Tag Archives: Manga

September in Review: What I Read

The month of September has been a slower month for me. Having lowered my reading goal from one hundred and fifty-six to one hundred and fifty, it gave me time to breathe and not feel like I was falling far behind. That said, I am making progress and am on track.

For the month of September, I have read four books, four comics, and one manga. Totaling out to nine books this month. These are those books and my general thoughts on them.

Epic Tales: Celtic Myths and Tales/Celtic Myths and Tales: Epic Tales by Various

This collection of Celtic tales has been sitting in my Currently Reading shelf since March. It was originally going to be the “bigger/more in depth book” that I would read in March as well as fitting into the Ireland theme I had planned for the month (Note: I will sometimes dedicate a month for a specific topic, theme, or what have you for a particular month. For instance June, I read mostly LGBTQ+ centered books in honor of Pride Month. It’s a way for me to expand my reading and maybe find a book I like that I might not have thought of previously). The only reason it took me this long was because of other books I had to read, the fact I wanted to take my time with this book, and my motivation to read it being hit or miss.

So for the month of September, I decided to sit my butt down and finish it. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed it. All of the tales were really neat and were divided into sections. It’s also a really nice collection of tales, and a number of which, if any, might not appear in the Irish Fairy and Folk Tales leather bound book I own. This book is also apart of a series of “epic tales” which include other tales from other mythologies, Mary Shelley, Black Sci-Fi stories, and more. A number of these are included on my to read list, including the Black Sci-Fi stories, Epic Tales: Norse Myths and tales, Epic Tales: Persian Myths and Tales, African Myths and Tales, and Epic Tales: Japanese Myths and Tales.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Essential X-Men Volume 11 by Chris CLaremont

I’ve been making my way through the Classic X-Men comics via the Epic Collection and their respected Omnibuses. This is the last of the Essential X-Men Collection that I needed to read before hopping into the run starting in the 90’s (Either through regular paper backs or their respected Epic Collection). I’ve been enjoying this run of the X-Men, some issues and volumes a little more, but this has been a fun run. This one was one that I enjoyed, but maybe not as much as others. However, I do think it was still worth a read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Death: At Death’s Door by Jill Thompson

The Sandman has been on my to read list since at least the beginning of 2022. I managed to get through the first two volumes before the release of the Netflix adaptation and read the Deluxe Edition of Death last month. I also ended up reading the two Little Endless Storybooks (The Little Endless Storybook and Delirium’s Party). I checked this out on a whim as well as for a quick read since I was a little behind on my reading total.

I’m kind of mixed on the story as a whole, however, it was a fun read. The art and the story did remind me of some early 2000’s manga tie ins like Kingdom Hearts 1, 2, and Chain of Memories, which were all fun and whimsical reads. If you are looking for a fun and slightly different story within the Sandman universe, I would give it a shot.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity by Devon Price, PhD

One topic I have an on and off interest with are nonfiction books on Autism. As someone who has been diagnosed with Autism (Asperger’s when it was used a little more frequently), I’ve had an interest in reading upon it over the last few years. Mostly because, like a number of people who fall on the spectrum, I had a hard time coming to terms with it due to some perceptions out there and feeling disheartened by it. These days, I am more comfortable with it, but I want to better understand Autism where I previously didn’t.

Reading Unmasking Autism has helped me. In fact, it is set up in a way that I connect with. A lot of what this book covers touches on things that I had felt when I was younger, the conflicting emotions and having to mask that side of myself in order to appear normal. This is probably the first book on Autism that resonated with me on a personal level. And for that, I appreciate it and am glad that I bought it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Ziggy, Stardust, and Me by James Brandon

This one I picked up on a whim on one of my Barnes and Noble trips. It was one I was considering, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to get the hardcover or wait until the paperback was released the following Tuesday (Sundays are my Barnes and Noble days since it’s a day I don’t work on and is the one day out of the weekend that right for me). Towards the end of this trip, I was looking at the LGBTQ+ section in the YA area, looking for Loveless by Alice Oseman, when I spotted it. And as luck would have it, there was one copy of the paperback copy available before it was even supposed to hit shelves (Goodreads said the paperback was set to release that Tuesday, September 13th). Which coincidentally, was the second time that has happened to me, with the first being the Essential Legends Collection release of Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, which I got my hands on the Sunday before it’s release date that Tuesday (August 2nd). And had this been on my radar in June, I might have read it along with the other LGBTQ+ books I read that month (I do wish I read one or two more fiction books that month honestly, but I digress).

Taking place in the 1970’s and right around the time the events at Waterloo broke, it focuses on a young man trying to find his place in the world, when he meets Web, a Lakota teen, who in some ways is his total opposite. This is a coming of age story that deals with how people perceived the LGBTQ+ at the time and two young men whose lives are changed forever. Note: This book does cover some sensitive topics like racism towards Native Americans and how being gay was seen as a mental disorder.

Rating: 4.4 out of 5 Stars

Wolverine Vol 2 (1980’s) Issues 45-47 by Larry Hama

These are here since I needed to read them before hoping into Essential Wolverine Vol 3. On Goodreads, I counted these issues towards the Essential Wolverine Vol 2 since, due to me not being able to get my hands on volume 2 through my library. Plus, I would rather have these issues act as one entry, so lumping it in with Essential Wolverine volume 2, I felt made sense since technically, I already read most of it with the second and third Epic Collection volumes. Which I noted when I finished.

Overall, I though these were solid enough issues. Not sure if I would go back to them, but it was neat to see Logan and Jubilee teaming up.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

X-Men Red (2018) Vol. 1 by Tom Taylor

I wanted to read this series before I inevitably get into the 2022 X-Men run. From my understanding this, X-Men Gold, and X-Men Blue, were a sort of trio run with each one focusing on the Scott/Jean/Logan trinity. Scott is Blue, Jean is Red, and Logan is Gold. I read Gold, which had Nightcrawler as a mainstay and was a reason why I picked it up. And I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I will jump on Blue, at least at this time, but I may eventually.

As for the first volume of 2019’s X-Men Red, it was alright. The story itself made sense with the direction they wanted with Jean (focusing on her being a sort of spokesperson for the X-Men, the brief discussion on the Phoenix Force, and Jean seeking out alliances with Namor and T’Challa). I just wasn’t as invested/interested in this one compared to X-Men Gold. I’ll still read the second volume though. It was just kind of average for me personally.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Almost There by Farrah Rochon

Disney’s Twisted Tales are some really neat books. Acting as what if for the movies there based on, they generally have one question in mind. What if a different choice or event happened in the story? For instance, in Go the Distance, it asks, “What if Meg Had to Become a God?”

This one focuses on Tiana and Princess and the Frog. And personally, this is one of my favorites. Reflection is my favorite thus far, but Almost There is right up there with it. It was a good spin on the Princess and the Frog and it was interesting to see what direction it took. my only critiques, which I go over in my review, were one or two little things, but other than that, I thought this was a good read.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Trial of Magneto by Leah Williams

I finished off September with Trials of Magneto. I was looking for a quick read and I kind of wanted to check this one out. Mostly because of the mixed reception and it no longer being a comic on my to buy list. So I checked it out through my library and gave it a read.

Now, I don’t now if it’s because I am slowly inching my way into the Krakoa Age, or if this is something others believe too, but this story kind of felt all over the place. One minute it’s about Magneto going on trial for possible killing Wanda, the next she’s not dead and interacting with her past, present, and future selves. And there is some kind of resolution at the end.

That said, I wouldn’t say it’s terrible enough for one star. And if I can give it anything positive, it would be that the art was nice and that there was potential for a good/interesting story. Other than that though, I just didn’t enjoy it.

Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Conclusion

Nine books for the month of September. Some good. Some bad. Some average. What were some books you read in September? Thoughts?

Planned Reading for October.

With October right around the corner, I thought I would give you a sneak peak into what I plan to read for the month. I don’t know if I will review every book I read, though I may do a post on October in review, but I do have a few books that I would like to get done for October.

My currently reading goal for the year is one hundred and fifty books this month. It may bounce back to one hundred and fifty six if I am on track, or above, since I am a fast reader in general (however, I do try to take some books slower).

The goal this month will be for twelve books since I would have to read twelve and a half books a month to keep up with my goal. If possible thirteen. This will include books and graphic novels, the later of which I find quick reads that help me catch up if needed.

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi

I actually started reading this book in September, but since I want to take my time with this book, which is six hundred plus pages long, I didn’t want to rush through it. Because, while I am a fast reader, there are instances where I want to take my time with books. This book being one of them.

It’s synopsis on Goodreads reads as followed:

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the slaves, of the crushed, of the invisible.

Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.

Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment, by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the empire. But when Sylah and Anoor meet, a fire burns between them that could consume the kingdom—and their hearts.

Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution. And when she joins forces with Sylah and Anoor, together these grains of sand will become a storm.

As the empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.”

This sounds like an interesting read and takes some inspiration from African and Middle Eastern lore. Which I feel might not get as much spotlight when compared to Greek and Norse mythology. I’m already about fifty or so pages in, and am enjoying it so far.

The Dawn of Yangchen by F.C. Yee

I was going to read this around the time it came out. However, motivation and the other books I had read that month got in the way. I enjoyed the Kyoshi duology by the same author, and was curious to see what they are going to do with Avatar Yangchen, the airbending Avatar before Aang.

This novel will be highlighting Yangchen’s time as the Avatar. She also finds it difficult to trust her predecessor, Avatar Szeto, due to the turbulent state of how trust and loyalty are earned in the era she is living in. When she gets pulled into the politics and corruption of the Earth Kingdom city of Bin-Er, she finds herself working alongside and befriending an informant named Kavik. Along the way, Yangchen will have to learn how to trust herself and the wisdom she has, as she embraces what it means to be the Avatar.

I’m not sure if this book will get a second one like the Avatar Kyoshi, though on Goodreads it does have it listed under the author’s Chronicles of the Avatar series tab and an Avatar Yangchen Novels tab. So it might get a second book, or maybe the Avatar Yangchen Novels tab is there to separate it from the Avatar Kyoshi novels. It might be too early to tell.

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

In an attempt to expand my fantasy reads, this book has caught my eye. It’s a story taking place in the 1920’s where magic is rumored to exist on Crow Island.

Annie Mason doesn’t care for magic, real or faux. That is until she meets her neighbor, Emmeline Delacroix, a rumored witch, and witnesses a confrontation between Emmeline and Bea.

This sounded like an interesting read with the 1920’s as a backdrop. It’s also looks like it will deal with LGBTQ+ relationships.

The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope (L. Penelope)

Another 1920’s set fantasy novel, The Monsters We Defy, was another novel that entered my radar while looking for fantasy books. In 1925 Washington DC, Clara Johnson is a young African American woman who can communicate with spirits. A skill she had developed when she was in jail during the darkest moment of her life. Given the opportunity to be free from her debt, Clara is tasked with obtaining a magical ring from the richest woman in the district. Joined by a ragtag team including a hypnotic jazz musician and and aging vaudeville actor who can change his face, it’s up to them to find this ring while also dealing with conflicts that are seeping from the spirit world into the human world.

Where the previous book will appear to focus on LGBTQ+ characters, this book will focus on a diverse group with a black leading lady.

Deadpool Samurai Volumes 1 and 2 by Sanshiro Kasama

Lumping these two together since they are two parts of a series. This was a series I went back and forth on until I ultimately decided to purchase it. And while maybe not what I had in mind when looking for a new manga to try, it sounded fun. Essentially, this manga series seems to drop Deadpool in Japan where he builds a team called the Samurai Squad. And while it seems that the Merc with a Mouth will be doing what he does best, he will be going up against characters like Loki and Thanos.

These will be quick reads that I can have done in a day or two (I know I can get through books pretty easily, but manga are the books I get through the quickest).

Rebel Rose by Emma Theriault and Feather and Fire by Livia Blackburne

Lumping these to together since, much like Deadpool Samurai, these two books are part of a series. But unlike DP Samurai, these are part of a young adult series called the Queens Council. This series seems to be set up in a way similar to the Twisted Tales series, where each book is about a particular Disney movie/story. But instead of it being a twist on the movie it’s based on, each book blends the movies they’re based on with historical events of the time and original stories they were inspired by. With each picking up after their “happily ever after”.

Rebel Rose is based on Beauty and the Beast and focuses on Belle after breaking the curse. Set in 1789 France, Belle is trying to grapple with becoming royalty and her life as a commoner. The revolution is looming over her provenience, and when she finds a magic mirror with a dire warning, it is up to Belle to protect everyone she loves and become the queen she was born to be. Feathers and Fire focuses on Mulan. After saving her country, she is brought to the emperor, who decrees that she will be his heir. As she prepares for this new challenge, she finds that not everyone is thrilled with her new stature, and trust is called into question as treachery creeps it’s ugly head. It’s up to Mulan to use the strength and wisdom of those before her to protect her kingdom.

When I saw Feathers and Fire I knew I was going to check it out. Especially since Mulan is one of my favorite princesses. Beauty and the Beast is also one of my favorite Disney movies, and since Rebel Rose is the first book, I felt it will be worth a read. Even if they don’t need to be read in order and can be read as standalones. There is a third book that will be focusing on Jasmine, though I am uncertain as to when it will be released.

Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

If I get the chance, I will try to have this book done in October. Much like The Final Strife, this is a bit of a doozy page wise. Totaling at seven hundred and thirty-nine pages, Empire of the Vampire tells the story of a nearly three decade long darkness where vampires rule. Gabriel de León is the last silversaint, someone tasked with defending the realm and church from vampires. And when the Silver Order falls, he is imprisoned by the very creatures he was tasked with defeating. This is his story.

I do not know if I will finish this book before the end of October, but I will try. If I start it early enough I might. But if I don’t, it could be finished in November.

Essential Wolverine Vol 3

Similar to the Classic X-Men runs, I have been reading quite a bit of Wolverine’s comics. I’m slowly but surly making my way through the Essential Collection, I just need to read issues 45-47 before I can jump into this one. That’s mostly due to the fact that I am checking out the Essentials through my library and the second volume wasn’t available, so I had to use the second and third Epic Collection volumes that correlated with this Essential volume. Unfortunately, those two Epic volumes only included issues 17-44, but I do have Marvel Unlimited, so I can use that for the three issues I need.

This will be one of my comics for the month. And the one I will be taking a bit more time with (I tend to take a little time with epic collections and omnibuses). It covers issues 48-69.

Sabretooth (2022): The Adversary

This five issue limited run will be released in a singular volume on October 4th. I already have it preordered, so it’s a matter of waiting. I didn’t know that it was even a thing until I was working on a Wolverine centered TikTok that I found out. That said, I’m intrigued. Though I would consider Magneto as my favorite X-Men antagonist (if he even counts as one currently), Sabretooth would be a close second. Plus I really enjoy the dynamic he and Logan have.

In summery, The Adversary will be telling Sabretooth’s story after he was banished to the pits of Krakoa for his crimes. What he has been up to might not be what everyone expects.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

I had binge read Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series back in June. It was a series recommended by a few librarians, so I thought I would check it out. Loveless I caught when it was returned I want to say in July or August. It wasn’t a top priority read when I checked it out, so I ended up buying it (that way people could check it out if they wanted to).

Taking place in the same universe as Heartstopper, Loveless tells the story of Georgia, a young woman who had never been in love. She didn’t even had a crush. But when she goes to university, she believes now is the time she’s ready to change that. However, when things don’t go as planned, she wonders why it’s so easy for other people to fall in love and what exactly Asexuality and Aromatic means. And what does it all mean for her?

I have a feeling this will be a book that I enjoy. Not only because I enjoyed Heartstopper, but because it sounds like a coming of age story from the perspective of someone who might have these questions about themselves.

Conclusion

As you can see, my plans for October are pretty all over the place in terms of genre. This is one of those months that I don’t have a set theme for. What are your reading plans for October? Do you have any new releases you can’t wait to read? Will you be doing a theme or genre you may plan to read in October?