2020 Monthly Wrap-Up: April

We’re at this point again, and I can’t tell if it went by ridiculously fast or not. With the pandemic, it’s been tricky keeping track of passing time. But I did get a decent amount of reading done even if – once again – I didn’t get to all of the books on my planned TBR.

What I did read included:

Of this list, three of them were review copies from NetGalley and I didn’t get to review two of the manga novels in individual posts as I like having an Instagram photo for my reviews and it’s tricky to get nice ones on a Kobo. But I can review them in this post!


HELL’S PARADISE #1 by Kaku Yuji

This was a prime example of a flawless manga.

Having read a lot of first volumes of new series lately, it feels like something is always missing. Either the story is lacking or the emotional connection isn’t there or the artwork is rough. However, this first volume of Hell’s Paradise is perfection. The story had me right from the beginning with how it got right down to the gritty details, and the artwork is so gorgeous I’ll be thinking about it for a long time.

I already can’t wait for volume two and for those who are long time manga readers, this has major Big 3 energy. The potential in this story is huge and I can’t wait to read more.

BEASTARS #1 by Itagaki Paru

I enjoyed this volume well enough. It was a solid introduction volume and the world is solidly fleshed out through both dialogue and narration script so it made for a fast read. As a fan of animal stories like this (or furry stories I guess would be more useful of a term), I enjoyed the way the plot is layering itself and seeing how the different species interact with each other. That being said, I wasn’t a huge fan of the rough art style but it is definitely a stylistic choice rather than a “quality” thing. I’m unsure if I’ll be continuing the series but I’m glad I gave it a shot. Maybe the anime would be more my speed.


There was another book from NetGalley that I only got half-way through before I had to mark it as DNF, and that was We Are The Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian. I was really excited about the book and the idea of the girls getting back at their gross coach was a theme that I was hyped for. However the six POVs and the fact that the books “technically” takes place over 24 hours – despite repetitive flashbacks that never seem to end – just makes the book feel really jagged. Unimportant things seem drawn out and important things don’t seem to be present. I also found the switching back and forth between past and present tense was distracting. Sadly this book was not for me.

I’ve got fun plans on Instagram for May with my good friend, Sophie (of Outer Rim Reviews), hosting a Star Wars themed photo challenge and I’ve got a blog tour post coming at you next week for a current read. Here’s to May getting a little easier for all of us.

 

A Different Kind of Wrap-Up

March 2020 has been a rough one for all of us. The isolation required has left some of us productive, some of us stir-crazy, and some of us struggling with major depression and anxiety. If you’re like me, you’re all of the above.

I had big plans for March, but have not successfully managed to get to them all for a number of reasons. I had another cold in the middle of the month that knocked me flat, and then the anxiety of COVID-19 took a major hold on me. My day job in customer service set me on edge and I was having a hard enough time holding it together enough to function let alone get reading or writing done.

However, I still read a decent number of books towards the beginning of the month and I am very pleased about that, even if it still means I didn’t read all of my TBR books.

There was only one book I marked as DNF and it was Cries from the Lost Island by Kathleen O’Neal Gear. It was so boring and stiff that I just couldn’t make myself read it. It was an eARC from NetGalley and I thank the publishing company for sending it to me, even if it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea.

While I haven’t finished it yet, I’ve been making slow and steady progress through The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski, the “first” book in his famous Witcher series. In all honesty, I have done my best to take deep breaths and focus on reading, a lot of my time has been spent playing Animal Crossing New Horizons. I’ve been a huge fan of the Animal Crossing franchise since I was about 8 or 9 and the new game has been a huge help at being a distraction from the rest of the world (as I’m sure the majority of you are aware).

Given the pandemic, I’m currently out of work so I am hoping to spend the provincial quarantine reading and doing more articles for this blog as well as maybe some short stories. I have tried in the past to post shorts here but have not had much success in people reading them, so we’ll see about that.

I know everyone is getting annoyed with hearing this but I do sincerely hope that everyone is staying safe in these uncertain times.

Take care of yourselves.

2020 Monthly Wrap-Up: February

I had set a rather hefty TBR for myself for February and had a plan on how to get through the whole list, however, I ended up coming down with a rather nasty cold that took me out of commission for a little over a week. I don’t get that sick very often, but when I do it knocks me flat and cuts into my reading time. That being said, I still managed to get some reading done this month!

The complete list of books I’ve reviewed this February is below, with a grand total of eleven books (most of which were manga).

The last book I read that I didn’t review was Blood is Another Word for Hunger by Rivers Solomon. This 25-page short story from Tor is a vicious story of revenge and monstrous manifestations of anger. It opens with some intense body-horror pregnancy / birthing stuff that made me really uncomfortable, so while I did really love the strength of the writing, the content left me skimming the story.

Despite being as sick as I was, I’m pleased that I managed to get a decent amount of reading done. Here’s hoping to better health in March and more time to read!

 

2020 Monthly Wrap-Up: January

January 2020 hasn’t been especially kind to me in terms of my personal life (or professional if I’m being entirely honest) but what I will say is that I’ve read some damn good books.

While my first read of the year – Infinity Son by Adam Silvera – was a bit of a bust, the majority of the other books I read were more wonderful than not. I’ve also been feeling rather proud of my resolution to stop reading books I’m not into and it’s such a weight off of my shoulders to not be so stressed out about trying to finish books I’m bored by.

The complete list of books I’ve reviewed this year is a nice one, with nine books finished in total!

  1. Jujutsu Kaisen #1 by Akutami Gege
  2. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
  3. No Longer Human by Dazai Osamu
  4. No Longer Human by Dazai Osamu and Ito Junji
  5. Saint Young Men #1 by Nakamura Hikaru
  6. Docile by K.M. Szpara
  7. The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

The other two books I read I didn’t end up writing full reviews for (and I had started them before the new year) but they were also fun.

  • Psychopathia Sexualis: 238 Case Histories by Richard von Krafft-Ebing

This book isn’t really the kind of book you end up “reviewing”. It is a very dated collection of case studies from 1886 that focused on mental illness and how it’s related to sexual urges, delinquency, and crimes. Given how dated it is, the part I found the most interesting was looking at how mental illness terms have changed over time and the strange excuses people came up to “explain” those suffering from mental health problems. Not all of the cases were explicit and some of them were even kind of funny. It was definitely an interesting read.

  • Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Thief by Maurice LeBlanc

A good friend of mine got me into the Lupin the Third anime series and was telling me all about the original novels. I honestly went in with low expectations, thinking it would be like the dryer of the Sherlock Holmes books, but I was definitely wrong. I had a blast reading the shorts and they were all hilarious in one way or another. Lupin is such a dick and the way he just saunters around was so entertaining. It was a lot of fun.

All in all, I think it’s been a successful January and I’m looking forward to all the other books I’ll get to in February! Stay tuned for my reading list which I’ll be finalizing tomorrow!