Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Manga: Again 10

Again!! Vol 10 
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

The curtains close on the drama club and the ouendan's underground performance of I Want to Die: The Musical to a roaring success, but the real drama soon follows Kinichiro, Aki, and the rest of the cast off stage. The group may have successfully set Hanataka on the path to stardom, but when Aki comes to an alarming realization about her relationship with Hiro, and the fate of the ouendan falls into jeopardy once again, one thing becomes certain: Not everything will be like it was before the do-over. 

The performance of the drama club comes to an end and Imamura has some heartfelt and heartwarming words for Hanataka that really hit home, I feel. He might not be all that good with people, but he can be pretty good with words, it would seem. As that arc draws to a close, there's a bit more of a focus on our other time traveller, Aki. 

We haven't really seen all that much of Aki, she's very much a side character but she's also dealing with the whole time travel thing as well, and things are just as different for her as they are for Imamura. However, she's only just starting to suspect what's going on with Hiro, though she's too afraid to outright ask him. I've come to quite like Aki, it has to be said, and I've been rooting for her to kick him to the curb. 

I've always thought that Hiro was a bit of a d*** but I didn't realise quite how much of one he was until this volume. Wow. I felt for Aki so much, but I was also sitting there like 'sweetie, you can do so much better than that trash'. The thing is, poor Aki doesn't have the friends that she had the first time round, things have been changed so much for her but luckily she does have the Ouendan Club and it made my heart all warm and fuzzy to see them have her back and try to help her. Although it did end up becoming quite funny as well! 

Things have been pretty chill with this series, nothing too dire is happening...until now. It would seem that while some of their schoolmates fates have been changed by them, presumably for the better, other things are starting to change without their interference being behind the weather for example. 

There's a lot of things happening in this volume, including a glimpse in to why Usami left school back before the do over after the Ouendan was shut down, but things are starting to take an interesting turn once again as we get a glimpse of the future of the Ouendan...and it seems history might be attempting to fight back? 

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Review: Black Canary Ignite

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

Thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance is in a rock band with her two best friends and has a good relationship with her mom, but when a mysterious figure threatens her friends and family, she learns more about herself and her mother's secret past. 

As a huge fan of both Meg Cabot and the DC universe, I've been super excited for this team up and for Meg Cabot to give Dinah her own spin! DC are really spoiling us with some wonderful author collaborations this year! 

First things first, the character designs were so cute and fun, as was the colour scheme. I really enjoyed all of the bright colours, I felt like it was fitting for Dinah's character as well as her world. The introduction to she and her friends was also a lot of fun, I got such strong girl power vibes from them and I loved the dynamic between them. 

Dinah and her friends are going through careers week, figuring out their future and what they want to do as well as in Dinah's case struggling with her parents disapproval over what it is that she wants to do. Her police officer father isn't exactly thrilled that she wants to follow in his footsteps. But I feel like this part of the story will be quite relatable to a lot of readers! 

Dinah has a strong sense of what it is that she wants to do and achieve with her life, and a determination to do it all. She's also kind of a badass and doesn't really take any crap from anyone. Her friends are as equally colourful and fun to read about, just as strong in their goals as Dinah. I loved that Kat's a cheerleader but not your stereotypical kind, all three girls were a little bit different and a little bit quirky which is why I loved them so much! 

Of course, her future isn't the only thing Dinah's struggling with, she's struggling with the strange incidents around her that seem to point to her being able to destroy things with her voice. She refuses to believe that she could have a superpower and as such struggles with her new power, what it can do and how to control it. Plus we've got a shadowy figure creeping around. 

One thing I did enjoy a huge amount in this was Dinah's parents and her relationship with them, it was so nicely depicted. While her father wants to keep her safe, he's still proud of her desire to save people, and they always have her back in any given situation. They encourage her a lot too when it comes to her power. I also enjoyed the relationship she had with her friends, it was very natural and very well done as she tried to keep her secret from them and they worried for her. 

Nicely paced, and with a nice amount of humour as well as some excellent relationships, along with a nice journey for Dinah as she figures out how to use her power, comes to terms with it and herself and finds the courage to use it. Black Canary: Ignite is a fun read, with nice, bright art and a lot of quirky characters to bring the story to life! 

There are also a tonne of easter eggs when it comes to the DC universe, Green Arrow, Batman, Batgirl, the Joker and a lot of other familiar names dropped throughout the volume as well! 

Monday, 28 October 2019

Manga: 10 Dance 4

10 Dance Volume 4
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

Suzuki is so conflicted by his feelings for Sugiki that it's affecting his Latin dancing. But when Sugiki tries to teach him how to connect better with his female partner, he ends up strengthening the connection between the two men instead. As they grapple with their feelings for each other, an unexpected rival steps into view. Suzuki begins to realize what dancing truly means to him, but if he pursues his dream, will it cost him his relationship with Sugiki? 

Poor old Suzuki is going through it with his feelings in this volume as he's trying to figure it all out and soon. Alongside coming to terms with his feelings, he also gets a bit of a wake up call/helping hand when it comes to his  motivation to win and drive to succeed thanks to another dancer and rival that makes an appearance. 

Suzuki spends a lot of this volume doing some self reflection and because of that we get to see some of his childhood, how he started dancing and so on which I was particularly interested in. This volume not only moves things in to place with the relationship, allowing Suzuki to come to terms with things so that it can progress forward, but it fleshes out his character a lot more. We also get to see some more of the relationship between he and his dance partner Aki, how they were paired together and the bond between them which I appreciated as well! 

This volume takes the time to get the characters heads in to the right places for the upcoming competition, motivating them and getting them psyched up for it and it's sure to be a tense one! Now that Suzuki is ready to win, and determined to I can't wait to see him fight for what he wants! 

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Manga: Tokyo Tarareba Girls 8

Tokyo Tarareba Girls Vol 8 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

At last, Rinko's found it--the happy, comfortable relationship she's dreamt of. She and Hayasaka-san have moved into an apartment together, and her best friends have wished her well. Everything is going smoothly...until those same best friends show up breathless at her doorstep with the biggest four-alarmer yet: Key's gone missing, and Rinko may be the only one who can find him and bring him back. But the rescue may come at the cost of everything she thought she wanted... 

After last volumes cliffhanger, we're picking up straight away and I eagerly dove in to see what would happen next with Rinko! Obviously the girls have come to collect her for a quick road trip to go and grab Key. Which means it's time for Rinko to come to terms with her feelings about him even if it's going to mean ruining the happiness that she thinks she's finally found. 

I feel like Mami touched on an issue for the girls that they do really need to work on, and while she's younger than them I'm hoping she'll end up talking some sense in to them and helping them see things a different way. I feel like she'd be a good addition! 

As for Rinko, I was cheering so much when she gave Key that talking to, and then screeching at the moment between them. I don't know when I started shipping them, but here we are. I think it's largely in part due to the fact that we've slowly come to get to know Key and understand him and how he works, so I'm kinda rooting for him but I also feel like he's got a lot that he needs to deal with for things to turn out well between them. 

I'm really enjoying the direction things are starting to take, and I'm curious to see what will happen next with Rinko. I'm rooting for her to get her happiness, but she's also made some valid points about Key and what he hasn't said, and I'm anticipating some problems in the near future. Which kinda makes me sad because she just threw away her newfound happiness for him. I have to say though, that the final chapter was a bit disappointing, while it was fairly poignant to get flashes from Rinko's past and how she's ended up at the place that she is...considering what was happening I was a little bit like, 'really?! We're doing this now?!'. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Manga: Kiss Me at The Stroke of Midnight 9

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight Vol 9 
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

As Hinana sinks deeper into despair, Akira has no one else to turn to but his rival Kaede. Akira shares Hinana's past family troubles with Kaede because it's affecting her now more than ever. What will Kaede do when he finally hears the truth? And in a moment of respite, Hinana and Kaede take a vacation to a hot spring resort, and, much to their chaperone's dismay, things get a little steamy! 

I have to say this volume takes a more serious tone than the recent ones and I really enjoyed that. We get some solid background information on Hinana and her past, I really did feel for her and I empathised with her. It was easy to see how she became the person that she is and why she does certain things, a lot of pieces fell in to place when it comes to she and her decisions and personality. 

Things do get quite serious and emotional this volume, more so than we've seen before I feel, with regards to that and I personally felt like it was nice to see a more serious layer to the story and characters, especially from Kaede. 

It was a nice way to spend a chunk of the volume before things get a little bit lighter, although Kaede is about to have a problem of his own as he has to face Funny Bone again and I'm interested to see how that's going to play out, especially as Hinana ends up becoming involved. 

I enjoyed addressing Hinana's past and the issue's it's caused her in the present, I liked getting to her understand her a lot more and see Kaede be a little bit more serious. I feel like it was good for their relationship too, showing a more mature and serious side to it. I think the end is in sight as we address Hinana's problems as well as Kaede's. 

Friday, 11 October 2019

Review: Batman Nightwalker

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

Returning home from his lavish eighteenth birthday party, Bruce Wayne stops a criminal's getaway - disobeying the police and crashing his car during the chase. 
Sentenced to community service in Gotham City's Arkham Asylum, he encounters some of the the city's most dangerous and mentally disturbed criminals. Among these, Bruce meets the intriguing Madeleine who has ties to the Nightwalker gang that is terrorizing Gotham City.
She's a mystery Bruce has to unravel but can he trust her? The Nightwalkers target the rich, and Bruce's name is next on their list.
First thing's first, I loved the art style for this graphic novel adaptation! The art is just gorgeous, the character designs are wonderfully drawn and I really liked the aesthetic of them, but I loved the colour palette for this entire graphic novel the most. It's all black, white and grey with yellow being the only colour but it's only used for certain accent things you could say and I really loved that choice! I also particularly liked the way the expressions were drawn on character's faces and the emotion that you could see in their eyes where brought across so well with the art, like the snide looks Bruce got in one particular panel. 
The beginning of this is intriguing, and there's action from the start including a nice and tense car chase. After that it's not long before we're presented with a mystery in the form of the Nightwalkers and then we're getting up close and personal with Arkham Asylum. Bruce is adjusting to life as a billionaire now that he's 18 and like Madeline says...he sees everything in black and white. Good and bad. He's also a little bit too nosy for his own good in this case! 
Madeline is suitably mysterious, she seems to relate to Bruce and you can empathise with her past. But you can't really trust her and I was constantly torn between wanting to trust her...but not quite being able to bring myself to. You could never really be sure if she was telling the truth or if she was lying and she's very manipulative but she certainly kept you on your toes.
As someone who's read the original book, I have to say this was nicely paced and we move through the story wonderfully from point to point with action, tension and suspicion throughout before everything wraps up perfectly. The key plot points and most important scenes have been picked out to be brought to life in the graphic novel, with the characters expressions getting across a lot of the emotion as well as adding to the tone and atmosphere of the scenes. None of the plot or feeling behind it is lost with this adaptation, and you can see the beginnings of Bruce becoming Batman with his need to solve mysteries and crimes. By the end of the volume Bruce has been set on his path to truly becoming Batman. We also get cameos from Alfred, Lucius, Harvey Dent and James Gordon as well.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Blog Tour: Angel Mage

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Angel Mage blog tour! I'm so excited to be included in this blog tour, and I've got something a little special for you extract from the book introducing one of the characters, Agnez! 
I'm nearly finished with reading the book and it is....stunning. I could so easily binge read this, it's not at all hard to read or heavy and if I could binge read the whole thing..I would have. I love Garth Nix's world building and the characters he creates and he never fails to draw me in to his worlds and have me getting lost for hours, Angel Mage is certainly no exception to that! I am so close to finishing the book and my review will be coming ASAP so keep an eye on my Twitter! 

Angel Mage is Garth Nix's first adult fantasy novel, and it's inspired by Dumas and The Three Musketeers in a gender equal world...but with Angelic magic and I can't begin to describe to you all how in love with the magic system I am! 

So what is Angel Mage about? Well...

More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of her country, Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.

Liliath’s quest centres round four young Sarancians, all seemingly different but who share something very important. There is Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic.

The four feel a strange, immediate kinship for each other from the moment they meet, but they do not know why, or suspect their importance. Only Liliath knows their secret, and she aims to draw them in to her complex plot, just as she manipulates the Queen and her musketeers and everyone else around here.

The four friends must learn to rely on each other and each of their unique skills if they’re going to stand a chance to outwit Liliath and the angels she commands.

Intrigued? Of course you are, how could you not be!? So if you're ready to delve in to this world...continue on for the extract...

Ugh, I love Agnez okay, I hope you guys will love her too when you read this! I can promise you that the writing and world building for this book are so rich, and it really does pull you in as you read! I had high expectations for this book, and I have not been let down thus far! 

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour... 


Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Manga: Eden's Zero 4

Eden's Zero Vol 4 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review! 

A young boy gazes up at the sky and sees a streaming bolt of light. The friendly, armor-clad being at his side tells him gently, "That's a dragon." The fact that he's joking isn't important. What's important is the look of wonder on the boy's face... and the galaxy-spanning adventure that's about to take place! Join Hiro Mashima (Fairy Tail, Rave Master) once more as he takes to the stars for another thrilling saga! 

There's tension from the start of this volume as we have an incoming disaster and a fight, so you could say the first few chapters are pretty intense for that, and we've got twists once again to take us by surprise, especially as we meet Sister Ivry. Plus we obviously have a mad scramble to get off the planet before it all goes to hell, basically. 

I really am enjoying the dynamics between our little group of misfits, and the banter that they have that provides a lot of the humour. I also love the adventure/quest vibe to this as we bounce from place and ensuing chaos to place and yet more chaos. So far each new place we've visited has been not only interesting but also different to the previous places we've visited. 

We got to learn a little more about Homura in this volume which eased my suspicions about her a smidge. But we have an ominous new character on the loose that may or may not...but most likely will cause trouble for our group. 

Keeping up the nice pace we soon head out to search for the remaining two of the Four Shining Stars, their next target being Valkyrie. However, before they can find Valkyrie we come face to face with Hermit..sort of. Of course nothing is that simple and so we get to venture to yet another new planet, of course this one is quite different to the ones we've seen so far. 

Digitalis and the explanation for it kind of reminded me of SAO with the whole "if you die in Digitalis you die in real life" kind of thing, and the fact that once you enter the planet you're in a game, which I also found an interesting route to take with the planet and it's different to anything I've seen before when it comes to sci-fi manga or books. What made this planet even more interesting is that we've got a murderer running around so while we get a little bit of a break from the tension it's not long before we're back with it! 

As for easter eggs, I spotted quite a lot of Fairy Tail easter eggs in this volume...Weisz really used a flamethrower ether gear and yelled "atlas flame" and I stared at the page for a solid minute didn't?! We also have an Oracion Seis and Ichiya popped up...sort of. It also has to be said that Rebecca really looked like Carla when she's in her human form at one point. 

All in all Volume 4 is another nicely paced volume with plenty of action and intrigue to keep you going, and I'm enjoying how everything is tying together both within this volume specifically and within the story as a whole! After the cliffhanger ending, I'm even more excited for the next volume! 

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