Sunday, June 27, 2021

REVIEW: Cherry Magic! Thirty Years of Virginity Can Make You a Wizard?! (manga, vol. 2) by Yuu Toyota, translated by Taylor Engel

Cherry Magic is a BL manga series with fantasy aspects. It's licensed by Square Enix Manga. I bought my copy brand new.


I couldn't find my copy of volume 1 and don't remember exactly what happened at the end, but I think Kurosawa kissed Adachi's forehead and Adachi said he didn't mind, but they didn't go any further than that. Now Adachi is stressing over his interactions with Kurosawa. Kurosawa's behavior seems perfectly normal, but Adachi's telepathy (which Kurosawa still doesn't know about) tells him that Kurosawa is definitely still hoping they can become a couple. Resistance isn't going to be easy - Kurosawa's hot, romantically experienced (if only with women rather than men), great at everything, and a skillful negotiator.

And so the two of them end up on a staff trip at a hot spring resort with the rest of their coworkers, giving Kurosawa lots of opportunities to spend time with Adachi. Unfortunately, the trip only underscores for Adachi just how popular Kurosawa is. All the women at work want to spend time with him. Why is someone like that at all interested in a depressing and thoroughly forgettable guy like him? Adachi's telepathy may give him the ability to peek at other people's thoughts, but it doesn't let him truly understand their hearts.

REVIEW: After Zero (book) by Christina Collins

After Zero is Middle Grade contemporary fiction.

This review contains spoilers.


Content warnings for this book: mental illness, anxiety, grief, child death.

Up until about 7 months ago, 12-year-old Elise was homeschooled. However, she was always jealous of her friend Mel's stories about school, so she managed to get her mom to enroll her in public school. Unfortunately, the experience didn't go quite the way she'd hoped. Elise now spends each day tallying every word she speaks. Some days her tally is at one or two, but the best days are when she's at zero. She appreciates teachers who don't require her to participate in discussions - it's one of the reasons why she likes Miss Looping's English class, where all she's ever expected to do is write.

It's not that she doesn't ever speak. She talks a little, at home. But she understands that even her home life isn't quite the same as other people's. Her mother keeps secrets from her and doesn't seem to care about her. Elise didn't even know what birthdays were until her friend Mel's 7th birthday. As Elise learns more about her mother and her own past, she struggles to figure out what to do when every word she says has the potential to make things worse.

REVIEW: A Study in Charlotte (book) by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte is a YA mystery, the first in a series (trilogy?). I bought my copy used.


Content warning for this book: rape, on-page drug use, eating disorder.

Jamie Watson is a descendant of the John Watson who wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories, and he's spent his whole life fantasizing about meeting Charlotte Holmes, the one descendant of Sherlock Holmes who's his age, and becoming her friend and sidekick. When he gets sent to Sherringford, an American prep school, the one bright spot he clings to is that it's the same school Charlotte attends. Unfortunately, he has no idea how to talk to her, and she doesn't seem at all interested in talking to him. Then a student they both hated is murdered in a way that references a Sherlock Holmes story, and they're the prime suspects.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

REVIEW: The Saint's Magic Power is Omnipotent (manga, vol. 2) by Yuka Tachibana, art by Fujiazuki, character design by Yasuyuki Syuri

The Saint's Magic Power is Omnipotent is a fantasy romance series. Or maybe fantasy with romance aspects? The manga is licensed by Seven Seas. I bought my copy brand new.


Sei and Albert spend a day in town together, relaxing and doing a bit of shopping. Considering the amount of time Albert spends holding Sei's hand, it's clearly a date, but it still comes as a shock to her when people later call it that. Why would a guy as handsome and wonderful as Albert possibly be interested in her? After all, Sei was never very popular back in her own world.

After learning more about a gift Albert gave her, Sei becomes interested in the art of enchantment and is given the opportunity to try it. She also finds herself slowly losing her private battle to keep the strength of her saintly abilities a secret - as much as her introduction to this world still bothers her, she also can't bring herself to just do nothing when she sees a situation where her powers might do some good.

REVIEW: Daemon's Angel (book) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Daemon's Angel is a historical fantasy romance originally published in 1995. I bought my copy used.


Arina is an angel responsible for greeting mortals upon their death and sending them on their way. After Raida's son dies, Raida becomes determined to damn Arina, the angel she feels took him away before his time. The old woman makes a deal with Belial, a demon, that curses Arina into a form that's nearly human. The curse will be complete when Arina falls in love with Daemon, a hardened warrior with mismatched eyes, and watches him die.

Initially, Arina has amnesia and can't recall her existence as an angel. As she realizes the truth about her "brother" Belial and the curse, however, she becomes determined to somehow save Daemon's life, even if it means allowing him to think that he's been abandoned and rejected once again.

Monday, June 21, 2021

REVIEW: I Swear I Won't Bother You Again!, Vol. 1 (book) by Reina Soratani, illustrated by Haru Harukawa, translated by Kimberly Chan

I Swear I Won't Bother You Again! is... Honestly, I'm not sure. Psychological drama, I guess, with the possibility of romance at some point in the future? It's published by Seven Seas Entertainment's Airship imprint. I bought my copy brand new.

My review includes a few spoilers about the specifics of what Violette's parents did to her, plus some stuff about one of the other characters, because some of it is awful enough that I suspect some readers will appreciate a warning. If you'd prefer not to have any spoilers, I do use spoiler tags when I cross-post to LibraryThing and Goodreads.


Content warning for this volume: emotional abuse, possibly sexual as well, and a potential love interest who displays manipulative and controlling qualities.

Violette is in prison for a crime she has, out of jealousy, committed against her half-sister Maryjune. She has come a long way and now deeply regrets her actions. She wishes she could go back in time and live a quiet life, bothering no one, but she knows that's impossible. Except suddenly that's exactly what happens - from one moment to the next, time rewinds itself and she finds herself once again being introduced to her father's new wife (his former mistress) and his half-daughter (who was conceived while Violette's mother was still alive).

This time, Violette is determined to make it through the next two years without causing harm. After she graduates, she wants to join a convent and spend the rest of her life quietly atoning for the sins she committed in her other timeline. Her feelings of guilt are too great for her to contemplate any other future. However, it won't be easy to accomplish her goal. While she no longer blames Maryjune for anything or wants to harm her, she can't will away the pain that Maryjune's presence causes her, and she can't change the kind of person she is. Still, she tries hard to do better this time around, and her efforts don't go unnoticed. If she's lucky, maybe it will be enough.

REVIEW: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter (manga) by Nathaniel Hawthorne, story adapted by Crystal S. Chan, art by SunNeko Lee

This is a manga adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. I'm pretty sure I bought my copy used.


I'll start this by saying that I've never read the original and have no plans to change that.

This is framed as a story discovered by Nathaniel Hawthorne when he worked as a custom officer. Hester Prynne has been jailed by her Puritan community for the crime of adultery. She was married at a young age to an elderly scholar who sent her to Boston two years ago, alone, and there's no denying that her infant daughter, Pearl, has to be some other man's child. However, she refuses to name him, so she stands alone with her mark of shame, a scarlet letter A on her chest.

As she looks upon the crowd, she's shocked to see her husband. After assuming a new name, Roger Chillingworth, he begins his plan to find and torment the father of Hester's child. Meanwhile, Hester spends the next few years raising Pearl and being so unrelentingly helpful, pure, and good that the townspeople gradually begin to see her with new eyes, even as Hester worries that her sin has somehow affected her daughter.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

REVIEW: Wonder Woman: The Official Movie Novelization (book) by Nancy Holder, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, screenplay by Allan Heinberg

Wonder Woman: The Official Movie Novelization is, obviously, a novelization of the 2017 Wonder Woman movie directed by Patty Jenkins. I bought my copy brand new.


Diana, princess of the Amazons, has lived her whole life on the island of Themyscira, the only child in a community of female warriors. She yearns to be just as skilled a fighter as her Aunt Antiope, who secretly helps train her against Queen Hippolyta's wishes. One day, years later, that training becomes vital when a plane crashes near Themyscira and Diana saves its pilot.

The bulk of the story takes place during World War I, and Steve Trevor, the pilot Diana rescues, is an American spy desperately trying to take information back to the British. The Germans have developed a deadly new gas that could wipe out whole cities and towns and that can't be defended against. The more Diana hears about the war, the more convinced she is that the god Ares is behind it all. She decides to leave behind the only life she's ever known in order to join Steve, who she believes can lead her to Ares, and save humanity from the God of War's influence.

Monday, June 14, 2021

REVIEW: Binti: Home (novella) by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti: Home is science fiction, the second work in a trilogy. I previously reviewed Binti, the first novella.

I bought my copy of this book brand new.


It's been a year since Binti left home and began attending Oomza University. Her studies are going well, but she's having emotional difficulties. She keeps having bursts of increasingly difficult to control anger. She's also suffering from PTSD-related panic attacks. Anything that reminds her of the slaughter on the spaceship that brought her to Oomza Uni can bring them on, including her best friend, the Meduse Okwu, who also happened to be one of the beings who participated in the slaughter.

Binti secretly fears that the changes the Meduse made her undergo have somehow made her unclean. She decides to return home and go on a pilgrimage to help cleanse herself. However, her journey soon takes an unexpected turn and forces her to confront her prejudices and some of the things she thought she knew about herself.

REVIEW: Wings of Fire, Book 1: The Dragonet Prophecy (graphic novel) by Tui T. Sutherland, art by Mike Holmes

Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy is the first volume of a graphic novel adaptation of Sutherland's Middle Grade fantasy book of the same title. 


There is a mysterious prophecy that says five dragonets will be born who are destined to put an end to the war between the dragon tribes. In order to fulfill the prophecy, several eggs are acquired: Mudwing (Clay), Sandwing (Sunny), Nightwing (Starflight), and Seawing (Tsunami). The only egg that doesn't really fit the prophecy is Glory's - she's a Rainwing and they really needed a Skywing. The five dragonets are raised in secret to eventually carry out their role, but they're treated like prisoners and eventually decide to escape in the hope of finding the parents they were stolen from. Unfortunately, that's when Scarlet, Queen of the Skywings and one of the many threats to their existence, finds them.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

At the halfway point - My 2021 offloading goal is going pretty well

I own lots of physical books and DVDs. I like owning them, but at the same time, I live in an apartment and have limited space. Also, if I ever do end up moving to a new place, that stuff translates into lots of heavy boxes or lots of things I'd have to find a way to whittle down fast.

I've had some vague offloading goals since 2016, but my efforts usually haven't gone well and/or haven't been consistent. In 2016, my offload stack was 5.5 ft. In 2017, it dropped down to a measly 1.4 ft. The next couple years weren't any better: 1.3 ft. and 1.9 ft. I felt amazingly productive when, in 2020, I somehow managed to offload 3.5 ft.

At the beginning of 2021, I decided to try being a little more purposeful about my offloading. I set up a goal of 1 foot per month, but told myself that if I didn't manage it, I wouldn't beat myself up over it. I figured that I'd initially do very well but would have issues meeting my monthly goal by this point in the year. Surprisingly, the project is actually going extremely well.

I've been using LibraryThing to keep track of my offloads, as I've done since 2016. My "1 foot per month" goal makes it easy to figure out whether I'm on track, because I know my number of feet needs to match my current month at some point before the end of the month.

Right now, I'm at 5.9 ft. offloaded, more than I've ever managed. It's been going much better than I expected, although I'll admit that it has definitely affected my reading choices. I concentrate a lot more on books I suspect I'd be comfortable offloading, and I've been getting through more of my manga collection. And it's forced me to be slightly more comfortable with DNFing - I've tried to make myself feel better about those by writing brief DNF reviews that I add to LibraryThing for my own benefit (when Future Me sees the book again and is maybe tempted to rebuy it, for example). A small number of my offloads have been things that, in a perfect world with much more shelf space, I'd have preferred to keep, but so far I haven't actively regretted getting rid of anything. 

Ultimately, I'd like to free up enough space so that I no longer need to keep any books in boxes and can have them all on bookshelves. At my current rate, considering that I still buy new stuff to add to my collection, that's definitely going to take longer than a year or two. But I'm still happy with my progress so far - I can actually see space opening up. Crossing my fingers that I continue to do this well during the second half of the year.

REVIEW: Big Guns Out of Uniform (anthology) by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Liz Carlyle, and Nicole Camden

Big Guns Out of Uniform is a romance anthology - either erotic romance or something very close to it. I'm pretty sure I bought it new.


I bought this book years ago, back when I was a huge Sherrilyn Kenyon fan and would read anything of hers I could get my hands on, even though I preferred her paranormals. This was technically a reread, but I only remembered Kenyon's story and the premise of Camden's story. Carlyle's story was a complete blank - absolutely nothing about it was familiar to me.

I recalled this being a so-so read for me, even back when I first read it. My romance reading tastes have changed a lot over the years, so I was curious to see how well this would hold up for me.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

REVIEW: Kuroko's Basketball, Season 2 (anime TV series)

Kuroko's Basketball is a high school sports anime series. I watched it on Netflix. If you haven't seen Season 1, I highly recommend you do so before reading my review.

This review contains things that could be considered spoilers.


Season 2 starts with a street ball tournament that introduces viewers to Tatsuya Himuro, Kagami's childhood friend and the person who got him started with playing basketball. Although they were very close friends, Himuro now sees Kagami as his rival and thinks they must abandon their friendship in order to play each other seriously.

Then the series moves on to the Winter Cup preliminaries, beginning with Seirin vs. Josei (no Generation of Miracles characters here, and I literally can't remember a thing about this match). After that, Seirin faces off against several other teams, including Kirisaki Dai'ichi (known for playing dirty), Shutoku (Midorima's team), To'o (Aomine's team), and Yosen (Murasakibara and Himuro's team).

The season also takes a break a few times for things like a flashback to Kiyoshi starting Seirin's basketball team, special training efforts, and a trip to a hot spring.