Lenni Reviews: “The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition” by Stephen King

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In what appears to be a short term history of poor reading decisions, I started off this year deciding I should catch up on some Stephen King; spurred on by the fact this book is due for a remake. When I was a teenager, I tried to read the expanded edition. I even had a bet going with a camp friend at the time that I could finish the book in 1 week.

I lost that bet but she never cashed in so ah well…

Now, having finished the book and rewatched the tv mini-series that for all its camp, holds a special place in my heart (but Storm of the Century is my favorite); I have to say I can see why the original may have been cut down – likely not very much – since to get the gist of the story, not all those words are necessary. You may have noticed in some of my reviews where I have said that a book could have benefitted from a ruthless editor to cut it down. And although my eyes may have glazed over for some pages, I still enjoyed this book.

I finished this back in February (the 11th if you want to get specific and follow me on Goodreads) and I hesitated for a long time whether or not I should bother to post a review.

Then I started Sleeping Beauties right after that to continue my habit of poor reading decisions. A review of that will be coming.

I am a fan of King but like Gaiman, I’m not going to say every single work is perfect. It’s really, REALLY long; the kind of book an e-reader is made for since it’s cumbersome to read in print form and again, I will freely tell you a flipped through some points to get back to the main thread. I think seeing the show before reading the book was to my detriment because I already knew the major plot points and knew what to skim. However, I have to say some of the changes they made from book to ’90’s show are interesting but I do hope they stick closer to the book in the new one. There’s some great character conflict and development that’s VERY simplified in the show. There is more moral ambiguity in the book. But I gotta say, if I had to WATCH all this stuff, it’d be boring as fuck. It’s easier to read and good fucking luck to the stalwart souls adapting this again. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare” Vol. 4 by Yuhki Kamatani

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In this volume, we get some back story about Tchaiko and his life before coming to work with Someone-san; who also gets a bit of back story here. Also, Daichi and Saki make their wedding plans despite not being out to her parents yet and their relationship is still a secret.

I will admit I got a little misty-eyed but this was a great note to end the series on. Tchaiko gets some closure, we learn enough about Someone-san that you’re not left with that plot thread dangling into nothingness, and things are looking good for Tasuku’s future. I just wish Tasuku got a proper apology from Misora for what he pulled in the previous volume. I guess I can accept that Tasuku let it go… Kinda… Not really. 4 out of 5.

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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: “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: “The Way of the Househusband” Vol. 2 by Kōsuke Ôno

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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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Lenni Reviews: “Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare” Vol. 2 by Yuhki Kamatani

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

Tasuku meets Shuji, a younger boy who wears girl’s clothing and is unsure of his gender identity. Tasuku tries to make him feel comfortable with himself and attempts to befriend Shuji.

The tail end of his volume is a sour note indeed. Without spoiling too much, I feel Shuji was an absolute jerk. Just WAY over the line. I’m going to have a lot of trouble tolerating him later on.

Other than that, I love how the message in this book is simply to treat LGBTQ people as PEOPLE; not a display, sideshow, or a pity party. A crazy idea I know (so much sarcasm here) but it’s something people unknowingly do when faced with someone different from them. 4 out of 5.

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