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June Wrap Up! ’20

Wrap Up

All the months are blending together, this month was a bit hotter than the last, but that’s all I can give ya about it. These are all the books I’ve read in the past thirty or so days:

Books

The Inheritance & Other Stories

The Inheritance & Other Stories by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm – This is a short story collection containing works by the same woman under different pen names. She one of my favorite authors of all-time, and over the past few years I’ve absorbed her Hobb Realm of the Elderlings series into my psyche. This short story collection contains a few stories set in that world, and were the last in-world materials I had yet to read, so I picked it up with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, because we’ve been buddy reading almost the entire over-arching world together at this point! After this we’re gonna have to find another huge series to lose ourselves in, will need something to fill the void.

The three Hobb stories in this I rather liked – They were between four and three stars each, which considering my track record with short story collections is pretty good. The Lindholm stories though were unfortunately not as palatable to me. There were a couple I liked, but most of them were either just ok or I actively disliked them. Emily-reads-short-stories-syndrome strikes again, I guess.

Overall though, this was a decent collection. The Hobbs stories were definitely my favorite bits. 3.5 stars

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – This is a bit outside my typical genre, as I’m not a huge literary fiction reader. It follows an elderly man after he passes away and meets five people in heaven. Kinda self-explanatory. I feel like this story was written to pull at the heartstrings throughout, but personally it didn’t really pull me in. I could see the elements that were to be really striking, but I don’t know, I wasn’t really affected, except for when the main character was talking to one specific person. I feel like I wasn’t the target audience for this. But regardless, I did overall enjoy it. I’m glad I read it, both because it’s so well-known and now I’m in the know, and because my mother in law loves this book and now we have one more thing to talk about together. 3.5 stars

Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White and & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – I picked this book up on audio this month! This follows the first son of the United States and a prince of Wales in a hate-to-love romance. I thought it was cute. The hype for this one definitely affected my judgement though. This book was listed in many people’s favorites from last year and I can totally see why, but because of that I guess I had my expectations a bit too high. Regardless though, I did rather enjoy it for what it was. 3.75 stars

If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio – Again, an audio book! This book follows a group of college students attending a prestigious arts college, studying Shakespeare, and a murder. The narration of this was fantastic, I really liked the way Shakespearean verse was interjected throughout the book, and the way it paralleled Shakespeare’s writing at times. This book really pulled me in, and I found myself wanting to reread all the plays that I read back in high school, convinced I’d appreciate them more this time around. This is again a bit outside my usual genre, but man, that did not stop me from really loving this. The only reason I’m knocking a half star is I was able to see the plot twists coming, so some of the wow factor was dissipated for me. But even so, I seriously recommend this book, it was fantastic. Definitely my favorite of the month. I don’t have a physical copy of this as I listened to it on Scribd, but I gotta get one, man. I can definitely see myself rereading this. 4.5 stars

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I picked this up because I recently purchased the prequel, as seen in this month’s haul. I haven’t actually read these books since I originally read them back in 2010 or so, when they had first come out. I’ve watched the movies multiple times but never actually reread the books. So with this new one coming out I wanted to refresh myself on the source material. When I originally read this at around 20 years old-ish, I gave it a five star rating. I remember loving it. This time around, it got a four. I think it’s just from 1, being a decade older and 2, having read more and more books and being able to better define what I’m looking for in a five star book. So I definitely enjoyed this reread, but I feel like I was able to give it a more realistic rating for my opinion of it. Catching Fire is next, hopefully this coming month. 4 stars

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)

The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks – I FINALLY FINISHED IT. I’ve been reading this book for literally years. Why? I don’t know. This book was basically always on the back-burner. I really liked it, mind you, but it always took a back seat, perhaps unfairly. Out of the four books I’ve read in this series, this is probably the one I liked the least. And by ‘least’ I mean it got a 4.25 when all the others got a 5, so take that as you will.

This series follows a slew of characters and involved a magic system based on the visible light spectrum. Users of this system are able to convert light into physical matter, forming it into whatever their heart desires, but the more the user does the magic, the closer it brings them to death. This series also has politics and war and religious factions and all sorts of things. I love it. And it’s funny! 4.25 stars

~~~

Manga

Shaman King, Vol. 5: The Abominable Dr. Faust

Shaman King vols 5-6 by Hiroyuki Takei – Continued this series a bit this month, I really need to pick up the pace. Some new characters were introduced in these volumes, one of them being an necromancer that was way more intense than I remember in the filtered anime that came out a while ago. So I’m rather enjoying this, the plot is getting more and more involved with each volume. 4 and 3.75 stars

Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, Vol. 3 (Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, #3)

Kakuriyo vol 3 by Waco Ioka – This was just as good as the first two volumes, and I’m solidly invested at this point. This series is very Spirited Away-y, only a bit darker and more involved. It follows the main character, who gets pulled into the spirit world and is made to be an ogre spirit’s wife. She isn’t having it though, and strives to be independent within the world she’s found herself. I really like it, and wrote a blabber on vols 1 and 2, in case you’re interested. 4 stars

Takane & Hana, Vol. 3

Takane & Hana vol 3 by Yuki Shiwasu – Continued this series a bit too! I’m still luke warm on this one but so far it’s still sweet and innocent, which is what I’m after. There’s a sizeable age gap in this, so it could potentially go weird. For now though, it’s pretty good, and I plan to continue it. 3.75 stars

Ajin: Demi-Human, Vol. 1 (Ajin: Demi-Human, #1)

Ajin vol 1 by Tsuina Miura – This is definitely an interesting manga. I’m only one volume in so far and I’m rather intrigued. It takes place in a world where occasionally, someone doesn’t die when they’re supposed to. They find out they can’t die, and therefore that they’re an Ajin. In this world, Ajin are seen as not human, as a different species slowly infiltrating the human race. And thing is, until someone dies… and then doesn’t, nobody knows if they’re one of them or not. It’s really fascinating, and deals with some heavy topics. 3.5 stars

5 Centimeters per Second (5 Centimeters per Second, #1-2)

5 Centimeters per Second by Makoto Shinkai – This is a one shot manga, following a pair of childhood friends as they grow up and grow apart. It had a sort of melancholy feel to it, and the author did a really good job at showing how the characters subtly pined for each other as they lost contact. I really enjoyed the emotional elements to this. The plot though was a bit sedated. Nothing really happened except the passage of time, and the ending was ultimately unsatisfying to me, but then again maybe that was the point. This manga was based on the animated movie I believe which I haven’t seen yet but I would like to. 3 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol. 3

Blue Exorcist vol 3 by Kazue Kato – This series is definitely getting more interesting with each volume. It follows a young man who discovers he’s the son of satan in a world where demons are routinely exorcised. The main character decides to take control of his situation and join the exorcism academy, set on defeating satan. It has a lot of action elements, some good character development, and even a bit of humor here and there. I really like it. 3.75 stars

Absolute Boyfriend, Vol. 2

Absolute Boyfriend vols 1-6 by Yuu Watase – This is essentially a quintessential shojo manga. I read the whole series this month, and it was a blast from the past and so, so very entertaining. This series follows a teenage girl who orders a robot boyfriend on a free trial, and then doesn’t return him quickly enough and is then stuck trying to pay him off. The AI in this is very life-like and without knowing he’s a robot, you’d never be able to tell.

I gotta tell ya, this series is like, absolutely insane. It’s completely over the top absurd and funny and really, don’t go into this expecting an actual serious plot. Just go with the flow and take each plot development with humor and you’ll love it. It’s. Nuts. 3.5-4.5 stars each


Other Stuff

  • I went to the bookstore this month! Like three times! Though I have a feeling it’s a luxury that’ll go away again. Spikes are a thing because nobody feels like taking preventative measures, apparently.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 134/100
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
    February – Pass
    March – Pass
    April – Pass
    May – Pass
    June – Pass
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 235

And that’s it! I actually read books this month (and bought books too, which hasn’t happened in a while). I’m glad I’m actually in the mood for novels again, I missed them.

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 06/28/2020 in Books, Wrap-up

 

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Reading Goals 2020! | Mid-year check-in

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It’s officially the time of year where does their mid-year posts: check-ins, best/work books so far, etc, and I’m rather pumped for it. I love these kinds of posts, I get so many good recommendations! (PS so if you post these kinds of these and you don’t see me in there in your posts already, please link them and I’ll go lookie)

So, January 2nd of this year, I posted a bunch Reading Goals. This is my progress on them so far:

  • Read 50 books

I’ve actually increased this to 100 books, since I hit it really fast. I’ve been on a manga kick and that really helped. Currently I’m at 132 books read (the majority manga) so I can say both this goal and the updated one are complete.

  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule

At the time of posting, my schedule was Saturday-Sunday-Wednesday. Right now it’s Saturday-Sunday-Tuesday, and I keep it up most of the time. I tend to miss one or two posts per month, but overall I think I’m doing okay, mostly consistent. So considering I still have six months to crash and burn, I’ll say this one is in progress.

  • Keep track of reading statistics

So… I’ve noticed a trend. My goal was to keep track of statistics as I read the books, but I tend to just binge-add fifty or sixty books at a time. So right now, it’s been a while since I’ve updated my stats. But I will do so by the time I post about them. So this also gets a solid in progress.

  • Reduce physical TBR to 200

This one took a bit of an interesting turn: When I made this goal, I had 252 books on my physical TBR. That included fiction and nonfiction. The problem is, I read nonfiction…. sometimes. So I decided to split my nonfiction books to its own TBR. So remaining, I have 236 unread fiction books. Nonfiction honestly I’m not too worried about, because I own so little of it and I read it so seldom. So from this point I’m going to focus on getting my unread fiction down to under 200 books. Cheating? Yes. Pbtbtbt. In progress


And that’s it! So far I haven’t horrendously failed any so I’m doing pretty well I think. Lemme know how you’re doing! And like I said if you post mid-year-y posts, do link me, I wanna see.

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 06/20/2020 in Books, Coffee Time, Wrap-up

 

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May Wrap Up | ’20

Wrap Up

Happy end-of-May! I read quite a bit this monthly, mostly manga still. I just can’t shake this kick that I’m in, I don’t know what’s up with it.

Anyways, this is what I read:

Books

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – While I did like this book, I fear I have the unpopular opinion of ‘it didn’t leave me wanting more’. I know there are like four or five books in this series now but honestly I don’t plan on continuing. I rated this highly, so don’t think it was because I didn’t like it, but I don’t know, it just didn’t really… ensnare me, I guess? 4 stars

Shaman King, Vol. 1: A Shaman in Tokyo

Shaman King vols 1-4 by Hiroyuki Takei – Shaman King is a series I read a lot as a teen. I used to own the first seven or eight volumes, and the first volume in particular – the one shown above – I’ve probably read fifty times. I ended up giving my copies to my sister though, who went on to collect the the entire 32 volumes of it. I decided since I’m stuck at home anyways, that I should finally read the whole thing. I like it just as much as I remember! 4, 3.5, 4, and 4 stars respectively

Waiting for Spring 1 (Waiting for Spring, #1)

Waiting for Spring vols 1-4 by Anashin – If you follow my wrap ups at all, you’ll know that I just read this back in March or so. Well, I read it again when I picked up the volumes physically, along with three more. I like it just as much as I did, and I do plan on getting more volumes in this series. This is a fluffy romance and it’s cute and I love it. 4, 4, 4, and 3.75 stars respectively

Yarichin Bitch Club, Vol. 1 (Yaoi Manga)

Yarichin Bitch Club vols 1-2 by Ogeretsu Tanaka – Honestly going from the synopsis, I went into this expecting it to be pwp, but surprisingly there is a plot, along with some pretty interesting character dynamics. I’m definitely interested in reading more of this but I still gotta tell ya, it’s one of the weirdest things I’ve ever read. 3.5 and 4 stars respectively

The Unhoneymooners

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren – Again, I’m an unpopular opinion here: I thought this book was alright. I didn’t hate it at all mind you. I thought it was cute. But I think the hype got to me about this one, and I didn’t rate it anywhere near the almost-constant five stars that I’ve been seeing around. It was enjoyable for what it was, though. 3.75 stars

Honey Darling (Yaoi Manga)

Honey Darling by Norikazu Akira – This was a cute one-shot romance fluff between a vet and a guy who has no idea how to care for a kitten. Went into it expecting fluff and that’s what I got. I rather liked it. 4 stars

Blue Exorcist, Vol. 1  (Blue Exorcist, #1)

Blue Exorcist vols 1-2 by Kazue Kato – This is another series I borrowed from my sister along with Shaman King. This one she really likes, and it has an anime that my husband has seen and liked, but I’ve never been exposed to either. So I picked it up and aside from a sixteen year old being a professor, I’m rather enjoying the story. I’m gonna continue. 3.75 and 4 stars

Given, Vol. 1

Given vol 1 by Natsuki Kizu – This I picked up because I adore the anime. Honestly reading this had me wanting to really watch the whole thing start to finish, which I still might do. I rather liked this format, but for a story about music, I feel the anime does it a bit more justice. 4 stars

Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, Vol. 1 (Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits, #1)

Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits vols 1-2 by Waco Ioka – This series I picked up having heard nothing about it and I unexpectedly found myself loving it. It’s so whimsical and Spirited Away-y. I did write a full spoiler-free blabber on it, if you’re interested. 4 and 4.5 stars

Takane & Hana, Vol. 2

Takane & Hana vol 2 by Yuki Shiwasu – I’m still luke-warm to this series unfortunately. I kinda like it, but there’s an uncomfortable age gap between the two main characters and it has the potential to get weird. It hasn’t… yet. And I’m holding out hope that it’ll go wholesome instead, but if it does go creepy, I’m dropping it, man. 3.5 stars

Candy Color Paradox, Vol. 1

Candy Color Paradox vols 1-2 by Isaku Natsume – This one I really liked. The romance is sweet and both characters are rather likeable. It’s funny, too. I definitely plan on continuing this one. 3.75 and 4 stars

~~~

And that’s it for books! I’m almost done with another, but it’s just too soon for me to add it to the list. It’ll be on next month’s for sure!


Other Stuff

  • Honestly nothing much of note has happened this month. Still being a hermit. I miss the bookstore.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 105/100
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
    February – Pass
    March – Pass
    April – Pass
    May – Pass
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 235

And that’s it! Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 05/30/2020 in Books, Wrap-up

 

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OWLs Magical Readathon is finished! | April Wrap Up

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Hello! This April, I was participating in the OWLs portion of the Magical Readathon. I made my announcement post about it towards the end of the March, where I decided I was going to go after the career of Magizoologist and complete the Dragon Tamer training.

Well, in both of those I succeeded. So what I’m gonna do is go over my OWLs books first, then I will go over the rest of what I read in April. So if you’re only interested in the first bit, there will be a nice bold header to let you know you’ve made it to the end of the good bit.

Magizoologist Prompts

Care of Magical Creatures: Hippogriffs – creature with a beak on the cover

Charms: Lumos Maxima – white cover

Herbology: Mimbulus Mimbletonia – title starts with M

Potions: Shrinking Solution – book under 150 pages

Dragon Tamer Training: A book containing dragons

OWLs Books

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson – Care of Magical Creatures – This book went the same way for me that a lot of young adult fantasy romance books do: That I liked it well enough for what it was, but I didn’t love it. Now, this isn’t me knocking ya: there are a ton of books that I do love, but recently this has been the pattern. What I did love though was the whimsical way that the author wrote. I definitely wanna pick up her newer book because of this. 3.75 stars

Pandora Hearts vol 1 by Jun Mochizuki – Charms – This one really through me for a loop. For some reason – whether by the name or the cover – I thought it was a romance. It was not a romance. Honestly it’s more of a fantasy horror. That surprising genre aside, I did end up really liking this one. It deals with a realm that’s… almost like an underworld but not quite. It’s really cool, and I definitely plan on continuing this one as soon as I can get a hold of more issues. 4 stars

Model vol 1 by Lee So-Young – Herbology – This was technically a re-read for me, but the last time I read it was about 2006, so it was basically brand new. This follows a young woman when her friend brings someone from a bar to her house, passed out drunk, and leaves him there in her care. While he’s sleeping, she notices his beauty and decides to paint his portrait. Well, turns out he’s a vampire. I gotta tell ya, this came out in the height of the vampire romance genre trope and it falls pretty heavily into it. It was still enjoyable enough though for what it was, and with a dose of nostalgia added in, I found myself liking it. 3 stars

I Hate Fairyland vol 1 by Skottie Young – Potions – This one unfortunately was a bit of a let down. I picked this up due to the hype, which was mistake number one. It’s about a young girl who gets trapped in Fairy Land… and then never gets out. Forty years later, she has the mind of a grumpy adult and the body of an eight year old. This is supposed to be a comedy – brutal, gory, and full of bubble gum and rainbows. But personally I found it kinda too boring. But hey, I could see why someone would like it. Just not for me. I didn’t hate it though, I was rather neutral. 3 stars

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie BrennanDragon Tamer Training – This was definitely a favorite of the month. I think I like it even more now in retrospect than I did while reading it, and I really, really enjoyed reading it. This book is a fictional memoir of a woman in the fantasy-equivalent of Victorian England who sets off on a journey to research dragons in a far away land. Honestly it felt like Elizabeth Bennet was climbing into caves and exploring ruins. It had a smart sense of humor and the narrator at the time of writing her memoir is in her 70s, so the story she’s telling from when she’s 19 is full of witticisms and retrospect. It was really well written and really entertaining, and I’m definitely gonna pick up the second one. 4.5 stars

And that’s it for OWLs! I succeeded in completing all the prompts, and so I’ll continue with Magizoologist in August for the NEWTs. Lemme know how you did!

April Wrap Up

So in addition to the five books and manga mentioned above, I read thirty-five more things! 33 were manga, 2 were books. Can you tell I’m still deep into my manga kick? Can you?

LDK Vol. 1

LDK vols 1-9 by Ayu Watanabe – I picked this series up on Kindle Unlimited (I have a free trial version for now, so I’m taking advantage of it) and honestly it was pretty entertaining for a while, but I kinda just… lost interest. By the time volume nine rolled around, this manga was neck-deep in your standard tropes and dramas. And I’m not saying that was bad necessarily, because I definitely get into the mood for manga like that, but at my time of reading it really just wasn’t doing it for me. It was fun while it last though. I might continue it again in the future, who knows. 3-3.5 stars each

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – I picked this up on audio originally to be a Fantasy Bingo 2019-2020 book, but I didn’t finish it in time. So now it’s gonna be a Fantasy Bingo 2020-2021 book. I ended up rather liking this. The characterization was really neat and while nothing really happened lots of things were happening. This book really was a lot of small plot points instead of a big goal overarching. It was pleasant and nice, but I gotta tell ya, I have about zero motivation to pick up the next one. Why? Who knows. 4 stars

Mars, Vol. 1

Mars vols 1-4 by Fuyumi Soryo – This one went the same way as LDK did. I kinda just got bored with it. I remember picking up the first volume in high school and liking it, but I couldn’t remember what it was about. So I plucked the first handful of volumes off Kindle and gave them a try. Well, turned out to be a dramatic romance. And I must reiterate: I do like those normally. I don’t know what it was about this, but by volume four I really didn’t care to pick up volume five. It was alright while it lasted though. 3-4 stars each

Waiting for Spring 1 (Waiting for Spring, #1)

Waiting for Spring vol 1 by Anashin – I realize I just complained about two romances right before this, but this is a romance and I really liked it. So much so that I’ve ordered the first four volumes physically and they’re on their way here now! They’ll be part of next month’s haul. This manga follows a girl who ends up becoming friends with the members of the basketball team at her school. Awkward teenage feels ensue, yada yada. But I liked this one and am gonna keep going. Maybe it was the execution that made this one different? Who knows. 4 stars

The Heroic Legend of Arslan, Vol. 1

The Heroic Legend of Arslan vols 1-2 by Hiromu Arakawa – Do you recognize the author name? This is the same person who wrote the all-mighty Fullmetal Alchemist! This is a fantasy following a prince to a kingdom on the brink of war. While his father is ruthless and loves the glory of battle, Arslan is gentle and thoughtful and doesn’t like to fight. This series had a slow, but solid beginning, but volume two really picked up and made me want to continue, so I will! 3.5 and 4 stars

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I think I was in a weird reading mood this month. This one’s a bit outside my norm, but the hype made me pick it up when I saw it on Scribd, so. This book is a story about a woman who had seven husbands, her rise to fame, and what happened to get her there. It was alright. I knew going into it that I likely wasn’t going to super love it, but I did end up enjoying it for the most part. So for someone who doesn’t typically read this genre, I thought the book was pretty solid, and I can see how someone who does read this genre would be bonkers for this book. 3.75 stars

Black Butler, Vol. 28 (Black Butler, #28)

Black Butler vols 12-28 by Yana Toboso – So last month I read vols 1-11 and I basically raved about how much I was loving it. Well, this month I caught up to where the series is currently at (vol 29 comes out in August) and guys, I am smitten.

The manga is set in 1889 England, and, well, here’s the goodreads synopsis because I’m crap at this:

In the Victorian ages of London The Earl of the Phantomhive house, Ciel Phantomhive, needs to get his revenge on those who had humiliated him and destroyed what he loved. Not being able to do it alone he sells his soul to a demon he names Sebastian Michaelis. Now working as his butler, Sebastian must help the Earl Phantomhive in this suspenseful, exciting, thriller manga.

And honestly that synopsis doesn’t do it justice. It’s so much more than that. Black Butler has quickly become one of my all-time favorite manga. Like, I’m talking in my top 3 ever. Ever. It’s just so good. It’s well written, it’s funny, it’s suspenseful, it’s mysterious, it’s action-packed, it’s occasionally absurd, and it’s everything I want in a manga.

The currently plot arch around the last few volumes has me absolutely reeling and I am pining for volume 29 so much. Honestly I might even reread the entire series to keep the edge off in the meantime. Augh I can’t get over this series. And as of yesterday, I lent all twenty eight volumes to my sister so she can read it so I have someone to talk to about it. I need to talk about the plot twist, augh. And nobody I know has caught up yet. So I’m forcing my sister to commiserate with me. She’s gonna send me live-reactions as she reads and I’m so ready for it. I do have to say though, while the manga is fantastic, I don’t think the anime is on the same caliber. For some reason the anime is mostly filler. It’s not bad, it’s good, but if you watch the anime and go ‘why in the world does she love this so much’ it’s because you’re missing the point. Most of the manga plot doesn’t actually show up in the anime. Just. Sayin’.

Anyways, I love this series. The last I think four volumes were all five stars, and leading up to it, there were a few more dotted in there. I’m so ready for volume 29.

4-5 stars each


Other Stuff

  • I’ve jumped on the baking bandwagon. Cooking, too. This month, I made coffee cake, loaded potato soup, a million tacos, and today I’m gonna take a crack at a slow-cooker brownie cookie. I even bought yeast, dammit.
  • I started playing Breath of the Wild again, and man am I loving it.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 94/100
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
    February – Pass
    March – Pass
    April – Pass
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 236

And that’s it! April was a tiring month despite me not really doing anything. It was weird. If you’ve read any of the above, lemme know! Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 05/02/2020 in Books, Readathon, Wrap-up

 

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March Wrap Up | ’20

Wrap Up

Happy April! I haven’t left the house in so long. This is what I read this month!

Books and Manga

A Man and His Cat, Vol. 1

A Man & His Cat vol 1 by Umi Sakurai – This was a cute slice of life manga about a man who buys a cat. It’s bittersweet and heartwarming and I rather liked it. – 4.5 stars

Black Butler, Vol. 1 (Black Butler, #1)

Black Butler vols 1-11 by Yana Toboso – This is my latest obsession, guys. I’m so late to this train but I’m so happy I’m on it. This manga had made me laugh and gasp and I really just enjoy it so, so much. I have vol 12 with me but I’m holding off until the other sixteen – yes I ordered all remaining 16 vols currently out – arrive. I’m so pumped. – 4-5 stars each

Hitorijime My Hero, Vol. 1

Hitorijime My Hero vol 1 by Memeko Arii – Unfortunately this manga is off to a slow start. It’s definitely one of the more confusing I’ve ever read, and only midway through did I realize that it’s a spin-off of another manga that was never actually translated into English. It was no wonder characters were just there without being introduced. I ended up watching the anime, which included the untranslated manga portion so at least it made sense, but unfortunately this one wasn’t my fave and I probably won’t be continuing. – 2.5 stars

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino – Despite the interesting title, this manga is a hard-hitting story about a girl who is going to die, and she knows it. It explores the concept of dying and how people handle it. I loved this and it definitely made me cry. – 5 stars

Ten Count, Vol. 6

Ten Count vols 1-6 by Rihito Takarai – I gave it to temptation this month and bought myself this entire series. The first volume, which I already owned, was a reread, but the remaining five were first time reads for me. I really enjoyed this series but know going into it that it’s not for kids. It’s rated M for a reason. – 4-4.5 stars each

The Way of the Househusband, Vol. 1

The Way of the House Husband vols 1-2 by Kousuke Oono – This manga was a pleasant surprise. It was cute and light and really funny, and I very much enjoyed this one. It follows a former yakuza boss after he quits his gang and becomes what the title says. This one was seriously amusing. – 4 stars each

The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince

The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb – One of a whopping two actual books I read this month, I very much enjoyed this. It’s a novella set in Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings world and I buddy read it with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks! – 4.5 stars

Takane & Hana, Vol. 1

Takane & Hana vol 1 by Yuki Shiwasu – This is another manga I’m not totally sold on. It’s an age gap romance and honestly it’s a bit too gappy for me, and that’s saying something as my husband is eight years older than I am. Since it’s just been cute and fluffy so far, I’m willing to give it a few more volumes but if it gets creepy, I’m out. – 3.5 stars

Again!!, Vol. 1

Again!! vols 1-2 by Mitsurou Kubo – This is an interesting manga. It follows the ‘what if I could do it over, jump back in time’ trope, which I was iffy about to begin with. But so far though I think I like this – if I see volumes of it on the shelf (whenever I can leave the house to see a shelf) I’ll probably pick more of this one up. – 3.5-4 stars each

Strawberry Panic Omnibus

Strawberry Panic by Sakurako Kimino – So this was my first introduction to yuri manga and honestly it was a terrible introduction. The setting was weird, the romance was weird, and worst of all the ‘complete collection’ it brags about only contains two out of the three manga in the series. Apparently the third was never translated into English. Gah, honestly I really don’t recommend this one. There are so many better yuris, I’m sure. – 2 stars

Confidential Confessions, Volume 1

Confidential Confessions vol 1 by Momochi Reiko – This one I picked up because I remember reading it back when I was a teen and being uncomfortable. Well, I was still uncomfortable. This one contains major trigger warnings for suicide. This was not a happy manga. I rather liked it though. – 3 stars

Magus of the Library, Vol. 1

Magus of the Library vol 1 by Mitsu Izumi – This manga was so enchanting, a book lover’s dream. It follows a young boy who loves to read, and the librarians that show up in his town. I definitely plan on continuing this one, I was enthralled. – 4.5 stars

BJ Alex

BJ Alex by Mingwa – Like Ten Count mentioned above, this one is also not for the kiddies. This manhwa was alright. The romance was a bit weird and bordered on non-con at times and I really didn’t dig that. But overall… not bad? I guess? – 3.5 stars

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Love Is An Illusion by Fargo – This is another manwha webtoon that, again, is not for kids. (Can you tell, I’ve found a new kick. First shojo manga and now pwp-romance. Whatevs!) This one I liked better than BJ Alex but here the romance was still kinda weird. The blond guy in particular got on my nerves but overall, mostly enjoyable. – 3.75 stars

I.O.N

I.O.N. by Arina Tanemura – This manga screams ‘2004’ and not in a good way. I picked this up after seeing it was from shojo beat so I figured I’d give it a shot. Well, I didn’t like it. At all, really. It was unfortunate. – 2 stars

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing #1)

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green – And this my friends ended my month on a high note. I really, really liked this book. After trudging through so-so romance and a terrible shojo, this really hit the spot. It’s a first contact book but it also is a commentary on how instant internet fame can change a person, and I really liked it. The second one comes out this summer and I am p u m p e d. – 4.75 stars

And that’s it for things read! With everything put together, I read 33 things!


Other Stuff

  • As is obvious at this point, I’m on stay-at-home orders just like everyone else. That means in addition to working from home until further notice, I’m also no longer going to Tekkoshocon until it’s rescheduled (boo). I’m not sick yet and I hope I stay that way.
  • Honestly working from home has kinda made me low-key hate my job. Shh.
  • I’m participating in both the Owls Magical Readathon and Camp Nanowrimo this month!
  • I’ve never used my slow cooker so often as I have the past few weeks. Man-hoo-boy.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 54/100 (upped from 50 to 100)
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
    February – Pass
    March – Pass
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 238
 
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Posted by on 04/04/2020 in Books, Wrap-up

 

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Fantasy Bingo 2019-20 is finished! I did decent!

Copy of Book Tag

Today is March 31st, meaning r/Fantasy’s Bingo Challenge ends at midnight tonight. And considering none of the books I could possibly get done today would count for squares, I’m posting this now.

This is my final bingo card:

As you can see, I got six bingos: Three vertical, two horizontal, one diagonal. I had intended to fully fill the card, I even planned my 10 in 2020 around it, but.. well, I fell into a manga kick, and you can’t really use manga for this, so. I didn’t get there. But I did get bingos, so I’ll be entered for prizes. Next year, I’ll try for the full card.

If you are interested in participating in Fantasy Bingo, 2020’s card will be announced on the r/Fantasy subreddit tomorrow! And it’s exactly what it sounds like – a bingo for fantasy novels. All the rules and whatnot will be explained in the post that’ll go up, so I’m not gonna go into it here. But I’ve been participating in this since probably 2016 or so and it’s a lot of fun, so if you’re a fantasy lover I highly recommend it.

I’m very pumped for the new card tomorrow, and I’ll be making a post about it for sure – it’s going to be a bonus Wednesday or Thursday post, depending how late in the day the new card shows up.


And that’s it! If you participated this year or plan on it starting tomorrow, lemme know! Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 03/31/2020 in Books, Wrap-up

 

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February Wrap Up! | ’20

Wrap Up

Happy Leap Day! I read 7 things this month: 4 manga, 2 physical books and 1 audio book.

Books

Heaven's Devils (StarCraft II, #1)

Heaven’s Devils by William C. Dietz – This was my audio book for the month, it was a book on my 10 in 2020, and it also counted towards the media tie-in novel for Fantasy Bingo! Unfortunately, I didn’t love it. I didn’t dislike it, but it was far from a five star book for me. Mostly, my issues were around characterization: every female character introduced was either heavily sexualized or described in a way that basically said ‘this is why she isn’t sexually attractive’ and it was annoying. I feel like I would have been much less bothered with it if the male characters were described the same way, but they weren’t. It felt awkward and skewed. The plot though was decent, and I do plan to continue – the next two books were both written by a woman so I am basically 100% sure that I won’t learn anyone’s boob size in them. – 3 stars

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Another 10 in 2020 book, I’m on a roll! This was a buddy read with two of my buddies, and we’re in the midst of planning a marathon day to watch the BBC adaption of it. I ended up really liking this book! My only complaint – which isn’t the book’s fault and is definitely my inability to suspend my disbelief – was one of the plot points. Mild spoilers, but at one point one of Elizabeth’s sisters runs away with a dude and the only viable solutions were to either have her marry him or duel to the death. And like… what. I get for the time and the social norms at that point it made sense but reading it in modern day I couldn’t get past the whole ‘you realize there’s a totally fine third option right’. Wah, but whatevs. It was a good book! – 4.5 stars

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice – This book took me by surprise. It was my final 10 in 2019 book from last year, so finally, finally that list is complete! This also counts toward Originally, I picked up this book in high school and read half of it and then got disctracted. I remember liking it, and weirdly enough I remember the smell of the book that I read. It was so smell-goody. But anyways I picked it back up in December and slowly made my way through it, and I loved it! It was so captivating and sucked me right in. Definitely a new favorite. – 5 stars

Manga

Otomen, Vol. 12 (Otomen, #12)

Otomen vols 10-12 by Aya Kanno – At this point I’ve read all the volumes I physically own. There are six more out there. And honestly, even this far into it, I’m not sure how I feel about this series. I said the same during last month’s wrap up but I kinda wish this manga would dive deeper. The series deals with gender roles and why it’s ok to non-confirm but it does it in a fluffy, non-serious way. It’s entertaining and honestly a bit ridiculous at times, but it doesn’t really dive into it too far. It’s an enjoyable read but it’s not quite what I wanted. – 3, 3.5 and 4 stars respectively

Only the Ring Finger Knows

Only the Ring Finger Knows by Satoru Kannagi and Hotaru Odagiri – This was one of my favorites back in high school. It’s a cute, fluffy one-shot romance centering around rings and misunderstandings and I remembered adoring it. So when I saw it at Otakon this past summer, I picked it up. And then I re-read it for the first time in about 15 years and I liked it just as much! I’m glad it was able to stand the test of time. – 4.5 stars


Other Stuff

  • If you remember from last month, I alluded to a bunch of weird stuff happening. Well, it was health stuff, and finally the doctors figured it out. Turns out my gallbladder is losing its mind. So! It’s coming out on Monday! Meaning I’m also off work for a bit to recover. Wish me luck!
  • I went to Katsucon a couple weeks ago! It was super fun! At this point I’m rather hooked on cons, and I plan on attending Tekkoshocon in Pittsburgh in April!

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 21/50
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
    February – Pass
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 253

And that’s it! Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 02/29/2020 in Books, Wrap-up

 

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January Wrap Up! | ’20

Wrap Up

Hi! Apparently me trying to change my posting schedule all of a sudden just made me not post. So… maybe I’ll try to slowly morph it instead. Two to three posts a week, posted sometime, that’s what I’ll go with for now until my brain adopts the new schedule, because right now I’ll get to work on Tuesday morning, when I wanted to post, and go shit, I forgot again. So we’ll get there, we’ll get there.

Anywas, I read 13 things this month: 11 manga, 1 kids book and 1 audio book. I’m also in a weird novel slump. This year’s been really weird so far. All sorts of stuff going on. I may or may not mention them here depending on how they turn out. Wah.

Books

If You Give a Pig the White House: A Parody for Adults

If You Give a Pig the White House by Faye Kanouse – This book I read because I was at my neighbor’s New Year’s party and they handed it to me and went ‘hey read this’. I don’t really read political books, parody or otherwise, so reading this was a bit outside my norm, but hey, it was a book and it was in front of me. It was alright. Some parts were funny, but it wasn’t like, amazing. So if you like this kinda stuff you’ll probably like it. If you don’t you probably won’t. – 3 stars

Bloodwitch (The Witchlands, #3)

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard – I’ve been listening to this on audio since last month or so, and finally finished it up. I think this one is my favorite in the series so far – I really liked the character development arcs that this book had, and I really liked the political maneuvering from all factions. The stakes in this book went up and made the read more captivating. I’m very much awaiting the next one… which doesn’t even have a name yet, let alone a release date ;~; – 4.25 stars

Manga

Paradise Kiss: 20th Anniversary Edition

Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa – This here is the bind-up of the whole series, and it was like 800 something pages long. I bought and read this because back in high school, I had a friend obsessed with this series. It was her absolute faaavorite and she seemed to always been reading and rereading them. I remember  vaguely reading at least part of it then and only barely remembered the plot and characters. But I got it now because, well, I miss that friend. I lost contact with her after high school in 2008. She briefly joined facebook a while ago and added me, but then deleted it and I lost her again. So I saw this, thought of her, and couldn’t not get it. Melanie if you read this, I miss you pal. – 3.75 stars

Our Dining Table

Our Dining Table by Mita Ori – This was the cutest damned manga I’ve read in a long time. I picked it up on a whim, as I needed the 3rd in the ‘buy 2 get 3rd free’ deal that BN was hosting earlier this month. It’s a one shot, about the two dudes on the cover who share meals and fall in love. It’s so light, fluffy, and wholesome, but also gets into a few deeper topics. I thought it was really well done and really well paced for being a one shot, and it definitely surprised me how much I enjoyed it. And wouldn’t you know it got my first five star rating of the year – 5 stars

Otomen, Vol. 1 (Otomen, #1)

Otomen vols 1-9 by Aya Kanno – So far, I have mixed feelings about this one. I picked it up because it sounded interesting – it follows the dude on the cover, who puts up a front of who he really is. In public, he’s a stoic, masculine, stereotypically “manly” guy, but in secret he loves “girly” past times like sewing and baking and crafts and whatnot. And it’s a shojo romance, so obviously he falls for a girl that is basically ‘masculine’.

I guess where I’m stuck is I went into this hoping for a bit more of a deep dive into what it means to be masculine in feminine, what role society plays in those expectations, and why it’s ok if you don’t want to adhere to them. Because I’ve definitely read romance that takes on serious topics like that before. And it does do that…. a bit. Most of the time though, the manga uses the themes to create comedy instead. Which is also entertaining but I guess… not what I was wanting. I wanted, as said, more of a discussion of gender roles. I may still get that mind you, I haven’t finished the series yet, but so far, it’s basically fluffy and cute, and honestly totally off the rails goofy sometimes, but only kinda sorta touches on the deeper meaning of societal influence of gender roles.

It was also written ten or fifteen years ago so some of the concepts are dated, and some of the vocabulary and situations… didn’t age the best. So be warned, if you’re thinking about picking it up – 3.5 stars each

All You Need Is Kill

All You Need is Kill by Ryosuke Takeuchi – This was a really interesting read. If you’ve heard of the movie ‘Edge of Tomorrow’, that Tom Cruise Live, Die, Repeat movie, this is the source material of that. I’d watched the movie before, but honestly didn’t realize this was the source until I picked it up and started reading it. It follows the dude on the cover who gets caught in a time loop on his first day in battle against an alien invader, and with his death, the day resets again and again. If you don’t wanna read the manga, the movie is a rather solid adaption, though it definitely took some liberties concerning country of origin, characters, etc, but the overall plot is pretty similar. But really I suggest the manga. It really delves into it, and explores what’s happening, and the character’s psyche as he’s forced to die over and over. This was really, really good. – 4.5 stars


Other Stuff

  • My posting consistency has fallen by the wayside, I’m hoping to fix that in February
  • Life events have popped up and hopefully they’ll resolve here semi-quickly, so apologies for my silence, both in posting and it reading all your posts. I have a backlog and I’ll get there once I can.
  • I went to see Jim Gaffigan live this month, and that was tons of fun!

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 13/50
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 254

And that’s it! Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 02/01/2020 in Books, Wrap-up

 

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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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Bottom Books of 2019!

worst books

Happy Friday, the day that feels like Tuesday! Today, I talk about all the books that I disliked or disappointed me throughout the year. Luckily there weren’t that many this year, so that means this post will be short (is that bad or good?!). All books here will have a 2.5 star rating or lower: 2.5 for me is the first ‘I disliked’ it rating. Any higher, and I was neutral about the book at least.


A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman2.5 stars – To be fair to this book, I realized this year that I dislike anthologies in general. Beforehand, I had an inkling that it was the format and not the stories, but reading this really solidified that. So unfortunately, it took the brunt of that discovery by taking this rating. None of the stories had an impact on me and honestly I can’t tell you a single thing about any one of them other than one of the main characters in one of the stories liked dancing. That was it. This book had zero lasting impression. And that was the reason for the low rating: It bored me.

I appreciate what it was trying to do: It gathered stories from different Asian cultures and showing that hey, yes, there are all sorts of stories from Asia that are about totally different cultures and peoples and languages and creeds, but…. the execution was lacking.

StarCraft: Frontline, Volume 1 (Starcaft)

StarCraft: Frontline vol 1 by Paul Morrissey2 starsThis one was a bummer. I’m a huge fan of StarCraft, so I was hoping to love this. I love the lore of the StarCraft world, I love the characters, I love the game play… but this story was difficult. It trudged through what little plot it had, the artistic style made the reading experience feel dense, and considering it’s a manga, making it feel dense was some feat. So overall, it was not a good experience for me, and I won’t be continuing it. I’m hoping to pick up Heaven’s Devil this year, a novel in the StarCraft universe, and now I’m antsy that it’s gonna feel the same way as this did. Augh. Fingers crossed.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy, #1)

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James1.5 stars – This book, ladies and gents, was the most disappointing one of the year for me. I bought it on release day, and I started it right away… aaaaand I hated it. The only reason it didn’t get a straight one star from me is because I finished it. I only give 1s to books that I can’t finish because they’re so awful. But this one, I did. I think it was because I was mad at having dropped over twenty bucks on the thing, only to end up hating it so much. So I read it out of spite. I got my money’s worth, dammit. (Or did I?)

Anyways, nothing in this book agreed with me. I hated the main character, I hated the side characters, I hated the plot, I hated the shock-factor violence, and I hated the way that sexual violence was just a part of society in the book, not called out as bad, never questioned as ‘hey maybe we shouldn’t literally rape people to death’, and even was promoted by the main character. It really was just a gross book, and it rubbed me the wrong way. If you could get past that and liked it, props to ya, but for me? Ew.


And that… that is it! I only had three books this year that fell below a 3 star, and while that’s good because it means I liked most of what I read, it kinda leaves my ‘worst of’ post a little bare bones. That’s okay though – I’d rather have a short post and more books that I liked than visa versa.

If you read any of these books, lemme know! If you liked them, tell me why! If you didn’t, commiserate with me!

 
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Posted by on 01/03/2020 in Blogmas, Books, Wrap-up

 

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