Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Manga

REVIEW: Baccano! Vol. 1 by Ryohgo Narita

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*No Major Spoilers*

New York, 1927.

In a corrupt city where crime rules the streets, Firo Prochainezo is Camorra, an Italian criminal syndicate distinct from the mafia. A member of the relatively small Martillo family, Firo nevertheless got big ambitions and is determined to make his mark. But while the Martillos may not be the biggest bad guys on the block, they’ve got some distinct advantages working in their favor. Does Firo have what it takes to become a made man?

Let the crazy ruckus begin!

I was really excited about this manga when I saw this at my library. I enjoy 1920’s era stories as well as Mafia/the Mob stories. Sadly, this one disappointed me.

The characters were generic, I had a difficult time telling them apart. Generic mobsters all fighting for control. For example Similar hairstyles and hair colors between each one it was a bit of a headache trying to distinguish them apart

The storyline only got interesting when I was more than half-way into it. At that point I had lost my enthusiasm for the rest of the story. I did finish the story though. When I finished it things started finally making sense, but up until that point, it was like going to a family reunion and seeing most of the people you’ve never met.  Kind of like when Aunt May comes up to you and squeezes your cheeks and says “OH I REMEMBER YOU WHEN YOU WERE JUST A BABY!!” And you’re standing there like “Mom, why is this strange woman pinching my cheeks?”

I did like when the plot fully came together and started to make more sense. I would be willing to read the next book in the series to give it a second chance.

I would recommend this to people who are more into 1920’s era New York and a bit of the Noir theme.

Buy it here on Amazon!

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

ARC REVIEW: Isabella’s Painting by Ellen Butler

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*Spoilers*

*Thanks to Power to the Pen for giving me the chance to read this novel early*

This novel follows Karina Cardinal as she’s living as a lobbyist in D.C. and dating one of the most desired bachelors, Patrick Dunne. The Dunne family is one of the most famous and wealthiest families in D.C. Martin Dunne working for a contracting company and Patrick following in his father’s footsteps.

Karina accidentally discovers a stolen painting in Martin’s study during a family Christmas party. Curiosity gets to Karina as she starts to research the hidden painting and realizes Martin is dealing with a mafia-tied mystery.

Desperate to help those she cares about, she returns the painting to the rightful owners. However, she ends up being hunted for revenge. Will she survive long enough to solve the mystery and help the ones she loves?

I was enjoying this book for the first few chapters. Stolen painting, classic art, mafia ties, how could you get more suspense? Then when Karina goes to Colorado for a family emergency and her boyfriend, Patrick, shows up soon afterward. As soon as they revealed this, I knew where it was going. Patrick ends up proposing, you know the rest.

The book started dragging with the romance drama. I wanted to get back to the mystery! I don’t want this relationship drama in my mystery books! (Stephanie Plum is the only exception to this rule) About 3/4s of the way through the book the mystery picked back up and I was binging this book as much as I could!

Overall, I thought this book was alright. Interesting premise. I’m all for women sleuths or women detectives, but the deep-seeded romance took what could have been an awesome story into a melodrama.

I didn’t particularly like any of the characters. Karina is not very interesting, she felt dull and not very strong. Patrick is a jerk and so is Martin. If you’re looking for deep characters you won’t find them here.

I would recommend this if you want a cheesy romance with some light mystery. It’s alright if you like this kind of thing. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Order it on Amazon