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A decade in review: Favorite books and other stuff

top books 2017

This is gonna be a neat post!

PS I’m still grumpy that my comments were turned off for a month without my realizing it. Even if you have nothing to say about this post, say hi, because now I crave human interaction, augh.


So! Favorite reads of the decade. I’ve only been actively tracking my reading since 2011, when I joined Goodreads, so 2010 is gonna be a bit of a challenge to remember what I read.

I’m also gonna add in a bit of what I was doing each year… just because I don’t think a separate point on all that is warranted, but I wanna reminisce. It’ll all be in the second paragraph of each year, so you can skip that one if you’re not interested!

2010

In 2010, I was doing mostly rereads if I remember. Before I started tracking my reading, I didn’t really branch out. I do have one book for this year though:

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I read this when I was in college for my psychology degree, in the one literature class that was required of me. The professor picked this out, and I remember being told to read 5 chapters a week… but I read the entire book in that first week. I couldn’t put it down. And then after, I would have to refresh myself each week on the contents of that week so I wouldn’t spoil anything for my classmates who were actually following the curriculum. It was a fun time, and thinking of this book reminds me of being in college for that degree (I went twice for two different ones).

I turned 20 in 2010. During this time, I was living off campus with my best friend in an apartment nearby. It was the first year I was doing it: the previous two years of college I attended were from home and at a community college. I was a junior, and experiencing self-management for the first time in my life. I adjusted to it quite well, I think. I was never late for class, I rarely skipped, I kept up my grades, and I made some good friends I still have to this day. 2010 was a good year.

2011

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 27 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #27)

2011 was the first year I joined Goodreads, and that year, I read 13 books. By far, my favorite was volume 27 of Fullmetal Alchemist. It’s the final volume of the series, and I read it right after it came out in December of that year. I adore this series, and the finale was so satisfying and I loved it.

In 2011, I was still in college, and in the fall, my senior year. I was living in the same apartment with my same friend, but that year we allowed another friend to move into our living room after their housing became unavailable. Honestly I kind of hated my life during that. The house became a disaster zone. It went from a comfy apartment to a place that I didn’t feel welcome, didn’t feel at home, didn’t feel like it was my space anymore. When I was home, I never left my room – I even kept my food that didn’t need refrigerated, my silverware and kitchen stuff in my room with me. I joined a bunch of clubs and stuff that year specifically so I wouldn’t have to be home. I hated my apartment that year. It was not a good situation for all three of us. The books I read that year though, were wonderful. A lot of them were library books, and I picked them because I was spending extra time at the campus library. They definitely got me through the year. Out of all these years, 2011 is the crappiest one.

2012

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)

In 2012, I read 14 books. A lot of them were text books I read for classes. My favorite was The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. It’s such a dark, gristley book, and it honestly caught me off guard. I actually got creeped out reading this, and I loved it. I’ve since collected books two and three of the series but haven’t read them. I’ll have to reread this before I can read them, as I don’t remember the details of the book at this point, but I do remember the feelings I got. This was a great book, people. Definitely worth the read.

2012 was a very good year. I graduated college with a bachelor’s in psychology, I moved out of my apartment living arrangement and back in home with my parents. I was unemployed for the first three months after graduating, so I did some traveling! I went to Chicago in May or June to check out a grad school. That didn’t pan out but the friend I went with did, and shock, he is now my husband. We also went to historic Williamsburg, VA, and Busch Gardens in July that summer. My husband and I started officially dating in August, and in late August, I got a job as Therapeutic Staff Support, which was a decent job for what it was. I ended up working there for two years. And then the apocalypse didn’t happen in December of 2012 so that was nice.

2013

The Dark City (Relic Master, #1)

According to Goodreads, I complete 0 books in 2013. I really dropped off reading that year – I didn’t buy much, and I didn’t read, either. I did however start The Dark City by Catherine Fisher in 2013, even though I didn’t actually complete it until 2014. So this is the one I’m going with. I really adore this series, mostly because it got me interested in reading again. You’ll see next year my reading picks up a lot. And I owe it to this series for doing it. It’s so underrated, I think – I’ve never seen anyone talk about it. It’s so good!

2013 was a decent year. It was very status-quo. I was working as a TSS, dating my husband, living at home. I did a bit of traveling, too. Went to Niagara Falls in March, went to Hershey, Harrisburg and Gettysburg all in one trip during the summer, and I went to my first ever ‘traditional’ rock concert: Infection Mushroom. Technically they’re electronic, not rock, but it’s the first one where I was in a mosh. It was intense, man. Also, the big rubber duck came to Pittsburgh!

2014

In 2014, my reading bumped! I read 30 books that year! I actually have more than one favorite this year, so I’m gonna list a couple (and probably will do so from this year on):

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessSnow Crash by Neal StephensonMy faves were The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Both of these books really sparked me to read more, the first one in particular. I remember flying through this book, and I remember getting the next two right away and looking at them lovingly in my room.

2014 was an interesting year. I started this blog in 2014! I originally did so with the intent of starting a youtube after, but once I hit that deadline, I decided I liked the blog format better. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll start a youtube, but I have no plans to do so right now. I also quit my job as a TSS and went back to college to get another degree, this time in computer science. I also moved in with my husband this year. We’ve (obviously) been living together ever since. I remember my advisor showing me my class schedule and was like ‘You already have all the electives because of your first degree, but with the way the pre-reqs are stacked, you’ll still be here til Spring of 2017’ and I remember thinking ‘WOW THAT’S SO FAR AWAY’. Hahahahahah. hahahahahaha. ha.

I saw Sonata Arctica live for the first time in 2014, one of my favorite metal bands. I also went to Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Hampton VA! During the fall I went to San Francisco to present a project I was involved in too!

2015

In Order to Live by Yeonmi ParkThe Fold by Peter ClinesPerdido Street Station by China MiévilleThe Martian by Andy Weir

 

 

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In 2015, I really really jumped up the number of books I read. I finished a whopping 111 books! My blog was starting to take off, and I fell into the ‘THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS’ trap that we all hit when we join the book community and our eyes are opened to just how many books there are. Favorite of 2015 included In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park, which I still think about, The Fold by Peter Clines, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville and The Martian by Andy Weir!

In 2015, I was in the middle of my computer science degree, and I got a job at the technology desk in the campus library, helping students with computer problems. This honestly is the best job I’ve ever had. I remember during winter break – Jan 2015, I was working full time, but barely anyone was there as it was winter semester, a short one between the two main fall/spring ones. I literally got paid to binge X-Files for a month at my work computer. My boss knew it too – he was in his office binging The Office. Spring 2015, I went to Washington DC for the Sakura Blossom Festival, which was the third time I done so but was still as neat as ever, and then in the summer, I went to Rehoboth Beach with my husband’s family, and to Niagara Falls again (I like it there, pbtbt). I also went to Ohio and saw Nightwish live for the first time, my favorite ever metal band.

2016

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin HobbUprooted by Naomi NovikLeviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyIn 2016, my reading dropped a bit, 56 books. I started getting more and more into thick fantasy books, so while I read fewer, I had a lot of new favorites as a result. Namely, I started reading Robin Hobb, and finished out the entire Farseer trilogy that year. I buddy read I think from book two onward with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks (that means we’ve known each other for at least four years now, wow!). Robin Hobb has since become one of my favorite authors of all time and will stay there forever. Other favorites of the year were Uprooted by Naomi Novik and Leviathan’s Wake by James S. A. Corey, which really awakened my interest in science fiction.

2016 was full of traveling. I was still in college but used my breaks to my advantage: Went to Prospect, New Haven, and Mystic Connecticut in March to visit a buddy, went to Philadelphia in the summer, and the biggest trip of all: went to Malaysia in December to see one of my best friends get married. I met my friend when we were 14 and 16 respectively online on fanfiction.net of all places. We kept in touch all this time, talked daily for years, then talked less often as we got older and started jobs/school/etc etc. We stayed in touch though. It became a running joke that when she got married, that she’d invite me. When she finally did get engaged, she said, “So.. are you coming?” So I did. I flew literally to the other side of the planet and saw my bestie get married, and it was wonderful.

A month before we flew out, my husband and I got engaged! I proposed to him with a gummy bear and it went horribly, but he still said yes for some reason, so that was neat. I also got an internship at a software company that would end up offering me a job upon graduation, so that was really nice, too. 2016 was a great year for me. For the country? Not so much. But for me, it was wonderful.

2017

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth DickinsonThe Black Prism by Brent WeeksIn 2017 my reading dropped a tad more, 50 books. The reasoning, I know was my work load with my classes. It was nuts. But more about that in paragraph two. My favorite books this year were The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson and The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. The first, I’ve reread since and the second I’m still working on my initial read of the series. I’m on book four now! I read a lot of really great books this year, despite the number itself being smaller. I’m ok with that though – I’d rather read fewer and love them than read more and not like them.

In 2017, I went to Niagara Falls again (this is the last time, I promise). I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, took the weekend off, and then started work the following Monday as a software developer at a software firm. I still work there to this day! I like it there, it’s neat. My workload my final semester though was insane. Like, it was crazy. During this final semester – Spring of 2017 – I had my first panic attack. I’ve only had a couple since then, but the way my own professor taught my course, the way he pressured us, the workload he gave, the threats he gave about failing us, it just got to me. I mean, he was a smart guy, and actually really nice outside of class, but in class? He literally gave me anxiety. Before this I had none. Now I have some, and I blame him for it. Woot. PS – the whole ‘YOUR WORK WILL TREAT YOU EXACTLY LIKE THIS’ he jammed down our throats during class is not true. My work is the chillest damned place.

I also got married in 2017! We tied the knot on Aug 1st, the day of our five year dating anniversary. We had a small cook out in my in-laws’ back yard with about fifty people and it was lovely. The next day, we left on our honeymoon and spent two weeks on a cruise ship floating around Hawaii. This was the best trip of my life and I almost… mourn it? That it’s over? It was such a happy time in my life, so care-free, so warm and magical. I really, really miss my honeymoon. I also ended up going back to Connecticut over Christmas break to visit my buddy again, and that was a blast as well!

2018

Senlin Ascends by Josiah BancroftSpinning Silver by Naomi NovikWotakoi by FujitaGolden Fool by Robin Hobb

 

 

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2018 was a good reading year. With school over, I got more time to indulge again. I read 88 books in 2018, and I really liked a lot of them. My favorites that year were Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, Wotakoi by Fujita and the top of them all: Golden Fool by Robin Hobb. I liked the whole Tawny Man trilogy by Hobb, but Golden Fool was by far my favorite. Man, I get all warm and happy just thinking about it now. This is the year I really think I honed my reading tastes. I got rid of a lot of books I had that I realized weren’t for me.

2018 was another status quo year, a good one. Working, married, yada yada. Went to see the Foo Fighters live, definitely a bucket list thing, and went to Chicago again for my one year anniversary. In the fall, over Halloween, went to Disney World for the first time in my life, along with Universal too! And in December, Meredith @Allboutthembooksandstuff came and visited me for a week! I met her shortly after meeting my Malaysia buddy – she actually introduced me! So we three and one other who I have yet to meet in person are all buds, and I’ve been trying to see them in person now that I’m an adult with like… money. One day, all four of us will meet together. ❤

2019

Deathless by Catherynne M. ValenteAssassin's Fate by Robin HobbO Maidens in Your Savage Season 1 by Mari Okada

The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

 

 

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2019 was another boom year when it came to books – 118 of them! I really got back into manga this year. When I was in high school I read almost solely manga, and while I still read occasionally this decade, I didn’t nearly as much as I did this year. So much good stuff is coming out, man. So much. Some favorites for this year are Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb, O Maidens in Your Savage Season by Mari Okada, and The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. All of these books are stellar, and I really recommend you pick them up (and their prequels, very necessary)

2019 was good! Same job, same husband! Went again to Connecticut in the spring, where I stayed again with my buddy pal. In the summer, I went to an anime convention for the first time. Me, Katy @Bookbinderway and Sarah @WindsorWrites piled into a car with all our stuff, and zoomed over to DC for Otakon, which is one of the largest anime conventions in the country. And man, was that awesome. I’m going to another in February with them too and I’m so pumped! Shortly after, for our second anniversary, my husband and I went to New York City, both to just see what all the hubbub was and to see Moulin Rouge in Broadway, which is something I’ve wanted to do since before it was a broadway show. That’s my favorite movie, by the way. So it was a bucket list thing I’ve had since like 2004. And it was grand. I’ll tell you what though: NYC is stinky. I liked the stuff we did there but the city itself is so smelly! Augh!

I also saw Iron Maiden live this year, and it was totally awesome!


And that’s it. Ten years of books, of life, of travel, of music, of friends and family. It was all lovely, and writing all this out made me both happy and sad at the same time. I turn 30 later this year and to think at the beginning, I was just turning 20. It’s weird, it’s weird, it’s weird.

If you took the time to read this, thank you. If you didn’t, that’s ok too, I know I rambled a lot.

I hope you all had a good decade. I did.

 
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Posted by on 01/06/2020 in Blogmas, Books, Coffee Time, Favorites, Wrap-up

 

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Seasonal Favorites aka the best time of the year | #3

Blogmas 2019

Today is the final installment of my seasonal favorites posts! If you’re interested, you can see part 1 and part 2 here.

Food

Irish Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks – Man, I’ve been living off these things. They. Are. Delicious. I’ll be sad when they’re gone.

Rooibos tea – I think this has made my faves list before, back when I did them as a normal monthly thing. It’s my favorite tea ever, perfect year round

Cookies – These are the cookies that Meredith @Allboutthembooksandstuff sent me! I’ve been munching on them since they got here earlier this week, and it’s making my tummy jiggle extra. Whoops

Crunchy Cookie butter – see above for what it’s doing to my tummy, yo.

Games

Terraria – (game play trailer above). I’ve been playing this for years, but this past month I’ve really jumped back into it. It’s kinda like… Minecraft? But way better, man.

Other Stuff

Weighted blanket – my husband kindly got me a weighted blanket for Christmas this year. As you can see I’ve already forfeited ownership of it to the cat. It was good while it lasted.

Phipps’ Winter Lights Show – Phipps Convervatory in Pittsburgh decks out its greenhouse every year with Christmas decorations, resulting in essentially a wonderland. Really, it’s gorgeous. If you’re ever in Pittsburgh during December, it’s worth going, man.

Not so subtle plug to my instagram, but here are the rest of the photos I took there too, if you’re interested


And that’s it! This was a fun series, and I hope to do it again next year! For now, we’ve got the boring part of the year to look forward to. Until next August when it starts to get fun again. 😛

 
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Posted by on 12/28/2019 in Blogmas, Favorites

 

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Seasonal Favorites aka the best time of the year | #2

fall post.png

Hello! Today is part two of a three part series I’m going to do. Basically ‘monthly favorites’ but focusing on fall, because, as the title says, it’s the best time of the year. Fight me on it.

You can find part one here, if you’re interested.

This is what I liked this month!

Food

They are all Thanksgiving-related items, does this shock you. Does it.

The first item is the Gobblerito, a seasonal special of Mad Mex, which is a Pittsburgh-based restaurant (these… will all be from Pittsburgh-based things, come to think of it). But basically it’s a burrito as big as your head, filled with turkey, corn, black beans, stuffing, and then coated with turkey gravy and served with a bit of cranberry. Heaven on a plate, I’ve never been able to finish one in one sitting. (Photo credit of madmex.com)

The next right below it is the pilgrim sub, a seasonal special of Get Go, which is actually a gas station similar to a Sheetz or Wawa or whatever you have near you, owned by the local grocery store Giant Eagle in Pittsburgh. It’s turkey, cheese and cranberry all loaded up into stuffing bread, and it’s delicious. (Photo credit of GetGo’s twitter account)

The final picture is the coveted Smoked Turkey Waffle, available seasonally by Pig Iron Public House, which, you guessed it, as Pittsburgh based. The waffle itself is made of stuffing, and then on top there’s smoked turkey, gravy, and friend mashed potato-and-cranberry balls. It. Is. Delicious. (Photo credit to ME. I TOOK THE PICTURE)

There’s one more Thanksgiving item I haven’t gotten to yet, called the Gobble Gobble burger, sold by the Pittsburgh burger joint BRGR… if I get to it in the next month, I’ll mention it in the next faves post. 😛

Games

Just a flash game this month. I’ve been hooked on it: Blendoku, which I know is at least available on the android app store, maybe the apple one as well? Who knows.

It’s a game kinda like a mix between sudoku and a crossword puzzle, but instead of placing numbers of letters, you place colors in a way that they blend into each other well. It’s fun!

Television

Honestly, the two I mentioned last month, Food Wars and My Hero Academia are still up there. Otherwise:

Supernatural. Man, I’ve been watching this show from the beginning. It’s just started it’s final season – the 15th one – and it’s all comin’ together. Note, do not watch the above trailer unless you’re caught up or you don’t mind spoilers that you’ll have no context for until you actually watch the show. If you don’t mind the no-context spoilers, it gives a really good vibe about what the whole show is about. Honestly when I found it I watched it twice and let my feels be feels.

Queer Eye. This is a Netflix show that I picked up maybe two weeks ago… and have since binged all four seasons plus their four-episode Japan special. I’m obsessed. Everyone is so wholesome and kind and loving and wonderful and augh ❤ Season 5 is coming out soon and I’m pumped for it.

Music

Lately, I’ve been using a playlist on spotify for my Nanowrimo projects, called ‘Epic Instrumental’ where it’s just what it sounds like. This is it!

Also, this song’s been pretty good lately:

Other Stuff

JonTron. A youtuber that’s been around for ages. He does comedy videos, and while I’ve liked him for a while, one of his latest videos, the goop video above, cracked me up. So he’s a favorite this month.

My Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations. I don’t get super festive for both of these holidays, despite the fact that I love them both, haha. On the left is my one candle – Caramel Pecan, and a box of leaves. On the right is my jackolantern this year.


And that’s it! One more of these posts mid-to-late next month, and that’ll be it. It’ll be back to the boring times this month.

Happy falling and wintering!

 
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Posted by on 11/10/2019 in Favorites

 

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Seasonal Favorites aka the best time of the year | #1

fall post.png

Hello! Today is part one of a three part series I’m going to do. Basically ‘monthly favorites’ but focusing on fall, because, as the title says, it’s the best time of the year. Fight me on it.

So there will be one now, one in November, and one in December. Each will talk about the things I’m currently hooked on, fall-related and otherwise. So if this is the type of thing you think will float your boat, read on, homeslice.

Food

Starbucks’s Pumpkin Cream Cold Brews – I’ve been getting at least one of these a week, sometimes two or three. I’ve basically been getting nothing else from them for the last month or two. They’re so damn good.

Peanut butter banana bread – Made by moi. I had bananas that I forgot to eat and went ‘welp, bread it is’. I found a recipe online, which is here, and it turned out to be the bees knees. I’m definitely going to make this again.

Apricot wheat beer – from the brewery that opened up across the street from me. I won’t say which one because… that’d be doxxing myself, now wouldn’t it. But man, I never knew apricot could flow so seemlessly with beer.

Leinenkugel’s Vanilla Snowdrift Porter – Technically a winter beer, I look forward to this release every year. Man, it’s so gooood.

Wedding Cookie Table Cookies – So I learned a thing recently. Apparently, giant tables full of cookies at weddings isn’t a thing in most places. Where I live, it’s standard. You get married, you have food, you have a cake, and you have a giant eff-off table full of cookies. Like, your entire family makes you cookies for this table when you get hitched. Tiers and tiers of the stuff, enough that you bring take out boxes for all the guests, because they’ll eat 20 each and take 20 home on top of it. The cookie table is the star of the Pittsburgh wedding. The picture above is from the wedding of a friend I went to this past weekend. Hell, I got married two years ago with maybe 40 people, technically wasn’t even a wedding so much as a JP showing up and declaring us married, and we still had a sizeable cookie table.

For example, a quick google:

cookietable.PNG

Personally I think they should be like… a global thing. Cookie tables, people. Make it happen.

 

Games

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm – I’ve been hooked on the Civilization series for almost a decade now, and this one – Gathering Storm – is the latest expansion released for Civ VI. To the already super-involved gameplay, it adds natural disasters, global warming, and everything like that. So now, on top of you dealing with all the other civilizations in your world, and competing in scientific discovery, warfare, culture and religion, now you have to deal with polar ice caps melting and tornadoes ripping through your capital. It’s. So. Awesome.

Television

My Hero Academia – Above is the season 1 trailer, but season 4 just started streaming on Crunchyroll two weeks ago and MAN WAS I READY FOR IT. My Hero Academia I think is one of the best anime to come out in a while, and if you haven’t picked it up yet, I really suggest doing so. It’s. Amazing. It follows a young man named Midoriya, living in a super-powered world, where most people have abilities called quirks. Because of this, ‘heroes’ have become a thing in society. Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but unfortunately he’s quirkless. This anime tells the story of how he becomes the greatest hero.

Demon Slayer – this one is a recent find for me. I’m only four or five episodes in so far but I am definitely hooked. It follows a young man named Tanjiro, who lives in a world of humans and demons alike, as he strives to save his sister after his family is slain and his sister turned into a demon. I really, really like this one – the visuals are gorgeous, the music is eerie, and weirdly there’s a bit of humor – it’s just perfect.

Music

Recently I’ve fallen into a uh.. rocky-poppy-indy-ish mood. Usually I’m all heavy metal. Who knows what’s goin on. This is what I’m currently hooked on. Definitely recommend giving them a listen:

  • Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves) by the Wombats

  • Hunter by Ken Ashcorp

  • Can’t Go to Hell by Sin Shake Sin

There are…. a lot more songs I’ve discovered this month, but those stand out as my faves. Give ’em a listen and lemme know what you think!


And that’s it! For the next two posts, if I come up with more categories, I’ll add’em in, but I figured this was a solid start. If you’d tried or like any of the above, lemme know! If my post inspires you to try them, lemme know that too!

 
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Posted by on 10/23/2019 in Favorites

 

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Top Books of 2018

top books 2017

Hello, time for the 500th favorites post you’ve seen, and my favorite post of the year! Now, I’m not going to have a set number – no ‘top 10’ or whatever. I tend to only rate something five stars if I intend on adding it to my all-time ‘favorite books’ list, with a few exceptions (like.. individual issues in a manga series where the overall series isn’t a favorite, or powerful memoirs that I don’t consider a fave). So some years this post is really long, other years it’s super short. This year’s list is a decent length, I think.

In 2018, I read 88 things, and out of those, 23 of them were five stars.

First, I’m going to eliminate the rereads:

So that knocks out… six books, leaving 17. Next, I’m going to eliminate what I mentioned above: Individual issues of a manga series that I don’t consider a ‘favorite’ series, and powerful memoirs that while they were amazing, I don’t consider them a ‘favorite’ book. For the first, for a manga series to be considered a favorite, the majority of the volumes need to be a five, and that weird, undefinable ‘I love this entire series’ feeling has to be there. Individual volumes of manga can definitely be five stars, but its overall series could be lower. For the second, powerful memoirs are hard for me: I rarely give them less than five stars because how can I read about someone’s life and struggles and go ‘meh, needs character development’. Like really. So while I really did enjoy the book, and probably regard it highly (as I do with this book), I usually won’t consider it a ‘favorite’ book. Usually.

Down to 13. A lot of the remaining books are books that are sequels in a series that I read through during the year. So, those will be combined below.

OKAY now here are my favorite books of the year! None of these are in any particular order.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning SilverGenre: Fantasy

This book was rather split between readers – half of them really liked it, half of them really didn’t. This book is set in a Russia-esque world, and follows a few different characters, one of them named Miryam, the daughter of a money lender. She takes over her father’s business and soon cultivates the reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. This attracts the attention of the creature known as the Staryk, who interprets it literally, and Miryam finds herself in a bit over her head.

This book is slow moving and very atmospheric. It suggests a romance but it doesn’t really show one. I think that’s why many people – specifically ones who liked Uprooted – didn’t care for this. I really liked it though – I adore Naomi Novik’s writing, and at this point she could publish her grocery list and I’d read it. I really like the unknown aspect of the Staryk, how little we find out about him. The characters were interesting, the interweaving of different aspectics of folklore and creatures was really neat, and the way that all the character’s perspectives interwove was cool, too. I wrote a full blabber on it, if you’d like to know my full thoughts.

Wotakoi: Love is Hard For Otaku volumes 1-3 by Fujita

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol 1 (Otakoi: Otaku Can't Fall in Love?!)Genre: Slice of Life/Romance/Comedy

This series came out of nowhere for me. I randomly saw a brief review of the first three episodes of the anime, which made me pick it up and binge it, and then I hunted out this manga to fulfill the void that was created in my life by finishing the anime. I’ve since consumed the first three volumes, which make up everything that’s currently available for purchase.

This series follows four working mid-twenties adults as they navigate their relationships. They’re all a bit nerdy in their own ways, and it’s nice to see that come out in people who are office workers – character depth, people. The dynamics between the characters show actual, y’know, communication, and it was a breath of fresh air. The characters actually speak to each other when there’s a misunderstanding between them. Like adults. It was so nice.

This series is fluff, mind you. It’s not some epic tail of love and pain, it’s not a dramatic soap opera… it’s just a light, fluffy, funny series about people who aren’t teens, interacting with each other. And I loved it. A lot of what the characters are interested in – video games, manga, cosplay – is really delved into, and it taught me some things about the areas, even though I’m already a fan of most of them. And this series made me laugh out loud multiple times. Augh I enjoyed it so much!

Prince’s Gambit and King’s Rising by C. S. Pacat

Prince's Gambit (Captive Prince, #2)Genre: Fantasy, M/M Romance

These two books were some of my first reads of 2018, and they’ve really stuck with me. The first book in the trilogy, Captive Prince, was a four star read for me, which is why it isn’t here, but these two books being five stars each definitely put the series overall into my favorite books.

This is another series that is a bit derisive. The relationship and cultural dynamics in this book can definitely be called unhealthy. But, the writing and the plot progression just sucked me in. I read these books and then my heart felt a void that there was no more.

This series follows two princes of warring kingdoms. One prince’s half brother usurps him, strips him of his titles, fakes his death, and presents him to the other prince of the rival country as a pleasure slave. The other prince, not having actually met the first one, doesn’t realize who he is being given. The series follows them as the war continues and the political dynamics become more and more complex.

If I’m being honest, when I went into this, I didn’t really expect much of a plot. But I was pleasantly surprised with a well thought out and well executed one. Because of that, it definitely earned a spot on my favorites list.

Victory of Eagles and Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, #5)Genre: Historical fantasy

Ugh, this series, man. I absolutely adore it. I’ve loved it since I picked up the first four volumes of it in high school. If you notice, the first four of the books in the series were in my eliminated rereads section: All of them were five stars as well.

When I was in high school, only the first four books were out. I read and loved them, and then never actually picked up the rest as they came out.

This year, I made a point to do so. I reread the first four, and then kept going. The series recently concluded at nine books. As of writing this, I’m reading book eight. The two books mentioned here are books five and seven: book six was four stars for me, as it dragged a bit, but overall this series is still one of my favorites and will always be.

This series, the Temeraire series, is a historical fiction about dragon warfare during the Napoleonic Era. It’s so well done and so well researched. The character dynamics and how the dragon battle tactics are interwoven into history and actual historical events and battles during the Napoleonic Wars is fantastic. The main character, William Laurance, in the first book is a navy captain: he defeats a French ship at sea and finds Temeraire’s egg within. The egg hatches, and with nobody else around to tame the dragon, he steps in to do so, effectively throwing his navy career away to join the aerial corp: the military unit specializing in dragon battles. Temeraire the dragon is the sweetest thing, as are all of the other dragons. Each is unique, the breeds are well thought out and the intricacy of dragon breeding and training and whatnot is really fascinating.

As stated, I’m on book eight. I’m going to be so sad after book nine is finished. I won’t know what to do.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount CharGenre: Fantasy/Horror

This book was a bit out of my usual comfort zone. It was a fantasy thing set in modern day, which is usually not my jam. It just sounded so intriguing though. This book was a buddy read with Katy @Bookbinderway, and both of us ended up really enjoying it, though I think I liked it more than she did, overall.

This book follows a young woman who… used to be human, more or less, as she and her group of siblings try to discover what happened to their missing Father, the man who raised them. I don’t want to really tell you more than that, because going into it nearly blind I think would be best.

I will say though that this is definitely one of the strangest books I’ve ever read. It’s unsettling, it’s bizarre, and at times it’s uncomfortable. But it’s also riveting and exciting and a lot of fun. This is definitely one of the most unique books I’ve ever encountered. I feel like it should have its own genre, that ‘fantasy/horror’ doesn’t really do it justice.

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3)Genre: Fantasy

I haven’t spoken about this series too much recently, but it’s definitely mentioned muchly on this blog overall.

This series, when I started it in 2017, quickly became one of my favorites and with this third installment, it remains solidly in the list.

This series, if you haven’t heard me blabber endlessly about it already, follows a slew of characters, navigating politics in war in a world where light is magic.

The users of the magic system, drafters, are able to change colored light into physical matter, and shape it to their will. Each color has different properties, is used for different things, and has different effects on the user. Every time the user drafts light, it brings them slightly closer to death.

All of the characters in this are entertaining in their own way, whether or not I actually like them. The main character for instance, is a bit of a dick, but he’s also a lot of fun to read about. As stated, this is the third book in the series, and I’m currently reading the fourth. The fifth comes out this fall, so I wanna finish it before then. I. Am. SO. EXCITED!

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)Genre: Fantasy

Wow is this book a hidden gem. Originally self-published, it became an overnight sensation, and has since been picked up by a publisher. The book follows Thomas Senlin, who arrives at the base of the seemingly endless Tower of Babel with his wife, on honeymoon. He quickly loses her in the crowd and then must undertake the task of climbing the tower, navigating each of its levels, and surviving pursuit to find his wife.

I wrote a full blabber on this one too. More of a gush, really. But man, the writing in this is wonderful. It’s so allegoric, and I loved it. The second book is out in this series, and the third is coming out this year. I cannot wait to continue this one, ugh.

Golden Fool and Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Golden Fool (Tawny Man, #2)Genre: Fantasy

What would my favorites list be without a Robin Hobb novel (or two). Robin Hobb just keeps amazing me with her worldbuilding, her characterization and her storytelling. Each book just adds to the previous ones, things mentioned in the first or second book that seemed like a one-off suddenly become very relevant eight books later and it blows my mind. I’ve been buddyreading these with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks and we’ve both become absolutely smitten.

The two I’m highlighting here are the second and third books in Hobb’s Tawny Man trilogy, which is my favorite series in the overarching world she has established. In the overarching series, they are books eight and nine. But man, these books wrecked me. Both of them. (And the first one did too, but it didn’t quite make five stars. The whole series is amazing). They took my emotions, tied them in a pretzel, burned them, freezed them, melted them, untied them and formed them into a heart… and then ripped them to shreds. I can’t even talk too much without spoiling like.. two other series.

This series follows characters from the first trilogy some years later, and I didn’t realize how much I missed those characters until I was reading about them again. Hobb’s books at this point give me nostalgia. Cracking one open is like going home, and I don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish them.

That’s what rereading is for, I guess.


And that’s it! Those are my favorite books of the year! So many books were added to my favorites list this year, it’s crazy! I loved it! If you’ve read any of these, let me know!

 
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Posted by on 01/09/2019 in Books, Favorites

 

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Favorite Books of 2017

Top Books 2017

Hello! This is one of my favorite posts to write every year – my favorite books! Any books that made this list were rated 5 stars by me and were also added to my ‘favorites’ list on goodreads (so think of them like 6 star books I guess). So, not all of my five-star books will be on this list. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love them, but it just means they weren’t my absolute top favorites. This list will obviously change in size from year to year because of this, because a favorite is a favorite.

So sit back, relax, and witness what white-russian-fueled-emily comes up with 😀


Descender Vol 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire

Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars

This graphic novel is the one and only that made my favorites list this year. Other series I’m currently reading (Saga cough Saga) also got a 5 stars from me, but this is the one that made the favorites list.

This series has a bit of everything – adorableness, shock factor, sci-fi elements, beautiful art, mystery, thriller… I absolutely loved it. The art style especially had me smitten – each picture looks like a water color painting. It’s gorgeous! There are three or four trade volumes out right now I think. Something like that. I need to get the rest of them!

It follows a young boy robot, who wakes up out of a sleep years after planet-sized artificial intelligence beings have attacked and ravagd intelligent life in the universe, then vanished without a trace. As a result, AI has been outlawed, and robots are actively hunted down and dismantled. Tim-21, a companion robot to a human boy, crosses the galaxy, trying to find his human companion family amidst this chaos, and slowly learns what occurred during the attack years ago and why he might be more than he was programmed to be.

AHH IT’S SUPER GOOD.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)This was a surprising read for me. I picked this book up in January after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses (which… I ended up liking despite low expectations) and was blown away by how much better this book was than the first one. I mean sure, the first one was decent, but the love interest was definitely uh… problematic, which was my main issue. But this book man. It totally made up for it. I looooved this book.

And then I picked up the third book and was a bit underwhelmed. But this book! The second in the trilogy! This is definitely the strongest of the three.

This series follows a young woman after she shoots and kills a fae with a bow and arrow, and then is whisked away into fae land to pay retribution, Beauty and the Beast-style. Honestly I wasn’t expecting much going into it but this book in particular really blew me away. I loved it!

The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1)The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2)These are books one and two in the Lightbringer series, which I have been devouring all year and loving every second of it. I’m currently in the middle of the third book, and plan to read the fourth this coming year. And the fifth and final book is set to release in 2018 as well, so hopefully I can latch onto that one, too!

This series follows a cast of characters in a world revolving around color. The magic system involves the users ‘drafting’ colors into physical material. Those who are found to be able to perform this task are called drafters, and can usually cast one or two colors. Sometimes three. Occasionally and rarely, more than that. And then there’s the Prism, the head of the Chromeria where the book takes place, who can draft them all.

And the more a user drafts, the quicker it brings them to death. Drafting slowly drives them insane.

The plot follows the Prism, who finds out he has a son from a woman he had seen when he was fighting the False Prism’s War, a war where the prism and his brother both fought for the seat as Prism.

This book has all sorts of stuff: Humor, action, adventure, a good cast of characters, a great magic system, good world building, intrigue… all sorts of things. I loooove this series. I love it!

Also look at those covers. I just adore them.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant (Baru Cormorant #1)This book. This book is probably my absolute top favorite book of the year. It’s just… It’s just so fantastic.

I wrote a full, spoiler-free review where I go more into my thoughts, if you’d like to read it.

This book just left me speechless. It follows a girl, Baru, as her home is destroyed around her by the looming Masquerade, a remote empire that slowly takes over and colonizes her country. And instead of getting red hot, Baru gets icy cold. She vows to blend in, to maneuver her way to the top, and to tear down the Mask from the inside.

This book is fantastic – you read it and you think you know what’s going on. You think you know who’s good and who’s bad, what’s happening, what people’s intentions are… and then it’s pulled out from underneath you and your jaw drops and just…

AUGH I LOVED THIS BOOK. <333

Book two is supposedly coming out in 2018, and I’ma jump on it.


And that’s it! These were my favorite books this year, and I hope to gain as many if not more favorites next year! 😀

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 12/30/2017 in Books, Favorites, Wrap-up

 

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What Makes Me Happy

Hello! This post was inspired by PeruseProject’s video and I really liked the idea of it. So it’s not really book related, but bear with me. With the results in the US Presidential election, this country I live in is looking pretty bleak. Whether you live here or not, whether you dislike the candidate or not, there’s definitely a feeling of ‘eeeehhhh’ that you have to be picking up on if you’ve heard anything about US politics recently.

Personally, I’m in the middle of it. I’m in a swing state that swung to the candidate I didn’t want when the county I live in reported its votes. Yeah. My county was a huge reason my state flipped. Buh.

So, whether we agree politically or not, whether you live in the US or not, I’m going to also just go through some small things that make me happy in the face of this… turn of events. And I hope that you’re inspired to do the same, regardless of whether you feel any turmoil about things or not. It’s always nice to think about happy things. 🙂


The little music purr my cat does when you touch her tail. She makes this purr sound but kinda meows with her mouth shut so it sounds like a short musical note purr. It’s too cute and she does it almost without fail when her tail is petted.

Getting my code to run with no errors. If you’ve ever coded anything before, you know the feeling of elation I’m talking about. If you haven’t coded, imagine setting up a complex line of dominoes with loops and dips and chain reactions and all sorts of things. Imagine doing practice runs over and over and somewhere, inevitably, you run into a problem and you have to reset the whole thing… Then, after hours of tinkering and playing and aligning things, you knock over that first domino and all of them fall perfectly. Everything goes off without a hitch. Hours of work put into it and it finally paid off.

That’s what it’s like getting code to work. I love that feeling.

Finding out someone plays the same video game as me. I always get so excited when I found out that a person is as obsessed with Civilization games as I am. I love talking strategy and really can only do it with people who play it enough to know how much goes into it.

My SO’s damn puns. Dad jokes. Dumb rhymes. Everything. And then that innocent ‘deer in the headlights’ look he gives me after he cracks them, waiting to see if I’ll catch on. I love those.

Putting fluffy PJs on right after shaving my legs. It’s so soft man, it’s so cuddly. It’s so lovely and warm and comfy and wonderful.

Buying a book without having to double-check my finances. Once in a blue moon, I actually have the money to impulse-buy a book without having to plan it out and save for it. Usually upon getting a bonus at work, which happens again, once in a blue moon. Love grabbing it off the shelf with a sold ‘This baby is MINE’ and buying it and walking out of the store with it.

Putting up a Christmas tree. It makes me feel so warm and happy and lovey. I love Christmas all around, but this is one of my favorite parts.

Painting my nails. It’s one of my few creative outlets that I still do. I used to draw, I used to paint… but I still do my nails and paint doodles and all sorts of things on them. These are my current ones – I did them yesterday. :”D Thanksgiving, ftw.

img_20161116_190408

Cooking new food. Pinterest is my buddy. Here‘s my page, if you’re interested. I post lots and lots of recipes and other things. I love trying the recipes out – my SO is the perfect guinea pig. Whether or not it turns out well, it’s fun trying it. :”D


So that’s an abbreviated list of things that make me happy and I’m hoping they can help keep me going. If you’d like to make a post like this, go for it. And then let me know so I can read it!

Happy reading. :”D

 
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Posted by on 11/17/2016 in Favorites

 

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pjnkskies

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