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


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


New releases to check out

A Howl Worth Writing About is a charity anthology of spooky stories around the theme: Howl. If you buy this collection, the profits go to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – a super great cause that gets books into the hands of kids in need.

My story is called “a summon, a howl” and was good fun to write, so check it out!

Clarity is the yearly anthology of flash fiction from Other Worlds Ink, a queer-run website for spec fic.

Clarity (noun)

Four definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell:

1) Coherent and intelligible

2) Transparent or pure

3) Attaining certainty about something

4) Easy to see or hear

Clarity features 300-word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Monsters and Mayhem project

This collection is a collaboration between multiple authors in the MM (gay male) novel space, and they’re all retellings of classic Victorian horror stories. They’re being released at the moment, with a half dozen out already and more coming over Halloween and up to Scrooge at Christmas.


5 ways to rest

I’ve been in my house on Covid lockdown for two weeks. First Anna tested positive and then after a few days of looking after them, and sleeping in separate rooms, I started to feel like I had cold symptoms. I tested negative with a RAT two days before the third one came in positive.

It’s the first time I’ve been sick with a cold/flu since early 2020, but most of my tips and tricks for caring for a cold had been revisited already for looking after Anna. Anna’s covid case was thankfully relatively mild, mine wasn’t so much. It moved into my chest after two days and breathing started to be pretty difficult. Thankfully I had proactive advice from my doctor’s office and had a turbuhaler prescribed, which Anna was well enough to go and collect for me. This is all context for the meat of this post, which is that I have had an entire week of careful rest, so as to get better and to avoid Long Covid if I can.

A lot of my friends have expressed a difficulty with giving themselves time to rest, and then when they do have time, not knowing how to approach it. I get it, there’s always other things we could be doing. Chores, side-hustles, catching up on the ever-present to do list and so on. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t rest. So, here’s some of the things I do which allow my body and my mind to let go of all the ‘should’s and just rest.

  1. Sit and read. Best on a comfy chair with a soft, warm blanket and a cup of something hot – tea, coffee, hot chocolate, whatever you prefer, and a nice snack. If it feels too hard to give yourself the time to read, you can timebox it – just 30 minutes. You can spare that much, and if at the end of the 30 mins you want to keep reading, do it.
  2. Video games. I bought Mario Kart as soon as Anna tested positive, basically. We both have Nintendo Switches and this has been a great game for us to learn and play together, trying out the different characters and vehicles and just having a little fun. It engages the mind but it’s not taxing, and your body is resting. Plus, laughter is healing!
  3. Comfort watching. Now this could be old movies that you’ve loved in the past (I hit up Moulin Rouge and Titanic lately), it could be a beloved show that you’ve seen a thousand times before or it could be aesthetically pleasing Youtubers. Anna and I have watched an awful lot of Study for Success this week – it’s so beautiful to look at, and who doesn’t love to gaze at stationery?

5. Go take a nap. Here’s my trick with napping. I don’t stress about actually sleeping. I get comfortable, I make sure I’m warm in bed, and I put on something soothing to listen to. Maybe it’s my favourite acoustic album (Alt-J an Awesome Wave), or maybe it’s a podcast that I’ve heard before (Welcome to Night Vale, or Overdue are good options for me, personally). Then I close my eyes and just listen, and if I drift off well, that’s great, but if not, I’ve given my body some downtime.

That’s just 5 of the things I do to ensure I’m getting rest, and this last week I’ve been doing them all a lot. I hope it helped!

What do you do to rest?