Great manga and comics

For whatever reason, this year, 2023, I’ve been mostly interested in reading comics and manga. I have a wonderful local public library which have a free reserve system and a bountiful catalogue of graphic novels and manga.

I’ve been borrowing liberally from the library and reading through books I’ve already bought and left on the shelf waiting to be read. So let’s go, here’s my picks for awesome graphic media.

Ascendance of a Bookworm

by Miya Kazuki and Suzuka

This manga is long, there are a lot of installments, and they all have long titles like a Fall Out Boy song. Start with Ascendance of a Bookworm; I’ll do anything to become a librarian! Part one: If there aren’t any books, I’ll just have to make some!

but don’t let the title put you off. This series is fantastic.

The premise is this: a book-obsessed woman from modern-day Tokyo dies and wakes up, resurrected in the body of a small girl (Myne) in a medieval world that bears a lot of resemblances to Earth, but is not Earth. The problem is, this little girl’s family is low-born, peasantry, and can’t read or write, let alone own costly books.

But she wants to read books more than anything..

Thus begins a wholesome and intriguing saga of Myne attempting to craft books from remembered craft from her past life, trying not to seem too out of place, discovering the world around her and deciding which technology and knowledge she ought to share with the people around her. It’s wholesome, full of interesting characters, some drama, some crafting sequences reminsicent of Studio Ghibli.

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou

by Hitoshi Ashimaro

This book is the sweetest, most optimistic climate apocalypse book I’ve ever encountered. The main character is Alpha, an android who runs a coffee shop in the absence of her owner.

There are some people who come to buy coffee, but not many, people are scarce now. But Alpha is full of curiosity about the world. She wants to understand the people around her, what they want and what makes them happy. We learn about the world slowly, as Alpha does, and some moments are breathtakingly beautiful and some are a bit of a gut-punch, but overall the message is so beautiful. It’s about making the most of the moment you have now, and the community around you. Can’t wait for the reprint of volume two!

The Lost Carnival

by Micharl Mordeci and Sas Milledge

The Lost Carnival stars my favourite boy from all of DC comics ever, Dick Grayson. This is a pre-Batman Dick. A teenager travelling with the circus he grew up in and straining against the expectations of his parents.

Haly’s Circus has pitched next to a bizarre, strange carnival that lures Dick in with its mystery and a particularly good-looking girl.

I don’t want to spoil the story, but it’s lush and strange and absolutely enchanting. If you liked The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern you’ll enjoy this.

The Me You Love in the Dark

by Skottie Young and Jorge Cortona

This one fooled me a couple of times – is it a love story? is it a horror? is it the story of a woman with creative block losing her mind?

Sure, yeah. It is.

It’s gorgeous, weird and horrible, an examination of the creative process, the notion of a muse, and what love is. How do you have a relationship with something that might not truly be there?

I loved it.

Wonder Cat Kyuu-chan

by Sasami Nitori

Pure adorable fluff about a lonely guy adopting a cute cat who’s devoted and weirdly intelligent.

It started as a comic online, so you might have seen one or two strips. This is the collection which went deeper and I love it.

Nice, chill, relaxing reading.

I had that same Dream again

by Yoru Sumino

A lonely little girl makes friends with weirdos and outsiders, accompanied by a beautiful black cat.

Slice of life, examination on inter-human relationships, overshadowed by the main question “what is happiness?”

The story is another slow reveal, I’m such a sucker for them, so I won’t say too much more, except in her innocence the little girl calls her neighbour ‘Skank-san’ because she’s had Skank scrawled on her apartment’s intercom by an ex.

Check it out, it’s beautiful.

In Real Life

By Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow has a few books that deal with the power of being online, and sympathy for the people who are forced by circumstance to do things which may be less than ethical.

An American girl dives into the world of MMORPGs and making money from actions that happen in game.

What do you know about gold farming? I didn’t know much before I read this, and it’s all handled ethically and well.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking up with Me

by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’connell

A queer love story, about teenage heartbreak and what it’s like when you’re attracted to someone who is careless with your heart.

It’s framed around letters to an advice column, and over various encounters and school dramas.

Beautiful art, lovely emotive character work. Mariko Tamaki also wrote some wonderful books I’ve enjoyed called Skim and This One Summer. She’s brilliant at evoking longing and intense emotion that is so characteristic of the teenage experience.


Courage, kindess and a certain wtf

Courage, kindness and a certain wtf is a new venture by me. A subscription email where I share what’s on my mind as well as short pieces of fiction and maybe even snippets from my works in progress.

Come sign up for regular updates from me delivered right to your inbox!

There are free and paid subscription options. The free option will get you probably half of the content (although for the first while everything will be free), and the paid option is just US$50 for a year, and will et you access to everything I post.

Why did I start up a substack newsletter? well, put simply I am trying to make some more money. My contracting has been severely affected by my Long Covid, and I’m taking this as an opportunity to really work on my writing career and make it my main source of income. Paid subscriptions to my newsletter would absolutely help me achieve this goal!

That said, I appreciate each and every one of my subscribers, paid or otherwise.

Interested? Check it out here

fiction, Writers, writing

Tales from the Tavern

A Limited Edition Charity Anthology

Tavern Tales

Tales from the Tavern is the first anthology I’ve ever put together and I’m pretty darn pleased with how it all turned out. It’s a charity anthology with all profits going to the NZ Drug Foundation, and put together in memory of a friend I knew primarily through tabletop roleplaying games.

We have already donated over $300 for sales through December! Which is great, but I would like to donate more …

Storytellers. Goblins. Magical cats. Magical threats.

Who can tell truth from fiction over a pint of ale at a roadside tavern? By the end of the tale, do you really want to know what actually happened? Perhaps it is better to imagine that a dragon could be charmed by a classical sonata, or that a failed bard could find fame and fortune with the help of a talking frog.

Join 13 authors on quests for glory, tales of epic adventure, and a few distractions on the way in this collection of short fantasy poems and stories.

Thalia Black * Jacqueline Brasfeld * Grace Bridges * Vera Burns * Melanie Harding-Shaw * Sara Norja * Ryn Richmond * dave ring * Grant Robinson * Jamie Sands * Merc Wolfmoor * Tabatha Wood

In loving memory of a fallen comrade. Proceeds will benefit the New Zealand Drug Foundation.

Buy the ebook here

If you’re in New Zealand you can order paperbacks from my store


Masterlist of Notebooks I’ve designed

I use a lot of notebooks. Like, a lot. I have a large collection of notebooks, and a year ago I actually decluttered about half of them because after moving house I realised I had more notebooks than I could reasonably use in my lifetime. I gifted them to friends, it was a good time.

What that’s left me with is a few shelves of notebooks I genuinely love. I use a lot of notebooks, right now I have probably a dozen in active use for all my life admin and writing projects.

I’m telling you this to try to explain my love for notebooks because I think it was always a matter of time before I started to make my own. I watched some YouTube videos on how to do it, talked to a friend who is also in the notebook biz, and got to creating.

The Reading Log Journal – flower garden design

US amazon
Australian amazon

The reading log journal includes a 60 book reading challenge at the front, a series of pages with room for reviews and prompts, and then a generous number of pages of dot grid so you can continue to review or make notes however you like.

Reading Log Journal – tea and treats

This is the same interior as the other reading logs, but with a bright and cheery tea, baked goods and berries design all over the cover.

Tea and Treats reading log links:
US amazon link
Australian link

Reading Log Journal – Bookshelf

Bookshelf reading log links

This is the same interior as the other reading logs, but with a funky bright doodle of a bookshelf that wraps around the cover

US amazon

Aus amazon

Reading Log Journal – Forest friends

This is the same interior as the other reading logs, but with a cute repeating pattern of deer, rabbits and birdies to give a forest-core feel to the cover.

Forest friends book journal links

US amazon

Aus amazon

The TTRPG journal – dragon

For nerds, tabletop roleplaying gamers, LARPers and anyone who just likes to take nerdy notes. This notebook is designed to make you think deeper about the characters you design – with prompts for character backstory, Non Player Characters, spaces for doodles or pasted in pictures.

The second part of the notebook is space for campaign notes, sketches and anything else you want to record.

US link
Australian link

The TTRPG journal – phoenix

The same interior as the dragon character journal, but a bright red cover with a phoenix on the front.

US link
Australian link

The TTRPG journal – unicorn

The same interior as the dragon character journal, but a deep purple cover and a unicorn on the front for your most special and magical characters.

US link
Australian link

The TTRPG journal – octopode

The same interior as the dragon character journal, but a bright blue cover with a kraken on the cover.

US link
Australian link

A useful book to put things in

When I was a teenager I started the habit of carrying around little notebooks that people gifted me, or that I bought on sale at the old Kirk’s department store. I invariably called these “useful book to put things in” and this is my iteration of those beloved notebooks.

Fully dot gridded and 180 pages, it’s a book for you to use any way you like

US link
Australian link

A dream journal

200 pages

6 inch by 9 inch

journal to record what you dream at night. To improve your dream recall, write down whatever you remember soon after waking.

US Amazon

Australian Amazon

Sad Axolotl Boys Club

Maybe you’re a boy who feels like a sad axolotl? Maybe your favourite character is a sad boy who resembles an axolotl.

This one is a Misselthwaite universe joke and it won’t make sense until a few more books are published, but I like it and so should you!

Australian link
US Amazon


Eleven Days of Witchy Fun

Want to celebrate Halloween with some contemporary Witchy Fiction? Each Witchy story is set somewhere in New Zealand and has a witch main character. You can expect a dash of romance, and a heaping helping of magic.

Jump over to the Witchy Fiction facebook page for freebies and giveaways in the lead up to Halloween. We have a new discount or giveaway each day, and several books are on sale for the duration.

Witchy Fiction facebook page

Witchy Fiction website


All the Witchy Fiction Books on Amazon