Monthly roundup – April 2023

April reads. Lots of bizarro, horror, Chainsaw Man, and a couple memoirs. Overall a good month of reading. Thoroughly enjoyed them all. As usual, books with full reviews will be linked, but all have at least a brief review on my Goodreads page. That said, there were some standouts. Her Orc Protector was so good. Loved the characters. You Sound Like a White Girl had me thinking about my life and identity as a mixed race woman. I won’t be writing a full review on that one because that is a whole conversation that I think a lot of people aren’t ready to have and a book review can’t do it justice. Stay tuned for some discussion though. Check out my full breakdown.

Her Orc Protector, by Zoe Ashwood
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Novelization, by Jeff Strand
Chainsaw Man, Vol. 11: Go Get ‘Em, Chainsaw Man, by Tatsuki Fujimoto
If You Died Tomorrow I Would Eat Your Corpse, by Wrath James White
You Sound Like a White Girl, by Julissa Arce

Russells in Time, by Kevin Shamel
Stillborn Gallery, by Axl Barnes
They Take Your Skin, by J.R. Curtis
Her Orc Mate, by Zoe Ashwood
Crying in H Mart, by Michelle Zauner
Chainsaw Man Vols 5-10, by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Unrated due to pending review:
Am I a Monster, by J. Boote
Fight Tub, by William Pauley III
The Ballad of Old Joe Booth, by William Pauley III
Bound in Flesh: An Anthology of Trans Body Horror, by Lor Gislason
The Best of Bizarro Fiction: Vol. 2, by Planet Bizarro

Three of those pending reviews are ARCs, so they absolutely will get full reviews by the end of the week. They’re almost finished. I have a few others that are being published this month that I will get to soon as well. I will come back and edit in some links and put them in their proper spot on the ratings list once they’re ready, but I don’t want to tease with stars right now.

I finished up as much Chainsaw Man as I could find via Libby. I think there is a 12th volume, but it is not available to me just yet. I will say that I enjoyed the series much more than I expected. I would rate the series 4/5 overall, with the last volume I read being the strongest. My kid has already handed me a new stack of books to read, Vols 1-4 of Sailor Moon. She loves it when I share in her interests and I’m happy to oblige. So next in my exploration of manga is Sailor Moon.

I’m still dreaming of zombies, so I will get my fix ASAP. I had an author reach out to me via contact form and it just so happens that he writes zombies, so I’ll check that out. I do read every message and spend some time looking up books, but I rarely respond because the books I’m being pitched are not stuff I would pick up organically. I’m not big on fantasy and I’m picky about my romance/smut. And anything with a religious slant is not for me. I make a point to not pick up books that I know are not my thing because I want to be fair and honest in my reviews. But if you offer me zombies…well, who can resist zombies?

I’ve also started making some progress on the BoH Indie Brawl reading list. I’d already read 4 out of 32. Today I read another and tomorrow I’ll start on another. In an effort to motivate myself, I’ve resurrected the Cool Ghouls Book Club in Book Lovers Cafe. My horror selections don’t get a lot of attention because it’s not a horror oriented group, but every once in a while someone lets their freak flag fly and joins me for a buddy read. Maybe I’ll catch a few more over the next several months.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to share my stuff all over the internet. So yeah. Read some books and let’s talk about them.

Monthly roundup – March 2023

March reads. Cthulhu Fishing, Troll, Orchard of Skeletons, and The Cursed Among Us were all great. All Fall Down was mildly disappointing, but not bad really. Junji Ito’s Cat Diary was adorable and hilarious. Good month overall. Check out my full breakdown. Books with full reviews will be linked, but all have at least a brief review on my Goodreads page. I started doing that when some asshole in a book group asked me how I can possibly retain the many, many books I read. I don’t need strangers to question my cognitive abilities, I do that enough myself thank you very much. Anyway. Let’s talk about these books.

Troll, by Matthew A. Clarke
Orchard of Skeletons, by Eli Wilde
Cthulhu Fishing Off the Iraq Nebula, by Chris Meekings
Junji Ito’s Cat Diary, by Junji Ito

The Cursed Among Us, by John Durgin
Chainsaw Man Vol 1-4, by Tatsuki Fujimoto
R’jaal’s Resonance, by Ruby Dixon

All Fall Down, by Jennifer Weiner

I want to reiterate the fact that I don’t consider ⭐️⭐️⭐️ a bad rating. I would definitely recommend a three star book to someone I think would enjoy it more than I did. Jennifer Weiner is a talented writer whose work I usually love, but this one just didn’t hit the mark for me. Maybe the subject matter is too close to home and it didn’t illicit the feelings I expected.

I don’t read a lot of manga. It’s never been my genre/format of choice, but I have dipped in on occasion at the recommendations of my teenager. Chainsaw Man is one of those recommendations. It started out as a goofy story about a teenager (who happens to be inhabited by a chainsaw devil) on a quest to cop a feel. It went on like that for a couple of volumes. The plot was barely there. There was plenty of killing and humor, but the plot wavered. Then toward the end of volume 3, the inklings of a story began and really started to come to fruition in volume 4. I was on the fence about whether I would continue or not, but now I definitely will and have already checked out volumes 5 and 6 on Libby. It’s too bad my kid doesn’t like reading digital format. Manga really eats a hole in my wallet!

Speaking of which…Junji Ito. I could read those on my tablet as well, but those are more my wheelhouse and I do want to own them. Junji Ito’s Cat Diary tickled my funny bone. It was adorable and had little hints of the Junji Ito horror that I know and love. I am happy to have this one on my shelf.

Last but not least, R’jaal’s Resonance, the first volume of Ruby Dixon’s new blue alien series. I liked it quite a bit. It is delightfully spicy. I felt like some of it was a little rushed, but I still feel it’s a good start of a new series. I’m looking forward to meeting all the new people and learning about the ancestors, who are not actually ancestors as they are still alive.

So what’s next for me? I feel the call of zombies niggling at my brain. I am itching to get into another multi volume series and actually just bought the entire Undead Possession series by Justin Boote. I freaking loved the first one and I am ready to dive back in. I have a couple of ARCs to get to first though. And I want to finish reading Stillborn Gallery because I’ve had that one started for a long time. I just get lost in short story collections, even the really good ones. It’s too easy to read a story from one book and then another from another book and then you have a bunch of started short story collections.

Other than books and reviews, I’ve picked up my neglected crochet hook and gotten into that again. I’m working on a blanket, despite living in the year round inferno that is Texas. And because I can’t get away from book stuff, I’ve started making bookmarks. The first one I completed was a dusty rose colored cat with a gold collar. My kid said it looks like a penis and I can’t stop seeing that now. I am eager to give away a few cat/penis bookmarks to my friends and coworkers.

Anyway, read some of these books. Or any books really. Go read something and let’s talk about it.