I think the first thing I wanted to talk about was how it compares to Missions of Love, since that's why we got the book to begin with. And our consensus on that is...it doesn't. Like badtzphoto said, the story isn't similar at all, and we would even venture to say that the heroines are not similar, either. They share three traits: they're both observant and like people-watching, they both wear glasses, and they both have dark hair.
We can see where people get the strong impression that there are a lot more similarities, though, and that's the very first scene of each series. Both series start with the heroine noticing something and drawing a conclusion about a series of people. First impressions, we're learning more and more, are everything. They said it all the time, on TV and stuff, when we were young, and we didn't believe it, but we're starting to buy into the theory more and more. For example, everyone loves the Lion King, and we think this has a lot to do with the incredibly amazing Circle of Life sequence at the beginning of the movie. Also, we read a lot of reviews of The Princess and the Frog where people thought it was so great that a Disney movie actually teaches people to work to accomplish their dreams (the movie of course doesn't deny the importance of work, but the point of the movie is you need love, too).
Anyway, the point is, there's one similar scene right near the beginning, and other than that, the girls are pretty different. And yet we've seen not less than three reviews of Missions of Love saying, "It reminds me of The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko." Oh wait, I guess both girls had some kind of trauma in their past that caused them to distance themselves from others. Yukina's seems like it figures into the story more, but that's probably just because her story was meant to be a series from the beginning, while Kanoko's started as a one-shot.
As for how we liked Warau Kanoko-sama...to be honest, we didn't love it. Maybe it's because we have little patience for people who specifically avoid making friends and find themselves with a ton of friends anyway. That's not a reflection on the series so much as it is a reflection on our own personal bitterness. Also, after watching Psych and then reading Sherlock Holmes, we think that characters that are noted in the series as being very observant and paying careful attention to detail should notice a lot more things. (This is something we've been noticing with a bunch of things (characters not being as observant as their series claim, I mean), including Warehouse 13 and, sadly, a TV version of Sherlock Holmes.) When Kanoko happens upon a new piece of information, she's always surprised. Why hasn't she already deduced that to be the case? It made a lot of sense in the first chapter, because they pointed out that she was specifically observing the guy she was in love with, and there for wasn't as objective an observer as she had hoped. I guess after that she was still learning the skill?
It has a few themes that we like. I really liked the theme about working hard to earn something instead of stealing it, but the story (Princess Mermaid) didn't really demonstrate the theme very well, we felt. We also like how, more than once, there'd been a girl who wasn't willing to let someone experience the same pain she had, even if that person was the one who caused it.
So, all in all, we wouldn't be opposed to reading more of it, but we're probably not going to actively seek it out without encouragement.
Today I'm thankful for getting shiny new manga, getting to go to the temple last night, getting to try the cinnamon roll flavor of Frosted Mini Wheats, having a yummy Freschetta pizza to eat for dinner tonight, and evidence that Page is not treating the new cat bed as a nonentity.