Thank you to the Publishers, Netgalley and Edelweiss for the review copies.
Lightning and Romance, Vol. 1 by Rin Mikimoto
Sumire wants to experience romance… but will she get the chance, when her new seat-mate is a 20-year-old with swirling rumors surrounding him? A dangerous new romance from the author of Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight, Kira-kun Today, and Love’s Reach!
Review: So, I ended up googling this because I wasn’t sure what Sumire’s age is, but 2nd year would be 16 – I think? That’s a 4-year age gap. I am not sure how I feel about this… the story does point out that it would be inappropriate. However, there is a reveal in the later chapter that throws in some extra confusion re Ninomiya.
If I ignored the last chapter than I would probably give this 4 stars. The art is beautiful, and I like the character development. Sumire is more interesting than a lot of similar protagonists in this genre. I want to know why Ninomiya is in high school. I thought the friendship between them was handled well and had potential.
I definitely want to read the next book as I think (hope) that will resolve some of my concerns.
Falling Drowning, Vol. 1 by Yuko Inari
Honatsu just started her second year of high school, and already rumors are floating around that she’s dating her childhood friend, Toma. While Honatsu isn’t totally opposed to the idea, she’s not sure what she feels for Toma can really be called love. But when aloof transfer student Shun Tachibana appears, the waters get even muddier… How does Shun connect to the past she can’t remember? And can Honatsu decide what she truly wants, when her head and her heart are pulling her two different ways?
Review: There were moments in this that I really liked. Mostly the “falling”-scenes between Honatsu and Tachibana. Honatsu history, the way both main male characters compliment and contrast each other and how this is feed into the “falling” vs “drowning” when it comes to love. One is a rush, the other can be overwhelming but also creeps up on you.
I think I’d like to see how this develops in the next volume.
Came the Mirror & Other Tales by Rumiko Takahashi
An eclectic collection of short stories from master manga artist Rumiko Takahashi, beloved creator of Inuyasha, Ranma 1/2, and Urusei Yatsura!
Five intimate magical-realist tales from manga legend Rumiko Takahashi! A supernatural mirror compels a teenager to draw out and destroy the evil lurking within others. But will his duty destroy him? A has-been manga creator acquires the power to curse his competition. Is it worth it? A pet cat plays human matchmaker—warning, side effects may include partial transmogrification…
Plus, a rare, behind-the-scenes autobiographical story about Takahashi’s lifelong love affair with manga!
Review: As with most short story collections there will be some stories that you will enjoy more than others. For me personally it was the first (the mirror) and the cat match maker story towards the end. Because there isn’t a lot of time the character development is limited, this worked against some of the tales more than the others. The Mangaka for example, as it’s so short it becomes really one dimensional.
If you enjoy stories by Rumiko Takahashi, I think you’ll enjoy this collection. If you haven’t read any of her works before I would recommend starting somewhere else as this doesn’t showcase how engaging and fun her stories are.
The Abandoned Empress, Vol. 1 by Yuna, Ina
Believed to be a girl of prophecy, Aristia has been preparing to be the empress for her entire life…but when the actual girl in the prophecy suddenly appears, everything comes crumbling down. And when she’s sentenced to death by the emperor she loves, there’s nothing she can do but curse the unfairness of it all-that is, until she wakes in the body of her ten-year-old self. She’s been given a second chance, and this time, Aristia is determined to pave her own path through life!
Review: Aristia has been raised to be the girl pf prophecy and marry the emperor. However, the prophecy was “interpreted incorrectly” and Aristia is dumped, downgraded and discarded. This alone could make a good story and indeed the fallout of this is covered in the first few chapters, until it ends, and Aristia is sent back in time to when she is 10 years old but remembering what her future holds. One she desperately wants to avoid.
Spending the first half in setting up Aristia’s life before she is returned to her childhood makes the connection for the reader stronger. You know her and the damage she suffered so actions make sense. I was surprised by the space and am interested to see how this progressed.