Author: cynthia

New Release: Lesath by A.M. Kherbash

Release Date: September 30, 2019
Author: A.M. Kherbash
Publisher: N/A
My Rating: 2/5
Find it on: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads


My first-look review:

When I finished reading this book, I found myself to be more irritated than scared or unnerved. The author’s writing style wasn’t terrible, and I did enjoy it, but sometimes found it confusing and really hated the large amount of questions left unanswered by the end of the novel. I felt a bit bait and switched by the ending of the book, but can’t say any more without spoiling it.


What I liked:

  • There was a feeling of confusion and a bit of horror at the beginning as you follow along with Greg to figure out what’s going on inside of the building. There’s some other things going on in the building that are pretty ~creepy~ and unexplainable.
  • The author’s writing isn’t terrible — which makes me sad about the low rating. I feel that this needed some more work because this could be adequately wrapped up in one book.

What I disliked:

  • I WAS SO CONFUSED THROUGHOUT MOST OF THIS BOOK. OK, sorry for the caps, but I found myself extremely irritated by the time I reached the ending (and then found out this was going to have another novel after?). I felt like I could’ve made some assumptions based on the information given, but it felt like long shots because the author was not entirely clear on a lot of points.
  • The spooky concept isn’t entirely explored — and that sucked. I picked this book up because it was billed as a psychological horror, yet found myself not very horrified. I felt interested at the beginning of the story. However, as the story progressed, I was mainly just trying to reach the end to see if any of the strings attached anywhere and found myself disappointed.

The problem is that a lot of the things that I disliked about this story are things that would spoil the story entirely. I’m not comfortable exactly doing so, but I will just say that I was disappointed because it felt like it was going in one direction in the beginning and suddenly veered to a different one towards the end. Jeeze!


Who should read this?

Maybe if you like horror? I’m not sure if I can recommend this book as it is, unfortunately. 😦

Book Round-Up: August 13, 2019

Another book round-up! We’ve been super busy handling some work-related drama, so there hasn’t been a lot of time to blog between resting and just all of the other stuff. I have a lot of recent books that I’ve read through and want to share with you all. 🙂 Unfortunately, I got a real hit-or-miss group of books to share this time, so hold on tight…


Jade City by Fonda Lee
Published by Orbit
My rating: 5/5

I need to do a full review of this series because I seriously just got thrown off my other hobbies and immediately got sucked into this story. My cuz and hubs has been raving about this book (and talking about it and spoiling it in front of me, but jokes on them, I forgot what they said), so I finally said FINE. I’ll try it. I don’t really read fiction but I’ll do it.

Absolutely no regrets. I’m a sucker for yakuza/gang stories, and this is right up that alleyway, along with heavy Asian inspiration and fantasy and romance and hnnng. It’s all a hapa lady could hope for. It really had me holding my breath and feeling anxious at some points, so it was a great ride.

I’m now onto Jade War, and really hope to meet Fonda Lee for signatures at some point……..


Exposing the 20 Medical Myths by Arthur Garson Jr and Ryan Holeywell
Published by Rowman & Littlefield
Releases on Sept 15, 2019
My rating: 3/5

My NetGalley review:

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley.

I’m a healthcare nut — I study healthcare, work in healthcare, and live in the industry. So when I picked this up I was looking for an interesting read on the industry, but found myself quickly skipping through pages.

I found this to be a really dry read. It feels like it’s meant for clinical staff, mainly physicians, to understand the state of the healthcare industry in the United States. There’s a lot of explaining of terminology that I already knew working back end but that someone in the clinical realm often doesn’t know.

While I think this might be a good educational read for someone with little exposure to healthcare, I quickly found myself bored with the content.


The Nani Iro Sewing Studio by Naomi Ito
Published by Zakka Workshop
Released on Jun 25, 2019
My rating: 4/5

My NetGalley review:

*** I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. ***

As someone getting into sewing, I’ve seen Nani Iro pop up quite a bit. There are some basic clothes to make, but a lot of the clothes are of what’s popular in Japan right now: big and baggy shirts, dresses and pants. There’s nothing wrong with that trend (esp as someone who does follow some parts of that fashion), but not everyone may be interested in these styles.

Thankfully, I was happy to see that they had smaller sizes, which has been a struggle when looking for patterns for some reason.

Each project is laid out in detail. You get finished sizes, the materials needed, and how to lay the patterns on the fabric to cut the pieces. The construction steps are very detailed but easy to understand for even a newer sewer, especially given that they include illustrations on what needs to be done. There’s not a lot of guesswork that needs to happen when putting the clothing together.


I reviewed some cookbooks and craft books within the past few weeks as well, but they’re not coming out for a few months so it’s a tad too early. I’m really excited for some of the things coming out, especially since one has a really good cookie recipe! (Making gluten-free baked goods is an ART y’all.)

I’m open to any suggestions for books similar to Jade City/Jade War. I love yakuza/gang family fiction and manga, so anything up that alley I’d be willing to look at. 🙂

Book Round-up: July 27, 2019

This is just a quick book round-up of the books I’ve completed reading (and haven’t done a full review on yet) and ones that are in progress. I have a lot of outstanding books still in my TBR that I’m slowly getting through… and for some reason I keep getting more to add to my list. 🙂 That added up with a busy work schedule makes for slow reading.

Note: ARCs have been received in exchange for an honest review from their publishers through NetGalley, and a number of these ARCs will be reviewed in full at a later date.


Releases August 13, 2019

Diagnosis by Dr. Lisa Sanders
Published by Crown Publishing
My rating 5/5

My short (NetGalley) review:

If you liked House or like to follow any type of medical mysteries, this book is for you. This book is chock full of a variety of short experiences about patients with weird problems being diagnosed with a variety of illnesses that aren’t always what they seem. Not every story is a happy one, but in real life it is unfortunately what happens.

I found myself flipping through a lot of the stories in one sitting. They’re interesting enough to just keep going, and each experience is so unique you just want to see what the next person’s experience was. It is written in such a way that a person doesn’t need a lot of medical knowledge, just some basic understanding of the human body and disease, to get what’s going on.

This is definitely a unique read, and as someone who dealt with being misdiagnosed for almost a decade, I felt somewhat vindicated by the commentary and stories in the book. Would definitely suggest reading this.


Released June 5, 2012

Redshirts by John Scalzi
Published by Tor Books
My rating: 4/5

My short review:

For some reason I found this in the horror section at a Half Price Books, and this is totally not a horror story (but still good nonetheless). If you know anything about Star Trek, you’ll likely know about the idea behind red shirts, or also known as dispensable extras on the television series.

So with that in mind, this book was a fun read that had some unexpectedly emotional feels along with some interesting concepts and theories around the whole red shirt concept. I found it to be fun! This was also my first Scalzi read and got a kick out of him just writing that a character died, straight up, no frills.

Some of the bits of his writing are a little hard to get through, like some of the long character conversations going back and forth between multiple characters, but I found it to be an enjoyable read that complaint aside.


Released July 18, 2019

The Watanabe Name by Sakura Nobeyama
Published by Black Rose Writing
My rating: 4/5

I just reviewed this the other week! Go take a look at my full review to see all of my thoughts. Suffice to say, I thought it was a good read.


Releases September 3, 2019

Fentanyl, Inc. by Ben Westhoff
Published by Grove Atlantic
My rating: 5/5

You like drugs? Public health? Policy? Politics? Interested in the current opioid epidemic? This is a good fit to itch those likes.

I was expecting a book more focused on personal stories of drug users and fentanyl, but what I got instead was an interesting telling of the drug situation not only in the United States but around the world as well. The history around designer drugs is told in length.

The international politics, especially between the US and China, is discussed and made me think about whether there were some historical reasons around China’s current lax attitude about the drug labs.

I found this to be very educational, especially as I start taking classes on population health and societal health issues. Would recommend. It’s not a dry read like some other drug books I’ve picked up recently.


Be ready for more books soon, and maybe an update to by webcomic for the first time in half a year! 🙂 Anyone reading anything they’d like to suggest I add to my big pile of TBRs?

Cyan’s NetGalley Book Tag

Something fun for this Wednesday! I have another tag to do, but I love NetGalley so I thought this would be interesting to complete. 🙂

this post felt empty without some type of image… have a True Beauty panel!

The rules:

  • Link back to the tag’s creator (Kourtni Reads)
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this too

Auto-Approved: Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

I don’t have anyone whose books I’d really like to get auto-approved just yet, but I’d really like to get auto-approved for publishers that do health non-fiction and interesting thrillers. I just got auto-approved for one publisher which does interesting thrillers, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I might want to read. 🙂

Request: What makes you want to request a book that you see on NetGalley?

The cover is definitely the first thing that makes me want to request a book! Second is the title, and third is the description of the book. If the description of the book is good and the other two are terrible, I’ll at least request it because it might be a good read regardless.

Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?

Just about! I make it a point to review most of the books that I read. The ones that I don’t read are the ones that I accidentally request without paying attention, and these tend to be religious books. Otherwise I’ll at least give the book a shot and try to read it through, though it doesn’t always make for good reading. I’ve given some pretty low reviews on NetGalley.

Badges: If you could create your own badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

“I made a mistake and requested too many books and have too many books in my queue oh goodness S.O.S.”

Wish for It: What’s one book that you are absolutely dying to read?

I have quite a few books in my TBR NetGalley list to read and review! Mainly non-fiction health books that I’m really looking forward to.


Since I like to share the love, I tag the following people to complete this tag!

I’m always looking for more fun tags to do, so feel free to tag me!

New Release: The Watanabe Name by Sakura Nobeyama

Title: The Watanabe Name
Author: Sakura Nobeyama
Release Date: July 18, 2019
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
My Rating: 4/5
Trigger Warning: violence, sexual assault
Find it on: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreads


My NetGalley review:

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley.

This is a book that starts extremely sluggishly but picks up and goes full-throttle until the end, keeping you reading for more to figure out what happens next. I was really slogging through the first bit and was super close to DNF’ing it until a major event finally occurred. The rest of the novel makes up for the slow start.

The Watanabe Name is a thriller/historical fiction about a traditional Japanese family that has some notoriety due to the war. When the patriarch is found dead, the story really unfolds into a thrilling telling around the family itself and who might have wanted him gone.

Those who are familiar with the atrocities around the Japanese occupation will understand references in the book, especially to some heinous, problematic aspects of the occupation.


What I liked:

  • If you’re familiar with the Asian family hierarchy, you’ll find that the author does a very good job of illustrating the frustration of respect and the politics around handling traditional relatives. You can really feel yourself getting frustrated on behalf of the different family members (ok, maybe not everyone) for the way that the patriarch handles everything with an iron fist… just like in real life!
  • If you’re not familiar with Asian culture, the beginning of the book (albeit a bit slow paced) will be a good introduction and guide you right in to the mentality around decisions made throughout the story, which is incredibly important.
  • This book dives into Japanese/Chinese history around the time of the wars earlier in the 20th century. I felt that she did a good job of portraying the situation, including tidbits about some notorious parts of the occupation that were extremely problematic, and tied it into the mystery of who killed the general. I told Mr. Renzol that it was appreciated that she didn’t glaze over or trivialize the treatment of people during the occupation.
  • She also did a great job of humanizing all of the characters: most of the characters had reasons for acting the way they did, like being selfish or playing political games to get the desired outcome they’re looking for. I found myself sympathizing with different characters, especially as the mystery unfolded and the killer(s) became obvious.

What I disliked:

  • Trigger warning: this is a book that includes portrayal of the occupation by Japan and includes violence, sexual assault, and related topics.
  • The first part of the book was extremely slow to me, but it may be because I’m already familiar with the family hierarchy and Asian culture in general, so it was a lot of rehashing of previous knowledge. I felt that some of it could have been shortened, but for Western readers without that background it might be important.
  • The time-shifting between the past, near-past, and present was a bit confusing to me. There was a point where I was reading a chapter on the present but first thought it was the near-past and had to double-check what time period the chapter was set in. I would actually like if the author had grouped them together by time periods AND the date to make it easier to follow along.

Who should read this?

If you enjoy an Asian-style thriller mystery with adult content, take a peek at this book! I had a slight inkling of who the killer(s) might have been, but the story was interesting enough to keep me reading until it was confirmed.