30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 3

I wasn’t able to make up the books from last week (yet), but I was at least on track this week! Here’s what I read

 


30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 3Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Release Date: October 6th 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 192
Source: Library

When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him:
Joseph almost killed a teacher.
He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain.
He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her.

What Jack doesn’t know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl.

Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help.
But the past can’t be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.


I don’t want to say a lot about this one here. I’m doing a reader vs. reader feature over at TSU. It’ll be posting the first couple of weeks of Decembers, so I’ll be sure to link back then.

 


This was a rather sweet story for the most part. It does feel a bit weird saying that since it was between a 15 year-old and a 19 year-old, but nothing actually happened and it was portrayed in a kind of innocent/sweet way. It was more about Maggie coming to terms with who she was and how she felt. The art work just didn’t work for me. It’s not horrible, but not a style I really like.

 


This book is…intense. In a very, very good way. It’s timely topic that hits right where it hurts. The amount of passages I have marked is unreal. This is the book for my book club on Tuesday, so, I plan to come back and talk more about my and their thoughts.

 


I guess I decided that this week I didn’t want to hold back any punches. I’m trying to read more non-fiction. Shyima’s story is heart-wrenching, but it wasn’t that engaging. I felt for Shyima, but wasn’t emotionally attached to her or her story. Nonetheless, it was great read to see inside of child slavery and what Shyima had to overcome both in slavery and once she was freed.

 


I know, I know, my manga/anime cred is much lower admitting I haven’t read this series yet. However, I am not and I can see why it’s so popular. I love the cat and mouse game that has started and how smart it is. I’m sure the next couple of volumes will make their way into next week’s read pile.

 


I still have no idea what is happening in this series. I don’t know why, but I’m having a lot of trouble keeping the characters and storyline straight. It’s like there’s just too much going on for me to fully enjoy it. However, I can see the teens liking it, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing on with the series beyond this volume.

 


This manga wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t awesome either. There’s not really any storyline going one, which may be why I’m not completely on board yet. The set-up is intriguing though, so I’ll give it another volume or two before I fully set my opinion in stone.

30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 1

Okay, I’ve challenged myself to read a book-a-day this month. Each week I’ll do a post on what I’ve read. I figured it’s a way to keep me honest and share my thoughts in a quick style.


30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 1Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton
Release Date: July 28th 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Pages: 256
Source: Library

A spine-tingling collection of ghost stories! When a boy finds himself drawn into an empty house one cold night, he enters a room in which twelve unusual-looking people sit around a table. And the thirteenth chair is pulled out for him. One by one, each of those assembled tells their own ghost story: tales of doom and death; of ghostly creatures and malevolent spirits; of revenge and reward. It is only at the end of the night that the boy starts to understand what story he must tell . . .

None of the short stories are super creepy, but most of them are a fun read. This is a great one for those in 5th – 8th grade, especially if they love Goosebumps. The end is a bit open ended and it would be an interesting discussion to see what teens thought happened to Jack at the end.


30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 1FLAWD by Emily-Anne Rigal Jeanne Demers
Release Date: August 18th 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 192
Source: Publisher

When you look in the mirror and only see your flaws, it can be hard to be your best self.   FLAWD is your new cheerleader—an energetic guide to seeing your flaws as the doorway to something more.

Through dynamic stories and advice from teens and celebrities around the world, FLAWD will help you to: ·       SEE yourself as perfectly imperfect. ·       TREAT life as playfully as possible. ·       THINK about what really matters. ·       EMBRACE all that makes you, YOU. ·       UNDERSTAND influence and how to use it. ·       KNOW you can be part of a flawd and powerful transformation.   Even though we exist in a culture that thrives on bullying us into believing we're never good enough as we are, FLAWD affirms that you are good enough, ready enough and important enough to be a flawd light in the world.   Are you ready to become fearless with your flaws and change the world by being yourself? Then FLAWD is the book for you.

“Not only does Emily-Anne have strong convictions and a beautiful soul, but she has taken action against bullying. Her actions have had such an immediate and enormous impact on the world already.” —Lady Gaga

From the Trade Paperback edition.

This one was so-so for me. It had some fundamentally good advice, but none of it really clicked for me. I like my advice/self-help/esteem booster books to be one where I’m constantly marking pages. I have a few spots I marked, but not a lot. I’m not sure if this is one of those miss the marks because I’m an adult or one that just really missed the mark period.


30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 1If You Wrong Us by Dawn Klehr
Release Date: October 8th 2015
Pages: 240
Source: Library

After a car crash steals the lives of two people they love, Becca and Johnny become obsessed with a common cause. Officially, the crash is an accident. But Becca and Johnny are convinced: someone did this. As they plot revenge against the person responsible, a bond—intense, unyielding, and manic—takes hold of them. And in an unexpected turn of events, they fall for each other. Or so they think. In an upside-down world where decay is beautiful and love and hate become one, Becca and Johnny find themselves grappling with reality. Nothing is exactly what it seems, including what they’ve come to believe about the crash. The question is: will they learn the truth before it’s too late? No, the question is: when they learn the truth, will they care?

I wanted to love this book so much, but couldn’t. I’m going to do a longer review on this later this week, but the amount of passages I marked for being problematic bothered me. It was a fast-paced read that I would have easily given to reluctant readers had it not caused me to be so grumbly.


30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 1The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
Series: The Scorpion Rules #1
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 384
Source: Library

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.
Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.
As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.

I love, love, LOVE the concept of this book. I’ve noticed this one is a hit or miss for most people. I’m still not sure where I stand on it yet. The plot I loved, but there’s something about the relationships that is nagging me. I want to do a longer of this one, but I’m waiting for one of my friends to read it first and hash out what I’m feeling with her. I also want to go back and read some of the passages to see if I can get a firmer grip on why they bother me. It’s still one I recommend checking out, even with the possible problematic bits.


30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 1The Devil Is a Part-Timer, Vol. 2 (manga) by Satoshi Wagahara
Series: The Devil is a Part-Timer #2
Release Date: April 26th 2016
Publisher: Yen Press
Pages: 176
Source: Library

Old Friends, new enemies! In the Sasazuka neighborhood of the Shibuya district of Tokyo, newly minted part-time burger-flipper and former Devil King Satan (now known as Sadao Maou) clashes with Lucifer, a fallen angel who used to serve him! But how will the onetime king deal with his rival now that his magic power's run dry? Now that the devil is one of us, he's going to have to get creative!

I didn’t love this vol as much as vol 1. There’s a lot of new characters and it’s a little hard to keep track of them all. However, I still love the premise of the Devil King Satan becoming a good guy basically because he lost his powers and feel in love with the human world. This whole questioning what is evil and what is not and if there can be a grey area is fun. So, while this one wasn’t as fun as the first one, I’m still highly interested to see where the series goes.


30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 1Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida
Series: Tokyo Ghoul #2
Release Date: August 18th 2015
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Pages: 208
Source: Library

Ghouls live among us, the same as normal people in every way—except their craving for human flesh. Ken Kaneki is an ordinary college student until a violent encounter turns him into the first half-human half-ghoul hybrid. Trapped between two worlds, he must survive Ghoul turf wars, learn more about Ghoul society and master his new powers.

Unable to discard his humanity but equally unable to suppress his Ghoul hunger, Ken finds salvation in the kindness of friendly Ghouls who teach him how to pass as human and eat flesh humanely. But recent upheavals in Ghoul society attract the police like wolves to prey, and they don’t discriminate between conscientious and monstrous Ghouls.

This is easily becoming one of my favorite mangas. I know vol 2 may be a little early to say that, but man, I am loving it so far. This was was less gory by far than the first one. To me this is neither good nor bad, but I know some people had a bit of trouble with the goriness of the first one. This is another manga that is pushing what is good/what is bad lines. With Keneki being both ghoul and human now, he doesn’t know quite where to put his alliance. It’ll be interesting to see how he changes as the series continues.


30 Day Reading Challenge: Week 1First Love Monster by Akira Hiyoshimaru
Series: First Love Monster #2
Release Date: October 27th 2015
Publisher: Yen Press
Pages: 176
Source: Library

Kaho isn't a thing. You can't treat girls like objects. Although high schooler Kaho and fifth grader Kanade have started dating, Kaho is constantly at the mercy of Kanade's childish whims. And when a mysterious hottie with a Kansai accent--whom Kanade happens to call "Aniki"--arrives, will unimaginable trials await the couple's blossoming love?! A fast-paced super-love comedy filled with madcap heart-throbbing mayhem!

This manga is just….weird. I just don’t know how to feel about it. I mean, it’s a high schooler dating a 5th grader, which just ew. However, I love the innocent sweetness  of exploring your first love time thing. There’s absolutely nothing “more” happening (even though she thinks it’s coming at some points), but it’s still just a bit creepy. I’ll give this one a vol or two more before I abandon it completely.

 

Manga Review: W Juliet


Manga Review: W JulietW Juliet by Emura
Series: W Juliet #1
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC

Makoto Amano wants to become an actor, but his stern father has decreed that the only way Makoto can pursue his dream is to spend the last two years of high school as a girl! He quickly makes friends with popular tomboy Ito Miura, another drama enthusiast at this new high school and the only student to find out his secret--but are they more than pals?

If you’ve been paying attention to my summer reading posts you may have guessed I’ve been a bit stressed/in a mental overload. Since my new found love for manga (thank you Fruits Basket) I find when I need an easy read/mental break manga is the place to go. Since Fruits Baskets and After School Charisma are the only series I have read I have a lot to choose from. My anime teens have thrown a lot of suggestions at me, but I have to confess I’ve been picking what manga to read by what is in. I literally scan the shelves to see which series have book one in. Seriously…but amazingly it’s worked quite well so far.

My latest selection was W Juliet by Emura. While this is an older series, it was one I had never heard of and am so glad I gave it a go. W Juliet is about two teens, Ito and Makoto, who are not as they appear. Ito may look and act like a boy, but underneath is all she is a woman. And Makoto, well, he may look like a girl, but he is all man. Ito may not have a excuse beyond being a tomboy, but Makoto disguise is the key to his future. As the only son he is expected to take over the family dojo, but the only thing Makoto wants to be is an actor. Makoto’s father disapproves, but eventually makes a deal with him; if he can live and graduate high school (2 years) as a woman without anyone finding out he may go after his dream. Makoto knows it is the only way out of his father’s control and accepts the deal.

Ito, of course, finds out about Makoto’s secret right away (by accident) and vows to help him make it though. After all, it’s a pretty big feat to accomplish on ones own, especially with all the obstacles that get thrown in his way. But the question still remains…will it be enough? Can Makoto live as a woman for two years without anyone finding out the truth, especially when Iko and Makoto start to fall in love?

I whipped through this series (14 volumes) in about a week. I will admit that the story lines are kind of predictable and repetitive, but something about them drew me in. Perhaps it the romantic heart of mine that enjoyed seeing Ito and Makoto fall for each other. Or my need to have a happy ending that kept me going to make sure it would all turn out okay. While undoubtedly those both played a role, it was more than that. There was a lot of humor that kept it light, but there was some more serious issue thrown in as well. Yes, some of the characters annoyed the crap out of me, but there was never a time where I didn’t want to see what happened next. I also loved the hidden identity aspect of it as well. The whole “double” Juliet plot just really intrigued me for some reason.

Sadly, this one does not have an anime attached to it. It would have been fun to do a Anime vs. Manga comparison, but it was not meant to be. I do believe that fans of Fruits Basket/shojo will eat this series up. While it is certainly not flawless, it has enough charm to make it an easy recommendation to all manga lovers.