Manga Review: The Cinderella Solution by Kyoko Sagara and Cathy Yardley

 

May Contain Spoilers

When best friend, Gabe, tells Charlotte she couldn’t be more feminine if she tried, she’s infuriated.  She bets that she can get someone to propose to her in 30 days.  With the help of her girl friends, she undergoes a whirlwind makeover .  When she does attract male attention, and even Gabe is stunned by the new confident, beautiful Charlotte, he wishes they had never made the bet, because he’s afraid he’s going to lose his bff!

This is a friends to lovers story with gorgeous art.  The illustrations are eye-catching, with lots of detail on facial expressions and stylish attire.  I loved the art!

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Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volume 25 by Yoshiki Nakamura

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Holy Cow!  Sometimes I just have to get that off my chest.  The 25th volume of Skip*Beat! ROCKED!  The drama was cranked up when Sho made a surprise appearance during the filming of Kyoko and Ren’s TV show and WOW!  He really knows how to stir up trouble.  And best yet, how to get under Kyoko’s skin.  Jealous when he thought that she was hung up on Reino, a rival singer, Sho wanted to make sure Kyoko knew what she was missing.  Delivering a huge bouquet brimming with all the things he thought she’d love, he throws down the gauntlet.   He’ll not be overshadowed by the Beagle or by smarmy Ren, either!

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Graphic Novel Review: Skip*Beat! Volume 24 by Yoshiki Nakamura

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Valentine’s Day seems like a complicated occasion in Japan.  It’s no wonder it gave Kyoko so much trouble in the 24th volume of Skip*Beat! Her interactions between the men in life are confusing to say the least.  There’s Sho, who tromped on her heart but now reluctantly harbors feelings for her, and Reino, the lead singer of a rival band of Sho’s, who stalked her and now that he’s captured one of Kyoko’s grudges, is demanding chocolates made with “her true feelings” from him before he’ll return what he’s stolen from her.  And then there’s Ren.  Ren.  Ren!  The guy who has gone out of his way to help her navigate the cut-throat world of show biz, but does she give even the slightest regard for his feelings?  No.  No.  No!  Sigh.  Kyoko, you need to worry more about the people who care about you because of who you are, and less about those who only want to manipulate you.

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PR-Viz to Release Ranma 1/2 in Newly Re-Mastered 2-In-1 Manga Format

{ED – And this, folks, is the series that started it all for me.  If you enjoy comedy, martial arts, and gender-bending hijinks, give it a spin.  Just prep at for a long ride, because this manga ran forever!} 

VIZ MEDIA INVITES FANS TO CATCH THE EXCITING RETURN OF RANMA ½ IN A BRAND NEW OMNIBUS MANGA EDITION

Creator Rumiko Takahashi’s Groundbreaking

Gender-Bending Martial Arts Comedy Returns To North America In A Newly Re-Mastered 2-In-1 Manga Format

San Francisco, CA, February 28, 2014 – The wait is almost over as VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, announces next month’s exciting release of Rumiko Takahashi’s adored manga (graphic novel) series – RANMA ½ – as newly re-mastered 2-in-1 omnibus editions. The opening volume debuts on March 11th, presented for the first time ever in a right-to-left reading format that remains faithful to the original work. RANMA ½ is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will carry a MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN.

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PR: Viz Media Releases Omnibus Editions of High School Debut!

{ED. Note: This is one of my all-time favorite manga series, and now you can read it in new 3-in-1 editions!}

VIZ MEDIA RELEASES NEW 3-IN-1 OMNIBUS EDITIONS OF HIT SHOJO MANGA SERIES

HIGH SCHOOL DEBUT

New Editions Of A Girl’s Endearing And Hilarious Quest For Love Will Include Side Stories Never Before Published In English

San Francisco, CA, February 3, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, has announced the release of a new 3-in-1 omnibus edition for the manga (graphic novel) series HIGH SCHOOL DEBUT on February 4th.

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Micro Review: Some Cat! by Mary Casanova and Ard Hoyt

 

Title: Some Cat!

Author: Mary Casanova

Illustrator: Ard Hoyt

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Violet has always imagined ruling a kingdom with sharp claws and velvet paws, so when she is adopted and goes to live with two dogs, she immediately takes over with a Meowww! Hisssss! and Spat! Poor George and Zippity try to befriend Violet, but they get nowhere. One afternoon, while her new family is out fishing, Violet is awakened by some stray dogs who chase poor Violet into a corner. Luckily, George and Zippity arrive home just in time to help.

Review:

I love Ard Hoyt’s art, and I am now a rabid fan.  Some Cat! revisits George and Zippity from Some Dog!, introducing Violet, a homeless cat, to the family.  I love the humans in both of these books.  They are patient and loving to their pets, willing to watch from the sidelines as their new family member tries to find a place for herself.  The problem is, Violet isn’t easy to get along with, and she doesn’t make things easy for herself.  She, like most cats, believes that she is royalty, and instead of trying to make friends with George and Zippity, she attempts to take charge – of everything.   She bullies her new animal companions, stealing their toys, food, and favorite sleeping spots.  She hisses at them, and she swats at them with her velvet paws, claws extended.  She is so NOT nice!  When a pack of dogs attack her, though, it is George and Yippity to the rescue.  Will Violet finally learn to play well with others?

This is a delightful story, with wonderful prose and charming illustrations that perfectly capture the mood and action of the book.  Some Cat! is sure to enchant animal lovers both young and old.

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by publisher

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Micro Review–Dog in Charge by K L Going and Dan Santat

 

 

 

 

Title:  Dog in Charge

Author: K L Going

Illustrator: Dan Santat

Publisher:  Dial

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

When the going gets tough, Dog . . . takes a nap

Dog can Sit.

He can Stay.

He can even Dance.

But when he’s in charge, can he keep the cats in line?

All one, two, three, four, five of them?

With slapstick silliness and utterly earnest charm, Dog will quickly wiggle his way into preschoolers’ hearts.

,

Review:

This is one of the best picture books that I have ever read! It is so cute!!  It even had an unsuspected twist that brought a huge smile to my face.  Poor Dog is left in charge when his people have to go out.  He is left in charge of five naughty cats.  The cats, while not devious, love to play, and Dog is having a hard time keeping tabs on all one, two, three, four, five of them.  When the tensions run the highest, and the house couldn’t get any messier, Dog succumbs to a nap to refresh himself, allowing the cats to save the day.  The cats all love Dog, which made me love them. 

If you have young readers at home, this is a fun book with big, bold illustrations that is sure to please. Even if you don’t have young readers, sneak Dog in Charge home from the library for a quick, delightful read.

Grade:  A

Review copy obtained from my local library

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Review: Time Out by Jill Shalvis

 

Title: Time Out

Author: Jill Shalvis

Publisher: Harlequin Blaze

ISBN: 978-0373796731

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Sign up for recreational adult programs now!

Class: How to Drive Him Crazy

Instructional program for women unexpectedly facing the totally dishy guy from their past. Everyone welcome!

NHL coach Mark Diego’s plan to spend his off-season volunteering in his hometown goes awry when he learns that not only is he coaching teenage girls, but that the program is coordinated by energetic (and five feet two inches of trouble) coordinator Rainey Saunders, his childhood friend—and the woman he could never stand to see dating any other guy….

When their tempers flare, Mark and Rainey discover their fireworks don’t just burn angry—they burn very, very hot! But that’ll just sweeten the victory. Because Mark always plays to win. And with Rainey, he’s planning on playing very dirty, too…

Review:

I loved this book!  Time Out is the first Harlequin Blaze that I’ve read, and the only reason I gave this one a try is because it’s written by Jill Shalvis.  I enjoyed Animal Magnetism, and when I saw that Time Out is about an NHL coach, I was all excited to give it a test drive.  I gobbled this up in record time, and didn’t want to put it down.  The characters are fun, the dialog is snappy and clever, and it features one of my favorite romance tropes – the second chance.  Or Hero was too stupid to see a good thing when it’s right in front of him.  Ah, maybe that is a little wordy for a romance trope…

Rainey works at a rec program for disadvantaged teens, and when a nightmare from her past resurfaces in the form of Mark Diego, she finds herself on thin ice.  She has been attracted to Mark forever, and the night she finally worked up the nerve to confess her feelings to him ended in disaster.  She’s been trying to avoid him ever since, even though sparks still flare out of control whenever they are together.  When her boss, a close friend from childhood – and Mark’s younger brother – informs her that Mark will be volunteering for the off-season, her world starts to spin out of control.

I loved the character interactions in Time Out.  From the sizzle between Rainey and Mark, to Mark’s endearing attempts to whip his team of teenaged girls into shape for the softball season, there is a lot of humor and laughs packed into this book.  It is brain-candy of the best sort, and I wanted to eat the entire book in one sitting.  I was able to completely disconnect from my reality and get totally sucked into Rainey’s, and I didn’t want the fun to end. 

If I had one quibble with the read, it’s the abusive parent that was worked into the plot.  I just didn’t feel that this plot thread was developed as thoroughly as it could have been, and aspects of it came out of left field.  This is the only story element that didn’t convince me to suspend my sense of belief, and it just didn’t work for me.

Aside from that one plot device, Time Out is an engaging, funny read, and I am looking forward to discovering more Blaze gems like this one.

Grade: B+

In stores February 21

Review copy provided by publisher

 

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