Lenni Reviews: “The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television” by Koren Shadmi

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This graphic novel details Rod Serling’s life from his time in war through his writing career before and after The Twilight Zone.

I think this was a very good biography. It highlights enough important parts of his life to get a firm grasp of the overall picture without getting bogged down in boring details, the art is perfect for this subject, and it also comes along with a great framing device. It was cool to see how much Serling put into the show; even some episodes flat out emulating his own issues. I think Mr. Serling himself would be proud. I do have to wonder how much of this is accurate but one never does know that for sure. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Dreaming Vol. 2: Empty Shells” by Simon Spurrier, Bilquis Evely, Abigail Larson, & Tiffany Turrill

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This volume centers around Rose, whose mother is in the hospital and she finds Lucien washed up on a beach. As she ponders how her love came entwined with Dream’s, the remaining inhabitants of The Dreaming struggle to keep it together.

If I were to sum up this volume in one word, it would be sad. Loss, yearning, and death sink you down into this story and don’t leave you with much in the way of hope. I wonder what sort of Dream we’ll get by the end of this story if we even ger him at all.

The stand out in this volume for me is the artificial intelligence currently in charge of The Dreaming. In a cast of highly unique characters, the AI is the one that really stuck with me. I look forward to seeing how it all goes from here. 4.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Revews: “Infected: Throwaways” by Andrea Speed

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

Holden Krause, a former rent boy turned private investigator/vigilante, is asked by a friend to find her missing husband and also asked by the police to look into the murder of a known local drug dealer. With the help of his partner, Chai, Holden uses all the skills at his disposal to suss out the killer and find the missing man.

This book feels really unfocused a lot of the time; simultaneously trying to work in the back story of the infected, some sort of feline shifter-like condition, despite Holden himself not being one. It’s heavy on the pop culture references and class, gender, and race politics. It’s important to include these things in your work but overuse can make your reader cringe no matter what side of the aisle you’re on and I did just that.

Overall, this reminds me of “Pushback” where the plot you’re expecting from the synopsis is secondary to other random details. The reader may be expecting more emphasis on the werecat virus and have it factor more into the plot other than a dramatic rescue, it really didn’t. It’s an ok book because Holden and Chai are fun characters to follow. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “An Unkindness of Ghosts” by Rivers Solomon

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

Aster, a surgeon, is assistant to Theo, the Surgeon General on board the spaceship Matilda. The ship is heavily segregated with darker-skinned poor people consigned to the lower decks and forced to toil in the service of the upper decks. It is only Aster’s medical talent and connection to Theo that allows her a level of freedom to grow her own plants and discover the mystery behind her mother’s disappearance when she was a baby via a journal she left behind.

While highly creative and interesting, I think this is another book that would have benefitted from being only in the third person to give me more of the world around our characters. Don’t get me wrong, the world-building is great but I found myself getting confused too often in this book.

However, I did enjoy this book. We have some great realistic characters, a dystopian future starship, an intriguing mystery to solve, and great integration of LGBTQI characters. It’s like Titan A.E. only with even more social commentary. I came to enjoy Aster’s attitude but I really wondered as to the fate of the Matilda. Mostly Theo since I enjoyed him as well. Maybe there will be more in this universe in the future? I sure hope so. 4.6 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol 5 by Paru Itagaki

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

When Haru is kidnapped and Legoshi is ready to run right into the lair of a dangerous mob boss alone until Gohin knocks some sense into him. They have to come up with a plan before Haru is killed and eaten.

We also learn more about Haru’s childhood but the real focus is on the rescue. And MAN, are they really going dark in this manga. I won’t spoil the outcome but this volume has some awesome fight scenes and completely screwed my mind up with a cliffhanger. This series really is a surprisingly addicting read and really takes advantage of the original premise set forth in volume one. I can’t wait for the next one! 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Komi Can’t Communicate” Vol. 5 by Tomohito Oda

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

In this volume, Komis is stuck home when a storm closes the schools, she goes out to eat with friends after a half-day, and participates in the school’s cultural festival.

It’s nice to see Komi slowly come out of her shell and talk more. She’s just genuinely learning to enjoy people and try new things. And it’s done so well, I continue to find myself rooting for her! If there wasn’t some of these kinda creepy, pervy classmates, this volume would be perfect. 4.5 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights” by Mikki Kendall & A. D’Amico

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When this book says it’s a graphic history, it absolutely means it. It covers a LOT of people, so many in fact most entries are a single page. The goal of the book is clearly to show these women existed at all; providing the reader a chance to find out more about them if they choose.

While it’s a bit of a massive info-dump, it’s a great primer on what has been achieved in women’s rights and shows the work that still needs to be done. If you want to dip your toes into the history of women’s rights, absolutely hand them this book. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Stranger Things: Six” by Jody Houser

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This graphic novel tells the tale of another kid trapped in the same lab at Eleven. We meet Francine who was taken into the lab in 1978 and runs into her boyfriend, Ricky.

This is an interesting story. I like that we get to learn more about Dr. Brenner and his testes as well as the various powers of the other kids. I would have liked to learn more about the test subjects. I guess after reading The Institute, I was in the mindset to get much more information but a novel has a lot more pages to play with than a quick graphic novel. In a strange way, I was left both satisfied and unsatisfied. I liked it, the art is good, but I wish there was more. 3.9 out of 5.

 

Lenni Reviews: “Defiant Revival” by L. Rockwood

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

Prince Michah is dead but the kingdom doesn’t know it. But Billiam, who has been in love with the prince for years, devises a plan to resurrect him and retake the kingdom from a power-mad despot.

Hooooo boy is this book filled with some exposition dumps! We get the tale from Leeke, a warrior who is somehow able to recount events she wasn’t there for in exacting detail. And as the narrative goes on we get so many characters and they tread the line between flawed and unlikable in a way that I don’t want to deal with them anymore and this book has the absolute gall to end on a cliffhanger! Even though this is a dark fantasy, one of my favorite genres, and the fight scenes are well written and interesting, it just was not enjoyable. It felt like work. And that stinks because the premise is amazing and when it’s on topic, the writing is good! 2.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Beastars” Vol. 4 by Paru Itagaki

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

In this volume, we get some back story on Haru and Louis relationship, Jack’s friendship with Legoshi, and Juno – another wolf – trying to get closer to Legoshi. We also delve deeper in to Louis’ dark past.

This volume is my favorite so far. How the darkest parts of this world are revealed to us are really creative and really go into how complicated and tenuous the truce between the herbivores and carnivores is. It’s all well and good for these teens to want to get along but much like in reality, the world at large is much more complicated and dangerous than the safe confines of their school campus. Very intriguing! 5 out of 5.

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