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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Fellside M.R. Carey

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I really enjoyed Fellside. It was very dark in places and had some very hard topics but also had some really shining parts which restored my faith in it.
I liked the supernatural element to it and I like that it wasn't instantly apparent that the 'angels' and the apparition of the little boy that she'd killed weren't all in her head.
People in particular were really well written, from the doctors personal struggle between his own rage and cowardice, to the love between Naz and Lizzie.
The ending left me wanting a bit, in that I wanted to know exactly where Jess went but I liked the touch with the footprints through the dreamscape.
All in all I loved it and would recommend it.

Friday, 16 December 2016

I love the Wagamama Cookbook

I have now attempted (with quite some success!) two more of the Wagamama recipes from the cook book and wish to add them to my review. Firstly I made the poached cod with shiitake mushrooms.
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I made little mistake first of all and missed out the butter entirely but remembered before cooking it and stuck some in quickly. It was considerably less photogenic afterwards but was worth it to see the butter melt around the cod when it came out.
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When cooked it was truly delicious!
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The next thing I made were the Ebi Gyoza prawn dumplings. They were really fun and simple to do as well as tasty. Unfortunately I didn't have the ingredients for the Ebi Gyoza sauce so I used sweet chilli instead and it worked like a dream. I truly love the food from Wagamama's as well as being able to recreate it at home. Their cook book is detailed, accurate and easy to follow and I love love love it.
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Saturday, 10 December 2016

2017 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge

I'm taking part in the 2017 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge!

Every month, I'm pledging to read a book that related to a theme set by the blog It's a good way to diversify my reading and get social with other bloggers out there, since my baby blog is a little lonely right now.

Here's the first month's challenge:

JANUARY – Diversify Your Reading
Kick the reading year off right and shake things up. Read a book with a character (or written by an author) of a race, religion, or sexual orientation other than your own.

For January's theme, I really want to read Pantomime by Laura Lam!

Pantomime ebook by Laura LamHere's the cover and a brief synopsis:

In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more . . .
Gene's life resembles a debutante's dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities - last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.
The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as 'Micah Grey', Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight - but the circus has a dark side. She's also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

In January I'll post a review post of this book and choose my book of next month as well. Anyone else who's doing the challenge let me know what you've picked and why! I'd truly love to hear from some other bloggers.

Three of my Newest Cookbook Reviews

Wagamama Cookbook ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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This cook book is amazing! Great for anyone who enjoys Japanese food or Wagamama's food from visiting their restaurants. I've made a few dishes from this and found that they are fast, easy and well explained. There is a glossary at the front of the book, to explain terms such as menma, which I previously hadn't known, but refers to canned bamboo shoots. I made some of the vegetable Korokke for the friend who loaned me this amazing book. I was proud of both ramen dishes I made, a chicken ramen and a BBQ honey pork ramen (this one's a favourite!). Without further ado, here are some foody pictures:

Persepolis ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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This is an interesting book on Persian cooking I received as a proof copy. I enjoyed making the recipes I have and am looking forward to cooking from this book for a long time. Some really beautiful recipes here as well. I enjoyed the soups as well as the mini moussaka mushrooms. It's inspired me to try new foods and recipes from places I've never been. They are also very good for if you are on a budget. Many of the ingredients are spices, which I had in my cupboard, or herbs which I grow myself. In the recipe for the mini moussaka mushrooms Sally Butcher encourages 'cupboard love' and the switching of fresh tomatoes for tinned if they're more readily available to you. As a student I definitely appreciate this. My love of Sally's soups has even motivated me to go out and buy my own hand blender so I can make more of them (without continuously borrowing my flatmates kitchen utensils!). I also have a new desire to visit the Persepolis shop in Peckham soon.

A Girl Called Jack ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Haven't been the biggest fan of Jack's cook book so far. I made a seasonal greens pesto pasta and it was not my cup of tea so have been put off trying anything else. It was very strongly lemony and incredibly sour. I threw most of it out. I may try more of her recipes, after all that was only one out of 100 in the book, but from what I've made I can't give this a good review.


Monday, 5 December 2016

A HalfBad Series Review

The HalfBad series by Sally Green quickly became one of my favourite series. A not-so-typical coming of age with an unusual take on witches and their gifts, this book rocked my world from beginning to end. To start, Nathan is the spiky little hedgehog main character we all adore. The language is straightforward, to the point and incredibly hard hitting. It's so easy to believe and sweeps you off your feat! It's a fluid story with a cast that are just as fluid, as well as a message against racism and hate crimes at it's core, using white and black witchcraft as a method of communicating exactly how bad people can treat those different to themselves while justifying it as "the right thing to do". Ultimately a heart-wrenching and tragic ending but such a beautiful flight of a story that you can't afford to miss it.

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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Volunteering in South Africa

My deepest, sincerest apologies for the long awaited update. Not only have I been caught up in my work and studies, I've also spent a month abroad in South Africa volunteering on a game reserve! I wanted to share an experience of a life time with you, as well as share my main book buddies for the trip!

My two ever-present's for the trip are these:

Stuarts' Field Guide to Mammals of South Africa is irreplaceable when on game drives round reserves or even just spotting stray wildlife around Southern Africa. Whereas in zoos everything has a name tag, out on the reserve it's much harder to know what type of antelope you've spotted or whether there's African Pangolins indigenous to the area. Stuarts' field guide was a bit pricey to buy in the airport (as expected) but proved to be a valuable resource. I used many of the images in here to paint from when my photos of the animals had come out in blurs. It also helped me distinguish which type of rhino I saw when I bribed Alex, one of the rangers, into tracking them for me (he received a packet of wine gum sweets for his troubles). A nicely well illustrated guide and a helluva lot handier than a travel guide for species identification!

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The next book was one I used a lot in drives, one of the rangers, named Denzley was a real bird enthusiast and took great pleasure in helping me identify birds and pointing out pages and chapters in the following Birds of Southern Africa book. The first bird I identified was the cape glossy starling, a beautiful blue bird that really shines in the sun. In fact many of the birds are amazing exotic colours so it's really good to be able to keep track of them in something like this!

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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Chilbolton Common Botany Trip

I recently visited Chilbolton Common, which is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) in Hampshire to look at the various flora and fauna. The river Test, which cuts through the common, did not disappoint, and while kick sampling, we found several varieties of larvae and nymph as well as freshwater shrimp. The real interest to me was the plant life to be found all around the river itself and the meadows where cows graze. The weather was dreary, and there were not as many butterfly's around, but a few were spotted in the distance, and one closer up that was much easier to recognise. Here are a couple of things I spotted:

Little egret (Egretta garzetta)
Tortoise shell butterfly (Aglais urticae)
Freshwater shrimp (genus: Gammarus)
Mayfly and Mayfly nymph (order: Ephemeroptera)
Dragonfly nymph (suborder: Anisoptera)
Stonefly nymph (order: Plecoptera)

Cocksfoot Grass (Dactylis glomerata)
Timothy Grass (Phleum pratense)
Crested Dog's-tail Grass (Cynosurus cristatus)
Quaking Grass (Briza media)
Sedges (family:Cyperaceae)
Mouse-ear chickweed (Cerastium fontanum)

Water Forget-me-nots (Myosotis scorpioides)
Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis)
Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus L)
Jew's ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae)
Veronica (Veronica anagallis-aquatica and arvensis)
Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
The plants were identified using the Collins British Common Wild Flower Guide by David Streeter (ISBN:978-0-00-745125-8). It's a handy little book and well worth it if you have an interest in botany and wild flowers.

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I had a good time, despite the abysmal weather, and was completely amazed at the ammount of variety that can be found in a small meadow.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

YA Picks (Part 2)

Haze - Paula Weston ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The plot thickens! This is the second book in the Rephaim series by Paula Weston. You can find my review of Shadows, the first book in the series here. Gaby can still not remember her life as a half fallen angel, save for the gory dream about hellions, but now she knows more about it. Throughout the book Gaby gets drawn further and further into the world of the Rephaim, both those in the sactuary and the gang of outcasts to whom Rafa and her twin brother Jude belonged to. Jason, still apart from both groups, tells us more about his acquaintances. This book is like a series of small battles ultimately leading up to the main war. It builds and builds in jumps and Weston's characters seem to jump from the page more and more with each one. I've already taken the next book in the series, Shimmer, off the shelves in my local library to get reading.

Shimmer - Paula Weston  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Shimmer is unputdownable. By the third book in the series I'm well and truly commited to seeing this out. Unfortunately everything I have to say about the book will be a spoiler if you haven't already read the first two. In this book the main conflict is that Rafa and Taya are kidnapped by deamons and it's up to Gaby to get them back. The ending is a cliffhanger. I HATE CLIFFHANGERS. AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I need to know more about how the majoy reveal at the end is going to affect things. This book has me tied in knots.

Loneliness of distant beings - Kate Ling ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Seren is the most apathetic main character I have ever read. I mean that in a good way. She has what is considered a very outside view on her own situation and if she's a bit suicidal because of it, I don't balme her.

Seren lives on a space ship on a mission to intercept a signal hundreds of years away. She was born on the ship, she'll live her entire life on the ship, and she'll die on the ship, never seeing the planet her people came from nor the planet they're destined to meet. If that wasn't bad enough, all graduates from their school are assigned a 'life partner' and have a two year compulsory service doing menial jobs around the ship before they can choose their own career. Her partner is abysmal and she's slowly falling in love with someone else, despite him also being promised to someone.

Seren has very limited choices, until she has them all. She yearns for the warmth of the nearest sun on her face and the feeling of loving a life partner. She doesn't want a life on a barren ship and a future of artificial insemination. When their ship aproaches a habitable planet, that's when hopes change and dreams become realised.

This story has such an interesting concept and I can see the logic behind the way the people on the ship work, but Seren has such an interesting interpretation of what it is to live the logic. At the end of the day, no one wants to live acording to how people tell them. What's really interesting (to me anyway) is Erza's character development. Ling paints an interesting mosaic of characters, each with their own lives and goals. Very well written.

And I Darken - Kiersten White ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

This wasn't my cup of tea, but there were some parts that I liked a lot. The story follows Lada Dracul, wild-child, badass and warrior. Lada, despite being a girl, becomes important to her father Vlad, through her brash ways and fierce nature. When Vlad has to make peace with the sultan of another nation, he has no choice but to leave his children there too, for the sultan made an offer to teach the both of them far better than they ever could have been taught at home. Lada's brother Rafa, fits right in, making friends with the enemy troops and feeling connected to their religion from his first prayers with them. Lada does not. Lada hates the sultan, his people, and even her own father for leaving her there. When Lada and Rafa make friends with the third son of the sultan, and the very same third son has to rise to the occasion and take his father's place, Lada and Rafa must be behind him. But danger awaits them. For there are still members of the sultan's palace that would wish Lada's family a much less comfortable life.

All in all, the plot is quite compelling and I can't really see why I slipped up with this book. Lada is a great main character and has a lot of spunk to her. I felt connected to Rafa as well, even as he is a more sensitive character and not usually one I would favour. There was one moment that hooked me, and it was a piece of dialogue between Lada and the sultan's son. He asks to be her friend. She insults him. He exclaims that he's the sultan's son and shouldn't be insulted like this. Lada says she doesn't care. He's her friend but she's not a very good one. Very cheeky, I thought, and right up my ally.

Unfortunately there was a lot of unnessecary traveling scenes and things I didn't feel had any relevence to the main story arc. There weren't any side characters that I wanted to know about and aside from the main arc I was completely uninvested in the novel. I didn't  make it to the end of this book unfortunately. The reason this has two stars is because of that one section of dialogue and the character portrail but otherwise it wasn't for me.

Goodbye Stranger - Rebecca Stead ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

I liked 'Goodbye Stranger'. It has a nice easy reading flow and a is a good coming of age story. My favourite character arc has to be about the girl who skips school on valentines day. It's heartfelt and painfully beautiful as a story of a friendship that is manipulative and the value of apologies. The main story arc focuses on Bridge, a girl that spent a year out of school after a horrible traffic accident left her in the hospital. She can't stop thinking about a comment one of the nurses made while she was ill. The nurse told her that she must have been put there for a reason and that's why she survived the accident.

Bridge and her two best friends Emily and Tabitha go through the ups and downs of friendship and love together. Sherm, a boy from Bridge's club at school, wants to get to know her better, but is slightly jaded by his grandfather walking out on his family.

It's a sweet story but at the end of the day I don't think I can say it's any more than just nice.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

YA Picks (Part 1)

Rainbow Rowel - Fangirl ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Having read 'Carry On', the fanfiction talked about extensively in 'Fangirl' I was very interested to read this book. It was only Rowel book that my local library had in stock so I was quick to pick it up. Fangirl is set around a young college girl, forced to move outside of her comfort zone, make friends and find love. The novel's protagonist, Cather, is so relatable with her social anxiety and the way she worries about seeing people and even leaving her room. Cather's thing is fanfiction. Under the username Magicath, she writes a popular Snowbaz fanfic about her favourite characters in the whole wide world. She's quite comfortable with writing her fan novel and sharing everything with her twin and built-in best friend, Wren. Then one year, Wren doesn't want to share a dorm room with her in college, and Cath is forced to room with a complete stranger in an entirely separate building, which is something she finds really hard to handle. It's a great story and I like that the relationships are slow going. It takes Cath a long time to be able to openly befriend her room-mate Reagan, Reagan's friend Levi and Nick from Cath's fiction writing class. It's much more believable this way as well. It's interesting to watch her develop her confidence and to watch how her sister Wren grows when away from her. Their family situation I found hard to read at times, simply because the difficulty between Cath and her mother came through so well in the story but it was worth it to the very end. A great book and one I really enjoyed that gave me a good back story for 'Carry On'. It's inspired me to read 'Eleanor and Park' when I next get the chance.

The thing that stops this from being five stars overall is that I was expecting more fandom. I was expecting cons and community and joy of falling in love with characters but I think that Cath writes more to escape her own life than to participate actively in the lives of the characters and fans. While it is stated that she has internet friends, I thought it was strange that none of them were ever mentioned by name. 'Carry On' does NOT read like a Harry Potter book, but in 'Fangirl' its easy to see similarities between the two fandoms. I presume that HP was not used for copyright reasons or something, but in the book Levi comments "It's like hearing that Harry Potter is gay." and I'm not sure that actively naming the HP fandom was a good move. 

Otherwise the story was excellent. The writing is very character driven and the relationships between characters are warm and heartfelt.

Paula Weston - Shadows ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

'Shadows' seems a solid start to a series. It's hard writing a character with amnesia as it means there needs to be lots of exposition by other characters but I think Weston pulls it off. Gaby or Gabe (loving the use of angel names all the way through!) is a girl living the quiet life. She fills her days by the sea with her library job, relaxing at the local cafe, running and spending time with her housemate Maggie. Gaby still finds it hard to move on, despite it having been a year, from her brother's gruesome death in a traffic accident. When a strangely knowledgeable stranger comes into town to tell her that everything she thought she knew about her brother was a lie, that's when Gaby begins to doubt, and little by little, uncovers a world on angels and demons that she'd long since forgotten. It's a little clunky in places, like where she goes from not knowing how to fight to being able to kick ass from muscle-memory, but other than that it's a good set up for a series. 

The characters are good. Gaby is well built upon. In other book reviews I've read from other bloggers, they don't seem to understand Gaby's decision to stay in her town and not run or fight, but personally I think it's pretty reasonable, seeing as she finds out that everything before one year ago was a lie. I think that staying in the one town she KNOWS is real is a plus. Maggie seemed like a loyal friend and a very solid character and I find Gaby's need to protect her believable. I didn't Jason in this book, though I didn't actually find a reason to dislike him. I still hope he'll be a good guy in the long run but I've a gut feeling he'll turn. Who knows? I think I'll give the next book a shot and see. 

This book got 3 stars from me for being a solid, original and well built upon book with limited info dumps despite the amnesiac protagonist.

Marcus Sedgwick - My swordhand is singing ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Wow this story was chilling! A brilliantly written 17th century horror for teens. Peter and his father Tomas move from village to village, running from something that Peter's never told about. Eventually, it finds them. Their only hope of surviving is the sword that lies in a wooden box Peter's father has kept from him and a strange song about a dead shepherd.

I liked the way this story was built up. I liked the understanding and sharpness in Peter and the way that he knew his own feelings. Peter accepts the village superstitions when his father discourages them, trying to piece together a puzzle that he's not got all the pieces for. I got really involved in the legends surrounding the Nosferatu and I found the scene where they open the grave the best part. The charcoal writing on the lid of the empty coffin was thrilling.

The way the song is connected up is very well thought out as well as the limitations that the vampires share such as having to pick up all the millet seeds and undo every single knot in the nets and write until their charcoal runs out.

Gothic, well-woven and packed with mystery. I'd recommend reading it and am pleasantly surprised to find it's the first in a series.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

National Trust Visit: Sissinghust Castle Garden

This blog post is going to be a little slice of life/adventure for you. During my stay in Kent, with one of my very best friends, we visited Sissinghurst castle garden. It was a really lovely day, the sun was shining, birds were singing and the walled garden looked fantastic.

They have a lovely little cafe there, where I got a latte and a salad, but not just any salad! I chose to get a beetroot and goats cheese salad, even though I'd never had either of those things before. It was just one of those more impulsive days. It was a good guess!

Myself and my friend Anna paid to enter the house and the gardens. The view from the top of the tower was amazing. This picture really doesn't do it justice. You could see for miles of rolling hills and beautiful scenery. It was really something special.

For those of you that don't know, Sissinghurst castleonce belonged to the passionate and exuberant Vita Sackville-West, a poet. Looking around you can see all the wonders she had to create her poetry with. She created one of the area's most iconic and peaceful gardens and used it to broaden her literary mind.

I bought one of her poetry books, Il gardino, an anthology of poems about the garden in Sissinghurst. It's superbly written and is one of my favourites to date, both for the lyrical words that soothe the mind and for a certain green-blue post-it. While I stayed with her, Anna must have slipped it in, but I didn't notice until I opened the book again at home.

On this special little postit she'd written 'I love you, Penny, my moon and sun.'. The surprise at having discovered this unexpected treasure made me feel really warm and wanted. I haven't been able to bring myself to remove it, not even to paste it into my scrapbook or in my memory box. This way every time I open Il gardino I get a little bit of my best friend.

The poetry itself is nicely penned. It's very reflective on experiences and the patterns in life. While she talks about the trials of nurturing a garden from a bare patch of earth, Vita goes on to compare it wholely to life in a very introspective yet compelling way.

In spring it's easy to see where she gets her inspiration from. The daffodils were out in full bloom, almost carpeting the ground in some places. It was an amazing place.

Vita Sackville west had the most beautiful library. It's any book sellers dream! I loved this small round room that came off from the main staircase. It had shelves stacked high all the way around and a ladder for getting to the great leather bound tomes. Most of all it looked warm.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The Fantastic First Volume: Mangas

Looking for a new manga to embark on? These are a couple of my favourites, reviewed for their first volumes only (though I've read on with many of them). None of this 'oh it gets better later on' stuff. These mangas start being fantastic from the first line. Hope you enjoy them!

Tokyo Ghoul – Sui Ishida

I have recently finished reading the volume 5 and let me tell you, if the bookshop was still open I’d be back down there buying the next one! It’s got a strong story line; one that makes you question right and wrong. After being attacked by a ghoul, Ken Kaneki becomes the only half-ghoul half-human hybrid. The story follows him learning about another side of the monsters that he’d never considered before and trying to survive in both their world and the human one.

It also has a brilliant protagonist already. Kanaki is that mix of brave and weak that I really crave in a lead character. He’s weak physically. He’s weak because he’s over powered by the ghoul’s instincts.

But he is so strong as well.

He’s strong morally and resists eating humans as long as possible. He’s strong in that he stands up against opposition. He stands up against other ghouls that tell him to just get it over with and eat somebody. He’s strong in his new found powers.

The art is beautiful. There is a particularly brilliant sequel of panels at the end of the first chapter in which the doctors save his life and thus transform him into a half ghoul. I liked the picture of the ghoul girl Rize with her hands over his eyes. The style of the title page for the first chapter is also nicely done and has quite a soft look about it in comparison to the style of the manga.

There is fighting! There is action! Both of which are relevant to the story (no needless violence here!) and play out smoothly. Frankly, I found some of the fight scenes exhilarating.

This is most definitely worth a read.

Red River – Chie Shinohara

This story is everything I love all smushed into one book. I first read it online as it is not very widely available in my country but have rectified that mistake via Amazon. The story line is magical. Magic is one of my all-time loves in stories. Yuuri (the leading lady) is taken from 21st Century Japan and transported through time to be used as a sacrifice in an ancient civilization. Bingo! Magic! Love status has been achieved!

The first problem Yuuri encounters is the obvious. A very powerful evil queen wants to use her as a sacrifice. In fact this queen wants to kill her so badly because if she does then her son is certain to become king, even though he is currently only 6th in line.

The next thing I love about this, aside from the magic and evilly brilliant plot lines, is the passionate love story between Yuuri and prince Kail. It’s beautifully presented, yet modest in the way it is drawn.

Incredible artwork is also a must for this devastatingly romantic story! The panels are well laid out and the style is pretty and a very good representation of the mangaka’s skill. The backgrounds and the exotic dress is what really hit me here however, as each costume and set layout are so precise and detailed they really add the finishing touches to this amazing manga.

While the series is a little old now (I don’t think it is still in print) I would well recommend finding it online!

Skip Beat – Yoshiki Nakamura

I know that this post is supposed to be just the first volumes of mangas, but Skip Beat was so incredibly un-put-down-able that I’ve read every chapter that has been released in English so far! God I love this book. Thanks to it being a work-in-progress series I’m can’t spoil the ending for you, but it just gets deeper and better as it goes on.

Okay, back to volume one. The story is about Kyoko Mogami, a young girl who has been used as a house maid by her childhood friend Sho, as he achieves stardom. Thankfully, Sho’s deception is discovered fairly quickly on, and the story follows Kyoko as she tries to get revenge on him by any means possible!

Unfortunately for her, Sho has already become famous in Japan as a singer, and Kyoko can no longer get close enough to throttle him, so she decides to get her revenge by becoming an even bigger star and booting him from the show biz world!

This manga is hilarious from the beginning. Kyoko is such a dynamic and passionate character that she could bring a smile to anyone’s face. She has these little Kyoko-demons which I adore, and she uses to unleash fury upon the other characters too.

The art, as with all of my top 5 choices, is spectacular. I love the way the mangaka does eyes, especially Kyoko’s, as they are big and detailed without being too cartoon like. There is also a nice series of panels where Kyoko is listening on Sho’s conversation with his manager that I particularly like.

It’s a brilliant series about one woman trying desperately to stamp out her own naiveté about love.

Naruto – Masashi Kishimoto

Damn, Naruto is that manga that you think will be an entertaining, funny ninja comic but actually surprises you with attacks of the feels and brilliant portrayals of emotions that will hack your heart out with a metaphorical axe.

I’m going to start with the art style this time, as there is one scene that struck me as so beautifully drawn I have to comment on it. When main character Naruto cries, it is the most honest representation of tears I have ever seen in a manga. That picture of his face scrunched up looks so detailed and so life-like that it broke something inside of me. Don’t get me wrong. The mangaka does draw beautifully all the way through and her style is definitely manga, but the expression was so open and accurate it made me cry.

This was of course partly due to the story as well. Naruto feels something that we all experience at some point in our lives. He feels universally hated. He feels lonely and unloved from the very beginning of the story, yet has such a cheerful mask of indifference you really can’t tell.

He’s been shunned by the village hidden in the leaves for longer than he can remember, but doesn’t realize why. When he fails his ninja exams, an instructor convinces him to steal a sacred scroll from the hokage, with the promise that if he learns one of the techniques on it, he will be automatically passed.

His tutor, Iruka is sent out to try and capture Naruto, and finds him practicing by himself. Mizuki, the instructor that told Naruto about the scroll drops in on the two of them and tries to kill Naruto, revealing his intention to steal the scroll himself. Out of spite Mizuki also reveals to Naruto the reason why the villagers hate him. Cue all of my feels pouring out.

The series covers Naruto’s adventures as a ninja, including fights against enemy ninjas and battles against his rival Sasuke!

There are devastatingly sad moments as well as laugh out loud funny parts. Put together 
they make a really beautiful story.

Inuyasha – Rumiko Takahashi 

Inuyasha is quite a long haul manga, and one that I used for this post because I think people are sometimes put off from starting it once they realise quite how lengthy it is. From the fact that it has made it onto this post we can assume that I did go past the first volume (though I have yet to finish the series, sorry!) and enjoyed every single hour of it. Yes, hours. I didn’t stop reading for hours.

Again, Inuyasha has a beautiful art style and also a very unique one. The images look a lot like paintings and all have that soft edged look that I can’t get enough of, only all the way through. The picture that struck me in the first volume was the very first moment when Kagome Higarashi, our protagonist, discovers the half-dog-demon Inuyasha bound to a tree by a sacred arrow.

After stumbling through a well and into feudal era Japan, Kagome is forced to run for her life from an insect like demon. The demon was awoken by the presence of the shikon jewel, or the jewel of four souls, inside Kagome, which had disappeared from their world over 50 years ago. When she discovers inuyasha, he offers to help her, as long as she releases him from his wrongful imprisonment. Unfortunately, one battle later and the shikon jewel is shattered and the fragments shoot off to Lord knows where, so Inuyasha and a rather reluctant Kagome begin their adventures battling demons and collecting the shards.

As I’ve said, those shards have gone all over the place, and it does take the duo a while to discover them all, but it is well worth the time to read!