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Graphic Novel Review Sleepless, Vol. 1 by by Sarah Vaughn

Image Comics
July 10, 2018
168 Pages

Lady “Poppy” Pyppenia is guarded by the Sleepless Knight Cyrenic, but becomes endangered when an assassin threatens her life in the new king’s reign.

As Poppy and Cyrenic try to discover who wants her dead, they must navigate the dangerous waters of life at court, and of their growing feelings for one another. – Goodreads

I have been eyeing this book since its release and last week I finally got the opportunity to read it.

I was pulled in by the overall story as opposed to the individual characters. When you begin reading you see Poppy mourning and being (slightly) dramatic over her father’s grave. At this scene,  I was a bit skeptical but Poppy redeems herself a little bit as the story progresses. I saw a little bit because although she can stand up for herself, she doesn’t know how to defend herself when it comes down to it. This bothered me a bit because what happens in this book is apparently not the first time it has happened and she has done nothing to improve.

Poppy isn’t an unlikable character. I believe that this volume is an introduction and she will grow. This I am looking forward to it.

There isn’t a whole lot to Cyrenic. I feel that in this volume we are thrown in the middle of things and although there is some backstory, it doesn’t feel placed well. That add some form of insight to Poppy and Cyrenic as individuals but not as a whole.

As for their romance. It was forced. Cyrenic may have been into Poppy truly but it wasn’t until a moment that Poppy looked at him different. There wasn’t a build up to romance. It was just there.

Also things move a bit too fast and normally I wouldn’t have an issue with this but it felt like the author and team though this would be the only set of comics they would get so they just threw everything they can think of into it, so i can feel like a standalone.

I know that I am listing what I didn’t like about this read but I was sucked in. Between the world building, the dramatics of a new King and a assassination plot, I was thoroughly into the book. I love medieval times because it is so dramatic. I honestly believe this is where soap operas get their materials from.

As I have not read the comic individually and only this volume, which is books 1-6, the ending pissed me off because I would have to wait til March to read the second volume or go to the comic book store and buy the comics. *Sigh*

None the less, this is a promising series and even if you decide that you do not want to wait for the next volume, you still should read this book.

Overall,

4 Pickles

 

Book Review: Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Grand Central Publishing
Published Sept 5th, 2017
384 Pages

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all.- Goodreads

It didn’t take long for me to be sucked into this book. I stayed up late to finish this book and was disappointed in the ending but the overall book left an impression. Louise was a follower as a teen and still is in a way as an adult. What she did and didn’t do as a teen is coming back to haunt her in the forum of a Facebook request, guilt and some stalking.

I really enjoyed the vagueness and suspense the author was able to create in a everyday environment. There isn’t a lot that actually happens. A lot of the tension and the what will happen next is because Louise is freaking out. Which is completely understandable if the person you thought was dead is physically haunting you. There is no paranormal activity going on in this book, so that may be a hint to where things are going but it is also important to note that because things move slower then what you would think if this was a paranormal book. But there is a constant need to find out what happens next. There is a desire to get to 1: find out about the secret 2: find the truth about Maria 3: find out what is actually happening.

Here are my issues with the book:

1: There are some parts of the book that are very misleading. The author leads you down a specific road but the at the end you’re like what?

2: The ending was weak. All that building, waiting for the truth, excitement for the truth just lead to the most lack luster ending I could possibility think of. Think of staying up until 1 a.m. to get to that. -_-

Those were my two biggest issues in this book. I felt that there should have been more going on other then Louise freaking out and feeling guilty and still wanting the approval of others. There should have been some growth in Louise and personality. There wasn’t much to her other than what happened when she was a teen and her relationship with past friends and her ex-husband.

Overall, I enjoyed the book but I know it could have been 5 Pickles as opposed to

3 Pickles

Manga Review: Devil’s Line by Ryo Hanada

Vertical Comics Published May 24, 2016 224 Pages
Vertical Comics
Published May 24, 2016
224 Pages

Tsukasa is rescued from a vampire attack, by an unknown vampire blending with the human population. Anzai, her hero is a half-breed that uses his powers to help a shadowy police task force, fight against vampire- related crime in Tokyo. 

As Anzai and Tsukasa become closer, Anzai has to fight harder to keep from breaking his no human blood rule.

Based off the summary, this sounds like a typical vampire human romance. But trust me . . . it is not. I am only two volumes into this (because the other’s have not been posted online) and it is on my top ten for vampire mangas.

Tsukasa is a awkward college student. Although social-able when it comes around men, she doesn’t know what to do or for that matter say no. When she meets Anzai, she finds him fascinating as opposed to a freak (cliche I know). But there is something about Tsukasa that Anzai decides he has to protect her. The romance is there but it isn’t acted upon as easily as one would think. I loved how both didn’t completely understand their feelings but they weren’t avoiding each other either. It was a mature move; instead of running away they just went with it. I enjoyed that.

Beyond the romance, the story is amazing. So many characters are intertwined and complicates everything in the most artistic way. Is there some predictability? Yes. Is there a love triangle? No. (Thank God) But the cliche not everything is what it seems is the case with this one.

I loved the pace of the manga and how detailed it was without dragging. It was intense, dramatic and had some funny points. The art work was far from cliche; everyone looked different and had different personalities. The cliche of beautiful vampires doesn’t exist in this manga. It is mentioned but from my point of view, that vampire wasn’t all that cute.

If you want a vampire romance that doesn’t have the high school drama and is pure action and intensity, this is for you. I am in love with this therefore to the point, I may buy the series, I am impatient for the next volume to be released.

5 Pickles

Manga Review: Yoru Kafe by Maki Enjoji

Shōgakukan Published 2008 184 Pages
Shōgakukan
Published 2008
184 Pages

Hina Takato inherits the Queen Cafe from her deceased husband. At 23 years old, Hina is brokenhearted and vows to never love again but things do not work exactly like that.

Very quick read, when you need something to read between you reads.  I enjoyed this series but to say it isn’t cliche it kind of is.

So Hina marries a older man and he unexpectedly dies, leaving her with his money and the Queen Cafe. There she is introduced to three waiters, who sell drinks (because they do not cook) part time.

What I enjoyed about this series is that it is adult theme. The high school back and forth for 12 books isn’t there. It is about a adult woman, who loved her husband fiercely but isn’t sure about moving forward. She is navie, but it doesn’t ruin her story completely. Because to be honest, the men in this story as well have some things going on and her not knowing what she wants actually helped them to grow.

But this doesn’t mean that there wasn’t back and forth. Of course there was, the series wouldn’t have gone very far without it. Was it as drawn out as a high school romance? Nope, and I’m completely thankful for that. Each character had their own mini stories and it didn’t become too complicated for the original story. It added depth without adding unnecessary mess.

So, I read this series on Kiss Manga and it is labeled as smut. There is sex and it is fairy graphic (when it occurs). But would I consider it smut? No, because the novel doesn’t surround sex. But it happens a lot towards the end.

I can’t say that there was something within this series that I didn’t like. Because for what it was it was cute and an entertaining read. I loved the pace, the artwork was alright; nothing spectacular. I would recommend this to someone, who is looking for something quick, light and romantic.

 

3 Pickles

 

 

 

Manga Review: Boku dake ga Inai Machi 1 (Erased #1) by Kei Sanbe

Kadokawa Shoten Published Jan 26, 2013
Kadokawa Shoten
Published Jan 26, 2013

Satoru Fujinuma wants to make it as a manga artist but doesn’t know how to deal with people and relationships. So on top of his art, he works as a part-time pizza delivery boy. Looking from the outside in, Satoru is an average male but he has a special ability called “rerun” that allows him to see things before they happen and potently right a wrong. 

But when one of these incidents opens a long forgotten memory, Satoru average life takes a turn.

I sat on this review for a while. I had to sit and let everything I read process. I know what you’re thinking this must have been a terrible book. No, it wasn’t. It actually was one of the best manga’s I have read that wasn’t a high school romance.

It was complicated, emotional in a if I had a child type of way, it was a novel and I loved almost every minute of it.

I say almost because it started off pretty slow and I didn’t really like how it was ended. The issue with the ending is it didn’t provide the fulfillment that the main character had the ending he deserved. It just ended; not with questions but it simply ended. I still don’t know how I feel about that.

In between the slow beginning and the eh ending, the story was great. It had me at the edge of the seat with each page. Satoru doesn’t have much a personality; he isn’t the most depth person and if it wasn’t for his power he would just be a jerk that doesn’t know how to deal with society. But I don’t mind this because the author did an amazing job with the story. It wasn’t about him. It was about the surrounding characters and their lives. He was a feature; do not get me wrong an important feature (he being the hero and all) but a feature compared to those around him. I loved how the author did this. It focused on the story but it wasn’t short of character development.

Its a complicated story that moved fast but not too fast that you felt that something was missing. There was no predictability. When you realized what was going to happened it was already happening. Completely loved it.

The artwork was great as well because it was far from cliche. Everyone looked different, there wasn’t a subliminal sexual innuendo, and the characters had emotions; varying emotion. They felt human. The story felt real as if it happened before or it could happened.

There is an anime for this series but it isn’t complete. I recommend reading it because you will be upset with the way the anime stops.

Overall,

4 Pickles

 

Graphic Novel Review (Spoilers): Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 (Alex + Ada #1-5) by Jonathan Luna, Sarah Vaughn

 Image Comics Published July 16, 2014 128 Pages
Image Comics
Published July 16, 2014
128 Pages

In the near future, robots are a real thing. But the last thing Alex wants is an X5 as an companion. When Ada arrives at his door, Alex realizes that his outlook may not be as accurate as he thought.

Let’s cut right to the chase. This graphic novel is predictable but it is one of those I know what is going to happen but I like reading it anyway.

As stated the story-line was predictable and I really didn’t like Alex. The whole concept is he went through a bad break up and is lonely, so he receives the X5 as a gift from his grandmother, He doesn’t like the fact that Ada is a robot, so he gets her hacked to be a human.

I think that is ridiculously because you want a human girl but you don’t want to put in the work to be with a human girl, so you use a robot and make her more human.  -_-

The story moves really fast and Ada falls into a fast stereotype of over-reacting female faster than any none human can.  But what I liked about this series despite the character flaws was how it showed that given the opportunity humans may not act so human at all. Granted this is not a new concept but it still was not horrible to read. It showed how jealous and petty people can really be when they don’t get what they want.

I enjoyed the artwork very much. It was bright and detailed not cliche in the least. It wasn’t sloppy and other than Alex being stale face most of the time, other characters displayed emotion in a realistic way.

As stated before this series is very basic but there something like-able about that you just keep reading it. This a I happen to see it read not I need to buy it read. So much more could have been done.

 

3 Pickles

Graphic Novel Review: The Dreamer Vol 1: The Consequence of Nathan Hale (The Dreamer #1) by Lora Innes

IDW Publishing Published July 28, 2009 168 Pages
IDW Publishing
Published July 28, 2009
168 Pages

Beatrice “Bea” Whaley has been having dreams about soldier Alan Warren, who is the member of the Knowlton’s Rangers that fought during the Revolutionary War. 

Bea is content with her dreams and then day dreaming about Alan throughout the day but it isn’t too long before she starts questioning the reality of her dreams.

*Short Review*

Let me first start off by saying I love this cover. It is inviting full of detail and it isn’t really whimsical which is what I really love about it.

This is really an introductory graphic novel; literally it is just a taste of what this story could be.  So I have two feelings of this graphic novel: curiosity and disappointment.

I am curious to know why Bea is having these dreams and how it will tie into her reality. I am disappointed because the graphic novel stopped way too soon. It stopped at the spot that would have captivated me to read the second book. I felt that it stopped too abruptly.

However, despite this I felt there was a good substance for the story. Bea is a 17-year old girl who is happy in school but has some issues with her parents (they are kinda missing in action).  I loved the diversity in the novel as well.

As for the art, it is detailed and realistic in the sense that the characters actually look like real people. The author, who is also the illustrator, took care in the drawings and I appreciate that.

Overall, nice intro but wish it was more.

3 Pickles