ARC Review: DEAD END GIRLS by Wendy Heard (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Year Release: May 10th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read a physical ARC
Content warning: Murder, drug overdose, homophobic bullying, bullying, blackmail, attempted murder

In Dead End Girls, Maude wants to quit her life, but not in a way that prevents her from further participating. She has a plan to fake her death, but when her step-cousin, Frankie, catches onto the plan, she wants in. What then starts is a journey of being gay, doing crime and self-discovery as the two girls sprint away from their families and towards something else.

Exciting, unexpectedly tender, and a wild ride from start to finish.

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Manga Review: MADE IN ABYSS Vol. 10 by Akihito Tsukushi (2022)

Genre: Dark Fantasy Seinen
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Body horror, gore, suicidal ideation
There may be spoilers for Volumes 1 through 3, 4 and 5, and 6 through 9.

We’re at the end of another arc in Made in Abyss and all I can say is: glad Riko made another friend, but holy shit at what cost.

The Hollow Village’s upset is definitely more philosophical than strictly bad bodily shit happens to the characters (though there is plenty of that). So, seeing all the emotional threads come together made me glued to each chapter.

I have a theory that what makes dark fantasy and grimdark slap so hard is the promise of cool stuff to look at amidst all the distress and duress. The battle between Faputa and the Turbinid-Dragon is absolutely incredible. It’s so easy to follow, but what really shines here is the culmination of the themes and stakes. I love how Tsukushi ties together the entire concept of value, but more importantly, how it ties into humanity, especially as the bends in this level of the abyss lead to loss of said humanity.

They’re at the literal bottom of the barrel, and I’m so nervous about what’s to come.

Manga Review: CAN’T STOP CURSING YOU Vol. 3 by Kensuke Koba & Natsuko Uruma (2022)

Genre: Horror Shonen
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Self-harm, gore, murder
See my reviews of Volume 1 and Volume 2 for more thoughts on this series

This series is end-to-end edgy nonsense and I love it. In Volume 3, the school is under attack by a Curse-God Contractor (yes, again), this time featuring a deadly game of tag where every 666 seconds, the “It” person dies.

I really liked the twists in this one! The villain isn’t who you think it is, and it’s such a great vehicle for the world’s further rules and building. We actually find out how a person becomes a Curse-Breaker, and I think that’s neat.

What I’m enjoying the most, however, is with every peek into Saeyama’s moral compass, there’s a few steps back. He’s powerful, he’s seen some shit, and I hope we get more of his backstory in the upcoming volumes

Review: UNMASKED: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes (2022)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2022
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: panic attacks, suicide, rape, sexual assault, drug abuse, alcoholism, murder, gore, PTSD

Paul Holes is perhaps best known as the detective who found the Golden State Killer. In this book, he details his life, from how he became obsessed with investigative work through his career solving murders. It’s insightful and deeply empathetic not only of the victims, but of those lives Paul touched, yet ultimately left behind.

A memoir about solving cold cases that outlines both the personal and interpersonal costs associated with trying to get closure for some of the worst that humanity has to offer.

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April 2022 Reading Recap

Where did April go? This month seems to have blown by really fast, and I can’t even articulate exactly why. I didn’t do any traveling, taxes were an exciting, I turned around a short story in what-feels-like a short amount of time, and got a lot of work done on the revision. I’ve also gotten back to tri-weekly workouts which has been really good for my energy levels. A productive month, even if the productivity wasn’t exactly linear.

I did two blog interviews, which you can find here:

In May, I believe there is an author interview every week so get hype for those.

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Book & Show Review: DOPESICK (2018 & 2021)

While watching The Dropout with a good friend of mine, she recommended Dopesick the show to me. Seven episodes in, I found myself so absorbed in the fabricated stories that I wanted to dive immediately into the true story that inspired the acclaimed miniseries. Naturally, I binged it on audible, and then watched Episode 8. So, we’re in for another double review.

For more reads about the Sacklers and the opioid epidemic, I highly recommend the incredibly well-researched and infuriating, Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe.

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ARC Review: UNDER FORTUNATE STARS by Ren Hutchings (2022)

Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Year Release: May 10th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an eARC from the author
Content warning: Planetcide, murder, blackmail, physical assault

Under Fortunate Stars is a heisty space opera in which two crews, one from the past and one from the future, find themselves trapped in a rift. With fuel and resources running out and the slow crawl of history catching up with them, this story has excellent pacing and galaxy-sized world-building with snark and mistrust found around every corner.

An interview of the author will be hosted here on the UK release date of May 12th, 2022.

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Review: WOMAN, EATING by Claire Kohda (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2022
Source: Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: Sexual harassment (physical and verbal), sexual assault, gore, animal violence, hospice care

Lydia is a vampire and, for the first time in her adult life, she’s on her own. She’s dropped off her mother at a long term care center. She’s taken up residence in a studio, around humans and artists. This book explores Lydia navigating on her own at the crossroads of human and animal, looking back on what being human has meant all her life versus the experience she’s living now.

Incredibly introspective and melancholy in the way it approaches vampirism as a means to explore loneliness, human connection, and finding one’s place in the world.

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ARC Review: GLITTERATI by Oliver K. Langmead (2022)

Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Year Release: May 17th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an eARC from NetGalley
Content warning: Nosebleeds, vomiting, drug abuse, graphic depiction of surgery, fatphobia

Glitterati takes place in a futuristic world where fashion rules the lives of its elite. Simone is one such denizen, bound by rules until he makes a faux pas that proves to be fashionable. A friendly competition between him and a coworker turns deadly when being in the upper echelon of society isn’t enough.

Fascinating in the precision of its prose, this glamorous tale is full of aesthetic and takes fashion rules to their highest extremes.

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Manga Review: Chainsaw Man Vol. 4-11 by Tatsuki Fujimoto (2021-2022)

Genre: Horror Shonen
Year Release in English: 2021-2022
Buy link: Viz Media Digital Subscription

Image source: VIZ Media Page

Reminder: Star rating reflects my opinion of the series overall.
Follow these links for my review of Volumes 1 through 3.

At the beginning of the series, we meet Denji, a boy saddled with generational debt who gets killed by gangsters, only to make a pact with his dog, Pochita, to become a Devil-human hybrid called Chainsaw Man. He gets picked up by the department of public safety, whose Division 4 is managed by the beautiful, enigmatic Makima. Their primary objective is to eliminate the Gun Devil, which wreaked havoc on Japan over a decade prior.

There’s elements of slice-of-life, true horror, and exciting action as we follow Denji on his quest to fulfill the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs with satisfying twist after satisfying twist.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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