Bout of Books 20

It’s that time again. Time for Bout of Books. To find out all the details and to sign up, be sure to visit the Bout of Books site.

I’ve participated in Bout of Books a number of times now, and always look forward to it. Read-a-thons like this one really help give me an extra kick to get lots of reading done.

What do I plan to read?

  • Cowboy Up! by Mike Flanagan
  • The Further Adventures of Xena Warrior Princess
  • Majoring In Murder by Jessica Fletcher
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • Last of The Free by Gareth Patterson
  • Fruits Basket Volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya

I also hope to participate in some of the challenges and at least one Twitter chat.

Book Review: Dark Horse

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The publisher provided with a copy to review via NetGalley.

For a number of years now, I have been reading and enjoyed B.J. Daniels romantic suspense books. I love cowboys, I love mystery and romance it okay too, so slapping those three things together is a recipes for something great. So when I heard that she had a new series coming out, I knew I had to check it out.

Like most of her novels, I was dragged in right from the first page. The tone of the entire book is set up from that first character introduction. I wanted to know more right away, but knew that I had to wait, to see all the little clues laid out over the course of the book to see exactly what happened and how the current events would unfold.

As far as characters go, I can’t say that I absolutely loved any of them. They all had their quirks which made them both enjoyable and annoying at times. Then there were some characters that I felt didn’t get enough attention, though perhaps they will play bigger roles in the rest of the series, and I wanted to know a bit more about them. I did enjoy the two main characters, Nikki and Cull. One thing I wish I could have seen more of was Nikki working on the book. I get that she was doing research for her book about the kidnapping, but even so, I felt like it would have been nice to see her work on writing a bit, not just interview people and take minimal notes.

The mystery aspect of the book was by far my favorite part. I always try to work things out and figure out who did it before it gets revealed, but as always, Daniels lays so many different clue trails throughout the book that I wasn’t able to guess who. Then when it was revealed I wondered how I missed the evidence that would have told me the who, how and why of it all.

The romance part of this book was nearly non-existent, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes romantic suspense books can focus too much on the romance and forget that there is a mystery side to the story. This was not the case with Dark Horse, and I would say about 1% of the book was romance and even then it was very light.

I did have one small issue, and it had nothing to do with the content of the book, but more than the file I had of it was corrupted, so I was unable to read the last page or two. I doubt I missed anything big, but would be nice to know exactly how it ended, so I’ll have to be on the lookout for a physical copy of it next time I’m at the bookstore so I can get the whole story.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. While I didn’t absolutely love everything about it, I still gobbled it up in nearly one sitting and really liked the mystery part of the story. I will continue on with the series to see how the rest of the story turns out. If you are looking for a books that heavy on the mystery and light on romance, then this book may be for you.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about recommendations. So I am going to go with my Ten Graphic Novel And Manga Recommendations.

I’ve been reading more and more manga and graphic novels lately, and I’ve really been enjoying them (perhaps too much because I keep ignoring my older books in favor of manga I have recently bought). So I’d like to highly some of the ones I have read recently and really enjoyed.

  1. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples. Is this a surprise to anyone? This series is amazing and if you haven’t started it yet, you need to. Cannot wait for the next volume to come out.
  2. Erased by Kei Sanbe. I’m only two volumes in, because that’s all that’s released so far, but man, talk about a story that sucks you in.
  3. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier. This was such a wonderful and unique story. I loved it, my son enjoyed it, now I just need to get hubby to read it.
  4. A Silent Voice Yoshitoki Oima. A story about a deaf girl who got bullied, her bully and their growth from that moment on.
  5. A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori. This series is filled with rich art and a wonderful story to boot. It’s not something I thought I would enjoy, but I’m loving this one.
  6. Wolf Children by Mamoru Hosoda. I didn’t absolutely love this one, but the more I think about it, the more I appreciate the story. The anime was good as well.
  7. Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba. I haven’t read all of these yet, but I’ve really enjoyed what I have read and will be finishing this series soon.

And now some honorable mention for series that have been recommended to be, both directly and indirectly, but I haven’t read yet.

  1. Orange by Ichigo Takano.
  2. The Ancient Magnus’ Bride by Kore Yamazaki.
  3. Nausicca of The Valley of The Wind by Hayao Miyazaki.
  4. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya.

Monday Progress Report

Reviews Posted Last Week:
A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima

What I did Last Week

Read

I read volumes 6, 7, and 8 of Death Note. I’ve been enjoying this series quite a bit, though some volumes I haven’t liked as much as others. Overall, I have to say, I’m eager to see how this one will end.

 

 

Watched

I didn’t watch much last week, because I was just too busy. I did squeeze in a couple episodes of The Golden Girls season seven. I also watched Moana and then, for Family Movie Night we ended up watching The Karate Kid from 2010.

Life

It was a very, very busy week. Hubby returned to work Tuesday after being off for two weeks, and the boy started Science Camp that same day. So having the house to myself, I decided to give the entire house a major purge. In just four days, I managed to clean, reorganize and purge every room in the house. I got rid of lots of stuff, and what we ended up keeping is now nicely organized. We gained so much space in the house from this. On the weekend we decided to do the same thing with our shed and under the deck storage. We didn’t quite get this done, due to the weather turning on us, but enough of it got done that we are happy with it. Outside of that, I didn’t do much this week (because there wasn’t time for anything else), but I’m happy with what I accomplished.

What I Plan To Do This Week

Reading

I will be working on reading the last four volumes of Death Note. Things have gotten pretty interesting and I’m looking forward to seeing how all these new twists turn out and to see exactly how they plan to wrap this whole thing up.

 

 

I will also be finishing up Dark Horse. I started this one last week, but only got a bit past quarter of the way. So far, I’m really enjoying it and it seems like a really solid start to a new series.

 

 

Watching

No solid plans with this. I will probably try to finish up The Golden Girls, but I also have some shows on the PVR that I really want to get to as well. I’ll probably watch whatever I’m in the mood for.

Life

I’m going to take it easy this week. Sit back, relax, read and watch some TV. That’s all I plan on doing.

Series Review: A Silent Voice

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A few months ago, I was watching trailers for various anime looking for something new to watch and to check out what movies were coming out in the future. Among the many that I watched then, was the trailer for A Silent Voice. I was intrigued by this anime and added it to my list to watch. Since it was based upon a manga, I wanted to read the manga first before eventually watching the movie, mostly so I could experience the original content first.

It took me a little bit to get into the story. One of the issues I had, right from the start, was how similar the two main characters names were. Shoya being the bully of Shoko, and they both occasionally went by the nickname of “Sho”, so sometimes it was confusing as to which Sho someone was referring to.

The series consists of seven volumes, with the first one setting up the backstory for the main characters, establishing Shoya as the bully and Shoko his unfortunate victim. As a bully victim myself, I sometimes have a hard time reading about bullying, and yet at the same time I wish there were more books out there that dealt with this issue. That is why I was drawn to this series, because so much of it’s story revolves around bullying, both the act as it happens and the long term effects it has on everyone, from the victim, the bully and the bystanders.

One thing I liked about this series is now it shows that the bully can also be deeply affected by what they have done. We all know the bully victim takes a beating every day, and that there are often long term side effects that stick around for many years, if not the rest of their life. But many people think that the bully is never affected in any way by all of them. Perhaps for some that’s the case, and they go on with life without any ill effects from what they did to others. But in the case of Shoya, he did feel shame and regret over what he did and wanted to make things right again.

Seeing the characters change over the course of this series really was great. It showed that people can change, that the bully can feel remorse, that the victim can forgive them. It also showed various reactions from those who had watched it all happen, and perhaps even participated a bit in the bullying themselves. I did have a few issues with it. For example, I find it really hard to accept that a bully victim would become friends with their bully later on in life, and even go as far as to have slight romantic feelings towards them. I can’t say that this would never happen in real life, but as someone who was bullied before, I can safely say that I would never ever be friends with the people who tormented me – I could forgive them, but never trust them enough to let them close to me. I also didn’t care for Tomohiro, someone who becomes friends with Shoya in the second volume, because I felt he was too much like a bully and was only going to complicate things – and in a way he did but not completely.

I feel like the one thing that didn’t translate well in the art was the sign language. Obviously it’s hard to draw people communicating through sign language when in manga form. It’s the one aspect of the series that I think will be better expressed in the movie.

Overall, I enjoyed this series. I didn’t absolutely love it, but it was good. The artwork was wonderful. I would recommend this series to anyone interested in it, and those looking for books that have bullying in them. I feel like it does a great job is portraying it. I will one day watch the movie to see how it compared to the manga. I will also be on the lookout for more by this author.

Monday Progress Report

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Erased: Volume 1 by Kei Sanbe

What I did Last Week

Read

I did a decent amount of reading last week. I read the first 5 volumes of Death Note. This is a strange yet addictive series. I’ll be posting a full series review of this one once I am done with it.

 

 

 

Then I read The Incredible Journey. I enjoyed this one quite a bit but was surprised by how different it was from the movie. I knew it would be different, but only the general essence of the book remained in the movie version.

 

Watched

The main this I watched this week was the entire sixth season of The Golden Girls. We ended up watching The Princess Bride. This is a movie I watched quite a few years ago and absolutely hated. Watching it again, I still didn’t enjoy it all that much, but it was better than the first time. The boy didn’t much care for it, which of course disappointed hubby because he loves that movie. We also watched Thor: Tales of Asgard, an odd little cartoon movie. For Family Movie Night we ended up watching Kubo And The Two Strings, which was the movie the boy picked, and we all enjoyed it.

Life

It was a fairly easy going week. Having returned from our short trip on Monday, we decided to take a day to rest and recharge, but that ended up extending throughout most of the week. I did spend some time weeding the garden, which was in desperate need of the attention, but due to lots of rain, I didn’t get it all done. I did spend some time over the weekend trying to get our laundry room cleaned and organized. I got the job well over half done, but still have some work to do with it.

What I Plan To Do This Week

Reading

I will be continuing to read the rest of the Death Note series. With luck I will be able to get to the end of the series by the end of the week, but it all depends on how much reading time I set aside.

 

 

 

I also would like to start reading Dark Horse. I have enjoyed nearly all the books I have read by B.J. Daniels, but it has been a while since I have read any, so I’m looking forward to starting this latest of series by her.

 

 

Watching

I’ll be working on the final season of The Golden Girls. I don’t want to finish this series up, because I love it so much, but doing so will also allow me to watch other things. Beyond that, I’m not sure what else I will be watching this week.

Life

The boy has science camp this week, which he’s super excited about – as am I, because it gets him out of the house for a few hours each day. Hubby also returns back to work after having the last two weeks off for vacation, so I will have the house all to myself for quite a bit of it. I do have quite a bit of work around the house that I want to do. Our garage sale was put off due to rain, but even so, I’m eager to go through the house again and make sure I didn’t miss anything in my initial purging. Also, we want to reorganize a few other rooms, which means the perfect opportunity to go through things. I also need to make room for a new book case or two, which hubby will only buy me once I prove we have room for them. If the weather is good, I will also need to weed the garden as it’s overflowing with weeds thanks to all the rain we have been getting.

July 2017 Wrap-Up

With August here it’s time to look back on what I did during the month of July. This month seemed to have flown by, but even with it going so quickly, I still managed to read a whopping sixteen books.

So what did I read in July?

  • Rhapsody: Child of Blood by Elizabeth Haydon
  • A Bride’s Story Vol. 4 by Kaoru Mori
  • A Bride’s Story Vol. 5 by Kaoru Mori
  • A Bride’s Story Vol. 6 by Kaoru Mori
  • A Bride’s Story Vol. 7 by Kaoru Mori
  • A Bride’s Story Vol. 8 by Kaoru Mori
  • The Huntress & The Sphinx by Ru Emerson
  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  • Erased Vol. 2 by Kei Sanbe
  • Provence To Die for by Jessica Fletcher
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • A Light In The Attic by Shel Silverstein
  • Stuart Little by E.B. White
  • Riders by Veronica Rossi

July was a semi-hectic month. I did quite a bit of baking, including a frantic pre-vacation bake-a-thon. I also dedicated a bunch of kitchen time to making food for the dog – she’s super spoiled and eats almost no store bought food. We had our old wood shed finally torn down, which resulted in us spending a day emptying it out and sorting through what was in it. A lot of it went to the dump.I also spent a decent amount of time tending to the garden. This are growing slowly but steadily, though I still feel that all the plants are too far behind even at this point in the year and accounting for everything being planted late. I really hope all my effort nets us something.

I had hoped to have a garage sale sometime during the month, but unfortunately the weather was against that. Seemed like the only nice weekend we had in town over the course of the month was the one when we were gone. Go figure.

At the end of the month we headed down to Sudbury for a last minute mini vacation. Each year, for the last few years, we have gone down to Sudbury for the weekend to hit up the Science Center there and do some shopping – since it’s hard to not shop (even though I hate shopping) when you have every store at your disposal. The Science Center was fun, as per usual, though I have to say that their current temporary displace, 101 Inventions That Changed The World, was a major letdown. It was basically just a list of those inventions, a short movie talking about some of them, a small display that showed some of them and a whole lot of empty space. At least the rest of the Science Center was fun, especially for the boy. While we were in the city, we also hit up my favorite used book store, Bay Used Books, because I said we weren’t allowed to head home until we did so.

Over the course of the month, I ended up watching quite a few movies and a few TV shows – you can find out exactly what I watched by looking through my Monday posts. Of those movies, I have to say that Queen of Katwe was my favorite. I would have never thought I would like a movie about chess, and yet this movie proved me wrong.

All in all, I have to say that July was a pretty good month. Now to look forward to what August has in store for us.