Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chibli Vampire Volume 6

Chibli Vampire Volume 6 by Yuna Kagesaki (2007)

Description: Clueless Kenta is finally getting closer to figuring out that Karin has a secret crush on him. but everything explodes-literally! When Kenta's grandmother hires a detective to track Kenta down and bring him back to their hometown. A case of mistaken identity turns tragic when Karin's family bans her from seeing the very person she can't live without! Will Karin finally be forced to confess her love?

Review: I continue to enjoy reading this series. I wish I could have had them all in a row and finish them in one great read. I now want to really continue on with this series and even check out the anime.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Chibi Vampire Volume 5

Chibi Vampire Volume 5 by Yuna Kagesaki (2007)

Description: Karin continues to come to terms with her feelings for Kenta, but her flirting will have to be put on hold for now. Karin's grandmothers is in town, and that's enough to put her entire family into a panic. Elda Marker is no silver-haired, cookie-baking matriarch. She's a hot and heavy vampire vixen with a taste for blood, but a distaste for everything else having to do with the human race. So how can Karin possibly tell her about her new human almost-sorta-not-quite-boyfriend? Its going to be one freaky family reunion!

Review: Once again, another great little novel in the Chibi Vampire saga. I continue to enjoy this series and really recommend it to others. A great little comedy with a little twist.

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Book Awards

Award Season is upon us. Without further ado, here are the winners:

2008 Caldecott Medal
From an opening shot of the full moon setting over an awakening Paris in 1931, this tale casts a new light on the picture book form. Hugo is a young orphan secretly living in the walls of a train station where he labors to complete a mysterious invention left by his father. In a work of more than 500 pages, the suspenseful text and wordless double-page spreads narrate the tale in turns. Neither words nor pictures alone tell this story, which is filled with cinematic intrigue. Black & white pencil illustrations evoke the flickering images of the silent films to which the book pays homage.

In “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village,” thirteenth-century England springs to life using 21 dramatic individual narratives that introduce young inhabitants of village and manor; from Hugo, the lord's nephew, to Nelly, the sniggler. Schlitz's elegant monologues and dialogues draw back the curtain on the period, revealing character and relationships, hinting at stories untold. Explanatory interludes add information and round out this historical and theatrical presentation.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born (2007) by Peter David, Stephen King, Robin Furth, and Jae Lee

Description: Bringing the history of the Gunslinger into chronological order for the first time, the tale begins with a reckless act of courage that gains Roland his first set of guns and earns him and his friends, Cuthbert and Alain, a mission to Hambry on behalf of "the Good Man," a monster named John Farson. Meant to be a safe expedition, the mission becomes instead Roland's first experience of the evil forces he will encounter again and again, in a myriad of guises. When he meets the beautiful Susan Delgado, he discovers the power and pain of love. More than anything, he learns that things worth killing for...

Review: I was absolutely blown away with this book. I couldn't put it down. The story was outstanding and I was totally sucked into the world of the Gunslinger from the start. The artwork is just absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The story of the Gunslinger has come to life. I had not read Stephen King's Dark Tower series, but now I feel that I have to. I am so into this story that I would love to see what happens. Although, I am more than willing to wait for further installments of this series. The combination of Marvel and King is fantastic. I most definitely recommend this book.

Score: 5 out of 5

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Persepolis 2

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (2005) by Marjane Satrapi

Description: Here is the continuation of Satrapi's fascinating story. In 1984, Marjane flees fundamentalism and the war with Iraq to begin a new life in Vienna. Once there, she faces the trials of adolescence far from her friends and family, and while she soon carves out a place for herself among a group of fellow outsiders, she continues to struggle for a sense of belonging.

Finding that she misses her home more than she can stand, Marjane returns to Iran after gradation. Her difficult homecoming forces her to confront the changes both she and her country have undergone in her absence and her shame at what she perceives as her failure in Austria. Marjane allows her past to weigh heavily on her until she finds some like-minded friends, falls in love, and begins studying art at a university. However, the repression and state-sanctioned chauvinism eventually lead her to question whether she can have a future in Iran.

Review: Another captivating book by Satrapi. I could not stop reading, I just kept turning page after page. The author definitely had an interesting life and to share it with the world let us glimpse something many of us would never understand, except through her eyes. I am glad that I read these books as it has enlightened me on a few subjects. I really recommend the reading of both of this and the first installment, as they show us a world that we might not be able to see. There are some real series subjects, but a really great read.

Score: 4 out of 5


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (2004) by Marjane Satrapi

Description: Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black and white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehram from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Review: This is one powerful book. Although the artwork is simple, it tells a very dramatic story. From the beginning I couldn't believe all of the horrific things that Satrapi had to witness in her small years. I honestly did not know all of that about Iranian history and found it enlightening. A very powerful story that all should read.

Score: 5 out of 5

Movie Connection: In 2007, Persepolis was brought to the big screen by Vincent Paronnaud and the author herself. It was done in a very unique style. It appears to be animated, but it is like the book came to life. I have not yet seen this myself but intend to. It looks absolutely beautiful.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hikaru No Go Volume 5: Start

Hikaru No Go Volume 5 (2005) by Yumi Hotta

Description: Sai's games on the Internet have Go players around the world guessing his true identity. among them is Hikaru's rival, Akira, who suspects that Hikaru is hiding behind the screen name "sai". So intense is Akira's interest, in fact, that he skips the first day of his pro exam for a re-match. And on a rainy Sunday, the battle of wills begins anew...

Review: I have to say this installment was the turning point for Hikaru's character. He finally has a goal and will do just about anything to do it. It was really interesting to see how he turned out. The characters are written so well that I have been so engrossed in this story. I really can't wait to read more.

Score: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hikaru No Go Volume 4: Divine Illusions

Hikaru No Go Volume 4 (2005) by Yumi Hotta

Description: Another tournament is underway. Three members of the cutthroat Kaio Go Club face three members of the budding Haze Go Club. As tensions rise, the antagonism between both teams culminates in a telling match between Akira and Hikaru. Who will win? Which team will win? Even if the answer surprises you, the ensuing drama won't.

After the excitement of the tournament, there's nothing left for Hikaru and Kimihiro to do... except learn how to play more Go! In the process, Hikaru finds a way to let Sai play all the Go his fluttering heart desires without everybody and their mother pointing and staring at Hikaru. Find out what Hikaru discovers in this volume of Hikaru No Go!

Review: So this installment is basically the ultimate tournament and then the aftermath. Even though Hikaru is defeated, he still wants to keep on playing. He does discover something... the internet. Now Sai can get off his back and play all the Go he wants. It was pretty intense during the tournament. I have to say that Akira is a little freak. Not that being a freak is bad, but he is a bit odd to say the least. I am still enjoying this series and can't wait to read more.

Score: 4 out of 5

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hikaru No Go Volume 3: Preliminary Scrimmage

Hikaru No Go (2005) by Yumi Hotta

Description: Akira is beginning a new school year at Kaio Middle School. With his daunting reputation as the Toya Meijin's son, Akira fins he must prove himself to more than a few mean and jealous classmates. And with the help of upperclassman Yuri Hidaka, Akira finds the confidence to persevere in his hunt to beat Hikaru. Meanwhile, Hikaru is having a hard enough time just trying to find a third teammate to play in the Haze Middle School Go Club. A possible teammate arrives in the form of Yuki Mitani - but will he join their club or continue to swindle old timers for their pocket change?

Review: We continue to follow Hikaru in his goal to find a third member for their Go club. His passion is very interesting. For a person who really didn't like Go, he sure is determined to play in the tournament. We are introduced to Yuki, who is playing Go for money. Although he gets what is coming, has he really learned his lesson? I continue to enjoy the character and humor of Yumi Hotta. A really fun and great read.

Score: 4 out of 5

Hikaru No Go Volume 2: First Battle

Hikaru No Go Volume 2 (2004) by Yumi Hotta

Description: With sure and steady moves, Sai and Hikaru are making a name for Hikaru Shindo as the one who might possiby beat the venerable Akira Toya. Wait. Who are we kididng? Hikaru: sure and steady...? Yeah, right! In between all the shenanigans Hikaru gets himself into during school and aafter, and dealing with Sai's unhappy sobs when Hikaru tries to run away from playing Go, his fame is grwing. Principals, teachers and Go tournament kids alike are all wondering who this unruly bronco foal Go player is. Tetsuo, a Shogi punk who had a beef of his own with Akira, harasses poor Hikaru at frist - then later puts him on his own Go team! Meanwhile, Akira, looking for a rematch with Hikaru, is surpised to find Hikaru playing with a third-rate Go club. You won't be disappointed with the further adventures of this dynamic Go duo!

Review: In this installment, Hikaru is getting more and more into Go. He is now in a Go club and competing in a tournament. It is interesting to see how the character of Hikaru is growing. He is getting a little more confident and tries to make plays on his own. I am intrigued with the Go culture and enjoy reading about it. The characters are written well and make me want to read more.

Score: 4 out of 5

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hikaru No Go Volume 1: Descent of the Go Master

Hikaru No Go (2004) by Yumi Hotta

Description: Hikaru Shindo is like any sixth-grader in Japan: a pretty normal school boy with a two-tone head of hair and a penchant for antics. One day, he finds an old bloodstained Go board in his grandfather's attic- and that's when things get really interesting. Trapped inside the Go board is Fujiwara-no-Sai the ghost of an ancient Go master who taught the strategically complex board game to the Emperor of Japan many centuries ago. In one fateful moment, Sai becomes a part of Hikaru's consciousness and together, through thick and thin, they make an unstoppable Go-playing team. Will they e able to defeat Go players who have dedicated their lives to the game? Will Sai achieve the"Divine Move" so he'll finally be able to rest in peace? Begin our journey with Hikaru and Sai in this first volume of Hikaru no Go.

Review: I never thought a manga about Go would be that interesting, but Yumi Hotta really makes it fun. This was a great introduction to Hikaru and the whole universe of Go. I didn't realize how popular it was in Japan. My husband plays Go so I am familiar with the game (he was obsessed for a while - he even make a computer game). The characters are great and I instantly fell in love with them. Also, Hotta's humor is just great. I love the little "behind the scenes" included. They really make me laugh. Another great thing about this series is all of the good information about the game itself. I have really learned a lot. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

Score: 4 out of 5

Death Note Volume 1: Boredom

Death Note Volume 1 (2005) by Tsugumi Ohba

Description: Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects - and he's bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebooks dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal... or his life?

Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note's powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily Light's father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father's files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn't know?

Review: This novel was a bit darker than I had originally thought it would be. The story was very interesting and I like seeing how the character of Light is not exactly good nor evil. There are interesting choices made and I like how they are playing out. This is definitely more for older teens and adults. A good story that I can't wait to read more of in the next volumes.

Score: 3.5 out of 5