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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Review: THE PARIS APARTMENT by Lucey Foley (2022)

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warning: vomiting, sex trafficking, drug abuse, alcoholism, murder, gore

Jess goes to Paris for a fresh start on her brother’s invitation. But once she arrives at the ritzy Paris apartment building where he’s taken up residence, something is wrong. She can’t reach Ben. All the neighbors are cagey, and she just wants to know where her brother is. Secrets abound as a conspiracy unfolds.

A slow burn of a mystery in which everybody is a suspect with enough bread crumbs to give readers room to figure out the resolution themselves.

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ARC Review: THE MANY HALF-LIVED LIVES OF SAM SYLVESTER by Maya MacGregor (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Year Release: May 3, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an eARC from NetGalley
Content warning: hate crime, homophobia, misgendering (challenged), racism, stalking, murder, anaphylaxis, death of a child, PTSD, anxiety

Autistic, non-binary Sam Sylvester left Montana with their single dad, Junius, after nearly escaping a hate crime with their life. They move into the former home of Billy Clement, a teen who died of an allergic reaction thirty years prior. Sam collects half-lived lives, stories about teens who didn’t live to nineteen. They take the opportunity for not only a fresh start but also to solve the murder with their group of queer friends. But when they get closer to the truth, someone works really hard not to ensure they don’t reach it.

With an excellent, multi-dimensional cast and incredible exploration of chosen family, this mystery will tug at the heartstrings and frazzle the nerves until its very deserved happy-for-now ending.

I am so excited to have the author on my blog on May 3rd, release date.

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Review: I’M SO (NOT) OVER YOU by Kosoko Jackson (2022)

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

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: sexual harassment (challenged), homophobia (challenged), anxiety, car accident, vomiting

Some of my recent reads flattened me emotionally, so I sought some lighter fare. Thankfully, my hold from the library lifted, and I got to read a romance novel. This one is about Hudson and Kian, who are exes. As the title suggests, Kian thinks he’s healed from the heartbreak, but then Hudson invites him as his plus one to a wedding at his family’s estate. Wedding hijinks, pop culture references, and second chances ensue.

A steamy romance between two gay men of color as they overcome their own insecurities to find support in each other, regardless their past.

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Review: UNACCEPTABLE: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal by Melissa Korn & Jennifer Levitz (2020)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2020
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook

Yes. I’m still inhaling everything I can about fraud. Fraudsters did a whole series, including interviews with the authors of this book who did the investigating (the episodes start with 36: Rick Singer Part I). While the series is thorough, I did want to get at it from the source.

The saga of the college admissions scandal is much stranger than even the reports can come out. It’s a story of the desperation to prove oneself and having awfully specific goals that supersede decency. It’s also a scathing condemnation at the ridiculousness that is applying to college for which there is no real solution as long as branding and exclusivity take priority over the quality of education.

A great read if you want to make fun of the ridiculousness of rich people and also get incredibly angry about privilege and gaming systems that already bend towards those who are winning.

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Manga Review: OROCHI Vol. 1 by Kazuo Umezz (2022)

Genre: Horror Shonen
Year Release in English: 2022
Source: Forbidden Planet NYC

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The first volume of a short story collection from a new-to-me horror writer. To be honest, I picked this volume up because the cover and packaging were gorgeous. I found myself delighted by the horrors found within.

A mysterious young woman finds herself entangled in others’ personal lives with powers that can shift the tides of fate.

It’s easy to tell that the art style is much older, with the original works having come out in the late 60’s, early 70’s. The lines are bold and there’s great use of blank spaces with solitary figures. There’s also not a lot text to be found in the pages, letting the art do a lot of the story-telling. Some of it is unsettling, and I’m invested in the stories told in facial expressions alone.

I found both stories chilling, but “Sisters,” to me, had the more effecting twist. I’m definitely into the style and I’m looking forward to the stories found in the following volumes.

Review: THE ICEPICK SURGEON: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science by Sam Kean (2021)

Genre: Adult Nonfiction
Year Release: 2021
Source: Library Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: slavery, nonconsensual medical experimentation, torture, Nazis

I’ve been on a bit of a fraud kick lately (I highly recommend listening to Fraudsters for the corporate side of things). With the Theranos saga mostly coming to an end, I’ve been hunting for some new scandal to get into. Mentioned in the American Scandal podcast was the story of Annie Dookhan, who inflated her drug sample testing records, this book was listed as the primary source. Naturally, I got into the entire thing.

A collection of stories ranging the full gamut of possible crimes, from sabotage, fraud, murder, war crimes, and nonconsensual medical experimentation that blames the contemporary establishments as much as it condemns the individuals involved.

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ARC Review: I’M THE GIRL by Courtney Summers (2022)

Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Year Release: September 13, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books | Libro.fm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an eARC from NetGalley
Content warning: statutory rape (graphic), child sexual abuse, kidnapping, car accident, vomiting, stalking, blackmail

Georgia Avis is a queer girl who wants one thing: to be one of the girls serving the rich and the famous as an Aspera Girl. She collects her modelling photos from But on her way home from collecting some headshots, she stumbles upon the body of a 13-year-old. What then starts is a passionate pursuit of the girl George is meant to be while the house of cards falls apart to reveal a rotten core that feels all too real.

Bleak in the way that exploring the way power and wealth take advantage of girls’ search for validation, this book is a search for autonomy starring deeply flawed, messy, compelling girls.

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ARC Review: AND THEN I WOKE UP by Malcolm Devlin (2022)

Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: April 12, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Books

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an eARC from NetGalley
Content warning: murder, gore, blood

There’s an emerging subgenre in 2022 where a mysterious contagion makes people fly into a rage. While this is part of the premise of this novella, And Then I Woke Up examines the aftermath and the power of narrative when it comes to trauma. A cure isn’t as simple as dealing with It also looks at the power of narrative as it relates to violence and justification.

Deeply introspective with flashbacks to all the trappings of a zombie apocalypse, this is one of the saddest horror stories I’ve ever read.

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