Good morning bibliophiles and otaku friends! I hope that your Saturday morning is off to a good start so far. My weekend will be spent doing homework and working, which means I’ll be reading and writing a lot. However, I don’t mind at all as I love doing both of those things!
August was a far better reading month for me even though I ended up going through approximately the same number of books, give or take one or two. I think I derived a lot more pleasure from the novels read during August. Reading slumps were on my arse like kitties on catnip in July, which made being a bookworm feel more akin to household chores than a hobby of pleasure. Yet, Autumn is around the corner and the weather has already started to cool in my neck of the world, so I’m anticipating an improvement in my book completion as the months go onward!
As per usual, I have everything that I read listed below, in respective genre categories. Any relative reviews or first impressions that I have posted will be shared along with the author, a brief synopsis, and my overall rating. If I don’t have reviews up for the titles yet, then they will more than likely be heading out in the next few weeks. I don’t review books that I have DNF’d, unless I DNF’d it for offensive or harmful content and have read at least fifty percent of it.
Attack on Titan: No Regrets – Complete Coloured Edition by Gun Snark and Hajime Isayama is a shōnen, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic series. This collection is the complete two-volume, full-colour edition. I do plan on writing a review for this specific edition, and it should be out within a week or so. No Regrets follows Captain Levi Ackerman prior to him joining the Survey Corps. We learn his history and the reasons that ultimately led him to join the fight for humanity. Rating: 5/5.
Erased Volume 4 by Kei Sanbe is the final omnibus instalment in this seinen, crime thriller series that revolves around a boy named Satoru who is transported back into time in order to prevent a series of child abductions from taking place. I absolutely adore this series so much! It is one of my favourite manga of all-time! I look forward to sharing a full-review for the manga with you either on Monday or Tuesday, so keep an eye peeled for it. In the meantime, you can read my First Impressions here. If you are in the market for an exciting and excellently crafted manga series, pleased read Erased! Rating: 5/5 (for the volume, specifically).
Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album Deluxe Edition by various artists and authors is a collection of stories from the past fifty years that focuses entirely on Batman and Catwoman, following both sides of their identity. It is a wonderful homage to the Batman franchise as well as to one of the most beloved duos in the medium. I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review, which will be posted on Friday! Rating: 4/5.
Last Winter, We Parted: A Novel by Fuminori Nakamura is an #OwnVoices Japanese psychological crime thriller novel—my first one by this author. It was fabulously brilliant and skin-crawlingly creepy. You can read my full review for the novel here. Overall, if you enjoy twisted, dark, fucked-up thrillers then you will adore Last Winter, We Parted as it takes psychological rather literally and it’s amazing. Rating: 4/5.
When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro is a British-Japanese novel about a kid living in Shanghai. Then one day his parents disappear without a trace. Eventually he leaves Shanghai and grows up to become a renown detective. He then returns to Shanghai to learn once and for all just what the hell happened to his mother and father. I tried reading this, I really tried, but it was one of the most boring things I have ever encountered. The vast majority of it was unbearably and unnecessarily tedious. So, I DNF’d it. As such, no rating.
View from the Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro is an #OwnVoices British-Japanese novel about an older woman who must process the worst sort of grief after her daughter commits suicide. The events trigger something within her which bring her back to Japan during the Second World War period, when Japan was Occupied. Everything about that synopsis screams, “Neko, you must read this bloody book.” It’s completely my kind of chai. However, I was once more deceived by the horrid monotony of the prose. I managed to drudge through this one, but I was so uninterested by the time that I got to the finale that I probably couldn’t recall half of what I read, which is saying a lot considering the subject matter and my passion for it, which is also why I won’t be reviewing it. Rating: 2/5.
Confessions: A Novel by Kanae Minato is an #OwnVoices Japanese psychological thriller that I fucking loved! It follows a teacher named Yūko who breaks off her engagement after facing a tragedy with her betrothed. Then one day her daughter is killed at the middle school where she works. Discovering that two of her students were responsible, Yūko hands in her resignation and gives her class one final lesson, in which the murderers are subjected to a mind-blowing feat of vengeance. This was incredible. I was reluctant to pick it up because so many people didn’t like it, yet the inherent spine-tingling sensation that I received while reading this, coupled with the insidious way everything seeps into your mind, creating a deliciously devious experience, it was difficult not to love it. AND THAT PLOT TWIST, HOLY SCOOBY-DOO, WAS IT BLOODY BRILLIANT. A full review for this novel will be up later today. Rating: 4.5/5.
American Panda by Gloria Chao is an #OwnVoices Taiwanese-American, young adult contemporary novel about a seventeen-year-old MIT freshman named Mei. Mei straddles severe cultural clashes between her American culture and the supremely conservative Taiwanese-Chinese culture she was raised in, to the point where she begins lying to her parents. But then reuniting with her disowned brother gives Mei insight into her circumstance and she realises that lying is not the right solution, all leading to a hot mess of a climax. I have written a full (long) review for the book here. But to keep it short: the representation of conservatism and its harmful oppressive ways, especially towards women, and the aching disparity that multi-cultural children face while growing up was spectacular. Rating: 5/5.
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi is an #OwnVoices Korean-American, young adult contemporary story that follows a girl named Penny, who’s headed off to college, and a guy named… something I cannot remember to save my life. They are awkward people who meet through interesting circumstances and then develop a texting relationship, where they grow and mature through their support of one another. I hated Penny so bloody much. She is extremely hateful and judgmental of everyone and everything, sort of in a manner that highlights how the “world is against her.” Which it is not. The book also utilised forced language that is supposed to appeal to younger audiences but comes off patronising and at-times condescending. Additionally, it’s heavily ableist, fat-phobic, and racist. Safe to say that I DNF’d the fucking hell out of it. Not my kind of book. I would have sat through everything else if Penny didn’t drive me bloody mad with rage.
Ice Forged (The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga #1) by Gail Z. Martin is a sword-and-sorcery novel about a guy named Blaine who ends up being exiled to a penal colony after murdering his sister’s rapist. Upon his departure, the nation he once called home gets swept away in a violent war jam-packed with political intrigue. When the support vessels stop arriving at the penal colony, Blaine and the rest of the convicts know that something must have happened on the mainland. They concoct an intensely risky plan and do whatever they can to save themselves from starving, and from the world going to hell. This novel had tons of potential to be amazing, but the writing inevitably fell short, making it lose a lot of its appeal. You can read my full review for the book here. I won’t say it’s not worth reading because the world-building and use of magic is fantastic, yet it doesn’t have much else going for it. It is the first book in a series that I hope to one day complete because I really adored the wold-building a lot. Rating: 3/5.
Those were the ten books that I read (and DNF’d) in August. As I mentioned before, overall I read a bunch of things I enjoyed, especially from the psychological thriller genre, apparently. Cheers to a bookishly successful September!! Have you read any of the stuff mentioned here? What did you think of them?