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Book Review: Welcome to the Ballroom by Tomo Takeuchi (vol. 1)

25 Days of Book Reviews logo.

DAY 12

Cover for Welcome to the Ballroom volume 1.
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Sports Manga, Graphic Novel
Series: Welcome to the Ballroom vol. 1
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: THE BALLROOM BECKONS Feckless high school student Tatara Fujita wants to be good at something – anything. Unfortunately, he’s about as average as a slouchy teen can be. The local bullies know this, and make it a habit to hit him up for cash, but all that changes when the debonair Kaname Sengoku sends them packing. Sengoku’s not the neighborhood watch, though. He’s a professional ballroom dancer. And once Tatara Fujita gets pulled into the world of the ballroom, his life will nevver be the same.

 

Light blue text that says "Book Review" over a stem of while orchids.

A good story with a likable cast of quirky characters. I think many people can relate to the main character, Tatara Fujita, in some way. He’s just your average high school student who is unfortunately being bullied at school. Tatara feels adrift with a purpose or something to be good at that would make him special.

But in volume 1, you see him start to come alive, slowly finding himself and a passion to his surprise through ballroom dance. The dancing shown looks really great on the page. There’s life/expression in each dancer’s eyes, body language, and athleticism. I have seen the anime for this story and I think I like it better. But this is still a solid start and the story does get more interesting as it progresses. I really like where this volume ended because it gets you excited with anticipation for the next volume.

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About Manga

Manga I Want to Start Collecting

What’s something you like to collect (bookish or non-bookish)?

Collecting manga is extremely satisfying. When you look at all of the volumes on shelves, it’s row after row of perfectly symmetrical books.

Beside the visual satisfaction there’s the wonderful stories themselves, amazing artwork, complex plots, and endearing characters. Many of these series have an anime adaptations. Most of the manga I have read I’d already seen the anime.

Currently, I own 85 volumes across 11 different series in various stages of completion and soon to be published.

I’ve been lucky enough that the library I go to has a really good manga section, so I’ve been able to save a lot of money. Manga is affordable since they come in paperback or ebooks. So I usually buy in bulk mostly because they’re easy to read through very quickly. But between getting these volumes and also having a ton of other books I want to get, collecting (and reading) manga can be slow going. Patience is truly a virtue.

Image via Goodreads

At the moment, there are a few series I want to start collecting. I mentioned in my last  book haul, I finally started collecting the phenomenal Haikyu!! by Haruichi Furudate. I’m caught up on the anime, so I can take my time with collecting this particular series.

Haikyu!! Vol. 1 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! Who says you need to be tall to play volleyball when you can jump higher than anyone else?

After losing his first and last volleyball match against Tobio Kageyama, “the King of the Court,” Shoyo Hinata swears to become his rival after graduating middle school. But what happens when the guy he wants to defeat ends up being his teammate?! (review)

The next series I want to continue collecting is Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo: funny, action-packed, and all the feels. I’m not sure what’s going on but I think the volumes 1-5 are currently out of print or sold out. I couldn’t find any information to verify that except dates on Barnes & Noble that might indicate when they’ll be back in print. Again, just a guess, can’t confirm. You can still get e-copies, but I prefer reading manga (graphic novels in general) in print because it’s easy to read the small font. So right now it’s a waiting game for more Spy x Family shenanigans.

Spy x Family Vol. 1 Synopsis: Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring both a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath! (review)

Image via Goodreads

Another series I want to collect is Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun by Izumi Tsubaki, a hilarious high school rom-com I adore. Besides a hilarious unrequited love story you meet other equally charming characters. This series never fails to make me laugh and smile.

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kin Vol. 1 Synopsis: The boy of her dreams…is a girl’s manga artist?!To the eyes of high school student Chiyo Sakura, classmate Umetarou Nozaki–brawny of build and brusque of tongue–is a dreamboat! When Chiyo finally works up the courage to tell Nozaki how she feels about him, she knows rejection is on the table…but getting recruited as a manga-ka’s assistant?! Never in a million years! But for someone who makes a living drawing sweet girly romances, Nozaki-kun is a little slow on the uptake when it comes to matters of the heart in reality. And so Chiyo’s daily life of manga making and heartache begins!

Haikyu!!, Spy x Family, and Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun are at the top of my list of manga I want to start collecting. Maybe 2021 will be my head start to all this.

Do you read manga or watch anime? If so, what are some of your favorites?

*some images via my IG @thebookshelfcorner*


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

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Manga Review: Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo (Volume 1)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Comedy, Graphic Novel
Series: Spy x Family
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Master spy Twilight is the best at what he does when it comes to going undercover on dangerous missions in the name of a better world. But when he receives the ultimate impossible assignment—get married and have a kid—he may finally be in over his head!

Not one to depend on others, Twilight has his work cut out for him procuring both a wife and a child for his mission to infiltrate an elite private school. What he doesn’t know is that the wife he’s chosen is an assassin and the child he’s adopted is a telepath!

 

My Review: Oh my goodness, why in the world was I so hesitant to read this?! Spy x Family volume 1 was so much fun and super funny! A spy, an assassin, and a telepath make for great main characters. You really get to know who these characters are and their struggles.

Twilight is a master of disguise and confident in his abilities as a spy. Yet he finds himself hilariously floundering with his current mission of securing a wife and child in order to take down a criminal. I adore his character.

Yor, our deadly assassin, is a kind person who has never quite fit in. She appears to want more from life and to not let her little brother – who she loves – worry too much about her. She’s so wonderful.

Anya is so precious and deserves the world! All she wants is a family. It’s so cute how she tries to help Twilight with his mission so the three of them can remain a family (fake as it is).

I adore all three of them and love how well they fit together. They seem to unknowingly fill the void within each other. My deepest hope of hopes is that they stay a family regardless of what happens next.

I’m so glad I picked up this volume. There was humor, action, blood, sadness, and very wholesome moments between the characters. I’m really looking forward to the next volume. Spy x Family is comedy gold and sure to become my new favorite series.

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ARC Review: A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation by Momochi, Misake, Sando (Volume 3)

Thank you to Independent Publishers GroupTokyoPop, and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! Volume 3 goes on sale June 8, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Manga, Fantasy
Series: A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: After defeating the underground dragon and finishing up their business in the mercantile city of Marcade, Lizel and Gil resume their journey, having promised Judge’s grandfather to protect Judge along the way. But danger soon catches up to them when a strange group of bandits called the Forky Gang attacks in the middle of the night! It quickly becomes clear that someone is targeting Lizel… but who could it be, and for what reason?

As always, former noble and current adventurer Lizel takes all new developments in stride in his usual, laid-back fashion. He’s celebrating his promotion from a simple E-rank to a D-rank adventurer — and setting his sights on ranking up again soon!

 

My Review: Volume 3 was good! There were a few new interesting developments foreshadowing possible dangers on the horizon. Lizel and Gil continue to surprise others by doing the impossible. We’re briefly introduced to a new character who I think will add some liveliness to the story. My favorite part was Judge and Studd basically competing for Lizel’s attention and affection – they’re so adorable! I’m really looking forward to the next volume. It’s gearing up to be a fun one.


Volume 1 (ARC review)

Volume 2 (ARC review)
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About Manga Book Reviews

Manga Series Review: An Incurable Case of Love by Maki Enjoji

Genre: Romance, Manga, Graphic Novel
Series: An Incurable Case of Love
Total Volumes: 7
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (avg. 4.28)
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Nurse Nanase has striven to once again meet the prince of her dreams, so how is it he’s become such an aggravating doctor?!

After witnessing a handsome and charming young doctor saving a stranger’s life five years ago, Nanase Sakura trained to become a nurse. But when she meets the doctor again and they start working together, she finds Kairi Tendo to be nothing like the man she imagined him to be!

 

My Reviews

Volume 1 (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

I wanted to read An Incurable Case of Love because it seemed like it would be a funny rom-com story. I bought Volume 1 – the only volume in English published at the time – on optimism alone. I’m so glad I found this series because it was an enjoyable read.

Volume 1 was super cute. Nanase studies to become a nurse so she can one day work with a guy she met five years ago who helped her save someone’s life. It’s a frivolous reason to become a nurse. But when she finally reunites with the handsome doctor, things go sideways fast. I knew then – from the way these stubborn titans constantly clashed – that I was going to fall in love with this series.

Five years is a long time. I’m curious to learn what changed for Tendo that he’s now so gruff and unapproachable a person that no one wants to be assigned to his department. He’s a great doctor but not easy to work with. I predict this is because of possibly a bad relationship, the stress of his profession, or perhaps mental trauma from losing a patient.

All the characters you meet so far are great and compliment the two main characters. Sparks are already flying in volume 1, so I’m eager to continue the story.

Volume 2 (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

I finally got my copy of volume 2 and of course I had to read it right away. It’s so good to be back in this story! I loved this volume and the continued clashes between Valiant One and the Dark Lord. But that cliffhanger!

Volume 3 (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

Volume 3 was very entertaining. The scales are slowly tipping in Nanase’s favor. The Dark Lord is still the Dark Lord (lol). This series just keeps getting better! I wish volume 4 was out now because once again we are left with feelings and a cliffhanger.

Volume 4 (⭐⭐⭐)

This volume was okay for me. Nanase’s reactions throughout a good portion of this volume left me very confused. They seemed…too big? for what certain situations called for. I liked the progression of Dr. Tendo and Nanase’s relationship. There were plenty of cute/funny moments and even a few intimate instances throughout. I think they’ve reached a new understanding about their relationship. I really like the two of them together. I’m looking forward to the next volume!

Volume 5 (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)

A challenger has appeared and Dr. Tendo is not happy! Tendo off his game is amusing and surprising. And poor Nanase is at a loss by this new obstacle to her and Tendo’s relationship. I’m worried about Nanase’s confidence. She’s always second-guessing things. It doesn’t help that she takes to heart the things that the other nurses say and then there’s Tendo’s hot/cold behavior. This volume was ridiculous fun; a big step up from the last one. I couldn’t put the book down!

Volume 6 (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

This was a good volume. Tendo was a bit more open (in his on brand hot/cold way) about his feelings for Nanase. This was also the most level-headed I’ve seen Nanase in a long time. The two came to a big decision about their relationship.

Volume 7 (⭐⭐⭐⭐)

I’m so sad this series is over! The series as a whole had it’s ups and downs, but I’m happy with how things ended for Tendo and Sakura by the end of the story. Volume 7 wrapped things up well.

They look so cute together on all of the covers, volume 7 being my particular favorite artwork. I love Tendo and Sakura so much and have enjoyed watching them both grow together. I’m gonna miss them dearly.

This was a great manga series that I totally recommend!


*images via Goodreads*

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About Manga Bookish Memes Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – 3/24/21

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

This is a bittersweet Waiting On Wednesday as the book I am looking forward to reading is the final of its series: An Incurable Case of Love by Maki Enjōji (Volume 7).

This cute manga series has been addicting though not without its ups and downs. I love the gruff Dr. Tendo and hard-working Nanase (aka Valiant One). Their growing relationship has been a rocky one, but I have high hopes for this final volume. The two have undeniable chemistry. Just look at them on the adorable cover – it makes my heart so happy!

Image via Goodreads

Volume 7 is set to be released on April 6, 2021.

ABOUT: Nurse Nanase has striven to once again meet the prince of her dreams, so how is it he’s become such an aggravating doctor?!

After witnessing a handsome and charming young doctor saving a stranger’s life five years ago, Nanase Sakura trained to become a nurse. But when she meets the doctor again and they start working together, she finds Kairi Tendo to be nothing like the man she imagined him to be!

 

Interested in learning more? You can read my review of Volume 1 here.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!
CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

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ARC Manga Review: A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation by Misake, Momochi, Sando (Volume 2)

Thank you to Independent Publishers Group, TokyoPop, and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review!

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Fantasy
Series: A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation (ongoing)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: After their first successful adventure together, Lizel has officially formed a party with his guard and companion, the famous adventurer Gil. A renowned swordsman known by the moniker Single Stroke for his ability to take down any enemy with just one swipe, Gil has promised to protect Lizel as they become an official part of the adventurer’s guild — and the two are already making waves!

Lizel’s charming personality has earned him a few friends by now, among them a young appraiser named Judge, the grandson of a rich merchant from the mercantile capital of Marcade. When he asks them to accompany him as guards on a trip to visit his grandfather, Lizel happily accepts the opportunity to sightsee and explore in such a famous country. Gil, on the other hand, is more excited about seeing if there are any super-strong monsters to fight in Marcade’s Labyrinth. It’s time for the newly-formed party to prove their mettle!

 

My Review: The adventure begins albeit at a leisurely pace in the merchant town of Marcade. Lizel’s joy at the sights and curiosity are infectious. Lizel is eager to sight-see while Gil just wants to test his skills against powerful opponents.

I love how smitten Judge, who accompanies Lizel and Gil to Marcade, is with Lizel. Judge is so darling and I hope he becomes a member of their party. I think he’d be a delightful addition to the group.

Lizel and Gil are so compatible with each other and are surely on track to becoming fast friends. They are an eye-catching pair in more ways than one so of course strange trouble follows. Lizel is very astute and it’s interesting how he manages to solve pieces to any puzzle he and Gil are faced with.

Those last few scenes between the two were very appealing and I wonder how what took place will affect their relationship going forward.


Volume 1 (ARC review)

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Book Review: Waiting For Spring by Anashin (Volume 1)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, Shojo
Rating: ⭐⭐☆☆☆
Recommend to Others?: No

ABOUT: A sweet romantic story of a soft-spoken high school freshman and her quest to make friends, Waiting for Spring will delight fans of earnest, fun, and dramatic shojo like Kimi ni Todoke and Say I Love You.

Mizuki is a shy girl who’s about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys’ basketball team weren’t exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the café where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she’s been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include… love?

 

My Review: Volume 1 was okay but not enough for me to continue this series.

I liked Mitsuki’s character because of how relatable she is. All she wants is to fit in and make a friend. I thought it was brave of her to try to achieve this goal on her own. She moves away from her only friend to go to a school where no one knows her and friend groups are already established. That takes guts, especially in high school.

I didn’t like the guys she meets from the start. They are your typical handsome popular star athletes. They were rude to Mitsuki – someone they didn’t even know. My impression of them never got better. One of them seems okay and a potential love interest, but I have a hard time believing his sincerity. Basically, if these guys are just going to keep teasing her like it’s not a problem, then I don’t want to keep reading.

I really do like Mitsuki though and would like to see how she grows and changes. But this volume was so off-putting.

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Book Review: Ace of the Diamond by Yuji Terajima (Vol. 1-3) (combined review)

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, Sports
Series: Ace of the Diamonds
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: [Vol. 1] Eijun Sawamura had his heart set on the middle-school national baseball championships. But his team is eliminated thanks to a wild pitch thrown by Eijun himself. He’s planning to go to high school with his teammates and try again next year when he’s scouted by the famous Seido High School Baseball team. When he goes for a campus visit, he finds himself on the receiving end of a baptism by fire! His experience forming a battery with up-and-coming catcher Miyuki rekindles his passion for baseball!!

 

My Review: Disclaimer: I have watched all of the episodes of the anime that are available. This is my first time reading the manga.

The first three volumes of Ace of the Diamond were just as good as the beginning episodes of the anime and brought back a lot of fond memories.

Eijun Sawarmura (mc) is a passionate boy who wears his heart on his sleeves. As loud as he is, Eijun’s high energy is infectious and draws others in. You can clearly see that in his interactions with his middle school friends. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer (and even less about baseball in general). But Eijun has raw potential and you immediately become invested in his desire to play baseball, his growth as an athlete, and his goal to become the ace of Seido High School’s varsity baseball team.

Baseball is one of my least favorite sports. I’d rather play it than watch it. However, Ace of the Diamond is an addicting series.

Seido’s baseball team has a lot of members – its freshmen count close to 100! The team is highly competitive and a prominent program. Their practices are grueling. To get one of the 20 sought after spots you have to work your ass off and then some every day.

All of the members are talented players who live and breathe baseball. Seido’s hard work brightly shows in the practices and games you get to see so far. Those illustrations were very cool, especially of the pitchers.

The passion and work ethic are admirable and you want Seido to succeed so badly and make it to Koshien Stadium where Nationals are held. It’s a lot of strong personalities working towards the same goal.

While there are a lot of serious moments throughout the story there are plenty of funny, light-hearted moments as you get to know the other main players/characters on the team. I enjoyed volumes 1-3 and can’t wait to continue this series.

 

 

Images via Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34504683-ace-of-the-diamond-vol-1
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34837663-ace-of-the-diamond-vol-2
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34939247-ace-of-the-diamond-vol-3

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About Manga ARCs Manga Reviews

ARC Manga Review: A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation by Misake, Momochi, Sando (Volume 1)

Thank you to Diamond Book Distributer (Tokyopop) and NetGalley for the e-ARC to read and review! A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation goes on sale August 11, 2020.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Manga
Series: A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation
# of Volumes: 2 (ongoing)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: When Lizel mysteriously finds himself in a city that bears odd similarities to his own but clearly isn’t, he quickly comes to terms with the unlikely truth: this is an entirely different world. Even so, laid-back Lizel isn’t the type to panic.

He immediately sets out to learn more about this strange place, and to help him do so, hires a seasoned adventurer named Gil as his tour guide and protector. Until he’s able to find a way home, Lizel figures this is a perfect opportunity to explore a new way of life adventuring as part of a guild.

After all, he’s sure he’ll go home eventually… might as well enjoy the otherworldly vacation for now!

 

My Review: A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation is an unusual but laid back read. I enjoyed this first volume a lot and feel the story thus far shows promise.

Lizel is calm, cool, and collected. He is also intelligent with wicked wits. But all in all he is a good guy with a good heart. People are drawn to his polite manner and nature. He literally behaves like he’s on a vacation until he can find a way home. There is more to this character I’m sure of it. We don’t know much about him – as he tells Gil, we haven’t asked the right questions.

I am in love with Gil. He’s stoic, calm but cautious, and sure of himself and his abilities. He is a stark contrast to Lizel, which provides a lot of comedic moments through the story. Gil, I think, is drawn to Lizel because of Lizel’s competency and how he keeps surprising him.

The world of A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation is easy to immerse yourself in. It’s world-building is pretty standard and the idea of adventurers and adventuring is explained well. The fantasy element is very appealing. You meet other interesting characters but I’m hoping that develops a bit more in the next volume.

I would continue reading this series because I am highly invested in the story. The art style is beautiful and I love Lizel and Gil together. Would recommend this series.