Manga Review: A Husband to Belong To by Marito Ai

May Contain Spoilers

I decided to read A Husband to Belong To because of that shirt.  The hero is wearing a purple shirt, with a blue bandanna, and the couple is standing in front of a stained glass window.  I couldn’t resist the shirt or the window.  And he has blue hair.  I don’t know if I have revealed this deep dark secret about myself yet.  I rarely read the descriptions for series romance (comic or prose) before I read them, and usually pick my new category read by the title, author, or cover.  That turned out to be okay with this one because the hero is a cowboy.  Once that fact was revealed, his clothing made a little more sense.

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Manga Review: An Old-Fashioned Girl by Akemi Maki

May Contain Spoilers

This is old school Harlequin Romance at its best.  Patience and her aunts are having some hard times.  After their investments go bad, her elderly aunts are forced to rent out the family mansion.  Patience is worried about the future; how is she going to financially care for her aunts after the rental period is over?  She decides to look for a job, and fortune smiles upon her, she is offered a position working for the doctor who rented the family mansion.  Julius is working on a book, and the housekeeper impresses upon Patience the importance of silence.  Patience is not one of Patience’s better virtues, as the busy doctor is about to discover.

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Mini Review: Up From the Sea by Leza Lowitz

May Contain Spoilers

Up From the Sea is a moving story of a boy who survived the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. The account of his fear during the quake and flight from the deadly ocean surge is suspenseful and very scary. I can’t imagine experiencing it myself. His worries about the fate of his family is also very emotional. Kai has lost everything, and his helplessness and hopelessness resonate through the author’s use of free verse. How can he go on, knowing that his mother, grandmother, and grandfather have all died? Everything he loved and took for granted is gone. His family, his friends, his school, even his soccer ball – gone.

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Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

 

May Contain Spoilers

The Mercy Thompson series has become one of my favorites.  I enjoy it so much that I’ve read the entire series in a little over a year, something that I never do.  I usually get bored with an author’s writing style if I read too many of them so close together, but that’s not happening with these books, mainly because I like the primary characters and the world building so much.  I also enjoy Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series, but I am one book behind, mainly because, argh! what am going to do after I get all caught up with her other werewolf pack?  The wait for the next book in either series will be agonizing.

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Manga Review: Idol Dreams V2 by Arina Tanemura

May Contain Spoilers

I admit that I have a love/hate relationship with Arina Tanemura comics.  I love, love, love the art, but the stories don’t often work for me.  Usually, when they are written for a younger audience, I just feel too old to enjoy the trials of a grade school heroine.  Her latest series to be translated into English, Idol Dreams, is intended for an older audience, and it still didn’t work for me.

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Micro Review: This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak

May Contain Spoilers


I read This Heart of Mine a few weeks ago, and I definitely have mixed feelings about it.  Despite Phoenix’s upbeat outlook on life, I found this read depressing. The poor woman spent half of her life in prison because nobody gave two craps about her. The entire town judged her negatively because of her mother’s mental illness. Even after serving her time, she was harassed and bullied. Phoenix lost everything due to a teenage prank gone bad, and I thought it was unfair that she had to pay all of the consequences. I’m still not convinced that anybody, other than her son and Riley, has her back or truly believes she deserves a second chance.  She didn’t have a single positive adult role-model when she was growing up, so it is no wonder she struggled to find herself and a place to fit in.  She still has so many issues to work out, I’m not confident that Phoenix’s HEA is, indeed, forever.  And don’t get me going about Riley; he didn’t prove to be the staunchest of her supporters in the past, so how am I to believe he will be in the future?

Grade: C+

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Manga Review: Crowns and a Cradle by Mayu Takayama and Valerie Parv

May Contain Spoilers

When Sarah wins a vacation to Carramer, she’s excited to enjoy an all expenses paid trip with her infant son.  She could never afford this on her own, and she’s looking forward to unwinding on the island’s beaches.  When she’s singled out by the Prince and discovers that she’s really a princess, she’s shocked.  She knew that she was adopted, and her questions about her birth parents were ignored.  After she meets her grandfather, the Grand Duke, she’s infuriated.  He only wants Christophe, her son, and now the Grand Duke’s only heir. 

The biggest disappointment with Crowns and a Cradle was the lack of depth given to the setting. I have no real sense of what the culture or structure of Carramer is like, and it was frustrating that the background on the island was so flimsy.  How did Josh’s family come to rule Carramer?  Why can only male offspring inherit the title?  Why couldn’t the Grand Duke adopt Josh and pass the title to him??

The events also seemed so dated. Sarah’s teenaged mother was forced to give up her baby because she came from a “good family.” Sarah broke off contact with her family after she got pregnant and was dumped by her boyfriend. The people around her were hostile and didn’t support her decision to keep her baby and raise him by herself. Josh confiscated her passport and the Grand Duke, wouldn’t even consider her wishes for how her infant son was raised. It just seemed more like attitudes from the 60s than from 2002 when this story was originally published and it infuriated me.

Grade: C-

Review copy read on Scribd

About the book:

Sarina wins a radio station prize draw to go on a vacation to the island principality of Carramer on the south Pacific Ocean. As she arrives with her heart full of anticipation, she is greeted by none other than Prince Josquin of Carramer! “What could the royal family possibly want with me?” Sarina’s anxious question is met with a shocking answer from the Prince: “You’re the princess of this land. And we need you.”

Review: Kingfisher by Patricia A McKillip

 

May Contain Spoilers

Kingfisher is straight up one wonderfully weird and unique book.  I haven’t read anything like it before, and while I thought there were some pacing issues, probably because of POV shifts highlighting characters I didn’t like as much as others, Patricia McKillip has written another odd, enchanting story featuring cooking, kitchen knights, and ancient magic awakening after a long slumber.

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