Tuesday, January 15, 2013

November and December stats

Well, as usual I am way behind. Here are our November and December statistics:

Total Books: 37
Total Pages: 9373
Participants: 3

Total Books: 21
Total Pages: 5109
Participants: 2

Now is the time when we have to decide what to do about 2013. Do we want to continue the Missouri Book Challenge? Feel free to comment or send me a private message at heatherc@thelibrary.org if you have any thoughts.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Jiu Jiu: Volume 2

by Touya Tobina, 191 pages

Takamichi, Snow, and Night make some odd new acquaintances as Takamichi creeps further and further out of her protective, isolating shell.  (Although not as much as the risque cover would jokingly lead you to believe....)

For more details on this surprisingly substantial fantasy / action / dramedy about a wounded demon hunter and her devoted wolf boys, please see my full review of the first two volumes at NoFlyingNoTights.com!

Jiu Jiu: Volume 1

by Touya Tobina, 191 pages

Young demon hunter Takamichi loses her will to participate in life after her brother's death, but her father's having none of it and, instead of letting her wallow, makes her responsible for the care of two abandoned half-demon wolf pups.  Can two eager, loyal, puppy-eyed shapeshifters save her from her self-imposed loneliness?

Ha!  Snow and Night, Takamichi's wolf boys, provide both humor and effective warm fuzzies, especially when they come up against her short-tempered, no-nonsense facade and wriggle their way under it.

Natsume's Book of Friends: Volume 13

by Yuki Midorikawa, 184 pages

Deliciously creepy Matoba, a mysterious, unscrupulous exorcist with his eye on Natsume (and his enigmatic tubby yokai kitty), writes the boy and then shows up in front of his house to ask for help rooting out a yokai that's been preying on powerful exorcists.  Natsume's not too keen on doing anything for Matoba, but his concern for what might happen if he doesn't outweighs his revulsion at cooperating.

Ooh, that Matoba is so bad!  What was in that letter?!  We don't even know what he's really up to, but it doesn't matter.  Whatever it is, it isn't good.  I love how Midorikawa just lets him think his sneaky, self-serving thoughts and scheme to his cold heart's content without letting us know much more than Natsume--which isn't much, as Matoba keeps pretty mum about such things and just smiles and watches and waits.  It's when he acts that we get nervous--and excited!  The joy of seeing him look angry or surprised by Natsume's (or his allies') disruption of his carefully laid plans is worth the wait, even if we just get one little panel of him taken aback and glaring before he gets himself under control.  Sweet.  He'll be back, the clever villain.  And so will this reader!

This volume also has two shorter chapters relating how quiet Natsume came to be friends with schoolmates Nishimura and Kitamoto.  Yay for warm, fuzzy backstory!

Banana Fish: Volume 4

by Akimi Yoshida, 188 pages

The gang heads first to Ash's hometown, where they encounter painful reunions and even more painful goodbyes, and then to L.A. on the trail of the mysterious "Banana Fish."  But what they find there, and what they don't, may just complicate things even more.

Ouch.  Ash has had a life of one tragic hardship after another and it just keeps getting worse.  Despite knowing it's "for the best," I think he needs to not push his friends away for their own good.  Besides, if they're Eiji, I've a feeling they'll find a way to turn up again, anyway (either because they don't follow directions well or because the bad guys know good bait when they see it).  Besides, those party shirts have got to have a positive effect on him psychologically. They just brighten up the room!  Hee hee hee.  Also, there's a snake in the grass, but he seems just as trapped by his circumstances as those whose hands he's forcing.  I do enjoy sympathetic bad guys....

Kimi ni Todoke: Volume 15

by Shiina Karuho, 179 pages

Chizu doesn't know how to act around Ryu since he told her how he feels, Sawako doesn't know how to act around Kazehaya since the school trip to Okinawa, and Ayane doesn't know how to act around Kento since he comforted her after her breakup.

Ryu and Kento both make declarations (one loud and to the point, one quiet and subtle) that leave their companions wide-eyed and speechless (and the reader woo-hooing!).  Meanwhile, Sawako's getting gentle advice from Kento and will hopefully do her best to buck-up, be honest, and clear up any misunderstanding between her and the one she loves.  Karuho once again does an excellent job of giving equal time to her equally deserving supporting cast.

The Wallflower: Volume 29

by Tomoyo Hayakawa, 154

First, Sunako is forced to go on a no-chocolate diet, with predictably unpredictable and disastrous results.  Next, Kyohei throws the world off-balance when he lets a little responsibility go to his head.  Then frugal Sunako refuses to turn on the air conditioner at the height of summer--and gets a houseful of unrepentant nudists in retaliation.  And lastly, Sunako has a little Twilight Zone-ish experience with what appears to be Kyohei when he was just a little boy.

*pffft*  This volume is sadly shorter than normal, but the stupid humor is returning to its usual caliber of snorts and guffaws.  And Hayakawa even manages to stick in a semi-serious warm-fuzzy chapter, a feat which she seems as surprised and amused by as the reader.  :P