Monthly Archives: February 2020

Book Review: Soul Eater, Vol 7 by Atshushi Ohkubo

Soul Eater, Vol 7   

Author: Atsushi Ohkubo

Publisher: Yen Press

American release date: November 11, 2014

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Now that the crazy Kishin is on the loose, Shinigami-sama is summoning the strongest weapons he can from around the world to locate and contain him. Justin Law, from Western Europe, is a very pious fellow who prays a lot. Azusa is in charge of East Asia and Marie Mjolnir is in charge of Oceania. Marie has visions of being married but never seems to find the right guy. Interestingly, her first love was Dr. Stein! Meanwhile Stein approaches a very dispirited Death Scythe, who is busy polishing candlesticks, and learns he is fearful that he is about to be replaced and sent away and will never be able to see Maka again.  They go to a meeting with Shinigami-sama, along with Azusa and Marie, only to find an oblivious Justin already there. Stein informs the others about the madness wavelength that the Kishin emits, which “prods and incites the madness lying deep within the human soul.” And is quite contagious. Besides this, there are other dangers possible with this wavelength, such as the awakening of dormant witches or the rise of the lost continent of Atlantis, and much more. Shinigami-same reassigns Marie to work with Stein and puts Azusa in charge of Oceania, while holding Justin in reserve for now.

A few of the DWMA students decide to play a little basketball—Kid, Patty and Black Star vs Soul, a reluctant Maka, and Tsubaki—while Stein shows Marie around and she whines about finding a husband. Shinigami-sama wants to talk to Spirit about Stein and asks him to look out for Stein, concerned that the madness wavelength might be affecting him. Afterward, he is pleasantly surprised by Maka’s request to spend time with him, unaware that is the price she has to pay for losing the basketball game.

Shinigami-same decides to admit Crona on a trial enrollment at DWMA. A concerned Sid asks Maka if maybe she can get through to Crona, since Sid hasn’t been able to. Maka reaches out to Crona and introduces him to Marie. Crona still has Ragnarok and he’s still obnoxious but he’s much less powerful and smaller than he was before. Now he’s more annoying than dangerous. A report is received from the Czech Republic about a golem wreaking havoc, so Sid sends Maka and Crona to check it out. Shinigami-sama is concerned as golems are meant to protect, not attack, so he wants Stein’s opinion on what is going on. Stein is alarmed at what he discovers but Shinigami-sama assures him that he has sent a strong ally to aid Maka and Crona.

Things are definitely picking up with Soul Eater, with the arrival of the Death Weapons and dealing with the effects of the Kishin’s escape. Of the three new arrivals, Azusa is the least annoying. Marie whines far too much about wanting to get married, and Justin is in his own little world, with his earbuds and his holier-than-thou attitude. I haven’t made up my mind about Crona, but maybe my feelings toward him are really directed toward Ragnarok, who is an utter creep. We meet another villain in this volume, who seems as though she will be a formidable foe, and we also see the return of an interesting character we’ve met before. Maka’s day with dad was great, and also not entirely unexpected in what she has to deal with. I like Spirit, despite his shortcomings. I know he means well and he loves his daughter, but he can be such a horn dog at times and so immature! The story of Maka and Crona’s trip to the Czech Republic is very interesting, as is the golem itself. All in all, a good volume, looking forward to the next one!

 

 

Wednesday Briefs: February 26, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Super Trooper #5 (2.1) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Although Chan wasn’t as late to work as he’d feared he would be, even a few minutes was anathema to him. When he walked through the door, expecting to be called out for what he’d done, nobody even seemed to notice he was running behind—or if they did notice, they said nothing to him about it. But he was more than aware of his own tardiness—as well as the very sexy reason for it—so he threw himself into his work, took on extra tasks to help lighten his co-workers’ loads,  and didn’t take his full lunch in order to make up for lost time. He couldn’t afford to stay late, not today. He loved his family, and he wouldn’t do anything to upset either his mother or his little brother, especially on such an important day.

Despite how hard he worked, though, Chandrahas found his mind reverting far too often to the tall blond trooper who’d pulled him over. The one he’d been far too willing to drop to his knees for, although luckily it hadn’t come to that. What was wrong with him?

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Wednesday Briefs: February 19, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Unicorn Quests: Chapter Sixteen by Cia Nordwell

Walking over the mountain wasn’t the best idea with two foals—one wounded—but it was better than going backward toward the cave and trolls. I wanted to stay as far away from the road near where the cave had been as possible. Who knew if the beasts had other partners who would come for the kidnapped Beings?

There had to have been a reason they’d taken so many. Humans caught Beings, especially young ones, in order to kill them in their attempts to purify the planet. They killed them.

They didn’t do whatever the boss, or master, or whoever-the-hell

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Wednesday Briefs: February 12, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Super Trooper #3 (1.3) by Julie Lynn Hayes

The rest of Evan’s workday had passed in a sort of strange haze. He was lucky it was a light day, as far as his duties went, mostly traffic citations and warnings. A lot of people didn’t realize that the Texas State troopers did more than patrol the highways, lying in wait for speeders.  They often served as law enforcement for small rural areas who didn’t have their own sheriffs, and also helped out with some of the smaller towns as well. Courtesy, Service, Protection was the motto of the Department of Public Safety, of which the troopers were a part, and Evan took those words very seriously.

But today had been different. Today his second brain had been too fully engaged for his liking, and he couldn’t get the handsome man

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 15 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 15        Bleach, Vol 15 cover

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 3, 2006

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ishida is facing down the Captain of the 12th Company, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, and is doing very well for himself, despite Kurotsuchi’s immense spiritual pressure and his paralyzing tactics. The captain is so impressed he decides not to kill Ishida, so that he can capture and study him. But Ishida will have none of that, especially after learning the part the Soul Reaper played in the death of his beloved Grandfather. He calls upon a power that amazes Kurotsuchi, who warns him of the devastating side effect of such a move. Will Ishida throw caution to the wind in order to avenge his mentor?

Meanwhile, Yoruichi is determined to teach Ichigo what often takes soul reapers ten years to master—namely, how to bankai—in only three days! In order to do this, she manifests Zangetsu in his physical form and Ichigo must defeat him. But that’s easier said than done, as Ichigo finds himself surrounded by a number of swords and must choose the right one in order to cut Zangetsu down!

Renji, Kira, and Hinamoi are being held in cells until they find themselves unexpectedly released by one of the captains! Meanwhile, a baffled ishida awakens to find himself in the Soul Reaper infirmary, along with Ganju and Chad. Chad feels that all they can do is to stay there and heal and wait for Ichigo to come for them, which he is confident Ichigo will do. Orihime, who was rescued against her will by a random member of the 11th Company, finds herself with members of the 12th Company, namely Yachiru, Kenpachi, Ikkaku, and Yumichika. Kenpachi decides to watch over the girl, confident that where she is, there will Ichigo end up, and he wants to have another battle with Ichigo!

Matsumoto is with Captain Hitsugaya, after she fell asleep in his office, when he learns of the prisoner escape. He knows just where to go, and hopes to arrive there before Hinamori. He knows she blames Gin for Captain Aizen’s death and is determined to avenge him! In the meantime, taking a break from his bankai traning, Ichigo learns some things about Uruhara that he never knew before!

We see more of Ishida than we ever have before, including some backstory, and the last Quincy really shines. If you ever wonder what he’s doing with the others, this volume shows that he definitely belongs among their company. He may be irritating at times, and often insufferable, but he is more talented that I gave him credit for, and loyal to a fault. When he has a difficult decision to make, he doesn’t hesitate to do what’s best for everyone, whether or not it’s best for him personally.

Ichigo’s bankai training is absolutely essential to his growth and development. It’s imperative that he master it, as will become even more evident as the story continues. Watching him train with Zangetsu is great. Ichigo pushes himself constantly, doesn’t know the meaning of defeat, and would never give up. He still has a lot to learn, but he’s definitely on his way to bigger and better things.

The untold story at the end concerns Renji, Kira, and Hinamori as young soul reapers who encounter something beyond their skill level while on a training mission and who decide to handle it as best they can.

Knowing what’s coming, since I already watched the anime, allows me to look for things I missed in that, or things that were missing. It also keeps me from missing the anime too much, since I am revisiting everything. I’ve also started to watch the movies. There is no such thing as boredom when you’re reading these books! Can’t wait to read the next one!

 

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 14 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 14    Bleach, Vol 14 cover

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 1, 2006

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/208 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Captain Ukitake, head of the 13th Company, awakens to learn the news of Captain Aizen’s death and decides to look into things for himself. Meanwhile, Ganju is arguing with Hanatoro about rescuing Rukia, on Ichigo’s orders as he faces down Byakuya. Ganju refuses to help the soul reaper who killed his brother! However, he relents when he sees Hanatoro prepare to face down the powerful Byakuya without even a sword!

Mr. Yoruichi has taken the injured Ichigo to safety, to his dismay. But when he wonders how the cat was able to drag him to safety, he is in for a huge surprise! Meanwhile, Ganju is facing Byakuya, who plans to simply walk away from him until he learns that Ganju is a Shiba! Now it’s on! Only Ukitake’s provident arrival saves Ganju’s life.

Ichigo arrives and announces his intention of saving Rukia, despite her protestations, but Byakuya tells Ukitake that he will dispose of the pest. “You’ve got a big mouth, boy,” he tells Ichigo. Can Ichigo defeat such a powerful Soul Reaper? Or will he require some kind of divine intervention?

Orihime has a plan to help Ishida and herself not stand out to the Soul Reapers. They “borrow” some Soul Reaper uniforms in order to be inconspicuous. But when someone asks what squad they belong to, they give the first answer that comes to mind, only to find they chose the wrong one. But help comes from an unexpected source… or is that a trap?

Each volume of Bleach gets more and more exciting! And we learn more and more about the characters. The people you might think you dislike grow on you while some turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing! But there is still so much to discover! What about the mask in Ichigo’s pocket? How did it get there and what does it mean? Also, the more we find out about Kiskue Uruhara, the more we don’t know. Former Captain? The plot thickens indeed! I love the scenes of Ichigo learning to use his bankai, and I love Zangetsu! Also, the scenes with Ishida facing down Captain Kurotsuchi are fabulous! The captain is rather different, I have to admit, and difficult to like but very interesting.

Looking forward to the next volume!

Wednesday Briefs: February 5, 2020

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Super Trooper #2 (1.2) by Julie Lynn Hayes

The instant he uttered the fateful words, he regretted them. This was not him. He never spoke harshly to anyone, much less a figure of authority such as this man. He was always respectful and polite. But he couldn’t do anything about it now. With any luck, perhaps the trooper hadn’t noticed his surly tone. Or would be so used to hearing such rudeness from the drivers he pulled over that he would not think it anything out of the ordinary. He trained his eyes on his steering wheel, wishing the ground would open up and swallow him whole. He would be late to work for sure now.

“Step out of the vehicle!” a deep voice commanded, breaking into his unhappy thoughts.

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