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Manga Review: Haikyu!! by Haruichi Furudate (Vol. 1-3)

*combined review*

Genre: Manga, Sports, Shonen
Series: Haikyu!!
# of Volumes: 39 (ongoing)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: [Vol. 1] A chance event triggered Shouyou Hinata’s love for volleyball. His club had no members, but somehow persevered and finally made it into its very first and final regular match of middle school, where it was steamrolled by Tobio Kageyama, a superstar player known as “King of the Court.”

Vowing revenge, Hinata applied to the Karasuno High School volleyball club… only to come face-to-face with his hated rival, Kageyama!

 

My Review: [Vol. 1-3] A really great start to a very heartfelt and passionate story!

I am so happy to be reading this series because I love the anime so so much! The story opens wonderfully, foreshadowing the beginning of something special. Matches were captivating the view with all the right moments captured.I really like the art style and felt every impact of larger or full page panels.

Foundations are laid as Karasuno slowly comes together. There’s a lot of raw emotion in just these beginning volumes, everyone has something to improve upon to be the best player and teammate they can be. I adore each character so much, especially Hinata and Nishinoya!

I could barely contain my joy as I was reading and now I want to start collecting all of the volumes. I enjoyed re-experiencing this story anew through the manga. It has reaffirmed my love for this story and team.

 

Images via Goodreads
Vol. 1  |  Vol. 2  |  Vol. 3


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Manga Series Review: Kamisama Kiss by Julietta Suzuki (combined review)

*this is an overall review*

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Young Adult, Romantic Comedy
Series: Kamisama Kiss
# of Volumes: 25
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: 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 her his home, she jumps at the opportunity. But it turns out that his place is a shrine, and Nanami has unwittingly taken over his job as a local deity!

 

My Review: I am more in love with Kamisama Kiss than when I started reading this manga. This was such a fantastic series and I’m so sad to have finished it.

Nanami is a kind-hearted but stubborn girl. She really adjusts to all the supernatural happenings very well for a human. There were times I didn’t like her – when she’d act without thinking things through. But I like her and could imagine anyone else for this particular role.

Tomoe I love a lot. He’s so brash but sure of himself. He’s dedicated and mysterious. He’s gone through so much but that doesn’t stop him – maybe stall a bit – from doing what must be done. I enjoyed his character development most of all.

Really all the quirky characters are lovable in their own way! Mizuki is adorable and contributed a lot of comedic moments. Kurama is cool in everything he does. Ami and Kei, Nanami’s best friends, were the perfecting supporting characters and anchor to Nanami’s human side.

The final volume was really emotional for me. Things wrapped up so nicely and with such finality but much hope and happiness for the future. I could not have asked for a more perfect ending. I’m so happy for Nanami and Tomoe! This is a bittersweet goodbye to these characters and series but I can honestly say I am one happy reader.


My Review of Volume 1


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Book Review: “Backstage Prince” by Kanoko Sakurakoji

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
# of Volumes: 2
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

ABOUT (Vol. 1): Drawn into the exciting world of kabuki theatre, young Akari spends her time after school assisting the internationally famous actor, Shonosuke Ichimura. In the real world, however, this prince of kabuki is actually a high school cutie by the name of Ryusei.

Akari is totally clueless about kabuki–and boys–but she’s eager to learn about both. Her first encounter with Ryusei doesn’t go very well, but with the help of a cat named Mr. Ken, the two teenagers quickly become prince AND princesses of kabuki. Love was never so dramatic!

ABOUT (Vol. 2): There’s trouble brewing behind the kabuki curtain. Ryusei’s dad doesn’t want anything–or anyone!–distracting his son from his chosen profession. It’s no secret that he disapproves of Ryusei’s romance with Akari. Now he’s determined to sabotage their relationship anyway he can!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Backstage Prince was an interesting read. Being only two volumes long, the story couldn’t help but feel rushed

The story begins with an inciting incident that gets right to the overall plot of the story. Akari is a nice girl, pleasantly ordinary but flat in character. She doesn’t grow or change much throughout the story. Ryusei is every bit the dashing prince but is extremely antisocial so often comes across as rude and brutish. I get that he’s not good with feelings and expressing himself but sometimes he did not treat Akari well. At least you can see he does regret his behavior at times and makes some effort to change.

I wish that we could see more of the reaction Akari’s classmate have after learning who she is dating and whether they treat her differently or not. The reactions are 99% focused on the industry, media, and fan reactions.

I liked both volumes equally and the stakes do raise as the story progresses. It’s a nice story; a bit different from my usual reads which was a nice change.


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Book Review: Otomen (Volume 1) by Aya Kanno

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel
Series: Otomen
Rating: 2 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Maybe

 

ABOUT: Asuka Masamune is a guy who loves girly things – sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shojo comics. But in a world where boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Ryo Miyakozuka, on the other hand, is a girl who can’t sew or bake a cake to save her life. Asuka finds himself drawn to Ryo, but she likes only the manliest of men! Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, much less to the girl that he’s falling for?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Otomen was one of my most anticipated end of the year reads. Perhaps I read this at the wrong time but I did not enjoy this first volume.

I expected more from this story. The premise caught my attention immediately. And I’m always up for a story about characters who learn to won who they are and what makes them special. But the three principal characters you first meet are pretty flat in design. They’re nice but I couldn’t bring myself to care about what was going on. The disjointed writing and transitions between scenes didn’t help either.

I’m still interested enough to give volume 2 a chance. I liked the artist’s style and there were a few laugh out loud moments. But that probably wouldn’t be for many more months.


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Manga Series Review: Dawn of the Arcana by Rei Toma

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, YA Fantasy
Series: Dawn of the Arcana
# of Volumes: 13
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Sumamry (via Goodreads):
Princess Nakaba of Senan is forced to marry Prince Caesar of the enemy country Belquat, tantamount to becoming a hostage. While Caesar is pleasing to the eye, he is also selfish and possessive, telling Nakaba outright: “You are my property.” With only her attendant Loki at her side, Nakaba must find a way to cope with her hostile surroundings, her fake marriage…and a mysterious power!

~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
I really enjoyed reading Dawn of the Arcana. It was funny and sweet, but sad and depressing.

I actually liked the love triangle between Nakaba, Caesar, and Loki; it’s one of the better one’s I’ve seen. Love isn’t so instantaneous in this series, which is good. It grows organically albeit quickly.

There’s so much going on and so much action. The series touches greatly upon the race relations between humans and Ajin. Humans are seen as higher beings than Ajin. Ajin are treated as slaves. These moments were hard to read because this theme echoes so loudly and powerfully within actual history. All the royal families (except a very select few) are just horrible people and it’s no wonder the children ended up just as hateful and spiteful as their ancestors. It’s all just sad.

But I grew to like Caesar rather quickly – one of those few royal lights with the dark. He’s rather sweet and amusingly awkward where Nakaba is involved. He is open to change and rather thoughtful when he tries to be.

Nakaba I liked but there were times when she was just so winy. She’d complain and hesitate every time the “mysterious power” was used or going to be used. And I get it. The power is not easy to wield and rather complex. It’s almost soul-crushing. But I feel if she just stopped and really thought about things she wouldn’t stress so much.

Loki I loved so much in the beginning but my feelings for him began to wane as the story went on. I’m not sure why. Probably because of the conflicting ways he treated Nakaba. In the end, I just had indifferent feelings about him. I feel like there were better choices he could have made.

It’s a lovely story told beautifully but with a few jarring transitions and jumps in time between scenes. The ending felt rushed as if there could have been more pages to make it truly satisfying. Regardless, I was still happy with how things turned out overall.

I loved this series and devoured each volume rather quickly. I’m so glad I found this series.


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Book Review: The Water Dragon’s Bride by Rei Toma (Volume 1)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, YA Fantasy
Series: The Water Dragon’s Bride, Volume 1
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
A modern-day girl gets whisked away to a strange land where she is sacrificed to a water dragon god! 

In the blink of an eye, a modern-day girl named Asahi is whisked away from her warm and happy home and stranded in a strange and mysterious world where she is sacrificed to a water dragon god! What plans are in store for her, and what will happen when she comes face to face with this god?

A young boy named Subaru comes to Asahi’s aid, but despite his help, Asahi must endure a test of survival! Will she be able to make it out alive, or will she end up being sacrificed?

~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Great start to what I’m sure is going to be a fantastic series. It has a nice The Little Mermaid vibes to it but a more sinister reversal effect.

Asahi is so cute and funny. I just love her character. It’s sad what she’s going through but I strongly believe things will work out for her in the end.

The water dragon god is very cruel to Asahi. However, Subaru’s mother comes across as more wicked than the water dragon god in this first volume. There’s so much you don’t know about the water dragon god. He is beguiling and stoic. Uninterested in humans who to him are greedy and lower than dirt. I like him as the antagonist. As flat of a character as he is, he’s certainly giving off some powerful vibes.

The story is really interesting and quickly captured my attention. I’m looking forward to reading more volumes. I anticipate unexpected twists and turns unlike anything I’ve every seen.


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And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!


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Book Review: Snow White with the Red Hair by Sorata Akiduki (Volumes 1 & 2)

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, YA Fantasy
Series: Snow White with the Red Hair, Volumes 1 & 2
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quote: “They say red is the color of destiny.”

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
Shirayuki is an herbalist famous for her naturally bright-red hair, and the prince of Tanbarun wants her all to himself! Unwilling to become the prince’s possession, she seeks shelter in the woods of the neighboring kingdom, where she gains an unlikely ally—the prince of that kingdom! He rescues her from her plight, and thus begins the love story between a lovestruck prince and an unusual herbalist.

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My Review:
Snow White with the Red Hair is just as beautiful and romantic and full of the feels like I remember. I’ve watched the anime several times, so I knew the manga would be even better. The art is undeniably beautiful. I could gush about this story all day.

The story does have a ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ vibes but it’s really short-lived and becomes something more amazing. All the characters I adore so much. Shkirayuki is a calm blaze. Zen is a dashing prince. Kiki is strong and beautiful. Mitsuhide is loyal to a fault. Obi is funny and always makes me laugh.

I’m so happy this series is finally being printed in English. I can’t wait to see where the story goes and how what I know from the anime intertwines with the original material.


Volume 1https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42641003-snow-white-with-the-red-hair-vol-1

Volume 2https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42640997-snow-white-with-the-red-hair-vol-2


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Book Review: The Demon Prince of Momochi House by Aya Shouoto (Volume 1)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, YA Fantasy
Series: The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Volume 1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
I am loving this series. It’s like a cross between Fruits Basket and Kamisama Kiss with a sprinkle of Inuyasha. So of course I adore all of the characters. Himari is a nice girl. She’s kind of a flat character but I hope that we learn more about her in the next volume. Aoi I am crushing on because he is so goofy and sweet. His story so far is sad and I feel for him. But I’m hoping that Himari will be his salvation. You learn hardly anything about Yukari and Ise, Aoi’s companions and shikigami. But again we’ll just have to wait and see. I have a strong feeling The Demon Prince of Momochi House is going to become a favorite series of mine.


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And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!


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Anticipated Book Releases – FALL 2019

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

September

  • 03 Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 3) by Sorata Akizuki

  • 03 The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier (Warrior Bard, book 1)

  • 10 Tiger Queen Annie Sullivan

 

October

  • 01 Shadow Frost by Coco Ma (Shadow Frost, book 1)

  • 08 The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh (The Beautiful, book 1)

  • 29 Black Butler (Volume 28) by Yana Toboso

  • 29 Fever by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 16)

 

November

  • 05 Snow White with the Red Hair (Volume 4) by Sorata Akizuki

  • 05 The Water Dragon’s Bride (Volume 11) by Rei Toma

  • 19 Knight of the Silver Circle by Duncan M. Hamilton (Dragonslayer, book 2)


As always, happy reading!!!


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Book Review: Dawn of the Arcana by Rei Toma (Volume 1)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, YA Fantasy
Series: Dawn of the Arcana, Volume 1
Rating: 5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Sumamry (via Goodreads):
Princess Nakaba of Senan is forced to marry Prince Caesar of the enemy country Belquat, tantamount to becoming a hostage. While Caesar is pleasing to the eye, he is also selfish and possessive, telling Nakaba outright: “You are my property.” With only her attendant Loki at her side, Nakaba must find a way to cope with her hostile surroundings, her fake marriage…and a mysterious power!

~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Dawn of the Arcana is going to turn out to be a great series.

The premise and art style really interested me. I wanted to know how Princess Nakaba would overcome her unwelcoming circumstances.

Princess Nakaba has had to live with ridicule and now the same scorn follows her to Belquat. She calmly tells Prince Caesar, “Do you know how much suffering I’ve endured because of [my red hair]? This country or my own my fate is the same. The only difference is where I die.” Such profound words made her a more appealing character and captivated me.

This story. The world the author has created. It’s beautiful and charming and wicked.

For all his faults, I liked getting to know Prince Caesar. He’s not a kind man but his disposition is largely due to how he’s been treated and a lack of self-worth. In a way, I feel for him but of course I do not condone his actions thus far.

Loki is darling. He’s cool, mysterious and loyal. You don’t learn much about him in this volume so I’m hoping we get to dive more deeply into his character in the coming volumes.

I’m so excited for this series!