SETO UTSUMI #1 by Kadzuya Konomoto

frontRating: 3***

Published: Akita Publishing Co.,Ltd, Kindle Edition

Synopsis: “I wish we could just spend all our high school days sittin’ and chattin’ by this river.” This seven chapter volume is a collection of the funky, off-the-wall, and sometimes cynical after-school conversations between Seto and Utsumi, two high-schoolers from the Kansai region of Japan.


I received the e-arc book for an honest review, thank you!

The Seto Utsumi has been made into TV series in Japan, that tells something about the plot. The graphic novel has its charm, representing pure boyish talk, friendship, when nothing particular special is going on, just random conversations and situations involving each others family and school problems, dreams to finally graduate and be someone…like many other students at the age.

 

I found to like the graphics, facial expressions were illustrated just as watching a movie in black and white. I enjoyed the scenes with sudden rain and background illustrations. The book, however, is not for everyone, especially, I think the audience in Europe and outside Japanese/Asian community have a different expectations from a general book and a graphic novel. Rating Seto Utsumi as manga/graphic novel set in Japan and knowing the culture it represents – I think it’s a nice read, very general episodes of “nothing special” going on in a teenage life, which not always are easy to represent. Very fast read. The book at the times felt repetitive, but nothing too much.

 

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Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

JustOneWish

Rating: 2**

Published: July 21st 2014, Kindle Edition

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman will do anything to fulfill her little brother’s only wish before his frightening cancer surgery. The trouble is, he wants a certain superstar actor to pay him a visit. Annika has only a few days to drive to California and convince the celebrity to come home with her. On a seemingly impossible adventure that includes paparazzi, bows and arrows, and one enormous snake, Annika learns a few lessons about family, love, and having her own wishes granted.


Hello Everyone!

This is the first book I have read in September. How are you setting up the books to read for this month? I hope you have read more than me at the moment! Just One Wish was an easy and fast contemporary romance read within few hours. It felt touching religion a bit at the end of the book and faith in God if anyone has an issue with this, although it does not classify as a Christian book.

Main character Annika is feeling desperate to do something as her little brother is diagnosed with cancer and his only chance is to survive the surgery that will take place within week’s time. So far Annika is doing great and fulfills each and every wish of her little brother, even running to the toy store to get the latest edition of the Robin Hood toy her 6-year-old brother Jeremy is crazy about. Well, let me correct, the Robin Hood character is his idol from TV series…

One misfortune action leads to another one and another, and Annika get this idea to travel to California to meet this actor who her brother made a wish to see before his surgery, ask him to come with her to hospital and meet Jeremy…Sound crazy, right? Who would have time to do so, especially, when she doesn’t even have a clue how to and where to meet him. Her best friend accompany her for this journey. As Annika is 17, she still requires to let her parents know where she is..but of course, new lies are set to work, which does, as her parents are too busy with Jeremy’s upcoming surgery plus trusts their daughter. So Annika lies saying she will stay with her friend to make a school project and her friend says the same…and they both drive to meet this actor and make her wish work.

Annika is determined to win, achieve all the obstacles she could face and go beyond..
My rating is two starred because, I would have preferred not to read the “adventure” when she tries to get the attention of Steve Raleigh, the actor who is playing Robin’s role. Because it turned the plot less realistic, involved “hollywoodish” or any TV series that are pointless and stupid. If i take this 1/3 part of the book out, the rest is an interesting sweet teenage romance with handling the situation between families and encouraging the other person to value the family bounds.

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Bright Smoke, Cold Fire #1) by Rosamund Hodge

img_20180819_1240201388829778.jpgRating: 1*

Published: September 27th 2016 by Balzer + Bray

Synopsis: When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.
The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.
Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.
Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.
Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . .


Hello Readers,

I love the cover, its gorgeous, and very promising synopsis.
The book is written covering two characters, Runajo and Paris, each of them in different time-lines and stories, only suspecting their paths will cross. The start of the book is promising, it builds up as the fantasy – action plot, there are secrets, high powerful leader system where only those who have served for many years and practiced training, obedience will be promoted further, except for family members.

Then those who has been acting on their own, are about to be punished and the mystery rise, there’s of course the plot of great betrayal of those who have been keeping the system alive, while in meantime, covering something more darker. And those who are desperate to get something changed, save the city and stop the deaths, deaths every day, dreams and hopes destroyed and not being able to take the action…

I have been “reading” this book for the past 3 months, and always stuck at some small number of pages, which sort of prevent me to read something else, as have been dragging on and on with Bright Smoke, Cold Fire. So I have finally read more than 100 pages and I had lost any interest I had, some actions and conversations didn’t make sense and I couldn’t align with Paris way of thinking. Sorry to say I DNFed the book.

The fact that this is Romeo and Juliet retelling – would not be my choice for reading, more as individual story, I would have preferred for those two characters to have different names instead, as I think saying Rome and Juliet retelling gives more weight to the plot than a fantasy book.

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

18-08-14-18-26-51-291_deco1354939538-e1534543750743.jpgRating: 5*****

Published:  May 31st 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton

Synopsis: A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more – and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets . . . including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about – maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun.


The cover is gorgeous, and represents the very finale of the book, grand fireworks on display..

This book! Oh, my! Complete 5 starred rating in one go! Without going much into paraphrasing what has been told on synopsis, this was amazing read, I absolutely loved the suspense, mystery about who the Legend will be, which new character will appear and how will it be handled as it start to become more and more complex. I have read the great reviews and still was skeptical to the series, as very often second book messes the first one, this is not the case. The plot developed, characters grow throughout the book, it handles the multiple climaxes excellent way, and is wrapped in wonderful, smooth language. The little pinch of romance included adds the charm.

I loved the focus on this book was for Donaltella and Dante, and i am happy the book was not only about Scarlett and Julian, although I did enjoyed their story in previous book Caraval. The Legendary is written from Tella’s point of view, we, readers get to know below surface, her sister Scarlet has never known about, and we had no idea what was going on book #1, which creates the urge to re-read the book again to understand with this extra knowledge now, why Tella’s actions were as they were in Caraval’s first play this year.

Tella is acting first and thinking later, often it has led her to troubles and now that’s exactly what happens again and again. She is someone who is not afraid to take a risk and jumps for it, hoping it will work out and she will find a way to tackle the problems, the aims and her dreams she have had forever and which ones have kept her going. Don’t we can refer to this? Sometimes we just jump for a thought it may work and whatever happens we could deal with any consequences…

Tella doesn’t believe in love, but still she dreams of having this one for her she has been fantasising about. She has kissed many boys and knows she can’t trust them or they are willing to promise million things for kisses and love makes people stupid. Still she wonders how it is to kiss when you could die for that one kiss…is that even possible? Can a kiss cause such emotions? Donatella believes being in love makes person stupid and sooner or later it will die. She fights her own demons and game she has been playing in order to pay debts of requests she has made, which has led her here where she is now… some are deadly and some are adventurous. I loved her wicked tongue and that we can read how she is weighting her thoughts for which decision to take. We learn more about her mother and how her disappearance seems too mysterious and it also opens more questions for the next finale book!

In Legendary we have a new character Jack, he is well-known for his skills by killing each of his finances, everyone is scared by him and he also has a wicked humor as much as Tella and Dante has. It’s fun to read and yes, as you may have read Caraval or have heard, the both books are united by one common thing – nothing is as it seems – its way crazier and there’s always possibility of betrayal when you can’t rely on anything, unless you hold a strong believe and hope.

The Caraval series have become one of my new favorites. Which means I will be trying to get those for my bookshelf. Thank you for reading!

Treacherous Strand (Inishowen Mysteries #2) by Andrea Carter

All-focusRating: 5*****

Published: 2017 by Thorpe, Hardcover, Charnwood Edition, Large Print, 347 pages

Synopsis: 

A woman’s body washes up on a remote beach on the Inishowen peninsula. Partially-clothed, with a strange tattoo on her thigh, she is identified as Marguerite Etienne, a French woman who has been living in the area.

Solicitor Benedicta ‘Ben’ O’Keeffe is consumed by guilt; Marguerite was her client, and for the second time in her life Ben has failed someone who needed her, with tragic consequences. So when local Sergeant Tom Molloy dismisses Marguerite’s death as the suicide of a disturbed and lonely woman, Ben cannot let it lie.

Ben uncovers Marguerite’s strange past as a member of a French doomsday cult, which she escaped twenty years previously but not without leaving her baby daughter behind. Disturbed by what appears to be chilling local indifference to Marguerite’s death, Ben pieces together the last few weeks of the French woman’s life in Inishowen. What she discovers causes her to question the fragile nature of her own position in the area, and she finds herself crossing boundaries both personal and professional to unearth local secrets long-buried.


I picked up this book out of curiosity as the setting is taking place in County Donegal, Ireland and I have not read anything so far from there. The book I found via library was large print edition. I haven’t read the first part of the series yet, but now I am looking forward. The Treacherous Strand has been published on 2017 and I am surprised it has only 21 reviews and 114 ratings on Goodreads! Why people aren’t reading this book, haven’t picked it? It’s an interesting detective and mostly have got 4 starred reviews. The overall read was interesting as it gave small Irish culture descriptions here and there, it is a fast read and I postponed everything else to later that day ^^

Treacherous Strand is about a French woman death at the coast of Inishowen, in Norh West county of Ireland. In plot the action mostly takes place in even smaller village Malin, and occasionally taking trips to Letterkenny, a regional centre. The main character, Ben, is a local solicitor and French lady was her client, yet to become one from previous night’s visit to suddenly halt a will. But as the client was late and it was past the working hours Ben sort of didn’t gave much effort and postponed it to later… How often have we had similar situations where we find rushing and not paying attention to something and later finding ourselves a little bit guilty? If you can relate to this, you know why Ben is feeling guilty and unsettled getting to know who’s died…and what’s more unsettling seems the fact that everyone, including, Garda (police) believes there’s nothing more than the suicide. However, Ben feels she wants to know more and is genuinely curious as to what happened and who  Marguerite was, what villagers thought of her and did she had any friends… Ben remembers she has once attended a yoga class but that’s it, nothing more.

The plot goes into depth of small village life, drawing out “lifestyle” and “who knows whom” setting, creating Marguerite’s personality and personal life from fragments and complex the whole picture of her. Her past as being a member of religious cult only stress the mystery and a reader gets to know more about it as well as those who have escaped, often face traumatized experience to life and adapt to change. The finale and finding who did the murder was unexpected, as well as rushed a little bit.

Not only we learn more about the victim and her family, but also about Ben and she has a strong, leading persoanlity who aches to be loved and be into a relationship, so there is a pinch of romance attached to the plot. I am looking forward to read the first and the third book in the series.

The Trouble with Falling (The Trouble Series #4) by Rochelle Morgan

theTroubleWithFallingRating: 3***

Published: October 18th 2016

Synopsis: After the heart-shattering ending of her first serious relationship, eighteen-year-old Sophie has sworn off love. Now that school is behind her, she plans to travel the world and form as few attachments as possible. The only exception: Lex, the artist on the other end of the Internet who chats to her almost every day. A guy she can never lose–since she doesn’t actually have him to begin with.

Sophie’s plan can start as soon as she’s faked her way through her sister’s wedding. Pretending to be happy and excited for the next week or two should be easy, right? But that was before Caleb walked onto the scene … Best man to Sophie’s almost-brother-in-law, Caleb is infuriating friendly and determined to get a real smile out of Sophie. Forced together through dance classes and wedding-related disasters, Sophie is determined not to like him. And terrified when she ends up failing.

Then Lex suggests he and Sophie should meet, and all Sophie’s careful plans for the future begin to unravel. Now the girl who was never meant to fall for anyone must figure out what to do with the two guys tugging at her heart.


The Trouble with Falling is a very sweet/teenage love story, following The Trouble series. I have read and reviewed the first book The Trouble with Flying (The Trouble Series #1) by Rochelle Morgan, Rachel Morgan , but missing 2nd and 3rd doesn’t destroy the read as each of the books are dedicated to other characters

Having said it’s a sweet contemporary teenage read, by having read 1/3 of the book the outcome who will fall for whom is pretty predictable. Witty humor and falling in love.

The main character Sophie have had a bad love experience and she is absolutely not into having a relationship now, when school is over. Besides she has a crush on her best online buddy Lex, being friends with him for over 2 years they are chatting now. But she is ‘thrown’ in the middle of wedding preparation of her eldest sister at the time when she is absolutely annoyed by “LOVE” topic in the household, plus their family home is having a wedding guest around. Celeb is the guest they are having over, he is a little older than Sophie and from the very start she has decided not to like him, as they have met before in an art shop and the mutual likeness failed.

Celeb, once introduced to Sophie is acting funny and tries to tease her as he sees she doesn’t like him. His mission is to make her smile, but he fails every now and then.

What was conflicting – the very start, she was having a chat with her sister, but it felt as she’s having a conversation with a friend, and had no idea who each of the people in her house is.
Otherwise I enjoyed Celeb’s and Sophie’s developing romance, funny scenes and dialogues, family issues. I enjoyed her sister lecturing Sophie about ruining everyone’s mood with her spiky childish “off love” remarks. This action was so necessary for the main character to achieve a personal growth.

I understand growing up isn’t easy for everyone and most of us has gone through it at some stages of our lives. We all can have a bad day and we all can ignore best friends once we get swiped by sparkles of romance and in Sophie’s case, she has to choose between two guys…but sometimes she was acting as a drama queen and everyone else had to just get going with it.

Having said that, and returning to my first paragraph, I will still say, it was a nice, interesting read.

Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

img_20180628_174359276669389.jpgRating: 4****

Published: January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books

Synopsis: Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.


 I read Caraval in June and although nearly another month has passed, here I am writing my thoughts about the book. Caraval is really a one I will suggest for you to read, if you have been looking to read and yet, haven’t The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern , because this one is sooo much better. This one creates the magic for you in front of you, even you have heard the warning it is all illusion and not read, still you get the sense of it and fall for everything that’s written. Opinions may differ and some of you have loved The Nigh Circus,  where’s I didn’t and I find it as one of the over-hyped books everyone is planning to read if they haven’t.

Caraval is trilogy’s first book, the writing is well written and I didn’t feel turning pages, until I was finished with reading, I basically lived in the story line. Caraval is about Scarlet and her sister Donatella, both of whom are longing for magic and the stories, where Caraval and Legend creates one, while in reality they both live together with despotic and cruel father who has never shown any pinch of love towards them both. Their mother abandons them without saying goodbye, so Legend and daydreaming becomes something impossible, yet…wished for. Scarlet and her sister Tella has never left the island where the live, they have no idea how other places and kingdoms look.

Scarlet is the elder, responsible sister and Tella is the one who takes risks…they are about to find their true colours at the end of the book, but they are much more than they think they are, and what they are capable for.  Scarlet longs for security and get away from her father by marrying someone her father has chosen for her and relying on his good judgement… Tella is supposed to be naive, but is she?

When book takes them to Caraval, there’s a beautiful and yet unpredictable romance. As the warning says – nothing is serious, I was questioning most of the plot and having conspiracy theories, yet, it surprised me, some notion I could sense, the other were surprise. But I loved the atmosphere and someone surrealism there. The ending seemed rushed and a lot of hits given to what will happen in the next book #Legendary. Which I am hoping to read in August.

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