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.