meganbmoore: (too many books)

What are you currently reading
7 Seeds Vol 22 Tamura Yumi. Almost caught up! Then I will have to sit down and organize my thoughts. Which, currently, are mostly that I have feeeeeeelings. Mostly about Hana, Natsu, Matsuri, Ayu and Aramaki right now.

i'm still reading Heyer's The Black Moth in bits and pieces. I think I'm about halfway through now? It's entertaining enough.

What did you recently finish reading?

Seduction in Silk
by Jo Beverley. Georgian-set romance novel in which Our Hero inherits a much-contested family estate from a distant relative, on the condition that he marry the niece of a woman the relative wronged years ago, because said woman also laid a curse on his family that all their children would die until the wrong was righted, and his intended bride is the daughter of a man reputed to have been mad. It's a pretty straightforward "forced to marry a stranger, how will we make it work" plot,and a well done one, with characters managing to have conflict while still acting like mature, intelligent adults capable of of clearly communicating with each other. Unfortunately, I felt like several chapters developing the family feud and the curse (and it seems too be leading to a major plot development, and then...doesn't), as well as Our Hero's conflict with his family ended up being cut out, and so I felt like I somehow missed part of it when I finished.

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks. Like The War At Ellsmere, Friends With Boys focuses on a young woman entering a school environment completely unlike any other she's known. The main character, Maggie, has been homeschooled her whole life, and has had little interaction with other kids close to her age outside of her three older brothers, who all started going to public school when it was time for them to enter high school, and now it's Maggie's turn. She isn't used to her brothers having friends outside their family, and has difficulty making new friends until she befriends a pair of "punk" siblkings-Alistair, who appears to have a silent feud with a number of other kids at school, including one of Maggie's brothers, and Lucy, who is obsessed with the supernatural but scared of anything resembling a scary movie. To complicate things, Maggie is frequently haunted by the ghost of a woman from the 18th century, who has visited her many times over the years. It's not as wildly entertaining as The Adventures of Superhero Girl, but is more poignant, and holds up as a cohesive whole better than Zombies Calling or The War at Ellsmere.

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn. Somewhat-different "human befriends dragon" plot. Set in an AU where dragons emerged from hiding shortly after WWII and now live in various territories with no communication with humans, a teenaged girl accidentally crosses the border to North America's dragon territory, and befriends a curious young dragon. Human/Dragon relations slowly start to deteriorate around them while the two explore the possibilities of working together, and the history of human/dragon relationships before dragons went into hiding in the middleages, and how those previous relationships could translate to modern times. Very interesting and enjoyable. It leaves things open for a possible sequel, but doesn't actually need one, as all necessary elements are wrapped up.

Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguie. Part of Simon & Schuster's "Once Upon A Time" fairy tale series, this time for "The Little Mermaid." It has the classic tale (through the Disney lens) as well as a genderswapped version throughout. The main character, Pearl, was found by a fisherman during a storm as a child, is scared of the ocean, and is secretly friends with the prince, who has to chose a bride soon. It doesn't go the way it looks to be going early on, which was nice, and is generally pretty solid. It's not the best book in the series (that's probably Snow, of the ones I've read) but it's better than some of the others, and is pretty decent as a fairy tale retelling in general.

Interesting sidenote that I'm not entirely certain what to make of:

spoiler )

The Wallflower Vol 28-30 by Hayakawa Tomoko. Leave it to this series to have an in canon AU crackfic set in the Edo era. Then again, I think most of the storylines in the series are like crackfic prompts after a while. "Auntie moves in, the gang joins forces to find her a boyfriend." "Kyohei and Sunako catsit." "Ranmaru is banned from dating." "Kyohei becomes class president." etc etc. I've accepted that the series has had about as much character growth and plot progression as the mangaka is going to allow before she decides it's time to start wrapping things up, and I think I'm ok with that, as it entertains me regardless.

Secrets of A Runaway Bride by Valerie Bowman: Wallpaper Regency Historical Romance in which the heroine's brother-in-law asks his best friend to keep an eye on her and keep her from eloping with her unsuitable Beau while he's on his honeymoon. Despite the inherently aggravating concept of the plot being fueled by one man asking another to keep a woman under control while he's out of town, and the fact that much of the heroine, Annie's, motivation seemed to be low-self-esteem (excerpt that I don't think the writer recognized it as low-self-esteem), I was actually enjoying this in a "don't think too much and roll with it" way, and intending to see if the library had Bowman's first book, until I got to the last 100~ pages and Annie's characterization took an extreme nosedive fueled by low-self-esteem motivated desperation.

spoiler )

Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde. Cute MG book about a 12-year-old princess who kisses a frog who claims to be a prince, only to learn its a local boy who got turned into a frog for harassing a witch, and could only turn human if he got someone else to kiss them, which would in turn turn that person into a frog. The book focuses mostly on Princess Imogen's attempts to figure out how to break the curse without having to turn someone else into a frog, and her effective abduction by an amateur theatre troupe who decides to use a talking frog in their act.

I read about 2/3 of the first volume of Haruka Beyond the Stream of Time, and was mostly confused. Then I remembered that I read it back when Viz first started releasing it and was thoroughly lost then.

What do you think you'll read next?

I have a lot of manga checked out from the library, though admittedly, most is is "I haven't read this/think I read a bit of this a while back, and the library has it so ok" so that. I also have Kelley Armstrong's newest book, but I kinda did that automatically and I think I want to find people who've read it before I do, just to make sure I don't get a Clayton/Elena thing again.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
Some things I've read recently-ish but keep forgetting to post on:

Manga:

Blank Slate Vol 1-2 (complete series): This is a short series by Aya Kanno, the creator of Otomen, and it's about an amnesiac, sociopathic, evil assassin. In one of the sidebars, Kanno said she set out to do a series about a villain and, well, did. It's an interesting experiment, but it's too short to develop the characterization it needs to really work and still have the plot it wants, and the plot isn't strong enough to pull it off without strong characterization. The most impressive thing about it is the amazement at it coming from the same brain as the adorable genderbending fluff that is Otomen.

xxxHolic
Vol 16-19 (end of series): This remains one of the most beautifully illustrated manga I've read (despite Clamp's refusal to actually give people bones) but I was never able to recover interest in it after the change in status quo that took place a little bit before these volumes. Strangely, I recall spending a fair bit of the early volumes wishing the series focused less on the individual customers and more on the meta plot, and then these final volumes were mostly about the metaplot, but that had changed to something that interested me significantly less by then. (And I half-think that one day Clamp just decided the next chapter would be the last, and it was.) Still, I remain fond of the series, and would be so regardless simply because it was my gateway drug into Clamp.

Wallflower Vol 22-27: I...cannot believe I've read 27 volumes of a manga in which there is only the merest hint of an ongoing plot and character growth and relationship evolution both move at a snail's pace, and where the timeline is actually on repeat. Yet, I do not regret it at all. (Well, I could do with unreading some chapters along the way, but that's true of most things that last a while.) I generally enjoy the chapters with Sunako's aunt and/or Noi-chan and the ones where random supernatural things may or may not appear (particularly possessions) best, and the ones where people try to force conformity least. (Though those always end up going terribly for the ones trying to force conformity.) But this series never fails to make me laugh a lot, even if the laughter is sometimes of the more horrified "what--..." variety. When/If this series ever ends (though for all I know, it actually has in Japan) I hope Hayakawa actually has a final arc that resolves things instead of just stopping.

Books:

A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin: Rambling, repetitive, boring. I'm not entirely sure how much is taste changing/GRRM either not caring or needing a firmer guiding hand, and how much had to do with it mostly being about plots/characters I'm either disinterested in or outright dislike, and adding a lot of POVs that weren't needed, but I feel this book would have been far more effective at about 1/4 the length. I also simply outright disliked most plot "twists," and can't help but feel that GRRM was developing it to not follow fandom expectations, as opposed to writing what he had always planned to write. It just frequently felt random and "HA HA GOTCHA!" Like, I almost think he'll make Robert be Jon's father just because everyone thinks it's Rhaegar. (Yes, I joke about how hair color makes it a valid theory but I am largely joking because GRRM has used hair color for major paterinty-centric plot developments before. Though I actually have accidentally predicted paternity reveals based on hair color and style more than once, and I think I did once write out a fanwank for how it could work based on the Arthurian themes in Jon's plot, but I've forgotten half of that now. But I digress.) I...will probably skim future books (should they ever come out...I'm not sure he's interested in writing this anymore) to see what happens with Dany, Sansa and Brienne, but this book pretty effectively killed my interest in the property as a whole.


The Mortal Bone by Marjorie M. Liu: Actually, my feelings for this one are very positive but I kept not thinking of anything to say about it that wasn't spoilery from the first word. (Well, aside from the fact that similarities to Top Cow's The Darkness seemed to increase some.) In other series, I'd be a bit leery of some of the plot developments, but as Liu has avoided the plot elements associated with the elements that would usually make me leery so far, I'm largely anticipating them instead.

Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard: Yet another case of my suffering Stockholm Syndrome when it comes to awful, trainwrecky YA. I don't think I'll be complaining as much about the guys and romances in the TV series when I get back to it because what I've seen of the series is way way better on that front. Actually, I'm kind of amazed that the TV series has mostly positive relationships between women because pretty much every female/female relationship in the books is negative at some point, and ends up tense at best, and I think Jenna is the only character I liked. (I suppose this is how some people feels about the Vampire Diaries books, except unlike the VD books, the PLL books can't claim to be 1001% better when it comes to rape culture and violence against women, and way more comfortable with female sexuality. Whereas the PLL books are way way worse than the show when it comes to those factors.) I do think the resolution ofthe "who killed Ali?" plot rightly captured the feel of the 90s YA mystery ala Christopher Pike that it wanted, but while I think Shepard knew how she was going to resolv "Who killed Ali?" I think she was making up how she got there as she went along. And I'm not sure I've read anything else where in 8 books I don't think any of the main characters made a single smart decision. And I don't mean "are uninformed when making the choices" or "believe they're acting on information from a source they think they can trust" but always act on the bad information of someone they know is out to get them and who has tricked/hurt them before.

The Road to Avalon by Joan Wolf: A largely interesting Arthuriana set in post-Roman Britain and heavy on the politics and much more focused on Arthur than most Arthuriana I've read, it succeeded in making Arthur more interesting than most versions are for me (a lot of that, I think, had to do with the fact that it was written that most of Arthur's good traits and the aspects of his personality that made him a strong leader came from Ygraine. I actually think the Camelot series was trying to do this with Arthur's more douchy moments being attributed to acting like his father and his better moments being when he was showing more of Ygraine and her influence. The show was just terrible.) and Arthur and Lancelot (in his earlier incarnation as Bedwyr) more likable than usual for me until around the page 200 mark where I abruptly stopped liking both within a few pages of each other (if you read it, you can probably guess what bit for each.) Ultimately, while I found the plot interesting and engaging and liked most aspects of the take (There are some obvious MZB influences, but I didn't feel obnoxiously so, and this is almost purely historical fiction as opposed to fantasy.), Gwenhwyfar (Guenevere) and Mordered were the only characters I found to be particularly sympathetic, and it had 2 of my big pet peeves in modern Arthuriana: Ygraine/Uther is portrayed as True Love, and Morguase and Morgan are not Ygraine's daughters, but her sisters (in Morgan's case, they have different mothers and Morgan is Arthur's age.) For me, making Morguase and/or Morgan not be Ygraine's daughters completely alters some of the most interesting aspects of their roles, but that may be a YMMV thing.

Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews: A lot better than the second Edge book, but not as good as the Kate Daniels books. I liked the caper plot a lot and liked Audrey and though the adolescent tagalongs and their issues worked well. I...did not dislike the hero, Kaldar, but I think I was supposed to not mind all his chauvinism since he got called on it, but, well, just because you get called on your attitude it doesn't erase the attitude, much less make it charming. I think I remember reading that some fans thought there wasn't enough romance in this one as compared to the others, but I didn't notice the decrease. Actually, I think I may have preferred that it had a bit less focus on the romance than what it had.
meganbmoore: (proper ladies deliver justice via flying)
Is a description of this one even necessary?  If so [personal profile] anenko  has a brief explanation and tons of non-spoilery manga pics here.

I’ve been leery of watching this ever since the official descriptions started showing up online, because they made it very clear that the story was going to be shifted from primarily Sunako-centric and from her perspective to being Kyohei-centric, and a vehicle for the guys. And you know, I’m pretty fond of Kyohei, and of Kame as an actor (unlike a lot of JE boys, he actually can act, maintained the ability to act past a couple of roles he was well suited for, and actually improves as an actor over time) but Kame’s had plenty of vehicles already, and, (like most readers of the manga that I know) I’m in it first for Sunako being awesome, and second for Sunako/Kyohei being awesome. Both are still pretty awesome, but not nearly as much so as in the manga. I think that where the drama really fails there is that the shift to Kyohei’s perspective means that he’s also the catalyst for each climax and/or fight, and so Sunako’s fighting and rage only come out when he prods her into it, as opposed to the manga, where it comes out of her own volition when she’s angry, or (possibly even more frequently) when she wants to defend someone. I still love her here, but the fangs have had some serious filing done.

Incidentally, Oomasa Aya, who plays Sunako? Is awesome? I knew she’d probably be great after Mei-chan no Shitsuji, but she really nailed Sunako’s creepiness and introversion, and came as close to getting Sunako’s skittering and weird lurking as an actual human being can manage. I did frequently worry about her hurting her throat, though, the way she kept up the creepy/hollow voice the whole series. Somebody give the girl more leading roles already.

I do like that they aged the characters to being in college, instead of their all being 15. It works better for a lot of things, and gives the characters a degree of maturity that they don’t have at 15 that lets some things get resolved that wouldn’t be otherwise. Also, it’s way less weird for Sunako’s aunt to have her 21-year-old niece keep house for four guys aged about 20-22 than it does to have her 15-year-old niece do the same for 4 15-year-old guys. I’m also glad they managed to work in all the major female characters from the manga. Given the obvious shift, I was worried that, aside from Sunako, we’d only get a few glimpses of Noi and Auntie, but we got plenty of both (I’m sad that we didn’t see much of Noi’s relationships with Takenaga and Sunako as compared to the manga, but it looks like most of the same things were happening, just off screen) as well as some of Machiko and Tamao.

In general, it was pretty fun to watch, but not nearly as fun as the manga, and not around the top of my jdrama list, either. Also, I was really annoyed by how the guy who liked BDSM was NO BAD WRONG because he liked BDSM. I mean, what he wanted was wrong because he wanted to marry Sunako and then force her into that regardless of what she wanted, but the show portrayed it as if the interest itself was wrong. (And, seriously [A] I’m pretty sure Sunako has some curiosity about that anyway, and [B] while I don’t exactly have any personal experience there, my understanding is that people who are into BDSM are extremely careful regarding consent and foreknowledge. Oh yeah, [C] it kinda makes no sense in the context of all the stuff that goes on in the manga.) Also, I completely reject the majority of the final episode, which relied way too much on “even polite and businesslike black men are naturally sinister and scary,” and the main plot of the episode was a serious copout. Though, honestly, even with all the problems, I probably could have watched another 10 or 15 episodes if it weren’t for Kyohei’s angst always being drug out. That said, this bit here is one of the most adorable things I’ve seen in a jdrama:



(And how adorable is Kyohei’s fixation on that skull, anyway? He even sleeps with it!)

And let us not forget what may be the most cracktastic jdrama opening I have ever seen:

meganbmoore: (next stop: amnesia)
*blinks*

Was that actually almost plot and character development there?

In my Wallflower?

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (next stop: amnesia)
It is, perhaps, a good thing that I wasn’t able to read volume 19 when it first came out (or close to it) as Noi doesn’t show up in these volumes until halfway through volume 20. While Noi isn’t my favorite character, she’s rather like Moko in Skip-Beat, where a large part of my fondness has to do with her role in the series, and her friendship with the main character. Except that the absence of, you know, anything resembling consistent plot of character progression or arcs makes me crankier when Noi is absent for long.

For the curious, yes, Tomoko Hayakawa remains the world’s laziest manga artist this side of Tite Kubo, battling it out with him over who has a greater aversion to drawing more than the sparsest of backgrounds. (Now, if it’s a fight between the leads, then I’m afraid Sunako beats Ichigo based on stubbornness and a greater willingness to fight dirty. That, and I’m not sure Ichigo has really figured out how to hit girls yet…)

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (proper ladies deliver justice via flying)

spoilers include plot that vaguely resembles bondage fetish )

And…are we on the third Halloween where they’re still 15 already? It’s not a bad thing to let your characters age to 16-17, you know… (Actually, I tend to forget that they aren’t.)

89 icons

Oct. 5th, 2008 11:06 pm
meganbmoore: (Default)
 25 x East of Eden
 28 x Kingdom of the Wind
 36 x Wallflower/Perfect Girl Evolution

   


rest )
meganbmoore: (next stop: amnesia)

Spoilers involve personality transplants via head injury. That is not a spoiler here. )
ETA:  *looks over LJ for the day*  Yeah, so, apparently it was a slow day otherwise.  This is a lot even for me...

129 icons

Sep. 27th, 2008 02:55 pm
meganbmoore: (when we grow up i will marry you)
10 x Apothecarius Argentum
17 x Bride of the  Water God
7 x High School Debut/Koukou Debut
17 x Kaze Hikaru
28 x W Juliet
36 x Wallflower/Perfect Girl Evolution
14 x Wild Ones/Arakure

     

icons )
meganbmoore: (sdk-k/y are cute when grungy)

This will be brief as I'm headed out very, very shortly.

A good chunk of this book(2 of the four chapters) were devoted to Yuki, one with him worrying his girlfriend was going to dump him for another guy, with Yuki getting tips from Ranmaru, and the other with his fighting with a friend at school.  Since this is Yuki and he's more like a humanoid puppy than anything else and not nearly as sturdily built as the others, the two chapters weren't quite as cracky as they usually are.  Still, since it was Yuki centric, we also got to see the sweeter and supportive side of everyone, including Sunako.  I wouldn't want chapters like this all the time, but it's nice every once in a while.  Plus, poor Yuki always gets shoved into the background, he should get to shine every once in a while.

Then there are the other two chapters.  In one, the boys decide to see if they can make Sunako into a lady by redoing the house to look like the houses in her gothic horror movies, hoping that the environment will make her dress and act more like the ladies in the movies.  Of course, only parts of it work andthen it backfires and then she's accused of kidnapping and then Kyohei is forced to dress like a prince and go erscue her while riding a horse.  In the other, Kyohei and Sunako get caught in a typhoon and end up trapped and lost in the mansion labyrinthine basement, which I swear is bigger than the mansion itself.  Being Kyohei and Sunako, they bond as only they can bond, which includes "accidental" hugs, trying to kill each other, and me sitting there cackling "My OTP! My OTP! It shall rule the universe if it ever stops being allergic to each other!"

Meanwhile, Ranmaru keeps getting attacked by genuine fondness and concern for his princess girl, and clings to the edges of the cliff as he struggles to keep from falling.  I cackle as a await his inevitable fall.

meganbmoore: (Default)

This will be brief as I'm headed out very, very shortly.

A good chunk of this book(2 of the four chapters) were devoted to Yuki, one with him worrying his girlfriend was going to dump him for another guy, with Yuki getting tips from Ranmaru, and the other with his fighting with a friend at school.  Since this is Yuki and he's more like a humanoid puppy than anything else and not nearly as sturdily built as the others, the two chapters weren't quite as cracky as they usually are.  Still, since it was Yuki centric, we also got to see the sweeter and supportive side of everyone, including Sunako.  I wouldn't want chapters like this all the time, but it's nice every once in a while.  Plus, poor Yuki always gets shoved into the background, he should get to shine every once in a while.

Then there are the other two chapters.  In one, the boys decide to see if they can make Sunako into a lady by redoing the house to look like the houses in her gothic horror movies, hoping that the environment will make her dress and act more like the ladies in the movies.  Of course, only parts of it work andthen it backfires and then she's accused of kidnapping and then Kyohei is forced to dress like a prince and go erscue her while riding a horse.  In the other, Kyohei and Sunako get caught in a typhoon and end up trapped and lost in the mansion labyrinthine basement, which I swear is bigger than the mansion itself.  Being Kyohei and Sunako, they bond as only they can bond, which includes "accidental" hugs, trying to kill each other, and me sitting there cackling "My OTP! My OTP! It shall rule the universe if it ever stops being allergic to each other!"

Meanwhile, Ranmaru keeps getting attacked by genuine fondness and concern for his princess girl, and clings to the edges of the cliff as he struggles to keep from falling.  I cackle as a await his inevitable fall.

meganbmoore: (spiral-good book)
Now reading The Wallflower[profile] magicnoire(see here) and [personal profile] oyceter(see here)

Currently watching Perfect Girl Evolution[profile] calixa(but not posting...plenty of exclamations of shock and awe in IMs, though)

*rubs hands together gleefully*

*ponders the mystery of why she has no icons for the series*

 
meganbmoore: (Default)
Now reading The Wallflower[profile] magicnoire(see here) and [personal profile] oyceter(see here)

Currently watching Perfect Girl Evolution[profile] calixa(but not posting...plenty of exclamations of shock and awe in IMs, though)

*rubs hands together gleefully*

*ponders the mystery of why she has no icons for the series*

 
meganbmoore: (trick-eep)
...

...

...

wwwwwwwooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

I now understand all the shocked reactions I saw last week.

And I read this at work(with no one looking)

SPOILERS! )

Non-spoilery:

1.  If they ever do a Wallflower dorama and don't cast Nakama Yukie as Auntie, I will be greatly depressed.  I just can't see anyone else pulling off the role.  Don't know if she'd go for a supporting role, though...

2.  Either Kyohei is really strong or Sunako is really light(or both)  because he sure does end up carrying her a lot after her episodes...

3.  For anyone who watches Bones and reads this, does the dynamic between Kyohei and Sunako remind you a bit of that with Booth and Bones?  They're very different characters and have very different interactions, of course, but the girl who doesn't quite connect with reality and the guy who doesn't mind and actually kind of likes it thing remains, as does his stepping in(and willingness to stand back and let her do the butt kicking but jump in the second she's out of her league) when that lack of connection might be trouble for her.

I will now go play neopets and then start my new Simon R. Green book.
 
meganbmoore: (Default)
...

...

...

wwwwwwwooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

I now understand all the shocked reactions I saw last week.

And I read this at work(with no one looking)

SPOILERS! )

Non-spoilery:

1.  If they ever do a Wallflower dorama and don't cast Nakama Yukie as Auntie, I will be greatly depressed.  I just can't see anyone else pulling off the role.  Don't know if she'd go for a supporting role, though...

2.  Either Kyohei is really strong or Sunako is really light(or both)  because he sure does end up carrying her a lot after her episodes...

3.  For anyone who watches Bones and reads this, does the dynamic between Kyohei and Sunako remind you a bit of that with Booth and Bones?  They're very different characters and have very different interactions, of course, but the girl who doesn't quite connect with reality and the guy who doesn't mind and actually kind of likes it thing remains, as does his stepping in(and willingness to stand back and let her do the butt kicking but jump in the second she's out of her league) when that lack of connection might be trouble for her.

I will now go play neopets and then start my new Simon R. Green book.
 

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