What else can you expect from the awesome author of Cat vs. Human besides an adorable and amusing beginning chapter book about a cat finding his "pet"What else can you expect from the awesome author of Cat vs. Human besides an adorable and amusing beginning chapter book about a cat finding his "pet"? It's a fun perspective, the cat's-eye view of finding his human. My cat was brought to us in a similar fashion, so I had a great time imagining Harry going through the same steps that Oliver did. And I liked that Oliver was in denial for 4 of the 5 chapters about his staying with "Freckles" and her mom. Just passing through, taking advantage of their tuna-mac-n-cheese and awesome supply of boxes to play in. This is fantastic for beginning readers, because while the text is minimal, it's smart and does not talk down to its reader. It's very conversational, and kids can easily get into it. It's broken up into reasonably sized chapters for the age-group, and is filled with wonderful illustrations to help tell the story. I mean, look at that face...
Such a super cute book. I hope there's a second one eventually....more
Compared to many of the other reviews, I realize a 3 is rather low. This is a difficult book to rate, but I have to stick to my usual system of enjoymCompared to many of the other reviews, I realize a 3 is rather low. This is a difficult book to rate, but I have to stick to my usual system of enjoyment. This book has a very important and heavy theme, and that can drag a reader down. I've given depressing and infuriating titles greater ratings, I'll admit. I think the only thing really holding this volume back was pacing. Still, this is a story that everyone should read. Because bullying is no joke.
I was bullied in elementary school. I'm sure nearly everybody can say that. Personally, I was bullied for my weight. I was heavier than your average girl, and it singled me out. My main opponent was a group of four to five boys. Luckily for me, words were their weapon, and I didn't have to fight. Didn't stop me from kicking them in the shins from time to time, but words can hurt just as much, if not more. That's one of the things in this book that really bothered me and made me super angry. These kids would talk about Nishimiya, not just behind her back, but right in front of her. And she couldn't defend herself because she couldn't hear them. And nobody stood up for her.
EVERYONE IN THIS BOOK IS A GIANT JERK!
Nobody is upstanding. Everybody sucks. Everybody, except Nishimiya, who is wonderfully forgiving and kind, even when the world is just spitting in her face. Even her fucking teacher (excuse me) finds her annoying and laughs occasionally when she's being picked on. For crap's sake, why did you become a teacher if you treat your students like this? The school does little to help Nishimiya, and that confuses me, but I'm not the most familiar with Japanese Public School requirements. They didn't even bother to bring in someone who knows sign language. Plus, her mother! Her own mother thinks her daughter a pain, and makes fun of her disability in front of her "because she can't hear it anyway." She lashes out at people who are trying to help. She's just a horrible person.
Our main bully, Ishida, may not be the worst, but he certainly learns his lesson the slowest. His whole thing is "winning the war against boredom," and teasing the new deaf kid is his new game. King Jerk. So when the bullying escalates to a level that gets the principal's attention, the rest of the jerks throw him under the bus. Welcome to Karma. Now he knows exactly what it feels like to be bullied. And it's not a pretty picture. This, luckily, helps him see his errors. By the end of this first volume, we see that he regrets his actions and wants to make amends. A tiny sliver of redemption.
Bullying everywhere is horrible; but, somehow, in Japan, bullying reaches new levels of despicable. You see it in a lot of their literature. There is such a huge pressure for conformity, that any strangeness or uniqueness tends to be a target to be squashed. And many authority figures turn the other way, because it's also a "lesson" to kids. You are responsible for what happens to you. Asking for help or looking for someone to lean on can be seen as a weakness. And that's why those who suffer have to go it alone so often. It ticks me off to no end, but we need to read stories about it. It needs to lead to a discussion for change.
A Silent Voice is a good manga, but it's hard to read. It may be a trigger for some readers, which will make it even harder. But it holds an important message. It's something young kids should be required to face, especially in a world that makes it easier to bully. I didn't have social media when I was being bullied in elementary school. Thank God. But what about kids today? We need to find a way to show kids the consequences before they go too far. Before Karma comes for them, and it takes way too long to make amends. They can only hope others take the high road and either learn to ignore or learn to forgive. ...more
A little slow to start, considering it was the big Finale, but it eventually sped up to its predecessors. The big, final fight was awesome, and the enA little slow to start, considering it was the big Finale, but it eventually sped up to its predecessors. The big, final fight was awesome, and the ending (while predictable) was adorable. Overall, a very enjoyable series that was light and dark at the same time. Yay. ...more
Once, for a writing class, I couldn't pin down an idea for a short story. I was up the very first week for reviewing, so it n2.5 Stars Overall for me.
Once, for a writing class, I couldn't pin down an idea for a short story. I was up the very first week for reviewing, so it needed to be put together rather quickly. One morning, I woke up with the previous night's dream so fresh in my head, that I had to write it down. It was fun, it was a tad quirky. For the most part, it was believable as a semi-fantastical short story. Until I followed my dream too closely and had the entire sleep-over cast murdered. Needless to say, it threw my classmates off. They liked the first three-quarters of the story, but the ending didn't work.
For me, that is The Weirdness.
I am all for weirdness in a book. Usually, weirdness goes hand-in-hand with creativity and unique ideas. All for that, too. But The Weirdness eventually took a turn in its plot that really lost me. For spoilers sake, I won't say what it was. I personally feel the author may have stretched his boundaries into a realm that didn't make sense with the rest of the whole. That being said for a book about a boy being hired by the Devil to retrieve a magical beckoning Neko. Yeah.
What I did enjoy about this book, was the actual writing. Kudos. It flows very nicely; and sometimes, such fluidity can be childish. Not here, though. It was super easy to read and had some nice descriptive language, and had some light comedy. (I think the comedy was supposed to be higher, but it wasn't the comedy that jives with me). Because of this particular voice, I was reminded of many of the Simon Pegg movies. Very Shaun of the Dead. So, even if this took place in Manhattan, it was reading British in my head. And Billy and Anil were this:
I know the physical description doesn't add up, but my brain didn't care.
As for plot, it starts off rather solid. I could see this playing out very similarly in a Christopher Moore book, or perhaps if Terry Pratchett and Jim Butcher had a lovechild. This will appeal to many readers. It looks at the dark side of things and adds comedy and "real people." If you care to look deeply enough, it had some insights on humanity and important choices. In that category, I think it failed to reach its potential. Even though Simon Pegg's movies are silly and sometimes gruesome, they still manage to have heart. And I couldn't find the heart in The Weirdness. So the enjoyment factor went down. It kind of tried in some spots, but I didn't feel terribly connected.
So, it was a little below average for me. A fun, quick trip, but nothing too memorable. I think Bushnell has a talent for writing. I simply am not a fan of this story. 4 for quality, 2 for enjoyment.
I was hooked from page one. One might think a book called Phoebe and her Unicorn would be super pink and fluffy and ultra-girls-have-to-be-girls. NotI was hooked from page one. One might think a book called Phoebe and her Unicorn would be super pink and fluffy and ultra-girls-have-to-be-girls. Not so. Phoebe is excellent and modern, and far from your girly-girl. She definitely wants to braid that mane, but the story is not about dreams coming true and being a "princess". It's about having fun with glitter, Crisco, copious amounts of wordplay, subtle revenge on that snotty popular girl, and maybe making a new friend or two. It is compared to Calvin and Hobbes, which I've never read. I can hear the shocked gasps. However, if that is a true comparison, I am eager to backtrack and read some C&H. Now there are more smart choices for kids who want smart comics, and Simpson's book fits right in. It has a grown-up sense of humor while also staying in the kids-realm, and Phoebe is always true to her age.
4th grade would have been soooo much better if I had a unicorn companion......more
It has been a shoujo desert for me lately. All the contemporary rom-coms (or just plain romances) have all fallen into the dud cat4.5 Suprising Stars!
It has been a shoujo desert for me lately. All the contemporary rom-coms (or just plain romances) have all fallen into the dud category, and I was often the odd-one out. (Case in point, Strobe Edge. Guh). So my hopes weren't terribly high for this one. Honestly, I was turned off by the title and the two exclamation points. I know, I shouldn't be bothered by that small thing, but I was. However, I'm glad I took a chance on this title, because it was super cute, super refreshing, and I will gladly admit to smiling like an idiot for at least 75% of it. I love a good underdog story. And this one is special in that the underdog (Takeo) truly thinks of himself as such. He doesn't even consider that Yamato might like him. Of course she's after his gorgeous and "boy-band-stock-model" friend. And that fact that she's not, and his reaction when he finds out, makes him that much more lovable. Yamato is a girl I can get on board with. She's not the feathery-airhead I tend to see as heroines in shoujo titles. She may be a little clumsy at times, but she's genuine, honest (once she gets over some initial shyness), and did I mention cute? Them as a couple is just "Squee." So, Yay for a shoujo that redeems the genre. Yay for "friendship is magic" moments between guys. Yay for non-shallow characters! I'll see you in volume 2. ...more
Super cute and very entertaining, My Neighbor Seki brought me back to the simple humor of the every-day-life story. If you liked the silliness of AzumSuper cute and very entertaining, My Neighbor Seki brought me back to the simple humor of the every-day-life story. If you liked the silliness of Azumanga Daioh, you'll easily fall into the rhythm of this manga. I do wish the characters had a bit more depth to them, like with Azumanga, but perhaps that will come in later volumes. However, the antics of Seki alone make him endearing and interesting. I can understand why Yokoi has a hard time looking away. The first chapter with the dominoes sets up the entire stage. This kid will do anything to distract himself in class, and has an incredible imagination for the extreme. Plus, it's refreshing to find a manga that's purely about the comedy and doesn't feel the need to throw extras in (i.e. forced romance, gratuitous panty-shots, over-the-top slapstick, or bizarre looking designs). It's funny as is, and that's all down to character. I do hope the conversations aren't so one-sided in future volumes. I think Yokoi and Seki could be great friends....more
I, uh... I'm not sure what to do with this one. I've been thinking on it for the past twelve hours or so since I finished it, and I'm still trying toI, uh... I'm not sure what to do with this one. I've been thinking on it for the past twelve hours or so since I finished it, and I'm still trying to decipher what the heck just happened. Enjoyment-wise, it wasn't the strongest; however, the art and the "out-of-the-box" quality bump it up. While the description does a good job to tell you that it's a dark fairy tale, it doesn't quite prepare you for this:
The plot... the plot. What is it? From what I can gather, the characters and "creatures" who star in this story are bits and pieces of the little dead girl's personality/imagination? At the beginning, when the girl dies, the walls of her consciousness begin to deteriorate, and everything in her brain leaks out. Yeah. So her imagination is left to fend for itself in the wilds surrounding her body. That's my best guess. However, without their host to rein them in, things get messy in a hurry. Either way, the art is simplistic yet beautiful.
Our main girl, Aurora, tries her best to hold things together. They form a small community, share food and resources, and eke out a small existence while trying to figure things out. If anything, Aurora is too kind. She gets duped more than once, and still puts a smile on. She may be the one who's in the most denial. However, time passes and seasons do, too. The characters and story fall into Lord of the Flies. Every man for himself, or suck it up to the strongest man. Aurora goes it alone. By the way, even though how she got the skin is a little disturbing, I loved her little camouflage cloak:
Oh yeah, this is what happened to the mouse. One of those "wtf" moments, for sure.
I definitely appreciate the creativity that went into this title. It takes Grimm fairy tales to a whole new level. Many times, I was reminded of Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies. This title would fit right in with the "beauty of death" era of writing, nestling up to Poe. So, if you're planning on giving Beautiful Darkness a try, expect just that. It's beautiful, but it's also pretty damn dark.
3.5 stars! Bumping it up a little because something about this title was ... Magical.
I've always wanted to use this gif:
Seriously. I kind of knew what3.5 stars! Bumping it up a little because something about this title was ... Magical.
I've always wanted to use this gif:
Seriously. I kind of knew what to expect. The description does a bang-up job of what you're in for. However, the level of extremity it's taken to was quite a surprise. This isn't your soft-baked Zombie Apocalypse. It's not even an exceptionally sequenced B-Horror Movie. This is it's own monster, and I'm intrigued.
If you have soft stomach, I would not suggest this title. The bloody rampage begins nearly from page one and rarely lets up. You will not have a reprieve. These Magical Girls mean business, and they're about to blow up, disembowel, dismember, and all-around mutilate anybody in their path. No hesitation, no explanation. You get within their eyesight, and you're pretty much doomed. Most horror manga stories have a loop hole. A way out of the mess. Some kind of weakness for the enemy. At this point, there is no weakness for the Magical. They reanimate - even if you bludgeon their heads in. Nobody, not even our "hero", is safe.
This volume is filled with non-stop action. The run-for-our-lives starts off rather quickly, and the small band of survivors are put to the test on every page. We get a little backstory, not much. I think there will be more to come later. The only thing you have to cheer for is their survival, because we don't have enough characterization to feel attached. I was willing to let that go, because I got a great apocalypse story that didn't shy away from "This is seriously the end of everybody."
My only gripe would be the character of Yoruka. She's the staple "busty girl." And I don't care how much the author likes big boobs, he needs a lesson in anatomy and physics. These are human-defying breasts, and sometimes it was hard to overlook that. It became gratuitous in a few scenes, along with a handful of unnecessary panty-shots. That really could have been left out, but that's a risk you have to take in this genre (especially from a male author). Hopefully that subsides throughout the plot, because it's not helping the art. I think it's harming it. I mean, sure, those images are dark and gory, and some of them are honestly fucked up (excuse me). But it's still well done! So, leave the blimpo boobs out of it, please. For everyone's enjoyment.
I'm still looking forward to future volumes. I like a good bloody romp, as horrible as that sounds. And I really liked the original and twisted take on the end of days. Taking something so kawaii as Magical Girls (though some of those stories are dark, too, people), and making them mindless killing machines. We still need a reason behind this mess. We still need a bit more depth for Kii Kogami. From this exciting first installment, I can only hope the race for survival continues at an equally fun rate....more
I truly only skimmed this volume. This story is falling down hill, and fast. It started so strong and there was really good character development. AllI truly only skimmed this volume. This story is falling down hill, and fast. It started so strong and there was really good character development. All the relationships had a steady progression and exciting tension. Now it's just a mish-mash of one-offs that go nowhere. Sure, we get a few nice backstories here and there, but it's still not worth it anymore. So many things are overplayed and overdone. I'm sick of reading the same thing over and over for the last few volumes from Nisekoi. Count me done....more
I do not mind true crime. I enjoy watching Criminal Minds. I understand why it's a popular genre. Many have a certain curiosity for the macabre; and dI do not mind true crime. I enjoy watching Criminal Minds. I understand why it's a popular genre. Many have a certain curiosity for the macabre; and delving into the deranged minds of criminals gives us a glimpse of how humanity can go to hell in a hand basket in no time flat. My issue with this book was not the content, not exactly. Sure, Albert Fish was a particularly disturbed individual and he did some horrible things. If he lived in a more current time, perhaps he would have been able to receive the help he so obviously needed. As a "story", it was interesting enough. But as an overall piece of work, I cannot agree with it. I can divide my grievances into two categories.
Gripe #1: The Writing Style Oddly enough, if you read the acknowledgements at the end, he dedicated this book to his editor for doing such a fantastic job ("as always"). I'd like to have a serious talk with this editor and how much work she actually completed with Schechter. Not only were there typos and grammatical problems, but the sentence structure and overall layout of the book provided a very choppy picture. At times, it was difficult to read, dipping into the realms of high school history reports. The run-on sentences could have been easily fixed with some added punctuation. Or, even better, cutting whole sections out entirely. I think Schechter could have made the same, if not a better, impact with 100 fewer pages. There were paragraphs that did not even relate to the current content. There were entire chapters I honestly skipped after I realized he decided to go on a field trip tangent about some other event. There are good and bad ways to incorporate related ideas. With Deranged, it felt like the author could not keep his focus. And this led to repetition and over-the-top, long-winded "theories." I think he took a lesson from the Dempsey lawyer; because it also took Schechter 15,000 words and 45 typed pages to get out one statement.
Gripe #2: WHERE ARE YOUR SOURCES?!?
I cannot, in my right mind, give a nonfiction title greater than 1 star if there is no bibliography, index, footnotes, or any recognition from the author that he used outside sources to compile his book. Any researcher, librarian, or freakin' high school student, knows that a source is not credible if they do not cite resources. I'm not asking for much, just some proof that what Schechter presented was factual. He did quote some newspapers, which was nice. However, I still wanted those newspapers to be listed in a bibliography, or at least a note of which database he used to find the prints. Without it, I have to say that Schechter painted a fictional portrait of a serial killer. The accounts in this book are way too specific to be real. It reads like fiction most likely because a lot of it is. The dialogue has no basis, and plenty of it would not have been recorded in any form. So how did Schechter know who said what and when? It was conjecture. And I'm fine with conjecture, as long as the author makes a note of it! Erik Larson--author of Devil in the White City, among others--at least gives us that. He adds a forward to his books that lets us know that some conversations were fabricated to help with the facts. Any nonfiction writer worth his salt should know this. I. Do. Not. Trust. Schechter. And his lack of refinement in this category really irked me to no end. Sure, I could do my own research to back up his information, but that's not the point of reading nonfiction. I should not have to double-check the author's work. Nonfiction should not come with homework (unless you are writing a paper and using it as a source, hah!). For all I know, Schechter wrote this book by looking through blogs and Wikipedia. So, no. Just no.
Girl power is nothing new these days. I grew up in the slow surge of it, reveling in the gradual increase of spunky princesses and superheroes who tooGirl power is nothing new these days. I grew up in the slow surge of it, reveling in the gradual increase of spunky princesses and superheroes who took no shit from nobody, be they man, woman or monster. I saved the world and kicked butt with Sailor Moon and the Powerpuff Girls. You can even throw in some kind of Spice Girls reference in here, but I'm not sure how to word it (in a way, they had the Elements of Harmony before My Little Pony). I'm actually reading Wrede's Dealing with Dragons at the same time, and the parallels are uncanny. I really wish that I had Princeless and the books like it when I was younger, when the Girl Power movement was just starting to get its running legs. Because I think it would have progressed that much quicker. Princeless is excellent. That said, it doesn't trash boys, which makes it even better. True feminism is not about squashing males and being dominant over them; it's about freakin' gender equality. And some boys are shown in a rather unflattering light here, but that's not because of their gender. It's because they also happen to be evil. Adrienne's dad for one.. not the best guy around. But her brother? Love him. He could totally be a fighter, and he's proven that he can handle it. But as he watches his father and how he treats his daughters, he realized he doesn't want to become his father. Way to go, Devin; way to not fall into the mold. These serious themes, though, are wonderfully covered with great comedy. You will not be bogged down with glorious purpose. You will be laughing at all the exploits of both Adrienne, her blacksmith friend, her trusty dragon, and even the bumbling knights who try to save her before she saves herself. This story is one great combo. I can't wait to read volume 2....more