Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rose Red's Beginner's Guide to Anime, Part Three


Woo! Welcome to the last and final part of my Beginner's Guide to Anime! Today, I'm talking about all of the anime movies I'd recommend for those who want to get into anime but don't know where to start. If you missed out on Parts One and Two of this Guide, you can find them here and here. Part Three of this series will be all about the best anime movies to start with as a newbie. And I promise that I didn't just make a list of Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli films. Well, mostly. Let's talk about some anime movies, shall we?


your name. (2016)
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Studio: CoMix Wave Films

In my opinion, you can't go wrong with any Makoto Shinkai film but I can say that your name. was my favorite movie I saw in the theaters in 2017, hands down. It's the story about two high school students who swap bodies. It's a story about the differences of living in different places with one of the characters living in Tokyo and the other in rural Japan. Not only is the story engrossing and heartwretching, but the animation is absolutely gorgeous! It's seriously beautiful. According to The Hollywood Reported, it beat out Miyazaki's Spirited Away to become the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time. So if you need another reason to go see it besides my opinion, you can't get better than that.

How to Watch:
 This one will be available to rent from Amazon (and I'm sure iTunes) after January 30th. It's not streamed anywhere yet since it's such a new one. You'll have to wait unless you can buy it or borrow it.


Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Studio: Studio Ghibli 

I seriously could list every Miyazaki film on this list and it wouldn't be wrong. His films are amazing! I highly recommend all of them! But I'm only going to discuss one of them and that would be my favorite, Howl’s Moving Castle. It's an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ 1986 novel and is a whimsical adventure of the timid Sophie who has beem cursed with the body of an old crone by a jealous witch. She is rescued by a charismatic wizard who lives in a gigantic walking castle and Howl is my favorite. The whole cast of characters are awesome, to be honest. This is the film that I always recommend people start with who have never watched a Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli film before.

 How to Watch:
Unfortunately, Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli films aren't streamed so you're going to have to borrow it or buy it.


The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Studio: Kadokawa Herald Pictures

If you discovered you could travel backwards in time, would you us your ability to help others or use it to help yourself? I would like to think I'd help others but I'd probably help myself like Makoto Konno in this movie. And that is essentially the premise of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time with Makoto discovering that there are consequences from her escapades through time. It’s a beautiful film with terrific animation. I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to watch it. It's sci-fi speculative wish fulfillment at it's best.

How to Watch:
You can watch this one on Funimation if you have a premium subscription. You can buy/rent it through iTunes or you can borrow it.


The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Studio: Studio Ghibli

I'm going to be honest. I was kind of obsessed with Mary Norton’s The Borrowers as a kid and I've seen all of its many adaptations. My favorite version is definitely Studio Ghibli's version. Not surprising, right? We're all familiar with the plot of The Borrowers so what more can I say than go watch it?

How to Watch:
Again, Studio Ghibli films aren't streamed so you're going to have to borrow it or buy it.


5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Studio: CoMix Wave Films

 Before this last year, 5 Centimeters Per Second was Makoto Shinkai's most well-known film. As much as I love your name., this movie is probably the best one to be introduced to Shinkai's work. It's a slice-of-life movie that focuses on two childhood friends who pine for one another all the while the other circumstances in their lives are trying to pull them apart. It's a movie that touches on topics such as distance, relationships, and missed opportunities. The story is actually told as three short stories that follows the main character, Takaki Tono, through his childhood, teen years, and eventual adulthood. It's unique format complements the gorgeous animation beautifully. I love this move so much!

How to Watch:
Yay! One you can actually stream online! You can watch this on Crunchyroll with most of Shinkai's other films.


Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Director: Yoshifumi Kondo
Studio: Studio Ghibli

I didn't mean to make this list 50% Studio Ghibli films but it happened anyway. Whisper of the Heart is one of Ghibli's underappreciated treasures. It is a heartwarming coming-of-age story with an adorably endearing a romance. It's the story of Shizuku, a precocious bookworm who falls for the violin-maker, Seiji Amasawa, after discovering he shares her love of literature. Instead of professing her feelings for him, she is inspired to pursue her own passion for writing as a way to deal with them. It sounds sad but it's really an amazing movie. We wouldn't expect anything less than that from a Studio Ghibli film, would we?

How to Watch:
Sorry! I hate that Studio Ghibli films aren't offered digitally or streamed! Unfortunately, if you want to watch it you're going to have to borrow or buy it. 

That wraps up the my Beginner's Guide to anime. Is there any anime movies that I missed that you'd recommend for a newbie?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Manga Reviews: Astra Lost in Space, Vols. 1 and 2


Astra Lost in Space, Vol. 1
(Astra Lost in Space #1)
Kenata Shinohara
Release: December 5, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
What starts as a pleasant class trip to a planet five light-years away becomes a nightmare survival trip to get back home.

In the year 2063, interstellar space travel has become the norm. What sort of adventure awaits on the new frontier?

It's the first day of Planet Camp, and Aries Spring couldn't be more excited! She, along with eight other strangers, leave for Planet McPa for a week long excursion. Soon after they arrive, however, a mysterious orb appears and transports them into the depths of space, where they find an empty floating spaceship…

Review:
I picked up this series because I was looking for a good sci-fi manga and this one was getting quite a bit of hype a few months ago when the English translation came out. I'm so glad I picked it up! It's a solid start to a new manga series. The first part of this volume was slow and a bit weird. It was mainly setup to introduce the characters.

The second half was a total shift in the narrative and I am all here for it! It's basically a YA Lost in Space meets Swiss Family Robinson with a bit of Titan AE and Up thrown in for some flavor. I love a good misfit crew story and it was fun watching the characters start to learn to work together and to depend on each other. Although, some of the characters are still a mystery. Plus, there's a bigger conspiracy behind our poor "shipwrecked" cast and how they exactly ended up on their abandoned ship far from where they started. I can't wait to see where this story goes.

    
  4 / 5 Stars



Astra Lost in Space, Vol. 2
(Astra Lost in Space #2)
Kenata Shinohara
Release: January 23, 2018
What starts as a pleasant class trip to a planet five light-years away from Earth becomes a nightmare survival trip back home from 5,000 light-years away.

In the year 2063, interstellar space travel has become the norm. What sort of adventure awaits on the new frontier?

The situation aboard the Astra intensifies as Zack reveals to Kanata that the ship’s communication system has recently been sabotaged and that it’s likely one of their new friends who tried to murder them! The mystery deepens as the crew members are overtaken by confusion and anger and start to question each other’s motives. Just as the argument comes to a head, the side of the ship explodes, shutting down the controls and gravity system and setting the Astra on a collision course with the second planet on their trip, Shummoor.

Review:
I'm really enjoying this series so far! It's very much a YA space opera and I'm digging it. The interactions between the characters are amazing and their explorations are intriguing. Volume 2 picks up a few weeks after Volume 1 left off and things are getting interesting as they arrive at the second planet for resupplying their trip home. The main mystery is still unsolved and there looks to be a saboteur on board but that's all put aside so everyone can concentrate on surviving.

One of my favorite things about this manga so far are the planet visits. The animals and flora are interesting and the adventures the crew have when they go planet-side are fun and thrilling. I'm also loving seeing everyone uses their unique knowledge and talents to solve problems. We got to learn more about Yun-hua's backstory and I will say that I did not see that coming. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on volume 3 and seeing what trouble these teens get into next. I hope we learn more about Ulgar next too! I also hope that we get to see some answers as to why this group has ended up together and where they are in the next volume too.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

   
  4 / 5 Stars


Monday, January 22, 2018

The Results Are In! Survey Says:

Thank you to everyone who took time to answer our Follower Feedback Survey!
So many people had nice to things to say in the comments, so thanks for that as well. I’m not going to bore you with all the details but I thought I’d share a few things for everyone who was curious about the results.

First of all, apparently I’m the only weirdo who reads the blog on an iPad. 65% of you read on your computers and 35% on your phones. (I asked that question to confirm that we need to be aware of how the blog looks in both the web and mobile versions.)

But here are the more interesting stats:

What Genres Do You Read?


You guys love Urban Fantasy. We love it too so yay!
Lots of you also like both adult and YA Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and SciFi.

What are your favorite types of posts?


What posts do you dislike?


And you love book reviews, which is good since we're a book blog. We're planning to do more lists, more RTFBs and a monthly discussion. Some of you don't like unboxings and those are going to be on Instagram only starting with the January boxes. We'll still let you know when they're happening with a note on the blog for those of you who do like them.

What do you want to see on our social media?


And lots of you want to see more book recs, deal alerts, and general fangirling on social media so we'll try to make that happen. Watch our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

If you missed the survey but have a comment or a suggestion about what you'd like to see on the blog, feel free to leave it below.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Early Review: Don't Rush Me by Jackie May


37888434

Don't Rush Me
(Nora Jacobs #1)
Jackie May
Release: January 25, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the author via Netgalley
Most humans have no idea that a dark and deadly underworld, filled with magic and monsters, exists. They wander through life blissfully ignorant of the supernatural world around them. Nora Jacobs is different. Nora knows exactly what kinds of hellish creatures haunt the streets of Detroit. 

Thanks to a unique set of psychic abilities, Nora has managed to steer clear of the underworld most of her life. But all that changes the night the most powerful vampire in the city discovers her gifts and decides to use her as a tool to find one of his missing clan members. 

As if that’s not bad enough, Nora believes she’s cursed. All her life, people, especially men, have been drawn to her—some to the point of obsession and violence. Underworlders, it seems, are not immune to this curse, and now she’s caught the attention of some of the most dangerous monsters in the city.

Neck deep in an investigation only she can solve, Nora quickly makes as many new allies as she does enemies. Her biggest problem is staying alive long enough to decide which is which
Review:

It's been a while since I've discovered a new Urban Fantasy series. The Nora Jacobs series seems to have everything I love about UF: a mystery plot, a heroine who can take care of herself, and a wide variety of supernaturals. May calls them Underworlders - vampires, werewolves, trolls, fae, and a few whose natures haven't been revealed yet. It even has a supernatural law enforcement agency, the Federal Underworld Agency, and I love those. It's old school and I really enjoyed it.

But here's the thing that bugged me: there are just so many triggers! I'm not particularly sensitive to references to rape and abuse but if you are, this is not the book for you. Nora grew up in the foster system and was abused and assaulted frequently throughout her childhood. She references those experiences several times and even has a few flashbacks. They serve a purpose in the story, but I still think it could have been toned down. She's also kidnapped and violated in the present.

Nora also has what she calls a curse, but comes to believe is some Underworld in her family tree. Men have always been attracted to her, sometimes to the point of obsession and abuse. The whole thing feels too much like victim blaming, even though she's the one doing it. Everyone else seems to go along with it when she explains. I know that victims often blame themselves and I hope that Nora works through it over the course of the series, but at this point it makes me a little bit uncomfortable.

Despite all that, I basically felt like Don't Rush Me was a fun book. I liked Nora, her psychic skills, and the supporting characters. I love the found family theme, which enforces that "old school UF" feel I was talking about. I'm curious to see where the series goes so I'll be on the lookout for book two.


Recommended for fans of: Hannah Jayne's Underworld Detection Agency series, Gravewitch by Kalayna Price


    1/2
3 1/2  stars



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Rose Red's Beginner's Guide to Anime, Part Two


Woo! Part Two of my Beginner's Guide to Anime is here! I'm have four more series to recommend for those who want to get into anime but don't know where to start. If you missed out on Part One, you can find it here. My next anime post will be Part Three of this series and will be all about the best anime movies to start with as a newbie. Let's talk about more anime shows, shall we?

A Note On Anime Streaming: You don't need a subscription to watch most of these animes. As long as you don't mind watching ads, you can stream this whole list on Crunchyroll or Funimation for FREE!


Noragami
Episodes: 25 + 4 OVAs
Synopsis

Noragami is an anime about a minor god who wishes to be a major god with his own shrine and a human girl who winds up sucked into the world of the paranormal when she suffers an accident that has a side effect that causes her soul to literally slip out of her body at random times. I fell head over heels in love with this anime with its gods and spirits who turn into weapons. It has a little bit of everything but it's done in a way that makes it one of those animes that you seriously can't stop watching once you start. I love the characters and the way the story invests in their growth. We get each character's personal backstory while still having a plot that involves all the characters. It has tons of humor that doesn't down play the seriousness of the plot or the characters. It's SO good, guys! I need them to make a Season 3 so badly! I'll just have to content myself with catching up with the manga for now.

 Can Be Watched On:
Crunchyroll (Only Season 1)


Haikyu!!
Episodes: 60 + an OVA
Synopsis

Look another sports anime made my Beginner's Guide! Haikyu!! is an volleyball anime where the characters are the main reason to watch the show. There is seriously something to love about almost every character and I love their interactions! The friendships in this show are just amazing to watch grow and develop. Haikyu!! has a large cast of characters but that aspect of the show is handled SO well. The match scenes are pretty intense and awesome to watch. Plus, it has a ton of episodes if you're in the mood for a substantial binge watch. I've been holding out on watching Season 3 because I'm not ready to be out of episodes yet. I have my fingers crossed that 2018 is the year they announce a Season 4.

Can Be Watched On: 
Hulu



The Ancient Magus' Bride
Episodes: 24 + a 3 Episode OVA series
Synopsis

The Ancient Magus' Bride is the only anime in this guide that's still currently airing. I'm not sure how to describe it. It's dark, whimsical, and a delightfully magical journey as we watch the main character, Chise, find her place in the world as a Sleigh Beggy and a mage in training after she is bought at auction by the mage Elias Ainsworth. I love this anime so much! And we're only to episode 14 of a 24 epsiode Season 1. There are dragons and fairies and even a King of Cats. I love watching Elias and Chise interact and how their relationship dynamic changes as the season progresses. And the secondary characters are amazing! I adore Ruth so much! I can't recommend this anime enough. The story is fascinating and the animation is absolutely gorgeous! 

Can Be Watched On:
  

Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Episodes: 10 + an OVA
Synopsis

I have never related more to an anime character than I have to Moriko Morioka from Recovery of an MMO Junkie. Moriko has left the stressful corporate world to become a NEET which, in her case, is someone who stays home all day and plays video games. We follow her as she starts an new online game and the friendships she makes. I loved watching her navigate her way online and in meeting her online friends in real life. This anime quickly become one of my favorites of the fall 2017 anime season. It's adorable and relatable and was way too short for my liking. I need a second season like I need air. Actually, I want several more seasons if we're being honest. Also, I need the web manga to be translated into English, please and thank you!

Can Be Watched On: 

That wraps up the TV anime recs portion of this guide. Is there any animes I missed that you'd recommend for a newbie?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

We Love Lists: Book Titles That Gave Me Earworms


Christine Warren has a new shifter romance releasing this month called Baby, I'm Howling For You. I posted about it on Instagram saying that for once I actually liked the song that got stuck in my head because of a book title. And that got me thinking about some of the book-related earworms I've experienced over the years.

Sometimes the author deliberately chooses song titles for their whole series like in Warren's case. The next book in her series is called Lion Eyes. (Why she went from a 2010 song to The Eagles circa 1975, I have no idea.) And sometimes it's just my brain making a connection that no one intended but I'm stuck with anyway.

Here are my Top 5 Book Titles That Gave Me Earworms

30339479
5. You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon 
I’ve been singing the “Cups Song” from Pitch Perfect for a week now since I saw someone talking about this book on Twitter. (I know it’s a real song outside the movie, but I don’t think I’ve actually heard it anywhere else.) Sometimes I veer off in to “Titanium” but not the whole song, just the part they sing in the shower scene.

30712676
4. Magic For Nothing by Seanan Maguire
I thought the Dire Straits reference was accidental (Remember "Money For Nothing" from the MTV commercials?) until I found out the next book in the Incryptid series is called Tricks For Free. That's the next line in the song for those of you not up on your 80's hair bands. And now I'm doomed to hear "I want my MTV" every time I see this book. Tricks For Free just went up on Netgalley so I’m having a lot of  “No, not again!” moments.

21840287
3. Tainted Blood by M.L. Brennan
This one wasn't deliberate, but the Generation V series now has me singing "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. Seriously, why are 80's songs so darn catchy?

26089018
2. We Don't Need Another Hero by Sierra Dean
Mad Max. Tina Turner. This shouldn't be a bad one, but when I was little we had a Muppet song parodies calendar. Now I just hear my mother singing "We don't need another Gonzo. He don't even know the way home." She sounds nothing like Tina Turner.

36159798
1. Bite the Hand That Bleeds by Megan Erickson
This short takes the top spot because it's an earworm two-fer. There's the obvious one, "The Hand That Feeds" by Nine Inch Nails. But since the series is called Mission and I'm already thinking about Trent Reznor, what actually stays with me for days is "Past the Mission," this creepy, atmospheric duet he did with Tori Amos.

Do you have a song stuck in your head now too?


What title gave you an earworm?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Really Short Reviews: The Alphaville Series by Christine Warren

36442122

Something to Howl About
(Alphaville #.5)
Christine Warren
Release: January 2, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps, in a brand-new paranormal romance series from New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren.

Dr. Annie Cryer has been called many things: Genius. Child prodigy. Scientific wonder.

Wolf Shifter.

Banished from her pack years ago, Annie’s lone wolf wandering has brought her to Alpha, Washington, home to all shifters who don't quite fit in in the "normal" shifter word. Now Annie has the chance to go back home...if only she can make good on a favor her alpha owes the mayor of “Alphaville.” But it's not much of a favor when you're helping the hottest shifter in town...

Grizzly shifter Jonas Browning has a clan in trouble. They haven't had a child born in over a hundred years...and their clan faces going completely extinct. Genetic scientist Anne Cryer has been sent to help save them. But what Jonas doesn't count on is being irresistibly drawn to the small wolf shifter, and his bear isn't about to let her go...
Review:

This is a pretty short prequel story so there's not a lot of development. Not as much is needed because of the shifters' fated mates, but I feel like the plot could have supported a longer story. It would have been interesting to go into Annie's research a little. While the story does introduce the town of Alphaville, I would also have liked to learn more about the residents and the packs/clans. I'm hoping that I'll get that in the first full book of the series.

I also felt like consent was questionable at the early (kissing) stages of Jonas and Annie's relationship. With so much attention on sexual harassment and assault lately, that over the top alpha behavior, even though it's pretty standard in shifter romances, feels especially squicky.

This story is set about a year before Baby, I'm Howling For You. Jonas does appear in that book but it's not absolutely necessary to read this one first.

    
 stars


34964897

Baby, I'm Howling For You
(Alphaville #1)
Christine Warren
Release: January 30, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps.

Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…

Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?
Review:

Alphaville is set in the same world as Warren's Others series, which I haven't read. I might have a better idea what it means to be an alpha in this world if I had, but in general I don't feel like I'm missing any important details. I have read some of her Gargoyles series and like with Alphaville so far, I love the ideas behind it, but the execution is just okay.

Mick and Renny are a book nerd's dream couple, a graphic novelist and a librarian. Some of my favorite moments are when she talks about his work. But he also has a throw the woman over his shoulder and drag her back to his cave moment that I could do without. It's very similar to that same moment in the prequel novella and in general, I feel like there are too many similarities between the romances in the two stories.

I did like getting to meet more of Alpha's residents this time. I love the variety of shifter types, which includes badgers and wolverines in addition to the usual wolves, bears and cats, as well as the variety of personalities. I'm always a fan of small towns with big personalities. What I like most about this particular story are the police procedural elements, even though it's not actually told from a police POV. It is setting up Deputy Zeke for his own book so I have high hopes for the next one in the series.


    
 stars




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...