Sunday, March 5, 2023

REVIEW: The Voices (live action movie)

The Voices is a horror movie with dark (very very dark) comedic elements. I think I bought my copy new.

Even my synopsis gets into spoiler territory, but I felt it was necessary in order to get across how dark this becomes.


Jerry is a cheerful guy who loves his job working at a warehouse in a bathtub factory. He's had some problems in the past, but he's now seeing a court-appointed psychiatrist and is doing great...except that he doesn't have any friends or a girlfriend, just his dog Bosco and cat Mr. Whiskers. But then he falls head over heels for Fiona, one of the office ladies (in Accounting, I think? I can't remember) at his company.

Unfortunately, she isn't nearly as enamored with him as he is with her and stands him up when he invites her to dinner. He sees her later when she's having car trouble and assumes that this is what kept her from joining him for dinner, so he picks her up and starts taking her home. Unfortunately, he hits a deer, which goes through the windshield. He hallucinates the deer begging him to put it out of its misery, which he does, slitting its throat with a knife, much to Fiona's horror. Fiona runs off and Jerry goes after her, accidentally tripping and stabbing her. He then "puts her out of her misery" as well, stabbing her repeatedly while apologizing.

When he goes home, Bosco, who Jerry hears as the good part of his conscience, tells him to go to the police. However, Mr. Whiskers, his darker side, doesn't think he should feel bad about killing. Although Mr. Whiskers pretty much wins this battle, there's still the issue of Fiona's body, which Jerry eventually collects, dismembers, almost entirely stores in Tupperware containers throughout his home. He keeps her head in his fridge, where it continues to talk to him.

This is, of course, not the end of Jerry's troubles, as various people start worrying about and looking for Fiona, and Jerry begins to fall for Lisa, one of Fiona's coworkers.

REVIEW: Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum (live action movie)

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum is a found footage South Korean horror movie. I bought my copy new.


Ha-Joon, the owner of a ghost hunting streaming show, aims to get to a million views by setting up a live broadcast at the abandoned Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital. A team of people (three guys, three girls), each of whom have cameras attached to them, will go in and explore while Ha-Joon holds down the fort at a nearby location, watching the footage and managing the stream.

The show was supposed to be scripted - two (or possibly three? I can't remember) of the guys were in on it, along with Ha-Joon. They planned to genuinely scare the others and use their reactions to increase their show's views and overall popularity. However, it soon becomes apparent that there are things happening in the abandoned facility that are unplanned.

REVIEW: The Black Phone (live action movie)

The Black Phone is a supernatural horror movie. I bought my copy new.

My review includes spoilers.


This is set in Denver in 1978. A serial killer called "The Grabber" has been abducting and killing kids in the area. 

Finney deals with an abusive, alcoholic father at home and bullies at school. The main people he's got in his life to back him up are his sister Gwen, who is unfortunately also one of their father's targets, and his friend Robin, who deals with bullies by publicly beating them up so that they're less likely to attack him or his friends at other times.

The Grabber strikes, takes Finney's friend Robin, and, not long after that, Finney himself. When Finney wakes up after being abducted, he finds himself in a dark room that contains only a toilet, a mattress, and a disconnected black phone. As the days pass, the Grabber comes by several times, bringing Finney food and water, and giving him chances to escape. However, Finney has begun receiving phone calls from the ghosts of the Grabber's previous victims, and he knows from their warnings that if he tries to leave and doesn't succeed, he'll definitely be killed. As he follows their advice and tries to figure out a way to escape, his sister attempts to bring on the psychic dreams she inherited from her mother in order to find her missing brother.

REVIEW: Chronicle (live action movie)

Chronicle is a found footage superhero (or supervillain?) movie. I bought my copy used.


This movie focuses on three teens: Andrew, Matt, and Steve. Andrew is a loner who's constantly bullied by his peers and abused by his alcoholic father. His beloved mother is slowly and painfully dying of cancer. His way of dealing with all of this is to make a video diary chronicling his life and the things going on around him, which is the source of most of the movie's "found footage."

Matt is Andrew's cousin and the closest thing he has to a friend. Matt takes Andrew to a party in an effort to help him mingle - it goes badly, but Matt and Steve (a popular and charismatic student) have Andrew come with them to film their exploration of a large hole they found in the woods. They discover a glowing crystalline object and, several weeks later, the three teens film themselves displaying amazing new telekinetic abilities.

For a brief while, Matt and Steve help Andrew use his new abilities to make friends and become more popular. Unfortunately, things don't turn out quite the way Andrew hoped, and his behavior rapidly becomes more erratic and violent. Only Steve and Matt have any hope of keeping Andrew from harming others.

REVIEW: Bride of the Barrier Master, Vol. 1 (book) by Kureha, translated by Linda Liu

Bride of the Barrier Master is a fantasy romance Japanese light novel series. I bought my copy of this volume new.


I'll start off by saying that I finished this weeks ago and waited far too long to review it. There may be details here and there that I've gotten wrong.

In this series, Japan is protected by five clans wielding powerful barrier-weaving magic. Hana and her twin sister Hazuki are members of a branch family of one of those clans. From an early age, Hazuki was known to be a powerful barrier practitioner who might be able to restore her family to its former glory. Hana, meanwhile, displays only weak abilities at least until her 15th birthday. At that time, for some reason her powers suddenly awaken. However, after spending years being viewed as the lesser twin sister, Hana has no desire to tell anyone about the change. 

That doesn't stop Saku Ichinomiya, the new head of the Ichinomiya clan, from noticing her, however. He needs a powerful wife to help him with his duties, and Hana seems like his best bet, even if she won't publicly admit to her powers. 

REVIEW: One Cup at a Time: A Cat's Cafe Collection (graphic novel) by Matt Tarpley

One Cup at a Time is a collection of strips from the Cat's Cafe webcomic. I bought my copy of this volume brand new.


I don't really have a lot to say about this collection, other than that I enjoyed it. As usual, the characters and their interactions are enjoyable, and readers will probably be able to relate to several of the characters and situations depicted. There's lots of mental health-related rep in this comic: dealing with stress, depression, over-stimulation, not knowing what to do when friends are going through a rough time, etc. This particular volume also touches on the pandemic a bit.

If I had to pick, I'd probably say that I liked the first volume more, if only because of the COVID-19 strips. They weren't very frequent and were most noticeable to me for what they didn't cover as what they did. I was surprised that feelings of isolation didn't come up more - then again, this series is so focused on the value of community and supporting others that I suppose there were things it couldn't really do without becoming...not itself.

Overall, this is a largely comforting and enjoyable series.


Some pages at the end for readers to write down their thoughts and feelings (nice idea, but if I'm going to do that, it will be in a notebook I've devoted to that purpose), as well as two pages of stickers featuring Cat's Cafe characters and designs.

REVIEW: Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, Vol. 1 (book) by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, translated by Suika & Pengie, interior illustrations by Marina Privalova

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation is a danmei (Chinese m/m) series. I bought my copy of this volume new.


At the time of his death Wei Wuxian was widely known as the Yiling Patriarch, the feared and skilled commander of a vast undead army. Thirteen years after his death, Wei Wuxian reawakens in the body of Mo Xuanyu, a young man who was expelled from the Jin cultivation sect for being gay. After a bit of investigation, Wei Wuxian figures out that Mo Xuanyu was abused to such a degree by his family that he turned to demonic cultivation, freely offering his body in exchange for revenge. 

This essentially means that Wei Wuxian is being given a second chance at life, but it's not long before he's once again drawn into the orbits of those he knew during his first life. The Yiling Patriarch burned a lot of bridges, and Wei Wuxian figures most of these people would want to kill him if they knew who he really was. Unfortunately, for some reason Lan Wangji, a cultivator who was his polar opposite when they were growing up, seems determined not to let him out of his sight.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

REVIEW: Chainsaw Man (manga, vol. 3) by Tatsuki Fujimoto, translated by Amanda Haley

Chainsaw Man is a blend of action, horror, and comedy. I bought this volume new.


Denji and the others have been trapped on the eighth floor of a hotel. They're going to starve to death if they can't figure out how to escape, but the only option available seems to be making a contract with the Eternity Devil that trapped them, which has said it will let the rest of them go if they let it eat Denji.

After the Eternity Devil portion of the story, the group winds down with some drinking (which Himeno also hopes will convince newbies Arai and Kobeni not to quit - their experience with the Eternity Devil was pretty traumatic). The volume ends with everything going all to hell.

REVIEW: The Recruit (live action movie)

The Recruit is a 2003 spy thriller. I checked my copy out from the library.


James Clayton is a young programmer who's spent years trying to figure out what happened to his father. He's working at a bar one night when a man who indicates he works for the CIA approaches him and hints that he has information about James' father. The man, Walter Burke, is there to recruit James to the CIA. 

After initially declining the offer, James reconsiders it due to the possibility that he might learn more about what happened to his father. Then it's off to The Farm to undergo training as a potential CIA operative, where he soon learns that no one, not even his fellow classmates, can truly be trusted. That's just the start, however - James is eventually faced with a world filled with so much deception he can't be sure of anything.

REVIEW: Dr. Stone (manga, vol. 2) story by Riichiro Inagaki, art by Boichi, translated by Caleb Cook

Dr. Stone is a post-apocalyptic series. I checked my copy out from the library.


Senku manages to make gun powder and, in the process, finds evidence that there may be other humans besides himself, Tsukasa, Taiju, and Yuzuriha around. Unfortunately, Tsukasa tracks Senku and the others down before there's any time to investigate, and Senku is faced with several impossible choices. This volume also features an extended flashback to Senku's childhood, as well as the period of time when Senku was first revived and had to do things on his own.

Monday, February 20, 2023

REVIEW: You'll Be the Death of Me (book) by Karen M. McManus

You'll Be the Death of Me is a YA mystery/thriller. I bought my copy new.

This review includes spoilers.


Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close friends due to the Greatest Day Ever, a time when they all skipped school together and had an amazing day. They've since drifted apart, and they're now all in high school and mostly hang out with different people. But the Greatest Day Ever still ties them together, so when Ivy is faced with coming to school after a humiliating senior-year class president election loss to Brian "Boney" Mahoney, she easily agrees when Cal suggests that the three of them skip school together like old times.

Unfortunately, the Greatest Day Ever isn't exactly something that can easily be replicated. Things go from vaguely disappointing to horrible when the three of them spot Boney (who should be at school, delivering his acceptance speech), follow him into an abandoned building, and then discover his body. For various reasons, none of them want to be around when the police arrive, but the end result is that Ivy becomes the prime suspect in Boney's murder. Finding out what really happened will involve digging into all of their secrets and getting to know the people they've become since they drifted apart.

REVIEW: Chainsaw Man (manga, vol. 2) story & art by Tatsuki Fujimoto, translated by Amanda Haley

Chainsaw Man is a blend of horror, action, and comedy. I bought my copy of this volume new.


Denji battles the Bat Devil in order to save Meowy and Power and get his chance to touch Power's boobs. Then it's time for Denji vs. the Leech Devil (the Bat Devil was her boyfriend). 

In this volume we learn about the Gun Devil, a devil so powerful it killed over a million people in 5 minutes. Since those horrible minutes of destruction, the Gun Devil has disappeared. Aki's team is assigned to finding and collecting pieces of the Gun Devil, which other devils eat in order to grant themselves more power. Those pieces should ultimately help them find the Gun Devil itself.

REVIEW: What If? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions (nonfiction book) by Randall Munroe

What If? 2 is a blend of science/math and humor. I bought my copy new.


If you liked the first What If? volume, you'll probably enjoy this one. Randall Munroe once again tackles a variety of questions in as scientific a way as possible. This occasionally (often?) means he has to make some assumptions so that the questions are answerable, and his assumptions might not always gel with what the person who asked the question intended. But hey, it's entertaining.

Some of the questions were more math problems than "what if?" scientific thought experiments - for example, the one about how many pages a person would have to read in order to read all of the laws that apply to them, or the one asking at what point in history there were too many English-language books to read in one lifetime. My favorite questions were the true "what ifs," the ones that involved fundamental changes to the world, the universe, or time itself. The more horrifically destructive the results, the better. (Bring on the candy rain and neverending dogs!)

I started reading this while I was sick, assuming that the explanations would help me drift off to sleep. Instead, I found this book to be entertaining in a way that was absolutely perfect for my exhausted and congested self. Many of the chapters told little stories about worlds or universes in which something had gone horribly awry, which was great fun to read about. At the same time, Munroe wasn't asking me to keep track of characters or plots, everything came with amusing pictures, and each chapter was relatively short. I could easily read a chapter or two and then decide it was time to nap for a few hours. True, I couldn't always follow the science, but I can't guarantee that I'd have been able to follow it even if I'd been healthy.

If I remember right, I listened to the audio version of the first What If? book. I recall enjoying it, but, what with the illustrations, it'd probably have been better to read it than listen to it. My enjoyment of this volume is making me consider going back and reading a paper copy of the first book.

REVIEW: Secrets of the Greek Revival (book) by Eva Pohler

Secrets of the Greek Revival is a cozy mystery. I bought my copy of this brand new.

This review contains spoilers.


Content warnings for parental death and mentions of sexual abuse.

This stars three friends who I suppose you could say are going through a bit of a mid-life crisis. All of them have something going on at home that's dragging down their mood. Ellen feels like she and her husband are gradually growing more and more distant from each other, and she isn't sure what to do about it. Tanya's mother has dementia and can't remember who she is most days. Meanwhile, Sue lets her own mother badger her.

To get their minds off things, they're debating buying and renovating an old Greek Revival house near one of San Antonio's historic districts. The house may be haunted, which the three friends have varied feelings about. Ellen doesn't believe in ghosts, but after some research she learns that this house does have a lot of history - it used to house several female psychiatric patients. The more Ellen learns about how they were treated, the more determined she is to get the house and turn it into something that can shine a light on their lives. While Ellen, Tanya, and Sue try to renovate the house and uncover its mysteries, they must simultaneously deal with someone or something who wants them off the property. 

REVIEW: The Evil Secret Society of Cats (manga, vol. 1) story & art by Pandania, translated by Alethea and Athena Nibley

The Evil Secret Society of Cats is a collection of humorous 4-panel comics. I bought my copy of this volume new.


The Evil Secret Society of Cats is all around us. Their goal is to teach humans to fear the feline taking over our lives with their cuteness. If you've ever been late to leave the house because of a cat who was too cute not to pet, you've experienced the Society's nefarious activities. (Or you're a human member of the Society, because that's an option too.) Some recurring characters are: Feline Commander (the leader of the secret society), Dr. Meow (the cat who develops all of the society's technologies), Queen (a high-level cat operative), the Destroyer (a secretly sweet former stray cat), Robocat (a robot created by Dr. Meow), and the hero Doggoman and Doggoman's little sister. There's also a hedgehog cafe owner who pops up occasionally, and who reminded me of the Cat's Cafe comic.

REVIEW: The Maid (book) by Nita Prose

The Maid is a mystery novel. I bought my copy new.


It's never stated in the book, but Molly Gray is probably autistic and certainly neurodivergent. She has trouble with social cues and frequently misunderstands people when their words or facial expressions don't match up with what they actually mean. She follows rules well and absolutely loves her job as a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. She gets satisfaction out of returning rooms to a "state of perfection."

Molly's grandmother used to explain the things she didn't understand, but after Gran dies, Molly has no one. Yes, Mr. Preston at the hotel is always very kind, as are the hotel manager, Mr. Snow, and several of Molly's fellow maids, but it isn't the same. It doesn't help that Molly is now constantly near financial ruin - she can barely afford to pay the rent on the apartment she and Gran used to share.

The Blacks are frequent guests at the Regency Grand, and Molly has returned to their room to finish cleaning up when she discovers Mr. Black dead in his bed, with the crushed remnants of his newest wife's pills on the floor beside him. Molly reports the body. Unfortunately, her odd behavior, some misplaced trust, and an unfortunate promise results in Molly becoming the prime suspect in Mr. Black's murder.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

REVIEW: Love is an Illusion! (manhwa, vol. 1) story and art by Fargo, translated by Lezhin Entertainment, America Localization Team

Love is an Illusion! is a BL omegaverse comic. I bought my volume brand new.


This is an omegaverse series - a quick explanation, if you aren't familiar with that. Everyone in this world is an Alpha, Omega, or Beta. Betas are regular humans. Alphas produce pheromones that attract Omegas, Omegas produce pheromones that attract Alphas, and Omegas go through heat cycles that make them want to have sex with Alphas (in the world of this series, medication exists that can suppress these heat cycles). Alphas of either sex can get Omegas of either sex pregnant.

Hye-sung has spent his entire life thinking he was a recessive Alpha, but, while working as a waiter at a party, he meets Dojin, a dominant Alpha, enters his first heat cycle, and discovers that he's actually an Omega. Specifically, he's a recessive Omega, so he'll likely have difficulty finding medication that can suppress his heat cycle and it'll be harder for him to get pregnant.

Dojin is a singer in a popular band and comes from a wealthy family composed almost entirely of Alphas. Due to his family constantly pressuring him to pair up with an Omega, he hates Omegas and only has sex with Betas or other Alphas. Until he meets Hye-sung. For some reason, having sex with Hye-sung inspires him to write incredible songs. Too bad Hye-sung resents Dojin for making him realize he's an Omega.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

REVIEW: Verity (book) by Colleen Hoover

Verity is a thriller with a gothic edge. I bought my copy new.


Lowen is a struggling writer who recently spent a period of time as her mother's caretaker, up until her mother's death. Now she's headed to a mysterious meeting that could be a turning point for her career. The author Verity Crawford has been in a car accident, is now in a vegetative state, and can no longer complete her bestselling series. Lowen has been chosen as the author best suited to go over Verity's notes and "co-author" the final books for her. Verity's husband, in particular, wants Lowen on board, and so she accepts, even though she isn't sure she can produce work nearly as good as Verity's. It's not like she has much of a choice, anyway - she desperately needs the money.

The Crawford family has been visited by quite a bit of tragedy: first the deaths of Verity and Jeremy's twin daughters, and then Verity's accident. Lowen goes to Verity's isolated home, intending to spend just a few days going over her papers. Soon, however, she finds herself glued to what appears to be Verity's unpublished autobiography. Verity's books were always written from the perspective of the villain, which Lowen didn't necessarily think indicated anything about Verity' nature, but Verity's autobiography has her wondering otherwise. It reveals her to be a cold and ruthless liar who'd do anything to keep Jeremy, her husband, to herself. 

What sort of person was Verity? It's a question Lowen can't stop thinking about, even as she finds herself falling for Jeremy. Did he know what his wife was really like? Should she tell him?

REVIEW: Come Out, Come Out, Whatever You Are (book) by Kathryn Foxfield

Come Out, Come Out, Whatever You Are is a YA mystery/thriller disguised as a horror story. I bought my copy new.


Lex is one of five teens who have signed up to be part of the newest (and possibly last) season of the reality TV show It's Behind You. The show's contestants must spend the night in a supposedly haunted location. Whoever is able to stay there the whole night wins 10 grand - and if multiple people manage to stick around, they have to split the 10 grand, so it's in contestants' best interests if there are fewer winners.

This season is taking place in the Umber Gorge Caves, the home of the Puckered Maiden, a ghost who takes the hearts of her victims. It's debatable whether she actually exists, but people have definitely died in these caves. The most recent death was only two years ago, a local teen killed during a cave-in.

Lex doesn't believe in ghosts and figures she'll get the 10 grand, easy. However, her fellow contestants - Python the YouTuber, Marla the wannabe actress, Abbie the ghost hunter, and Liam, the local boy who for some reason is pretending he isn't local - all have something they're hiding, and one of them may be willing to kill to keep others from finding out their secrets.

Monday, January 16, 2023

REVIEW: The Geek Ex-Hitman (manga, vol. 2) by Ko-dai, translated by Giuseppe di Martino

The Geek Ex-Hitman is a comedy series. I bought my copy of this volume new.


Marco, Andre, and Viviana attempt to sell their doujinshi at Comisu. Then the series' cast expands as Marco's old partner, Gregorio, shows up. He's supposed to take Marco out, but he admires Marco too much and puts even less effort into his mission than Viviana or Andre. Later in the volume, Marco interrupts some yakuza who keep scaring people off and ends up forcing them to show him their base of operations, which leads to Mei, aide to the Banba family's boss, also getting drawn into Marco's weird mobster otaku orbit.

REVIEW: I'm Glad My Mom Died (memoir) by Jennette McCurdy

I'm Glad My Mom Died is a memoir. I bought my copy new.


Content warning for abuse, assault, eating disorders, substance abuse, and probably other things I'm forgetting.

I had no idea who Jennette McCurdy was, prior to reading this. Although I did watch Nickelodeon growing up, I'm old enough that iCarly wasn't one of the shows I watched. I googled it a bit while reading this book, and I still think the "buttersock" thing sounds bizarre.

I read this for several reasons: 1) It seems to be pretty popular right now (which, true, would usually make me pass it by), 2) some folks at work were talking about it and got me interested, and 3) that title. Even then, I worried it'd be a bit of a slog. I don't normally gravitate towards memoirs. 

Saturday, January 14, 2023

REVIEW: The Bad Doctor: The Troubled Life and Times of Dr. Iwan James (graphic novel) by Ian Williams

Content warning for suicide and suicidal ideation.

The Bad Doctor is a contemporary-set graphic novel about a doctor, his dealings with patients, and his struggles with his own mental health. As a doctor, Iwan James has a responsibility to make diagnoses and decisions that could have a huge impact on his patients' lives. He's also a human being who makes mistakes and has his own doubts and problems.

We see several of his patients in this volume: a man struggling with intrusive thoughts, an elderly lady with ulcerated legs, a man who creeps out Dr. James and others, and more. Flashbacks to Dr. James' childhood and college days show him struggling with OCD - he believes those around him can only remain safe if he does things a certain way, and at the same time his actions and the things around him have the power to harm those he cares about. A lot of his intrusive thoughts are rooted in religion - he worries that listening to heavy metal ("blasphemous music") led to the death of his dog, and when his girlfriend becomes pregnant, he worries about what music might have been playing when she conceived and what exposure to blasphemous things (or even his own blasphemous thoughts) might do to her and the twins they eventually learn she's carrying. 

In the present, Iwan James is going through a bit of a midlife crisis and has intrusive thoughts about shooting himself. He never sought treatment for his OCD, but now he starts to consider whether it's time he does so.

REVIEW: The Remains of the Day (book) by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the Day is historical fiction. I checked my copy out from the library.


In this book's present, Stevens is a butler who has spent three decades of his life serving Lord Darlington at Darlington Hall. Lord Darlington has since died, and Darlington Hall is now owned by an American who encourages Stevens to borrow his car and take some time off. Stevens is reluctant but eventually does so, setting off on a trip to see the former Miss Kenton, now Mrs. Benn, who was once Darlington Hall's housekeeper. Throughout his trip, Stevens reminisces about his life and years of service, and thinks about how he personally defines "dignity" and what makes a good butler.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

REVIEW: My Happy Marriage, Vol. 2 (book) by Akumi Agitogi, translated by David Musto

My Happy Marriage is a fantasy historical-ish romance series. I bought my copy of this volume brand new.


After the events of the first volume, Miyo never has to worry about the Saimoris again, but that doesn't mean the poor self-esteem they left her with is gone. In this volume, Miyo decides she wants to start studying etiquette - she's painfully aware that her education as a young noble lady was cut short due to the way her family treated her, and she's concerned that she'll be an embarrassment to Kiyoka. Kiyoka asks his sister, Hazuki, to be Miyo's teacher, which has the additional benefit of giving Miyo another friendly and supportive woman in her life besides Yurie.

Unfortunately, it isn't all flowers and sunshine where Miyo and Kiyoka's developing relationship is concerned, due to a combination of Miyo's poor self-esteem, Kiyoka's increased workload, and the two of them being too socially awkward to know how to communication openly with each other. Miyo is having nightmares so frequently that the lack of sleep is starting to take a toll on her health. Although she thinks she's hiding it from Kiyoka (she knows he's busy at work and doesn't want to cause him problems), Kiyoka knows about the nightmares and is waiting for her to talk about what's bothering her.

While these two anxiously hover around each other, a newcomer, Arata Tsuruki, decides to take advantage of the situation in order to become closer to Miyo.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

REVIEW: The Housemaid (book) by Freida McFadden

The Housemaid is a thriller. I bought my copy brand new.


Millie has been living in her car since she was let go from her previous job, and she's desperate for work. When she interviews for a position as the Winchester family's housemaid, she figures she won't make it past the background check. But somehow she does.

Unfortunately, Nina Winchester, who was perfect and welcoming during the interview, becomes an absolute nightmare after Millie is hired. Nina somehow manages to make massive messes in short periods of time, and she seems ready to blame Millie for everything. Her young daughter is a spoiled brat.

The job provides Millie with a room of her own, but it's a tiny, stuffy space in the attic, and for some reason it only locks from the outside. The job's one saving grace is Andrew Winchester, Nina's husband. Millie has no idea how Nina managed to get a great guy like him to fall in love with her, but he's a loving and attentive husband, clearly better than Nina deserves. Millie finds herself falling for him, but she knows he'd be horrified if he knew her secret, the reason why this horrible job is her very last chance at something like a decent life.

REVIEW: Death Note: Short Stories (manga) story by Tsugumi Ohba, art by Takeshi Obata, translated by Akira Shiwawa

Death Note: Short Stories is an anthology of short works set in the Death Note world that were originally published separately.

It has been a very long time since I last read or even watched any of the Death Note series. For the most part, this wasn't a problem, but I'd advise anyone who hasn't read the original series at all to steer clear of this volume because it includes major spoilers.

REVIEW: Dr. Stone (manga, vol. 1) by Riichiro Inagaki, art by Boichi, translated by Caleb Cook

Dr. Stone is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi manga. I checked out this volume from the library.


Taiju is a high school student on his way to confess his feelings to Yuzuriha. However, just before he does it, there's a huge flash of light and a wave of something that transforms every person and animal it hits into stone. Most lose consciousness during this transformation, but Taiju stubbornly clings to his desire to protect Yuzuriha and finally tell her how he feels. Approximately 3,690 years later, he somehow breaks free only to find the whole world overgrown and filled with statues rather than people. Some were broken over time, but luckily Yuzuriha is still whole.

Taiju soon encounters Senku, his best friend and the smartest person he knows. Senku broke free several months earlier and has begun his plans to rebuild civilization from scratch. He's limited in what he can do on his own, though, and Taiju happily becomes the brawn to his brains. After Senku discovers a way to revive petrified people (but only those who haven't been broken to pieces over time), he and Taiju use their new knowledge to revive a couple people. Unfortunately, one of them, Tsukasa Shishio, believes that only some people deserve to be revived. He's more than strong enough to force Senku and the others to follow his lead, but Senku has science on his side.