Book Review: Bleach Volume 60 by Tite Kubo

Title: Bleach Vol. 60 Everything but the Rain.
Author/Artist: Tite Kubo
Published: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Viz

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts—he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow—a malevolent lost soul—Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured spirits themselves find peace. Find out why Tite Kubo’s Bleach has become an international manga smash-hit!

With the training not going as planned, Ichigo returns to the World of the Living to reevaluate himself. But when he runs into his father, Isshin, he discovers he has a lot to learn about his mother—and the way she died!

Oh Bleach. I love you so very much. I’m so sorry that I spent so much time away from you (distracted by teenage basketball prodigies and other series). I recently went on a massive Bleach binge read–I was at volume 27 of 59 at the time. I got massive stacks of volumes from the library and settled in to get caught up (I rarely read scans, because I hate waiting for them), and instantly I was back in love with this series.

Kubo has entered into the final arc of his massive series, which has claimed the coveted title of one of the big three manga. With this arc, I’m drawn back to what initially got me into the series. A slick story line, great action, and great characters. In this volume the history between Isshin (Ichigo’s father), Ryuuken (Uryuu’s father) and Masaki (Ichigo’s mother) that was hinted at long before the reveal. My suspicions about Isshin were confirmed and the story between Isshin, Ryuuken and Masaki is heartbreaking and gives insight to the man that Ryuuken became. Other loose ends are tied up, and we are presented with a massive plot twist about something very important to Ichigo’s fighting style.

Not to mention the reader is also set up with the fight that’s been hinted at since the introduction of the character of Uryuu. And I know the conclusion of this manga is going to break my heart. It’s going to be a long drawn out heartbreak, but I can just see it coming.

Overall: pink4 Bleach is one of my favorite series, and this volume didn’t disappoint. I cannot wait for the next.

Book Review: Zaya by Jean-David Morvan

Title Zaya
Author/Artist: Jean-David Morvan, Huang-Jia Wei, Mike Kennedy
Published: August 26, 2014
Publisher Magnetic Press

Rating kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

Zaya tells the story of secret agent in the distant future who left her post to seek a normal life as an artist and mother. When a bio-mechanical threat destroys an orbiting colony station and former fellow agents start dying, she is called back into the field to find and stop the danger. Her investigation leads to many questions about her own past, filled with explosive revelations.

Courtesy of banners04

I really fell in love with the world that Morvan has created. Zaya is a retired covert agent called back into service when other agents, here called spirals are dying. The artist mother of a young pair of twins re-enters the world of spies and cloak and dagger assassinations.

The art is whispy and sketchy, with light lines. It’s an odd blend of Eastern and Western graphic novel art styles, but here in this case it works. The Bio-Mechanical aspect is something new to me, and I found myself really enjoying it. The story line is complex and weaves science fiction with steampunk and carefully constructed violence. It was original and well layered, keeping me guessing until the end.

Overall:pink5Engaging and complex, I recommend this to those that are looking for something a little different.

Book Review: Breaking Free by Brandy L. Rivers.

Title: Breaking Free
Author: Brandy L. Rivers.
Published: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Goodreads.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

They say that dreams can come true, but as a Dreamwalker, Devlin had yet to experience anything but nightmares. Then again, the druid had been held by sadistic vampires and dark mages for twenty years, forced to do their bidding. Newly escaped, he stumbles upon a dreamrealm where he can’t resist a little werewolf.

Jamie just wants someone to call her own. She feels like she’s been waiting for an awfully long time, when a man who teases her memory begins to visit her while she’s dreaming. From the moment she feels his turmoil, she’s drawn in, wanting nothing more than to heal his broken soul.

Before Devlin can decide what to do, he has to make a trip to Edenton. His first goal is to make sure someone who can’t remember him is safe and happy. The little werewolf of his dreams happens to live there, and she’s even more irresistible in real life.

When you’ve been taught all your life to run, what will make you change? Can Jamie convince her mate to stay and fight? Will he risk everything to have what he needs? Or run to save them all?

I could not put this book down. I devoured it in a matter of an hour and a little bit, and it blew my mind. Devlin is by far one of my favorite male leads of anything I’ve read this year. He’s strong, smart, sensitive and tough. He’s been held prisoner for years, but some seriously nasty villains, and despite torture and terrible things happening to him, he remains true to himself–a healer not a fighter. Which just makes me so happy.

Jamie is another great character, she grew on me pretty steadily throughout the novel. I really love their chemistry together, and the fact that the female character was the stronger in the relationship. Devlin is not an alpha male–but it works so well with Jamie who pulls him out of everything and works to make their world better. This is the fourth book in a series, but it didn’t feel like I was coming into the story mid-way. Characters from previous books show up and are mentioned but there’s enough context to determine who is who without giving away their stories.

Overall: pink4 I loved this. I’ve already purchased the other books in this series.

I was given a copy of this book for honest review.

Book Review: SEAL My Destiny by Sharon Hamilton

Title SEAL My Destiny
Author: Sharon Hamilton.
Published: March 14th 2014
Publisher: Createspace

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Navy SEAL Luke Paulsen, on the verge of PTSD stemming from the death of his fiancee and a brutal tour overseas, knows he is damaged goods and unsuitable for relationships. While paying respects to a fallen comrade, he is unprepared for the chemical attraction he feels for the carefree dark-haired beauty playing in the surf one evening. Julie Christensen befriends the troubled SEAL, motivated by her yearning to soothe the young man’s troubled soul. Fueled by intense mutual desire, they succumb to one night of mind-numbing passion. Afterwards, he is unable to shed the memory of his lost love and disappears. When they meet again at a wedding that will forever bring their two families together, their passion and longing for one another forces them to confront their pasts in order to find a future together.

This is one of the best SEAL/military focus romance I’ve read. I love that Ms. Hamilton not only has well rounded characters with incredible chemistry and explosive scenes together, she has a battle torn SEAL who suffers from PTSD. It’s handled beautifully, and true to real life. I really like that she had the balls to bring that into this story. It’s something that makes it all the more real, more visceral if you will. I have not read the other books in this series, but there are reoccurring characters and I didn’t feel lost coming into it with the sixth book. I will for sure be checking out the other books. I love a good military focused romance, and by golly this hit ALL of my buttons.

Speaking of, the romance sizzles and is off the charts. Again there’s realism to it when Luke disappears from Julie’s life. The way they come together after that is great, and so worth the wait. I really rooted for them and they deserve a happy ending. I fell in love with this story and the characters. It’s action packed full of good drama and real characters. Seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough. There are a few things that don’t jive (a few pacing details), but it’s not enough for me to really care at all.

Overall: pink5 pink4 This is a beautiful story, full of love, steamy scenes, and realism. I recommend it highly.

I was sent a copy of this novel for review by My Family’s Heart Book Reviews. I am not compensated.

Manga Review: Gangsta. Volume 2 by Kohske.

Title: Gangsta. Volume 2
Author: Kohske.
Publisher: Viz Signature

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

The Handymen, Nic and Worick, ply their trade in Ergastulum, a city run by the Mafia and ruled by violence. Recruited into a battle with a gang, they find themselves against one of the “Twilights”, mercenaries with superhuman abilities generated by dangerous drugs. Nic, who is also a Twilight, fights back with the same savagery and skill–until Worick has to step in to save him from himself. Partners and equals now, in the past they were anything but, yet both men are bound together by the chains of a tragic past as they face an uncertain future.

It’s MINE ALL MINE MY PRECIOUS. Ah, I waited for a month to get my hands on volume two, and it seemed like an eternity. I’m in love with this series, and I cannot express in words how happy I am that Viz has kept it up (there are publication dates up to volume 4). I mean I could try but it would come out with a lot of high pitched squealing and it would upset dogs, cats and small children. So really it’s safer that I just talk about it in a blog setting.

Volume two picks up right after the first volume. Nic and Worick have taken in Alex off the streets and made her the secretary for their business. She’s seemingly settling in well, adjusting to life with the two men. Alex and Worick are hysterically funny together and I really like the way they play off of each other. I like how hard she tries with Nic, giving him space and at the same time teaching herself sign language. Alex is a character that while she provides a lot of sex appeal–she’s a well rounded, flawed character for a seinen series.

When it comes to the plot of this volume, more information about the Twilights and the Three Laws that they have to obey are introduced. It brings an interesting twist to the working relationship and friendship between Nic and Worick. One of my favorite characters, Delico also makes an appearance. The story is starting to get more layers and questions are starting to come to the surface. Hints of double crossing, and a larger story are put into play here. However, that’s put on hold with the third volume which will be about Worick and Nic’s history. After volume three the story will be new to me, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Overall pink4pink5   Beautiful art, clean fight scenes, great engaging characters and a complex story make for a great manga. This is a series for the older crowd however due to content/theme. Volume Three will be out in August.

Manga review: Gangsta. by Kohske

Title: Gangsta.
Author: Kohske

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

In the city of Ergastulum, a shady ville filled with made men and petty thieves, whores on the make and cops on the take, there are some deeds too dirty for even its jaded inhabitants to touch. Enter the “Handymen,” Nic and Worick, who take care of the jobs no one else will handle. Until the day when a cop they know on the force requests their help in taking down a new gang muscling in on the territory of a top Mafia family. It seems like business (and mayhem) as usual, but the Handymen are about to find that this job is a lot more than they bargained for.

Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for mature audiences.

This series is one that is really important to me. It hits all of the things I look for when I’m looking for manga. It’s got a great story line, with amazing characters. Nic and Worick seem like the stereotypical ‘do it all common place thugs’ but it’s so much more than that. They’ve got a history, and while it’s hinted at in the first volume, I have a feeling we won’t get much more than hints and quick flashbacks until later volumes.

Volume one sets up the world of Ergastulum. It’s a very dark and unpleasant place where cops seem to turn a blind eye to most crimes, and the city is run not by officials but various warring gangs. Nic and Worick are two ‘handymen’ who do jobs that one else wants to do, and they do it quickly and very well. The character designs are beautiful, the art full of sketchy lines, and beautiful shading. The characters are well rounded and I’m seriously in love with them. There’s more to Nic and Worick than initially presented. Worick has a second job (which probably pays more of the bills) and Nic is treated like an outcast, his dog-tags marking him as something dangerous even among the thieves and killers. Alex is a great addition to this rag tag duo, and I’m really looking forward to the role she may play later on.

Overall: pink5 pink4 This manga is quickly becoming one of my favorites. If you’re looking for something that’s a little more mature than the ‘BIG THREE manga” and you like darker story lines check out Gangsta. The next volume comes out May 20th.

Book Review: At Their Service by Isla Munro

Title: At Their Service
Author: Isla Munro
Published: March 7th 2014
Publisher: Etopia Press

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

Forced to be a maid to her family, nursemaid to her birth-mother, and slave to her step-mother, the only high point in Drella’s life is a new job at the palace. She will get to meet the handsome Prince Abran. However, Drella is not expecting to be attracted to both the prince and his valet. The equally handsome Oshan invites Drella to enjoy a night of passion with both men…all three of them together. Can Drella put the messy relationship between her own four parents aside and accept the love offered by a prince and his valet?

Prince Abran is heir to the throne of Erotania. He loves his country and he loves his valet, Oshan. But his passionate relationship with the manservant cannot produce his own heir. In a culture where family groups consist of up to four bi-sexual adults and their offspring, it’s not much of a leap to bring a woman into their bed chamber. But what woman will be acceptable to his mother, attracted to both men, and willing to put up with his arrogance?

Oshan loves his master and knows he needs an heir. When Drella starts work in the palace, he can tell that Abran is attracted to the pretty maid. But Drella has her own challenges to face. Can Oshan and the man he loves discover Drella’s demons and help her fight them and can a prince, a valet and a maid defy the impossible and find their very own happily ever after?

This story is scorchingly hot, well told, and an all around amazing read. At it’s bare bones it’s a Cinderella retelling. BUT it’s so much more than that. Ms. Munro builds an amazing world, full of fantasy and allure, creating an interesting family dynamic as well as world view. The fantasy world is breathtaking and I really fell so in love with the story. The characters are amazing, and I’m so in love with Oshan. (Sadly, he’s taken). Abran is arrogant, alpha-male and a bundle of yum as well.

The relationships are a pivotal role in this story. What I like about this, is that all the three main characters share the same amount of bedroom time. What I mean by that is no one is left out, no one is cast off when it comes to another person in the trio. They’re all equal, and powerful with each other and together. The sex scenes in this novel nearly melted my kindle. Drella is a component of the relationship between Oshan and Abran–she’s not thrown in there, simply because the Royal Family needs an heir. I really like that. I like that she’s welcome with them, and the way that their relationship evolves and changes. The people of Erotania’s views on sex are interesting, and I think it works well for this story, adding to the plot and the re-telling of a fairy tale, rather than a device for more sexy times.

I do feel that it wrapped up a little too nicely with a bow on top, but it’s nice to have a happily ever after, and this is a story that I’ll come back to and read again, and recommend to people. This is a story I hadn’t realized I had been looking for, but I’m really glad I found. The messages of equality and love between partners is amazing. It’s a great story, and I feel like I keep gushing about it, but I can’t not gush. Check this out if you’re looking for a great fantasy erotica piece that’s well worth it.

Overall: pink5 Steamy, swoony re-telling of Cinderella this melts right off of the kindle app, and leaves the reader wanting for more.

This book was provided by My Family’s Book Reviews & Tours solely for review purposes. I am not being compensated for my review.

Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner’s Curse
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Published: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

The Summary:
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

I’m going to be completely up front and honest. I’m enamored with this book. I want to go out and purchase it (I got my copy through the library), and put it on my shelf with my favorite books and pull it down occasionally just to pet the pretty cover. This story is on a whole different level. The world building is reason enough to pick this story up. I can’t get over the world building. It’s beautiful and lush and so visceral that I got lost in it.

I loved Kestrel. She’s a character that grows to stand on her own, and not in the shadow of her father or her friends. She is smart and strong, almost sneaky at times. She’s a great character who wormed her way into my heart. I love her interactions with Arin and the shift in their relationship as the story progresses. Speaking of Arin–I’m still on the fence about him. I figured out what his ‘secret’ was pretty early on in the story, but even that didn’t detract from anything.

“A kestrel is a hunting hawk.”
“Yes. The perfect name for a warrior girl.”
“Well.” His smile was slight, but it was there. “I suppose neither of us is the person we were believed we would become.”

The prose in this story is simply amazing. It’s so beautiful and sets up for an epic story. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book. It ends rather abruptly, and I might have thrown a temper tantrum realizing that I won’t get the next book for a while. Somehow I’ll manage. There is romance in this story, but it’s a slow build, and while there is another man who hopes for Kestrel’s attention, it’s obvious who holds her heart. While it slowly builds, the intensity between Arin and Kestrel is tangible. It burns off the pages and takes over everything. It shouldn’t happen, and it does, and the results– are complicated. They save each other from the world, but sometimes that’s not the best thing for them to do.

Overall: pink4The first half of this book was good, but it’s the second half of the book and the political plot that comes to fruition that really sold me. It’s brilliant, and unexpected and just mind blowing.

Book Review: The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Title: The Hallowed Ones
Author: Laura Bickle
Published: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064akasa_zpsdf6a064a

The Summary:
Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning.

I am in love with this book. I couldn’t put it down. I started it in the morning while keeping my mom company (She had surgery and gets bored easily) and I read through it in a couple hours. I fell absolutely head over heels for this world. I love the insight into the Amish world, and the fact that it feels authentic. Katie is an amazing character who comes to stand on her own. This is something that I found really great to read, because of her societal obligations to the Amish church and the way of life.

Katie grows so much through this novel. Her interactions between her family and the other members of her faith and the English are so well written and thought out. This book hit so many good buttons for me. She’s a strong female character who grows, and while there is romance, it doesn’t go the way it would normally go in a YA/NA novel. I like the vampires in this novel, and am so thankful that we’re slowly turning the page back to monster vampires–the blood thirsty creatures of horror. These vampires are fast and brutal and disturbing. Vampire lore is also respected in this novel which I appreciate so much.

Overall: pink5

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars.
Author: John Green
Published: January 10th 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books.

Rating: kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a kasa_zpsdf6a064a

The Summary:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

“Did that boy give it to you?” She asked out of the middle of nowhere.

“By it, do you mean herpes?”

“You are too much,” Mom said. “The book, Hazel, I mean the book”

It’s the scenes and lines like this that make this book so deceiving. Exchanges like this lure you into a false sense of snarky security only to have all of your feelings and heart ripped out and jumped on. Seriously. If you feel like letting your heart get ripped out and used as John Green’s personal trampoline, please, by all means read this book. Even if you don’t, please, by all means read this book. I held out for so long, it seemed like EVERYONE was talking about it. So naturally, I avoided it. In avoiding it, I think I made a huge mistake. I would have liked to gush about this book with everyone else.

This book is beautifully written with smart, memorable characters. It’s very visceral in it’s imagery, and it’s a writing style I’m drawn to. I LOVED this book. I’m looking forward to the movie, and throwing this book at my bestie the first chance I get so I can go to the theater and cry with her. I want to see this on the big screen and see if my images of the events match the creative vision. I’m keeping this book. It’s finding a home on my already too stuffed bookcase and it’s going to live there forever.

Overall: pink5 pink4 I’m sorry that I also don’t have a graphic for “Left me sobbing on the floor, clutching the book to my chest.”