August and September 2021 Reading Recap

August and September were two months I can only describe as liminal spaces. Long story short, we moved into one apartment, and then transferred to another apartment. I didn’t feel like doing an August recap without having settled in. So here we are. I’ve also been busy otherwise.

I did several author interviews (and there are so many more to come):

ARCs

  • The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw (2021, adult, science fiction, queer)
    • Cloned and cyborg mercenaries on one last heist
    • Lots of feelings around mortality and youth
    • Excellent exploration of the path out of an abusive relationship
  • Butcherbird by Cassie Hart (2021, adult, horror, indigenous)
    • Family tragedy, creepy birds, himbo boyfriend oh my!
    • Spooky af from start to finish
    • Generational curses
  • The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling (2021, adult, horror, gothic)
    • Gross in a way only old-timey medical procedures can be
    • Perfect for fans of Crimson Peak
    • Ghosts and magic
  • No Gods, No Monsters (The Convergence Saga #1) by Cadwell Turnbull (2021, adult, urban fantasy, literary)
    • What are the monsters afraid of?
    • A banger of an urban fantasy
    • Impressive navigation of several POVs
  • Plague Birds by Jason Sanford (2021, adult, science fantasy)
    • Deadly AI and futuristic world-building that feels like magic
    • Main character trying her best to stay true to herself
    • All the feels
  • Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo (2021, adult, horror, queer)
    • Grief and hauntings and deadly academia in the South
    • Hot and sexy while also spooky
    • Andrew Blur is having a wild time
  • The Wolf Among the Wild Hunt by Merc Fenn Wolfmore (2021, adult, light novel, dark fantasy)
    • Half-wolf, half-man kills the wrong nun and has to join the Wild Hunt
    • Metal af
    • Rad world-building with its own mythology

Audiobooks

  • Audition by by Ryū Murakami, Ralph McCarthy (Translator) (2009, adult, horror, contemporary)
    • A man holds an audition with the ulterior motive of finding a wife
    • The man is not the problem
    • Reflective and ultimately terrifying
  • Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (2018, adult, horror)
    • A child-are-scary style horror that is also told from the child’s point of view
    • Horrifying
    • No one is a winner here
  • Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original “Psycho” by Harold Schechter (1998, adult, non-fiction, true crime)
    • Ed Gein’s story is grosser than you expect it to be
    • Empathetically handled
    • The town of Plainfield, Wisconsin is as much of a character in the story as
  • Psycho USA: Famous American Killers You Never Heard Of by Harold Schechter (2012, adult, non-fiction, true crime)
    • Crash course on every horrible murderer who isn’t part of the true crime lexicon
    • A little advanced for me
    • Organizationally impressive as far as the history goes
  • Small Spaces, Dead Voices, and Dark Waters by Katherine Arden (2018-2021, middle grade, horror)
    • Middle grade horror with urban legends and immersive spooky atmosphere
    • Binge-worthy with excellent scares
    • Wonderful character development among the leads
  • Good Girl, Bad Blood (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #2) by Holly Jackson (2021, young adult, thriller)
    • Pip returns to detective work when a family friend goes missing
    • Excellent use of multi-media
    • Very well-plotted and predictable in a satisfying way
  • The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (2021, adult, thriller)
    • Woman goes back to a college reunion as the reader learns via flashbacks of the terrible things she did
    • One hell of an anti-bullying PSA
    • Listened to it in one sitting
  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick (2001, adult, non-fiction, history, maritime disasters)
    • The literal inspiration behind Moby Dick
    • I learned more about butchering whales than I wanted to
    • Riveting and absolutely wild
  • The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms #1) by Tasha Suri (2021, adult, fantasy, queer)
    • An imprisoned princess and a secretly-magical maid servant team up to take down a dictator
    • Incredible world-building and aching slow-burn
    • Consequences upon reveals upon twists
  • Little Heaven by Nick Cutter (2017, adult, horror)
    • Bounty hunters infiltrate a cult on behalf of a co-conspirator
    • Gross, but goes on for a little bit too long, especially with regards to the plot

Manga

  • Kasane Vol. 1-4 by Daruma Matsuura (2017, seinen, horror, contemporary)
    • The girls are kissing and there is nothing romantic about it
    • Another wild anti-bullying PSA
    • Beauty isn’t everything, but it feels like it
  • Made in Abyss Vol 6-9 by Akihito Tsukushi (2019-2021, seinen, dark fantasy)
    • The kids made it past the point of no return
    • Continues to be upsetting with new characters and exploring what value is
    • Epic fight scenes
  • Magical Girl Apocalypse Vol 1-3 by Kentaro Sato (2014-2015, shonen, horror)
    • Magical girl zombie things attack Tokyo and wreak a whole bunch of hyperviolent mayhem
    • Too edgy for its own good (and for me)
  • Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid Vol 1-4 by coolkyousinnjya (2016-2017, seinen, fantasy, slice-of-life, comedy)
    • A girl accidentally binds a dragon as her maid
    • Adorable with plenty of useless lesbians
    • Mostly soft, implications of greater plot
  • Monster and the Beast Vol 1-3 by renji (2019-2021, shonen, boy’s love, fantasy)
    • Perfect for monster fuckers
    • A middle-aged guy and an inhuman monster develop a relationship
    • Impressive and immersive world-building

Until next month,
Jo

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