Friday, July 7, 2017

Manga Review: Maid-sama!, Volume 15 & 16, by Hiro Fujiwara


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: May 2017
Volumes: 18.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1&2. 13&14. 17&18.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A 2-in-1 edition of the romantic-comedy series where a student council president secretly works at a maid café!

As if being student council president of a predominantly male high school isn’t hard enough, Misaki Ayuzawa has a major secret—she works at a maid café after school! How is she supposed to keep her image of being ultra smart, strong and overachieving intact once school heartthrob Takumi Usui discovers her double life?!

Misaki continues to realize just how different her and Usui’s family backgrounds are after witnessing a huge party thrown for Usui’s birthday… And later, a mysterious newcomer appears at Maid Latte—someone who stirs up a lot of mixed emotions in Misaki!

Review:

Throughout this volume, Usui's new classmates continue to try and befriend him. It's still rather weird why they're trying, but they are. It doesn't work all that well, because Usui is just not interested. It's nice to see how Misaki reacts around them, too; she doesn't trust them, but she doesn't outright defend Usui, either.
Aside from that, a surprise guest from Misaki's past shows up. Here, it's mostly upsetting how her mother lied about what happened, and how that changed Misaki's views so harshly. There's even more tension between Suzuna and Hinata—they better at least get a side story by the end, or I'll be so upset.
Misaki gets to see what Usui's school is like, and Usui gets to see what happened with his mother. Usui makes yet another big decision in this volume. In reaction, Misaki gets to decide how she's going to be there for Usui, and it's nice to see how strong their relationship has really become. There are several sweet, short moments between them, and I like seeing them stepping away from the chaos to be together for a moment.
I believe the next volume is the last, and I cannot wait to see how it all wraps up.


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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Manga Review: Ten Count, Volume 3, by Rihito Takarai


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: SuBLime (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2017
Volumes: 5+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Corporate secretary Shirotani suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder in this doctor-patient romance fraught with compulsion!

Corporate secretary Shirotani suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. One day he meets Kurose, a therapist who offers to take him through a ten-step program to cure him of his compulsion. As the two go through each of the ten steps, Shirotani’s attraction to his counselor grows.

While out on the town with Kurose, Shirotani daydreams about the younger man kissing him. His desire quickly overcomes his phobia of human touch, and he gives himself over to his counselor’s hands for relief. Watch as the relationship between the corporate secretary and his counselor continues to boil over in this story of love and therapy.

Review:

I know that this book has some real issues. Quite a bit of the way that Shirotani's issues are handled are very problematic. He's really fragile here, and yet Kurose does appear to abuse that. It's hard to tell if any of this is actually helping Shirotani or not; he's still pretty much in the same state as when the series started, maybe even worse.
This does really bother me, but at the same time, I'm still quite enjoying this series. I like it for the problematic, dirty smut that it is.
I do like how intense Shirotani's reactions are, though. Every time someone touches him, when he's worried about germs, when him and Kurose start getting intimate. I can really tell what is happening in his head, and his worries and reactions feel very real.
This volume gets quite dirty, as well. There are a couple of really intense and dirty scenes between the two, and I quite like them.
Even if parts of this series aren't good, I'm really enjoying reading it for what it is. I want to read more.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Manga Review: Toriko, Volume 37, by Mitsutoshi Shimbukuro


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2017
Volumes: 43.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 36. 38.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Toriko is a Gourmet Hunter out to eat the world!

In a savage world ruled by the pursuit of the most delicious foods, it’s either eat or be eaten! While searching for the tastiest foods imaginable, Gourmet Hunter Toriko travels the world with his bottomless stomach, facing every beast in his way.

Komatsu and the gang dive under the sea and reach Blue Grill, and it’s more intense than any of them could have ever imagined! The underwater civilization is full of master chefs with amazing talents and everyone is eager to put their skills to the test! But this Giant Clam is rotten at its core, with a lot of shady business going on behind the scenes. To enter the Back Channel and reach Another, Komatsu and the gang must defeat the masked rulers of Blue Grill, the Five Ten Shell Masters, to prove their worth—or literally die trying.

Review:

The main group gets to start in the cooking competition, Yuda being the first to fight this planet's chef. It's a life-or-death kind of competition, apparently. In the midst of all this, we also get to see what everyone else is doing. Each small group moving around and finding the other key ingredient creatures. There's a fight with a spider creature, and we see Midora fighting off with a known enemy (I guess).
The most interesting part of the volume, to me, was seeing Komatsu and the boy that found him. He's separated from everyone else, and he meets a boy who lets him stay the night. Only, this shows Komatsu what is really happening to people on this planet. It's rather creepy, and we get left in the dark for the rest of the volume.
This volume was actually a little boring to me, but maybe I just wanted to see more of Komatsu's current plot.


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