Goldfisch by Nana Yaa

Title: Goldfisch

Author: Nana Yaa

Published: January 16th 2018

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Goodreads

 

Goldfisch has some similarities to other shonen manga I’ve read and anime I’ve watched but that does not make it any less creative or interesting. I wasn’t really sure if I would like it at first because the first chapter jumped into things pretty quickly and I wasn’t sure if I would like the character’s personalities, but that feeling wore off very quickly.

The main character Morrey Gibbs is a very sweet kid who still seems a bit new in his King Midas everything-I-touch-turns-into-gold situation which is not working out in his favor for multiple different reasons ranging from not being able to feed himself or dress himself without his otter friends help to aspects of the story that are very spoilery in nature. I really appreciated his role as the protagonist because he is very innocent, regrets the mistakes he makes and actively works to fix them. I also really loved his reasoning behind wanting to get rid of his Midas’s touch and how he isn’t completely driven, as some adventure driven manga are, by wanting to be the best or achieve his goals solely for himself. His character developed itself very well even in just the first volume and I already feel like I know who he is as a person pretty well. With that being said, he isn’t the smartest character and makes some mistakes and poor choices that could have been easily avoided.

I also really liked most of the other characters.  Shelly is the only one I didn’t really care for because she seems to care less about Morrey as a person and a kid than she does about what he can do for her research when they first met. She did grow on me quite a lot by the end though she still isn’t my favorite type of character in general and can be kind of judgemental.

Without giving too much away regarding the plot, Morrey is being chased by a very shady group of bounty hunters because they think he has something they want, largely because of his Midas’s touch. I think that all of the different plot points are tying together very well too especially some of the mystery surrounding his father and his brother which both seem like they’ll shape up to be very important even beyond what has already been shown. Apart from Shelly there wasn’t anything I particularly disliked about it and I am very much looking forward to reading the next volume when it’s published in English!

 

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5 Great Webcomics

I don’t know how many of you read webcomics, but I completely adore them! Once you’re caught up on a series the new pages don’t take long to read so they’re great if you’re waiting for class to start or commuting somewhere. I love the illustrations too! Please note that none of these are finished yet. 

1. Spectra Spell by Lisa Harald

This is a very new comic so I can’t say much about it at this point, but I already love it. However one of the main characters is autistic and the other is a transgirl so I’m excited if only for that. There’s also quite a few strange things happening, including magic weird weather and strange creatures. The art is also very cute and professional in appearance. I hope that some of you try this one because I’d love to hear what you think of it!!! I love the others on the list as well of course but this one has quite a bit more diversity than the others which gives it an extra boost!

You can read it here

2. Rise From the Ashes by Madeleine Rosca

Winter is a ghost with an intense devotion to the house she haunts. Her house becomes damaged and she falls under the control of an organization called the Red Crows who control and use ghosts. She’s an interesting character with no real desire to help or stay with the Crows, just wanting to return to her house. There is also some mystery surrounding her past and what kind of person she was when she was alive, which I am very excited to find out!

Updates on Wednesdays

Read it on Webtoons

3. The Bane of the East by Martlas/jesterland

This one’s about witches and magic, which for me was an immediate draw. The main character, Belladona, is the daughter of a witch that was widely hated by everyone who struggles to perform magic herself.

This one doesn’t have as well defined of an update schedule as Rise From the Ashes but I still love it.

Read it on Webtoons

4. Monster Pulse by Magnolia Porter

Monster Pulse has lots of interesting characters. The main two are Bina and Julie, two kids who have one of their body parts transformed into a monster that continues working as the original body part did and protects them from harm. They become endangered by a shady organization that caused the monsters in the first place and do their best to keep their monsters secret and themselves safe from the organization, along with several other characters. It’s a very cute story and I enjoy the relationships that the monsters have with their humans and each other. I’m not caught up with it at the moment but if you’re interested there’s quite a bit to read (It was started in May of 2011 and most recently updated this Jan 18, 2018). The art and anatomy also evolves and gets better as the story progresses and I looking back at the beginning and seeing how it has improved.

Find it here

5. The Pigeon Gazette by Pigeoneer Jane

Unlike the other comics I’ve mentioned, this one is not story based so it’s very easy to read quickly. The author is very funny and all of the different panels are very unique and entertaining.

Read it on Tapas

 

Also check out Sarah’s Scribbles. It’s not one of the 5 because I think it’s quite a bit more well known than the others (at this point it’s won Goodreads Choice awards twice) with and you can also purchase it in print form.

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: November 8th 2016

Rating: 2.5-3/5 stars (I still can’t decide!)

Goodreads

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Review

This was a weird book for me, because I’m still not completely sure what I actually think of it. The synopsis makes it sound like it could go really well or really badly especially the “she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love” bit, which I was a bit wary of. And it kinda did go both ways, at least a lot more than I’m used to, because there were so many things that drove me crazy about it but I still enjoyed it at the same time (though not enough to distract at all from the things I disliked).

When the story starts Catherine is nothing like the Red Queen we’re used to, apart from her love of tarts, but I still didn’t think she was a good person. I glanced at a few reviews when I was thinking about reading it and it seems that the general conscious is that she’s a very sweet and innocent girl with no hint of what she is to become, so I’m in the minority there. She has a wonderful relationship with one of her servants, Mary Ann, and wants to start up a bakery with her, but she doesn’t really have any other good relationships with anyone else. We’re introduced to another one of her friends, who isn’t really a friend, pretty early on into the novel and one of the first things she does is call her “unbearably attractive” and talk about how she doesn’t like her personality. There a few other instances of this, but for some reason they didn’t immediately turn me off to her. I was interested in her flaws because I thought they might contribute to her acting like the Red Queen we’re all familiar with, but they became too much for me fairly quickly. I struggled to find any truly positive traits in her apart from her skill in baking and occasional spouts of bravery. If anything she became more annoying further into the book and her relationship with Jest and I could never really like her all that much. Though at the same time, despite her selfishness and other negative traits I couldn’t bring myself to hate her because I was trying to figure out how she would become the cruel Red Queen the entire time and it wasn’t that hard for me to see some of her behavior becoming more intense and cruel.

Also I mentioned her baking as a positive trait, but it was actually something that liked me less. She talked about how she was the best baker constant and had overwhelming confidence in her skills, never losing faith in them for a second. I got tired of hearing this pretty fast, but then, to add insult to injury, she began criticizing everyone else’s cooking that she tried. Even if this was somewhat deserved in certain cases I wished she hadn’t been so obvious about it and had calmed down a bit about her love of her own baking. It was something that was necessary to the story, but I think it could have been approached in a better way and helped it to seem more like the positive trait it was supposed to be.

For all of her flaws I had trouble seeing why she was so well liked by the male population. There are only two people who are really vying for her affections but a third who had much less page time also seemed implied from how he insisted he hated her so often and then got kinda flustered when she was brought up (I’m really not sure here?). I don’t understand why they would like her so much? The King seems to be interested in her almost solely because he loves her baking, but I don’t get the impression that they’ve spent enough time together for him to really know her that well let alone to want her as his queen. I liked her relationship with Jest a lot more, they were actually fairly cute together, but it also seemed a little bit forced especially near the beginning. It was a major and weird case of insta-love where they both met once and gained an intense attraction for each other immediately without much reason. I think Cath was interested him partially because of his powers and also because of a weird never really explained dream she had. In Jest’s case I have no idea where the attraction came from. But that’s not to say that I disliked their relationship altogether.

Jest was incredibly sweet to her and had some interesting magical powers that kept me interested in his character. I didn’t really like the way that Catherine treated him or the king though. She would have sweet moments with Jest while at the same time being aware of how the King of Hearts felt about her. As is the case with many books with multiple characters going after the main character it began to feel like she was leading them both on, especially since she was not shy about expressing her lack of interest in the King but neglected to give any indication of this to him. I wasn’t actually particularly fond of the King himself, but I felt bad for him not knowing how she actually felt.

What I really really liked about this book was how things started to get tied together in the later chapters, a large part of why I’m having trouble giving this a definite rating. The majority of the rest of the book didn’t really feel like it had all that much going on in comparison, and was rather slow for me (like the first 70-75% probably). This is also where Cath displayed some more character development, which didn’t change at all for most of the rest of the book, which was really nice to see because it was part of the reason why I wanted to read it in the first place. Though I must admit, it didn’t seem that realistic of a change/development and I felt like there could have been more of a building up of reasons for it. The ending did come across as a bit rushed and I probably would have liked it a bit more if some of the elements and plot points surrounding the last parts of the book were explored in a bit more detail earlier on (even if I did guess one of the more major twists fairly on). I also think that there were some things in that first section that weren’t really necessary and could have been cut out entirely. Overall I did end up enjoying it and I’m interested to see if the author decides to write any short stories or such because there are some characters and other element of the story that I would love to learn more about!
Also, if you’re looking for more Alice and Wonderland retellings, I would recommend Splintered by A.G Howard and I’d love to hear about any others you’ve enjoyed too.

I’m Back! Also Brief Book Recommendations for Younger Readers

I’ve been inactive for quite a while longer than I ever intended! Partially because I started college a while back and got busy with classes and such. I’m determined to change that, so I’ll be posting once again very soon. Nice to see you all again! In the meantime here are a few books that I really enjoyed when I was younger. Since I’m quite a bit older than I was when I read most of these, I find it very interesting to consider how my taste in books has evolved and stayed the same.

 

1195044Title: Swordbird

Author: Nancy Yi Fan

Published: February 1st, 2007

Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads 

The blue jays and cardinals of Stone-Run Forest have turned against each other. According to legend, only Swordbird, son of the Great Spirit, has the power to conquer evil and restore peace to the land. But is he real or just a myth? Can Swordbird arrive in time to save the forest . . . or will it be too late?

Twelve-year-old author Nancy Yi Fan has woven a captivating tale about the birds of Stone-Run Forest and the heroism, courage, and resourcefulness in their quest for peace.

Why I liked it:

I can’t say that I remember everything about this book, but I do remember that it really inspired me. The author was only 12 when she wrote it so it made me feel encouraged to also continue writing. I think that all young writers should consider checking it out, especially if they like birds and adventure. Beyond that I loved the interactions of the birds and their quest all felt very engaging, and they were written with an undeniable passion. I can’t say for sure that I would love it as much now, but I think back on it fondly and plan to read it again at some point.

 

769483Title: Magyk

Author: Angie Sage

Published: May 11th, 2005

Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads 

The first part of an enthralling new series leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters, clever charms, potions and spells. Ages 9+.

The 7th son of the 7th son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son, Septimus?

The first part of this enthralling new series leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters, clever charms, potions and spells, and a yearning to uncover the mystery at the heart of this story…who is Septimus Heap?

Angie Sage writes in the tradition of great British storytellers. Her inventive fantasy is filled with humor and heart: Magyk will have readers laughing and begging for more.

Why I liked it:

I loved the magic in this and I loved Septimus. The development of the plot and the characters kept a firm hold on me during the few years that it took me to read up to Syren (book 5 of 7) which is where I stopped. Even now I am still interested to see what will happen to the characters in the last two books, so this is another series that I will probably pick up again eventually paying no mind to its status as a middle grade book.

 

159069Title: A Wrinkle in Time

Author: Madeleine L’engle

Published: 1962

Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads 

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Why I liked it:

I’m sure that most people have heard of this one because its going to be a movie soon, but I already love it in its original form, though I do plan to watch it and it looks much much better than the 2003 adaptation (IMBD). The characters in this book are all quite wonderful. Meg is a likeable protagonist and her interactions with her love interest are very sweet and innocent. I really rooted for them to get together. Meg’s love for her younger brother Charles Wallace was also very sweet, and I adored their relationship even more than Meg and Calvin’s, which is saying a lot because I find that sibling relationships can easily seem forced or overdone, if their relationship is healthy at all. Aside from the relationships of the main characters I also loved the world building and the twists at the end. This is a middle grade book that adults and middle grade readers can both enjoy.

 

 

Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce

 Title: Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures 

Authors: Jackson  Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater (also the illustrator)

Published: April 28th, 2015

Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads

From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations.
Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town.

Continue reading

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

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Title: The Orphan Queen

Author: Jodi Meadows

Published: March 10, 2015

Rating: 5/5 stars (subject to change with full reading)

 Goodreads:

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.
She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Review:

Although I may not have been aware that this was going to be an excerpt when I started it, I still ferociously enjoyed reading the twelve chapters offered. Wilhelmina was a perfect heroine for this story. Unlike so many before her, she has set her first priority to reclaiming her country instead of focusing on a boy. This is something I truly appreciate because although I enjoy reading romance, it sometimes has a bit too strong of a place in books defined firstly as fantasy. In “The Orphan Queen” everyone does a really good jog of remembering what their fighting for, and they have a tight knit group that helps to remin anyone who loses track. Among this group is Melanie, a particularly interesting character. Wil’s bestfriend, Melanie is either one of my favorites of the characters or the one I will end up liking the least. She’s very mysterious, kind and protective to Wil and the other orphans. So she comes off a bit like a mama bear at times, but it doesn’t seem like she’s entirely trustworthy at the point in the story at which my sample ended. (which of course just makes me more anxious to read the entire thing) The Black Knife is just the icing on the cake, but I won’t give away the little bit that I know about him. It’s more enjoyable to find that out for your self.

*A review copy of the first twelve chapters was provided on Edelweiss by Katherine Tegen Books.*

I Recommend… Anne McCaffrey and The Harper Hall Trilogy

Those that know me well are likely aware that I love dragons. I read books about the creatures somewhat obsessively, as well as watch shows including them and collect objects involving them.

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But of course, I love some dragon books more than others, just as I favor some authors above others. And since I’ve recently reread the book for what must be the third or fourth time, it seems only natural that I speak about The Harper Hall Trilogy and Anne McCaffrey. These aren’t all of the books that McCaffrey has written, certainly not all of the ones about dragons, but I continue to find myself pulled back to them, the first two in particular. They aren’t even exactly about dragons, to be truthful, but the creatures that dragons came from. The main focus is on the fire lizards. What all dragons would have remained if the humans of Pern had not genetically engineered them to grow bigger and fight off the deadly Thread that falls from the planet’s Red Star on occasion. But these mini dragons are just as interesting to me as their larger and more highly focused on counterparts.

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My copy of the first book in the series is proof to that, as it has become largely mangled and torn from various rereadings as well as its age (it was published in 1976).

So why do I like it so much? The short answer would have to be the main character. Her name is Menolly and I love her. Menolly is a bit younger than most YA protagonists at fourteen, but this doesn’t stop her from being just as awesome as any of the more well known YA protagonists.

At the start of the novel Menolly lives with her family in the Sea Hold. This wouldn’t be much of a cause for trouble for most, but Yanus, Menolly’s father, makes everyone work with the fish and do other sea related chores, and sees music as pointless at best. Menolly prospers even among these conditions, and manages to leave the hold and Impress nine fire lizards. Basically I find her very impressive, especially since practically everyone in her original home is prejudiced against girls. I’ll leave it at that, so that anyone who wants to read Dragonsong can discover for themselves how she finds the lizards and survives without her hold. It really is amazing.