Graphic Novel Review: Attack on Titan Vol 3

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Well, Attack on Titan just isn’t doing it for me.  I have one more volume checked out of the library, and after reading that, I am more than likely done with this series.  The art is so painfully awkward and this installment was slow and dull.  I don’t know how that’s possible, considering that the remaining humans are making a last stand against the Titans, but I just did not get caught up in the plot.

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Graphic Novel Review: Bleach, Vol. 4: Quincy Archer Hates You by Tite Kubo

 

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This volume of Bleach gets off to a fantastic start as Kon, feeling unappreciated, runs away from Ichigo’s room.  He is beset by one misadventure after another, until he runs home to Ichigo’s arms, screaming like a girl.  Poor Kon!  He really gets no respect!  If Rukia isn’t trying to clean him with a bathroom broom, Yuzu is dressing him in fru-fru clothes and gluing flowers to his ear.  Ichigo’s gruff indifference would certainly be preferable to that!

The next story arc is a winner.  It’s absolutely hilarious, and packed with explosions and ghostly wailing.  When TV sensation Don Kanonji arrives in town to excise a spirit at an abandoned hospital, Ichigo is forced to tag along with his family.  Yuzu and his dad are nuts about the popular spiritualist; Ichigo, not so much.  He thinks the celebrity is a big phoney, so  imagine his surprise when it turns out that Kanonji actually can see spirits.  Too bad he turns a chained spirit into a Hallow. Oops!  Not one of his better moments!  Good thing Ichigo is there to save the day, as well as the enormous crowd of cheering fans.

I love Don Kanonji.  He is so flamboyant and a total attention hog, but he takes his position as role model for his young viewers very seriously.  When the ghost changes into a Hallow, instead of running away, he’s ready to sacrifice himself so Ichigo can send him off with his zanpakto.  This is one of Ichigo’s most amusing adventures so far, and I found myself laughing aloud several times during the story arc.  Even my favorite supporting character, Kisuke makes a timely appearance, enabling Ichigo to race to Don Kanonji’s aid.

The volume closes with the start of a story arc introducing Uryu Ishida, a bow toting Quincy who hates Soul Reapers.  He’s made it his mission to take out the Hallows before Rukia and Ichigo can even get to the scene, and then he taunts them for their incompetence.  It’s a promising beginning for Ichigo’s next challenge, and I can hardly wait to read the next volume of Bleach. 

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

A new reality-show craze is sweeping the nation, garnering legions of screaming fans (the majority of them being teenaged girls). But this program comes with a supernatural twist – the host, a media-savvy spiritualist, travels to local hotspots and performs exorcisms, live on national TV!

Surly Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki has his doubts about this primetime prima donna, and his assumptions are about to be put to the test – the show is heading straight for his neighborhood. what effect will this unprovoked media presence have on the fragile balance between Earth and the spirit world?

Spotlight and Giveaway: Love in the Time of the Dead by Tera Shanley

Let’s celebrate Halloween with some zombies!  Check out this new release by Tera Shanley, and then enter the giveaway!

 

 

About the book:

Laney Landry has been fighting Deads alongside her brother and friends for three years. But she has a secret. She’s immune to Dead bites and has to find the right people to trust with the information. Her team rallies around her to find a doctor who can extract a vaccine from Laney which could fight the virus that ended the world.

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Manga Review: Bleach Vol 3 by Tite Kubo

 

Bleach, Vol. 3: Memories in the Rain

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Sorry for the long break between volumes of Bleach.  The Viz Manga app wasn’t working on my Kindle Fire for some reason.  I deleted it and re-installed it, and that made things even worse. Then today, several weeks later,  I tried to use it again, and – viola!  It worked again!  I thought technology was supposed to make things easier, not more confusing!

I loved this volume!  It gives so much insight into Ichigo’s character.  On the anniversary of his mother’s death, his family visits her grave, and Ichigo is forced to remember the terrible day that she was killed.  He blames himself for her death, and when a Hallow attacks his sisters, he realizes it’s the same spirit that killed his mother.  He’s enraged and determined to kill the Grand Fisher, even though he’s hopelessly overpowered by the evil being.

The reason I like this series so much is pretty much summed up by this volume.  Ichigo will do anything to protect his family, even sacrifice himself, without a second thought.  As the facts of his mother’s death are slowly revealed, one little tidbit at a time, we learn what Ichigo was like before her death, and how his guilt changed him.  He is consumed by his inability to protect his mother, and now he’s allowed the Hallow to injure his sisters.  With his new Soul Reaper powers, he’s got a fighting chance to do what he couldn’t do in the past.  The Hallow mocks him for being impulsive and for allowing his emotions to get the best of him, but these are the qualities that give Ichigo his strength.  With his limitless compassion and desire to do what’s right, he is able to tap into a limitless wellspring of strength.  He faces his own regrets, and asks Rukia to let him keep her Soul Reaper powers for a while longer, so he can protect those who are weak and in need of help.  This is the first time that he acknowledges that he has a greater duty to save others, and his reluctance to destroy Hallows disappears.

I like Bleach because Ichigo is a good guy (this is also why I like Kekkaishi and Kenshin).  He has manufactured a tough guy image, but deep down, he is a knight in shining armor.  He wants to help and he wants to protect, even if it means putting himself in danger.  How can you not like a guy who is willing to do that?

This volume continues to improve on the series, and I am looking forward to reading Volume 4!

Grade:  A-

From Amazon:

Ichigo Kurosaki was a little boy when his mother passed away. One rainy day, Ichigo, whose ability top see the undead is a blessing and curse, tried to stop young girl from drowning in a nearby river. His mother, Masaki, ran after them, frantically trying to rescue her only son. Then everything went black, and Ichigo awoke only to discover his mother dead and the little girl gone.

It’s the anniversary of Masaki’s death, and the entire Kurosaki clan, along with former Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki, head to the cemetary to pay their respects. Sleeping demons rarely ever stay still and pretty soon Ichigo confronts the Grand Fisher, the Hollow that may be responsible for his mother’s demise.

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Waking Up Dead by Emma Shortt

 

Waking Up Dead (An End of Days Love Novel) (Entangled Select)

 

 

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I loved Waking Up Dead!  It’s got a little bit of everything – intense action scenes, gooey zombies, and even a romance that develops over time as the protagonists flee from the north to Texas.  Jackson is a kick-ass heroine who doesn’t need anyone to take care of her, and in fact, she saves Luke many times with her fighting skills.  If it hadn’t been for a recent Candy Crush addiction, I wouldn’t have been able to put it down!  Curse you, Candy Crush!

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Interview with Emma Shortt, Author of Waking Up Dead and Giveaway

Please welcome Emma Shortt to the virtual offices this morning! She dropped by to chat about her zombie romance Waking Up Dead.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Emma Shortt] Right now I’m typing away in an oversize Firefly tee shirt, and my huge spectacles. At some point today I might actually get dressed *lies*.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Waking Up Dead?

[Emma Shortt] Waking up Dead is a book that explores the following question: where there is horror can there be love? The horror comes from the zombies, and the love blossoms between my heroine (Jackson) and my hero (Luke).

I’m a huge horror fan and I devour romance, so in my mind it made sense to combine the two. Plus, it was a book that I wanted to read, if that makes sense, and I looked for it everywhere but couldn’t find it, so I wrote it instead.

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

[Emma Shortt] It just came to me. All my books arrive in my mind pretty much fully formed. I don’t plan them or anything. With Waking up Dead I knew immediately that it would have to be zombies. I have a very weird relationship with zombies. I both loathe and love them.

Once the zombies were there Jackson arrived, then Luke, then all my other characters, and before I knew it I was typing away.

The thing about this story is that it came out exactly how I imagined it to be. Not all my books do, sometimes I feel the final product does not match the story I had envisioned and I can’t work out why. But with WD? As soon as it was finished it felt right.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Jackson?

[Emma Shortt] Impulsive. Steely. Kooky.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Luke had a theme song, what would it be?

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Novella Review: Mercy by Jan Coffey

Mercy (Entangled Ever After)

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Julia Klein’s life has begun to unravel—her daughter Amy has been suspended from school, Julia is about to lose her job, and her boyfriend Garrett is being transferred thousands of miles away. Overwhelmed, she and Amy leave for a weekend at a rambling old colonial inn. Julia never suspects that Garrett, desperate to find a way to keep Julia in his life, has decided to surprise her by joining them. Nor does she expect her daughter to befriend a mischievous ghost…or that she herself would be possessed by the malevolent spirit of a long-dead mother.

As a dark secret emerges, Julia, Amy, and Garrett find themselves pitted in a fight for survival against a savage presence that intends to resurrect/repeat/relive a horrible crime committed two centuries ago. And this time, Amy and Julia will be the victims.

Review:

Zowie!!  Mercy is a great Halloween read!  I wasn’t expecting much, and in fact only picked this novella up because it’s short and I thought I could polish it off fairly quickly.  I did!  But because I couldn’t put it down once I started it.  It’s creepy and the pacing is unrelenting!  Good thing it’s short, because my heart couldn’t have taken much more!  I am usually not a fan of ghost stories, and even though this is fairly predictable, it’s well written and engaging because the characters are so personable.

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Novella Review: Wish Upon a Star by Michelle McLean

 

Wish Upon a Star (Entangled Ever After)

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Ceri McKinley never stopped wishing that her ex-fiancé Jason Crickett would come back into her life. But when he finally does, he comes with a request that puts them both—and all of humanity—into jeopardy.

Jason only wants two things: to bury his brother properly and to convince Ceri to trust him again after he jilted her. But when Ceri agrees to help him get his brother back, they end up fighting for their lives as the second zombie uprising threatens them all.

Review:

‘Tis the season for zombies, witches, demons, and various other undead creatures, so I am trying to pack my reading schedule with horror stories.  The funny thing is that I usually don’t like them, and I can’t stand to watch horror movies.  As I have pushed outside of my reading comfort zone, though, I have discovered a new appreciation for scarier books, provided that gore isn’t the central theme.  I like seeing how ordinary people react to extraordinary situations, and that is what I enjoy best about dipping into the treasure trove of zombie apocalypse stories.  How are the protagonists going to reconcile themselves to the new normal, which is terrifying and may bring death at any moment?

Wish Upon A Star isn’t long enough to really delve into how Ceri and Jason’s lives and outlooks are going to change after zombies enter the picture.  This is an action read, and the primary focus is on saving Ceri’s daughter from the zombies shambling through the large building that they are all trapped in.  After Ceri’s ex-husband Russell unwittingly unleashes  a zombie apocalypse, Ceri and Jason, the only man she ever really loved,  and the man who left her at the alter, are left to pick up the pieces.  Ceri’s ex-husband was  a mad tinker, and he wanted to create and control the undead – until his creations turn on him.  Yikes! That is always a possibility for evil psychos – don’t these guys watch horror flicks? 

Huddled safely in Russell’s safe room, Ceri sees, to her shock, that her daughter is hiding in an office on the top floor of the building with her mother.  She and Jason are in the basement.  There are a gabillion hungry zombies between her and her family.  What follows is an action packed race to secure her daughter and mother back in the safe room before the military blows up the building.  Setting aside a few improbabilities, like will the room really survive having a huge building crumpled on top of it, this is a fun read.  It has one of my favorite romance tropes, too, and Ceri and Jason rediscover the love that they lost years ago.  Nothing like a zombie horde to put the trust back into a relationship.  After saving each other’s bacon many times on their journey to the top floor, how can they not realize that they are meant for each other, forever this time?

If you are looking for a light seasonal read to get you in the mood for things that go bump in the night, Wish Upon a Star is a good choice.  It’s got a little bit of everything, though the short length eliminates much depth to the story.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher