Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review: Battle Magic

Hi management here, initially my plan was to just take the week of August 3rd off to work on Otakon things but it looks like I really need to take this week off as well, between work and my sewing machine finding new and creative ways to break I'm just really far behind. So, I will put up my next review August 11th and things should be much more regular at that point!

Some books I have to wait longer for than others and this is one of them. When I was a freshman in highschool The Will of the Empress came out which I really enjoyed. I was curious where Pierce would take her Circle of Magic universe next, it's her lesser known series but I've always liked the imagination in the magic and the settings. I had almost forgotten this boom was coming out when I saw her at the 2013 National Book Festival (and, in a twist that made me feel like I was at a con, I had to miss her talk to get in a good spot in line for her signing). Since that's in the fall obviously it took me a bit longer to actually get to the book but, given the longer and longer breaks between her books, this wasn't necessarily a bad thing!

Battle Magic  by Tamora Pierce

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer 2014 Anime Round-UP

I swear each time it seems like the new season's releases get more and more stretched out, while some of the first shows aired around the first of July I wasn't able to watch the first episode of the noimtainA series until the 17th, hence why this seems so late! But we're still early in the season so it's a great time to grab new shows, but let me first touch on the shows that I carried over from the spring since there's still time to pick them up too!

Captain Earth: I do wonder a bit at the people who expected Bones to come in and make an amazing sci-fi show because, well, their sci-fi shows just haven't been amazing for a while. Ignoring Space Dandy, since that show is a bit of an interesting situation, Star Driver, Eureka Seven: Astral Ocean, and  Xam'd haven't been their best work and it seems like they've lost that spark that combines a great, interesting and not-shallow idea, with great execution and solid pacing. None of those shows were consistently bad and neither is this one but none of them are Great, they're merely okay to good. Like I said, I'm still enjoying the show but I went in with this mindset and while it's getting better it's not out of the woods yet (I  also wasn't expecting to like Akari as much as I did however, these past two seasons have been great for me in terms of unexpected comedy).

CE is licensed by Sentai Filmworks and can be found on crunchyroll as a simulcast and later on hulu.

Haikyu!! Honestly this was one of my most anticipated shows of the spring and the one I was most confident would be good and so far I've been right! The show manages to strike the right balance between game time and having the characters interact off the court (although after Taisho Baseball Girls it feels odd to not see more of their home lives) and 90% of the cast is hilarious, lovable dorks who leave me laughing each episode. The comedic beats are great, while the show has strayed a bit too far into melodrama a few times by and large the characters are already more than 2D stereotypes, and the show looks great, you can practically feel every thump of the ball. Plus, as someone whose done a bit of volleyball, I can empathize with things like Hinata's choice to bump or set a ball coming in at an awkward height before getting nailed in the face and every time a character misses a serve I wince with sympathy, hang in their guys you'll get better yet!

Also licensed by Sentai (and practically the first show of last season!), HQ!! can also be found simulcast on CR and a few weeks later on hulu.

Happiness Charge Precure: This time last year I was still watching Doki Doki Precure but I do think this is by far the stronger show despite some similarties. Both shows focus more on a larger plot than the situations surrounding the monsters of the week (at times they feel so disconnected I wish the show had the option to just not have a fight) and in both cases while the "main character" and audience surrogate is the pink cure the emotional heart of the show is another girl (Hime has practically stolen the show and it's been a real pleasure to watch her start growing in very realistic fits and spurts). It's a fun show, and I'm enjoying the humor much more than I expected, and in some ways it feels like it's more of a throwback to 90s shojo than just a reflection of ten years of Pretty Cure which is just the thing the series needs to stay fresh.

For the new season, it's odd, when I was looking up titles I was so excited, way more excited than I was about the spring season, but now that summer has rolled around I don't feel like checking out half the titles. It's funny but for the first time in a while I actually want to keep my watching list smaller, partially so I can keep making headway on my backlog and partially because if everything airs over the weekend anyway then I'm going to need a backlog show or two to watch during lunch regardless! So there are a half a dozen shows or so that aren't on here that I will check out sooner or later as the season moves through, probably once I exhaust my supply of easily-to-follow and easy-to-obtain shows to watch while working on a crafting project.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Anime Review: One Week Friends

Several years ago I would have jumped on this show as soon as it started, now however I've grown cynical. Not of heartwarming stories, thank goodness, but of the ability of people to tell a heartwarming story without it becoming overly sugary or veering unexpectedly dark to make other parts seem lighter. Or just writing complicated, nuanced characters, so in short, I waited until I saw people giving this show good reviews week after week before I took the plunge and did not let the cute visuals tempt me into doing so earlier!

One Week Friends (Isshuukan Friends)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Defy

"Oh hey it's a book that's on my to-read list because it comes well-recommended from one or more of my book blogs, let's go for it!"

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Friday, July 18, 2014

Radio Drama Review: Welcome to Nightvale

As Alex Hoffman of Sequential State said recently, while it's easy to review books and tv series which have set beginnings and endings it's much, much harder to do that with a perpetually on-going series (specifically webcomics, especially since they, like this one, start out as works of love not profit). But, since Welcome to Nightvale just had it's second anniversary I think it's only appropriate that I talk about it and explain why such an odd thing has captivated me. I started listening to it on my all-too-exciting trip to Otakon 2013 with a friend who was also curious about it and about halfway through the episode she turns to me and says that tumblr makes so much more sense now (I HAD been wondering where that "guns don't kill people, we're all immortal!" line had come from) and I must admit that now that I follow the show it's fun to see how it has been popping up everywhere in little ways. I attended one of their live shows (which was surprisingly fun for being 97% audio based!), bought a copy of "Condos" and was rather happy that they released their two year anniversary show as episodes in the main podcast (although I assume that their other ones are more-or-less canon this one certainly is). And so, this review covers them from episode 1 to episode 49, the second half of said live show, not just because that's the end of a grand arc but because episode 50 only came out this week and this show is also how I bribe myself to do my laundry ("no nightvale unless you actually iron your work shirts!") and I haven't had time to do laundry yet, how I do laundry the two weeks of the month this show isn't on is an enduring mystery.

Welcome to Nightvale

Monday, July 14, 2014

Anime Review: Nanana's Buried Treasure

This was a disappointing noitaminA season for me, I ended up not finishing Ping Pong since nothing about it grabbed me enough and then this other show has nothing in common with other noitaminA shows. Sure plenty of shows have deviated from it's themes before (which I recognize as either "artsy-ier than normal" or "specifically aimed at the josei demographic with some crossover appeal") but this one defied than grouping even more than other shows as of late.

Nanana's Buried Treasure

Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review: Tankborn

As brought up in my last post, since I get so many books from my library it's usually months between when I first hear of a book and when I read it, which means that half the time I've forgotten about a book by the time I finally see it on the shelves. That was the case this time around but, since I have a pretty good memory for which books I do eventually want to read, I picked it up anyway and was happy it was on the shorter side since my library stack seems to do nothing but grow these days.

Tankborn by Karen Sandler

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My favorite books of 2013

I'm sure some people looked at that title and wondered if I got the date wrong, nope! Since I get so many books from libraries it takes a little while for me to get to everything and, since last December the list of books from 2013 I wanted to read was greater than the list of those which I had, I decided to revisit the idea halfway through 2014. I'm actually not done posting all my reviews of 2013 books yet, who knows if I'll ever be done, but all of the ones on this list I have reviewed previously so let's get started! Oh and, unsurprisingly, not only is this a short list but it's also all YA, I really am trying to read more broadly but I'm having a hard time finding adult fiction that simply entertains me as much as YA that's not straight-up non-fiction.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Anime Review: Tokyo Ravens

Given how far behind I fell with my reviews, I've opted to just start over this week following my regular schedule and not exhaust myself trying to catch back up (since the spring anime season just ended I didn't have any reviews I could pop up instead last week but I think I'm set for now!)

As I've said about half my reviews lately, this one must seem like it's coming out of left field to people who read my season round-UP posts, spring was  an odd season for me in more ways than one. I actually did completely drop this show last winter but was a bit bored and checked back in on a discussion thread got it every now and then (since no blog I followed had kept up with it, the problem with only following people with the same tastes) when I noticed a friend with similar tastes to mine was still watching and once it was done asked if it had been worth it. They said that they had been meh on the show when they started but it had ended up being one if their favorites and that's exactly what I needed to hear and then jumped back in right where I left off. 

Tokyo Ravens

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Book Review: Crown of Midnight

Well that didn't go as planned, apologies that my schedule is so off, between HTTYD2 taking longer than usual to write, my work deciding that I should work 8 days in a row (heck, anytime my reviews are late just assume it's work related), and having three family crises in 12 hours just completely threw me off and I'm going to work as hard as I can to get back on track as quickly as I can!

After reading Throne of Glass I was fairly excited to read the next book as well and, between when it came out and when I read it, the author announced that while she had originally signed a three book deal for the series, it had been extended into a six book deal which was how she originally outlined it and that the series would completely finish. It seems as if she's already finished with the editing for Heir of Fire but I'm still happy since I do actually have a few YA series that are in unfinished limbo and have no desire to add to that list. Also, whatever my feelings on the individual books might be, I have to say that they have the best short, snappy but not one word, titles out there right now, they're rather fun to keep typing out!

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas