Monday, May 25, 2020

Manga Review: Yukarism Series (Chika Shiomi)

Yukarism, Vol. 1Yukarism, Vol. 2
Yukarism, Vol. 3Yukarism, Vol. 4

Series Title: Yukarism
Author: Chika Shiomi
Volumes Reviewed: 4 (complete)
Publisher: VIZ Media
US Release Date: December 2014 - November 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Content Rating: Older Teen (sensuality, violence, quasi-nudity) [see Note below*]
Format Read: Paperback
Find OnGoodreads
PurchaseAzon | B&N | BookDepo | Indiebound | RightStuf
Summary (of Volume 1):

Yukari Kobayakawa, an accomplished author at the age of 17, writes with amazingly accurate details about historical Japan. It turns out he has the ability to travel back in time...to his past life as a renowned courtesan in the Edo period! As he goes back and forth between the past and present, he unravels the karmic relationship he has with his beautiful classmate Mahoro Tachibana... 

*          *          *

Series Notes: This is a 4-volume series. All volumes are released and available.

Yukarism is an odd but engrossing contemporary fantasy of reincarnation and romance. At only 4 volumes, it tells the brief story of teen male Yukari's sudden ability to travel back into the body of his former incarnation - that of female oiran (courtesan) Yumurasaki - and his pursuit to discover how she was murdered. Along the way he is drawn to several other reincarnated souls, including a former frequent customer witch doctor and a favored bodyguard, and when their previous selves start manifesting in the present Yukari must figure out why they are all connected and how to free their overlapping minds - before their past deaths kill their future selves.

The art was somewhat simple but also striking with lush Edo period fashion and settings and compelling scenes of violence and magic. All the characters were unique and engaging, especially when alternate personalities manifested in inappropriate bodies, and although their emotions could become intense there was also a lot of humor and gentleness in the way they handled each other (when the old boys weren't trying to kill one another, anyway). The relationships, romantic and familial, were a tangled mess of obligations and desires that wound up causing more harm than affection, but through the exploration of their pasts the characters are able to be reborn into a hopeful future for a sweet and uplifting end. Recommend for historical fiction, contemporary fantasy, and romance readers, especially those who enjoy historical Japan and reincarnation love stories.

*A Note About Content: Although the publisher rated this series TEEN, I'm more inclined to recommend it for OLDER teens due to the heavier emotional content, time spent in the pleasure district, quasi-nudity, and the fact that Yukari typically visits Yumurasaki's body when she's in the middle of a "session" with Takamura.

For Fans Of: Natsuki Takaya (Fruits Basket, Twinkle Stars)

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles



Other Reviews That Might Interest: 

Twinkle Stars Series by Natsuki Takaya
Fruits Basket Series by Natsuki Takaya
Backstage Prince Series by Kanoko Sakurakouji
Pandora Hearts Series by Jun Mochizuki


Friday, May 22, 2020

The #FridayReads Review (5/22/20)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Sabriel (Abhorsen,  #1)
Sabriel by Garth Nix (MMP)
I've been meaning to re-read this classic for many years now and finally my friend-personalized copy caught my eye on the shelf. I recall not being particularly impressed with my initial read, but although it's been a bit slow and different it's also steady and interesting with unique magic so I think I might actually be enjoying it a little more this time around.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
The Power of Nunchi: The Korean Secret to Happiness and Success
The Power of Nunchi by Euny Hong (HBK)
3 Stars. A little repetitive at first, but overall an easy and interesting read. I especially enjoyed learning about not just nunchi but Korean culture. Looking forward to observing just how much (or how little) nunchi I possess in future social situations.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Everything Isn't Terrible: Conquer Your Insecurities, Interrupt Your Anxiety, and Finally Calm Down
Everything Isn't Terrible by Dr. Kathleen Smith (HBK)
I actually got halfway through this, and was interested in finishing, when the pandemic hit and I didn't feel like non-fiction for a while. Now finally back to NF again, and I think I'll start this over for a fresh read.


So what are you reading this week?

Friday, May 15, 2020

The #FridayReads Review (5/15/20)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
The Power of Nunchi: The Korean Secret to Happiness and Success
The Power of Nunchi by Euny Hong (HBK)
With a little normalcy returning to my world I've finally felt like reading non-fiction again, so I grabbed this from my library pile and in less than a week I'm already two-thirds through. While a little repetitive at first, it's been an easy and interesting read and I've especially enjoyed learning about not just nunchi but Korean culture. Looking forward to observing just how much (or how little) nunchi I possess once we can be more social again.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop
2.5 Stars. A lighthearted contemporary of magic and romance that I unfortunately did not enjoy due to the misleading title, flat and flowery description, inconsistent main character who despised her gift, and a romance I did not ship. I did appreciate the clean story with its happy ending, but otherwise there was disappointingly little I enjoyed in this book. I'd still be inclined to recommend it for female romance readers as a summer beach read though, but only if you are decently educated and interested in France, fashion, elevated food, art, and architecture. Review to come.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (PBK)
I'm back to drafting a YA sci-fi novel of mine and would like a sci-fi read to keep me focused and inspired, so it might be time for a re-read of this with a possible plan to work through the whole trilogy. We shall see...


So what are you reading this week?

Monday, May 11, 2020

Manga Review: One Fine Day Series (Sirial)

One Fine Day, Vol. 1One Fine Day, Vol. 2One Fine Day, Vol. 3

Series Title: One Fine Day
Author: Sirial
Volumes Reviewed: 3 (complete)
Publisher: Yen Press
US Release Date: January 2010 - September 2010
Genre: Slice-of-Life Contemporary Fantasy
Content Rating: All Ages
Format Read: Paperback
Find OnGoodreads
PurchaseIndiebound | B&N | Azon | BookDepo RightStuf
Summary (of Volume 1):

Take one fussy dog, a rain-loving cat, and a little mouse with a big sweet tooth, mix in a sprinkle of sunshine and a dash of magic, and you've got a recipe for adventure! Whether they're baking cookies, cleaning up, or helping out a friend, this trio always manages to stir up a healthy helping of mischief and fun. Tumbling straight from the pages of YEN PLUS, see how every day can be a fine day indeed.

*          *          *

Series Notes: This is a 3 volume series. All volumes are released and available.


One Fine Day is a three-volume slice-of-life contemporary fantasy that follows the everyday adventures of an unconventional (some of them are animals) and magical (animals that sometimes look like human children) found family, and it is the sweetest, fluffiest, most adorable manga I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

Despite minimal dialogue it is a story best savored at a slow, leisurely pace to enjoy the detailed illustrations, sentient inanimate objects, and all the little surprises tucked into the background. There are three animal-human children (a dog, a cat, and a mouse) and three adult humans (one novice magician, one mischievous magician, and a young lady border in the last volume), all of which reside in a magical old house in a quaint little town. Through the volumes they bake cookies, play in the snow, practice magic, clean the house, run errands, and go on treasure hunts, all the while making many new friends such as a street cat and his minions, the fallen moon and its starry companion, and the fairies of the attic furniture. Although the last volume gets a little thoughtful and melancholy as it looks back on pre-family pasts, sunshine ponderings, and childhood memories, overall One Fine Day is a collection of lighthearted stories about three adorable animals, three amusing adults, and their sweet and magical life together. Highly recommend if you need a heavy dose of wholesome fluff, perhaps on a lazy afternoon to accompany a favorite tea and pastry.


Scribble Rating
5 of 5 Scribbles




Other Reviews That Might Interest: 

Me & My Brothers by Hari Tokeino
The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
Kobato by CLAMP


Friday, May 8, 2020

The #FridayReads Review (5/8/20)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop
I'm typically not much for adult novels, but I couldn't resist a story about fortunetelling magic in the real world with travel and romance in France. I immediately struggled with the flat writing style though, and with its copious specific details and "obvious" landmarks the book makes me feel uneducated without the promise of teaching me enough to understand. This has made for a rather dull read as so much of the description is lost on me, but at around 25% into it now I'm currently just curious enough to try and read the whole thing. No promises, though.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Rebel Magisters (Rebel Mechanics, #2)
Rebel Magisters by Shanna Swendson (PBK)
4 Stars. An exciting sequel of intrigue and adventure with engaging action, interesting characters, and a swoony slow burn romance. If you enjoy alternate histories with magic then definitely give this series a try. Ordering the sequel now! Review to come.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Defy or Defend  (Delightfully Deadly, #2)
Defy or Defend by Gail Carriger (PBK)
I'm really looking forward to a new fix from favorite author Gail Carriger and my copy is finally on its way!!


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Waiting On Wednesday: The Language of Ghosts (Heather Fawcett)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


The Language of Ghosts
Title: The Language of Ghosts
Author: Heather Fawcett
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Publisher: Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins)
Summary:

The Penderwicks meets Howl’s Moving Castle in this thrilling middle grade fantasy adventure about a trio of royal siblings who unlock a long-forgotten magical language in their bid to reclaim their stolen throne—from Ember and the Ice Dragons author Heather Fawcett. Perfect for fans of Kelly Barnhill and Robert Beatty.

Forced into exile on an enchanted, moving island, ex-princess Noa Marchena has two missions: reclaim her family’s stolen throne and ensure that the dark powers her older brother, Julian, possesses don’t go to his head in the process. But between babysitting her annoying little sister, Mite, and keeping an eye on the cake-loving sea monster that guards the moving island, Noa has her hands full.

When the siblings learn that their enemies are searching for a weapon capable of defeating Julian—whose legendary spell weaving is feared throughout the kingdom—once and for all, they vow to get to it first. To everyone’s surprise, the key to victory turns out to be a long-lost magical language—and only Noa can speak it.

But what if by helping her brother, Noa ends up losing him?


Why I'm Looking Forward To It: I was immediately snagged by the gorgeous cover, and after the fantastical summary with its cake-loving sea monster and long-lost magical language I am eager to lay eyes on this imaginative read!


So what book are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Release Spotlight: Defy or Defend (Gail Carriger)


Today I spotlight the release of Defy or Defend, the second book in the Delightfully Deadly series by favorite author Gail Carriger! This adult standalone features a sidekick character from Gail's Finishing School series, now all grown up and doing what she does best. If you haven't yet had a chance to check out this delightful book, do so below and order yourself a copy posthaste!

Defy or Defend  (Delightfully Deadly, #2)
Title: Defy or Defend
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: May 3, 2020

A vampire hive descending into madness. A beautiful spy with a sparkly plan. The bodyguard who must keep them from killing each other.

New York Times bestselling romantic comedy author Gail Carriger brings you a charming story of love, espionage, and Gothic makeovers set in her popular Parasolverse.

SPY

Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott, code name Honey Bee, is the War Office's best and most decorative fixer. She's sweet and chipper, but oddly stealthy, and surprisingly effective given the right incentives.

VERSUS KNIGHT

Sir Crispin Bontwee was knighted for his military service, but instead of retiring, he secretly went to work for the War Office. Mostly he enjoys his job, except when he must safeguard the Honey Bee.

Neither one is a vampire expert, but when the Nottingham Hive goes badly Goth, only Dimity can stop their darkness from turning bloody. And only Crispin can stop an enthusiastic Dimity from death by vampire.

In a battle for survival (and wallpaper), Dimity must learn that not all that sparkles is good, while Cris discovers he likes honey a lot more than he thought.

Spinning off from the Finishing School series, featuring deadly ladies of quality, this story stands alone, but chronologically follows Poison or Protect before the start of the Parasol Protectorate Series. It's Cold Comfort Farm meets Queer Eye meets What We Do In The Shadows from the hilarious author of the Parasol Protectorate books, perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Jodi Taylor, or Meljean Brook.

Delicate Sensibilities?


Contains fraternizing vampires and one very curious young lady, who asks about seduction, sometimes in detail but mostly in retrospect. May also involve excessive use of velvet, melodramatic poetry, and the strategic application of interpretive ballet.


Add to Goodreads

PURCHASE:
iBooks | Kobo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Check out the first in the series!

Poison or Protect (Delightfully Deadly, #1)
Book 1: Poison or Protect
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo