Untamed: The Psychology of Marvel’s Wolverine by Suzana E. Flores
Genre: Marvel Comics/Psychology
This is a nonfiction book that takes different elements of psychology and applies them to the Marvel Comics character, Wolverine. Wolverine is very iconic in society today, and many people know him from the X-men movies, and some know him from the comics. For those that aren’t familiar with his story beyond the cinematic universe, this book summarizes various aspects of Wolverine’s origins and history as he is written in the comics, applying major psychological foundations to his behavior and analyzing why this anti hero does what he does.
Wolverine aside, this book definitely has a textbook feel to it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some of the topics discussed in relation to Wolverine as the subject in question are the Absent Mother (which we see in numerous pieces of fiction), The Five Stages of Grief, The Psychology of Torture (in which various types of torture and what they do to the body are written therein), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociation Identity Disorder, and a whole slew of other psychological topics that can be analyzed as they relate to Wolverine’s development as a person. I found this book interesting in that, while I knew quite a few of these things from college, I learned quite a bit more about psychology that I did not know, and applying these concepts to a character that I am familiar with and have empathy for helps focus these complex ideas. If you are a psychology major or a Wolverine fan, this book may just interest you. If I were a psychology professor, I might select this as the course textbook because it not only hits major areas of psychological study, but the subject of interest (Wolverine) may connect better with the younger generations and would make learning psychology more interesting than not having a contemporary and well-known example to draw the reader in. Overall, a bit of a heavy read, but vastly interesting!
Tokyo Tarareba Girls (Vol. 1) by Akiko Higashimura
First of all, thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for free for an honest review, and thanks to Miss Akiko Higashimura, author of one of my all-time top favorite manga series, Princess Jellyfish! What an exciting honor!
Being a lover of Princess Jellyfish and its unique story line that avoid most of the tropes and cliches seen in many manga, I was excited to learn about this never series being serialized in English. After seeing some of the reviews about it, as well as getting a chance to sample it, I was a bit unsure at first if it would be quite on par with Princess Jellyfish. While the stories are both very different (and rather unique), after finishing this volume, I am definitely invested! I will be adding this one to my Higashimura collection and already have the second volume in my shopping cart!
This book is about a girl named Rinko, 33 years old, who works as a scriptwriter for various web series. Oh and she’s getting to that age where she worries about not ever getting married, and her friends are in a similar boat. When a young man begins to point out that they are “ladies” and not “girls,” and that they are just a group of “What if’s,” Rinko falls even further into her slump of aging. “Tarareba,” as defined in the novel, means “what if,” and that’s where Rinko’s problems lay. She wonders “what if I dated this guy” “What if I didn’t go out with the girls,” “What if” this, and “what if” that. She soon finds that questioning things is a lack of taking action, and not taking action is what puts her in the situation she finds herself in as a 33-year-old woman!
While the beginning was a bit off-putting (I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this manga), I was quickly immersed and some of the twists I was hoping for went in the right direction. The end of this manga has me itching for more, and also wondering if Rinko will ever find happiness in life without marriage…or perhaps one day she will find the right man!
Sota’s Knife (Vol. 1) by Kei Honjo and Yuichiro Sueda
eceived from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review—thank you!!
Sota’s Knife was a fun food-filled manga. Sota is a young man who leaves his hometown to gain experience in food practice to one day bring his family’s own small restaurant to be the best it can be. Although just a helper and dishwasher, in his spare time, Sota practices cooking at home with different forms of the same ingredients, as well as using his knife in the most intricate of ways to make the food perfect.
I thought this food manga was very interesting. It had quite a few translation notes that related to the type of cuts, food, bentos, and restaurants therein relating to both current culture and history. I get the sense of a well-researched writer and learned quite a few fact about different types of restaurants in Japan–what makes something fancy, and what doesn’t?
I thought the art was pretty good and liked Sota’s attitude towards learning new things in the kitchen. His motivation and strive to constantly be better makes the character fun to follow and root for. I definitely wouldn’t mind reading the next one!
The Mirror and the Mountain by Luke Aylen
Genre: Children’s Fantasy/Adventure
Thank you NetGalley, Luke Aylen, and Monarch books for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.
This book is like a mesh of Narnia and The Hobbit, with a sprinkle of Spirited Away.
Jonah and Summer are both eleven years old. When exploring in a building, Summer finds herself whisked to another world through a mirror, and Jonah soon follows. With they way back destroyed, Summer and Jonah embark on a quest to find a mirror that can take them home, making quite a few interesting friends along the way.
This is perfect for readers ages 10-12 (maybe younger or older, depending on the reader of course) and is a classic fantasy: children find themselves embarking on a quest, and there are dwarves, dragons, and elves, all classic fantasy creatures.
I thought that the story was very dialogue heavy and lacked more detail where it could have been added. It was hard to picture the world since the scenes felt low-key, but since I’ve read so many books with a similar feel, my mind was able to paint what wasn’t there. The use of mostly dialogue does help the story move faster, but I also didn’t feel much of a connection to any of the characters. They felt somewhat flat and went through very little development by the end, and what bits were obviously pointed out as a change in character felt unrealistic and rushed.
As a story to read for fun, especially for the age group, it was a fun little adventure. The dragon is my favorite character, for sure, which is what drew me into wanting to read this in the first place.
Karate Heat (Vol. 1) by Eiichi Kitano
Genre: Sports Manga/Middle Grade
Thank you NetGalley, Kodansha Comics (one of my favorite manga publishers), and Eiichi Kitano for he opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
I never expected to adore a karate book so much! Karate Heat features two boys: Shinya, a boy who knows nothing about karate, and Takumi, a boy who is a young karate national champion who has adored the sport since childhood. On a chance meeting, Takumi finds that Shinya might just have what it take to match up to his own special strength and stamina…one day. Together, the boys enter junior high and join a karate club where they strive to be the best. As long as Shinya has a set goal, he can accomplish anything he sets his mind to.
This is an excellent middle-grade novel that’s not only about karate, but friendship and self-determination as well. The art is excellent and the story is very engaging and fast-paced. The characters are interesting and likable, and I want to root for Shinya as he begins to move from the basics of karate in his own unique way as the series moves forward. Recommended for middle-grade, sports lovers, and manga lovers of all ages!