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.

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Book Review – Fruits Basket vol 4 by Natsuki Takaya

Title: Fruits Basket vol 4

Author/Illustrator: Natsuki Takaya

Format: Paperback

Published: 2004

 

Today I bring you the 4th volume in the Fruits Basket Series. Yes I am aware that I skipped right over the third volume but I figured I would save you yet another review of it brings me warm fuzzies and is good. It was true of the third book and there wasn’t much to review on it save to point out that we are introduced to more of the Shoma family and it was cute and sweet.   So I thought I’d skip ahead till I got something worth talking about and that was the case with volume 4.

 

To me this volume is packed with a lot of great things and ‘new’ characters who have to be mentioned and remarked on. The story starts with the bone chilling idea that Akito the head of the Shoma family is coming to visit the school. This is a huge deal as Akito is not painted in the best light in any of the book. Akito seems to be rather harsh and cruel from the beginning and for him to be at the school says a lot and you can see right off how this effects and bothers Yuki. There wasn’t much that came from the story save to show Akito’s cruelty a bit more and to show how much he affect Yuki.

 

After that even the story progresses forward Tohru meets a new Shoma family member know as Ayame who is the Snake. Ayame is the older brother of Yuki and I will say he is probably one of my favorite characters. He is a rather amusing character who cares for his brother despite the fact that there is a rift between them. It is really sweet to see how Tohru is trying to bring them together and I love the animated stories that Aya tells. It was amusing in manga form and even more so in Anime in my opinion, though both are amazing. I love the dynamic that Aya brings to the story and the characters.

 

There are other great chapters in this book that I absolutely love such as learning more about Momiji. All a worth read and highly enjoyable.   I would most assuredly give this book a strong 4 out of 5 pages. I think Fruits Basket is a cute series and a great way to break into Manga in my opinion as the story is good, and there is a great balance of humor and sadness with a good fantasy element thrown in. Needless to say I am looking forward to the next book in the series which is already waiting for me in my bag!

Book Review – Fruits Basket vol 2 by Natsuki Takaya

Title: Fruits Basket vol 2

Author/Illustrator: Natsuki Takaya

Format: Paperback

Published: 2004

 

As I have delved into the story of Fruits Basket it has been an absolute delight.  When I’m not reading the books I struggle to find the gumption to pick up the next book and yet while I’m in the book reading it I’m filled with warm fuzzies.  It is like wrapping a blanket around you while sipping a cup of hot chocolate.  I enjoy the books they are cute and amuzing and help me to relive the joy I had when first watching the anime.  Usually I’m a stickler for book then movie but that opportunity wasn’t available to me in a lot of ways so I’m doing it in reverse and I know the books are different than the anime and things will happen differently at some point but thus far practically everything between the book and the anime is almost identical.

 

I look forward to seeing what else may come from the books as I read through and pick up the next book in the series that is actually sitting on my desk with a figurative label on it that shouts out ‘Read me!’ as do the other two books that are currently sitting in my bag.  Of course there will be a bit time between this review and the review for the next book as I have other books that I have read recently that deserve some attention.  But over all the book was good it tells a great story of how Yuki and Kyo are becoming close to Tohru and how she sees them for wonderful people that they fail to see themselves as.  Additionally more of the Sohma members who are cursed with the Zodiac are introduced such as Kagura Momiji and Hotari.  All of them unique and rather entertaining.  Truth be told I do look forward to meeting other characters that I have met before in the anime and the other members of the zodiac that did not make it into the Anime. Overall, I would rate the book as a 4 out 5 pages.

Book Review – Fruits Basket vol 1 by Natsuki Takaya

Title:  Fruits Basket vol 1

Author: Natsuki Takaya

Format:  Paper Back

Published:   2004

Written: 1999

 

Okay, so I have a friend who is big into Manga, we actually met because of our mutual enjoyment of Sailor Moon.  Every year for her birthday she chooses someone to watch the anime Fruits Basket with her.  About a year ago she chose me because I had never seen it.  It was an absolute joy and I enjoyed the entire series, it was absolutely adorable and heart warming over all with a few good heart wrenching moments and a certain level of humor.  Fruits basket it its own unique story with it’s own unique genre, the best I can say is that it is a bit of fantasy and I loved it to say the least.

 

Considering how much I enjoyed the anime I knew I wanted to read the manga one of these days.  I was warned that the manga is good but rather different in certain ways than the anime but I have to know and I am very curious.  So far I have not come across many differences this first book was a set up and it is equally cute and adorable as the anime and actually covers a lot of anime episodes in this one book.  But instead of comparing the two mediums the story is presented in I’ll actually give an overview of the book.

 

The book follows a young girl named Tohru who is living in a tent, having lost her mother and wishing not to impose on the kindness of others.  It is how she happens upon the house of Shigre Sohma and Yuki Sohma who through a series of events ends up inviting her to stay with them instead of in a tent in the dangerous wild.  After staying just one night Tohru learns that the Sohma family has a secret which is that there are members of the family who are cursed by vengeful spirts of the Zodia.  Shigre is a dog, Yuki is a rat and Kyo who is another member of the family who also will start living there is a cat and an outsider to the family as the cat is not part of the Zodiac.  (There is a whole legend as to why a cat is not part of the Zodiac that plays into this story.)

 

Over all, this first book was some set up as Tohru learns about the three people she is living with and getting to know them and be their friend and they all in getting to know a little about them selves in the process.  I know by giving a summary of the book here I may not be selling the story but it is really worth the time and the read and it really isn’t as dull as it sounds.  I would highly recommend this book and am thus giving it a 4 out of 5 page review.

Book Review – Sailor Moon Short Stories 2 by Naoko Takeuchi

Title: Sailor Moon Short Stories 2

Author: Naoko Takeuchi

Format: Paperback

Published: 2004

Translated: 2013

 

For me there has always been something about Sailor Moon, the series captured me and never let go.  I enjoy the characters and loved the Anime and yet despite not giving rave reviews of the manga I can’t help but buy the manga and read it and in some ways love it.  It wasn’t long ago that I was in the store and discovered that there was one more book of short stories for Sailor Moon and I had to place my hands on it.

 

If you are at all familiar with the anime the chief story in this book was the source of the Super S Movie about Luna falling in love with a human and wishing to be Human for a short time to help a man who was dying of a heart condition.  In movie form I found the movie to be a bit odd and different but I think I found the movie to be so odd because I watched at the wrong point during the series.  In manga form the story flowed nicely and was rather an enjoyable read.  Additionally the added short stories were quite good.  The most odd of the stories was the Parallel universe story.  It was interesting seeing all of the girls all grown up with children of their own and knowing that Usagi has a second child. Though this was all interesting I felt that Chibi-Usa was a little off point from what she normally is and the fight in the story was a little weird with Ko-usagi (Usagi’s second daughter) finding a pink cat and saving the planet from a herd of rabbits by taking a whole bunch of cats to make a lynx as they are the natural enemy of rabbits.  It was rather bizarre to be honest but not the worst of the short stories.

 

Over all I found the read to be quite enjoyable and I think I would give this short story book a 4 out of 5 pages.  If you like Sailor Moon then this is a pretty good read and isn’t too difficult to follow as some of the other mangas have been for me in the past.

Book Review – Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Short Stories Vol 1 by Naoko Takeuchi

Title:  Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Short Stories Vol. 1

Author/Illustrator:  Naoko Takeuchi

Format: Paperback

Publication: 2004

Translation: 2013

So it was while I was checking out a local comic book shop of a friend of mine that I went exploring the manga section of the store curious about purchasing a new series that I had heard about and watched to discover that there was a short stories collection of Sailor Moon that I had never heard of.  I was nearly jumping up and down with excitement.  If you have read any of my previous blogs you know that I am a fan of Sailor Moon and this was a must purchase for me (particularly when the store is having a buy one book get a second half off – more adventures and reviews to come because of this sale).

Just barely glancing into the book I was already excited to see that there were several stories that were Chibi-Usa centric.  I’ve been on a recent Chibi-Usa kick due to re-watching the series lately and doing a bit of role playing pertaining to her character.  When I opened the book I admit that I was not disappointed.  This book was as it says it is a group of short stories, things that you never see happen in the anime and of course not in the Manga.  It is kind of fun to think that our beloved Sailor Senshi have other adventures beyond just dealing with the typical Youma.  Of course, the monsters in this book were very much like the others in some ways but in others it was different as some of the villains possessed the bodies of others to do their dastardly deeds.

I think over all my favorite part of this manga as I read it was that it wasn’t focused on Sailor Moon.  I love her just as much as the next and she was featured in several stories and did even fight but it was other senshi that dealt with most of the problems on their own and that was kind of cool to me.  Of the stories I think my favorite was probably “Rei’s and Minako’s Girls School Battle” as it followed Mina being herself and being absolutely hilarious as she tries to fit in at Rei’s school in disguise.  While my least favorite was “The Secret Hammer Price Hall” which focused on two new characters who are supposedly the same age as Chibi-Usa but look to be much older.  They are fashion fanatics, focus on the material talk like valley girls and cosplay and Sailor Senshi.  It was kind of a long and slightly boring story as though out the story  Chibi-Usa had to explain to Hotaru and the readers a lot of the odd terms that these girls used such as Häagled which is their way of saying ate Häage-Dazs ice cream.  I kind of found this annoying having to read so many explanations.  I also didn’t appreciate the objectification of these two girls at the end of the story.  I accept the history behind Sailor Moon and who it is geared for in some respects but when it comes to very young girls like these two girls are supposed to be I have a bit of a problem with – even if they look to be a lot older than Chibi-Usa.

Over all, I would give this book a 3 out of 5 pages as it was a good read but not something I would dub a must read – really this book is more for true fans of Sailor Moon which I like to claim I am even if I am a late adopter into the series.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Clover: Ace of Hearts

Title: Alice in the Country of Clover: Ace of Hearts

Author: Quin Rose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Written/Published: 2012

 

Being a bit of an Alice addict I decided to go in for another Country of Clover book and I am beginning to question this series as a whole.  I certainly liked the Country of Hearts series and I thought it would be fun to see Alice with some of my chosen favorite characters but now I’m not so sure.   Bloody Twins the first of the collection I read I enjoyed and yet gave it a not too strong of a rating and it seems like the rest of the books have fallen in comparison.  I was excited to read Ace of Hearts because after Boris Ace was my next favorite.

 

On the whole I found the book the be amusing and I was ready to give it a good rating based on the amusement I was getting from the beginning of the story particularly when all curse words were bleeped out and I mean quite literally – “That *Bleep*ing furball got away again” I laughed out loud at these instances cause it was funny even if I prefer a writer to just go ahead and use the language if it is to be used.  Yet the amusement could not continue sadly and the book had to go from fun and entertaining to very frustrating and annoying in 2.5 seconds.  It took one small scene at the near end to ruin the book entirely.  We had a happy moment where Alice is with Ace and she’s confessed to her love and they are just talking about it and it gets a little romantic and sensual all at once and then as they are talking you suddenly realize that Ace is starting to choke her remarking on how amazing it is how her heart suddenly races when nervous or scared.  He then probes her about how much she loves him as he tightens his grip around her neck, she accepts his trying to kill her and asks him to make it quick he backs off and says that he would never kill her and she ends up wondering why he backed off and sticks with him and then later claiming that she loves him despite how ‘dangerous’ he can be. WTF!?

 

I have been making this complaint recently to my friends but what is up with the objectifying of women.  I know it happens but it seems lately that I’ve been seeing a lot of it and to be honest it is rubbing me in a very wrong way.  I am by no means a feminist but I respect myself as a woman and I believe in women being strong and beautiful and yet this sort of crap keeps getting thrown in my face and I can’t stand it!  It is WRONG and giving people a bad idea of what relationships are about!  What really grates me is that this book is geared toward young adults, particularly young adult girls!  They are already struggling with understanding relationships and having self-respect they don’t need a book giving them the wrong message!  GRR!  Okay I will stop my ranting now and leave this book at a 1 page review… it would be less than one page if I could give it that.  We’ll say I’ll give the 1 page for the decent stuff at the start but it isn’t worth picking up garbage just for that so I say avoid this book entirely.

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