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Lenni Reviews: “Matters of the Heart” by Alli Reshi

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

Dimitri is an alien working as an investigator for crimes regarding other extraterrestrial beings. When a case comes across his desk about corpses being found with burn marks over their hearts, he must put aside his feelings for his newly reconnected friend Devin; who is in the hospital after being shot trying to assassinate the president.

I enjoyed this but this is another mystery with romance that left me wanting to know more about the mystery because it was wrapped up too fast and with too much simplicity. They don’t so much work out and chase down the serial killer as the killer (er… spoilers, I guess?) just shows up ready to be captured. It ruins any tension on the mystery side of a romance/mystery. The character of Devin is compelling enough on his own where he may have made a better antihero or redeemed villain. Feels like a missed opportunity. I’d give it a 3… Maybe closer to a 4 but not quite.

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Lenni Reviews: “Cannonball” by Kelsey Wroten

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This is the story of Caroline Bertram as she sets out after graduation to living on her own for the first time and her struggles to not only make money with her writing but to be fulfilled by it as she does.

Caroline is an entitled, self important, grating, judgmental, jackass who somehow comes through all her faux pretentiousness and still made me feel for her. She perfectly encapsulates the need to be yourself when you don’t know what that ‘self’ is and also what happens when you create something for the world and is no longer yours.

Despite how frustratingly self destructive and pompous this character is, she is inherently relatable. Much like her in universe friends, Caroline is a jerk but we love her anyway. 4.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Alchemy” by Marie S. Crosswell

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

In this gender swapped and modern take on Sherlock Holmes; Holmes and her partner Watson are assigned to a case where a homeless woman has been murdered and Holmes’ name is carved into the corpse. But with her nemesis, Moriarty firmly in jail, Holmes must track down the killer before more people die with her name on them.

The idea of a female Holmes, Watson, and Lestrade is cool but I think this should have been a full novel rather than a short story. The concept buckles under a lackluster resolution to the mystery itself, which is kinda important when you’re adapting or parodying Sherlock Holmes. The representation of Holmes’ asexuality, Watson being a lesbian, and a budding romance between Holmes and Inspector Lestrade is done really well and I enjoyed those parts but it wasn’t enough to balance out my disappointment with the mystery. That’s a shame considering such a great setup and good writing! 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Tale of Genji: Dreams at Dawn” Vol. 1 by Waki Yamato

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

This is a manga adaptation of the original tale, giving us the story of the shining prince, Genji as he tries to escape the shadow of his forbidden love.

The original book is still on my To Be Read list so I can’t compare the story but I can say this book is pretty to look at but confusing. The art is pretty but I had difficulty telling people apart because of the style. It’s delightfully detailed in some aspects; like the flowers and the clothes. But I had trouble with the faces because they were all designed so similarly. And the dialogue didn’t help; leaving me baffled as to who was who in the hierarchy and why it was important. One day I’ll read the original book but as a taste of it, this manga isn’t so bad. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir” by Maggie Thrash

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In this memoir, fifteen year old Maggie recounts a summer at Camp Bellflower for Girls where she develops feelings for Erin; who is not only older than her, but a counselor.

While touching, this book really shines because it has so many more likable characters than what I normally see in a graphic memoir. Maggie has decent friends despite being in a pretty religious camp. Sure, there is still some homophobia but on the whole, she manages to have a good summer without getting picked on for being a lesbian.

If you can tell from the cover, the art is VERY simple. Everything is soft and simple to contrast the pretty complicated feelings going on. If I had a complaint, it would be it seems almost TOO soft. The book flutters by without much lasting impact.

Or maybe I’m just reading too many of these things, I dunno. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “NewsPrints” by Ru Xu

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Masquerading as a boy, Blue loves her job as a newsboy delivering papers so people can be informed in a time of war. The paper she works for is the only one that tells the truth so her job can be perilous. While on the run from boys from a rival paper, she happens upon an eccentric scientist and then a young boy named Crow with strange secrets of their own.

This is a cute little book in a steampunk sort of world with odd gadgets and scientists with goggles. While overall entertaining and gorgeous to look at, this is a familiar story; plucky girl, quirky scientist, enigmatic boy with a secret, and government secrets. If you’ve never read something like this before, you may enjoy this more than I did. Not to say I didn’t like it or have fun reading it but I have seen this all before. 3.6 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Heart of Chaos” by Avery Stiles

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

Rin Sarduuri has everything going for her. She’s a powerhouse in her company, negotiating deals her parent’s are immensely proud of and taking the business to new heights. But as she is still single, one of her business partners quite suddenly proposes to her right in front her the entire office as well as her parents. Feeling trapped, Rin flees to the altar of Vistri; a shape-shifting trickster god and agrees to whatever the god wants to get her out of this marriage. But what Vistri offers is to be her bride instead.

It was hard to get a bead on this book because of the distinctly modern setting but the gods are real. I can only really chalk that up to the story simply not having enough time for world building because of the breakneck pace and short length. This cute little story about a god and a human falling in love hits all the beats it should without feeling forced and it’s a nice diversion for a quick read. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Shiver” By Junji Ito

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

In yet another collection, Junji Ito continues to simultaneously impress me all while wondering why I keep chomping at the bit to read his work. Some of these stories feel a tad clipped but when you’re trying to keep things short, it can’t be helped. Ito really is a master of what he does even if I have to read happy things for awhile whenever I pick up a book of his. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “That Blue Sky Feeling” Vol. 2 by Okura, Coma Hashii

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

Now that Noshiro and Sanada are closer friends, new wrinkles arise in the form of long time crushes and a new face who is jealous of Noshiro and Sanada’s friendship.

I simply cannot get over how sweet this book is. It’s just so damn genuine and innocent I find myself re-reading these volumes over and over. I hope it doesn’t devolve into something tawdry and dark because it’s the lighthearted nature of this series that keeps me coming back! I look forward to seeing where this book goes. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Saint Young Men” by Hikaru Nakamura

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

In this answer to the question “What if Jesus and Buddha went on vacation” we have a thoroughly enjoyable and hilarious set of stories about these two powerhouses of the heavens living a normal(ish) life in Japan. If you’re not into ‘slice of life’ stories, this will bore you but I found it endearing and fun! Both religions are treated with respect and the translation notes are exceedingly helpful for some of the side humor. It wanders a little but that comes with slice of life stories. I had a lot of fun reading this volume but it’s hard to see where this would keep going for multiple volumes without getting repetitive. 4.8 out of 5.

 

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