Monday, 18 December 2017

Manga: Bungo Stray Dogs 5

Bungo Stray Dogs Vol 5
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The American group of ability users known as the -Guild- appears, led by the wealthy Francis Scott Fitzgerald, who has his sights set on the Armed Detective Agency! Can Agency president Fukuzawa stop him...!? Not if Guild member Lucy Montgomery and can help it!

Okaaaaaaay, it's time for Kyouka's first job as we start this volume! Unfortunately it doesn't go entirely to plan, she does have a rather....special set of skills after all! We get a new character in the form of Kouyou a Port Mafia leader and she makes quite the entrance. It would seem war is about to break out between the Detective Agency and the Mafia, but we've known this was coming for a while as we've been building up to it! 

Poor old Kyouka is somewhat caught in the middle but determined not to return to the darkness and wants to harness her demon. But with the arrival of Steinbeck and Lovecraft it becomes obvious that it's going to be a three way war. I'm kind of hoping there might be a team up between the Mafia and the Detective Agency! 

The authors are here to kick ass and take names but I'm feeling like they're on the wrong side to be honest. Some of my favourite authors have made an appearance in these volumes but they're the bad guys and I'm like aaaah why! Like Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter) and Margaret Mitchell (Gone With the Wind), and of course the previously mentioned ones. Most of them border on downright creepy to be honest. I do anticipate the next one popping up and seeing what their power is to be honest. 

Dazai shows his...creepy side. The president of the agency is quite the intriguing badass, I'm not going to lie, I'm hoping we get more insight in the coming volumes! 

Over the course of the first few volumes we've been introduced to the world, the three different factions and their motivations, and the characters...and it's all been leading up to this. Setting the stage. This is the volume when things finally come together, boil over and kick off...and it's certainly explosive. I'm anticipating a faster pace, and more action to go with the further fleshing out of the characters, and the plot in general! Things are definitely about to get even more interesting! 

Graphic Novel: All New Guardians of the Galaxy

All New Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The Guardians of the Galaxy have taken off into space once more on their biggest and weirdest misadventures yet! Kicking things off with the boldest heist they've ever pulled, Star-Lord, Rocket and company blast their way through the galaxy -with the peacekeepers of the Nova Corps hot on their tail! And soon enough, they find themselves caught in a war between the Collector and the Grandmaster! Will there be any room to explain why Groot can't grow any bigger, what Gamora is searching for, or why Drax has sworn off violence?! 

The volume opens in typical Guardians fashion....with a prison break! And as has a brilliant soundtrack even in graphic novel form! Not to mention the fact that it's freaking hilarious! I love the interactions between the group and Quill is always my favourite. He cracks me up so much, and he's just so snarky! 

Poor old Groot is a baby and is having trouble regenerating, Drax has come over all pacifist which is unfortunate considering their on their most dangerous/suicidal mission yet. With an action packed, fast paced volume we go on quite the wild ride, before some pieces fall in to place and the larger plot is revealed to us. It's certainly going to be interesting, shall we say? 

As for Loki? I'm disappointed but not surprised. 

This volume is hilarious, and Rocket and Quill are forever cracking me up. The art is colourful and Groot is too cute. I'm genuinely enjoying the art style for this series, everything is so well drawn and fantastical at some points! I'm enjoying the colours used too. Roll on the next volume! 

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Manga: Graineliers

Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Rihito Takarai (Ten Count) pens anything but a garden variety fantasy! In a world where the seeds of plants are imbued with power, the wheels of fate begin to turn for Luca, an illegal seed cultivator, when the government-sanctioned Graineliers come to take away his father, who in turn hands Luca a rare and powerful seed...! 

The synopsis for this volume sounded intriguing, and I'm always on the lookout for something a little bit different. Graineliers certainly sounded like it was going to be original and unlike anything I'd read before and it certainly delivered. 

The art is gorgeous and detailed throughout the volume and as for the story? We're thrown straight in to the plot with no messing around. The world is rich and interesting and we get a lot of background on it in just this first volume. There's still things I want to know but we get the basics. It's certainly a unique world, and I'm excited to see more of it and how it works...and how the seeds work! This volume is just a very detailed taster! 

Luca and Abel are brilliant, I love the friendship between the two of them and they cracked me up more than once. Their banter was hilarious. Luca is quite stoic and quiet and Abel is a bit more amiable, more open and loose and willing to joke. Abel's dad is pretty hilarious too and I'm hoping we get some more of him! 

I'm curious to see more of Luca and what's happened to him and how it'll affect him and where his character is going to go in the story. Chloe is intriguing too, at first she kind of seems like an annoying kid but then BOOM plot twist....and I'm so ready to find out what that's all about. 

There's some nice comedy elements to the volume, and I really think Abel and Luca are a good character pairing, they play off of each other nicely with Abel being the more outgoing of the pair. The chilli peppers scene was brilliantly hilarious. Hugues provided some nice humour too and I'm hoping he's going to be a permanent fixture! I haven't decided how I feel about Nicolas yet though, so I guess I'll just wait and see on that front. I'm thinking I probably won't like him much after his ominous comments at the end of the volume, but who knows. 

We cover a lot of ground in this first volume, meeting characters, key events taking place, getting to grips with the world and how it works and so on. Not to mention having the main plot kicking off as we end the volume. I still have questions and we have some mystery elements regarding Luca's father that are going to be fun to unravel. I'm so excited to see where the story goes and get some clues to try and puzzle it all out! This is looking to be an original and entertaining series and I'm impressed with this first volume! 

Friday, 15 December 2017

Manga: Compulsive Gambler 3

Compulsive Gambler Vol 3
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Enduring the "Big Debt Settlement Meeting" together may have deepened the bond between Yumeko and Mary, but in this academy, friendships tend to be fragile. Having tasted victory, the pair suddenly find themselves prime targets. In the case of Yumeko, that would be the eyepatch-wearing Midari Ikishima. And just who's got Mary in the crosshairs...? In this third volume of the story about an academy filled with beautiful women, the concepts of good and evil are turned on their heads!

So, the Big Debt Settlement Meeting is over and Mary has her status back, will she hold a grudge against her bullies? You bet your ass she will. But that's just how the academy works really, isn't it? I've actually ended up really liking Mary and I was kind of hoping she and Yumeko would team up together but I'm out of luck it seems! 

This volume we get some interesting tidbits about Yumeko and she is definitely coming for the Student Council President....unfortunately on her way she gets cornered by the crazy Student Council Beautification chair woman. Ikishima. Which means it's time to play, and explain a new card game....but with a deadly twist. I genuinely feel like I could become quite the card shark thanks to this series. This is a seriously high stakes volume, and Suzui ends up featuring a lot which was interesting. 

Meanwhile Mary has a cosy chat with the Student Council President, and refuses an interesting offer. I'm so intrigued by Mary, like I was prepared to hate her but now I'm rooting for her and I'm really curious to know more about her and see if she teams up with the others and see what her end game is! 

Yumeko pulls off another brilliant and intelligent move. I love having the games and the cheats and strategy to each game explained. It's done so well and is a nice addition. The art is detailed and gorgeous and the characters get so ugly when they gamble, it's a brilliant touch. 

The story is moving forward at a steady pace, we know the characters. We know how the academy works, and we're seeing some unrest from Mary. One might even say rebellion. Yumeko is quite determined to go up against the Student Council President and she's still a bit of a mystery. The volume builds up the tension and switches between the two scenes that while both incredibly tense, are tense for different reasons. 

Will she accept the offer? Won't she? What happens if she doesn't? Will she win? Will she lose? Is she really going to die? The last volume proved that anything can happen and even our favourite won't always win, which set up a nice tension for this volume in particular. I was genuinely on the edge of my seat. 

Graphic Novel: Spider-Gwen 4

Spider-Gwen Vol 4: Predators
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

After her adventure with Miles Morales, Gwen finds herself thrown into her toughest, most intense encounter yet. One word: Gwenom! It's the mash-up to end all mash-ups, but the stakes are high and the consequences are all too real! Can she get through this new challenge in one piece? And with Wolverine and Matt Murdock gunning for Harry Osborn, Gwen will need to step in and save him - but will the cost of this rescue be her own soul? As predators aplenty converge on Madripoor, things get deadlier than ever for the Spider-Woman of Earth-65! Plus: Musical mayhem with the magnificent Mary Janes! 

Ominous opening much?! I mean, sure it was exciting and provided some tension for the volume but sooooo ominous! Gwen's in deep with Murdock and she sets out to help Harry de-lizard, as it where. But there's a surprise newcomer....Mr. Murderhands who's hilariously familiar. His name begins with a W ;) Shadowcat makes an appearance too. 

While this is setting up the next story arc, Gwenom, this is far from the regular filler. Gwen is forever hilarious and she cracks me up but she's dealing with a lot emotionally this volume, and she has to think long and hard about what she wants to Harry and face some ominous consequences or not save him. Casual stuff like that. It was nice to see some cameos from some well known and loved characters. I also enjoyed how it linked back to volume 1! 

The art is colourful and bright, and the volume itself is action packed and fast paced. There's a way to help Harry but it's going to cost Gwen and we all know exactly what it's going to cost. We're left with quite the cliffhanger as we wait to see what happens next, but we all know Gwenom is coming let's be real. Everything's going to change and things aren't looking good for her dad either. 

The volume does end on a slightly strange note, as we get a kind of filler chapter with MJ and co. It shows some nice bonding between the three of them, and MJ is pretty convinced Gwen is you know...the superhero and she gets her own little badass moment which was nice to see. I didn't have much bearing on what was going on, and it seemed out of place, but at the same time it was probably best to go that way rather than kick off the next arc in earnest! 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Manga: Is It Wrong 8

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Vol 8
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Bell and his party left for the Middle Levels and never returned, leaving Hestia to believe something has gone terribly wrong in the Dungeon! Desperate for their safety, Hestia's only option is to issue a rescue quest through the guild. That is, until Hermes offers his help-he'll go into the Dungeon to find Bell! But there's no way Hestia would let him go to rescue her Familia without her! 

Gods in the Dungeon...will they be able to keep their cover and save Bell, or will their presence be revealed and everything fall to ruin...!?

Things are certainly getting interesting now, I'm not going to lie. Hermes shows up all shady like...I mean one moment he's really likeable and funny and the next he's super shady. He's definitely up to something. I want to like him but....he's so shady. Meanwhile Bell and Co find themselves in a sticky situation, trapped in the Dungeon and a panicking Hestia issues a quest. 

It was nice to see the other deities helping Hestia out and trying to get Bell found. Even if some of them where doing it for ulterior motives or whatever. Hestia and Hermes team up to enter the Dungeon in search of Bell with a party of their own and I'm so ready to watch that play out fully. Like I'm genuinely so excited. 

This volume allows you to really see how far Bell has come, as he fearlessly faces down a minotaur and saves his friends. He's not entirely the same Bell from volume 1 and I'm looking forward to seeing him grow and change some more. 

Compared to last volume, the pace really picks up in this one as we have a lot of action and a lot of time in the dungeon. We also get some hints about Bell and his grandfather that provide an interesting mystery. Aiz once again makes an appearance but for once doesn't actually fight and save Bell, she just kind of drags him back to camp to save him. Aaaahhh progress eh? 

This volume ends on a nice ominous comment, I'm actually imagining a million things that could go wrong and happen to our group! I have so many questions that I want answers to, and I'm trying to figure out, but this volume is really picking the plot up again and I'm excited for what comes next! 

Blog Tour: Firestorm

Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Kyndra has finally mastered her cold Starborn powers, but at what cost? She's drifting from those dearest to her - though they can only reunite Acre together. And assassins who dance through time pose an extraordinary new threat. They seek to change the past - to unmake the Sartyan Empire and rewrite the whole history of Acre. And in the Khronostians' new narrative, Kyndra is never even born. 

Ex-slaver Char is determined to enlist the help of dragons for the fight to come. They were banished from the world by Khronostians. But, with the rogue Khronostian Ma's skills, he and Kyndra aim to reach the dragons' mountainous city. And perhaps here, they can gather enough power to send Kyndra far back in time - to prevent the death of an era. Yet despite her best efforts, events propel Kyndra towards a confrontation that has shaped and will shape the future of the world.

The end is finally here! I've been so excited to see how it's all going to turn out! I literally got sent this a couple of days ago....but I ended up reading it all in one go because I needed to see how it ended up! 

The last book left me wanting more and it was a game changer. We have dragons. Yep...dragons. You all know how much I love dragons, so you can imagine how excited I was for them to be included in this volume! Along with dragons we've got all the magic we know and love from the other books, there's even a smidge of brilliantly done time travel. I like how the perspective changed as the timeline did, like I said, it was very well done! 

The world building has been rich and detailed, and I love the extracts in the books! They add to it and help pull you in. The world continued to be vivid until the end, and I still want to know more about the world! I've loved getting to explore it with the characters. This series has certainly been a rich read, world building, intricate plots and intriguing and complex characters all woven together to create this series. 

I've had my moments with Kyndra, but one thing I can't deny is how much she's grown and changed over the course of the books and Kyndra in this book is the finished product. She's been through a lot and we've seen her struggle. She's been relatable and easy to empathise with, and I'm pleased we never lost that throughout the books. The other characters have really brought the world to life for me, there's been characters I love to hate, or just plain hate, as well as characters I love and I'm going to be sad not to see them anymore. They may be secondary characters, but they're no less detailed. They all have backstories to them, they're all written with care and come to life as much as Kyndra. 

I fully devoured this final instalment, and even got a bit sad as we reached the end. This series has been brilliantly written, vivid, and has kept me hooked with the intriguing plot. There's been some slow patches, but the intricate plot keeps you pushing onward. The characters help to bring the world to life, and they really stand out in your mind once you're finished reading. I can't deny the ending was everything I was hoping for!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Manga: Alternative GGO

SAO Alternative Gun Gale Online
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Karen Kohiruimaki always felt out of place in the real world. Due to her extreme height, she found it hard to make friends with other girls her age. Everything changes when she's introduced to VR and Gun Gale Online. In GGO, Karen is free to play the cute, chibi avatar of her dreams! Can Karen find friendship in this bullet-ridden MMO...?

Ahhh yeaaaaah, brand new Sword Art Online, with brand new characters! Or you know....Gun Gale Online as it where. There's some brilliantly drawn, fun colour pages at the beginning, and the art in general is very well drawn. There's lots of detail and the characters are fantastically drawn too! Llen is cute but not overly cute you know? 

Karen as Llen is cute yet badass. That's literally her all over. As Karen you feel for her. I didn't have a great time at school because of my appearance either, and I really empathised and related with her and her situation. Pitohui is hilarious and badass...but also kind of shady. Like maybe it's me being overly suspicious but she seems shady and I couldn't shake the feeling the longer I read. M was an interesting partner choice for Llen and it was funny to watch the interactions between the two of them! 

We get introduced to Karen and how she met Pitohui and started to get in to the game. Standard really. Then we swiftly head in to the Squad Jam competition. There's plenty of action and a good, swift pace. There's some brilliant tactics and each scene is drawn with excellent detail, as are the guns and the bullet lines and so on. 

There's fun action and battles, but there's also a couple of mysteries too. I have my suspicions about Pitohui and who she really is but there's a piece that doesn't quite fit and I'm curious to see how it's going to play out. Either way, this is an explosive first volume that sucks you back in to the world of GGO and expands on what we already know, showing us more of it as well as introducing us to new, interesting characters! There's even a tiny, tiny cameo! 

Manga: Fairy Tail 62

Fairy Tail 62
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The magical adventures of the Fairy Tail guild continue! 

There's literally no other synopsis floating around which is probably just as well because this is the penultimate volume and things are tense and I'm waiting to see how things are going to end, and I'm so on edge while reading because ONE VOLUME LEFT! 

Jellal really gets his badass on in this volume, and I was cheering for him because FINALLY. Blue Pegasus face off with Acnologia as they show up to help out Wendy and Erza, and there's an interesting plot twist regarding Anna, you might remember her! We go back in to the past and finally see what went down when Lucy's mother opened the gate and Natsu and co arrived! Meanwhile Gray and Lucy are trying to save Natsu who's facing off with Zeref. That's as much of a synopsis as I can give you without too many spoilers!

As the series is starting to wrap up we're getting more and more blanks filled in and questions answered and it's exciting but also kind of sad because it's nearly all over! This volume genuinely made me feel bad for every single time I've taken the piss out of Ichiya, I'm not going to lie. 

Volume 62 is fast paced, and there's a lot of action and a lot going on as two battles take place simultaneously...and kind of a third! The volume builds up to a crescendo pretty fast and as we end the volume we're left with some potentially devastating consequences. Things are sombre and serious, and there's plenty of tension to go with the immense sense of danger. This volume genuinely hit me right in the feels. All the pieces have finally come together, we know how everything happened and what went down and we get an epically huge battle to win. *sobs for eternity* The chapter drawings had me all nostalgic too, I'm so not ready for this to end! 


Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Manga: Forbidden Scrollery

Forbidden Scrollery
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Where else would a girl with the power to translate any tome she sets in her lap reside except a library? Sure, some books may be more dangerous than others, but that's far from discouragement for a true bibliophile like Kosuzu Motoori! 

Okay so I was drawn in by the synopsis and then the cover was so pretty I had to read it....but as I started the volume I was a bit worried about whether I was going to like it or not. However, the more I read the more interested I became! 

The colour pages at the beginning are gorgeous and bright. The art throughout the volume is gorgeous, the settings have been drawn so well! The characters are just plain cute. I'm fully in love with the art, it's so detailed and rich and aaaah I love it! 

As for the characters, I was kind of side eyeing them in the beginning but they developed nicely and came in to their own throughout the volume. Kosuzu is so relatable to me as a bookworm except I don't lend my books because I learnt not to the hard way! She's kind of mysterious but she's also a lot of fun because she lacks any common sense, I'm not going to lie. Marisa and Reimu are fun characters too, and they had me chuckling more than once. We meet a couple of other characters briefly that I assume we'll see again later and I'm excited for that to happen! 

This volume is mostly introducing us to the world and the three main characters, and setting things up. There's lots of bookish-ness and youkai and it's a really fun read! I'm a sucker for anything with youkai, but this was a fun, fresh addition to the genre! I'm looking forward to the next volume when the plot will hopefully dig deeper and bring in some more elements if the comment about the scroll was anything to go by! There's also some interesting background and translation notes plus some fun youkai Fairy Tales! 

Review: Undercover Princess

Undercover Princess
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life.

Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty - a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she'll soon discover that reality doesn't always have the happily ever after you'd expect...

Okay so, I picked up a copy of this at YALC back in the summer and the time finally arrived for me to read it! I need a little pick me up and this seemed like the ticket and I figured I'd do a little review for it because why not! I do actually watch a few of Connie's videos, and I've been pretty hyped for this book! 

Undercover Princess is so much fun, plus it's imaginative with a magical quality to its setting. It's a quick read, or at least....I breezed through it! Like it's so easy to binge read it in one go! It's a mood lifter, it's got heart warming moments and there's a really nice mystery element to it, and is a wee bit cliche and cheesy in parts but that's okay because sometimes you need something like that. The book definitely gave me Harry Potter vibes, with a bit of Princess Diaries thanks to Lottie and her lessons, aaanddd this book is saturated with Fairy Tales, particularly Cinderella. The Cinderella is strong with this one but then I wouldn't expect anything less from Connie! 

Now, I completely and utterly loved Ellie. She was so much fun! She was so different to everyones idea of a Princess, and she was determined to do her own thing and be herself. I genuinely had a lot of love for her too, she was good at maths and science and stuff too! Jamie...the deadly killing machine aka Ellie's bodyguard and fellow teenager was kind of hilarious. I really wish he'd take out the stick that's up his butt and loosen up a little bit. He needs to have a laugh, bless him. Lottie is the one character I had an issue with. I wasn't that keen on her in the beginning, but I did end up quite liking her. However, I spent a lot of the time wanting to shake her or shout at her for quite clearly being an idiot and making stupid decisions. I don't know if I'd quite call her selfish because she's doing this thing that's all to help Ellie, but she does make some questionable decisions and I seriously was just like *sigh* oh Lottie. 

The setting was fun, and vivid. There was a nice amount of detail and world building that brought the setting to life. The mystery element kept me guessing and I fully admit that I did suspect the wrong person, although I worked out who it was right before the big reveal. I really did find myself sucked in to this book, and I enjoyed it a lot although Lottie took a while to warm up to! The character development was on point, and the growing friendship and bond between Lottie and Ellie was heart warming! 

Monday, 11 December 2017

Manga: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime 2

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Vol 2
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

As players of Monster Hunter and Dungeons & Dragons know, the slime is not exactly the king of the fantasy monsters. So when a 37-year-old Tokyo salaryman dies and wakes up in a world of dragons and magic, he's a little disappointed to find he's become a blind, boneless slime monster.

Mikami's middle age hasn't gone as he planned: He never found a girlfriend, he got stuck in a dead-end job, and he was abruptly stabbed to death in the street at 37. So when he wakes up in a new world straight out of a fantasy RPG, he's disappointed but not exactly surprised to find that he's not a knight or a wizard but a blind slime demon. But there are chances for even a slime to become a hero...

Rimuru continues to crack me up and be spot on with his assessment of characters and situations. This volume we meet Gaval, Eren and Gido, a familiar trio of adventures! As well as Shizu who's also familiar from the first volume....and happens to be a legendary hero! It's nice to meet some new characters this volume, as they added something extra to the volume, as well as the story! We also briefly meet Leon Cromwell, a demon lord who summoned Shizu from Japan and I'm assuming is going to be one of the bad guys we'll go up against eventually! "Hot guy sounding name" fully cracked me up and had me in stitches, can't lie! 

There's some action this volume, as we fight Ifrit after making a speedy exit from the Dwarven kingdom and the trial. We continue at a fast pace, but other than Rimuru gaining a human body which should prove to be interesting in coming volumes....not that much happens in this volume. We do appear to have a bad guy to facedown and a quest which should mean the next volume picks up some. Oh and Veldora's slime observation journal continues to be hilarious! I'm still not entirely sure which way this series is going to go, I usually have some idea by the second volume but this one has me a bit torn! 

Review: Witchborn

Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

It's 1577. Queen Elizabeth I has imprisoned scheming Mary Queen of Scots, and Alyce's mother is burned at the stake for witchcraft. Alyce kills the witchfinder and flees to London - but the chase isn't over yet. As she discovers her own dark magic, powerful political forces are on her trail. She can't help but wonder: why is she so important? Soon she finds herself deep in a secret battle between rival queens, the fate of England resting on her shoulders...

I do love a bit of history, and I do love witches and magic, so of course I had to read this! I still wasn't entirely sure what to expect going in to the book, the back of the proof had a certain amount of information but not too much and I found myself being pleasantly surprised as I was reading! 

The opening was both heart wrenching and slightly thrilling as you could feel the danger of the situation and it set the tone for the rest of the book. The writing was brilliant, and the book in general was fantastically authentic. There was a lot of historical detail, and it was vividly written. The London of 1577 came to life around me, and I was pulled right in to the story. The intrigue helped too as I was determined to try and put everything together and I wanted to know how it all fit. 

There where some interesting and ominous POV's scattered throughout from Hopkins, that provided some missing pieces and yet more intrigue and side information! Most of the book was told from Alyce's POV, and I actually really liked her. She was determined and she was so brilliantly fleshed out, as was Solomon who was quite frankly, a lot of fun. I mean....I'm going to like any character that's an actor let's be real! I was intrigued by Elizabeth and would have liked to see more of her and find out more of her alternate self! Raleigh was a fun addition too! 

Witchborn was fast paced, and the intrigue kept me hooked! It was well written too and I kind of want a sequel to be honest, but at the same ended well and was a fun alternate history that was kind of believable if I'm honest! 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Manga: Karneval 8

Karneval Vol 8
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

At Yanari's party, Nai and the crew deepen their friendships and experience the warmth that comes of supporting and encouraging one another. Upon their return to the 2nd Ship, Gareki is summoned to meet with a stranger, who has come aboard disguised as a tree...?!
But back at Chronomé Academy, Kafka launches an attack, sending a swarm of Varuga to lay siege to the prestigious school. And when Tsubame attempts to protect her friends...she ends up a hostage herself! With Gareki back on board the 2nd Ship, who will come to her rescue?!

As you all know, Karneval is one of my favourite series, the art is so cute, the plot is fun and yet has darker moments, as well as some mystery, and each volume leaves me wanting more! The series really is a little bright spot! 

This volume, we get baby Tsukumo and how she first met Hirato, which is something I've been curious about. I've been excited to get some more background on her and it finally happens yaaay! 

We wrap up the last arc of the last volume, as everyone from First and Second ships along with Akari go from chilling on the beach to rushing to rescue Tsukumo and Hirato. We nicely wrap up that arc and head off with First ship! 

I'm not going to lie guys, Tokitatsu (Hirato's brother) seems a bit shady where Gareki is concerned. I can't decide whether to trust him or not. Tsubame's brother too. Yotaka is....interesting and we have more shadiness in the form of Keshiki. I figure he's the next bad guy to take down! And...guess who's back? (back again) Uro. He's going to be chilling with shady Karoku and Eliska. I actually didn't mind him as much, I'm more intrigued by him than anything else. 

Gareki is going to be spending some quality time with Akari and the rest of the Research Tower staff as he sets out on a new study course, which is hopefully going to go better for him than the last study course. I'm intrigued by what's happening with Gareki's character, he's changed and developed a lot so far and I'm interested to see where his character is going. 

Things take a sinister turn as Tsukumo and Yogi discover there are Varuga where there shouldn't be...but why? Thanks to Tsukumo we get some potential theories for Kafka and their plans and what they're up to....and why the government kept quiet. The mystery just gets deeper and deeper...the plot thickens as it where, and I end up with so many theories and ideas and I just need aaaaallll the answers! 

We get some more mystery provided by Nai, because something....strange is going on with him. I'm intrigued to see what bearing it's going to have on the plot and how it fits in with everything else. Good Karoku is setting out on his own path too and I'm excited to see him hopefully have a bigger role to play again. 

Heading out on the next story arc as we head to a new territory, Leberganze, and I'm excited to get to explore more of the world that's been created. It's such a vivid and rich world and I love getting to see more and more of it, and how all the characters histories are woven in along with the plot. It makes it rich and a nice series to sink your teeth in to. Interestingly, we get Nyanperona's story which gave me quite a chuckle. 

We end on quite the cliffhanger regarding Yogi and the wait for the next volume is going to be, as ever, completely torturous. The story in general is moving at a nice pace with new elements being brought in to keep it fresh and keep you guessing! As soon as you put something together..something else comes along to puzzle out! 

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Manga: SAO Girls Ops 4

Sword Art Online Girls Ops 4
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Lux's dark past with SAO 's Laughing Coffin guild has been revealed-along with the bad blood she shares with Gwen, leader of the Batty Bats. When the girls are sent on a quest to eliminate Gwen, will Lux be able to follow through and betray her former friend yet again...?

The time has come to deal with Gwen, finally! I have to say I really don't like her but by the end of this volume, I felt for her a little bit, I was softening towards her. I feel like she'll be a fun addition to our group and I'm hoping she'll be involved in coming adventures! 

The art is so cute, and it captures the characters we all know and love incredibly well. There's lots of action in this volume too, and I do love an action packed SAO volume, because the action sequences are always drawn brilliantly! 

We get a glimpse of Kirito too, it would be rude not to really wouldn't it!? ;) 

Kirito and Sinon get to have their badass hero moment, because SAO. It's probably the most we've seen of Kirito in this side series, it's actually one of the best side series I've read to be honest. The pace is fast, the art actually looks like the characters without having changed them too much and the plot has been really good. His appearance didn't take away from the girls moment either and it showed that friendship comes first, which was nice to see! 

The volume has a nice pace as we wrap up the story arc with Gwen and her group. It all comes to a satisfying end, as does the volume in general. Whether or not this is the last volume! I'm not entirely sure! If it is then it's all been wrapped up brilliantly, and if it isn't then this story arc has been finished up ready to start the next one! It's such a fun series, I hope it goes on for a bit longer! 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Manga: Kigurumi Guardians 2

Kigurumi Guardians Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Hakka has rescued her classmate from the evil invaders, but the Guardians' battle is only just beginning! Strange things are happening around the popular idol, Ranan, and she might be taking people's hearts. But Hakka has other concerns—her brother walks in on her and Ginger in the middle of their kiss! 

The first volume of Kigurumi Guardians was a bit of a surprise for me, I wasn't sure what to expect going in. I was expecting something a little bit ridiculous but fun....I wasn't expecting to end up loving this series so much after just one volume that I impatiently waited for all of the other volumes to be published! It became an instant favourite which rarely happens with me. I've been anticipating this volume so much and I got so happy to finally have it in my hands and read it! 

I've got to say, there's something about Ginger in penguin form holding up a sign saying "wtf are you doing?" after Hakka tries to fight him that had me cackling so hard. I think it was the cute little Kigurumi penguin cursing that did it. 

Unfortunately for Hakka she gets caught with a human Ginger moments after a she has to pretend he's her boyfriend. I mean.....unfortunate for her, but not for me. My shipper heart was quite happy with this development and I was living for it throughout this volume. I so badly want the two of them to end up together, it's not even funny. There was a lot this volume that fed my shipper heart, I'm not going to lie. 

Nobara and Basilico helping them out was freaking hilarious, and it was really nice to get to know Nobara more in this volume. To see what's under the mask she wears and what her life is like. There's an interesting tidbit about the President (Chigaya) thrown in to, which has me all kinds of curious and provides an interesting mystery and potential plot element. 

I feel like our three Guardians, Hakka, Nobara and Satsuki, all really bond and become a lot closer to each other in this volume. They're helping each other out, boosting each other up, and defending each other. They're being there for each other, and they're going to become quite the team and I'm enjoying watching them bond and get closer and start to come together as a team. 

The fast pace continues as we deal with a couple of different situations and scenarios in this volume, ending with a brand new upcoming battle...and some bitchy girls no doubt out to cause trouble. So we'll have the usual Guardian trouble...and some good old fashioned school drama too by the looks of it! The art is once again, very well done. Cute when it needs to be, and gorgeous at other points! Genuinely, this series is such a lot of fun, even when it's being a little bit ridiculous! The characters are relatable and easy to cheer on, and it's heartwarming watching them working towards becoming a team! Each Guardian has an interesting relationship with their Kigurumi too, and I'm intrigued to see more of the differences between them all! 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Manga: Aoharu X Machinegun 7

Aoharu X Machinegun Vol 7
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Haruki's spirit is broken once again after his battle with his brother, Haruka. Will Tachibana's offer of assistance reach him in the end? And bewildered Haruka's choice is...

The summer training camp looms ever closer. The members of Toy Gun Gun are trying to overcome their weaknesses in preparation for the next TGC, but even that will bring a tumultuous turn of events...!! 

Yaaaaaaayyyy there's a brand new volume of Aoharu you guyyys! I freaking love this series, I've heard it's a love it or hate it kind of series but I really love it! It's so much fun! 

Haruki is so freaking relatable I can't even! Tachibana is trying to help Haruki this volume, and he winds up back with Toy Gun Gun yaaay! It should be interesting to see how the dynamic changes with a new player. We spend a good chunk of time with Star White in this volume which provided some interesting insight in to TGG's arch nemesis, Ichi specifically. My curiosity about Midori and his past hasn't been sated though! 

TGG are off to a training camp to get prepped for the next competition, and to get used to having four members instead of three. I'm loving the relationship between Tachibana and Haruki, I had my doubts about how they'd work together after everything that's happened. I'm reading the volume like "Go on Haruki...just give in and admit your friends now!". 

If you're worried about the volume not having much action, don't worry. There's plenty to keep you occupied, a nice balance is struck between fun, action and some character backstory. We meet a new team in 11 Dogs....they're not very nice. Our four have a very unfair and shady face off with 11 Dogs and then....something very interesting happens. 

It looks like we might get a White Star/Toy Gun Gun team up next volume and I'm so pumped for it! The volume leaves you with plenty of anticipation for the next. Not to mention poor old Masamune is struggling with Tachibana. Poor guy. It only he'd believed her, he'd have saved himself some angst but his loss is our gain as we get a nice dose of angst with the promise of some romance in the future....and a brilliant reveal! I'm so excited for it. It's going to be priceless. 

The volume and story in general moves along at a nice pace as we're heading towards another TGC, but our group has to do some prep before so they can kick some ass! I'm loving how we're getting more background on the characters, and not just TGG! I guess it's the whole "know your enemy thing", it makes them kind of hard to dislike at points! 

The pace is fast, the art is superb...the fights are drawn particularly brilliantly and I love Tachibana's kind of...other persona when it comes to gun fights. The volume excels at interestingly showing the tactics and strategy to the game, never before have I ever wanted to participate in something so much! I'd probably suck at it though! Things are definitely about to get veeerrryy interesting! 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Manga: Kiss Me At The Stroke of Midnight 2

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Hinana prizes her reputation as a serious high school student, too focused on getting into college to pay attention to boys. But she's a secret fairytale romance freak, sneaking away from her studies to see A Roman Holiday and tucking pop idol magazines into her textbooks. When her celebrity crush comes to her school to film a TV episode, she has to pretend to be totally uninterested even as she desperately tries to get close to him. However, she's not the only one who's not what she appears... her dreamboat isn't just a pretty face either!

I'm not going to lie to you guys...there's some juicy drama right from the start of this volume. Rumours abound and Hinana doesn't know what to believe, but it's not long before she and Kaede have everything sorted out...just in time for Hinana to come down sick. Kaede's busy with work least Akira is free to take care of his BFF. I'm sure you can imagine how thrilled Kaede is by this turn of events. 

This volume lets us see another side to Kaede as he gets a wee bit angry and snaps for the first time. But it's not long before he's brushed it off and his back to his usual self, still, we do get a glimpse of his temper. He and Hinana are still trying to get to know each other and navigate their new relationship, it's all still new and things need to be worked out and so on. Shige seems a bit gruff, but this volume makes it obvious he really cares about Kaede and he's like a parent to him. 

The romance between Hinana and Kaede really starts in this volume, as does a potential love triangle. Yep. Akira is totally on to them...and he's about to embark on his role as "the other love interest" as he makes it obvious as he has a bit of a thing for Hinana and he decides he's going to give Kaede some competition. 

Hinana continues to be totally relatable, and it's so easy to empathise with her and you're sitting there like...yep. That's me. I'd totally do that too! She's such a likeable character, and it's really easy to root for her and be on her side. 

Along with the start of the romance in earnest...and the love triangle potentially kicking off...we get an intriguing look at Kaede's old band and how they react to him and I'm really curious as to what went down between them all, exactly! It looks like we might get more on that and his relationships with the various members, in the next volume if the cliffhanger ending is anything to go by! 

This volume, while still having some silly bits, doesn't have nearly as much silliness as the first volume. But it does have plenty of cute scenes and the art is both gorgeous and cute! I really love the way the artist draws the characters faces for certain scenes and reactions. The plot is moving at a nice pace, throwing in some drama with the cute scenes and setting up a couple of other things to look forward to in coming volumes! I feel like this volume started to be a bit more serious, but it's still got it's funny and odd moments to keep it balanced. There's plenty of Cinderella references to keep an eye out for too, and yeah...there's the odd cheesy bit too...but I mean...we all love a bit of cheese at some points! 


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Manga: Fairy Tail S

Fairy Tail S 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

For the members of Fairy Tail, a guild member’s work is never done. While they may not always be away on missions, that doesn’t mean our magic-wielding heroes can rest easy at home. What happens when a copycat thief begins to soil the good name of Fairy Tail, or when a seemingly unstoppable virus threatens the citizens of Magnolia Town? And when a bet after the Grand Magic Games goes sour, can Natsu, Lucy, Gray, Erza turn the tables in their favor? Come see what a “day in the life” of the strongest guild in Fiore is like in nine wacky short stories! 

If you watch the anime, these stories and chapters will be preeetttyyyy familiar as they're all OVA or omake episodes! Obviously the actual episodes are longer and have additional scenes but still. This first volume was a brilliant collection of humour and heartwarming tales. There's also a lot of fan service, just warning you all. 

Remember how Makarov told the two GMG teams that whichever one won, could get the other team to do whatever they wanted for a day? Well we get to see some resolution to that and it's hilariously ridiculous. We get to learn some more about certain characters like Cana and Bisca which was nice as they don't get much page time in the main series. Welcome Home Frosch is quite possibly one of my favourite episodes and so you was my favourite chapter of this volume! It was nice to spend some time with the Sabertooth members and it was a cute story. Then we have Fairy Tail of the Dead Meeeeeeeen, a hilarious horror comedy chapter, and Natsu faces off with Mavis too, aaaandd we get a nice dose of Christmas! 

Some shippers will be very happy with these stories, especially if you ship Gruvia, Nalu and Jerza...just saying! There's also some fun background on each of the short stories that was interesting to read and gave more insight in to each story and how it came about and how it fit in and so on. The art as usual is detailed when it comes to buildings and backgrounds, and's the characters as we know and love them!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Manga: The Isolator 2

The Isolator Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Mysterious objects from space have landed, embedding themselves within human beings around the world and granting them impossible powers according to their deepest wishes. Seventeen-year-old Utsugi Minoru's only wish is to be able to live apart from the world and events around him. But will he remain the same after experiencing his new powers--and new dangers? 

Oh you guys, poor old Minoru would like to live his life "peacefully without anything happening at all"...he's in for a rude awakening. He really starts to come to terms with his new reality in this volume I think, coming to terms with what he is now, and what he can do and what it means and so on. He has to work out what he wants before joining up with the group and it's an interesting thought process from him.

We get a lot of background on Biter that actually made me feel kind of bad for him...very briefly. Very, very, briefly. He's still super creepy and in need of being dealt with I'm not going to lie. So luckily enough, Minoru has his showdown with Biter...again. I was expecting the whole thing with Biter to be drawn out so I was quite surprised to see the turn events took this volume. The Isolator has a really nice pace to it and it keeps the story moving forward. 

This volume is mostly action, and the fights and powers and how they're used are all very well drawn! I'm forever happy when I come across a manga that portrays those scenes well because I've seen a fair few where the art for battle scenes has been...questionable. Shall we say. Minoru is the main focus of the volume and we only see Yumiko and DD briefly towards the end, but we do get to meet Himi, the guy in charge! I liked the focus on Minoru and him sorting everything out, and wrestling the problem around. His price for joining is....interesting to say the least, and I guess we'll see if he sticks with it though. 

Volume 2 is the volume that prepares us for things really getting started. We've been introduced to the world and the main characters, as well as what's going on with it all and our MC has finally decided to suit up and join the fight. There's still so much I want to know, and that we have to discover and I'm anticipating next volume getting us more acquainted with the organisation, as well as introducing us to some more characters as we delve deeper in to the plot. These first two volumes are kind of just the opening chapter, if you will! 
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