Category Archives: Reviews

Book Review: You Love Me (You #3) by Caroline Kepnes

You Love Me (You #3)     

Author: Caroline Kepnes

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

American release date:  April 6, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Psychological Thriller/400 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Joe Goldberg’s dreams of a forever love with Love Quinn, mother of his future child, have been crushed following the death of Love’s twin brother Forty and Joe’s arrest on suspicion of murder—namely RIP Beck and RIP Peach. But thanks to the wealthy Quinn family, Joe is freed and given 4 million dollars to go away, with the proviso that he sign a paper that says he must stay away from his son, whom Love names Forty in honor of her brother.

Joe winds up moving to Bainbridge Island, Washington, in a house bought for him by the Quinns, where he becomes a volunteer at the local library and falls madly in love with librarian Mary Kay DiMarco. Mary Kay comes with baggage, in the form of teen-age daughter Nomi,  whom Joe refers to as the Meerkat, but so what? Joe can deal with that. But MK (as he calls her) is hiding something else from him, something that is an even greater obstacle to their happiness, in the form of a has-been rock star husband named Phil.

Simple enough for Joe Goldberg, right? Not like he hasn’t killed people before, he has. But Joe has turned over a new leaf. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, much less kill them. He’s a good boy, he is. But suddenly, people are dying, and none of it’s his fault. So why is he being made to suffer for their deaths?

The third book of the You series is just as delightful as the first two, with the deliciously psychotic Joe Goldberg as the main attraction. I love reading Joe’s voice, and his humor, even if I don’t get all the references (I do get a lot of them, though). Joe’s trying to do the right thing but the universe seems determined to get him, and his growing softness might just be the end of him.

More interesting characters along with some very unexpected events. Definite roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, and never knowing how things will turn out for Joe. Will surely be reading the next one whenever it comes out. I know this is not the end of the line for our hero, and I look forward to reading more as I wonder what he will be up to next.

 

Book Review: Deathless Divide (Dread Nation #2) by Justina Ireland

Deathless Divide ( Dread Nation #2)

Authors: Justina Ireland

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

American release date: April 6, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/Young Adult Zombie Fiction/560 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Civil War has been called… on account of the dead! Ever since the dead first began to rise from the fields of Gettysburg, nothing has been the same. But sadly, some things do remain the same. Slavery may be illegal, but blacks and Indians are still downtrodden, second-class citizens, and they’re being thrown into the front lines to combat the dead menace.

Jane McKeene and Katherine Devereaux have been trained at the renowned Miss Preston’s School for Combat in Baltimore. But Jane’s impulsive and rash nature in regards to a certain young man named Jackson see them shipped out West to a supposed haven from the dead by the name of Summerland. Unfortunately, this is not the paradise it was intended to be. Things go from bad to worse, and the girls and their friends escape and head out to nearby Nicodemus.

As they travel, Jackson suddenly tries to dissuade them from going to Nicodemus, which makes no sense to Jane, but the stubborn boy refuses to talk… until he does, and what he tells her well nigh breaks her heart. No wonder he didn’t want to let her know the truth. Why did she ever trust him to begin  with?

The road to Nicodemus is not an easy one, and along the way, they lose someone they care about. When they finally reach Nicodemus they learn that Daniel Redfern is the mayor—how crazy is that?—and a number of refugees from Summerland are here as well. Which begs the question how long before this town run by blacks will be in the hands of the whites? And what can be done to combat that?

Quick thinking by Jane allows Katherine to pass as white, and she is sent to the nicer part of town, while the other girls end up bedding down in the local brothel, run by the Duchess. Jane is not surprised to see Gideon here, but is surprised to learn he’s made this a base of operations for some time. And he’s still hot on vaccinating anybody and everybody he can. Thanks to a terrible error of judgment on Gideon’s part, Nicodemus is overrun by the dead, who have become surely more savvy than before,  and while trying to escape, the unthinkable happens when Jane is bitten.

The second volume of the Dread Nation duology is written in two perspectives, both Jane’s and Katherine’s, where the first book was all in Jane’s voice. That becomes necessary when the friends are separated, beginning their own journeys.

I enjoyed hearing Katherine’s voice and learn more about her in her own words. She and Jane are so different from one another, but perhaps therein lies the attraction. Difficult times bring out the best and the worst in people, and that is very obvious in this book, as it was in the first. As abhorrent as the people of Summerland were, the people of Nicodemus are every bit as horrible with a few exceptions. And, as usual, Jane keeps putting herself behind the eight ball, so to speak, because that is how she is—strong-minded, and unwilling to let an injustice go unpunished. Even so, something happens which changes Jane, not necessarily for the better, and it will take everything these two girls possess to overcome this divide that has grown between them.

The second book is every bit as good as the first, and although there are no signs of a third book, the ending leaves that open to change, at least in my eyes. There is also a side book I intend to read, Three For the Road.

If you enjoyed Dread Nation, you are sure to love Deathless Divide. Looking forward to reading more from this author.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 34 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 34       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 1, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nel’s transformation has taken Ichigo and everyone else by surprise as she goes from young child to voluptuous fighting woman in a heartbeat! Pesche and Dondochakka also turn out to be more than they seem. Indeed they are true friends and loyal followers and protectors of Nel. As Nel battles Nnoitora, in her Capricorn Knight form, you can almost feel the fear that radiates from him. Apparently he hasn’t missed her presence ever since she almost beat him down once before.

Pesche and Dondochakka attack Szayelaporro, who has vastly underestimated them, not knowing they have been training for years. After Nnoitora unexpectedly causes Nel to revert to her childlike state, he tells Tesla to do what he wants with all of them, he is done. Now Ichigo must face the Armored Tusk Warrior, and Ichigo is in bad shape already.

Szayelaporro deals with Nel’s two friends and is about to put an end to Ichigo when salvation unexpectedly arrives in the form of Kenpachi. A confused Ichigo asks how can he be there, since the captains have been forbidden to help him. Kenpachi explains that it has to do with Uruhara, who was working to stabilize a safe path to Hueco Mundo for the captains, but that Orihime being snatched forced them to speed up the timetable.

The other captains begin to arrive – Unohana, Byakuya, and Kurotsuchi. They are faced by Zommari Rureaux, the number seven Espada

Let the battles begin!

Another action-packed, battle-filled volume of Bleach. Watching Nel and her friends reveal their true selves is pretty awesome. Also, the fortuitous arrival of Kenpachi to save the day! Not exactly an altruistic fellow, I imagine he’s saving Ichigo so he will have the pleasure of battling him again. Look for a brief appearance by Yuchiro as well! Byakuya shows why he has the reputation he has with some pretty awesome moves against Rureaux, and also reveals he is not entirely cold-hearted. But, in my opinion, it is the under-utilized Kurotsuchi who steals the show. We don’t get to see him fight very often, but don’t underestimate him. He takes advantage of a bacteria he planted in the unknowing Uryu in order to gain advance information on the enemy, and that move certainly pays off. Not only does he display his devious skill set but he reaffirms what a cold being he is. His coup de grace against Szayelaporro is priceless!

Hopefully we’ll get to see more of the captains in the next volume, especially Shunsui! I enjoyed this volume of Bleach, look forward to the next one!

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 1 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 1     

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 5, 2006

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga/Supernatural/184 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kyoko and Sho have known each other since they were children, practically raised together. So when Sho, pursuing his dreams of stardom by moving to Tokyo, asks Kyoko to go with him, how can she say no? Forgoing high school, the sixteen-year-old gets a job and works hard to support them both, while Sho works at becoming a famous musician. Kyoko remains in the background as he grows in popularity, and has to endure hearing other girls talk about Sho and the things they wish they could do with him. But Kyoko knows that when he isn’t on tour, it’s her he comes home to.

Until one day she overhears Sho and his manager talking about her, and she learns that she is only a housemaid to Sho! Angry and hurt, she confronts him, but he doesn’t even seem to care. How could she have been so blind? He taunts her by saying that if she wants to get revenge on him, she should go into show business and become better than him.

Revenge is on!

Kyoko hasn’t got the faintest idea of how to become a celebrity, and has no particular talent. But that doesn’t stop her. Selling the Sho merchandise she has accumulated, she gets a complete makeover, turning from brunette to blonde. Then she goes to one of the two top talent agencies, the one that isn’t Sho’s but is home to his biggest rival, Ren Tsuruga. Ren is far above Sho, which has always griped the selfish singer to no end.

No talent? No problem! Kyoko is sure that sheer determination and spunk will get her where she wants to go! She is so focused, she is downright scary!

I am actually re-reading this series, and I totally love it! The only minor complaint I have about the artwork is that everyone has really weirdly pointy chins. But in the scheme of things I can forgive that as it’s a really good manga. Kyoko is a strong female character, but she is far from perfect, although she is rather naïve. At heart, she’s a very good girl, but Sho has hurt her, and there is a very thin line between love and hate. In this first volume, we meet some of the people who will become pivotal to Kyoko in the future, including the eccentric head of L.M.E. Talent Agency, Lorry. Also Ren Tsuruga and Kanae Kotonami.

Kyoko learns that guts will only get her so far. She has to develop whatever talents she possesses in order to succeed with her chosen revenge on Sho. In the process, she may just find who she truly is. On to the next volume!

Book Review: Dread Nation (Dread Nation #1) by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation ( Dread Nation #1)   

Authors: Justina Ireland

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

American release date: December 1, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/Young Adult Zombie Fiction/464 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Jane McKeene is her mama’s dirty little secret. Born to a white plantation owner, Jane is undoubtedly of African-American descent. Even so, she knows her mother loves her, and does the best that she can to raise her right. The course of Jane’s life is changed forever when the dead begin to rise on the battlefields of Gettysburg. Jefferson Davis’ Confederacy capitulates to the North due to the necessity of having to fight the growing numbers of undead, which they cannot do on their own. Even so, the battle is an arduous one, and some Southern States have been given up as long causes, simply referred to as the Lost States.

Under the auspices of the Negro and Native Reeducation Act, certain children are sent to schools to learn to combat the dead. Jane is one of these, having been sent to Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore. Jane is really good at what she does, and she can surely swing a mean scythe, but she misses her mama, and writes her often. But she hasn’t heard from her in a while, and Jane is concerned.

Jane is a very independent soul, and very strong-minded. Despite the fact that slavery is now illegal, blacks are still treated with a great degree of condescension. Definitely second-class citizens. The best Jane can hope for is to become an Attendant to some fine white lady (read paid but still a slave in all but name). She dreams of the time when she can leave the school and return to her home in Rose Hill, in Kentucky. Jane has friends at the school, but Katherine is not one of them. Katherine is so fair, she could easily pass, and she is beautiful, and she knows it. She and Jane are like oil and water.

Jane has a past relationship with a young man named Jackson. Their relationship didn’t exactly end well, and yet they maintain a tenuous sort of friendship, somewhat out of necessity. Jackson is easy on the eyes, and he operates outside of the law, and you know how women like their bad boys.  Jackson gets Jane and Katherine embroiled in a scenario which ends up with all of them being sent West to a place called Summerland. Supposedly this is a haven for people to be safe against the growing hordes of dead.

But Jane quickly discovers she has just been sent to a place that is more Hell than Heaven.

I found this book riveting from beginning to end. Jane McKeene is an amazingly awesome heroine, strong and gutsy and just plain likeable. The story is told in a compelling First Person present tense narrative that will pull you in. This alternate Civil Way history with zombies is imaginative and fascinating. I thought it very sad that although slavery was illegal, the entitled white people still found a way to keep the blacks down. I found it hard not to draw parallels between then and present day America, and maybe that was the point.

The relationship between Jane and Katherine is priceless, going from enemies to friends. And in Summerland, I think Jane may have found a potential lover. Only time will tell. There are some great characters, some you’ll love, and some you will equally loathe.

The really good news is there is a sequel, and I can’t wait to read it.  Although marked as High School, I think this is an enjoyable series for all ages.. Can’t wait to read the next book.

 

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 7: The Truth by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 7: The Truth     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: Feb 16, 2010

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Otcho and Kakuta struggle to escape from the island prison of Umihotaru. Kakuta is determined to become a famous manga artist, while Otcho’s desire is to get revenge for a friend. Once they reach the water, Kakuta is sure he can’t possibly swim the distance required to get to freedom, but Otcho tells him the story of his friend who beat him in a swimming competition, and the friend couldn’t even swim! Meanwhile, the warden has learned of the escapes and while he is not concerned with the manga artist, he is upset about Prisoner #3, and wants him back as soon as possible, or else…

Back in 1970, Kenji and his friends are planning to see the Exposition in Osaka. Since time will be at a premium, and lines long, they have to carefully arrange their time to see as much as they can. Donkey confesses to Kenji that his parents can’t afford for him to take the bullet train to Osaka, and asks to borrow Kenji’s bike, to which he agrees. When Otcho and Kakuta reach the mainland,  years later, they find, to Otcho’s amazement, a recreation of that very Expo, with one important exception.

In 2014, a class in a Tokyo high school is given an assignment to write an essay on the Japanese history topic of their choice. Koizumi, caught trying to sneak out of class, chooses to write about Hitler, but her teacher won’t allow that, so she picks up a book at random and points to her “choice” for her subject, which turns out to be Endo Kenji, leader of the Kenji terrorist group that unleashed Bloody New Years Eve in 2000. The teacher objects, but Koizumi insists, claims she always found the official story of that night suspicious, including the iconic photograph of the group who was supposedly controlling the giant monster threatening to destroy Japan. Koizumi isn’t doing well in class because she constantly skips school in order to follow bands that she loves. A classmate of Koizumi’s tells her about another student who went berserk during a discussion of Bloody New Year’s Eve. Her name was Endo Kanna! Koizumi has some research to do!

When Koizumi runs into Kamisama and learns he knew Kenji, she has to learn more!  Back in 2000, Kenji and his friends prepare to save the world from the Friends. They need to find the remote that controls the monster that is destroying Japan!

On top of worrying about Kenji and what has happened to him and the others, we have to deal with Otcho and Kakuta and their ordeal in the current situation, still not knowing exactly what happened in the past. Plus we have a new character, Koizumi, who I feel is going to play a part in revealing the truth about the so-called Kenji terrorist group. I have to hope and believe that Kenji and the others survived whatever put Otcho in prison, and that they will yet emerge to save the day and defeat the evil Friends. Also, Kenji and Yukiji will finally get together!

Another great volume, can’t wait to read the next one!

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 6: Final Hope by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 6: Final Hope   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 20, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Business is way down at the tiny restaurant where Kanna works, thanks to the tight security surrounding the Papal visit to Japan. A young detective named Chono stops by and Kanna, who hates the cops, bites his head off. But he is there on official business, looking for a drag queen named Britney.  Once the detective leaves, Kanna’s boss sends her to look for Britney, as she owes him money. It turns out that Britney saw something she shouldn’t, ie a murder, and that is why she is being sought, as a witness. Kanna and Mariah persuade Britney to go to the police station to turn herself in, but while waiting in line, she recognizes the killer… and he’s a cop!

Detective Chono Shohei is the grandson of a legendary detective, and he wants to be the policeman his grandfather was, to be called Cho-san too. But so far, that isn’t happening. Cho is also rather gullible. When he goes to Britney’s home, he catches Kanna coming out and confronts her. Kanna tells him that she knows Britney witnessed a cop killing someone, and she describes the cop before fleeing the scene. Cho can’t believe his ears. That can’t be true, can it?

Meanwhile, new prisoners are being taken to the island prison of Umihotaru. The bridge to the island was destroyed fourteen years before, as was the tunnel, so there is no way off this hellish place. Kakuta has been sent there, his only crime being he’s a manga artist. His new roommate scares him with stories of this place, and the last roommate who died in the bed that now belongs to Kakuta. Also, there is talk of the Monster, a man who has been in this place for fourteen years, and is housed in the Punishment Block. Supposedly he is more monster than human, and is kept chained at all times. Unfortunately for Kakuta, he is caught with the pencil his roommate loaned him to draw with and he is sent to the Punishment Block!

Kakuta is in a terrible pickle with the guards in the Punishment Block and they are about to hurt him when the Monster intervenes and saves him from a terrible fate. He begins to talk to the man and learns he is not what they make him out to be at all. And he plans to escape this place. Meanwhile, Kanna is frustrated, hiding out with Britney and Mariah to keep them safe. She pens a letter to her uncle, who is in Umihotaru Prison, knowing it will never reach him. But she badly wants his advice.

In this volume, we learn the awful truth of what is referred to as Bloody New Year’s Eve. Up until now, we assumed that Kenji and his friends were victorious, saved the world and rid it of the evil Friend. Quite the contrary. Something else happened, the Friends emerged on top and Kenji and the others are nowhere to be seen. The only one I know the whereabouts of is the one in the prison. I have to admit I am very anxious about Kenji and will be very upset if something bad has happened to him.

Kanna is every bit her uncle’s niece, with a strong sense of right and wrong. Completely suspicious of the young detective, I think with time she will come to trust him, and perhaps more. He needs to lose some of his naivete, and I think that will happen. Unfortunately, not in time to save someone he inadvertently puts in danger.

A lot going on in this volume, what with Kanna trying to save her friends, and with the escape from the prison in order to continue the fight begun so many years ago. Mixed in with all that is the visit of the Pope, and a plot to assassinate him. So many questions, so much I want to know. And there is also an appearance by an old friend of Kenji, who has become unexpectedly successful thanks to a particular gift he has, the same gift which told him of the importance of Kenji to the world.

Great volume, can’t wait for the next one!

Book Review: Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes

Hidden Bodies (You #2)   

Author: Caroline Kepnes

Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books

American release date:  November 1, 2016

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Serial Killer Thriller/448 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

How sad that Guinevere Beck, the long-time object of Joe Goldberg’s devotion (read: obsession) turned out not to be THE ONE. How sad that Joe was forced to deal with her as he had dealt with idiotic Benji and the bitchy Peach before her. But now he has Amy and life is going to be good again, right?

Right up until the time it isn’t. Joe, too caught up in Amy, his emotions overriding his common sense, ignores the red flags and goes against his own rules, and then suffers the consequences when she steals about $23k in valuable books from the bookstore (which he foolishly gave her a key to the basement), including almost all the copies of Portnoy’s Complaint Joe had amassed (at her behest), and then nopes the heck out of Dodge. Berating himself for his blind stupidity, Joe comes across clues that Amy inadvertently left behind regarding her intentions, her aspirations and her dreams. So, it’s off to Hollywood for Joe! To locate and kill one Amy Adam.

Before he goes, Joe visits Mr. Mooney and tells him what has occurred and how he is going to Hollywood. Mr. Mooney has valuable words of wisdom for Joe, which includes being fellated, not sleeping with actresses, not watching too many movies. Don’t call vegetables veggies and don’t go in the ocean.

Before arriving in LA, Joe applies for a job at a used bookstore next to the UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) with a guy named Calvin and puts out feelers for girls trying to sell copies of Portnoy. He constructs a social media presence for himself, including Facebook, and starts to receive Friend Requests.  He applies for an apartment at a building called Hollywood Lawns.  The manager, Harvey Swallows, is an older aspiring stand-up comic who responds to Joe’s email with a Facebook friend request and an invitation to be his fan. Then Joe plasters a fake casting call on Craigslist, “specifically designed to appeal to Amy’s overweening ego”.

Joe is assigned an apartment on the first floor, near the office, and Harvey introduces him to another guy in the building, named Dez, who is a drug dealer. Dez emphatically warns Joe not to f*** Delilah.  He meets Delilah, who turns out to be a gossip reporter who is easy on the eyes and a tendency to be clingy.

Joe establishes a routine. Well, as much of a routine as he can in a place like LA. He shops at the Pantry, where all the cashiers end their checking out process with “Ray and Dottie send their love.” Apparently, they are the owners and lovely people. He goes to the bars where he thinks Amy might show up, but she is never there, to his frustration. He hadn’t planned to spend any real time here, but this isn’t going the way he hoped. At least not yet.

An accidental viewing of a video of the comic Henderson puts Joe on Amy’s scent (Calvin actually made him watch it). Joe is convinced that Henderson and Amy are an item. Calvin is hoping to get Henderson interested in his spec screenplay Ghost Food Truck, and apparently there is a party at Hendy’s house tonight. What fortuitous timing! Now how to get in?

The next day, Joe learns about an audition that is being held for women that fit Amy’s type, and he’s convinced that she’ll be there. She isn’t, but Fate must be on his side because that is where he meets Love Quinn.

The second book in the You series moves us from New York City to Hollywood, which has a vibe all its own. Joe, being the survivor that he is, learns how to fit in without becoming one of them. Determined to find Amy and end her, he unexpectedly meets the love of his love, Love Quinn, and her twin brother Forty (tennis, anyone?). This book is no less of a roller-coaster ride than the first one, with Joe on the verge of being found out and called to order for what he’s done a number of times.

And he keeps on doing what he does best.

Joe is a great character, although honestly I wouldn’t want to meet him. He has no real conscience and kills without a second thought, although he is able to self-justify every killing. If you are interested in watching the series, which I am doing, be aware that the series does diverge in some areas. In the first season, they introduced a young boy, a neighbor of Joe’s, who lives with his mother and her abusive boyfriend. In the second season, Joe has a neighbor with a teenage sister who Joe befriends. They don’t exist in the books.

Joe’s adventures are hilarious as he learns to deal with the people who call Hollywood home. But he can’t help but remember that dang jar of urine he left behind in Peach’s mansion, wondering if it will ever come back to bite him in the a**. However, with Love on his side, he feels he can get through anything. Including Love’s obnoxious, waste-of-space twin. Unless, of course, Love figures out what Joe really is.

I enjoyed the sequel as much as the first book, and I hear the author is working on volumes 3 and 4. Can’t wait.

Book Review: Spy x Family, Vol 4 by Tatsuya Endo

Spy x Family, Vol 4     

Author: Tatsuya Endo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 1, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Action & Adventure/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

As a reward for earning her first Stella star, Anya requests the Forger family get a dog. Loid, wishing to keep her motivated to earn more stars and become an Imperial Scholar, acquiesces. He takes Anya and Yor to a pet shop which is associated with his agency and deals with military dogs, but none of them is to Anya’s liking. Loid receives an emergency summons and has to leave them to their own devices due to a threat against the Foreign Minister. He excuses himself by saying he needs to use the bathroom.

Yor and Anya wind up at the Adoption Fair being held at the Animal Shelter. It’s a huge place, filled with many kinds of pets, and Anya can’t make up her mind. But then a huge dog attracts her attention, even though he is standing on the street, looking in. Can she really be reading his mind? And what does she see there? An image of her family? She slips away from Yor so she can find the big doggy and see what’s going on, but ends up in a place filled with bad guys! The leader of this gang, Keith, wants to hurt Anya, even though the others protest she’s just a little kid, but it’s doggy to the rescue! In the meantime, Yor is going crazy, trying to find Anya and wishing Loid would hurry back from the pet shop’s bathroom!

Now it’s up to Loid… and Yor… and Anya to save the day!

Now that Anya has scored a dog, she thinks the path to friendship with Damian Desmond will be an easy one, but when she tells him about her new dog, he is less than impressed. However, when he seems a little interested and asks the dog’s name, she makes what he considers terrible suggestions. Oh dear, she can’t even name a dog properly? What use is she? When the Forgers take an outing in the park, something happens that reveals the perfect name for the new member of the family!

Most of this volume is certainly a comedy of errors, from start to finish, but every blunder works out right for this family. Each one shines in their own way, according to their secret ability, not knowing that the others are working on the same problem. The ongoing joke that Loid is spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom is hilarious (how else can he explain being absent without revealing himself as a spy?), with Yor going full-on protective mother mode in defense of Anya. Anya is determined to help Loid’s mission succeed so she won’t be sent back to the orphanage. And now we have the newest member of the team, Bond, who has his own secret ability. (Not a spoiler if you’ve seen the cover). Bond is so adorable, and his name is perfect.

There is a short mission at the end which involves Anya using her stuffed animals to play secret agency. But when she attempts to go into the one place in their apartment where she isn’t allowed, an explosion is imminent which could jeopardize Operation Strix! Oh no, how to placate the upset child?

Book Review: Spy x Family, Vol 3 by Tatsuya Endo

Spy x Family, Vol 3           

Author: Tatsuya Endo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: December 1, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Action & Adventure/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Since the cat is out of the bag, and Yor’s brother knows of his sister’s marriage, what else can they do but invite Yuri to dinner? He brings flowers for his sister but lets Loid know this doesn’t mean he approves of their marriage. Prior to Yuri’s arrival, Loid and Yor discuss what reason they are going to give for not mentioning their marriage for an entire year. Loid thinks honesty (or a close facsimile thereof) is the best policy, but Yor says she knows how to handle this and she tells Yuri that she forgot. Really?

Yuri seems to accept Yor’s explanation, but he continues to grill the couple regarding their relationship, and he’s also drinking waaaay too much.  When he and Loid compare notes on a restaurant they’ve both been to, his loose tongue alerts Loid that his new brother-in-law is a member of the State Security Service! This could be awkward, especially at family gatherings!

Not totally convinced they are a legit couple, Yuri demands the ultimate test and insists that they kiss right in front of him! Can they even do this?

The next morning, Loid is conflicted, wondering if Yor really has no idea what her brother does for a living. Anya wants to reassure him but can’t without revealing that she is a telepath. She’s convinced that once he knows that, he will send her back to the orphanage, and she doesn’t want to leave her new family. Loid finally decides to plant a bug on Yor, so he can be sure of her loyalty. When he learns nothing, he decides to set up a scenario, in which he involves Scruffy, as they pose (disguised of course) as members of the Secret Police! If she is in cahoots with her brother, surely she’ll invoke his name as protection!

Anya’s friend Becky tells her that they have a chance to earn a Stella star in PE, so Anya is determined to do so at any cost. But she’s not sure volleyball is her game, and things don’t look good since Damian Desmond has brought in a ringer for his team. Studying isn’t going well for Anya, and neither is test taking (she read the minds of the wrong students and got the wrong answers).  Maybe she’ll do better with community service! Loid takes her to a local hospital, but that doesn’t seem to be her forte either.

Meanwhile a group of wannabe revolutionaries have been training what they refer to as bomb dogs…

This volume of Spy X Family is so good, and Yor’s brother Yuri is sooo…  Well, words fail me about him. He is something else, least of which is a major control freak where his sister is concerned.  He’s got secrets, the same as they do, but Loid has figured Yuri’s out. However, what he doesn’t realize is that Yuri, in his capacity as a member of the Secret Service, wants to capture the spy named Twilight!

Damn, I thought for sure Loid and Yor were going to kiss, and I was ready for it! Damn her brother anyway lol  I think it’s just a matter of time until they do find they have actual feelings for one another, and become an actual family. Insta family does not equate to insta love, and watching their feelings develop is such sweet agony! Crossing my fingers for them!

There is a bonus mission in this volume in which Yor is accidentally injured while on an assassin mission. She can’t very well tell Loid that, though, and so she can’t explain why it’s suddenly too painful for her to sit down, even as he tries to show her a good time on their “date” night.

Love this volume, can’t wait for the next one!