Sunday, April 17, 2022

REVIEW: My Boyfriend is a Monster #5: I Date Dead People (graphic novel) by Ann Kerns, illustrated by Janina Görrissen

I Date Dead People is the fifth entry in the "My Boyfriend is a Monster" graphic novel series. I got it as an ARC at a conference at least 10 years ago.

This review includes spoilers.


Nora's family has recently moved into a beautiful old house previously Eleanor Hays, a famous author. Although her younger siblings make some odd comments and several items go missing, Nora doesn't realize there's anything odd about her new home until she's home alone one evening and meets a ghost. It initially scares her, but Tom, the ghost, doesn't seem all that bad - he returns the stuff he took and just asks that Nora's family not remove the house's grandfather clock. However, he's not the only ghost haunting the house, and a couple of the others aren't nearly so nice.

REVIEW: A Confusion of Princes (book) by Garth Nix

A Confusion of Princes is YA science fiction. My memories say I bought it new from a bargain bin, while my records say I bought it used.


When Khemri was only a year old, he was taken from his parents in order to be turned into a Prince Candidate, a being faster, stronger, and smarter than ordinary humans. He spent the next few years of his life getting his body enhanced and improved, and the next few years after that learning how special he was. On his seventeenth birthday, he officially became a Prince, was assigned his Master of Assassins, and was nearly killed by another Prince.

That's when he realized that, in a universe populated by millions of other Princes, 1) he wasn't really all that special and 2) he was in constant danger of being assassinated. Granted, being assassinated isn't necessarily the end when you're a Prince. As long as a Prince is connected to the Imperial Mind when they die, there's a good chance they'll come back to life (in an unharmed and slightly different body).

All Khemri wants is a fancy spaceship and some free time to enjoy himself and all the benefits of being a Prince. Instead, he finds himself caught up in a larger scheme that forces him to constantly work hard and deal with actual danger. 

REVIEW: Our Kingdom (manga, vol. 2) by Naduki Koujima, translated by Sachiko Sato

Our Kingdom is a contemporary-set BL manga. I bought this particular volume used.


Akira and Rei are now a couple, although Akira still seems to think Rei's frequent kisses are more due to his being half-foreign than anything. There's still no indication that the adults around them realize what's going on between them, or maybe they just don't care.

Yuji, Akira's father's younger brother, arrives at the beginning of this volume and immediately takes to Akira, much to Rei's annoyance. Akira understandably wants to spend time with his uncle, and Rei is massively jealous. When Yuji has a chance to spend some time alone with Akira, he offers to take Akira home with him, thereby leaving Rei the sole Takatou family heir. Akira refuses - although he firmly believes that Rei will (and should) be chosen to take over the family name, all he wants is to be together with Rei.

Later in the volume, there's more drama as Raoul makes another appearance and Akira starts to doubt Rei's feelings, wondering if he's only around because Akira reminds him of Akira's father.

REVIEW: Rurouni Kenshin "Three in One" Omnibus (manga, vol. 1) by Nobuhiro Watsuki, translated by Kenichiro Yagi

Rurouni Kenshin is a historical action series. I bought this volume used.


Kaoru is on the hunt for Hitokiri Battousai, the infamous assassin who opposed the Tokugawa shogunate and killed countless men before vanishing after the start of the Meiji era, when she meets a humble rurouni named Himura Kenshin. She tells Kenshin that she's trying to clear the name of her family dojo - Hitokiri Battousai claims to use her family's sword-fighting style when he commits murder, and this lie is ruining the dojo's reputation. Kenshin happens to know that "Hitokiri Battousai" is lying about more than just that...because he's the real Hitokiri Battousai, determined to live out the rest of his days without killing anyone else.

This omnibus volume includes volumes 1-3 of the series, introducing Kaoru, Yahiko, Sanosuke, and Megumi. It ends with Kenshin, Sanosuke, and Yahiko beginning a mission to rescue Megumi from Takeda Kanryu, which will involve going up against Shinomori Aoshi and his followers, the Oniwabanshu.

REVIEW: Our Kingdom (manga, vol. 1) by Naduki Koujima, translated by Sachiko Sato

Our Kingdom is a contemporary-set BL manga. I bought this particular volume new in order to fill in some blanks I had from getting a couple of the volumes used. I now regret this.


After his parents died in a car accident 5 years ago, Akira Nonaka was raised by his grandmother. However, she, too, has now died, and it's at her funeral that he learns that his father's family name used to be Takatou and that he isn't the only member of his family left. He agrees to go see them and learns that the Takatou family is rich and influential. 

His grandmother on his father's side declares that he and Rei, the cousin he never knew he had, are now the Takatou family heirs. Akira wants no part of this and attempts to go home but is stopped by Rei, who for some reason badly wants him to stay. Akira reluctantly agrees and finds himself swamped in tutoring sessions designed to help him not be an embarrassment to the Takatou family. As if that weren't enough, Rei's behavior is bewildering - he's weirdly physically affectionate, and Akira wonders if this is just how foreigners act (Rei is half Japanese). He couldn't possibly be serious, after all.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

REVIEW: Final Girls (book) by Riley Sager

Final Girls is a thriller. I bought my copy brand new.


Ten years ago, Quincy and several of her college friends took a trip to Pine Cottage. Only Quincy made it out alive. Although she has very few memories of what happened there, she remembers her first meeting with the stranger who killed all of her friends and almost got her too. She also remembers running for her life until she was saved by Coop, a young cop. She considers her lack of memories about everything else to be a blessing.

Now Quincy has an almost-fiance named Jeff and a popular baking blog. Things aren't perfect, but she's doing okay...until she learns that Lisa Milner has committed suicide. Lisa, Sam, and Quincy are part of a group the press has dubbed the "Final Girls," young women who each survived horror movie-like massacres. Lisa was the first and reached out to Quincy after Pine Cottage with offers of advice and support. Quincy only ever spoke to Lisa on the phone, and that was a while ago, but it seems unthinkable that she'd have killed herself. While Quincy is still trying to process the news, she's approached by a familiar-looking woman: Samantha Boyd, the "Final Girl" who dealt with her gruesome experience by disappearing. 

Saturday, April 9, 2022

REVIEW: Owen (book) by Melody Anne

Owen is contemporary romantic suspense. It's the third book in the author's Undercover Billionaire series.


Once upon a time, Eden and Owen were childhood sweethearts who planned to spend their whole lives together. Then one day Owen vanished without a word. Ten years later he came back and, despite herself, Eden was drawn to him and they ended up in bed again, only for her to discover that her dad had been dying of a heart attack and trying to call her while she was with Owen.

It's now 6 months later, and Eden's still walking around like an open wound. She works for a law office that's investigating whether the recent fires in the area were an inside job, and the top arson suspect immediately jumps out at her: Owen. He's one of the firefighters who's been battling the fires, and despite the grief, anger, and guilt that Owen's presence churns up, everything in Eden rebels against the idea that he could be the one behind those fires. Still, she has a job to do.

Meanwhile, there's definitely an arsonist running around, and he has his sights set on Owen. If he can't get to the man directly, hurting him indirectly via Eden, the woman he loves, is certainly an option.

REVIEW: Ossan Idol! (manga, vol. 1) by Ichika Kino, original story by Mochiko Mochida, translated by Milagres Fernandes

Ossan Idol! is, I guess, a slice-of-life idol series. It's licensed by Tokyopop. I bought my copy brand new.


Miroku Osaki is a 36-year old, fat, unemployed shut-in. He had a sales job at a health food company 10 years ago, but he was let go due to "unsatisfactory performance," which everyone knew was really code for "a fat salesperson makes our company look bad." He's finally starting to come out of his shell, though. He decides he wants to try dancing and joins a gym, where he meets Yoichi Kisaragi, the director of an entertainment company. Yoichi supports and encourages him, and before long Miroku is fit, attractive, and turning heads. However, he has no clue how charismatic he's become - all he knows is that he enjoys dancing, singing, and cheering people up. This volume follows his first steps towards becoming a middle-aged idol.

REVIEW: The Feng Shui Detective (book) by Nury Vittachi

The Feng Shui Detective is the first book in Nury Vittachi's Feng Shui Detective mystery series. I checked it out from the library.


Mr. Wong is a feng shui consultant in Hong Kong who occasionally uses his skills for more than just interior decoration. In this particular book, he finds himself looking into multiple odd cases, including an apparent kidnapping, a ghost at a dentist's office, and a young lady who various psychic readings indicate that she will soon die.

The publisher's description makes it sound like that last case is Wong's primary focus throughout the book, but it actually takes quite a while before he becomes directly involved (unless I zoned out and missed something, which is honestly possible). One of the biggest issues I had with this book was the way it meandered, despite several supposedly time-sensitive issues.

REVIEW: Home Before Dark (book) by Riley Sager

Home Before Dark is a combination of horror, thriller, and mystery. I bought my copy brand new.


When Maggie Holt was five, she and her parents spent 20 days in Baneberry Hall before they suddenly left the place and never went back. Maggie's father wrote a book about their experience, House of Horrors, that has haunted her her whole life, coloring her relationships and memories. Maggie can't remember her time at Baneberry Hall, doesn't personally believe in ghosts, and is convinced that her father lied about the haunting because their family needed money. However, neither of her parents would ever give her a straight answer about what really happened there.

When her father dies of cancer, Maggie discovers that one of the things he's left her is Baneberry Hall, which she hadn't realized he still owned. Maggie plans to renovate the place and sell it after figuring out as much of the truth as she can.

REVIEW: Through the Woods (graphic novel) stories by Emily Carroll

Through the Woods is a graphic novel collection of short horror stories. I checked it out from the library.

I tried to avoid spoilers, but there are mentions here and there of things that could be considered spoiler-ish.


This collection includes "Our Neighbor's House," "A Lady's Hands Are Cold," "His Face All Red," "My Friend Janna," "The Nesting Place," and a linked introduction and conclusion story.

I had previously read "His Face All Red" online and absolutely loved it, so I was looking forward to reading this collection. It did not disappoint. Every entry is delightfully creepy and makes effective use of color and text placement. It's not the best collection if you want your horror to end with answers and everything tied up, but if you like chilling moments and general creepiness, I'd say give this a shot. I wouldn't say this volume was gory at all, although there's blood, disturbing moments, and body horror that often particularly focuses on teeth.

I don't think there's a single story I disliked, although my most favorite of the bunch was probably "His Face All Red," and my least favorite was probably "A Lady's Hands Are Cold" or possibly "My Friend Janna."