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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Interview with Cari Quinn, Author of No Dress Required and Giveaway

Cari Quinn is the author of several romances, including the recently released Entangled Publishing title No Dress Required.  I asked Cari to drop by the virtual offices for a chat.  She graciously agreed, and she even brought a surprise – after the interview, you can enter for a chance to win a digital copy of No Dress Required!

[Cari Quinn] Thank you so much for having me at Manga Maniac Café today!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you for making the time to stop by!  Can you please describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Cari Quinn] I’m a snarky, tenacious, coffee-drinking, college-basketball-watching, book-reading writeaholic!

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about No Dress Required?

[Cari Quinn] Sure thing! No Dress Required is a fun, sexy story about Noelle, a determined woman who sets out to seduce her long-time crush. He just happens to be her best friend’s older brother, Jake. Too bad the night of seduction she has planned doesn’t exactly go the way she’d envisioned!

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

[Cari Quinn] Like all writers, I think, I’m not entirely sure how I came up with the concept for the story. Some of Jake, the hero’s backstory came about from listening to the Delilah radio show. I also knew Noelle had a thing for “tacky” sweaters. Plus I love the trope of a woman crushing on her best friend’s older brother and adore holiday stories (No Dress Required is set on New Year’s Eve.) Noelle and Jake’s novella was born from there.

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?

[Cari Quinn] Definitely telling a complete story in a shorter length without sacrificing any of the emotional details. But it was a lot of fun to do! I love Entangled Publishing’s new lines of shorter romances called Flirts and Ever Afters. You get a lot of story in fewer words. My awesomesauce CP, Taryn Elliott, has an amazing Ever After called Ashes and Wine coming out in a couple months as well!

[Manga Maniac Café] Name three things Noelle would never have in her purse.

[Cari Quinn] Oooh, great question! Hmm, I would say her wallet, her sentimental photographs and probably some fruity lip gloss, to try to distract Jake from the bunnies on her shirt.

Although by the middle of No Dress Required, Noelle wished she still had her purse itself…and the condoms inside. ;)

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

[Cari Quinn] Music and reading the work of other authors. Often times when I’m in a creative slump, I realize it’s because I haven’t been listening to enough music. Sometimes I’ve been skimping on my reading time. Rectifying one or both of those things usually helps the creative vein to open up once again.

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

[Cari Quinn] I need to turn on my music, get some coffee and shut down the internet. Without doing those things, my muse flees to parts unknown!

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

[Cari Quinn] Wow, another great question. I’d say The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I read that book in elementary school and I absolutely loved the idea of stepping into a wardrobe and discovering a magical world. I used to pretend my mom’s closet had a secret passageway to other rooms, I loved the idea so much! If I ever become rich, I think I might be tempted to put in a “secret” room behind a wall of books in the library (because I’d have to have a library!)

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

[Cari Quinn] This time of year, I love to watch men’s college basketball. My team, the Syracuse Orange, are ranked in the top 5 nationally, plus it’s coming up on March Madness time. Basketball all day long is my idea of heaven!

The rest of the year, I like to sneak in as much reading as possible. I would also like to get back to painting ceramics. Some of my hobbies have fallen by the wayside as my time has become more dedicated to writing, but I’m hoping to strike a good balance.

[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!


You can learn more about Cari by visiting her website. You can also follow her on Goodreads, Facebook and on Twitter.

Here’s some info about No Dress Required

After years of ho-hum dating, Noelle Gregory is tired of fooling around. There’s only ever been one guy for her—Jake Conroy, her best friend’s older brother. Now that Jake’s back in town, she’s headed to his sister’s New Year’s Eve party to make her move. Purse full of condoms? Check. Sparkly dress guaranteed to show Jake the sexy woman she’s become? Check.
Carjacker that makes off with both two hours before the party? Check.
When Jake finds Noelle stranded on the side of the road—looking sexier than ever in her striped socks and silly holiday shirt, damn it—he’s glad for the snowstorm that cancels his sister’s party. His and Noelle’s friendship has tormented him for years, and now, Jake wonders if he should dare to sample what he’s always wanted…and if he’ll be able to walk away when it’s over.

You  can read Chapter One here: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/no-dress-required/

You can purchase a copy of No Dress Required from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:

Ready for the giveaway?  I have one digital copy of No Dress Required to give to one of you, thanks to Cari and Entangled Publishing!  Enter by filling out the widget below, and earn extra entries by following.

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I am not responsible for lost or damaged shipments.

One entry per person.

Earn extra entries by following!

Contest ends February 18

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