Lenni Reviews: “Komi Can’t Communicate” Vol. 4 by Tomohito Oda

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This volume goes through Komi’s summer vacation, return to school, and the Sports Festival.

If you like slice-of-life manga, that’s the core of this volume. Little things like Komi milling around on a hot day, cooking dinner for her family, and helping her friends with their summer assignments. Then we get the festival with a particularly competitive classmate. It’s all very lighthearted and cute – a breath of fresh air after some of the downers I’ve been reading lately. Only 89 friends to go for Komi! 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Artist and the Soldier” by Angelle Petta

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended for mature readers.

In this sprawling tale, we have Max Amsel and Bastian Fisher who meet as teens in Camp Seigfried then again as adults in the thick of World War II.

First off, I dunno if I was taught this in school and forgot or just wasn’t taught this but I was SHOCKED that the Nazi Camp Siegfried was a real place in NY! I honestly didn’t realize such camps existed and kudos to this book for teaching me that.

This book is almost perfect. It focuses more on the war itself and how it’s affecting everyone, not just our main characters. A great deal of the plot is plucked straight from history. The writing is compelling, the action is well done, and the romance did tug at my heart. If you like historical fiction with a bit of angst, I recommend this despite the ending being a bit of a drop-off. But you can tell a lot of love went into this book. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Queen of Zazzau” by J.S. Emuakpor

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is recommended for mature readers.

Princess Amina is heir to the throne of Zazzau and desperate to prove her worthiness to be queen. But a prophecy concerning her and the God of War combined fierce enemies hounding her country thrust Amina into a whirlwind of intrigue in which the fiercely independent Amina grapples for control of her destiny.

Ok, so lemmie start off by saying this is a fictionalized tale of a real Amina of Zazzau and the writing is fucking amazing. The battle scenes are edge of your seat tense and graphic, and you really get a sense of the world these fantastically detailed characters live in. But the main character made me wanna facepalm so many freaking times. Some mild spoilers here but aside from being a diplomatic nightmare, she comes off as kind of a thoughtless brat too often for my taste. Sometimes she’s so impetuous and irresponsible, leading to people getting hurt, and it was hard to read. But then I put it in the context of Greek and Norse mythology; where your heroes are not perfect and can also be complete jerks while the tale is still epic, and I can accept Amina for what she is. But dear gods, she made me mad! 3.8 out of 5 for the fantastic writing and story but infuriating main character.

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Lenni Reviews: “Heathen” Vol. 2 by Natasha Alterici

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*This book is recommended for mature readers.

Aydis charters a pirate ship to take her to the land of the gods but Odin has taken notice of her and is hunting her down.

And that’s about all I can say about this without spoiling some delicious plot points that I think you should enjoy for yourselves. There is some fantastic character development in this volume! We get pirate women and some mermaids here and it’s all amazing. Also, I am LOVING how Freyja is depicted in this story. Very confident in her own skin and unflinchingly honest about who she is without being hyper-sexualized as she does it.

And not to spoil too much but holy shit is Odin a dick! I mean, even I want to hunt him down… But this series is awesome! I do have to knock off some points for the borderline cruel cliffhanger. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Heathen” Vol. 1 by Natasha Alterici

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*This book is recommended for mature readers.

Aydis is cast out from her clan after getting caught for kissing another woman. Undaunted, she embarks on a quest to free an imprisoned valkyrie, Brynhild. What she thought would be just one great quest turns out to be an epic adventure filled with gods, spirits, and monsters.

I cannot get enough of this book. This is just an awesome fantasy comic. I love the mythology, the art, all the characters have personalities that bounce realistically off each other, there’s some fantastic representation across race, sexuality, and gender, the adventure is thrilling; it’s just freaking perfect. If you like your fantasy with a kick-ass main heroine, this is the book that serves this up beautifully. Absolutely check this one out! 5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame” by Erin Williams

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*This book is recommended for mature readers.

This graphic memoir follows Erin Williams, a recovering alcoholic and three-time sexual assault victim, through her daily routine and the thoughts and memories that come to the surface.

I can respect this book as a blow by blow of one woman’s thoughts during her day because I, and likely others, look at strangers, makeup stories and/or get reminded of events in my past. I can even relate to the random biological thoughts; just all the stuff that pops into your head. It’s creatively done. But this is such a personal and visceral experience that I feel bad for judging it and have difficulty empathizing with it. It seems wrong to critique something so personal. The content made me uncomfortable and it should, to be honest. I can see this being triggering for sexual assault victims and the art can be a little wonky in some places. My brain had to take a minute to process what the image was trying to convey. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Nothing To Forgive” by Lee Brazil

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+.

Vic comes back from vacation to find his older boyfriend, Marc, with a much younger man. Fuming, he storms out without a word until Marc reaches out to him with hopes to explain.

This is an ok quick, steamy short story. I was left feeling like it would be a side story to a bigger novel or series rather than something that feels complete on its own. Our main characters do have chemistry but I don’t feel like I had enough information about them to get attached. The writing is good though! 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Seven Days: Monday–Sunday” by Venio Tachibana & Rihito Takarai

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

On a whim, high school third-year Yuzuru Shino asks out first-year Toji Seryo, who is notorious for only dating girls for one week then breaking up with them. But as the end of their deal draws near, they realize seven days may not be enough.

I like this manga. Simple, straightforward, happy ending, nice art, and not too graphic. Perfect if you’re in the mood for something slightly predictable (if you know anything about the genre,  you know what’s going to happen) but sweet nonetheless. Maybe a little more development with the boys would have helped understand them on a deeper level so you get more emotionally invested. But, I still enjoyed it. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Way of the Househusband” Vol. 2 by Kousuke Oono

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Our favorite house husband, Tatsu, wants to get fit! After driving his wife crazy in the house with a hula-hoop, she suggests a fitness class. He also gets really into growing his own herbs and frequents a tag sale.

This manga is just good fun. I get that people may not like this because it’s so silly but the silliness is why I keep coming back and why I love it. Tatsu’s mobster looks are almost like “resting bitch face” making all of his unintentional shinanigans hilarious to me. All I need is more if Tatsu’s backstory and this will all be perfect! 4.5 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare” Vol. 3 by Yuhki Kamatani

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Tasuko is back to helping out at Cat Clutter but his crush, Toma, is working there as well and Toma was there to witness Shuji’s outburst outing Tasuku in the last volume. We also have a new character, Oyama, and her daughter, Mai.

Oyama is one of those people who try so hard to be accepting and understanding, they swing right back around into being inconsiderate jackasses; as if her understanding makes her superior. Mai seems to blossom when her mother isn’t around because she’s acting normal, being an example of what I think the theme of this series is, just treat people like people.

I’m noticing these volumes are getting more “screamy” as they go on. I’m waiting for a full-on brawl in the next one. But I still enjoy this series! 4 out of 5.

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