Manga Review: Bleach Vol 3 by Tite Kubo

 

Bleach, Vol. 3: Memories in the Rain

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Sorry for the long break between volumes of Bleach.  The Viz Manga app wasn’t working on my Kindle Fire for some reason.  I deleted it and re-installed it, and that made things even worse. Then today, several weeks later,  I tried to use it again, and – viola!  It worked again!  I thought technology was supposed to make things easier, not more confusing!

I loved this volume!  It gives so much insight into Ichigo’s character.  On the anniversary of his mother’s death, his family visits her grave, and Ichigo is forced to remember the terrible day that she was killed.  He blames himself for her death, and when a Hallow attacks his sisters, he realizes it’s the same spirit that killed his mother.  He’s enraged and determined to kill the Grand Fisher, even though he’s hopelessly overpowered by the evil being.

The reason I like this series so much is pretty much summed up by this volume.  Ichigo will do anything to protect his family, even sacrifice himself, without a second thought.  As the facts of his mother’s death are slowly revealed, one little tidbit at a time, we learn what Ichigo was like before her death, and how his guilt changed him.  He is consumed by his inability to protect his mother, and now he’s allowed the Hallow to injure his sisters.  With his new Soul Reaper powers, he’s got a fighting chance to do what he couldn’t do in the past.  The Hallow mocks him for being impulsive and for allowing his emotions to get the best of him, but these are the qualities that give Ichigo his strength.  With his limitless compassion and desire to do what’s right, he is able to tap into a limitless wellspring of strength.  He faces his own regrets, and asks Rukia to let him keep her Soul Reaper powers for a while longer, so he can protect those who are weak and in need of help.  This is the first time that he acknowledges that he has a greater duty to save others, and his reluctance to destroy Hallows disappears.

I like Bleach because Ichigo is a good guy (this is also why I like Kekkaishi and Kenshin).  He has manufactured a tough guy image, but deep down, he is a knight in shining armor.  He wants to help and he wants to protect, even if it means putting himself in danger.  How can you not like a guy who is willing to do that?

This volume continues to improve on the series, and I am looking forward to reading Volume 4!

Grade:  A-

From Amazon:

Ichigo Kurosaki was a little boy when his mother passed away. One rainy day, Ichigo, whose ability top see the undead is a blessing and curse, tried to stop young girl from drowning in a nearby river. His mother, Masaki, ran after them, frantically trying to rescue her only son. Then everything went black, and Ichigo awoke only to discover his mother dead and the little girl gone.

It’s the anniversary of Masaki’s death, and the entire Kurosaki clan, along with former Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki, head to the cemetary to pay their respects. Sleeping demons rarely ever stay still and pretty soon Ichigo confronts the Grand Fisher, the Hollow that may be responsible for his mother’s demise.

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Bleach Vol 2 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol. 2

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Immediately after checking into the Kurosaki Clinic with a mysterious scar on his back, the muscle-bound Chad goes AWOL. Accompanying Chad is a talking parakeet imbued with the soul of a young boy named Y?ichi. It doesn’t take newbie Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki long to surmise that a Hollow must be involved. By far the strongest spirit he’s faced to date, Ichigo is about to discover that not every soul is bound for the Soul Society, especially if it’s tainted with innocent blood

Review:

I loved this volume of Bleach!  Picking up right where the first volume left off, Chad  is in oodles of trouble because of a possessed parakeet.  Housing the soul of the a young boy, Chad has promised to keep him safe, unaware that a Hallow is hot on their heels.  It’s a good thing that Chad is a strong, sturdy fellow, because the evil spirit does its level best to thoroughly annihilate him.  Rukia tries to race to the rescue, but without her Soul Reaper powers, she’s even more helpless than Chad and the parakeet!  Ichigo is temporarily out of the picture.  His sister Karin is very ill, and he’s been tasked with seeing her home safely.  Will he get to Rukia and Chad in time to save the day?

Read more

Review: Midnight Secretary Vol 1 by Tomu Ohmi

 

Title: Midnight Secretary Vol 1

Author:  Tomu Ohmi

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Mad Men meets Vampire Diaries

Kaya Satozuka prides herself on being an excellent secretary and a consummate professional, so she doesn’t even bat an eye when she’s reassigned to the office of her company’s difficult director, Kyohei Touma. He’s as prickly—and hot—as rumors paint him, but Kaya is unfazed…until she discovers that he’s a vampire!!Kaya quickly accustoms herself to scheduling his “dinner dates” and working odd hours, but can she handle it when Kyohei’s smoldering gaze starts turning her way?!


Review:

Midnight Secretary is a very fun, fluffy read.  I wasn’t expecting much from it, and I wasn’t really in the mood for it, so I kept shuffling it from the top of my reading pile, and now I’m sorry I did.  Once I got it in my hands, the cover kind of turned me off.  I don’t find it appealing at all, so here is another instance where I misjudged the book by it’s cover.

Kaya takes pride in her job, and she wants to be the best executive secretary possible so she can get a great job, and so her mom won’t have to work so hard.  After her father died, her mother got a job at Tohma Corporation, and she worked hard to put Kaya through school.  She even helped get her a job at Tohma, and now that Kaya is getting her big break, she’s going to make her mother proud.  The big break turns out to be a mixed blessing.  She’s assigned to be Kyohei Tohma’s secretary.  Kyohei is the younger son of the senior director, and he’s a jerk.  He is a demanding boss, who works long hours, and his exacting expectations have caused countless secretaries to quit.  Kaya is determined to succeed, though, but his dismissive attitude is hard to deal with.

Kyohei has a reputation for being a ladies man, and Kaya quickly discovers that this is true.  He juggles the ladies with consummate skill, arranging meetings with them in his office after dark.  He is quick to disparage Kaya’s looks, and he grumpily complains that she’s not good looking enough to work for him.  Kaya ignores every complaint and quickly proves that she is efficient and dedicated to her job.  When she suspects that Kyohei and his girlfriends are using drugs in the office, she doesn’t hesitate to get to the bottom of her suspicions.  She’s afraid that if there is illegal drug use going on that he’ll get caught, the company will suffer, and she’ll lose her job.  What she discovers is that he’s a vampire, and that the hanky panky in his office  is Kyohei drinking the blood of his beautiful lady friends.  The illegal drug use would probably have been more welcome than working for a blood-sucking playboy!

I enjoyed Midnight Secretary because Kaya is so unflappable.  She takes the discovery that her boss is a vampire in stride, and quickly decides that she’s going to defend his secret and make sure that he is taken care of so that he can continue to perform his job duties.  Well, that and he’s threatened to have her mother fired if  Kaya quits, so she doesn’t really have much choice.  Meeting every challenge that he throws at her head-on, Kaya quickly proves that she is indispensible.  Despite Kyohei’s gruffness, she can’t help but find him attractive, especially after his secret weakness is revealed and he is forced to drink her blood.

The art is very attractive and reminded me of Mayu Shinjo.  The delicate lines are expressive, and the characters are attractive, even Kaya, who hides her baby face behind ugly glasses and a severe hair style.Midnight Secretary is fun and flirty, and I can’t wait to read the next volume. 

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Bleach Vol 1 by Tite Kubo

 

Title: Bleach Vol 1

Author:  Tite Kubo

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Hot-tempered 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, the hero of the popular fantasy-adventure Bleach, has the unsettling ability to see spirits who are unable to rest in peace. His sixth sense leads him to Rukia, a Soul Reaper who destroys Hollows (soul-devouring monsters) and ensures the deceased find repose with the Soul Society. When she’s injured in battle, Rukia transfers her sword and much of her power to Ichigo, whose spiritual energy makes him a formidable substitute Soul Reaper. But the orange-haired teenager isn’t sure he wants the job: too many risks and moral dilemmas.


Review:

Bleach is one of my favorite series, and I realized with a great deal of dismay that I am far, far behind in my reading of this title.  I don’t think I’ve reviewed many of the volumes, so I opted to take advantage of a comp copy through Vizmanga.com to reacquaint myself with Ichigo, Rukia, and the rest of the gang.  This is a very fun series that features a ton of action, surprisingly touching emotions, and fan favorite protagonists in both Ichigo and Ruikia.  If you enjoyed The Ghost and the Goth or The Curse Workers by Holly Black, I think you should give Bleach a try.  Admittedly, the length of the series is daunting, and it’s still being published, but there are enough volumes released in English that you can read it in manageable chunks by utilizing online sales and trips to the library. 

Ichigo Kurosaki is 15 years old and he can see ghosts.  His sisters can too, though all they can see are faint outlines.  Ichigo can see, touch, talk to, and channel these pesky spirits that he thinks are a pain in the butt.  He just wants to be left alone to mind his own business but NOPE!  That’s not happening.  Ichigo also has a high moral obligation to help anyone in trouble, even those troublesome ghosts.  When an evil spirit threatens to hurt his family, he’s forced to borrow Soul Reaper powers from Rukia, a Soul Reaper who was badly injured saving his bacon.  Too hurt to fight, she offers to lend Ichigo half of her dark powers so he can save his family.  She’s dismayed to discover that he’s so spiritually powerful that he steals all of them, and now she can’t get them back!

I love the relationship between Ichigo and Rukia.  Their back and forth banter is humorous and full of snark.  While Ichigo isn’t exactly disrespectful, he doesn’t understand the need to put himself in danger, fighting the Hollows, regardless of the obligation he acquired when he snatched away all of Rukia’s power.  When the chips are down, though, her forceful prodding  makes him realize how important a Soul Reaper’s duties are.  If he doesn’t take care of the restless spirits, they will eventually turn into Hollows, and once they become these evil monsters, they lose their last shred of humanity.  There is no going back, and the Hollows have an insatiable need to feed on souls.   Rukia put her life at risk to save Ichigo and his family, so he acknowledges that he has a duty to help Rukia until she can figure out a way to get her powers back.

Ichigo is one of my favorite characters because he can’t stand to see an injustice and not want to correct it.  He and One Piece’s Luffy have a lot in common. Both of them will give their heart and soul, not to mention their life, to defend those needing help.  They are white knights in attitude.  Ichigo can’t turn his back on bullying, or just stand by when someone is about to get hurt.  He’s not perfect, and there are many times when he should learn to keep his mouth shut, but he can’t do it.  He is fiercely devoted to his friends and family, and he won’t let anyone hurt them.  Now that he’s a Soul Reaper by default, he can’t ignore when a soul is in danger, either.

The first volume of Bleach is fast-paced, brimming with frantic action, yet it doesn’t let the characters and their interactions take a back seat to all of the fighting.  That is what I enjoy most about Bleach.  The character come to life for me, and I so badly want Ichigo to master his new powers so he doesn’t come to harm.  It’s hard watching such a likeable guy getting the crap beat out of him, even though I have few doubts that he’ll always persevere.  That assurance is the main appeal of manga for me.  I know that even as the protagonists are facing certain doom, they will eventually find a solution to all of their problems.  Reading along as they figure that out is what makes reading them so rewarding.

Grade:  A-

Review copy provided by publisher

New Adult Sleepover Weekend Blog Tour & Giveaway!


New Adult Sleepover Weekend is a convention taking place December 6th – 8th featuring some of today’s BEST SELLING New Adult authors, and some upcoming authors that you want to keep on your radar.

The weekend will be filled with parties, a book signing, reader and author dinners, and tons more! Not only do you get to discover some new authors, but you get to know them on a personal level.

Damaris @ Good Choice Reading is co-director of the con, and she has also put together an amazing blog tour to give readers a chance to get to know the authors before the convention. This blog tour will be filled with book highlights, reviews, sneak peeks into the authors books, and tons of giveaways! This tour will run from now until September! Yes, you read correctly. A 5 month tour and at the end of every month a chance to win big!

Some of the giveaways involve Gift Cards, books, and even two registrations to NASW! All donated by the authors. So if you’re thinking about attending, make sure you check out the blog tour, which I am proud to be a tour host for.

This months FIRST NASW giveaway is below. You can enter just for checking out this post!

Just keep an eye for the following logo’s below for your chance to win! You can enter each blog tour stop, not just once.

      

Check out the NASW13 website: http://newadultsleepover.blogspot.com/

To keep up with any updates, “LIKE” NASW13 on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewAdultSleepoverWeekend


Be sure to check out the following blogs listed below, for a chance to win this month awesome prize!



Let the fun begin!!! 


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Interview with Sydney Somers, Author of Busted

Please welcome special guest Sydney Somers!  Sydney is here to chat about the third book in the Promise Harbor Wedding series.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Sydney Somers] Romance writer, book lover, chatty introvert, margarita maker, culinary disaster, zombie enthusiast, video game addict, loves life.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Busted?

[Sydney Somers] Busted is the third book in the Promise Harbor Wedding series and features a reformed rebel heroine turned police detective, who arrests the hometown hockey legend the night before his best friend’s wedding. The blurb says it better than I do though. :)

Hockey star Jackson Knight has a hundred reasons not to return to Promise Harbor, but none of them are good enough to get him out of attending his best friend’s wedding. Even with a career-ending knee injury, every puck-bunny in town will be gunning for him.

Worse, getting a pair of cuffs slapped on him at the bachelor party could ruin any chance of getting back in the game, even as a coach. Unless he can convince the arresting officer to smooth things over—by going to the wedding as his date.

Hayley Stone figures posing as Jackson’s girlfriend is the least she can do to salvage his reputation. Plus, having a man with a toe-curling smile on her arm will keep her ex off her back.

What starts as a simple plan to deflect small-town pot-shots unexpectedly becomes a sizzling night that hits Jackson like a full-body-check to the heart. Now he’s determined to prove that she’s the best of reason of all to come home—for good.

Warning: Contains a fiery powerplay both on and off the ice, skin-tingling forced intimacy, interfering grandparents, bear costume hijinks, a haunted house and the kind of game-changing chemistry worth fighting for.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sydney Somers] The concept for the Promise Harbor Wedding series was brainstormed by Kelly Jamieson, Meg Benjamin, Erin Nicholas and myself. Once we had the idea of a wedding that doesn’t go off as planned, we basically broke the wedding party down so that each author took one as a main character. From the start I knew I had the best man, Jackson, and that was pretty much it, until I got this image in my head of a woman sitting in a church musing about the fact that she’d arrested her wedding date. I was off and running after that.

I’m also a big hockey fan and have always wanted to write about a hockey player, but I knew it would take a certain kind of woman to keep Jackson on his toes. Hayley was up for the challenge though. :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Hayley?

[Sydney Somers] Determined, devoted, and if you ask Jackson, dangerous.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Jackson had a theme song, what would it be?

[Sydney Somers] Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar and the song definitely pops up in Busted. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRbXMW…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Hayley is never without.

[Sydney Somers] Her gun. Or maybe that’s just AFTER she meets Jackson lol

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Jackson’s bathroom?

[Sydney Somers] Soap on a rope, coordinating hand towel sets or bubble bath. Hayley might bring him around on the latter.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Hayley’s greatest regret?

[Sydney Somers] Aside from arresting the best man the night before the wedding? :) Her biggest regret would definitely be not getting the chance to say goodbye to her father.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Sydney Somers] On the creative side I’m influenced by almost anything: Memories, places I’ve visited/would like to see, images, news headlines, movies, books, music. I’m constantly surprised by the story ideas triggered by all of the above, especially when paired with the question, “What If?” That’s what really fuels my imagination. :)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Sydney Somers] Wine, chocolate and a personal masseuse. A girl can dream, right? Seriously though, I can write anywhere as long I’ve got my laptop, pen and paper (because sometimes I just have to hand write) and music. Music is a must.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Sydney Somers] I recently finished Wait For You by J. Lynn (who also writes under Jennifer Armentrout) and it was my first New Adult book. I was really impressed with it!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Sydney Somers] I adored reading Nancy Drew paperbacks when I was a kid (Betty and Veronica double digests don’t really count, do they?) For the romance genre though, it would have to be Perfect by Judith McNaught. I loved the whole kidnapped and forced intimacy storyline. Before that the closest I got to reading romance were the often tragic love stories in Danielle Steel books.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sydney Somers] When I’m not chasing after my kids, pretending I love to do laundry (doesn’t everybody?) or fighting my current addiction to Candy Crush Saga, I’m curled up with a book or trying to prove how kick butt I am at Black Ops 2. Emphasis on trying.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sydney Somers] They can visit my website – http://www.sydneysomers.com
Friend me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sydneysomers https://www.facebook.com/authorsydney…
Follow me on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/sydneysomers
Nine Naughty Novelists Blog –
http://www.ninenaughtynovelists.blogs…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Busted and all of the other books in the Promise Harbor Wedding continuity from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

 

About Busted:

His game… her rules.
The Promise Harbor Wedding, Book 3
Hockey star Jackson Knight has a hundred reasons not to return to Promise Harbor, but none of them are good enough to get him out of attending his best friend’s wedding. Even with a career-ending knee injury, every puck-bunny in town will be gunning for him.
Worse, getting a pair of cuffs slapped on him at the bachelor party could ruin any chance of getting back in the game, even as a coach. Unless he can convince the arresting officer to smooth things over—by going to the wedding as his date.
Hayley Stone figures posing as Jackson’s girlfriend is the least she can do to salvage his reputation. Plus, having a man with a toe-curling smile on her arm will keep her ex off her back.
What starts as a simple plan to deflect small-town pot-shots unexpectedly becomes a sizzling night that hits Jackson like a full-body-check to the heart. Now he’s determined to prove that she’s the best of reason of all to come home—for good.

Interview with Elizabeth Chadwick, Author of Shadows and Strongholds and Giveaway!

 

Please welcome award winning author Elizabeth Chadwick to the virtual offices today!  Elizabeth’s latest historical release is Shadows and Strongholds.  After we chat about her book, you can enter for a chance to win a copy!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Elizabeth Chadwick] A time traveler who loves the Middle Ages, chocolate, chatting, her husband and her dogs. Oh, and the Marshal men!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Shadows and Strongholds?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Certainly. It’s a coming of age story based on a family history that was written down in the 13th century. It’s set in England, on the Welsh borders, and is about a boy, Brunin FitzWarin, who is sent to be a squire at the great castle of Ludlow in the hopes that it will be the making of him after he’s had a difficult time at home. The lord he is sent to serve, Joscelin de Dinan, has two daughters. The younger one, Hawise, is something of a tomboy with a bright, forthright nature, and like no one Brunin has ever met before. There is also his lord’s ward, Marion de la Bruere, a pretty, dainty girl, who has her eye on Brunin as future husband material. It’s the story of how Brunin finds out just who he is amid the harsh realities of 12th century England with different factions fighting for the crown, and how Hawise and Marion learn their own often hard lessons as they mature during fraught times. It’s a historical novel that deals with events that actually happened, and has a fair share of swash-buckling, dramatic tension, well-seasoned with romance.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] I found them in a medieval chronicle from the 13th century called The Romance of Fouke FitzWaryn. So this is based on the history of what really happened. Brunin FitzWarin and Hawise de Dinan did really exist, and this is the story of how they faced up to their challenges.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Brunin?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Deep, smouldering, courageous

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Hawise is never without.

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Her determination

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Hawise’s bedroom?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Small silver bells (read the novel and find out why not!), Brunin’s grandmother, Ernalt de Lylse’s hawking gauntlet.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Brunin’s greatest regret?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Not getting to hang out with his father as man to man.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Pictures of artifacts from the Middle Ages, chocolate in all its forms, and heavy metal music.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Time enough in the day to do it, copious amounts of tea, thinking space.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] How Far Back do you want to go? The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell. That was the book that moved me on from elementary to more detailed reading.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] I go for long walks with my husband and dogs, I take photographs, I read, listen to music and I cross stitch if I get a moment.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Elizabeth Chadwick] They can drop me a line at elizabethchadwick@live.co.uk. Or connect at Twitter or Facebook, details at my website www.elizabethchadwick.com

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Ready for your chance to win Shadows and Strongholds? Just fill out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following.  US addresses only, please.

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You can purchase Shadows and Strongholds from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

 

About the book:

A medieval tale of pride and strife, of coming-of-age in a world where chivalry is a luxury seldom afforded, especially by men of power.

England, 1148—ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his own family. A quiet child, he is tormented by his brothers and loathed by his powerful and autocratic grandmother. In an attempt to encourage Brunin’s development, his father sends him to be fostered in the household of Joscelin de Dinan, Lord of Ludlow. Here Brunin will learn knightly arts, but before he can succeed, he must overcome the deep-seated doubts that hold him back.

Hawise, the youngest daughter of Lord Joscelin, soon forms a strong friendship with Brunin. Family loyalties mean that her father, with the young Brunin as his squire, must aid Prince Henry of Anjou in his battle with King Stephen for the English crown. Meanwhile, Ludlow itself comes under threat from Joscelin’s rival, Gilbert de Lacy. As the war for the crown rages, and de Lacy becomes more assertive in his claims for Ludlow, Brunin and Hawise are drawn into each other’s arms.

Now Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and put to use all that he has learned. As the pressure on Ludlow intensifies and a new Welsh threat emerges against his own family’s lands, Brunin must confront the future head on, or fail on all counts….