Monthly Archives: February 2020

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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Book Review: The Way of the Houseband, Vol 2 by Kousuke Oono

The Way of the Househusband, Vol 2    Way of the Househusband, Vol 2 cover

Author: Kousuke Oono

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: January 21, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Comedy/160 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Tatsu seems to be under the impression that his body is going to hell, and his attempts to prevent that are annoying Miku. He goes to a fitness gym, where the ladies find him to be a little intimidating.

Tatsu is growing an assortment of herbs and vegetables on the balcony of his and Miku’s apartment, intending to use them in cooking and making tea. However, he is under surveillance by some zealous police officers who think he is up to something nefarious. Trailing him on his bike, they watch his meeting with Masa, which only reinforces their suspicions as they prepare to pounce!

In his enthusiasm for the way of the househusband, Tatsu’s household gadgets and hobbies are beginning to overwhelm their small apartment! Miku suggests he sell some of it at a flea market. But he discovers that another gang is working that territory and intimidating some of the vendors. Tatsu feels compelled to step in!

Tatsu goes with Masa to his apartment and is appalled at what he finds, especially in the laundry room. It’s up to Tatsu to aid Masa in this turf war!

Miku is in the market  for a new car and takes Tatsu along with her. Tatsu is ready, willing, and able to give his opinion on every model she looks at. Will he be a help or a hindrance? And will any vehicle live up to his standards?

Tatsu is teaching Masa the finer points of shopping when they run into another former Yakuza named Tora. The two men know what must be done to settle old scores!

When Tatsu does anything he gives it his all, whether it’s cooking or helping out the housewives’ volleyball team. When they find themselves in a practice match with a team composed of all men, will Tatsu be an asset or a liability?

Miku gets to leave work early one day. Running into Tatsu, she accompanies him on his mission. He says he’s gonna throwdown today. Say what? When Miku’s parents come for an unexpected visit, Tatsu shines with his domestic skills. But when Miku’s father wants to play catch with the son he never had, Tatsu is unsure how to respond.

Another wonderful volume of The Way of the Househusband! I know I’ve said it before, but I absolutely love love love this series. Tatsu is sooooo adorable! He tries so hard, and even when he doesn’t succeed, he learns from his experience, not to mention he is most apologetic. I love the relationship between him and Miku, and the way they are obvious equals, each one looking out for the other. I’m still hoping to see more of their backstory. Maybe in the next volume.

I forgot to mention the bonus stories in the first volume. There are three more in this one, one of which involves their cat Gin, who is also adorable. The artwork is wonderful. I did notice a couple of videos on Youtube. They should totally make this into an anime. The next volume comes out in May. Guess I’ll have to re-read the first two to get my Tatsu fix lol

I suggest you buy a copy of this manga for yourself and a copy for someone you love. I bought my two daughters each a copy of both volumes. Can’t wait for the next one!

 

 

 

Book Review: The Way of the Househusband, Vol 1 by Kousuke Oono

The Way of the Househusband, Vol 1      Way of the Househusband, Vol 1 cover

Author: Kousuke Oono

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 17, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Comedy/160 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Once a fierce Yakuza known as “the immortal Dragon”, Tatsu has chosen to walk a different path now—the way of the househusband. He is very meticulous in everything he does, whether it’s meal preparation, laundry, or feeding the cat. He takes each duty very seriously and does the best he can, always eager to learn new ways to improve his performance.

The trouble is, people remember him for what he was, or they make assumptions based on his seemingly fierce appearance. On the other hand, his past experiences often guide him through the ins and outs of his current situation. When a shyster salesman with a shoddy product calls on him, he is more than happy to demo the man’s product.

One of Tatsu’s former men, Masa, is searching for his boss, wondering where he went. A chance encounter at the grocery store reunites them.  Masa wants to know why his former boss quit the Yakuza, so Tatsu invites him to take a walk with him.

Tatsu is headed out on urgent business. He doesn’t let a chance encounter with members of a rival gang deter him, not when there is a sale in progress! This is a great opportunity to show these yakuza the way of the househusband!

Tatsu’s wife, Miku, is crazy about Crime Catch Poli-cure, and is a huge collector. Tatsu plans to surprise her for her birthday with an addition to her collection.

On learning that the chairperson of the Women’s Association is coming to his apartment, Tatsu has to prepare, which includes utilizing the automatic floor cleaner, which brings unexpected results.

Watching a young boy for a neighbor leads to unexpected complications for Tatsu. Afterward, he teaches some supposedly tough guys about the way of the househusband.

While out shopping with Miku one day, Tatsu is dismayed to learn that people find him intimidating. How to change his image?

It’s only the first volume of this series, but I’m already in love with it, and am half way through the second volume and have pre-ordered the third. Tatsu, the former Yakuza, is completely adorable. He wears an apron with a shiba on it! He takes everything he does very seriously, determined to do his best. He and Miku are an awesome couple! This series is funny, sweet, romantic, and endearing. I love the artwork. Kousuke Oono does a fabulous job. The covers featuring Tatsu are priceless!

I guess you would call this a slice-of-life manga, as there isn’t one plot line but a series of incidents in Tatsu’s life as a househusband. There is a brief glance into how Tatsu was when he met Miku. I’m hoping to see more in a future volume. I want to see what brought these two together, and was she responsible for him quitting the yakuza way of life.

I can’t say enough good things about this series. I am looking forward to reading it for a long time to come!