September Round Up!

I read a ton of books in September. I was trying to get through the backlog of library books that I had checked out. Most of them were graphic novels and comics so I was able to get through quite a bit! Here’s all of the ones that I enjoyed in September.

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The Vain

First up we have The Vain by Eliot Rahal. This is a graphic novel about four vampires robbing blood banks. Starting in 1941 the four vampires are stealing blood and staying on the run. All is going well until the US enters World War II. Suddenly, blood is much harder to come by and well guarded. The four decide to split up in hopes that they can find blood easier. Meanwhile, FBI agent Felix Franklin thinks that all the blood thefts are a plot to weaken the US and make the war harder. Little does he know that it’s much worse than that. Over the years he keeps track of the thefts and the vampires. Will he be able to catch them? Or will the vampires outlast the FBI agent? You’ll have to read it and find out!

Overall, I enjoyed this graphic novel. I gave it a 3.5 but rounded it up to four on Goodreads because we can’t have nice things like half stars over there. I enjoyed the story, especially the beginning. It got a little boring in the middle but by the end I was invested again. I enjoyed the lesbian vampire couple and the dynamic between the four. The artwork was just ok. If it had been better I probably would have given it a higher rating. If you like vampires with some historical fiction thrown in, then give this a try.

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The House with a Clock in its Walls

Next up we have a juvenile fiction book called The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs. This was such a fun book. I missed this one in my childhood and a coworker recommended it to me so I decided to give it a go. The story starts off with Lewis Barnavelt going to live with his uncle Jonathan after his parents pass away. Lewis assumes that living with his uncle will be boring. But Uncle Jonathan is anything but boring. Turns out that he’s a magician! And so is his neighbor Mrs. Zimmermann! Lewis has tons of fun with his uncle and Mrs. Zimmermann. But then he decides that he wants to try out some magic for himself. Little does he know that by using magic he’s unleashed something evil into the world. Now Lewis, Uncle Jonathan, and Mrs. Zimmermann will have to battle it out to save the world.

This was a really great book. I loved Lewis but my favorite character was Uncle Jonathan. Him and Mrs. Zimmermann were so good to Lewis. I enjoyed all the verbal sparring between them too. I know that this is a children’s book but I really think that anyone would enjoy reading this.

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The Delicacy

One of my favorite graphic novels was The Delicacy by James Albon. At the end of this review I am going to put something in all caps that will spoil the whole book. You’ve been warned.

This graphic novel is about two brothers, Tulip and Rowan, that live with their mother on a small Scottish island where they farm the land. After they are left a house and land when their aunt and uncle die, the boys move to London and open a restaurant featuring Rowan’s fresh grown produce including, a mysterious mushroom that seems to only grow in one patch on their land. These mushrooms bring in the diners by the drove. As the restaurant gets more and more popular, the brothers steadily grow apart. Tulip relies on Rowan to provide the restaurant with the popular mushrooms but Rowan is having trouble growing them. He’s tried everything to get them to grow but nothing seems to be working. (SPOILER INCOMING) He eventually figures out that THE MUSHROOMS GROW ON THE GRAVES OF PEOPE. Of course he goes to immediately tell Tulip and things go wrong. To find out how wrong they go you’ll have to pick up a copy yourself and find out.

I’m not gonna lie, the art style takes a little bit of getting used to. But honestly, as I read more and more I didn’t care about the art style anymore I just needed to know what happened. This graphic novel was one of the few 5 star reads that I had in September. I absolutely loved this one. I highly recommend checking this one out.

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Crowded vol. 1

The next comic book that I read was Crowded by Christopher Sebela. Here’s the Goodreads blurb for this one:

Ten minutes in the future, the world runs on an economy of job shares and apps, while crowdfunding has evolved into Reapr: a platform for assassination that’s trickled down from politicians, celebrities and CEOs to everyday life and all its petty resentments. A world where anyone with enough backers and the money they contribute can kill anyone else.

Like Charlie Ellison, who up until now has lead a quiet, normal life, until she wakes up to find herself the target of a Reapr campaign with a million dollars on her head. Hunted by all of Los Angeles, Charlie hires Vita, the lowest rated bodyguard on the Dfend app. As the campaign picks up speed and Vita takes out incompetent civilians and aspirational assassins on their tail, she and Charlie will have to figure out who wants Charlie dead and why before the campaign’s 30 days or their lives are over.

This was such a great comic. It was very action packed but there were still tender moments (not very many though). And we had some gay rep in here too! If you’re an action fan then this will be right up your alley. I can’t wait to read the next volume!

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Why She Wrote

Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke and Hannah K. Chapman was a great graphic novel that delved into the lives of famous women authors. There are eighteen women featured in this graphic novel including Frances Burney, Jane Austen, Ann Lister, Emily Bronte, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Beatrix Potter, and Louisa May Alcott just to name a few. I really loved this book and I’m thinking of adding it to my collection. The format was one of my favorites that I’ve ever read in a non-fiction graphic novel. There was a photo of the woman that they were talking about and on the opposite page was a short overview of her life. After, there would be a comic describing an important time in the author’s life. I really enjoyed this graphic novel and I would highly recommend that anyone check it out!

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Nightbitch

Next up is Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder! Now this book was a trip. It took me forever to read even though it was relatively short at 256 pages. I would read a few pages and then put it down and the repeat for about a month. But I did enjoy it. It’s all about the nameless Mother who thinks that she is turning into a dog. Her husband is gone most of the time on business trips and she’s left along to take care of the house and her 2-year old son. She’s bored, burnt out, lonely, and fed up with being left home to take care of everything. She notices that her canine teeth are getting longer and sharper. And then she starts growing a tail… Her husbands reaction to this is to just tell her she needs more sleep, to go see a doctor if she’s worried, ect. After trying to ignore what’s happening she eventually goes to the library to try and do some research. She comes across a book that has reference to wild women in other parts of the world. This book soon becomes her bible and she writes emails to the author although they go unanswered. She eventually tries to make friends with the other mommies at the library and their leader Jen, seems to be different from the other mommies. Is the Mother turning into a dog? Is Jen as nice as she seems?

This was a strange book. I did end up liking it and I’ve recommended it to a few people already. I’d love to know someone else’s thoughts if anyone’s read this.

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Several People are Typing

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke was such a fun and fast read! This whole book takes place with in a company’s Slack messages. The format is just like you’re reading someone’s Slack messages – hence the reason that it goes so fast when you’re reading it.

Gerald is an employee at a public relations firm located in New York. He’s working from home just like a lot of other people, communicating with his bosses and coworkers through Slack. Over the course of the day, something strange happens and Gerald’s consciousness gets somehow uploaded into Slack. He tries to tell his coworkers but they just think he’s joking around – and taking advantage of the work from home policy. His productivity goes up though and his bosses are impressed with how much he’s getting done so no one cares to much that he’s spending so much time working from home. Eventually though, Gerald begins to feel the strain of being trapped in Slack. He’s slowly starting to lose his mind. He enlists the help of one of his coworkers, Pradeep to help him keep up with his body until he can get back to it, whenever that may be.

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My Best Friend’s Exorcism

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix was another great book that I read last month. It’s about two high school girls – Abby and Gretchen – that have been friends for most of their lives. Ever since a fifth grade E.T. themed birthday party the two have been inseperable. As they grow older and start high school, Abby starts to notice changes in Gretchen – she becomes mean and distant. Abby can think of no other explanation than Gretchen is possesed by a demon. Abby is determined to save Gretchen – at any cost. Will Abby and Gretchen’s friendship survive this possesion and subsequent exorcism? Or will Gretchen succumb to the demon inside her.

This was a fantastic book. We all know that I love Grady Hendrix. I will read anything that he puts out (I’m currently reading his latest book, Final Girl Support group). I love the characters that he writes. They make mistakes and usually end up paying for in some way, shape, or form. If you are looking for an intersting horror read then I would definitely suggest this book, or anything else by Grady Hendrix.

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Tender is the Flesh

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica is one of the best written and most disturbing books that I’ve ever read. Content warning here: this book is about canibalizism and it is VERY graphic. Don’t read this if you’re squeamish.

Now, onto the book. We start off by getting a run down of the current situation in the world, which is that all of the animals have a virus which makes them poisonous to humans. With no animals to eat, people resort to cannibalism. It eventually becomes government sanctioned and processing plants crop up that breed, raise, and slaughter the head. If you’ve ever seen or been around a processing plant then you’re probably aware of how they work. But for those of you that don’t know I’ll give you a brief and very broad run down. Usually animals such as pigs or cows would be brought to a processing plant via a truck. They would then be stunned, hung upside down, and drained of their blood. After that they would get butchered into small cuts of meat and shipped out to various grocery stores or butcher shops. Essentially, this is the same thing that they’re doing in this book, but to people. Our main character is named Marcos, and he works at one of these processing plants. He tries to ignore how he makes a living as much as possible. He works at one of the most premier processing plants in the country. Because of this he is sometimes given gifts from vendors and breeders. One day he is given a very special gift – a live specimen with the finest of meat. A special grade is made for these head and they are very expensive and highly sought after. At first Marcos doesn’t know what to do with her. He finds the idea of killing and eating her abhorrent so he just keeps her. Eventually, as he teaches her how to be a human, he starts to develope feelings for her. Now it is strictly forbidden by the government to have any kind of physical relationship with the human livestock. But that’s exactly what happens. She becomes pregnant and Marcos is over joyed. His son died and his wife left him. To have another chance at a family is all he’s wanted ever since. If you want to know how the book ends I would highly recommend that you check it out.

There were times that I thought that I couldn’t finish this book. But I’m glad that I did. I feel like it’s a cop out to say the characters are complex. They are. But the way that the story is told, with an almost clinical detachment to what’s actually happening is the most fascinating part. You realize that if Marcos thinks about what’s going on too long he’ll lose it. Read this, you won’t be disappointed.

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The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor

Next up we have The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity. Here’s the blurb:

One dark and stormy night, Haley sees a stranger drowning in the river. Since her greatest passion is Gothic romance novels, she knows her moment has come. But when Haley leaps into the water to rescue the stranger, she awakens in Willowweep. It certainly looks like the setting of one of her favorite books: A stately manor. A sinister housekeeper. Three brooding brothers. There’s even a ghost.

Except Willowweep is not what it seems. Its romantic exterior hides the workings of a pocket universe—the only protection our world has against a great force of penultimate evil, and its defenses are crumbling. Could cruel fate make Haley the heroine that Willowweep needs?

This was such a fun graphic novel. I loved the characters and the story. I thought that this was going to be a Jane Austen romance type of book but I wasn’t expecting the sci-fi twist. I know a few of my friend’s were put off by the art style but I really enjoyed it. This is another one that I would highly recommend! It was just really, really fun.

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Bubble

Bubble by Jordan Morris was such a great read! It was one of my favorites last month. Apparently this is based on a popular podcast?? I had never heard of it going into reading this so all the characters were new to me.

This book follows a group of friends who live in Fairhaven a literal bubble. The Brush is a harsh wasteland filled with aliens and groups of ruthless humans. Morgan was born in the Brush but raised in the Bubble. She can fight off monsters during her morning jog and then go into her job where she works doing social media. She loves her easy and fun job and she loves killing Imps and taking them home to her roommate Annie who turns them into drugs as a side gig. During turning one Imp into drugs a delivery guy gets nearly murdered by said Imp and accidentally gets Brush mutant powers. Annie and her friend’s must go on an adventure to try and fix everything that’s happened. Along the way Annie has to confront aspects of her Brush past and her current Bubble life. Can they save the delivery guy (and possibly their world)? You’ll have to read and find out!

Overall, this was another one of my favorites graphic novels that I read last month. The artwork was amazing, the story was fantastic, and the characters were relatable. I really want to check out the podcast and see if it’s as good as the graphic novel. I would highly recommend checking this one out!

That’s it for this month! I hope you all had a good September!

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