Posted in Book Review, Manga Review, Reading

Manga that I Recommend (#3)

Previous Editions: 5 Manga that I Recommend | 5 More Manga I Recommend

*Remember to read Right to Left*

#11.) Dengeki Daisy

Genre: Romance, School Life, Mystery, Drama

Author: Motomi Kyousuke

Chapters: 80

Summary: Teru lost her older brother, her only living relative, to cancer while in middle school. Before he died, he gave her a cell phone she could use to contact his “replacement”, an entity called Daisy. Teru knows nothing about this person, besides the fact that their reassurance and comfort was the only reason she got up in the morning. Daisy is closer to her than she realizes and may not be the angel she believes him to be.

My Rating: An absolutely beautiful story. It gets a bit slow and tedious at parts, but they can be skipped over with little impact. Teru is a protagonist any reader will love and sympathize with.

#12.) Until Death Do Us Part

Genre: Action, Martial Arts, Drama

Author: Takashige Hiroshi

Chapters: 214

Summary: Haruka is a twelve-year-old girl with precognitive abilities (she can see into the future). She’s being targeted by criminal organizations all over the world and is kidnapped after finding her parents murdered in their home. Using her power, she sees the one and only person who can help her – a blind samurai struggling to live in modern society. He’s interested in the prospect of having more enemies to test his strength against and agrees to protect her “until death do them part”.

My Rating: The martial arts ranting can be a bit annoying, but I just skim through it and get to the action. I would’ve liked to see more interaction between Haruka and her bodyguard because they’re both immature and sarcastic, making a hilarious pair. Overall, I love it and think it’s a pretty unique read.

#13.) Sora Log

Genre: Romance, Drama, School Life

Author: Mitsuki Kako

Chapters: 15

Summary: Hikaru spent most of her childhood in the hospital and therefore looks at the world from a different perspective. She’s adorably naive, but her wisdom shines through when those close to her need reassurance. Her upperclassman, a quiet boy with blond hair, accidentally reveals that he, too, enjoys astronomy and Hikaru declares them to now be friends, despite everyone telling her to stay away.

My Rating: Cutest manga couple ever! Hikaru is just so adorable and lovable. She knows what she wants and goes for it, no matter what anyone else says. Plus, the drawing style is gorgeous and so detailed.

#14.) MiriamMiriam Vol.1 Ch.0 page 1 at

Genre: Adventure, Romance, Action

Author: Hikawa Kyouko

Chapters: 7 (each at around 200 pages)

Summary: Miriam is an orphan in the Wild West. She’s taken in by a sweet woman named Grace and learns what it means to have a happy family. Grace hires three young men to help her manage the ranch and they quickly become attached to the feisty little girl. As she grows up into a beautiful woman, she becomes especially close with one of the ranch hands. It will take a tragic twist of events to convince him of that, of course.

My Rating: Miriam is a beautiful story of people forming a family during difficult times. Plus, Miriam is the cutest and spunkiest protagonist. She whips all those adults into shape and rules over the ranch with an iron fist.

 #15.) Ichigo Jikan

Genre: Romance, Drama, School Life

Author: Kumagai Kyoko

Chapters: 11

Summary: Ichiko has been accepted into her dream school, but there’s a serious problem: she was promised a dorm to live in and when she arrives…no rooms are available. To appease her, the school sends her to a nearby apartment used by staff for temporary housing. She’s shocked to discover her new roommate is actually a boy and he’s not at all pleased with her being there.

My Rating: Ichiko and Ran are a great couple – she’s naive and intelligent, he’s hardworking and sarcastic. I read the whole manga in one sitting because every chapter was a cliffhanger and I just couldn’t wait to see what happened!

Posted in Book Review

Book #21: Kittens Can Kill by Clea Simon

Name: Kittens Can Kill
Author: Clea Simon
Pages: 348
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Romance
Available at and/or More Information: Author Website | Amazon | Goodreads
My Rating: 

Pru Malone has returned to her hometown after trying to live in the big city, which didn’t prove to be the healthiest situation. She’s established herself as an animal behaviorist, dog walker, adoption specialist, nuisance animal remover, and veterinarian assistant. While people consider her to have an incredible bond with animals, it’s actually much deeper than that. She can telepathically communicate with them.

Her latest job is assisting a local lawyer with making a home for his new addition, an adorable white kitten. What she doesn’t expect is finding her client sprawled out on the floor of his mansion or the chaotic relationship between his three daughters. The eldest accuses his death on the kitten, the middle is the black sheep of the family, and the youngest is trying to force her way into Pru’s life as an unwanted assistant. If the poor kitten has any hopes of a future, Pru will have to mediate and somehow convince them to draw a truce.

The reviews on Goodreads were mixed, with some saying they just couldn’t connect with Pru. She’s untrusting, bitter, rude, nosy, and a budding alcoholic. Her lover, a local police detective, is trying to convince her to settle down with him, but she stubbornly decided that none of her relationships will work because of her telepathy. He’ll say she’s insane and she’ll be left alone. Again.

I myself like Pru. She’s not a typical protagonist, but a unique character I haven’t met before. The author’s version of animal telepathy is also unique, in that every animal has a distinct human-like personality and advanced vocabulary.

The animals I’d dealt with preferred to name themselves — choosing monikers that reflect their inner selves a lot better than our cutesy  handles do.

While Pru struggles to stay afloat as her inner demons threaten to drown her, her animal friends gently coax her in the right direction:

“I know.” She had begun to purr as she settled into the down. “But I think  this is something more. Something disturbed him.”

If you’re looking for a cozy mystery with cutesy dogs and silly cats, then you should probably look elsewhere. Kittens Can Kill is dark; the characters are all stressed and mentally struggling to survive, even the pets. It’s not the most clever mystery I’ve ever read, but it kept my interest from start to finish.


Posted in Book Discussions, Book Review

Book Discussion: The Paper Magician

Ceony Twill is a recent graduate of the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. Hopeful and excited, her dreams are destroyed when her teacher tells her the magical world is lacking Paper Magicians and that she must become one. Magicians can only bond with one form of magic and Ceony is less than thrilled at the prospect of folding paper for the rest of her life.

Her new teacher, Magician Emery Thane, is a hermit living at the very edge of society. At first, Ceony sees him as just another eccentric freak, but she quickly learns that even hermits have dark secrets. Within weeks of meeting, Ceony must save her teacher’s heart, figuratively and literally, by harnessing the very magic she despises.

Is Paper Magic really just airplanes and origami? Ceony will have to look past her grievances if she wants to stay alive, especially in the face of forbidden magic called Excision, or the practice of controlling human flesh and blood.


Ceony Twill has a photographic memory, which is her “protagonist superpower”, and the ability to remember spoken instructions word-for-word. As an apprentice, she has real potential. As a person, she’s still immature. Her personality is difficult to sympathize with; she’s bullheaded, cowardly, and reckless. In her defense, she’s only nineteen and started to show signs of maturing in the last few chapters, but I still found her to be pretty annoying.

Emery Thane is a broken man still trying to heal from his past. I liked his character; he’s guilty of loving someone he probably shouldn’t have and is trying to right his wrongs.

Lira is a confusing antagonist. I still don’t understand exactly what her motives were and what happened to so drastically change her personality. I would’ve liked, as a reader, to see more of her backstory.


The Paper Magician is unique in that I haven’t read anything like it. Most magicians control natural elements, like water and air, so the concept of only being able to control man-made materials was a breath of fresh air. What I don’t understand is how Excision can even exist. Human flesh is a natural thing, not man-made in the same sense as glass or paper. The backstory, how things came to be, are overshadowed by Ceony’s quest.

Ceony’s falling in love with Thane as she explores his memories seemed strange to me. For the few weeks they lived together, she tolerated her eccentric teacher and then, at the flip of a page, he’s suddenly extremely attractive and lovable.

Writing Style:

  • For a book supposedly targeting a younger audience, The Paper Magician has a lot of blood, death, and just general darkness.
  • A bit wordy at times.
    • Ceony describes her heart rate about every other paragraph
    • Every conversation gives her a lump in her throat
    • She hesitates before she does anything
      • Are you seeing a pattern here?

My Overall Rating:

Image result for 3.5 stars


Posted in Book Review

Book #20: The Puffin of Death by Betty Webb

Name: The Puffin of Death
Author: Betty Webb
Pages: 298
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Romance
Available at and/or More Information: Betty Webb | Amazon | Goodreads
My Rating: 

Theodora “Teddy” Esmeralda Iona Bentley is a zookeeper with the Gunn Zoo in California. During a routine workday, her boss informs her that she will be flown to Iceland in order to pick up an orphaned baby polar bear, two injured puffins, and two Icelandic foxes.

Sounds easy, right? Explore a beautiful country with a wealth of animals while waiting for Iceland officials to finish up the paperwork needed to ship animals overseas.


While horseback riding along the coast, Teddy and her guide, Bryndis, stumble upon a dead man in the middle of a field of nesting puffins. She recognizes him as a fellow American who caused several disturbances in town (most likely while drunk off his butt) and soon learns he’s visiting Iceland with his suspicious birdwatching group.

Teddy wipes her hands of the affair…until Bryndis pleads with her to solve the case. The police have arrested her boyfriend, a flirty local artist, as the possible murderer. But Bryndis isn’t the only one asking for help. With the police warning her to stay clear, Teddy must work carefully. A murderer is close by and, if she’s not careful, Teddy might be the next victim.

The Puffin of Death is fast-paced and constantly keeps you on your toes – a mixture of history, geography, suspense, cute animals, and, of course, murder. Once I started reading, I just couldn’t put it down. There were a few repetitions (sentences used multiple times, word for word), but the overall writing was very well done.

The mystery itself was great. The author introduced many suspects, each of them suspicious in their own way, and then twisted the facts just enough to throw doubt on their motives. Unlike other murder mysteries, the police weren’t breathing down the protagonist’s neck and generally causing havoc by refusing to listen to reason. I actually liked the investigator in charge.

There’s little romance in this book. It focuses solely on solving a man’s murder, a man who was greatly liked and respected by some and downright loathed by others. I liked this aspect because many books add complicated love affairs for extra drama that really have nothing to do with the story.

I liked Teddy as a protagonist. She’s strong and determined, but not afraid to express her fears and concerns. I respected the fact that she stayed loyal to her fiance back home, even though Bryndis encouraged her to partake in some harmless flirting with the local men. She never backed down and responded to criticism with witty sarcasm.

Plus there’s a cute baby polar bear! And puffins!


Posted in Book Review, Reading

Book #19: Under Cold Stone by Vicki Delany

Name: Under Cold Stone

Author: Vicki Delany

Pages: 364

Genre: Suspense

Available at and/or More Information:

Author Website / Goodreads / Amazon

My Rating: 

Lucky Smith is vacationing in Banff, Alberta, with her boyfriend, Paul Keller, when they happen to run into Paul’s estranged son, Matt. Shortly after their tense reunion, Matt frantically calls his father late in the evening to say he came home from work to find his roommate dead on the floor of obvious homicide. Being a Chief Constable in Trafalgar, Paul leaps into action and contacts the local police. When they arrive at the apartment, Matt is nowhere to be seen. At first concerned for his safety, suspicion quickly turns to Matt as the suspect.

While Paul is searching for his son, Lucky is stuck at the hotel, worried sick for everyone involved. She calls her daughter, Moonlight (Molly) Smith, and asks her to drive eight hours to Banff in order to help Paul. As a police officer herself, Molly feels somewhat awkward about her mother’s new relationship, especially since Paul happens to her boss, but she immediately answers her mother’s plea for help.

This book had a lot of potential, with themes of ecoterrorism, fraud schemes, murder, and fragmented families…but it left me feeling a bit lost. All of the above topics were happening at once, each involving a different set of characters, and were eventually found to be interconnected. Instead of an international conspiracy or criminal enterprise, everything revolved around a plot of land in the Canadian wilderness that was a prime location for holiday cottages. Realistically, who would go to so much trouble (drugs, murder, fraud, blackmail) just to acquire some real estate?

The ending was terribly anticlimactic, too. A few of the smaller ringleaders were arrested and then the protagonists just shrugged it all off and said the rich will ultimately get away with everything. What kind of closure is that? I didn’t read over three-hundred pages just for the author to throw the book out a window and call it finished.

There’s also no point in calling this a “Molly Smith” novel. All Molly does is encourage some entitled kids to actually take control of their lives and tell the truth. Matt Keller and his girlfriend solved the crime, they just needed Molly and Paul Keller to push it through the legal system.

Overall, it was an okay read – just don’t expect anything worth writing home about. If you want to pass the time with a nice suspense novel, then I recommend this book. It was written very well, I was just disappointed with the plot itself.

Posted in Book Review, Book Tag, Reading

The Book Courtship Tag

I happened to come across this tag while browsing She Latitude‘s blog. It’s been a while since I did my last tag, so this oughta be fun!

Phase 1: Initial Attraction

A book you bought because of the cover

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice immediately caught my attention. It was a bright contrast to
the typical darker colored books around it, so I stopped to read the description.

Sherlock Holmes has retired to the countryside and is, not surprisingly, bored. While watching over his bee hives, he’s bumped into by a teenage girl named Mary Russell. The two find they have a lot in common: high intelligence, an observant mind, and the enjoyment of fighting crime.

Under Sherlock Holmes’s wing, Mary blossoms into a beautiful young woman with a mind to match her tutor’s. When Scotland Yard calls on him for help, he’s reluctant to bring Mary along. However, Mary Russell has other ideas.

Phase 2: First Impressions

A book you bought because of the summary

“As a third child in a society that allows only two children per family, Luke Garner was in hiding for the first twelve years of his life. Then he was given the freedom of an identify card that had belonged to Lee Grant, a Baron (a member of the highest class of society), and was sent to boarding school as Lee.

But now, just when things are finally starting to go right, Lee’s little brother, Smits, arrives at school, and Luke finds himself caught in a web of lies that gets more complex and possibly even lethal – with every passing day.

Can Luke trust the grief-stricken Smits to keep Luke’s secret? And can he trust Smits’s menacing bodyguard, Oscar?

Luke finds that living Among the Barons puts him in the deadliest danger he has ever faced.

Continue reading “The Book Courtship Tag”

Posted in Book Review, Reading

Book #18: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Name: Uprooted

Author: Naomi Novik

Pages: 456

Genre: Suspense, Fiction, Fanasty

Available at and/or More Information:

Amazon / Goodreads / Author Website

My Rating: 

When I bought this book, I was expecting a cute fantasy about a village girl growing into a self-confident woman in a world full of magic, witches, wizards, and typical evil. I was very, very wrong, but in a pleasantly surprised way.

Agnieska lives in a village bordering the Wood, a forest known for its unrelenting evil and poisonous atmosphere. The people living in the valley rely on the Dragon, a wizard who protects them with his magic. In exchange, a young girl must be given to him once every ten years. To refuse would mean certain death for the entire valley, not that anyone has ever been brave enough to oppose a wizard. The girls return as high-class ladies with dreams of a life in the city, dreams too big for the village they once called home.

Agnieska and her village are positive that the Dragon will choose Kasia, Agnieska’s best friend. Kasia is everything that Agnieska is not: beautiful, talented, refined. However, on the day of the feast marking his arrival, the Dragon does not choose Kasia, much to everyone’s shock and dismay. He chooses Agnieska, the tomboy with a curse of never having clean clothes.

My Thoughts:

‘Uprooted’ is like nothing I’ve ever read before. Naomi Novik created a world that is totally original – a combination of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘World of Warcraft’, with undertones of Book #3: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and Book #8: Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.

The Wood is an evil entity that is generally accepted as unbeatable, as a concrete part of life in the valley. As I read, I could feel their terror. I could sympathize with their feelings of resignation that nothing could be done to stop it. Once I learned the origin of the Wood and why it was so determined to kill everyone and everything in its sight, I was blown away. I’ve never read anything quite like it.

There weren’t many things I disliked, except for one thing. Wizards and witches were separated from the normal villages at a young age. They were born with magical powers, sometimes in a family never touched by magic. They’re immortal, but able to be killed. My problem is they weren’t described in great detail, besides basic information about their hair and skin. Are they normal people visual-wise, like Agnieska? Or slightly different, like the Dragon? As a reader, I would’ve liked to know more about them.

I like Agnieska’s determination and her unwavering love for her friends and family. However, I was a bit annoyed that she cried over everything. You don’t have time to cry, girl! Your home is under attack by something you can’t touch and you’re curled up into a ball, crying your eyes out!

Overall, though, I loved this book. You need to read it. Seriously. But, be warned: the trees around your house will suddenly seem evil and the bushes will try to grab you as you walk by. There is a lot of death and torture in this book, definitely not for the faint of heart.


Posted in Book Discussions, Book Review

Death Comes to Pemberley: Book vs. Mini Series

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but this is one of those rare times when the movie is better than the book. To summarize the plot, Elizabeth and Darcy have been married for six years since the end of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, have two young sons, and are comfortably living in Pemberley. Elizabeth has taken over her role as Mrs. Darcy with flying colors and even the gossips who thought she only married Darcy for the money are begrudgingly agreeing that she actually is a nice, intelligent person.

But their peaceful life is interrupted (once again) by Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s wild-child younger sister. She appears at their front door, hysterical and crying, saying her husband and his closest friend are dead. As the master of the house and the local magistrate, Darcy sets out to investigate. What he finds confirms his fears: he’s once again entangled in another of Wickham’s schemes, one that might cost them both dearly.

Elizabeth Darcy’s Role:

I was disappointed with how P.D. James portrayed Elizabeth in the book. She sort of characteristicobserverdissolves into the background and becomes just another typical wife during that time period. She’s not the feisty, brave heroine we all came to love in ‘Pride and Prejudice’.  Granted, it is more realistic that she stays behind while Darcy handles all the legal business, but still…

What the book lacks, the mini-series made up for. Elizabeth is the protagonist – she’s the one who pieces together the mystery surrounding Wickham’s life, the one who ultimately saves his life and the one who rescues Pemberley from disgrace.

Mr. and Mrs. Darcy’s Relationship:

While Darcy says several times throughout the book that he misses and loves his wife, they have maybe two conversations and short ones at that. As a fan of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, I was looking for a lovely sequel to their roller-coaster affair, not a few sweet references here and there. As I said before, Elizabeth dissolves into the background and Darcy is so overcome by Wickham’s trial that all he does is worry.

On the other hand, the mini-series treats the underlying issue of Georgiana’s future more gravely than the book does and this dilemma causes friction between Elizabeth and Darcy. Elizabeth is for one suitor, while Darcy is for the other. There are moments where it’s suggested Darcy regrets their marriage and Elizabeth fears for their own marriage. It adds extra drama to the story, while the book is pretty monotone and laid-back.

Darcy’s Role:

I was also disappointed with Book Darcy. He loses that spark, that gentlemanly mysteriousness that women fell in love with. Darcy is overwhelmed by Wickham’s trial; he worries constantly, he simpers and mopes, and, to be brutally honest, he’s annoying. Again, it is more realistic that he lets the legal system do its thing while he watches from the sidelines, but that realism is what made the book slow and dry.

In the mini-series, we see that strangely endearing Darcy temper. He’s a handsome man who walks with confidence but is also not afraid to show his wife and family affection. While Book Darcy lacks personality, Movie Darcy takes Wickham by the neck and demands answers (figuratively speaking).

Final Verdict:

The mini-series is filled with surprises, drama, and Darcy magic, while the book falls short with a dry, monotone narration and laid-back plot.

I seriously recommend the mini-series to anyone, not just ‘Pride and Prejudice’ fans. It was beautifully filmed and the actors fit into their roles perfectly. The book…not so much. I’ll still include information for anyone interested, but I’m actually really curious about your opinions. Am I being overly critical or do ya’ll agree?

Death Comes to Pemberley:

Author: P.D. James

291 pages

For more information: Publisher Website / Goodreads / Amazon


3 episodes

For more information: IMDb Overview / PBS / BBC Trailer

Posted in Book Review, Reading

Book #17: The Murder House by James Patterson and David Ellis

Name: The Murder House

Author: James Patterson and David Ellis

Pages: 451

Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Horror, Romance

Available at and/or More Information:

Patterson Official Website / Amazon / Goodreads

My Rating:

Detective Jenna Murphy has returned to her hometown after being away since she was child. Her uncle is chief of police and she’s rented a decent apartment of her own, but she just doesn’t feel like she fits in, like she belongs. When she begins to have terrible night-terrors about a screaming girl and voices telling her to move faster, she regrets ever leaving New York.

Soon afterwards, a local woman named Melanie is murdered, along with her boyfriend and famous talent scout, Zach. Their bodies are found in the infamous ‘Murder House’, a multi-million dollar mansion that’s been the center of several deaths and disappearances over the years. Jenna is sent to investigate and is horrified by what she sees. The killer didn’t just kill them – he ruthlessly tortured them, keeping them alive long enough to watch each other suffer.

As Jenna follows leads and draws her own conclusions, she’s taken off the case and suspended. To discover the truth and finally stop the brutal killings shaking their town to the core, Jenna must put everything on the line and risk losing her career.

…I have to know, I have to finally know. Even if it kills me.

My Thoughts:

Wow, this book was a whirlwind of cliff-hangers and sudden twists. Poor Jenna just couldn’t catch a break. She isn’t my favorite heroine, probably doesn’t even rank in the top 10 to be honest, but she is pretty badass. When most people would throw in the towel and escape, she dove forward like a bulldozer.

Now, I love this book. It had me hooked within the first chapter. My only problem is that all the sudden twists make ‘The Murder House’ pretty confusing. If you don’t read the entire book in one go, but read it in installments around work or school or just life in general, then you’ll be absolutely lost. There are many characters to remember, all of whom have dark pasts and some angle in the mystery. My advice? Set aside a weekend and read the entire thing. Trust me, it’ll be pretty easy after you read the first chapter.

‘The Murder House’ is beautifully written. Patterson and Ellis masterfully mixed past and present together in a serial murder case that spans generations, plus all the injustice and backstabbing will just make your blood boil.

Don’t get attached to a suspect – it changes just about every other page. One chapter it’s this guy, the next it’s another guy, and then it’s both of them, with maybe a third somehow connected. It’s gets easier to understand the more you read, but in the beginning it’s a bit much to swallow all at once.

Posted in Book Review, Crime

Book #16: Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark

Name: Where Are You Now?

Author: Mary Higgins Clark

Pages: 289

Genre: Suspense, (Somewhat) Horror

Available at and/or More Info:

Amazon / Goodreads / Publisher Website

My Rating:

Carolyn MacKenzie’s life has been in limbo ever since her older brother, Mack, disappeared. Every year he calls on Mother’s Day to tell them he loves them and will one day return. After ten years, he still hasn’t kept his promise and Carolyn has lost her patience. Their mother lives in agony, not knowing the fate of her son, and their father died without any closure. This year, she tells Mack she will look for him and she will find him, no matter the cost.

The following day, Carolyn’s uncle receives a note during one of his sermons at church – a note from Mack begging Carolyn not to look for him. The family thinks they should respect his wishes and move on with the knowledge that at least he’s alive somewhere. Carolyn, on the other hand, sees the note as a call for help.

Uncle Devon, tell Carolyn she must not look for me.

As she begins to dig up the records of her brother’s disappearance, the police are baffled by another young woman suddenly vanishing off the streets. The first woman went missing shortly before Mack, and the latest victim has just contacted her father and told him she’ll call again on Mother’s Day. Is Mack to blame, or is he just another victim?

*Spoilers Ahead*

Honestly, this is hands-down once of the best books I’ve ever read. I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading the whole thing in a day. Carolyn is an awesome heroine; she fights back when people accuse her of harboring a killer, she doesn’t simper over her love interest, and she bites back sarcastically when the police get too rough. Unlike other books, she looks at things logically. She believes her brother is innocent, but is open to the possibility that he’s guilty of the crimes he’s accused of. Even though she faces a horde of angry, bitter people, she doesn’t give up.

I also enjoyed the format. The book is broken up into short, yet perfectly adequate chapters. There are no long, rambling paragraphs that accomplice nothing but take up space on the page. Carolyn thinks things through, then acts. No annoying what-ifs. She has a goal and she runs toward it.

My only problem is the epilogue. I wanted more of an apology toward Carolyn. She was all but accused of being the killer herself, but was only offered a quick, “Well…uh…my bad.”. And the motive is still a bit sketchy. It’s not explained in great detail, so you’re left with unanswered questions.