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Top 5 Spring Reads

Copy of Top 5 Wednesday Banner

https://i.imgur.com/XS0XVS1.gifHappy Hump Day! And for those who celebrate it, Happy Holi! We’re having a Holi party at work today and while I don’t celebrate it myself, a bunch of my coworkers do, so there’s gonna be a bunch of food and I’m so excited.

Today’s topic is spring reads, and it’s a bit up to interpretation. So, I’m going with top books I’d like to read this spring. Note this will not include books on my O.W.L. Readathon TBR (which will be up soon). So it’ll basically be books I wanna read in May.

If you’d like to participate in Top 5 Wednesday, you can do so here!

5. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1)I bought this a while ago, and have since added it to my 10 in 2019 list. Considering I should actually, y’know, try to read the books on that list, I want to get to this one. Some people really like to read fantasy during the fall. I really like to read fantasy during the fall! …and the spring! ….and summer and winter. I have no specific fantasy season, man.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Deathless by Catherynne M Valente

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)Another one on my 10 in 2019 list, it’s one I’ve been eyeing for ages. I’m hoping to love this. It follows Koschei the Deathless, a character in Russian folklore who is akin to devils and witches. Should be goooood!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)Yet another on the 10 in 2019 list, I figured I’ll just knock out as many as I can in May. This is the book the movie was based off of, and considering I adore the movie, I decided I want to read the source material. I’m hoping I like this just as much!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Saga volume 9 by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga, Vol. 9 (Saga, #9)I’ve fallen behind in Saga! Well, not too far behind. This is the only volume that’s out that I haven’t read. This one will likely come with a reread of volume 8 so I remember what in the world is going on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange TreeAnd this – this is the one I wanna read the most. I bought it the other day in preparation for my book buying ban (which… will also be posted about soon). I want to have some good things to reading during the ban, so I got this book as one of my allotted March purchases to do just that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And that’s it! Planning on reading any of the above? Happy reading!

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Posted by on 03/20/2019 in Books, Top 5 Wednesday

 

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Fullmetal Alchemist: The Complete Four-Panel Comics by Hiromu Arawaka

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Complete Four-Panel ComicsFullmetal Alchemist: The Complete Four-Panel Comics by Hiromu Arakawa

Manga
Read March 15-16th
Fantasy
128 pages
Released in English March 12th, 2019
Spoiler-free blabber

This was so nice.

I had no idea this collection of four panels was coming out until I walked past it in the bookstore – it wasn’t even in the manga section. I froze and picked it up immediately.

This book is a collection of all the Fullmetal Alchemist four-panels – at the back of each of the 27 volumes of manga, there’s a small section of fun comics that the author made. They’re humorous, don’t really play into the plot (but do reference it, so they’ll be spoilery if you haven’t finished the series), and when I read them, I loved them. So that’s what I thought I would be getting when I picked this up.

Turns out, it was way more than that. It started with the manga four-panels – a title at the top would tell which volume it was from. And then after that, there were four-panels that were included in the original FMA anime DVD collection. I didn’t even know they contained four-panels. And then it went into comics from the FMA Brotherhood DVD collection. After that, it threw in all the comics that had appeared in Shonen Jump issues and various other medias, and finally it included a few comics that were never published anywhere.

So… I expected one thing and I got that and so much more. It. Was. Fantastic. I already knew I was going to like rereading all the four-panels – it had been a few years since I read the series so while most of them struck a chord of memory for me, some of them I had forgotten completely. And they’re funny – I laughed out loud multiple times. When I got to the DVD collection comics and beyond, it was a mix of new material and nostalgia. I had never seen the comics before obviously, but the contents of them hovered around the content of the DVDs, so having seen both anime series multiple times, it was very enjoyable to read extra material about them.

So overall, I loved this. I can see myself rereading it multiple times in the future, and I do believe it’s gained a spot in my ‘favorite books’ list. And man, it really, really made me want to reread the series. Maybe that’ll happen this year. It’s been years.

Rating 5/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 03/17/2019 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

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Goblin Slayer vol 1 by Kumo Kagyu

Goblin Slayer, Vol. 1 (Goblin Slayer Manga, #1)Goblin Slayer volume 1 by Kumo Kagyu
Art by Kousuke Kurose
Character Design by Noboru Kannatuki

Manga
Read March 15
Rated M
Fantasy
176 pages
Spoiler-free Blabber

Goblin Slayer is visceral and vicious.

And I loved it.

Goblin Slayer is one of a trend I’ve seen recently: manga and anime that basically seem like a D&D campaign. Not that I’m complaining, mind you – I’m digging quite a few of them right now. This one in particular though is the most intense, the most violent. Trigger warning for blood, gore, and rape.

Goblin Slayer follows the story of a young priestess who is set on becoming an adventurer – one who fulfills jobs, usually hunting and killing various creatures or finding various artifacts for money. The story opens with her getting her first job – hunting a band of goblins that have stolen some young women from the nearby town. She goes in with a band adventurers, also brand new. What she experiences in the goblin cave is far worse than she had anticipated, and then Goblin Slayer shows up. That’s his name, the guy in the armor on the cover. He, unlike the priestess, is not a rookie.

So as mentioned above, multiple trigger warnings for this – even moreso for the anime (which is also really good and I really recommend. But the anime is even more visceral than the manga, believe it or not). This manga does not shy away from the danger these characters are putting themselves in, nor does it hand wave any of the brutality the goblins are capable of. This first volume is a good set up of the world the characters are living in, and even starts to touch into the back story of the enigma known as Goblin Slayer. Having seen farther in the anime than I’ve read in the manga at this point, I know the character development and world building is only going to get better from here.

There were a few things in the manga that were a welcome surprise though – insights into goblin thought patterns, background info on characters. I really liked it all. While an overarching plot has not really taken hold in this first volume, the ending of it hints at one, and it makes me want to buy the second volume yesterday. I really like the art in this too – the characters are well-designed and I never had an issue remembering who someone was.

I think my only complaint about this is it gets a bit fan-servicey at times. Boobs when they’re not relevant, butts when they’re not relevant. You get the gist. It didn’t occur often enough though to really take away from my enjoyment of the manga, but it did happen often enough that I noticed it. So hopefully it’ll stay at the level it’s currently at or decrease. I feel like an increase in meaningless boobs wouldn’t really benefit anything.

And to reiterate what I listed at the top: this manga is rated M, so be prepared for M rated content, because man, it does not shy away from it. If you’re willing to go into it knowing this though, and you tend to like fantasy and d&d, you’ll probably like this. I really did.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 03/16/2019 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

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Top 5 characters that are definitely in Ravenclaw

Copy of Top 5 Wednesday Banner

https://i.imgur.com/XS0XVS1.gifHello, happy Hump Day!

Today’s T5W topic is characters that embody my Hogwarts house. I’m pretty solidly Ravenclaw so I’m gonna pick characters that are Ravenclaw-y too!

If you’d like to participate in Top 5 Wednesday, you can do so here!

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According to the Harry Potter wiki, traits that Ravenclaws possess are:

  • Intelligence
  • Wit
  • Wisdom
  • Creativity
  • Originality
  • Individuality
  • Acceptance

So with those in mind:

Alise Finbok from The Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb

City of DragonsAlise is the daughter of a prominent trader who enters a marriage of convenience with a man who is a bit of a dick. But through her marriage contract, Alise is able to journey up the Rain Wild River to lands of the Elderlings, a long-dead people who left nothing but ruins behind. Her goal in life is to catalogue and record every bit of information she can learn about dragons and the Elderlings. A pioneer of knowledge.

 

Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)The only Ravenclaw (or Hufflepuff, arguably) in a family of Slytherins, Tyrion is another one that’s very apt to gather knowledge. He’s intelligent and quick-witted. No point going into further detail because, well, pop culture.

 

 

 

 

Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 5 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #5)I could also see arguments for Gryffindor here, but I think due to Winry’s intelligence and her lack of risk-taking, she’s more of a Ravenclaw. Winry is the Elric Brothers’ childhood friend and automail mechanic. She’s very good at what she does, and she gets rather nerdy and excited when being shown new automail technology. She’s fantastic.

 

 

Karris White Oak from the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks

The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1)Karris is one of my favorite characters in the series if not my favorite. She’s always calculating, refining her techniques, predicting opponents’ motivations. And she’s really weirdly poised while doing it all. Karris is classy, and very, very Ravenclawy.

 

 

 

The Fool from the Tawny Man trilogy by Robin Hobb

Golden Fool (Tawny Man, #2)The Fool is the reason why I decided to participate this week. He was the first character to pop into my head when I started brainstorming. He’s creative, he’s refined, he’s intelligent, he’s definitely an individual, he’s accepting and loving, he has a wit that is both funny and mischievous. I think every needs a Fool to be their buddy.

 

 

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And that’s it! You know, it was weird – to compose this list, I just went down through my ‘read’ list on goodreads, paused at each book and picked out a few characters… it was really really easy to be like ‘no, he’s a gryffindor’ or ‘no she’s a slytherin’. Like, it was no problem categorizing them. Harry Potter is so prolific, man.

So what do you think! Agree? Disagree?

 
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Posted by on 03/13/2019 in Books, Top 5 Wednesday

 

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DNFing Books: Time Wasted vs. Money Wasted

Coffee Time

Hi, today I wanna talk about DNFing books and the struggle I tend to go through while contemplating it.

Let me preface this by saying that I tend to buy books. I do have a library available to me as well, but this discussion is specifically about after one has spent money on a book and decides it’s not great. So saying ‘just get it from the library’ isn’t a good solution when the dollars are already gone from my wallet.


Late January, a book came out that I was highly anticipating. You can probably guess from my ‘Currently Reading’ post if you saw that, but I’m not going to state which it is specifically because I’m still not sure if I’m going to quit it or finish it.

So, I bought the book new from the bookstore – new release as stated, kinda impossible to get it super cheap. The list price of the thing was $30, but with coupons/etc I got it for $20. Twenty is still a lot for me to pay for a book. I like used books and heavily-couponed/discounted/on sale books. So really, if I pay more than like $13 or so for a book, I really really want that book. I did really want this book, so I forked over the twenty bucks without complaint.

Then, I started reading it. I knew within fifteen pages that I wasn’t going to love it, but I kept reading because ‘You spent twenty bucks on this thing’ popped into my head and I hate wasting five bucks on an unfinished latte because it got cold (pop ice in and boom: iced latte) let alone twenty bucks on a book that I hadn’t even read 10 percent of.

Now, I do not have a problem in general with DNFing books – I have a shelf on goodreads of all the books I’ve put down. But I noticed a trend with them after having difficulty with this current book. All the DNFs were either library books, borrowed from friends, or purchased used or discounted. None of them were.. well, a twenty dollar book. And that made me think…

How much time are we willing to waste on something we don’t enjoy, and does it change with how much money is involved?

Because… if I had spent $5 on this book, I would have put it down by now. I’m absolutely certain. The money-to-time-spent ratio is more… justified, I guess. (For the coffee mentioned above, I get that thing for thirty minutes before it’s cold – you bet your butt I’m finishing it.) If I had spent $10… would I have? I don’t know. Why does the amount of money spent on a book determine how much time I’ll spend not enjoying it?

How much do I feel my time is worth? It’s easy to say ‘I’d rather eat the five bucks and move on to the next book’ but saying ‘I’d rather eat the twenty bucks and move on’, that’s harder. And I don’t feel that it’s tied to my income either – when I was in college I was making minimum wage, and I’d still quit a five dollar book no problem.

And does it change, depending on the person? If you spent $20 on a book, were half way through, and were certain it was going to end up a 1 or 2 star book, would you finish it? What if the book made you angry? What if it made you bored? What if it made you confused?

I think the emotion felt while reading a disliked book also plays into it. 

I definitely tend to finish books that make me angry. Hate-reading is its own source of enjoyment and motivation. I tend to hate-read a lot of bad romance trope-containing books. I go in them hoping to love them by the way, but by the end, my rage gives me life fuel.

Boring books though… it’s much harder. You know, it’s funny, I was thinking about this topic last night while I was reading the book I’m contemplating DNFing, and came across this quote:

A man will suffer misery to get to the bottom of truth, but he will not suffer boredom.

And my brain read that and went ‘Heeeey did you know you’re making me bored? Because that was uncanny.’ But it’s right (and it’s the one line of the book that I have enjoyed so far) I’d rather hate-read than be bored by a book. I’d rather read something that makes me highly uncomfortable than be bored. And because this book is making me bored… right now the twenty dollars doesn’t sound like a terrible price to escape it.

There’s also the ego to consider.

Freudian theories aside, something is keeping me from putting down this book aside from money. Maybe I just wanna show that I can handle something I dislike. Maybe it’s so I can write a damn review on it and give it a fair rating since I would have read it all. All I know is every time I think about quitting it, my brain goes ‘Oh no you don’t, you’ve come this far’.

Reading books I dislike makes me slumpy.

This is another factor that leads towards not wanting to waste time more than not wanting to waste money. When I’m reading a book I dislike, specifically one that bores me, it makes me not want to read period. I don’t want to read it, and I don’t want to read other books I’ll enjoy more because I’ll feel guilty for not focusing on the boring one. I can already feel the slump setting in, so maybe slowing down the pace of this one and reading other books and coming back to it will help.

So. Will I finish the book? I haven’t decided.

As of right now, I’m still unsure. I just hit the 50% mark of the book, so I feel like quitting it now would be silly (it’s my ego telling me that) but at the same time, the remaining 50% is over 300 pages (…and would be the ‘don’t waste time’ bit) and as mentioned multiple times, this damn book was twenty dollars.

I guess what it comes down to is.. I’m disappointed. I shelled out this money, and my time, and my anticipation on a book that I was sure I would love, and it let me down. I feel cheated in a way, and maybe powering through and finishing the book is my way of compensating for the feeling of, well, betrayal?

Who knows. A review will be up of this book either way eventually – we’ll see if it says ‘DNF’ in it or not. Wish me luck.


So, what do you think? Should money play into it? Does it for you? Is it something you’ve noticed a pattern with? Talk to me, peeps.

 
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Posted by on 03/10/2019 in Books, Coffee Time

 

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Hungry Ghosts by Anthony Bourdain | Blabber

Anthony Bourdain's Hungry GhostsAnthony Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, Alberto Ponticelli, Vanesa Del Rey, Mateus Santolouco, Leonardo Manco

Graphic Novel/Cookbook
Read March 1st, 2019
Hardback
Spoiler-free blabber

Hungry Ghosts is not what I expected it to be, then again, going into it I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. I had never read a graphic novel cookbook combination before.

This book came out October of last year, and it had been on my radar ever since. I really like Anthony Bourdain’s work, and with recent events, it made me want to read it even more. So, when I saw it in the store, sitting there going ‘Emily here I am!’ I had to pick it up.

The basic premise of this book is a group of people are having a fancy dinner when they begin an ancient samurai game of nerves – light a bunch of candles, tell a scary story, and then blow out a candle. Each person in the group does this until all the candles are extinguished. Samurai would do this feat of nerve with the expectation that speaking about the spirits and demons would draw them near, and the darker it got, the more likely it would be for the speaker to become possessed.

Each story that a person tells plays out as a chapter, so you get a bunch of mini stories with the overarching popping in and out around it. The art in this was really neat – the illustrators did a really good job. It’s a much darker, heavier style than I’m used to, but it fit for the content of the thing and I really enjoyed it. Each story was illustrated in a different way too, which was really cool. It was also really neat getting to see all of these monsters and myths of Japanese folklore played out. Some of them I had heard of, others I had not. Each story surrounded hunger somehow (hence the title) which lent to a sense of cohesiveness.

Overall I really liked the structure and the content of the book. I think the one thing that kept me from loving it was lack of depth. And I know that it might not be fair, judging a graphic novel for depth, but at the same time, there are definitely other graphics I’ve read that do have that depth within a single trade issue. This one felt like we were only scratching the surface of what could have been really thorough looks at all these monsters, and because of that I had a hard time getting really invested. The ending was also rather abrupt and I finished the story with a feeling of ‘Wait, that’s it?’. At the same time though, the abruptness and the quick stories of each creature was probably what was desired by the authors and artists – scary stories are scary stories, and a lot of them originated from small snippets of tales like these ones. The structure was probably set up that way to feel like it was going back to the roots.

The recipes at the end are fun too, though I think I’d only be able to feasibly make one of them, the risotto. All of the others are way above my cooking skills. I liked them though and if anyone wants to come over and make them for me, be my guest.

So, do I recommend this? That depends. If you’re looking for something to become totally invested in, probably not. But! If you’re interested in Japanese myth, don’t mind a quick-paced campfire-esque telling of stories, and really want to see some neat art, then definitely. This book was a really neat thing, and I enjoyed it.

3/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 03/09/2019 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

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March Currently Reading | ’19

Currently Reading

Hello! It’s March now! This is what I’m reading!

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy, #1)This book I’m buddy reading with Katy @BookbinderWay and honestly I don’t know how I feel about it yet. It’s definitely a slower read, as the writing style is very… weird. I feel like it’s a combination of being told a story across a campfire and reading a classical epic like Gilgamesh or something. It’s a book I have to wade through. It’s not really dense writing, but it’s… thick, murky. I don’t know how to better describe it, haha. Overall though it’s decent, but I have yet to be really pulled into the story. I’m just shy of half way through it so far, so here’s hoping I get more invested.

 

 

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

KindredI picked this book up earlier this month both for Black History Month and because it appeared on Jeopardy and it intrigued me enough to want to read it. So here I am. So far, I’m very much enjoying it – it follows a young black woman in the 1970s as she’s transported back and forth through time to 1815 Alabama. Every time she’s sent back I just get more and more anxious. I feel like this book is gonna seriously mess with my emotions and could potentially become a new favorite.

 

 

 

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)This book is on my 10 in 2019 list, so I’m very happy to be reading it. I reread The Queen of the Tearling last month and enjoyed it just as much this time around as last time. This series follows Kelsea, a young woman who is raised in isolation to protect her life until she is old enough to claim her right to the throne. The first book follows that mostly, and the second continues from there and delves more deeply into the politics, the history, and the magic of the world. I’m very very much loving this so far. It’s really neat! I’m listening to this on audio book and I commute 45 mins twice a day every day so I’m zooming through it rather quickly.

 

 

Back-burner Books

Same exact books as last month. I think, with exception of The Fate of the Tearling, which I will pick up on audio after I finish The Invasion of the Tearling and a potential buddy read I know is coming up, I won’t pick up another new book until I get through these three. They’ve been sitting here too long. So here’s hoping that April’s currently reading post will have none of these books on them.


And that’s it! If you’ve read any of these, let me know! Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 03/04/2019 in Books, Currently Reading

 

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