October Wrap Up! | ’19

October Wrap up

Happy November! From this point onward, if you’re reading my post, there’s a good chance it’s prewritten, maybe by a few weeks (obviously wrap ups, currently readings, etc, will be written closer to the actual date) because right now I’m neck-deep in Nanowrimo. And then next month, Blogmas. It’s gonna be a whirlwind all the way through the end of the year, people.

Books

This month was a month full of manga. I’m kinda on a kick right now, and I’m digging it.

The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, A Rún, Volume 2 (The Girl from the Other Side, #2)

The Girl From the Other Side vol 2 by Nagabe – This series is really cute but also a bit eerie. It follows the little girl and the creature on the cover, in a world divided between the inside and the outside, where those touched by the creatures become the creatures themselves. In this volume, the world is expanded a bit, and you get to see a bit more of humanity. It’s pretty neat. – 3.5 stars

Ten Count, Vol. 1 (Ten Count, #1)

Ten Count vol 1 by Rihito Takari – This… was actually a pleasant surprise. Looking at the cover, it’s kinda obvious I wasn’t expecting too much plot, right. But turns out, this was really… wholesome! It follows two characters, one named Shirotani with obsessive compulsive disorder with germophobic behavior and the other a man named Kurose that he runs into who happens to be a therapist. Kurose agrees to help Shirotani off the books to work on lessening and coping with his disorder. And then romance, yada yada. But really, this is was sweet and cute and I really liked it. There are more volumes of this out there and I think I’m gonna pick them up. – 4 stars

Kiss Him, Not Me!, Vol. 1

Kiss Him, Not Me! vols 1-14 by Junko – Man this was my obsession this month. I literally bought and read the entire series. I blame the Kodansha manga sale, dammit. But man was this cute. This follows the main character Kae, on the front, who’s a huge anime nerd with a particular taste for yaoi. Now, you kinda have to go into this with suspended belief, or just be like ‘this is totally magical realism’ because one of the main plot mechanics is utterly ridiculous but also kinda funny. Kae in the beginning is overweight. When her favorite anime character dies, she goes into a depression and loses a lot of weight really fast from not eating (and then later in the series gains it back.. and then loses it.. and then gains it..and then loses it. The other characters also point out that her body makes no sense so I just kinda rolled with it.) And then suddenly she attracts the attention of the four dudes on the cover, all of whom start crushing on her (note some like her no matter what she looks like, others are obviously more shallow) but instead of wanting to reciprocate any of their feelings, Kae as a yaoi fan, can’t help but ship them… together. And man, is it absolutely hilarious. It pokes fun at the reverse harem trope in the best way. I loved this series. – 4 stars overall

Land of the Lustrous, Vol. 6 (Land of the Lustrous, #6)

Land of the Lustrous vol 6 by Haruko Ichikawa – This series just keeps getting more and more intriguing. It follows these gem-based creatures called the Lustrous, in a world where humans have disappeared, and the world is divided into different creatures and landscapes and… it’s just really, really neat. This volume only deepened the mystery. – 4 stars

Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 1 (Noragami: Stray God, #1)

Noragami vol 1 by Adachitoka – This is a new series for me, and so far I’ve only read the one volume (I have the second, though). Basically, I needed a 3rd manga in the buy 2 get 1 sale that was going on and Katy @Bookbinderway recommended this one. Welp, it was a pretty solid beginning I think, with the potential to be really cool. I’m hoping to get to the second one this month! – 3.5 stars

Sweet Filthy Boy (Wild Seasons, #1)

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren – I’ve been reading this book since July or something, and I finally picked it up and finished it this month. It was pretty decent. The love interest was sweet, the main character was sweet, but man did they have some communication issues. Unfortunately, the miscommunication trope is like… one of my least favorites, ever. So that dropped the rating a bit. But overall, it was decent. This follows the main character who follows a boy to Paris for the summer. Romance ensues. Really, there’s not much more to it than that. It was a pleasant read. – 3.5 stars

The Monster of Elendhaven

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht – I picked up this novella as a buddy read with Katy @Bookbinderway and Sarah @Windsorwrites! It follows a thing without a name who skulks the streets of Elendhaven, a bleak city along the edge of a poison ocean, and a sorcerer who finds him. Well… this book was weird. I feel like one of its biggest weaknesses was that it was the kind of story it was: a novella. Everything felt underdeveloped. Nothing felt like it had a point. I mean, it was interesting. The characters themselves were something else, but man.. something just kept me from loving this, unfortunately. – 3 stars

O Maidens In Your Savage Season Vol. 4

O Maidens in Your Savage Season vol 4 by Mari Okada – This series started out pretty awesome and while it’s still good, I think it’s suffering from mid-series lull. I still liked this volume, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like it’s at the point where it’s building up to something, and as I’m reading them as they come out, I can’t exactly binge them to find out what it is. Maybe it’s a me problem and not a book problem, haha. Either way, still enjoying this series very much. I wrote a spoiler-free blabber on volume 1, if you’re interested. – 3.5 stars

She and Her Cat

She and Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai – This was… pleasant. This is a one-shot manga following, you guessed it, a woman and her cat. It’s told from the cat’s perspective, which was interesting. So as you go along, you can tell things are happening in the woman’s life, but you only get a cat’s awareness of them. It was really interesting. As a one-shot though it didn’t get too in-depth. It’s definitely a slice-of-life kinda thing. It was nice though, I liked it. – 3.5 stars

Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1)

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames – This I picked up for two reasons: one, it’s a comedy fantasy, and I wanted to get a feel of how one can incorporate comedy into fantasy writing, and two, it was a personal recommendation from r/Fantasy to me, which means it fulfills the bingo space on Fantasy Bingo! So this book ended up being pretty good. I had a few issues towards the beginning of it with how the author was writing the his female characters, but the issues kinda disappeared as the book continued. Either he realized he was writing them badly or who knows. But by the end, his depictions were definitely better. But this book follows a group of has-been heroes as they cross the country to rescue one of the member’s daughters from a siege in a stronghold, surrounded by a horde of monsters. The book is funny, entertaining, and written well. It has a matter-of-fact writing style which I really liked. It was really good. – 4 stars

And that’s it for books! I read 20-something things this month, which is honestly kinda awesome.


Other things

  • I did nanoplanmo!
  • October was nice.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 108/50 – Complete!
  • Finish the 10 in 2019 list – 7/10
  • Keep book purchases around 4-5 books per month
    • J – 5 | F – 6 | M – 7 | A – 0 | M – 0 | J – 3 | J – 5 | A – 5 | S – 4| O -2 | N | D
  • Go on a 2 to 3 month buying ban – Complete!
  • Reduce physical TBR to 250 books – Currently 248 – Complete (now maintaining)
  • Finish the r/Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge by Mar 31, 2019 – Complete!
  • Post monthly book hauls
    • J | F | M | A (on ban) | M(on ban) | J | JA | S | O | N | D
  • Maintain a S-W-S posting schedule
    • J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D
  • Keep track of statistics
    • J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D

And that’s it! I think I had a pretty good October. I hope yours was lovely. Happy reading!

Nanoplanmo/Preptober! | Goals and TBR

The time has come!

Today begins Nanoplanmo, or Preptober as some people call it. This month, hundreds of thousands of people will begin to brainstorm, outline, and develop their characters. I am no different. Once again, I plan on participating in Nanowrimo – this will be my eleventh year in a row doing this, and if I win, my fifth time winning.

This year is particularly special for me: This will be the first year I’m starting a brand new story from scratch in about five years. Before this, the same story in my head would be written and rewritten every year, and I was never happy with how it turned out. But last year in 2018, I finished a draft, and I liked it.

Therefore, it’s time to start something new. I won’t go into too much detail because honestly I haven’t fleshed it out yet (that’s what this month is for!) but the idea bopping around in my head is a comedy fantasy. Therefore, I’ll be doing a bit of prep to get me used to writing in the subgenre.

Nanoplano Goals

  • Complete an outline
    • Decide what act structure to use
    • Flesh out major plot points
    • Decide ahead of time what my ending will be (with wiggle room)
  • Develop characters
    • Main and side characters
  • Do some worldbuilding
    • Develop the magic system
    • Develop the country(ies) history
    • Develop the culture
  • Do some planning every day, even if it’s just a sentence or a bullet point
  • Read some comedy fantasy to get an idea of how different authors incorporate comedy into their fiction
  • Do biweekly (at least!) planning sessions with buddy(ies) who are also doing nanowrimo this year

Normally, I am a pantser, but last year I did a hybrid between pantsing and planning, and it turned out pretty well. This year, I think I want to try even more planning, just because the story is brand new (though honestly I think I might make it happen in the same world as last year’s story).

As mentioned, I plan on reading some comedy fantasy to inspire me to write my own:

TBR

Kings of the Wyld (The Band, #1)

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames – I picked this book up in September specifically so I could read it now. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book, and I’m hoping it’s both inspiring and enjoyable.

The Colour of Magic (Discworld, #1)

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett – How can I claim to want to read comedy fantasy and not pick up Pratchett? He’s the king! And somehow, I haven’t read anything by him yet! I figure between this book and Kings of the Wyld, I’ll get a wide range of comedic fiction, and I hope again, that this is both inspiring and entertaining.


In addition to those two books, I also plan on reading other books this month that don’t particularly have to do with Nano, but hopefully they’ll still be just as entertaining. These two though, along with my buddy read, will be my main focus. Everything else, as you’ll see in tomorrow’s Currently Reading post, will be thrown on the backburner.

Sacrifices must be made!

If you are planning on trying Nanowrimo this year, let me know! Add me as a buddy!

Happy writing, and happy reading!

O Maidens in Your Savage Season vol 1 by Mari Okada | Blabber

O Maidens in Your Savage Season 1

O Maidens in Your Savage Season vol 1 by Mari Okada
Nao Emoto, Illustrator
Sawa Matsueda Savage, Translator

Manga
Slice-of-Life/Comedy
208 pages
Rating: OT (16+)
Read Sept 1, 2019
Spoiler-free blabber

Of the 76 books I’ve read this year, this is the third one to get a solid five stars from me. I absolutely adored this manga. It was funny, it was cringe-levels of relatable, it was cute. It was great.

This manga follows a group of high school girls in a literature club. Part of the activities of this club include reading passages from books out loud to each other. The manga opens on them doing just that… but they’re reading a sex scene. Immediately the awkward tone hits as you see these girls’ inner thoughts circulate, taking in exactly what they’re hearing. It. Is. Hilarious.

Now as the synopsis states, this manga follows this group of girls as they start to become aware of and think about sex in that way that we all did when we had no idea what all it entailed, how to go about it, or how to even look at someone of the opposite (or same, or any) gender and think of them in that way. Keeping the subject matter in mind, in this manga you’ll see mild nudity and some awkward scenes surrounding it, but nothing explicit. This is rated OT after all, not M.

Reading this just really hit home. They’re all struggling in their own way to take this whole new thought process and incorporate it into their own established world construct – the idea that these thoughts exist, the idea that they have them, the idea that others have them – childhood friends, parents, strangers. Seeing how each girl goes about this process is absolutely adorable and cringey and hilarious, but most of all, it’s completely relatable. I think the author did a fantastic job of capturing how a bunch of naive teenage girls with minimal information might react to this huge change in mindset. Some take it in stride, others have a much harder time doing so.

Now I’ve mentioned a few times that I thought this was funny. But I’m not kidding – I laughed out loud (like actually laughed out loud) multiple times during this single volume. The author takes this subject and makes it both lighthearted and endearing, but is also able to convey how entirely awkward these girls feel when thinking about how their childhood friend might think of boobs, or how their classmates might be or are sexually active already.

Each of the characters, while trying to confide in each other through all of this, also find that awkward, so you see them struggle internally with what they feel they can share and what they don’t want to. It’s a very real situation that I’m sure most of us have been through at one point or another. It explores the vulnerability ones feels during this stage in a way that makes the reader just really relate to what they’re going through. And these attempted half-confessions to each other result in some very funny situations. It was definitely entertaining.

So overall – I highly recommend this manga. As I’ve said, it’s funny, it’s relatable, it’s endearing, and my gosh did it send me back to fifteen year old me’s poor little brain when it had no idea what was going on.

Absolutely fantastic manga – volume 1 has become an all-time favorite, and I plan on getting volumes 2 and 3 here quickly, as they’re out as this post goes up. 4 and 5 aren’t far behind either. This has also been adapted to an anime that’s currently debuting right now, and while I haven’t seen it yet, I’ve heard it’s just as fantastic as the manga, and I plan on watching it, too.

5 stars

Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir

Let me start off by saying that when I was typing the author’s name, my brain decided originally to type ‘Weird’ instead of ‘Weir’. I think it was a Freudian slip, because I feel the author of this novel is just that – weird, in the best way possible. You have to be weird to come up with a book like this one. Like most people, I completely adored this book. I listened to it as an audio book while on road trips and it certainly made time fly.

I think if I would have read it as a physical book I still would have really liked it but the audio book just made it oh so much better. The narrator was perfect. He put into his words the wry humor that permeated the book. He made recognizable voices for each character and for a guy with a deeper voice, he managed to voice all the women characters rather well, too.

But enough about the narrator, on to the book itself: The Martian is set on Mars. It follows Mark Watney, who through a set of circumstances becomes stranded on the orange planet. He has to survive until a rescue plan becomes available.

Now there are two things that particularly stuck out to me in this book, which made me love it.

First, it was sciencey. And I’m talking really sciencey. When Watney had to create a breathable atmosphere for himself, the author went into the chemistry of it. When Watney had to figure out how to grow food, the physics and chemistry of that was explained too. If you know anything about basic chemistry, you’ll feel really smart reading this book because you’ll recognize the principles. If you don’t know anything about chemistry, you’ll enjoy it all the same because all the hard science is presented in a way that is entertaining, easy to understand, and funny. Which brings me to the second thing I loved about this book:

The humor. This book. is. hilarious. I was laughing out loud so many times throughout this book I couldn’t even count it. Mark Watney is a wonderful character. He takes the situation of being stranded on Mars and makes it hysterical. He’s so dry, so sarcastic, so quick-witted. He’s a lot of fun to read. You shouldn’t be laughing when someone keeps putting themselves in life-or-death situations, but… you do. You can’t help it. No oxygen? Hahahahaaa. Miscalculated a super crucial measurement that will keep the water in your eyes from boiling away? Stop it, I can’t breathe!

This book is wonderful. Go read it. Want sci-fi? Comedy? Reaaaaaad iiiiiiit. Unfortunately this is gonna be a short review, because I don’t have anything critical to say on this book. I loved every aspect of it. It’s definitely made it onto my all-time favorites list. I’m gonna shove it down all your throats for a long time to come. :”D

Rating: 5/5 stars