Illustrated by Hayden Sherman
Five women from an inmate-staffed fire crew in California are battling the latest blaze in the drought-stricken state. One of the inmates on the line realizes she knows the forest they're in, and tells the rest of her line-mates that her previous partner, the one who set her up to go to jail, has a mansion in a few valleys over. She tempts the crew with promises of it being abandoned because of the fire, but even more so with the promise of tons of cryptocurrency that she knows how to steal. With it, the five could set themselves up, disappear, and get back to the lives they had before being arrested. It seems like an easy heist and fast ticket out of their current problem, but just like the many stages of a wildfire, much of it goes wrong.
Asa continues to be the only means of defense against the creature lurking off Japan’s coast. The Japanese government fears if the Americans become involved, they might try to drop a nuclear bomb on it, which will cause even more suffering for the people of Japan. Instead, Asa is given a transistor radio and a coded phrase that will let her know when to spring into action. She’s to listen to it between classes, after school, and take turns sleeping and listening with Yasuga. Asa’s friend, Sho, is now training thoroughly for the next Olympics. His father and brothers have him running all day up to the marathon event of the Olympics. They map out a course for him and angrily keep him on pace with the lead runner, an athlete from Ethiopia. Yone and Miyako finally come clean about their dreams: to become a professional singer for Yone, and to become a professional wrestler for Miyako.
Lady Aurora and Lord Felix have been invited to a Lumis party, but Felix’ family is bitter rivals with the Lumises! This causes the family to go into overdrive planning for the two to have a spectacular debut. Felix’ mother and sister prepare them by gathering tons of information on nobles for them to memorize; a beautiful dress is commissioned from one of the kingdom’s most sought-after designers, and there is, of course, dancing lessons. While this started out as mostly a front, Felix begins to fall for Aurora, and his feelings come gushing out of him at the most unlikely of times - at the party in front of tons of nobles!
Applicants who passed the first part of the Wizard First Class test are now set to take the second part of the exam. This portion requires the applicants to get through a dangerous dungeon. Sense, the instructor, tags along with Frieren and Fern, but the rest of the candidates split up and go solo or create small teams. They soon learn that this was a mistake, that this particular dungeon requires cooperation. Inside, there is a monster who makes nearly perfect clones of the adventurers, and the group must work together to identify each other's weaknesses in order to defeat them. But, the last clone will require all of them, as they find Frieren’s powerful clone guarding the final doorway.
Illustrated by Gonbe Shinkawa
One day, when out adventuring with a friend, Lecan and his companion spy a black hole inside a dungeon. These black holes have been known to transport adventurers to difficult dungeon levels where they must defeat that level's greatest monster in order to return. Sometimes, adventurers come back fairly quickly, while others don't come back at all. Lecan decides to try his luck at this black hole, and he's actually transported into another world! Almost immediately, Lecan saves a noble family from a fierce beast, and he's taken in by them to be employed as their daughter's personal guard. This gives him a chance to learn the language and customs of this world, but his senses tell him that something far bigger and far more powerful lurks in the woods beyond their home.
Jo sets out one day to find someone who can help with the poltergeist in her attic and her ailing mother. She finds Orla, the granddaughter of the last witch of Haresden. Orla has no intention of being sucked back into Haresden’s problems, but Jo is pretty convincing. Orla agrees to fix her problems, but discovers that the magic is off in Haresden because of her late grandmother. She wasn’t buried properly, so her bones have been spread all over the town, causing chaos with the fae spirits and engendering magical problems across the countryside. Orla enlists the help of Jo in gathering all of the bones and setting the magic right again, but the two get more than they both bargained for.
Freya becomes even more entangled in Nacht's dealings. It seems that the queen, the rightful heir to the royal line of Nacht, was deposed when Sigurd took control of the kingdom. Her infant son was snatched from her, and her husband, the ruling King, forced to marry a Sigurdian princess to keep the kingdom firmly under the thumb of the evil king of Sigurd. Freya has uncovered the whole plot, but wonders if the deposed queen has the strength to bring her people back to her side. Freya vows she's not doing any of this in order to force Nacht into a pact with them - she's righting wrongs, and they can come along against Sigurd in their own time.
Kamon comes face-to-face with Shiranui, the powerful water caster who has been plaguing Mao for several volumes. Back in her own time, Byoki manages to track down Nanoka, but mostly to warn her. He begins to tell her why she should stop giving her blood to Mao, but then Uozomi saves her before he can finish his thought. Later, Mao is called on to assist another doctor who fears for one of his former patients. Another family has moved into the manor, but the doctor swears he saw his patient in the window of the second story. Who are these strangers who have taken over the house? Later, a nasty metal shikigami attacks Mao and Nanoka, and once again, she might be the only person who can save him.
Khang Zhipa loves collecting medicinal herbs in the mountains above his peaceful, farming village. As he journeys home for the day, he stops and diagnoses a fellow villager with exhaustion, and rushes home to get him some medicine. As he arrives, he finds out a traveling merchant’s family will be staying the night with them, along with a bride-to-be who eagerly helps Khang make more medicine. In the morning, he finds her still in their home but without her family. To his surprise, he discovers he is the groom-to-be! Khang and his fiancée, Rati, spend time together, getting to know each other and helping each other, and integrating Rati into his family's daily life.
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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