Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 9

Hey all, Dani here.

The more I write these reviews for MHA, the closer I get to running out of reviews to write. Seriously, right now there are only 13 volumes of My Hero Academia released for me. Volume 14 will be released in early August, and then Volume 15 arrives in early October, so unless I really get reading on some other manga series, this weekly manga review post will slow down for a little while.

But that’s okay. Sometimes it is fun to be completely caught up on a series and build up that anticipation for the next release. So, without further ado, let’s just jump into this review.

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Summary

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

It’s off to summer camp for Midoriya and the U.A. students! But this is no ordinary vacation—it’s high-impact training where the students are expected to develop their Quirks even further! The teachers have set up some tough challenges, but none will be as difficult and as life changing as the threat a new group of enemies poses. What’s even worse is who the villains’ target is and why…

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

This particular volume kicks off a new story arc for the manga, one that I think is the most intense yet. I do believe this is also where season three of the anime starts. What was fun for me when I made it to this volume is that the third season of the show hadn’t premiered yet, so this is where my reading started to go ahead of what I had already seen, which meant I had no idea what was going to happen.

We are introduced to new characters, mostly heroes, but also a young boy named Kota, who honestly was one of my favorite characters because he acted so differently from most of those we have met in the series…and when we learn the reason why, it only makes me appreciate his character and his developing storyline more.

Much like you would expect for anything having to do with a school that specializes in training heroes, this is not a standard summer camp. Because of everything that has happened in their schooling so far, they really need to develop their Quirks more and train even harder so they can be ready for what is coming for them.

I liked seeing what each of the characters do to work their Quirks more and strengthen up. For some it involves physical strength training, while for others it means finding ways to boost the duration they can use their abilities. And it is even harder for the students who didn’t pass their final exams, because they have additional schooling on top of everything else.

Seriously, this was a pretty fun start to what is a great and yet terrible story arc. A lot of things change after this training camp. But if you want to know more, you’re going to have to read the manga (or watch the anime).

Where to Buy

You can pick up this (or any) of the volumes of My Hero Academia from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

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Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: The Ancient Magus’ Bride Vol 1

Hey all, Dani here.

It is time for me to introduce a new series into my Manga Monday posts, because I have no more volumes of One Punch Man to review (until I read more, that is), and this particular series is one that I have started and really enjoyed. Of course, that being said, there are only like 8 volumes out in English right now, so that’s a little bit of a bummer. Oh well. The characters and the story are really interesting, and I’m glad that I decided to give it a try.

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Summary

Enter the Magician’s Apprentice

Her name is Chise Hatori, a penniless orphan troubled by visions. Sold as a slave to an inhuman mage, she is about to begin a strange new life, filled with magic, fairies, and other beings of a fantastical nature.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Wow, that book summary gives you very little to go on, but I promise that this series actually is full of magic and beings of a fantastical nature. Plus Chise is a pretty interesting character, as is the inhuman mage who buys her to become his apprentice and his wife. I’m sure a lot more will be revealed about this arrangement in time, but for now it is just something that makes you want to keep reading so you can hopefully get all the answers.

Oh here, the Goodreads summary might not be the greatest, but the Book Depository summary is better. I’ll toss that in here:

Chise Hatori has lived a life full of neglect and abuse, devoid of anything resembling love. Far from the warmth of family, she has had her share of troubles and pitfalls. Just when all hope seems lost, a fateful encounter awaits her. When a man with the head of a beast, wielding strange powers, obtains her through a slave auction, Chise’s life will never be the same again. The man is a “magus,” a sorcerer of great power, who decides to free Chise from the bonds of captivity. The magus then makes a bold statement. Chise will become his apprentice – and his bride! 

I first learned of this series because my fiance was watching the anime. That seems to happen quite frequently with my manga reads, if I’m being completely honest. I’m totally fine with that. It is how I found My Hero Academia, One Punch Man, Blue Exorcist, and The Ancient Magus’ Bride.

Of course, I also wasn’t really paying that close attention to when he was watching the show, so I have no clue what is going to happen. I will say that so much happened in this first volume. It left me wondering how in the world so much could be put into such a small number of pages without it feeling too rushed.

Much like Chise, we are completely thrown into this world, with the magic system and the magical beings being introduced to us as the story progresses. But I was just so fascinated by it all, and so hooked by the story. It made me really glad that I originally decided to buy the first two volumes during one book trip, and then I bought the next two the trip after that. (And I’m buying Vol 5-8 very soon).

I think this also means that I’ll probably need to watch the anime as well. I really enjoyed this first volume, and I flew through it because I just wanted to learn more, and I really didn’t want to put it down.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this first volume of The Ancient Magus’ Bride from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 8

Hey all, Dani here.

It is Manga Monday time again. This is where I continue on with my reviews for all of the manga I was reading at the end of last year. In particular this includes one of my favorite series, My Hero Academia, which is a superheroes-in-training story. Of course there is so much more to that, but I greatly enjoy both the manga and the anime, and would recommend both to anyone who enjoys a good story of students with powers learning how to use them and become heroes.

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Summary

Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

The U.A. students have reached the practical portion of their final exam, but they didn’t expect to have to beat their own teachers in order to pass! Paired with his archrival Bakugo, Midoriya has to try to take on none other than All Might himself. Working with Bakugo is one thing, but is giving everything he’s got to beat All Might more than Midoriya can handle? And in a nearby arena, Yaoyorozu and Todoroki endure a similar struggle. All the while, a sinister new adversary prepares to make a move… 

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I feel so sorry for Midoriya, consistently being put in a position to work with or against Bakugo. They already have enough encounters and issues without the school putting them in these positions. But I also realize that looking at the talents of both Bakugo and Midoriya, if they actually did legitimately team up and work together, they could be a very powerful duo…not that I actually anticipate that happening.

Seeing how the different pairings worked together (or didn’t) to take on the practical portion of their final exam was interesting. It was also cool to see the strategies all the teachers formulated for taking on their chosen duos.

I also love how we get to see the villain perspective too, especially since sometimes I can’t exactly figure out what they’re up to.

And of course, I love that this volume is leading us up to the summer camp, and all of the training and growth that is sure to come from it. Through this series I have found that whenever they have an internship or an event like the sports festival, the students tend to learn quite a bit, as well as grow quite a bit in their Quirks and their techniques.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this and all other available volumes from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: One Punch Man Vol 4

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome to another Manga Monday. I hope you all are enjoying these posts. I know I’m certainly glad that I’m once again starting to post more reviews and content on here. Trying to keep to a regular posting schedule has been good for me, and I’ve managed to get it to where I can write up about a week’s worth of posts in just a couple of days (usually over the weekend and on Tuesday evenings).

Anyway, it is time for my next review for this hilarious parody hero series. Let’s get started.

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Summary

A manga series that packs quite the punch!

Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem-he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Saitama is now a certified hero! And with that title comes great responsibility-he’s required to perform one heroic deed per week. While Saitama makes the rounds to meet his quota, and incoming threat from outer space is screeching toward Earth…

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

So Saitama is now a certified hero…which means he just goes back to his usual boring routine, just waiting for something to show up that might actually be a worthy foe. What I loved about this is that Saitama clearly didn’t pay attention to all the rules and such for certified heroes, because he needs Genos to remind him of his heroic deed quota.

This leads our intrepid protagonist to go on a wild run through the city as he tries to find some sort of criminal activity that he can stop so he keeps his certification. It is much harder than he thinks, which honestly is just amusing. Because in racing around like a crazy person, trying to find trouble, he actually ends up causing citizens to panic, because his actions don’t appear to be those of a hero. Instead he seems like a nervous person up to no-good.

That is one of the things I love the most about this series, how it stands unique among the overpowered superhero genre because it is technically a parody of that theme. I love seeing how they subvert tropes or play along with stereotypes. It honestly makes it even more interesting for readers (or viewers–since I technically started with the show and then started reading these).

So, this is actually a series I’m surprised that I ended up enjoying and picking up. But I would definitely recommend this to others, because it is definitely worth experiencing. And I’m going to have to read some more volumes of this so I can continue to review the series. I need an evening of manga reading, which I might end up doing either tonight or tomorrow. It sounds like a nice way to spend a few hours.

Where to Buy

You can pick up this volume from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: One Punch Man Vol 2

Hey all, Dani here.

It is time for another review post, and once again I am continuing my series of reviews for the manga I have been reading since last year. What can I say, my fiance got me into reading them. And they are great for readathons and for increasing your books read for yearly reading goals. Plus the stories are generally rather interesting and the art is very nice to look at as well.

Today I am back to talk about the next volume in a series that started out as a web comic that parodied stories such as Dragonball Z, where there are characters that are seemingly massively overpowered. Of course, I am talking about One Punch Man, so let’s just go ahead and jump into the review.

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Summary

A manga series that packs quite the punch!

Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem – he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! He’s easily taken out a number of monsters, including a crabby creature, a malicious mosquito girl and a muscly meathead. But his humdrum life takes a drastic turn when he meets Genos – a cyborg who wants to uncover the secret behind his strength!

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

So, I read this volume at the end of December 2017, and it just increased my enjoyment of this series. My fiance was watching the anime, and at first I was just doing blog work on my computer, but I kept getting distracted as the show kept drawing my focus. Soon enough I was watching it and ignoring my computer and the internet.

And it isn’t the fight sequences or super powers or anything of that nature that makes me interested in this series. No, it is honestly mostly because of main character Saitama. I love how bored he is when it comes to all the monsters he takes on, especially when you consider how worked up he gets about normal things, like discount days at the grocery store.

What gets really fun with this volume is bringing Genos in to the story. Watching him try to convince Saitama to be his mentor and train him to be just as strong was pretty entertaining. But it is also clear that having Genos around could make Saitama’s life a little less dull.

Oh, and can I just say that I love how when there are fight sequences in the manga, there are so many elegant details but then Saitama is just so simple as he pretty much stares blankly ahead. It is so clear by the images that he is just bored by what is going on around him. And it makes sense, seeing as how he defeats anyone he encounters with just a single punch.

So I just enjoy enjoy this series, and I look forward to reading more of the volumes in the future.

Where to Buy

You can pick up your own copy of this second volume from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: My Hero Academia Vol 4

Hey all, Dani here.

So…I forgot to post my Manga Monday review last week. I’m sorry. I was at work on Monday when I realized that I had not spent the time pre-writing up my early week posts, and by that point there was no way I would get the post up for that day, especially since I had to edit my mom’s final paper/project for the college course she is taking through work. She is not really a paper writer, but she tries really hard to do well. Thankfully she has a daughter who has a degree in English and a library degree, so I’m like a one-stop reference shop for her. I edit her more important papers and then she buys me food. It is a nice system.

Anyway, last week I was planning on having my review up for One Punch Man Vol 2, so I’m just pushing that one back to next week…because I’m trying to get through all of the My Hero Academia volume reviews without posting them every single week, so I’m alternating them.

Actually I need to read more volumes of One Punch Man as well. I’ve only read 3, and there are 13 out here in the US. Right now my manga focus has shifted over to The Ancient Magus’ Bride, which I’m really enjoying, so reviews for those will be coming in the future too.

Okay, enough rambling. Let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks”? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

The U.A. High sports festival is a chance for the budding heroes to show their stuff and find a superhero mentor. The students have already struggled through a grueling preliminary round, but now they have to team up to prove they’re capable of moving on to the next stage. The whole country is watching, and so are the shadowy forces that attacked the academy…

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

Okay, so here’s the thing: I thought that the sports festival story arc was rather interesting. I enjoyed watching it on the anime, and then getting to experience it again when I picked up the manga was really cool. I got to spend more time studying the panels and seeing the details for each character and how they are using their Quirks. It is part of the reason I don’t at all mind that I watched the adaptation before reading the source material. (Though, for the record, I am now ahead of the show so everything is back to the way I normally prefer: book then adaptation).

The team up aspect of this round of the sports festival was really cool too. It was intriguing to see how certain teams came together based on character personalities, Quirks, and ranking. One of the things that I adore about Midoriya is that he has been studying heroes/villains/Quirks for so long that he analyzes everything–sometimes past the point of overanalyzation. But that sometimes works out for him. So watching him process the pros and cons of his classmates and who he should team up with was fascinating.

So pretty much I am really enjoying the way this series is going. The characters keep developing more and more, and we keep learning more about each of them. We get to see as they learn to use their Quirks in new ways, and we get to see their relationships develop and deepen, and sometimes we get to see their struggles. They are facing a lot rather early on in their education/training. I hope this series at least goes a little past them graduating and becoming full heroes, even if that is a short term spin-off or whatever.

If you like superheroes or books/series in a school setting, then this is a series I would definitely recommend.

Where to Buy

You can pick up your own copy of My Hero Academia Vol 4 from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Readathon, Signal Boost

April Wrap Up and May TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

Another month has come and gone, and it was a pretty good month for reading and books. Since Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon just ended this past weekend, I am doing my readathon wrap up in this post instead of a separate one.

First up is my list of books read over the month of April. As always, if I have a review of the book up, I will include a link to it in case you missed it or you are new to the blog.

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (5 stars)

Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy (5 stars)

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (4 stars)

Critical Role: Vox Machina: Origins, Issue #6 by Matt Coville (5 stars)

Avatar: the Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang (5 stars)

Avatar: the Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow, Part 2 by Gene Luen Yang (5 stars)

Avatar: the Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow, Part 3 by Gene Luen Yang (5 stars)

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Vol 1 by Kore Yamazaki (5 stars)

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (4 stars)

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (5 stars)

Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (4 stars)

So, for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, I did just all right, starting and finishing two books during the readathon. It took me most of the day to complete my first read, mostly because Signy Cullen came to visit and we hadn’t seen each other in well over a year so we did a lot of talking. And after finishing my 525 page first book, I wanted something shorter and faster to read, which led from reading the amazing fantasy book by Adeyemi to the mysterious book by Ernshaw. It was a quick, though a bit predictable, read at 305 pages, so overall I had a pretty good time.

There is one other readathon update I need to put in here and that is my fiance’s report. He decided to join me and read a backlog of manga we’ve been collecting. So in both books read and page count, my fiance totally beat me for the day, and I am so proud of him. Here is his wonderful stack of now completed manga.

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Now it is time for my book haul and monthly OwlCrate unboxing.

The Harry Potter pencils are great, my fiance rather enjoys the coffee, and I am happy to have another beautiful pillowcase. Hopefully I’ll be able to read Ace of Shades very soon.

Finally, it is time for my May TBR. I decided that I wanted to try something different, and copy something that I saw another book blogger do recently. This time around I asked my fiance to go into my library and choose 4-6 books for me to read in the month of May. So, needless to say, this should be an interesting month of reading.

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This seems like a pretty cool TBR…though I’ll have to add a couple books…you know, like the latest release from Rick Riordan.

Anyway, that’ll be it for today. I’ll be back soon with another bookish post.

Book Review, Books!, Manga, Signal Boost

Manga Review: One Punch Man Vol 1

Hey all, Dani here.

So, as I was going through my written list of all of my backlog reads that I wanted/needed to write up reviews for, I realized that a large number of them were manga. My plan for the next couple months is to review one of the volumes each Monday…so welcome to my first Manga Monday. Based on the schedule I wrote up, these reviews will last me until the end of August, and that’s if I don’t skip weeks or read more manga. But since I like using manga, especially for readathons, I predict that this will just be a regular segment on my blog for a while.

Pretty much right now it is looking like Manga Monday, What I’m Reading on Wednesdays, and a whole bunch of randomness on Fridays, but I’ll likely also slip in some more book reviews on Tuesdays or Thursdays since I have a bunch of those as well.

Anyway, let’s just jump into the review.

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Summary

A manga series that packs quite the punch!

Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem—he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of superpowered boredom?

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I started out just half-watching the anime of this manga while my fiance was watching it and then I slowly got pulled into the story. So now I’m picking up the manga series to read as well. This sort of thing seems to happen to me a lot. Because of my fiance I’ve gotten into My Hero Academia and One Punch Man, as well as Overlord. We have watched Blue Exorcist as well. Even with having already watched them, I really don’t mind reading the same story over again. I pick up more details and I can imagine the characters’ voices in my head while I read. Plus, it is just really cool to look at the artwork.

This is such an amusing story. Saitama is not the typical protagonist and I actually enjoy that. I mean, I get that that is sort of the whole point of it. Saitama doesn’t look like he should be a hero, and then he defeats every enemy he faces in only one punch. And I actually also really enjoy that he didn’t start out that way. He didn’t get superpowers from some sort of chemical accident or magical event or anything like that. No, he trained his body and his mind, and honed them both to get where he is now.

Plus the detail in the fight sequences is fabulous. Seriously, I stared at the art for a couple minutes, just taking all of it in. I’m going to enjoy reading these, especially with Saitama now taking Genos in to teach how he got so strong/became a hero.

Pretty much if you like superpowered type reads and are okay with a series that sort of pokes fun at them at the same time, this is probably a good choice for you. If I remember correctly, this series was originally started online as a parody or satire of the genre, and it ended up gaining enough popularity for a manga series and then an anime series (though I wish there were more episodes of the anime; it was fun to watch).

Where to Buy

You can buy your own copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.