Thank you to Kodansha Comics for all these review copies.
Medalist by tsurumaikada
Tsukasa, whose dreams were crushed. Inori, left to fend for herself. These two share a dream…and their tenacity may be the only thing that sees them through. Their destination? The ice…on the world’s stage!
Review: I really liked this and for the first time in ages I got to the end and wanted the next volume because I *need* to know what happens. Between the blurb and cover I wasn’t sure what to expect, I had a brief worry that Tsukasa and Inori competing together because sometimes artstyles are skewed maybe Inori was meant to be older but thankfully not.
Inori dreams of skating, her mother isn’t thrilled about this because Inori doesn’t have the greatest aptitude for school and everyday chores. Tsukasa used to be a professional skater but started late, he’s struggling with career skating job and is offered a coaching opportunity. There is a serendipitous meeting between him and Inori prior to his and when she shows up at the skating club, he sees himself reflected in her.
The first volume of Medalist follows Inori as she begins learning skating professionally and trying to close the gap between her and the other students who started 4-5 years before her. Her drive and Tsukasa’s for her to achieve skating excellence is the backbone of the story.
Expected publication: May 18th 2021 by Kodansha
The Springtime of My Life Began with You by Nikki Asada
Suehiro is a quiet girl, who prefers the excitement of her books to the real-life anxieties of friends. She’d been perfectly happy in her own little world until ultra-popular guy Takasago asked her out as part of a punishment game right in front of the class, bringing Suehiro front and center. Mortified, she tries everything to get away…but he persists, and insists he’s serious! How will she deal with such an interruption to her previously quiet life?
Review: Admittedly the premise of The Springtime of My Life Began with You is familiar, shy girl gets asked out by popular guy (initially because of a bet) and then their relationship goes from there but despite that, this is a cute story. Throwing a literally club as a main storyline in there obviously worked for me, because books are a passion, but I liked both characters.
Takasago might be the popular student, but he isn’t cocky. As reader you gain more insight into why he is drawn to Suehiro (something she hasn’t worked out yet) and as the story progresses, I think we’ll have more character development there. I also like the hidden author storyline.
Published May 11th 2021 by Kodansha Comics
With the Sheikh in His Harem by Rin Miasa
Sanagi loves nothing more than money—not even love. After all, it’s what keeps her small family going. But when a chance encounter with a stranger leads her to push away his offer of riches, she wonders if she’s gone crazy…and starts to believe she really has when he reveals that he’s a Sheikh, and proposes to her! She rejects him, but soon finds out that a marriage with him might be the only way to keep her family safe…!
Review: Initially I thought this might be a bit like Nina the Starry Bride, which I picked up a few weeks ago but while “humble girl, rich guy” is the very broad overall premise I think ‘With the Sheikh in His Harem’ (note: I really not like the title) has more going for it.
Sanagi is the hero of the story. Her father is in debt and her family is struggling. Her mother died a while back and Sanagi is a main breadwinner. She “meets” a stranger at her place of work, after their encounter he returns and proposes.
The beginning coupled with the cute art, over the top moments lead you to think this will be quite silly but then then the first dark story elements get thrown in and it’s clear that Sanagi’s new life and husband isn’t going to be just palaces and presents. As a first volume I think this does a good job of capturing the reader, I would like to continue on to see how the story and characters develop.
Published May 5th 2021 by Kodansha Comics
The Honey-blood Beauty & Her Vampire by Toma Fuyuori
Kagari Tojyo is smart and beautiful… but what really draws a crowd is her rare “honey blood” — a crowd of vampires, that is! Enter Ryotaro, her bodyguard and a vampire himself… with quite the perverted, sadistic streak! What’s Kagari got to do to have a “normal” life?
Review: Yeah, – so I have no idea what I think about this. I ended up re-reading pages but while the plot isn’t confusing it’s also is. It’s difficult to explain, the world building seems to weirdly drag, and I don’t really know what genre this is supposed to be in. Horror? Paranormal romance? Smutty romance? Is there supposed to be a dark undertone with layers on intrigued or is this supposed to be a back and forth between Kagari and Ryotaro until the inevitable romance?
Maybe the next volume will clear things up.