Series: Maid Sama
English Producing Company: Sentai
Stream on: Hulu/Netflix
Review by: Dani Hoots
Misaki Ayuzawa is the first female student council president at a once all-boys school turned co-ed. She rules the school with strict discipline demeanor. But she has a secret—she works at a maid cafe due to her families circumstances. One day the popular A-student and notorious heart breaker Takumi Usui finds out her secret and makes a deal with her to keep it hush from the school in exchange for spending some time with him.
This is one of my favorites that I like to have playing in the background while I am studying. It is cute, fun, and everyone loves a good tsundere love story. Misaki is a complete tsundere as she had a hard childhood with her father leaving her and her mother and sister to pick up his debt. She had had to help provide while going to school and becoming the school’s president. She is strong, awesome, but doesn’t want to fall in love. That is, until Usui finds out she works as a maid at a cosplay cafe and is intrigued by her personality and life. They grow closer, which Misaki isn’t very fond of. He causes a lot of trouble for her, which is fun to watch.
There is a lot of comedy with this series, and it is light-hearted and adorable. It is based on a manga and only got one season, but it is worth a watch even if you have read the manga. There are some parts of the plot that are out of order, which just made it come to a close a little for the season which I enjoyed. There isn’t a mandatory Alice in Wonderland episode, but there is an episode based on the Peach Boy which I enjoy every time I watch it. The ending to that episode is so funny!
All in all, if you want something cute and funny, this series is definitely for you! Let me know what you think of it in the comments!
Series: Cells at Work
US Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Mangaka: Akane Shimizu
Genre: Comedy/Science/Slice of Life/Action
CLICK HERE TO BUY
Strep throat! Hay fever! Influenza! The world is a dangerous place for a red blood cell just trying to get her deliveries finished. Fortunately, she’s not alone … She’s got a whole human body’s worth of cells ready to help out! The mysterious white blood cell, the buff and brash killer T cell, the nerdy neuron, even the cute little platelets—everyone’s got to come together if they want to keep you healthy!
To be honest, this manga saved me in Disease Processes class last year. Each week I would look up the sections we were supposed to read of the textbook, then read the manga chapter that related, and it all made so much more sense. From what I know, a lot of biology and anatomy professors are loving this series as it is another way students can learn about the body. I told my anatomy professor about this series, although I’m not sure if she ever watched it. She was interested though and from the couple of minutes I sent her, she said it was pretty accurate.
In looking at just the manga and not the anime, which follows pretty closely, the characters are funny, adorable, and they really explain how cells grow up in your body and what jobs they each have. I really like white blood cell as he is trying to learn more about the body, although it isn’t his job.
I am pretty excited about the spin offs that they have. I didn’t realize they had been translated and are available as e-books. I definitely will be downloading them and helping support the medical knowledge I gained in the past couple of years.
To conclude, if you want a cute series that will definitely help you in anatomy, disease processes, or just want to learn more about how your body works, I recommend this. Even if you don’t care for science, it is a great series. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Series: Grimoire Noir
Written by: Vera Greentea
Illustrated by: Yana Bogatch
Published by: First Second
Get a copy here
Bucky Orson is a bit gloomy, but who isn’t at fifteen?
His best friend left him to hang out with way cooler friends, his dad is the town sheriff, and wait for it—he lives in Blackwell, a town where all the girls are witches. But when his little sister is kidnapped because of her extraordinary power, Bucky has to get out of his own head and go on a strange journey to investigate the small town that gives him so much grief. And in the process he uncovers the town’s painful history and a conspiracy that will change it forever.
The art for this series really caught my eye and is why I ordered it through my comic book store. I also really like any story with witches and like to see what kind of magic an author decides to use. In this story, all the girls in town are witches and have their own different types of power—some can use fire, some can fly, some can turn invisible, and so on. No one can leave the town either, that way the witches would be confined to the area and protected from the outside world.
But who wants to be confined, am I right?
There is a lot going on in this story and I felt some parts weren’t completely flushed out and lot was left open. I don’t mind some parts to be left open for sequels and such, but I felt like it ended a little abruptly and there were still a lot of unanswered questions. Most of it was the chase and everything, but then in the last few pages it just kind of all happened and was resolved. There needed to be a little more clues and things to be revealed before how it ended. I enjoyed it a lot though and definitely recommend it.
I felt for the character Chamomile and how she was written. I probably cared about her more than the main guy, and I’m still not sure about their past and what had happened between them. It didn’t seem like something that would end a friendship like they had and I wished we learned a little more. All in all, the art was beautiful and there was enough of the story that it kept me reading until I finished it, as I wanted to know what happened next.
Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments!
English Producing Company: Funimation
Stream on: Funimation/Hulu
Review by: Dani Hoots
Down-on-his-luck Robby Yarge is about to go from deep trouble to deep space! After a second encounter with Hatchi Kita ends with him on the run, Robby decides to make for Isekandar, a planet that promises happiness. But when he finds Hatchi stowed away on his ship, the two will make the journey across the stars together! Can these total opposites survive a trek through space?
I picked up this anime because I like watching comedies while working and because it was also sci-fi. It’s sometimes hard to find a comical sci-fi series that has a pretty cool plot at the same time. This series, I found out, is loosely based on the story Tōkaidōchū Hizakurigewhich is written in the early 1800s. I thought it was really cool to have a sci-fi series based on an old story, like Treasure Planet. It inspires me to take an old fairy tale and make it futuristic, but I’m not sure which one I would want to write about…
In this series, my favorite character is Robby. He is gambler and keeps losing money, but when he can’t pay back Yang, he decides to try his luck with Isekandar. He learns many lessons on the way, as any good character should. Yang is after him the entire way and I love how Yang is so obsessed with Robby. In the English dub, the way he says “Robby” is priceless. I keep trying to practice it but haven’t quite got it down. But the entire story is all the pit stops they take before getting to Isekandar. All the planets are unique and interesting, and I liked how they included a little nod to another anime, but I won’t spoil which one it is.
Hachi is also a great character who evolves throughout the story. We find out more and more about him and I think he had pretty good development. At first I didn’t care for him but by the end I liked him a lot. The stupid stuff the two of them get into, and how each one reacts to it, is pretty entertaining.
So all in all, I recommend this anime if you are a fan of silly but great sci-fi, especially anything based on historic tales. If you watch it, let me know what you think in the comments!
Series: Blood Mary
US Publisher: VIZ
Imprint: Shoujo Beat
Genre: Vampire/Drama/Supernatural/Boy Love
CLICK HERE TO BUY
“Bloody” Mary is not your typical vampire. He can withstand sunlight, holds a reflection in mirrors, refuses to drink blood—and wants 17-year-old student and priest Maria to kill him. But to Mary’s dismay, Maria doesn’t know how to kill vampires. Desperate to die, Mary agrees to become Maria’s bodyguard until Maria can find a way to kill him at last.
The art for this series really drew me in (and the fact it was about vampires). The story started out a little slow, as we are introduced to the world of Bloody(Mary) and Maria. There is a lot going on in this world, so it took a while to a hang of what was going on, and every time you thought you understood, a secret was revealed that always threw me for a loop. It was definitely a well-crafted series.
One problem I did have with the series was that it didn’t feel as romantic as what seemed to be hinted (mainly by the covers). While it is touched on near the end, I felt the author could have elaborated more and hinted more about what was going on through their heads about each other.
All the characters that were introduced were well established and their reasoning and background made sense. I hated a few of them, but at least their drive made sense to me. My favorite character was Bloody because lets be honest, he’s so adorable!
All in all, I definitely enjoyed this series, especially as a fan of vampire stories. I would recommend it to anyone who loves the vampire or BL genre. It is a completed series so you don’t need to wait for any more to come out and the author ended it in a good spot and it felt complete. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think!
Also, did I mention I like vampires?
Title: Black Canary: Ignite
Author: Meg Cabot
Artist: Cara McGee
Amazon/Barnes&Noble/Changing Hands/Indie Bound/Book Depository
Thirteen-year-old Dinah Lance knows exactly what she wants, who she is, and where she’s going. First, she’ll win the battle of the bands with her two best friends, then she’ll join the Gotham City Junior Police Academy so she can solve crimes just like her dad. Who knows, her rock-star group of friends may even save the world, but first they’ll need to agree on a band name. When a mysterious figure keeps getting in the way of Dinah’s goals and threatens her friends and family, she’ll learn more about herself, her mother’s secret past, and navigating the various power chords of life.
With expressive and energetic art by Cara McGee to match the trademark attitude and spunk of Meg Cabot’s characters and dialogue, this mother-daughter story embraces the highs and lows of growing up without growing out of what makes us unique. It’s an inspirational song that encourages readers to find their own special voices to sing along with Black Canary!
I came across this comic because I’m a big fan of Cara McGee’s art. One of my favorite commissions is from Emerald City Comic Con this year where she drew a punk version of Crowley Eusford from Seraph of the End (aka my husbando <3) I love it a lot and have it in my living room/anime room.
Anyway, I heard about it through her website and saw that it was written by Meg Cabot. It’s like a win-win! Meg Cabot is great author who wrote the Princess Diaries! So I figured this would have to be good (spoilers: it was).
This graphic novel follows the origin story of the Black Canary. She is a teen who wants to be a police officer and is the main singer in a band. Weird stuff starts to happen because of her voice, as anyone who knows Black Canary knows, and she has to figure out what she wants to do. It’s a simple plot, but it is made for 8-12 year olds so it has to stay pretty simple. Even with it being a simple plot, the art and story was good and I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves DC, punk art, or Black Canary!
Series: Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life
English Producing Company: Funimation
Stream on: Funimation
Review by: Dani Hoots
Down to its last member, the koto club will accept anyone who is interested in the traditional Japanese instrument. But when a delinquent and a prodigy player sign up, finding harmony isn’t going to be easy—especially not with ensemble competitions looming around the corner. With enough time and some incredible skill at the strings, perhaps this motley crew can strike a chord with the judges.
I like a good slice of life anime, although usually I go for the ones that have a little fantasy or sci-fi in them. This one caught my eye as the art is quite spectacular, and also because I like a stories with delinquents in them some odd reason. I was hooked after the first episode!
The story arc itself is a pretty normal one—they make a club and they want to make it to nationals! yay! But I found how the character develop in this story to be quite beautiful. Even some of the ones I didn’t like I ended up liking because their background made perfect sense. Everyone had their own unique story, and I really enjoyed that. For anyone who wants a good example of character arcs and character backgrounds, I definitely recommend this anime!
All in all, I’m excited for season two and see what happens with this group. I watched the dubbed version because I’m a Capricorn and have to be multitasking in everything I do, and can’t sit still to read the subs. The cast did a great job, as most Funimation voice actors do.
So if you need a sweet, beautiful anime, this is definitely a great one!
Title: Shadow of the Fox
Series: Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Review by: Dani Hoots
One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.
*I received this book via Netgalley. My opinions are my own.*
I really enjoyed this book! I found the main character, Yumego, to be hilarious, well-written, and having great character development. I also really like Kage as he struggles between his mission, possibly making a friend, and the demon sword trying to take his soul. There were many twists and turns in this book that I didn’t see coming. I really enjoyed the mythology, the use of Japanese words, and the fantasy world that was created. I think this book is very well written and I can’t wait for book two (of which I have already preordered!). If you like anime, manga, or Japanese fantasy, this story is definitely for you!
I give this book a 5/5!
Title: Twice Dead
Series: The Necromancer’s Song
Author: Caitlin Seal
Review by: Dani Hoots
Naya, the daughter of a sea merchant captain, nervously undertakes her first solo trading mission in the necromancer-friendly country bordering her homeland of Talmir. Unfortunately, she never even makes it to the meeting. She’s struck down in the streets of Ceramor. Murdered.
But death is not the end for Naya. She awakens to realize she’s become an abomination–a wraith, a ghostly creature bound by runes to the bones of her former corpse. She’s been resurrected in order to become a spy for her country. Reluctantly, she assumes the face and persona of a servant girl named Blue.
She never intended to become embroiled in political plots, kidnapping, and murder. Or to fall in love with the young man and former necromancer she is destined to betray.
*I received a copy of this book via Netgalley. My thoughts are my own.*
I found this story to be quite enjoyable. The main character is a strong female lead and the supporting cast were all unique and entertaining. The idea, I found, was really cool with people being brought back to life with runes and ceremony. I liked how not many people found it wrong and there was great conflict. The only problem I had was that the relationship between the Naya and her father wasn’t developed enough for me to care about how she talked about him a lot and stuff that happened. I wished I knew more about her life a bit first before everything happened.
All in all, I give this story 4/5 stars!
Title: Olympian Challenger
Series: Olympian Challenger
Author: Astrid Arditi
Review by: Dani Hoots
A hero’s tournament. A defiant contender. Does one girl have the courage to take on Mount Olympus?
Hope’s world doesn’t have room for heroes. She barely has time for schoolwork, swim team, and taking care of her ailing mother. But when she’s invited to a mysterious tournament, the all-powerful hosts won’t take no for an answer.
Transported to Mount Olympus, Hope comes face to face with her new trainers—the pantheon of Greek gods. While other contenders train hard to gain a fighting edge, Hope searches for a way out. Instead, she finds a gorgeous shadow god who may just convince her to stay…
As each round unfolds, the ultimate prize draws closer—the granting of her heart’s deepest desire. If she survives the final challenge, her mother’s cure would be within reach… but only if Hope can ignore the tournament’s dark purpose.
*I received this book from Netgalley. My review is completely my own opinions and thoughts.*
I loved this book! I’m a big fan of Greek Mythology and love stories that incorporate and of the gods or myths in their stories. The way the gods and Olympus is incorporated in this series is very unique and creative and I enjoyed it very much. This story felt like a mix of Hunger Games and Percy Jackson, so if you are a fan of either, I would definitely recommend this series.
The main character, Hope, is a very interesting character and although some of her reactions kinda made me roll my eyes, I felt she stayed true to herself and had very good growth. I also loved Kieron, although he sort of seemed the dark brooding type that is typical, but his powers and backstory was interesting enough to make me fall in love with him.
The action and description in this series was done very well. There was always something gin on which made the book hard to put down. I read it in only two days and almost couldn’t go to sleep until I learned what happened next. The only problem I had with the book is how Hades was portrayed. That is a personal opinion and not something I would ever base my rating on, but I just wanted to point out that darkness and death doesn’t mean evil… A lot of people believe that and it gets old very quick. The author made the gods her own, and I really enjoyed that and hope that my followers check out the book and read it too!