Saturday, June 11, 2016

Review: My Monster Secret vol. 1


200 pgs
Genre: supernatural, humor
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Rating: 4 stars

Series Description from website: High school student Kuromine Asahi is the kind of guy who literally cannot tell a lie.Whether it’s trying to maintain a poker face in a simple game of cards, or keeping scurrilous gossip to himself, Asahi is a total failure when it comes to the art of deception.
So what happens when he stumbles upon the most shocking secret of his life? When Asahi learns that Shiragami Youko, a beautiful girl of few words, is actually a vampire. Can Asahi possibly keep his lips sealed?

My Review: The Manga Book Club has a challenge called NY Times Best Sellers Manga, so looking at the list I found it on there (can't recall which week though).

Asahi Kuromine is in love with the girl on the cover, Shiragami Youko. He finds out her secret of being a vampire. She is not like the usual vampire, so I like that. When Asahi asks her about sucking blood for meals she says "that's like sexual harrasment". He keeps her secret although he's supposed to be bad at it 'cause he has no poker face. He's called a holey sieve, but sieves already have holes so I'm not sure it's the best term. Expect humor in his attempts to keep Shiragami's secret.

He has to deal with the school newspaper editor, Akemi Mikan. She loves to learn people's secrets and other gossip that people wouldn't want to get exposed. She is supposed to be a childhood friend, but that Asahi even refers to her as such is questionable to me. She's definitely a formidable antagonist. Asahi does have three buddies, Shima, Okada or Oka and don't think the other guy's name was said. Should be interesting to see more of them, particularly Oka. Last, for Asahi to deal with is his class rep, Aizawa Nagisa who has a secret of her own that he'll also have to keep.

Overall it makes for a humorous, potentially torturous setup of a story for Asahi. I look forward to reading more.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: The Early Years (Dark Lord #1)

290 pgs
Genre: Middle-grade, Fantasy, Humor
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Rating: 3 stars
Book Description: Greetings, Puny Humans:
In your hands, you are holding a tome of staggeringly evil genius . It is not for the faint of heart or for the whining masses. It is for those willing to serve as my devoted minions while I plan my greatest feat yet: surviving life as a human boy and returning to my rightful place as the ruler of the Dark Lands. Before I can exact revenge, I must infiltrate this world and learn its ways.
How, you might ask, is it possible that I, the Dark Lord, the Master of the Legions of Dread and Sorcerer Supreme, could be reduced to human form? And how is it possible that the Lord of darkness could be forced to attend school and befriend such pitiful life forms?
Only by reading my tale will you learn the truth behind the cataclysmic defeat that left me stranded on this accursed planet, Earth, But make no mistake, revenge will be mine... as soon as I finish my homework. Mwa, hah, ha!
Yours insincerely,
Dirk Lloyd
(aka the Dark Lord)
My Review: Expect a Dark Lord to be relegated to our world as a thirteen year old boy with his memory intact, but devoid of his magical powers. Well, most of them. What one gets is some mischief, humor at Dirk's misunderstanding of idioms and how he sort of adapts. Also, there are the adventures he has with Sooz and Chris as he attempts to get back to the Dark Lands.
I have to admit that my adult-ness is showing I was thinking too much because I did have a bit of trouble. I kept questioning the idea of a potentially real Dark Lord and a couple of questionable things Lloyd and friends do. However, once I shook those thoughts away and took the story for what it was: a middle-grade, fantasy comedy, I liked it.
I enjoyed this first book and want to read the next one, especially after the way The Early Years ends.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review: Midnight City (Conquered Earth #1)

392 pgs
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Aliens
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Griffin
Rating: 5 stars

Book Description: Earth has been conquered by an alien race known as the Assembly. The human adult population is gone, having succumbed to the Tone--a powerful, telepathic super-signal broadcast across the planet that reduces them to a state of complete subservience. But the Tone has one critical flaw. It only affects the population once they reach their early twenties, which means that there is one group left to resist: Children.
Holt Hawkins is a bounty hunter, and his current target is Mira Toombs, an infamous treasure seeker with a price on her head. It's not long before Holt bags his prey, but their instant connection isn't something he bargained for. Neither is the Assembly ship that crash-lands near them shortly after. Venturing inside, Holt finds a young girl who remembers nothing except her name: Zoey.
As the three make their way to the cavernous metropolis of Midnight City, they encounter young freedom fighters, mutants, otherworldly artifacts, pirates, feuding alien armies, and the amazing powers that Zoey is beginning to exhibit. Powers that suggest she, as impossible as it seems, may just be the key to stopping the Assembly once and for all.
Midnight City is the breathtaking first book of the Conquered Earth series.

My Review: Received through First Reads.

I loved Holt, Mira, Zoey and Max. In Midnight City the reader gets to see how they meet, establish a relationship along their danger filled adventure and get past various obstacles encountered. Expect action, humor, suspense, moments of emotions and some romance.

The world in the book being set around the last survivors after an alien invasion also reads a bit like horror. It gave me a couple of nightmares to be honest. There was that one chapter that did not appear in my dreams nor directly involved aliens, which I am glad for, but was scary.

The last twenty, thirty pages had me turning pages and anxious to know the turnout for these characters I care for. A lot has been overcome, but there is still a lot for this group to cover. I look forward to book two.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review: Many Moons by James Thurber, Illustrated by Marc Simont

48 pages
Genre: Picture Book, Humor
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Description: A reillustrated version of Thurber's tale about Princess Lenore's request for the moon, with an introduction by Rosemary Thuber.

My Review: Many Moons was funny and charming. The art and story contribute equally to make an appealing book. The King with the invisibility cloak is funny. How does he think it's supposed to work? I really liked it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra

118 pages
Genre: Family, Cultural, Adult
Publisher: New Vessel Press
Rating: 3 stars

Book Description: At the age of nine, Juan Salvatierra became mute following a horse riding accident. At twenty, he began secretly painting a series of long rolls of canvas in which he minutely detailed six decades of life in his village on Argentina's river frontier with Uruguay. After the death of Salvatierra, his sons return to the village from Buenos Aires to deal with their inheritance: a shed packed with painted rolls stretching over two miles in length and depicting personal and communal history. Museum curators from Europe come calling to acquire this strange, gargantuan artwork. But an essential one of its rolls is missing. A search that illuminates the links between art and life ensues, as an intrigue of family secrets buried in the past cast their shadows on the present.

My Review: Received through First Reads.

Beautiful read. Salvatierra's art is entwined with his life in Cabarrales, Argentina and it all comes together to be told by his son in a deeply reflective and resonant way. It was a unique yet relateable book. I like how art connected to life and was told in the written word by Mairal.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Batman: Heart of Hush

144 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, YA, Action
Publisher: DC Comics
Rating: 4 stars
Book Description: The villain named Hush, created by comic superstars Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee, make a dramatic return to the life of Batman. What will this mean for Bruce Wayne? Secrets shared years ago between Bruce Wayne and Tommy Elliot begin to have dangerous repercussions in the present. Why is this mystery driving Hush to destroy Batman's life? What part does Catwoman play in Hush's plans?
Collects Detective Comics #846-850.
My Review: This is the first Batman comic I've read.  I really liked it. The storyline was easy to follow despite my lack of knowledge of other issues. This is centered around the villain Hush, his story and how it connects to Batman. Maybe a bit of reasearch prior to reading this will help introduce anything or anyone unknown. I don't want to give anything away, but my favorite thing in Batman: Heart of Hush were the use of quotes.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review: Songs of Willow Frost

Pages: 319
Genre: Adult, Historical, Realistic
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Rating: 3 stars

Book Description: On an outing to Seattle's Moore Theatre, William Eng, a Chinese-American orphan, sees a movie featuring an actress who goes by the name of Willow Frost. William is convinced that Willow is his mother, Liu Song, whom he has not seen since a doctor carried her nearly unconscious body out of their apartment years ago. Determined to find Willow. William searches throughout Depression-era Seattle, where he must confront the mysteries of his past. The story of Willow, however, is far more complicated then the Hollywood fantasy William sees on screen.

My Review: Received this book from goodreads' First Reads.

Sad book overall with a glimmer of hope. In Songs of Willow Frost the reader gets to know Willow's story. It begins with William Eng who believes that Willow Frost is his mother. He eventually goes in search of her along with his friend Charlotte. I was a lot more interested in William and Charlotte than I was in getting to know Willow.

Willow's character was well-developed as was her story. She has a hard life and William is the one good constant in her life. She is very much a loving, sacrificing mother. The story alternates in time. The time fram goes from 1921 to 1934 (not in chronological order). Life was tough for everyone, but maybe tougher for minorities because of tradition, societal standards and laws of the time. I didn't like the sad, unfair, unjust experiences Willow had to endure. However, I did come to like her, want to know her so I read on. I wanted her to succeed, be happy.

The same goes for William and Charlotte. They had some happiness and freedom away from Sacred Heart. William is a good hearted person, so he was likable. I really liked Charlotte though. She is wise and sees more than most despite her blindness. The author really broke my heart when it came to her and William's.

Jamie Ford wrote in his author's note of this book "...I realized that beautiful melancholy will always be my writing partner, and that I will make a living by breaking my own heart on a regular basis." If you like this kind of writing in a book then Songs of Willow Frost is for you.