August fucking rocked! It was another month of plenty o’reading as I read eighteen books in these past 31-days! I have no idea what has been pushing me into this page-turning chaotic behaviour, but I’m loving every second of it and I’m going to hope that it will last until the end of the year! Being a slayer of TBR piles feels pretty damn amazing, if I do say so.
Per usual, the books will be listed with snippets of synopsis and small musings, unless there’s a full-review written up. In that case, I’ll just include the snippet, a link to the review, and my overall rating. There is no particular order to them this time around. Grab a cup of tea, or coca and enjoy the longish post. Happy reading to all!
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan & Niko Henrichon
This stand-alone graphic novel is about a pride of lions that fled from the Baghdad Zoo during an American bombing raid. The story follows the lions as they deal with their new found freedom, while simultaneously exhibiting the harsh realities of war. Check out my full review here. This was an extraordinary fucking comic and highly emotional. 4.5/5.
Monstress Volume 2: The Blood by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
The second trade paperback instalment within the Monstress comic serial follows Maika in the wake of discovering shocking information in regards to her mother as she sets off on a journey to learn more about her family and her new found abilities. This dark fantasy, steampunk series is an adrenaline-rush of an addiction for me as it is jam-packed with utterly gorgeous and breathtaking illustrations, an intensely compelling and viciously action-packed story as well as rich lore and world-building that’s infused with malevolent magical forces. 5/5.
Chew Volume 1: Taster’s Choice by John Layman & Rob Guillory
This crime fiction comic revolves around a detective named Tony Chu who eats bits of the victims he encounters to get a psychic impression that helps him solve the cases of their murders. You can read my full review here. This was disgusting as all fuck, but also rather intriguing. 4.25/5.
Wayward Volume 1: String Theory by Jim Zub & Steven Cummings
A supernatural, fantasy comic series that is about a girl named Rori Lane, a half-Irish and half-Japanese teenager, who’s sent to Japan to live with her mum. As she begins her new life, she starts seeing strange things in the air around her. After learning how to deal with it, she gets attacked by supernatural creatures and the story unfolds henceforth. This was a solid first volume that’s story rich. The artwork is a wonderful combination of Western colours and influences, particularly from the 1980s, along with Japanese anime styles. Since it’s essentially a superhero origin story, it follows every fucking trope that goes along with it. But cool characters & lovely visuals helped it to remain interesting. 4/5.
Wayward Volume 2: Ties That Bond by Jim Zub & Steven Cummings
The second instalment introduces us to a small handful of new characters with minor plot progression involving Rori. Insight into Rori’s power is expanded upon, however it continues to be painfully tropey. It honestly feels like a Japanese (non-OwnVoices) re-hashing of the X-Men comics, just not as compelling. Artwork still kicks ass though 3.75/5.
The Haunted Mask (Goosebumps #11) by R.L. Stine
This middle-grade horror book is about a young girl named Carly who gets sick and tired of kids picking on her for being a fraidy-cat. On Halloween, she decides to get her revenge and scare everyone else for a change. She gets a nasty mask and sets out to have her fun. This was soooo predictable. It also dragged in a few places, but it did have a pretty decent creep factor. 2.5/5.
The Menagerie (The Menagerie #1) by Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland
This middle-grade fantasy series is written by a group of Venezuelan-American ladies. It’s about a young kid named Logan who recently moves to a small town called Xanadu. One day he awakes to find all of his pets acting strange and super scared. Thinking nothing of it, he heads off to school where he hears a girl, Zoe Kahn, talking about her missing “dog.” When he comes home, he discovers a griffin cub hiding under his bed, which leads him back to Zoe. Together they must find the remaining griffin cubs before they (cubs) are executed. I will have a full review of this novel releasing later this week, so all I will say is that it was surprisingly enjoyable and quite charming. 4.25/5.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
This is an adult fantasy, specifically sword and sorcery, novel. A wizard known as Dragon helps protect a country and the village closest to a forest named The Wood, which is filled with sinister, malevolent forces. In exchange for this protection, every ten years, he gets to take one girl from the village of his choosing with no questions asked. A full review for this book shall also be going up this week. The magic and world-building it surrounds was excellent, even if the book’s a bit paced. 3.75/5.
The Judas Strain (Sigma Force #4) by James Rollins
In this instalment of the action-adventure serial, a physiologically unique strain of a virus mutates benign, harmless bacteria into killer parasites causing an epidemic in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, an ancient Angelic script is discovered and found to be the key in figuring out the missing period of Marco Polo’s journey from China to Persia. This was an amazing book. Check out my full review for it here. I have to say it’s one of my favourite from the series thus far. 4.25/5.
Dauntless (The Lost Fleet #1) by Jack Campbell
A hero, who’s presumed dead, from a battle that took place one-hundred years ago, is discovered in stasis on a distant planet. Assigned to be the commander of the Alliance fleet after a devastating loss, he must face drastic changes in military functions as well as a full-blown war that’s been going on for many years in order to help the fleet fight for survival. Another review that’ll be up later during the week, I must say that this is one of the best hard science-fiction stories, especially military science-fiction, novels that I have read in a really long fucking time. I’m very eager to continue with the series. 4.5/5.
your name. by Makoto Shinkai
This #OwnVoices Japanese book is the novelization of the sensational anime film by esteemed director Makoto Shinkai. It follows a boy and a girl, strangers, who begin to experience each other’s lives via dreams. My review for this is quite possibly one of the best book reviews I’ve written; give it a read here. It is an eloquent masterpiece of emotions that everyone should read, even if you’ve seen the film. 5/5.
Kieli Manga Series (Volume 1 & 2) by Yukako Kabei & Shiori Teshirogi
A manga adaptation of the supernatural, steampunk shōjo light novel series, specifically volume one of that series (my review for that volume can be found here), it follows a girl named Kieli who has the ability to see ghosts. One day while on holiday from school, she meets a young man named Harvey, who’s an Undying: a man from a war that took place many, many years ago who’s unable to die due to his heart being made of a rare and magical rock. The manga is a perfect adaptation of the introductory novel and is a great way to get a feel for the story. The art is wonderful and the expression of emotions and plot points were very good. 4.5/5.
Orange Complete Collections by Ichigo Takano
This shōjo, slice-of-life manga series revolves around 16-year-old Naho. On the first day of her second year in high school, she receives a letter from herself ten years into the future. Thinking of it as a prank, she disregards it until events mentioned in the letter start to come true. As she re-reads the letter, she realises it is her future self’s attempt at saving the life of a dear friend she has in high school who dies before the second year is out. I wrote a full review for this wonderful series here. In addition to the stunning artwork, the story is intense and very compelling. This is the manga that made Ichigo Takano one of my top three favourite mangaka. 5/5.
Planetes Omnibus Volume 2 by Makoto Yukimura
This seinen hard science-fiction manga follows a group of astronauts who are charged with keeping near-Earth’s orbit clean of space debris. A full review on why this is one of the best science fiction stories I have ever read will be out sometime this week. For now, I will say that I have never read a more real and accurate (as close to) representation of what it means to live and work in space, as well as how it affects the people left behind on Earth. The artwork is a goddamn fucking masterpiece in every way possible, which just further enhances everything else. 5/5.
Date Night on Union Station (EarthCent Ambassador #1) by E.M. Foner
This super short e-book novel is a science-fiction comedy about a lady who is Earth’s Ambassador on a space station deep in the galaxy. With a busy work life she doesn’t get the chance to date often, so the AI in charge signs her up for a dating service where she encounters an array of individuals from varying alien races. This is advertised as a comedy but it was so damn boring and not funny at all. Also, the main character is a blatant xenophobe, offensively so, which I didn’t much care for. 1/5.
Venom: The Complete Collection Volume 1 by Rick Remender, Tony Moore, & Tom Fowler
This superhero comic series follows a dude named Flash Thompson and his struggles of being Venom. Super unpopular opinion alert: I really don’t care for Flash Thompson as Venom. He’s not very compelling as the character and I found his particular story to be rather boring and overrated. The plot is disjointed making it difficult to connect certain situations together. The artwork is decent, yet with the bad storytelling, I felt it was kind of a waste. 1/5.