Manga Mondays: Style ~ Make or Break?

So today's question might get a little confusing just by reading the title. Basically, what I'm asking is this:

Does a Mangaka's [A Manga artist] style make or break a good manga?

Now let's think about this: I'd have to say yes and no. To be honest, a lot of mainstream otakus hate the old style. However, would our ideal of manga be alive today if it were not for the old style of manga? No, our contemporary manga style wouldn't exist without the influence of old manga. Manga evolves from manga. Other mangas are created from influence by other mangas. Every mangaka and wanna-be mangaka study each other. We grow from each other, and that's what makes this style so unique.

So back to the topic. Here's why I am on the fence for this.

Let's look at Basara, which you can read [Here]. For anyone who wants to be a Mangaka or just anyone who wants to read a fantastic action-packed and romantic story, read Basara. Written by Yumi Tamura, the original serialization of this manga in Betsucomi magazine was from September of 1990 to June of 1998. As you can probably tell and/or if you clicked the link, this is an old-styled manga. I was completely turned off by the drawings. I am so used to mangas like One Piece (which is awesome, MONKEY D LUFFY<3), Fairy Tail (NATSU DRAGONEELLLLLL FOR THE WINNNN!), and Bleach (FUGG YEAH, GETTIN' IT IN, ICHIGO KUROSAKI!) that the style just didn't fit my eyes.

However, Basara is a single reason why I do not discriminate style within a manga anymore. This story was so exceptionally written and executed that I literally cried for hours during and after I finished this story. The dramatic irony of the reader and character development and uniqueness between them can create such a flood of emotions within the reader that they just don't care what style is used; WE JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT! I seriously left my computer, sat on my bed, and contemplated the story and the characters as I drew my own characters. There is so many things to think about within this story. There are constant themes that are evident within every chapter, and seriously, I didn't do homework for the next week except for at school. I would hop onto my computer and immediately start reading this story. I can understand why people would be put off at first (I even said I experienced that), yet this story is simply the epitome of completely planned and well thought-out story telling. The mangaka leaves you wanting more after every chapter. Seriously, if you are reading this, go read Basara. You will fall in love with every character, every story, and every line. I absolutely love it, and it is one of my favorites. (BTW, if I was reviewing it, I'd give it 4/4 polishes.)

Okay, there is also why I said no.

This time, let's look at the style and how it affects the story with...

Okay, once you click it, it isn't such a bad style, right? Well, yeah it's not bad. It's pretty mainstream as seen with the pretty and sparkling eyes on a girl and the boy looks a little girlie and the whole shee-bang.
However, this is one of those stories that, just because the art is great, doesn't mean the story is equally great. Yeah, I know that Basara  and L-DK  are two different genres. But you know what they both have and execute? Love. Yeah, the fugging theme of romance. However, I'm not comparing the genres in this case; I'm comparing the execution of the story and art. You can't have a manga without a good story, and you can't have a manga without good art.

Anyways, L-DK has good art for being mainstream. It's proportions are intact, and facial expressions are well expressed. However, this manga lacks what a manga should have: A good and solid plot-line. It takes 30 fugging chapters just to reach an actual and legit romance between these two idiots. I swear, I wanted to slam my monitor at the wall. The progression was slow, and about half way through, I ask myself, "WHY AM I READING THIS!?" Well, I actually just wanted to know what happened and what the heck was bothering the main male protagonist. Okay, so yes Basara had a bit of a slow romance, however in between all the romance, there was legit events happening that seriously affected the entire story. It had serious implications when something would happen within the story, whether it is about the main plot or a character's story. That is why Basara's art doesn't break the entire manga. You weren't just left in some random way-lay of a story, and then suddenly, the story goes, "Whoops! Let's go back to the main story and quickly end this little arc [if you can even call it that!] in 3 fugging pages!" (I'm not bitter...) But that's what it felt like in L-DK. Don't get me wrong; the story isn't entirely bad, but the reasoning behind this story is so convoluted; I am still wondering how I even remotely liked it or somewhat finished it til the latest chapter. 

So to conclude my ranting, I'd just like to say that the story and art make up a manga; obviously, you can't have one without the other. However, the quality of the art does not entirely ruin a manga. Most people who recommend manga do not really judge on the art but rather the story. The intricacy, development, and characters within a manga's story really keeps the reader wanting to buy the volumes and enjoy the manga.

If you don't believe me, go read Basara and L-DK. You will see how convoluted and cliche L-DK's story is that you might gouge your eyes out and see that Basara is everything that you could really want in an action/adventure and romance manga. Or it might be vis versa.

Inked with Brilliance and Love,

You have read this article Anime / Manga / Manga Mondays with the title January 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Manga Mondays - Is Anime/Manga style lazy?

Hey everyone. Sorry for last week and not doing a MM feature. Today's feature is a very controversial topic among art students, art critics, and art schools. The big question is:
Click and look at the
details in both the background
and character design.
Notice different elements of
art [I list that later in the
blog post]

Is the Anime/Manga style lazy?

So let's take a moment to really know what Anime and Manga is. In a nutshell, it is basically a simplified version of realism. You can disagree with me on this by stating that "Anime and Manga is for people who can't draw realistic people, objects, etc." However, I stand firmly in my belief that it is not lazy; the styles just differ. I understand why it can be frowned upon. We'll look at both why it isn't a lazy style and why it is a lazy style at the same time.
Although people claim that shounen
has less design than shoujo,
click this picture and feel WRONG.

Let's take for example two different artists. We've got Nakamura Yoshiki's Skip Beat! and Kishimoto Masashi's Naruto, two very popular mangas, both expressed in different anime shows. (one is more mainstream, aka Naruto, while one is low-key popular, aka Skip Beat!)

Simplistic design. However
look at  the background
and proportions of
our friend, Naruto.
Styles are very different from realistic art. However, if you look at both artist's work, the use of correct anatomy (Can be seen in Naruto's action sequences and lack of character "stiffness"), realism in the backgrounds or even in the hair (I.E. SB!), or in the details of the characters (in both). I believe these are two good mangas to seriously look at because their styles differ so much. Yet, both mangas are not lazy at all. Try to draw any of those characters, backgrounds, and designs without looking at them within the book. It's difficult, and I have/am enduring the difficulties of drawing manga. While the designs may be more simplified or exaggerated to a certain extent (I will be referring to this later on...), both artists achieve a semi-realistic feel in their stories. Thus, this proves that manga is not lazy.

However, we always have those who give manga a bad name. Now, I am not trying to be mean or rude to the artist. They have their own style, that's good. Yet, this is why people give manga a bad name:
Nothing may seem wrong with this picture... At first. Notice the features: The barely-there nose, too small mouth, large EXAGGERATED eyes which are disproportional to a girl that looks the age of 14-15, and too big of hair.

So I may seem mean but it's only the truth. Artists and critics alike all see manga as that! But that's not how every manga artist is. I am criticized in my art club because I draw manga. "Manga isn't a real style." Yes. It. Is. I cannot tell you how peeved I get when people say that. They only see that (the picture above) and automatically assume that all manga/anime artists draw like that, which isn't true. 

I'm not trying to point out that we can't be cartoonish; this is a cartoon-derived style. However, there is a fine line between cartoonish and too exaggerated.

Getting the correct proportions (both people and objects/backgrounds), understanding anatomy and movement, and basic artistic knowledge (such as shading, light-direction, and color balance) is the foundation of any artist. Manga artists are exactly the same. If you Google, "how to draw better manga," or any help on how to draw anything "manga," most people, even myself, will say to study real life. Manga comes right from realism, but it is a simplified and unique style created by the artist. No one can take that creativity or uniqueness that the artist creates, whether you are a painter, photographer, or graphic designer.
God, I freaking love this Manga and Anime..

To put it simply, I do not agree that manga is a lazy style. It is the matter of the artist and their style that either proves or disregards that misconception of Manga/Anime art. So slap open a manga book or flip on the anime channel and get to reading/watching!

Inked with Brilliance and Love,

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Anime Review: Soul Eater by Atsushi Okubo

Meet the Team:
Left to Right: Maka, Liz (top), Patty (Bottom), Death the Kid "Kid",
Tsubaki, Black Star, & Soul "Soul Eater" Evans
Title: Soul Eater
Original Artist: Atsushi Okubo
Episodes: 51
Genre: ActionComedyFantasyShounenSupernatural
Manga: Yes [Here]; Watch [Here]

 Set at the "Death Weapon Meister Academy," the series revolves around three teams consisting of a weapon meister and (at least one) human weapon. Trying to make the latter a "Death Scythe" and thus fit for use by the academy's headmaster, Shinigami (better known as Death), they must collect the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch. 

Yeah shoot me: I didn't read the Manga first like any normal Otaku. But I was totally done with the rest of my shows on Netflix ('cept for Honey and Clover) and had to watch something. Soul Eater was the choice. It's received both criticism and praise for its artwork and plot line. Soul Eater's easy plot line was quick to catch on, even with its constant perspective changes in the first episode. Basically, the story is about a team of three different people who all have a certain weapon, certain personality, and certain pasts that keep the audience interested in each. Nearly every character has some sort of dilemma in them, some sort of problem, that haunts them. All the characters are interesting and compliment this crazy and intense action packed story. This is a real shounen, sticking to the traditional standards. However, I've only seen a couple episodes. So far, I like it. However, you know what makes a good manga/anime, well really any, any story? Theming. THEMES PEOPLE. The theme of this story is about getting stronger and being better, in more ways than physically. Each character wants to achieve something, whether it is social love or power.
Theming = GENIUS.

3 main Meisters (aka the ones who control/create the weapons):
Left to right: Black Star, Maka, and Death the Kid (AKA "Kid")
Maka Albarn: A very earnest and temperamental girl, Maka is the main female protagonist of the series. She fits the main theme of this entire story from episode one and so forth. She wants to surpass the excellence of her mother, whom she takes after as a prodigy Meister, and her father, Spirit (AKA Death Scythe). The theming from Maka makes her a real [female] heroine. She knows the reality of trying to get stronger, which is safe to say, not easy. Maka's strong will and partnership with Soul [Eater] create an awesome protagonist pair.
Soul "Soul Eater" Evans: A laid back and "cool" (he tends to say this many, many times to explain his situation), he is always butting heads with Maka about random, little things. However, he is extremely loyal to his Meister and willing to risk his life for her and his friends. Soul is probably my favorite character, besides Kid, of course! But Soul continues to fulfill the entire theme of SE: Getting stronger. He wants to be the best Death Scythe ever created and helps Maka fulfill her dreams as well.
Black Star: Not gonna lie, I don't really like Black Star. He's funny and has cool moves, but I have yet to really like him. Yet, his character is your typical shounen "hero": Arrogant, egotistical, and wants to become stronger and better than everyone else. He has a BROMANCE with Soul, which is totally and non-inconspicuous in Episode 6 (HILARIOUS BTW!). But this dislike was like for Gin Ichimaru from Bleach.... I ended up in love with Gin. I can't wait to see Black Star much later and getting more strength.
Left to Right:
Patty, Liz, Kid, Soul, Maka, Black Star, & Tsubaki
Tsubaki Nakatsukasa: The weapon for Black Star, Tsubaki can transform into several different ninja-esque weaponry. She is generally calm and caring, contrasting deeply with Black Star's definitely-not-level thinking. She's the brains behind Black Star's operation and continues to be an asset in his battles. She helps Black Star frequently and supports his character to reach his potential.
Death the Kid "Kid": A perfectionist at heart (Can see it through his "IT'S NOT SYMMETRICAL" break downs...), Kid is the son of the God of Death, the headmaster of DWMA. He joins the academy official in Episode 6 and immediately jumps into a fight with Soul and Black Star. With a generally chill demeanor and fond of all things symmetrical (Talk about OCD...), he can snap when something isn't symmetrical (If it's out of battle, he breaks down on the floor and wallows in intense self-pity. If it's in battle, he snaps. Literally. He just kicks arse...) Kid's the mega comic relief of the group and really gets me laughing. (seriously, my dad thought I was going insane while I laughed..)
The Thompson Sisters (Liz & Patty): The twin handguns for the Meister, Kid. Their contrasting personalities create a realistic partnership between polar opposites and basically the epitome of prodigious God of Death (Kid). Their differing personalities as sisters is fun to watch, and their antics add onto the comic relief produced by Kid. 

Art and Movement:
Genius Camera VP
Maka, Y R U so awesum?!
Flow and Art is incredibly important for Anime and Manga, or generally any kind of animations. The flow of action and movement in SE is extremely done, and the action camera-views are excellently used. The art is somewhat a mainstream style but incorporates unique setting that places the reader into a Coraline/Alice in Wonderland/Tim Burton's Film setting, nearly abstract. The character's movements are not choppy, and the special effects are created equally good.

You are probably wondering by now: Why are you not giving it a four polishes? It seems you like it.
It's the voice acting. Yes. Voice Acting.
Black Star and Tsubaki [in weapon form]
In Animes, or in any animation possible, [voice] acting is an essential part of conveying the emotions of a character. Sure the character has body language and facial expressions, but if the voice acting isn't being expressed correctly with the body language, facial expressions, and movement of the character, then the entire feeling is lost in that shot/scene or even arc of the anime. This non-parallel emotions between the character in the shot and the voicing behind that character can make or break it. For example: (Note: THIS IS ALL FOR THE ENGLISH VA, NOT THE JAPANESE VA) Why I don't like Black Star is his voice acting. It is played by a GIRL. Understand that he is young and boys don't hit puberty before like 14 or something, but seriously. Kid is played by a boy (If anyone watched D Gray-man, you'll recognize Allen Walker's <3 VA), but he seems just as young, or even younger, than Black Star. Black Star's VA broke the little likeness I could muster for Black Star. Like I said, I like Black Star, but generally, I hope they change the VA by the mid of the season.
Left to Right: Patty, Liz & Kid
Okay, you might think "You're not going to give SE four polishes because of VA?!" Well, VA is very important. Take for example, if that character just didn't have that voice, whether the voice changed lower or higher. In Ouran High School Host Club, if Tamaki-senpai had a different VA, his character probably wouldn't be the same. It just fit. That's the problem that arises with correlation between VAs and the characters being portrayed. If the VA's voice just doesn't fit the image of the character, that character is essential ruined. Another example within SE is Kid's voice. I like his voice so much because his voice can become both serious and funny, which exactly fits Kid's personality. Had he another voice, I don't think I would like him as much.

I would recommend Soul Eater. It is an excellent show, and I plan to read the manga as soon as I finish the Anime. The Anime does deviate at some point away from the main canon of manga, so you have been warned! I give SE a super awesome 3/4 polishes. Had VA been a bit better, I would definitely have given it a 4/4 on the spot.

Inked with Brilliance and Love,

P.S. Sorry for such a big entry and failing to do a feature last Monday. I plan to tomorrow and do more reviews for y'all. Thanks for reading and have an awesome week! I leave you with Black Star and Soul...

This is a face only a mother COULDN'T love...

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Review: Silence (Hush, Hush #3) by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Silence
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush, Hush
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: Oct. 4, 2011
Genre(s): YA, Fiction


The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.


Plot: So the summary really says nothing about what it is about. Nora and Patch have yet another enemy and another problem to worry about. Starting off where the other one left off, you find that Nora was kidnapped. But here's the twist: you are dropped into the book with Nora, who is free, but has no memory at all of the last five months. Meaning anything from meeting Patch and on is just gone. Silence takes you through twists and turns that would be hard to figure out even if she did have her memory.
Character(s): Nora: Alright, to be honest, she bugged me to death in this last one. I understand: she's gone through kidnapping, losing her memory, her mom dating again, and way more. But she is always whining and complaining about how unfair life is and everything. Granted, I would probably do the same exact thing, but still.
Cover: I like the cover, though there's nothing special about it. I think it fits the story perfectly and the picture is nice, but nothing really jumps out at me.
Closing Thoughts: I like this book and it was a fun read, but it really wasn't anything special. I'm definitely going to continue this series and it's most definitely worth reading, but it didn't make my top list. I'm giving it a two but don't think of it as a book not worth reading. I liked it and I think anyone should read this, especially to finish the series. Just don't expect anything too special or dazzling.

Sweet Daydreams,
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Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

Title: Fateful
Author: Claudia Gray
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: 9/12/11
Genre(s): YA, Historical Fiction


A tragic tale about falling in love on the world’s most infamous ill-fated sea voyage as heroine, Tess, discovers darker secrets that lie beneath the doomed crossing… and a hidden brotherhood that threaten to tear her lover from her forever.

The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship ever built, but for eighteen-year-old Tess Davies it’s a prison. Traveling as a maid for the family she has served for years, Tess is trapped in their employ amid painful memories and family secrets.

When she meets Alec, a handsome upper class passenger, Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own… and soon Tess is entangled in a dangerous game. A sinister brotherhood that will do anything to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him on board. And Tess is now their most powerful pawn.

Tess and Alec fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, never realizing that they will have to face an even greater peril before the journey is over…

New York Times best-selling author Claudia Gray delivers adventure, dark paranormal suspense, alluring romance, and a truly surprise ending, set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic's first — and last — voyage.


Plot: So did you catch this last bit? About how it's the Titanic? Sorry... I like the Titanic. Anyway, the thing I loved about this plot was there were two completely different things going on. There was the horrible ship you all KNOW is going to sink at one point that keeps you turning pages rapidly fast. But there's also the the paranormal plot which includes werewolves, a cult, and forbidden romance. Tess is a poor slave with no one but herself and a few friendly people in her life. When she is forced on to the Titanic as a slave she makes plans to escape as soon as the ship boards the dock. Through many events Tess meets Alec- a rich, first class boy who every girl would love to marry. But there is a lot more to him then you would think. Before she can do anything about it, she is forced into a world of impossible and sadness.
Character(s): Tess- Tess is the strongest girl alive in my opinion. Ever since she was young she has worked for the harshest family in all of England. They think they're better than everyone and they are horrible to their servants. Over the years, Tess has collected small bits of money here and there and when the Titanic stops in America, she plans to start her life over. Tess is a girl anyone can look up to. She always fights for what's right, which can sometime get her into trouble.
Cover: I have seen two covers for this book but I definitely love this one I put up more. It's so eery and almost made me sad just looking at it. But it's pretty at the same time. I like how it doesn't show the face of the girl (as I've said I don't like) but it shows a good amount of her.
Closing Thoughts: Alright, I'm giving yet another one a four nail polish bottles. But I have always been obsessed with Titanic and this did not disappoint. Sure, who can compete with the original Titanic story I fell in love with? But this actually did a nice job with keeping up. It kept true to the facts of how things were but with a twist of paranormal. It's on my list of favorites for sure.
Where to find Claudia:
Website l Twitter l Goodreads l Amazon

Sweet Daydreams,
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Review: Ruby Red (Edelstein Trilogie #1) by Kerstin Gier

Title: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstin Gier
Series: Edelstein Trilogy
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Genre(s): YA, Fiction

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.


Plot: Gwyneth is a completely normal girl who has had to live in the shadow of her perfect cousin. Beautiful, smart, perfect in every way. Not to mention she has "the gene." In her family if you get "the gene" you get the ability and power to travel into time. No one suspected Gwyneth had it of course so when she, and not her cousin, Charlotte, starts showing signs of changing, everyone is shocked. Now Gwyneth, who has no knowledge or practice with this sort of thing, must time travel with Gideon, another time traveler who has no confidence in her.
Character(s): Gwyneth- She is a perfectly average girl with no special abilities or talents. Well other than time travel and the especially weird ability to talk to and see ghosts. Other than that though, she is as normal as you can get. I like how real she is in contrast
 to the too-perfect or cliche main characters that I sometimes see. She can be a bit whiny, immature, and stubborn, but I like that about her. She's not perfect and it's nice.
Cover: I actually had never seen the cover until after reading it seeing as I borrowed it from a friend (who took the cover off). I can't say this is why I picked it up and I've never been a fan of showing a person on the cover. But I do actually like he designs, color, and whole theme of it. I didn't notice it at first, but I really like the cool clock on the front that shows how it has to do with time travel.
Closing Thoughts: I seem to be always giving high ratings to books but I just love them all! I'm giving this four nail polish bottles because it has romance, but its actually very unique. The author planed for this to be a trilogy originally so there is a lot of unsolved problems that are getting much more intricate and it keeps you on your toes. You wont believe when the book is over!
Where to find Kerstin:
l Goodreads l Amazon
Sweet Daydreams,
You have read this article 2012 Reads / Brooke's Reviews / Fantasy / Historical fiction / Romance / Young Adult with the title January 2012. You can bookmark this page URL Thanks!

Winner of Jessica Rules the Dark Side

Thank you to Beth Fantaskey for stopping by our blog last week and answering a few questions and letting us giveaway her new book!

The winner of Jessica Rules the Dark Side is:

Shae Carcar

Thank you to all that entered!

Peace and Fangs,

Disclaimer: The winner of each giveaway is given 48 hours to respond to this corresponding post. If they do not reply, their prize is up for grabs for other entries and a new name will be drawn.
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Review: Etched in Bone (The Maker's Song #4) by Adrian Phoenix

Title: Etched in Bone
Author: Adrian Phoenix
Series: The Maker's Song
          1. A Rush of Wings
          2. In the Blood
          3. Beneath the Skin
          4. Etched in Bone
          5. On Midnight Wings (releases 3/28)
Format: Paperback (382 pages)
Release Date: Feb. 22, 2011
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Romance, Adult




More beautiful and powerful than any creature the world has ever seen, Dante Baptiste has become the supreme target of the three worlds that spawned him. The mortal agents of the Shadow Branch have tried to control his mind through psychological torture. The vampire elders who guide nightkind society have plotted to use him in their bloodthirsty bid for power. And the Fallen have waited for millennia for Dante to claim his birthright as their Maker. But Dante belongs to no one—except the woman he loves. . . .


Determined to face the Fallen and the world on his own terms, Dante hopes to piece together his shattered past and claim his future, with FBI agent Heather Wallace at his side. But in Heather’s human family awaits an unexpected enemy. One who could rip Heather from Dante’s heart and fill the holes with bullets. One who could force Dante to choose his darkest destiny—as the Great Destroyer. . . .


Plot: I had just finished this book and needed to get out all of my thoughts before I lost them. Again, Adrian Phoenix has done an amazing job in this series! The more books I read in this series the more I'm left wanting more. In Etched in Bone, we are taken to New Orleans where Dante, Heather, and the gang have finally made it back to Club Hell. This plot is different from Adrian's other books in the series. It starts off in present time, but then we are taken back to days between where we left off in Beneath the Skin and where we started. We get to see what happened in Gehenna and the romance between Dante and Heather blossom even more. Etched in Bone does continue Dante's journey to discover what he is and why everyone wants a piece of him. The book does seem to take an unwanted turn when Dante starts to believe he can even cause Heather harm and that he might be at the end of his rope. The book is chockful of romance and suspense throughout in true Adrian form, plus a twist you don't see coming.

Heather - Heather does seem more stubborn to be at Dante's side, whether or not he feels differently. I did notice in here that Dante is starting to grow on her when she uses Cajun in her speech and quotes him here and there. I loved how we got to see not only how Dante and her communicate through their bond but also the consequences of having a bond as they do. She's starting to see that even though he doesn't want to, Dante could potentially hurt her.

Dante - All the things I could say about Dante! He seems to be slipping even further into his past which not only Heather but everyone else tries to push away from him. Dante does, as always, show that he is always himself. He protects the ones he loves and tries at everything to make sure they will live even if he's the one putting them in danger. He's still trying to figure out what to do and how he can still go on after everything from Beneath the Skin.

Cover: I love the books covers and they seem to be getting more towards the characters, including Dante! The wig, I have to say that I cringe over, but I am glad they are starting to make the models look more like the characters.

Overall Rating: I gave this book a four out of four because it hit all the points it needed to but still left us with cliff-hangers and questions to keep us hungry for more. It has just the right amount of action and suspense as well as just enough romance to show us that there's more than one plot line. Adrian Phoenix has done an incredible job with this series and I can not wait for the release of On Midnight Wings!

Where to find Adrian:

Peace and Fangs,
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Manga Mondays - 10 of my favorite Anime/Manga ladies

Hey y'all! As you can see by the title, this week:
10 of my favorite Anime/Manga ladies!
Yep, this week it's gonna be all about the characters and why I love them all! Fair warning, they are not in any certain order; just who comes to mind immediately.

First off....

Number 10: Erza Scarlet of Fairy Tail
Erza is simply the iconic figure of all female strength in Anime/Manga in today's mainstream pop culture of A&M. She's got the badarse gear, and her fight scenes are excellently drawn. Her character's personality and background are well created and tie together with the main plot line. Not only is she tough and awesome, Erza also contains a side-story love life within Fairy Tail, only making her an even more interesting character!

Excuse the idiot... Anyways...
Number 9: Orihime Inoue of Bleach
Yes.. I like Orihime-chan... She's is awesome! Her character is fun to watch on the screen of the Anime and read in the Manga. She's somewhat of a typical shounen-esque girl (for example her-BIG BOSOMS! ... *Irritation... Gun shots...* ), however, Orihime is a quick necessity within the story and shows a soft side of many characters, especially Bleach's hero, Ichigo Kurosaki. I also love all her humorous parts because she is seriously the air-head comedic relief.

Number 8: Idachi Hana of Yankee-kun to Megane-chan
Hana-san... *elation* She's a boss. Simply put. She is a tough fighter but also I like her stupidity as well. Yet, her determination makes her a strong female lead in YKtMC manga series. Her constantly changing mood is fun to see in every chapter, and her antics keeps me quite entertained.
Glasses girl >:D *creepy thoughts*...
You're an idiot.... >.>

Number 7: Kanae Kotonami of Skip Beat!
Nicknamed "Moko-san" (literally meaning Ms. Tiger) by Kyoko, Moko-san is an intense character. Her nickname is giving credit where credit is due. Her headstrong personality as well as her mood swings give Kanae-san her unique character. She totally seems like a meanie and a jerk at the beginning (aka a tsundere character at its very core), her advice and very existence allows the main heroine of SB! to grow as a mature and fun person.

Number 6: Chiwa Takanasi of Hapi Mari
Want me to be honest? At first, I hated Takanasi-san. She annoyed the crapola outta me at first. After a while, though, I stared to feel for her. I get why she is the way she is, and she isn't a basic character. The things she does and the things she says, she does it for a reason. She isn't one of those angsty adults that can't find love. She has it in front of her, and it felt nice to be able to watch Chiwa-san grow into an amazing character. Even if I didn't like her too much, she did make me laugh at the beginning. 
She's a hot oku-chan...
....Please ignore the dimwit...

Number 7: Sawa Konishi of Rockin' Heaven
Honestly, this is probably one of the first typical shoujos I've ever read, and that is probably how it really got me into shoujos (evil vile things that speak of fairy tale loves!! DARN YOU SHOUJOS!!) Well, Sawa Konishi seemed like a typical shoujo girl: Big eyes, girlie looking, she thinks the top guy at the school is the hottest of them all, blah blah blah, etc. etc. However, I realized, by finishing RH that Sawa was an exception. She sticks to her beliefs, from beginning to end. She stands up for what's right, even if she is bullied for it. Even through all the shoujo sparkly crud, I still like Sawa a lot.
Not my thing... Weirdo mangaka, Sa-
STFU KEIJI! *punch*

Number 6: Meirin of Kuroshitsuji
Anyways, our number 6 is personally one of my FAVORITE FAVORITES, Meirin! She has such a cool background, and seriously, my mind was BLOWN when I saw her real identity (won't reveal too much here!). Meirin is very amusing to watch in the Anime as well as read in the Manga. Her infatuation with Sebastian is pretty cute, and her glasses get me to laugh every time.
If Sebastian is gonna pass on her, I'll take her! She's my age, right?...*silence*... RIGHT!?!? :'( *sigh*

Number 5: Lenalee Lee of D. Gray-man
Very cool character. For a while, I had a huge obsession (LEMME TELL YOU IT WAS BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA- *ROUNDHOUSE KICK*...) with female characters of games, anime, books, mangas, etc. etc. However, I lost the little femininity I had when I got into shounens and playing Assassin's Creed (ALTAIR AND EZIO FOREVER!). Lenalee partially restored my girlie fandomism. She is awesome and tough. She doesn't take crud from anyone, and seriously, I wanna be like her. She's so amazing and fun to watch on the screen. Her values in life remind me of myself (family and friends above all; friends always are family). Lenalee is awesome. Period. End of Statement. P.S. SHE MAKES PIGTAILS LOOK MORE BADARSE THAN SAILOR MOON EVER WILL!!

Connecting into Number 4: Rei Hino (Sailor Mars) of Sailor Moon
You know who I wanted to grow up to be when I was little? (A vet- *SUPERASIANPUNCH* SHADDUP!) Sailor Mars. Yep. SAILOR MARS. Not Sailor Moon. Not Sailor Venus (even though she was cool). Not Sailor Pluto. SAILOR MARS. She was my idol when I grew up watching Sailor Moon. She had the wicked and long black hair, the color RED (!!), and she controlled fire and a fire bow. YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MY MIND WAS FREAKING BLOWN BY HER!?... Obviously a lot.

Number 3: Teru Kurebayashi of Dengeki Daisy
I like Teru. She's very mellow, and she defends people. I think people who are willing to defend the weak are always amazing. They personally put themselves in the front lines to defend others, and that's why I've always liked the "typical" hero/heroine who tries to save or defend, not only the people they love, but everyone around them, especially the weak. Teru does this right off the bat in chapter one of the manga, even though she inside is weak. She still protects people although people do not bother with her. Her humor also is fun to have around in the book. *elation*
There you go again! Hitting the big-eyed little gir- NO ONE ASKED YOU! *Hits with a metal bat*

Number 2: Feng Lan of 1/2 Prince
Her alternative persona,
Feng Lan out of Second Life
She reminds me of when I used to play MMORPGs. I would never want to play girls because people always treat you all nicely and kindly. No. Don't discriminate my gender fools! I can beat you all without being a girl!! Feng Lan does just this within 1/2 Prince. Seriously, Feng Lan is merciless within fights, especially during the tournament's first battle (gosh, I love when she just STABBED her enemy while smiling all coldly. Amazing. Astonishing...). Feng Lan is a very interesting character, and her personality really creates a fun story. I enjoy every moment herself/Prince is on the screen. *silence...* Oh my... Is he gone?... Did I hurt him too much last time?... Well.. Anyways...

And finally...
Number 1: Haruhi Fujioka of Ouran High School Host Club
Lemme tell you... After I read Rockin' Heaven, I read Ouran High School Host Club. I fell in love with Haruhi's character. Simply amazing character design and creation by Bisco Hatori-san. Haruhi's lack of the clique heroine within a shoujo manga is the best. Her laziness and unenthusiastic effort within the host club's activities never cease to amuse me. Her many expressions and actions create a diverse character, differing from the typical. This non-typical character has made me purchase the anime series on DVD for Christmas. I also plan on buying all the mangas... Thank you Haruhi for creating a worse addiction than should have existed within me. I don't think you need her help for that, Sara-san.
Why, thanks Keiji!... WAIT A SECOND! WHAT WAS THAT!!?

Well anyways, Inked with Brilliance and Love,
I gotta go catch that jerk...

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Interview with Beth Fantaskey *Giveaway*

Today is the release of Jessica Rules the Dark Side. The book is the second in the Jessica series by Beth Fantaskey. I had the chance to ask Beth some quick questions about Jessica Rules, her writing, and what's to come...

BNR: Can you tell our readers a quick summary of what Jessica Rules the Dark Side is about?

BF: In the first book, Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, average American teenager Jessica Packwood learns that she’s a vampire princess by birth – and destined to marry Lucius Vladescu, a mysterious, sometimes dangerous, Romanian vampire prince.

The sequel picks up the narrative after Jess and Lucius’s wedding (which you can read on my website, It tells the story of Jessica’s adjustment to life as a true vampire princess, living in Romania with scary old “Elders” and trying to run a castle, even though she can barely speak the language. This time, she’s the one who feels completely out of place, just like Lucius did in the first book. And when Lucius – who is still something of a mystery – is accused of destroying an Elder, Jess finds herself even deeper in over her head.

BNR: Before Jessica Rules the Dark Side, you released the story of Jessica and Lucius' wedding. Why did you decide to write their wedding? Why on your site instead of in a book/novella?

BF: I wrote the wedding before my publisher gave the go-ahead for a full sequel. I wanted to show my gratitude to everyone who asked to see Jess and Lucius get married by giving them the story they wanted, for free.

Writing the wedding on-line also allowed me to give fans of Jess and Lucius a chance to actually take part in the wedding as “bridesmaids.” Over the course of several weeks, I held polls on where the ceremony would be held, what Jess’s dress would look like – even if Jess and Lucius would kiss or bite each other to seal their union. Then, when the votes were all in, I wrote the story that readers asked for, posting new chapters every other day. It was incredibly fun and a great way to get to know the people who loved the book.

BNR: What can we expect differently in Jessica Rules than from Jessica's Guide?

BF: In the first book, Jess is always confident. But in the second book, that confidence is tested, and she has some really difficult moments of self-doubt. I don’t try to make big philosophical points in my novels, but I did like showing how Jess fights back to regain not only her initial self-assurance, but a new regal presence.

And, of course, Jess’s best friend Mindy has a voice in the sequel – as does the new hippie/surfer, Italian vampire Raniero.

Aside from those things, the sequel is a lot like the first book. I wanted readers to laugh again, and get caught up in some passionate romances.

BNR: What songs or movies do you relate to Jessica and Lucius' romance? Mindy and Raniero's?

BF: I’m always reminded of Jess and Lucius when I hear music by Apocalyptica, Evanescence, and groups with similar haunting sounds. On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, I think of Mindy and Raniero when I hear pretty much anything by Jack Johnson or a song like Mika’s “Love Today.” They’re definitely a “lighter” couple.

I don’t usually relate any movies to them. I’m definitely more inspired by music.

BNR: Will there be more books in store for the characters?

BF: I’m not really sure. I have ideas, but a lot depends upon how well Jessica Rules the Dark Side is received. It’s not entirely up to me.

BNR: If you could spend a day with your characters (from the Jessica series and Jekel and Hyde), what would you like to do with them?

BF: Lucius Vladescu – horseback riding in the Carpathian Mountains
Jessica Packwood Vladescu – Get a tour of Bucharest and Lucius’s hometown of Sighisoara
Mindy Stankiewicz – Have her help me with my hair!
Raniero Vladescu Lovatu – Surfing lessons would be fantastic
Jill Jekel – Mix up some trouble outside the lab with her alter ego
Tristen Hyde – Listen to him play piano... I love musicians!

BNR: Is there one genre that you would like/wouldn't want to write about that you haven't yet?

BF: I grew up loving mystery novels, and I’m still a huge fan. I think that would be a fun genre to try someday. But right now, I’m happy writing romantic fiction for young adults – and anybody else who wants to read my books!

BNR: How has the Jessica series changed your way of writing?

BF: I don’t think writing the series has really changed my habits – although I definitely learn things with every book that I write. Does that make any sense? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have my “style” of writing, but I feel like I’m always learning about things like pacing, plotting, etc. Maybe I don’t even realize how I evolve, because it’s gradual.

BNR: If you could be a character in a book or series, who would it be and would you take the same actions as them?

BF: I’d be Nancy Drew, driving around in my sports car and solving mysteries with my best friend. And, no offense to him, but I’d break up with wishy-washy Ned Nickerson. He’s a nice enough guy, but a girl like Nancy needs a boyfriend who brings a little more excitement to the table.

BNR: Are there any new projects on your plate? Could we get a hint?

BF: I do have a project in the works, but it’s too new to give details. I will say that it’s a romance with a new kind of paranormal hero and new twists. I hope that’s enough!

BNR: (Bonus) Do you have anything you want to do for the new year?

BF: I am this close (holding thumb and forefinger teeny distance apart) to finishing a Ph.D. that I’ve worked on for seven years. I really, really want to wrap it up this spring and be Dr. Beth Fantaskey. Wow, would that shock a lot of people – including me!

Where you can find Jessica:

It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?
Giveaway item: One copy of Jessica Rules the Dark Side

Type: International

Requirements: 13 years or older

How to enter: Fill-out form below

This giveaway will end on January 15 at 11:59pm EST!

Thank you to Beth for taking time out to stop by BNR and to let us do this amazing interview/giveaway! If you would like to read my review of Jessica Rules, click here and go here to check out Jessica and Lucius' wedding!

Peace and Fangs,
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