January 2018 Wrap-Up

Can’t believe the first month of 2018 is already over! Today I’ll be sharing my first Monthly Wrap-Up of 2018~ 

# Of Books Read: 9

Anchors & Vacancies by Kat Savage1.Anchors & Vacancies by Kat Savage

Owned | Read/Finished on January 1 | Rating: ★★★★☆ |Anchors & Vacancies Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Now pretty much a yearly tradition for me, I try to start off the new year by reading a poetry book, for 2018 I decided to read Anchors & Vacancies by Kat Savage!

This book contains 45 poems centering around the journey of a love lost and how that loss can impact a person when its difficult to let go.

This quote really stuck with me throughout the entire book:

“There’s a certain kind of ache in the chambers of my heart…”

While I really understood the complex emotions + journey Savage portrayed in the collection, on a personal level (aside from a few) many didn’t really connect with me (hence the 4 stars). However, I loved her writing-style and plan to read more of her poetry in the future.

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes2. The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

Library | Started December 23 + Finished on January 4 | Rating: ★★★★☆ |The Arsonist Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Told through 3 unique POV’s, The Arsonist brilliantly weaves coming-of-age, historical fiction, & Mystery/Thriller all in one! This novel follows Molly Mavity + Ibrahim, aka, “Pepper” Al-Yussef who’s paths cross when a mysterious letter brings them together to solve the mystery of Ava Dreyman, who was a resistance fighter during the time of the Berlin Wall. The friendship between Pepper + Molly was so beautifully written and you really see how lonely they feel, but the bond of their friendship reminds them that they aren’t alone & I loved that! There’s so much complexity + mystery that really makes this book surprising. I suppose my only issue was that compared to Oakes debut The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly (Which I loved), the writing for The Arsonist felt rather flat and certain aspects from side-character development to setting description, etc. fell a bit short. Aside from that, The Arsonist is a compelling story that weaves in so many differing genres/themes that I highly recommend it if your looking for a unique read!

Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire3.Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #3)

ARC | Started January 7 + Finished on January 8 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ |Beneath The Sugar Sky Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Beneath The Sugar Sky was easily my favorite book of the Wayward Children series so far! The descriptive and whimsical writing really showed McGuire’s growth as an author with this series. When Rini finds herself Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children characters, both new & returning, join Rini on her quest to the peculiar world of Confection, to bring back an old friend. Kade & Christopher are easily my favorite characters of the entire series & not only did this book remind me of that, but their banter + friendship easily made this book one of my favorites! Filled with adventure, a dynamic + diverse cast of characters, magic & mystery, Beneath The Sugar Sky is a fantastic continuation to the Wayward Children Series!

A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen4.A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen

ARC | Started January 5 + Finished on January 13 | Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½ |A Taxonomy Of Love ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: The unique format & expansive timeline, made A Taxonomy Of Love a pretty unique YA Contemporary. We follow Spencer from 13-19 as he navigates life + his friendship with his new neighbor Hope Birdsong. Allen really developed the main character Spencer, while bringing so much progression & growth to his character that you can really see by the end of the novel. Throughout the story, Spencer + Hope begin to drift apart when Hope suffers an important loss in her family. Your left wondering if they’ll ever reconnect, while also seeing where their own paths are leading them. I felt however, with the constant jumps in the timeline, characters + story points had uneven development, going from extremely fast + rushed pacing to uneventful & slow moments. That made it difficult to really connect with any of the other characters, aside from a few main ones (hence the 3.5). However, Allen did a fantastic job at weaving in so many themes + developing the atmosphere of her contemporary story over such an expansive timeline!

Love Hate And Other Filters Samira Ahmed5.Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

ARC | Started January 15 + Finished on January 19 | Rating: ★★★★☆ |Love, Hate & Other Filters ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Love, Hate & Other Filters tackles such a relevant + timely issue while also balancing heart-warming moments and chilling/honest ones too! I loved Maya so much, from her passion to follow her dreams of becoming a film director to the strength and courage she builds over the course of the novel. There was one important moment I found that pretty much put the entirety of the novel into focus and that was the importance of Maya’s camera. I found it represented not only a shield for Maya, but also thinking broadly how people tend to view each other lenses (or filters!). Throughout the novel we follow Maya Aziz and her journey to not only understand who she wants to become, but seeing her inspirational journey to follow her dreams and tackle whatever life throws her way!

Fence Issue 1 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad6.Fence #1 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Owned| Read/Finished On January 20 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½Fence Issue #1 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: 16-year old Nicholas Cox has the heart, but not exactly skill, for fencing. He’s worked from the basics and is eager to win the local tournament (Connecticut Regionals). The win from this competition could earn him a spot into a top school and allow him to receive a scholarship & continue with fencing if he is serious about pursuing it. His competition is none other than  Seiji Katayama, fencing prodigy. This first issue introduces so much from Nicholas’s past to his passion for fencing & the mysterious fencing prodigy. There is so much great development, action and dialogue that will keep you hooked! Its a brilliant start to a new comic series! (Honestly, there’s tons more I discuss in my full reviews that I can’t fully explain in this wrap-up, but I HIGHLY recommend checking out Fence 💙✨🤺)

Fence Issue 2 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad7.Fence #2 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Owned| Read/Finished On January 20 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½ Fence Issue #2 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Fence #2 is very much build-up to Nicholas & Seiji’s dynamic when they begin at King’s Row and introduction to new characters on the fencing team. We definitely see the stakes set for not only the team, but Nicholas too (considering we learn there are a limited # of spots for the main team + upcoming championships). Both Issue #1 & #2 introduce characters of color + trans rep. & it does hint at gay rep.! The tension really builds in this issue and similar to Issue #1, will keep you hooked!

Fence Issue 3 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad8.Fence #3 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad + Joana Lafuente

Owned| Read/Finished On January 20 | Rating: ★★★★☆ ½Fence Issue #2 Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Fence #3 is easily my favorite issue in the series so far! There is much more character development/background + is a very plot-driven continuation! This issue very much follows Nicholas & not only his daily campus life on King’s Row, but his determination to prove himself before his first match against a classmate. The characters from Issue #2 are getting better developed as is the gay rep. The perfect pacing, development for plotting, characters, and slight twists + turns make Issue #3, such a brilliant addition to the Fence series!

Love Sugar Magic-A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano9.Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble by Anna Meriano (W/ Cover art by Mirelle Ortega)

Library | Started January 25 + Finished January 27 | Rating:★★★★★  | Love Sugar Magic: A Dash Of Trouble Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Easily one of the best middle-grade novels I have ever read! Themes of family and friendship, alongside a delightful writing that delivers a sweet and magical tale, Love Sugar Magic was a truly unforgettable read! The story follows Leo Logroño and she comes from a family of bakers, they run the Amor y Azúcar Panadería. She’s always felt left out of the family business + feels her mother + sisters are hiding something, so a day before the Día de los Muertos festival, she sneaks her way into the bakery to see what really goes on (she soon discovers she comes from a family of brujas, who use their powers within the bakery + their treats). Now that her oldest sister Isabel knows, Leo begins to use the powers within her & experiments with the special family recipe book. However as Leo begins to lie about using her abilities to the rest of her family, she soon gets into trouble & must make very important decisions. The magic system is one of my favorite aspects about this novel, it really builds and you see how unique it is for each member of Leo’s family. The plot is perfectly developed, the writing is beautiful, the characters are spectacular, & so much more!! Such a fantastic novel, I highly recommend it!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Latinx YA Book Releases To Add To Your TBR {2018}

What Books Did You Read This Month? 😄✨📚

You may have noticed, I never posted one for December. Well, that was mainly because of vacation, but also because as the months passed nearing the end of 2017 when making my monthly wrap-ups, I noticed that I began to lose my enjoyment for making/posting them because I felt like I had to (being a pretty common post in the book-community). While I do enjoy them I felt it was time to change up the review format a bit to add more to make a bit more personal (adding the format of the book + when I started/finished). And I think doing that really brought back my enjoyment for them~

So similar to this one, I may be trying out this new format for the upcoming monthly wrap-ups, but again I’m really liking how this one turned out! 😄✨📚📚💻~ But, feel free to let me know what you think of the new format in the comments!

Fence Issue #3 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad Comic Review

Fence Issue 3 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The MadFence #3 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad (Artist) + Joana Lafuente (Artist)

Publisher: Boom! Box (Boom Studios) 

Release Date: January 17, 2018

Pages: 27

Summary: As Nicholas works to become a better fencer, Seiji takes an unexpected interest in his journey.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Fence #3 delivers on more character development and is very much a plot driven issues! For those who’ve been wanting a bit more development compared to previous issues, readers will not be disappointed in this continuation!

As we’ve know from previous issues, Nicholas has the heart to be a great fencer, but as it turns out his skills need some work. He begins to train earlier & much harder before the big competition.

I loved that for those who don’t have too much knowledge on fencing (like me 😂 ) , the fencing terms are really easy to understand  & overall I loved learning more about the techniques involved with it.

Nicholas shares more of the King’s Row dynamics + daily life in this issue which really helped to give the perfect amount of background to characters introduced in Fence #2.

While it was clear Aiden was the school’s heartthrob (and player), we get a little more development to his character when he denies to having had any connection w/ classmate Jay (who is heartbroken). However, its clear not all the top fencing guys are mean, when Harvard confronts Aiden about his rude behavior.

We also get more tension between Nicholas & Seiji as they continue to be rivals. I also loved getting more from Bobby + seeing him with his roommate/friend Dante!! (Even though Dante hasn’t said a word, I can already tell he will be another one of my favorite characters 😆💕)

Nearing the end, the main arc of this issue was definitely building up to Nicholas’s first match against a classmate. To the class’s surprise, Seiji decides to watch his match.

As it turns out Seiji admits that his first ever match/victory against Nicholas was a fluke. While that definitely was a theory in my mind as I read Fence #1, I was shocked when it was true.

This issue is probably one of my favorites. It had so much development in terms of character & story, while also being perfectly paced.

As with the previous issue, there continues to be diverse representation from black, brown to Japanese & Filipino rep.! And gay rep. is better represented than being hinted at from previous issues.

Fence #3 is definitely the strongest issue in the Fence series so far! More background to the main cast and plot make this issue perfectly paced and developed. There continues to be great character dynamics & tension that build the plot, making Fence #3 a much needed + brilliant addition to the series!

Fence Issue #2 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The Mad Comic Review

Fence Issue 2 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The MadFence #1 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad (Artist) + Joana Lafuente (Artist)

Publisher: Boom! Box (Boom Studios) 

Release Date: December 20, 2017

Pages: 27

Summary: As Seiji and Nicholas struggle with their living arrangement, the competition heats up.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Fence Issue #2 is a character-driven continuation of the Fence series! The introduction to new characters & build up to what is at stake for these fencers will keep you hooked!

As we saw in Fence #1, Seiji & Nicholas are now roommates. Their rivalry and tension continues as this issue finally introduces us to more of the King’s Row fencing team!

As Nicholas is on his way to the fencing room on campus, he figures out he’s been tricked by rival fencer, Eugene Labao, into going the wrong direction. Luckily, we get introduced to Bobby Rodruíguez who helps him get to the right room. ( I know Bobby will definitely be one of the fan-favorite characters of the series! B/C he’s one of my favorites for sure!)

Nicholas & Seiji’s dynamic is so interesting and I feel that the breaks in between their rivalry make each moment in this issue so entertaining & funny (Bobby vision vs. Nicholas vision is a perfect example!)

We get introduced to members on the current team: Tanner, Kally, & the captain!

I felt the introduction to the new members was pretty good for this issue & I’m hoping for more development in the next few issues.

As it turns out, with Nicholas’s scholarship on the line, he can’t afford to mess up (being late,  etc.) so the stakes for him as raising quite a bit as we figure that he has to make the team and reach the Championships against Exton (However only 3 spots are available!).

It was great to get even more diversity in Fence #2! This issue not only introduces more black + brown characters, but also Filipino-American rep. (Eugene), and trans rep (Bobby), and it hints at gay rep.!

This issue felt very much like build up and introduction to what will come in the next issues. Although it was great, I felt there could have been a bit more to develop the characters introduced, because it is clear there will be more from them in the future. Though I did feel there was much more development from Nicholas and Bobby in this issue.

Fence #2 is a well-developed continuation to the Fence series! With short introductions to who will obviously be more central and unique characters, this series continued to build tension and raise the stakes for the fencing team at King’s Row!

Fence Issue #1 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad Comic Review

Fence Issue 1 by C.S. Pacat + Johannah The MadFence #1 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad (Artist) + Joana Lafuente (Artist)

Publisher: Boom! Box (Boom Studios) 

Release Date: November 15, 2017

Pages: 27

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Cox is an outsider to the competitive fencing world. Filled with raw talent but lacking proper training, he signs up for a competition that puts him head-to-head with fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama…and on the road to the elite all-boys school Kings Row. A chance at a real team and a place to belong awaits him-if he can make the cut!

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Fence Issue 1 is a brilliant start to a new comic series! The genius direction of the plot and introduction to the rivalry between the dynamic duo protagonists made Fence #1 such a page-turner! 

Okay I don’t usually buy comics issue by issue, but when I first heard about this series, I immediately knew I wouldn’t be able to wait for a complete volume!

If you’ve never heard of this series or just haven’t gotten reading it yet, please do! Its SO GOOD! I actually just marathoned all 3 issues because I knew I wouldn’t be able to put them down, so definitely keep an eye on the blog for reviews of Fence Issue #2 & #3 💙✨🤺

Fence #1 gets into the story right away as we are introduced to Nicholas Cox, 16-year old who is new to the world of fencing, but eager to compete and win in the Connecticut Regional Circuit.

As it turns out, his father, Robert Coste was an Olympic fencing champion in the 80’s. Ever since Nicholas was young and his father was out of the picture, he’d been drawn to fencing, but it wasn’t until he was a teenager that he was given the opportunity to learn.

He’s worked hard (starting at the basics, keeping up with school, work & earning just enough money to make it in) and while he is no champion, he does have a lot of heart and is determined to win. He’s told by his coach that if he wins a local tournament (Connecticut Regionals) he may have a shot at getting a scholarship if he is serious about fencing.

Now presently, he is about to enter his first match against Seiji Katayama, fencing prodigy who is incredibly skilled and on his way to the championships and possibly getting a scholarship from Exton (the best fencing school in the country).

Fellow competitors give him a hard time and believe he isn’t good enough to beat Seiji, but Nicholas isn’t giving in so easily.

This first issue of Fence really introduces a lot of threads to the story that will certainly become more complex as it continues. From Nicholas’s past, his dream to compete in fencing, to understanding fencing prodigy Seiji, the plot itself has you turning the pages and when you reach the end, eager to start the next issue right away!

I also loved that this series introduced characters of color( black, brown) & Japanese rep.!

What I felt really stuck with me about Fence (aside from the amazing + unique plot), was the characters! They are phenomenally developed! I adored the main characters Nicholas & Seiji so much!! Its clear there is so much more to them and this issue just gives you an introduction.

Their rivalry is what kept the plot of this first issue going, wondering who would win!

By the tournaments end, Seiji wins 15-0, however Nicholas vows he will beat him someday.

Six months later, Nicholas makes it to King’s Row (an all-boy’s school) on scholarship to continue with his fencing and has not forgotten his promise to beat Seiji in another tournament. As he makes his way to his dorm, he is quite surprised as to who his new roommate is!

While I personally think that the art-style could have been a bit more detailed on the backgrounds + expansion & detail on the action scenes, I felt it went perfectly with the story! It was vibrant, evenly colored and I loved the character designs! ❤

Fence #1 is a great introduction with the perfect mix of rivalry, character development, action, and dialogue to keep you hooked till the last page! Seiji & Nicholas are such incredible main characters that you will definitely be rooting for! If your looking for a new comic series I highly recommend Fence, it will not disappoint!

December 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

the-queen-of-blood-review1.The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (Queens Of Renthia #1)

The Queen Of Blood Full Review

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 353

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved this book so much, the characters, world, EVERYTHING!! Its a magical story with themes of family and friendship I won’t ever forget! Daleina works very hard to prove herself as potential queen + along the way comes to meet Ven, a disgraced Champion. When things don’t seem right in the world of Araty w/ its magic/spirits, they team up to figure out what’s going on!

goldie-vance-vol-12. Goldie Vance Vol. 1  by Hope Larson + Brittney Williams (Illustrator) (#1-#4)

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 Full Review

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 112

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A retro, 60’s-style comic featuring Goldie Vance, detective! There is so much diversity from characters to family dynamics, etc.! The plot unfolds quickly and I can tell there’s more mystery and adventure to come in Volume 2!

descender-volume-2-machine-moon3.Descender Volume 2: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire + Dustin Nguyen (Artist)

Descender Volume 2 Full Review

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: May 10, 2016

Pages: 116

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Slower paced than the previous volume, but delivers much needed expansion on characters/development! But its filled with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

the-weight-of-zero4. The Weight Of Zero by Karen Fortunati

The Weight Of Zero Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 387

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Fortunati delivers an unforgettable YA Contemporary which introduces the reader to Catherine, who has bipolar disorder and depression and over the course of the novel, as she fears “Zero” is returning she finds hope in the new friendships/relationships she creates along the way. Fortunati’s writing style brings a rawness to Catherine’s story and overall is a wonderfully written YA Contemporary!

monthly-girls-nozaki-kun-volume-15.Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Vol. 1 by Izumi Tsubaki

Full Review To Come

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: November 17, 2015

Pages: 114

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved this manga so much! It pokes fun at classic High School/Romance tropes! The plot jumps around rather quickly, so I was watching the anime while reading along and I love the characters! My favorite character is Mikoshiba ❤ ❤ He was so funny!! + He appears to be the typical heart throb that all the girls are after, but over the course of the story you figure out just how shy/anxious he is around them & really struggles to talk to them!  I can’t wait to learn more about him in later volumes!! I adored the characters & the plot was a little slow at times but it was definitely a blast to read and had me laughing! Can’t wait to read the other volumes!

ever-the-hunted-book-review6.Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill (Clash Of Kingdoms #1)

Ever The Hunted Full ARC Review

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 400

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: An enjoyable first book to a new fantasy series!  Summerill’s plotting and character development keeps the story moving and really brings an element of mystery to the characters! However my biggest issues were the lack of world-building and heavy focus on romance (mainly through Britta’s 1st person POV)! However the ending definitely has me interested to see how it wraps up in book 2!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes I #9

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations Based On YA Books

What Books Did You Read In December? 🙂

 

 

Descender Vol. 2: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire + Dustin Nguyen Review

descender-volume-2-machine-moonDescender Volume 2: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire + Dustin Nguyen (Artist)

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: May 10, 2016

Pages: 116

Summary: Young Robot boy TIM-21 and his companions struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Machine Moon expands the world delivered in Volume 1, while giving a spotlight on characters this time around!

Volume 2 centers on TIM-21, Dr. Quon, and Telsa as they are taken to Machine Moon by Psius, a city based on an asteroid which acts as a safe haven for robots.

There TIM-21 spends time with TIM-22, a clone to -21, and as the story progresses -21 reveals more about his past human companion Andy and through TIM-22 is able to discuss /explain his more human side, considering he learned through Andy.

Telsa is very suspicious of Psius and his intentions and is eager to leave as soon as possible. Yet as she stays, she comes to learn she’s growing more attached to TIM-21 and wants him to be safe.

Additionally Andy himself makes an appearance. Much older, he’s now a hunter who travels to different planets and makes money off the scraps he finds. However, he has one very important mission. Find TIM-21.

He soon finds himself with Bandit and the rest of Telsa’s crew from Volume 1 as he continues his search for TIM.

Andy is definitely my favorite character considering there was so much revealed about his past and himself as a character in quite a short story, compared to Vol. 1.

The plot itself is rather slow paced compared to volume 1, however the main characters go through much development, even the ones just introduced.

And the ending definitely took me by surprise! I cannot wait for Volume 3!

As with volume 1, the art is stunning and definitely some color contrasts between Andy’s + TIM-21/Telsa/Dr.Quon’s POV’s which definitely adds more depth to the story as a whole.

The space adventure continues in Machine Moon with incredible characters and development! A shocking ending will definitely leave the reader eager for Volume 3!

Descender Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire+Dustin Nguyen Review

descender-volume-1-tin-starsDescender Volume 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire + Dustin Nguyen (Artist)

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: September 24, 2015

Pages: 160

Summary: Young Robot boy TIM-21 and his companions struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet. Written by award-winning creator, Jeff Lemire, Descender is a rip-roaring and heart-felt cosmic odyssey. Lemire pits humanity against machine, and world against world, to create a sprawling epic.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: An epic Sci-Fi tale that pits human against machine!

Sci-Fi isn’t usually my genre of choice, however I’ve great luck find such fascinating and entertaining comics and graphic novels, I decided to give Descender a try!

Reading this graphic novel reminded me why this genre is so unique and captivating.

The story centers around a universe where man and machine live in harmony, then giant robots called Harvesters begin attacking and millions are killed, which does not fare well for both humans and robots.

10 years later, robots have become outlawed and no one is close to figuring out what exactly the Harvesters are or what they want.

An abandoned mining colony on a distant planet may have the answer.

Enter TIM-21, an artificial boy who was created for the sole purpose to be a companion for the son of his host family.

Soon he’s being chased by bounty hunters and scrappers, but a once respected scientist/engineer wants to find him to figure out who the Harvesters are and believes TIM-21 may be the key.

While it jumps right in, you definitely learn more about the overall world along the way and its absolutely fascinating.

The most memorable part of the world-building are the unique settings shown and the overall exploration of AI Technology and robotics!

The characters + character development is absolutely fantastic! While its mostly an introduction the characters grow and change over the course of this volume and they are so many layers to them I can’t wait to read volume 2 and discover more about this world and characters.

There’s non-stop action, plot-twists, space crews, and fascinating characters that will keep you hooked!

Aside from the fast paced story, the watercolor artwork is stunning! Its very subtle and light in tone, but delivers such stunning visuals.

If your a fan of Sci-Fi,robots/AI, and space adventures, definitely check out Descender Volume 1: Tin Stars! You won’t be disappointed! 

 

Hidamari ga Kikoeru by Yuki Fumino Review {Manga Review}

Hidamari ga Kikoeru CoverHidamari ga Kikoeru by Yuki Fumino {1 & 2}

Publisher: Printemps Shuppan’s Canna magazine

Release Date: October 27, 2014 (Volume 1) + May 28, 2016 (Volume 2)

Pages: 493 (1-12.5 Chapters)

Available in English through The Book Depository: I Hear The Sunspot (Vol. 1) & I Hear The Sunspot: Theory Of Happiness (Vol. 2)

Summary: The story starts with college student Taichi, who comes from a not-so-well-off household and is desperately searching for work. He (literally) stumbles across fellow student Kouhei while on a job hunt, and is incredibly enticed by the delicious bento Kouhei has in hand. However, something seems a bit off about Kouhei–and when Taichi consults his friends about it, he gets an answer he really wasn’t expecting: Kouhei is severely hearing impaired.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: A realistic story both touching and heart-breaking. It will leave you wanting more once you’ve reached the ending.

I have a different type of review today!

On a manga series that has captured my heart 💕❤️💖

I’ve read a lot of YA and felt it was time to take a quick break and get back into manga, which I haven’t read in SOO LONG!!

My first manga in years was Hidamari ga Kikoeru & it was all kinds of amazing!! ❤

The story starts off with college student Taichi searching for a part-time job. With no luck, he makes his way towards his college campus just in time for lunch and meets Kouhei after stumbling into him.

Kouhei is in search of a note taker due to having difficulty hearing and Taichi gladly agrees. In return for being note taker, Kouhei promises Taichi free lunches and the two become friends.

It is revealed that Kouhei lost his hearing around middle school when he got a terrible fever and throughout the rest of middle school + high school found it very difficult to connect with people and make friends.

This manga brings up hearing disability and really takes time to discuss it!

While I personally don’t have much knowledge on people who are hearing impaired/deaf, I  felt it taught me a lot and showed me the struggles one can face and how it could significantly impact the important build blocks of one’s social life (making friends, etc.)
+ I felt so bad for Kouhei because he just gave up almost on making friends entirely 😭 and was so lonely, of course until Taichi came along.

There are moments when Kouhei can’t hear what people are saying to him or when he asks people to repeat what they said and sometimes their response is “it was nothing.” 

To him its a big deal, because he wants to be a part of a conversation or just feel included.

Sadly Kouhei discovers his hearing is getting worse and he could possibly end up losing his hearing all together!

Wanting to avoid hurting Taichi if he does end up losing his hearing, he slowly begins to drift away from him.

It broke my heart!! 💔😭

Luckily, by the end Kouhei explains why Taichi is so important to him & they kiss!!

💕❤️💖🎉

Now onto Volume 2: (which separately is 4.5 )

During a club day on campus, Taichi tells a new student Maya to watch where she is going, when she steps on his flyers accidentally. Not knowing she is hard of hearing as well, he tells her to watch where she’s going.

Soon after, Taichi realizes she is there to see Kouhei and both Maya & Kouhei click instantly.

After one of Taichi’s friends recommends they go with a big group of friends to a local restaurant, Taichi becomes somewhat jealous of being ignored by Kouhei all night + of Maya becoming friends with him.

Shortly after, Taichi gets convinced from people around him that he doesn’t need to be with Kouhei anymore because he has Maya + Maya herself doesn’t necessarily like Taichi either and that he should leave Kouhei alone (he’s loud and talkative compared to her who is more soft-spoken).

As for Kouhei himself, he gets convinced that he’s holding Taichi back & doesn’t deserve his friendship.He then admits to himself that having Taichi as his friend makes him stress over the littlest things, considering they haven’t talked in a while.

+ in between chapters moments of Spring Break are shown & further reveals why Taichi + Kouhei don’t really hang out much anymore (+ it complicated their relationship!)

As time goes on, Maya begins to question whether Kouhei likes someone (b/c she somewhat has a crush on him, but overtime gets the idea that he doesn’t like her back.)

Taichi becomes unsure of what he wants to do with his life and what he wants to study. By chance he meets Maya’s Uncle and realizes he runs a company with a variety of services for the hard of hearing/deaf.

After bringing up valid points in a discussion, he gets offered a job at the company. Convinced he’s where he should be, he considers dropping out.

Before Taichi drops out, he still wants to make time to hang out w/ Kouhei.

However before they meet up, Taishi sees Maya and notices she’s having a hard time understanding what her childhood friends are saying and he helps Maya avoid the situation.

In between this scene, we come to understand why Maya didn’t really like him and why she really wanted to be friends w/ Kouhei (b/c she saw herself in him and understood his struggles).

Kouhei + Taishi meet up once more and Kouhei admits that Taishi taught him to be a better person, enjoy life, and understand other people.

Wanting to get it out of the way, Taishi tells him he’s dropping out.

They hug one last time, Kouhei signs something for Taishi and leaves.

——–
Its been 6 months (now winter) since Taishi started working at his new job and he hasn’t seen Kouhei since then.

Both are unsure how to reconnect their friendship after so much time apart.

Taishi  gets convinced that Kouhei has a girlfriend now (which ends up not being true!)
He sees Maya and she tells him that he still hasn’t admitted to himself that he loves Kouhei. He’s assigned to drop something off and sees Kouhei after so long. ❤ ❤

They begin to talk and catch each other up on whats been going on in their lives.
Taichi then comes to understand what Kouhei signed for him all those months ago (not his name as he believed, but “LOVE”)

He runs off after coming to realize what Kouhei had meant, then a truck begins driving by & Taichi is about to get hit.

Kouhei luckily is there to help and they finally admit their feelings for each other after so long. + admit how much they missed each other ❤ ❤ ❤

I absolutely loved this manga start to finish!  I will admit I did cry a couple times but overall this story is filled with such well developed characters and brings up discussion about the hard of hearing/deaf with, to my knowledge very well and taught me a little more about it.

I love that Taichi & Kouhei got their happy ending and finally admitted to each other how they felt. I’m just so sad its over b/c I would have loved to read more about these characters!! ❤ ❤

My only minor issue is that volume 2 felt somewhat dragged in places but rushed in others and I wish there was more moments with Taishi & Kouhei!!

The story is beautifully written and the art is very well done. At its core this manga is about friendship and not giving up when things seem tough. 

Overall this manga was spectacular, I highly recommend it!!

June 2016 Wrap-Up

# of Books Read: 10

Girl-of-Ink-and-Stars1.The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Girl Of Ink And Stars Full Review

Publisher: Chicken House

Release Date: May 5, 2016

Pages: 228

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A beautifully written debut! This book is filled with mystery, adventure, and an unforgettable world/characters that keep you turning the page!

You Know Me Well June 72.You Know Me Well by David Levithan + Nina LaCour

You Know Me Well ARC Review

Publisher: St.Martins Griffin

Release Date: June 7,2016

Pages: 256 (Hardcover) 250 (ARC)

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: A dual-POV contemporary that has friendship at its core!

Mark+Kate struggle to tell their crushes how they feel about them, fearing their friendship would be put at risk!

But along the way Mark & Kate help each other no matter what and find the strength within themselves to confront their crushes/friends!

Zodiac Starforce Cover3.Zodiac Starforce: By The Power Of Astra by Kevin Panetta + Paulina Ganucheau

Zodiac Starforce Full Review

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Release Date: March 9,2016

Pages: 136

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A fast-paced comic with friendship/girl-power ❤ ❤

The art-style is beautiful & the plot itself is pretty easy to follow w/ a diverse cast of characters!

How It Ends4.How It Ends by Catherine Lo

How It Ends Full Review

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: June 7,2016

Pages: 304

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A deep and moving story about friendship!

This book was spectacular! I found myself relating to Jessie (being quite shy) & finding it difficult to navigate friendships!

Lo’s novel tells the story of Annie & Jessie and the obstacles/tensions that threaten to destroy their friendship!

Highly recommend !!

Prodigy Graphic Novel Marie Lu5.Prodigy by Marie Lu (Graphic Novel)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers

Pages: 160

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A condensed but overall enjoyable read of Marie’s 371 page novel of the same name!

This is definitely for those who have read all the Legend books! (more background info/character development)

I will def. be reading the GN of Champion if one is to be released!

the-problem-with-forever-cover6. The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Problem With Forever Full Review

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: May 17,2016

Pages: 480

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: A deep and character-driven contemporary!

Reading from Malory’s POV while at times heart-breaking showed the reader just how strong/independent she had become! There are some aspects that did bother me, the mean girlfriend cliche and at times the pacing was quite slow! But this was a truly unforgettable contemporary!

Lady Killer vol. 17.Lady Killer Vol.1 by Joëlle Jones + Jamie S. Rich

Lady Killer Full Review

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Release Date: September 15, 2015

Pages: 138

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A dark thrilling story of a housewife turned assassin! Everything about this comic was perfect! The plot is fast-paced the characters are well developed and the plot twists will leave you wondering what happens next!

The Princess Saves Herself In This One Cover8.The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace

The Princess Saves Herself In This One Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release Date: April 23,2016

Pages: 156

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Powerful and moving poems that discuss grief, acceptance, love, independence and so much more! Each poem is raw and evokes such emotion!

A must read!

This Savage Song July 59.This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

ARC Review To Come

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: July 5, 2016

Pages: 464

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A dark, but fast-paced story! The 3rd person POV makes it easy to transition from Kate to August! Twists/turns + plot twists that keep you reading till the very end!

Love & Gelato10. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Love & Gelato Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: May 3,2016

Pages: 390

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: This contemporary took me by surprise! There is so much depth to the characters + reading from Lina’s POV was never dull! Italy is brought to life in this novel and the mystery/friendship that Lina develops is enough to keep you reading!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes I #3          

June 2016 Releases

Literary Magazine Discussion

The Alchemists Of Loom by Elise Kova Cover Reveal

Lady Killers Vol. 1 by Joëlle Jones + Jamie S. Rich Review

Lady Killer Vol. 1 by Joëlle Jones + Jamie S. Rich

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Release Date: September 15, 2015

Pages: 138

Summary: Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother—but she’s also a ruthless, efficient killer for hire! A brand-new original comedy series that combines the wholesome imagery of early 1960s domestic bliss with a tightening web of murder, paranoia, and cold-blooded survival.

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

My Review: A dark, fast-paced story + non-stop action + housewife assassin = PERFECTION!!

I’ve had such great luck choosing my graphic novels/comics & Lady Killers is one I’m definitely adding to my favorites list!

Josie, mother of two, is also an assassin for hire!

Not only is her mother-in-law suspicious, but it gets even more complicated when her boss starts to question her loyalties to the company.

It had shocking twists & suspense at every turn!

The 60’s not only brought a unique setting , but also perspective to this story!

W/ the time-period, women were only expected to stay-home etc., but Josie breaks those boundaries and struggles to protect her family while still being loyal to her work.

It was very interesting to see the contrast (in her personality) between her family life and her assassin work!

After her bosses suspicions, her “partner in crime” of sorts, is asked to get rid of Josie!

While still trying to keep her family safe, she is on the run to get this mess sorted out.

With the suspicious Mother-In-Law, while it may have seemed obvious, it came as a complete surprise to me that she would be connected to one of the major characters later on!

The art-style is wonderful! It has that “vintage” look to it &  it works!

The setting/clothing is all done beautifully! If your a fan of vintage, such as myself, you will definitely love the dresses/overall art of this novel!

Another important note is Josie. With the type of work she does, it was great to see the art represent that (she is shown to have muscular arms)

 I loved/appreciate that she still wore dresses as an assassin!!!

+The fight scenes she’s in are epic!

The ending will definitely leave you wanting to figure out what happens next!

Overall a great comic with wonderful art, dialogue, characters & plot!
If there are to be future volumes, I will be reading them without a doubt! It was fantastic!!

**From the cover alone it was obvious there would be violence/blood, while it isn’t too graphic, if that content bothers you, you may want to steer clear of this one**