October & November Round-Up!

October was a really great reading month for me. I had a bunch of ARCs that I needed to get through – which I did – and I also had a bunch of library books that I am working my way through. I got to read some great spooky books since it was October and the perfect time to read those spooky books. But I also read some really cute graphic novels and manga as usual that I can’t wait to share with you guys. School is starting to wind down too so I was actually able to read some novels! I hope that you had a good October & November! Now onto the books!

First up we have Wait til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn and adapted by Scott Peterson, Meredith Laxton, and Russ Badget. This was the perfect spooky graphic novel to read in October. I absolutely loved all the characters. The kids were so kid-like and I feel like a lot of books either make kids sound way too old for their age or dumb. These kids were perfectly balanced and very well-fleshed-out characters. Overall, a great spooky read!

Next up we have Side Effects by Ted Anderson and Tara O’Connor. This was a really interesting graphic novel. I didn’t 100% know what it was about when I started it, I mostly assumed that it was about side effects from taking medications. Which it is – kind of. As Hannah starts college she starts to quickly get overwhelmed. So she seeks help in the form of therapy, which leads to trying out a few medications. And each medication has side effects. Some are normal and some are..weird. Hannah soon discovers that each medication gives her certain powers. Like mind reading, floating, constipation, and super strength. All Hannah wants is to be well, but she struggles to realize what “well” means to her.

The next book that I read was Black Paradox by Junji Ito. Listen. If you like weird ass manga then this is the one for you! This is about a group of people that meet on a suicide website called Black Paradox. And then a bunch of weird things start to happen. There are doppelgangers, stones made from their bodies, kidnapping?! So much happens. I don’t want to spoil too much because it is such a WILD ride. If you’re a fan of weird, or a fan of Junji Ito, I highly recommend checking this one out!

Next up The Heart Hunter by Mickey George and illustrated by V. Gagnon. On the cursed island of Envecor, everyone is doomed to wear their heart outside their bodies, and are immortal—unable to die, to change, to have children— until they find their soul mate. Paired soul mates are then turned mortal, freed from the curse, and able to leave. But all fairy tales have a dark side: those who don’t want to lose their immortality pay “Heart Hunters” to find their soul mates and kill them so they may remain immortal. Psyche, a Heart Hunter, is hired by the king to kill his soulmate. As she sets out on her quest, she begins her own journey of mending her broken heart and learning to trust again.

This was so good! I loved all the characters – but the bond between Psyche and her sister is so sweet and painful. I think it’s my favorite of all the relationships in the book. I also loved that all the hearts were different depending on the person. This was a fun action-packed graphic novel with a unique (not in a bad way) art style.

And we have another Junji Ito book. This time it’s Frankenstein. This was a really creepy take on Frankenstein. I loved the artwork, Junji Ito never disappoints in that regard. It was gross and so detailed. The story was also fantastic – the main character is great. The conflict he creates for himself when he creates the monster really comes back to haunt him in the end. Now when I say that this book has some gross sections, I mean GROSS. But that personally doesn’t bother me, but if you aren’t a fan of gore maybe skip this one. I really loved it.

Next up is Sacred Lamb by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Jelena Bordevic.

Sacred Lamb is a secret town where the survivors of endemic slasher killers (think real-world Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger) reside in a “witness protection” to stop innocent people from being murdered when the inevitable ‘sequel’ occurs, and the slasher returns from the dead.

Social media influencer Kellyn West, who just recently dispatched “her” own slasher killer Clay Coogan on a live stream, is the newest resident. Feeling more locked away than protected behind the barbed wire fenced-in town, where the government has hidden away these E.V.s (“Endemic Victims”) since the slasher spree started in the 1970s, Kellyn has to team with an old woman, and the original Survivor Girl, known only as “The Babysitter” to rally the E.V.es and survive as an army of slashers start showing up, seemingly back from the dead, and back for blood.

This was such a fun read! I’ve watched a lot of true crime and in the process of that, learned a lot about serial killers. This was a really interesting take on final girls and what society is doing to protect them and their loved ones. I really enjoyed this graphic novel but the artwork wasn’t my favorite.

M is for Monster by Talia Dutton is yet ANOTHER Frankenstein book – I really said let’s read some horror books during October huh? In this one, Dr. Frances Ai is trying to bring back her younger sister, Maura, who died in a tragic accident in the lab. So she sets out to bring Maura back to life. However, the thing that awakens isn’t her sister. She goes by the name M, and doesn’t remember anything about Frances, Maura, their life, or the lab experiments. Frances just thinks that she needs some time to get her memories back. M isn’t so sure about that but she goes along with Frances because she really wants to be Maura. No spoilers for how this all gets resolved, but this book is fantastic. I really loved it. The artwork was so clean and I loved the color palette, it was gorgeous!

This next book so was good! Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti is one of my favorite books that I read in October. It was gay, it was in space, it was found family, it was so good!

When they were kids, Fassen’s fighter spaceship crash-landed on a planet that Lu’s survey force was exploring. It was a forbidden meeting between a kid from a war-focused resistance movement and a kid whose community and planet are dedicated to peace and secrecy.

Lu and Fassen are from different worlds and separate solar systems. But their friendship keeps them in each other’s orbit as they grow up. They stay in contact in secret as their communities are increasingly threatened by the omnipresent, ever-expanding empire.

As the empire begins a new attack against Fassen’s people–and discovers Lu’s in the process–the two of them have the chance to reunite at last. They finally are able to be together…but at what cost?

This next book was another one of my favorites in October – Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen.

When the final four women in competition for an aloof, if somewhat sleazy, bachelor’s heart arrive on a mysterious island in the Pacific Northwest, they mentally prepare themselves for another week of extreme sleep deprivation, invasive interviews, and of course, the salacious drama that viewers nationwide tune in to eagerly devour. Each woman came on “The Catch” for her own reasons–brand sponsorships, followers, and yes, even love–and they’ve all got their eyes steadfastly trained on their respective prizes.

Enter Patricia, a temperamental, but woefully misunderstood local, living alone in the dark, verdant woods and desperate to forge a connection of her own. As the contestants perform for the cameras that surround them, Patricia watches from her place in the shadows, a queer specter haunting the bombastic display of heterosexuality before her. But when the cast and crew, at last, make her acquaintance atop the island’s tallest and most desolate peak, they soon realize that if they’re to have any hope of making it to the next Elimination Event, they’ll first have to survive the night.

This book was fantastic! I loved all the obnoxious women that were on the show, the horrible host, the backstabbing PAs, and the characters were perfect! If you’re looking for a quick, fun read then check this one out!

Next up we have one of my favorite books that I’ve read so far this year. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin is complicated, to say the least.

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.

Watching Sam and Sadie grow up, grow apart, and come back together over and over was a slow torture that I did not think I was going to like. The loathing that I feel for the miscommunication trope is monumental, and I thought that this whole book was just going to be that over and over again. And it was. But it was also so much more. Much like this is a book about two friends making a video game, it really isn’t. There is so much more than you see on the surface. The characters were compelling, frustrating, and relatable. There were parts where I had to put down the book and walk away because the emotions that it was making me feel were too overwhelming. It has been a very long time since I have loved book characters this much.

My favorite quote from the book comes from Marx, “What is a game? … It’s tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. It’s a possibility of infinite rebirth, infinite redemption. The idea that if you keep playing, you could win. No loss is permanent, because nothing is permanent, ever”.

That is it for the months of October & November! I tried to read as many creepy/spooky books as I could for October and I think I was pretty successful for the most part. Not that I don’t regularly read horror anyway. November was pretty busy and I also read more full-length novels so my total was lower than in other months. Also, work has been insane and I got the new Pokémon game which has also been taking up a lot of my time. Anyway, next month will be my gigantic end-of-the-year post! Which is always a lot of fun but also a lot of work, yay!

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