September this year was an average month for me with reading. Mentally I had so much stuff going on that I was only able to read before going to sleep, and most nights I didn’t even get the opportunity to do that much. It was just my head to the pillow and straight into the depths of sleepy land.
Even with the intensity of things, I managed to read about ten or eleven books, with a couple DNFs. I’m surprised that I didn’t have more DNFs, if I’m to be frank. Of the books that I did complete, almost all of them were four star reads! So, light reading aside, it wasn’t a terrible month by far.
I’ve listed everything below with a brief synopsis and my overall rating of the book. I don’t have any reviews planned as of yet since I’m taking a break from book reviews, but I do have a list of the ones that I feel like I may want to chat about whenever I get back to doing reviews again.
From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon
An #OwnVoices South Asian young adult contemporary story about a teen girl who’s also an aspiring filmmaker that gets an opportunity to work on a project with her crush’s brother, while navigating the complexities of teenage romance, rocky friendships, and retaining a sense of honour in the face of adversity. It was cute and funny and fluffy. The prose was fast-paced and easy to get swept away in. I recommend it for people who are in search of light reading that is also inspiring. 4.25/5.
The Fever King by Victoria Lee
A dystopian, young adult science-fiction novel where a unique virus grants the infected individuals with magical abilities. More often than not, it’s extremely dangerous and kills those who are infected. However, a select few, if they survive the virus, are able to wield this magic as a weapon. The premise was super fascinating, and the writing is tight and suspenseful, however I just couldn’t read it consistently enough to stay engaged, so I set it aside. I do plan on returning to it when I know I can focus on it much better because, as I’ve said, the premise of the story just sounds so brilliant. I do believe there are Queer characters and diverse POC characters in the book as well. DNF.
Detective Fiction & the Rise of the Japanese Novel, 1880-1930 by Satoru Saitō
A nonfiction, academic examination of the rise of detective fiction in Japan, starting in the Meiji Era. The book focuses on the five most influential authors of the period who impacted detective fiction and the future of Japanese literature, including two of which who vehemently disliked the medium. This was super fucking dense and pretentious, but I loved it because it’s also heavily insightful and informative. I checked this out from the library, and I do plan on adding it to my personal repertoire in the near future. 4/5.
The Fiend with Twenty Faces by Edogawa Rampo
An #OwnVoices Japanese historical detective fiction from the mid-1930s about Akechi Kogorō’s most famous adversary, a master of disguise who was also a master thief that eluded the detective time and time again. This was a re-read for me, after quite a long time no less. I picked it up to refresh my familiarity with it for the #AniTwitWatches group anime, Rampo Kitan. The story is equal parts smart, amusing, and revealing. I definitely recommend this for people who are interested in reading more classical Japanese literature, particularly from one of the most important literary figures. 4/5.
The Early Cases of Akechi Kogorō
An #OwnVoices Japanese historical detective anthology that collects short stories of Akechi Kogorō’s cases. Another re-read after many years, I picked this up for the same reasons as I read the previous title. This collection is one I highly recommend to anyone who would like to read more about Edogawa’s most well-known recurring character. They vary on the spectrum from fucked-up and strange to rather classic, while never sacrificing the weird and macabre elements that made Edogawa so influential. 4/5.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
An adult romance contemporary novel about the First Son of the United States, who is a biracial Latinx, and his frenemy relationship with the Prince of England, and the many ways their relationship impacts them and their families, politically and personally. I wasn’t expecting to like this because I’m not to savvy with romance, however, this was rather glorious in many ways. My favourite element was the sass. There is so much fucking sass in this novel, it filled my heart with warmth and rollicking laughter. Plus, it explores dysfunctional families, the struggles of having a POC representation in the White House, complexities of Queer relationship in such a public setting, and more. I wish it focused more on the cultural and Queer development and conflicts, but it still wasn’t bad. I didn’t care for all of the political qualities, but that’s mostly because it’s very heavily American and I’m not too familiar with the innerworkings of American politics, so that left me a bit bored. 3.5/5.
Naruto Volume 12 by Masashi Kishimoto
Volume 12 of the shōnen, action, martial arts series follows Naruto as he tries to learn a couple of special abilities from the perviest of mages around. It was funny and I always love seeing all the hard work that Naruto puts into his training. 4.25/5.
Black Torch Volumes 4 & 5 by Tsuyoshi Takaki
These two volumes wrap up the shōnen, supernatural, action series that is about a young boy who fuses with a Mononoke, or spiritual entity, when his life is threatened unexpectedly. The series was very short, but it wrapped up in a nice manner and had charming characters, stunning artwork, and great action. While the finale battle was a tiny bit rushed, overall, I would love to add this series to my personal collection. 4.25/5 for both volumes.
Kakuriyo -Bed & Breakfast for Spirits- Volumes 1 & 2 by Midori Yūma & Waco Ioka
This josei, supernatural series is about a young woman who gets whisked away to the spiritual realm to pay a debt left behind by her late grandfather. She ends up finding work as a chef of traditional Japanese foods, which also help her solve other dysfunctions within the realm. The anime was warm and very pleasant to me. I loved the food and the relationships so much that I couldn’t resist picking up the manga. The first two volumes follow the anime rather closely; however, I feel that Aoi is slightly sassier and ruder than she was in the anime. The artwork is also clean, delicate and super lovely. 4.25/5 for both volumes.
I will have a review going up for Black Torch and a first impressions write-up for Kakuriyo coming soon. I also have a discussion for some of the differences between Naruto’s anime and manga that I’d like to share, specifically the nuances that I don’t care for (most of them are in the anime, of course).
Beyond that, I’m satisfied with the month’s results and shall hope that October will be just as great. My goal for the birthday month is to focus on more spooky reads, and also to not worry so much on total books consumed, but my overall enjoyment. That’s definitely tons more reward and gratifying.
Thank you so much for visiting me today! I appreciate your support. I wish you a lovely day ahead.
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