The Wallflower Vol 18 by Tomoko Hayakawa Manga Review

 

Title: The Wallflower Vol 17

Author: Tomoko Hayakawa

Publisher:  Del Rey

ISBN:  978-0345506597

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

UNEXPECTED ROOMIES

Just when Sunako and the four hottest guys in Japan had finally gotten used to living together, their landlady springs a shocking surprise: She’s going to remodel the mansion and they’ll be temporarily relocated to a luxury hotel. Now Sunako and the guys are living it up in a gorgeous five-star pleasure palace–exactly the type of place Sunako can’t stand. To make matters worse, the landlady has reserved a special suite just for Sunako and Kyohei. Unable to cope, Sunako flees in terror, and Kyohei follows. Now Sunako and Kyohei are hiding out together in a tiny studio apartment. Wait a sec. It’s almost like they’re . . . shacking up!

I find that I enjoy this series best if I leave very wide gaps of time between reading each volume.  There isn’t much in the way of character development, and you don’t even have to read them in order.  The chapters are fairly episodic, so jumping around in the series doesn’t have that much impact on understanding and enjoying the story.  This particular volume was hiding under the bed, and it’s been almost a year since I read the previous installment, but I was able to quickly get back into Sunako’s very, very odd world again.

The mansion is being remodeled, and Sunako and Kyohei are renting a dumpy apartment instead of a staying at a five-star hotel with the rest of the gang.  Sunako despairs at their lack of funds; she can’t even afford chocolate!  When she accepts a high paying job in the red-light district, she thinks she’s accepting an evening cleaning position.  She doesn’t realize that the job is actually for a hostess!

I enjoyed this volume, as Sunako polishes and cleans her way to notoriety, selfishly uses the guys to finish off her collection of gachapon figures, and tries to convince Takenaga to leave his family’s home and come back to the mansion.  The chapters are presented with high energy and lots of humor.  Hayakawa’s art is hit or miss with me, but I thought the illustrations this time around very solid, except for the shirtless scenes, where the guys look like they are anorexic. 

Despite the lack of character development, The Wallflower is a fun series.  Sunako’s bizarre behavior is always good for a laugh, but I don’t think I could stomach a steady diet of the title.

Grade: B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Teaser Tuesday – Mindblind by Jennifer Roy

How can it be Teaser Tuesday again?? For a full description of what it is, check the bottom of this post.

Mindblind by Jennifer Roy is fantastic.  There is simply no other way to describe this book.  Nathanial’s voice is compelling and real.  I want to know more about this wonderful kid, and I can’t put the book down!

“I feel as if my brain is being squeezed.  The pressure of figuring out girls weighs down my rational thoughts and out spills confusion.”

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Review: A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

 

Title: A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Author: Linda Urban

Publisher: Harcourt

ISBN: 978-0152066086

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Ten-year-old Zoe Elias dreams of playing a baby grand piano at Carnegie Hall. But when Dad ventures to the music store and ends up with a wheezy organ instead of a piano, Zoe’s dreams hit a sour note. Learning the organ versions of old TV theme songs just isn’t the same as mastering Beethoven on the piano. And the organ isn’t the only part of Zoe’s life that’s off-kilter, what with Mom constantly at work, Dad afraid to leave the house, and that odd boy, Wheeler Diggs, following her home from school every day. Yet when Zoe enters the annual Perform-O-Rama organ competition, she finds that life is full of surprises–and that perfection may be even better when it’s just a little off center.

What a fun book!  I have to stick with my unorthodox method of picking library books, because it seems to be working.  What attracted me to A Crooked Kind of Perfect?  I thought the colorful socks on the cover hinted at a playful story, and I was right!  Forgiving the truly terrible pun, Zoe is a ten (almost eleven!) year old with great big dreams.  She dreams of playing the piano in Carnegie Hall, and when she asks her parents to get her a piano, her dad comes home with an organ.  Not just any organ, but a Perfectone D-60. Though disappointed, Zoe begins taking lessons on her new instrument, and when she enters the annual Perfom-O-Rama organ competition, she makes some startling discovers about her family and herself. 

Zoe is such a great character!  Nothing in life seems to go her way, but she quickly learns to adjust and make the most of what she’s got.  Her dad is afraid to leave the house, so he spends his days taking classes at home.  He is afraid of everything – the weather, getting lost, running out of gas, other people.  Zoe has learned to accept his phobias, and the two of them run the house while her mom is out earning a buck.

Zoe’s mom is the rock of the family, but because she’s so busy with her work, she’s not around much.  There are times that Zoe resents her mom’s devotion to her job, but she keeps her disappointments to herself.  It’s when her mom has to work and can’t take her to the Perform-O-Rama that Zoe’s resentment bubbles to the surface.  Her dad can’t take her because he’s too scared to go outside.  What if they get a flat or a crazy truck driver runs them off the road?

What I loved about this book was how far everyone was willing to go to help each other out.  Everyone faces their fears and grows as a person.  Zoe, her dad, and her mom all go out a on a limb to make everyone happy.  Even Zoe’s friend, Wheeler, steps outside of his comfort zone to help turn Zoe’s dreams into reality.  This really is a feel good book, loaded with humor and very convincing character interaction.  Zoe isn’t perfect, and she knows it.  Her family isn’t perfect, and she accepts it.   She also discovers that even though she has to work hard for everything that she wants, achieving her goals makes all of the hard work worth the extra effort.

Grade: B+

Review copy obtained from the library

In My Mailbox – August 29th Edition

 In My Mailbox is a weekly meme, and it is hosted by The Story Siren.   Go here for a full description of IMM.

Argh! This week has been incredibly busy.  My trusty assistant at work, Jen, is packing her bags and moving to Seoul.  She starts school there next month, and she is very eager to begin her big endeavor.  In addition to being my go to girl at work for the past few years, Jen is also my niece, and I love her like she was my own kid.  She has spent summers at my house, we have had many, many vacation adventures together, and she is always up for a plate of sushi or a bowl of ramen.   I will miss her very, very much.  Have the time of your life, kiddo!!  Don’t forget to GTalk me!  If you could find out what happens next in Moon Boy, that would be fantastic, too!

I received a bunch of awesome reads this week! 

 

 

For Review:

I got some really cool stuff from Bloomsbury USA!

Hush by Eishes Chayil

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry

Thanks to Random House for:

Manga for the Beginner Shoujo by Christopher Hart

From Mania.com, I received some super nifty titles!

All You Need Is Love Vol 1 by Jinko Fuyuno & Noboru Takatsuki

Wolf God Vol 1 by Ai Tenkawa

Midnight Bloom by Rico Fukiyama

Love!! by Ariko Kanazawa

Moonlit Promises by Souya Himawari

Honey Chocolate by Nanao Okuda

When the Heavens Smile by Aki Senoo

The Object of My Affection by Nanao Okuda

Bought:

Karma Bites by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

Bubba Goes National by Jennifer Walker

I was also given some blog awards, which always makes me feel special :)

 

I got this from  Book Obsessed 

 

From Untouchable Treasure, I received this pretty award

I will be stuck in a hospital waiting room most of the day tomorrow, so I pass the awards on then and update the post afterward.

Review: Millie Waits for the Mail by Alexander Steffensmeier

 

Title: Millie Waits for the Mail

Author: Alexander Steffensmeier

Publisher:  Walker Books

ISBN: 978-0802796622

 

May Contain Spoilers

When I requested the hold on this book, I had no idea what to expect.  I was really expecting a MG title, but Millie is a picture book.  That was ok, because the cover is adorable, and I don’t know if my brain could have handled another novel at the moment.  It’s been ages since I’ve read a picture book, so it was fun to put this book through its paces.

Millie is a cow. But before I lose you, she is not an ordinary milk cow.  Oh, no!  Far from it!  She has one all consuming desire, and that is to chase the mailman.  She ponders ways to terrorize this poor, harried civil servant, and just chasing him off of the farm isn’t good enough for her.  She has to find clever hiding spots so she can jump out and give him a cow-sized BOO!  Millie’s owner is lucky the mailman hasn’t filed a restraining against her cow!

The plot is very simple, as the humans in the story try to get Millie to stop her out of control behavior.  She gives the mailman nightmares, and her owner is  not amused by the condition of her mail.  The illustrations are priceless, especially the montage of Millie attempting to find new hiding places.  She is pretty devious for a cow!  The plot is very simple, but Alexander Steffensmeier’s  humorous paintings make this a delightful read, and the final conflict resolution is priceless. 

Grade: B+

Review copy obtained from the library

On My Wishlist – The Poison Throne, Black Prism, Shadow’s Son

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted at Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It’s a way to share your wishlist with the rest of the blogsphere. The books can be old, new or forthcoming, but my lists will be limited to already released titles. If you would like to join in and post your wishlist,  click here for more information.

I love a good fantasy, and all of the reviews I’ve read of Celine Kiernan’s The Poison Throne make me think it’s a winner. 

From Amazon:

When young Wynter Moorehawke returns to court with her dying father, but she finds her old home shadowed with fear. The king has become a violent despot, terrorizing those he once loved. His son and heir Alberon has fled into exile and now there are whispers everywhere of rebellion. Meanwhile, Alberon’s half-brother Razi has been elevated to his throne. He struggles to meet his King’s demands while remaining loyal to his beloved brother and to his friend-Wynter.
Now, she must choose- her father or her dreams, her friend or her king, her duty… or her love.

I love the cover for Brent Weeks’ Black Prism.  I love the synopsis, too.  This looks like a really cool book!

From Amazon:

Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.

But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

Oh, look! Another fantasy title with an awesome cover and a premise that makes me want to snatch it up.  Shadow’s Son by Jon Sprunk is about an assassin, and everybody knows that assassins rock!

From Amazon:

In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples.

Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot. Pitted against crooked lawmen, rival killers, and sorcery from the Other Side, his only allies are Josephine, the socialite daughter of his last victim, and Kit, a guardian spirit no one else can see. But in this fight for his life, Caim only trusts his knives and his instincts, but they won’t be enough when his quest for justice leads him from Othir’s hazardous back alleys to its shining corridors of power. To unmask a conspiracy at the heart of the empire, he must claim his birthright as the Shadow’s Son . .

What’s on your wishlist?

Review: The Princess Test by Gail Carson Levine

 

Title: The Princess Tales: The Princess Test

Author: Gail Carson Levine

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 978-0060280628

 

May Contain Spoilers

I love retellings of fairy tales, so when I discovered this series by Gail Carson Levine, I had to investigate further.  The library had three volumes on the shelf, and I chose one randomly.  Well, not entirely randomly – I picked the pink one.  I didn’t look at anything else, except the girly pink.  That’s a sad reason to pick a book to read!

I haven’t read anything by Levine previously, so I was interested to see if I’d like her writing style.  I did, quite a bit.  This is The Princess and the Pea re-imagined, with a hopelessly clumsy and persnickety heroine and a wimpy prince.  Lorelei is a walking disaster area, and she is fragile beyond belief.   The slightest chill sends her to bed, sick for days, anything but the softest satin sheets gives her ugly rashes, and as for helping with chores around the house? Forget it!  If she doesn’t cause bodily harm to herself, she breaks something or injures someone else.  About the only thing she can do is embroider.

Young Prince Nicholas knows nothing of Lorelei’s shortcomings when he falls hopelessly in love with her.  When his parents decide he must marry so they can retire, they decide to have a Princess Test to find the perfect match for him.  When Lorelei unwittingly gets caught up in the competition. she wonders if a simple blacksmith’s daughter can convince anyone that she’s a princess.

The Princess Test is a fast and humorous read, peopled with very unique personalities. Most of these individuals wouldn’t survive without a large staff of dedicated servants to wait on them hand and foot.  Lorelei, despite being clueless about how destructive she can be, it sweet and kind.  She is so good-natured that everyone loves her.  Well, except for the new housekeeper, but you will have to read the book to find out more about that!

Now that I have enjoyed this volume, I wonder what shade of The Princess Tales I should tackle next.  Blue? Green?  I don’t think it matters; I bet Levine does a great job fracturing fairy tales regardless of hue. I hope nobody else has checked them out!

Grade: B

Review copy obtained from the library