Caturday Reads: Fluffy Romance Manga & Sci-Fi Horror

Happy rainy Saturday, chums! I hope that your week has been kind to you thus far, devastating and painful worldwide events notwithstanding (it’s not that I don’t care, it’s that my heart and head are so full of mourning and sadness that I can’t focus on it anymore for the moment). My week was a bit hectic and chaotic, but it ended on a high note so I shall take it as a victory and spend the day celebrating with my Ammi and Abbu (mum and pop).

After eating some cake and drinking some chai with the parentals, I shall head back home and spend the rest of my weekend working from said home. I have a whole plethora of blog posts I’d like to get up and running now that I’ve officially run out of pre-scheduled content. Additionally, I’d like to finish some books before March wraps up in the upcoming week and a half. Lastly, I finally started Little Nightmares II (horror video game that is one of my most-anticipated for the year), and holy shit, y’all. It’s fucking brilliant. I look forward to doing a review for it once I’m finished with it. You won’t want to miss that, so keep an ear…err, an eye out for it.

Reading-wise, I’m going to focus on fluffy romance manga because it has been a salve for my stressed out body, mind, and spirit. One of them I know for sure that I shall invest in acquiring the physical volumes in the near future because it’s legitimately one of my top ten favourite romance serials ever. Thanks to Lita (again) for suggesting this gem to me. The rest are mostly sci-fi horror novels with one fantasy novel that I’ve been working on since mid-February. It’s not bad by any means. My timing with it has merely been completely off its track. However! I’m not ready to give up on it quite yet.

Anyhoo, check out all of these titles down below. GoodReads pages shall be linked via the titles for the novels. For the manga, the titles shall take you to their respective AniList pages, if you’re into that kind of gig.

Snow White with the Red Hair Volumes 3 & 4 by Sorata Akiduki (赤髪の白雪姫): A shōjo, fantasy romance story about a pharmacist who runs away from her native country when the prince takes a liking to her due to her super rare red hair and tries to force her to become his concubine. On her journey she bumps into a dashingly handsome young man named Zen, and his two chums, who show her the possibilities of joy outside of her native land, where she can find her perfect place in the world.

I watched the anime first and basically binged the whole two seasons in the span of a week (which is pretty uncommon for me as I take my sweet arse time with watching anime). When it left with the worse kind of fluffy hangover, I finally decided to turn to the manga. I like to take my time with the manga as well, mostly because this allows me to read a bunch of things without aggravating my ADHD. However, with Snow White with the Red Hair, I’ve discovered that I’ve been so hungry for this series since my anime-watching  shenanigans that I’m compelled to go through each volume rather swiftly. I’m currently halfway through the third volume and I began this series at the beginning of the week. Suffice to say, I highly recommend this for fans of sweet shōjo romance that breaks that traditional mould a bit.

Love in Focus Volumes 1 & 2 by Yōko Nogiri (蓮住荘のさんかく): This shōjo, drama romance story follows a young teen named Mako who’s got a passion for photography. When a tragedy breaks her heart, she uses her passion as a means to distract her from the complexities of the emotions that follow. When her childhood chum, Kei, invites her to attend his high school where they have a rather prestigious photography club, she accepts willingly. Upon arriving, she meets a new muse and mentor, who shall help her finally heal.

I saw this manga series at a local bookstore one day while they were having a Buy One Get One sale. After reading the premise, I felt that the series had great potential to turn into something very cute. Plus, the cover and artwork within the pages looked very aesthetically appealing, so I snagged the first two instalments. I’m looking forward to starting it over the weekend as I feel like it’ll be a fast read as well. If I do manage to complete the first volume at the very least, then I’ll drop a First Impressions post on Monday.  

Hana Kimi Omnibus Volume 1 by Hisaya Nakajō (花ざかりの君たちへ): A sports, reverse harem shōjo series that follows Mizuki Ashiya, a star track and field athlete that follows her biggest athletic idol, Izumi Sano, to his high school. But since it’s an all-boys high school, she chops off her hair and wheedles her lady parts into hiding so she can pass herself off as a member of the opposite sex! Upon arriving and getting closer to Sano, Ashiya realises that he’s got some deep-rooted personal shite that’s making him question his future as an athlete. Determined to help him conquer those obstacles, she deepens their blooming bond and begins to tackle the issues that hold him back as they start to surface.

I’ve owned this series for such a long time, it’s not even funny. Since I’m in the mood for fluffy feel-good romance shenanigans, I figured it’s probably time to get off my arse and read this in its entirety… Plus, I’ve heard awesome things about it to boot.

Spine of the Dragon by Kevin J. Anderson: This sword-and-sorcery, epic fantasy adventure is about two warring continents that are divided via bloodshed, past and present. When an outside threat arises—the reawakening of an ancient race that seeks to rule the world—the two warring nations must find a way set aside their generational hate and squabble in order to form an alliance to fight the one true enemy.

So, I started this book way back in the middle of February, but life got a bit hectic for me with regards to my health and my mum’s health, which then triggered a terrible reading rut. I ended up putting the book on pause (I was only about thirty pages into it). Then there was a hold on it and thus I had to return it back to the library. Recently, I just went ahead and purchased Spine of the Dragon and its sequel, Vengewar, so I can finally return to it! The reason I didn’t DNF it is because it has a really compelling premise that speaks of tons of political intrigue, which is something I’m weak as a string bean for. Hopefully, I can finish it before the month ends.

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant: A prequel novella to Grant’s sci-fi deep-sea horror novel, Into the Drowning Deep, this follows the Atargartis expedition and reveals to the reader the truth of what happened on this voyage that ends up spawning the sister voyage that takes place in the successor title.

Into the Drowning Deep and I have a complicated relationship. My first time reading it, I ended up dropping it due to frustrations with the writing style. Even so, I was always curious about the mermaids and the finale of the book, so I finally decided to read it a second time (about two to three years later) with the intention of finishing it (it was extremely difficult for me, to be frank). Now that I’m done with it, finally, I was left with a frustratingly disappointing hangover, so I’m hoping this prequel novella shall help alleviate some of that irritation. The novella did release before the full-length novel, for curious folx.

Parasite by Mira Grant: A sci-fi horror novel that’s the first in a trilogy, it revolves around the scientific advancement of a small parasite—a tapeworm to be precise—that was genetically engineered by SymboGen Corporation to provide good health to humans. When implanted, it can protect humans from an array of illnesses and also works to boost the immune system. Its success has surpassed every scientist’s wildest expectations. However, years after implantation, the tapeworms are getting restless and eager to have their own lives and bodies, no matter what it takes to get them.

A genetically altered tapeworm going sentient while inside of its host sounds really fucking brilliant. My only real issue with it is the author. I tend to vehemently dislike the writing style of a lot of her works (The Wayward Children series is the only exception it seems). However, when my cousin suggested that I give this series a try, for the premise at the very least, I felt compelled to take him up on the suggestion. I’m going to keep my fingers and toes and braids tightly crossed for this to not disappoint me because… well, it’s exhausting seeing such fantastic narrative ideas go to waste with poor, unnecessarily convoluted writing that really just needs a tighter grasp on editing.

That does it for my miniature leaning tower of reading plans for this weekend and the upcoming week ahead. At the very least, I know that I’ll blow through the manga because that’s the most appetising to me right now, and it also doesn’t anger the beastly ADHD as much as regular novels seem to. Still, I’m going to hope and wish and try my damndest to get my novel reading groove back because I really miss the bastard.

With that, I wish y’all a lovely and gentle weekend ahead. Sending much love and support to my fellow Asian-American friends out there and know that I stand with you in solidarity and am doing everything in my power to help where I’m able to. ♥ In the meantime, here is Kiki being a cute little bean bag.

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6 thoughts on “Caturday Reads: Fluffy Romance Manga & Sci-Fi Horror

  1. I hadn’t heard of Love in Focus before, but with photography included and that shorter page count… count me as sold on the premise!

  2. Kiki is very fucking adorable. 🙂 I liked the concept of Parasite a lot, but I definitely feel it needed more editing and polishing, same with Into the Drowning Deep. Still, I’d love to see your musings on it.

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