Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Me on Horimiya Volume 2

Title: Horimiya Volume 2
Original story: HERO
Art: Daisuke Hagiwara
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Yen Press

By all appearances, Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura are worlds apart. Bright and capable, Hori is always surrounded by classmates, the center of attention. For Miyamura, a quirky loner, getting through class unnoticed counts as a good day. But ever since these two started sharing secrets, they've found themselves drawn into each other's orbit little by little and the distance between them shrinking bit by bit...

Horimiya Volume 2 is continuing the story of Hori-san and Miyamura-kun's high school days. Days of studying and student council issues, of worries about the future and reflections on the past.

Though the writing and the expressive artwork and the charm of the characters, there's something so honest and believable about this story. About Hori and Miyamura. Both have their worries, their strengths and weaknesses. Their anxieties. Hori is unsure about the future, unsure about her feelings towards Miyamura when she starts feeling more and more comfortable around him, and Miyamura can't let go of the past, of a childhood that found him called gloomy by classmates. His feelings for Hori are changing as well, and because of how isolated his elementary and middle school years were, he doesn't think Hori's interest will last. Or that of Ishikawa and Yoshikawa. I would definitely recommend this manga to new and old readers, those looking for something serious but also with great moments of awkwardness and comedy.

(I purchased a copy of this book.)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (264)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi! It feels like summer is finally here. It's going to be sunny and warm for days. I kind of want it, the rain depresses me right now.

Reviews going up this week will feature some books! I have no idea which ones, though. ;) One will probably be The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (before I return it to the library).
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (e-galley from First Second Books through NetGalley)
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater (ARC from Scholastic Canada)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Me on Now I Rise

Title: Now I Rise
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House imprint)

Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she's always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn't getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There's no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her. What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu's subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it's no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister's fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him? As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won... and souls will be lost.

Now I Rise is the continuation of an epic tale of power and family, of faith, of sacrifice and determination.

Lada is continuing forward with her mission. her dream. It's time to take back Wallachia, to become its prince. But it's not that simple. She needs men, more than those currently loyal to her. And she needs the nobles of Wallachia and Hungary to stop seeing her as a useless girl with only one purpose. Determined, stubborn, ruthless, bloodthirsty, Lada will stop at nothing. But when battle turns to negotiations, Lada is as subtle as a punch to the nose. What she needs is Radu's way with words. But she can't have him. Radu is too busy hiding. Hiding in his marriage, hiding his feelings for Mehmed, hiding the conflict in his heart. The regret he feels for not following Lada. But he can't escape Mehmed, can't escape what he feels for him. And when Mehmed asks for his help? Radu is willing to do anything. But pose as a spy? Leave him for Constantinople? He's not sure if he can do this, not sure if his heart can be pulled in so many directions. Not sure if he's willing to make the sacrifices it could take.

It's hard to describe this book. The story is continuing from where the first book left off. Lada is still hungry, hungry for power and respect. Hungry for the throne. And Radu is still conflicted, not sure where to turn when caught up in Mehmed, Lada, his feelings, his faith, and the battle he sees coming. If you enjoyed the epic journeys and the conflicted, battered hearts of the first, you will relish this second book while cursing the wait for the third.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Random House through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (336)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Tea Dragon Society
Author: Katie O'Neill
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Publisher: Oni Press

From Goodreads:

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives--and eventually her own.

This sounds so cute. Tea dragons?! Dragons that you harvest tea from? Gorgeous Katie O'Neill art? SOLD. So sold. The best thing is it's being posted as a webcomic before it goes to print, so you can read some of it now!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Me on The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Title: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

Henry "Monty" Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven't been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family's estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. Still it isn't in Monty's nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty's reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is a tense journey through France and Spain, a journey of self-discovery and pain. A journey of fear and truth.

Monty is a rake of the first order. A scoundrel and a flirt and a drunk. The only thing he has that he actually cares about, that his world somewhat centers on, is his best friend Percy. He needs their friendship and their closeness. Having Percy at his side is the only reason why Monty puts up with what he hates. Family. Expectations. The future. Monty can't help who he is, what he does, that he's attracted to boys as well as girls, and so he's looking forward to this Grand Tour with Percy. A whole year away from his father and from expectation.

I wasn't quite sure how I felt about this book, about the journey that the three of them end up on. It was hard to like Monty, to sympathize with him. His refusal to take much of anything beyond his own happiness, and Percy, seriously is a blemish on his character. It takes time to learn more about Monty, to understand why he acts in this way. In a number of ways he's afraid, he's worried, and he's ashamed. And after a time he wants to change, he wants to to better, but it's hard for him when all that fear is still there, weighing him down.

This was a more serious book than I'd expected, more weighed down in personal struggle and unexpected consequence. There were less moments of excited gallivanting and more of Monty, Percy, and Felicity running for their lives. But I still found it to be an intriguing story, rich with history, character, and conflict.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)