Thursday, October 17, 2013

Vacation!

FYI - I'm on vacation for the next couple of weeks and will soon be flying to my parents' place. I plan to relax, play with my parents' dogs, and read lots and lots of manga. I'm not currently planning on doing much, if any, blogging, but I might finish up a few of my draft posts and schedule them.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nightschool: The Weirn Books (OEL manga, vol. 3) by Svetlana Chmakova

Nightschool: The Weirn Books is a fantasy series that includes vampires, witches, demons, and werewolves. It's published by Yen Press.

Synopsis:

While Daemon is off dealing with the werewolves, the Hunters are betrayed by one of their own. Meanwhile, Mr. Roi has finally remembered what it was that he and his colleagues sealed away long ago. Alex gets help in her search for her sister and continues to be unaware that the Hunters and Mr. Roi are looking for her.

Review:

One volume away from the end of the series, and there is still lots of stuff going on. I suspect I'm going to be really disappointed by volume 4.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Nightschool: The Weirn Books (OEL manga, vol. 2) by Svetlana Chmakova

Nightschool: The Weirn Books is a fantasy series that includes vampires, witches, and shifters. It's published by Yen Press.

Synopsis:

Alex is determined to find her missing sister, but she quickly learns that she can't even enter the Nightschool unless she enrolls as a student. Meanwhile, the unconscious Hunters may be dying unless Daemon, their teacher, can find a way to save them. With no other options, he contacts Mr. Roi and asks for his help finding a cursed, white-haired girl - aka Alex.

Review:

I found this at a used bookstore.

This volume comes with a few more answers, although there are still lots and lots of questions. Now that Alex has enrolled in Nightschool in an effort to find her sister, who no one seems to remember exists, readers are given a more detailed look at how Nightschool works from a student's perspective. Alex has to fill out an application, take a tour of the school, and attend class. It all reminded me a little of Hogwarts – the school's floor plan doesn't stay the same from one day to the next, one floor of the school contains an actual forest and a lake, etc. There's even a teacher who seems to take an immediate dislike to Alex, patronizing her when she learns that Alex has been home schooled up until now.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day Watch (live action movie), via Netflix

Day Watch (aka Dnevnoy dozor, aka Night Watch 2: The Chalk of Fate) is a Russian urban fantasy movie based on the second and third part of Sergey Lukyanenko's novel The Night Watch. I read The Night Watch years ago and remember liking it well enough, although apparently I didn't retain much, because almost nothing in this film was familiar to me.

So anyway, there are Light and Dark Others who maintain an uneasy truce and police each other via a Night Watch and a Day Watch. Anton is part of the Night Watch, and his trainee and love interest, Svetlana, has the potential to be a Great Light Other. Meanwhile, his son, Yegor, has the potential to be a Great Dark Other. While Anton and Svetlana are out patrolling, they go after a Dark Other who has been draining the life-force from his victims via a needle. The Dark Other turns out to be Yegor, who manages to escape.

The world is not meant to have both a Great Light Other and a Great Dark Other, and both sides are on edge. Anton finds himself on the run, framed for a murder he didn't commit, while Zavulon, the leader of the Dark Others, begins arranging things so that a war between the Light and Dark Others will be inevitable. The world may be destroyed, unless Anton can find the Chalk of Fate, a magical piece of chalk that has the power to change the past of whoever writes with it.

I wanted to like this movie. Unfortunately, I had lots of problems following along, even with the vague memories I had of the book. The characters seemed able to do just about anything, according to rules that were never really stated. It was cool stuff, but it all seemed to come out of nowhere. Teleportation via an ad board? No problem. Changing your face to look like someone else? Sure, just find a bit of snow. Many of the characters definitely weren't all-powerful, but I couldn't figure out what their limitations were.

Character goals also confused me. Zavulon seemed perfectly willing to destroy everyone and everything – what was the point of that? Yegor was a ball of anger. I thought, at first, that he hated his father, but later it seemed like he actually loved him and wanted him and his mother to be a family again. He seemed completely unaware of the difficulty that would pose, seeing as how Anton was a Day Other. Unless the implication was that he wanted Anton to give up being a Day Other and become a Night Other. Svetlana was disappointingly bland, considering how powerful she was. She loved Anton but wasn't sure how he felt about her, and she wanted to keep him safe. That was pretty much it. Olga, who barely spent any of the movie as herself, was more awesome and badass than her.

All in all, this movie was a disappointment.

The Gravedigger's Brawl (e-book) by Abigail Roux

The Gravedigger's Brawl is a fairly light m/m horror novel. It's published by Riptide Publishing and has a word count of 66,000.

Synopsis:

In an effort to get him to relax after a particularly bad work week, Wyatt's friend Noah introduces him to Ash, a bartender at Gravedigger's. Wyatt is a museum curator with a deep love of research and history. Ash is energetic, has almost rockstar status at the bar (he's one of its famous flair bartenders), has a tongue ring, and dresses in Gaslight style. They hit it off almost right away, but Wyatt panics and messes things up a bit.

While Wyatt attempts to simultaneously keep his job and win back Ash's trust, strange things start happening at Gravedigger's. The staff hear odd noises after closing time, the air conditioning is on the fritz, and Ash swears he keeps seeing a strange man. Is Gravedigger's haunted, or is something else going on?

Review:

I'm pretty sure I bought this one because it had some good reviews, I'd heard good things about Riptide Publishing, and I liked the cover.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Aristocrat and the Desert Prince (book) written by Haruhi Tono, illustrated by Ai Hasukawa, English translation by Karen McGillicuddy

The Aristocrat and the Desert Prince is part of Digital Manga Publishing's Juné Yaoi Novels imprint. It's basically a sheikh romance.

Synopsis:

Takeyuki is the youngest son in a wealthy family. He has no clue what he wants to do with his life but knows he's unsatisfied with the idea of taking over his father's company. He asks his parents to allow him to visit Cassina, a country in the Middle East, as his college graduation present, and they reluctantly agree.

Almost immediately upon arriving in Cassina, Takeyuki is warned to be careful – although Cassina is relatively peaceful, kidnappings have been known to happen. So of course Takeyuki wanders off on his own in a marketplace and is promptly kidnapped. He is saved by a mysterious man named Zayid. Although Zayid doesn't seem to want to harm him, he also doesn't want to take Takeyuki back to the Japanese embassy right away. As Takeyuki begins to fall for Zayid, he becomes more uncertain. Does he really want to go back to his family? Would Zayid even want him to stay?

Review:

I've been in something of a reading slump for a while, so I decided to try to break it up with what I figured would be a quick read. I found this at a used bookstore. I haven't had a lot of luck with Digital Manga Publishing's yaoi novels, so I tried to keep my expectations low.
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