25 April 2016

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Publication: 1993
# of Pages: 224
Source: Owned Copy 

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, Like Water For Chocolate is a romantic, poignant tale, touched with moments of magic, graphic earthiness, bittersweet wit - and recipes. 

A sumptuous feast of a novel, it relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. In desperation, Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close to her, so that Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. Only a freakish chain of tragedies, bad luck and fate finally reunite them against all the odds.

Entwined with magical realism and beautiful language, Like Water for Chocolate chronicles the journey of Tita as she navigates through heartbreak, happiness, pain, and redemption. 

What was most interesting about this novel was the incorporation of magic realism. Tita has the ability to make people feel her emotions through food. If she's feeling sad they feel sad. If she is happy then they will also be happy. This dynamic made the plot fascinating and ultimately forced some pretty interesting emotions on various characters. Speaking of characters, Esquivel had an uncanny ability to develop some polarizing characters. Mama, who I disliked with the strongest passion, illustrated the obsession and importance of tradition. As strange as some traditions may seem they play an important part in cultural identity. The inability of the youngest girl in the family to marry serves as unique family tradition as well as a catalyst for the many issues that occur within the plot. 

What I did appreciate about the text was the character development of Tita. The reader gets the opportunity to see her as a subservient daughter to watching her grow into an independent woman who defines her own destiny. The ending shocked me as I did not expect her to choose that path. Nevertheless, she fought incredibly hard to get to a place of peace and resolution after dealing with the hardships created by her mother and her sister. 

If you are a reader that enjoys cooking or reading about food I would definitely recommend this novel as food is integral to the plot. Each chapter is started with a recipe. And each recipe is outlined and described within the chapter with beautiful and detailed descriptions each intertwining with the plot. Some of the recipes were so interesting that I found myself wanting to try them out. 

The only issue I had with the text was the length of the ending. It seemed to drag out in places and made the plot difficult to get into. In my opinion it could have been shorter with a more straight-forward conclusion. Overall, the book was enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone who likes magic realism. It was a good addition to my Around the World reading challenge. 


24 April 2016

The Girl of Fire & Thorns by Rae Carson

Publication: 2011
# of Pages:  423
Source: Library Copy 

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

As I'm writing this review I noticed that this is the first time I'm at a loss for words about a book. I don't know where to begin about this novel except by listing the things I loved about it. 

Character development was the best if not the strongest aspect of this novel. The main character Elisa goes from this insecure and unsure little girl to a powerful and strong woman. It was just truly amazing to see her change from someone who loathed themselves to someone who had pride in who they were. It's so difficult to find such powerful characterization in young adult literature, a book where the reader gets the opportunity to grow and change the main character. 

The next best thing about this book was definitely the plot. It was fast paced and contained some really interesting elements including those related to the godstone. I did not expect so many complications to arise from such a small stone in Elisa's navel. By putting so much responsibility on the bearer of the stone, Carson created many diverse elements including the creation of the Inviernos. Even the world building is complex. There are so many different kingdoms and sects of people that the reader is introduced to these new cultures and manners of living. These different kingdoms clash and also work together when the time is necessary and I truly enjoyed that. No aspect of this story, more specifically the plot, proved to be boring. It was a page-turner that ultimately left me wanting more. 

The only aspect of this book that I found boring was Alejandro's character. He was weak and proved to be somewhat of a coward until the very end. Although I think his character was necessary in forcing Elisa to become more confident in herself and her ability to rule, I was particularly annoyed every time I read a scene in which he was present. 

Fair warning to all who read this series. Rae Carson shows no mercy and does not hold back from her ability to pick and choose who she wants too live and who she wants to die. I found myself getting extremely attached to characters only to lose them. I realize that it's all necessary for the advancement of the plot, but it was definitely unpredictable. 

This book was absolutely mesmerizing and beautifully written. If you are interested in young adult fantasy I would definitely give this trilogy a try. 


22 April 2016

The Friday #56, #12 The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

The Friday #56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's VoiceJoin in every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you've been reading. Here are the rules:

  • Grab a book 
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader
  • Find any sentence (or a few, don't spoil it) 

**Be sure to post the links to your Friday #56 below!

Happy Reading!

So this week I decided to do an excerpt from The Crown of Embers which is the second book in Rae Carson's The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. To be honest this book is AMAZING so far and might turn out to be better than the first which I liked a lot! The main character is just as great as she was before and I love the confidence she has gained since the beginning of the first book. Rae Carson once again shows no mercy in this book so I will definitely warn you not to get too attached to any characters haha! 

"He stares at my abdomen, and I realize he's not looking at the wound, but at my Godstone. Tentatively, he reaches out with his forefinger, lets it hover above my navel." 

This probably is one of the most interesting parts I've encountered in this book that fits into the bigger plot which completely has me on the edge of my seat.

She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country's ruler should be secure. But it isn't.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.

If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

21 April 2016

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

Publication: 2005
# of Pages: 134
Source: Library Copy 

From the best-selling author of Persepolis comes this gloriously entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Embroideries gathers together Marjane's tough-talking grandmother, stoic mother, glamorous and eccentric aunt and their friends and neighbors for an afternoon of tea drinking and talking. Naturally, the subject turns to love, sex and the vagaries of men. 

As the afternoon progresses, these vibrant women share their secrets, their regrets and their often outrageous stories about, among other things, how to fake one's virginity, how to escape an arranged marriage, how to enjoy the miracles of plastic surgery and how to delight in being a mistress. By turns revealing and hilarious, these are stories about the lengths to which some women will go to find a man, keep a man or, most importantly, keep up appearances. 

Full of surprises, this introduction to the private lives of some fascinating women, whose life stories and lovers and will strike us as at once deeply familiar and profoundly different from our own, is sure to bring smiles of recognition to the faces of women everywhere--and to teach us all a thing or two.

After reading Persepolis by Marjane I became extremely interested in checking out other materials by her and reading more about the Iranian culture. Luckily I found this little gem of a book that not only fulfilled my challenge for my Around the World project, but also gave me more insight to a culture I was unfamiliar with. 

What was most amazing about the graphic novel was the fact that it focused on the women on Marjane's family and how they view marriage and relationships. Growing up in America has cultivated me into believing that a woman can choose to be a virgin or not at marriage or she can choose to divorce her husband for reasons such as irreconcilable differences. However, this perspective/view is not shared across all cultures. I quickly found that it was and may still be expected in some areas for women to remain virgins before marriage and to stay with their husbands instead of opting for divorce. Reading about a culture that is so different from my own is the exact reason why I started to explore and commit myself to the Around the World Reading project as it opens up doors of cross-cultural understanding. 

One of  my other favorite aspects of this novel was the inclusion of humor. To be dealing with such a sensitive topic, the women discuss it with ease and a light sense of humor that makes it even more enjoyable. They laugh at themselves, each other, and their misfortunes. I was thoroughly surprised that the women were so light-hearted considering the circumstances women in their society faced. It makes the reader see the other perspectives of the world to prevent them from becoming narrow minded and closed within the confines of their own culture. It broadens ones horizons and permits the reader with an opportunity to learn and expand their worldly knowledge. 

In all Embroideries proved to be a great additional work by Satrapi. There was no plot as the book was mainly character and culturally driven. This aspect of the book is not negative as it serves as a catalyst for reader's to gain insight to Iranian culture. It is effectively written, gives basic stories that contain riveting information, and also contains great graphics. Overall, I enjoyed this book and actually wish it was longer. ; ) 

17 April 2016

Manga Review: Fruits Basket Vol. 1 & 2 by Natsuki Takaya

Publication: 2004
# of Pages: 204
Source: Library Book 

A family with an ancient curse...

And the girl who will change their lives forever...

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she's introduced to the Sohma's world of magical curses and family secrets.

A quite popular manga, Fruits Basket explores the relationship between Tohru and the Sohma family. What I love most about this first volume was how the Chinese zodiac was incorporated into the main story-line. The personalities of the Sohma family really reflects the same characters of the Chinese zodiac. Another one of my favorite aspects of the first volume was the personality of the main character Tohru. She was so sweet and endearing and was definitely willing to do so much for the Sohma family. Even the level of respect and thoughtfulness she showed everyone was extraordinary. After reading this volume I really saw Tohru as being the glue that held the family together. 

Publication: 2004
# of Pages: 194
Source: Library Book 

Ever since Tohru Honda discovered the Zodiac secret of the Sohma clan, her eyes have opened to a world of magic and wonder. But with such a great secret comes great responsibility. When her best friends Hana-chan and Uo-chan come to the Sohma home for a sleepover, Tohru has her work cut out for her keeping the "Cat" in the bag and the "Dog" on a leash.

This volume was just as cute if not cuter than the first volume. What was really great about this volume was the character development. One of the main characters in the first volume was extremely rude and mean, but this volume really showed a softer side of him and it made me really dislike the family curse because it definitely puts him at a disadvantage. Tohru is still as sweet as ever and definitely exhibits the qualities of a strong main character. She has been through a lot and still has a heart of gold. This volume really sealed in my love for the manga and definitely made me want to continue the series.

16 April 2016

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Publication: 2011
# of Pages: 516
Source: Audiobook 

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange andimpossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

**Please keep in mind that this is the 3rd book in a series so this review may contain spoilers. 

As the third installment of the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Chaos provides an interesting perspective into the world of Gaitlin, SC. Following the events of Beautiful Darkness, the entire balance of the world has been thrown off because Lena has chosen both light and dark aspects. Being the first caster to do so creates an infinite amount of issues and problems. And as in every other book, Ethan receives a prophecy from a strange song/individual. 

To be honest, I struggled with this book. At best the plot almost seemed formulaic. The reader is sttill struggling with the same problems: Lena becoming a light/dark caster and Ethan getting strange prophecies in the form of as song. Once again, Ethan and Lena become dependent upon one another and the teenage angst of their relationship returns. What bothered me the most was the fact that my favorite character Liv was randomly put together with another character in a romantic situation. Just in the last book she was interested in another character. In my opinion she was better alone. To me she was a strong, intelligent, and independent character and placing her in a relationship took those attributes away in a sense because the relationship felt rushed. I didn't like seeing her as a dependent character. In some aspects I wanted a little more in terms of character development. 

What I did really enjoy in this book was the relationships between the adults and the teenagers. There was a level of trust and concern on everyone's end that made the book emotionally strong. I truly enjoy books that illustrate positive relationships between teenagers and their adult counterparts. And in these relationships the reader does encounter some heart-breaking moments, but I was able to see how they fit into the context of the novel. 

In terms of plot development, as stated earlier, I think it was a little on the recycled side; however, I did enjoy the inclusion of Ethan's memory loss. I think it did add a certain flare to the story. If this aspect of the plot was explored a little more I probably would have given the book a higher rating. I think the end of the book was supposed to provide a sort of twist, but I wasn't shocked and an ending that was supposed to be so powerful lost it's spark for me. In all, I really preferred the second book more than this installment as it seemed really jumbled and redundant. I would recommend continuing with the series after this just to see how the whole series wraps up. 

14 April 2016

The Secret of the Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey

Publication: April 19, 2016
# of Pages: 256
Source: ARC Copy from NetGalley **This does not affect my review in anyway. 

In the center of the verdant Monarchy lies Dreadwillow Carse, a black and desolate bog that the happy people of the land do their best to ignore. Little is known about it, except for one dire warning: If any monarch enters Dreadwillow Carse, then the Monarchy will fall. Twelve-year-old Princess Jeniah yearns to know what the marsh could possibly conceal that might topple her family’s thousand-year reign of peace and prosperity.

Meanwhile, in the nearby town of Emberfell, where everyone lives with unending joy, a girl named Aon hides a sorrow she can never reveal. She knows that something in the carse--something that sings a haunting tune only Aon can hear--holds the cure for her sadness. Yet no matter how many times she tries to enter, the terror-inducing dreadwillow trees keep her away.

After a chance meeting, Princess Jeniah and Aon hatch a plan to send Aon into the heart of the carse to unlock its darkest secret. But when Aon doesn’t return, a guilt-stricken Jeniah must enter the carse to try and rescue her friend--even if it means risking the entire Monarchy.

A bayou, Louisiana type atmosphere serves as the back drop of the The Secret of the Dreadwillow Carse. With a pleasant, happy, and care-free monarchy, an area is closed off to everyone including the Queen's daughter Jeniah. While Jeniah is curious about the desolate forbidden bog, a young peasant girl by the name of Aon questions why everyone in the monarchy is unable to feel an other emotion outside of happiness. 

What I enjoyed most about this was the underlying message related to being able to express one's emotions. A lot of times children either are taught not to express their emotions or they feel uncomfortable doing so. With the publication of this novel comes a vital catalyst for children of all ages to express how they feel about certain things and be comfortable in doing so. In addition to this aspect of the novel, I really enjoyed the character Skonas. He is supposed to serve as a tutor for Jeniah; however, he proves to be so much more. I loved the way he pushed her curiosity and provided her with the necessary tools she didn't know she needed. He's endearing and pushes her to be successful. I wish the reader was able too see more of him throughout the text. 

A few things I did not care for within the novel included a certain lack of exploration. Although the reader is presented with the issue of the monarchy living in complete bliss and joy, it seems that if the author would have explored this particular element just a little more it would have led to a more complex and dynamic story. In addition to this, the ending of the book seemed a bit rushed. The plot was building to this amazing climax and the resolution seemed to come too quickly. Nevertheless, this book ended on somewhat of a cliff hanger so I'm interested in seeing where the story will go if there is a sequel. 

If you are interested in middle grade fantasy with some supernatural elements and interesting twists and turns I would recommend giving this novel a try. 

13 April 2016

BookishRealmReviews Recommends: 19th/20th Century Classics

Okay everyone so this is the 2nd and the last week of classic recommendations. I've read more from these two centuries than the 17th and 18th so it definitely was hard to choose just three books for each. I hope you enjoy and as always be sure to leave your suggestions in the comment box below. 

Books Mentioned:

19th Century

  • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. "'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.' So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues."
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. "When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire."
  • The Awakening by Kate Chopin. "When first published in 1899, The Awakening shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin's daring portrayal of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage, who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the confines of her domestic situation. Aside from its unusually frank treatment of a then-controversial subject, the novel is widely admired today for its literary qualities. Edmund Wilson characterized it as a work "quite uninhibited and beautifully written, which anticipates D. H. Lawrence in its treatment of infidelity." Although the theme of marital infidelity no longer shocks, few novels have plumbed the psychology of a woman involved in an illicit relationship with the perception, artistry, and honesty that Kate Chopin brought to The Awakening."
20th Century 
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. "Young, handsome and fabulously rich, Jay Gatsby is the bright star of the Jazz Age, but as writer Nick Carraway is drawn into the decadent orbit of his Long Island mansion, where the party never seems to end, he finds himself faced by the mystery of Gatsby's origins and desires. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life, Gatsby is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon, this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald brilliantly captures both the disillusionment of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status. But he does more than render the essence of a particular time and place, for in chronicling Gatsby's tragic pursuit of his dream, Fitzgerald re-creates the universal conflict between illusion and reality."
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. "Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South ― and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, served as the basis of an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father ― a crusading local lawyer ― risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime."
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. "Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity. Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock."

12 April 2016

Top 10 Tuesday: Books That Should Be On Your List If You Love Manga/Comics

It's Tuesday!! So that means another Top 10 Tuesday hosted by the ladies over that The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is "Books That Should Be on Your List if You Love X." I've really been getting into manga and comics lately so I decided to go with that theme. Let's go ahead and get stated!

Happy Reading!!! 

Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma by Yuto Tsukuda. If you have ever been on my Youtube channel or on this blog then you know how much I love the manga Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma. It's such an amazing series and out of the 11 volumes I've read 10 and have loved each and every single one of them. If you love cooking or if you're a foodie I definitely recommend this series.

Goodreads Blurb/Summary:

Soma Yukihira's old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town.  Aiming to one day surpass his father's culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school!  Can Soma really cut it in a school that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And cacn he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

Nana by Ai Yazawa. I actually started this series by finding the anime and then once I found out it was a manga I definitely had to check it out. I love that its a coming of age story and heavily focuses on the benefits of female friendship. This story contains a little bit of everything and you'll find it humorous that both of the main characters are named Nana. I have only read 3 out of the 21 volumes and unfortunately it is currently on hiatus meaning the creator of the series is not writing anymore volumes. 

Goodreads Blurb/Summary: 

Nana Komatsu is a young woman who's endured an unending string of boyfriend problems. Moving to Tokyo, she's hoping to take control of her life and put all those messy misadventures behind her. She's looking for love and she's hoping to find it in the big city. Nana Osaki, on the other hand, is cool, confident and focused. She swaggers into town and proceeds to kick down the doors to Tokyo's underground punk scene. She's got a dream and won't give up until she becomes Japan's No. 1 rock'n'roll superstar. This is the story of two 20-year-old women who share the same name. Even though they come from completely different backgrounds, they somehow meet and become best friends. The world of Nana is a world exploding with sex, music, fashion, gossip and all-night parties.

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya. So I always saw this series in my second hand bookstore, but I never picked it up. I'm so glad that I finally did. It is cute, fast-paced, and contains some really interesting elements. There are 23 volumes that complete the series. It is currently out of print; however, it is being re-released this summer in 2 volume bind ups! :) 

Goodreads Blurb/Summary: 

A family with an ancient curse...

And the girl who will change their lives forever...

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she's introduced to the Sohma's world of magical curses and family secrets.

Fables by Bill Willingham. So just like Food Wars, this is another series that I find myself talking about quite a bit. If you love anything that deals with fairy-tale re-tellings then I would definitely recommend checking out this series. It's 22 volumes long (it also has a handful of spin-off series) and features some of the most well known fairy-tale characters like Snow White, The Big Bad Wolf, Prince Charming, Rose Red, and Little Boy Blue. It is one of my favorite comics to date. 

Goodreads Blurb/Summary: 
When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown's sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

Chew by John Layman & Rob Guillory. Out of all the comics and manga on this list, I would have to say that Chew is the most disturbing, but also one of the most interesting. It contains some unique concepts that I believe all readers can enjoy. I have read 4 out of the currently published 10 volumes. I believe the 11th volume is supposed to be published sometime this year. 

Goodreads Blurb/Summary:
Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases.

Zodiac Starforce by Kevin Panetta. This is a lesser known comic series that I discovered randomly last year. If you enjoy comics that focus on girl power than this definitely is a series that you should check out. The artwork is completely vibrant and beautiful. I've read the single issues, but the complete first volume was published last month. This is definitely a great read for individuals who love Sailor Moon. 

Goodreads Blurb/Summary:

They're an elite group of teenage girls with magical powers who have sworn to protect our planet against dark creatures . . . as long as they can get out of class! Known as the Zodiac Starforce, these high-school girls aren't just combating math tests. They're also battling monsters--not your typical afterschool activity! But when an evil force from another dimension infects team leader Emma, she must work with her team of magically powered friends to save herself--and the world--from the evil Diana and her mean-girl minions!

Locke & Key by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez. If you need a comic series that is dark and twisted then this series is perfect for you. Full of gore and violence, Locke and Key incorporates the horror genre with some fantastical elements. There are 6 volumes of this series. I have read 5 out of the 6 and have definitely enjoyed each and every one of them. 

Goodreads Blurb/Summary:
Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all...

The Unwritten by Mike Carey & Peter Gross. I just recently discovered this series this year through the recommendation of comic book store owner that I know. If you love things that have a twist on Harry Potter I would recommend series. It's not a direct rendition of the series, but it definitely has some similarities. I'm currently reading the 2nd volume of the 11 volume series and it is enjoyable. 

Goodreads Blurb/Summary: 
Tom Taylor's life was screwed from go. His father created the Tommy Taylor fantasy series, boy-wizard novels with popularity on par with Harry Potter. The problem is Dad modeled the fictional epic so closely to Tom's real life that fans are constantly comparing him to his counterpart, turning him into the lamest variety of Z-level celebrity. In the final novel, it's even implied that the fictional Tommy will crossover into the real world, giving delusional fans more excuses to harass Tom. 

When an enormous scandal reveals that Tom might really be a boy-wizard made flesh, Tom comes into contact with a very mysterious, very deadly group that's secretly kept tabs on him all his life. Now, to protect his own life and discover the truth behind his origins, Tom will travel the world, eventually finding himself at locations all featured on a very special map -- one kept by the deadly group that charts places throughout world history where fictions have impacted and tangibly shaped reality, those stories ranging from famous literary works to folktales to pop culture. And in the process of figuring out what it all means, Tom will find himself having to figure out a huge conspiracy mystery that spans the entirety of the history of fiction.

Morning Glories by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma. This is another random discovery I made last year and I absolutely fell in love with the artwork. If you are the type that loves the boarding school element with mystery I would definitely recommend this series. I have read 2 out of the 9 published volumes and hope to continue with the series soon. 

Goodreads Blurb/Summary 
Morning Glory Academy

One of the most prestigious prep schools in the country...But behind it's hallowed doors something sinister and deadly lurks. When six brilliant but troubled new students arrive, they find themselves trapped and desperately seeking answers...and escape from a place where nothing is what it seems to be!

Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn. If you ever wondered what the world would be like without a single man? I have and Brian K. Vaughn does a wonderful job creating that scenario in this comic series. It has adventure, humor, and suspense. So far I've read 2 out of the 10 volume series and have enjoyed each one of them. 

Goodreads Blurb/Summary

"Y" is none other than unemployed escape artist Yorick Brown (his father was a Shakespeare buff), and he's seemingly the only male human left alive after a mysterious plague kills all Y-chromosome carriers on earth. But why are he and his faithful companion, the often testy male monkey Ampersand, still alive? He sets out to find the answer (and his girlfriend), while running from angry female Republicans (now running the government), Amazon wannabes that include his own sister (seemingly brainwashed), and other threats.

I hope you guys enjoyed! If there are any comic/manga series that you would like to recommend make sure you leave them in the comment section below! :)