Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover The March Hare Revolution by Quin Rose

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover: The March Hare Revolution

Author: Quin Rose

Illustrator:  Ryo Kazuki

Published: 2012

Translated: 2015

 

It has been a while but I bring you yet another Alice story.  Since my last binge I think I have covered all Alice books but the latest releases which I am at the mercy of my library to eventually get in at this point.  Of course, knowing that I am a massive March Hare/Eliot fan, I have been chomping at the bit and salivating for this manga.  Then when you toss in the title and the content of past Eliot centric books I was certain that this book was going to be about Eliot’s past and how he broke the rules and shouldn’t be around but Blood rescued him.  (A lot of this is covered in country of Joker and in other Eliot centric stories.) Yet, this story was not what I expected it to be, not to say that it is bad thing.

 

The first thing that jumped out at me in this story was the fact that there is a lizard and a spider on Eliot’s scarf when it comes to the art work something that has been very subtle in the past if it has always been there.  It threw me off a bit but at the same time not enough to break the story for me to say the least.  What did throw me though was the art work, it was different than what I am used do.  Of course the characters are recognizable as always and of course I expect the art work to be different considering that it wasn’t Mamenosuke Fujimaru’s work as most of the books are.  However, there are artists who manage to come close to drawing similar to Mamenosuke while other’s fall short, such as Job who draws thinks long and lean.  Ryo Kazuki is another artists who does things differently but instead of long and lean Ryo goes more for a soft bubble look.  The hair instead of sharp angles as most manga I’m used to is, has a softer more curved look to it.  It threw me off for the first few pages.  Eventually however I got lost in the story and the art became second nature.  I do know that I did appreciate how clear emotions were on the faces of the characters giving the story added life instead of constantly having sound effects notate emotion, or ambiguous drawings that left me guessing at times (the latter of which Job is occasionally guilty of).

 

Anyway the story is of the developing romance between Alice and Eliot. There isn’t a lot of action, such as an epic plot to pull Alice away from her love or massively put her life in danger.  The focus of the story as on Alice and Eliot, as they spend time together and Alice realizes that there is more to her and Eliot than just friendship.  The twist and pull of the story that helps give things momentum is the fact that Alice is having dreams of her sister and is wavering on whether to stay or to go back home.  She is also frightened by the kind of dangerous life she would have if she stays with Eliot as he is the second in command of a mafia and they were attacked during one of their outings.  (Honestly I loved that bit as Eliot was so amazingly protective that it made me a little bit giddy.)

 

In the end the story was sufficiently cute though not overly heavy or dramatic in regards to romance, very light and airy.  Yet it was still rather good and sweet and I found myself giving out a sigh as I closed the book and content that only a very small portion was devoted to a preview of another story rather than a 1/3 of the story being devoted to a preview.  Over all I think I would give this book a 3 out of 5 pages.  While there are several Eliot centric books that are on my ‘wish to  own’ list (read as most – if not all)  this one will not be making the list.

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Writer Wednesday – Barbara Ehrentreu

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1. Who are you?
My name is Barbara Ehrentreu. I write under Barbara Ehrentreu.

2.What type of stuff do you write?
I write YA and poetry.

3. What do you want to pimp now?
My second novel, After, is going to be in print in September. After is a story about the struggles Lauren Walstein, a fifteen-year-old girl, has to go through when her father suddenly has a heart attack and undergoes bypass surgery. In one phone call her life changes completely. Lauren is a character with whom most teens will relate. Her best friend since kindergarten, Joey, is going out with her enemy and they have grown apart. Before the phone call all she thought about was getting a scholarship for softball, and the Mets. Suddenly she must deal with both her father’s illness and being in school. The demands on her from both ends complicate the story. In the middle of all this, she finds she is developing feelings for her best friend that are more than friendly. Is he feeling the same or is he just comforting her? In addition there is Joey’s mean girl friend Amber, who doesn’t appreciate Lauren being in the picture. Will Lauren’s father recover? How will Lauren cope with her new feelings for Joey?

Also I am working on the sequel to If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor called “Jennifer’s Story”. Jennifer Taylor, the girl who bullied Carolyn Samuels in the first book is getting ready for a very big meet that will decide her fate. Will she be training for the Olympics or will she have missed her chance? As the day gets closer for the meet she finds she is reverting back to her old eating disorder and that her parents are creating problems for her as well. Her father is running for mayor and her mother is drinking. Having to navigate these issues is making Jennifer crazy. She does have her good friend Carolyn and Brad her boyfriend to help her through it. However, Jennifer is still worried she might not get on the training team. Also, Maura, Jennifer’s oldest friend, has a new boyfriend who seems to be paying way too much attention to Jennifer. Will he cause a problem in her relationship with Brad?This is still a WIP, but I hope to submit it soon.

4. What is your favorite book?
When I was younger it was Alice in Wonderland. Then I loved Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier. Now my favorite books are by Dennis Lehane and Jim Butcher. I loved The Given Day by Dennis Lehane and The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. But it’s hard, because I am constantly reading such good books from my author friends.

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
In addition to writing I am also a tutor. I am a retired Reading Specialist so I work with students who have difficulty in school due to reading problems. I am also a mother with two adult daughters.

6. What links can we find you at?
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraEhrentreu

Twitter: @Barbehr

My blog: http://barbaraehrentreu.blogspot.com

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The best writing advice I can give to newbies

When I was first starting out I only knew I loved to write and the opportunity came for me when I was stuck in a hotel between places to live. My entire family consisting of two daughters and my husband, all adults, were squeezed into a two bedroom hotel room for a month and a half while we waited for our new place to be vacated. So every night I would tap on my computer and I finished writing an entire novel in that time. I revised it and had other people read it and then I thought it was ready to send to publishers. I got constant rejections and I gave up. It was a children’s fantasy and no one wanted it. Then I wrote another novel, this time it was YA and sent it to my critique group and they gave me excellent criticism. Then I had beta readers read it and they liked it. So I thought, great, this was ready to send out. I went to several SCBWI conferences and the editors gave us permission to send to them. So I started doing that and was met with rejection by every big 5 publisher. I put my novel away. I thought it would never get published, but a friend of mine was starting up a new publishing company. So I pitched it and she wanted it. This was such a long shot I thought I would never get it published. But I persevered and it did get published. First as an ebook and then in print.

My advice to anyone who is a newbie is to keep on trying. Take those rejections and save them and keep trying. Attend as many conferences as you can both physical and online. Online writing conferences are good places to meet all kinds of people. There are editors and publishers mixing with authors and writers. Physical conferences are good places to meet people too. Everyone mingles and you can meet editors and publishers across the table from you. Make the most of every opportunity to learn more about your craft. Workshops are excellent to take so you can hone your skills. Gather as many friends on Facebook and Twitter as you can and definitely start a blog if you don’t have one. Another great idea is to join writing groups both physically and online. All of this will help you to be a better writer and will immerse you in the world of writing and publishing. The last piece of advice I would give is again to keep on keeping on. Don’t give up if you feel your work is good. You are the one who is selling your work to other people. So tell people about your work whenever you can. Also if you can’t get it published the traditional way there is always self publishing these days for little or no money. If you want people to read your work you need to put it out there.

Book Review – Alice Love Fables by Quin Rose

Title: Alice Love Fables: Toy Box

Author: Quin Rose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

Now that I have nearly caught up with all off the Alice themed books at my library I am slowly waiting for them to get in the latest releases of Alice books. I know this book was released in 2013 but it took until now for my library to get the book in and I admit I was excited. I knew by reading about the book that it would have some short stories that weren’t Alice themed in it but I was not expecting over half the book to not be Alice.   I felt a little jipped that a book about Alice based on the tile was only half Alice.

The portion of the stories I read were decent. They were all very short and very quick so I felt suddenly cut off and the story didn’t give much, such as the one focused on the Bloody Twins. Then the Story with Gray Ringmark was cute and good and even better than the book Lizard’s Aid (which I did not review). I just wish the story had gone further.

In the stories that I read there were some laugh out loud moments that were rather cute that I enjoyed. Then the best two stories in my opinion was the story focused on Peter White. I’ve always wanted to see what it would be like if Alice could get past the fact that Peter stole her away and forced her to stay in Wonderland. This is why I’m looking forward to the Peter centric book that should eventually come to my library. The next best story was of course the Mad Hatter story which if you’ve read any other Alice review you know that is one of my favorite pairs but you should note that this says something when the March Hare story didn’t even register as comment worthy. The Mad Hatter story was unexpected and adorable and quiet honestly then end of it had me giggling with happiness as it was super cute and not something I expected to read for Alice and Blood Dupree.

Over all despite the joys I had with some of the stories that were in the book not only did I feel cut that more than half the book was not Alice, but I also felt cut because I had expected stores from characters that I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting a few times such as Sydney Black or Jericho Bermuda and they were not there. Of course, the latter issue was a fault of my own rather than the book, but that disappointment coupled with the other disappointments I would only give this book a 2 out of 5 page review because it wasn’t much, cute, but not much. It is worth a read for a fan, but not really worth going out to purchase unless you are a fan of the other stories such as Crimson Empire which is one of the stories and has been featured in preview form in a number of the Alice books.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liars Game Vol. 6

Title: Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liars Game Vol. 6

Author: Quinrose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2014

 

There are points when one reads a book knows that they greatly enjoyed, knows why they greatly enjoyed it and yet can’t really express in detail why the book was so good lest they blow the entire story and the entire point of reading. That is the case with this particular installment of Alice in the Country of Joker. This book was a fantastic read and has made the series one of the best Alice series to date in my opinion. What I got from this book was unexpected and enticing and has me clamoring and begging for the next and final book in the series.

 

I wish I could share with you just what makes this book end so well and what sort of cliff hanger you are left with and what a fantastic story that is crafted in this particular volume of Alice in the Country of Joker but I dare not. I implore you to read this series and see what happens for yourself as it is quite good. The most I can say about this story is Alice has chosen her love in this story and is dealing with the issues of this choice which gets to be a whole lot more than Alice or I as a reader expected.

 

Over all I think I would give this book a 5 out of 5 page review. I know many are not manga readers or big into a story line as presented in this book and for you I would say it is still a great read and worth the time but you don’t have to go out and read it like those who enjoy manga should. So despite the shortness of my review this book was a fantastic read filled with surprises and turns that I would not have expected and I absolutely loved and I think you will too.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fantastic Rabbit vol 2

Title: Alice in the Country of Hearts – My Fantastic Rabbit vol. 2

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Delico Psyche

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

 

So the Alice obsession continues and it is official between this book and the other books I have read some of them already reviewed others I have not reviewed yet, my favorite pairing from the series has changed.  Boris was my favorite with Alice but that has dwindled as I read through the Cheshire Cat Waltz.  As I’ve stated with other books with Eliot he has grown to become a very strong favorite.  This book as sealed things for me and Alice and Eliot is my favorite couple from the series.  While Eliot is rough on the edges and a hit man and number two in the mafia he has a sweet side that is adorable.

 

This book had me from the start as we learn more about Eliot that I had never known such as how he had purposefully broken a clock of his best friend so they couldn’t be replaced. The story goes on and Alice determines to go home so as not to hurt Eliot as she thought she had and she felt bad for leaving her sister.  What happens as she follows this path is both shocking and had me on the edge of my seat and almost ready to cry.  I will not state what happened because that is way too big of a reveal to spoil in any way, but it made the book a must read for me.  It was very well done and had the perfect ending.

 

I really feel that this book is a 5 out of 5 pages that was how much I enjoyed the story, and I encourage you that once you have a feel for the world which you might have from reading a number of my reviews you can delve into My Fantastic Rabbit volume 1 and follow it up with this volume which was absolutely superb.

Book Review – Alice in the country of Diamonds Wonderful Wonder World Official Visual Fan Book

Title: Alice in the country of Diamonds Wonderful Wonder World Official Visual Fan Book

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2014

 

After reading through Bet on My Heart I was absolutely in love with Alice in the country of Diamonds I had to know, if there were other novels.  My obsession with this manga had increased because of that book.  I saw that the library was getting this book in and I jumped on it without question.  I got the book just before a slow day at work and every spare minute was devoted to this book as it was amazing.

 

This was more of an art book rather than a story or a novel but it was amazing full color art work when most of my manga is in black and white.  The art work was gorgeous.  I loved every second of it looking at all the pictures.  In addition to the amazing pictures that made me want to book just for that there were detailed  character bios where I learned more about the characters in detail and saw more about their outfits than I had ever known or noticed.

 

Of course that wasn’t all when it came to the book,  it also went through every possible outcome of this particular game.  What paths and ends you could achieve.  It was amazing because this was the closest I could get to playing the game as it has not jumped the language barrier yet.  It was so interesting to see the different turns the story could take for the Country of Diamonds it made me adore the new characters such as Jerhico Bermuda (the Dodo bird) and Sydney Black, characters I only got to know in small ways in the first book. Not only that but with this book, I learned that there are deeper levels to the game and world as well.

In addition to all of that the book also came with two bonus manga chapters.  I got half way through the book and had to flip to the end to start reading the manga.  It was a real treat and a joy to be honest.  I was glad that they kept with classic manga with the bonus chapters.  The first chapter was a story about Sydney Black and it was overly sweet and cute – I find that Sydney is a charming and endearing character who works well with Alice, though I wouldn’t say that he is my favorite to be with Alice.

 

The other chapter plays off of a spoiler for one of the end games with the Blood Twins as her chosen romance.  This was the most powerful and very well done.  To explain how amazing it was I would have to spoil one of the possible ends.  So if you don’t wish to be spoiled skip to the next paragraph and you’ll be safe. In one of the possible ends Alice is killed and she is left dying by heartless twins who remark how they are bored and ready to go play at the park and Alice’s life ebbs away as she wishes for the twins to return not the present ones who are walking away but the ones that she loves and misses.  It continues from that point where the twins realize they miss her and then Alice wakes up and is meeting the twins for the first time and they are all crying and they don’t know why as this is their first meeting.  The best part is when there is a possible fight the twins look to Alice and say we won’t let you down this time, and wonder why they said that.  The way it is written and drawn just pulls at the heart strings and makes me love the book all the more.

 

Over all, I would give this book a 5 pages out of 5  particularly if you are an Alice Fan like I am.  I would try to rank it for those who are not fans but I don’t think I can.  It is hard to say where this would rank for a person who doesn’t enjoy the series like I do.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game 2

Title: Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game 2

Author:  QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2012

 

Oh my goodness!  This book was amazing!  I have enjoyed all the love stories in the other books but this story is less about the love and all about the plot of the story.  This story is edgy filled with a bit of danger, and a lot of mystery as there are things unknown to Alice and the reader about the April Season and the truth about a lot of characters is revealed here on some level.   There is more to this Wonderland than we would have originally thought and more to the characters found here.  It feels like this whole story is about fighting for the life of Alice.  It is quite interesting to say the least.

 

The story is quite good and the character interactions are fantastic, I love the humor that paces alont with the novel and I love how the character interact with Alice and how important they all are to her.  Of course some of my love for  some of these characters might have grown with some of the side stories I’ve read but all the same it is quite good and I am enjoying  it.  I am quite eager to get to the next book and find out what the fate is for our dear Alice and she navigates through the fantastic world of Wonder Land not knowing the danger that she is in.

 

Over all, I would give this book a 4 out of 5 pages and say that you should read this book.  Read a bit of Country of Hearts, know what happens in Clover such as the land shift and the new characters found there then dive right into Joker.  I am most certain you will not regret it particularly if you like a good mystery of sorts like I do!

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