Review & Excerpt: Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton @Berkleyromance

May Contain Spoilers

This is the first Play-by-Play novel that I’ve picked up, and I was interested in it because of the backdrop of the international games. Even I knew that the Winter Olympics were looming when I started reading this, and even though I haven’t watched much of the Games since I was in high school, I still remember with fondness sitting in the family room and cheering on the home team with the family (how we all saw the action on that little screen, I’ll never fully comprehend). Two of my favorite events are represented here – hockey and figure skating. What could go wrong?

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Manga Review: Haikyu!! V 20 by Haruichi Furudate @shonenjump

Contains Spoilers

Yeow! This is another volume that is all volleyball, all the time! After a nail-biter of a 4th set, the Miyagi Prefecture qualifier round finals advance to a fifth and final set. Tsukishima is hurt from deflecting missiles hurled at him from Shiratorizawa, and is taken to the infirmary. Kageyama is exhausted from unrelenting play. With Sugawara subbing as the setter, there’s a new dynamic to the team. Can they use it to their advantage and pull out a surprise victory?

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Manga Review: Kuroko’s Basketball Vol 5 & 6 by Tadatoshi Fujimaki @shonenjump

May Contain Spoilers

After the dramatic end to the game against Shutoku, the Seirin basketball team has set their aim sky high. Kagami played so hard he hurt himself, and resting up is a foreign concept to him, despite direct orders from Riko. And with proficiency tests looming, Riko worries that even tutoring Kagami 24/7 won’t help him pass. His grades are terrible, and if he fails, he’ll have to attend extra Saturday lessons, so he’ll miss the Finals League. Ugh!

The whole chapter on the proficiency tests felt like a flashback to Haikyu!! The stars of both manga are idiots when it comes to their schoolwork. Kagami’s test scores barely add up to double-digits, so there is cause for concern that he’ll be unable to play in the Finals League. While the chapter felt like a rehash of something I’ve read before, the conclusion was pretty funny.

After passing the tests, it’s back to basketball. Kagami has been banned from the gym to rest up, but being Kagami, he does not heed this good advice. Instead, he decides to shoot a few hoops at the park, where he meets his rival, Daiki Aomine. This guy makes the previous Miracle Generation guys look like rank beginners. Aomine is big and blunt and arrogant, and Kagami really shouldn’t have played one-on-one with him in the park. Receiving a huge blow to his ego, Kagami wonders how he could be so badly overpowered, and why it makes him feel so unsettled.

Aomine’s playing style is to use brute force to wring any bit of hope from his opponents. As a superpower, I guess that is pretty impressive. He has the speed and the skill to tromp over pretty much everyone, and he’s such a high scorer, and dominates the games so much that he doesn’t take practice, or getting to games on time, very seriously. I can hardly wait for this guy to get taken down a peg or ten because he is such a major jerk.

Seirin faces major adversity, and Toho High makes the game against Shutoku seem like a cakewalk in comparison. There’s lots of great action scenes, and the coaches for both teams go head to head and pull out all the stops. And just when all hope is lost, we learn – there’s a missing player for Seirin! Not sure where he’s been, but I am sure that he will shake up the current dynamic of the team and cause some drama. Yay!

Grade: 4.00 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Seirin High’s greatest basketball blessing was the one no one literally saw coming…the invisible Kuroko! When incoming first-year student Taiga Kagami joins the Seirin High basketball team, he meets Tetsuya Kuroko, a mysterious boy who’s plain beyond words. But Kagami’s in for the shock of his life when he learns that the practically invisible Kuroko was once a member of “the Miracle Generation”—the undefeated, legendary team—and he wants Kagami’s help taking down each of his old teammates! Aiming for the finals league, Seirin has challenged Shutoku and their ace, Midorima. The team’s fired up thanks to Kagami, but is there any guarantee that fire won’t be quickly extinguished by the sharp-shooting Midorima?! Meanwhile, a friend from Kuroko’s middle school suddenly shows up before the team and shocks everyone by revealing some insight into Kuroko’s mysterious past!

Manga Review: Haikyu!! V 18 by Haruichi Furudate @shonenjump

May Contain Spoilers

The pressure is on! If Karasuno can’t stop Shiratorizawa, they are going to get knocked out of the Spring Tournament, and their dreams of going to Nationals will be over. Shiratorizawa is a powerhouse, with the huge playmaker Ushijima driving the team. Will Karasuno be able to adjust their techniques to make it through the match?

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Manga Review: Kuroko’s Basketball Vol 3 & 4 by Tadatoshi Fujimaki @shonenjump

May Contain Spoilers

Gah! I am such a sucker for these sports manga series! Basketball is one of my least favorite sports, and still I was turning away at the pages like they were on fire. Kuroko’s Basketball is like ninja basketball; players have basketball super powers that allow them to dominate the court, and when several of these gifted athletes come together, watch out!

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