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Monday, January 30, 2017

Manga Review: Horimiya, Volume 5, by Hero and Daisuke Hagiwara

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: October 2016
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3. 6.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hori and Miyamura are now officially a couple, and everyone knows it. But not everything's coming up roses for Miyamura, who's worried that people are talking about Hori behind her back. When his anxiety about being Hori's boyfriend reaches fever pitch, Miyamura drastically changes his look, which changes everyone's opinion of him all at once...

Review:

We meet a new character in this volume who poses as a challenge for Miyamura. It's an underclassmen, and she's in love with Hori. This causes quite a lot of frustration and competition for Hori's attention. Miyamura and the girl end up forming a neat understanding, though, something to bond over.
I do appreciate the non-hetero relationship involved, as well as the side-characters' enjoyment.
Aside from that, there are several cute scenes between Hori and Miyamura. They're still getting their bounds when it comes to their romantic relationship, though they're getting closer and more comfortable together slowly. It's nice to see how fiercely protective they can get, as well.
This series is both adorable and super sweet and very hilarious. I love every bit of it, and am always excited for the next volume. I can't wait.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Manga Review: The Ancient Magus' Bride, Volume 3, by Kore Yamazaki

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: December 2015
Volumes: 6+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

An Ancient Evil

Chise has come face to face with the person responsible for the brutal killings at a nearby churchyard--and to her shock, it's someone she recognizes from her visions of the tragedy at Ulthar! Appalled by the realization that the alchemist who wrought such horrors is still up to his old tricks, Chise must act to stop him. But in order to control her dangerous powers as a sleigh beggy, she ll need all the help she can get.

Review:

We see the conclusion from the previous volume, and move on to meet a couple new characters and creatures.
After the big ordeal, Elias disappears for a few days, to recover. Chise grows impatient, and sees him, even when he protests. This brings on a bad memory for her, though, of her life before him, but this is mostly a tease. Then it moves on to a couple single plot-lines.
This series is slow and subtle, but I’m enjoying it. It’s not really sticking, though, and I’m finding I have little to say about it. It’s pretty, and I’m liking how the plot is growing, and the relationship between Chise and Elias is getting deeper.
I look forward to reading more.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Manga Review: Forget Me Not, Volume 3, by Mag Hsu and Nao Emoto

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: July 2016
Volumes: 7.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Just friends?
Still carrying the heartbreak of his high school years, Serizawa begins college life. Here, he befriends a quirky classmate named Makino and she sets him on the path to find his very first college girlfriend, Yamaguchi. Supported by Makino, a romance blossoms between Serizawa and Yamaguchi, but is Serizawa s heart really with her or does it belong to someone else?
The bittersweet tale of romance and regret that inspired the TV drama!"

Review:

This love triangle is apparently a significant story, because it continues through the entirety of this volume, with a cliffhanger.
It’s hard to watch how this relationship grows, because it hurts all of them. They’re all lying to themselves, trying to get through this, trying to deny their real feelings. And I really like both of the girls, too. I feel like I can relate to Yamaguchi, at least on some level, but I also really like Makino and would want to be her friend. So it’s hard to see how this situation is going.
This series is turning out so much more interesting than I expected. After each volume, I’m immediately ready to pick up the next one. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 3, by Mizuho Kusanagi

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: December 2016
Volumes: 24+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A red-haired princess loses her family and her kingdom… Now she must rise and fight for her throne!

Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Su-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when tragedy strikes her family!

Yona and Hak set out on a journey to find a priest who can see the future. After they get severely injured from falling off a cliff, a boy named Yun and his guardian Ik-su nurse them back to health—and Ik-su happens to be a priest! When Yona tells him that she wishes to protect the lives of those who are precious to her, what path will Ik-su show her?

Review:

Yona meets the priest in this volume, and gets an interesting prophesy, as well as a new companion in a pretty, genius boy. On her new journey, she also meets the first dragon from the prophesy, the white dragon.
My main point with this series is how impressed I am by the character development. Yona, despite being a very sheltered princess who never knew anything beyond the castle and apparently very little inside of it, with how her world has crumbled and she's trying to rebuild it, should be trying to build herself back up. She should be watching and learning, paying attention to the people and what their needs are, and what she needs to do. And she should definitely be learning to defend herself and fight the people who are after her.
And I'm so extremely glad that that's exactly what she's doing.
She has Hak, and now the first dragon, there to bodyguard her. That's even their job. Still, she insisted that Hak teach her how to use a bow and a sword, and he in return shows her how little violence she has in her, that it's hard for her to hurt someone, let alone kill them.
Man, I love it.
They're setting off to find the second dragon, and I cannot wait to read more. I'm loving this series, and debating on starting the anime, because I want more so badly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[235]: The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper

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 Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Release Date: 2007
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble.

Goodreads Synopsis:

In high school, the last thing you want is for people to think you talk to ghosts.

When Sparrow begins tenth grade at a huge new school full of strangers, she thinks her dreams of anonymity and a fresh start are finally coming true. No more following in her six older sisters' footsteps. No more going to class with kids who've seen her grandma doing jujitsu in the front yard next to the headstones of her four dead husbands. And no more worrying about keeping her deep, dark secret hidden.

Sparrow makes a new best friend and has her eye on an irritatingly appealing guy in her history class. She feels like she's well on her way to a normal life. But it's another boy--a dead one--who wants Sparrow's attention, and he won't let her be till she's helped him Move On.

You see, Sparrow Delaney's secret is that she's a psychic. And there's one very persistent ghost who won't let her forget it.

Excerpt:

Startled, I opened my mouth for an indignant reply—and just in time remembered Rule 3.
Never, ever talk to a ghost.” (Paperback, pg. 110)

What are you reading?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Manga Review: Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Volume 9, by Miki Yoshikawa

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: July 2016
Volumes: 26+
Spoilers?: Yes.
Volume: 1. 8. 10.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Kiss and Wake up Yamada has managed to find the seventh witch and protect Shiraishi, but the final witch’s memoryerasing powers have a troubling effect on the Supernatural Studies Club. Facing a world where his friends don’t remember him, Yamada and Tamaki discover that to solve their problems, they need to go back to basics: kissing! Using his dupication powers and the help of a few unlikely allies, he may be able to restore what he’s lost…but his plans to outwit the seventh witch’s power don’t go unnoticed by the crafty Student Council.

Review:

After that confession, it's not surprising that Yamada gets rejected. Though it only leads to more confusion, as he tries figuring out who Urara is in love with, and what in her memory has changed with him gone from it. All the possible opportunities he had.
Nene shows up, and we find out a flaw in the seventh witches power. An intriguing solution, and a new change for Nene, as well. It should be interesting to see what happens next. I like that this series is introducing new things in every volume, and that it's not just staying stale with one plot point.
I'm a rather big fan of this series at this point. I'm looking forward to catching up.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Manga Review: So Cute It Hurts!!, Volume 10, by Go Ikeyamada

Rating (Out of 5): ~3-3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: December 2016
Volumes: 15.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 9. 11.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Kobayashi twins discover that cross-dressing as each other leads to trouble and true love!

The Kobayashi twins, Megumu and Mitsuru, were named after historical figures, but only Megumu has grown up with a taste for history. So when Mitsuru is in danger of losing his weekends to extra history classes, he convinces his sister to swap clothes with him and ace his tests! After all, how hard can it be for them to play each other?

Uesugi has been making plenty of enemies since coming to town, and a group of them have kidnapped Megumu as part of their revenge. Aoi and Uesugi put aside their differences in order to team up to rescue her, but in the ensuing battle Aoi loses his eye patch! Can Megumu convince him that his hidden wounds won’t scare her away, or will the trauma of his past be the end of their future?

Review:

There's a very emotional scene between Aoi and Meguro here, when she sees his scar and gets a real look at him. It should be heartwarming, I guess. Instead, it's too over the top most of the time—all those declarations are too much. Then the humor placed in to lower the seriousness just ruins it all around.
We also get a new revelation of Azusa's family, including a possibly two-faced mother and surprise sister who we've known all along. Honestly, I just don't really care for Azusa. Mitsuru isn't all that great, either.
Meh. Still just okay with this series, very up and down. Kind of more annoying at times than it should be.

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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Manga Review: Honey So Sweet, Volume 5, by Amu Meguro

Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Volumes: 8.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 4. 6.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A charming high school romance between a tender hooligan and an orphaned girl with enchanting artwork by Amu Meguro.

Little did Nao Kogure realize back in middle school that when she left an umbrella and a box of bandages in the rain for injured delinquent Taiga Onise that she would meet him again in high school. Nao wants nothing to do with the gruff and frightening Taiga, but he suddenly presents her with a huge bouquet of flowers and asks her to date him—with marriage in mind! Is Taiga really so scary, or is he a sweetheart in disguise?

Although Nao Kogure was once afraid of the delinquent Taiga Onise, she was soon touched by his kind soul. Nao and Taiga plan a romantic date on Christmas, but Yashiro, Misaki and Futami push their way in to make it a party at Taiga’s house instead. Though their friends leave early to allow Nao and Taiga some time alone, someone else interrupts them—Taiga’s mom!

Review:

Nao and Taiga decide to spend Christmas together, but their friends interrupt it. And then Taiga's mother shows up, and things spin in a rapid new direction for Nao. When Nao doesn't come home that night and doesn't tell Sou, he starts acting weird. And thus Nao decides to rebel and run away.
I love this plot line, and how easily Nao does it. Sou is pretty much ignoring her, and it drives Nao crazy, because he is her family and that's not allowed. Taiga agrees, and so he butts in to make them see reason.
It's pretty much all-around adorable. Especially when, after all that, it's valentine's day and Nao makes Taiga chocolate, which he doesn't expect, and then she tries to kiss him and messes up in the cutest way. Misaki also gets chocolate from the only person he wants, and it's so cute.
This series is just utterly and completely adorable wrapped up and I love every piece of it.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Manga Review: Ultraman, Volume 6, by Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: VIZ Signature (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2016
Volumes: 8+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 4. 7.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ultraman is a half-forgotten legend, but when aliens threaten Earth, a new generation of heroes must become Ultraman!

Decades ago, a being known as the Giant of Light joined together with Shin Hayata of the Science Special Search Party to save Earth from an invasion of terrifying monsters called Kaiju. Now, many years later, those dark days are fading into memory, and the world is at peace. But in the shadows a new threat is growing, a danger that can only be faced by a new kind of hero—a new kind of Ultraman…

Who is Hokuto really, and why has he shown up in the middle of a battle wearing an unsanctioned and unidentified Ultraman suit? His appearance is just another question on Shinjiro’s list of unsolved mysteries. The machinations of shadowy enemies begin to emerge, and Shinjiro finds himself even more shocked as events unfold.

Review:

I'm not following this series at all, and have only read one volume before. But this is still a pretty simple series to get into, and I can see the attraction to it.
In this volume, Shinjiro is struggling with his crush on the idol while she's obsessing over Ultraman. He's also dealing with a new Ultraman who's shown up and keeps taking over his cases. To me, Shinjiro seems very much like a kid, and one who doesn't take his job and secrecy very seriously—not too surprising, as he is a teenager. The whole crush matter, though, feels like it's going to cause major problems.
This isn't a series that I'm particularly interested in, but it is easy to read. The artwork is nice, though a little messy during fight scenes.

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[234]: Every Breath (Every, #1) by Ellie Marney

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 Breath (Every, #1) by Ellie Marney
Genre: YA Mystery
Publisher: Tundra Books
Release Date: 2013

Goodreads Synopsis:

When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft's numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft's passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn't right--and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.

     While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he's busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den--literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again...

Excerpt:

I close my eyes. 'Mycroft, I want to go. I think...'” (Hardback, pg. 104)

What are you reading?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Manga Review: Black Butler, Volume 22, by Yana Toboso

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: May 2016
Volumes: 24+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 21. 23.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Revealing themselves to be wolves in sheep's clothing, the villagers of Wolfsschlucht nip ferociously at the heels of Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his entire household--indomitable butler Sebastian included. With aid coming from surprising corners, the company makes a quick getaway with the Emerald Witch in tow. But even as preparations are made and wounds rested for the passage to England and the inevitable meeting with the queen, word of the Undertaker stubbornly hangs over the proceedings...

Review:

Lady Sullivan gets introduced to modern life in England in this volume. After being saved from her crazy village, she has to learn how to be a real lady; how to eat and talk and sit. For half of this volume, there's a lot of easy, relaxed moments. Lady Sullivan gets new clothes, she gets training. Elizabeth visits for a while, and she's delightful even as she almost kills Ciel. We see a few other favorite side characters.
Then there are all of the serious underlying moments. We see the Undertaker again, and he hints at a possible plot thread to be explored later, something that Ciel will surely look into. The reapers also show up for a small scene, so we know they're doing something in the background at all times.
This series is both hilarious and delightful, and so dark at the same time. It's nice to see Ciel taking an adult role over Lady Sullivan, since he already knows how to act like an adult when he needs to, and she hadn't needed to calm down and handle things before. And, of course, Elizabeth. Love her.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Manga Review: Honey So Sweet, Volume 4, by Amu Meguro

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 2016
Volumes: 8.
Spoilers?: Light.
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. Book Depository.
Volume: 1. 3. 5.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A charming high school romance between a tender hooligan and an orphaned girl with enchanting artwork by Amu Meguro.

Little did Nao Kogure realize back in middle school that when she left an umbrella and a box of bandages in the rain for injured delinquent Taiga Onise that she would meet him again in high school. Nao wants nothing to do with the gruff and frightening Taiga, but he suddenly presents her with a huge bouquet of flowers and asks her to date him—with marriage in mind! Is Taiga really so scary, or is he a sweetheart in disguise?

Although Nao Kogure was once afraid of the delinquent Taiga Onise, she was soon touched by his kind soul. Taiga is dating Nao, and his friend Futami knows this but still pursues Nao anyway. After Futami confesses his feelings to Nao, can Taiga and Futami truly remain friends?

Review:

This series is just so utterly adorable, god!
In the first half, we conclude the drama with Futami. This really just proves how great a guy Onise is, because even though there's a guy after his girl, he's okay with it. The trust between him and Nao is so complete, it's heartwarming and ridiculous. There's no doubt to the reader or to them, that she's going to choose Onise. But there's also the fact that Onise still completely wants to be friends with Futami. Their bromance is real.
The second half is taken up with Yashiro's messed up love life. We meet her boyfriend, who isn't a bad guy, but isn't loyal to her either. Misaki gets very upset about this, and wants to fight on her behalf, even when she doesn't want him to. I'm rather impressed with how we see that Yashiro is being cheated on, and that's bad, but also that she loves her boyfriend and he loves her, and it's not bad like it could be. But how she decides that she does deserve more. It was an impressive plot line all around.
This series is so sweet it should literally give you cavities. It's so over the top goodness and I just love every bit of it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Manga Review: So Cute It Hurts!!, Volume 9, by Go Ikeyamada

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: October 2016
Volumes: 15.
Spoilers?: Very light.
Volume: 1. 8. 10.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Kobayashi twins discover that cross-dressing as each other leads to trouble and true love!

The Kobayashi twins, Megumu and Mitsuru, were named after historical figures, but only Megumu has grown up with a taste for history. So when Mitsuru is in danger of losing his weekends to extra history classes, he convinces his sister to swap clothes with him and ace his tests! After all, how hard can it be for them to play each other?

Megumu manages to keep Aoi and Uesugi from brawling, but when they air their old grievances, she ends up learning more than she expected about Aoi’s past. Will this new information strengthen her relationship with Aoi or just drive a bigger wedge between them?!

Review:

Meh. Meh meh meh.
In this volume, there's more drama caused by Uesugi. And we finally get to see what is actually under Aoi's eyepatch, and why he's so afraid of touching women. He even freaks out on Megumu at one point, as he's being pushed and contemplating telling her what really happened to him.
There's also some moments between Mitsuru and Azusa, mostly of Mitsuru realizes what Azusa has been hinting at this entire time. Also, her fantastic way of narcissistic-ally confessing while also telling him that he's going to fall in love with her so hard that he'll be the one begging.
But mostly there's Megumu and Uesugi and Aoi. I think it's mostly the over-ly cheesy moments, the unnecessarily embarrassing scenes, mixed with all of those chibi images and dumb faces for humor. It all just seems too childish to me, while at the same time trying to be new and creative and hilariously cute. It's too much, too badly done.
For one thing, though, I'm sure I would have enjoyed this more when I was younger. So I'm sure actual high-schoolers would enjoy this a lot more than I am now.

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Manga Review: Attack on Titan, Volume 19, by Hajime Isayama

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: August 2016
Volumes: 20+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 18. 20.

Goodreads Synopsis:

CAGE MATCH
The Survey Corps is engaged in a desperate, final battle to retake Wall Maria and defeat the Titans once and for all. Eren must use his new powers to seal the holes created five years ago in the Shiganshina District gates, not to mention to finally reach the basement of his old home and find what secrets lie hidden there. But the most difficult part of the operation will be surviving whatever clever traps the Colossus Titan, Armored Titan, and Beast Titan have prepared for them! Now that Erwin is gambling with every last human life, who will triumph?

Review:

The group meets up with the rebels in this volume, the human titans who are fighting the humans. Eren fights with the armored titan for a while.
It's mainly when Armin attempts to talk to Bertolt that we get some kind of understanding what their goal is. It still doesn't make much sense, though. Bertolt claims that everyone inside the walls needs to die—they just do. He's decided this. Even when Armin tries talking sense, or just understand what his reasons are, he doesn't give much else. It's an interesting conversation to see play out, though.
And then the volume ends with a large blast in the middle of town, as he changes into a titan. It might have killed a lot of people, though.
The long time between each volume makes the enthusiasm lessen, and gives me more time to forget what's happening in the series, sadly.
Still, the next volume is always on my list.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[233]: The Art of Wishing (The Art of Wishing, #1) by Lindsay Ribar

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 Art of Wishing (The Art of Wishing, #1) by Lindsay Ribar
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 2013

Goodreads Synopsis:

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else's hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie -- he's also a sophomore at Margo's high school, and he's on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

Excerpt:

'I know what I want,' I interrupted, letting out an exasperated laugh. 'And for the record, I still think it's weird that you know it, too.'” (Hardback, pg. 53)

What are you reading?