Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka

Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka
Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka
Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka
Storm Fairy by Osamu Tezuka

Title: Storm Fairy
Scored a: B+
Status: Read the first story.


Gosh! What a lovely little fairytale. .

Little backstory: I got this book via a kickstarter run by Digital Manga/ as part of their ongoing project to publish tons of Tezuka’s work. My copy came with a collection of bookmarks and postcards as well as a cute lil’ Unico pin.

Anyway, here’s the summary of Storm Fairy:

Once upon a time, an Empress flees her burning castle to the nearby forest where she encounters a forest fairy. A deal is struck where in exchange for the fairy’s favor, the Empress must give up the face of her next born child. Thus, two girls’ lives become entwined: one has to wear a mask to hide her disfigured face, the other born with the face of the first. One night, a malcontent discovered Princess Ruri’s curse and steals her mask to put his own daughter on the throne. Ruri, now on the run, meets a samurai Tonosuke who decides to care for her. Hakobe, the fairy born with Ruri’s face, finds out the princess is on the run and decides to help her win back her kingdom, but little does she know, she wears the face of the one she’s trying to save…

I really liked this! Sometimes I’m not too sure with Osamu Tezuka’s work, it can become unexpectedly gory but this was the kind of fairytale story that I was used to as a kid before I was allowed into the old translations. Princess Ruri, Hakobe the fairy, Tonosuke the ronin, this was the sort of story I wish was as old as it felt so I could share it with everyone. It would have fit in perfectly with my shelves of fairytale books when I was a child.

The story is fast paced – it’s not what I’d call short and it felt like there was a new exciting development on every page. Osamu Tezuka’s art is unique, a fun cartoony style (part of why it’s so disorienting when it gets gory) that gets across the action with ease. Some of the scenes are downright adorable, like when Hakobe is thrown to the snakes. Really, it’s cute.

There is also a hot air balloon battle.

The reason I didn’t give it a full A is because I think it was just missing a tiny thing I can’t put my finger on to make it exceptional. But it’s definitely worth your time and money to get a copy. There’s some references in here I didn’t get as usual with Tezuka (keep that in mind when you read), but that’s not why I dinged him. These comics are old and I am young plus the whole cultural divide so it’s very likely it’s just something out of my personal experience.

I hope to read the next two stories, one about a girl detective and another about magic clouds, soon.


Other titles by Osamu Tezuka you may know:

Astro Boy
Princess Knight

The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright

The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright

Title: The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
Scored a: B+
Status: Finished!


This was a book that was around in my childhood (I even chose to represent it with the cover I knew it by) that I never read and often conflated with another story where a little girl finds an old dollhouse with dolls that move on their own. In the one I mixed it up with, the girl refurbishes their dollhouse and gave me an untrue expectation of wallpaper sample availability. Still can’t remember its name.

In this one? There’s murder and screaming. Perfect late night read.

Plot: Amy is having a hard time at home, so she temporarily moves in with her Aunt Clare. When she finds her Aunt Clare’s old dollhouse, she’s enchanted. Until the dolls begin acting out the brutal murder of her great-grandparents. With her little sister Louann and her friend Ellen’s help, she sets to find out what the dollhouse is telling her. Even if Aunt Clare wants them to leave well enough alone.

Ah, I loved this. It had me leaning in to read more, and I could almost hear the thunderstorm raging around in the scariest moment of the book.

Amy is 12 (turning 13 over the course of the book) and life isn’t easy for her. Her little sister Louann has brain damage and taking care of her is wearing Amy down, especially since she blames her sister for how other children avoid her after meeting Louann. This was something I’d seen myself in person – in this case an extremely frustrated little brother with his older low-functioning autistic brother, so it rang pretty true to me.

If you’re worried, Louann does okay for herself. She has her own interests and her own life going on, and is pretty essential to how the book plays out and not in a magical savant way. The only problem with her part of the story I had is where Aunt Clare suddenly knows better than everyone else to help the niece that she just met. It felt unfair, narratively.

That said, gosh, I like this book. Amy realizing she has friends, Amy discovering things, Amy being brave, the creepiness of the dolls. All of it.

If you want a ghost story with a lot of atmosphere (but remember it’s aimed at middle grade), definitely check this one out.

I purchased another book by the author, Christina’s Ghost. Looking forward to it.

To Sketch a Thief by Sharon Pape

To Sketch a Thief by Sharon Pape
To Sketch a Thief by Sharon Pape

Title: To Sketch a Thief by Sharon Pape
Scored a: B+
Status: Finished!


I was just trying to download my kindle library onto my new ipad when I got sick of babysitting the little bars and I clicked on a book at random. Later I surfaced, having read the entirety of To Sketch a Thief.

It’s the sequel to ‘Sketch Me If You Can‘ and the adventures of Rory, no longer a sketch artist but a PI, and her ghost Zeke.

In this one we delve more into why Zeke’s dead (not just being killed, there’s details), and a new character is added to the cast: Hobo the Dog. Seen on the cover. Hobo is a nice dog. I like Hobo.

Plot: Rory finds an errant dog and takes him home. Unfortunately his owner’s been murdered, and her other dog, a show-quality maltese, is also missing. Rory is hired by the woman’s friend not to solve the murder (that’s police business now) but to crack a dognapping ring that may have stolen the dead woman’s dog and her friend’s.

I liked it! Enough that I entered into a timewarp when I meant to just glance at it. The murder mystery part was satisfying and well plotted, I enjoyed the look into Zeke’s life. The characters were fleshed out and the interactions were good readin’.

The parts I didn’t like so much is that Rory and Zeke fought overly much so that every morning scene was ‘the rift between us from last night’ to the point of overuse, and I didn’t feel quite satisfied with how the dognapping case tied up.

That said, this is a pretty good mystery and I’ll be buying the next in the series.

Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton

Title: Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton
Scored a: B+
Status: Finished


Cover of Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton
Cover of Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton

And now for the third book I finished over my vacation! Although it looks like If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell (same as the witchcraft vintage store mysteries, but this one is about home repair and a good deal more gritty) is fast approaching putting me at four completed. See, what happened was, at the airport on the way home I was struck by wanting to read a LOT of ghost cozy mysteries so I googled ‘mystery partner ghost’ and and the first result was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks, googley overlords.

The page I found was a huge list of cozy series that featured ghosts and summaries of the series. I picked out a few to start with (Aunt Dimity, Family Skeleton, Haunted Bookshop, Haunted Home Renovation) and started with Aunt Dimity’s Death.

Well, it was a mystery, but not the kind I was expecting. Not a single murder! But that’s not a criticism, since a book not being what I expected when I didn’t  read the summary all the way is not its fault in the least.

Since the amazon page is withholding summaries from me, I will donnez:


Lori Shepherd’s life has been in a downward spiral. She’d had a happy childhood with a loving mother and stories her mother made up of the adventures of ‘Aunt Dimity.’ But now her mother’s dead, she can barely get any work, and a law office just contacted her to tell her that not only is Aunt Dimity real, she died some months ago. But she has a task for Lori.

There was a ghost as promised and I am satisfied.I will be reading the next book in the series.

The book itself was very much like a fairytale, but the idea of a fairytale and not a real one where your life is in constant peril. It was fun to read and picture the descriptions, because the places in the book sounded beautiful.

It’s not an A because as much as I enjoyed what it was, it didn’t give me all I wanted – the plot wasn’t full enough for me. Hopefully the next ones will be more meaty.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Fuan no Tane

A wight from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs ended on a sour note because I didn’t realize it was part of a series so the ‘TUNE IN NEXT TIME’ ending was more’n a little annoying.

That said, I liked it! Ransom Riggs is good at atmosphere, and his description of the world around Jacob is great. The vintage photographs used to illustrate the characters and concepts throughout are a nice touch.

The plot is, Jacob’s grandfather always told him stories about the magical children he grew up, as well as monsters he fought. When Jacob grew up, his father told him that the children’s magic was that they were Jewish, like Jacob’s grandfather, and the monsters were the nazis.

Then Jacob finds out his grandfather was telling the truth.

Like I said, I overall liked this and my only stylistic complaint is the mythos in the book didn’t mesh fully with itself.

The other thing I read was Fuan no Tane by Masaaki Nakayama without realizing I’d read a book until I was entering Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children into the spreadsheet and went ‘oh wait, that counted, didn’t it!’. It’s a collection of ghost stories in scenes, some stories no more than two pages. One of the stories is here, it takes place in a hospital.

Don’t expect an origin or explanation to the ghosts, it’s just a nice little capsule of horror. My favourite is early on, The Giant. I will enclose it in this post, since there’s no legal English version of this comic and I can’t just tell you to buy it.

Below is The Giant:
Continue reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Fuan no Tane


Hell yes Bunnicula! Deborah and James Howe wrote a funny little story that I liked as much now as when I read it as a kid. Harold the dog is quite the narrator, with very typical dog priorities (although I went NO when I found out his favourite snack was chocolate cake) that make him pretty endearing, since it’s mixed with a mature, humanlike viewpoint.

To those not familiar with the plot, it goes: The family that Harold the dog lives with goes to see Dracula, and in the theatre seats they find a baby bunny and bring it home. The bunny is then named Bunnicula in honour of the film.

Chester the cat, the last character, senses something is immediately Not Right when white, drained vegetables start appearing…

A lot of the appeal of this book is the writing. It has Harold’s narration, Chester’s catlike ways of trying to stop a vampire rabbit, and really adorable descriptions of Bunnicula. The characterization of the family is pretty ace too.

Harriet the Spy

Harriet performs her onion dance

Tonight I read Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (had to look that up, I was looking at the tiiiny cover on my ipod and thought her last name was Pittsburgh) which was the source of my childhood fixation on tomato sandwiches. I’m also realizing I must have read the sequels, because there was a scene I clearly remembered involving goat cheese that did not, in fact, happen in this book.

Harriet wants to be a spy, so she keeps a dossier on everyone. Everyone. Unfortunately, Harriet doesn’t have very nice things to say to people and the inevitable happens.

When I read this the first time, I was eleven which is Harriet’s age, so her behaviour seemed perfectly natural. Now that I’m an adult with an eleven year old stepbrother, I see how accurate Harriet’s behaviour was. Running around, screaming when talking for no reason, not understanding how feelings work outside her. Don’t let that imply I don’t think my step-brother is totally awesome, but now I see how typical eleven year old Harriet’s attitude was.

A sort of thorny read emotionally, the part that really got me wasn’t even overtly sad, but it was just Harriet dealing with the fallout when things went wrong and her parents trying to help. There was just something about watching a kid suffer, even if the kid wasn’t fully aware they were suffering.

Great book, I can see why I loved it so much as a kid, even if I didn’t take its lesson to heart and had a brief fling with wanting to be a spy. Thank god for short attention spans.