Saturday, October 30, 2010

Manga Review- Cat Street

Cat Street is a shoujo manga by Yoko Kamio, the creator of Hana Yori Dango. It was adapted into a television drama. It spans eight volumes.

The protagonist of the story, Keito Aoyama is a famous child actress who becomes a social recluse after her acting career is ruined after her fifteen minute silence in a stage musical. She drops out of elementary school and stays at home until seventeen. One day, on her way from the convenience store, she meets the principal of El Liston, a free school in the neighbourhood. The school is attended by children who have withdrawn from society. After sone convincing from Rei, another high schooler, she decided to attend El Liston. There, she reinvents herself, makes new and unforgettable friends and goes on a path to becoming a successful actress.

Cat Street was a classic shoujo manga. In the first four volumes or so, Keito doesn't fall in love. It is all about her new life at the school and her past experiences. In the second half, she falls in love twice.

The illustrations were a step up from HYD. The story was good but too short. The romance between Keito and Kouchi appeared a little rushed up and fake. HYD dragged on for 36 volumes and had a full fledged, believable and true love. Throughout Cat Street, Keito's main focus is on friendship and acting and any little love appears semi serious or fake. The storyline was strong but the story was too short a time to spread it to its full potential. The characters were not very realistic but were tolerable. Keito is more realistic than Makino but not as strong. The ending was much better than HYD.

Cat Street focused more on friendship and career and less on love. It was actually good because the romance was pathetic. I expected better things from Yoko Kamio who did a wonderful job in HYD. The series was short to show its full potential. Yoko Kamio has created many mangas after HYD but nothing comes close to it. Cat Street is at least a better than average shoujo. The others were intolerable. The cover design was good. All the eight covers were professional and classy with unique effects.

Overall, Cat Street was an above average shoujo that ambitious girls would consider reading. It is okay for light entertainment (better than the Kodochas and Bokura ga Itas of the world) but serious fans should look elsewhere. Please don't expect any romance from this manga. Something to read when you have lots of free time and no good manga around to read.

Story- 4/5
Art- 4.1/5
Overall- 3.5/5




Lacks proper romance

J-pop album- The Best of My Life by Changin' my Life

Changin' my Life is a j-pop band which split up in 2003 with the release of just three albums and six singles. It consisted of myco (vocals) who is currently in Quintillion Quiz, Tanabe Shintarou on guitar and Henmi Noritaka playing teh keyboard.Their single/album sales data is not available on the internet so I don't know how much this album sold. Changin' my Life's songs are ususally soothing pop ballads with a beat but they have done a few uptempo songs too. myco's voice is deep, powerful and strong and gives their songs a new dimension. Many of their songs have been featured in the anime Full Moon wo Sagashite which was based on the manga by Arina Tanimura.

1. Confidence- It is a slow pop song, which is a bit boring at times. myco's voice sounds strained at some places. In the beginning, it has some nice keyboards. An average pop track.

2. Myself- A pop ballad which if filled with emotion. It has guitars and keyboards in the background. The melody is haunting and beautiful. The instrumental interlude is a masterpiece. An unforgettable song which can never fail to make the listener love it. Myco's voice is very powerful in the chorus and you can't help but feel the intensity of her emotions.

3. Eternal Snow- While still recovering from the splendour of Myself, brace yourself for something along the lines of an epic masterpiece. If you look at the youtube video of Eternal Snow, you will see that so many people have said that this is their favorite song in the whole world. Eternal Snow is my favorite song too. It is a simple ballad with a wintry feel but every note is perfect. The instrumental intro is marvelous and gives you the feeling of being stuck in a blizzard. The lyrics of this song and powerful and meaningful and you will appreciate the beauty of this song even more if you know the lyrics. Eternal Snow is a song so perfect, few artists can produce such a song even in their whole career.

4. Luv Remix- This was Changin' My Life's debut single. It is a dance track. myco's voice doesn't suit this track. It is really very mediocre. It is a good thing Changin' My Life changed their style after this single.

5. Ajisai- It starts with a flute-like instrument playing a small intro and then myco's voice takes over. It is a soothing track with an arrangement that suits its style. It is hard to describe this song, since there is so much going on, but if you just close your eyes and listen to it, for one minute everything seems to be merged into it's melody.

6. Stardust- A spectacular track, to say the least. It is a typical Changin' My Life ballad which is what makes it better than 90% ballads out there. Changin' My Life doing what they do best.

7. Etoranze- This is a new kind of track for Changin' My Life. It has r&b influences with hints of arabian instruments.

8. New Future- A happy and optimistic pop track but there is nothing generic about it. It is about believeing in dreams and doing one's best. More than five minutes long, New Future is one of the best tracks on this album and in Changin' My Life's discography.

9. Love Chronicle- A very popular song among Changin' My Life's fans, it is a ballad with r&b elements. It does not use the standard piano, guitar and drums but uses a rather unusual instrument I don't know the name of. The lyrics are about love and being loved.

10. Christmas ni kuchizuke wo- As the name suggests, it is an upbeat christmassy track.

Overall this album was an extremely good listen with more than its share of great songs. If you haven't listened to Changin' My Life, this is a great place to start.

Pros- Wonderful ballads
Excellent arrangements
Strong vocals

Cons- Placing of songs was not good

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Romance Review- Best romance writers

Here are some of the romance writers I feel are the best in their field. These are my opinions only and if you like any other writers, you can share your views by posting a comment. The authors are in no particular order.

1. Barbara Cartland- She is proclaimed the 'True Queen of Romance' with reason. Most of her books are outstanding and her writing style never fails to evoke emotions. Her books are short and most heroes have similar characteristics but somehow, I get so drawn into her stories that I do not notice the flaws. Many of her books are out of print now, but if you ever have a chance, you should try her books.

2. Judith Mcnaught- She is one of the best contempoary writers of romance. I find her writing style quite similar to Barbara Cartland''s. Her stories are more complex, longer and have better character development. They are also unique and different from one another. She is a writer worth checking out.

3. Meg Cabot- Though she writes chick-lit, many of her books have romantic elements. Her style is really refreshing. Her characters are humorous and sensible. Her ideas are very original and she never bores the reader. She has her mediocre books too but overall, her better books more than make up for the so-so ones.

4. Johanna Lindsey- She mainly writes historical romances and sagas. I just started reading her books recently but was hooked immediately. Her books are very real and full of adventure. Her characters come alive. She is famous with reason.

5. Harlequin/Mills & Boon- Now, Harlequin is not technically an author but it never fails to deliver extremely good romantic novels every month. Most of the writers who write for Mills & Boon write well. I have no particular favorite writers. All of them are quuite good. It is amazing how they deliver such a vast array of romantic novels in a single month. It is no wonder that Mills & Boon is a firm favorite among romance readers.

Nora Roberts is a really popular writer and I have reviewed many of her books but I don't think she is that good. Her romances are unusually shallow with heroines who fall easily. Her plots are extremely unoriginal. Another writer I have not included is Sophie Kinsella because her style is quite similar to Meg Cabot's. I don't really like Stephanie Meyer either. Janet Daily is mediocre at best.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Manga review- Kodomo no Omocha

Kodomo no Omocha (Child's toy) shortened as Kodocha is a popular shoujo manga. It is targeted at younger audience.

The story is about a child actress Sana Kurata who attends elementary school where she falls in love with Hayama, her classmate. Her mother is a famous japanese novelist and initially, she is in love with her manager. She struggles to balance love and work as she rises to become a popular actress.

The story was pretty average. Now the review- The series seems to be prettty popular in Japan with many celebrities voting it as their favourite series. The illustrations were cutesy, intended for young girls. The manga was ten volumes long.

I'll start with the pros. The manga is fine considering its demographic target. The manga ran in Ribon, a magazine intended for those girls starting out with shoujo manga. The readers are expected to be 10-13 yrs. of age.
The supporting characters were interesting and sometimes stronger than the protagonists. The back story connected to Sana was stereotypical but good. The artwork is professional and the love develops at a decent pace. As far as development of feelings is concerned, the manga is okay.

Now the cons. For me, the cons outnumbered the pros in this manga. I fail to understand why it is so popular. The first drawback is the age of the protagonists. I mentioned this in Ultra Maniac as well as Mint na Bokura. If the protagonists are too young, it is difficult for the reader to accept any depth in their love. At this age, friendship is often mistaken for love That's the case here too. The love develops well but the kids are too young for any deep relationship. It is a serious friendship and nothing more.

The second con is the protagonists. The two didn't have many similarities and neither were they contrasting. Sana is the kind of girl Hayama would never notice in his class and vice versa. Hayama tries to act to cool but leaves an image of naughty and spoilt instead. He does not show emotions many times and has no guts. While he had some good qualities like determination, he is cocky and lacks charm. Sana is not very dedicated when it comes to work. It is acceptable since she is a child but after reading Glass Mask I found it a negetive quality. The protagonist of Glass Mask is almost the same age with much more determination in the same field.

The third con is the ending. It was not the happy ending children would expect. The ending should've lived upto the expectations of its demographic.

Overall, the manga has more cons so, I didn't find it anything great. It is a below average shoujo. Younger audience might still consider reading it as it is one of the mangas with very less adult content and can be enjoyed by youngsters. A good manga for shoujo fans looking for anything stereotypical. I wouldn't recommend this manga.

Overall- 3.5/5


Supporting characters


Lacks seriousness and depth

Book review- The Little Prince

The Little Prince is a best selling french novella by famous author and aviator Antoime de Saint-Exupery. It remains the best selling french book with over 80 million copies sold and one of the best selling books in history. It has been translated into more than 190 languages (are there so many languages in the world?). This novella is not to be confused with the short story 'The happy prince' (which was not in the least happy).

The little prince is less than 100 pages in length and contains many illustrations. It remains one of the most popular books for children though I felt it was targeted at adults not because of content but because of the style of writing. The illustations are a little shabby but are tolerable.
The book is a fictional memoir of the author's experience at the Saharan desert.

The author begins by showing his childhood drawings which are (as expected) bad. He tells that he was an expert at drawing boa constrictors until his parents mistook and image of a boa constrictor eating an elephant for a hat. His parents were not happy to see him waste time drawing and discoraged him by telling him to do 'things of consequence'. This phrase is repeated many times in the book. The author being a child doesn't understand what this means but artist inside him is killed early in life.

The writer grows up to become a pilot who crashes into the Saharan desert during one of his voyages. There, he meets a little prince who is from another planet. He tells the narrator to draw sheep and other things which the narrator is unable to draw. He only knows to draw boa constrictors.

The prince explains about his planet and a rose in his planet with whom he fell in love. He describes his travels to six planets each with only one prominent person. These six planets depict six different types of human beings- The king, the conceited man, the drunkard/tippler, the businessman, the lamplighter and the geographer. These eight personalities tell the innocent little prince why they do their activities. The tippler drinks to forget that he is afriad fo drinking, the conceited man who wants to be admired by everyone but lives on a planet with no people, the king who controls the stars by ordering them to do what they already do, the lamplighter who lights lamps for the good of others in a planet where he alone lives etc.

The writer and the prince discuss about humans with similar thoughts. The writer imagines the prince as the child in him that was killed long ago.

Due to living in the desert for a few days, the writer is thirsty and hungry. His plane is broken. The writer and the prince find a well later. The prince tells the writer that his body is too heavy to take to his planet so, he is leaving it behind. The following day, he dies of a snake bite. The writer is devastated and filled with sadness.
In the last chapter, the writer leaves a scene of the Saharan desert and tells the readers to contact him if they every happen to meet the little prince there because deep in his heart, he wants to believe that the prince is till alive (in his memories).
Tragically, the writer died the year after this book was published.

The book lays extreme emphasis on innocence and a child's view of the world. The writer rightly thinks that children grow up too soon these days and never learn to cherish their dreams and fantasies. People are engrossed in doing 'things of consequence' that actually are not of much consequence. The book brings children's perspectives many times, one in the beginning and then after meeting the little prince. It shows how adults, who themselves were children once have grown up to be worse in some ways. The writer also writes of how preoccupied people are.

Though this book is recommended for children and is taught in France to beginners, I thought it was more appropriate for adults especially the ones who have forgotten all the marvels of childhood. The author himself recommends his young readers to dedicate this book to an adult.  These days it is not hard to see people acting mature because they think childishness is stupid and won't be accepted by anyone. A recent survey showed that children are the happiest and adults who are like kids are happy too.

The book also gives a deep perspective of human nature through references to the six kinds of people the prince meets on six different planets. The book has metaphysical content and an innocent storywriting style which questions truth without offending anyone. The little prince inncoently says during the story- One sees clearly only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes.

The book was emotional in nature with many readers claiming they cried towards the end of the book. It has some underlying themes of friendship but mostly focuses on a contrast between childhood and adulthood.

The language is easy to understand since it was aimed at children. The illustrations are unprofessional and messy. I read the english translation of the book. Unlike some works which have been lost in translation, this book is actually as good or even better after translation.
Antoine de Saint Exupery is one of the most famous french writers. His books are mostly tragedies related to flying. They are often emotional in nature with memorable lines. He was a popular commercial pilot before he became a writer.

If you're a french student, you probably would've read this book. For others, this book is highly recommended. The parts narrating the prince's visit to various planets was a little boring but the rest of the book was great. It is a short book and even the boring parts don't drag long. There are lots of illustrations to keep you from falling asleep. A wonderful book especially for adults and teachers.

Overall- 4.5/5




Drags at parts

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

150th post!!

The number of posts on the site have surpassed 150!!!
200 is the next stop.

Mp3s have been added to posts and are updated regularly. If the player doesn't work on clicking 'play', click 'stop' first and then play.

Underrated artists

Like in every industry, there are some underrated musicians in the jpop industry too. These musicians deliver good quality and should've sold more but due to lack of promotion, they have not managed to sell well. 

Changin' my life

Changin' my life sang some touching theme songs for Full Moon wo sagashite. Their music is mainly pop with an emphasis on ballads. Myco's voice is deep and emotional. Changin' my life is one of the bands that ought to have sold more. Myco had a flop solo project too. Her solo songs are wonderful as well. Their lyrics are mostly romantic. Songs have great instrumental preludes  (before the first verse) and Myco sings her best. Mnay of their B sides are better than A sides. Changin' my life delivers high quality music and should've sold more. Their albums failed to chart.

Iwao Junko

She is a seiyuu known for voicing Tomoyo in CCS. She sand 'Scarlet' for Ayashi no ceres. Iwao Junko always wanted to become a singer like her idol, Yumi Matsutoya. Iwao Junko has a childish voice with controlled notes and sweetness. Her voice is soothing and melodic and her songs are well composed. I can't imagine any reason why she did not sell well.

Kanon Wakeshima

There was a lot of hype about her debut single Still doll. She is a gothic artist produced by the legendary Mana. Though her songs get repetitive after a while and her voice sounds a little untrained, her debut single was a masterpiece and should've sold better. Her first album, though repetitive, was good as well. Her subsequent releases don't have that quality but she is a unique artist with elaborate dressing style, drawing talent, cello playing skills and a unique voice.


Another Kanon. She is best known for singing 'Brand new breeze' for La Corda anime. She trained from a music college in Australia. Her music is classical influenced and she often covers popular classical pieces like Rhapsody in blue, Canon etc. Her self compositions are wonderful as well. Her voice is airy and floats (much like any other classical singer) but has a water like soothing quality to it. It is peaceful and relaxing and she doesn't hit any unbelievably high and screechy notes. She is currently with Sony.

Yui Makino

A lot of seiyuus are underrated as artists. Yui Makino has a sweet voice. Her songs are well composed. She sang many themes for Tsubasa Chronicle. She doesn't completely fall under 'underrated' category because her singles and albums have sold okay- they've at least managed to chart.

Tanaka Rie

Tanaka Rie doesn't have a unique or wonderful voice but her songs are excellent. She is known for singing 'Mizu no akashi' and 'shizuka na yoru ni' for Gundam Seed destiny. Her highest charting mini album contaning her contributions to Gundan charted at #34. Other albums have charted below #250.

Feel free to add any artists you think are underrated.

Manga review- Magic Knight Rayearth

MKR is one of CLAMP's most popular mangas. Like CCS, it has prominent elements of fantasy with female protagonists. It has some romance but it is not serious. Themes of friendship, humanity and love are prevelant. A classic CLAMP manga set in a medieval empire.

Hikaru, Umi and Fuu are three girls from different backgrounds who co incidentally have a school trip at Tokyo tower on the same day. They look at each other and a blinding flash of light transports them to another world called Cephiro. It is a medieval world where the power of a person's will decides his/her ability. The three discover that they are magic knights summoned by princess Emeraude who has been captured by Zagato, the highest priest. She is the pillar of the world who has to pray for its peace. Since she has been abducted, peace has vanished and mosters have started appearing. The legendary knights have to find a mythical ore, free their knight spirits and save princess Emeraude. The second arc (vol.4-6) follows a different story of the second pillar and the candidates.

The first two volumes are hillarious with Umi constantly joking about Mokona. It takes a serious turn after that. The story was a sterotypical mahou shoujo manga. There is a clear distinction between good and evil. There's lots pf swordfighting and magic. It is a classic medieval fantasy. CLAMP tries to present some human emotions through princess Emeraude and Hikaru. The art is good but a little oldish. There's information about CLAMP at the end of every volume.

Themes, storylines and plotting, art , characters....the manga had nothing special to offer. It is just what you would find on reading any medieval fantasy. There are other better mangas with similar stories. The series was too conventional and offered nothing special. The story is a derivative of Lord of the rings or other medieval fantasies.

The only thing that was good about this manga was the comedy (especially Umi) in the first two volumes. The funny scenes made me read this manga furthur.

Overall, nothing special here. It cannot even be categorised as good since there is not one ounce of unpredictability or innovation in the manga. It is okay if you're a CLAMP fan but others can skip this one.

Art- 4.3/5
Overall- 3.8/5




Weak lead characters
Lack of plotting

Anime movie review- Spirited away

Spirited away is a two hour long animation movie by oscar winning director Hayao Miyazaki. It beat Titanic in the box office to become the highest grossing japanese movie of all time. It won the Oscar for the best animation movie and is the only anime to achieve this feat. It also won the Golden bear award at the Berlin international film festival. Hayao Miyazaki is a famous anime director in Japan and almost all japanese recommend his films to others.

The movie doesn't have much story. It chronicles the adventures of Chihiro, an elementary school student who is shifting out of her house. Her father and mother drive her through the forest where they get lost. They encounter a strange gate and decide to go in. The gate leads to a ghost town full of food shops and a large bathhouse and river. Her parents are hungry. They spot a food shop filled with delicious food. There is no one in the shop so, they decide to start eating on their own. Chihiro doesn't eat because she is scared of the ghost town. As night falls, all the shops light up and spirits and monsters begin to appear in those houses. Chihiro discovers that her parents have turned into pigs and have been taken to the piggery. She meets a boy, Haku, who helps her. She gets a job for herself at a bath house. Yubaba, the stingy owner of the bath house is the main antagonist of the story. Chihiro has some adventures at the bath house. She later meets a spirit and takes a train to Yubaba's sister. In the end, she gets to go back to the human world and her parents are set free.

What was really striking about Spirited away was the beautiful backdrops. The lavish use of red, yellow and chinese and japanese traditional settings is a feast for the eyes. But the monsters and even some human characters like Yubaba looked grotesque. They were an eye sore. That balanced the visuals, I guess. There is heavy use of japanese traditional concepts like bath house, dragons, ramen and old style houses.

The movie didn't have much story but carried on in an interesting way. It shows the imagination of a child and of Hayao Miyazaki. It strikes the viewer as something very imaginative and constantly changing. It is fit for younger audience.
There is some amount of conflict in the story because Chihiro is dumped into an unknown world and has to work her way up. The movie maintained a lull and mysterious atmosphere throughout. The scenes (places) looked real. I almost felt like I was at the bath house. The movie was long but well plotted so, it was not boring. Fantasy elements are dominant in the story. Some amount of character development is seen in the story.

There were obvious cons too. Miyazaki's character deisgns are not very good. They are not as detailed and realistic or beautiful as his backgrounds. This is a problem I find with all his anime. The movie lacked storyline and was not well plotted. It can be summarised in one line as 'adventures of a girl in a spirit world'. There weren't many twists and turns but I guess it is all right considering the movie's target audience. Another big con was the grotesque characters. While monsters should look bad, Yubaba and the other monsters looked repulsive. Its atmosphere was dark considering the fact that it was a children's anime. I like Joe Hisaishi's music but I couldn't hear any in the anime. There was an orchestra version of 'Incohi no namae' in the beginning but after that, no prominent piece was played. I didn't hear 'Inochi no namae' in the movie.

Overall, the film was good through surreal and dark. It is imaginative. I can't decide whether it deserved the Oscar or not. It is one of the good movies for children. Kids should definitely watch this as it encourages creativity. Adults can enjoy this movie too mainly due to the dark atmosphere.

Art- 4.3/5
Music- 4.1/5




Character design
Character personalities
Lack of story line

Japanese movie review- Kamikaze girls

Kamikaze girls is a 110+ minutes long movie based on a light novel by Novala Takemoto. It was translated into english, made into a movie and manga.

The story takes place in Shimotsuma, a rural town in Japan. The novel was originally titled 'Shimotsuma story'. It begins with a girl named Momoko (played by Kyoko Fukada), a gothic lolita on her way to Tokyo to buy gothic lolits clothes. She is realistic and doesn't believe inf riendship. She wishes that she was born in France in Rococo era. She is told by locals that the local supermarket sells cheap clothes but she considers those clothes inferior. She travels to Tokyo (which is a long way from Shimotsuma) just to buy gothic lolita clothes from her favourite designer- Baby, the stars shine bright. While waiting at the station, she tells the story of her strange childhood. She was born to a cowardly gang member and a flirtateous woman. Since her earliest days, she learned to accept life as it came and analyze human psychology. She realises that human beings deceive others because they seek happiness. When she was in middle school, her mother divorced her father. She discovered her fancy for gothic lolits clothing when she began high school. Her father ran a popular fake designer clothes business which collapsed due to legal issues. Now, he is penniless and she lives with her grandmother who was in a bike gang.

Gothic lolita clothes are expensive so, after her father's bankrupcy, she decides to sell his fake clothes secretly. She posts information about it on a site and a girl who is interested in those clothes immediately responds. On meeting her, Momoko realises that Ichiko (played by Anna Tsuchiya) is a delinquent in a popular bike gang in Shimotsuma. Momoko is comepletely different from Momoko who is polite and sophisticated. Momoko spits often, talks too much, uses inappropriate language, is simple minded, picks up fights easily but is naive and pure at heart. After buying a coat at a super low price, Ichiko starts coming to Momoko's house everyday. A series of events follows and Ichiko and Momoko become good friends despite their differences in attitude.
Momoko is good at all the things Ichigo wants to do like being cool, winning at pachinko, fighting etc. Ichigo tells Momoko about Akimi, the gang leader. Ichigo was a timid girl in junior high who was often bullied. One day while crying, she met Akimi who changed her life. She decided to join the motorcycle gang (although she reides a scooter). Akimi gets married to Ichigo;s first love and Momoko comes to console her. In the end, Momoko becomes a part time worker for her favourite saloon, Baby, the stars shine bright and Ichiko leaves the gang and becomes a sole biker. She also becomes a famous model for some time. They stay friends forever.

A nice movie about friendship. Anna Tsuchiya fits well into the role. Kyoko Fukada acts okay but the role didn't fit her too well. The character development is believable and the story manages to convince the viewer of the power of their friendship in just about two hours. Some movies go on for three hours and still never manage to convince the viewer of what is being depicted (especially romantic relationships). The costumes were nice. Kyoko Fukada could've used more make up. She looked plain. Anna Tsuchiya was looking good with that dark lipstick and coloured hair. Both acted fairly well. It depicts japanese pop culture and sub cultures like lolita, yanki and yakuza. Westerners might find all this difficult to understand.

The story is fictitious and very obviously so. Lots of things in the story are unrealistic. Some comical scenes, family stories, state of school are unrealistic and the viewer knows that they cannot be true. The backgrounds could've been better. Some scenes were grotesque. Asthetics was lacking. The costumes were good. They should've been complemented by good side characters and backdrops. The side characters were especially unrealistic. Comedy in the series was limited. It had more feelings of friendship, trust and emotions like that.

The ending unlike most tragic japanese movies (taiyou no uta, crying out love in the middle of the world, Ring series, yomigaeri and an endless list) was happy.  But it leaves me uncertain about their future. I liked the way the screenwriter gave Ichigo a lucrative job. Modelling fitted her well. But she quits and becomes a biker. Although that was what she always wanted to do, it leaves the viewer uncertain about her future. It is not a decent occupation. How long can she be a biker? There is some childishness and immaturity here. It perfectly fits into the category 'chick flick' animed at slightly younger audience.

Overall, an enjoyable movie. Not all that memorable and touching or comic but wonderful for light entertaiment. A good movie to enjoy when there's nothing to do or share with friends.

Acting- 4.1/5
Music- 3.4/5
Story- 4.5/5
Overall- 4.2/5

Monday, October 18, 2010

Drama Review- Dragon Zakura

Dragon Zakura is a popular drama about a lawyer Sakuragi Kenji who was a racer in high school. His law practice is not successful due to his background and lack of career achievements. In the beginning, he takes on the case of rescuing Ryuzan High- a school with an average score of 36 from bankruptcy. When all else fails, he decides to create a special class with five students and send then all the Todai (Tokyo University)- the best university in Japan and it is considered impossible to get in, even for bright students.

His special class consists of Yuusuke (Yamashita Tomoshisa)- a boy with terrible grades whose father abandons his mother and leaves them a 3 million yen debt. Sakuragi pays the debt in exchange of Yuusuke's agreement that he will be a part of the special class. Yuusuke's friends Mizuno and Ogata (Koike Teppei) and girlfriend (Yui Aragaki) also join the special class along with Kobayashi who is a fashion-conscious girl. Later, Okuno Ichirou who is a meek guy with a twin in Shumeikan (a good school) also joins teh special class.

The drama mainly focuses on teaching students using unconventional teaching methods. Sakuragi is a cold-hearted person and none of the students like him. The drama aims to show that nothing is impossible and even idiots (as he calls them) can get into Todai. Despite this, the drama is very realistic and sometimes this leads to the drama being pessimistic and not having a happy ending in many episodes.

This drama can inspire anyone who is studying for exams, college entrance etc. to study better. I felt very inspired to study after watching it. It is worth seeing, even though it has minor flaws.


Pros- Inspiring and shows the reality
Characters are easy to relate to
Interesting minor characters
Good actors who do their roles well

Cons- Too realistic at times (yes I know I gave that one as a pro too but whether realism is good or not depends on different viewpoints)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anime movie review- Toki wo kakeru shoujo

Toki wo kakeru shoujo is a perennial hit much like Hana Yori Dango. It was originally a popular science fiction novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, a popular japanese science fiction novelist. Following the novel's success, a live action movie was made in 1983. The movie was successful in Japan. A live action series (drama) aired in 1994. In 2006, madhouse released an animated movie of Toki wo kakeru shoujo. A manga was also released. It has since been remade into another live action movie. In all media, Toki wo kakeru shoujo was a hit. The movie, anime, books etc. have won numerous awards. The anime boasts of a long list of awards. The anime grossed $30,000,000.

The story follows Makoto Konno, a tomboyish high schooler who accidentally stumbles into a mysterious shadow in the chemistry lab. She falls down and hits a nut like ball. A flashback (something like that) occurs and she gains the ability to jump through time. She reads the quote 'Time waits for no one' on her school blackboard. While going back home, Makoto's bicycle brakes fail and she almost dies after hitting a train. At that moment, she automatically leaps through time and lands in a safer place.
She meets her aunt later, who works at restoring old paintings. Her aunt tells her that sometimes teenage girls get this ability. At home, she tries out time jump and succeeds. She spends time with her best friends Chiaki and Kosuke, practicing baseball every evening and going to karaokes.

She uses her new ability to its fullest to get good grades, prevent Chiaki from proposing, get Kosuke a girlfriend, sing karaoke, eat pudding that her sister stole and avoid accidents. She begins to avoid her best friend, Chikai fearing that he might propose. She visits her aunt in the museum where her aunt shows her the restored painting. It is calming and Makoto as well as her aunt like it a lot. However, while bathing, one day, she discovers a 09 tatoo on her arm. She concludes that it counts the number of times she can jump through time. She however, forgets to keep track of it. She helps Kosuke get a girlfriend. While walking home, they pass from aside her when she realises that they are about to bump into the train because her bicycle brakes don't work. She panics but all her time leaps are over. Her tatoo reads 00. Suddenly, then, time stops. She sees Chiaki walking to her with her bicycle and telling her that he has come from the future. She is shocked at this revelation. Chiaki also tells her that the shell that gave her power is used to recharge time jumps. In his era, they have invented a machine that allows people to leap through time. He came to this era to see the painting that Makoto's aunt restored. She realises that she turned back time and now the painting is not up for display. Chiaki tells her that he has to go back to his era. He wants to stay because he has made good friends here. Chiaki disappears and time starts moving.

She goes home and to her shock discovers that her tatoo has changed to 01. She runs with full force and goes back to the time when she first went into the chemistry lab. She doesn't use the gadget's power and returns it to Chiaki instead. He tells her that it is time for him to go back. She tries to hint that he proposed to her but he cannot remember because in this timeline, it never happened. She promises to look after the painting for him and make sure it survives in his era. As his last line, he tells her to be less reckless and take care. She expects him to propose and is disappointed by this. He disappears. She starts crying. A few seconds later, he appears and tells her that they'll meet is in the future.
She goes back to her normal life, practicing baseball with Kosuke and looks forward to the future.

Toki wo kakeru shoujo has a strong storyline. In the anime, a lot of scenes are wasted on depicting daily life in the relaxed rural town she lives in. The anime overall, has a relaxed atmosphere. It is laid back. The school life goes much like a slice of life anime. Tension is something the anime completely lacks even in the most emotional scenes. Animation is clear and easy to understand.

The music was good. It propelled ballad singer Hanako Oku to fame. The instrumental pieces fit the anime well. The movie surprisingly managed to create emotion and sympathy for the characters in such a short time. The storyline is one of the strong aspects of the anime and the novel. The idea was quite unique at least when the novel was written (1967). The last scenes are especially emotional but not enough to make the viewer cry. It is laid back and nostalgic. The ending is best categorised as ambiguous.

The anime was a lot like slice of life, school life and sci fi anime Kumo no ue yakusoku to aru basho only better and easier to relate to.

The anime is meant for relaxation and light entertainment. It is a good anime to watch when you're depressed, bored or just need to relax.

Art- 4/5
Storyline- 4.6/5
Characters- 4/5
Music- 4.3/5
Overall- 4.2/5




Lacks tension

Anime movie review- Ojamajo doremi- Pop and the magical cursed rose

Ojamajo doremi defines the mahou shoujo/henshin genre. It is aimed at young audience. The anime comprises of several seasons with a main character added in every season (like Winx club). It is typical of its genre with an overpowering female majority, comedy, eye candy animation and semi serious love. The story initiated in the first episode is continued throughout.
Doremi Harukaze is a ditz (what a strange name) who has the worst love luck. She is peppy, cheerful and optimistic despite her terrible love luck. One day, while walking back home, Doremi enters a mysterious magic shop which sells good luck charms. A witch rocks on the chair in the dark room. Doremi senses it and is afraid. She accidentally guesses the name of the witch who turns into a frog. Majorika, the witch, tells her that if anyone guesses the name of a witch, that witch turns into a frog. She puts pressure on Doremi to help her out by becoming a witch herself. Doremi consents to it triggering a series full of funny events, magic and friendship.

The movie focuses on Pop (Doremi's nosy sister) and her magical adventure. Pop goes to Magic kingdom for her test. While coming back, she spots a beautiful flower in thr queen's garden and decides to take it back. She doesn't know that the flower can grand wishes but if it grants a bad wish, it turns black and withers. Doremi scolds Pop for bringing the flower home. Pop wishes that Doremi loses all her magical powers and truns into a rat. Pop's wish comes true leading Doremi's gang and Majorika on a rat chase. Meanwhile, Doremi gets into lots of funny situations.

The movie is targeted at younger audience and is a great movie considering its target audience. Just like every child's anime, it preaches love, friendship, right and wrong and teaches that people always make mistakes but they should make sure to admit and correct them.

Comedy is the good part of this movie. Comical situations keep the first half of the movie running. The second half is emotional with the flower dying and Pop apologising for killing the flower. As expected from a children's anime, the flower is cured and everyone has a happy ending.

Doremi is overall an amusing anime/movie with good music and art. It can be enjoyed by slightly older audience too. Fantasy elements are dominant along with comedy. The character building is good with an easy-to-relate-to heroine like Doremi.
Older audience can derive some entertainment from watching the movie.

Overall, one of the better movies out there. It is especially wonderful for kids.

Art- 4.5/5
Characters- 4.6/5
Music- 4.3/5
Overall- 4.1/5

Anime movie review- Kochikame movie

Kochikame is one of the best selling mangas in Japan. It follows the life of a good for nothing middle aged cop named Ryotsu who works in Kameari police station. Ryotsu's wealth is spent in buying mangas, toys, gambling, pachinko and drinking. Ryotsu's creativity is tapped to its fullest for devising money making schemes which are often financed by Nakagawa, his subordinate. His boss, Ohara is a father figure and critisizes him for his faults. There are other side characters who appear in the series like Honda (an ex- motorcycle gang leader), Sakonji (a dating simulation fan), Maria (a former boxer), Ryotsu's creditors and Reiko, one of Ryotsu's colleagues.

Kochikame is a laugh out loud comedy which efficiently uses Ryotsu's character to churn out amusing situations and lots of jokes. His colleagues are also used to create comedic situations. Kochikame remains the longest running manga in Japan which has been running for over thirty years with over 170 volumes in print. Unfortunatley, neither the anime nor the manga have been licensed. The movie is available with english subtitles. Some of the anime episodes I have earlier seen also have subtitles. The mangas is currently not scantalated by anyone in english.

The movie is a mixture of seriousness and light hearted comedy. It starts with the most serious case Ryotsu has ever seen in his life- the bombing of Shinatora's (a multi-millionare who builds ugly buildings) buildings. A pro bomber called Benten is the source of these bombings and swears to wipe out Shinatora's empire. The police force is alerted. All the cops (including Ryotsu) are forced to investigate the bombings. Ryotsu is paired with Lisa, an expert in bomb disposal. She has a robot which helps her.
The movie is hillarious in the beginning but later drifts to a serious tone. Ryotsu's lack of technological knowledge, narrow mindedness, money making schemes and traditional behaviour are prominent. Lisa and Ryotsu become good friends during the movie. Later, Ryotsu discovers that Lisa is Benten. He compares bombing to crackers and tells her that the only difference between them is that fireworks bring happiness wheras bombs brings sadness. Lisa is touched by Ryotsu's rare display of sesitivity and decides to quit her job as a bomber. Since no one is harmed or killed, she doesn't get any serious punishment. Ryotsu goes back to being a full time slacker.

The movie was more balanced than the series because it had emotional as well as funny scenes. The anime focuses on comedy and Ryotsu's money making schemes while the movie focused on his human side. The story-line was strong. The characters were the same ones in the manga and anime with Lisa being an addition to the cast. Lisa is not shown in the anime. Ryotsu's character is strong and unique and that's what keeps this show going.

The animation is good and the illustrations are bearable. Kochikame is one of the most hillarious anime/manga out there and should not be missed. Viz should translate it soon. The series maintains its light tone.

I would definitely recommend Kochikame to everyone because this series truly makes me laugh. It is hillarious. I have tried other hillarious mangas (Ranma 1/2, Shinchan) but they failed to make me smile. Kochikame definitely should not be missed.
I saw the anime before the movie but I guess it is all right to see the movie before the anime.

Art- 4.2/5
Music- (I couldn't hear any)
Characters- 4.6/5
Storyline- 4.5/5
Overall- 4.4/5

Anime movie review- Detective Conan- Movie 13- The Raven Chaser

I have seen a lot of episodes of detective conan anime and I really liked it so, I decided to try movies. Apparently, Detective Conan movies (known as Case Closed overseas) gross a lot and are pretty popular in Japan. As of 2010, 14 movies have been released the last being The lost ship in the sky. I saw the 13th movie called The Raven Chaser for which Mai Kuraki sung the theme song.
This movie has lots of links with Vermouth and the Black organisation. The Black organisation is not mentioned much in the anime. All the movies have an additional character Ai Haibara who is the child form of porfessor Sherry, the inventor of the pill that shrunk Conan. After the Black organisation killed her sister, she quit it and decided to help Conan. The background of the organisation is introduced in every movie.

The movie starts off like an anime episode but deepens with links from everywhere. It begins with the murder of a man who leaves the dying message 'Tanabata kyo..'. A mahjong piece is found near him upon death. On investigating furthur, the police comes to know that seven people were murdered in a similar way with a mahjong piece left at the scene of crime. The police summons Maori (who shocks them with his stupid conclusions) to help them out with the case. Conan uses Maori as a source to gain information.

However, Conan discovers that a member of the police is involved with the Black organisation and is sending them messages. Conan later meets Vermouth who tells him about a new member 'Irish' who is to help the Black organisation retrieve a memory chip.
Conan tries to solve the case with Heiji Hattori. It races to Kyoto where the motive for the murder is found by Heiji. Conan investigates furthur and discovers that one of the victims had the chip Black organisation needs. The murderer is revealed later and the police as usual, arrive quite late when everything is over. The final showdown takes place in Tokyo Tower with Ran coming to rescue Conan from Irish.

After retrieving the chip from Irish, the Black organisation gets rid of him. Conan is facing him in Tokyo tower when they arrive on a helicopter. The final showdown is really absorbing and keeps you at the edge of your seat. The Black organisation gets away in the end.

I liked the last part of the movie very much. It was full of suspense, action and thrill. I didn't know Ran could do karate so well. She almost knocked down Irish (wow!). Quite a strong female character. When Gin's helicopter chases Conan and he performs unbelievable stunts, the climax heightens. The cat and mouse chase in the end was particularly thrilling.
The Black organisation is the lead of the movie along with the murder. Since, they are not shown in the anime, it is nice to see them in the movie. Ai also appears a lot in the beginning and almost misses being spotted by Vermouth. Vermouth's role is not much except providing some clues. Irish also finds out about Conan's true identity but since he dies, it is not revealed to anyone. The detective kids (they're so cute) help in finding the real inspector Matsumoto. They seem to better than the police at solving mysteries. Ai gets stuck with the kids most of the time.

The mystery was nice like a usual Conan mystery but nothing spectacular. The motive was weak. The Black organisation saved the movie. Maori, as usual jokes around and does nothing worthwhile. His conclusion about the dragon was amusing.

The movie grossed 3.5 billion yen making it the highest grossing movie in the Detective Conan series. It was truly wonderful. I haven't seen other movies so, I can't compare but it was thrilling. The movies are much more intense (and longer of course) than the episodes.

Detective Conan movies have very appealing titles much like Sidney Sheldon books. They are packaged for promotion. The posters are pretty nice too. I am amazed how Gosho Aoyama manages to churn out so many wonderful ideas from his mind. The manga has crossed sixty nine volumes with more coming. Almost all his mysteries are unpredictable and logical. I wonder what will happen at the end of the series. I guess, I'll have to wait for a few more years for that. The manga has sold over one hundred million copies making it one of the highest selling in Japanese manga history. It truly deserves its place there.

The movie is great and I think you won't want to miss this one.

Art- 4.1/5
Characters- 4.3/5

Monday, October 11, 2010

Maburaho Anime Review

Maburaho (まぶらほ?) is a romantic school comedy light novel series written by Toshihiko Tsukiji,  and illustrated by Eeji Komatsu.

The series is about the story of Kazuki Shikimori, a second year student of the prestigious magic school, Aoi Academy. Unlike ordinary people who can use magic less than a hundred times and several of his classmates, who can use magic several thousand times, Kazuki can only use his magic eight times before he turns to ash. His life changes when it is revealed that Kazuki is descended from a line of world famous magicians and he has the potential to father the most powerful magician in the world. Suddenly three girls, Yuna Miyama, Kuriko Kazetsubaki and Rin Kamishiro, enter Kazuki's life in order to obtain his valuable genes.

Well, this anime resembles Mahou Sensei Negima to a certain extent. What makes it interesting is the personality of the three girls and the unexpected plot twists and turns. Yuna Miyama (one with the pink hair) is cute and faithful and overpossesive too. She wants to become Kazuki's bride (because she promised him that in childhood not because of his genes). Kuriko Kazetsubaki is from the rich Kazetsubaki who want a powerful heir and hence Kueiko is sent to obtain Kazuki's genes. She is flirty and most focused on her goal but gradually grows to like Kazuki. Rin Kamishiro is the most interesting and funniest too. She is the heir of the Kamishiro family and is sent with the same motive as Kuriko but she thinks Kazuki is so weak, that he is not worth loving and tries to kill him. But she grows to understand his strengths too and then she stops attempting to kill him. Chihaya Yamase makes an appearence late in the series, but her role is important. She is Kazuki's childhood friend who had a major crush on him.

Halfway through, the series has too many surprises. The last episode is the best, which will make you cry your heart out and laugh at the same time because the ending is so positive and funny. The happy ending (which was somewhat weird too) was really needed. I am bored of watching Japanese dramas and animes which have tragic endings.

For all of you who want a happy (and somewhat weird) ending and lots of laughs, Maburaho is perfect.



Pros-Interesting characters

Cons- Some jokes/character obesssions are over-used.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Read free book online- Wish upon a star by Kimberley Comeaux

Hi, I found this free online romance book by author Kimberley Comeaux while browsing. It is a pretty good book and she is offering it free on her website.

Experience the incredible journey of Kristy Kendrick as she journeys back through time and meet the man of her dreams.  But what will happen when she is presented with the choice to go back home or stay in a century she doesn't belong in?  Read this complete Novel to find out.  It's FREE! (Blurb Taken from the website)

Here is the link- 

While you are at her site, check out the other free book that she is offering. It's called Destiny's Pirate and it's a pirate romance. It is much shorter than Wish upon a star, though.

 It started out as a boring novelty cruise in Caribbean, but it would end up being so much more!
Read the exciting adventures of Destiny as she gets thrown back into time and into the arms of a dashing pirate!  The novel is complete and ready to read!  Enjoy!

Here is the link to Destiny's Pirate-

From now on, I will be posting the link to one (or many) free e-books (legitimate) on Review Carnival every month. These are for October so enjoy!

While at her site, check out other books by her.

Jpop review- Winter and christmas songs

Even though christmas is far away, winter is approaching. I decided to compile a list of anime and jpop winter and christmas songs to help everyone get in the spirit of winter.

Tsugaru kaikyo fuyu geshiki- I am starting off with an enka song. Sayuri Ishikawa won awards for this song. One of her hit songs. A typical enka with Sayuri Ishikawa's emotional singing. Much like Amagigoe, the last word (title of the song) stands out. A nice and powerful winter enka.

Pure snow- An enka followed by an anime song. This one is from Himiko den anime. The melody is nice although he singer does not carry it off to its full potential. A pleasant winter song for anime fans.

Christmas eve- It is a standard christmas song in Japan sung by Tatsuro Yamashita (who produced and married Mariya Takeuchi). It sounds more western than japanese. The whole song is english. A nice guitar song.

Snow drop- I reviewed this song earlier in L'arc~en~ciel's ray post. A million selling winter single, one of the best christmas rock songs. There are guitars in the beginning playing solo. The song has a nice effect overall.

Eternal snow- Another anime song from Fullmoon wo sagashite. It is sung by Changin' my life. The feeling of winter is prominent is this song. There are sounds of chimes, wind, music box, bells and sighs all of which symbolise winter. The lyrics are pretty much based on the theme.

Itsuka no merry christmas- A standard christmas song. It is sung by the rock duo B'Z, the highest selling japanese act. The song pretty much lives up to expectations and matches the title. The chorus is christmassy and upbeat. It has been covered by Ayumi Hamasaki, Gackt and Namioe Amuro. I find that the B'z version is the best.

Konnayuki- A remioromen song. It was the theme for 1 litre of tears starring Erika Sawajiri. It sold close t a million and becase the highest selling single for Remioromen. It was covered by Gackt and TM Revolution. The song is a rocking winter song. The singer sounds like an enka singer but manages to deliver the song properly.

Nagori Yuki- Translates to 'lingering snow'. A folk hit by Iruka. It has been covered by countless artists (Fukuyama Masaharu, Ayaka Hirahara,aiko, X Japan, Kanon etc.) in many languages. I found all cover versions better than the original. A nice melody but arrangement is not that good.

Yuki no hana- Became a hit for Mika Nakashima. A jazzy winter ballad with music box. I found it average.

Winter bells- Mai Kuraki's highest selling winter single. It is upbeat and bouncy with lots of beat and melody. A fun Christmas song.

I have left out many christmas songs like Issho ni (Max), White love (speed), Meri Kuri (BoA), Winter song (Dct), White light (Namie Amuro), Appears and Poweder snow (Ayumi Hamasaki) etc.
Add any other winter songs you like to the comments below.

News- Seach box

Finally, the search box is working. It is installed on the right side below 'follow'. It is programmed to search only posts within the blog. I am so happy that the search box is working. I have been trying to repair it ever since this blog was born.

Now, it is easier to look for posts through the search box. The labels/ tags are still there in case the search box experiences difficulties again.

Results will be displayed on the top of the page below the title.

Enjoy using the search box!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

About us

Review Carnival is a review site (as the title suggests) filled with reviews of anime, manga, books (english novels), jpop, games and j drama. It is currently run by two people both blogging under the name 'bestcritic'. It was started in July, 2010 with the aim of bringing honest reviews to fans.

Please support favourite artists, authors, mangaka, animations studios and animes by purchasing their works. Best Bargains, gifting lists as well as hyperlinks to shopping sites have been listed for your convinience.

In case you want us to review your work or interview you, do not hesitate to drop a comment below this post. Bloggers wishing to be added to our bloglist or wanting to add us to their bloglist may do the same.

Some reviews might be (though we generally avoid it) one sided or critical. These mean no offence and are reviewed as per our opinion.

All images as well as audio samples are property of their respective owners and will be removed if the owner wishes us to do so.

Reviews are our own copyrighted property and any reproduction or usage requires permission. These may be requested again, by dropping a comment below this post.

We truly hope that you will enjoy your visit to review carnival and make some new memories.

Yours faithfully,

Author Interview- Christie Kelley

Hi, there everyone. This is the first author interview on Review Carnival. In this interview, we have interviewed award-winning historical romance author Christie Kelley who has a brand new book coming out in October called Scandal of the season. Christie Kelley was born and raised in upstate New York. As a child, she always had a vivid imagination and the bad dreams that go along with it, or perhaps the dreams were caused by the five brothers and three sisters she lived with. After seventeen years working for financial institutions in software development, she took a leap of faith and started her first book. Seven years later, her first book EVERY NIGHT I’M YOURS was bought by Zebra books.

She now lives in Maryland with her husband and two future romance heroes. Her latest book Scandal of the season is a historical romance with a unique twist. Here's a short blurb:

For ten years, Anthony Westfield, Viscount Somerton, hasn’t been able to forget the woman with whom he spent one scandalous night. When their paths cross again, he’s shocked to discover Victoria Seaton is an accomplished pickpocket. But Somerton leads a double life of his own. Working on an undercover assignment, he makes Victoria a proposition: pretend to be his mistress or risk ruin. Yet soon he’s tempted to turn their charade into reality and surrender to an explosive passion.

Victoria can’t believe the man who almost destroyed her life a decade ago is now threatening to unravel her secrets. But posing as his mistress at a holiday country party is a game she can play well. For just one look into Somerton’s eyes still weakens her with lust. And with Christmas fast approaching, every kiss they share under the mistletoe only makes Victoria fall more deeply in love.

First of all, Review Carnival would like to thank Christie Kelley for agreeing for an interview despite her busy schedule. Here is the interview:


Favorite color-Green
Favorite author- Victoria Alexander
Favorite book-  The Wedding Bargain
Zodiac sign-  Aries
When you are down, what do you say to yourself to inspire yourself- That there are a lot of people less fortunate than me. Take what I have and make it work.
Your motto- I have a fortune cookie paper that's taped on my laptop that says "Your present plans are going to succeed" I've always liked that motto.
City of your dreams-  London
Review Carnival-I am really pleased that you decided to do an interview with Review Carnival. First of all, I would like to ask you when you decided you wanted to be a writer and whether a writer's life is the way you imagined it to be.
Christie-I didn't start to write until 2000. At that time, I had just reduced my hours at work and was working mostly from home. Once I had the extra time, I decided to give writing a try. I was quickly addicted to it.

As far as a writer's life...well, it's not much different than my usual working life. I always had deadlines when I worked in technology and if a deadline started to slip, I would work extra. It's pretty much the same thing. 

Review Carnival-Why did you choose to write romance? How many books (on an average) do you write in a year?
Christie-I chose romance, and historical romance in particular, because that is what I always read. It was a perfect fit for me. Plus I love research :)

I tend to write two books a year. That means some years. I'll have two books out and some years only one. It all depends on the publishing schedule.

Review Carnival-What kind of heroes and heroines do you like in romance novels? Are your characters similar to them?

Christie-I like alpha heroes who aren't too controlling. For heroines, I like them to have more going on in their lives than just waiting for the right man to come along.

I think the hero/heroine from my latest release, Scandal of the Season are most like this description. He's a hardened rake with deep secrets. She runs a house for orphans but if money is running low, she has no problem picking pockets for a little extra cash.
Review Carnival-Who do you think influenced you/your writing style/choice of genre?

Christie-All the authors I read--Johanna Lindsey, Judith McNaught, Julia Quinn, Victoria Alexander, Christina Dodd.
Review Carnival-Do you ever have the dreaded writer's block? How do you deal with it?

Christie-I think all writers will get stuck sometimes. When it happens to me, it's usually because I've written myself into a corner with my plot. I call my critique partner, Kathy Love and talk through it. She's awesome at fixing my plot holes.
Review Carnival-Thank you very much for doing this interview with Review Carnival. We wish you all the best and hope that your next book might be a bestseller. For the final question, what message would you like to give your fans?

Christie-Thank you, thank you, and thank you! I love hearing from readers so please email me at or friend me on Facebook.
Hope you enjoyed the interview. You can get more information about Christie and her books on her website: or her blog Remember that her latest book Scandal of the Season is coming out on October. You can order it here: