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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Manga Review: Real Account, Volume 1, by Okushou and Shizumu Watanabe

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: March 2016
Volumes: 13+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

UNFOLLOW OR DIE

Like many of his peers, Ataru Kashiwagi has found himself addicted to the newest social networking service, Real Account. But one day, Ataru and almost 10,000 other people, get sucked into the Real Account Zone, where they have become players in a series of deadly games. The basic rules of these games are simple—if you lose all your followers, you die in real life, and if you die, all of your followers die with you. As these depraved games decimate the players around him, Ataru must use quick thinking and his knowledge of Real Account to win each round and return to the real world. But when true friendship determines whether he lives or dies, can Ataru really survive when the only people he can count on are his Internet friends?

Review:

I’ve heard surprisingly good things about this series, but it still didn’t really stand out to me. But a friend told me to read, so I’m giving it a try.
Ataru was living in a perfectly normal world, even though a certain social media website/app was taking over everyone's attention. It wasn’t a big deal, up until him and so many others got pulled in to the virtual world and the leader—a giant-happy-faced fellow—started killing everyone and their followers off. And now he’s in a world where you have to survive and choose the right answers in order not to be killed along with the few followers you still have.
It’s a world where having real people in your lives is important, as well as how smart you are to work around the system. Ataru is doing his best, and he’s doing well so far.
I will admit that the happy-faced person can get quite creepy at times. And the games and deaths are rather horrible. But some of the emotions, or something behind it all, fell a little flat for me. The artwork is just okay.
I’m not hooked yet, but I’m going to give it another try.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[242]: Remember by Eileen Cook

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!

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

Remember by Eileen Cook
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 2015

Goodreads Synopsis:

A thrilling tale about what a girl will do to get back a memory she lost…or remove what she wants to forget.


Harper is used to her family being hounded by protesters. Her father runs the company that trademarked the "Memtex" procedure to wipe away sad memories, and plenty of people think it shouldn't be legal. Then a new demonstrator crosses her path, Neil, who’s as persistent as he is hot. Not that Harper’s noticing, since she already has a boyfriend.

When Harper suffers a loss, she’s shocked her father won’t allow her to get the treatment, so she finds a way to get it without his approval. Soon afterward, she’s plagued with strange symptoms, including hallucinations of a woman who is somehow both a stranger, yet incredibly familiar. Harper begins to wonder if she is delusional, or if these are somehow memories.

Together with Neil, who insists he has his own reasons for needing answers about the real dangers of Memtex, Harper begins her search for the truth. What she finds could uproot all she’s ever believed about her life…

Excerpt:

I'd really hoped that seeing my hometown would make a difference, but I had no more information than I'd had before I came.” (Paperback, pg. 112)

What are you reading?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Manga Review: Liselotte & Witch's Forest, Volume 2, by Natsuki Takaya


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: October 2016
Volumes: 5 (Hiatus)
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Liselotte, the daughter of a feudal lord, has been exiled by her older brother to the land east of the east of the east. Despite the bitter past that put her in these straits, Lise enjoys her new life with her twin attendants, Alto and Anna, the familiar Yomi, and Eugetsu, a young man who not only harbors a secret but also bears a striking resemblance to an old acquaintance, Enrich. However, Lise's quaint idyll is shattered when none other than a witch comes calling...!

Review:

This is not what I expected.
So. We get to see more of Liselotte trying to be a normal girl, trying to correctly learn how to farm and clean and cook, trying to have a good relationship with the delivery men even though they know what she's done and can't acquaint themselves fully with her. She even goes in search of the witches, because she's determined to make nice and not have them haunting or terrorizing her.
We meet a couple witches here, and of course they're more fun than scary. One guy is a jerk, but the two girls seem very sweet, and they're really insecure about how scary they are. In the midst of all this, we get to see some of what Liselotte did. What her life was like before, and what she did to deserve being banished. I'm still curious about the whole story, of course.
And then... then we see what is really going on with Engetsu. And I must say that I was really not expecting this twist. It was not at all what I was guessing, and now I'm even more intrigued by it. I really can't wait to read the next one and see what happens with that cliffhanger.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Manga Review: Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Volume 26, by Karuho Shiina


Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5-5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Volumes: 28+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 25. 27.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie.

With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, Sawako “Sadako” Kuronuma always had trouble fitting in. But her whole life changes when she befriends the most popular boy in class, Shota Kazehaya. Can love trump her cursed life?

Review: 

I am obsessed with this series. I love every little piece of it, and every new volume is always a delight. I love it.
Seeing Kazehaya and Sawako having a real moment, whether they're arguing or making up and understanding each other or just generally being adorable, just hurts my heart because I love it so much. They finally get to continue their discussion from the previous volume when they were interrupted. They've had time to think about it, and now they know what to say. And god, it's so freaking sweet. I'm in love with them.
They're my OTP. I think that's it.
Aside from that, Sawako also has a big development with Kurumi, as they finally mention what happened in the past. We see that Kurumi genuinely feels bad about how she acted, and I'm impressed with this entire development. Along with that, we get to see how much Sawako has really grown. She speaks her mind more freely now, and trusts her friends. It's sweet.
And, finally!, Yano has a revelation, and of course runs into Pin right after. I won't spoil too much, but I've been waiting for this. It needed to happening. I know I should probably not be so behind this, but I really am.
These books come too sparsely and are gone too quickly. I love them so much.

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

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Manga Review: Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, Volume 7, by Satoshi Shiki, Ryo Suzukaze, Hajime Isayama, and Thores Shibamoto


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: April 2016
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 6. 8.

Goodreads Synopsis:

TURNING ON THEIR OWN
The Survey Corps sets a cunning trap to capture the mysterious Abnormal Titan that broke through their ranks. As Arwin tries to determine the grotesque creature’s identity and purpose, scouts report Titans closing in on all sides! But they don’t seem to be after the humans – instead they’re targeting the Titan!

Review:

Kuklo and Sharle and the group are getting along mostly fine in their little corner. Kuklo is learning everything he can about the vertical maneuvering equipment, and they go on their first titan expedition to use it and fight. It goes probably how you'd think it would.
Meanwhile, Xavi is getting along in the ranks. Slowly, in the background, he's working toward finding Kuklo and Sharle. He has a vendetta and he's not letting go of it any time soon.
I really like the artwork in this series, and I really like the main characters. I don't care for Xavi, he's a typical jerk villain. But I'm a fan of Sharle, and I really like her relationship with Kuklo. It's my favorite part of this series. I also like the glimpses of development we see in Kuklo's character. But this series does get quite boring at times. The heavy storyline, all the time spent on explaining backstory or mechanics. It can be very boring.
I'm still reading. I like it, but I don't love it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Manga Review: Say I Love You, Volume 16, by Kanae Hazuki


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5-4
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: October 2016
Volumes: 17+
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 15. 17.

Goodreads Synopsis:

COLLEGE CONUNDRUM After graduating high school, Mei and Yamato begin to venture towards their futures. For their careers, they have decided to go to different schools and come into new environments with new experiences and friends. But the excitement of college life also brings challenges into the relationships of Mei and her former schoolmates. And when a mutual friend strays from his high school love, the distance between Mei and Yamato starts to create uncertainty in their lives.

Review:

Of course now that they're in college, Yamato has to meet some woman who immediately starts getting in the way. Of course.
I really hate these kinds of stories. I really do.
So. Yamato and Mei are doing different things, and while they're talking on the phone, they're not really seeing each other much. Mei is trying to branch out, while Yamato is meeting people and has made a new friend in this girl who is clearly interested. Then Asami and Takeshi start having problems, so this leads to even more worries.
Near the end, it looks like Mei is going to speak with Asami about some things, and I hope that happens. She needs to be more open with her friends about these things.
Then there's Megumi. She's doing better as a person, I guess, but she's also struggling as a model. I still want her to get closer to Kai, as well. I'm not really sure where her character is going from here, though.
I love college stories, but I also hate all these relationships that end right after high school. Ugh. I hope the next one is better, and that Yamato and Mei actually get to talk. We'll see, though.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[241]: A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing, #1) by Rhiannon Thomas

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!

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

A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing, #1) by Rhiannon Thomas
Genre: YA Fairy-tale Retelling
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 2015

Goodreads Synopsis:

Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

Excerpt:

'Let's see.' He brushed her hair back from her face and looked at her with exaggerated care. 'I dub thee... Mouse.'” (Paperback, pg. 68)

What are you reading?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Manga Review: Barakamon, Volume 12, by Satsuki Yoshino

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: October 2016
Volumes: 14+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 11. 13.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Santa, huh...? Guess each household tends to have its own customs....
Jingle jingle jingle jingle....Christmas has come to the island!Handsome young calligrapher Seishuu Handa tries his hand at the Santa business for the first time! But could it be that Handa Claus isn't the only one who's come to visit all the nice little children...? The love of every dad warms the world in Volume 12 of this hot 'n' hearty island comedy!

Review:

Oh man, I didn't expect this to be so emotional.
Most of this volume is rather lighthearted. Naru and Hina are learning new things in school, it snows in town and everyone gets excited, no matter how little there actually is. Christmas comes. The big surprise here, though, is that Naru's father shows up in town. But he won't talk to Naru, and instead stalks her, because she doesn't remember him.
This whole plot line is extremely sad to me. It's mostly used lightheartedly, of course, but there's one scene that just got me. Aw man. I just love Naru and her relationship with Handa. It makes some sense, as well, since we've never heard anything about her parents, and we still don't know anything about her mom. The volume ends with the new year, and Naru and Handa's coming trip to Tokyo. That should be really fun.
I love this series. We finally got some character depth here, and it just hurt it was so sad and adorable. I'm excited for the next one.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Manga Review: 7th Garden, Volume 3, by Mitsu Izumi


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: January 2017
Volumes: 7+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The high-pitched battle is on between powerful angels, sexy demons and innocent humans to dominate a world rife with political intrigue…and to win the heart of one hapless male!

Awyn Gardner will do anything to protect the beautiful mistress of the equally beautiful estate gardens he lovingly tends—even enslave himself to an also beautiful demon bent on world domination! The high-pitched battle is on between powerful angels, sexy demons and innocent people to dominate a world rife with political intrigue…and to win the heart of one hapless human man!

After a fierce battle, Awyn and Vyrde are welcomed home by their household. Unfortunately, Vyrde isn’t as pleased with them as they seem to be with her… Afraid that he isn’t Vyrde’s equal, Awyn trains with mysteriously ageless Ashriel. Iola turns out to have a secret identity. And then Awyn and Vyrde part ways—she to declare war on the enemy angels, he to the capital city, where he relives unhappy memories and unhappily meets old acquaintances…

Review:

The artwork in this series is really quite gorgeous. It is so pretty, and the color pages are very nice.
Even while we get some time to calm down, for Awyn to get better and to see the village people again, there's always some underlying tension. Vyrde doesn't take time to calm down, she's too obsessed with her revenge. While we still don't know why she's seeking vengeance, we do get to meet and/or hear the other angels she's after. We also get a rather big reveal about the village that Awyn lives in, why he was picked and who is behind it. I wasn't quite expecting that, though it gives an interesting context. It also makes the whole feel of the village, and how it feels like an untouched sanctuary (which goes back to innocent and perfect even after devastation) all the more true.
The plot is interesting in this series. I'm unsure but intrigued by all of the religious themes. I'm still not quite sure where that is going. I'm still confused by the angel's evilness, and yet Vyrde's being kicked out and also evil. I'm not sure where that point is going.
I am a fan of this series, I'm intrigued and enjoying it. It is one of the better newer shonen series I'm following.

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

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Manga Review: Anonymous Noise, Volume 1, by Ryoko Fukuyama

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Volumes: 11+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Music and longing collide in this ballad of unrequited love!

Nino Arisugawa, a girl who loves to sing, experiences her first heart-wrenching goodbye when her beloved childhood friend, Momo, moves away. And after Nino befriends Yuzu, a music composer, she experiences another sad parting! Both boys promised Nino that they would find her one day through her singing, so she holds on to that hope and continues to reach out with her voice. Now in high school, Nino serendipitously reunites with Yuzu, but she yearns to see Momo again…

Review:

 I hadn't realized that this was by the author of Nosatsu Junkie, which I read when Tokyopop released it. I was a rather big fan of that series, and was annoyed when they discontinued it. This gives me hope for Viz possibly picking up that series, at least digitally.
Nino had a childhood best friend, Momo, and they would sing together when they felt like it. And then he moved away one day, without a word. While she's struggling with that, she meets Yuzu, who writes music, and writes her a couple songs to sing. And then he disappears one day, too, without a word, and she has no way of finding either one of them.
It's been years since then, and now Nino is starting high school, and she stumbles upon Yuzu, though Momo might not be too far away.
Yuzu is rather brush and rude, though it's obvious he's putting up a front. His friends seem odd, in a fun way, and I'm intrigued to get to know them. I'm confused for why Momo hasn't already confronted Nino, but I do already like him more, I think; I'm a sucker for puns.
I love the element of voice in this so far. Nino sings for no reason with Momo, then quits altogether until Yuzu gets her to start again. And now she does it at specific times, in the hopes that both of them will hear her and come back. Yuzu is also in a band, possibly a two-faced one, and it's clear Nino's going to be added to it in some way.
This was surprisingly enjoyable, actually. I was a little wary. I am a fan of music in books, to be fair, plus I'm already a fan of her art and writing. This was a very good starting point, and I'm intrigued to see where it progresses from here.

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Manga Review: Dragon Ball Full Color Freeza Arc, Volume 3, by Akira Toriyama

Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: September 2016
Volumes: 8.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 2. 4.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Gohan and Kuririn, forced to team up with Vegeta, stand their ground against the Ginyu Force while Goku tries to get his body back. Gohan and Kuririn must now use the seven Dragon Balls of Namek to summon the mighty Dragon Lord, who can grant any three wishes. What will they wish for?

Review:

Son Goku finally shows up, and he might be a super saiyan now! Only, maybe not, because he gets rather beat up, and he also is apparently not evil enough? He's almost invincible, but not quite. I guess.
The group is still on planet Namek, and they're still trying to collect and keep the dragon balls, and then figure out how to use them correctly. We do finally get to see the dragon balls used, though they're interrupted from their final wish—which, thank god, because they were going to be super dumb about it.
Then we see the start of a showdown with Freeza, in which we get to see his final form.
Oh man, this series is so cheesy. The “I am invincible!” “No, I am!” is so ridiculous. It can definitely be enjoyable at times, and is aimed at the right age group for it. Pretty easy to read, though.

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

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[240]: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

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!

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

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's Press)
Release Date: August 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Excerpt:

Mia put a restraining hand on his arm, but Tric was off, diving toward Floodcaller's throat.” (Hardcover, pg. 114)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Manga Review: Liselotte & Witch's Forest, Volume 1, by Natsuki Takaya

Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: July 2016
Volumes: 5 (Hiatus)
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 2.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Despite being completely hopeless at endeavors like farming and cooking, Liselotte, a young lady of noble birth and guardian to twins Alto and Anna, picks up and moves to a remote land. At the easternmost reaches of her new home lies a forest where it's said witches roam. When Lise one day finds herself at the receiving end of an attack by one such witch, she's saved by the sudden appearance of a young man named Engetsu. Though they're strangers, Engetsu is remarkably similar to someone she already knows...?

Review:

This is a very intriguing start to a series.
Liselotte has been shipped out of her rich family's home, and now lives in a forest, with two kids as her caretakers. She's optimistically doing all she can to learn how to farm and scavenge, even when she's not particularly good at any of these things.
And then she learns of the witch myths regarding the forest they live in. And suddenly, there's a man named Engetsu there to help her, and Liselotte believes she knows him from before everything happened. It's clear, though, that he's up to something, and that he knows more than he's letting on.
We get a few hints, but this is definitely setting up for something more. Not giving any answers, but it's a good start. I love the artwork, and I'm happy to be reading a new Takaya book.
I'm looking forward to the next one.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Manga Review: Kamisama Kiss, Volume 23, by Julietta Suzuki


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: February 2017
Volumes: 25.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 22. 24.

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Nanami inherits a shrine, it comes with divine powers and a hot fox spirit!

Nanami Momozono is alone and homeless after her dad skips town to evade his gambling debts and the debt collectors kick her out of her apartment. So when a man she’s just saved from a dog offers to let her stay at his place while he’s away, she jumps at the opportunity. But it turns out that his home is a shrine and Nanami has unwittingly taken over his job as a local deity!

Review:

We're getting close to the end of the series, and you can tell. There's only so long that they can prolong Tomoe's staying in fox form.
The group is still in the land of the dead, and they meet a little girl who's searching for something. Tomoe and Nanami and the others go after Akura-oh, with plans to stop him from reaching his body and saving Kirihito, the body he's in now. Akura-oh finally realizes what his minion has been up to all along, and Akura-oh finally realizes that he's changed along the way. There is a surprising twist here, an ending that I didn't quite expect for the character. The cliffhanger that it leads to is also rather unsettling and problematic. We'll see where that goes next.
This is a rather good series. I'm sad for one plot, but glad that Nanami is doing better. Tomoe's plot also took a good step forward, and I really do love him. Looking forward to the next one, as always.

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