Book Review

Moon Reads: RWBY The Beacon Arc (Full Series)

RWBY: The Beacon Arc (Full Series) by Bunta Kinami

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read Before: Yes, I tried to read the first volume but wasn’t in the mood, apparently, later on I was.

Series: RWBY The Beacon Arc

Ownership: Bought and preordered respectively.

Another Full Series review and this was a short series. For some reason, I had high hopes for it and I struggled a lot to get on with the art of it mixed with the writing. I did enjoy the characters a lot but they were a little too similar in the manga to be able to distinguish them as much as I would have liked, which is why it didn’t get a high rating. It also assumes you have watched the anime, which is all fine but there is no catch-up, nothing beyond “hi, welcome to this story where we gloss over 90 of everything and just do action scenes”.

The story is basically about Ruby getting to the Beacon Academy because she is very talented and can become a Huntress against the Grimm which are monsters in this world. As she starts, she defeats a big villain no one else can and then becomes the captain of her team because she wins a challenge, and then goes on about hunting the big villain and making her way as a team with her enemy.

It felt a little too much of a “perfect one heroine” that does no wrong and if she does, the day still gets saved, her clumsiness is cute and basically it is a collection of all the possible cliches and Mary Sue like things you’d expect but in drawn form in a fantasy world, plus a lot of fan service in how the characters are dressed nad how they show in the manga. It was still an interesting plot and the world is interesting but it was too much a “perfectly perfect cute lady that wow, does no wrong, saves the day can think better than the best adults ever, and wow, so young, much amazing”.

Still, it was a good waste of time and therefore I decided to review it.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Goodbye, my Rose Garden (Full Series)

Goodbye, my Rose Garden by Dr. Pepperco (Full Series)

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

Read before: No

Ownership: Bought for my personal collection

Series: Goodbye, my Rose Garden, 3 volumes total.

I have been reading a lot of series, particularly graphic novels and manga, and sometimes it is hard to review a single book without adding spoilers, so now I will be adding some Full Series reviews.

Today I will talk about Goodbye, my Rose Garden. It is a female to female (F/F) series set in semi Victorian era England and focuses on Hanako, who dreams of becoming a novelist. Of course, this is not an easy path so she finds a job as a personal maid to a young noblewoman/lady. This seems to be a wonderful job since the lady, Alice Douglas, likes reading and encourages Hanako’s dream until she makes a very unusual request. Hanako has to kill Alice and end her suffering as she doesn’t deserve to be alive.

Initially, Hanako refuses but agrees to consider it if necessary. And so the story develops into a slow burn romance where Hanako feels it is not suitable to fall for her employer and therefore should tread lightly, but also, she is her personal maid and as such should do her best to help her lady. Alongside this, she has to figure out if she can convince Alice to bail out of the request to kill her, or why she thinks she should be killed. Add to that the path of attempting to become a novelist, Alice’s jealous fiance, and Hanako’s own past, and it is a soft romance with some high stakes.

I usually try the first volume of a series and decide, and wasn’t sure what to expect, but honestly, as I read I knew I had to get the rest. Goodbye, my Rose Garden packs a lot in very little space and it also does a good job of keeping all the plot lines and subplots going rather than abandoning them or half forgetting they are there, which was part fo what made it much dearer for me.

If you want a soft F/F manga set in early twentieth-century England, that focuses on the love of reading and on roses and just being dedicated to living life, this is the one for you.

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Demon Prince of Momochi House

The Demon Prince of Momochi House by Aya Shouoto

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Ownership: Bought the first one to try, enjoyed it a lot, and bought the rest of the series.

Total volumes: 16

Series: Yes, it is complete.

This is a series review, which means I won’t review just one of the books but rather the series as a whole, mostly because it is hard to not spoil a review when you do it by volume, but doing the whole set is probably a better way to bring others to read it.

The Demon Prince of Momochi House follows the story of Himari Momochi as she inherits a house at 16. When she comes to it, she finds there’s already a young boy and his companions living there as “squatters”. But in truth, they are there because it is their duty to protect the gate between the Ayakashi and the humans.

Himari decides to stay as she owns the house and she is the “landlady”. The manga follows the story of Himari and Aoi, who is the appointed Nue, or keeper of the House and the powers that keep Ayakashi at bay from entering the human world. There are several plots going through the volumes and several subplots that may last for a volume of two.

The central plot points are around Aoi and his past, and what made him come to Momochi house. We also explore a little of Himari and her past, but mostly we explore her own feelings, how she is managing with moving and what she wants to do in the future. She’s a cheerful and loving person so this whole thing is interesting. Then we have the Shikigami of Aoi, who are Ayakashi bound to him, and we follow their stories and why they came to be with Aoi. There is also a plotline about the human world and Himari being in school, and the friendships she makes there.

Overall, it is a fun book to read, it does have some slightly cringy moments, but in general, it does a good job at developing each of the plots and giving the characters life. As I got closer and closer to the final volumes I kept wanting more and by volume 14 I couldn’t believe there were only two more to go before the story ended. But by the end of it, initially, I was surprised by how it was meant to end, or at least how the volume was setting it up to end, but actually was satisfied with the true ending of it.

I like the fact it is a closed story, and complete, the magic and spiritual elements kept it fun and the characters that appear and become regulars become quite dear to you. Overall it is a silly cosy story about a house that has personality and the people in it trying to keep everyone safe in their own way.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Paradise Kiss

Paradise Kiss (20th Anniversary Edition) by Ai Yazawa

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: Yes, just not this particular omnibus presentation

Ownership: Bought as a treat once I found it existed.

Spoiler free review: No

Series: Paradise Kiss, this edition contains the full series.

Content warnings: Nudity, mild violence, mild sadomasochism, sexuality/sex

Paradise Kiss was one of my first mangas I ever read and to this day I still love it. It is about a young student, Yukari, who is trying to find meaning in her life and is doing her best to fulfill expectations, until she accidentally gets “discovered” by a group of fashion design students who think shed make the perfect model for their final project.

The full story follows Yukari and George, alongside the rest of the atelier and Yukari’s own friends and family as she initially rejects the proposal to be a model and then realises that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So she “joins” the atelier as their model and starts spending more and more time with them, which also means more time with George, with whom she establishes a relationship.

The manga is full of fashion desing, lots of amazing looks, a lot of relationships happening and things going on and it is just a delight to read, or at least it was to me. One thing ot mentionis that George has an interest in sadomasochism and can be manipulative nad abusive at times to Yukari, but it is part of the story that their relationships develops as it goes. There is also the relationship of the other atelier members and how they visualise George.

Overall, it has a special vibe and the young me that wanted to be a fashion designer loved it, plus it explores bisexuality, has a queer character and a lot of representation and alternative ways of life that show that it isnt all one way to make it and way to live. On top of that, the story doesn’t end when Yukari models for them, instead it suddenly opens a world of opportunities for her and a modelling career, so it is a good interesting show of what choices one can make and opportunities that we take or not.

I cannot recommend this enough as a manga to read, however, as per above I do highlight that it has some interesting topics and some content warnings that are there for a reason. This isn’t all honey and fashion and good vibes. It has a lot of tough topics and a lot of hard moments.

If manga isn’t your thing, you can always go the anime or live action way. I have watched the anime a few times but still haven’t the live action. It is good fun and only 12 episodes long. And overall, regardless of format, it is a well contained story that shows many sides of a coin and about making choices and taking opportunities.

Book Review

Moon Reads: Flying Witch Volume 1

Flying Witch Volume 1 by Chihiro Ishizuka

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: No

Ownership: Gifted by a friend from my wishlist

Spoiler free review: No

Series: Flying Witch, Volume 1.

I added Flying Witch to my wishlist after Asha over at A Cat, A Cup Of Tea, And A Book talked about it, and as soon as I read her review plus the about of the book, I knew it was one I’d enjoy too.

Now, Flying Witch is a soft slow book, there isn’t technically a lot going on, or at least on in the Western fast-paced need for adventure and plot advancing at a high-speed kind of pace. Instead, things just slowly happen and overall there is little progress from Makoto moving in to live with her distant cousins and the end of the first volume.

And yet, I was happy to read through her trying to set up a garden, or figuring out what she actually wants to do beyond follow the path to becoming a full-fledged witch. There is the fact that her sense of direction is apalling and therefore, small hiccups and fun things happen on her day to day, plus there is also her little cousin who is a bit confused and surprised about Makoto being a witch. Plus there is obviously some excitement about magic.

Overall, it is a soft hedge witch story with slow pace and a lot of day to day little things that suddenly build up a bigger nicer thing. A good soft Ghibli vibe with a little less intense moments and more of smaller moments building up to a bigger one. It feels like a softer more Japanese version of Kiki’s Delivery Service, with a slightly older witch and family receiving her rather than just selecting a completely new city.

Partly, the relationships between Makoto and her cousins and family is what adds a nice flavour to this story and enriches it with new things to explore including dynamics of how to settle into a new house with family and not disrupt too much but also how to accommodate for a budding witch trying to find her way in the world.

Recommended for fans of Kiki’s Delivery Service, lovers of slow soft stories and magic, and overall if you want a feel-good story.

Book Review, Books

The Way of the House Husband Vol 1 Review

The Way of the Household Husband Vol 1 Review

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Ok, the best way to tell you about this is to let you watch this video, but if you watch it you probably won’t need to read my review to know about the book.

I thought the idea of an ex-yakuza boss becoming a house husband was intriguing and would do for a lot of fun. And it definitely does. He takes his house chores very very seriously. It isn’t just the cooking or the cleaning, but even going to a sale and shopping and the best part is that he is good at it.

But it isn’t just that he is a house husband and that he takes his chores seriously, we also meet his wife (and kinda understand why he chose this new path and calling) and we meet an an ex “colleague” who is still part of the yakuza but struggling without the “boss”. This ensues in hilarious interactions. There is so much fun between our main character just trying to be a man and have a clean home and present his wife with delicious food, and his past trying hard to catch up with him.

And it does try a few times.

I giggled a lot at this and remembered how much I enjoy silly comedy in manga and I haven’t seen this take before, so I had a blast!

So, if you want a laugh about super “intensive” yakuza version of being a the one in charge of house chores, this is a brilliant funny read to enjoy!

Book Review

A Polar Bear in Love Vol. 1 Review

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A Polar Bear in Love Vol. 1 by Koromo

A polar bear falls in love with a seal, but the seal thinks the polar bear is trying to eat it!

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This was a random purchase where I stumbled upon it, thought it was very cute and bought it alongside the other 3 volumes that I found in English.

I regret nothing! It is utterly cute, with this polar bear finding a “baby” (not that young but still in “baby” fur) seal and falling in love at first sight. The poor seal cannot comprehend this and so it is hilarious to read, but also extremely cute. I kept laughing so hard my boyfriend actually came to check in on me to figure out what I was reading.

Mostly, there are a lot of puns, a lot of insight into love, and what it means to be prey and predator (it also touches on privilege). It is impressive how much it touches about social commentary yet it is so simple, cute and lovely.

The artwork is great at simplifying things but also adds a lot of detail (and considering this is all in the North Pole, well, what props do you have except ice, snow, some ocean, and mostly white animals?)

 

 

Book Review, Books

Princess Jellyfish Volume 2 Review

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Princess Jellyfish Volume 2 by Akiko Higashimura

With the geeky paradise of Amamizu-kan threatened by redevelopment plans, Tsukimi and the Amars must spring into action. Buy the wily Inari and her hold on Shu forces Kuranosuke to pull out all the stops: money, blackmail, and…fashion?! Though Amamizu-kan still struggles with Kuranosuke’s stylish ways, the neighborhood fashionista has too much to lose, whether it’s a hidden identity or priceless friendships. Tsukimi gets the chance to make her jellyfish dreams into a glamorous reality, but that means breaking out of her bubble! Can these misfit princesses save their castle?

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This particular volume of Princess Jellyfish features more of the funny interactions and gorgeous artwork. On the other hand it is a slow story development. Not that it doesn’t have a story to tell, but more as in it is figuring out how they all get along, and what defines each of the AMARS ladies, and Tsukimi, Kuranosuke, and Shu.

It does develop a little on who Shu is, and why he finds Tsukimi attractive. And in general we learn more about how Kuranosuke gets along with his family (not much of his usual frineds before he met Tsukimi), but it is also a case of asking why he likes AMARS so much?

We still see little to no progress in saving the building, but at least AMARS seems to be warming up to it more and to be a team, which is a good team, considering how much they struggle with interacting with others.

Moon recommends

Go read the first volume of Princess Jellyfish, but if you are following, keep reading the series with Volume 2 (I have now all the volumes and may do a joint review of a few of them soon).

I bought the cute octopus/jellyfish at a craft fair, and it is cute and somehow fits well with this series.

Book Review, Books

Princess Jellyfish Volume 1

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Princess Jellyfish Volume 1 by Akiko Higashimura

Tsukimi Kurashita has a strange fascination with jellyfish. She’s loved them from a young age and has carried that love with her to her new life in the big city of Tokyo. There, she resides in Amamizukan, a safe-haven for girl geeks who regularly gush over a range of things from trains to Japanese dolls. However, a chance meeting at a pet shop has Tsukimi crossing paths with one of the things that the residents of Amamizukan have been desperately trying to avoid—a beautiful and fashionable woman! But there’s much more to this woman than her trendy clothes! This odd encounter is only the beginning of a new and unexpected path for Tsukimi and her friends.

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I love jellyfish(es). They are beautiful, and I remember finding this manga online and falling utterly in love with it (I even have a jellyfish tattoo).

And it is obvious our author does too because the pages of jellyfish are awesome, and Tsukimi is super cute. She thinks she’s not, and she struggles socially, but then Kuranosuke appears and somehow starts ploughing into her world and shaking yingup. Even worse because she isn’t a she but a he that dresses up as a woman, and one thing Tsukimi and the group of women she lives with, the AMARS, can’t do with is men!

But Tsukimi feels slightly in debt as Kuranosuke helped her save Clara (a jellyfish) from slowly dying. And at first thinks Kuranosuke is a girl, but alas, finds out he isn’t and has to hide it from the rest of the AMARS.

Each of the AMARS has their own “otaku” obsession, dolls, the Three Kingdoms, old men, jellyfish, trains.. And most of them are over 30 (except Tsukimi who is 18) and dependent on their parents.

Yes, it sounds odd, but it is a funny comic story with gorgeous clothes, amazing jellyfish and cute Tsukimi.

Moon recommends

You can read the first volume of Princess Jellyfish, or maybe try the anime (as there is one, which I haven’t seen because I wanted to re-read up to where I stopped reading and collect the manga first).