Manga Maniac Cafe

A blog for all things bookish

Brush of the Gods

Brush of the Gods - Lenore Look, Meilo So 4 stars

This was a random checkout from the library. Loved the art, the story was interesting as well.

Bakuman。, Vol. 4: Phone Call and The Night Before

Bakuman。, Vol. 4: Phone Call and The Night Before - Tsugumi Ohba 4 stars

This was really good. The awkward interactions between Moritaka and Miho didn't even bother me as much. The lead up to the Gold Future Cup was interesting, and the art is spectacular. Not happy that Kaya gave up her dream of writing cell phone serials to make dinner for the boys, but what do you expect from a boys manga? Still, ugh.

Kuroko's Basketball (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 7: Includes Vols. 13 14

Kuroko's Basketball (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 7: Includes Vols. 13  14 - Tadatoshi Fujimaki 4 stars

The Winter Cup begins, and Seirin struggles against To-oh and Aomine. Kuroko's deflection has been rendered useless! It looks hopeless!! This was another fun volume with many obstacles for our team to overcome, and while things look bad, maybe, just maybe, Kagami can pull out a win for them.

Full review to follow

Honey So Sweet, Vol. 2

Honey So Sweet, Vol. 2 - Amu Meguro 4 stars

Oh, no - please don't let there be a love triangle because I hate them with the fire of a 1000 suns.

One-Punch Man, Vol. 1

One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 - ONE, Yusuke Murata, John Werry 3.5 stars

I'm not sure what to rate this. The beginning felt like a bunch of one shots, but after the introduction of Genos, the story felt a little more fleshed out. This was a very fast read, most of it fight scenes, with lots of destruction and villains galore. For being big, bad villains, Saitama wasted no time taking them out with only one punch. I'll read the 3 volumes I checked out of the library, but not sure if I will continue after that.

Honey So Sweet, Vol. 1

Honey So Sweet, Vol. 1 - Amu Meguro 4 stars

review to follow

Kuroko's Basketball (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 6: Includes Vols. 11 12

Kuroko's Basketball (2-in-1 Edition), Vol. 6: Includes Vols. 11  12 - Tadatoshi Fujimaki 4.5 stars

Ugh, I started reading these out of order again. I caught my mistake when I was about 25% of the way through Vol 7, wondering what the heck they were doing at a hot spring. Anyway, this was a terrific volume. We get insights on how the team was formed, Kiyoshi's injury, and a dramatic basketball game against a dirty playing team.

Full review to follow

Daisy's Back In Town

Daisy's Back In Town - Rachel Gibson 3 stars

i was disappointed with this one. Daisy annoyed me so much when she waited 15 years and over 50% of the book to finally tell Jack that Nathan was his son and not her deceased husband's. ugh

full review to follow

Virgin Territory

Virgin Territory - Lia Riley 3.5 - 3.75 stars

I picked this up because I enjoyed Head Coach, and I have a weakness for sports stories. I was interested in finding out what made volatile Patch tick, and what the deal was with his bar brawl. While he seemed like an out of control freight train in the previous book, his reasons for his short temper were presented so well that I felt a pang of empathy for him.

Margot Kowalski is asked by her BFF’s main squeeze, coach Tor, to help Patch Donnelly learn to control his temper before he’s thrown out of the NFL. Margot’s not thrilled with this assignment, but she wants to open her own yoga studio and the PR, if she’s successful, could go a long way to helping her venture become profitable. Her first meeting with Patch doesn’t go as expected, and she thinks she’s doomed to failure. Her determination to help him goes a long way, and before she knows it, she’s gotten to know him a little too well. Can she keep business and pleasure separate?

Margot is a woman with just as many issues as Patch. She’ been slut shamed since high school, and because of an unpleasant relationship, she can’t stand gingers. Patch, bless his heart, is a red-headed god, and Margot is quickly reconsidering her opinion of auburn haired males. Margot’s ex runs an MMA studio, and he also stalks her in his spare time. Possessive and verbally abusive, he belittles her for having relationships prior to meeting him. He’s a douche, and despite my wishes for Patch to get his temper under control, I wanted him to rip the ex’s arm off.

Patch is the product of a childhood filled with neglect. His mother was an addict, and he watched as one abusive male after another used and abused her. He swore that he would never treat a woman badly. Instead, he kept himself as far away from them as possible, concentrating first on hockey, and then a brief stint studying to be a priest. He couldn’t deal with the rules, and oh, his temper keep popping up, so he went back to hockey, where he was picked up by the Hellions. A gifted goalie, Patch’s uncertain flashes of rage have been the cause of much grief for him. Almost as much grief as keeping his deepest, darkest secret – he’s a virgin.

I really enjoyed this story, but I wish it has been longer so that the relationship could have developed a bit more slowly. I thought that aspects of the story were glossed over too quickly, but that’s really nit-picking. I liked Patch and how he accepted Margot as the gift she was. She helped him learn to control himself and not go off when he got angry, and she taught him that he was deserving of love. Both Margot and Patch had a difficult time accepting that they were capable and deserving of a loving partner, and they were perfect for each other, propping up each other’s weaknesses.

I have enjoyed the two Hellions books that I read (I did pick up the 1st during an Amazon sale, but I haven’t read it yet). I hope that this isn’t the last book because I liked the setting so much. Regardless, I will keep my eyes open for more books by the author.

Grade: 3.5 – 3.75 stars

Black Clover, Vol. 10

Black Clover, Vol. 10 - Yuki Tabata 4 stars

review to follow

Bakuman。, Vol. 3: Debut and Impatience

Bakuman。, Vol. 3: Debut and Impatience - Tsugumi Ohba 4 stars

I am finally gaining some traction with Bakuman. Volume 3 was the best so far, mainly because of Eiji. The genius manga creator is shockingly unique, and I really enjoy his personality. He is so lost in his stories that he doesn’t even notice the real world, taking extended visits into his vivid imagination. While I thought he was going to be conceited jerk, he was far from it in this volume. He’s just a comic geek, magnified by 100, and he doesn’t have the best social graces. Then again, neither do Moritaka and Akito.

Akito and Moritaka are in a funk because they can’t come up with a concept that pleases their editor Hattori. He suggests that they focus on a story that’s not so main-stream, because their strengths are not in producing battle manga. Both Akito and Moritaka are resistant to his advice. If they are ever going to have a #1 series in Jump, it has to be a battle manga. So they crank out story after story, each lacking creative brilliance, and each rejected by Hattori. They finally turn in a story they believe is the best they have written, only to be rejected by the editors of the anthology magazine they submitted it for. Now they are reeling because they just can’t come up with an idea that doesn’t feel tired and boring.

With summer break coming up, Akito decides he needs a break. He isn’t going to go to the studio, but he will come up with a story that they can use during the downtime. Moritaka, spinning his wheels, agrees to work for Eiji as an assistant, hoping he can learn something from the wunderkid. Moritaka does learn something, but not what he was expecting. Instead of Eiji showing him the ropes, Moritaka learns that Eiji is the most scattered, undisciplined artist in the history of artists. Eiji refuses to create storyboards because they are boring. He refuses to go to meetings with his editor because he doesn’t like to think that much about his writing. He is a shoot from the hip kind of creator, and until he had a weekly series, that worked great for him. Now that he’s on a deadline, and competing with the other weekly series, he is fumbling around in the dark.

With advice from Takuro, an assistant with 10 years experience, and Shinta, a contest winner who hasn’t been given a series spot yet, Moritaka begins to understand Hattori’s insistence that they listen to him. He still wants to do a battle manga, but he’s more open to taking the editor’s advice. He also has a great deal of admiration for Takuro. Even though the older man hasn’t found much success working on his own series, he is a stellar assistant and teaches Moritaka a lot about producing a weekly manga. Armed with these new tools, he’s ready to get back in the groove. Too bad Akito isn’t quite as ready.

As Akito and Kaya’s relationship grows closer, Moritaka is forced to confront some jealously. Akito spends the summer break helping Kaya write romance serials, while he flounders away at coming up with a new series for Moritaka to illustrate. As Kaya gains some success with her work, Miho is cast in a small part in a new anime. Now Moritaka has to face that Miho’s dreams are coming true, while his are at a standstill. His unusual relationship with Miho is also the model for Kaya’s romance story, and as he helps her with it, even Akito begins to wonder how about the weird relationship. The Miho/Moritaka romance / whatever it is is the weakest part of the story for me. They are way too young to plan on getting married if they can’t even hold a face to face conversation with each other. It drives me nuts.

Anyway, Volume 3 was a huge improvement over the previous books in the series. Eiji saved it for me. I’m curious to see how Moritaka and Akito can compete with a guy who breathes manga, but has the attention span of a small gnat.

Grade: 4 stars

Absolute Power

Absolute Power - Scott Brick, David Baldacci 4 stars

This is the current administration, minus the murders. Corruption, conspiracies, covering up felonies, it's all here. Poor Jack has no idea what he's in for when he decides to represent Luther when he's framed for murder. Yeow! Who can he trust. Absolutely nobody.

full review to follow

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 3

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 3 - Yūsei Matsui 4 stars

This series is ridiculous and fun. full review to follow

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Vol. 1

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Vol. 1 - Aka Akasaka 3.5 stars

No sure how long I will find this non-episodic manga amusing. After this volume, I don't feel like I know any of the characters at all, making it hard to care if they ever confess their love to each other. Everything is a competition between Kaguya and Miyuki, but I don't feel invested enough in either one of them to care who wins this ultimate battle.

Kuroko's Basketball Omnibus, Vol. 4: Includes Vols. 7 & 8

Kuroko's Basketball Omnibus, Vol. 4: Includes Vols. 7 & 8 - Tadatoshi Fujimaki 4.5 stars

The more I read this series, the more I enjoy it (especially when I read them in order!) I accidently read Vol 5 before Vol 4, so needless to say I felt a little lost in Vol 5, kept wondering who this Teppei guy was, and I couldn’t figure out why. A quick check at Goodreads and low and behold, I skipped a volume. I immediately hopped over to Amazon and purchased the missing volume, instead of requesting it (again) and waiting the week for it to be transferred between libraries (and a special shout out to the Romulus Public Library for having such a great catalog of graphic novels and fulfilling hold requests so quickly!).

Teppei returns to the team, and we get a little background on the founder of Seirin’s basketball team. Teppei has been in the hospital for months for an undisclosed illness, and he’s eager to get back on the court. He was the team’s ace prior to his bout of misfortune, and he was the center, providing a powerful presence between the paint, something that the current team is missing. Tall, athletic, and dominating, he helped the team stand firm again all competitors, and got the team as far as Finals. Then he was hospitalized, and unable to play, so Seirin experienced a stunning defeat. Now he’s back, and eager to make amends for his absence.

With the Winter Cup coming up fast, the team goes to a summer training camp at an inexpensive inn (read: slight run-down, few amenities). Riko, who can’t boil water, informs the team she will be preparing their meals. Ugh. They fear they will starve to death, and after seeing the results of a few practice meals, I didn’t blame them.

After a grueling day working out on the beach, followed by a practice session in the gym, guess who shows up at the inn. Why, yes, our favorite rivals, Shutoku! I loved the interaction between Kagami and Midorima, as well as pretty much everything else about this volume. It was fun to read, the action sequences were awesome, and Fujimaki’s art is getting crisper and more compelling every volume. At one point I would have said that I enjoy Haikyu!! better, but now it is a toss up. Both of these sports manga series are excellent, and I look forward to every new release. Now, if only I could get my act together and read them in the correct order!

Grade: 4.5 stars

The Young Master’s Revenge, Vol. 1

The Young Master’s Revenge, Vol. 1 - Meca Tanaka 3.25 stars

This was kind of meh. The art is pretty, but the story has a been there, done that feeling to it. There really wasn't anything to set it apart. Leo is supposed to be burning with the need for revenge against Tenma for a childhood incident, but he's really not the evil villain he thinks he is. His bland personality doesn't work well for a guy thirsting to get back at the beautiful, clumsy, and sweet Tenma. I'll read another volume to see if gets better for me, but right now, it left only an impression of mediocrity. It's a quick read, it's pleasant enough, but it's not going to stick with me for the long haul.

full review to follow

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