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text 2018-01-23 22:50
Just in via ILL
Yukarism, Vol. 1 - Chika Shiomi

I had thought this one was a digital-only release, but it turns out I was wrong. Or I was thinking of an entirely different series, in which case I'm just confused.


At any rate, this manga is about a 17-year-old author who writes very historically accurate works. This turns out to be due to the fact that he's the reincarnation of a beautiful and renowned courtesan and can remember some of his past life. He crosses paths with a girl he thinks he knew in his past life.


That all comes from the back of the book. Beyond that, I can't remember what, if anything, I've heard about the series.

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text 2018-01-11 22:43
Just in via ILL
The Kneebone Boy - Ellen Potter

I'm trying to make more regular use of my library's Interlibrary Loan department, mostly to avoid buying (and having to house) so much manga. I figure I should be able to get through manga volumes well before their due dates, whereas novels are sometimes a problem for me. So what did I do, while requesting several manga volumes? I also requested a novel. But just the one!


I'm not generally a Middle Grade fiction person, but they always have some of the best illustrated covers and sometimes I can't resist.

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text 2017-12-13 14:54
Another ILL book for Winter Break
orange: The Complete Collection 2 - Ichigo Takano

I read Volume 1 during my vacation. I'd have requested both volumes but foolishly assumed that "complete collection" meant that there was only one volume I needed to read. Ugh.


I still need to write my post for the first volume. It was good, although I have some reservations about the story. How I feel about the whole thing will really depend upon how the second half of the story goes, but the first half made me really sad for one particular character, who had to give up a happy future in order to potentially help a friend.


I suppose it's technically a sci-fi series, since it involves

parallel universes

(spoiler show)

, but it doesn't read like sci-fi at all.

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text 2017-12-12 13:47
New via interlibrary loan
not simple - Natsume Ono

It recently occurred to me that my winter break is about to come up and that I should probably request a few books via ILL, because I'd have time to read them. (Whether I'll have the willpower is another question...)


So, here's the first one to arrive. I've only ever read Natsume Ono's Ristorante Paradiso, which I was iffy about the first time around and liked more the second, although I'm still not a fan of her distinctive art style. I remember Not Simple getting a good bit of buzz when it came out, so I'm going to give it a shot.

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review 2017-11-22 21:07
The Path of the Eclipse / Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Path of the Eclipse - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

The willow bends and does not break, but the wind that blows from the west has a name...and that name is Khan--Jenghiz Khan.  It is to the north of ancient China where lies the greatest danger and no one is safe, especially foreigners.The man known to the Chinese people as Shih Ghieh-Man faces the greatest danger.  He is an enigma--a man of strength with no perceivable vices.  To survive the coming storm, he allies himself with the beautiful T'en Chih-Yu, a woman warrior desperate to save her people from the Mongol horde.But the man who offers his help has another, older name-and a terrible secret.  For he is the Count St. Germain...and the greatest gift he can bestow can be bought with blood...or death.


This installment of the Saint-Germain chronicles didn’t quite hit the spot for me—it seemed to cover a lot of ground (literally), a lot of tragedy, and did it all without much point. It wouldn’t have taken much to push it into 4 star territory, just a bit more focus. As it stands, this book felt to me very much like two excuses to push Saint-Germain into a Chinese and an Indian woman’s beds, and little else.

I can certainly see why female readers find Saint-Germain a sympathetic character—age doesn’t mean much to him, considering how old he is, so even we older readers can envisage ourselves as possible love interests for this enigmatic vampire. Plus, as the Indian woman, Padmiri, discovers, he is all about female sexual satisfaction. She describes a subsequent lover as willing to get her aroused because he knows that it will benefit him, but her arousal & satisfaction are not truly that man’s focus.

Two enormous, diverse countries are explored in this novel and both got short shrift. When the story begins, Saint-Germain has already been in China for some time, long enough for a university to decide that they would like him to leave. At no point is the reader told why Saint-Germain chose China or what he was trying to accomplish there. India is just a way-station on his travels “home,” and the potential for interesting adventures is hemmed in by the rather histrionic plot in which a young priestess of Kali attempts to capture & use Saint-Germain as a sacrifice to her goddess.

For me, the most engaging and interesting part of the book took place as Saint-Germain and Roger over-winter in a Buddhist monastery and get to know the nine-year-old lama in charge of the lamasery. It is a small section, disappointingly quick to pass.

What should have been a more pressing problem—Saint-Germain is running out of his supply of his native earth—doesn’t get nearly the attention that it should. Especially since he and running water don’t get along and he will need to put to sea to get home. Another irritant (for me), was a series of letters from two Nestorian Christians travelling in China, but who remained completely unexplained. It is not until the very end of the book that the survivor of the pair crosses Saint-Germain’s path and I assume that it is a set-up for another volume.

Still, despite my criticisms, I enjoyed this fluffy little fantasy tale and I will definitely continue on with the series.

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