September began as a struggle for me, reading wise, and that struggle floated around on and off throughout the month. I did manage to read more manga than normal, which I felt immensely grateful for as it’s been too long since I have sat down and read a stack of manga volumes. Novel wise, most of the books ended up being disappointments and unsatisfying. As I sit here typing up this post, I’m starting to realise that those not-so-great books may have contributed to my having difficulties finding interest in actually reading. It’s safe to say that I’m hoping October will be a much different case than September.
For October, I’m hoping to read some cosy mysteries—I did a haul for some that you can check out here—as well as some spoopy stuff to celebrate Halloween and my birthday shenanigans. If you’re a fan of cosy mysteries, please share some of your favourites in the comments section! Also, if you have any excellent supernatural horror novels to share, I’d love some recommendations!
Anyhoo, everything is broken down by genre, along with a brief synopsis, my thoughts and overall rating. I’ve also included and reviews that I have written for the respective book.
Manga & Comics:
To Your Eternity Volume 3 by Yoshitoki Ōima
This is a shōnen, fantasy story about a sentient being that evolves with the experiences they have with the people and animals around them. Volume 3 was really amazing because the motifs start to get very pensive in regard to existentialism and what it means to love someone as well as to lose someone. I’m very eager to which direction the series will take henceforth. 4/5.
Naruto Volumes 8 & 9 by Masashi Kishimoto
The exams continue in both volumes in this shōnen, action-adventure fantasy series. I liked the action and the intricacies of the different abilities. I also like the creativity behind some of the skills these kids can pull off. Friendly competition has also been a nice addition. I do feel that there should be more content in each volume because some of the things came off unnecessarily stretched out. Either way, I shall be continuing. 4/5 for both volumes.
Drifters Volume 1 by Kohta Hirano
This is a seinen, fantasy, isekai manga series that’s about historical figures from around the world that are transported to a strange land to fight an unfamiliar battle. I wrote a First Impressions post that goes into detail about what I liked and didn’t care for. To sum up, it was messy but with an original premise that I hope improves as it moves forward. 2.75/5.
Devils’ Line Volume 11 by Ryo Hanada
The seinen, supernatural, crime thriller is about modern day vampires called “Devils” who reside hidden amid humanity until their presence becomes known in dangerous ways. This volume focuses on development of side characters. It has great representation for asexual, aromantic, and gay characters. The manga is eons better than the anime ever was and is one of my current favourites. 5/5.
Black Butler Volume 1 by Yana Toboso
This is a shōnen, dark fantasy, Victorian story about a young boy who is head of a noble family that works for the Queen of England. He is accompanied by his devilishly handsome butler. I loved the first volume. I think a lot of that had to do with my familiarity with the series already. My First Impressions goes into more depth about what I liked and felt some readers may not care for. Overall, I can’t wait to continue with it! 4/5.
Kingsway West by Greg Pak
This fantasy western graphic novel is about a gunslinger who gives up his murderous way to settle down with his wife, but then other people have political plans for him that will cost him dearly. This story had tons of potential to be absolutely mind-blowing but fell short in the most substandard of ways, which my full, spoiler-free reviews discusses. 2/5.
Science-Fiction & Fantasy:
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
A supernatural fantasy, alternate history novel about the secret life President Abraham Lincoln had as a vampire hunter before taking up the leadership mantle. I was craving a dark, vampiric story, so I picked this up. It ended up being much worse than expected, and also a bit problematic as it uses slavery as a plot device that left me feeling uncomfortable. Curious? Read my full, spoiler-free review here (gotta love shameless self-promo). 2.75/5.
Semiosis by Sue Burke
This is a first-contact, interstellar science-fiction novel that is a stand alone and follows colonists who arrive at a planet to determine its long-term liveability but encounters a sentient race of beings who aren’t pleased with the visitors. This is an extraordinary stand-alone that is very character-driven and science-heavy, excellent for fans of Annihilation, The Martian¸ and Uprooted. My spoiler-free review chats more about these qualities as well as the theme of negative effects of colonisation that are explored in the narrative. 4/5.
A Study in Scarlet (Lady Sherlock #1) by Sherry Thomas
I picked this historical fiction, Sherlockian story up because I love Sherlockian narratives. This one follows a woman who pretends to be a man named Sherlock Holmes so she can put her intelligence to good use. The book had loads of potential to be kick-ass, but due to poor pacing—meaning slow as hell—and some disjointed writing, it ended badly for me. My review talks about these things more, if you want to check it out. 2.75/5.
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
This #OwnVoices Chinese, young adult contemporary is about a kid getting ready to go to off to college when he discovers some of his parents’ dark secrets by accident. The more he unravels, the more shocking the truth becomes. Two things that made me interested in this include the kid’s passion for art and that the interesting premise. It has beautiful prose and focuses quite a bit on dialogue, but aside from that, the story felt emotionally empty to me. Novels where I can’t formulate a connection to the story or characters always make me feel shitty, so I DNF’d it.
The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura
This is the #OwnVoices Japanese, psychological thriller that has cemented Fuminori Nakamura into my life as a vivid author for the genre. It follows a guy who comes across a random gun one evening and it completely changes the dynamics of his existence. This was one of the most brilliant additions to the genre that I have ever read. My full review goes into detail about what makes The Gun so phenomenal, spoiler-free of course. 5/5.
One Day at Horrorland (Goosebumps #16) by R.L. Stine
I’ve been reading through this horror series because I love the nostalgia of experiencing a big part of my bookish childhood over again. This instalment follows a kid and his family as they come across a peculiar theme park. My full review (which will be short to match the book) shall be up in a day or so! 3.5/5.