Friday, 29 September 2017

Manga: In/Spectre Vol 6

In/Spectre Volume 6
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Both touched by spirits called yokai, Kotoko and Kuro have gained unique superhuman powers. But to gain her powers Kotoko has given up an eye and a leg, and Kuro's personal life is in shambles. So when Kotoko suggests they team up to deal with renegades from the spirit world, Kuro doesn't have many other choices, but Kotoko might just have a few ulterior motives...

With the start of this volume we're coming in to the second part of the 'deductions' stage of this story arc, and Kotoko throws out her final two theories. I've actually been quite intrigued to see what she's going to come up with and it was actually quite masterful how she handled it all and brought it to an end. I really loved the smart way the ultimate solution came about and the enemy was defeated, and the way all of Kotoko's theories fed in to and contributed to what she was ultimately trying to do. It's all very Sherlock Holmes, I'm not going to lie! The way it was drawn was a lot of fun too! 

Now, this volume brings the Steel Lady Nanase case to an end as the case is solved and I'm very satisfied with how it all ends! Everything wraps up nicely with one liiiittleeee thread dangling. From what I understand, that's all of the light novels adapted to manga form and from the next volume it's all going to be original story! I'm quite intrigued to see what's going to happen, I mean I'm assuming it's going to be to do with Rika, but we'll see! 

I'm not going to lie, I ship Kotoko and Kuro pretty badly so it was nice to see some cute moments between the two of them in this volume, and get more of an insight in to what the relationship between them is like. I do find their interactions amusing as well as cute! As for Kotoko, she's my favourite character, I love her so much! She just has such a vibrant personality and you get to see just how intelligent she is in this volume, as you see just how far Kuro can push his powers! 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Review: The Unbelievable Gwenpool

The Unbelievable Gwenpool Vol 3: Totally In Continuity 
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Gwen Poole continues to make friends and influence people across the Marvel Universe! But what will some of Marvel's greatest heroes make of Gwen and her bizarre perspective on the world they live in? Whatever happens, it'll be Unbelievable!

So, I see this has some mixed reviews over on GoodReads, but I'm really enjoying this series! The art is bold, bright, colourful and well drawn. The writing is freaking hilarious. This series is just so laugh out loud hilarious, and entertaining right from the first page. It's genuinely hilarious and never fails to crack me up and make me chuckle. 

In this volume, Gwen gets her Buffy on as she faces off against a Vampire to save some sassy Skeletons and a Necromancer. Then she's thrown in to a fantasy game setting and RPG references and jokes abound as she teams up with some familiar faces to fight her way out. It gets all SAO/Elder Scrolls, I'm not going to lie. Just without the virtual reality of SAO. Then we get some The Hobbit vibes as Gwen has to take down a ring of Dwarves up to no good after busting out of prison. 

There's some brilliant cameo's in this volume for you guys to look forward to! Not just characters we've seen in the series before, but Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Ghost Rider and....the character we've all been waiting for. Yep. We finally get that face off, I was a bit worried about said character at the beginning, he looked like he was trying to cosplay Robin Hood very badly, and was getting way to in to his role as 'The Unkillable Beast", the description of this, when paired with the knowledge that it's this specific character...completely slayed me. 

There's also some nice little Easter Eggs as well as cameo's throughout this volume, for instance, you might want to have a close look at Big Ronnie's shelves.... 

Gwenpool is fast becoming one of my favourites, she's snarktacular and's brilliant! She breaks the fourth wall perfectly, and throws out references left, right and centre that you can understand and relate to. Like she's probably all of us when put in her position, let's be real. I actually find her to be fairly relatable because of her nerdy knowledge. 

The story is moving in an interesting direction if the cliffhanger ending is anything to go by and things might be able to take a turn for the serious...sort of. It probably won't get too serious let's be honest but you'll see what I mean if you read the volume! 

The Christmas Special is also included in this volume and Christmas is all wrong, to the extent that we have some greats like "I Saw Spidey Kissing Galactus" which I found hilarious, Pantsgiving I was a bit eeeeehhh about and Red Skull going all A Christmas Carol gave me pause too. Like it was wacky but I wasn't entirely in to it, I'm not going to lie! Still, it was nice of them to include it, right?! 

If you haven't checked out Gwenpool yet you're missing out on a hilariously wild ride, populated with familiar faces and the guest stars as it where, don't take away from Gwen or her story, the plot still focuses on Gwen which is nice to see! 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Manga: The Seven Deadly Sins 22

The Seven Deadly Sins Vol 22
Rating: 5/5
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

In order to protect the rest of The Seven Deadly Sins, Meliodas faces off against Gloxinia and Drole of The Ten Commandments alone. But just when he appears to have the upper hand, the remaining Commandments join the fray! Meliodas's demonic powers are strong, but will he be able to prevail when it's 10-versus-1? And when a secret from Meliodas's past is revealed, will The Seven Deadly Sins stay by his side?

So you guys may remember that Volume 21 left us hanging, it was cruel. It was mean. But we finally get to see what happens next! This volume has so much action and fighting throughout, and things get pretty dark, so fair warning. 

After the end of last volume it seems that Meliodas has run out of patience and he's not f***ing around anymore. He even engages his whole dark mark thing but seems to be more aware than before either as a result of his power growth or because he's mastered it more. Not sure. Meliodas faces off against not just Drole and Gloxinia but all of the remaining Commandments. As you can imagine, the battle is pretty epic and there's a lot of twists and turns as the tide of power changes. 

I'm not going to lie to you guys, my fave saved the day...or at least he tried. I love Ban and it was nice to see him get his hero moment, even if it didn't go quite as planned. Meliodas and Ban's friendship is one of my favourites in this series and last volume kind of spoiled me with it and then this volume and I was loving it. It's been nice to see the different facets of it and Ban's belief in his friend. 

Things get pretty dark towards the end of this volume so the light hearted bonus story was definitely necessary. The story moves along with a one month time jump that's definitely changed things up just from the small glimpse we got! There's a nice big, shock plot twist too. I'm interested to see what's happened in the month we've missed and how the plot twist and time jump will have changed things. I'm hoping we'll get to see more of Arthur as we do get to know some interesting information about his cat friend, and I'm curious about how it's going to play out. 

Arthur's fighting until the bitter end. The Holy Knights aren't safe anymore. The Commandments are running rampant. Our story has moved forward to a new place and we have to wait until next volume to see who's still alive, and what's going on with our group and how the dynamic of the story has changed. 

I've said it before and I'll say it can't just leave me hanging like that! What is it with manga and anime and these mean cliffhangers recently?! The wait between volumes is getting more and more painful as the story picks up and really starts to get serious. 


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Review: Going Viral

The Potion Diaries: Going Viral 
Rating: 5/5
Buy or borrow: Buy!
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Having managed to find her great-grandmother's potion diary, escape Emilia Thoth, save her grandfather's memories AND become a Master Alchemist, surely it's time for Sam to have a good, long rest? And maybe, just maybe, a date with her boyfriend Zain?

But now that Evelyn is married and showing symptoms of the Gergon illness, it looks as though Sam's adventures are just beginning...

I love this trilogy, it's fun, it's original, the MC is determined and ambitious and easy to root for. This trilogy is my little pick me up when I'm feeling crappy, it brightens my day and always puts a smile on my face. Except for the time I found out that this was the final book and it was actually only a trilogy and not a series....I actually got quite distressed about that, I'm not going to lie! But this is a fantastic ending to the trilogy and I'll forever lowkey hope for another book...or two.... 

Going Viral has a rather sinister opening with Evelyn and the ever creepy Stefan. I really do not like him, although he manages to redeem himself a little bit in this book. He's such a shady character though. Evie's POV's are pretty sinister for the most part during this book, but as she goes on her own journey, she gets more and more determined and the POV's go from sinister happenings to badass girl power team ups. Evie really brings people together and shows what a fantastic ruler she'll be. Thanks to Evie we get some blanks filled in on when it comes to her and what happened after she parted from Sam in Royal Tour. Evie's just as determined as Sam, and she spends the book pulling herself...and everyone else together, and getting to the bottom of things. 

As I started to read, I was's happening. It's finally happening. Sam and Zain are going on an actual date...REMAIN CALM. I will never forgive Stefan for ruining it. But you joy quickly turned to AAAAAAAHHHH because cue the first fight. My ship was a bit rocky this book, I should have seen it coming because it had been smooth sailing (sorry, I love a ship pun) for the entire second book and some tension was to be expected.

That's right. Relationship issues folks, be prepared. Don't get me wrong, it's realistic and authentic and everything, but like...this is the last book and I was freaking out a little bit like..IT'S ALL GOING TO BE FINE BY THE END RIGHT?! RIIIIGHT?! So prepare for a lack of Zain. This book features Sam getting things done, striking out with her friends to save the world. I do like the fact that Alward took this approach, made it clear that Sam can do this huge thing without Zain, that while she may love him, she doesn't need him to be a badass mixer. She can do it. She doesn't need him propping her up. Like so many books end up with the female MC needing the guy to do the thing, or needing the guy to hold her hand while she does the thing. So while I do love Sam and Zain, it was refreshing to see Sam teaming up with her friends, and striking out to do the thing. I have to keep saying 'the thing' because spoilers. But I was like GIRL POWER BITCHES. 

We FINALLY get to meet Katrina properly in this book too and I loved it! She's brilliant and I loved her teaming up with Sam, the two ordinary girls saving the world without any Talent. I was cheering a lot, I'm not going to lie. We also get to meet the Gergon royal family. I never did quite decide if I liked Illie. There's a nice dose of Anita and Arjun, who where with Sam back at the beginning of the first book. I love the friendship between the three of them and how they came to help Sam and they all did it together. 

Interestingly we get to learn more about Sam's background and where she's from as we visit more of the world of the book. There's some brilliant history and mythology in this book, and the story continuation is perfectly done. Some threads from the first two books weave in to the plot of this book and everything comes together perfectly. 

Going Viral continues, and brings to a close, the story perfectly. There's more mythology, more of the world, more of who Sam is and more character growth. The thing with my ship hit me right in the feels at the end, and even mildly distressed me...but it still ends fantastically. I can't imagine a more perfect ending for The Potion Diaries or for Sam. It fits with Sam and with the message Alward is sending out with these books. Sam's such an inspiring character with her ambition and her relatable nerdiness, and Alward shows you with these books that if you're determined, you can do whatever you want to do no matter what. 

Going Viral has drama and tension and it goes right to the wire, it's just as much of a wild ride as the previous two books, and the last line was just perfection. I should also mention that Sam and Arjun participate in a bit of extreme Pokemon Go! I'm so sad to see this trilogy end, but there's always re-reads! 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Review: Wicked Like A Wildfire

Wicked Like a Wildfire
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love. 

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

I'm not going to lie to you guys, I feel in love with the writing in this book right away. The descriptions are beautiful and the book is vivid right from the start. The writing and storytelling draws you in and the book itself is very original. It was actually a breath of fresh air for me, because it was something different to the usual. 

I immediately felt for Iris, her mother is pretty brutal to her and at the beginning you have no idea why. It's pretty uncalled for, to be honest. Iris has such awesome sounding magic, as do a lot of the characters in the book. The magic they have is brilliant, such original magical powers and each one is so beautifully described. I loved how Iris's magic was described throughout the book, along with Malina's. Iris is a brilliant MC, she's strong and determined and easy to empathise with. You can understand the reasoning behind her actions and why she acts the way she does. She's very realistic. 

I spent most of the book not entirely sure how I felt about Malina. Her power was a nice contrast to Iris's and was pretty awesome too! But with Iris as an MC and relating to her, and empathising with her as I did...I felt like Malina was pretty coddled and fawned over compared to Iris. She's pretty selfish more than once too. She shares their secret without telling her, and I kinda assumed she was the one meant to not do the thing...which is all I'll say because spoilers! But, considering how much I liked and empathised with Iris, it made it kinda hard for me to warm up to Malina. Don't get me wrong, Iris doesn't harbour any resentment to her sister, she loves her, but I really was a bit hmmm about her. I was fully on Iris's side, but towards the end of the book I did warm up to Malina and I'm intrigued to see her in the next book.

Wicked Like a Wildfire has so many interesting and memorable characters, Nev was so awesome, I'd loved to have seen more of her! Luka I loved, I shipped him and Iris so badly, it was so obvious they liked each other but Iris was doing her thing. Luka was just such a cutie and so adorable! Niko cracked me up  more than once throughout the book, but she did bug me a bit in the beginning. But that was because of my attachment to Iris. 

And then we have Fjolar. I thought he was shady from the start, and I couldn't really work out his purpose in the story. He was there..and then he wasn't...and I didn't trust him at all. He got more and more suspicious, and I wanted to like him because I thought the story was going one way but it went a completely different direction and genuinely surprised me! Dunja was another character that was tricky. She provided quite the mystery, and I was so torn about her for most of the book. I couldn't have guessed who she was, but I think a fair few people did. I don't know, maybe I'm just dumb, but I was so engrossed I was just flying through the book. 

There's a nice amount of clues throughout the book as we set off on the trail of the culprit. The story genuinely didn't go the way I thought it would, it went off in a completely different direction and it was a nice surprise. It threw all of my theories out the window and I was scrambling to try and come up with new ones! It was nice to be so surprised! 

The magic in the book, like I've mentioned already, is different to anything I've read before. It was a lot of fun, and there where some seriously cool powers. When I think of magic...this takes it to the next level. Popovic has an amazing imagination and she shares it with you in this book, vividly. I have to say, the descriptions of their mothers confections made me so hungry! 

As for the plot, it's fast paced and has some excellent mythology woven in to it. It also takes a lot of turns and twists that I wasn't expecting, like I was expecting one thing but the book became something else entirely. It's very well written and everything comes together so perfectly at the end, everything falls in to place and you're like OOOHHH just in time to watch the end play out! That ending's going to be a rough ride in the next book, and I'm intrigued to see what Mara meant and what's going to happen next. I'm also intrigued to see if my dislike for Mara and the others will change. 

Wicked Like a Wildfire is a thoroughly enjoyable, and original ride that wraps you in a world of magic and myth and I'm excited to see how it'll wrap up in the next book! 


Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Review: The Mighty Captain Marvel Vol 1

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

Behold the mightiest, fightiest super hero there is! Captain Marvel returns to her helm as Alpha Flight commander with the world cheering her on. She's the biggest hero in the world - but has Captain Marvel become someone Carol Danvers no longer recognizes? New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl (Beautiful CreaturesBlack Widow: Forever Red) makes her comics series debut with a blockbuster Marvel story decades in the making! 

I've been eagerly awaiting this volume being released, because I love Stohl's writing and I was intrigued to see what she was going to do with Carol! I can't say I'm a leading authority on Captain Marvel because I haven't actually read that many Captain Marvel comics, so this is just my opinion but I actually really enjoyed this volume! 

I loved the opening, and I'm going to be needing that entire group to team up for their own comic at some point in life, it'd be so awesome! We join Carol after the events know. Those events. Civil War II. Things got quite dark and grim, but this volume serves to bring the fun back. 

Quite frankly, this volume is hilarious. Carol is snarktacular. I love her and I love how Stohl's voicing her. She's dealing with some stuff, and struggling a little bit after the previous events. She's got some inner struggles to deal with, and she's kind of fighting against herself. We get to explore her background a bit more, which I really enjoyed, both Kree and Bostonian. 

We get some top quality banter and humour thanks to Carol and her crew, and it's quite punny here and there. I found myself chuckling or at least smiling multiple times while reading this volume. Puck and Wendy are my favourites, I think...but I love them all really! 

The art and story pacing, I thought where good. We get to see some familiar faces, there's some brilliant pop culture references, there's adventure and excitement and it's a real mood lifter after previous Captain Marvel issues. We get the first phase, as it where, of what's going to be an interesting storyline, and there's just the right amount of intrigue and dangling threads for the next volume! 

I feel like Stohl has created Carol perfectly, she's expanding on her character while keeping in mind and utilising things brought to the table by previous writers. I love all the undertones to Carol and her situation and how she's perceived, and been perceived since she was a kid. Carol goes against the grain a bit, and it's very relatable how she was expected to do one thing because she's a girl but she was like nah, eff that, I'm gonna do what I want to do. She's badass. 

All in all, this was a humorous and fun volume that brings some lightness to what had turned very dark with previous volumes. There's plenty to enjoy, and plenty to look forward to in coming volumes, I have a feeling this is going to get better and better and be an excellent series! 

Review: Scourge

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

In a city beset by monsters, three brothers must find out who is controlling the abominations.

The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost.

Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave.

When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.

I haven't read a book by this author before, but after spotting this on GoodReads and reading the synopsis...I had to read it. I mean....brothers....supernatural monsters...I'm envisioning Supernatural: Fantasy edition right off the bat and I wasn't very far off to be honest. 

Scourge has a lively opening and I was immediately hooked in. I wanted to know more about the world, the characters and what the brothers could do. They're undertakers sure, but they can dispel ghosts and help them cross over, and that's not all there is to the boys either. Corran is the eldest of the three, none of the boys have had a great time recently but Corran's faced a bit more tragedy than the other two. He's been going out hunting the monsters with a group of Hunters...which is kind of against the rules, but if they don't do it, who will? 

Rigan might be my favourite, he's the middle child, and he's got the totally awesome power of hearing a spirits last confession. It also turns out that he's a witch, so he spends a good portion of the book coming to terms with his power, and learning what it can do and how to use it. But ya know....Witch's are kind of frowned upon in the world of this book so it's not entirely without danger. 

Then we have Kell. Arguably, Kell is the safest of the three because he's not a Hunter nor is he a Witch. He's just the regular younger brother, with a cheeky side business going on that's not really harming anyone. He's funny and smart, but I feel like we didn't get to know him as much as the other two. I should have seen things coming to be honest, when we didn't get as much of his POV as the other two. Now, maybe I'm just salty, but I feel like his sole role in the book was to be killed off because of the monsters and guards, to then spur Corran and Rigan in to action. I was expecting big things from Kell, and from the three of them in general, and I just think it's such a shame that he was killed off and for such a stupid reason. Like I thought the way he was taken by the guards was a bit ridiculous. We already knew the monsters where bad and the Guards weren't much better and I feel like we spent a part of the book waiting around for the perfect moment to kill Kell...then killed him and then Corran and Rigan found the balls to do what they where always going to end up doing anyway. Like of all the things that happened, there was plenty to spur them on. But you know..I'm probably just salty. So never mind. 

So anyway, we get the POV of the three brothers, as well as Machison the villainous Lord Mayor who's up to no good. He's pretty much the nastiest character in the book, he schemes and plots and makes everyones lives a misery and I really couldn't wait for him to get what was coming to him. Although his paranoia was quite amusing because like....stop doing the thing if you don't want people taking revenge dude! 

As for the brothers, they where all relatable and likeable characters. They had strengths and they had flaws which just made them all the more realistic. Each brother had a different voice, different wishes and plans and so on, and their narratives wove together well. I enjoyed the switching of the POV's because it let us get to know each of them better and see different sides to them...the side they show their brothers and the other side they're hiding. The POV changes also kept the narrative moving forward and Machison's provided some light dastardly plotting. 

The world of the book is fascinating, it had a touch of the medieval to it, and there's plenty of intrigue and politics. You have the Lord Mayor and the Merchant Princes who are in charge...and then the Crown Prince that they all answer to. The Guild's have their own representatives and they're doing their own thing too. Everyone's out for themselves and out to get their rivals to get the best business and so on. There's lots of Trade agreements and pacts and such. Considering all the intricacies of the world and the politics and the plot, it's very well set up. Martin builds the world up around you easing you in to it bit by bit, and relaying information as when you need it. 

That being said...I do feel like it went on a bit too long in some places. I feel like some of the explanations about the world and the politics and such went on a little bit too long, usually in Machison's POV. I feel like we spent the first three hundred pages or so doing not all that much except meandering around the city, reading explanations that where a bit too long and waiting for the opportune moment for Kell to die, or all the lengthy explanations had to be got out of the way before Kell died. I'm not sure which. I think there where some parts that could have been cut out to make it snappier. Don't get me wrong, there where things going on. Corran and his hunting and Rigan learning to control his magic, and the tension was building up with the people of the city in general. They aren't happy with the monster situation and the evil and useless guards, which is easy to understand. But I feel like it all did go on a bit too long and we could have reached the turning point a bit sooner. Nothing significant really happened until Kell died and then everything kicked up in to high gear and moved a lot faster. 

I also felt there where a couple of repetitive moments, Rigan getting beat up by the guards...again. Kell's love interest running away in to the night with no explanation and no clue as to her whereabouts, exactly the same and not long after Rigan's love interest did. Sure I knew there was an explanation for it, but it seemed a bit too samey. My one other niggle is the whole Kell making an offering, pact type thing to protect his brothers which then immediately became redundant because Rigan and Corran made their own pact, it just added another thing to my whole 'it was pointless killing Kell' argument. 

Back to the positive stuff.....Aiden, Polly, Elinor and Trent are a good bunch of supporting characters and I'm looking forward to getting to see some more of them in the coming books! I'd like to get to know them a bit better. I can't decide if I feel like Rigan and Elinor's relationship was a bit rushed or not, so that's the only comment I'll make about that. It's not like romance is the main focus of the book anyway. 

Towards the end of the book, like I said, the pace really picked up as everything came together and fell in to place. The book wrapped up everything from this story and left one thread to carry us over to the next book, it was intriguing enough and I had enough fun reading this book for me to want to read the next one. I'm intrigued to see what's going to happen to our characters next and what part of the world of the book we'll get to see next. 

Scourge is a great blend of fantasy and the supernatural, set against an interesting backdrop and populated with relatable and realistic characters. There's some epic fight scenes and lots of blood and death, I'm not going to lie....I mean...our main characters are undertakers. It also has a sense of Supernatural about it...but you know, fantasy edition. Despite a niggle or two I had, I actually really enjoyed the book. It was fantasy and the plot had complexities to it, but even with the overly long explanations it wasn't too hard or complicated to understand. It's certainly original, and I also found it quite fun too. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Manga: Waiting For Spring Vol 2

Waiting For Spring Volume 2
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

A sweet shojo story of a soft-spoken high school freshman and her quest to make friends, Waiting for Spring will delight fans of earnest, fun, and dramatic shojo like Kimi ni Todoke and Say I Love You. 
Mizuki is a shy girl who's about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys' basketball team weren't exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the cafe where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she's been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include... love?

I'm not going to lie to you guys, I love this series. It's my little dose of fluff and humour whenever a volume comes out and I genuinely look forward to each new volume. It's the only shojo manga I've ever read, so I'm not brilliantly versed in the ways of them so I could have missed/be missing something. That being said...on to the review and my feels about what happens in this volume.... 

So, we're a day or so on from the events of the last volume and we do get the rest of that scene in a little flashback and it played out kinda similar to how I assumed it would. Towa is giving Mitsuki the cold shoulder because he's mad, about what...well that's up to you. I figure he's jealous or upset about her friendship with Aya. 

Now, I ship Mitsuki and Towa so hard, it's not even funny. Things where going so well last volume, way too well for a first volume now that I think about it. So of course, along comes Aya to screw it all up. Which was fine because Towa makes his little declaration...interpret it as you will. I think I know how we're all interpreting it. Mitsuki and Towa do get a little closer in this volume, she's more relaxed around him to an extent, although the author does keep faking us out. Like when I thought we where about to get a date but it's like basketball time! 

But....I just can't figure Towa out. The guys do end up grilling Towa a little bit about Mitsuki and his feelings, and I can't decide if he realises his feelings or not. It becomes obvious in this volume that he's pretty dense. But it's also obvious he likes Mitsuki and they have mutual feelings for each other. I just cannot for the life of me work out if Towa realises how he feels or not. Because at one point it seemed like he was pushing her towards Aya at one point and I was like "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! HOW DUMB ARE YOU!?".  So I haven't decided if he's actually as dense as he seems, or if he hasn't realised his feelings or what. I guess we'll see. 

Mitsuki does come out of her shell a bit more in this volume thanks to said group basketball time, and she's attempting to put herself out there and make more friends with the help of Reina. Aya provides an interesting change in Mitsuki, previously her BFF, upon finding out that Aya is in fact a boy, Mituki becomes quite uncomfortable around him and isn't really sure how to act. Which is going to prove interesting next volume. So we kinda get two Mitsuki's....more relaxed Mitsuki with Towa and co...and then old school Mitsuki with Aya. 

Reina continues to crack me the hell up. I love her so much, she's such a shameless boy's love fangirl and I know full well she's shipping each of the boys with each other. It's becoming more and more glaringly obviously, except Mitsuki still hasn't figure it out. It genuinely cracks me up so much, like the whole "I hold in my rage" bit and when she's so happy but trying to cheer Mitsuki up and she's like "Shake it off" *Big smile*. 

Anywaaaaayyy, Aya surprised me this volume a little bit, because I spent most of last volume looking at Aya and trying to decide if Aya was a tomboy or was actually a boy...I went with tomboy and then the reveal happened in this volume and I was like "Oh". So it was a nice little twist that some may or may not have seen coming. We get to see some more of what Mitsuki and Aya's friendship was like when they where younger, and how they met and so on, which was really adorable and totally hilarious because Mitsuki realises all the things they did and discussed only because she thought Aya was a girl. Mitsuki is so relatable, I love her! I can empathise with her as well, with the bullying situation and how she feels. We get an....interesting scene with Mitsuki and Aya towards the end and all I can say rival much Towa? 

But fear not, fellow Mitsuki/Towa shippers, we get plenty of cute scenes with her and Towa, that will provide the warm and fuzzies, and move their relationship/friendship along a little bit. However....that may be it for a little while as I have a feeling the next volume might be a little bit Aya centric. Just a hunch. 

Rui, Kyosuke and Ryuji are such little shites. That's my take away from this volume. No I'm kidding! I mean it's true, but more than that we do get to know them a little bit better this volume and see how they interact with each other and what makes them tick, although I think we get to know Towa the most this volume, with Kyosuke a bit behind. 

Speaking of Kyosuke, so Towa might not have realised his feelings for Mitsuki himself yet, but you know who has realised? Kyosuke. He's living for this entire situation, he looked way too happy at one point. He's going to meddle so much, I can tell. He's like a gossipy old biddy, sticking his oar in. I mean I'm sure he's Team Towa, but...I don't trust him not to relish his newfound role as Chief Meddler too much and screw it up. I'm not even surprised he's the one who's on to them. 

Waiting For Spring Volume 2 is even funnier than the first, and I was outright cackling more than once. Reina is struggling to hide her little obsession, and Mitsuki is starting to come out of her shell. Not very successfully but she's trying. We get a lot more character development, delving deeper in to some of the characters and their backgrounds. The romance moves along too as it becomes obvious about Towa and Mitsuki's feelings, whether or not Towa realises his feelings is another matter entirely. He's either self sabotaging on purpose, subconsciously or he's just really dumb. Who knows. But either way the plots moving along, we get some cute scenes, we get some trouble in the form of Aya and it's shaping up to be a dramatic third volume in our future. 

Buckle up kiddies, we're heading to love triangle territory and it's going to be a bumpy ride. Kyosuke said so and everything. 

Review: Daughter Of The Burning City

Daughter of the Burning City
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

So, this book has been on my radar since December-ish, when I was putting together my blog post for 2017 reads! I spotted this on GoodReads and as soon as I read the synopsis I had to add it to my list because it sounded so different and so unusual! I've been waiting for this to finally be released ever since, like....the book didn't even have a cover when I first spotted it so I got all excited for the cover and then there was finally a release date and then it was officially being published over here and THEN IT WAS FINALLY OUT! I'm impatient okay. 

Daughter of the Burning City is a richly dark and vivid read. The writing is evocative. The setting itself is decadent, atmospheric, vivid and dark. I can't think of any other words to better to describe the entire book to be honest. The setting pulled me in, I could practically smell Gomorrah. I could see it so clearly in my minds eye. I completely loved it, I haven't read all that many books set in a Circus, let alone a circus that's pretty much a travelling city! 

Sorina is such an interesting character. Her power is both awesome and intriguing...and a little bit scary. Like I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of it. Sorina has no eyes, and so obviously because people are a-holes, she doesn't have the best time. She's not treated that well by the majority of people. I really felt for her, she seemed so alone despite having her illusions, but she handles herself incredibly well when it comes to facing off against nasty people. She's determined and stubborn and all she wants is to protect her family. I seriously empathised with her and she was so realistic to me she practically walked out of the pages and in to my living room. I also loved the fact that over the course of the book she comes to accept herself, when you see her at the end of the book...well it made me smile and get a little bit choked up. Not going to lie. 

Luca was hilarious and mysterious in equal measure. We slowly clear the mists of mystery around him, but you end up coming up with all these theories about him! His power is freaking awesome, and I kinda want it! He's such a lively character, you can't help but love him, as much as you may or may not be suspicious of him in the beginning. He definitely made me smile though, and I loved his budding friendship with Sorina. I shipped them so hard I'm not going to lie, they where quite the dynamic duo as they investigated, and Luca didn't treat her differently, he treated her like a regular person unlike pretty much everyone else in the circus. I saw the romance coming, but there where was a really nice twist to it at the end that kind of broke my heart but it was all good! 

You know, I think the thing I appreciated most about Luca was that he was basically a gossiping old biddy who just can't die no matter how many times you try to kill him. He was just so loveable....and indestructible. One might even call him...sturdy. *cackles* 

Sorina's family, I need to talk about briefly. They where such a dynamic and interesting bunch with well developed personalities and each one vividly came to life and was so distinct as you where reading. They where such a great group of characters and differing personalities, but they all fit so well together and I loved the interactions between them all. Although I think Verena might just be my favourite! They where all illusions, as you may have guessed, but I won't say much else because I loved how we got to know them throughout the book. The information was dropped throughout and you kept learning something new and it was brilliantly done. 

As for Villiam, Sorina's father, I wasn't sure how to feel about him. I wanted to like him, I really did. He was so good to Sorina and so kind to her and kinda the perfect father. He was there for her, he helped her and so on. Which made me suspicious. I don't know if I'm just jaded or what, if I am blame Game of Thrones, but he just made me suspicious because he was too kind. Too perfect. I sensed something off about him, or that there was more than met the eye. So I had a bit of a bumpy ride with Villiam. 

So, not being of the LGBTQ community, I'm not going to say too much because I don't think I can accurately comment/critique on that aspect. BUT. There was a nice amount of LGBTQ representation in the book. Sorina was bisexual I think, from comments she made at the beginning of the book. Luca's asexual I *think*, that's my interpretation of him from what I read...but again, I really don't know much about it, or about the ace spectrum and the intricacies of it so if I'm incorrect, apologies! But I really enjoyed the amount of rep in the book, and that's about all I feel like I'm qualified to say on the matter. It was just such a nice change to see such a range of diverse characters throughout the book, it made it more realistic and more interesting than the usual whitewash. 

Going in to this I was thinking it was going to be like a murder mystery, with an unusual twist, and Sorina was going to go all Sherlock Holmes and solve it. I mean...that kind of happens, but there is so much more to the story than that. There's the murder mystery: carnival edition aspect but there's also way more going on than you originally think and the more you read the deeper you go in to the plot under the surface, as I like to think of it. I'm not going to say too much about it because it would ruin the surprise, but there was an additional plot thread or two that added a lot of depth to the plot and made it so much more than just a murder mystery. It really made the story come to life for me that little bit more! Not that I wouldn't love the murder mystery bit on its own...but it was nice to be surprised by this additional thing. 

The world of the book became more and more interesting for me as we ventured outside of Gomorrah. Gomorrah itself was interesting, how could it not be? It was populated by colourful people, you know...assassins, performers and the like, and it travelled around and was set out like a little city with the good part of town and the bad part of town. It fascinated me. But as we read, the outside world came in to play more and more and I became so intrigued by it. I want to know more about the history of it, I mean we get some of it but there's so much more I want to know! It's such an interesting setting alone, with the politics and what's happened in the past and what's trying to happen  in the present. (I'm trying not to spoil it too much so excuse my crappy wording!). I would love more books set in the world of this one so we can explore it some more! 

Daughter of the Burning City is a truly original and brilliant read. It pulls you in to the world of the book, and keeps you there with it's richly dark and evocative settings. The writing is beautiful, as are the descriptions and it brings the characters and story to life and I read this in one sitting because I was so hooked on it. I went in to the book expecting one thing and you know....I did get what I was expecting, but I got so much more as well! The synopsis barely scratches the surface, and I ended up being surprised over and over again as I was reading. There's a colourful bunch of characters that help to bring the story and setting to life, each with their own distinct personalities, and Sorina is a brilliant MC that you can root for and empathise with. 

The plot twists and turns and there's so many surprises as you read both with the plot and with characters, there's ominous notes that add that sense of danger and tension to the book as well! For me, the ending was just perfect. It was such a nice mirror to the beginning of the book, and you could see how the characters had grown and changed and overcome everything. Daughter of the Burning City is one of those books that pulls you in and doesn't let you go until you've finished. I'm kind of hoping for more books, I'm not going to lie! I'd love to revisit Gomorrah and the world it's in! 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Manga: Love and Lies

Love and Lies
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Love is forbidden. When you turn 16, the government will assign your marriage partner.- This dystopian manga about teen love and defiance is a sexy, funny, and dramatic new hit! 
Yukari is dull. He doesn't even stand out enough to be bullied - he's just a generally lower-middle-class kid. He's in love with Misaki, the most popular girl in school. There's just one problem: He's 15, one year away from receiving his government-assigned marriage partner. He normally wouldn't have the courage to defy the law, but his sickly classmate Ririna still believes in love, and won't stop goading him into confessing his feelings!

I've been intrigued by this ever since I saw it was getting adapted in to an anime, so I jumped at the chance to check out the manga. I'm not sure what to make of it to be honest, I feel like it's setting up a harem type thing, which I'm not really here for, and the set up between our main character and the girl he likes doesn't seem all that strong just from the one volume, and there's one other thing that I'll get to in a bit, buuuttt I'm intrigued enough to keep reading this series. 

Okay, so the world has an interesting, if a little strange set up. Sixteen seems like kind of a young age to have this whole arranged marriage government thing going on but then again it's not like it's never been unheard of before. 

Love and Lies is funny from the start, and it has its cute moments. I can relate to both Lilina and Yukari. I like their interactions and how they chat openly with each other, and how Lilina has offered to help him in her own blunt way. I really do love how blunt she is. Bless her. Lilina wants to know what it's like to fall in love and she has trouble interacting with other girls so she's often left out and alone. Yukari is kind of hapless to be honest. I wanted to smack him once or twice. He's not very confident and he's kind of nerdy and it's kind of a sods law thing with him. As for Takasaki....I can understand her wanting to protect herself from getting hurt, but she's definitely lying about something and I feel like there's more to it than that. I'm actually really suspicious of her, and I can't decide if she's just messing with him or not, like possibly she's trying to make someone else jealous and that someone would be Nisaka from what I can see. 

I spent so long in this volume trying to work out what Nisaka is up to. Then there was the plot twist at the end involving him and I really didn't see it coming. I was actually really stoked about it at the time, and I was all ready to ship him and Yukari but my issue with the whole thing is first of all the harem aspect. Second of all, I feel like they're just baiting us with Nisaka, if he really does have feelings for Yukari. The more I thought about it, the more I realised this manga is most likely not going to go down that route, so the baiting is probably going to bug me more and more as the volumes go on. But I guess we'll see. 

I have two ships already from this first volume, and I'm so torn. I know ones going to sink and I'm actually really gutted about it. I think you can guess which ship I'm talking about. 

Love and Lies is really fast paced, and I breezed through this volume. The arts quite good and kind of cute, and the concept is interesting. The romance hooked me in, as did the general cuteness and drama, not to mention the humour! I'm totally with Lilina on most things and I ship her with Yukari more than the intended girl...which may or may not be a problem. I have a feeling I know which way this is going to go, but I'm not sure if I'm just being overly suspicious and unfair to the other girl. We'll see. The only problem I foresee for this manga is the situation with Nisaka. It would be really awesome to have a gay character, and for it not to be just a baiting situation but I don't have very high hopes. 

Either way Love and Lies is a quick, fun, and cute manga, that's definitely got a feel good vibe and should at least make you chuckle a little bit! I'm definitely interested in this enough to give it another volume to see where it goes! 

Review: Ash and Quill

Ash and Quill
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

Held prisoner by the Burner forces in Philadelphia, Jess and his friends struggle to stay alive in the face of threats from both sides ... but a stunning escape guarantees worse is coming. The Library now means to stop them by any means necessary, and they'll have to make dangerous allies and difficult choices to stay alive.

They have only two choices: face the might of the Great Library head on, or be erased from life, and the history of the world, for ever.

Win or die.

When you play the game of libraries, you win or you die. Sorry. Had to. I had no willpower and couldn't resist. But wow you guys...this latest installment was mind blowing! The stakes have gotten so high and then the ending...I can't even. 

We immediately meet Beck and his Burners and they're quite the bunch of assholes, I have to say. I really didn't like them at all. I kept waiting for the moment I'd suddenly take a liking to them after they turned out to not be so bad but that moment never came. Ever. Considering they want the information our team has...yeah. Assholes. 

It's pretty much all go from page one in this book, the pace is fast, there's lots of plot twists and a Super Secret Dastardly Plan being hatched by Jess and Dario. Well more Jess. I don't think Dario contributed much. I feel like he was moustache twirling while Jess did. I don't think he got in touch with his villainous side enough! Either way, Jess has to put his villain hat on and start to go down a dark and lonely path in this book. Morgan's facing a dark path herself too and I'm desperately trying to think of a way out of it for her! 

It was nice to see Jess and his brother bonding more in this book, I really want to like and trust and Brendan but he makes it so hard usually. However, in this book, he and Jess really did seem like brothers and they worked together and I'm hoping Brendan is now on the right team! He did give me pause though, for a moment or two. 

After reading this volume, I really feel like Glain is coming to be my favourite character, don't get me wrong, I love our whole group and their interactions with each other and how they work together. They're all awesome. They're all growing and changing and going through crappy things, like Thomas for example. But Glain cracks me up to another level and I'm so ready for more of her! 

I feel like the Ephemera notes at the beginning and throughout the book where more ominous and dire than usual. They've hinted at the struggles to come and the Library's course of action both past and present. Not to mention they've filled in a couple of relevant history tidbits and developments and I'm a sucker for any information on this world! I could read an entire book on the alternate history of the world of this book, quite happily! We always get the rid tidbits when we need them though, so it's probably best I don't get a chance to gorge on information! 

We get to see a couple of new settings in this book, the Burner stronghold in Philadelphia which I had a mental image of that matched WW2 London to an extent. I got that vibe from it. We also got to see Callum Brightwell's new abode. I'm not really surprised is all I'm going to say. Nor am I surprised by his behaviour. We all saw it coming because we know how much of a monumental douche he is. 

This book has a lot of dissent to it, people are turning on the Archivist Magister left, right and centre, including his own troops and more importantly...the leaders of various countries. It would appear people aren't happy with some of the Library's actions throughout the book, and I figured it was a matter of time before people started to rebel. But I have a feeling the AM is going to cling to power with his old, gnarled hands. Which is fine because I'm totally down with killing him and prying it from his cold, dead hands. I really hate him. Sorry not sorry. Either way, war is coming so the next book should prove to be even more interesting than this one! 

Ash and Quill features the same rich storytelling as the other books in this series, painting a vivid picture and allowing you to walk the streets and buildings with the characters. The world of Ash and Quill is a world you can really step in to as soon as you start to read, and the writing style really fits with the world and the story being told. It's decadent and rich and has a quality feel to it that goes with all the old, classic, rare books mentioned throughout. It's written perfectly for a book about books and love of reading! 

The world is being built up more and more as we venture to new settings, and the stakes are raised higher and higher in this book. With Ash and Quill we've reached a tipping point, and in the next volume things are going to get very real and very dangerous. Things progress in this volume, the story pushes forward, setting things up, namely the big war that's coming. But rather than just focusing on setting that up, we have other things going on as well that are relevant to the story, so we have an expertly woven plot. 

The ending is brutal and the wait for the next book is going to be horrendous. Jess's devious plan comes in to effect but what are the consequences going to be and how is it going to play out? I have to say, Ash and Quill kept me hooked until the very end, and I was on the edge of my seat towards the end. I was frantically trying to work out what Jess was up to as well! I'm not as devious as him though...I really didn't see it coming. 

The plot in this book is fast paced, but the over-arcing plot of the whole series is moving at a steady pace, each book has me more and more obsessed! 


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Review: Wonder Woman Warbringer

Wonder Woman Warbringer 
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world.

Alia is a Warbringer - a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possess the Warbringer.

To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war.

So, I don't know if you guys know this but Wonder Woman is my absolute favourite. I've loved her since I was a kid and watched the old TV show whenever an episode was on. I have many, many items of Wonder Woman clothing. Jumpers, t-shirts, a swimsuit, and a costume...because obviously I need one! I spent years dreaming of a Wonder Woman movie or a book or anything because once the show was done there was nothing. Don't get me wrong, I love the comics, but every other superhero got so much. So you can understand my extreme excitement when I heard about this book. Not only was I getting a Wonder Woman book...but it was being written by my favourite author. I have been so freaking excited for this book it's not even funny and it didn't let me down a single bit. 

Wonder Woman Warbringer opens with an exciting chapter and it's a fast paced whirlwind of a story taking us from Themyscira to New York to Greece. I loved the mythology to it all, I was living for it. I love the Greek Gods and Greek mythology so I loved all throughout the book and I got super excited when anything popped up! The women throughout the book brought some brilliant historical aspects to it as well! 

Diana is my ultimate favourite, as we've already established, and I loved her in this book so much. She's brave and strong but still had vulnerabilities and doubts about herself which gave her a really relatable air. It made her a very real character for me. Not that she wasn't before, but the way she's been written and characterised in this book just made her so very real to me. Then when you throw her in to our world, she's all of that, but she's also like a little martian and hilariously blunt. Her interactions with Alia and the other characters and the city in general to be honest, had me laughing and smiling as I was reading. 

Alia has faced a lot of crap to be quite frank, and then she has to find out she's the Warbringer and it's like the cherry on top of the cake you know? It's quite a blow for her, but I felt like she handled it very realistically. I empathised with her a lot, and I really loved her. She was the perfect counter to Diana, the perfect partner for her in narrating this book. They went together so well, and I really loved watching the bond and friendship between them grow over the course of the book. Alia is nerdy but brilliant, and Diana's badass and caring. 

Jason was another story. I never quite warmed up to him. I wanted to like him, I really did, but I couldn't help but be suspicious of him. He seemed like such a pain and I wanted to smack him more than once most of the time. I actually felt really bad about it. I was vindicated in the end though. 

The rest of our cast are brilliant. I loved Nim to another level. She was completely brilliant! With her trivia and her confidence...she was such a lively and bright and colourful character and she really leaped off the page and in to your heart. I can say the same about Theo too, with his mad hacking and computer skills. I loved their interactions with Diana, and I loved their dynamic as a group with Alia and Diana. I could quite happily read a million books about this group of characters! 

Leigh has thrown in some brilliant Wonder Woman tidbits and easter eggs and I squealed whenever I came across them. They're not glaringly obvious but if you know what you're looking for it's a nice little touch to the book. Like in this book Diana has quite the interest in planes for instance. I was like...I see what you did there Leigh *wink wink*. 

Warbringer is such a fantastic story, there's the action, the feels, the smidges of romance and oh my Gods...the betrayal. I didn't see it coming at all. This book has plenty of twists and turns, and it keeps you hooked to the page and then the end happens and the big reveal and it's like...woah. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot. There was never a dull moment, and I ended up reading this in one sitting because I didn't want to stop. It wasn't just the action, and the plot and the characters, the book was funny too. I chuckled more than once and found myself grateful I wasn't reading it in a public place! 

Wonder Woman Warbringer was everything I was hoping for and more. I was so excited to see Leigh would be writing this story and she did such a fantastic job. I'd kinda really love for her to do a series with these characters, even though I know it's probably not possible! Her writing fits so perfectly with Diana, I can't imagine anyone else tackling her story. She created an engaging and intriguing plot, vivid and atmospheric settings, and realistic, loveable and diverse characters. Leigh weaves everything together to create a story that you get so caught up in you can't find a good place to stop reading. There's Wonder Woman knowledge and easter eggs if you know what to look for, and the ending.....well, quite frankly, the ending, like the very end, choked me up so much. I wish this book had been out when I was a kid, I feel like it's going to have such a positive impact on the people who read it. 

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