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Heaven’s Design Team 1 ([Ten-De-Bu] What a strange animal! #1) by Hebi-Zou, Tsuta Sizuki, & Tarako

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Kodansha Comics in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (October 13th, 2020)

This truly was an adorable manga! This is one of those manga series that’s unique and hasn’t really been dabbled with before (at least to my knowledge). I loved the the different personalities of the teams and how some of the characters are named after the planets of the solar system. And I think this is a great way to spread information about animals many people might not know about. Just a really enjoyable manga for a rainy day! A side note; this series has already been printed (back in 2017, I think), but I do believe this is going through a reprint because of the new anime series. You can watch the trailer HERE!

Our story follows the design team of Heaven who have been tasked with one major project, create creatures to populate the Earth. However, things are easier said than done. With their reject pile climbing higher and higher, the team fears they’ll never be able to fill all the request flying into their inbox. But even in times of doubt, inspiration can strike the most. We join Heaven’s design team on this wild adventure, literally!

I really do love the cast of characters we’re given in this book. Our cast of characters has such a diverse personality range and even though it’s never specified, a plethora of ages. I also really enjoyed each character’s interests. For example, I love how Mr. Saturn is an older gentleman who’s pride and joy project is the horse and has an obsession with all this horses (including unicorns and pegasus). There’s also Neptune who’s a gentle giant and creates some of the cutest animals. Neptune is such a cinnamon roll character and might be my favorite thus far.

I also really liked how this is more on the educational side of manga. While the design team crafts these animals, at the end of each chapter we receive a paragraph of information and facts about the animals that were created in that chapter. For those who don’t have zoology in their background or never had interests in animals in their life, this is was a unique way to provide that information to that reader base. I also think this is going to be a manga series perfect for those who are younger and just starting to discover manga.

My biggest struggle with this manga was the humor in this book. It’s not that the humor is bad or anything, it just didn’t translate on page well for me. I know there’s an anime out and I think the anime will be able to better convey the humor that this manga is trying to portray. I think for other manga lovers, this will be perfect for them to get some chuckles, but I’m very much a “slapstick” humor kind of person and to hear how the humor is trying to be expressed.

My other thing about this manga is the plot and story-line. There really isn’t any end goal or objective to this manga. I think for many manga reader, they might not like this aspect because this book really relies on the educational elements in this manga. The sole purpose of each chapter is to educate the reader on the animals the design team is creating. For me, the banter was fun and so were the conversations, but in the end, I would’ve liked to have seen more at stake (like a time limit) to make things a little more exciting or make me more invested in the story.

Overall, this was a fun little read. I think this is really going to be a manga for those who are just now discovering manga and dipping their toes into the vast pool that is manga. As I said, this is the first manga I’ve encounter that has an educational element to it. I do come from a background of zoology, so a lot of the animals and facts mentioned in this book weren’t anything new for me. However, for those who aren’t from that background, I think it’s going to intrigue those readers especially those of a younger audience. It’s just an easy going book and I think many readers will enjoy this manga. I’m definitely interested in seeing the anime and seeing how the manga compares. I think if you’re looking for a unique manga or you’re just starting out, then I definitely recommend checking this series out.

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Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol. 1 (Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku #1-2) by Fujita

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Mentions of sexual harassment, mentions of anxiety, alcoholism

Friends, this was the absolute cutest! I had a fantastic time reading this and I had such a hard time setting this down. This is such a whimsical, charming, and perfectly geeky book for those who are looking for a book to brighten their day up. And you might just laugh yourself silly like I did. This manga has also been made into an anime, you an watch the trailer HERE.

We follow Narumi, a secret fujoshi who seems to be down on her luck with relationships. Until one day, she reconnects with her childhood friend Hirotaka, a secret hardcore gamer, at their office job. This sparks Narumi suggestion they should go out for drinks to catch up with one another. And while they’re catching up, Narumi reveals to Hirotaka how hard it is to find someone who accepts her for who she truly is. To Narumi’s surprise, Hirotaka offers a solution. And this is their story.

This manga focuses on two different relationships. The main relationship this manga focuses around is Narumi and Hirotaka. Not only do they work together, but when they’re together they’re absolutely precious. Since they’ve known each other for such a long time, we see soft moments like when they can tell the other is upset or aren’t acting like themselves. We also get some really great moments where we see their personalities show a different side compared to when they’re in the work place. The other relationship this manga also focuses on is between Kabakura and Hanako, friends and coworkers to Narumi and Hirotaka. Their relationship is intense, they fight almost constantly, and the tension between them is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

“We’re together because I love you and I like seeing you doing things that make you happy.”

I really enjoyed Hirotaka and Narumi together. Their interactions with one another were so cute and wholesome, but they have a deep understanding of each other. They have some really precious moments that really show how much they care about one another, not only as couple, but also as two individuals who have been friends for such a long time. I really loved that. I also really appreciated how we see both couples in this manga on double dates. I rarely see the double dating in books. So that was a pleasant surprise that I really enjoyed. I also really adored how close Hanako and Narumi are in this manga. They cosplay together and seem really protective of one another. I’m always here for a friendship that’s positive especially between two women.

I only had two issues with this manga. The first one was with the second relationship, the one between Hanako and Kabakura. I felt like we never got to see them be soft and gentle with one another. For the majority of this book, they’re constantly arguing at each others throats, insulting one another, and there’s even a scene where Hanako tries to pressure Kabkura into cosplaying when he specifically says no. We see maybe one or two moments between them where they’re being gentle to one another, but the majority they’re fighting with one another. I’m hoping in future books, we see more moments shared between them where they’re being kind to one another or loving.

My second struggle with this manga was no solid story line or plot. It felt like there were outlines of a plot or story line, but for the most part it felt like this manga was just sharing moments between Hirotaka and Narumi. It felt very repetitive because of no solid story line or plot. With that being said, I’m hoping in future volumes we’ll see change of scenery and things won’t have a repetitive feeling to it. We’ll see an actually story form of how their love is growing, maybe we’ll see some character development, and maybe we’ll see some end goal within this book.

“If my smile could reach the person I love… I think I’d explode with happiness.”

Overall, I really did have a fantastic time reading this book. I loved how we follow two geeky people who’ve been friends since childhood form a relationship. They’re incredible sweet to one another and Fujita has an incredible way of capturing that. I also really enjoyed the art style. Fujita has a way a capturing the emotions of characters and make a panel play to the moment. And the way Fujita writes has such a subtle way of saying so much meaning with saying very little, I really loved that. It was just a really great times reading this manga. I’m really eager to give the anime a try and see how similar it is to the manga. But if you’re looking for something funny, charming, and wholesome then I can’t recommend this manga enough!

Buddy read with Kayla from Books and Blends 🧡

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In/Spectre, Vol. 2 (In/Spectre #2) by Kyo Shirodaira & Chashiba Katase

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👹 In/Spectre Vol. 1 | Review ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, death of a parent, violence, graphic injuries, graphic human experimenting

Friends, you know how much I love my manga. Well, I’m glad that I still enjoyed the story line of this series so far. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and was interested to see where the story would lead us next. I love the story line and I think that’s why I’m still willing to continue on with this series. Plus, a disabled lead character! This manga series is also an anime you can watch on Crunchyroll.

If you haven’t read my review for the first volume, please make sure you read that.

Our story follows seventeen-year-old Kotoko, who was kidnapped by yokai as a child, turned into someone who can communicate between them and the humans, and maintains the peace. In this volume, Kotoko travels to investigate the death of idol, Karin Nanase, who seems to be terrorizing the town of Makurazaka. She’s known as “The Steel Lady”. With Kuro missing, she’ll have to team up the only person who might be able to help her, Kuro’s ex-girlfriend, Saki. Together they’ll uncover the truth about the origins of The Steel Lady’s bizarre powers.

I love the story line of this manga series. It’s probably my most favorite thing about this entire series. I love anything that has to do with yokai. And even thought we had only a few bread crumbs in the first book about Kuro, I was still excited to see Kotoko’s backstory. But when I heard there was the chance we would start learning more about Kuro’s background in this book, I was really excited. The story line keeps you very interested, though. I’m constantly wondering what the next bit of information will be.

Of course I have to talk about Kotoko for a second. She’s our main character of this series. She’s was taken by yokai as a child and when she was returned to the mortal world, she was missing one eye and one leg. So she has an artificial eye and prosthetic leg. There are scenes from both the first and second volume where Kotoko will detach her prosthetic leg when in battle with demons or monsters. While I can’t speak on the disability representation, I deeply appreciate how our main character is disabled and she continues to live her life despite being disabled. I wish more manga had disability representation and it was more normalized within them.

My biggest issues with this manga volume was two major things. The first thing is the way Kotoko announces to Saki that she and Kuro are in a relationship. In the first volume, we never see them have that conversation of becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. We get the sense that they formed a partnership to deal with demons and monsters, but the relationship was dropped out of nowhere. My second issue in this volume has been the fact the author has pinned Kotoko and Saki against each other, fighting over a boy. This is a huge problem especially since Saki has agreed to have dinner with one of her coworkers. It just seemed really unnecessary to have Kotoko and Saki pinned against one another, fighting over Kuro. It felt very petty and it felt dragged out throughout this volume.

Overall, I still enjoyed this volume despite the issues. I’ve been sitting on the fence on whether or not I want to continue this series. I truly love the setting, the story line, the back stories of the main character and love interest, and we all know I’m here for the yokai. I think if this volume didn’t have Kotoko and Saki pinned against each other over a boy, I would have loved it more. It felt too much like a bad love triangle. If this series does interest you, I highly recommend checking it out. This is one of the first manga series I’ve encountered with disability representation and I think many manga readers are sleeping on this series.

Read for The Reading Rush 💚

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The Girl from the Other Side: Siuil A Run by NAGABE

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Please note, this is going to be a manga series review!

🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 2 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 3 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 4 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 5 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 6 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
🌻 The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 7 | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, graphic injuries, decapitation, impalement, death, talk of sacrifice, attempted sacrifice, abandonment, witch hunt themes, kidnapping, mass murder/democide, trauma/PTSD, grief, loss of a loved one, torture, and more!

After many, many requests… I am finally do a full series review of The Girl from the Other Side! Dearest readers, if you have been with me for a while then you’ve probably seen me mention this series a lot. Whether you have seen me talk about this manga series on my blog or on IG, you know that this series took me by storm. I love this series with my whole heart and soul, I recommend this series to everyone I come in contact with, and honestly, I can’t stop talking about this series. Plus, the eighth volume in this series just released in the U.S. on March 17th, 2020 so I figured now would be the perfect time to gush about this series!

The Girl from the Other Side follows two main characters; Shiva, a young girl in white and Teacher, a humanoid beast in black. Both live in a split world between the Inside and the Outside. Those who live on the Inside are told to never venture to the Outside and should they find themselves on the Outside, hope and pray the curse won’t touch them. Though our two main characters are never allowed to touch, they share a unique bond that keeps them tethered to one another. But when Shiva’s patience has finally ran out, she leaves to find her grandmother. Only in these two realms, you never know who you can truly trust.

For starters, let me say how excited I am that this is being adapted into an anime series! This manga series is very underrated and I wish more readers were picking this series up. To hear that it has been picked up for an anime series, the actual blessings! Secondly, if you’re a fan of the manga series or the anime series, The Ancient Magus Bride then you’re going to fall in love with this manga series. The relationship between Shiva and Teacher have a lot of similarities to Chise and Elias. So let this be the reason why you pick this series up!

Okay, if that didn’t convince you on why you need to pick this series up then let’s talk about the world building. Though the world may be black and white, split into two realms, the way this world is built and how the side characters are all portrayed are anything but black and white. The world is established through an old legend where the God of Light punished the God of Darkness, transforming the God of Darkness into a terrible monster. But the God of Darkness allowed his rage to consume him and turned his punishment into a curse to spread to others. So the God of Light banished the God of Darkness to the Outside, splitting the world into the two realms, the Inside and the Outside. I love a world that’s built off a legend or folklore. It just makes the world even more unique.

Then we have the way all the main and side characters are portrayed in this series. The side characters are all painted in a morally grey light, yet their intentions come off as malicious. As for our main characters, they’re the most morally grey in this series. Their personalities develop as the series continues and we really see how they mirror one another. We all know that I love morally grey characters because they are the type of characters that resemble the most realistic traits of humanity. I think this series does a fantastic job at showing all these different personalities and truly shows how complex thoughts and actions are when there’s no straight forward answer to a problem. I really loved it and I loved the way the character development is shown in this series.

And of course, I would be an absolute fool if I didn’t mention the art style. Each panel is unique and really sets the mood at times. I remember when I first opened the first volume and how quickly the art captured my attention. The tone in which every shade of white, black, and gray sets everything up to be mysterious or leave you wondering what will happen next. I truly could live within the pages of this manga series. They’re so aesthetically pleasing!

The story-line is probably one of my most favorite pieces of this series though. I found it was really easy to get wrapped up in everything happening and wanting to find out more. The author does a really fantastic job on ending each book on a cliffhanger that makes you want to pick the next volume. We also receive little bits of information that make you want to unravel the mystery of how everything will come into play later on. I’m excited for future volumes to come because I have so many questions and I can’t wait to see how everything will paint the big picture for us.

Overall, I truly hope more readers will be picking this series up. Other than myself, I haven’t heard many people talking about this manga series. It completely boggles my mind! This series is such a slow build, slow burn and I love every second of it. I think the story-line is absolutely fantastic and I think if you’re like me, you’d want to obtain the whole series in one go too! There will never be enough words to convey my thoughts and feelings about this series. I truly love it and I can’t wait to see what they do with the anime adaptation! If you’re looking for a series that’s dark fantasy, has a slow build story-line, prophecies, and little pieces slowly unraveling then you definitely need to pick this series up!

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Blue Flag, Vol. 1 by KAITO

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ARC was given by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (April 21st, 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Minor bullying, death of a parent/loss of a loved one

Fellow readers, I really enjoyed this manga! I know it’s been a while since I talked about a manga, but after reading Blue Flag Vol. 1, I’m so hung up on it and waiting for the next volume. Can the next volume be out already? Please! I truly enjoyed myself and my time reading this manga. And if you’re in need of some cute, fluffy, and slow burn romance then you will like this book as much as I did.

Blue Flag follows four teenagers and their journey through high school, navigating their feelings. We follow the perspective of Sorta Ichinose who’s an average boy, but also a bit nerdy. His childhood friend, Toma is the polar opposite of Sorta. He’s charming and popular with all of his classmates, but despite all of that, he goes out of his way to remain friends with Sorta and make conversation with him. Somewhere along the way, Sorta ends up in the mist of helping a fellow classmate, Futaba Kuze. She has a huge crush on Toma and seeks out courage and help from Sorta as Toma is his friend. As the story-line develops, feelings bloom, signals get mixed, and tensions run high. When it comes to love, things can get a bit messy!

I loved so many things about this manga! I couldn’t help getting swept away as the story-line whisks you away between moments of tension to endearing moments. There are so many moments where you feel like you’re holding your breath or waiting for someone to confess their feelings. Not to mention, there are some really sweet moments shared with the characters. And as these moments bloom, you can’t help wondering what will happen next. Also, I’m not one to really like or enjoy love triangles that often. However, the way the love triangles are crafted in this book were well balanced and leaves you wonder who will end up with who.

I also have to mention the ending of this manga! That ending left me wanting the next volume immediately. The cliffhanger is so good and there are so many questions that I need answers to. I was so swept up into the story-line and the character development that when I got to the end, the ending hit like a ton of bricks. This will probably be one of my favorite cliffhanger endings ever! I can’t for everyone else to experience this ending!

Overall, I was really taken by storm with this manga. From the pleasant art style all the way to the ending of this book, this series has hooked it’s claws in me. I’m ready for the next volume and I can’t wait to see what happens to all of these characters. If you’er a lover of slow burns, love triangles, and cliffhangers that leave you wanting more then this is a series I highly recommend picking up! This manga was charming, had so many sweet moments, and I’ll say it again, that end was top tier level.

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An Incurable Case of Love, Vol. 2 (An Incurable Case of Love #2) by Maki Enjoji

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💙 An Incurable Case of Love, Vol. 1

Content/Trigger Warnings: Stalking, alcoholism

Nanase chose to become a nurse to chase after Dr. Tendo, but he’s not as he appears. Although very handsome on the outside, but he kisses her and calls it a medical treatment, he’s good at his job yet he’s incredibly strict. Despite it all, Nanase can’t stop herself from loving him or choosing him.

If you saw my review for the first volume in this series then you already know I have waited for this volume for far too long! I should have known by now that I breeze through manga, but I just couldn’t help myself. So I was left waiting until the 2020 release of the second volume in this series. And it didn’t disappoint! I flew through this volume just as quickly as the first and if you haven’t checked this series out by now, go check out my review for the first volume for a better idea of the series!

“I can’t tell him, but his smile is what attracted me to him five years ago.”

Like the first volume, I loved the tension and banter between Nanase and Dr. Tendo. I love it even more in this book because so much comes to light in this volume to their fellow coworkers. It was fantastic to watch everything begin to slowly uncoil and then there were so many moments that just leave you breathless or dying of laughter. One thing I really loved seeing between these two was Dr. Tendo becoming more reliant on Nanase because of falling ill with a high fever. In the first volume we saw Dr. Tendo take care of Nanase and make sure she was okay, but now the role is reversed in this volume. I really loved that and I loved that we got to see these characters be vulnerable with one another again.

I also really love how the importance of a smile gets emphasized throughout this entire series. In the first volume there’s an emphasis of Nanase just wanting to see Dr. Tendo smile again, but this volume really takes a smile to a deeper level that I truly appreciated. We get introduced to a new doctor and Nanase talks about how his smile makes her feel very uneasy, and how she doesn’t understand why she feels odd when he smiles compared to others when she’s had a positive reaction with them. I also love how she react when Dr. Tendo smiles for her and each reaction makes my heart flutter. Enjoji does an amazing job with showing the importance in a smile in this volume and I hope the author continues with showing the importance in future volumes.

Aside from the good, there were also some things that really bothered me that I felt needed to be addressed. For starters, there was a scene in this volume where Nanase and the new doctor were at his welcome party, and things took a turn for the cringey for me. The doctor kept pouring Nanase drink after drink and even after she told him she was trying to cut back on her drinking, he continued to pour drinks for her and her coworkers were even chanting for her to allow it, there was some cringey joke about how if she passed out or went unconscious that everyone in the room was a doctor, and after all of that it caused the main character to try to force herself to drink and made a quick excuse to leave immediately. It was a very cringey scene and you could feel the main character forcing herself to be there. It also felt a like it could have turned into a date rape situation really quickly. Needless to say, I was not a fan of this scene at all.

The other thing that really bothered me was the stalking element in this volume. Nanase doesn’t tell anyone except one person about her stalker. In my personal opinion, one should be more open especially with their friends, family, work place managers, and even neighbors if you have a stalker. That way you have a network of people who know the situation that’s happening and they can look out for you. What also bothered me was Nanase’s coworkers knew about the guy who has been stalking her and only told her about it until she mentioned something. A stalker is a threat to a person’s safety and well being, if someone is showing signs of being a stalker then the victim and management should be notified immediately. Not to mention, Dr. Tendo takes Nanse out in public and leaves her alone with the knowledge that she has a stalker. With all of this compiled together, I was immensely frustrated with the whole stalker/stalking element. It felt poorly executed and it felt like it was giving all the wrong signals especially as someone who has been stalked, this felt very triggering and frustrating to read about.

Overall, I gave this manga four stars because I truly do enjoy these characters and I love a good hate to love romance. If I had to pick between the first and second volume on which I liked more, I would probably have to say the first one. Mainly due to the first one causing less frustration than this volume. However, I really loved seeing Dr. Tendo being vulnerable and I loved that we got to see more emphasis and importance of the smile in this volume. Of course, I truly wish we had more scenes with Ryuko because she is a delight and she’s such a positive energy in this series! So if you’re looking for a manga series that has a slow burn, hate to love romance and love characters that will hook your attention from the beginning then you have to give this series a try!

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Beasts of Abigaile Vol. 1 (Beasts of Abigaile #1) by Spica Aoki

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Bullying, violence, physical abuse, scene of child abuse, slavery, talk of torture

“I never could’ve imagined…the unthinkable trails that awaited me…here on Abigaile.”

Dearest readers, this book completely took me by surprise. Actually, I shouldn’t be that surprised because my dearest friend Kayla from Books and Blends recommended this series to me and we have very similar taste in books. And I ate this first book alive! I devoured it and now I’m waiting for my order of the rest of this series to arrive. There are werewolves, there’s a character named Darrio who is just a flamboyant precious bean, and I have so many questions that I need answers to. I just fell in love with this a whole ton and I’m so excited!

Our story follows Nina who recently relocated to the beautiful country Ruberia. Even though this country is very beautiful, this country has many dark secrets lurking underneath it’s surface and Nina quickly realizes the darkest secret of them all. Once bitten by a wolf-like luga, Nina soon transforms and dragged off to the penitentiary academy know as Abigaile, where the luga of Ruberia learn how to serve humans. With her strong-willed personality, Nina will make extraordinary friends, gain a lover or two, plenty of enemies, and disrupting the alpha-omega hierarchy from it’s core!

I love Nina as our main character. She has so much life to her and the way she stands up to right the wrong being done just fill my heart with so many warm feelings. I will always be a sucker for strong willed characters who voice their words, stand up for those who don’t know how to, and still have the compassion when the situation would harden most. She easily became a character I was invested in and saw myself in. She just has one of those personalities that you can’t resist even if you really wanted to.

We also get introduced to a bunch of other characters that are probably going to make plenty of other appearances. For starters, you have Gilles who’s on the student council at the academy and I’m not going to lie, he’s a bit of a dream boat! We also have Roy who’s not only an alpha of one of the groups at the academy, he’s also the wolf who bit Nina and seems to have it out for her. Then we have one of my favorite and most exciting characters, Darrio. He’s the alpha who takes Nina in and offers her protection. He also has an incredible taste in fashion and is very flamboyant. I love him to pieces and I will protect him with my whole heart and soul! There are many side characters, but these are the main characters who stick out the most in this book and I have no doubt that we’re going to see so much more from them in upcoming volumes.

The thing that blew me away the most with this volume was the ending. I love a good series or book that ends on a really great cliffhanger that encourages the readers to keep reading. And this cliffhanger, it was so juicy and good. I wanted so much more when I read those final pages because those few pages offer so much, but it leaves you craving more, having so many questions, and wondering what this all means. I’ll be honest, I took some series notes and predicting what will happen in the next volume because my curiosity is eager to know.

Overall, I know this wasn’t a super long review, but I don’t want to say too much that might reveal twists or major events that happen in this first volume. What I will say is how good this first volume was and how fast paced everything is. As I said, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrive of the rest of the series because my drive to power read through this series is on a high right now. If you’re anything like me who loves a fast paced read that involves werewolves and dark secrets then this is going to be a manga series you want to pick up. Also, this series is super short! Aside from one other series that I know of, this series only has four books in total. If you’re a fast reader, you can easily breeze through this series super quickly! I highly recommend checking it out and giving it a chance!

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In/Spectre, Vol. 1 (In/Spectre #1) by Chashiba Katase

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Terminal illness, hospitalization, graphic injuries, minor stalking

Dearest readers, I can’t believe I never knew about this manga series! To think it’s been flying under my radar all this time is ridiculous! However, I’m super grateful that my best friend recommended we buddy read this because I loved every second of it! Even if you’re not a fan a manga, I truly believe with my heart and soul that this will be one you want to check out, if not for the synopsis alone!

Our tale follows 17-year-old Kotoko who hasn’t had an easy life and how found herself under unique circumstances. Kotoko was taken as a child by spirits called yokai who made her their their negotiator of the mortal world, but in return they took one of here eyes and one of her legs. Now Kotoko is able to communicate with other worldly forces and keep the balance, but it’s not as easy as it seems. Since then, Kotoko has been the only one with her power until one fateful day she discovers her crush, Kur, has a secret or two up his sleeve. Together, Kotoko and Kur form a partnership that will make them stronger than ever, but for a girl who has so many gifts, love is going to be one tough quest to navigate!

I loved this book so much! I loved that this was a great way to introduce the series. The thing I loved most of all is the play of the yokai. If you’re familiar with Japanese mythology and folklore then these creatures are no strangers to you. However, if you’ve never heard of them before, yokai are a specific class of creatures, spirits, and demons; they’re known to be bewitching, attractive, calamity, and spectre in Japanese folklore. You may have also heard them be called ayakashi or mononoke. I love anything that takes Japanese folklore and myths to weave an interesting story or add a unique element into the book. It’s one of those things that will make me pick up a book instantly.

Another thing I really loved about this manga was the disability representation. Even more so for the fact that we get a very high action scene with our main character who’s disabled and showing that disabled people can be active and do many things even if they’re not like they’re old selves. I find that it’s not often we get the chance to read about a main character who can kick some series butt, but is also disabled and I just really loved every second of it. I think we need to have more disabled representation in books and I truly think this will be one book many readers will love for the disability representation.

Aside from the good elements, there was one thing that really bothered me and that was the way this book concluded. Near the end it sets things up for s weird love triangle and those can be a bit of a hit or miss for me. Honestly, this is a bit of a miss with me. I also don’t like how in the ending it was painting Kotoko is a childish light either. The whole thing just didn’t impress and I don’t think Kotoko owed Kur’s ex-girlfriend a full explanation of who she is.

Overall, I truly did enjoy this manga! I loved the pace of it all, the mysterious elements, the craving need to know more, and the way Kotoko takes on the world. Even though the ending was a bit of a miss with me, I still have plans to pick up volume two and continue on with the series. I’m always here for a good series that has some of my favorite elements in it. Plus, I really want to know what’s going to happen between Kotoko and Kur. I have my fingers crossed that this will be a bit of a slow burn romance and I love a good slow burn romance!

Buddy read with Kayla from Books and Blends | Her Review ❤️

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An Incurable Case of Love Vol. 1 (An Incurable Case of Love #1) by Maki Enjoji

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Content/Trigger Warnings: Sexual assault, talk of death, death of a patient, terminal illness, guilt, scene of attempted suicide, intoxication

After a lady collapses and a charming young doctor comes to the rescue five years ago, Nanase Sakura decides to train and become a nurse. But when they two finally reunite, working together as doctor and nurse, he’s nothing like the kind and charming prince she believed Kairi Tendo to be. Now they’re at each other’s throats and Sakura is determined to prove him wrong that she can be a helpful nurse!

Readers, I ate this manga up! It was so good, so captivating, and I need 2020 to be here now so I can get Volume Two! I also got a little soft and sappy because I do have family members and a few friends who are nurses. Not to mention the vibes of the whole romance in this manga is something I can’t get enough of in relationships. This was everything I needed to pull me out of a slump, everything I wanted with a romance, and I just love this series a whole lot!

“I wanted to see that smile again.”

In this story we follow Nanase Sakura who decided that she was going to become a nurse after meeting a handsome young doctor five years ago when she was trying to save a woman’s life. She ends up landing at the same hospital as the young doctor, but when she reunites with the doctor things don’t go quite as she imagined. He’s very harsh, majority of the nurses usually transfer from his department, and there’s rumors of him being loose with women. Now Nanase is in for a world of shock and has to work with Kairi Tendo who is anything, but easy-going on her.

I love the dynamic of our two main characters. So we have Nanase Sakura who has a very bright, sensitive, and easy-going personality that completely clashes with the personality of Dr. Kairi Tendo. Kairi Tendo on the other hand is abrasive, harsh, and takes everything very seriously. When you put these two personalities together it’s a recipe for a good hate to love trope to happen. Not to mention their work environment just becomes a tense battle ground of banter. It’s so good and there’s so much humor in the little moments. There’s also so really great moments when they aren’t bantering or being stubborn with one another. It’s a really great dynamic and the chemistry between these two characters is something I truly enjoyed reading.

We also get some really great side characters who make things really interesting. We get introduced to Nana which is Kairi’s sister. She’s a really bright, caring, positive energy of a character who delivers a great foundations for a friendship with Nanase. I really wish we had more scenes with her because I loved the scenes with her coming into the picture and I loved the way she introduced herself in this manga. Fingers crossed for more scenes with her! We also get introduced to a character by the name of Nishi. Compared to Dr. Tendo, Nishi is loved by all the nurses and patients, has a caring personality, and is really warm and welcoming. I have a feeling he’s going to play a bigger role in later issues because there’s just too many hints that he might be playing a bigger part than what we realize. There’s so many great characters and they truly help build the scene and the work environment for our two main characters.

Unfortunately, this book did have some issues that didn’t sit too well with me. However, out of all the little minor things in this book, my biggest issue was with the sexual assault situation. My biggest issue with this scene in particular is the fact that Nanase feels the need to convince herself that what’s happening is normal, that it’s okay, that this is all part of her job as a nurse and that she sees this as something she needs to overcome or get used to. I also don’t like the fact that Nanase went searching for help and guidance and she wasn’t met with any answers that she needed for her particular situation. Then there’s the matter of Dr. Tendo coming into the picture. I don’t like how once Dr. Tendo became involved the scene of sexual assault became set up as a “knight in shining armor to save the princess” type of situation. I understand why it was setup the way it was, but the whole scene in general just didn’t sit well with me, personally.

Overall, I really enjoyed this manga and still had a great time reading it even though there were some scenes that bothered me. This is one of my favorite tropes and I’m really excited for the next issues to come out. 2020 can’t get here soon enough! This is also one of my favorite authors. Maki Enjoji is also the author of the Happy Marriage?! series and that’s probably my standing favorite this author has written so far. So if you end up liking this manga series then you will probably enjoy some of her other work as well. She’s just a really great author and she has given me some of my favorite tropes. I highly recommend her books!

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Sekaiichi Hatsukoi: A Boys Love Story by Shungiku Nakamura

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Please note, this is going to be a manga series review!

Content/Trigger Warnings: Sex, sexual assault, rape, talk and scenes of depression, guilt, talk of toxic relationships, severe panic attacks and anxiety, scene of manipulation, scenes of intoxication

When Ritsu Onodera (a literary editor) resigns from his father’s company to escape his jealous coworkers and father’s shadow, he never expected what was coming next. When he’s hired by Marukawa Publishing, he never thought he’d be assigned to the shojo manga department and he certainly didn’t expect that his ex-lover(Masamune Takano) is his new boss. Later on, Ritsu learns that Takano still has feelings for him and tells him he will make him fall in love with him again. Through many obstacles and inner struggles, will these two find their way back to one another or will they drift apart forever?

Dearest readers, this is probably one of the few manga series that I have been reading and following for the longest. Sekaiichi Hatsukoi is a series I constantly revisit and reread all the time. This is also an anime series that I often rewatch when I doing mundane things when I’m home. I have loved this series for so long and I finally decided that I really wanted to share my love for it with all of you!

Sekaiichi Hatsukoi follows our main characters Ritsu Onodera and Masamune Takano who were once lovers in high school, but now are now thrown into the new reality of being coworker and boss. While Ritsu is still torn up and heartbroken about their past relationship, Masamune still has feelings for Ritsu and will stop at nothing to make him love him once again. Throughout this story they’ll struggle from many obstacles and face their own inner demons. There are also a few side stories with other characters from the shojo manga department, Emerald, along the way.

I really love this story line and mainly because it’s one of my favorite kind of tropes. I love a good boss and coworker kind of trope especially between someone who is more of an alpha male with a more sensitive love interest. I love this kind of trope, it’s something I really enjoy reading about in romance, and this series definitely delivers with that trope. There’s also another trope in here between a client and agent, and I have to say that I enjoy that dynamic just as much. That dynamic is definitely different compared to our main relationship in this story. There’s a lot more of the alpha male taking care of the love interest compared to the main relationship of this story. So if you enjoy different alpha male personalities as well as more sensitive personalities then you’re going to love a lot of characters in this series.

Aside from the tropes, I really liked Onodera as a main character. I felt more connected to him as a character just based off a lot of his personalities traits. He’s sensitive, reserved about his thoughts and feelings, very hard working, he puts a great amount of stress and pressure on himself of doing things to the very best of his capability, and he constantly has panic and anxiety. He felt like a real person and a lot of his traits I found similar to my own personal habits and characteristics. Compared to Tanko who is very assertive, very blunt, doesn’t really take ‘no’ for an answer, and a leader. There were times where Tanko would feel to overly assertive or dominant in a situation so his character put me off at times and it became hard to see his as someone to relate or connect to.

As I mentioned above, we also get side stories as well from coworkers of Onodera and Takano. We have the side stories of Hatori and his lifelong friend (and manga artist he’s in charge of) Yoshino, as well as Kisa and the attractive bookstore employee, Yukina. And then there’s my favorite novel in this series with Takano’s longtime friend and salesman of Marukawa, Yokozawa who gets swept off his feet after a harsh breakup by an attractive widower and single father Kirishima. I truly loved all these side stories especially since we see so many different personalities and situations. Yokozawa’s story is my favorite of them all though because I love the concept of finding love after the death of your romantic partner or after a really harsh breakup. I also really love the concept of single parents finding love again. I get real soft and sappy about those type of stories because I do come from a single parent home and I want that happiness and partnership for my parent. So I really love and adore Yokozawa’s story and him finding love all over again. I also like that Kisa and Yukina’s relationship. Their relationship does have an age gap element, Yukina is 21-years-old while Kisa is 30-years-old of age. It really shows the struggles of an age gap relationship, but it also shows the importance of communication and how to make it work. I really thought it was sweet and I liked the positive way the age gap relationship was reflected in their stories. And as I mentioned before, the relationship between Hatori and Yoshino is another forbidden romance!

One thing I really want to mention with this graphic novel series is that it’s very different compared to the anime series. When I refer this series to friends, family, fellow manga lovers, I really express the difference between the two. The anime is very “vanilla” compared to the manga series. The anime has taken out insane amounts of details and graphic content that this manga series has within it. There have been scenes that have been made very innocent and leaves more room for the imagination whereas the manga series has a lot of intimate, sexual scenes, and a lot of more detail in those sense. Huge difference and contrast to one another. So if you’ve only seen the anime, but wanted to pick up the manga, just know that there is a big difference between the two.

Along with the difference of the manga vs. the anime, I also wanted to mention content and trigger warnings for this series as well. While I do have a lot of the content and trigger warning stated above, I did want to take a moment to acknowledge the problematic material of this series. Upon really deep reflecting and bouncing thoughts, I concluded that some of the intimate and sexual scenes can be taken as sexual assault or attempted rape. I know for a fact that in both the manga and in the anime series, there is a scene where Yoshino went over to his friend’s house and things took a completely unexpected turn. That particular scene didn’t sit well with me especially since it was followed up with a scene of assault. I have also heard other reviewers say that this manga series romanticizes sexual assault. I personally didn’t get that vibe from this series, but I do acknowledge that is how some readers may interpret certain scenes like that. Just beware of this content and please make sure that you practice self-care if you think this might be triggering for you.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series and it’s been one that I’ve been following for such a long time now. I’m very eagerly awaiting the drop of the thirteenth volume which is happening in 2020. I wish I could say more about this series, I really do, but I want to keep this as spoiler free as possible. I definitely recommend reading the manga over the anime first just because of the details that you can end up missing in the anime, but if you don’t want all of those details then the anime is the best way to get a decent idea of what the manga is like. And as I mentioned, please use self-care. Oh, I love this series so much and I love it with my whole heart! And I hope you, dear reader, give this series a chance especially if you like manga.

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