The Final Book Review: My November 2023 Reading List

Well, it’s not exactly my final book review. But this is the last time I’ll be reviewing books on my blog. I’ve spent my entire time as a self-published author telling readers to leave a review on Goodreads or the site of their fav eBook retailer, so I think it’s about time I put my money where my mouth is.

As of 2024, my book reviews will be available on Instagram and Goodreads. But here’s one last blog post as I close off this recurring segment:

Rebel Blood by Riley Rossmo and Alex Link:

A fun and gory zombie tale that made for a quick and easy read on a lazy afternoon. I loved the overall concept but felt the story could have gone further. Not in terms of gore – that was well written and well illustrated. But some of the characters and situations required further development. If this graphic novel had been twice as long, perhaps it would have satisfied me.

That being said, I give it an A+ for messed up gore and body horror.

The Night Eaters Vol 1. She Eats the Night by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda:

Damn, the parents in this dysfunctional family are adorable. I don’t usually go for slice-of-life stuff, but those aspects of the story were interesting an engaging. The creepy dolls and horrific monsters were simply the cherry on top.

This story lured me in with the well-written family drama, and then each chapter showed off just enough horror to leave me wanting more, teasing me until the big payoff.

I cannot wait to read the other books in this series.

Transformers: Drift by Shane McCarthy and Alex Milne:

Based on a conversation Mark and I had a while back about Drift, he recommended I read this specific graphic novel to get a better idea of the character. And that’s exactly what this is. If you’re a fan of drift, or just want to know more about him and his motivations, give this a read.

Plus, it has all the classic tropes and action sequences I would expect from a Transformers story. As a fan, this was a very satisfying read with gorgeous artwork.

Haunthology by Jeremy Haun:

One of my guilty pleasures is media that has been affected and influenced by the pandemic. This short story collection in graphic novel form has pandemic life written all over it. Sometimes, literally.

And with any short story collection, there’s something for everyone. Haun’s bite sized comics offer so many different kinds of horror stories, and I really enjoyed the ones that had clearly been influenced by the pandemic.

As a fan of short stories, I would love to read more short story collections in graphic novel form.

Meg: Primal Waters by Steve Alten:

Let me be perfectly clear: The first two books in this series are the only ones worth reading (with the first being the best). Book 3 is arguably the worst of the bunch.

Although I liked how Marin returned as a very bond-like villain, Dani and Jonas’s entirely storyline needed to be cut. It bored and annoyed me compared to the other storylines in this book.

Meg: Hell’s Aquarium by Steve Alten:

Well, Dani got her moment in the spotlight, so I guess it’s time for David to get his. Even though he already got a successful storyline in the previous book.

And sure, I guess Alten has to bring in other creatures to keep the story interesting, but I’m only here for the sharks. Besides, thanks to the popularity of “Charlie the Unicorn” back when I was in high school, I cannot take the liopleurodon seriously AT ALL.

Meg: Angel of Death 1.1 Survival by Steve Alten:

Was this interlude between books 1 and 2 necessary? No. Does it add anything to the larger story? Not really. Did I spend my precious Audible credits on it anyway? Absolutely. Do I regret my choices? Only a tiny bit. But at least this this still better than some of the later books in the series.

Meg: Nightstalkers by Steve Alten:

Oh God, there’s more. Which one is this again? They’re all starting to blur together.

Oh wait, this is the one with the absolutely non-sensical wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff. We already have an ungodly amount of prehistoric marine life in this book. Is it absolutely necessary to introduce alternate timelines? It feels like this whole book is just a tie-in to one of Alten’s other series.

Also, if David could stop thinking with his dick for two whole minutes, that would be great.

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan:

This was worth the hype. I can’t believe it took me so long to start this series – especially given how long it’s been waiting on my bookshelf. That being said, reading it after the events of 2020 gives it an extra layer of unsettling.

I love a good pot-boiler, and this one kept me reading way past my bedtime on multiple occasions. I can’t wait to start the other books and get started on the TV series.

The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan:

Admittedly, this sequel is not as strong as the original. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it; I just prefer The Strain.

Like with other trilogies I’ve read, the second book is, for lack of a better word, transitional. It’s meant to show the aftermath of the events of the first book, wile setting into motion the plots and characters that will be essential for the grand finale in the third book.

The Fall is mostly worldbuilding and character building, hinting at the larger things to come. For this reason, I’m really looking forward to reading the third book.

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