Monday, May 1, 2017

Noragami: Stray God vol. 1


This was the other new manga I picked up on my last trip to the library. The name sounded familiar but I have not looked to see if it is an anime that I had glimpsed or not. I should look that up.

In this story Yato is a homeless god looking to make a name for himself. But he is doing it by promising to help anyone in need, by posting his number everywhere, hoping for calls, and charging a mere 5 yen until he can save up to buy a shrine for himself and hopefully bring worshipers to him.

So in this volume we have 3 short stories mostly. The first a little introduction to Yato via a tale of him helping a young girl being bullied. The second his meeting Hiyori when she tries to save him from getting hit by a bus. The third is a continuation of the second that better fits the style of "chapters" but it still feels a bit disjointed.

I am not as impressed by this story as I thought I would be when I read the description. I don't know if it is just the way the first chapter seems separate from the other two (which is more annoying when you know that what feels like the narrative voice is no one in the chapter) or just the subject matter or Yato being kind of a jerk. Whatever it is, I am going to try and give the story a second chance by picking up the next volume. If I remain unimpressed than I am giving up. I really hope the story picks up! Either way, I'll let you know what I think!

The Demon Prince of Momochi House vol. 1


I know it has been too long since I picked up a book and finished it, I am so sorry no new reviews have been posted! Once more I pulled myself out of a reading slump via a new manga series. So here, have a look at the series I will now be hunting down!

The story is centered around Himari Momochi, an orphan recently turned 16 who has been willed a large house that belonged to her family. Only, when she gets there she discovers that squatters are already living there! One of them is Aoi, the handsome boy who accidentally broke the seal on the house before Himari could and has now been possessed with the magic to protect the house, which lies on the border between the spirit world and the real one.

One manga in, only 3 chapters, and I am kinda already hooked on both Himari and Aoi! I knew as soon as I read the description of the book that it was right up my alley with the spirit world, girl alone in the world, and a possible love story. Add to that the beautiful artwork that Aya Shouoto gives and I was instantly loving the story!

So far there are 11 books listed over on Goodreads, so I will be looking for them all at the library. Depending on the status of the story when I get to volume 11, I'll try to post again when I get there to let you know how I feel about the story after I have read more of it. If you have read it before, let me know what you thought of it!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Would-Be Witch


This one was a just for fun when I should be reading others book that I saw while walking the shelves at the library. It's been sitting on the stack for a few weeks and finally yesterday I told myself I either pick it up and read it or take it back so I can focus of others. Well, I read it! In on day.

So, Tammy Jo is a small town Texan girl. At 23 she is a very popular pastry chef with sass and an ex husband that does not believe in the divorce paperwork. Oh, and she comes from a very long line of powerful witchy women. Only, she has no magic. At all. And now she has no job. And the locket that contains a dead ancestor's soul has been stolen. Chaos has descended on Tammy Jo's small town life and she is just trying to hold onto the bits.

I haven't read a book in this genre in a while now, it having been way longer than I would care to admit since I picked up a Kim Harrison book to enjoy. But for some reason I saw this one and it really caught my attention. And now I am so glad that I decided to read it before forcing myself to give it up as a lost cause. Because this was such a fun read and I am itching to pick up the next one.

Tammy Jo is a very sassy southern woman, which makes her instantly likable in my opinion. Throw in her magical heritage and the 2 gorgeous guys she has fawning over her, and she has a lot I wish I had. Plus an absolutely amazing cat! All of this makes the story very upbeat and fast paced as Tammy Jo tries to not only figure out what is going on but try to fix what little she can with her limited resources. Then you have broody warlocks that should be off limits, werewolves with their wires crossed, a very flamboyant but helpful vampire, all thrown into a town of muggles so oblivious it's dangerous. But it all works! Frost manages to fill the pages with these odds and ends wonderfully, inciting me to continue reading well into the night to try and figure out just what was going to happen to everyone!

Now, I am not saying this book was the best ever written. I really hope you don't pick it up expecting a masterpiece only to crash my comments in upset. No, this book was simply fun. I have no major complaints about it, none, because it is what it is without trying to be something better. It's a short, quirky supernatural romance with a very stubborn female lead who is caught between two wonderful men who have their faults. It was a quick fun read that was just good enough to get me to pick up the next one in hopes of more of the same. The characters were wonderfully balanced creations of good and bad so that I loved every one of them (except the werewolves obviously) and the story had just enough weight that it gave me a reason to keep turning the pages.

I really enjoyed it and hope you do to if you choose to pick it up! I look forward to the next one in the series!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

February - Books with Mr. or Mrs. in the title

To fulfill this month's book club theme, I literally did the broadest search in my local library's database, simply typing in the word "Mr." in the title search. My plan was to find a few books, read their synopsis, and then yes, pick 1 by its cover. Then do the same with "Mrs." However, I found 2 with "Mr." that have interested me and I think I will stay with those.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore turned out to be a random good pick. Imagine a secret society for bibliophiles, because that is what the book's narrator, Clay Jannon, unintentionally falls into while bored at his new job as book store clerk for the eccentric Mr. Penumbra. When Clay decides to while away the hours by using computer code to plot costumers' book histories, he discovers the puzzle filled world of the Unbroken Spine. Not only is his life changed, but he turns the secret society upside down with the events that follow.

Here is another book done in first person. Is this the new big thing? I have to say, the point of view was neither here nor there for me this time. While I was mostly okay with Clay's voice, there were a few other times I thought things being said were mere thoughts but were answered by the other characters. Ok, so dialogue then. No quotation marks? Mildly annoying. Usually, though, Clay's thoughts were humorous and entertaining.

Overall, the story was interesting. I liked the idea of this secret society just for people who tend to look too deeply into books. And the secret to immortality, yeah, that was something to make me smile. Oh, and the very wide range of people involved! The way things turned a little sideways. These things made the book more enjoyable.

I'm glad I stumbled upon this one. It was unique and fun! Has anyone else picked up this little gem? If so, I would love to know what you thought as well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Every Last Word

January - Books with a white cover


This is the story of Sam. Sam has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, focusing on the obsessive part. She is sixteen and she was diagnosed years ago, and she is in therapy and trying to cope with it. But no one outside of Sam's family knows. And she likes it like that because she wants the world to think she is completely normal. Only, she is lonely because of this thinking. Until she meets Caroline and her world starts to change. Sam discovers poetry and makes friends and focuses on herself. She starts to be happy. It's a wonderful story!

And it is so darn familiar to me that sometimes I had to take a step back. Sure, the details are a little different because while I do have OCD (or Pure-O as I have discovered is more accurate), I was dealing more with depression and anxiety in high school. And whereas Sam had a group of plastic friends she felt she could never explain things to, I had my family who I was desperate not to disappoint. Sam meets the Poets, friends that understood, had their own faults, but had poetry. I had a few friends that had their own illness and were willing to just let me be. Sam finds AJ. I am now married to my own AJ. It sounds so awesome, finding your way through, figuring out who you are and how to be happy in it. But it's not that easy. At one point, Sam's friend tells her she is changing, and maybe not for the better. I received those same lines from my father. It was hard to explain that I wasn't who everyone had though I was up to that point, especially since my family really liked that girl and I was becoming my own person. It took my a long time to find my own Poets, but I got there and have slowly to become happier in my own life.

So imagine how amazing it was to pick up this book and discover my story within its pages! So maybe I was far more drawn to the story than you would be. But I honestly believe that Stone does such an amazing job of giving us Sam in all her crazy glory and making us fall in love with her. She does an incredible job of capturing the good, the bad, the crazy of Sam's day to day life, from the obsession with her odometer in her car to the panic attacks that nearly cripple her. Stone did a lot of research for this story, and it really shows in how accurately she portrays so much of it. It was wonderful getting to read this one. Even through the sad parts and the bits that gave me second hand embarrassment and the pages that made my heart smile. It was a fantastic book from beginning to end. Please, pick it up, read it, love it with me!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Symptoms of Being Human

January - Books with white covers


When I saw the theme for this month I had to make my way to the library for both books because incidentally I have no books with white covers! I am so glad that I did! Because I found two that I think will be incredible. And the first one really was!

Riley is gender fluid, meaning that instead of waking up with the anatomy of a female and feeling like a girl, Riley has to take a moment to gauge where their gender dial is at the moment. Of course, this doesn't help much because Riley is not out as gender fluid and therefore cannot dress to their preference for the day. So this is the story of Riley switching schools, going through therapy, being the child of a conservative congressman, all while trying to navigate the very confusing path of gender fluidity. And this story is wonderful!

At the end of the book Jeff Garvin writes a note including statistics for trans and gender nonbinary people: how many are sexually harassed, how many commit suicide, how many have no access to helpful resources. This note is necessary because his character, Riley, has it relatively good, with help and support from numerous sources. Most in Riley's situation do not. And yet, even with having it good, Riley in no way has it easy.

Garvin does an incredible job of trying to nail down the symptoms and effects of a term that is just as fluid in how it effects individuals as it is for the day to day of those with it. There are many times when Riley described a panic attack that had me feeling in the moment of one of my own attacks, Garvin captures it so perfectly. This is an incredible debut for a man that has no personal experience with the things he describes in his book. It makes me excited to see what he tackles next!

So, this is when I say what point of view this books is written in and dissect how it effected my reading of the book. First person! I know, I know, for someone who hates first person so much I seem to find a lot of novels written in it! But this one, this one could not have been written in any other way! Because Riley is fluid, the reader cannot see Riley in any other way than how Riley sees Riley. Notice how earlier in my post I have to use they/them so that I do not assign a gender to Riley? Garvin avoids the pronoun issue by allowing Riley to tell the story. That coupled with the fact that only Riley can accurately portray everything they go through forces this book to be best done in first person. And it was wonderful that way! Maybe it helped that I could relate to Riley's punk attitude and made me love them from the first lines of the book!

I loved everything about this book! I was so excited to see it on the shelf and get to take a look into the world of a character set that is slowly finding its way into books these days. I love nontraditional characters. And I love that the number of novels are growing that can help those with less traditional problems. The best way for a teenager to feel safe is to show them others that feel the same way. Riley is an example of of trying to give more teenagers this safe space through understanding. It touches my heart to see the genre expanding in such a way! So, if you have more books along these lines, please send them my way! I would love to read more on subjects that I cannot understand first hand but want to understand for others. And if you haven't picked this one up but are willing to branch out of the norm, please do. This one was incredible! Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Virals


I got so excited when I saw this book sitting on the shelf at the library. As a huge fan of the Bones series, I have been meaning to pick up one of Reichs' books for a while now, but have yet to come across the first in the Bones series at a time when I was able to read it. And here this one was right before the start of the final season of Bones! Serendipity! I even started reading it the day episode one of season 12 premiered.

But it was not what I was hoping for.

Mostly my issues stem around the fact that Reichs chose to write in first person. As my followers are well aware, I am not a big fan of first person, and the fact that Reichs nailed the teenage voice perfectly actually hindered my liking. While Tory is an incredibly smart and gifted young woman, she is not Temperance Brennan, a woman to whom I have always felt a connection. I did not feel as close to Tory. In fact, too often I found myself annoyed with her enough that I put the book down and purposefully found other things to do.

I really hate making it sound like I don't like Reichs, because that is not the case. I simply did not like this particular book. I didn't like the way she was forced to switch her voice to make up for the times when Tory was not present in the story, I felt it pulled me out of it. I was not fond of the way that she chose to alter the DNA of young teenagers because it is just the other side of science fiction that I was not expecting from Reichs.

In short I didn't like the book mainly for the fact that it was not Bones. So I am going to make sure that one of her Temperance Brennan books is next on my list to find so that I can give you a better review of Reichs' writing.

For this post, I will be updating it with how my friend enjoyed the book. She is a teacher of 7th/8th grade kids and will hopefully have better words for this series. Stay tuned for it! And if you have read this book and liked it, please speak up! Let me know what you thought so that I can be put in my place about her young adult series!