Monday, April 23, 2018

Claymore volume 15: Genesis of War

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Today's post is on Claymore volume 15: Genesis of War by Norihiro Yagi. It is the fifteenth the long running Claymore series, you need to have read the first fourteen volumes to understand the story. It is 197 pages long and is published by Shonen Jump Advanced. The cover has Clare standing in the center looking at the reader. The intended reader is someone who likes dark plots, high action, and strong female characters. There is mild foul language, no sexuality, and lots of violence in this book. The story is told from third person close of the main character. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Galatea's plans to eliminate the Awakened former number 2, 'Bloody' Agatha, have failed, but the arrival of Clare and her comrades turns the tide of battle. In the aftermath, Miria decides to finally share her shocking discoveries about the true nature of the Yoma, of the Organization, and of the Claymore themselves.

Review- Lots of plot happen in this volume with Miria explaining what she has been researching. Claymores are weapons not in a fight with Yoma but for some greater foes on another continent. But that does not really have much to do with the real story of our hero, Clare. She want to kill Priscilla who is still traveling with Raki. Raki knows what Priscilla is but sense she has not eaten anyone while traveling with him, he leaves her be. Raki is still looking for Clare and he is retracing their travels from seven years before. The volume ends with the man in black who was Clare's contact in the Organization seeing her. I like where the plot is going and I look forward to seeing Clare finally meet Priscilla again.

I give this volume a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this manga with  my own money.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Strange Practice


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Today's post is on Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw. It is the first in her  Dr. Greta Helsing series. It is 320 pages long and is published Orbit books. The cover is grey and red with Helsing tending a vampire in a coffin. The intended reader is someone who likes urban fantasy and classic horror stories. There is mild foul language, no sex, and mild violence in this book. The story is told from third person close of the main characters moving from one to the next as the story needs. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Meet Greta Helsing, fast-talking doctor to the undead. Keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well in London has been her family's specialty for generations.
Greta Helsing inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's been groomed for since childhood.
Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.


Review- A good start to an interesting urban fantasy story. Greta is an interesting heroine who is a doctor first and everything else second and I really like that. She does not head into danger when others are better suited to the task. She put her patients first and foremost, even when that made her feel like a coward. The world is very close to our world so getting the rules is very easy and understandable. Greta is human but all the characters are with some very classic vampires and other monsters. If you have any knowledge about folklore you will enjoy how true to the original stories about them Shaw sticks. The plot is very fast paced so you never have a chance to get bored because the plot keeps moving.  There is so much to enjoy about this novel if you are an urban fantasy fan, I look forward to the next one.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Glass Castle


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Today's Nonfiction post is on The Glass Castle. It is 288 pages long and is published by Scribner. The cover is white with a little girl in the center covering her face as she turns to the side. The intended reader is someone who is interested in memoirs. There is foul language, talk of sex, and violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- A tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave the author the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story.

Review- This is an fascinating and disturbing memoir. Walls starts with her first memory, which is cooking hot-dogs for dinner because her mother was working on a painting and could not be bothered to cook for her four children. A fire starts and she gets badly burned. After she gets out of the hospital, once again she is hungry and her mother cannot be bothered to do anything for her children, so she starts cooking again. Her mother praises her to doing that. That is the reader introduction to this family. Walls tells her story without glossing over what happened to her from hunger to being placed in dangerous situations because her parents had no clue about how to parent, or even how to protect their children from bad things. Walls and her siblings did make it and they have lives but they have paid a very high price for the choices that their parents made. As interesting and well-written this memoir is, it is only for the those with a strong stomach.

I give this memoir a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight volume 2

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Today's post is on Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight volume 2 by

From the back of the book- Roller Coaster!
As their newfound relationship deepens, high schooler Hinana and superstar Kaede must learn how to keep their romance a secret. For starters, Kaede is so busy! But even when he sneaks out to meet Hinana, she finds it impossible to keep up with his freewheeling spirit. Her routine life is suddenly filled with heart-racing excitement, but heartbreaking insecurities are never far behind. Luckily, her childhood bestie Akira is always there to remind her she's not alone. But when Hinana falls ill one summer day, who will be the first to show up at her door...?

Review- Another good volume in this new series. Hinana and Kaede are having to figure things out as they go on. But they do know one thing and that is they really like each other. So they have to find a way to make this work. Of course there are problems with Kaede's past with hints at his past and Hinana is still learning  what she wants from a relationship. But they are cute and willing to work together towards a happy goal. We get mostly character development in this volume but there is some world building with the hints of Kaede's past. I liked seeing more of the side characters and how they add to Hinana and Kaede's character arc. I look forward to seeing where the story is going from here!

I give this volume a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this manga with my own money.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Morrigan's Cross


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Today's post is on Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts. It is 321 pages long and is published by Jove. It it the first in her Circle Trilogy. The cover is purple with an Irish cross on it. The intended reader is someone who likes romance, urban fantasy, and some action added in for flavor. The story is told from the third person close of the two lead characters moving from one to the next as the story goes. There is some foul language, sexuality, and mild violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- In the last days of high summer, with lightning striking blue in a black sky, the sorcerer stood on a high cliff overlooking the raging sea...
Belting out his grief into the storm, Hoyt Mac Cionaoith rails against the evil that has torn his twin brother from their family's embrace. Her name is Lilith. Existing for over a thousand years, she has lured countless men to an immortal doom with her soul-stealing kiss. But now, this woman known as vampire will stop at nothing until she rules this world—and those beyond it...
Hoyt is no match for the dark siren. But his powers come from the goddess Morrigan, and it is through her that he will get his chance at vengeance. At Morrigan's charge, he must gather five others to form a ring of power strong enough to overcome Lilith. A circle of six: himself, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms and the one he's lost. And it is in this circle, hundreds of years in the future, where Hoyt will learn how strong his spirit—and his heart—have become...

Review- A good start to a urban fantasy adventure. Roberts is an excellent writer, no surprise there, so she brings something new to the paranormal romance/ urban fantasy. She is plotting a over-arching story about redemption, true love, and stopping a terrible evil. No one piece of the plot is unique but the way that Roberts builds things is unique to the genre and to her style. The vampires are very traditional and scary in the story, I worried about the characters and how they were going to stop anything bad from happening. The love story was the weakest part of the story for me in this volume but I have hopes for others. In the end I liked how well plotted and I look forward to seeing where the story is going next.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Francis I: The Maker of Modern France


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I was given a copy of this book by Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review.

Today's Nonfiction post is on Francis I: The Maker of Modern France by Leonie Frieda. It is 384 pages long and is Harper Collins. The cover is a portrait of Francis I. The intended reader is someone who is interested in French history. There is foul language, talk of sex, and discussion of violence. Much of the text is taken from first hand historical documents. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- The bestselling author of Catherine de Medici returns to sixteenth-century Europe in this evocative and entertaining biography that recreates a remarkable era of French history and brings to life a great monarch—Francis I—who turned France into a great nation.
Catherine de Medici’s father-in-law, King Francis of France, was the perfect Renaissance knight, the movement’s exemplar and its Gallic interpreter. An aesthete, diplomat par excellence, and contemporary of Machiavelli, Francis was the founder of modern France, whose sheer force of will and personality molded his kingdom into the first European superpower. Arguably the man who introduced the Renaissance to France, Francis was also the prototype Frenchman—a national identity was modeled on his character. So great was his stamp, that few countries even now are quite so robustly patriotic as is France. Yet as Leonie Frieda reveals, Francis did not always live up to his ideal; a man of grand passions and vision, he was also a flawed husband, father, lover, and king.
With access to private archives that have never been used in a study of Francis I, Frieda explores the life of a man who was the most human of the monarchs of the period—and yet, remains the most elusive.

Review- A well written piece about a little known king. Frieda is an excellent writer, she takes some very old documents and information about Frances I and makes it interesting and readable. We follow Frances I from the moment his mother has a vision about her son becoming king of France all the way to his death and what his son Henri II does just after his death. Frieda makes an excellent case for Frances I being the king that made or at least helped the Renaissance happen in France as quickly as it did by having a great interest in the arts and supporting artists. But she also talks about his great failings like making war with his neighbors when finding a peaceful solution would have been better for everyone. If you are looking for something a little different about the in-between time of the middle ages and the Renaissance, then you should give this book a look.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Welcome to the Ballroom, volume 1

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Today's post is on Welcome to the Ballroom, volume 1 by Tomo Takeuchi. It is the first in her Welcome to the Ballroom series. It is 192 pages long and is published by Kodansha Comics. The cover has the main character Tatara on it. The intended reader is someone who likes sports manga. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- THE BALLROOM BECKONS
Feckless high school student Tatara Fujita wants to be good at something - anything. Unfortunately, he's about as average as a slouchy teen can be. The local bullies know this, and make it a habit to hit him up for cash, but all that changes when the debonair Kaname Sengoku sends them packing. Sengoku's not the neighborhood watch, though. He's a professional ballroom dancer. And once Tatara Fujita gets pulled into the world of the ballroom, his life will never be the same.


Review- An engaging sports manga about an unusual sport. Tatara Fujita is a kid who does not know what he wants to do with his life. But once he comes across ballroom dancing it reaches him. So we have our plot. Tatara is a very normal shonen hero, he is not special in anyway, he is lost about where he wants to go in life, and he likes girls out of his league. But he was not annoying; most shonen heroes can be very annoying, they are too loud or too stupid or too pervy but Tatara is not any of those things. He is just a nice kid who is looking for something to make his life have some kind of meaning. The art is very pretty with the dancing figures and the expressions are excellent. It ends in a cliff hanger as Tatara walks to his first competition as a fill-in for the star. If you are looking for something different in the world of shonen manga, then give this one a try.

I give this volume a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this manga with my own money.