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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Manga Review: 7th Garden, Volume 5, by Mitsu Izumi


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Jump (VIZ Media)
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Volumes: 8 (On Hiatus)
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 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!
Awyn doesn t have the heart to battle a friend possessed by the angel Loki, but if he doesn t, he ll get killed! And who will save his beloved mistress Marie when she turns out to be his enemy s backup plan Vyrde or Marianne? Wait aren t those just different names for the same person ?!"

Review:

There was a lot of strategizing and flashbacks in this volume. The way that Loki and Vyrde knew each other before, they played games and tried to beat each other, and Vyrde was usually with the upper hand. Now that they're coming face-to-face again, they are using a similar method, though this time it's much more lethal, and involving a lot more people.
I will say that I'm surprised by the casualties that happen, and I'm wondering if they really will stick this time. It's sad, to see a couple characters go—but not everyone can survive in this kind of thing.
We also get a new insight into what is going on with Vyrde. That there might actually be two sides of her, and I'm intrigued by where that's going. I like the added depth this volume has shown.
I really like the artwork in this series; at times, it's gorgeous. The story line is interesting, and it is getting more so the more we learn. I'm enjoying following it so far.


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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[255]: Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives, #3) by Jennifer Echols

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!

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

Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives, #3) by Jennifer Echols
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Release Date: 2015

Goodreads Synopsis:

As vice president of Student Council, Kaye knows the importance of keeping order. Not only in school, but in her personal life. Which is why she and her boyfriend, Aidan, already have their lives mapped out: attend Columbia University together, pursue banking careers, and eventually get married. Everything Kaye has accomplished in high school—student government, cheerleading, stellar grades—has been in preparation for that future.

To his entire class, Sawyer is an irreverent bad boy. His antics on the field as school mascot and his love of partying have earned him total slacker status. But while he and Kaye appear to be opposites on every level, fate—and their friends—keep conspiring to throw them together. Perhaps the seniors see the simmering attraction Kaye and Sawyer are unwilling to acknowledge to themselves…

As the year unfolds, Kaye begins to realize her ideal life is not what she thought. And Sawyer decides it’s finally time to let down the facade and show everyone who he really is. Is a relationship between them most likely to succeed—or will it be their favorite mistake?

Excerpt:

A shadow descended over me. I felt his lips brush my forehead.” (Paperback, pg. 113)

What are you reading right now?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Manga Review: Horimiya, Volume 8, by Hero and Daisuke Hagiwara


Rating (Out of 5): ~4.5
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Volumes: 10+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 7. 9.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The sweet "aww"-inspiring tale of school life continues!!

The Kiri High crew dives into the sports festival...and thanks to some fighting words from Hori, even phys ed-phobic Miyamura is fired up and raring to go?! As Sengoku's apathy, Sakura's lack of rhythm, and Hori's manly cheerleading take center stage, his fellow third-years might get some great last memories out of their final sports fest, but for Miyamura, they'll be his first!

Review:

We get to see how the sports festival plays out in the first half of this volume. It's started, and Hori and Miyamura are on opposite teams. It's super cute seeing them cheering each other on and competing, same as all their friends. I also quite love seeing how much Sengoku hates partaking in this. I love all of the little moments of hilarity throughout it.
After that, we get to see the rivalry between Miyamura and Mizouchi come to fruition. And I absolutely love it. Miyamura shows a bit of their sado-masochistic fetish, and I just... I just love it. I love both that such a thing is included, but also that they're so open about it and there's no shame, even when Miyamura mentions it and then does it at school. There's also the fact that he's clearly doing it more because she loves it, than because he wants to. And I appreciate that.
We get a bit more insight into Miyamura's old rival as well, the guy who bullied him. This series is full of comedy, with some sweet moments, but it also shows the delicate moments of growing and overcoming past hurts. We see that both from Miyamura's side having grown past it, and from Tanihara having done it and trying to be better.
I love this series, unabashed and irrationally, even. I need more of this in my life.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Manga Review: orange: The Complete Collection Part 2 by Ichigo Takano


Rating (Out of 5): ~4-4.5
Publisher: Seven Seas
Release Date: May 2016
Volumes: 6.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1.

Goodreads Synopsis:

An Epic Love Story Across Time

Naho immediately feels a connection to the new boy who has transferred to her class. Kakeru is calm, kind, and seems to like Naho as well. But their relationship gets thrown for a loop when Naho receives a letter from the future. The letter explains that Kakeru will die unless Naho does exactly as the letter says. But changing fate is no easy task. When the letter starts to get things wrong, Naho worries that she will still lose Kakeru forever. Luckily, Naho has her friends to back her up. Not only do they want to see Naho and Kakeru get together, they also have time-traveling letters of their own...

Orange: The Complete Collection 2 also includes a bonus story, Haruiro Astronaut. This five chapter story is about a pair of twins who discover that they can't share everything in life--or at least not an alien that suddenly becomes a part of it.

Review:

This series is both sweet and heartbreaking, at times. We know how this ends in one realm, in one possibility, and at times we see how it follows the same path. It's hard to see all of the missed opportunities, to know how it ends when you're too scared, and how it goes when, even knowing that, it's hard to do something different. I can understand the hesitation, and yet it's still hard to see her follow the past.
When things start going different, when the letters aren't following what's happening in real time, it's uplifting. It's nice to see when Naho and Kakeru are finally honest and open with each other, and it actually goes in a good direction. It's also nice to see their friends growing and supporting each other.
After the main story ends, there are a few extra short stories, featuring non-related characters, and they were cute and fun.
I really enjoyed this short series, and I'm looking forward to reading more by Takano.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Manga Review: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic, Volume 21, by Shinobu Ohtaka


Rating (Out of 5): ~3
Publisher: Shonen Sunday (VIZ Media)
Release Date: December 2016
Volumes: 35+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 19. 22.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Inspired by the stories of Sinbad and One Thousand and One Nights, Aladdin and Alibaba fight epic battles, journey to far-off lands, and search for the secrets of King Solomon and the mysterious dungeons.

Deep within the desert lie the mysterious Dungeons, vast stores of riches there for the taking by anyone lucky enough to find them and brave enough to venture into the depths from where few have ever returned. Plucky young adventurer Aladdin means to find the Dungeons and their riches, but Aladdin may be just as mysterious as the treasures he seeks.

Now that the battle for Magnoshutatt is over, Aladdin, Alibaba and Morgiana return to Sindria. Familiar faces welcome them, as well as a few surprising characters! As a larger conflict with the Kou Empire looms, the various sides agree to a world summit. But before that, Alibaba returns to Balbadd to find that things in his homeland have changed drastically.

Review:

The gang reunites for a short time in this volume, with some even older characters. There's much teasing, and even a little lying to appear more mature.
Then Alibaba and his younger gang of followers depart, and Morgiana tags along as well. There's some rather big misunderstandings between Alibaba and Morgiana, and it causes some self-esteem loss for Alibaba. And then they arrive in Alibaba's home town, and everything is different, which makes him uneasy. It's interesting to see how Alibaba handles it, and how he decides to do something about it.
I'm not all that into this series, and I'm only vaguely following along. Aside from the main plot, though, I don't mind the characters, and the humor is all right, and I think the art style fits the humor rather well.


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

Monday, August 7, 2017

Manga Review: Void's Enigmatic Mansion, Volume 2, by HeeEun Kim and JiEun Ha


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: 2015
Volumes: 5.
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 3.

Goodreads Synopsis:

What if your greatest wish could be granted?

In Mr. Void's enigmatic mansion, wishes can be mere whispers away from reality. When Dante, the poet on the second floor, finds a patron for his arts, it seems he may finally get everything he could ever wish for...But the best things in life--fortune, love, wishes--are never given freely. And when Dante finds his last verse, the tale of the beautiful lovers on the third floor begins to unfold. And as desires echo within the halls of Void's mansion, the lovers too will learn that fortune, love, and even whispered wishes come with a price...

Review: 

We conclude the writer and the working woman’s story in the first half. I don’t feel bad for the writer even a little. He’s a bit of an ass, even if he does learn some things from it.
Then we meet a couple, the woman a bit crazy, and the man is going crazy from having to take care of her. It’s a very depressing tale, especially because there’s quite a bit of realism in it, and I can surely see the idea of it happening. These kinds of situations do happen to people. It’s sad what happens to them, what the man has turned into after such a long time, when they were so happy years ago.
I love the artwork in this series, and seeing it all in color is a treat. The format and paper it’s printed on just makes it that much prettier. The stories are sad and depressing, but sometimes deserving and sometimes surprising. I would like to read more, definitely, but I also want more of an overall plot to come at some point.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Manga Review: Yona of the Dawn, Volume 6, by Mizuho Kusanagi


Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Publisher: Shojo Beat (VIZ Media)
Release Date: June 2017
Volumes: 24+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 5. 7.

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 finally meets Jaeha, the Green Dragon. Unfortunately, Jaeha has no desire to follow her on her quest! Yona offers to help Jaeha and his fellow pirates, so Captain Gi-Gan challenges her with a perilous quest to test her courage. Will Yona be able to pick the Senju Herbs from the steep cliff face of the Misty Cape?"

Review:

We get the pirate plot line in this volume. I must admit, after seeing the anime, this plot seems long and not that interesting to me, surprisingly.
Yona meets the green dragon, and the group gets to meet his gang of pirates. They're all rather nice, and I do like the old woman. It seems like she's going to be a good influence on Yona, and I like that—it could definitely be good for her.
I do like the green dragon, but he's not my favorite. He's rather cocky and flirty, and I think that him and Yona could have a good relationship, especially since it seems like she doesn't take him seriously.
Near the end of the volume, Yona and Yun are planning to take over another ship, and it's a bit rough. I'm really hoping to see Yona take charge, show them up and get fierce. I seriously love seeing her get pissed, and I want it to happen.
On the other hand, it's nice to see the others team together to protect her. They all really care for Yona, and they understand the importance of keeping her safe, and I like seeing that. I think it's especially important, since we know that Yona would do anything to keep them safe in return.
I cannot get enough of this series, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Manga Review: Rin-ne, Volume 22, by Rumiko Takahashi


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Shonen Sunday (VIZ Media)
Release Date: November 2016
Volumes: 37+
Spoilers?: No.
Volume: 1. 21. 23.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Beloved manga creator Rumiko Takahashi delivers lots of kook and a little spook in this story of a girl who sees ghosts and who meets a boy who navigates a realm between life and death.

After a mysterious encounter in her childhood, Sakura Mamiya gained the power to see ghosts. Now a teenager, she just wishes the ghosts would leave her alone! Then one day she meets Rinne Rokudo, a boy who is far more than what he seems.

Has a vending machine ever taken your money? Maybe it was haunted! Rinne’s got to solve the mystery of the school’s dysfunctional drinks machine soon, because everyone is blaming him for their missing coins!

Review:

The crystal ball is still being hunted as this volume starts. We see that everyone is sneaking around and planning how to get their hands on it. Renge gets a bad prophesy amidst this.
After that, there are several short plots. There's a tree spirit haunting people for misusing it. Rinne gets blamed for a vending machine stealing money. There's a meat bun haunting people by taking their meat bun filling. There's a Christmas mystery. A rather entertaining one to me was when there's a dream test, and everyone is invading each others' dreams, including the dreams featuring their crush.
While I haven't followed much of this series, this was a rather fun volume to read. I like all of the antics, I like seeing how money can sometimes win out on worries. I don't even fully understand the magic-world dynamics, and I still find it fun to follow.
These volumes are easy to read and I enjoy getting them.


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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Manga Review: Missions of Love, Volume 14, by Ema Toyama


Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: April 2017
Volumes: 19.
Spoilers?: Light.
Volume: 1. 13. 15.

Goodreads Synopsis:

The delightfully risque high-school rom-com continues!
"Can a typical school romance about a mismatched boy and girl turn out to be insanely good? It can if it's Missions of Love." - Anime News Network
"Leaves me thinking 'I'd like to read more of that, please'." - Johanna Draper Carlson, Manga Worth Reading"

Review:

Shigure gets confronted by Hisame and Yukina in this volume. Hisame gets to see what his actions have actually done to Mami, how he has so clearly not shown her his true feelings.
There's a lot between Shigure and Yukina in this volume. Shigure wants to show Yukina how he feels and show her that she feels the same, since she's so conflicted. Just bleh, honestly. I'm sick of them.
Mami is trying to show Akira her true feelings, without being obvious about it. Sadly, it's not really working, at all. Akira is even more oblivious than anyone else, honestly. There is one scene during their “date”, though, that I absolutely loved.
I do think that Hisame and Yukina understand each other in a way that no one else really does, and I like their friendship. As long as it only stays as that.
I'm getting a little tired of the back-and-forth drama regarding Yukina, how she just cannot seem to figure out what she wants and then actually do something about it. She needs to figure her shit out, honestly.
This series must not be doing that well, given how slow the releases are. And I will be reading the next one, of course.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Teaser Tuesday[254]: Secondborn (Secondborn, #1) by Amy A. Bartol

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!

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

Secondborn (Secondborn, #1) by Amy A. Bartol
Genre: NA Fantasy
Publisher: August 1, 2017
Release Date: 47North
Buy it here: Amazon. Barnes and Noble.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?

Excerpt:

'Goodness, Roselle. You look like a soldier!'
'I am a soldier.'” (e-book, pg. 159)

What are you reading?