April 2021 Reading Recap

Excuse me, but where did April go? This month went by so quickly, I cannot wrap my head around it. And what a roller coaster of a ride it was.

The big thing that happened to me was that my beloved Eclectus parrot, Investor, had to be put to sleep due to poor health. He was in our family for 20 years. I try to smile through the happy memories, but mostly it’s just tears.

In addition, the situation in India hit a close friend of mine in her immediate family, so I wanted to link to this thread of resources and places to donate to.

Honestly, my mind’s been a mess and the fact that I can focus on anything is a miracle.

Nino Cipri stopped by the blog this month to celebrate the release of Defekt, the unexpected sequel to Finna, which came out this month.

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Manga Review: CAN’T STOP CURSING YOU Vol. 1 by Kensuke Koba & Natsuko Uruma (2021)

Genre: Horror Shonen
Year Release in English: 2021
Source: BOOK☆WALKER

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Content warnings: Gore, murder, dismemberment, murder, blood

This horror mystery series is a perfect combination of Death Note, Future Diary, and Another. Sae-sensei uses his position as a biology teacher to cover up his true profession: a Curse Breaker. A cat-and-mouse game ensues as he works with new assistant Kanta to determine who’s causing the deaths of several classmates.

The tone of this manga is off to an excellent start. Deeply irreverent with fantastically distorted faces to show off their sinister natures. The font choices also made this incredibly fun.

The mechanism of the curse-killing itself was a little silly, but it was simple enough to set the rules of this world where curse gods give people powers. Plus, it let the readers get a feel for the characters. The last pages showing off who’s really at play really teased my interest, and I definitely can’t wait to read the next volume when it comes out this summer.

March 2021 Reading Recap

March was my first full month of dayjob. I also took a small break from writing after a major breakthrough in the revision. Unfortunately, that means rewriting the entire thing. In spite of that, I did get a lot of reading done. I even read my first physical copy of the year.

To be fair, I am finding a lot of solace in manga right now, and I can’t quite articulate why. When I figured it out, I will definitely let you know. I have also gotten majorly into buying earrings from indigenous creators. More details about this can be found on my Instagram.

The interview I did this month with C.L. Clark to celebrate their debut, The Unbroken, is one of my favorite interviews yet. I also posted a personal-feeling advice piece on beta reading and giving feedback in general (Writing is Hard Part 8).

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February 2021 Reading Recap

February is the shortest month and wow did so many things happen. I quit my dayjob because I got an offer for another day job more aligned with where I want to be and the things I want to do. My boyfriend got (and accepted) into a PhD program. I managed to do a lot of manga reading and a fair amount of audiobooks. All in all, it was a fine month.

There were three whole author interviews too:

  • Genevieve Gornichec celebrated her debut with The Witch’s Heart
  • Karin Tidbeck delighted us with some insight into the inspiration behind their latest, The Memory Theater
  • Sarah Gailey shared their process of choosing a near-future sci-fi setting where The Echo Wife takes place
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Manga Review: IBITSU by Haruto Ryo (2018)

Genre: Horror
Year Release in English: 2018
Source: BOOK☆Walker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Trigger warnings: Gore, body horror, self-harm, torture, asylums, suicide, sibling abuse

A young man is on his way home when a girl dressed up as a gothic lolita sits in a trash heap and asks him if he would like a little sister. He answers her, and what begins is a nightmare of stalking and supernatural entities. I could not tear myself away from this read, even as shit escalating to the murderous.

What this manga does so well is set up its world rules as soon as we hit the first chapter. There is an urban legend, but otherwise there is no magic in the world. So everyone involved is left to their own devices in terms of dealing with the terrors that unfold.

This one is creepy from start to finish in a way that you hope the protagonist unlocks some kind of key to getting his fake-sister to leave him alone. Until the ghostly lolita tricks his landlady into giving him a copy of the key, and starts terrorizing his younger sister. Their parents aren’t safe either, and though he tries to tell his friends about the lolita, they’re scumbags who can’t see past their own interests.

A fantastic urban legend horror, but keep in mind the trigger warnings before diving in because it is a lot.

Manga Review: MIERUKO-CHAN Vol. 2 by Tomoki Izumi (2021)

Genre: Slice-of-Life Horror
Year Release in English: 2021
Source: BOOK☆Walker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Ghosts, body horror, disturbing imagery

It took so much of my self-control to not immediately inhale this as soon as it hit my phone. Continuing with the excellent ghost designs, this volume introduces new characters and new lore (?), while still keeping up the slice-of-life pacing.

I winced at every new ghost introduced here. They are larger, more intricate, but I really liked how Izumi introduces softer moments where maybe the ghosts aren’t all bad. In fact, helping them find closure Sixth Sense style might be a way for Miko to find peace with her new horrifying ghouls.

One of my favorite archetypes is the character who declares themself to be someone’s apprentice. Here comes Yuria, a fledging medium who wants to know why the old woman closed up her shop and what exactly is up with Miko seeing ghosts beyond ever her comprehension. I can’t wait to see how this relationship evolves, especially since Miko tries to maintain that she cannot see anything going on around her.

Manga Review: MIERUKO-CHAN Vol 1. by Tomoki Izumi (2020)

Genre: Slice-of-Life Horror
Year Release in English: 2020
Source: BOOK☆Walker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Ghosts, body horror, groping, disturbing imagery

This manga might be my new favorite thing. It follows a girl, Miko, as she goes about her daily life with one major problem: she can see ghosts. They are not friendly, and no one else around her can interact with them. Sometimes it’s funny, other times it’s horrifying, and I am so interested in where this story is going.

The ghost designs are so excellent. The art style really balances the slice-of-life and the ghostly terrors. They’re so inventive, and each one has me both terrified and unable to look away. The page-by-page jump scares are exquisite. I really enjoy Miko and Hana’s friendship, they do every day girl things that leave me convinced they are girlfriends.

There is a brief introduction of rules and lore, with the breaking spirit beads and visits to mediums. It’s light in this first volume, and I really hope it gets explored.

Manga Review: AZUMANGA DAIOH Vol. 1 by Kiyohiko Azuma (2003)

Genre: Slice-of-Life Comedy
Year Release in English: 2003
Source: Borrowed from Friends

Rating: 4 out of 5.

One of the essential slice-of-life manga, I came into Azumanga Daioh by way of Pop Team Epic. Unlike Pop Team Epic, this manga is grounded in the experience of five high school girls and their two teachers, which things only being absurd enough to exagerate reality.

The entire cast is so charming, and so, so, so useless. Except for maybe Chiyo, but she’s ten years old and in high school, so make of that what you will. Everyone has their strengths, but its their weaknesses and differences where the humor really comes forth. Sasaki can’t make friends with cats, Osaka is the transfer student and that’s not even her real name.

The two teachers are a sapphic delight. Casually going on dates together, insisting on driving together, showing up at each other’s homes. It’s sweet and subtle, but fits right in with the other shenanigans going on around. I really liked the beach episode and that time they tried to adopt a kitten, and it just wasn’t having it.

Can’t wait to see what comes next.