Friday, 22 December 2017

Manga: Aoharu x Machinegun 8

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

"We, Star White, will stand with Toy Gun Gun."Star White suddenly shows up to join in on the fight against 11 DOGs. When Midori suggests that they temporarily team up, Matsuoka agrees to the plan. What will come of the counter battle that faces the two-man cells of Tachibana and Ichi, Yukimura and Fujimoto, and Matsuoka and Midori!? And what kind of difficult past does Matsuoka share with Midori and Yukimura...? 

As you'll remember from the end of the last volume, Midori has stuck his oar in to Toy Gun Gun's battle with 11 Dogs and the rest of his team get to make quite the badass entrance this volume. I've never cheered or thought I'd be cheering for Star White to be honest. Although I have been looking forward to Star White and Toy Gun Gun teaming up this volume! 

It was interesting to see Midori and Masamune working together as a team, and how they interact with each other considering everything we've learned about the two of them so far. We even get some more flashbacks this volume that fill in some gaps in Masamune and Yukimura's friendship and past and how Yukimura got in to survival well as showing some more of Midori and Masamune's relationship. I loved how the past and the present where woven together this volume, we get shown things as they become relevant to the story! 

Haruki cracks me up every single time, I'm not going to lie. Meanwhile Ichi and Tachibana are....bonding?! Could we have a new friendship? I hope so because I loved the interactions between the two of them this volume! I actually really like Fujimoto and he helps out Yukimura readily enough! The team up allows Tachibana and Yukimura to learn about what they lack and need to improve on and how to do it from the members of Star White without it being a huge obvious training/improvement move, if that makes sense. It's subtle. It helps the characters we love to improve and develop and gives us some action and fun. Plus it makes it kind of hard to hate Star White and I'm actually really liking Ichi and Yukimura! Midori I have a love/hate relationship with I'm not going to lie. 

Volume 8 provides us with lots of trips down memory lane, and most interestingly we finally get some deeper backstory to Masamune...he's really being fleshed out this volume and the coming volume too by the looks of it! It kind of broke my heart if I'm honest. We'll definitely be able to understand him and his actions and reactions a lot more. I'm still waiting for the Tachibana bomb to drop though! My predictions are clearly terrible because I was sure it was this volume, but hopefully it's next volume because I'm so ready for that drama! 

There's lots of action this volume to go with the blasts from the past, there's also plenty of humour and the usual gorgeously drawn art. All of the memories have a reflection on the characters and show us how they came to be the way they are. It's a nice touch to include them at the point when our characters are growing and developing and improving more, or about to be. They're becoming better than their old selves, and this volume really shows that! 


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Review: The Mystery Of The Midnight Peacock

The Mystery of the Midnight Peacock
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

You are cordially invited to Sinclair's Midnight Peacock Ball! The festive season has come to Sinclair's and Sophie and Lil are spending the holidays at snowy Winter Hall. But it turns out that this is no ordinary house party ...As sinister secrets come to light, our intrepid heroines find themselves faced with a more baffling mystery than ever before! With the help of their friends, can they uncover the truth in time to foil a truly diabolical plot? Or will Mr Sinclair's New Year's Eve Midnight Peacock Ball spell disaster for the dauntless young detectives? Prepare for shocks and surprises in the thrilling conclusion to the Sinclair's Mysteries! 

I don't usually read anything younger than YA, but this is genuinely one of my favourite series and before I started reading this...and you know, while I was reading it, I was so sad that this was the last book! It's all over GoodReads and the back cover that this is the final book, the conclusion. And I was totally devastated because I was hoping the series would go longer! 

But upon completing the book, I discovered a ray of hope! A little page at the back of the book that let's us all know that Sophie and Lil will be back and it shows their business card for their detective agency so I'm guessing my luck is in and this series is going to go longer, but under a new series title! So yaaaaaaaay! I'm going to assume the focus is going to shift towards their detective agency and maybe aware from Sinclaire's a bit! Or at least not feature the store so much, we'll see! Anyway.....

This book has such a creepy opening, and ghosts freak me out so I was immediately shuddering. But everyone's gearing up for Christmas so the creepiness soon faded away from me! Sophie, Lil and Jack head to Leo's family estate and it was interesting to see Leo's home life and what her parents and family are like. I was pleased she had one ally amongst them all. Sophie also has a lead on a possible source to help her solve the mystery surrounding her father. 

Meanwhile, Billy and Joe elect to stay behind because work, and they have a mystery of their own to solve at Sinclaire's. We kind of have a couple of little mysteries and plot threads throughout this book that weave together excellently and come together for the grand finale. It was really well done! 

We get a new character in Tilly, and I loved her! I'm hoping for more of her, she's a servant at Leo's house and her childhood friend and she's interested in cars and mechanics and is intelligent and a brilliant addition to our little team. I really enjoyed seeing Sophie and Lil learning Kung Fu from Mei and Song's father, along with Connie and the other Suffragettes, who, by the way, got to be quite the little badasses at one point in the story. But it showed that there's going to be some more action for Sophie and Lil and that they're perfectly capable of taking care of themselves now! 

One of the things I loved about this book was how it was filled with pretty much everyone we've ever met so far, there's so many familiar faces that we've seen throughout the other books and they all chip and help with the mystery in this one and so it felt like a final book because of that, but I'm hoping some of them will pop up in Sophie and Lil's next adventures! 

I'm not going to lie, there is the plot twist of all plot twists concerning a certain character and I was side eyeing said character for the rest of the book and generally unsure who to trust and then that character did a complete 180 again and surprised me again. This one really kept me on my toes! Although my shipper heart was a little bit broken by Sophie and Lil's comments on their romantic lives, like on the one hand "woooo you go girl! Totally get it!" on the other...I just really ship Sophie and Jack and Lil and Joe. *Sobs* There's a smidge of romance from a couple of characters though that was really sweet! 

The Mystery of the Midnight Peacock is fast paced and we get so many answers to so many questions that we've had building up over the course of the series. The Sinclaire's mysteries have been well and truly wrapped up and wrapped up incredibly well. It's a satisfying ending.....but the Society is still out there, there's still the mystery concerning the paintings and so on! I'm hoping Sophie and Lil's next adventures will give us some answers regarding that! I'm so up for a treasure hunt! All in all, it's another brilliant instalment that kept me guessing, and had me shocked and surprised throughout. The historical detail makes this an authentic read, as well as entertaining! 

Light Novel: Rokka 3

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers Vol 3
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The Braves still have not identified the impostor among them. When Goldof takes off to help Nashetania, the initial seventh Brave, the group begins to suspect him of aiding Tgurneu. What is the fiend plotting...?

I've said it every single time, and I'll say it again....I freaking love this series! The colour pages are forever gorgeous and the plot is intricate and draws you in. Each character is slowly being unravelled as we get to know more and more about them see their view points. 

The prologue is super creepy, and the volume as a whole has a nice fast pace. We switch between the Braves and Nashetania and Tgurneu with a bit of Goldof. This volume really lets us get to know Goldof, he's been somewhat mysterious and quiet up to this point, but this is the volume that pulls his mask away as it where and we get to see his background and his relationship with Nashetania. 

Goldof literally goes over the edge this volume, and is the biggest pain in the ass....or so it seems for most of the volume. Towards the end we get thrown in a complete 180 when it comes to him when we finally see his view point and understand him and his motivations. Which is one thing I love about this series, nothing is what it seems, and neither are the characters. There's always more going on under the surface and it's hard to tell what's what. It keeps you on your toes. 

Chamo I'm finally starting to warm up to, and I really liked her this volume. I  like her more and more the more of her I see and the other sides of her we get to see. Despite one of them being a traitor, they all work well together as a team. I still can't quite pin point who the traitor might be. Like I genuinely have no clue and it's driving me mad! I'm just hoping it isn't either of my two favourites! Well...that's a lie. The only two characters we haven't explored in depth is Hans and it must be one of the two of them...but then I wouldn't put it past the author to have it be Adlet or one of the others that we've already gotten to know the background of...okay yeah. I wasn't lying...I really do have no clue!

This volume has plenty of action as is usual, as we face off with Nashetania and Dozzu in a race to save Chamo. Plus there's the mystery element to it, courtesy of the traitor in general and Goldof in this volume, AND we have multiple plot threads to untangle, that all weave together to create the plot. Both the plot just for this volume and for the story as a whole. 

The plot moves forward, there's more plot threads unravelled and mysteries explained...but there's more mysteries and new plot threads are added to carry over to the next volume, as well as making the overall plot more intricate. I'm loving how the plot is fleshed out more and more, with more little things added. As well as the characters who get more and more fleshed out as the volumes progress. I'm hoping one of the next volumes will reveal more about Hans and Camo! Trying to work out who to trust leaves you on edge somewhat and there's a bomb about to be dropped at the end of this I'm kind of in suspense for volume 4! 

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Review: Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead

Magnus Chase and The Ship of the Dead
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Loki the trickster god is free from his chains. Now he's readying Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, armed with a host of giants and zombies, to sail against the Norse gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok. It's up to Magnus Chase and his friends to stop Loki's plans, but to do so they will have to sail across the oceans of Midgard, Jotunheim and Niflheim in a desperate race to reach Naglfar before it's ready to sail on Midsummer's Day.

Along the way, they will face angry sea gods, hostile giants, and an evil fire-breathing dragon who happens to be a former acquaintance. But Magnus's biggest challenge will be facing his own inner demons. To defeat Loki, Magnus will need to use words, not force. This will require finding a magical elixir so deadly that it will either make Magnus Chase powerful enough to out-talk the silver-tongued Loki, or destroy Magnus utterly.

The final Magnus Chase book is finally here, and I'm really not ready! I love, so much, the way Riordan writes and all the mythology he throws in to his books. Norse mythology is one of my favourites and I'm kinda sad Magnus isn't getting more books! Kinda like I'm said the Kane Chronicles only had three books! Nevertheless, this is a fitting finale for the trilogy! 

When I pick up a Riordan book, I'm expecting a mood lifter purely on the comedy alone and Ship of the Dead doesn't disappoint. The opening chapter is hilarious, the chapter titles give you a chuckle, and the book has humour sprinkled throughout it to offset the action and any potential doom and gloom! 

Ship of the Dead is fast paced and hilarious from the start thanks to good old, sardonic Magnus! Magnus and his narrative are one of my favourite things about this series, he's snarky and has some brilliant lines, along with some of the others, and has me chuckling as I'm reading. Some of the situations they find themselves in are just plain funny too. I seriously read Riordan whenever I need to cheer up or just want or need a laugh. 

Along with Magnus, all our favourite characters are back. I love Alex! More Alex! Give me aaaallll the Alex! Magnus's grandpa Njord pops up to say hello and show off his impressive feet. Hearthstone and Blitzen, TJ, Mallory, Halborn, they're all present. We get some more background on Alex and TJ which was a nice touch, along with a nice glimpse at Mallory's past too! Hearthstone's situation with his father is wrapped up too which I wasn't expecting to be honest! Hearth's dad is literally like the dragon version of Gollum. 

I really enjoyed the fact that the entire floor 19 squad where present for the majority of this book, and they all went off together and they where being badass together...I kinda missed it in book two because we didn't spend as much time with them! 

Ship of the Dead is fast paced and full of action as we embark on a couple of mini quests tied in to the big "stop Ragnorak, save the world" quest, and we even end up here in the UK in York! I've never been to York but I kind of want to go now and check out the settings! I enjoyed getting to see a couple of different settings, they where all vivid, and they made for a fun adventure. 

It's a wild ride right up until the end! We had some romance, my shipper heart was incredibly happy with how things went for Magnus! There's a tonne of humour and action, and more backstory on all the characters we love, as well as more page time for them and loose ends tied up! Including ones that I figured weren't really loose per se. It also ties in nicely with Percy and Annabeth and Trials of Apollo too if I'm not mistaken! (I could be, it's been a while since I read the last Apollo book). 

Magnus Chase has been a fun series, and I'm sad to see it end but the ending really does do the series justice. I loved meeting all of the Gods and so on, and learning more about the Norse Gods than I previously knew all through Riordans snarky narrative for Magnus. The series as a whole had a brilliant pace, and a nice blend of action and humour and pop culture references. Magnus has come on quite the journey and he's grown and changed as a character, as have some of the others. He's been awesome and I was cheering for him when he faced down Loki, and I really appreciated that Magnus beat Loki with his words and not with his fists! I love action and badass fight scenes and there where plenty, don't get me wrong, but it made a nice change! 

Manga: Angels of Death

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

Most girls that wake up in the home of a serial killer would panic, but not Ray. In fact, her meeting with the killer Zack is actually quite convenient because her only wish is to find a good way to die. 

I've had my eye on this since at least midway through the year, I included it on the new manga blog post I did a while back and I was so intrigued by it...but still not entirely sure what to expect. I ended up being pleasantly surprised, because it was even better than I was envisioning and I'm really excited for the coming volumes! 

I love the colours used in the colour pages at the beginning, it's bright and pretty and the art on the colour pages is gorgeous and so cute...the art throughout the entire volume is so cute actually! Considering the subject matter of this know, serial killers and murder and was an interesting contrast. Cute characters who are psychotic killers. 

The opening is nice and creepy and it doesn't get any less creepy from there. I was really pulled in to the volume, and the pace was nice and fast. I was on the edge of my seat reading multiple times, I could feel the tension and I was mentally shouting at the main character multiple times. Like you know there's killers everywhere, and they're all creepy and you're waiting for the other shoe to drop...especially with Danny. 

There's a really fun game like feel to it, with each floor having certain rules and the clues and hints and the things needed to get to the next floor. Rachel seems all innocent and Snow White-ish at the beginning but she has a creepy moment of her own pretty quickly that had me side eyeing her for the rest of the volume. 

Zach looks set to be our other main character and he's your average, bandage covered, crazy serial killer. He's a "decent guy" according to himself and oddly enough he made me chuckle more than once. He's kind of oddly loveable and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him and getting to know him. 

"Doctor Danny" provides us with the awkward moment when Zach is less creepy than he is. Danny was legitimately so creepy it made me shudder and our MC was kind of oblivious and I was mentally screaming at her. The eye thing is definitely what made him creepy, and it kind of made my eye twitch. He did have a nice amount of back story to him though, considering this is volume one! 

Our MC, Rachel, remains quite mysterious. Who is she? Why is she there? We know she went in for counselling but not why and there's a lot of her character to unravel still, as there is for Zach too. As the two team up I'm hoping we'll get some background on the two of them and it seems likely from what I've seen of the series so far! Each character has a lot going on under the surface and more to them than first appears. 

The plot has a nice mystery element going on. Who's in charge? Who made this place? What exactly is going on? And so on, and I'm intrigued to unravel all of it and put the pieces together. I love the combination of cute, gorgeous art with blood, gore and intense creepiness, it's quite a stunning contrast. 

Angels of Death is fast paced and has left me wanting more, as well as being excited to get on to the other floors and meet more of the killers that inhabit them. Not to mention get to know more about Rachel and Zack, and their pasts and so on! I have a feeling both are going to be very interesting characters! Their banter is hilarious if not a bit murdery. All in all this is an excellent first volume, serving to introduce the story and characters and get you interested in what's to come! 

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Light Novel: Magical Raising Project 2

Magical Girl Raising Project Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The hit social network game "The Magical Girl Raising Project" selects one out of every tens of thousands of players to become a real life magical girl. The lucky chosen girls gain magic powers as well as incredibly good fortune, and spend their days blissfully. 
But one day, an absolute announcement declares that the number of magical girls has risen too high and must be cut down to half. Sixteen young maidens are thrust into a merciless, deadly contest to survive...but how many will come out the other side? 

The first volume surprised me with how much I liked it and how dark it actually was, this volume isn't quite so dark as the first one because they're not all out murdering each other like in the first volume. This volume has another group of girls all with interesting and fun powers once again. I love the art page that lays out who's who and what they can do! 

A fair few of the characters are relatable, you can empathise with them. Like Chika...she was so freaking relatable, and Kiku was a bit too! Interestingly Kiku was like a magical girl veteran, she had an anime and everything. Masked Wonder...she just cracked me up. Detec Bell was like a magical girl version of Sherlock Holmes and therefore one of my favourites of the volume! Along with the nice ones we of course had some not so nice ones in the form of Nonako, Pfle, Clantail and Rionetta. Snow White pops up too....

There's foreboding moments provided by the prologue, the texts and the Katana girl, plus the fact that I read vol 1! Master Sides was pretty damn creepy too. As we start the volume, we quickly get introduced to some of the girls and how this whole thing is going to go down. It's kind of similar to the first volume in that all the girls are pulled in and are being made to play a game. However, instead of just killing each other like in the first volume, this one has more of a murder mystery vibe to it, than Hunger Games. 

Volume one was bloody and brutal, and like I said, it was kind of like a dark magical girl Hunger Games. this one is like a Magical Girls SAO murder mystery.  I was worried they'd do it the same as the first volume so I was pleased that it was different and had a different vibe to it. This volume is bloody and brutal to some extent, and it's definitely dark, but we have everything going on in a game, kind of like SAO like I said. Because if you die in the game you die in real life. The setting and vibe of this volume are different, and the killing isn't outright. It's secretive and like I said...very murder mystery which is why we have a detective character I assume. The ending leaves you with plenty of questions and possibly a few suspects as to who's behind the killing. It's clearly all to do with Snow White who we know from the first volume, I did like the way she was incorporated. 

I really loved this second volume, it was another surprise, just as dark but dark in a different way. I'm intrigued to see who's behind it all, who the killer is and how it's going to play out in the next volume! 

Graphic Novel: The Once And Future Queen

The Once and Future Queen
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Rani Arturus is a chess prodigy with no plans to be a leader of any sort, let alone QUEEN. After she pulls the legendary sword Excalibur from the stone...well, no backsies. Now she must form a new round table made of friends and family to protect the Earth from an invasion of Fae, who'd like a new planet to call their own. It's magic, romance, adventure, and excitement as old myths reveal themselves to be fake, and new ones cause trouble for everyone!

You guys know I love King Arthur, I rewatch Merlin religiously, and if it has King Arthur in it or anything to do with him...then I'll read it. I'm a sucker for anything King Arthur related, so of course I had to pick this up! I mean it's King Arthur reimagined as a multi-ethnic teen girl in the modern day....sign me up! 

The Once and Future Queen is fast paced from the start, and there's no faffing about as the action kicks off straight away. Our setting is Portland and the UK, and our MC is an LGBT WoC, she's also super relatable. Like she has the kind of reaction to everything that any of us would have and I was really rooting for her, she's a brilliant MC! 

The rest of the cast of characters are just as brilliant as Rani is, Gwen is a hilarious badass. Lance is also hilarious and a genius at making things. Merlin is......Merlin. Morgana cracked me up way too much for a villain, she went from all evil Fae to author on a deadline in like 0.3 seconds. "Be gone. Deadlines" I genuinely cracked up. Even the parents are pretty funny too, rather than the annoying ones usually present in this kind of story. It was nice to see them included! 

Our entire cast of characters are diverse both in ethnicity and in LGBTQ representation, which you know...was really nice to see in a comic! I wasn't entirely expecting it either so it was a nice surprise for me to read about! I love how everything has been adapted and changed to fit the modern setting. Yes it's in the modern world, but there's still plenty of magic and fun. 

Along with Rani coming to terms with who she is and what her power is, and the team you know....teaming up. There's the two factions within the Fae, both wanting to take over the world and Rani and co are the ones that need to stop it. Of course Morgana is our villain, because who else would be?! 

The art is fun, the Fae drawn incredibly creepy and sometimes just plain gross. The Fae world is a lot brighter, with more colours than the occasionally drab and dark real world, but the colour combinations in the Fae world are occasionally kind of eye watering. 

I'm really impressed with the story so far, and we cover a lot of ground with getting to know the characters, seeing relationships and plot develop all in just this one volume. I'm excited for more to come, and this is a brilliant start to the series I have to say! 

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! 

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