Rice Boy
April 7th, 2018 by diane92345

Equal parts Alice in Wonderland and the Lord of the Rings with a pinch of politics and religion plus maybe some leftover LSD from the 60s. Rice Boy is a true quest tale with the survival of the world at its core.

The One Electronic, T-O-E for short, is looking for the true messiah. The past 3,000 years have been filled with one fake after another. If T-O-E stops searching for a messiah, he will die. One day after the latest messiah has died, T-O-E asks Rice Boy to be the next messiah.  All Rice Boy needs to do is meet with the Tree Keeper downstream in the Dorlish Wood. Rice Boy refuses and T-O-E leaves. Soon, Rice Boy decides to go on a quest to the Dorlish Wood. He meets Gerund going the same way on a quest to kill the Bleach Beast.  They decide to journey together. There are two sinister foes, Golgo and Dolly on Rice Boy’s trail.

I love Alice in Wonderland and have read a multitude of remixes and updates of it.  Rice Boy is the best of the bunch.  It has the feeling of Alice in Wonderland (everything is just enough similar and just enough off to give a feeling of discomfort). The art is brightly colored.  The tale is just bizarre enough. The mash-up of religion, politics and fantasy really works to create a deliciously different fairy tale.

While marketed as a young adult title, I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys fantasy and especially those who are bored by the similarity of so many recent plots.  Rice Boy is magnificently unlike everything else.  Plus at 460 pages, it is well worth the price tag.

Thanks to the publisher, Iron Circus Comics, for an advanced copy.

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Posted in Diane's Favorites, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with:

Again Vol 1
March 7th, 2018 by diane92345

With dyed blond hair and a hostile resting face, Imamura is finally graduating from his high school as Again Vol 1 opens. He transferred to the high school three years previously but had neither made friends nor joined a club. Imamura has also made no plans for his future career or schooling after high school ends. After the graduation ceremony, Imamura is thinking about the Ouendan (pep) club that he could have joined but didn’t.  When he tries to climb through a window into the old Ouendan club room, he is seen by Akira, who is meeting her boyfriend.  When Akira sees Imamura, she runs in fear and trips down a staircase.  Imamura also trips and lands on top of her, knocking them both out.

Imamura wakes up with his mother calling him to go to school. He realizes that it is three years earlier and he is reliving his entire high school career.  He realizes that this is his chance to make better choices including joining the Ouendan.  Akira’s tale is also told but in less detail. While berating Imamura for forcing her to fall down the stairs, she accidently joins the Ouendan too. The rest of the novel addresses typical high school rivalries and romances.

The cover artwork using pastels and watercolors is beautiful. The interior art uses cross hashing to make various shades of gray. However, the drawings appear somewhat muddled. There is nothing within the plot to mark it as original. The abrupt end of Again Vol 1 forces me to give this volume 3 stars.  Hopefully, Vol 2 will have a more complete story.

Thanks to the publisher, Kodansha Comics, and NetGalley for an egalley.

Posted in Graphic Novel, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: , , ,

Lethal Licorice
February 27th, 2018 by diane92345

Characters that feel like family and a deliciously different setting make Lethal Licorice a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

The small, mostly Amish, town of Harvest, Ohio is finally hosting the annual Amish Confectionery Competition (ACC). Bailey is competing for her grandparent’s Amish Candy Shop, Swissmen Sweets, along with her sous chef Emily. The fact that Bailey is not Amish brings some discord to the competition. Josephine, another competitor and owner of Berlin Candies, angrily denounces Bailey’s inclusion in the contest. One of the judges seems determined that Bailey cannot win the competition. When one of them is found dead and stuffed in the back of the church’s grand organ, Bailey must defend her cousin from murder charges by solving the crime herself. Besides competing in the ACC and solving a murder, Bailey is helping locate a prized pet pig who disappeared shortly before the ACC began. She is also trying to limit the expectations of family and friends about her pairing up with handsome Deputy Sheriff, Aiden.

This is the second entry in the Amish Candy Shop series. I’ve read both. While you don’t have to read them in order, I would recommend it. This book contains major spoilers for the first.

I love the characters within this book series. All seem genuine. There are also some charming Amish lifestyle details subtly included. The author cleverly modernizes the setting by including an unwed pregnancy in one of the Amish’s backstory. However, this entire novel is definitely G-rated and appropriate for Christian readers. In addition, old-fashioned candy-making is described and a recipe for black licorice is included.

Lethal Licorice is highly recommended for cozy lover’s looking for something different with a small town feel. The mystery is good but it’s the characters that will make me impatiently await the next book in the series. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Kensington Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: , , ,