romance

Review: Sorcerers and Secretaries by Amy Kim Ganter

sands1An Americanized manga, Sorcerers & Secretaries hooked me with the name. I was expecting a evil-fighting admin assistant with a pen that dissolves evil and a stapler that will fend off the most intimidating magical creature. What I found was something completely different. Nicole is a receptionist and college student who lives her life in a dream world that she spins through writing sword and sorcery tales. We can all relate to her immediately with issues such as, an annoying mom, annoying job and coworkers, wanting to write instead of work, and everyone in her life putting down her interests by saying “that childish fantasy stuff you like”. This tale started slow for me, but won me over with its cute book references and speculative fiction inside jokes that only we understand. Although the art is very American (circa 1980’s Sunday morning newspaper comics), the drawings of the bookstore are great and had me pause for a few minutes to read the titles. One cover I especially got a chuckle from was “LARP for Beginners”. A new twist in this tale is that the cute hottie at the bookstore actually likes the geeky, book-loving, allergy girl. fuzzyfeeling

The author is definitely in our demographic and should be supported for that alone. However, this is not a tale I would recommend for its excellent fantasy story. This book is not so much a fantasy story as a romance where the lead is in love with the lead character in her fantasy novel. Like Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, the girl is wrapped up in a fantasy tale so completely that she cannot see a real guy who wants to date her. Still, an amusing, quick read and one that despite its cover warning 13+, is safe for all readers. Sorcerers and Secretaries is a great gift for your teenage cousins who are into the fantasy/romance genre.

If you enjoy this manga, you can read more about the series and download desktop images from this site: Sorcerers And Secretaries

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Review: Until The Full Moon by Sanami Matoh

This is not going to be one of those warm fuzzy reviews that has you skipping down to the manga store eager to spend your hard earned cash.  Those of you experiencing a budget crunch can now take that sigh of relief.  utfm Until The Full Moon promised to be an excellent male to male love story with vampires and werewolves in it.  Instead, it was a disappointing read  ruined by chibi jokes and silliness.

Marlo is a half-werewolf half-vampire guy who changes into a woman on the night of the full moon.  David is a full-blood vampire who loves Marlo in both his forms (male and female).  I had high hopes for this formula!

This book is entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons.  It’s corny jokes draw more of a moan from the reader than a laugh.  It’s funny the rating on this book is 16+ because the jokes and situations seem to fit more into the 10-12 year old boy philosophy.  Is it rated 16+ only because it deals with a same sex relationship?  You have to wonder.

Although created in 1998, the  art style is completely 1980’s.  All the clothes and hairstyles look to be pulled from watching the first MTV VJ's.  The guys have long feathered hair.  The chicks have big hairsprayed bitch-do’s.  This 1980’s feel is strengthened by the appearance of Marlo’s ex-girlfriend from America.  The stereotypical Jersey girl tries everything to win Marlo back until she finds out he turns into a girl at full moon.  Then, she’s on the next plane back to Jersey with her blown-out hair and dangly earrings.

It bothered me that when Marlo is in his guy form, he makes fun of David being gay.  Yet, when Marlo is a woman, he loves David passionately.  There is no explanation for this.  It’s not like he has two people in his body.  He remembers everything that happens to him in both forms.  So, wouldn’t you have a bit of lingering feelings, even if you changed form?

There’s also a strange folk tale in the middle of the manga that starts to explain why werewolves can turn into women during full moon, but then you learn this is just a story the mom made up.  This manga left too many questions.

I found the two vampire father’s meeting rather comical.  The mother can throw out a few quips that made me laugh such as:  “Our son becomes a woman at full moon?  How do I buy him clothes?”

The artwork irritated me because the characters had plain Charlie Brown-like mouths sometimes.  The way the artist draws ears is disturbing.  They look like lemon slices on either side of the character’s head.

Overall, I was disappointed in this manga.  It showed so much promise, but did not deliver.

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