Series Review: Read or Dream

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ever since first seeing the Read or Die anime, I wanted to see more, but I honestly had no idea if there was more to the series or not. Fast forward a couple years into the future, and I finally got off my duff and started looking into this. It was during that time that I discovered the Read or Dream series, which is set in the same world as Read or Die, but involves all new characters that possess the power of paper. The problem was, I couldn’t actually find these books anywhere, and the odd time I did find them, they were severely overpriced. But then I found them, the whole series, in a used book store and I couldn’t grab them off the shelf quickly enough.

This series revolves around three sisters, Michelle, Maggie and Anita, and they run the Paper Sisters Detective Agency. They also all have the power to control paper, turning it into anything they want, which honestly is a pretty damn awesome power. This power is also the biggest connection this series has to the Read or Die series. The sisters definitely could not be more opposite from each other. Outside of their powers, and their mutual love of books (minus Anita because she doesn’t like them), they really have nothing in common, and yet they work well together – most of the time. I think it’s these differences that really allows them to function together and to come solve the cases that come along.

For the most part, the individual stories throughout the series don’t seem to have any connection to each other. It’s just like a collection of random adventures and incidences that occur. But then, at the end of it all, things finally come full circle and something that happens in the beginning finally connections several of the events along the way. This made it finally feel like a complete series instead of a random collection of short stories that centered around the same characters.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good series. It has definitely made me want to seek out the original Read or Die manga, as well as eventually watch the Read or Die Tv series.

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Book Review: Your Name Another Side: Earthbound

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

If you have not read or watched Your Name yet, please do so before reading this book. Not only is the story itself amazing, but everything will make so much more sense if you do.

As soon as I saw that this book was coming out, I knew that I had to read it. I have fallen in love with the story of Your Name and to get to see this little side story involving those in Mitsuha’s life, and how her experiences with Taki have affected them as well. This book is broken into four different stories, each focusing on one person in Mitsuha’s life.

The first story is focused on her friend Saya. I honestly felt that this was perhaps the weakest story of them all. I don’t know if it’s because Saya’s reaction to everything wasn’t as shocked and concerned as everyone else, or if it was something else, but Saya herself even had a fairly small presence in this story. Still, it was fun to see how she did react to a couple of things that happened, things that you don’t get to see in the movie.

Then there was Teshi’s story. He had already been a big presence in Saya’s story, but he was even more so here. I definitely had a couple of good laughs during this one. I also felt that this really allowed us to see more depth in Teshi as a whole. The Teshi we see in the movie is very serious, and he certain maintains that throughout a vast majority of this story, but there is this whole other side to Teshi that really shines here. I love how he is both confused by this new Mitsuha, but also embraces many of the changes he sees – often accounting it to stress in Mitsuha’s life, so doesn’t really see all that bothered by things.

Next up revolved around Mitsuha’s younger sister, Yotsuha. I was pretty interested in seein gmore of her thoughts on Mitsuha’s changes. We get to see a pretty good amount of it during the movie, but there was bound to be more. The best part is, as a younger child, Yotsuha’s understanding of many things in life is obviously lacking, so watching her try to figure things out herself. Her line of thought could be quite deep at times, and it really added a whole new level to her character, and gave a glimpse of the person she would become as she grew older.

Finally there was the story about Mitsuha’s father, Toshiki. I’ll admit, I didn’t particularly like Mitsuha’s father in the movie, but we also know so little about it, that it was hard to know why he was the way that he was. Unlike the previous stories, this one doesn’t focus so much on his opinions of what is happening to Mitsuha, but is a reflection on the past, how he met his wife, more about the Miyamizu temple and it’s traditions, as well as those of other temples, and also the start of their family. All this leads up to why he abandoned his family, the temple and his why he pursued the role of mayor. I felt like this story helped me to understand him so much better, and it also helped him understand his daughter as well. I definitely have a bit more respect for him, even if he is still a total jerk in the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am now hoping that they come out with another novel like this, but where it’s the people in Taki’s life showing how him switching affects them.

Series Review: Death Note

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Death Note is one of those series that I had been wanting to read for a while, but never really put the effort into finding the books. Then, last summer, I spotted the entire series at a used book store and knew my time to check out this series had finally come.

I didn’t really know what to expect out of this series. Really the only thing I knew was that the main character, Light, somehow got a notebook that can kill people by writing their names in it. Honestly, it sounded like a pretty darn interesting concept, so I was eager to dive in.

This was certainly not your typical manga. Usually, it’s the pictures that tell the story, as the dialogue and minimal descriptive text just helps the story along. That is not the case with Death Note, as it the text often overtook the visual aspects page after page. Not only that, but most of the characters spoke, or thought, a lot and in very long, drawn out moments. I felt in a way it took away from the manga, because it was more like reading a novel that just happened to have pictures in the back ground than an actual manga. This made me dislike the series in a way.

As for the characters, well there are quite a few of them throughout this series. Some remain from volume one and go through to the end, while others have very small roles. I have to say, I didn’t really care for Light all that much. He was an interesting character for a while, but then his analytical ways started to bother me. This was the same for L, but I really hated his character right from the get go. Between the two of these characters, I felt my desire to keep reading and see how things played out starting to wane. I did also feel like the series was a bit long. It probably could have been condensed down into six volumes or so and still had everything in it, just in a more fast paced and perhaps interesting way.

I feel like this series would have been much more enjoyable as a light novel. That way the walls of text wouldn’t seem so bothersome. I’m still glad I read this series, but I honestly don’t know if I would recommend it or not. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would enjoy it and those who wouldn’t as well. I may eventually watch the anime series just to see if it is more enjoyable than reading the manga, but we’ll see.

Book Review: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

For a while now, I’ve had my eye on Wolf Children, yet for the longest time I never made any real effort to get the manga or watch the anime. So finally a couple months ago, I happened to see the bind-up of all three volumes at the book store and knew it was my chance to finally read this.

I’ll admit, that upon initially starting this book, I didn’t feel drawn into the story. It felt a bit slow, and while I enjoyed the artwork, I wasn’t falling in love with the characters or story. I continued to read through it, knowing that there were so many positive reviews out there that this had to be one of those stories that got better as it went on. And it did. I did start to feel a connection to the characters, the story was starting to pull me in and make me want more. But even then, I still wasn’t loving it.

I did enjoy seeing the struggles of Ami and Yuki, along with their mother Hana, to try to learn just how they fit into the world. Hana’s resilience and determination to see her children lead a normal, but sometimes protected life, showed how much she loved them – and perhaps feared for them as well. Most interesting of all was how Ami and Yuki changed over time. Their personalities generally stayed the same, but their outlook on life and what and who they were certainly evolved along the way.

By the time I was done, I felt like I had indeed read a pretty decent story. However, it wasn’t until a few weeks later, after I had watched the movie, that I started to truly appreciate how good this story was. It grew on me over time and before long I could finally see why so many people who had read this book had really loved it. I’m glad I finally made the time to not only read the manga, but to watch the anime as well, as this truly is a wonderful story. I would definitely recommend it.

Book Review: Erased Volume 3

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Boy am I glad that I randomly stumbled across this series last year. Even though we are only three volumes in, I can safely say that this is easily one of my favorite manga series.

This volume was so darn good. I feel like the story has been getting better with every volume. The first was amazing and set the groundwork for the story and the time travel, the second ramped things up and this one took everything in a whole new direction.

I will say that every now and then the plot was fairly obvious, especially when it came to the kidnappings, but there were still a lot of twist and turns along the way that made this book one heck of a ride. The characters have come a long way since the first volume and there is so much more for them to experience as the story progresses.

I found the ending to be particularly great, in the fact that it ties up some things as well as helps to pull characters back into the story that had little to no page time as of late. And yet, there is so much that is still unsolved, characters and events that are in need of more attention and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Unfortunately, I can’t go into too much detail for this, because I don’t want to spoil the series for anyone. I am very much looking forward to the next volume, it can’t come out soon enough, and I would highly recommend this series to everyone.

Monday Progress Report

Reviews Posted Last Week:
The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher

What I did Last Week

Read

I did a decent amount of reading this week. First up I read Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood. While it wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be, it was a pretty big let down to be honest, but I’m still glad that I read it. I’ll be posting a full review of this one soon.

 

 

Next I read Erased Volume 3. I read this one that day that it arrived because I was so eager to continue the series. I really, really enjoyed this volume and cannot wait to keep going. I’ll be posting a full review of this one soon.

 

 

Then I reread Dangerous Depths, yes again, even though I reread it only two weeks ago. I really wanted to revisit this one quickly before diving into the next one. You can read my review of this book here.

 

 

 

Finally I read Sacred Seas. This book was so good! I will save all my thoughts on it for my review, which should be posted either this week or next – I will post it once the book is released, but it was such a great read.

 

 

Watched

On the TV and PVR I watched several episodes of The Incredible Dr. Pol and the latest episode of Alaska: The Last Frontier The I watched the first five episodes of Recovery of An MMO Jumkie, which I’m really enjoying and can’t wait for the next episode to come out. For Family Movie Night we ended up watching Saving Shiloh, which was alright, but no where near as good as the first movie.

Life

I didn’t do much this week. Mostly it was lots of writing.

What I Plan To Do This Week

Reading

No real plans for this. I may pick up something at some point during the week, I just don’t know what it will be yet.

Watching

I’ll be trying to keep up with things are they show up on the PVR but there is no guarantee.

Life

I will likely be mostly preoccupied with writing again. I didn’t write at all over the weekend, so I need to catch up on my word count a bit.

Book Review: Erased Volume 2

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After reading the first volume, I immediately wanted to know what was going to happen next. So I ordered the second volume and waited until it arrived several weeks later. I can’t go into much detail, because I don’t want to spoil the The story picks up right where the previous volume ends.

Once again, I enjoyed watching Satoru try to navigate the past, as well as the present, while trying to solve two different murders. It was interesting to watch him try to piece two different time line together, gathering what clues and evidence he could find along the way, while also avoiding getting too tangled up into either situation. In fact, it’s this double mystery that is one of my favorite aspects of this series. A single mystery would be interesting enough, but toss a second one in and you’ve got quite a story.

I have to say that the art is also growing on me. I wasn’t a huge fan of it with the first volume, but I’m certainly loving it more. I think as the story progresses with each volume, I will come to love it more and more.

I’m really looking forward to the next volume to see exactly what will happen next. So many things are up in the air at the moment and I can only guess at how things will turn out.