Category Archives: Romance

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 13th 2015
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 328 pages

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Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

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I have little knowledge about fairie folklore and such but I do really like fairytales. Don’t know why I haven’t read that many but I’ll try to read some from now on. This was my first Holly Black book and it was an okay read for me not that it blown me away or whatsoever. But I found myself having a hard time putting this book down.

It was the relationship between Hazel and Ben that drawn me in. Through the characters we see the real brother-and-sister relationship.

Remember the old days where you used to be inseparable with your sister or brother? Spending the whole day just playing whatever stuff that comes in to your mind and sometimes dreaming of becoming a prince or princess someday. But things have changed when you both grew up. And you miss it when the memories came rushing back. Well, Hazel misses it too. When she and her brother used to hunt monsters together and dreaming of saving a faerie prince and their town Fairfold. Then the day Ben insisted to stop hunting and the day they both started keeping secrets to themselves.

And if you think about it you’ll realize it’s realistic enough to be believable that it somehow hurts. Unlike with some books out there that offer the same perspective that siblings are naturally born enemies, it’s great to see a different angle of that kind of relationship like what Ben and Hazel do have.

“I know you, Benjamin Evans,” Severin said. “Remember?”

He kept forgetting that Severin knew him, knew more about him than any person in the world.

It was in fact the reason why I considered reading this. It is not many books with lgbt characters written by non-lgbt-themed authors. So whenever they do I never hesitate checking them out.

The Ben-Severin thing is actually cute and I loved their shared moments together but their relationship alone wasn’t well-executed.

Obviously, there are two main characters in the story, Hazel and Ben. But it felt like Hazel is the only important character and Ben is rather a secondary one, her shadow, a background tree in a stage play. Poor Benjamin. I mean, there are barely scenes of him, I counted two or three chapters only. And most of them are told in a distant perspective. I never get to know who Ben really is. Let alone, Severin.

The spotlights are all to Hazel. She gets all the adventure, the thrill, the fun, the cool stuff. It bored the story, actually. And I was like, one more Hazel’s pov and I’m gonna put this down.

So when Ben and Severin started showing up again and whatever those things they do look foreign to us. Especially that surprising moment when Severin confessed his true feelings for Ben. Okay, I’ll be honest enough that it actually made my day. *Blush*

But it more felt like this:
O-okay? That’s cool bro. Not against it, really. But how come?

Yeah. That’s it. How come.

We need to see how it happened. You need to show us the development. How Severin came to that conclusion.

But all in all, it’s a good book. There’s a HEA. Interesting characters and plot. A beautiful setting. And a handsome faerie prince who loves a guy named, Benjamin.

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Review: Every Day by David Levithan

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Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Reader
Publication Date: August 28th 2012
Series or Standalone: Every Day #1
Format: Paperback, 322 pages

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Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

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“I am a monster for doing this to him. But I have my reason.”

Yeah. You and you’re self-centered reason. Get lost, A.

Okay. I don’t think I can come up with a proper review for this book but it’s gonna be more of a rant. So bear with me.

I was quite skeptical reading this book actually. Sure, Levithan’s probably has the most popular lgbt books out there, pairing up with different great authors and all. It’s just that his works never appealed to me that I didn’t bother checking them out at all. Just reading this book’s blurb it screams: Don’t read me!!!!

Nay, I’ll read you. My mistake, I know.

The idea of A waking up in different bodies everyday and all is promising and really interesting because it’s not everyday you see books like this in any contemporary. I’m no expert but I think, it felt like Levithan had this great concept of his but wasn’t able to do justice about it. It’s like your mother gave you this beautiful dress for the prom that could get the spotlights all to you but you’re silly enough to pair it with a clown-like make-up.

And I’ve never felt this so annoyed before that I had to put my phone down and calmed myself before I could slam it on the wall. A and Rhiannon are both so freaking annoying characters. That they had just pissed me off from start to finish. And I really don’t care about them that they gained no sympathy over me.

Why would I sympathize A for messing up most the lives of people he inhabited by forcing them to do things they never usually do and sometimes endangering them just for him to see Rhiannon? Yeah that girl. That girl who acts like the victim of the story because Justin doesn’t treat her well and blah, blah, blah. But she’s the one who eventually ends up cheating him (more of this later).

I’m going to prove it to you,” I tell her. “I’m going to show you what it really means.”

“What?”

“Love.”

Bite me.

Making Justin to look so bad and convincing Rhiannon that she deserves someone better, someone like him. *vomit*

You’re disgusting, A. You’re so freaking desperate to make Justin and Rhiannon split up so you could have her. You’re so full of crap, full of love’s methapor but you can’t even handle your love for her right.

Want to see more?

A inside Kelsea’s body who’s in the verge of suicide.

I love you Rhiannon…

A inside Dana’s body who is seriously in trouble and in need to talk with her parents.

I need to get out of here… Rhiannon needs me… Rhiannon… Rhiannon…

Freaking Rhiannon.

Can’t A just stop thinking Rhiannon even just for a day? And pay some respect to the people he inhabited?

Rhiannon who doesn’t mind she has a boyfriend at all. A kisses her and she kisses him back. A flirts her and she flirts back. They go on in a date. And almost had a sex with A using someone’s innocent body.

“It feels wrong.”

She looks hurt by this answer.

“Let me worry about Justin,” she says. “This is you and me. It’s different.”

I have more than 70 reviews now and had never ever swore in any of them. But you Rhiannon. You deserve my very first.

You’re a f*cking slut. If I ever happen to see Rhiannon walking down along the street, I won’t hesitate punching her right on her freaking face.

But I won’t end this without expressing my gratitude. I really appreciated it that David Levithan included lgbt in this book and I know it did something big to the story itself. Your thoughts about it were heartfelt and honestly, it made me want to give this 2 stars but everytime your characters come to mind, it falls down back to 1.

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Review: Lending Light by Rose Christo

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Title: Lending Light
Author: Rose Christo
Publisher: Amazon
Publication Date: August 2012
Series or Standalone: Gives Light #5
Format: Ebook, 306 pages

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“Sometimes my imagination bleeds into reality.”

Eleven years ago a serial killer menaced the Nettlebush Indian Reservation. Rafael Gives Light is his son. A loner, Rafael relies on his startlingly overactive imagination to escape the distrust and vitriol of his peers.

In the summer of 2000 an exceptionally blond boy moves to Nettlebush. Rafael learns that the boy is his father’s last living victim. The boy wants to be friends.

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I had the idea that maybe kissing Sky was my natural, default state, and the reason I’d been such a disagreeable person all my life was because I hadn’t been kissing him all my life.

This review almost goes the same with book one. Because this story is in fact based on the first book and the only difference is that Rafael narrated this. Oh, how I loved that guy. It’s very heartwarming to see Sky through Rafael’s eye. How Sky changed Rafael’s life and how Rafael tried to be that person.

So let me just tell you why I freaking loved this series. Let’s start with the characters. Probably this series has one of the best set of characters in young adult contemporary. Everyone has depth. Everyone is remarkable. Every single main or secondary ones tugs your heart. Rose Christo doesn’t need to make her characters to be too perfect to gain a strong connection with them. You’ll love them just the way they are.

And for the romance, it just so happened that we’re introduced to a society where a boy who likes a boy is not a crime by law, a disease, a sin, or whatever ridiculous name they call it. So this is not me-and-you-against-the-world or i-love-you-you-love-me-but stuff. This is a fresh take for us to the mm genre where no one give a damn who you love.

“I have a boyfriend,” I said

Meredith smiled warmly at me. “That’s wonderful! What’s his name?”

“Not telling” I said

“You made him up,” Holly accused

“Bite me,” I said again

Why so adorable, Rafael?

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Review: Light Beneath Ferns by Anne Spollen

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Title: Light Beneath Ferns
Author: Anne Spollen
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: February 8th 2010
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 206 pages

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Elizah Rayne is nothing like other 14-year-old girls. More interested in bird bones than people, she wraps herself in silence. When Elizah and her mother move into an old house that borders a cemetery, Elizah finds a human jawbone by the river and meets Nathaniel, a hypnotic and mysterious boy who draws her into his world.

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This is my first ghost story and I had zero expectation with it, at all. But it’s funny to think how me and the main character, Eliza, clicked that instant. I mean, she is totally a relatable character. I can see myself through her eyes. Like she’s my girl version, in some way.

Everyone thinks Eliza is, I hate to put it this way, not “normal” just because she doesn’t act stuff like what usually “normal” people do. She hates the company of others that she prefers to be alone and not talking to them at all and has this not so weird fascination with bones. Not that I’m a loner or have no friends but all her monologues and her being herself, and all the stuff she’s trying to point out. The way she describes both her father and Nathaniel without trying to be too deep. They all made sense to me.

Reading the blurb, it’s pretty obvious what and who Nathaniel is in Eliza’s life. We know that the love interest would be with a ghost but it didn’t distract me from liking them together. It worked out, I think. And all the secondary characters has depth in themm and well played but I felt sorry for Kyle, though.

The only part which I didn’t come to like is when the story started with this long conversations that it felt like I’m reading a script in a play. But it didn’t entirely affect my reading experience because the banter between Eliza and her mother throughout the story became more ejoyable. Though the conclusion is satisfying and not a cliffhanger it still left me wanting to see more. As in MORE NATHANIEL.

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Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles

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Title: Fury
Author: Elizabeth Miles
Publisher: Simon Pluse
Publication Date: August 30th 2011
Series or Standalone: Fury #1
Format: Paperback, 370 pages

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Sometimes sorry isn’t enough….

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems… Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better—the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel…something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay. Em and Chase have been chosen.

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This book has been sitting pretty on my sister’s shelf for who knows how long. Maybe a year. The cover is gorgeous, yes. And probably the reason why she bought this but eventually ended up not liking it. She hated it. And I didn’t have any plan on reading it too. But look at the cover, it really is beautiful and it’s seducing me. So when curiousity striked I picked this up on a whim and hoped I made the right choice.

Did I like the book? NO. I should have followed my sister. Fury  is a cover fraud. Don’t trust it, it’s a trap.

For the first 50% or so, I had no idea what was really going on. Or what the whole thing was all about. I was entirely clueless. And found out that this is about three shallow and stupid Furies who came/lived in Ascension to punish bad teenagers. Seriously, why them? What about the murderers? rapists? corrupt politicians? drug dealers? thieves? Ever think about them? Argh.

And the characters. Jeez, they’re boring and too predictable that I might have just put this down.

Emily or Em for short, this girl has never failed to annoy me. She’s too busy focusing all her attention to her bestfriend’s boyfriend, Zach, on how to get a chance on him, not to notice JD’s feeling for her. Which is so freaking obvious because the moment JD appeared in the very first chapter, it’s clear to the readers that this guy has something for Em.

It’s only then she realized that she loves JD and he loves her back when everything turned up against her. Freak.

And Chase. Okay, this is a spoiler so close your eyes and proceed to the next part. The only likeable character in the story and yet he is killed. Booo!! *throw tomatoes* I’d rather see both Em and JD covered in cement. Or that Gabby die in a plane crash. Anyone but Chase!

The plot is very predictable that it loses your reading interest. And the characters are tiresome.

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Review: Kian’s Hunter by R.J. Scott

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Title: Kian’s Hunter
Author: R.J. Scott
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Publication Date: March 19th 2014
Series or Standalone: Fire #1
Format: eBook, 2nd edition, 102 pages

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Please note, this book was originally a short story written in 2010. This version is inspired by that short story and is a complete re-write.

Kian has crossed over from his world to ours to seek revenge. His plan is to kill the monster who murdered his Uncle. The same monster who used magic to escape to our world and is hiding here and growing in strength.

Regan Campbell is a hunter of Demons. The first son, of a first son, he is the one who protects this world from the monsters that no one else knows are here. When Kian reaches this world, he knows Regan is the perfect man to fight alongside him, but Regan trusts no one. It isn’t until they are facing death and a terrible evil that will be let loose, that Regan finally realises he can trust another…his fated partner, Kian.

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This is a good story to start off the Fire Trilogy. The world bulding is pretty good and interesting with a parallel world concept, Fire magik, and demons. However, the two main characters, Kian and Regan, didn’t sit well with me. They are likeable MC’s but everytime Regan and Kian do something, they seem so distant to me that they are actually in there but I barely feel them. Eventhough the story is always about them still there’s no attachment made. And also, the story lacks chemistry. I did not see the spark when they become lovers, and their relationship looks forced.

The fighting scene against the Danio, which is supposed to be the strongest demon, is not handled well. They finished it off like a piece of cake. Though, I loved the magik fire idea, the demon hunting, and the bond thing. Those are interesting.

I think I’ll continue with the series. But I’m looking forward to the next installment that the MCs would be able to explore their world. Not just by Kian narrating it. Because there are some parts left vague in the plot and I want those to be cleared. And also I’m curious about who Darach really is.

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Review: First Kiss by J. Tomas

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Title: First Kiss
Author: J. Tomas
Publisher: JMS Books
Publication Date: August 29th 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: eBook, 11 pages
Source: Free Read via Smashwords

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Download it HERE!

Noah Lipinski has a fierce crush on Doug Hathaway, a hot jock on the high school football team whose locker is fifteen down from Noah’s in the hall. When Melissa Bradshaw, only the most popular girl in school, suddenly shows an interest in Noah, he suspects he’s being set up for a cruel joke. She asks him to Homecoming and he refuses to go.

After school, the doorbell rings and Noah’s sure she’s back to pester him about the dance. But when he opens the door, he finds Doug there instead, with an explanation and a much better offer than Melissa’s.

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I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Everyone seems to enjoy this but me. I may not in the right mood when I read it but this is not really as impressive as to my first J. Tomas read which is the My Online Secret Admirer. I came across this on Smashwords as a free read, downloaded it and finished it in just a few minutes because the story is short with only 10 pages. Rating a short story is hard but I think the reason why I’m giving this a low rating, is not because of its shortness. It is never will be an issue, I have read plenty of short stories online and also way back in high school for our both English and Filipino subject, and they’re all good.

Looking back, the problem here is,  I didn’t see any link to connect me to the characters or even to the plot. And had this poker face throughout finishing the story. I didn’t smile or whatever that emotion I am supposed to feel. And  the storyline is quite shallow, just two good boys in the closet who both shared their first kiss. *sigh* I need a chocolate right now.

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Review: This Charming Man by Ajax Bell

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Title: This Charming Man
Author: Ajax Bell
Publisher: Jugum Press
Publication Date: November 1st 2014
Series or Standalone: A Queen City Boys #1
Format: Paperback, 358 pages
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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WILL SEATTLE MAKE A MAN OF HIM YET?

It’s 1991 and Steven Frazier has danced away half a decade in the Seattle club scene with his beautiful-but-poisonous best friend, Adrian. Two glittering princes against the world, too high above life to care about what they might be missing. But everything changes when a chance meeting with older—not to mention handsome— businessman John Pieters, reveals a cosmopolitan world and possible futures Steven’s never considered.

Flashy club clothes won’t impress John, this charming man who knows so much about many things. Motivated by fantasies inspired by his crush on John, can Steven finally fight Adrian’s sick hold? As he steps out into the larger world, supported by new friends, Steven must prove to John—and to himself—that he’s not a hedonistic rhinestone club kid, but a true diamond in the rough.

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I just can’t. Honestly, I already wanted to put this down at 15% and go on with another book. But since I requested this title on netgalley and the publisher approved it. I don’t wanna be rude by not finishing it and I can’t just review it as it is. Because I never rate and review DNFed books.

“Do you believe in love at first sight?”

“Why? Did you fall in love with John when you first saw him? Or did you wait until you heard him speak French?”

“What? No. Ridiculous. I’m wondering if he fell in love with me. At first sight.”

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Our hero, Steven Frazier is a 25-year-old college student who acts like a 9-year-old girl whenever his crush is around. His infatuation over John throughout the book is seriously killing me. This may seem harsh but it made me want to punch him right in his face just to make him stop. I can’t stand seeing this adult character does teenage stuff. Fantasizing John all day and night long and having this freaking huge crush problem which is I’m-just-me-and-he’s-perfect thing. Please, stop doing that. It’s not helping.

The slow burn romance is poorly handled. It is very unrealistic with the characters; John who is 44 and obviously old enough not to make the flirting and teasing long and of course, Steven who loves to hook up even with his friends. That it takes 259 pages, that’s 81%, for them to confess their feelings and share their first kisses. Urgh.

Everything is almost voice out, with them always talking that no one will seem to care about. Especially if there’s no development to the conversation. And the other characters giving Steven the same advice all over again. That’s tiresome, actually.

Lastly, it bothers me that being high or hooking up with your friends in the story delivered in a manner that it is okay and acceptable. I’m badly waiting for their realization that the things they did in the past were mistakes. But the story ends with them just laughing it off. What? No, I can’t accept that.

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Review: Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin

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Title: Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice
Author: Jane Austin; Stacy King; Po Tse (Illustrator)
Publisher: UDON Entertainment & Morpheus Publishing
Publication Date: August 19th 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 377 pages
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Beloved by millions the world over, Pride & Prejudice is delightfully transformed in this bold, new manga adaptation. All of the joy, heartache, and romance of Jane Austen’s original, perfectly illuminated by the sumptuous art of manga-ka Po Tse, and faithfully adapted by Stacy E. King.

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Classic is not really my cup of tea. I always avoid it, in fact. I remember my first classic way back in high school. I had to read it for school, of course. It was a good read but not an enjoyable one. But having able to experience classic in another clever way is fantastic. I got to see their manga adaptation of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne first, which is really incredible with that stunning artwork.

This is also a great adaptation but the repetition of the words “Pride” and “Prejudice” throughout the story ruins the dialogues especially in the ending. The artwork Po Tse provided in this manga is totally gorgeous. I liked how he portrayed each characters and how he turned them into cute chibi version especially Mrs. Bennet character. It made the reading more enjoyable and humorous. But the roses that sometimes surround the character quite bother me. I mean, girls will surely appreciate and love that but a typical guy, I think it’s a no.

Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable and fantastic read.

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Review: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Title: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne; Stacy King; Crystal Chan; SunNeko Lee (Illustrator)
Publisher: UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing
Publication Date: March 10th 2015
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 308 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s
tragic saga of Puritan America.

Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions.

Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

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This classic to manga adaptation is incredible. It is a brilliant way of making classic literature more appealing to the younger generation who’s not really that fond of reading classics and hesitant readers alike, like me, who usually avoid it.

I haven’t read the original novel so I can’t do comparison between the two. But I’ll just look into how effective this manga is. First off, SunNeko Lee’s artwork is with no doubt very stunning and captivating. She made the characters and the backgrounds alive and vivid that will keep you engage with the story. And finish it in one sitting down. Also, Stacy King used the modern text in the dialogues instead of the original one. Which is very okay to those people who struggle with vocabulary. Well this is really an enjoyable read. Highly recommended!

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