A Peek at Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha–December 3, 2012

Thanks to the generosity of Viz, I have a subscription to Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha.  Starting January 21, 2013, there will be a simultaneous US release to coincide with the Japanese release of the magazine.  I am curious to see how that’s going to work, and to see what new series will be added to the magazine, so here is the first of my weekly looks at Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha.  The magazine looks great on my iPad, though I did have a bit of a headache before I was able to get my first issue loaded.  All it took was an update to the Viz Manga app, but I didn’t think of that until after wasting about 15 frustrating minutes.  Always check for a software update! Note taken.

This issue kicked off with Bleach Ch 516.  Whoa!  I haven’t read Bleach in ages, even though it is one of my favorite series.  For shame!  I spent the pages here wondering what the heck was going on, but by the last panel, had it figured out.   I think.  There will soon be an epic confrontation with Squad Zero, a squad comprised only of Squad captains.  No peons in this group of warriors!  There still has to be some kind of pecking system, some top dog to lord over the other squad members, right?  Unless they are all so bad ass that they have a mutual fear and respect for each other.  I am looking forward to learning more about them and catching up with Ichigo in future issues.

Naruto Ch 609 was next. Ch 609, folks!  I am hopelessly out of my depth with this one, but there was fighting!  Which I like.  And Kakashi!  Who I like.    Naruto and Kakashi are duking it out with the bad guy Obito, who hates Kakashi.  That is enough right there to elevate him to evil bad guy.  Who could possibly hate Kakashi?!  After a little help from Nine Tails, it looks like Kakashi is ready for more fighting, so next week, the battle with Obito and Madara will continue!  This is comfort reading for me – mindless speed lines, over exaggerated poses, and endless wells of energy to keep up that toe-to-toe action. 

Nisekoi Ch 51 followed.  This is a new series for me, and I believe it just started it’s run in the magazine.  Raku, one of those impossibly hopeless, hapless guys who can barely comb his hair, has attracted a gaggle of girls, I think by being nice, which in manga usually means wimpy.  Raku’s gangster father has him engaged to Chitoge, who hated him at first sight, but she’s come around and realizes that he’s not such a bad guy and that she might really, really like him.  To cast some mystery over his love life, Raku made a childhood promise to a girl, but he can’t remember who the girl is!  Her identity is locked in his prized pendant, but the lock is broken, so he can’t open it to reveal his childhood love.  You’d think he would remember the first girl he fell in love with!  No wonder these manga boys are always single!  I am actually going to have to read the sample that’s on the Viz website to help wrap my head around this one. 

Toriko Ch 22 – I don’t have much to say about this one, because the entire chapter is nothing but character introductions for the upcoming Cooking Festival.  I usually love cooking manga, but the endless parade of contestants bored me.  Better luck next week.

Wrapping up this issue is Cross Manage Ch 10 is a sports manga about a girls’ lacrosse team.  I liked this story the best.  It was easy to follow for a new comer, the art is engaging, and the characters are likable.  Ex-soccer player Sakurai reluctantly agrees to manage the high school girls’ lacrosse team.  They need a lot of help!  They can barely fill the roster, and they all pretty much suck at the game.  I’m sure that under Sakurai’s guidance they will quickly overcome their shortcomings.  I love sports manga, especially with an underdog team, so I am looking forward to more of this one.

No One Piece!  It’s on break until the next issue, which is a bummer, because Luffy always makes me laugh.

To purchase Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, click here. You can check out the free Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha starter pack here.  Viz is having a sale on their digital manga. You can get 20% off until January 8th!  Click here for the deets.

Review: Construction Beauty Queen by Sara Daniel

 

 

Title: Construction Beauty Queen

Author: Sara Daniel

Publisher: Entangled

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Chicago socialite Veronica Jamison is determined to shake off her sheltered lifestyle and overbearing parents. She heads to her grandfather’s small town of Kortville, ready to roll up her sleeves and work for the family construction business. She’ll prove her worth, even if it means answering to the company’s ruggedly handsome co-owner, Matt.

Matt Shaw just wants to run his business, spend time with the niece he’s raising on his own, and give back to the townspeople who have stood by him. Managing a spoiled-rotten princess he knows he’ll never be good enough for? Not part of his plan. But as he gets to know Veronica, he learns there’s more to her than her beautiful looks and designer clothes. She’s got a heart as rich as her background.
With the quirky townspeople rallying against Veronica inheriting her grandfather’s business, it’s up to Matt to try to drive her out of town. But how can he, when instead she’s driving her way into his heart?


Review:

I really wanted to like this book, but I never connected with the secondary characters.  In fact, I thought most of them were just plain mean, especially at the beginning.  Veronica has just arrived in the tiny town of Kortville with a basketful of dreams.  She wants to escape the meaningless life her parents have planned for her, and stand on her own two feet.  She wants to make a difference with her life.  She wants a real job, and she has worked her tail off for years, first by graduating from college, and then earning an MBA which she paid for all by herself, thank you very much.  Her parents can’t see the sense of her having an education, since she’s just going to marry the man of their choosing anyway.  Uh, no thanks, Mom and Dad!

After emailing her grandfather, Veronica has been given a challenge.  If she can stick it out for 30 days working at the construction firm her grandfather has a stake in, he will let her take over operations at his successful distribution firm.  Putting every bit of faith in this man she has never met, Veronica sells everything she owns to pay off her college loans, purchases a clunker of a car, and makes the journey from Chicago to Kortville.  Once there, she is met with nothing but contempt.  The residents resent her because her grandfather was going to sell his company and invest the profits in the town.  Matt, the guy who owns the other half of the construction company, makes her feel as welcome as an army of fire ants at a picnic.  It is all of these awful people and their determined efforts to derail Veronica’s plans that kept me from engaging in the plot.  I couldn’t stand these people.  Matt and her grandfather even put her in harm’s way, instructing her to undertake tasks that she was clearly not ready for.  I had to hand it to her, though.  She didn’t know how to accept defeat, and she never gave up.  Besides Matt’s young niece, Veronica is the only character in this entire book that I had any bit of respect for.  Even Matt, super studly construction dude, was a turd, constantly putting her in situations where she could have been seriously hurt.

I had a hard time getting behind the romance because I didn’t like Matt.  He was dumped by his big city girlfriend after he moved to tiny Kortville, and as a result, he couldn’t give Veronica any slack at all.  He made an effort to keep his niece firmly isolated from “girly” things, too, lest she turn into a fashion snob and want to leave town, too.  This did not earn any brownie points for Matt.  Neither did his constant projection of his ex’s faults onto Veronica.  He gave her nothing but grief for the first half of the book because she was from the big city and had a wealthy upbringing.  Then, after proving herself time and time again, he gave her grief because she had ideas how he could expand his business and make it more profitable.  I didn’t get this, and it made Matt look like a hick.  He didn’t want the ability to provide a better life for his niece?  At this point, I just wished that Veronica would walk away from him and the rest of the narrow-minded town.

Overall, the behavior of the secondary characters diminished my enjoyment of Construction Beauty Queen.  I did not enjoy how they trivialized Veronica at every opportunity.  It made me angry because she never treated them with anything other than warmth and openness.  The residents of Kortville did eventually make a turn around, but I was so irritated with them by then that it didn’t make a difference to me.

Grade:  C-

Review copy provided by publisher

This Week’s New and Notable Releases

Ten Reasons Not To Date a Cop looks promising!  What titles are you looking forward to?

Click on the cover for the Amazon product page.

The Devil’s Diadem by Sara Douglass (Nov 20, 2012)

Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance) by Larissa Ione (Nov 20, 2012)

Spirit’s End (An Eli Monpress Novel) by Rachel Bach (Nov 20, 2012)

Start With A Happy Ending by Risa Motoyama (Nov 20, 2012)

Caden’s Vow (Hqn) by Sarah McCarty (Nov 20, 2012)

Fire in the Blood by Robyn Bachar (Nov 20, 2012)

Getting Hotter by Elle Kennedy (Nov 20, 2012)

Guardian by Loribelle Hunt (Nov 20, 2012)

Rocky Mountain Angel by Vivian Arend (Nov 20, 2012)

 

Surrender (Hqn) by Brenda Joyce (Nov 20, 2012)

Ten Reasons Not to Date a Cop by Amie Louellen (Nov 20, 2012)

Too Dangerous to Desire (Lords of Midnight) by Cara Elliott (Nov 20, 2012)

Two Sinful Secrets (The Scandalous St. Claires) by Laurel McKee (Nov 20, 2012)

What an Earl Wants (Hqn) by Kasey Michaels (Nov 20, 2012)

How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren (Nov 19, 2012)

Jacked Up (Fast Track) by Erin McCarthy and Emily Durante (Nov 19, 2012)

Win Waltz With a Stranger by Pamela Sherwood!

Thanks to Sourcebooks, I have a copy of Pamela Sherwood’s Waltz with a Stranger to giveaway!  Check out the pretty cover!

   

About the book:

One dance would change her life forever…

A man who never expected to inherit. A woman who never expected to wed. A choice that pits their honor against their hearts.

Crippled after a riding accident, Aurelia Newbold shuns Society—until a dashing stranger draws her into a secret waltz and changes her life forever. After a year abroad, she returns home and discovers that the one man she’s been dreaming of is engaged to her beloved twin sister.

James Trelawney is not prepared for the vibrant woman who returns to London in the place of the wounded girl he took pity on—or his growing need for her. But forbidden love is not the only danger…a chilling secret reaches out from beyond the grave, threatening both Trelawney and the woman he loves.

 

You can learn more about Pamela by visiting her website HERE.

Entering is easy! Just fill out the widget below. Earn extra entries for following! US addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a Custom Manicure Set and Ulta Gift Card from Sara Daniel, Author of Construction Beauty Queen!

Here’s a great giveaway, just in time for you to pamper yourself for the holidays!  Sara Daniel, author of Construction Beauty Queen, is giving away custom manicure set and a $20 Ulta Gift card!  All you have to fill out the widget below for your chance to win!

Make sure to hop over and visit Sara’s website

About the book:

pChicago socialite Veronica Jamison is determined to shake off her sheltered lifestyle and overbearing parents. She heads to her grandfather’s small town of Kortville, ready to roll up her sleeves and work for the family construction business. She’ll prove her worth, even if it means answering to the company’s ruggedly handsome co-owner, Matt.
Matt Shaw just wants to run his business, spend time with the niece he’s raising on his own, and give back to the townspeople who have stood by him. Managing a spoiled-rotten princess he knows he’ll never be good enough for? Not part of his plan. But as he gets to know Veronica, he learns there’s more to her than her beautiful looks and designer clothes. She’s got a heart as rich as her background.
With the quirky townspeople rallying against Veronica inheriting her grandfather’s business, it’s up to Matt to try to drive her out of town. But how can he, when instead she’s driving her way into his heart?

Ready to enter the giveaway?  Just enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Shot! Iron Kin by M J Scott

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

I like the covers for all of the Half-Light City books.  Though the cover model’s pose is a bit awkward, I like her tough as nails expression and the muted colors in the background.

In stores April 2013

 

Imagine a city divided. Fae and human mages on one side, vampire Blood Lords and shape-shifting Beast Kind on the other. Between these supernatural forces stands a peace treaty that threatens to shatter at the slightest provocation….

I was raised to do the right thing. But to my family that means staying safe behind the walls of human society. To be a respectable metalmage and never put myself at risk. But the treaty is faltering. And if it fails, nothing is safe. To help save the city and everyone I care about, I will use whatever means I can to ensure the negotiations to renew the treaty are successful—even if that means forging an alliance with a man who is the very opposite of the right thing…. Fen is trouble. Wild. He would rather bind himself in iron and drink himself into oblivion than learn to master the visions that come to him. Those visions might just hold the key to peace, and it seems that my power might hold the key to his control—if I can keep it around him….

Site Announcements

Contest Update:

The winner of Susanna Fraser’s The Infamous Marriage is Janie!  You will receive an email soon!  Thanks to everyone who commented on Susanna’s interview.

Scheduling Update:

With the holidays fast approaching, I will be spending time with my family, so next week will be a little light.  I will be running some giveaways, so please drop in and enter for your chance to win some free reads!

Reading Challenge Update:

The BLI Holiday Reading Challenge

Book Lovers, Inc is again hosting their Holiday Reading Challenge.  I’ve signed up, though I don’t have a specific reading goal in mind.  If you enjoy holiday themed reads, here’s a good excuse to over indulge!  Sign up if you have time!

[PR] WARRIOR GHOSTS AND ANCIENT GODS COLLIDE IN 07-GHOST MANGA

{ED. – Viz rescued Go-Comi’s old license.  I will have to give the series another shot.}

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WARRIOR GHOSTS AND ANCIENT GODS COLLIDE IN GOTHIC FANTASY ADVENTURE 07-GHOST MANGA SERIES, NEW FROM VIZ MEDIA

Emotionally Complex Characters And An Action-Filled Story Will Appeal Equally To Shojo And Shonen Manga Fans

San Francisco, CA, November 12, 2012 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has announced the launch on November 13th of its latest manga (graphic novel) series with the debut of the gothic fantasy action series 07-GHOST. The new series, written and illustrated by Yuki Amemiya and Yukino Ichihara, is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

The paths of one evil god, two rival empires, three unlikely bishops and seven brave ghosts converge in the destiny of Teito Klein, a boy who vows to master a powerful artifact known as the Eye of Mikael in order to lay bare the secrets of the world’s – and his own – murky past. All Teito wants is to forget his dark past as an orphan and slave and to graduate from Barsburg’s military academy with his best friend Mikage. But when an overheard state secret triggers treasonous memories, he’s forced to flee from the very empire he once sought to defend!

“07-GHOST is an emotionally complex ongoing series that will appeal equally to shonen and shojo manga fans,” says Hope Donovan, Editor. “Fans have been eagerly awaiting this license rescue. With its varied and entertaining characters and action-filled plot, 07-GHOST will appeal strongly to readers looking for supernatural action with hints of romance and comedy. We look forward to new readers and fans diving into this series!”

Yuki Amemiya and Yukino Ichihara write and illustrate 07-GHOST, the duo’s first series. Since its debut in 2005, 07-GHOST has been translated into a dozen languages, and in 2009 it was adapted into a TV anime series that is also available in North America on Crunchyroll. The 07-GHOST manga series also won a rare double-first prize in the third Zero-Sum Comics Grand-Prix, meaning it was chosen for first place by both readers and editors.

For more information on 07-GHOST, or other manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.viz.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan. Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP ALPHA and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages. VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products. Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.