Some manga series you might enjoy, if you haven’t already discovered them!
Sakura Hime, by Arina Tanemura. Sakura is a princess, engaged to Prince Oura since birth. Since she’s not keen on marrying the prince, Sakura runs away, accidentally looking at the full moon in the process (the one thing she must never do).
Kitchen princess, by Natsumi Ando. Najika is a talented cook, who follows the trail of a mystery boy who touched her heart as a child to the exclusive Seika Academy. Everyone at the Seika Academy is special in some way, except Najika according to the girls there. However, two brothers, Sora and Daichi, know her cooking is magical. (Also, who’s the mystery boy?)
Cardcaptor Sakura, by CLAMP. This was awarded the Seiun Award for best manga in 2001, and was also made into a TV series. The series begins with Sakura releasing the magical Clow Cards, a set of cards with their own personalitythat can assume different forms when activated. Oops. Sakura is told she must now find all the missing cards, battle their magical forms and re-seal them.
Kobato, also by CLAMP. Kobato, mysteriously, has a quest to heal broken hearts by trapping feelings in a bottle, in order to make her way to a mystery place. It sounds daunting, but she does have the help of a grumpy dog called Ioyogi-san, so that’s okay then. CLAMP’s website is here (great for practising your Japanese).
Here’s a list of other manga series we’ve got in the library.
Over the last few months DC has been releasing new updated, reimagined, revamped editions of the entire DC universe, called The New 52! (just like that, with the exclamation point, because they’re awesome). You can find out more about what’s coming out when at the DC website here.
The Young Adult Comics collection already has a few, which you can borrow:
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol won the Young Adult category. “Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part… Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century. Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.” (goodreads.com)
Battlepug by Mike Norton won the Best Digital Comic category. We’ve just got this one in recently. It’s a pug (the cute little dogs with the punched-in noses), but it’s a battlepug. You can find out more on the website, or the battlepug is also on Twitter.
As promised, here are some more new books. Maybe all of them. There are many! If there was an earthquake right now they would fall on me, perhaps injuring me slightly.
Nevermore, by Kelly Creagh (543 pages) – Isobel falls in lurve with the aloof and sarky (and gorgeous) Varen, whose dream world – based on the not-at-all-jolly stories of Edgar Allan Poe – have come to life. She must rescue him before his nightmares devour him!
First line: ‘By the end of fourth period, Isobel’s espresso buzz from that morning’s venti latte had long since worn off.‘
Annexed, by Sharon Dogar (329 pages) – Peter van Pels and his family went into hiding with Anne Frank, and there, in this (imagined) story, he finds himself falling in love with her. As history documents, it’s not a happy love story, and Peter’s experience continues into and beyond the Nazi death camps.
First lines: ‘I think I’m still alive. But I’m not sure.‘
The FitzOsbornes in Exile : The Montmaray Journals Book Two, by Michelle Cooper (451 pages) – Diary-writer Sophie and her family’s home, an island kingdom!, has been overrun by the Nazis, and they all find themselves trying to navigate the English aristocracy while pretty much penniless and/or mad. A sequel (obviously!) to this book.
First line: ‘I write this sitting at an exquisite little Louis the Fifteenth secretaire in the White Drawing Room, using a gold fountain pen borrowed from the King of Montmaray and a bottle of ink provided by one of the footmen.‘
Demon Princess : Reign Check, by Michelle Rowan (292 pages) – Nikki is half human, and half demon, and ‘has had a lot to deal with’. A faery king enrols at her high school to investigate her potential for destroying the world, and Nikki is summoned to the Underworld to appear before a demon council for some reason. And! She’s also madly in love with her Shadow Creature servant, Michael, but it’s forbidden.
First line: ‘Act normal, I told myself as I pushed through the front doors of Erin Heights High School.‘
The Hunt : A Dark Touch Novel, by Amy Meredith (262 pages) – Another supernatural romance, the genre du jour. Demons are on the hunt and Eve must use her powers to fight them. She’s also mad keen on ‘gorgeous’ Luke, who may or may not be something more as well. Do they have a future together? Do they have a future at all? Will anyone have a future?
First line: ‘“Dude, have you decided to give up showering?” Dave Perry called after practice on Monday.‘
Trash, by Andy Mulligan (215 pages) – Everyone seems to be reserving this book! It’s about three friends who live in a dumpsite somewhere in the third world,, making a living from trash. They find something – a deady secret – and shortly afterwards they are ‘hunted without mercy.’ But it has a happy ending; it is ‘utterly original and universal, it will touch the world.’
First line: ‘My name is Raphael Fernandez and I am a dumpsite boy.‘
Kiss Me Deadly : Tales of Paranormal Romance, edited by Trisha Telep (430 pages) -Thirteen stories of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, shapeshifters, fallen angels, zombies (ugh) and other instances of supernatural love. Actually really good even if you’re no fan of supernatural romance; Maggie Stiefvater’s The Hounds of Ulster is a cracking story.
Beautiful Darkness, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (503 pages) – Going to copy and paste this synopsis; ‘In a small southern town with a secret world hidden in plain sight, sixteen-year-old Lena, who possesses supernatural powers and faces a life-altering decision, draws away from her true love, Ethan, a mortal with frightening visions.’
First line: ‘I used to think our town, buried in the South Carolina back woods, stuck in the muddy bottom of the Santee River valley, was the middle of nowhere.‘
Yes, I Know the Monkey Man, by Dori Hillestad Butler (196 pages) – When T. J.’s dad is injured she discovers that she was kidnapped by her father 10 years ago. Not only does she have a mother and a step-father, but also a twin sister. This book also arguably has the best title of any book, ever.
First line: ‘The little red light on our answering machine was blinking on and off when I wandered into the kitchen.‘
Mutation : The Phoenix Files, by Chris Morphew (311 pages) – This is the third book in the Phoenix Files series. We reviewed the first book a while ago. There were 100 days left before the world ends; now there are only 63 days left and (in addition to the whole major catastrophe thing) something weird is happening to the people of Phoenix.
First line: ‘My fists clenched in my lap as Shackletone approached the podium, a hint of his sick, grandfatherly smile still pulling at his lips.‘
Love Sucks!, by Melissa Francis (285 pages) – a sequel to Bite Me!, and if there’s a third book what do you think it will be called? Stake Out! maybe. Pass The Grave-y! probably not. Love at First Bite! Jack reckons. Vampire teen A. J. still suffers being in love with her gorgeous step-brother, and maybe her vampire trainer, who is also gorgeous, and her father wants to take over the world, AND she has to plan the prom.
First line: ‘My mother’s baby shower.‘
The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting (329 pages) – Violet has the cheery ability to psychically detect dead bodies, as well as the imprint that remains on their killers. So now that a serial killer is stalking her small town, she realises that she’s the only one who can find the killer (and she’s being haunted quite a bit). She teams up with best friend Jay, who she’s developing feelings for (he is gorgeous).
First line: ‘Violet Ambrose wandered away from the safety of her father as she listened to the harmony of sounds weaving delicately around her.‘
The Secret To Lying, by Todd Mitchell (328 pages) – James was a nerd at his old school, but now that he’s been enrolled in an exclusive academy for mathletes he can easily be the ‘cool guy’ – he makes up a tough background for himself and soon is lying about everything. Unfortunately there are consequences, and in his case they are quite destructive.
First line: ‘I was the guy no one noticed.‘
Once Dead, Twice Shy, by Kim Harrison (232 pages) – More supernatural romance. This one’s particular hook is dead teen Madison, who, with the help of a magic amulet, affects the illusion of a live body, and is involved in the battle between light and dark reapers. There’s also her cute crush, and a guardian angel. A sequel is in the works!
First lines: ‘Everyone does it. Dies, I mean.‘
The Project, by Brian Falkner (343 pages) – Falkner’s last book, Brainjack, won this year’s NZ Post Children’s Book Award in the YA fiction category. So this book should be quite good! It’s about a book (the ‘most boring book in the world’) that hides a terrible secret; when it’s revealed the world may never be the same again.
First line: ‘“I reckon we would have got away with it if it wasn’t for that drunken chipmunk.”‘
Before We Say Goodbye, by Gabriella Ambrosio (144 pages) – Two cousins – Dima and Myriam – are Palestinians living in Jerusalem. Myriam is hopeful of visiting America with Dima, but Dima has no dreams of the future; she has ‘already accepted her destiny: today she will die.’
First line: ‘It was technically springtime on the day that Dima got up from her mattress after a long yet strangely brief and confused night.‘
Girl Saves Boy, by Steph Bowe (280 pages) – A romance, but not supernatural (refreshingly!). Sacha has a terminal disease, his mother has died, and his father is seeing his art teacher. He attempts to drown himself! But luckily is rescued by Jewel Valentine, and it’s all uphill from there.
First line: ‘My brother’s last word was: “Polo.”‘
The Runaway Dragon, by Kate Coombs (292 pages) – The sequel to The Runaway Princess, in which Princess Meg finds a baby dragon. Laddy, the dragon, runs away from home, so the Princess, her friends, and a group of guardsmen go on a quest to find him.
First line: ‘At first Meg visited Laddy a lot, riding her horse from the castle through the Witch’s Wood to Hookhorn Farm, where her friend Cam’s sister lived.‘
Token of Darkness, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (197 pages) – Gorgeous football hero, Cooper, has a car accident, and when he awakens he starts seeing a ghost. Samantha (the ghost) is attractive but is, you know, a ghost, so their relationship is going to be a bit out of the ordinary. Delilah, a clairvoyant cheerleader, and telepathic Brent realise that Cooper’s in trouble. Awoooh.
First line: ‘The darkness was a alive, and it was hungry.‘
There is also a new book about Glee, called 100% Gleek : The Unofficial Guide to Glee!, and a comic version of Anthony Horowitz’s Raven’s Gate called, well, The Power of Five. Book One, Raven’s Gate : The Graphic Novel.
What is Zuda Comics? That’s a great question. The short answer is that it’s an all-new line of Web Comics. The longer answer is that Zuda Comics are whatever you make of them.
Zuda Comics is the webcomics division of DC. You can design your own comic for entry into their monthly competition, vote for your favourite entry, or simply enjoy the ones already online.
While we’re on the subject, you can find the DC comics website here, and don’t forget to check out our collection of them in your library branch.
At long last – the latest, newest books. In no particular order.
Stargazer, by Claudia Gray (329 pages) – This is a sequel to Evernight. Bianca’s parents are vampires, and she’s destined to become one (they’re glam vampires, rather than the scarier, cadaverous vampires, probably). But she falls in love with a vampire hunter, which throws a spanner in the works.
First line: ‘Frost began to creep up the walls.‘
Twenty Boy Summer, by Sarah Ockler (290 pages) – Sixteen-year-olds Anna and Frankie go to California for a holiday. They conspire to find a boy for Anna’s first kiss, but Anna has a secret – she’s already had a boyfriend, and it was with Frankie’s brother Matt who died tragically a year ago. Quite sad.
First line: ‘Frankie Perino and I were lucky that day.‘
Faketastic : A Frenemies Novel, by Alexa Young (244 pages) – Halley, Avalon, and Sofee (!) are all friends. Then enemies! Then friends! This is the second Frenemies book, and it looks like there will be more.
First line: ‘“Isn’t it amazing?” Avalon Greene breezed up behind Halley Brandon and gave her best friend’s shoulder an affectionate squeeze.‘
The Warriors of Ethandun, by N. M. Browne (371 pages) – the third and final book in The Warriors Trilogy. Unfortunately, we don’t have the second book, but we do have the first. Two time-travellers return from King Arthur’s era to the present, but are unable to fit back in. So back they go! This time they’re up against Vikings and something more …
First line: ‘Dan stepped out of the Veil of mist.‘
Bridge of Tears : Usagi Yojimbo vol. 23, by Stan Sakai (246 pages) – This is the latest Usagi Yojimbo collection. It’s a graphic novel, and the series is outstanding, even if you don’t usually like comics. I promise.
Zelah Green, Queen of Clean, by Vanessa Curtis (245 pages) – Zelah Green has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is always, always on the watch out for dirt and germs. Her stepmother sends her to a camp to try to help her, and there Zelah meets Sol, who is gooorgeous. He doesn’t speak however.
First line: ‘My name is Zelah Green and I’m a Cleanaholic.‘
After Dark : A Vamps Novel, by Nancy A. Collins (180 pages) – The third in The Vamps series. The ultra-rich and ultra-dead girls of the exclusive Bathory Academy in New York are a little Gossip Girl, and a little Twilight, if that makes sense.
First line: ‘Cally had been to Rauhnacht parties before, but none as elaborate as this.‘
Renegade : Hell’s Underground 3, by Alan Gibbons (359 pages) – ‘Entertainingly gruesome’, ‘definately scary’, gripping, action packed story’. The book has a very creepy skull on the cover also. We’d love someone to review this for us!
First line: ‘Chaim Wetzel learned at an early age that the streets of London were as likely to be paved with horror as with gold.‘
New Girl : a Secrets at St Jude’s novel, by Carmen Reid (331 pages) – Gina spent all her money on clothes and failed at school, so her mother sends her to a boarding school in Scotland. Which is quite a contrast to California.
First line: ‘Gina Peterson didn’t hear the electric gates slide open, or the silver Mercedes convertible purr through into the drive.‘
First line: ‘I am a vampire, and that is the truth.‘
Tuck, by Stephen Lawhead (443 pages) – The third book in the King Raven series, which are based on the legend of Robin Hood. Good historical fiction!
First line: ‘King William stood scratching the back of his hand and watched as another bag of gold was emptied into the ironclad chest: one hundred solid gold byzants that, added to fifty pounds in silver and another fifty in letters of promise to be paid upon collection of his tribute from Normandie, brought the total to five hundred marks.‘ phew
Revolver, by Marcus Sedgwick (219 pages) - The Arctic Circle, 1910; Sig, a teenaged Swede, is stuck in a cabin with the frozen corpse of his father. Sound grim, and can only get worse before it gets better. Full of twists! Here’s a glowing review.
First line: ‘Even the dead tell stories.‘
We’ve a new manga series in the YA collection. It is titled Case Closed, by Gosho Aoyama. Jimmy Kudo is a hyper-skilled high school detective who is transformed into first-grader by a’ strange chemical’. He adopts a new name – Conan Edogawa – and continues to solve crime while hunting for whoever’s responsible for his transformation.
We have 29 volumes, so the hunt may take awhile. The animated series is big in Japan and Germany, according to Wikipedia, but I don’t think we’re getting it.
(All our other manga series are listed on this page.)
Zuda Comics collects user-submitted comics. The comics then compete with one another – they’re rated by users – and the winner is published. There’s some great work there, and the latest, Dracula vs. Santa, is hysterical. My aching sides!
You may have heard that there’s a global recession on. What can that mean? It’s quite complex, but there are simpler ways of viewing it. However, what’s perhaps more immediately relevant is how it’s affecting comics; apparently Peter Parker lost his job and is now working at McDonalds.
The American Library Association, together with its rather unattractive website*, has produced a list of 10 great graphic novels/ series that were published in 2008. We even have some, which I’ll list below.
Life Sucks, by Jessica Abel, Gabriel Soria and Warren Pleece
Japan Ai: A Tall Girl’s Adventures in Japan, by Aimee Major Steinberger
Skim, by Mariko Tamaki; drawings by Jillian Tamaki
The Umbrella Academy. Volume 1, Apocalypse suite, by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba
(I feel almost exactly like one of those Academy Award presenters typing that, but without the frock and the fame and the botox.)
* sorry sorry, but it’s true!