Weekly Round-Up! #27

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This Weekly Round-Up will have two weeks worth of books in it! I was traveling to the St. Augustine area last weekend and didn’t have access to my laptop so I wasn’t able to get anything up. But now you get double the books in this post!

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The first book that I absolutely inhaled in the last few weeks is called Lock Every Door by Riley Sager. I’ve raved about Riley Sager before and this book did not disappoint! I’ve read his other book, Final Girls and loved it as well so I was really excited to dive into this one. This book was so good! It centers around Jules, who is newly unemployed and single. She’s living on her friend’s couch while looking for a new job when she comes across an ad in the newspaper for an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew. The rules of her new job are simple, if a little eccentric: no visitors, no nights spent away from the apartment, no bothering the other residents. The job sounds like a dream come true. She gets to stay in a beautiful, historic building that is the setting for her favorite book. It sounds to good to be true. She meets another apartment sitter Ingrid and they bond over the strange rules of the building and the weirdness of the job. Ingrid tells Jules some of the dark history of the Bartholomew but Jules just brushes it off as a creepy story and nothing more. But once Ingrid goes missing Jules starts to think that maybe there was something to that story after all.

This book had so many twists and turns that I thought I had it figured out a few different times. I was partially right but there were some details that I didn’t get until they were revealed. I loved Riley Sager’s books because I kind of figure out some details but then there will be a twist and I’m just like, oh, that’s not what I was expecting at all. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of mysteries. This book (and the other’s by Riley Sager) will be right up your alley!

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Next up is a graphic novel series that I started reading called Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland. This is based on the popular books series of the same name by the same author. This series is about five dragons who are part of a prophecy that says they will stop a war between the dragon factions of Pyrrhia. The story starts off with our dragon buddies learning about who they are and escaping their prison to go on an adventure! Full disclosure, I have not read the book series that these graphic novels are based on so my opinion and review are just going off of what I read in these two graphic novels. That being said, I was very pleased with both of these volumes! I did like volume two, The Lost Heir a little better than volume one though. I think it is mostly because the first book was a lot of getting to know the characters and their backgrounds and book two was more about the story. I really love the artwork in this series as well. It does seem a little cartoonish at times but I really don’t mind that. Sometimes it’s nice to have an art style that is different from other graphic novels. Overall I think this is a great series and I’m really looking forward to the next installment!

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Next up we have an adult graphic novel that is short, sweet, and sexy. This book is called Crossplay and it is by Niki Smith. Here is the blurb from Goodreads: “Close friends and new acquaintances at an anime convention confront their crushes, challenge their hang-ups, and question their once-comfortable identities in this erotic graphic novel about discovering who you’re meant to truly be and who you’re meant to love.”

This is the debut graphic novel for Niki Smith and after reading this one I’m very excited to see what she does next! This book was really awesome and very sex-positive. I really enjoyed the group of friends that was portrayed in the book, I wanted to hang out with them! The only thing that I was slightly disappointed by was how short the book is. I read this in about 15 minutes. Length does not equal a good book by any means but this just felt very short and I would have loved to get to know the characters more! But other than that aspect, I very much enjoyed this book!

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Another book that I really, really enjoyed (and took way to long to get around too!) was Puddin’ by Julie Murphy. This book is the follow up to Julie Murphy’s other book, Dumplin’ (which was also really fantastic as well). It takes place in the months after the events in the first book and focuses on some of the side characters. Although the MC from Dumplin’ Willowdean, is in this book, she is not the focus of it. The MC of this book is Millie Michalchuk. She wants nothing more than to go to broadcasting camp this year instead of the fat camp that she goes to every summer. She just has to convince her mom first.

This was an amazing book. I can’t believe I took so long to get around to it! I loved Dumplin’ as well and this book picks up after. I wouldn’t say that you have to read Dumplin’ but I would highly recommend reading it first. Because this book picks up right after Dumplin’ ends, you will get spoiled on the end of the first book. It also includes a lot of characters from the first book as well so it may be a bit hard to understand all of the background nuances without knowing the events from the first book.

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The next book that I read is called Brave Chef Brianna by Sam Sykes. This is a comic book that I picked up because I really love any graphic novels, comic books, or manga about cooking. So I thought I would give this one a try and see how it went.

Here is the blurb off of Goodreads: “To prove herself as a great chef, a young woman sets up a restaurant as the sole human in a city full of monsters.

Brianna Jakobsson has big cooking dreams, and when her ailing restaurateur father poses a challenge to his only daughter and fifteen sons, she seizes the opportunity. She’s going to have the best restaurant around and earn the family empire. Thing is, the only place she can afford to set up shop is in Monster City. Her menu is full of weird delicacies, her kitchen is run by a half-bird harpy, and her dining room is filled with skeleton businessmen. Add on the nefarious Madame Cron, some highly competitive siblings and Brianna’s plate is literally . . . full.

Brave Chef Brianna from writer Sam Sykes (Munchkin) and artist Selina Espiritu explores one woman’s incredible journey to realize her dreams in the unlikeliest of places. Welcome to Monster City!”

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book within the first couple of pages. It just seemed kind of blah and not all that exciting. Things did pick up about halfway through and I felt like the book really settled into itself and found a good rhythm to the story. I really liked the characters but honestly this was one of those books where I didn’t really like the MC that much. I’m not sure why but I just couldn’t connect with her. I do think that this was more of a personal preference thing than the MC sucking though.

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The next series that I have been reading and enjoying is Kiss Him, Not Me! by Junko. Here is the blurb for this series from Goodreads:

Hi there! My name is Serinuma Kae.
I’m the kind of girl who loves checking out boys and fantasizing about them getting friendly (and more) with each other—I’m what you might call a fujoshi.

One day, my beloved (yes, he’s an anime character) died, and the shock of it all was more than I could have ever prepared for! My grief over his passing resulted in some ridiculous weight-loss!

And you won’t believe what happened next! Soon after my change, the four most divinely gorgeous boys in my school asked me out on dates! I accepted them all, and you’d think I’d be happy with my sudden popularity, but the truth is, my heart only yearns for a prince to be next to his prince. Ahh, yes, boys, I’d much prefer that you turn your affections elsewhere and KISS HIM, NOT ME!”

I’m currently on volume 7 of this book series and I’m mostly enjoying it. I do have a few issues with the first volume of this book though. At the beginning of this book, the main character is fat. When her favorite anime character dies she goes into a period of mourning where she doesn’t eat or leaver her room (so essentially she starves for a few days). When she comes out of her room afterwards, she’s magically skinny and beautiful. I really feel like if young impressionable girls or boys read this then they may take away that they need to be skinny in order to get attention. I don’t really like the message that this sends. Other than that issue I do like the series. I have watched the anime as well so I knew what this series was about going into it. If you can get past the weight loss issue in the beginning of the series and you are a fan of yuri-ish manga then I think this one would be right up your alley!

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The next book that I had a lot of fun reading is The Water Spirit: Gamayun Tales by Alexander Utkin. This is the second book in this series and it continues immediately after the end of the first book, The King of the Birds by the same author.These books are based on Russia folklore, which is really neat because I have never read any kind of Russia folklore so it’s an interesting subject to get to check out. This book takes place directly after the end of the first book in the series. The first book is about the King of the Birds and a merchant that nurses him back to health. In exchange for his help the merchant is gifted a mysterious golden chest. This book picks up with the merchant going home carrying his new prize. Can he resist opening the chest like he was told? Or will curiosity get the better of him? What consequences will he have to face if he can’t control himself? You’ll have to read it and find out! Also, the illustrations in this book are stunning. I love the artwork and the colors that are used make the book that much more enjoyable to read.

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The next two manga that I read are Batman and the Justice League volumes one and two. Not gonna lie, I was really unsure about these books going into this. The story is about Rui who travels from Japan to Gotham to investigate his parents who have been missing for a year. They supposedly died in an explosion that destroyed the power plant where they worked. But Rui thinks that they’re still alive. He goes to Gotham and runs into trouble pretty much immediately upon his arrival. I thought that the premise was interesting but the art style is weird honestly. Superman has a small head and a giant chest and his neck is unnaturally long. I’ve read the first two volumes but I’m not sure if I’ll continue to read this series. I can’t really get over the art and how bad some of the characters look.

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The last manga that I enjoyed last week is called Black Torch by Tsuyoshi Takaki. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

As a descendant of shinobi, Jirou Azuma has been learning ninja techniques his entire life. But in addition to that, he also has the ability to talk to animals.

One day when he rescues a strange black cat named Ragou, he learns that the world is filled with spirits called mononoke that can take the form of both people and animals.

However, their meeting is cut short when they are attacked by a hostile mononoke who is after Ragou’s power.”

This was a really interesting manga. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it within the first few pages but I actually ended up really enjoying it! The story was interesting and I love the cat character, Ragou. He seems like a grouchy grandpa trapped in a cat’s body. I also really like the art style as well. I’m interested to see where this series goes. So for now, I’ll say that I like and I’m interested enough to read a few more volumes.

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That is it for this (two) weeks! Hope you all had a great week and a good summer! I’m curious if any of you are going back to school? I’ve been out of school for a long time so that is not really a part of my life anymore. If you are going back to school then good luck with your studies!

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