meganbmoore: (too many books)
I want to say I'll be better at doing this more regularly this year, but realistically, probably not.

What are you currently reading

Chronicles of the Grim Peddler by Lee Jeong-A. A fairy tale manhwa about a peddler ( and his shapechanging cat) who goes around setting up fairy tales. It's one of those series that thinks Disney really, really got it wrong when they started adapting fairy tales, and makes up for it by going as far in the other direction as it can, though sometimes they end up nicer and cuter while things are getting even more messed up. I mean, it doesn't reach the "OMG WHAT" levels of that one Kaori Yuki series, but I can't fault it for trying. I'm not invested because I'm only mildly interested in the peddler and a little more so in his cat, but am not attached to either, and there aren't any other regular characters. I like it, though.


What did you recently finish reading?

Maia Chance: Snow White Red-Handed & Cinderella Six Feet Under. The first two books in a fairy tale-themed mystery series. Ophelia and Prue are Victorian-era actresses who con their way (well, Ophelia does most of the conning) into become servants to a rich family when out of work and unable to pay their boat fare. It turns out that the family is a set of rather unpleasant fairy tale fanatics who think they've found Snow White's cottage, and hopefully a gold mine to go with it. Both book feature Prue getting targetted by the fairy tale fanatics because of her fairy tale princess looks, and Ophelia running around (with her obligatory rich English love interest) trying to solve murder and rescue Prue from whatever mess she's in at the time, while Prue just tries really really hard not to end up dead or in jail. It's certainly a little bit different for the "cozy mystery" genre, and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Mark Waid & Terry Dodson: Princess Leia 1-5. This miniseries takes place literally as A New Hope ends, and focuses primarily on Leia dealing with losing Alderaan (something the movie itself spent one whole shout on), and her trying to save the remaining citizens of Alderaan who are scattered on other planets when Palpatine issues an extermination order, accompanied by Evaan, another woman from Alderaan who joined the Rebellion. I do feel that Waid touched on the idea of soceity expecting women to display certain emotions and only cope with grief a certain way, and then judge them when they don't, but he largely limited it to people labelling her an ice princess for not being visibly sad enough, instead of running with the theme. Like the other tie in books I've read the last few months dealing with the OT (specifically Moving Target and Shattered Empire) a lot of this seems to be rightly thinking that Leia really needed more women to interact with, and so it has her almost exclusively interact with other women. This probably displaced Shattered Empire as my favorite of the recent tie ins, but I do have plenty left to go.


Victoria Thompson: Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue. Book-whatever in Thompson's long running mystery series set in later 19th century New York. This book is best summed up as The Sidekicks Show, as the main characters are away. Maeve, teenaged nursemaid to Sarah Brandt's daughter and former conartist, decides to help a woman whose daughter may have been falsely accused of murdering her husband. Along the way she recruits Frank's sidekick/her own semi-love interest, Gino, and Sarah's parents to help, and decides that Frank is opening a detective agency when he gets back. At one point, Sarah's extremely proper and very busy businessman father ends up volunteering to play bodyguard for the teenaged nursemaid, and doesn't seem entirely certain how that happened. I mostly really loved this book. "Mostly" because sometimes hompson tends to have issues with making beautiful women who aren't Sarah or her mother be manipulative and unpleasant. It doesn't happen in all or even the majority of the books (I think this is the 4th time that it's been a plot point in almost 20 books), but has happened often enough that I sigh when the books start talking about another woman's incredibly beauty.



Nakamura Yoshiki: Skip Beat Vol 31-35


spoilers )

GoHands and GoRa: K: Countdown Chapters 1-8. A bunch of one shots about the K character set between Missing Kings and Return of Kings. I enjoyed the chapters about the various characters getting used to their current lives a lot more than the ones directly building up to Return of Kings.

Clamp: Gate 7 Vol 1-4. A very, very Clamp series about a slightly highstrung boy who is somehow SPECIAL running into warriors who are reincarnations of historical figures involved in the Battle of Sekigahara. No one has a jaw-droppingly angsty and dramatic past yet and no one has lost an eye, but the most Clamp aspect of the series is that it was put on indefitie hiatus just as things were really kicking into high gear. It's fun if you like Clamp (I do) but doesn't have a lot going on that sets it apart from other Clamp series. The most mindbendy thing it has going for it is that it has a charcter named Sakura who is a very tall and strapping and apparently promiscuous young man. Clamp has a lot of characters named Sakura, but all the others are sweet girls with short brown hair who satisfy Clamp's cosplay needs. It was quite jarring.

Django Wexler: The Forbidden Library & The Mad Apprentice. The First two books about a girl named Alice who goes to live with a relative after her father's death, only to learn that the relative-and now, she-is a magician. Which is a fairly standard setup, but in this case, the magicians have labyrinthine libraries, and go into books to make the monsters in them their familiars. There are also talking cats that are both petulant and snarky, and Alice have a Revenge Quest going over her father's death. Not the most amazing thing ever, but fun.



What do you think you'll read next?


The rest of Chronicles of the Grim Peddler and Homefires by Julie Summers. I'm also waiting for the library to get more Star Wars comics in for me.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
What are you currently reading

I'm going to be trying out Sparkler Monthly (which I hadn't actually heard of until a couple weeks-or at least, I hadn't noticed people talking about it) which is a monthly online magazine with fem-focused content, much of which appears to be shoujo-esque. In preparation, I downloaded their sampler, which has the first chapter of various works, (and is free) and am working my way through it.

Off*Beat is something I've actually seen some people refer to a few times. The setpu is...basically a boy who starts stlking the boy who moved in across the street. MC boy is extra bright-seems to think he's smarter than everyone else, TBH-and the other boy is mostly introverted and hopefully aware that he's being stlaked. I...have no opinion so far, really.

Windrose is another comic. Set in the 17th century, Danielle is a young Spanish lady who receives a letter from her merchant father that goes along the lines of "I'm sending you this MYSTERIOUS OBJECT in a SECRET COMPARTMENT and you must hide it until someone comes along with the SECRET CODE and then give it to them. Oh, and I might be dead by the time you read this. Love, Dad." danielle, of course takes this to mean she must leave for France to look for him IMMEDIATELY. On the ship to Marseilles, she metts a pair of dashing "siblings"-a swordswoman named DAnielle, and her hunky brother, Leon, who may not be as wholesome and chivalrous as they initally appear. I'm really not thrilled that it falls into the common narrative trope of "the absentee father is beloved and admired but the mother who stays with the child and has to actually DEAL WITH the child is resitrictive and just doesn't understand," but I think the narrative, at least, doesn't idealize Danielle's father as much as she does, so I have hopes that maybe it won't go the normal routes. Anyway, I'm easy when it comes to this stuff, so I loved it.

Tokyo Demons: A novel about various kids with troubled backgrounds (some moreso than others) starting at a new school. This first chapter was largely introductions, but it drew me in, and i'm interested in seeing where it's going.

Awake: This is a transcript of an audio drama (the audio file is also included in the sampler, I think, but I haven't checked the audio files out yet.) it's a science fiction series about ships sent out to colonize other worlds. Each ship has thousands of people who are cryogenically frozen. To help pay for passage for themselves and loved ones, certain people are woken up for "shifts" that last several years, but are never awake at the same time as their loved ones. I wasn't very into it (most likely mostly because I was reading a transcript) until it had an interesting plot twist at the end.

I've read a couple pages of Dead Endings, about a girl who's a ghost magnet, but not enough to form and opinion of it yet.


What did you recently finish reading?

The Nancy Drew Scrapbook by Karen Plunkett-Powell. Light but entertaining non-fiction book about Nancy Drew. A lot of the material is a slimmed down (and so, to me, less interesting) accounting of the same material as Melanie Rehak's Girl Sleuth, but if you want the basics of Nancy Drew's publishing history and the changes in it but don't want to go through over 300 pages worth of information about the Stratemeyer Syndicate and all things related to it and Nancy Drew's publication, you might prefer this. Unlike Rehak's book, though, this one does get a bit into changes in characterizations and character interactions over the decades, which I enjoyed, and has a very entertaining account of all Nancy's automobile accidents (though, sadly, doesn't really get into the significance and liberation represented by a teenaged girl in the 30s who owns and drives her own car) presented in the form or a rejected car insurance application. I also didn't know, until this book, that there was going to be a TV series in the 80s that brought Nancy's mother back, and Margot Kidder was going to pla Nancy's mother, with her real life daughter playing Nancy. Apparently, Kidder was injured while they were still filming the pilot, and by the time she could work again, the network wasn't interested anymore. i feel a bit robbed.

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan Mcguire. about a ghost named Rose, who died on her prom night in the 50s. Rose is a hitchhiker ghost, and sometimes accompanies people who are destined to die so that they won't be alone, and can go home one last time, while also trying to avoid another road spirit who wants to take her soul. It's told non-linearly, and parts of various stories overlap with others. Very enjoyable, though not easy reading in a few places. My favorite part is how Rose's story gets told and retold and keeps changing, and ho other urban legends get folded into hers. Meta about storytelling within stories can go very badly (or it can be like the bit in that one water movie by M. Night Shyamalan and be THE DULLEST THING EVER) but when it works, it really works.

X-Men: Primer by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel. I feel rather awkward reading this after some of the stuff that came out about Wood a few months ago, but was promised Jubilee/Kitty interactions without the narrative having a "who's the better sidekick?" tone to it. Which I did get, but not very much of it. I enjoyed it, even though most of the plot revolved around events that I'm not familiar with. (Aside from "Jubilee becomes a vampire" and some Jubilee/X-23 stuff, the only X-stuff from recent years that I know is by fandom osmosis.

spoiler )
Bride of the Water God Vol 15 by Mi-Kyung Yun. I'm still reading for the pretty, and to see what Drama the manhwaga comes up with next. (Sadly, the current main drama is uninteresting love...triangle...shape....things. I think she sat down and watched a lot of late 90s/early 2000s kdramas while writing this part. But other ,much more interesting Drama things are going on on the side.)

What do you think you'll read next?.

The rest of the Sparkler Monthly sampler, more chapters of certain things depending on when I get my trial going, more One Piece and A Certain Magical Index. Whatever else I have from the library.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
It's been a while since I did this, and I posted separately on a lot of what I read since the last time i did this, but I think this is everything else since then.

What are you currently reading

Shion no Ou. A seinen manga that's probably best summed up as "mute girl becomes professional shogi player to find her parents' killer," which is both technically accurate and a misrepresentation. i'll say a lot more when i'm finished, probably, but I'm enjoying it a lot.

What did you recently finish reading?

Bride of the Water God vol 14 by Mi-Kyung Yun. So much drama (some of which I find hilarious, though that's not the mahwaga's intention)! So much pretty! Sadly, I am not well versed enough in Korean mythology to completely following all the celestial shenanigans.

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina Vol 17-18. Adorable awkward misfits manga is still adorable.

brief spoilers )

Dogs: Bullets & Carnage Vol 8 by Shirow Miwa. it's too long between volumes for me to keep track of all the genetic experimentation reveals and 30 or so people named Naoto running around straight in my head, but I'm ok with that, because the entertainment level is high. I'm also pretty sure the main point of this volume was to make sure all the readers shipped main!Naoto/Heine.

Strobe Edge Vol 1-10 by Io Sakisaka. A very cute and sweet shoujo manga about Ninako a girl who, like most of the other girls in her school, likes a classmate name Ren. Through a sequence of events, the two become friends, but Ren has a girlfriend who he's devoted to. Rather than chase after him or be jealous, Ninako decides to just be friends with Ren, and see where life takes her. Ren, thankfully, is not a cold aloof jerk like so many school "princes" in shoujo manga are, though some characters who haven't bothered to actually interact with him assume he will be. It becomes more conventional in the later volumes, but largely manages to avoid falling into some of the more irritating pitfalls other shoujo romances do, despite later volumes getting somewhat bogged down in "I cannot let the person I like know I like them because this other person likes them, even though the person I like has not implicated by word or deed that they have any interest in this other person."

Hero by Alethea Kontis. Sequel to Enchanted, and about the 6th sister of the family, Saturday, who is abducted by a witch's Raven who mistakes her for her heroic older brother, Jack, and taken to the witch's mountain, where she meets a prince who was enchanted by the witch's daughter to take her place. It has fun with the almost literal genderswapping, but doesn't seem quite sure what it wants to say about gender conformity. It's a more cohesive whole than
meganbmoore: (tnkk: get off me i'm reading)
It's been very light on reading here, lately. I've bounced off a few things in addition to what's here, but couldn't tell you what now.

What are you currently reading

Manna From Hades by Carola Dunn. First in a mystery series about a retired world-traveller who now works in a thrift shop in Cornwall. I haven't read enough yet to have a real opinion of it.


What did you recently finish reading?

A night Like This by Julia Quinn. Pretty standard Quinn fluff, which is what I was in the mood for. though I feel compelled to mention that according to the blurb, the 11-year-old who won the debate with the mathematician over the existence of unicorns in The Sum of All Kisses, thought she was a unicorn in this book. This is not true. She just wants to play a unicorn in her sister's play about Henry VIII. I feel a touch betrayed.

Youn In-Wan and Yang Kyung-Il: Shin Angyo Onshi Vol 1-5. A Japanese-Korean collaboration manhwa loosely based on the legend of Chun Hyang, in which Myong Rong dies very early on, and Chun Hyang becomes the bodyguard of a would-be-amoral angyo onshi named Munsu, who has a dark and angsty past and lots of secrets and is connected to the downfall of the government. I read the first couple volumes a few years ago and liked it, but didn't get very far due to only being able to read scanslations on a computer screen at the time. I still like it now, but am much more aware of how Chun Hyang has gotten far less development so far than Munsu (or Bang Ja, for that matter) and how incredibly scantily clad the women are. (Chun Hyang literally runs around wearing nothing but a few leather scraps and a giant cape.) It's very interesting and entertaining anyway, and I'll read more later, but I need a break for a bit.

A Bride's Story Vol 5. As charming and full of scenery pr0n as every other volume. I am greatly amused that, as soon as the plotline about the twins' weddings was concluded, there was a chapter that was almost literally nothing but gorgeous spreads of Amir's daily life. It was almost like "hey, in case you forgot who the main character is supposed to be..."

What do you think you'll read next?

The rest of the Dunn book and the other two books in the series, if I like it, and probably manga.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
Hopefully I'll get back to actually doing this weekly.

What are you currently reading

Nothing. Sadly, I haven't read any more of Legend of the Condor Heroes since last time.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Real Boy by Anne Ursu. About a magician's shophand, Oscar, who lives outside of a city where no one is ever sick. Oscar (along with a healer's apprentice, Callie) has to figure out what's going on when a monster starts killing people in the woods, and the children in the city start suffering from a mysterious illness. Like Breadcrumbs, this is based on a fairy tale, though not in the way you'd initially assume. It was pretty good, though very much overshadowed by its predecessor.

Do You want to Try? Vol 1-5 by Kim Kyung Hee. Manhwa about a girl who ends up fake-dating another school's gang leader to help him get out of an arranged marriage. It's mostly comedy but part melodrama, and never quite manages to quite get the right balance between the two, but I enjoyed it, despite the need to add extra unnecessary drama in the second half by adding a pre-series sexual assault on the heroine to help drive the plot. The manhwaga has also clearly come across a few of the 500 or so versions of Hana Yori Dango, though in a way that was amusing more than anything else.

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis. YA fantasy based on a multitude of fairy tales, but mostly The Frog Prince. The heroine, Sunday, is the seventh daughter (with a few brothers mixed in, too) of a seventh son and a seventh daughter. Her mother's family already had numerous fae abductions and sisters running off to become good and bad fairy godmothers, and her father decide it was the perfect family to marry into. (No. Seriously. He actually sought out the most magic and cursed family he could find to marry into.) At the start of the story, several of Sunday's older siblings have already had their fairy tale stories and or either dead or probably miserable because of it (Except the one sister who ran off and married the pirate king. She seems pretty happy.) and the talking frog she befriends is actually a cursed prince who is partially responsible for one of her brothers being turned into a dog, and then disappearing (presumed dead) shortly after. It wants to criticize the idea of the happy fairy tale ending and general romanticism with the worldbuilding and extended family, but it also wants to be the idea of the romantic fairytale with Sunday and her romance. It's a bit over ambitious and doesn't quite come together the way it should, but I enjoyed it, especially with the focus of thoroughly messed up but devoted family dynamics, and all the sisters with complicated relationships that rather took over the second half.

Don't Touch Me Vol 1-5 by Soo Hyun-Joo. Incredibly cracktastic manhwa about a narcissistic and violent girl, Mirang, who returns to her childhood home and falls for her childhood frenemy, Won, who is incredibly dense and exceptionally pretty. Won appears to be veryvery loosely based on Gao Changgong, as they both have to go around hiding their faces behind masks lest people swoon due to exposure to their incredible beauty. Except that Won, being dense, thinks people react to his face because he's ugly. It spends a lot of time going "neener neener" to a lot of shoujo tropes, mostly in a "I gleefully trample over you as I bulldoze my way to the next plotpoint" way. It was fun, but possibly too odd for a reread.

What do you think you'll read next?

Not sure yet. There's a new "Women of the Otherworld" book by Kelley Armstrong that I have from the library, but it's a werewolf book, and those are hit and miss for me.
meganbmoore: (next stop: amnesia)
Absolute Witch is a 12 volume romantic fantasy manhwa that will probably never ever see the light of day in the us because there's about 2 publishers in the US who publish manhwa, and not a lot for either. I've commented on it a bit in my weekly reading posts, but wanted to give it its own post too.

Skyla is a witch in a world where witches, who maintained the balance between humans and nature, disappeared centuries ago after being persecuted. She's found floating in a basket by a quartet of pirates (three brothers and their first mate) who are returning to their home town, which was built by a witch, to open an inn. I am sad to report that the manhwaga doesn't actually do anything with "RAISED BY PIRATES." At the beginning of the series, Skyla knows she's descended from witches because she's been found by a familiar who was left behind by the witches, but hasn't developed any magic powers yet. She's married to Jewel, a traveller who stayed at her inn some time back, but it was a marriage of convenience to get her out of legal and financial difficulties. Nevertheless, when Jewel disappears, she sets out for his hometown to find him, being quasi-adopted along the way by Hismaela, a shrewd merchant who has become one of the kingdoms most powerful women, and Hismaela's reluctant escort, a cranky alchemist named Kaylus. When they reach Jewel's hometown, Skyla finds that no one has ever heard of him, the shock of which apparently triggers her powers.

A large chunk of the series is Skyla discovering her heritage, both magical and biological, and looking for Jewel, usually accompanied by Kaylus, who knows more about witches and their history than most humans. There's also Aine, a young noblewoman who believes she's descended from witches and is determined to gain a witch's power at all costs, and Armengarde, a one-eyed seer who serves as Aine's mentor, but is using Aine for her own purposes. Eventually, both Aine and Skyle start attracting the attention of the magicians, who are determined to keep the witches from returning.

The world is based on a hodgepodge of medieval and early-modern European cities and cultures (the manhwaga lays out what she used where in one of the volumes, but I forget the specifics) and the plot, which is rather sprawling (there are various subplots-laregly backstories-that don't get the development they really need, and I feel the lack of development isn't really that Kim Tae-Yeon forgot about or lost interest in them, but rather, she realized that if she fully developed them, she'd never actually finish the series) is full of Drama, but it almost never gets annoying with the drama (and I give her points for a love triangle that isn't annoying and where it isn't immediately obvious-or even clear for some time-how it will turn out without making anyone seem wishywashy or throwing one romantic option under a figurative bus to make the other look better, as is typically the case), and is actually rather upbeat about the Drama, save for times when that would be inappropriate. And I should mention that while it's usually an upbeat fantasy, there are some fairly horrifying elements such as hearts being ripped out, possible-cannibalism-to-gain-power (and at least one killing spree to gain power that did not make me go "wait, did she just refer to cannibalism?), and witch hunts that very closely mirror real world witch hunts. These things are mostly done off-panel and then referred to in the text, but they are there. As I mentioned in another post (and posted images) the art is also stunning, with incredibly detailed clothes and landscapes/architecture. I could (and maybe have) just keep staring at it for ages.


I especially recommend it for people who like something like Bride of the Water God with the mythology and amazing art (particularly artwise) and conspiracies and mysteries and mysterious women, but want a lot more plot and progress and character development. It also reminds me of Evyione, but I've only read the little bit of that that was released in the US, and that was years ago, so I don't really want to draw a comparison there, though I suspect it's actually a better one than Bride of the Water God.
meganbmoore: (bright star)
What are you currently reading
Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire: New Toby Daye book! Which I have only read a couple chapters of so far, and so cannot really comment properly on just yet.

Absolute Witch Vol 10 by Kim Tae Yeon. It remain delightful. I shall post properly on it once I have finished. In the meantime, I forgot to mention how gorgeous the art is last week, so have a sample.

about 15 large and mostly unspoilery images )

What did you recently finish reading?

Volumes 5-9 of Absolute Witch.

Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn. I think I liked this one best of the Kitty books I've read, and am happier with where Kitty is at the end than with the other books. It seems to be setting the stage for the rest of the series, too, which is good. Except that Ben is still around.

What do you think you'll read next?

The rest of what I'm reading now, probably a Kitty Norville book.
meganbmoore: (ever after: books)


What are you currently reading

I've started reading the manhwa Abosolute Witch, set in a medieval-lite fantasy setting in which a young woman journey's to her husband's hometown after he goes missing, only to learn that no one has ever heard of him. There's also politics, a grumpy alchemist, a talking frog, a shape-changing lizard, retired pirates who run an inn, an eyepatchwearing seeress, an elderly lady who is the shrewdest merchant alive and a supposedly extinct race of witches. so far, I'm enjoying it considerably.

What did you recently finish reading?

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews.The 6th Kate Daniels book (I don't count Gunmetal Magic in the series. Mostly because I pretend it doesn't exist.) and one that takes most of the protagonists to the Adriatic in hopes of acquiring a drug that will help more shapeshifter children survive adolescence. There was some annoying relationship drama that unnecessary (and the revelation of why it was there didn't make it seem any less unnecessary) but other than that, I liked it more than the last few books I've read by the authors. i will admit to being amused by Curran's temper tantrum, and people's reactions to it.

I finished reading Legend of the White-Haired Demoness, but don't have much substantial to add to what I've said before, aside from being amused when characters from the two sequels, Qijian Xia Tianshan and Saiwai Qixia Zhuan (which Tsui Hark merged into the 2004 Seven Swordsmen TV series) started showing up as children, and one of the adult characters changed his name and became the master of several characters from the sequel. I knew Seven Swordsmen was based on two Liang Yusheng novels, but didn't realize that they were sequels to Legend of the White-Haired Demoness. (And I'd been thinking that Lian Ni Shang and Fei Hongjin from Seven Swordsmen were similar but not put much actual thought into the similarity, and then I realized than Lian Ni Shang was Fei Hongjin's master and it made perfect sense. Amusingly, Ada Choi has played both characters in TV adaptations.)

Now if only I could find a (non-vikii, because it always gives me trouble) subtitled version of the 2012 TV series with Ma Su and Nicky Wu, and English translations of Qijian Xia Tianshan and Saiwai Qixia Zhuan. (Or any other Liang Yusheng novels, but particularly those.)

A bunch of Claymore, which I posted on separately.


What do you think you'll read next?

More Absolute Witch, and the library has the latest "October Daye" book for me, as well as the next-for-me "Kitty Norville" book.
meganbmoore: (bwwh: music)

What are you currently reading
Legend of the White-Haired Demoness by Liang Yusheng, ch 15-20. SO MUCH LOVE. Aside from the brief Old Dudes Talking About Honor parts, where I get lost mostly because I forget who half of them are, but there aren't a lot of those. There's considerably less focus on the romance than I was expecting, given the movies (not that there isn't still plenty of it) but instead the book (and these chapters especially) focuses more on the way people view female fighters and the prejudices and double standards they face, and often on how these things affect their relationships with each other. (Lian Ni Shang dealt with it by just taking over a mountain and building her own private army of women. That's because Lian Ni Shang is the best.)

spoiler )

What did you recently finish reading?

Curses! Foiled Again by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro. Sequel to the Foiled GN I read a few weeks back, about a teenaged fencer who learns she's the champion of faerie. More swashbuckling, Princess Bride referenced and iconic gender swapping on the cover. I don't have much to say about it, but I really enjoyed it. Hopefully, there are volumes in the series coming.

A Kiss For My Prince vol 1-5 by Kim Hee-Eun. Fluffy and adorable medieval-lite shoujo manhwa. The heroine, Sei-Ann, is an orphan who becomes the servant of a duchess. convinced she's meant for greater things, she falls for the crown prince when he visits, and gets the prince's manservant to agree to get her a chance to confess her feelings, which he does by getting her a job at the palace. There, she learns that the boy she thought was the crown prince is actually the cron prince's younger brother, and the manservant is the actual crown prince. It's billed as a reverse-harem series but really isn't. While Sei-Ann has 3 potential love interests, one can't be taken seriously at all, and of the remaining two, one of them is largely operating via the driving force of severe substitution issues. A political subplot causes things to veer off into the realm of angst towards the end, but not too much. I also think the manhwaga originally meant the series to last longer and ended up rushing the last volume, but things were still resolved satisfactorilly.

Kitty Goes to Washington and Kitty Takes A Holiday by Carrie Vaughn. The second and third Kitty Norville books. I dunno. I like Kitty a lot and Vaugh does interesting things with the books, and there's a relaxing element even when it's doing things I don't like, but the actual plots don't work well for me. Also, there's a romantic development in the third book that has me "WTF?"-ing a lot.

spoiler )

Cutie Boy Vol 1-8 by Hwang Mi Ri. This is about 50 times as cracky as the only other Hwang Mi Ri I've read The Moment When A Fox Becomes A Wolf. This is an accomplishment because that one had the leads swap bodies for the first half of the series. Han Ah is a somewhat-cowardly girl (largely due to a boy who bullied her in first and second grade) who happens to be very good at martial arts, and so gets forced to be her school's "captain" by her classmates, and have fights with the captains of other schools whose students pick on them. She meets Yoo-Min, a boy who appears to be shy and sweet and delicate, but is actually the captain of another school. And the boy who bullied her when she was younger. (He thought he was protecting her from bullies. He is not bright.) it's...strange, about half the series is fueled a huge misunderstanding in which Yoo Min thinks they're dating and Han Ah thinks he's torturing her with the intent to eventually beat her because their respective classmates expect them to have a territorial fight. Then that gets cleared up and...more strange things happen. There are parts I read in wide-eyed amazement/shock and parts I genuinely liked. I feel there's actually a pretty decent, cute (if somewhat stereotypical) shoujo romance buried somewhere in the book, but it gets drowned out by the crack. And the HMR did a better job with somewhat similar leads in The Moment When A Fox Becomes A Wolf.

What do you think you'll read next?

I refuse to speculate beyond "probably more manga," though I'll likely read the first omnibus of Carla Speed McNeil's Finder, which I have through interlibrary loan.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
What are you currently reading

Nothing at the moment.

What did you recently finish reading?

Finished No Humans Involved.

Swan Prince, a single volume manhwa by Bi that, as the title suggests, is a genderswapped adaptation of Swan Lake. It was cute, but pretty much fluffy shoujo fantasy romance.

All four volumes of Kaori Yuki's Ludwig Kakumei. If you just went "wait, isn't that her really weird fairy tale series where the hero has a collection of preserved women's corpses?," yes, yes it is. The first couple volumes are dark and weird and misogynistic and twisted even for Kaori Yuki, are pretty openly antagonistic towards the heroines of fairy tales, and the series appears to be KY's attempted to answer "are fairy tales princes really all secret necrophiliacs?" The collection of corpses and obsession with beautiful dead things is mostly in the first volume, is mentioned a bit in the second, and then abruptly disappears altogether, and the rest of the series calms down to normal KY levels of crack and weirdness and the stories are more darkly comic parodies. There are considerably more women with lasting roles than I'd initially thought, though they tend to be on the masochistic side (unless they have a healthy streak of sadism) and a lot of the last volume is "women run around shooting people and taking over kingdoms, Lui poses dramatically." The beginning is addictive in the trainwreck horror way, then the rest is more the addictive charming dementedness you expect from KY.

As an aside, KY's sidebars are usually hilarious, but I recommend skipping a lot of them here, as she tends to talk about how she didn't care for a lot of the heroines in fairy tales and was always curious about the princes, though they also reveal a LOT of research into obscure and early versions of various stories. The most memorable of the sidebars is when she's talking about "Cinderella" and said she decided to not include a scene because she thought it sounded too painful and dark for her.* If you've read KY before (or just read up on her), your jaw may have just figuratively hit the floor. Actually, if you read this series and no other KY stuff, there should still be jawdropping, because she has far worse than anything in "Cinderella" in this series, some of which she made up for herself.

*Presumably, she was referring to the stepmother and stepsisters being attacked by birds at the wedding, as the toe and ankle lopping off were mentioned.

By Loved Unveiled by Sabrina Jeffries, a reissue of a book from 1993 written as Deborah Martin. Set during 1661, the plot revolves around Our Heroine attempting to prove that her father was not involved in an attempt to assassinate the king, and believing that Our Hero, whose family owned her father's lands before the war, and who has returned to claim them, may be responsible. Our Hero, in turn, thinks she may be a spy sent by his dastardly uncle ("dastardly" is the only proper term), who is possibly a traitor, and who told everyone that Our Hero was dead for years so that he could run off with the family jewels. Lots of "I am very suspicious of you and think you may have committed treason, but boy are you hot" hijinks ensue. I generally enjoy romance novels (and fiction in general) set in this period, and I mostly enjoyed this. "Mostly" because...uhm...I DID mention that it was written in 1993, right? For the most part, it holds up well, but the hero is prone to being an alpha jerk, and way too sexually aggressive and there's a scene that borders on dubious consent. That said....err, worse is still being published now in that regard, and there was certainly far worse coming out at the time.

What do you think you'll read next?

Not sure. I have a few romance novels and Kelley Armstrong books checked out from the library.
meganbmoore: (next stop: amnesia)
One of several book posts that I drafted a while back and forgot to post once I started doing the Wednesday reading meme.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (jodhaa akbar: green)
What are you currently reading
Nothing! Because I finished Kelley Armstrong's Spell Bound a little while ago and haven't started anything else yet.

What did you recently finish reading?

I read volumes 6-10 of The Moment When A Fox Becomes A Wolf, which completes the series. The second half was a considerably more conventional high school romance shoujo than the first, but I still enjoyed it, and while, as tends to happen in shoujo, Yoo Ha's issues dominated a lot of the plot in the second half, Eun Song didn't become secondary or get pushed to the side, as often happens. Most of the interesting genderbender stuff is only in the first half, but I thought it was an enjoyable series overall.

I finished Dime Store Magic, and liked it a lot, and skipped ahead in the "Women of the Otherworld" books to the first 2 Savannah-centric novels, Waking the Witch and Spell Bound. I find Savannah extra-interesting because it's hard to tell how many of her actions are genuine, sometimes, and how many are her behaving. Her maternal grandfather is a high demon, her mother was an extra-infamous dark witch, and her father was heir to the supernatural mob, and then she got adopted by uber-do-gooders during puberty, and I don't think even she quite knows how much of what she does is because it's what she wants to do/thinks she should do, and how much is that she has abandonment issues and doesn't want Paige and Lucas to give up on her. (Never happening.) Waking the Witch is Savannah's first solo-investigation, and...it was good, and I liked being inside Savannah's head instead of getting other people's POV of her, but it didn't have the other characters from the series until Adam showed up near the end, and it felt like Savannah kind of went through a string of male partners. I liked Spell Bound more because it had more of the other characters in the series and felt more directly tied to Savannah and her coming of age, even though a lot of it was buildup to the next and last book in the series.

What do you think you'll read next?

Dunno. I think I'm through with books I have out on ILL, and so have to read first, but I'll have to doublecheck. I have the books I mentioned the other day checked out from the library, along with a couple other romance novels, Rick Riordan's The Mark of Athena, Caitlin R. Kiernan's The Drowning Girl, and I think a couple other books checked out from the library, and my brain is still in "must read all the manga ever" mode. I also need to see if the library has the volumes of Kimi ni Todoke that I haven't read yet. (I've read through volume 12, and I believe the US releases are at volume 16.)

Related to what I've been reading: "The Women of the Otherworld" is being adapted into a TV series, which you'd think would have me excited, given how I've been pretty much mainlining them, but it's afocused on the werewolves, which is my least favorite part of the franchise in what I've read, and Jeremy is being played by a blonde white dude. Who, for all I know, is a perfectly talented and likable actor, but Jeremy in the books is not a white dude, blonde or otherwise.
meganbmoore: (artemis)
What are you currently reading

I'm reading the manhwa The Moment When the Fox Became thea Wolf, in which Eun Song, a poor, meek "wallflower" girl swaps bodies with Yoo Ha, a rich, violent delinquent, when both hide in a wardrobe for different reasons. It's very entertaining but sometimes a bit much. A lot of it so far has been people's reactions to the two suddenly behaving conventionally for their opposite gender, and the two learning about each others problems and trying to fix them in ways the person who actually belongs in the body wouldn't. Yoo Ha's family issues would put a lot of soap operas to shame and thanks to the gender confusion and bodyswapping, you almost need a pie chart to keep track of who likes who in what body (Not to mention "wait, under the circumstances, does this count as slash and/or incest or not?") if you stop to think about it, but is easy to follow when you're actually reading. The end of the 5th volume has a twist that could go a lot of ways, and I have no idea which way it'll go.

And I'm reading Dime Store Magic, the first Paige Winterbourne-centric book in the Kelley Armstrong series. I'm fairly spoiled for the big parts, as both Industrial Magic and Haunted are direct sequels, but itisn't affecting my enjoyment. Though, I have to say, I liked Savannah's father in Haunted, but if he's approving of the things being done to Paige in his name here, I'll have to change that, and Lucas is certainly different here than in the other books, once paige and Savannah have unbent him a fair bit.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished reading Kelley Armstrong's Haunted, which I enjoyed a lot, even though it went a bit close to slasher territory for my taste at one point. (Err...by "slasher," I am referring to the gory horror subgenre that I don't find tense or scary, just icky, not shipping. In case there was any confusion.) I also read her Broken, which I enjoyed more than the oprevious Elena/werewolf material that I read, but still less than the others. The central romance there is less creepy, but I still think he's borderline abusive (definitely obsessive and controlling) and while I'm neutral about how graphic consentual sex scenes come in my fiction, I'm a bit bitter in that, of the canon pairings in this series, the only one that I don't like it the one that gets the least "fade to black." It's also still very "one special girl in all the world...and there are no other girls in her world," but at least Elena acquired a few female friends who can at least pop inn from time to time.

And then I also read Catherynne M. Valente's Six-Gun Snow White, whivh reimagines "Snow White" as a western in which Snow is the daughter of a Crow woman and a white land baron. The book is very interesting and Valente does a very good job with the oral western narrator approach to the prose, and weaves in other fairy tales very interestingly. That said, while I liked it a lot, something about it felt a bit off to me ,and I can't quite pin down what. I think it's partly that I think Valente may have been a bit more concerned with "not your average Snow White" than with "her" Snow White (if that makes sense), and the stepmother wasn't given as much focus as I expected. I think Valente conveyed her motives and the "abuse begets abuse" element of her background, but the last few versions of "Snow White" that I've encountered have spent more time developing and delving into the stepmother than this did, so I guess I'm expecting a lot more of that now.

What do you think you'll read next?

The rest of the Hwang Mi Ri manhwa, and whatever is due back at the library next.

For the curious, in March I read 6 prose books and 35 graphic novels.
meganbmoore: (bhool bhulaiyaa: window)

I keep forgetting to reread earlier volumes right before I read new ones, so that I remember what's going on. For a series about Celestial Heaven's Scenery Pr0n with a side of melodrama, it's certainly getting complex and plotty.

spoilers )Does anyone know what happened to the kdrama they were supposed to be making of this? (Dark Horse says it's out in one of the books, but I think they were jumping the gun there.) Or is this going to be like the Jeon Woo Chi series where it's all "We'll tell you you get to have this and then we'll never say anything about it again."
meganbmoore: (prp)

Reading this, I actually forget this is supposed to be a time travel series unless it comes up. And then I wish we were getting some glimpses of the present and the consequences of the first volume. But then there are crossdressing spy antics and I don't care.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (wbds: ji: forest)

The plot in this remains thin with all sorts of soap opera twists and developments (some of which I don’t have a clue what’s going on with) yet, the art is so pretty that I do not care. The characters could read phone books all the time and I’d be fine with it as long as we still had the beautiful clothes and architecture and spreads of the celestial heavens.

Though I should mention that there is more plot now, and even character development.

spilers don't know what's going on and don't care )
meganbmoore: (proper ladies deliver justice via flying)

These volumes mark the end of this series, which makes me sad. This series is basically what introduced me to Yen’s fabulous shoujo manhwa line, and one of the series that got me into manhwa.

The main plot wraps up about midway through volume 12, and the remainder of the series is about various a as children, with even more crossdressing. I liked how things wrapped up and the story about how Hong ended up Bi-Wal’s regent when he was a kid, but I kept hoping that there would be more time spent in the heavens than there was but then, that‘s what Bride of the Water God is for), and more about the royal family, but I love my fluffy shoujo about wars between heaven and hell and high school cross-dressing.

spoilers )
meganbmoore: (vd: kill you with my brain)


As of yesterday, I am current-ish (through vol 5-there may be more now) with the manhwa 13th Boy.  All I have to say (aside from "Yay!  Girl-bonding!  Weird girl-bonding, but who's complaining?") is that this has every standard shoujo RomCom trope ever (with a bonus talking cactus named Beatrice that turns into a bishounen during the full moon) and yet, it obeys absolutely none  of the rules a decade of shoujo reading has taught me.  I keep thinking I know where it's going, and then I don't!  I have no idea how this will end or what will happen next, which isa very refreshing change of pace.

I've also watching through the end of season  2 of Fringe.  As far as I know, everyone reading this post is actually further along than me.  If not, you might want to skip the rest.  There are things I like a lot and some things I don't (Uhm...mostly Walter.  And how he treats Astrid a lot of the time.  And how basically everything is his fault-and I'm not really convinced that he regrets any of it-even though I'm sure the writers are expecting us to sympathize with him.) and I...need to watch some of season 3 before I really can get into this, but while I kind of adore the alternate universe and all more than the main universe, maybe)  I...am really bugged by how the tretment of it kinda...smacks of colonialism.  I mean, think about it:

Party A invades the homeland of Party B.  Party A steals from Party B, and causes irreparable damage to its homeland.  Party A knew this would happen when Party A invaded Party B's homeland.  Party B figures out what happened and creates defenses.  Eventually, Party B, believing Party A is an enemy out to destroy Party B (and why would Party B think otherwise?) opts for infiltration and retaliation.

Party A and Party A's allies are the protagonists.  Party B is the villain.

I really really hope things don't go down the way I fear they will in season 3.
 

meganbmoore: (sarasah)
Brief-ish comments on the stack of manga I've read since returning from WisCon. (Apparently, I'm trying to make up for barely reading any for a couple months.)

Key to the Kingdom Vol 4-6 (end of series): This was a fun fantasy series with an interesting plot (Yes, I still like dragon plots. Shush.) but the latter parts weren’t as fun as the earlier parts. Probably because, while I didn’t dislike any of the characters, I never got really attached to any, either. That, and it went from being about a bunch of people on a question to being all about the young prince’s heroic journey.

Legend Vol 5-6: Or “the one that’s kinda like Fushigi Yugi, only without everyone always trying to rape people and with way less of the heroine accidentally getting people killed.” I find that I’m actually more interested in the previous incarnations of No-Ah, Eun-Gyo, and the various spirits of the sword than their current incarnations, but I think that’s normal for me with reincarnation stories. The plot doesn’t advance a lot in these volumes, but it isn’t stagnant, either, and they’re better than the fourth volume, which seemed a bit lost. This is a very fun shoujo, but not as fun as the other offerings (Angel Diary and Demon Diary) by the same manhwaga team.

Mixed Vegetables Vol 6-7: After the last volume, I was worried that the series was going to shift to being all about Hayato, but that doesn’t seem to be the case yet ( it has one more volume to switch to the overtrod path, though) and it’s still focusing on both Hayato and Hana’s goals, despite the brief threat of a love triangle. This series remains endearing fluff, though I suspect that neither the people who would read it for the lighthearted romance nor the people who would read it for the food pr0n would come away fully satisfied, unless they just wanted a dash of each.

Pig Bride Vol 2-3: Also a folklore and mythology series, but more tightly constructed around a specific folktale. I wasn’t sure about this one at first-it was one of several Yen titles that came out seemingly at once about girls chasing after boys (for a variety of reasons) who were screaming “DO NOT WANT!” (for a variety of reasons) from the rooftops-but I’ve grown pretty attached to it. I don’t find the romantic plotline overly interesting outside of the reincarnation and curse aspect, but the plot is very interesting and engaging, and I’m consistently surprised at how enjoyable the characters are despite technically not being overly likable at times.

Tsubasa: Those With Wings Vol 2-3: Or volumes 3-6, if you go by the original Japanese numbering. Though Fruits Basket is obviously the stronger and more complex work, I think many parts of Tsubasa’s resolution worked better for me, though I suspect much of this is because of FB’s attempts to redeem a character I couldn’t find redeemable. Though rough, this was a pretty fun scifi shoujo adventure. Also, I give Takaya a lot of kudos for making having one of her two main protagonists a suicidal borderline sociopath and not only make it work, but also make the resulting romance actually be fairly healthy and functional.

V.B. Rose Vol 5-7: Still total, adorable shoujo fluff, and possibly the frilliest shoujo I’ve read. I’m kind of sad, though, that it seems to be moving away from the crafty bits, and more to the romance. Though it cracked me up when it looked like the manga was going to have the “guy kisses everyone when he’s drunk” trope that crops up a lot and then…he throws up all over the place. Ok, that was awful, technically, but it made me giggle mid-eyeroll.

Very! Very! Sweet Vol 4-5: I always forget what’s going on with the plot in this one, and yet, I do not care. I wish the manhwa got more into the cultural differences between Japan and Korea, instead of just nodding at the language barrier, but I fear paying more attention to that may distract from the fun and make the series devolve around Tsuyoshi’s no-doubt-yet-to-come angst, and I want the series to keep being about Be-Ri and Tsuyoshi’s antics as they’re caught in the middle of a kdrama. Also, I seriously love all the kdrama references and how the series basically takes all the kdrama tropes and makes them fun.

You’re So Cool Vol 4-5: This one I shouldn’t like much at all, much less as much as I do. For that matter, if I believed having a “genre/medium of shame” this would be my shoujo of shame. (Some people have Hot Gimmick or Sensual Phrase. Mine lacks rape attempts, doormat heroines, relationships centering around sexual harassment, and blackmail centric plots, which helps.) Sadly, the series is about to end, and, like must shoujo, the series is now switching to Seung-Ha and his angst and pushing Nan-Woo away. (Also, why does their angst always have to revolve around the mother who abandoned them, and how horrible she was?) Though, I don’t think most go with Nan-Woo’s reaction of setting out to track them down and drag them back. Actually, aside from the characters overall, I think the manhwa’s main saving grace is that, unlike most shoujo, it never forgets what a jerk Seung-Ha is. (Really, I’m surprised more of the “bad boy with perfect image x plucky tomboy folks aren’t reading this, though I suppose it isn’t well known.)
meganbmoore: (sleeping bride)
The second volumes in two shoujo manhwa series that I really shouldn’t like as much as I do, given that both have plots that center around the heroine desperately chasing after a guy who isn’t interested. And yet, I do. Despite staring sternly at Yen Press for what seems to be a certain limitedness in shoujo licensing choices at times.

13th Boy is interesting in that it has all the trappings and setup of a standard love triangle (energetic girl with huge crush on cold, popular boy while his badboy-ish best friend secretly likes her, complete with scenes of Whie-Young being bitter that Hee-Soo doesn’t remrmber his being in love with her when they were kids-Korean media insists to me that you’re supposed to find your true love at age seven. I do not know.-and so forth) but doesn’t seem to actually be headed down the standard route. In fact, we learn that Whie-Young’s powers are killing him, to the point where I wonder if he’ll be dead by the end of the series. Despite her undeniably irritating traits, though Hee-Soo is pretty entertaining, and often appealing, and I’m glad she’s interacting more with the girls in her class. Also, Beatrice the talking cactus (yes, there’s a talking cactus) apparently turns into a naked teenaged boy for 24 hours once a month. My crack!glee has no words.

Sarasah, meanwhile, is much better now that the story is completely set in the past, though I wish we could see a bit of the present, and the repercussions of Syung-Hyu accidentally pushing Ji-Hae down the stairs. It’s possible that Ji-Hae’s actions in the past will completely reset their present, but I’d still rather see some resolution there, even if it may be wiped out in the end. I suspect we’ll learn that Syung-Hyu hates her in the present because of something that happens to his lover because of her in the past, but we’ll see. Regardless, I hope it ends with her moving on from Syung-Hyu. I’d actually rather Ji-Hae be unattached in the end, but the official who’s helping her, Bub-Min, seems to have the initial setup for an eventual love interest. Ji-Hae as a character works much better in the past. Her stalker tendencies are subdued, and the crossdressing and politics bring out more palatable traits. The past parts are also set in the reign of Queen Dukman, and it was a bit funny to understand all the politics and historical figures referenced just from people talking about the Queen Seon Deok drama.  The series also continues to have the prettiest clothing pr0n. And to continue the manhwa crack!glee, Thorny, the talking fox in charge of Ji-Hae, is genderless but omnisexual, and apparently will fall in love with anything pretty.

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