Ultra Maniac – Manga Review

I started reading Ultra Maniac back in January while I was off work during our…second or third lock down. At this point I’ve lost count of how many lock down’s there have been but I had plenty to read so, it wasn’t like I was bored or anything.

Anyway, I remembered this manga being kind of silly as a kid. I didn’t read it at the time but had a lot of friends who absolutely adored it. I ended up reading up to the first bit of volume three before I switched to something else.

Compared to Marmalade Boy, this story more mild in terms of drama. In fact it kind of reminds me of a Disney sitcom, or even the older Sabrina the Teenage Witch comics, where every spell would get her into some kind of trouble.

I couldn’t help but think about Sabrina or the Bewitched series, while I read Ultra Maniac. It wasn’t because they were mimicking one another, or pulling directly from these sources but mainly because the witch character was this kind of goofy, always getting herself or others into mischief kind of girl. She’s that fun, quirky, kind of weird girl that you can’t help but like.

Ultra Maniac is all right. It’s not the best manga I’ve ever read but it isn’t bad. It’s a light hearted comedy about friendship, that also happens to involve a pinch of magic.

The character’s are fun, and the artwork is charming. It’s exactly what I would expect from a story about a seventh grade girl with a crush, who suddenly befriends a witch.

That being said, I think if I were younger maybe in the sixth or seventh grade I might have enjoyed this story a little more. However, I still read middle grade fiction every now and then and the majority of books I read at that age, that I still own, hold up to this day. Perhaps my initial disinterest in this series as a tween was because I just couldn’t get into the series. As far as middle school fantasy manga’s, I’ll stick with Sugar Sugar Rune.

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Three stars. It was okay. Not great. Not boring. Just, didn’t keep my interest to finish the whole series. However, if you like cute stories with magic, friendship and comedy I think it’s definitely worth checking out. Plus, I really loved the fashion in this series.


Manga I’m Looking Forward to in 2021

Back in December I was tasked to decide which manga series my work would be ordering for the store. We’re currently closed right now, but regardless I was extremely thrilled about the opportunity and went through upcoming releases/series I’d been recommended.

Here are the series that I’m personally looking forward to continuing or starting this year!

I’ve reviewed Daytime Shooting Star twice on this blog before, however I don’t believe I’ve reviewed Love Me, Love Me Not by Io Sakisaka yet. I’ve read so much of her work over the years, that I know for a fact I’ve referenced it more than once, especially when I talk about my own writing goals.

I’m looking forward to catching up on the new releases for both Daytime Shooting Star and Love Me, Love Me Not! Both series have been enjoyable reads and have had really great character development thus far.

Next is Yona of the Dawn. I’ve been praying that this series would get a second season for the anime but sadly shows classified as shojo don’t typically run for more than a single season. It would be nice though. This was one of those rare cases where I was introduced to the anime before the manga. I’m thankful that the series is now on Volume 28! I’ve grown accustom to shojo manga’s being somewhere between 10 and 12 volumes. The last series I had that was longer was around 24 books. Shonen tends to have a longer run. I assume due to funding or the amount of attention the genre gets in comparison?

Now this next one isn’t going to come out until April. It’s called A School Frozen in Time, and it sounds really interesting. It’s a horror although the current teaser cover doesn’t seem to indicate that. Sometimes that’s a good thing though. It can allow people to open up to a genre they would normally shy away from. I know misleading covers can be upsetting to people though! I’ve had it happen. I’m a lot more thorough when choosing books now.

Jujutsu Kaisen has been recommended to me at least a dozen times in the last two months. I haven’t fully figured out what the plot is about but I’m definitely going to check it out because I’ve only heard good things about this series!

I’m not sure if I’ll ever check out Our Fake Marriage, but I came across it on my book hunt for work. It does have really nice illustrations, I just don’t know if the plot is something I’d enjoy. I also haven’t seen any reviews for it yet.

I got the first 3 volumes of Perfect World for Christmas and I cannot wait to read them. I’m catching up on some other books first, mainly because I won’t be able to buy anything new for a while and when I start a series I tend to binge them all in one go! This series looks like it’s going to be fantastic.

My sister pointed out how the two lead character’s remind her of the Luka and her love interest in the Vocaloid song Just Be Friends.

This next series is one that I always saw at work. The cover and title caught my eye and I thought the synopsis sounded good. It’s currently on my TBR. I’ve hoping I can get a chance to read it this year!

I read a really good review about Boarding School Juliet on The KS Blogs and added it to my TBR immediately after. The do monthly manga discovery posts that I like checking. Another blog worth checking out if you’re into anime is Anime and Me.

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight is another manga that I found during my search for work. It seems cute. I might give it a shot. If you’ve heard of it, let me know!

This next series is one that I’ve been debating on buying for months. Sadly when I finally made my decision about it we went back into lock down…and now the lock down has been extended haha. Something’s Wrong With Us honestly caught my attention with the title alone. I kept coming back to it on the shelf. I wish I’d gotten it when I had the chance! If all works out I’ll be able to get it sometime this year!

Have you read any of these series? If not, are any of them on your TBR?

Teen Titans Raven & Beastboy: Comic Review

Fun fact, I am a big Teen Titan’s fan…or should I just say DC? Most of the character arc’s I follow are either in the Batman universe (the Robin’s, Nightwing, Joker, Harley, etc) and outside of that I love the Titan’s, Justice League, Young Justice…etc. I like teamwork.

Anyway, I’ve been following Picolo for a while on Instagram. Actually, I think I found his work on pinterest first because I have a board dedicated to DC comics and fanart, and I’m pretty sure his work featuring the Teen Titan’s is what lead me to his other work (Icarus and the Sun).

When I learned that Gabriel Picolo had been hired by DC to share his versions of the Teen Titan’s I was ecstatic! I knew it was something he was passionate about and I couldn’t wait to see him bring the character’s to life.

On the other hand, I was unfamiliar with author Kami Garcia but I could tell upon reading Raven that she had a love for these character’s. When I went on to read Beastboy it was clear that these two were a destined duo! The artwork and writing style complimented each other perfectly.

When I first saw Picolo’s designs of Raven, I was pleased with the fact that he captured her overall aesthetic so well. Much like how Raven’s style and personality were captured in Titan’s on Netflix. There was care put into how she dresses herself, how she walks, the actions she takes to guard herself (and her heart). It was so clear to me that the designers (in the case of Picolo, the artist), not only understood who Raven was but cared about her character and how she blossoms as a person during her time with the Titan’s.

Similarly, Beastboy was portrayed in this comic series with just as much care. Out of the two books, I actually think Beastboy was my favourite. Everything about him was true to his character, even the little add-ons. His friends were likeable, and it is clear from the beginning that Garfield aka Beastboy had been “monkeying around” long before he was bit by that weird green monkey.

Now, if you’ve read my other comic and manga reviews then you’ll know that I love comics with superheros and cute love stories. So, it’s probably no surprise that I cannot wait until Beastboy Loves Raven is released!

Aren’t they adorable? These two are my favourite ship across all the DC comics (aside from Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle). I love how Beastboy is so colourful, warm and bighearted. This is shown a lot through his comic. He truly cares for other people, which is why at times he puts up a front as a tough guy to protect himself.

Raven on the other hand wants nothing more than to love and be loved, but her origins…and mere existence, put those around her at risk. Despite wanting to be close to other people, she isolates herself out of fear. It’s only when she’s with an incredibly strong group of friends that don’t fall victim to her cold exterior, that she opens up and is truly herself.

My rating for Raven:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Raven was almost there. I want to give it the full 5 but there were parts of the story that just didn’t do it for me. I honestly think it was because it was the first time these two had worked together on a project, along with trying to introduce these new character’s into the story. I much preferred the side character’s in Beastboy as they felt more integrated than they did in Raven. Raven/Rachel’s foster sister and love interest were alright, but honestly her foster sister stood out a lot more than the others in the story.

My rating for Beastboy:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Beastboy hit all the marks. It was clear from the beginning who Gar was, and what the people in his life meant to him. He was a strong character supported by a cast of other strong character’s, which made for a fun story. I liked reading about him discovering his powers, and the consequences that followed because of it. I also liked that Deathstroke is lurking in the shadows throughout the story. The team (Garcia and Picolo) also did a good job at integrating Beastboy into a modern day setting. They gave me the, average teen just trying to navigate life vibe while still being true to this character which meant a lot to me as a fan.

I wonder what I should read next? My list keeps growing!

“Google is free!”: My Response to Bookish Realm’s Reflection Livestream.

Tonight I tuned in to Bookish Realm’s livestream, where she broke down and discussed where we’ve come as a community–by community I mean the reading community–over these past six months.

It wasn’t an easy conversation to have. Tears were shed…and I have seen many tears from these wonderful creators, writers and reviewers. Too many tears. 2020 should be nicknamed the Year of the Tear. Anyway, her final point in the live–one that I thought as she was saying it–was that “Google is free.”

To summarize, she was talking about how when people act like they don’t have any access to books by BIPOC authors. Which to the BIPOC creators and reviewers is an absolute joke because Google is the easiest place to start. To prove it, I decided to do a quick search, one that was recommended by her: romances featuring a black couple.

Well I googled and although there are a lot with interracial couples, I am annoyed at how few books being promoted are ones with two happy black people in love.

To clarify I’m mixed race. Black Mom. White Dad. I’m making this clear because despite my–well to myself–clearly mixed features I did have someone on Twitter assume I was white. Like damn, I know I need a tan but you don’t need to rub it in!

Anyway, I know what its like to see your family being poorly represented by the media. The reason why I’m annoyed with the lack of promotion of two black characters in love is because despite trying to do better…which I do believe they are, they’re still putting focus on this idea that in order for this black female character to achieve happiness she needs to marry a white man. Which is a whole other thing that I don’t even know how to unpack. I don’t even known if it’s my place to unpack that…I’m the product of an interracial relationship and I’ve been in interracial relationships. It doesn’t mean I’m an expert. This type of relationship is the norm for me. However, I still want to see HEALTHY relationships between black couples being portrayed by the media in books and on television.

I like seeing a happy family, living life, raising their kids…but for some reason the media likes to shove black trauma pieces at us instead. Don’t they know you could have a love story like Cory and Topanga but with BIPOC characters?

I wish I could remember exactly what she said on the stream about this because it was so perfect. It reminded me of a tweet I saw about how this girl wanted to see a romance film featuring an interracial couple where one of the love interests wasn’t white, for example Indigenous and Caribbean. There are relationships like this in the real world and yet I haven’t seen them portrayed anywhere. Actually I lied, that one show on Netflix with Devery Jacobs has her character dating a black actress in the second season. Sadly I can’t remember…THE ORDER. That’s it. Campy horror, wevewolf show that screams Canadian horror so bad…that I can’t help but love it. I love me some campy made in Canada horror shows haha. But there, like…it wasn’t difficult for them to portray this type of relationship! So to that girl who tweeted that, stuff is out there. Just have to find it and then promote it like crazy so more of it gets made!

And that leads me to my next point, as readers we need to do better in what we choose to read and promote. As Bookish Realm said, we should track what we read and compare numbers. How many BIPOC authors have you read in 2020? How many do you plan on reading in 2021? If you’re like me and read a lot of manga are you going to try and find manga and comics made by BIPOC artists?

I’m aware that conversations about race can be uncomfortable, but I’m a person that honestly learns better through having discussions with others. Respectful, open discussions where each person feels like they are being heard…because discussions can make us vulnerable.

The discussion tonight, had a lot of people in tears because there is such a strong need for change and yet when it came down to it, six months later things remained ultimately the same. I don’t want another six months to go by without seeing some sort of change. Especially when so many people in this community have been working their butts off to create a place where all of us feel welcome, safe and loved!

I truly believe…and maybe it’s because I’m kind of an optimistic daydreamer type of person…but I want to believe that each little change we make can create an overall greater change for the community.

Now, here’s what I found in my quick Google search:

A lot of what I read romance-wise is shojo so I’m not too familiar with these authors…however, O magazine posted a list of the 30 Best Black Romance Novels.

I also found another list called 20 Romance Novels by Black Authors to Read this Summer.

On the Goodread’s list I see more books that I recognize. I’ve seen them on display in bookstores or a friend or family member was reading them. I’ve seen Make a Scene haha. Pun intended.

I honestly think, and this is because I don’t really read Adult Romance genres…or I should say read romance but it’s usually the sub-genre (unless its shojo then it’s all romance, first love blah blah blah)…I’m going to challenge myself to find more comics, manga and webtoons created by BIPOC that are like the ones I enjoy reading already. Superheroes and romance are my main loves with comics (especially magical girls!). I’m going to try and research this a little tonight and see what I come up with!

Manga Review: Living no Matsunaga-san 1

I won’t lie, the reason I picked up this book is just so I could hold it up and say, “And they were roommates.”

Yah…I’m that person.

I’m planning on reading the next volume in the near future, however I felt like book #1 was a bit rushed. It had the usual,

“Hi my name is so and so and I’m this many years old and go to blah blah school…”

type introduction which I find tiresome, unless something really wild happens interrupting the main character.

I did however think that the character’s were fun. I like the dynamic between the roommates living in the house. I just found the female lead, Miko a little dry in the beginning. Once I reached the end of the book she grew on me, but part of me wishes that her roommate the nail artist was the protagonist? I don’t know why but everyone else just seemed a lot more fleshed out than Miko did in this first book.

I still enjoyed it. It was a nice, short read with a cute story. The main character just seemed to fall into the typical shojo cliches that I’d grown tired of after reading for 14 or 15 years now. I read a lot of shojo, so for me I really need to connect with the character’s (leads especially) for me to continue. They only reason I’m giving this series another chance is because the supporting cast of character’s were incredibly charming, which in my opinion makes up for the dryness in Miko’s characterization near the first half of the book.

As for the art style of the book, I thought it was really cute. Each of the character’s seem to have their own distinct styles, which is something I love to see when I’m reading comics/manga!

Overall I’m going to be giving this first book 3 stars because it was “okay” but it wasn’t “great.”

Rating: 3 out of 5.
OH MY GAWD THEY WERE ROOMMATES!

Write a brief scene between your character and someone they admire.

He used to tell stories, but something changed. She wasn’t sure if his laughter faded when the bullets struck or when his unsteady fingers stopped tracing the black and white keys of his piano. She listened to his deep sighs, slurred words, the way his feet shuffled; his head flopping against the pillow in the early hours of the morning when he finally returned home from places he never spoke about.

He never seemed like a grown up but now he seemed small and distant. His tired eyes, wincing with every breath as he forced himself up out of bed and helped her and her brother get ready for school. She noted how his face tensed up every time the baby cried. How he rested his head in his hands while his mother lectured him about his late nights, his messy hair, the harshness in his voice.

She thought back to when his voice was gentle like her father’s. Like tea and honey. When he’d call her “Flower” and sing silly songs to her while they baked pies together or when they would play follow the leader.

Everything changed that night. No matter how many wishes she made at the creek where they used to play, her uncle remained lost like her mother and father.

Book Talk Episode 17: Illustrated Covers

The other day at work, a co-worker of mine was admiring this beautifully illustrated book cover. I wish I could recall the name of the book so I could show an example, but her comment really made me think. She said, “I’m so glad that they’re going back to the illustrated version of this cover. I hate how boring a lot of covers have been these past few years.”

The two of us then went on to discuss how, since the first Twilight book came out a lot of book covers began to mimic the style and then ultimately readers were bombarded with stock images and lifeless photographs. Now, not to bash the creators of those types of covers…I believe that the covers for Twilight and their simplicity was actually well thought out. The issue that we discussed was that it seemed as though the plan was to get readers to buy a book because it had a similar cover to that of the Twilight series, versus coming up with something significant to the actual story.

I can clearly remember being a 13-15 year old wandering around my favourite bookstores and sighing at the cover art. I know that they say not to judge a book but it’s cover, but it’s the first thing a reader sees, not the review. Not the synopsis. Not the first page. The cover is what’s put on display for us.

Illustrated covers have always captured my attention. For example, the cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s absolutely beautiful. When I saw it, I immediately was drawn to the book! That is what a cover is supposed to do. It’s supposed to capture your attention.

The design itself isn’t too complicated, and yet it captures the eye. It stirs curiosity. It makes you wonder what’s inside.

Illustrated covers, in my personal opinion, do a better job of conveying certain types of stories. Especially within much of fiction. It makes them stand out more.

If you compare the classic horror book covers to current ones, you’ll find yourself greatly disappointed. A few of my friends who are avid horror readers lament over the lack of character given to horror books today in comparison to the ones printed in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Look at this cover of Misery by Stephen King.

The illustrated version of this cover is eye catching, whereas the version with the snow covered cabin doesn’t peak my curiosity as much. It doesn’t pull me in as much. This however, is my personal opinion. I have however, seen some horror book reviewers (along with friends of mine who adore the genre) discuss this in more detail.

I recommend checking out the video, Horror Books Have Lost Their Identity. I’ve linked it below because I think it really summarizes what I’m discussing in this post.

As YouTuber In Praise of Shadows states in the video, book covers are supposed to give the reader some indication of the genre as well as what the story is about. However in recent years they have had to scan the covers for small clues…such as a single word in a review in fine print on the cover like, “haunting,” “shocking” or “disturbing.”

The older covers made it very clear what the books were about. Right now all of the covers, across these vast genres are blending together in a mess of bright colours and large font.

This video really grasps what my co-worker and I were discussing the other day. At some point all the books blend together.

I know many people who believe that The Hunger Games and the Divergent series are the same, simply because of how the covers were designed. People who know nothing about the plots for either series. This assumption came with how the books were marketed. I know that when I first saw the Divergent cover, I thought it was a Hunger Games spin off series. That was until I read the synopsis. I remember being almost…frustrated by how so many of the covers that came out that year, resembled The Hunger Games (and Twilight). I was so frustrated by it I missed out on reading a lot of potentially good books, and lost interest in much of what was published that year.

Now, as someone who also reads comic books and manga, I know how much work has to go into the covers for those. I’ve seen examples of some of the covers done for the more recent releases of the Jughead comics. There were several options done for the front cover, before one was selected by the team as the perfect cover. Guess what? I bought that comic solely based on the cover art.

Based on the cover you already know that Jughead and Sabrina are going to get themselves into some kind of mess (or fun!). Your eyes are draw to the different parts of it. The colours are eye catching. It makes you interested in the story.

When I look at some of the books being printed over the last few years, my curiosity isn’t peaked. A catchy title may draw me in but it’s the cover that makes me flip to the synopsis to learn more. It’s the cover that captivates me visually and draws me into this world created by the author. It’s the cover fills me with excitement.

I’m not saying that today’s covers are boring or lacking creativity. I know that design takes a long time. I just think that the genres are all blending together…to the point where each cover is more or less the same.

Even earlier this morning while I was looking at books. I was trying to guess where they went in the store, solely based on the covers. The adult romance books and the teen romance books were all clearly romance however the contrast between them was almost non-existent. I wasn’t able to tell which was YA and which wasn’t. Normally the shirtless cowboys are a dead giveaway. Not anymore. The majority of the books that I assumed were adult romances were actually YA. Some weren’t even romance books at all. They were coming of age novels. I must’ve blinked the confusion from my face at least 30 times while going through these books.

The fact that myself and many other readers are excited to see these unique, illustrated book covers just shows how much is lacking on the shelves. We want books that upon first glance make us excited, curious and capture our attention. We want to run our hands along the covers as we examine every detail, before continuing our individual book choosing rituals. Reading is an experience and for those like myself who read a lot and collect books it is extremely sad when books lack character in their design.

Sure, we shouldn’t judge books by their cover but covers convey so much. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Manga I Read as A Kid

WARNING: This entire blog post will likely be filled with excessive fan-girling. For your own safety, please approach with caution.

I’ve been reading manga and comic books for a very long time. However, this isn’t a post about my favourite Archie comics…this is about Manga I read as a kid. Now, I am aware that some of these series are for teens. I didn’t understand the rating system when I was 9, so you’ll have to excuse me.

I will be noting which ones I definitely don’t think you should read between 9 and 12…and which ones are definitely 16 plus. At the time, I didn’t know anyone besides my younger sister and our friend M (who is the same age as her), who read manga. So the three of us were constantly finding books that made us go, “GAAAAAH!” haha…which I laugh at now as an adult but there are some books that seriously messed us up and some that were very mature in subject matter.

If my friend who had gotten my sister and I into manga and anime didn’t move back to Japan in 3rd grade I don’t think we would’ve had this problem. His mom knew what was what…and well our Canadian parents definitely did not.

Note

Now, for those of you who haven’t read manga or perhaps have children interested in manga, graphic novels and comic books, the rating system is similar to how films are rated and are based on subject matter.

For example:

There is children’s manga: Pokemon, Yokai Watch, Beyblade, Yugi Oh

All Ages: Girl from the Other Side

Teen 13+ manga: Minima, Shugo Chara, Card Captor Sakura, Sailor Moon, Kamichama Karin, Hatsu Haru, Love in Focus, Anonymous Noise, Kodocha, Me and my Brothers…etc.

Teen 16+ manga: Mars, Ao Haru Ride, Dengeki Daisy, Wotakoi, Daytime Shooting Star, We Where There, A Silent Voice…etc.

and 18+ manga: Monster, Ao Haru Machine Gun…etc.

Some of them will say Older Teen and will be placed in the general manga section, usually with the adult books as they are recommended for readers 18 or older.

Now Let’s Begin!


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Kamichama Karin

I had to start with this manga. My sister and I read the entire series (part 1 and 2) during the summer. We were hooked! We watched the anime as soon as we finished.

I think this was the first summer where our mom didn’t have to fight my sister to take time out of the day to read.

The series was hilarious, fun and of course about a magical girl. Plus the artwork was adorable.

My sister and I still crack many inside jokes to this day about the series.

I would definitely rank this as a 13 plus manga. I think I was in 6th grade when I read it and my sister…she would’ve been 10 (4th grade). I’m pretty sure the rating for this series is 13 plus but I’m not sure. That’s just what I’m ranking it as based on the content.

Honestly, it was really fun.


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Shugo Chara

I’m still obsessed with this series. I was 12 when I read and watched it and I ended up rewatching the anime in my first year of university.

It’s funny because I remembered parts of it being sad as a kid but in university I cried like a baby watching it…while stuffing my face with mountain dew, stir fry and candy bars. I think I understood certain things more at 18 than I did at 12.

To this day I find more and more people who were absolutely obsessed with this series.

I even dressed like Amu as much as possible. She was also extremely relatable as were her friends.

I’m positive this is a 13 plus series but it may also be ranked as children’s (for the spin off series). It reminds me a little of what Miraculous Ladybug is today. Only the kwamis are chara/heart’s eggs and your super powers are what you wanna be when you grow up.

Plus who doesn’t love these beans?


Beyblade

I cannot express how much I love Beyblade. Like I love it so much that even to this day I see the toys and I instantly beam with excitement.

I read the manga when I was 10 and watched the series between 8 and 11 (rewatching it constantly because I have part of season 1 on VHS).

I even dreamed about it. That’s how much I loved this series.

I wanted to be a Beyblader, travel the world, make friends, fall in love with Ray or Kai (I could never decide) and have a super cool team name.

Yah…this series was fantastic and is honestly for all ages. I’d watch it with a toddler or my Nana (she’s watched it lol).


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Kingdom Hearts

I will forever be in love with this series (both the games and the manga). Although the games are more fun in an interactive sense, the manga is fantastic for younger readers.

I would rate this manga all ages as I think it could be enjoyed at any age. It’s a great story, with fun and memorable characters plus…reading books based on video games has become a huge trend lately.

I can’t get enough of these characters.


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Me & My Brothers

This series started off well…and I do own a few copies of it…however it’s questionable, especially the 13+ rating.

Not saying that it’s innapropriate but like…a 14 year old girl being in love with her 24…or 30 something year old step-brother is just…yah.

At the time I read this I was 12 and everyone I knew who had read it found that whole thing extremely awkward and uncomfortable.

The story however is really fantastically written.

Perhaps if Sakura liked one of the younger brothers? Like the 16 or 18 year old? Maybe then it would…yah I’m still not okay with it. I just can’t justify it, I never could. But I still really liked the series. The amount of drama in it was insane! So much happened.

I recommend the series by the author with the babysitters instead. From what I read in high school (I lost track of this series sadly), it was a lot more…um….

I don’t know what to say. Good book. Questionable content. NEXT!


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Tokyo Mew Mew

Oh my goodness.

Okay so my love for Mew Mew is almost as strong as my hardcore love for Sailor Moon.

I adored magical girl manga. I think it’s because my mom got me into watching the old Wonder Woman show as a kid?

This series wasn’t just fun and adventurous it also had a great message about taking care of the planet. I definitely recommend it to younger audiences. I believe I was 11 when I read it? I’ve read it more than once though. I also really liked the show which was dubbed in English as well for people who aren’t so great at keeping up with subtitles.


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We Were There

I cried. I was way too young for this manga.

I thankfully didn’t watch the anime until university. There were certain scenes that were hard to stomach. It’s a heavier story and I definitely would recommend for 16+ readers.

It’s a really good story…but the level of maturity and the content is definitely not something I should have been reading at the time. I think I was around 11 or 12?

Yano and Nanami ave a fairly toxic relationship as well, which unfortunately stems from Yano’s previous relationship where his girlfriend died. He also continues to keep things from Nanami like how he slept with his dead girlfriends younger sister…it’s messy.

I gave that context simply because again, probably not something an 11 year old needs to be reading. I liked the story but I cried a lot and was extremely upset by it. In university when I fully understood everything that was going on, I cried more and also at times hated the characters.


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Monkey High!

I never finished Monkey High! but my friend and I were reading them back when I was in the 6th grade (she was in 4th). We loved how cute it was.

I believe however that the rating for this series is…maybe 16+ but I don’t know for sure. It’s hard to find the actual rating systems online.

Still I remember thoroughly enjoying this one! I may revisit it and give it a review in the near future.


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Sugar Sugar Rune

This series was adorable. Like really adorable. Like I don’t even know if I can contain how sweet it was.

Chocolat and Vanilla have the sweetest friendship of all time and just…it was wonderful and very imaginative.

I remember reading this at a friends house just gushing over the pages (and Pierre).

I didn’t find out until last October that the series was adapted into an anime, so I watched it then because spooky vibes.

I honestly think this series is fine for All Ages. Especially the show, however it was never dubbed…like Shugo Chara…which I find weird. If anyone wants to dub them, hit me up though because I would love to be apart of that.

Still this series was really focused on the strong love and bond between friends more than anything…and it honestly made me miss the good old days. It was so much fun reading manga together and talking about out favourite characters all summer or on the school bus every morning.


I’ve read so many other’s but I can’t think of anything else at the moment that I read before I was 13 that I can put on this list…aside from like Hamtaro, but I’ve never seen a manga for it so I have no idea if it exists. I do however have the VHS and managed to keep all the toys my friend gave me before he moved back to Japan. It was really cool having a penpal! My sister and I always laugh about all the fun games we used to play as kids.

I will definitely do a list of manga I read as a teenager in the near future and rate those as well. It’s been a nice trip down memory lane. I definitely want to revisit many of these stories. They still hold a dear place in my heart…even those that…were upsetting for me as a kid.

I’m also thinking of doing a post where I discuss my favourite manga/anime fashion icons. Not gonna lie, I used to get all my outfit inspiration from cartoons. These artists had a great eye for fashion.

Just look at Momo from Peach Girl!

I actually own the art book for this series…and like…Miwa Ueda needed to start a clothing line or something. Her characters always look amazing.

If you read manga as a kid, what was your favourite series and why? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Novels I Would Read Again

There are many books that have resonated with me from their first to final pages, ones that I don’t have on my own shelves and wished I did, so I could read them again and again.

This is a list of those books.

  1. Plague Child by Peter Ransley

I read this book at the end of the 10th grade, during summer vacation. I couldn’t put it down. I was addicted to each and every passage.

I wish I owned it and have been on the hunt for it ever since I borrowed it from the library. It’s one of those books that I’m constantly reminded of.

I also recently discovered that this book is apart of a series, which makes me so happy because it definitely needed some sort of sequel.

2. Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli

This novel had such beautiful passages. I read it in the 9th grade and was completely captivated by the story.

I’ve always been a fan of mermaids (I watched a lot of H20 back in the day), and was a bit of a history nerd as well…or I should say, that I still am. I just love stories and to me history is a compilation of stories passed on from generation to generation. We have individual histories and shared ones…and woven into those is where mythology lies. Mythology can teach us a lot about our past and present, just as much as history can, as the stories we tell about our world often reflect how we view it.

Sirena was such a beautiful story. I secretly read it during classes. I read it at home. I read it on the bus. I could not put it down.

It was one of those books where my mom had to come and tell me to stop reading and go to sleep. One that I couldn’t want to leave the dinner table to get back to!

I wish I owned it. I would love to read it again.

3. House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

I read this book in grade 9 as well. I loved it.

It made me cry more than once. It felt as though the reader was growing up alongside Matteo.

The bonds between him and some of the other character’s were so strong and yet so fragile at the same time. Everything about his existence was fragile.

There are many scenes from this novel that continue to pop into my head every now and then. I don’t believe the sequel was out yet when I had read it, which was extremely frustrating because it ended with a fantastic and heart-wrenching cliffhanger.

I was on the edge of my seat reading this novel. I’d love to revisit it someday.

4. Greener Grass by Caroline Pignat

It seems that I read a lot of these books back in the 9th grade! Greener Grass was a gem.

I actually bought it for myself as a Christmas gift in 2019, while I was working seasonal at Indigo. I was shelving new books in the Teen/YA section, when suddenly it popped out at me. A single copy of Greener Grass, tucked between two larger novels on the shelf, as if it had been waiting for me for the last 10 years.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. I bought it immediately after my shift.

The first time I had read this book was when I was 14.

If you couldn’t tell by now, I spent nearly every day in the library during high school. I also spent way more time reading than on my actual studies (which I don’t recommend!).

Anyway, I had learned previously from my grandparents a little bit about the Irish famine, but this book really opened my eyes. I cried reading it. It was different than hearing my grandparents tell me about it, or learning songs written during the famine, or watching a documentary on TVO or BBC…this novel threw me right into the story and I couldn’t put it down no matter how painful it was.

To this day I still feel for Kit as a character. She was extremely relatable, and incredibly strong. I think that my love for this book is what brought her and her story back to me after all these years.

Each of these books have left their mark on my heart…and the fact that I remember them so fondly after 10 years is honestly remarkable. There are books that I read for school, that I almost feel sorry for…because although I finished them, I wouldn’t choose to go back to them (aside from 2).

Thinking about these books brings a smile to my face, despite…all of them having moments that were fairly sad…and I mean like Boy in the Striped Pajama’s sad. Like not being able to sleep because your heart has been ripped out by a book sad.

It’s funny…I’ve had my heart broken by more books than boys. I guess that’s a good thing…but when I say these books are some of my favourites, I mean I adored them like no other.

Honourable Mentions:

Flood by James Heneghan.

I read this book when I was in the 8th grade. I’ve never forgotten it. However, I actually took it out of the library again in 10th grade because my high school had it.

I do wish I owned a copy of it because it’s such a lovely book…and it blends the thin lines of reality and fantasy.

Andy was a very memorable character, along with his father.

A fantastic Canadian read about a boy moving to Halifax after a horrible tragedy.

Escape from Memory Margaret Peterson Haddix

This is another book that I remember fondly from the 8th grade.

During this time I read just about anything I could get my hands on by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

This novel was incredibly captivating and had me staying up all night to finish it!

It also lead me to reading other books by the author like the Shadow Children series, which I thankfully own a few books from…and will hopefully someday complete the set.