As You Like It ★★★☆½

asyoulikeit (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: As You Like It
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 120
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Orlando, youngest son of a dead lord, has been cheated by his older brother. He runs off to the Duke, out wrestles the duke’s champion and meets, and falls in love with, Rosalind. He then runs off to the forest because the Duke didn’t like his pappy. There he pines for Rosalind. He meets a young man, who is really Rosalind in diguise ands woos said young man who claims that he can cure anyone of love. Orlando is successful and Rosalind marries him, all the while she is orchestrating the marriage of 2 other couples along with her own nuptials. Orlando’s brother gives up the estates to him, the naughty duke, Rosalind’s Uncle, takes religious vows and Rosalind’s daddy becomes ruler.

Everybody is happy. The End.

 

My Thoughts:

I keep wanting to treat these plays like novels and you just can’t do that. The value contained in the words aren’t necessarily the actual plots. Boy and Girl fall in love, overcome Incredible Odds, Happy Ending for Everyone. That story is as old and Jacob and Rachel. Yet, seeing these plot points is good as it gives you the necessary understanding of where so much of our modern stories come from. There is truly nothing new under the sun.

You can say that again.

What I am liking is the metred cadence. This is a play. It is meant to be spoken. While I am not, at this point in time, reading these outloud, I am not discounting the idea of doing that for one of these, just to hear how it flows. I am no thespian, nor poetic enough to write in iambic pentameter, but some time this year I’m going to try to write one of my reviews like it was a Shakespeare play. I already know that will take some serious work. The whole mindset has to be different than the prose I am used to and think in.

Honestly, I can’t even tell you exactly what iambic pentameter IS or how to do it. I know roughly it is so many this and thats over so many lines, blah, blah, blah. Not sure if rhyming is necessary or not. See, I have a lot to learn before I even attempt a review like that. And Shakespeare wrote a whole raft full of the bloody things.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge

 

 

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Ninja Master (Oh My Goddess! #9) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

ninjamaster (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Ninja Master
Series: Oh My Goddess! #9
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 117
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

This volume starts out with Kei and the girls at a beach where Urd, always trying to hurry along Kei and Belldandy’s romance, informs Kei that telling Belldandy he loves her under a full moon will result in their eternal happiness. Urd interferes to make things happen while Skuld interferes to stop them.

Next Skuld goes through a goddess growing up moment, only nobody tells her or Kei and Kei thinks she’s started her periods. So he goes to the department store to buy her “feminine products” and almost gets sold a Happy Family Planning pack.

The final story of this book revolves around Mara siccing a bunch of chibi ninja’s upon the household. Kodoma goes in first and is overcome by Bell’s kindness and moves her loyalty to Bell. Then Kodoma’s best friend Hikari makes her move, with the same result. Then the rest of the clan attacks everyone and Belldandy uses a spell to knock them all out. The little ninjas all renounce Mara and send her a break up letter. Oh, one of the Ninjettes is a Peeping Tom Boy.

 

My Thoughts:

Now this is the Oh My Goddess I remember. Funny vignette style stories that are light and fluffy and fun to read, as long as you don’t poke at them.

It is evident that the manga-ka is poking fun at himself in regards to Kei and Bell’s romance as the first little ninja writes down something like “Bell and Kei Romance: Kindergarten Level” on her first recon mission. It just made me grin.

This time around Fujishima’s humor really worked for me. I was amused from start to finish. Not exactly sure if it was me just being in a good mood or if the humor was actually that funny. The end result was the same though. I laughed out loud several times.

What got me the most though was the whole Senrigan the Peeping Tom Boy. That is the picture this time and boy, did it strike my fancy. The scale isn’t here in this picture, but these girls are all the size of your hand. So imagine something that small filled with that much attitude.

peepingtomboy
Better watch out or Senrigan will tell on you!

 

 

 

★★★★☆

bookstooge

 

 

Thraxas and the Oracle (Thraxas #10) ★★★☆☆

thraxasandtheoracle (Custom).jpgThis review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Thraxas and the Oracle
Series: Thraxas #10
Author: Martin Scott
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 184
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

The armies have come together and they all, under the leadership of Lisutaris, begin the march to Turai to take the fight to the orcs. Thraxas has been made head of Security and his number one job is to find Deeziz the Unseen before she wreaks havoc on the barely holding together armies. Add to that that Lisutaris must consult with an Oracle who has been banned and whose followers have been wiped out by the true church.

Thraxas is going to have a very hard time. Worst of all, there are no taverns and Lisutaris has told him to stop drinking.

The oracle proves right in all her accounts that do come to pass, Thraxas does find Deeziz (who escapes yet again) and the allied armies surprise an orcish one and completely route it. Now they can begin to head to Turai.

 

My Thoughts:

This was probably the weakest Thraxas story to date. In the middle of an army is not the place to have Thraxas being a gluttonous drunk. It just didn’t work for me this time. Thraxas is just hit or miss for me and I can’t figure out the why’s and wherefore’s of the formula regulating that. I guess it’s just a mystery! In terms of enjoyment, this was a bunt. I still connected with the ball, but it didn’t knock it out of the park for me.

If I were to recommend these books to anyone, I’d say to stop at book 8. Yes, there isn’t any resolution at the end of that book, but 2 books later there still isn’t any resolution. Also, considering that it has been 3 years since this book was published and there hasn’t been another, I’d say Scott has dropped the creative ball and is done as an author. These are not long books. If you are on fire, it doesn’t take 3 years to write a sub-200page book. It is only when struggling that that is the case.

Scott needs to write one more book where the armies take back the city of Turai, Thraxas marries Makri, becomes the proconsul of the newly renovated Turai and the whole gang (Lisutaris, Gurd, Tamrose, etc) all hang out at a brand new bar and shirk their duties. The End. Seriously.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

 

Mara Strikes Back! (Oh My Goddess! #8) ★★★☆½

marastrikesback (Custom).jpgThis review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Mara Strikes Back!
Series: Oh My Goddess! #8
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 176
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Chapter Stories.

Mara returns. She releases an unhappiness demon on Kei but because of Belldandy the unhappiness is turned to happiness. At the same time Mara also possesses Megumi to try to separate Kei and Bell. With predictable results all around.

Kei and the Auto Club go for a vacation to an old inn and there Kei is visited by a ghost. A ghost his grandfather made a promise to long ago. Kei must fulfill the promise or be possessed.

Skuld makes a new robot, Banpei and there are the typical misadventures. Urd is recalled to Heaven but the goddesses put their heads together and cast a warding around the house, to ostensibly keep Mara out but a side affect is that the gate for Urd can’t open either. This crashes the system, again and so the girls are still dependent on moon rocks.

The final story is about Sora trying to make a box lunch for the guy she likes. Belldandy helps her out and Sora gives one to Kei and everyone, but Bell, thinks that Sora likes Kei. Turns out Kei was a test subject and Sora really likes Aoshima, that jerk cousin to Sayoko. No accounting for taste I guess.

 

My Thoughts:

The stories in this volume were a lot more enjoyable than in previous volumes. The whole Mara Strikes Back was probably the best with the others being slightly funny to meh.

There is so much potential here that Fujishima HAS to get a story right even if by accident. I like his drawings a lot, just kind of wish he’d had a separate manga-ka to do the storylines. But when you write for a monthly magazine, kind of tough to split the cut two ways and have enough to live on I guess.

This time around the picture I chose to showcase stood out to me the moment I saw it and I KNEW it was the one to include. Urd has just messed with Sora’s boxlunch with one of her infamous love potions and Belldandy is NOT happy. While Belldandy is usually the levelheaded, peaceable one, she’s also the most powerful. It is rather nice to see her looking so determined, with that “annoyed adult” look on her face.

somg9_27.jpg

Bell might be sweet but she’s also the most mature

 

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

 

Queen of Vengeance (Oh My Goddess! #7) ★★★☆☆

queenofvengeance (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Queen of Vengeance
Series: Oh My Goddess! #7
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 152
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

And we’re back to chapter stories.

With the goddess computer system down, the goddesses can’t convert the energy they need. Plus Skuld and Urd begin aging differently so Urd gets kiddiefied and Skuld grows up overnight while Belldandy has to split herself into tiny versions to conserve energy. Keiichi ends up solving the mystery by making moon rocks and turning them into bracelets for his 3 houseguests.

Then Skuld and Megumi get into a robot battle and while Megumi wins, Skuld throws a tantrum and blows everything up.

The volume ends with Sayoko trying to steal Kei away from Bell again and failing, again.

 

My Thoughts:

Thank goodness we return to the chapter stories. Much more slice of life. The ridiculous factor gets dialed down, as it is physically impossible to stuff as much nonsense as we read in the previous book into a single chapter story here. I just read them, was amused and moved on to the next story.

Also, trying to get a decent picture is getting harder and harder as these Dark Horse original releases are out of sync with the actual release and there are no chapter numbers or even page numbers in these paperback copy releases. I have to hope that the digital volume number contains most of the chapters the paper one has and then start diving around. Since chapters are moved around for the paper copies, I feel like I’m throwing a bent fork at a target sometimes.

I was a huge fan of this series when I was in my 20’s but now, I have to admit, I am having some real serious doubts about just how far I’ll go. Obviously I’m not the target audience anymore, but there are manga that still interest me. It’s not even that I don’t like romantic comedies, as my owning W Juliet and Karo Kano shows (of course, I haven’t re-read those since I bought them either. Oh dear….).

I enjoyed this more than the previous book and think that at this juncture that Fujishima can tell a better short story than he can a novel. However, I had to drop it down 1/2star because being honest, it feels like I’ve been rating the previous volumes with some serious nostalgia goggles and I can’t do that anymore. The cold cruel reality of the weaknesses of this manga have clawed their way into my brain and eaten my eyes and filled my ears with maggots. Ok, that last sentence was just to see if anyone was paying attention * wink *

This is the picture that stuck out to me this time around. I’m not exactly sure why, but something about Kei and Bell, both looking up, it is almost like they are inviting me into the story, into the romance of their life. Being on the motorcycle and in the sidecar, with no other goddesses, grounds the picture in hard reality. But they are both smiling and looking happy and content. THAT is very appealing.

tomg1_01

 

★★★☆☆

bookstooge

 

 

Terrible Master Urd (Oh My Goddess! #6) ★★★☆½

terriblemasterurd (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Terrible Master Urd
Series: Oh My Goddess! #6
Author: Kosuke Fujishima
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 140
Format: Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The first full book plot. Mara is trying to awaken the Lord of Terror and it is revealed that Urd is his heir. She’s had her goddess license suspended for constantly lying and so is wide open to the temptation to take power whereever it may come from. LoT (Lord of Terror) possesses Urd and is on the way to destroying the whole universe. Keiichi gets captured and then accidently reveals that there is a master Total Destruction program. This allows Urd to release the wolf Fenrir and the LoT then jumps from Urd to Fenrir.

Fenrir/LoT then summons the Cosmic String (string theory plays a rather large part of this plot) and is going to cut it and so destroy the universe. Only he needs a goddess made 10 Dimensional scythe to do so. So the LoT jumps from Fenrir to Kei, as he knows that the 3 goddess will make one of those handy dandy 10D scythes to separate him from Kei’s body. Belldandy disobeys ‘daddy’, ie The Lord and releases her seal, making her “Nigh Invulnerable!” (if you don’t get the Tick reference, go read ben edlund’s graphic novels).

The 3 goddesses trick LoT to jumping into a computer disk, hence freeing Kei and stopping the threat of the end of the universe. Skuld then wipes the disk clean with a magnet thus removing the threat of the LoT for good. The whole Yggrasil system is out of whack though, so there will be consequences. The book ends with Belldandy revealing that she is staying with Kei becomes she loves him and not because of the contract.

 

My Thoughts:

This was just ridiculous. 15 years ago I could read, accept and enjoy such ridiculousness with ease. It slid down my throat like a bite of chicken finger dipped in sweet&sour with some vegetable fried rice on top. Mmmmm! However, while I still really like said food concoction, the same can’t be said for the shenanigans pulled here.

This was the first time that the manga-ka goes from a chapter by chapter story to an overarching plot and his lack of experience really shows. Things “just happen because” and they make zero sense. The revelation about Urd being part demon? I’ve been under the assumption that the Lord was the father of all 3 of the goddesses but with this revelation, does this mean that god sleeps around? Or is the Lord not actually god but just a super powerful angelic being? Fujishima just pulls explanations out of a hat to suit where he wants the story to go without thinking through the consequences of those explanations.

This was definitely slapstick humor. One thing I did laugh about was when LoT takes over Kei he, the LoT, threatens to hurt Kei by hitting himself on the head with a hammer. Now that is funny! The rest of it though, it kind of flew by me and made me go “huh” instead of laughing.

I know I’ve complained a lot here but this wasn’t a bad volume, it was just a very juvenile volume. I do have to admit though that my heart kind of sank when I was done with this volume and I realized I had 42 more volumes to go.

On to the artwork! Here we get Keiichi possessed by the Lord of Terror. Goth Kei! His “look” and how the LoT used him was probably what saved this volume from a blasé 3star rating. I mean, look at him! Hahahahahaa.

uomg5_28

 

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

All’s Well that Ends Well ★★★☆☆

allswellthatendswell (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: All’s Well that Ends Well
Series: ———-
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play
Pages: 226
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

A young woman, Helena, the daughter of a famous doctor now deceased, has been taken under wing by the noble family Rousillon. She falls in love with the family heir, Bertram but knows her commoner status will prevent her from ever marrying Bertram. Helena remembers a secret formula that her father gave to her and uses it to cure the King of France (Boo!) who in turn pretty much grants her one wish. She chooses to marry Bertram and the King makes it so.

Bertram chooses to go to war to avoid his bride and falls in lust with a young lady where he is stationed. Helena tracks him down and tells her tale to the young lady. Shenanigans ensue and Bertram woos and beds his wife thinking it’s his paramour.

The young lady, under the direction of Helena, goes to the king to get justice and Bertram acts like a complete loser and denies everything. Helena jumps out of the closet with a secret ring and pregnant and claims Bertram as her own. Bertram is so overcome by his wife’s cleverness and determination that he falls in love with her.

The End.

 

My Thoughts:

I am guessing this was supposed to be one of Shakespeare’s comedies. Lots of clever wordplay where people make fun of each other and ham it up to the audience. However, I hated Bertram so half the play was a bust for me. He was just a jerk. The ending was as much a hollywood blockbuster ending as you could wish for, ie, everything gets resolved even if it makes no sense whatsoever.

It did take me a little while to get into the cadence of the reading this as a play and not as a novel. I also had to really slow down and think about what I was reading because how it was presented was not what I am used to. It is always a good thing to slow the reading down and not devour it like I am in a hotdog eating contest.

Overall, I am pleased at this start to my reading of the Complete Shakespeare.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge