“Writing, and reading, can be summarized as the act of taking an individual story and extrapolating the universal from it. Action and intrigue draws us in, but it’s the deeper, more human themes that make a story stick with us.”
In case anyone didn’t know I am a HUGE fan of manga (Japanese comics). When I’m not reading novels or trying to write novels, I’m usually hunting for the latest copies of my favourite manga and there are quite a few series that I am currently obsessed with.
Skip Beat…this one is a bit of a cheat, since I’ve been obsessed with it for years. But I thought I would share it as my number one because I have yet to fall out of love with this funny, romantic, and at times suspenseful series.
Kyouko Mogami lived solely for her childhood friend Shoutaro “Shou” Fuwa. She follows Shou to Tokyo so that he may realize his dream of becoming a famous singer. When his dream is realized, Kyouko overhears the truth behind his decision to bringing her with him: he was using her as a maid.
Shocked and enraged, Kyouko swears to take revenge by outdoing him in show business. With a new look and a new attitude, she joins LME, the agency where Ren Tsuruga (Shou’s rival and the #1 actor of LME) works, in the hopes of achieving her goal of destroying Shou’s pride.
Along the way, she discovers her true self, makes new friends (and enemies), and finds herself at the heart of some interesting situations that will change her life, and the lives of all others involved, forever.
Yona of the Dawn. Words cannot describe how epic this series is. The heroine grows from a spoiled, pampered princess to a warrior in hiding. Also, this series probably has the most complex characters I have ever read. You find yourself rooting for everyone (despite all the bad that has happened) to somehow be friends again at the end.
Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Soo-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when she witnesses her father’s murder!
Yamada and the Seven Witches. This manga was a complete surprise for me. But one word: HILARIOUS! The supernatural elements in this manga are important plot twisters and much random hilarity ensues.
Ryuu Yamada is a second-year student at Suzaku High. Ryuu is always late for school, naps in class and gets abysmal grades. His life is a dead bore. The beautiful Urara Shiraishi, on the other hand, is Suzaku High’s brightest student.
One day, without explanation, their bodies are swapped! Ryuu ends up in Urara’s body, and Urara in Ryuu’s.
Noragami. This was another unexpected, but very pleasant surprise. It’s got great characters, and the central story about a god without a shrine and worshippers but who is trying to get into heaven is such a cool idea. (That summary doesn’t really do it justice and the manga is so much more than that. But I can’t go into a lengthy description without spoilers.)
Yato is a minor god whose dream is to have a lot of followers worshipping him and praying to him. Unfortunately, his dream is far from coming true since he doesn’t even have a single shrine dedicated to him. To make things worse, the only partner he had to help him solve people’s problems, had just quit the job. His godly existence and luck just might change when he stumbles upon Iki Hiyori and saves her life; a feat which also leaves her in quite a predicament so she is stuck with him until her problem gets resolved. Together with Hiyori and his new partner-weapon Yukine, Yato will do everything he can to gain fame, recognition and just maybe, one shrine dedicated to him, as well.
SDK (or Samurai Deeper Kyo). Since I’ve read this manga series over ten times without getting bored and discovering something new each time, it has to go on my top five list. It’s male-focused with a heavy emphasis on action and violence but has moments of comedy.
At the dawn of the 17th century, at the end of the era of civil wars, in a world of chaos, the epic Battle of Sekigahara was joined.One man emerged from the largest battle ever fought on Japanese soil; a terrible warrior of unspeakable power, he was nicknamed ‘the unconquerable.’ Kyoshiro is a peaceful medicine peddler who harbors the soul of an assassin. He accompanies a young bounty hunter across Japan in search of a murderer and on a quest to discover the terrible secret of his own identity.
These are my top five, but trust me when I say it was hard to choose. I have so many manga that I am obsessed with but that does mean I don’t want recommendations. I’m always looking for more great reads! (Especially one’s like Skip Beat…the one month wait between chapter updates is killing me…and it’s even longer to get the bound editions at Chapters.)
Who else is a manga fan? Got any that you are absolutely obsessed with?
Rika Ashton (aka Shameless Manga Addict)
I’ve started writing again (after a bit of a hiatus), and I’m beginning to get back to my usual schedule!!! Not going to lie though, it’s been hard and gruelling and I was very tempted to give up on Dagger of the Sun but after having put so much time into it the previous year, I wasn’t ready to let go just yet. Instead, I dove back into the land of the Olympians and it started undergoing some rewrites (apparently, I was a very, very bad writer a year ago and threw similes and metaphors into every chapter like I was a rapper with unlimited atm access.)
I don’t have anything to share yet excerpt wise, but I’me hoping for something juicy by the end of the week – so keep your fingers crossed.
But I can share that I’ve written almost 25, 000 words and have nearly edited all the kinks in the first few chapters that were making it difficult for the story to move forward. I spent most of July and June editing the previous chapters and looking through the infinite versions of chapter four (there are at least 5 very long, very different versions of this chapter) and deciding what parts I wanted to keep from each and trying to consolidate them into one legible chapter.
I will keep you guys posted with more updates soon and thank you to everyone that has stuck by me on the long journey that is DotS. There will be a notable lack of reviews for a while as I’m trying to focus on my writing, but I will eventually have to take a break for some reading and reviewing so I don’t crash and burn.
But for now, that’s all!
Rika Ashton (aka Woman Currently in Writer Mode)
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Sabrina Jeffries‘ second installment of the Sinful Suitors series, The Study of Seduction, has hit the shelves!
When Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough, agrees to help his best friend’s impetuous ward, Lady Clarissa Lindsey, in her time of need, he knows he’s in for trouble. He’s been hunting for someone to wed, and she’ll just get in the way. Although captivated by the whip-smart, free-spirited beauty, he fears she’d be all wrong as a wife … if she would even take such a gruff cynic for her husband. Too bad he wants nothing more than to have her for his own.
Clarissa has no intention of marrying anyone—not Edwin, whom she’s sure would be an overbearing husband, and certainly not the powerful French diplomat stalking her. But when matters escalate with the diplomat, she chooses Edwin’s gallant offer of a marriage between friends in hopes that it will deter her stalker. She expects nothing more than an amiable union, but their increasingly tempestuous kisses prove more than she bargained for. When her stalker’s vow to expose the lovers’ deepest secrets threatens to destroy their blossoming attraction, will their tenuous bond withstand public ruin, or will Edwin lose all that’s important to him to protect his bride?
The Study of Seduction was a pleasant surprise for me. Ms. Jeffries explores some darker issues in this novel that haven’t been discussed in her more recent works – all of which were more lighthearted. This novel has the signature Jeffries warmth and humour, but becomes a more dense, emotional read as details of Clarissa’s past are revealed.
At first, I found it difficult to relate to Clarissa – in part, because she was not behaving according to my own bias of how I thought a trauma victim would behave. However, my judgement was subconscious at first. It sound insensitive to say – and it absolutely is – which is why I needed to check myself (and throw my own biases out the window) before I began to reread the novel with a broader perspective. I have often heard that everyone reacts a different way to trauma, but I have been fortunate enough never to experience this first hand. My inexperience made me judge Clarissa, much to my shame, and forget what I have been taught about reading a work of literature from multiple perspective – and never, NEVER, judge a character by how you think they should act. (Of course, there are exceptions to these rules, but none that apply here.)
On my second read through, although I still found aspects of Clarissa’s character contradictory or even historically beyond her time, I was more able to recognize some of her behaviors as coping mechanisms for her tragedy (at least, I believed they were intentionally written as such). I found myself able to see her as a real individuals – one who does not behave according to a preset mold, but makes us question what we know about human psychology.
Very deep stuff, I know.
But on a less deep, and more superficially attractive eye-candy level, we have Edwin. (I’m not kidding…have you seen the cover model?)
In all seriousness, I found Edwin to be a decent, like-able character on both my first and second reads, but he paled in comparison to Clarissa on my second read and I found him less memorable. The amateur psychologist in me was more intrigued with analyzing aspects of Clarissa’s character on my second foray into the novel and I didn’t pay much attention to Edwin. I found him to be a pleasant (and for Clarissa, necessary) addition to the novel but less complex in terms of development.
But, who knows, this could change on my third read?
Nonetheless, based on my two reads so far, I would give this novel a solid 4 out of 5 rating.
(aka The Self-Credited Psychologist)