Friday, June 21, 2019

Manga Review: Evergreen Vol. 1

Title: Evergreen, Vol. 1
Series: Evergreen Vol. 1
Author: Yuyuko Takemiya
Publication Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Seven Seas
Source: Library
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary

Born with a congenital heart disease, and thus unable to join in activities that are too physical, Manga Club Captain Yoshimatsu Hotaka can only watch through the club room's window whenever the school swim team practices. Hotaka is enamored with swimming ace, Awaya Niki. But sickly, shy and extremely introverted, he feels all he can do is pine for her from afar. Seeing her as a sort of Goddess of Summer, he feels he isn't even worthy to share the same air with Niki, much less approach her.But when the gym teacher asks Hotaka to attend a special, after-school swim class to make up for not participating during regular classes-a supposed to be one-on-one student teacher session which the swim team unexpectedly crashes-it sets into motion events that may, quite surprisingly, result into Hotaka and Niki actually becoming friends.

Manga is defintley something I am starting to make more time to read. One of the best places I have been to check them out is my local library, naturally. So one day as I was browsing the shelf I noticed  this manga sticking out and felt myself gravitating to it. Feeling a sense of nostalgia with the anime show Free, I grabbed the first volume and dove right in. 

In this first volume we are introduced to character Yoshimatsu Hotaka, born with a heart disease, president of the manga club, and who is currently crushing on student Awaya Niki. After an incident at the school pool the two find themselves becoming the most unlikely of friends. 

A story that begins as relatable and shows the relationship between two characters that perfectly encapsulates what new friendships are like as well as the feelings we may feel towards new crushes the author does a remarkable job in bringing this story to life. 

I did find this first volume to begin slowly but I do feel that with more volumes there is potential for the story to open up into being a heartwarming story of friendship, this is a manga, although falling somewhat short for me, is one that could turn out to be a great summer read. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Book Review: The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Beautiful
Series: The Beautiful #1
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publication Date: October 8th, 2019
Publisher: G. P. Putnam Sons for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Edelweiss
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret. When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

If there was ever a moment I thought I would never fall in love with a vampire novel  that has now obviously changed. Renee Ahdieh is a brilliant author who has this amazing ability to tell stories that will capture you from the first page. Knowing she was writing what could and will be the next big vampire story, I knew I would not be able to pass this up. 

Taking place in 1872 New Orleans, Celine Rousseau flees Paris and moves into a covenant for safety even though the city is ruled by the dead. When murders start happening around the city Celine starts to investigate but soon she finds herself in the middle of the city's darkest secrets. With more murders occurring and Celine a potential target, she must figure things out before it is too late. 

Ahdieh's writing is so elegant and beautiful which allowed the story to flow smoothly.  There is dark tone to the plot that really emphasized the mystery behind the events that were taking place. The chemistry between Celine and Sebastien proved to be intoxicating as the narrative progressed. Their relationship is one that you both shy away from but also are mesmerized by the idea of finding out more. 

Ahdieh has written yet another masterpiece that will imprint on the hearts of readers. There is a feeling when you know a novel could be the next big thing to hit the shelves and this is one is it. Ahdieh is a brilliant storyteller who always brings the right amount of magic to her stories that make them more memorable but impactful! 

I give this book 5 souls!