Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Manga/Graphic Novel/Video Game Novel Challenge 2012-May Round Up

This challenge is being hosted by Mother/Gamer/Writer.
 For more details on the challenge such as levels, guidelines, PRIZES!!!, just click here.

This post is to  link to all reviews of the books I've read for this challenge this month. To check out  books for this month read by other readers that are taking part in this challenge click here! 

So this month I started reading Rave Master. I vaguely remember watching episodes of Rave Master on t.v. a few years ago.  I really didn't get as into it as I had with other anime cartoons, but I think in this case it is a good thing.  Because it let me start reading volume 1 without being influenced by the t.v. show.  (which I know came after the manga, but still) 

Rave Master Volume 1
By: Hiro Mashima
Summery from Amazon:

The all-powerful Dark Stone -- a magical stone and ruler of the dark side -- awakes after a fifty-year-long respite and falls into the hands of Demon Card, an evil organization bent on world domination. Only one thing can resist the Dark Stone`s evil powers: a sacred stone called Rave. Demon Card dispatches an assassin after the Rave Master; a man called Shiba and the only living person with the power to use the sacred stone. Mortally wounded in the assault, Shiba is distressed to learn that he no longer has control over Rave. Will this mean that the world will pass over to the dark side?But wait! Shiba was not alone. Next to him stands a boy called Haru. Miraculously, the boy rekindles life in the sacred stone when he takes Rave in his hands and becomes its chosen successor. With his friends by his side Haru sets out on a quest to locate the other four remaining Raves that supposedly exist somewhere in the world. Only with these other sacred stones can the evil Demon Card -- more awesome a foe than ever could be imagined -- be finally vanquished.

My Review:

So in volume one we are introduced to Haru, his sister Cattleya, his "dog" Plue as well as his other friends on Garage Island.  Plus we are also introduced to some of the members of the Demon Card, Shiba, the previous Rave master,  and the Rave stones. 

So the artwork wasn't as detailed as some of the other manga's I have read recently, but it was still good.  If there was any specific way to describe the difference I guess it would be that Rave seemed more "cartooney".  (does that make sense?)  There weren't as many large scenic portraits either.  But the ones that are in the book, are very interesting, they had a lot going on in them.  Plus they are funny!  There also weren't any side notes from the author.  There are a few pages where the author gives little tidbits on the characters, but not little notes on every page.  It made it slightly easier to read straight through without stopping every page to read the authors notes.  But there were things that I wish had been explained.   To read the rest of my review click here.

Rave Master Volume 2
By: Hiro Mashima

So I'm not putting a summery with this one because the summery is the same as the one for the first book. (and in my review I do give a description of what is going on in this volume)

My Review:

So in this volume of Rave Master Haru travels in search of the blacksmith Musica to fix his 10 powers blade. He leaves home and his sister behind and sets sail on a raft with Plue.  In the first four chapters  he arrives at the town of Hip Hop and someone dog-naps blue.  Because of the dog-napping he ends up encountering  Georco, from the Demon Card, and Elie a girl who has lost her memory. (a side note on Elie, there is a scene near the end of the one chapter that seems to hint at who she really might least I think it does. Can't wait to find out if I am right)  The last five chapters are focused on Elie and Haru as they travel to Punk Street, another town, and searching for Musica.  However there is more than one Musica in Punk Street, there are also more Demon Card to deal with.

So far I'm still interested in this series.  While it is cartoony, it isn't poorly drawn.  There are also a lot of over the top parts that are extremely funny.  I really like Plue and think he is adorable. (even though the only thing he says is Puun)  I also like Elie.  She always has some highly amusing lines, and I love her obsession with shooting everything.  I like Haru, he's sweet, always wanting to help people, I just happen to like Plue and Elie more. 

One of the things that I thought was kinda annoying though in this volume was Georco.  He is the boss from Demon Card that is in control of Hip Hop Town. Click here to read the rest of my review.

Rave Master Volume 3
By: Hiro Mashima

Again the summery is the same as the first volume.  Repeating the same summery for every volume really annoys me. (This isn't the first series I've had this happen with)  I notice that on the back of the book it can give a summery of the story inside, so why can't that just be put in the summery area??? Just wondering. I mean I know I should just copy the back of the book as part of the review, that way I have it for later, but I always end up forgetting.

 My Review:

So volume 3 picks up where Volume 2 left off, right in the middle of the battle between Haru, the rave master, and Lance, the beast master.
I’ll try not to give too many spoilers in this one.  To keep it short Haru ultimately defeats Lance.  Although for awhile it is kinda iffy.   Plus we get to see why the younger Musica is the head of his gang.
After a short recovery Elie and Haru set off to find the missing Raves.
While Musica leaves their ensemble, they are joined by Griffon, a cart driver, and his horse, who Elie has hired to take them north. The volume ends with them reaching Ska.  A village that hasn’t seen the sun in over 5 years, and the rain is thought to be being caused by the Thunder Man, another Demon Card member.

Ok. That was good right? Not too many spoilers?

As for how I felt about this volume itself.  I am interested in where the story is going, I like how the author has brought different characters together.  I’m especially interested in seeing in the future if some characters return for another appearance.  I also think that some of the characters are quite funny.  Especially Elie and Haru, and how they react to different situations.  For example even though Haru is on a quest to recover the Raves and defeat the Demon Card in the process, he isn’t always serious.  Click here to read the rest of my review.

Rave Master Volume 4
By: Hiro Mashima

So this one picks up where Vol. 3 left off.  With Elie standing outside the Thunder-Man’s mansion, and Haru trying to catch up to her before anything happens. They end up taking on Go, the Thunder-Man, and his girlfriend Rosa and bringing back sunlight to the village of Ska.  However Go isn’t all he appears to be and neither is Rosa, so the fight doesn’t end quite the way you might expect it to.
Then Elie and Haru are off to Tremolo Mountain and Akumu Hall, where it is rumored that the shooting star, a possible rave, landed 50 years ago. But Demon Card is there looking for the rave also, and since they know Haru is on his way they have traps and an assassin waiting. 

I enjoyed this volume more than volume 3.  While the story seemed to zip by, I did like some of the twists that the author threw in.  While I think that Go and Rosa were kinda corny, they were still funny, and I liked how the author chose to end the confrontation between them and Haru and Elie.  Then there was the assassin.  Every new character had me suspecting them.  Plus Musica shows back up. (Yay, he is one of my fave characters) I still also really like how all the characters interact, and sometimes are completely random. 
Plus I like the extra add ons about the characters at the end of the volumes, and this one even had a “which Plue are you?” game that was cute. (I’m a crying Plue!)
Still kinda got issues with some of the art work.  (I know, I know, get over it right? I’ve already committed myself to the story enough that I ignore it and will keep reading, since I want to know what happens)  But there are still some scenes that just seem to skip parts. To read the rest of my review click here.

Rave Master Volume 5
 By: Hiro Mashima

My Review:

So this one picks up where volume 4 left off.  Haru has just received the Rave of Knowledge.  This volume follows Haru through his battle against Shuda all the way to Experiment, the largest city on Sonic Continent.  We also get to meet General Reina finally, as well as finding out who the mystery man is that attacked Elie way back before she met Haru. The volume ends with Elie having flashbacks, and a creepy fortune teller giving some REALLY bad news to Haru.

  This story is really starting to pick up.  While I’m still not crazy about the art style, I do like some of the new work.  Especially in the Kings stronghold.  Plus I am really getting intrigued by Elie’s back story, and I can’t wait to find out more.
The story is starting to take on a more serious tone as well. (especially when it comes to Elie) but the characters are still fun and have their utterly random moments. Click here to read the rest of my review. 

Altogether I'm still on the fence with this series.  I enjoyed the first book well enough, and the fifth book.  However the books in between...Eh...that's about how I feel.  I don't hate them, but I'm not completely in love with the either.  If I get a chance to read the next volume I definitely wouldn't pass it up, but one of the main reasons is because in volume five the story really seems to be taking off and exploring Elie's history. Since she is one of my favorite characters in the story I really do want to find out more. 

I promise I will start reading some non-manga now that the summer is here! Swear! I actually have a graphic novel and some video game novels at the top of my TBR.  I've just been putting them off for other projects, and the Manga is a bit quicker to read.  'Til next month!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My first Rafflecopter Giveaway

Okay so I see giveaways ALL the time now using Rafflecopter.  I always think they look really nice and well put together.  (Something I think I never am. *SIGH*)  "So why don't you use Rafflecopter?" You might ask.  Well, mainly because it looks REALLY complicated! Then a few months ago a blogger friend of mine let me join in one of her events an low and behold she had a Rafflecopter widget that she shared with me to use in my post.  All I had to do was copy and paste what she sent me into he HTML part of my post and voila there was a nice, clean looking Rafflecopter box right in my own post! (I'm easily impressed if you can't tell) 

But still I hesitated to use it.  My friend had sent me just the link or code or whatever it is to copy and paste, I hadn't made the widget, I had no idea how, and I was still kinda intimidated.  

So finally I told myself to suck it up, and that if I survived  the Blogging From A to Z Challenge and didn't mess it up, then I needed to try Rafflecopter. What's the worst that can happen??  

Well for starters I could think of numerous things...I could lose all the entries...I could somehow not get it to show right on the post....even worse I could not get any entries at all!!! (ok that fear I have with EVERY giveaway I hold, but still a valid fear)

But getting back to the point, I did survive the challenge and sooo without further ado I will be holding a giveaway, and using Rafflecopter to collect my entries.    As for the prize:

I will be giving away my gently read copy of

I really enjoyed reading the stories in it and the pictures that went along with the projects definitely helped me in my effort to learn how to knit.   I can crochet, but knitting is new to me, and no they aren't the same thing!

As for the rules for entering:

Sorry this giveaway is limited to my U.S. followers only.  I can't afford the S&H outside of the U.S.
Otherwise simply enter using the Rafflecopter form below! The contest will run from May 9th til the 31st.  Hopefully the form appears below, if you don't see it or are having trouble using it PLEASE let me know! 
Thank you and good luck!    

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Free Blogger Event for all my blogger friends out there!

Be sure to mention that you saw it here at Reviews From My First Reads Shelf!

Monday, May 7, 2012

My thoughts or reflections on the Blogging From A to Z Challenge

So a few month ago I found out about the Blogging From A to Z Challenge.  *SIGH*  It seems like soooo long ago now.  I wanted to challenge myself to do something fun, something creative, something that was well....a challenge.  So I decided to jump into the challenge and see if I could do it.  Gosh...I thought 2 months would be enough time to plan...I was SOOOOO wrong. lol.

When I started out I really had all engines full throttle....I had tons and I mean TONS of ideas on what I wanted to write.  Even the letters I wasn't too sure of I still had a positive view of.   I planned to have every post ready by the first of March and have them all scheduled to go up by the middle of March.  Then I could sit back and just coast through April.  

Apparently I don't know myself very well.  I am a procrastinator at heart.  If I can put something off til the last minute I will. I hate this about myself...I go through spurts of being overly prepared for every situation, every contingency, until I end up driving my plans and back up plans crazy.... I mean sometimes this isn't a bad thing.  I start shopping for Christmas in January, but the procrastinator in me makes sure that by December I've forgotten my special hidey place for all the prezzies and I spend at least one week in December doing a mad search of my house.

So of course I found myself doing the same thing on Google in the middle of March.  The only reason my A, C, and R posts were even ready in advance was because I had convinced other people to take the spotlight and guest post for me on those days.  My other posts were still ready days in advance...but that's it, just days, not a whole month.  As for my reflection post....yeah it's 10pm on the 7th and I'm doing it now, when I thought about it ALL this weekend and just kinda put it off....
(I'm not this bad in all areas of my life, for other people I'm on the ball, but for myself I tend to slack and put things off)

But enough about my procrastinating.  This is a reflections post, not a procrastination station. (even though I fear it has become one)

I learned a lot of cool things from this challenge.   I learned that I can write about anything. AND I mean ANYTHING!  For example my giraffe post wasn't planned, it was a request from my friends daughter.  But somehow I made a post that I was proud of and I hope everyone enjoyed.  

This was my original pic for Y.
I also learned that sometimes the best inspiration comes on the fly.  Like my Y post.  I originally was going to do it on Yo-Yo's, a huge new trend in my home.  But while trying to take pictures of yo-yos and write about them all I wanted to do was scream...Yes that's how it came to be Y is for Yell.  I thought it was unique and inventive and I really had fun typing all of those a's.

I also met A LOT of new bloggers.  Too many to list individually here, plus I'd be afraid of leaving someone out.  I tried to visit and comment on as many as I could. But again my procrastination issues took hold and I found myself surfing other bloggers posts without moving on to the next blog. I always felt bad that I couldn't  come up with an intelligent comment, and I hate living something that sounds stupid, so many times I didn't comment at all, but I did come away inspired by more than a few of the blogs I read.  I just wanted  to make sure that I said that. Because I didn't tell all of the other bloggers how much they inspired me, but I really wanted to.

I plan on doing the challenge next year.  Only because it was fun to find out so much about myself, as well as the other bloggers in the challenge.  I even have an idea as to what my theme will be for next I'm not going to commit to it in writing, because even now as I think about it it seems kinda I really enjoyed the randomness of this year.  In an effort to prepare for next year, I would love to know how you felt about my posts.  Where they too random? Did I chicken out by letting someone else guest post for me? Which posts were your favorites?  I'd love to know.

Then after you're done click here and check out the other bloggers reflections on the A to Z Challenge.  I'm sure you'll find some awesome new bloggers to follow.