Friday, 31 May 2019

Manga: The Royal Tutor 11

The Royal Tutor Vol 11 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

The royal palace is bustling with successive arrivals, which is good news for lonely Leonhard! First, Beatrix comes seeking advice on how to cheer up her cuteness-starved fiancé. Then, young Prince Claude of Fonsein pays a diplomatic visit that pushes Leonhard's foreign-language skills to their limits. When Leonhard's dearest brother Bruno is next to arrive, everyone expects Leonhard to be elated...but the effusive prince is uncharacteristically reserved. Has their time apart soured the bonds of brotherly affection?! 

Despite Rosenberg being on the cover of this volume, we didn't see as much of him as I thought we would! Although I did kind of think he was having his strings pulled by Eins but now I'm wondering if it's actually the other way around. It's an ominous opening either way, and then it's on with the hilarity as poor old Kai is having a severe lack of cute and fluffy things to pet. Bless him. But sometimes I do feel Kai on a spiritual level. 

It was nice to get to see some more of Beatrix in this volume, I enjoy her character and love it whenever she pops up! She gets along well with our other characters and is just as entertaining. The main focus of the volume is actually Leonhard for the most part, but we get to meet some other royals! They're from Fonsein, presumably France, and it's up to Heine to be translator between Adele and the young Prince Claude. Of course Leonhard can't be left out of things and he decides to join in helping to entertain him. 

Honestly, Leonhard freaking out because he worked so hard studying the language and still struggled to speak to Claude even with something completely basic was an absolute mood. Literally me while I'm learning Japanese and Korean. I don't think I've ever related to Leonhard more than in that exact moment. 

I was expecting this volume to continue with the focus on Leonhard and initially we got a glimpse of Kai so I figured we'd get glimpses of Bruno and Licht but nope. This volume sees Bruno make his grand return, which is a bit awkward at first before it quickly gets heartwarming! But that's not all folks, after getting a look at some of what Kai's been up to briefly, he also makes his return to the palace, leaving just Licht off doing his own thing now. 

I feel like, despite the light hearted tone of this volume, this volume also indicates that things are shifting. I got the sense that we're leading up to something, mostly because of the return of Bruno and Kai. I could be reading too much in to it but after that ominous start at the beginning, talks of Eins marriage and Rosenberg being his shady self at the end, combined with the return of two of the Princes means that something is up so I finished the volume on quite the sense of anticipation. Plus I'm sure Rosenberg is yet again up to no good! 

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Book Discussion: Slayer!

It's time for a new book discussion and this time I'm discussing one of my most anticipated reads of the year...Slayer by Kiersten White! 
I'm a huge Buffy fan and when I first heard about this series? I lost my mind a little bit, not least because Kiersten is the author writing it and she's awesome! 
I was gifted a copy for my birthday and pretty much read it as soon as I got it in one day and I just...I loved it okay. 
It just fits in so well with the Buffy-verse and I loved the characters...even the ones I hated, and I'm waiting with baited breath for the next book to see what will happen next as the ending was...A+ and definitely sets things up to get even better! 

This is spoiler free, there is a spoiler section at the end of the video but it's clearly marked so you guys can click off/mute if you don't want to be spoiled! 

Let me know what you thought of Slayer if you've read it! 

Manga: A Terrified Teacher at Ghoul School 6

A Terrified Teacher at Ghoul School Vol 6 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

When Mame's dad asks Haruaki to stop by the family home for a visit, there are a few surprises waiting for him after he arrives. 

I really do love this series, it's always such a lovely dose of the ridiculous...and hilarious! I have to say, I did love getting to take a look at Mame's home and family, terrifying as it was for Haruaki. The poor guy had to be tested to see if he's a fit teacher for Mame. I mean...I'm sure we all have our own opinions on that but to be fair to him, he's trying his best! By some miracle, a 'he's the main character' kinda miracle, he survived the experience. 

Volume 6 also brings us the hilarity of getting to see Miki and Hatanaka trying to cheer up Haruaki, aided by our old friend Captain, of all people. You guys remember him right? Kidnapper kinda guy? I have to say, this little chapter started out hilarious to me and then got pretty heartwarming and it's nice to see Haruaki settling in with the other teachers as well as with the students! 

The hilarity continues with a high speed Mandragora chase and some spying on the boys of class 3 to help out another student before we head in to a 3 chapter story arc. They manage to lose Haruaki in Tokyo on a field trip, and so a search party of pretty much everyone has to be sent out. We get a familiar face, and a nice amount of tension, action and just plain drama as we finish off the volume with a strong end! 

Volume 6 is truly a mixed bag bouncing from hilarious to heartwarming to ridiculous to tension and drama as Haruaki's attempt to be a hero goes very, very wrong. I think it's safe to say Haruaki has carved himself a place with not only the students but even the teachers, although I do feel like I'm still waiting for something to happen!  

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Birthday Book Haul

Hey guys, it's book hauling time!
It's been a while since I blogged about a recent book haul and I thought I'd share my birthday book haul with you guys! 
It's super late but...better late than never!? 
I got gifted some excellent books, and I treated myself to a few too because apparently I can't be given money without spending it on books...I guess there are worse things to blow money on! 

This haul also has a splash of k-pop in it too if you're interested, but the book portion is at the beginning! 
Hope you enjoy the video and let me know in the comments what you thought of any of the books! 

Manga: Plunderer

Plunderer Vol 1
Rating: 3.5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

In the world of Alcia' where rank is determined by "counts" a young girl named Hina scours the land for the fabled Ace-the legendary hero of the Waste War. With only the last words of her missing mother to guide her search' she wanders from town to town until she meets Licht' a clownish masked vagrant with a count of --999. Girl-crazy and unpredictable' he's the exact opposite of a hero...or at least' that's how he appears... 

First things first, I marked this down half a star because I wasn't really a fan of the fan service, some of it was a bit....*side eyes*.  Which is pretty much the only thing that I didn't really enjoy about this. I was super excited to read this, it sounded like a lot of fun and wow is the volume chunky. Of course it does turn out that this is an omnibus so I was even more excited to get two volumes in one! It's just the fan service...bit uncomfortable at some points. Hina's counter is on her thigh, and Lynn...well...she has no choice but to wear the uniform with the skirt until she ranks up and can switch to trousers, I'm sure you can imagine the fan service you get from that. Some of it's weirdly at odds with the more promising qualities of Licht's character. He'll be doing so well, then act like a creeper and I just *sigh*.

Anyway, the colour pages are intriguing, and they show off the pretty art and character design. I found the world to be intriguing as everyone has a number. This number goes up for a reason that's specific to each person. In Nana's case it's when someone compliments her food, but if they say her food tastes bad it goes down. Someone with a higher number can also order someone with a lower number to do anything and they can't disobey, and unfortunately if your number reaches 0 you get dragged in to the mysterious "Abyss". 

There was a lot to do with the world that intrigued me and still does as I still have some questions! I also really liked that we got all the background to the world and how it works out of the way first via conversation with Nana! I felt like it was really well explained for the most part and we even got a little bit of history. 

This volume does move quite fast with some action at the start, meeting Licht and finding out who and what he is, although the one thing it did take some time before it was explained was the ballot and what that is. The first half practically speeds along, introducing us to the characters that will be important and helping us get to grips with the world with a nice amount of action and intrigue. For some reason the military is hunting the Ace's even though they apparently saved the day back in, and I'm quite curious as to why. Although I suppose it could be because they're a threat. 

The second volume is just as speedy. Licht's on his travels, there's a nice amount of action again along with some humour, and we see him reunited with Hina....along with Jail, Lynn and some talk of a demon. So this definitely has a nice pace to it, and I feel like it does well at explaining all the basics along with throwing some action and humour in to keep you entertained and stop it from being too slow. 

As for the characters, while Hina is quite naive, she manages to not be irritating and I found her quite endearing instead. Licht..I just can't get over his creepy masks. Would it kill him to have a normal one!? He's certainly mysterious and like I said...he's got some good qualities, he helps out anyone he sees in trouble as he can't just stand idly's just offset by his occasional creeper behaviour. I also ended up quite liking Jail, he really reminded me of another character but I can't quite put my finger on which one just yet. He's kind of an a-hole for the most part, but he did manage to do something nice for Lynn (I low key ship it) and I don't think he's completely unreasonable. I'm oddly looking forward to him bonding with Licht and Hina. 

I was already pretty hooked on this anyway, I had so many questions! Why are they after Licht? Why did Hina's mother send her to him? How is he still alive? Licht immediately provided me with a pleasant surprise, I wasn't expecting him to be quite how he was, I was expecting him to be a lot more serious and not as low-key goofy. Haven't entirely formed a deeper opinion on Hina than just liking her, and I even liked our grumpy guy. I was basking in the fantasy setting with all these intriguing little twists to it and then the end happened. 

The thing is, the final couple of pages throw a major plot twist at you that had me like...."okay. 100% fully invested, gimme the next volume now". I'm not going to spoil it but what I will say is that considering I'd been running with this being a standard fantasy setting...I was shook by this twist and I have questions. As well as a couple of theories. 

Despite the questionable fan service, this was a fairly strong series opener, with plenty to intrigue you and it seems to be heading in a very interesting direction. I'm hoping the fan service will get better as the series goes on and stop making me side eye it too! 

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Upcoming Releases: June!

Recently I've gotten more excited about blogging again, and so I thought I'd bring back my bookish posts that aren't review related! 
One thing I love is checking out upcoming releases to get excited about and I thought it'd be fun to share a few June releases that I'm excited about and you should be too! 

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

I mean...they had me at sorcerers and magical grimoires to be honest! 

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L Armentrout

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

I'm so excited to get back to the world of demons and gargoyles that Armentrout created in The Darkest Elements trilogy! 

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare

The Shadow Market is a meeting point for faeries, werewolves, warlocks and vampires. There the Downworlders buy and sell magical objects, make dark bargains, and whisper secrets they do not want the Nephilim to know. Through two centuries, however, there has been a frequent visitor to the Shadow Market from the City of Bones, the very heart of the Shadowhunters. As a Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah is sworn keeper of the laws and lore of the Nephilim. But once he was a Shadowhunter called Jem Carstairs, and his love, then and always, is the warlock Tessa Gray.

Follow Brother Zachariah and see, against the backdrop of the Shadow Market’s dark dealings and festive celebrations, Anna Lightwood’s first romance, Matthew Fairchild’s great sin and Tessa Gray plunged into a world war. Valentine Morgenstern buys a soul at the Market and a young Jace Wayland’s soul finds safe harbor. In the Market is hidden a lost heir and a beloved ghost, and no one can save you once you have traded away your heart. Not even Brother Zachariah...

I mean...I already miss the world of the Shadowhunters so this is excellent timing! 

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret--she's a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead--her gumiho soul--in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl--he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He's drawn to her anyway.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon's.

This is one of my top anticipated reads of the year! I'm so here for Korean mythology and goblins and...this is going to be total excellence! 

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa 

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has one task: to take her piece of the ancient and powerful scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the summoning of the Harbinger of Change, the great Kami Dragon who will grant one wish to whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. But she has a new enemy now. The demon Hakaimono, who for centuries was trapped in a cursed sword, has escaped and possessed the boy she thought would protect her, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan.

Hakaimono has done the unthinkable and joined forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse of the sword and set himself free. To overthrow the empire and cover the land in darkness, they need one thing: the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. As the paths of Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi cross once again, the entire empire will be thrown into chaos.

I've been so desperate for this sequel, I completely loved the first book it was just completely amazing! The writing, the world building, the characters...I loved every single page and I can't wait to see what happens next! 

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

At the news of her mother's death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn't spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco's Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She's even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother's restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant's fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around--she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

I'm in the mood for a contemporary and this one sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun! And you know....make me really hungry because there's a restaurant involved! Plus the author's been sharing these cute little dumplings on Twitter which had me like "CUUUUTE WHAT IS THIS BOOK?!" 

The Beholder by Anna Bright

Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

I stumbled across this on GoodReads and I'm intrigued by the synopsis and after seeing the way it was described by a certain description box (once I finally figured out it was this book) I'm even more intrigued! 

Shadow & Flame by Mindee Arnett

From acclaimed author Mindee Arnett comes the thrilling conclusion of the stunningly epic, action-packed, and romantic fantasy adventure about a powerful girl possessed of strange magic, the outcast prince she loves, and the kingdom that has torn them apart.

Kate and Corwin are on the run, desperate for allies in a new world of war among the kingdoms of Rime. As the book opens, Kate suffers a massive loss, one that will shape the struggle for freedom of all wilders and magic folk—that is, if Kate can learn to control her own power.

Another of my anticipated sequels, but also the conclusion to this duology! I actually ended up really loving the first book more than I was expecting, and I'm intrigued to see how it's all going to end! 

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

Far, far away, in the realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm and fairy tales are real. Except, fairy tales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future.

Raised in the mortal realm, Everly Morrow has no idea she’s a real life fairy tale princess—until she manifests an ability to commune with mirrors.

Look. See… What will one peek hurt?

Soon, a horrifying truth is revealed. She is fated to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control—and determined to change Fate itself—Everly returns to the land of her birth. There, she meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed.

As bits and pieces of the prophecy unfold, Everly faces one betrayal after another, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Can she resist, or will she become the queen—and villain—she was born to be?

I love Gena's YA books and I particularly loved her Alice in Wonderland vibe series Alice in Zombieland! So I'm excited to see what she's going to do with the Evil Queen and I'm expecting seriously good things from it! 

The Chosen by Taran Matharu

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.

Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.

But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.

I loved The Summoner series as you guys know, and this first book in a brand new series sounds like it's going to be just as original and imaginative as Summoner was! Plus, if I've been informed correctly, there's dinosaur monsters in here!? 

The Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she drifts from place to place with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient and violent power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms—a struggle that could very well mean her death.

This is the bind up of all three books in the trilogy and I've been told/shouted at to read this by Jess because I still haven't! But she reliably informed me it's a cracking series so I can't wait to dive in! I'm so weak for faeries! 

Dark Shores by Danielle L Jensen

In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.


Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences. 


Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world. 


When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice. 

You had me at pirate and dangerous quest to be honest, but more importantly I fell in love with Danielle's Stolen Songbird books so I'm excited to see what she's going to do with this! 

Manga: Witch Hat Atelier

Witch Hat Atelier Vol 1 
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

In a world where everyone takes wonders like magic spells and dragons for granted, Coco is a girl with a simple dream: She wants to be a witch. But everybody knows magicians are born, not made, and Coco was not born with a gift for magic. Resigned to her un-magical life, Coco is about to give up on her dream to become a witch...until the day she meets Qifrey, a mysterious, traveling magician. After secretly seeing Qifrey perform magic in a way she's never seen before, Coco soon learns what everybody "knows" might not be the truth, and discovers that her magical dream may not be as far away as it may seem...
Witch Hat Atelier has some seriously gorgeous colour pages to start off the volume, and the magic system is interesting with the fact that it's all about drawing the spells rather than just speaking the words. Things do kick off quite quickly, of course little idiot Coco does the thing she shouldn't do and there are Consequences. Said consequences see her heading out with Qifrey, a witch, in order to track down another copy of a certain book that they need to fix the mistake that she made. And so the adventure begins! 
I don't really have much to say about this particular volume, other than I don't think it's my cup of tea. After the initial start, I do feel like things got a little slow and I just didn't get all that attached to Coco or find myself fully invested. My attention kept wandering after my initial interest wore off and Coco kinda frustrated me with how she just kept running off and doing things without thinking like she did..the first time...causing her'd think she'd learn!?
Witch Hat Atelier is cute, it's got some gorgeous art, and some interesting points but it's just not my thing. 

Monday, 27 May 2019

Review: Hart & Seoul

Hart & Seoul 
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow 
Source: Copy courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review! 

Merilee Hart has been doing her best to keep things together since her mother left, her art a welcome escape from her depressing new reality. But things seem to go even more awry the moment her next door neighbor’s enigmatic and mysterious nephew arrives from South Korea. Lee is moody, cocky, and utterly infuriating.
But when Merri’s closest friends betray her and her father crushes her dream of going to art school, Merri finds herself drawn to Lee, who seems to live within even greater shadows than her own. And just when she thought things couldn’t get crazier, Merri’s world is upended when she discovers Lee’s big and bizarre secret…he is none other than a runaway member of the K-pop mega-group Thunder.

It’s not long before Thunder’s fans, the Storm Chasers, begin to close in on Lee, ready to do whatever it takes to return their favorite idol to his rightful place in the band. Faced with the prospect of even more heartbreak and caught up in an international whirlwind that has a life of its own, Merri realizes that she must find a way to mend herself, gain control of her life, and pursue her dreams—her heart and soul depend on it. 

I'm sure if you follow me on Twitter or watch my YouTube you'll understand just how badly I wanted to love this book. I wanted to give it 5 stars. I wanted to rave about it. I wanted to shove this book at everyone and make them read it. It's literally no secret that I love K-pop and K-Dramas, ever since falling down those particular black holes however long ago, and I've been so wishing and praying someone would do for K-pop what's been done with Western bands when it comes to books. A fun, contemporary rom-com with a K-pop group to go with all the ones for pop/rock groups, which I admit are my guilty pleasure. 

I stumbled across this on NetGalley and immediately slammed that request button because HELL YES! Someone heard my prayers. I was so ready to dive in to this, and to experience all the warm and fuzzies. Unfortunately, I can't give this the 5 stars I wanted to, and I can't give this a glowing review. 

As I started the book, I wasn't immediately grabbed, it did take me a while to get in to it, I read a chapter here and there until I actually sat down to read it in one go to get it done. It was also incredibly obvious what was going on with a certain character but then again I expect a certain level of predictability from contemporary books, nothing major. But that's not where my main issue lies. 

First things first, I am not Korean, obviously. Nor am I fluent in Korean, I'm just learning so feel more than free to correct me if I'm wrong. I don't want to offend anyone, apologies if I have but I've tried to articulate all of this as best as I can. I don't want to be disrespectful and you know...I wanna stay in my lane but I feel like the faults with this book do need to be acknowledged, I know it's "just" a contemporary rom-com book but still. I'd also be very interested to see an own voices reviewer give this book a try and read their thoughts on it, but for me? Well. Strap in because by the looks of GoodReads it's time for yet another unpopular opinion. 

Merri was kind of...I don't know. I struggled to like her a little bit in the first couple of chapters, don't get me wrong, the predictable thing reveal had my heart dropping for her even though I knew it was coming, and she had me cheering for her with the beans. However, for most of this book she bugged me. To me, personally...I found her so rude and ignorant. I don't know if it's just me having unrealistic expectations for people, or what. Like I know she's from some small town in the US and isn't all that up on her K-pop knowledge but I found it really rude that she was calling him by his surname the entire book and initially made zero effort to learn or say his real name. Then again I guess for the author "Hyung Kim" didn't roll off the tongue as well as Lee for her. I just found it kinda disrespectful to be honest, I know he said it was okay but for most of the book she just kept doing it. Can't say I'd love someone calling me by my surname because they couldn't be bothered to pronounce my first name. 

I know she knows nothing about Korean culture and K-pop and stuff but it also really irked me that rather than use this really awesome thing called Google to do some research on her own and then ask the male lead to clarify or explain anything deeper, she just used him like a walking, talking Google. I know she wants to learn but if that was me, I'd find it really tiresome let alone low-key rude to have someone clearly not bother to try and learn anything on their own but expect me to explain everything and anything. Some of her remarks and her culture comparisons also had me like wow. She just didn't come across as the most open minded and she seemed completely ignorant so many times, I just found it hard to like her, like make some effort pal. 

It also grated on me the way she described him speaking Korean because it came across almost like she was making fun of him and the way he spoke, and I wasn't a fan of how the author wrote some of his dialogue because again, it seemed like she was making fun of the way he spoke more than anything else. I just feel like it could have been handled better and I did check to see if this was an own voices author...I was not at all shocked that it wasn't. 

It was blindingly obvious from the way the Korean words were written and I am honestly baffled as to how the hell this book made it through the editing process without anyone, anyone at all using damn Google translate to check the words. When I thought this was a one off back in chapter 2, I wasn't going to mention it because I felt I was being too picky but throughout this book two Korean words are repeatedly spelt wrong and it couldn't be more obvious the author has no grasp of the language and has just taken words she's heard from the K-Dramas she watches and put them in here, clearly without checking how to spell them and none of the editors checked either. Mind blown. Especially as other, longer words, are spelt correctly and even 'wae' is spelt correctly too? 

Lee, and even Merri herself, said "deh" multiple times throughout the book. The first time I saw it, in chapter 2, I only understood that it was him saying yes purely from context because as hard as I wracked my brain, I couldn't recall if 'deh' was a word in Korean. Was he trying to say "an-deh" which is no? Clearly not based on context. 

Quick Korean lesson. The word for yes in Korean is 'ne' aka 네, which to my understanding is pronounced 'neh'. It irritated me every single time he said 'deh' instead of 'neh' and you can't tell me that it was done for readers to pronounce easier because it's not that difficult a word to pronounce. I know some people apparently hear it with a 'd' instead of an 'n' hence why I assume that the author just went by ear rather than actually looking it up. 

It's also why I assume she wrote 'bo' as the Korean word for 'what' and not 'mwo' (뭐) which is what it actually is. I know people hear it with the 'b' rather than the 'm', so forgive my assumption she didn't bother to check it and just wrote it how it sounded, but when it's spoken it is not a 'b' sound. Even if she has written it that way to make it easier for readers, not only are both words the wrong pronunciation but it's not even the right word? Like if I didn't have the context of the word, I'd have been staring at the page like "what is that supposed to be?". To my knowledge, 'bo" isn't even a word in Korean but feel free to educate me if you actually speak Korean. Like I said, I'm not fluent. 

If I didn't know Korean, I'm sure this wouldn't have bothered me because I wouldn't know any different, but I do and it consistently irritated me throughout the entire book once I realised it wasn't a one off mistake. I also think it's bothering me because people will learn it wrong, I know it's probably not that deep in the grand scheme of things, and you probably are side eyeing me for being so bothered by this but my brain was just going "wrong, wrong, wrong" the entire time and come on. How hard is it to Google two simple, basic Korean words and put the correct spelling with a pronunciation guide at the back if necessary? If you're going to include a language that isn't your own at least do it properly. 

I did kind of wonder if it was being done on what Merri was hearing, as like I said, those two words are misheard sometimes. So I wondered if we'd get the correct spelling once he corrected her but nope. It's consistently wrong throughout the entire book. 

Speaking of Lee Hyung-Kim, I loved him. His attitude, the cockiness with the low-key sweetness mixed in, he was brilliant. I lived for him putting Bree and Luke in their place. I was not, however, expecting the reason for why he fled. My heart broke for him honestly, and I don't agree with the mentality some of the fans displayed in this book and that you see in real life. You don't own idols, they're allowed to date, they are human beings even if they aren't always viewed as such by some fans. Seeing his reaction to being crowded by the fans, my heart ached reading how the fans were so determined to have him back in the group like let the poor sod take a break. 

I felt like it was well done for the most part, and a solid look at the pressure idols suffer and how that pressure effects them and their mental health. It's a pretty cold, hard look at the truth with the forced plastic surgeries all in order to appear perfect and the happy image that has to be shown at all times to the fans, even if they're suffering in reality. I do feel like it could perhaps have been explored a little more. We see his reaction to the fans and then that's kind of it, I thought we might delve in deeper with that and it's a shame we didn't, as her issues were dealt with to a deeper level. I know she's the main character, and I know it's a sensitive subject, but I felt it could have used more depth. 

I have to also mention, and this is probably just me, but seeing Jong-hyun of SHINee mentioned at the beginning of the authors note slapped me right in the face and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I do wonder if it was necessary to name drop him and what happened to him, rather than be more general about it. Like, it didn't really sit right with me that he was name dropped like that, but that's just my opinion.

Moving on to a couple of things I did like, I enjoyed how the culture clash between he and Merri was shown, with her being so offended by him because of his bluntness, and him dealing with being in America and the food and so on. I felt that was nicely done. It did have me chuckling, and it moved at a nice pace. After a certain point there's also a few K-pop and K-drama references as Merri ventures down the rabbit hole. 

Honestly, for the most part it was fun, along with a more serious note towards the end, and I liked how it ended. But this is not own voices and it shows in how surface everything feels. I'm not equipped to tell whether anything is glaringly incorrect other than what I already have, or whether anything is rude and so on. Although I did also side eye how Merri went from 0 to "holy K-pop" "OMO". I just side eyed some of the writing, and some of her dialogue. 

I feel like some things were quite authentic, the kimchi with every meal, Lee's bluntness and not getting sarcasm entirely. I'm not sure if the author has actually been to Korea or not, I'd say not. While I do love K-drama tropes and I did love them in this book because it was kind of like reading a K-drama. I just really do feel like the author has written this book based on her knowledge gleaned from K-dramas, both language and cultural. I just can't get my head around the misspelled words, to be honest. 

I assume most people reading this probably have some interest in dramas or K-pop, but for those that don't the groups and shows that are mentioned are the super popular, in your face, everyone talks about them kinda things, so my boys BTS, Boys Over Flowers and so on. It would have been fun to include some less popular ones but this walks a nice line of compromise for fans and non-fans. 

So to conclude this in some way, for the most part I enjoyed this, as much as I found Merri ignorant at points and irritating, she was also relatable in the way she fell down the K-drama rabbit hole. It's happened to all of us, let's be honest. While it didn't grab me straight away, I did find myself sucked in, and it had the cute, fluffy moments along with more serious moments and I appreciated the attempt to tackle the more serious side of K-pop, however my one glaring issue with this is presumably not an issue for the average reader. I just feel if you're going to use a language that's not your own then you should double, triple check everything is correct. 

Manga: Tokyo Tarareba Girls 6

Tokyo Tarareba Girls Vol 6 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Faced with the possibility that she might be pregnant, Kaori loses sight of what she wants from Ryo. With Koyuki sinking deeper into her affair and Rinko compromising on her dreams of a heart-pounding romance, it seems like the futures they envisioned in their twenties have never been more unattainable. Are they out of time after all? 
With this volume...things are definitely taking a turn! I have to be honest, the opening for this volume? Along with Kaori's thoughts? I just....oh Kaori sweetie, dump him. That guy, Ryo, is just such an a-hole and it's time she kicked him to the kerb! My heart actually sank for her when Key dropped his little truth bomb. To be fair to him, he might be blunt but...I guess he means well? I'm just always looking at him like, please phrase it a bit more gently dude! 
So while Kaori has a wake up call and has to deal with the fall out of that, I feel like even Koyuki has her own little wake up call even if it's not as dramatic and obvious as Kaori's. I think next volume we'll see that little thing come to a close. 
Then we have Rinko, who ends up getting close to Hayasaka again and even though they're kind of cute...I can't help but feel like she's settling. However, I knew the blonde haired demon was going to stick his nose and damn...this is the first time with this series that I actually screeched at the cliffhanger ending because come on. It was just getting good! 
Volume 6 is another nicely paced volume, but our ladies are definitely coming to terms with their current situations and the consequences and downsides to it as well as gaining some perspective on it. I feel mean saying it but...I feel like they're getting their self respect back and I'm looking forward to seeing what's going to kick off next volume when Key opens his mouth. Again. 

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Manga: Boarding School Juliet 5

Boarding School Juliet 5
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Inuzuka, Persia, and all the usual suspects hit the beach for a seaside camp, and we all know what that means: a swimsuit Shangri-La! Inuzuka is dying to get Persia alone for a sexy swimsuit date, but the date spot he picked is even more remote than he intended. When the full tide leaves the daring duo stranded, they're forced to spend the night together! 

First things first....wheeeeeeeyyy Inuzuka and Persia are finally getting some alone time *wink wink*. Nah, I'm kidding. Of course Scott and Hasuki pop up to ruin any chance of that whatsoever. The beach arc comes to a close with this volume, but we do move on to some light hearted hijinks as we get to spend some quality time with Char. I find it absolutely hilarious that she follows them on a date for nefarious reasons and then ends up helping them keep their secret, and keeps their date from being ruined even though she really doesn't want to! 

Moving on from that, we also get to spend some time with Somali as Inuzuka and Persia help her prepare for and enter a beauty pageant after she splits with Aby and won't leave Persia alone! Then we head off to Summer School with Inuzukua's big bro Airu as the director, and Persia and Hasuki as his deputies. 

For the most part this volume is pretty light hearted, with the usual doses of humour and ridiculousness...alongside fun. Things do get a little bit serious in the Summer school arc, Inuzuka displays some serious determination but after what we've seen of Airu so far, these last two chapters of the volume allow us to see a tiny little glimpse of a softer side to him. Maybe he's...not that bad? Maybe. I never thought I'd say this but...I'm kind of hoping to see more of him, it was nice to see another side to him...or a small glimpse of it. 

Volume 5 is another entertaining volume from start to finish, and more person knows their secret?! We discovered there's more to Airu than initially meets the eye and Inuzuka definitely builds up some determination and motivation for his goal! 

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Manga: The Heroic Legend of Arslan 10

The Heroic Legend of Arslan Vol 10 
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Eastern Pars is shaken by a great earthquake, and as Arslan and his retainers take stock of the aftermath, rumblings of another kind make their way throughout the kingdom. A set of bold proclamations have been made under Arslan's name: The Decree to Pursue and Destroy Lusitania, and The Decree to Abolish Slavery. These decrees have made waves among the noble class of Pars, and it is now Arslan's job to host the Parsian lords and demonstrate his value as their future leader. But before Arslan can finish his duties and move on to recapturing Ecbatana, Narsus holds a meeting to reveal the earth-shattering details of Silver Mask's identity, and the truth will stun Arslan to his very core. 

It's all a little bit tense as the new additions to Arslan's group aren't really getting on with his core group and so concessions have to be made to make sure everyone gets along, so there's a lot of role shifting in this volume. Meanwhile good old Hilmes is taking further action against the Templars holed up in the fortress, meaning we get some action on that front. I'm not going to lie, it irks me to no end that Bodin is still at large, although he is bringing us to a new place apparently. 

There's a lot of new things to get excited about in this volume, we get to explore Narsus's old stomping grounds, Daylam, which he used to be in charge of. Presumably we'll get to see Maryam at some point, but for now we get to see some of Maryam's soldiers as they've fled to Dayman and it's not long before Kubard shows up. I was excited to get to see some more of him, he makes me chukle, but we also get a brand new character! Merlain who looks....pretty familiar. 

This volume has more of a focus on Kubard and his new pal, but we do stop in with Arslan and get a long look at what Hilmes is up to. We get an idea of the political climate in Maryam as the Luisitanians have invaded it and pretty much killed all the royal family, except for the princess that we also get to meet in this volume...Irina. But most of this volume features Kubard and Merlain dealing with the Luisitanians that are chasing the princess. 

Alongside introducing some new places and people, there's a nice amount of action from two different situations. I'm curious as to what Kubard is up to, and it looks like Hilmes is going to get a new ally. We'll definitely be seeing more of the new characters, but I'm curious about Merlain to be honest. Of course things were going too well over with Arslan so Gieve has to pop up at the end of the volume, open his mouth, stir things up and leave us on a cliffhanger! 

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Review: Aurora Rising

Aurora Rising 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy. 

I'm going to be honest with you guys, this was a surprise in the post from the publisher! I love Jay's books but I'm kinda really picky about Sci-Fi as I do prefer fantasy. I picked this up anyway and I ended up being pleasantly surprised by it! It's been super hyped, as I'm sure everyone's aware, but I did really enjoy it! 

This is gonna be a weird comment but, the opening of the book with the action and the imminent peril going on, then pausing and rewinding for context and background screamed the whole record scratch, freeze frame meme like" yup, that's me, you're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation". It also oddly reminded me of Emperor's New Groove. No I don't know why that example is what popped in to my head, llamas and space have no correlation but this is my brain so here we are.

The opening was tense and had me holding my breath, I had so many questions right from the first chapter. I was more and more intrigued by each nugget of information Tyler dropped for us, and I was enjoying his narrative. I immediately decided it was time I jumped on the Illuminae hype, and I sat back to enjoy reading what I knew was going to be a wild ride. It only took me a couple of sittings as well! 

Aurora Rising is nicely paced, and like I said, I'm picky with my Sci-Fi and I don't always enjoy it but I got so hooked in to this. The mystery, the slightly creepy, spine shiver moments with Auri that I found so spooky, the hilarious banter between all of the characters who were such a diverse bunch with interesting personalities. Each character was such a little sass master in their own way, some more than others. The snark was just on point okay, and I appreciated that. I also appreciated the squad as a whole, they were a bit dysfunctional to start with but watching them come together was brilliant. 

I loved Squad 312, they're such a brilliant bunch! Tyler is the Alpha aka the leader, he's dimpled, he's called Goldenboy because he's the best at everything and basically perfect and I was envisioning some all American, QB kinda guy. He's optimistic and all "I have faith" which had me like, "Oh Tyler....oh dear". BUT I could so picture him doing the Office, "stares in to the camera" thing a couple of times. 

Scarlett is his twin sister, she's the Face aka the Diplomat. She's like the mum of the group, taking care of everyone, knowing what everyone needs...but able to completely flirt her way in and out of anything. I loved that she and Tyler had such a strong sibling bond, and I loved seeing them interact. 

Cat is our Ace, aka the pilot and the SASS on her! I loved her instantly, she's got tats, she's a badass and she will tell it how it is. The banter between her and Scarlett in particular had me in stitches, and I shipped she and Tyler so bad! Even though I kinda thought Tyler and Auri were gonna be a thing at one point. 

Auri aka Aurora, I empathised with her and what happened to her. There was a lot of mystery about her but she low-key freaked me out a couple of times with her possession thing. Like it sent a chill up my spine, and was like some ghost horror movie. I will say that despite all of that, she did get on my nerves once or twice but I got past that! 

Kal, the Tank aka combat and strategy specialist. Let's be real here people, y'all know I love Legolas so y'all should know that the space elf was going to be my ultimate favourite. They kept calling him Elrond and Legolas and I was living for it but despite his whole "I will kill you" "punch first and ask questions later", anger issues thing he had going on...I felt like he was kinda extra in his own way too. I mean...."Oh I'm in love with Aurora...I will banish myself back to the civil war of my people and probably get myself killed" okay dude. Bit extreme but you do you. I loved him so much. 

Zila...oh Zila. She's the Brain, aka Scientist and she's a low-key Sociopath. Her one sentence POV's cracked me up, and she loves her gun. Loves it. The only thing with her is...she barely says anything all book and sometimes I actually forgot she was there, so aside from her willingness to shoot people in to oblivion I was kinda like...what is your purpose? Like maybe she'll have more to do next book?

Finian is probably my other ultimate favourite after Kal. He's the Gearhead, meaning he's the tech/mechanic kinda guy. He's another alien, but a different race to Kal. I kinda wanted to smack him one a few times which is how I knew I was gonna love him. The sass from him is unreal. He's disabled and has a suit to help him walk and move. My favourite thing about him? His little "hmmmm which twin do I choose....Tyler or Scarlet?", I lived for his internal monologue. If I could choose to save only one member of this squad, I'd be so torn between he and Kal...the others are on their own. 

Honestly, it's such a cracking space adventure. We've got a heist, we've got creepy...well, plant people. Is all I can say. There's a tonne of adventure and humour and the thing I found about this? It was so easy to sit and read for a little bit, and then the next thing you know it's been 200 pages. It's so easy to sit and binge read, and I breezed through it in no time at all! We do have some romance, although I do feel like it was a bit all over the place in the beginning because I had completely different couples in my head at the beginning and then we suddenly switched gears and went in a different direction although we did avoid a love triangle which is a win. I don't know, maybe it was just me? But I felt like we were heavily leaning towards Aurora and Tyler. 

Anyway, I loved the world building, with the history to Aurora Academy and Terran and space exploration, and basically how everything came to be as it currently is. I liked the aspect with Auri being out of her time, and this shady cover up. But I really loved getting to see the customs and history of a few of the different alien races! 

I have two gripes with this book that prevented me from giving this 5 stars. The first, I will admit to reading Scarlett's POV initially and getting confused because I thought it was Tyler's and I had to check. The second? The ending. I didn't feel the emotional impact from it that other people did, and while some things did surprise me...I was hugely disappointed by the reveal. 

The moment it was revealed who the GIA agent was I was sat there like "right, well, Princeps is clearly X person" and I was disappointed that it would be so obvious and predictable, but then I did also figure that Amie and Jay would hit us with a plot twist and it would be someone unexpected so I perked up and dived right back in....only to get to the end and be right in my initial assessment. That was the only time the book really disappointed me, because despite the cliches, I had so much fun reading it, and while some parts were predictable, this pushed the book from being "yeah a couple things were a bit predictable" to "yeah this book is hugely predictable" territory. 

Aurora Rising is a lot of fun to read, there's snark, there's banter and excellent dialogue. We've got excellent characters with different, fun personalities, a lot of representation and diversity, a tonne of action, adventure and humour and it's such a bingeable read! 

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