Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 16

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Romance/Mystery/Magic Realism

Rating: 4/5

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This was a cute book portrayed through the three characters Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. Wink is a girl living on a farm with her mother and many siblings with a dad who left long ago. Uniquely, Wink and her family are able to read tarot cards efficiently, giving a mystical element to the character. Midnight had sex with Poppy once and has been in love ever since, but Poppy was pretty much just bored, waiting for Wink’s brother, Leaf, to return her feelings for him. When Midnight meets Wink, he finds her different and unique and even caring in a way that Poppy could never be. When Poppy tries to convince Midnight to play a prank on Wink, Wink and Midnight turn the prank back on Poppy, scaring her mentality thereafter. The disappearance of Poppy sets Wink and Midnight on a quest to find her and make amends for what they have done, but who is the biggest prankster in the end?

I enjoyed this book as a young adult piece about finding where you fit in and knowing yourself, being who you are and not taking anyone else’s crap for it. Wink is seen as odd by many people, and Poppy and her posse do a number of mean and insulting things to the girl, but Wink doesn’t bat an eyelash because she is content with who she is, a message that should be conveyed to a young adult age reader to be who they are. The air of mystery about this book and the subtle magic realism within is a fun touch. The pacing is excellent and the character development and what the reader sees through each character’s perspectives and how the reader learns the little quirks of the characters makes for a fun read as well. I would recommend this book to a young adult audience, male or female, because they would be able to relate to some of the conflicts the characters face and maybe even learn how to solve their own problems in life by adding their own unique mysticism and being proud of who they are as a person.


This Night So Dark by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

Image result for this night so darkThis very short story connects Kaufman and Spooner’s These Broken Stars and This Shattered World, two amazing novels in space. This short story is free on Amazon Kindle , which shows the authors’ devotion to their fans. The story is a conversation that takes place after the events of the first novel, but the story Tarver tells takes place six months before the crash of the spaceliner, Icarus. Throughout the first novel, the reader learns a bit about Tarver being a war hero, and this is the story that brings his heroism to light. When stationed on a planet to stop some mercenaries, Tarver learns a lot more is going on at a research facility than meets the eye. His aim is to save the scientists within. While recounting the tale to Lilac, the two discover some connections between the facility Tarver was at six months prior to the facility found on their deserted planet, which isn’t a good thing.

I liked the length of this overall, but the story itself was lacking interesting aspects in the same way the novel draws the reader in. It was a bit slow to start. The dialogue between lilac and Tarver was more interesting than Tarver’s heroism at the research facility. Only toward the very end did it start to pick up, and that is because the connections between the novel and the short are revealed nearly at the last digital page. It was an interesting connector to the second book in that it shows there is more going on with LaRoux Industries than Tarver and Lilac first discovered, and it is bridged to events in the second novel in a subtle way that makes me glad I read this. I could have not read it and have still enjoyed both novels, but it was a fun little connecting piece.


Olympos by Aki

Genre: Manga/Fantasy/Mythology

Rating: 3.5/5

Image result for olympos manga omnibusA relatively interesting manga featuring Apollo, the sun god, along with some others (such as Poseidon, Zeus, Hades, and Artemis). Apollo has taken a young boy from Troy and keeps him in a special garden belonging to Zeus. The boy, Ganymede, can never escape the garden, even through death. At the beginning of the manga, a young archaeologist makes an appearance, but is not in the rest of the manga, which seems like a wasted character. At some point, Apollo visits a temple where people have crafted a statue in his image (although it looks nothing like him). When conversing with a girl that is meant to be a sacrifice, Apollo learns what people really do and expect from the gods, something he was not really very aware of.

While the art in this two-volume omnibus is very stunning, the plot is rather lacking. There are characters that have the reader questioning why they are even used at all, and there’s not anything linear to the story, for the most part. There are various tangent plot lines that do not seem to match the initial story. While the art is stunning, the plot could have been developed further. The most interesting plot line is when Apollo converses with a girl who is meant to be a sacrifice to him. If the plot were more about the gods and their interactions (or lack thereof) with humans, it would have been more interesting. Overall, worth a one-time read but not something I need to keep or read again.



Deadman Wonderland (Vol. 1) by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou

Genre: Manga/Horror

Rating: 4/5

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This horror manga has some interesting fantasy elements to it. Ganta Igarashi thinks he’s going to another normal day of school, but when the “Red Man” appears and slaughters a number of students, Igarashi is accused of the crime and sent to Deadman Wonderland, a prison with deathly tasks that citizens of the city may go to watch for entertainment. If the people die during the “games,” what does it matter, since they are all inmates on death row anyway? When a strange girl in white saves Igarashi with a strange power, Igarashi finds that he might just have a special ability that will keep him alive in Deadman Wonderland.

For those who like gore, this is a pretty graphic manga when it comes to head slicing and body chopping. The story has some interesting pieces that leave intriguing questions by the end of the volume, and draws the reader to find that there is much, much more going on in Deadman Wonderland than meets the eye. Igarashi is targeted by inmates and regulators alike, and some notice something special about him, wanting to challenge this strange ability of his. The art is portrayed elegantly, especially the gore, and the pacing is quick, which works well for the novel, leaving a cliffhanger that urges the reader to continue the series. My only warning: if you do not like gore/horror, avoid this one, because some of the graphics are cringe-worthy in their vividity.


My Little Monster by Robico

Genre: Manga/Romance/Comedy

Rating: 3/5

Image result for my little monster vol 1Haru Yoshida gets into fights and skips out on school often. When Shizuku Mizutani is asked to bring his work to him, he attacks her like a monster, accusing her of trying to drag him to school. When he realizes that Shizuku had no intention of trying to get him to come to school, he realizes she’s a bit different than the average girl. Shizuku sees him as a monstrous, crazy person with no good qualities, but when she sees how much he cares for animals, her perception of him somewhat changes. But then Haru continues to claim that he is in love with Shizuku, reinforcing her opinion that he must be insane and there’s no way a guy like him could ever love a girl like her., not to mention it can never work.

This seemed like a manga with promise, but it was rather disappointing. The art is relatively decent, but the story is generic and lacking. There is nothing that really makes this stand out from any other shoujo manga that I have previously read and there is no driving factor for me to want to keep reading. As a first volume, it has its funny and cute moments, and ends with the heroine coming to terms with how she truly feels about her crazy pet monster boy, as well as an appearance of a new character that leaves the reader questioning just who he might be (he looks like Haru a bit…hmmm).


Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 15

The Lost Hero (Graphic Novel Adaptation) by Rick Riordan and Nate Powell, et. al.

Genre: Children’s/Young Adult/Mythology/Graphic Novel

Rating: 4/5

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This adaptation features three new characters in the world of Percy Jackson: Piper, Leo, and Jason. When Jason appears at Camp Half-blood with no memories, it is soon evident that Jason is a son of Zeus. The trio are sent on a quest by Hera to prevent Gaea from awakening, which partially involves defeating the giants who counterpart each of the gods. (For more detail on the story, see my review on the full novel using the titled link above).

Overall, this adaptation was done well. Of course, some parts need to be ordered in a slightly different way to ensure the visual version flows well, ending issues or chapters with a relatively strong cliffhanger, as that is what comics are meant to do. I enjoyed the art and the graphic novel version really added to my own reading of the original novel, giving me some elaborate visuals on the setting as well as the characters, since my own mental images are not necessarily set in stone. It was fun to compare my own visual representation to the artist rendition of all the different characters, and the graphic novel is, overall, presented in a way that is clear, flows, and adds aesthetic value to the story.


It by Stephen King

Genre: Horror/Fiction

Rating: 3/5

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Derry, Maine, 1957. Six year old Georgie goes out in the rain to play with his wax boat, only to find himself killed by a clown. It, renown for it’s clown monster, is Stephen King’s 22nd novel. The clown is actually a creature with a true form that is not known until nearly the end of the novel. It takes the forms of various fears and makes an occurrence every 27 years in the small town to feed on its victims. Bill, Georgie’s older brother, seeks to destroy the monster with the help of his friends. When they seemingly destroy it, the group of children make a pact to return to Derry if the monster ever comes back. In 1984, the monster has returned, and Mike contacts the gang to return to Derry to exact vengeance against the creature only they know know how to extract from their hometown.

This book is super popular because 1) Stephen King, and 2) both the old and new movie adaptations. Despite this, the book is long and tedious, yet it has an interesting layout. This book goes back and forth between the character’s experiences in 1957-1958 and 1984-1985 and has a number of interesting literary aspects, such as dialogue, longer prose, news articles, and other elements that bring Derry’s history to life in the novel. While this book is vastly popular, it is hard to read in that the action is lacking in many areas, with more exposition than anything. The historical elements are interesting and often add to the tale being told, but are also often a bit lengthy, making this book drag out as a slower read. It is not a book that I would want to read again (albeit it is my husband’s favorite book ever), but the new movie was done well and was presented in a more enjoyable way than the book, even though some of the elements and defeating the monster is different in the two mediums.


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Retelling

Rating: 3.5/5

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Heartless tells the story of Cath, the young woman who is to become known as the Queen of Hearts. She wasn’t always such a menacing and terrible person, but the events in her life bring her to become the heartless queen. Cath loves baking, and her dream is to open her own bakery, even though this means she will not be among the gentle class any longer. When the King of Hearts takes interest in her, she does not want to marry or give up on her dream. Instead, she meets Jest, a court joker sent to take the heart of a queen, but alas, the two fall in love. A monster takes rise in the realm, a jabberwok (check out the original poem, “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll), Cath finds that she might be responsible for the creation of the beast. As events unfold, Cath slowly begins to change, to become a heartless person with no mercy as she takes the stand as Queen of Hearts.

What I liked about this book: It is a stand-alone, so there won’t be any waiting for a sequel (aside from reading Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland). It was an interesting idea to make a prequel to develop Lewis’s character, The Queen of Hearts, because she has to have some back story, right? And it is a story of romance and dreams. The baking aspect was a nice character trait.

What I did not like about this book: The writing style itself did not feel like Marissa Meyer. While I haven’t read The Lunar Chronicles yet, I have heard great things about it and own them all. On the other hand, I did read Renegades, and it was well-written and the pacing was just right. The pacing of this novel was a bit slow in terms of events, but I feel like the writing itself contributed to the feeling of slowness with this book. While the setup with Cath in the beginning of the novel was interesting, the middle was bogged down with very little character development, but picks up again at the end, the most interesting part of the novel. All in all, the book was a decent read, but not something I would read again.



High School DxD (Vol. 1) by Hiro Mishima, Ichiei Ishibumi, and Zero Miyama

Genre: Manga/Harem/Occult

Rating: 3/5

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Vastly popular, this manga is about Issei Hyoudou, his dream in high school to eventually form his own harem. When he finds out he was killed by a demon, he is claimed by another and made a demon himself. Learning about the demon hierarchy, Issei wants to climb the ladder and become a great demon who is able to take on his own slaves, but first he must do a bunch of menial tasks or he will never be able to make his dream come true. When he meets a priest that aims to kill demons, things escalate quickly, and he is surprised to find that a girl he previously met is a holy woman, their friendship an impossibility!

This was okay, and that’s it. This anime/manga is very hyped up, and I am going to assume it is from all the boobs and fan service for the male audience. I did not find the story very riveting or drawing, but the art is done very well and is aesthetically pleasing. The one hitch that might keep me going at a reader is a potential romance between the Bishop girl and Issei, a demon, for angelic and demonic are mortal enemies. Other than that, there is no draw in this series and it seems like it is trying to hard in a negative way compared to other manga that contain explicit content geared toward older readers.


Dreamin’ Sun by Ichigo Takano

Genre: Manga/Comedy/Romance

Rating: 4/5

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Shimana Kameko has a new step-mother and a new baby brother as well. When attention falls to him, she feels unwanted and unneeded in her house. Aiming to run away, she comes across Fujiwara Taiga, who offers her a room in the house he is renting out with two other friends, but Kameko has a few conditions to meet before she is welcome to stay. First, Kameko must tell Taiga why she ran away, and it better be a good reason (although he really just wants the truth). Second, she must retrieve the missing house key from one of his roommates, and third, Kameko must have some kind of dream and fall in love, two things she has never done before! With all members having some kind of dream, they are a very goal-oriented bunch, but falling in love can be tough, especially when she falls for the pretty boy that all the other girls at school like too!

By the same artist and author that brought us Orange comes this well-drawn, cute story. The art in this manga is very cute and the facial expressions are captured extremely well to give the reader the desired tone of panic, loneliness, or humor. This manga seems like a decent start to a series that has potential. The protagonist relates to readers who may have or have had similar experiences with not feeling wanted by family, making a strong connection with the narrator from the beginning. The characters are well-balances too, with smart, serious, quirky, and average people all coming to live together in the same house. The dynamic in characters makes the manga fun to read and wanting to know more about all of the characters, rather than just the shoujo heroine.


To Kill A Mockingbird-Should You Read It?

Related image Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: 4/5

Whether you read this book for high school, college, or have not had the chance to read it yet, this book is a major contribution to what we currently regard as the great American literary canon.

This book is taught to a number of grade levels from 8th-12th in a variety of ways. With my 8th grade class, we did a number of discussions, activities, and writing exercises for this book to demonstrate how Harper Lee shows how society views certain topics or aspects during that time period, as well as how she promotes social change through her novel. Being an educator, I want to show some of the higher thinking that my 8th graders have demonstrated for some of the various topics on this novel, and those will be listed as student samples in the comments. Students are expected to write a topic sentence about how Harper Lee promotes social change with the given topic an example from the novel and to write evidence and analysis to support that topic, a very formulaic way of writing which will help prepare students for ways of writing and thinking in high school and college.

So what is this novel about? If you write it before or haven’t read it yet brief summary might bring you back or leave you in to a book that has so many different things going on that it is a masterpiece. In this novel, the reader is dropped into the perspective of Scout Finch, a young girl who ages somewhat throughout the novel, beginning for she begins first grade and ending while she is still only eight or nine years old. Scout only knows her brother, Jem, her nanny (or cook), Calpurnia, and her father, Atticus in the ways that she learns about the world. Being taught at home to read and write by both Atticus and Calpurnia, the views on public versus private education are explicitly shown through the way Harper Lee constructs her novel.

Socioeconomic status is another major topic in the novel when it comes to families like the Finch’s, the Ewell’s, or the Cunningham’s, all white families of various stature. While the Ewell’s and the Cunningham’s are both poor, it is very evident that the mannerisms of the Cunningham’s make them regarded higher as people than that of the Ewell’s.

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In 1935, Maycomb, Alabama, is the generic southern city that one would think of when thinking of the South after the Civil War. Racism and gender roles play a big role Scout’s hometown. When her father, a lawyer, takes up defending a Black man, Tom Robinson, scout begins to understand a bit more about racism and how her father is an advocate of social change, breaking the stereotypes. This case, Tom Robinson versus Bob Ewell, is as simple as Black versus White, and the implications go only skin deep. Harper Lee shows how society views a number of topics and how many of these ideas intertwine, such as race and justice in the Maycomb society.

On a more fun and entertaining note of the novel, one of the more mysterious and interesting characters, Boo Radley, drives a number of strewn about the novel, including some of the very last and most epic chapters. This is a character still shrouded in mystery, who has one line in the entire novel, and yet such an important aspect to the novel, that things would not be the same if he was not Scout’s neighbor.

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This book is definitely worth the read and worth teaching to any grade level because there are a number of things in the novel that we talked about on a vast scale of cognitive thinking. Once again, see below (comments) for some of my eighth grade student samples (names withheld for privacy purposes) of how Harper Lee is promoting social change in the novel, something that is still extremely relevant to our society in the United States today.

Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 14

Old Man Logan by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino

Genre: Graphic Novel/Super Hero

Rating: 4/5

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While I really enjoyed the single volume of Wolverine: Old Man Logan, I found that these first two volumes of a longer on-running version of the story really add to some of the ideas presented in the original. Wolverine finds himself waking up in the past and aims to change the past by killing a number of super villains before they can group together to destroy the heroes as well as the future. When Logan begins his quest to kill those who have harmed him and the X-men in the future, he finds that he might be in a different past, one where the future will not end up the way he has lived through it. In this past, the real Wolverine is dead, an encased metal statue for all to admire. Logan aims to find a place for himself in this new life and he chooses the place where his wife lived when she was young. Even though it is a different past, she still seems to be the same person. When the Reavers show up, Logan learns that no matter where he goes, trouble will follow, for there will always be someone to come after him. As he ventures, he still insists that doomsday will come.

Overall, I really enjoyed these first two volumes and would not mind continuing to follow this series. The story was portrayed in an artistically unique way, with vivid coloration for moments of pain or anguish (such as getting shot/stabbed). This changed the effect of reading these graphic novels. They are also much better than Wolverine: Old Man Logan, because they take some of the apocalyptic ideas from that graphic novel and really take the time to expand on those ideas and develop the world in a way that the reader does not get in the original. Old Man Logan: Berzerker has one of the issues from Wolverine: Old Man Logan where Logan utterly destroys the Hulk clan, an epic issue If I do say so myself, and Old Man Logan: Bordertown contains an issue of the X-men from the old comics, which was likewise interesting (although I am not a fan of most comic book artwork from before the 2000’s). Overall, great addition to Logan’s story and I would recommend it for any Wolverine or Marvel fan.


Five Ghosts (Vol 1+2) by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, et. al

Genre: Action/Adventure/Literature/Graphic Novel

Rating: 3.5/5

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This series is interesting, to say the least. It features a treasure hunter named Fabian Gray who have a piece of Dreamstone embedded in his chest. The Dreamstone causes him to be haunted by five literary ghosts: Robin Hood, Count Dracula, Merlin, Miyamoto Musashi, and Sherlock Homes. Each ghost can take over Fabian’s body and gives him the power of that character, such as katana skills as Musashi or magic and wisdom as Merlin. As Fabian discovers new places and new treasures with his research assistant, Sebastian, trouble continues to find him. Throughout the story, someone seems to be after Fabian, but it is unclear just why yet,unless they want his Dreamstone. There are also sprinkled snippets about his sister having lost her spirit or some such event, which is also unclear, but what is clear is that Fabian is trying to find something to bring her back. In the second volume, Fabian joins his thief friend Jezebel as they search for the Isle of Dreams, leading Fabian to decide between his past and present.

Initially, I gave The Haunting of Fabian Gray a 3/5 and Lost Coastlines a 4/5 resulting in a 3.5/5 for the first two volumes. The first volume was interesting, but it took awhile to figure out what was doing on and to be drawn into the story. The end didn’t have me caring much to continue, but I had the second volume anyway, so why not see where it goes. The second volume develops more of the story and ends well with potential for more adventures. The art itself even has an adventurous feel to it, like 1950’s movie posters. Overall, I enjoyed the story and feel like it has potential, just not enough to bring me to volume three…


Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection  by Don Roff

Genre: Horror/Art/Postapocalyptic

Rating: 3/5


This book is written in journal format by Robert Twombly, claimed to be found in a cabin in Canada with no survivors. It is filled with colorful illustrations depicting death by zombie in a number of ways. It chronicles the apocalypse in journal form as a lab tech working in the city, his escape, the survivors he encounters, and the speculation about the origin of the disease being from a certain chemical in specific foods. He uses illustrations to document what he learns about the undead as well as his experiences, dating each entry as the months go by.

I only give this book a three rather than a two because the art is interesting and appealing, despite the story being somewhat cliche and unoriginal. The journal entry thing is nothing new, and the title say “year” but only spans from January 2012 to March 2012, which is misleading on the given information as well. The writing is kind of bland and the events in journal format are not as exciting or unique as they possibly could have been. The story also ends abruptly (assuming something happened to the author) in a way that seemed rushed and rather pointless. At the same time, anyone can die at any time in the zombie apocalypse, also making this ending slightly realistic to the situation.


Hold me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Screenplay/Musical

Rating: 4/5

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This novel is a companion piece to John Green and David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson. In the novel, the supporting character, Tiny Cooper, is writing a musical about his life being gay, knowing from early on but not wanting to admit it. The musical is entitled Hold Me Closer. While snippets and bits are mentioned in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, this novel is the musical that Tiny wrote within the world of the novel. Not only does Act I develop his understanding of gayness in early childhood, but Act II goes through his 18 ex-boyfriends, one of them being Will Grayson (not the best friend of the same name). He goes through the various boyfriends and why they did not work out, mostly on the end of the other boy, and not Tiny. There’s always something, whether it’s because Tiny is too fat, won’t have sex with those who do not appreciate him enough, or that they perhaps found someone else. Tiny’s relationships are rather short-lived until he meets Will, a boy struggling with depression and his own concept and realization that he is gay, something Tiny has long embraced and hopes to share with Will.

I had no idea there was a companion piece to the main novel, so I thought this was pretty exciting. Reading something meant to be a play/musical with some narrative aspects was a fun change from regular novels. It really adds to the world of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, because the musical is a major driving point for Tiny, but we only get to see a song or two and snippets of Tiny’s creation of the musical as he relates his thoughts and creativity to his friends, Will and Jane. It was an enjoyable piece to be read with the novel, and even funny in a stand-alone-way, but having read the main novel beforehand makes a big difference to the context of the story, especially in Act II.


The Between: An Original Story in the World of The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker

Genre: Near-future Fiction/Young Adult

Rating: 4/5

The Between: An Original Story in the World of The Ones by [Sweren-Becker, Daniel]

This short takes places between The Ones and The Equals by Daniel Sweren-Becker. The best part: It’s free, which shows that the author is more invested in his fans than the money, considering we, as readers, support the author anyway; it’s like a little gift for being a devoted reader! It is a very quick roughly 30 page story available on the Kindle that shows what happens to James at the end of The Ones after being captured.

This short story Features James and some of the Ones who have been taken to an internment camp. With new laws being passed, the Ones are lower citizens, and the government wants them to believe that the camps will keep them safe from the people trying to harm them. James knows the truth, though. The government wants to treat the Ones with a vaccine that will revert their genetics back to normal (however that works), and James shares the truth with the other Ones in the camp. Some cannot handle the truth just yet and aim to escape by taking their own life, but the rumor spreads, and James aims for a rebellion from the camp to escape. When his plan is ratted out by a fellow One, he is moved to isolation and devotes himself to never being vaccinated, or dying, if all else fails.

This is a great transitional piece between the first and the second book in the series and gives some context to the what the camps are like as well as what happens when someone aims to start a revolt. With one of the characters being depressed by the situation, there is a suicide prevention notice at the end of the short that encourages seeking help for those who feel depressed, so that they can be saved, because all lives matter. The writing style is fine-tuned and the pace is quick with high stakes presented from the start. A great freebie for any fan of The Ones.


Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 13

Demon Love Spell (Vol. 1) by Mayu Shinjo

Genre: Manga/Shoujo/Romance/Paranormal

Rating: 4/5

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This story is about a shrine maiden named Miko who just can’t seem to do her job. Both of her parents and even her grandparents expelled demons from the world. While she tries to expel demons from her shrine, she can’t see the demons, so she doesn’t even know if the spell went in the right direction or not! When her friend rushes to her telling Miko about this boy who must be possessed by a demon, since he is such a womanizer, Miko runs to the call of her friend and classmates. Of course, her friend was just joking. When Miko arrives on the scene and uses a dispel charm, it turns out the guy was an incubus all along (a male demon that feeds of of female energy). Miko can see demons when she touches Kagura (the demon she dispelled), and she finds that he is adorable (as a key chain) and useful in her demon hunting. Of course, feelings seem to blossom on both ends. When a bunch of demons come to try and take Miko’s power away, the two must work together to emerge victorious.

When I picked this manga up, it seemed kind of cheesy, and it…well…kind of is, in a cute way. I really liked the heroine as well as the demon. Both characters had something to them that made me want to see how they grow and change over the course of the series. While I have only read the first volume, the writing and shoujo aspects of this manga do make me want to pick up the next one at some point in the future for sure. The art is nice too, which just adds to the allure.


Arpeggio of Blue Steel (Vol. 1) by Ark Performance

Genre: Manga/Military Science Fiction

Rating: 4/5

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The Fleet of Fog has made humanity desperate. After a time when powerful vessels have appeared out of nowhere and taken over the oceans, people aim to bring these intelligent submarines down.  These vessels are able to maintain a humanoid avatar that represents each vessel, women of course since ships and subs are always dubbed with “she.” When one submarine chooses to side with humanity, only Chihaya can command her, and his strategies are pristine, worthy of being an intelligent vessel captain.

I was not sure what to expect from this manga when it came from Loot-crate, but it was sure interesting. The main character, Chihaya, is interesting and intelligent, and when the submarines take on their own avatars and intelligence’s, the war rages, and Chihaya must find a way to keep humanity from ruin, as well as from destroying his own vessel that originated from the Fleet of Fog. This is a very unique story and a great manga for those who enjoy military strategy as well as intriguing crews…with some chick action on the side!


Yowamushi Pedal, Go! by Wataru Watanabe

Genre: Manga/Sports/Bicycling

Rating: 3/5

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Sakimichi Onoda is an otaku. He make the ninety-kilometer round trip to Akihabara more than a few times a week, and mommy bike too. As in, a women’s designed bike with a basket. Despite this, Sakamichi is a power-peddler. When his biking skills are notice I a serious first-year road racer, Imaizumi, Sakimichi is challenged to a rigorous bike race. Sakimichi has no interest in biking for sports, but when Imaizumi says he’ll join the anime club if Sakimichi wins, Sakimichi has something to race for.

For monger bouts for, because biking is a sport, it was actually really interesting. The first volume leaves you on the cliffhanger with wondering who’s going to win the race, which he would find out in the second volume. It is intriguing and has me want to keep reading, but when I found out there is over 50 volumes, I decided that perhaps this particular monger was not meant to be part of my collection, but maybe one day I’ll read it online or borrowed from my friend, who happens to own all of it. Overall I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t about romance, and it wasn’t necessarily about action either; it’s simply about a boy who loves anime and a boy who loves biking.


Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Vol 1 by Emma Carlson Berne

Genre: Children’s/Science-fiction

Rating: 3/5

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This book, targeted toward young girls, features three short stories featuring some of the heroines from the Star Wars universe: Rei, Sabine, and Padme. The reading level is elementary, and it has some wonderful illustrations that make it appealing to younger female readers. Rei’s story features an adventure with BB-8 after finding him on Jakku and the struggle to keep the highly sought-after droid safe. We learn a little bit more about Sabine and a past friend of hers that she is trying to draw over to the rebellion, and Padme bonds with Ahsoka over a political dinner set-up and threat.

I picked this up in Target one day because, hey, I am a girl and I love Star Wars. While this is nothing like the young adult or adult novels in the Star Wars universe, I thought it was a fun collection of stories for young readers who are interested, and it goes along with the new show targeted toward young girls. Overall, I enjoyed it for the most part, but since I am quite a bit older, the simplicity of it was a bit to boring for me, but I can see the appeal for lower elementary grade-school readers.


Flying Witch (Vol. 1) by Chihiro Ishizuka

Genre: Manga/Paranormal

Rating: 4/5

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This manga is about Makoto, a girl from Yokohama who moves to the rural Aomori to train to be a witch. Being a witch is a secret, unless one is related to the witch, but when Makoto begins flying in public and a classmate sees, she is so excited about telling someone else about her being a witch that she forgets the rule for a minute! With the assistance of her family, friends, and cat, she trains to become a full-fledged witch as she learns new tricks and develops her power.

This manga was cute and well-drawn. It does have a main plot, but it feels very free and as if there is not enough accountability for me to want to continue reading. The cute art and the humor are the most attractive things about this manga, and I would recommend it for readers who want something easy and light-hearted, but for those who want a story with a thick plot and action, I would suggest looking elsewhere. The cat is a great character, by the way. It meows a lot and comprehends human speech.

7th Grade Synthesis Blog Entries-Cultural Diversity

With my 7th grade class we have been discussing how our own cultural backgrounds effect who we are and how sometimes we try to fit into a society or culture that is not our own. Students have read two short stories to determine how cultural backgrounds can be challenging when it comes to gaining respect from others and trying to fit in. To demonstrate their understanding of this concept, the students wove the information from the two stories to write a synthesis blog entry; some samples I will post as a response here, just to have those available, and present is my own synthesis blog entry based on the criteria of how I wanted my students to structure their own.


Binary Truths of Cultural Challenges: A Blog Entry by Mrs. Mullin

       In “The White Umbrella” by Gish Jen and “A Ribbon for Baldy” by Jesse Stuart, both narrators demonstrate how they view their own heritage, although their actions in response to their cultural backgrounds greatly differ. During a time of revelation, the narrator in “The White Umbrella” finally decides that her Chinese heritage is what she is Image result for anime chinese with white umbrellameant to live by when she “[throws] the umbrella down the sewer” (11). By the narrator throwing away the white umbrella, a representation of what it means to be among the white American culture and society, the narrator is giving up on trying to fit in as a white American and becomes comfortable with who she is as a Chinese-American girl. By respecting one’s own heritage, a person realizes how being different is a good thing, and that people learn from each other’s differences; if people were all the same, there would be nothing for for them to lean. However, in “A Ribbon for Baldy,” with high self-esteem and determination, the narrator comes up with the brilliant idea “to do something worthwhile, and something to make [his classmates] respect [him]” (1). The narrator is from a farming family and finds that doing a project that betters himself will gain the respect of others while showing pride in his own farming cultural backgrImage result for anime farmer with cornound and heritage. Through determination, people can accept who they are and find pride in their own backgrounds and heritages, which leads to the sharing and learning of culturally diverse ideas and ways of thinking. Both narrators demonstrate how they view cultural backgrounds differently, but ultimately some to the conclusion that their own backgrounds are important, and that society can learn a great amount from people of diverse cultural backgrounds.

Orange County Children’s Book Festival, 2017

The Orange County Children’s Book festival was an absolute blast! As a writer of young adult fantasy and a past preschool teacher and current junior high teacher, how could I not go to this event? Of course, this is an annual event and has been a thing in the past, but I never knew about it or went. I’m sure glad I went this time.

There are over 125 authors and illustrators with booths promoting and signing their work, and many of them have extra things like bookmarks, pens, notepads, artwork, and all kinds of fun things. While there were too many to choose from, I narrowed my selections to three authors/illustrators works to bring home for my collection, since I don’t want to break my wallet.

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First I would like to feature Michael A. Hernandez. He wrote Pandora: Shadow of the Box and does all of his own artwork. He has young adult and adult artwork featuring the characters from his story, T-shirts, and trading cards. His artwork is absolutely amazing, and he even did some fan art of Daenerys from Game of Thrones, Wonder Woman, and Rei from Star Wars. His novel sounds fun and full of magic, and his illustrations that go along with it are absolutely amazing (they should be, since the illustrations he has presented are what drew me in).

Next I would like to feature Gwen Katz, a historical fiction writer. Her novel, Among the Red Stars, features a female pilot squadron during World War II, and she is also a short story contributor to a graphic novel anthology of queer historical fiction, which we really should see more of in the world. I can see Katz being extremely successful in the near future, especially for young female readers.

Last, but not least, I would like to feature Alane Adams, author of the Legends of Orkney trilogy (and spin-offs to come).

The day I wish I wore make-up:

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How Adams describes the Legends of Orkney trilogy is like Percy Jackson but with Norse Gods (I mentioned Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, and the two novels were actually published around the same time). She also says she is writing another series featuring some of the same characters, but with Celtic mythology, which is interesting and unique. With the purchase of her novels, I received a bunch of character artwork postcards, which was absolutely awesome. Having character cards really adds to the dynamic of a novel series, in my opinion. I also got a pen and notepad! How cool is that? I can’t wait to read these middle grade books. They sound absolutely amazing.

It was so refreshing to see so many families and young people at the book festival. It was a very enjoyable event, and the variation between genres, authors, and illustrators was fund and exciting. The variety made a big difference, and I was excited to find an abundance of middle-grade and young adult writers there, as well as children’s book writers.