Coffee Time: The fate of my book haul books | #11

Happy Friday! :”D

Today is another book haul fate post, where I look at book hauls from the past and see if I’ve actually read the buggers, and whether I even still have them.

Today is the 11th post of this variety, so we’ll be doing book haul #11, which was originally posted on July 31st, 2016.

This is what I originally hauled:

  • Inuyasha vols 22 and 24 – Owned, read. I mean technically these specific copies are unread, but I read them before I got my own copies, so they’re not ‘unread’
  • Scryed vol 1 – Unhauled, read. I did read this and decided not to continue with it and got rid of it. Honestly though I feel like I should have held onto it. I’ve since stopped unhauling manga, period.
  • Gravitation vols 5 and 6 – Owned, read. This is a super weird series, I need to say. It starts of pretty decent and then goes weird, and I’m not sure if it’s in a good way, haw.
  • The Forever War – Owned, read. I technically listened to this on audio, but I’ve read it, dammit.
  • Changeless – Owned, unread. This is the second book in a series and I stiiiiill haven’t gotten to the first. It’s on the cutting block tho – one of those on the ‘read a chapter or two and either read it all or get rid of it’ pile. We’ll see!
  • The Burning Land – Unhauled, unread. I didn’t realize for a while after owning this one that it’s like book 5 in a series. Not invested enough, got rid of it.
  • Warbreaker – Owned, unread. I wanna read the Mistborn trilogy before getting to this one, which hopefully be picked up in January.
  • Red Seas Under Red Skies – Owned, unread. I still haven’t read the first one. I’m getting there, I’m getting there. I’ve since stopped buying sequels before reading the first one in the series. I’ve learned my lesson.
  • Ship of Magic and Shaman’s Crossing – Owned, read. Both of them, read. I’m on the last Hobb novel now I have yet to finish: Renegade’s Magic. I’ve basically adored everything I’ve read by her.
  • The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes – Owned, read. Again, I haven’t read this specific copy. My dad has this copy and growing up I read his (multiple times). And now I have my own!
  • Pokemon: Deluxe Essential Handbook – Owned, read. Yep, cover to cover, read this. I’m so out of touch with the newer generations, that when Pokemon Go came out, I bought this to catch myself up. I was (and am again) really into pokemon when I was a kid and a teen, but I had kind lost touch and didn’t know there were like 300 new ones to learn. Well now I know them.
  • Heir of Fire – Owned, read. I read this one I think in 2017 or so, and rather enjoyed it. I think this series gets better as it goes on. So far, I’ve read up through book four.
  • Saga vol 6 – Owned, read. I think I read this the day I bought it, to be honest. Or definitely within the week. I miss this series, man.
  • Ralph and the Pixie – Owned, read. I received this one from the author actually! I originally read it as a fictionpress story and was singing its praises on this blog, aaaand I was contacted and sent one in exchange for an amazon review! It was such a nice surprise, and I really enjoyed rereading it!

~~~

And that’s it! I think this is the first book haul where I’ve read the majority of the books. If you look at past posts, you’ll see many are still unread and most were unhauled. It’s an interesting this. I think mid 2016 was about when I really honed in on what specific types of books I liked, and it reflects in the fact that I’ve kept most of them. It’s neat!

Lemme know what you think! Happy Blogmas!

Books I wish I could read again for the first time

Happy December! Today’s topic is ‘books I want to read again’ and is open to a bit of interpretation, so I’m going with ‘ones I wish I could read again for the first time’. I’m going to add the caveat of ‘and if it’s set towards a younger audience, I would also like to be right in that age bracket again to read it’. Today I have eight to talk about, and their images are all going to be different sizes because reasons so work with me here.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – I think I first read this when I was ten or eleven and I remember being completely entranced. I really wish I could warp back to that age and read it again.

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa – This is one of the best manga series I’ve ever read. The plot is just so dynamic and thrilling and funny and intense and I remember waiting on baited breath for each new volume to come out. Man, I miss it.

Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki – This was my first ever ‘favorite manga’, and it’s still really up there. My copy of volume one has been read so many times that the cover just lays flat when you open it – no resistance whatsoever.

Harry Potter – I think this one would make a lot of peoples’ lists. I just wish all my memories of it hadn’t been tainted.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – Honestly, all the Robin Hobb books apply here. Maaaan.

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik – This is one of my favorite series of all time and I would really love to experience it fresh. I did reread it recently and it was just as great as ever but it just wasn’t the same as the original read.

Black Butler by Yana Toboso – This is a series I just read for the first time this year and I already wanna reread it. I lent my whole series to my sister, who’s now reading it so I’m living vicariously through her.

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba – This series was such a masterpiece – the pacing, the build up and the climax, all of it was absolutely awesome. I’d love to read it again for the first time.

~~~

And that’s it! I know I’m supposed to pick ten but… I feel like the last two would have been just arbitrary choices to fill the list, so I stuck with eight. Lemme know what you think!

November Currently Reading!

Happy November! I’m currently 17k words into Nanowrimo, so my reading has taken a bit of a dip as a result. But, I am reading a few books between writing!

 

Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw – This is my current audio book, and it’s by the guy who does the Zero Punctuation videos if you’ve heard of them. He also narrates his own book so it’s that same deadpan delivery, and I think it really fits.

This is a book about a student at a magic school who gets killed right at the beginning of the book, and then is revived as undead and is pissed about it. It’s hilarious and so far I’m really enjoying it.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – In fairness I haven’t touched this in a couple weeks, and I probably won’t until Nanowrimo is over. Out of the three books I’m reading, it’s the lowest priority for sure.

But so far, it’s not bad. I’ve heard mixed things about it, so we’ll see how it goes.

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb – This is the last Hobb novel I have left, and after this I’m going to need to find something to fill the void. Like with the majority of all the other Hobb novels, I’m buddy reading this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks.

So far, I have no idea where this plot is going, but I also felt that way in the second book and ended up loving it, so I really hope this one ends well. I tend to like Hobb’s endings, so my hopes are high.

And that’s it! Like I said, my reading is currently a bit slow. It’ll pick up at the end of November – I’m ahead in Nano, so hopefully I stay that way and can finish early.

Lemme know if you’ve read any of the above! Happy reading!

October Wrap Up! ’20

Happy end of October! This month my reading did slow down a bit, but I also read all novels and graphic novels, no manga, which is the first time in a long time that happened.

This is what I read:

Books

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous – I picked this up as part of my end-of-year-MUST-REACH-TBR-GOAL frenzy. It was short so I figured I could get through it quickly. Well I did. It was ok.

3 stars

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb – I buddy ready this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks and I really liked it! This was the second book in Hobb’s soldier son trilogy and man was it gritty. Killed me. But overall, liked it. Wrote a blabber, if you’re interested!

4.25 stars

Armada by Ernest Cline – Unfortunately this one was a DNF. I tried. I tried. Augh I tried. This book felt like a teenage boy’s wet dream. And to be fair, that’s probably intentional. And I’m sure there are a large number of people who would love this.

It’s just not me.

1 star

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux – I picked this up for the same reason I picked up Go Ask Alice: it’s short.

I gotta tell ya though, I was not expecting to love this. But color me surprised, it was by far my favorite read of the month. It was eerie and spooky and heart breaking and dramatic and it was perfect. I. loved. it.

5 stars

Fence vol 3 by C. S. Pacat – Again, a short one! This is my one and only graphic novel of the month and it was pretty decent. I was able to pick it up after not having read vol 2 for literally a year and figure out where I was, so it’s got that going for it.

I’m still waiting to love this, it hasn’t happened yet, but it could potentially get there. I like it, though.

3 stars

Other Stuff

  • I’m super full right now. I had ice cream! Not really news but I enjoyed it, man.
  • Yeah I got nothin’. October was uneventful, at least to the extent that I’m comfortable sharing on the internet.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 161/100
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
    February – Pass
    March – Pass
    April – Pass
    May – Pass
    June – Pass
    July – Pass
    August – Pass
    September – Pass
    October – Pass
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 214

And that’s it! Lemme know if you’ve read any of the above. Happy reading!

Fantasy Bingo 2020-21 | Update 3

Copy of Book Tag(1)

It’s October now! Back in August, I made an update 2, and in June, an update 1 to a post I originally made in April when r/Fantasy’s Fantasy Bingo began.

If you’re interested in participating and want to know the full details, here is the 2020 announcement thread about it. And here is the list of recommendations, crowd sourced by all the participants!

New additions:

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – This one only filled one category, and that was the Goodreads readalong one. Apparently the group read it back in October of 2018, so I lucked out.

The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier – This one fits in two places: politics and feminist, so it might get moved around before the end of the bingo challenge – it’ll all depend on what else I read in the meantime.

Only two new additions here. I read a lot of books but unfortunately they are from an author I’ve already used on the bingo card, don’t fit any categories, or plain just aren’t fantasy/sci-fi books. So I’m hoping after the new year to really focus on this so I can finish it by the end of March. I’d really like to do it this time around.

If you’re participating, do let me know! Happy reading!

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb | Blabber

Forest Mage (Soldier Son, #2)Forest Mage by Robin Hobb
Book 2 of the Soldier Son trilogy
718 pages
Fantasy
Spoiler-free blabber for this book
Spoilers for book 1

This book was such a roller coaster.

Two months ago, I wrote a blabber about Shaman’s Crossing, which is the first book in this series. That book, I gave a full five stars to after some retrospection. My impulse was a 4.25, but when I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I bumped it to a 5. It’s still there and I’m happy with that rating. My thoughts of that book honestly are… pretty simple compared to this one. This book made me feel so much more.

So first of all, as per usual, I buddy-read this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, and we both ended up having some pretty complex emotions about this thing.

This book picks up pretty quickly after the first book ends. From my perception, there might have been a few days or maybe a week or so between them, but the scene is more or less the same as it was at the end of the first book: The academy has just gotten through a wave of the Speck plague and is in recovery. One of my favorite things about book one was the academy aspect. I really liked the dialogue on how political alliance among the old and new nobles infiltrated into how the students at the academy treated each other. So at the beginning of this book, with the plague having wiped out many people on both sides, those alliances have kind of crumbled, and a ‘we must stick together’ mindset has set in, especially among those at the academy, if not those holding political positions.

What I wasn’t expecting though, was the plot to veer away from that setting so quickly, away from the academy and in a totally different direction. First thing, is Nevare is affected by the plague in a different way than everyone else. Instead of wasting away to a skeleton of himself, he gains weight. A lot of it. This happens pretty early on and is also hinted at towards the end of the first book. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, but it becomes a central plot point and acts as a catalyst for a lot of the things that happen to Nevare further along in the book.

And I gotta tell ya, people in this book are mean to him. Like, horrendously so. He’s ridiculed by friends and family both, and society as a whole comes to see him as less. During this emotional torture, some additional things happen to Nevare that honestly border on torture porn. And at the time of reading it, it seems senseless, because he’s so passive in reacting to it. At this point in the book, both me and Zezee honestly weren’t having a great time. It was difficult to read, because Nevare, who honestly was a bit of a jerk in book one, really gets the short end of the stick, and I came to really feel for the guy. His jerky habits definitely lessen, though occasionally you can see little hints that he’s still working through his personal issues regarding them. I really liked that about this book: as passive as Nevare was, his characterization is really consistent. He grows and develops as a character, but he does so believably.

As the book progressed, we got a broader picture as to why everything was happening, and it made all the depressing things that happened make more sense, at least to the point where it no longer felt like the author was torturing the characters for no reason.

Speaking of the progression, I really liked the pacing in this. At no point did the book drag, and the speed at which we received information about the new location Nevare was in and all the unseen forces at play made for a compelling read. I really like how the magic evolved and how Nevare became more and more entwined with it.

I think my one complaint about the book that was sustained throughout the thing was the abrupt change in cast. All of the characters introduced and developed during the academy part of the book basically disappeared once Nevare ended up elsewhere. I mean, all new characters were introduced and developed but man I liked the ones we had, wah. I’m hoping they come back in book three! The few characters that did stick around, I really liked. Spink and Epiny – I love their relationship and their utter trust and honesty with each other. They’re so wholesome, communicative and healthy and it’s just such a breath of fresh air. Meaning…. I’m very worried about them come book three, as Robin Hobb tends not to let anyone have a completely happy ending. Auugh.

So overall plot-wise, while this book was definitely depressing to read, it advanced in a way that made sense for the lore set up in the world, and I overall enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the character development, particularly in Nevare, and I really liked the pacing.

With the way that book two ended, I feel like book three could take another 180 in regard to the plot, just like this book did compared to the first. I honestly can’t even guess as to where it’s gonna go or how it’s gonna end, but man I am ready for it.

4.25 stars

Nanoplanmo 2020 Update 1!

"NaNoWriMo 2020 Writer" - Facebook Banner - Design by Tyrell Waiters

Hi! It’s been thirteen days since I started my planning for my Nanowrimo novel. If you remember from my announcement post, you’ll have noticed that I didn’t go into detail as to what I’d be writing, aside from that it was going to be set in the world my previous two nano novels were set in.

Well, that was because I had no idea what I was going to write. But hooray, now I know, more or less.

This year’s novel is indeed going to be set in the same world. It’s a fantasy, and it’ll happen on a continent that hasn’t gotten a novel yet, meaning I’m currently doing a deep dive into the development of culture, civilization, history, species, magic, and you name it for that continent. Some themes I’m going to utilize within the novel include relations between species with different technology levels, the use of magic, and the misuse of life to fuel that magic. I’m not really gonna go deeper at this point, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me.

So for that past ten days, I’ve been drawing maps and detailing out which areas I wanna focus on. I’ve also been on the lookout for map creators and town creators and stuff in video game form or web browser form that’ll let me actually build my cities so I can have a clear picture of what goes where. I’ve found a few things, but nothing has really stuck out to me as the perfect product yet. So if you have any suggestions, do let me know, particularly if they have a free demo I can try out first.

I’ve also been really trying to get a system in place for my world building. It’s a bit all over the place right now. I toyed with Campfire for a bit but my trial ran out before it had sold me. My husband, who’s also doing nano this year, has basically made the equivalent of a campfire set up within his evernote, so I might try doing that as well. We’ll see.

If you’ve done nano, or if you’re a writer that does a lot of world building, where do you organize it? What’s your system? I mean I have a “system” but it’s basically just a bunch of unorganized word documents.

Anyways, I’m really pumped about this year’s project. For the first few days of October, I was iffy, just because I had a premise but didn’t have a plot. Now I have a plot as well and I really like it. I’m itching to start writing now, but I’m forcing myself to hold off. No cheating!

Guys I’m so pumped!

~~

If you’re also participating in Nanowrimo, do let me know!

September Wrap Up! ’20

Happy October! It’s officially ‘Emily can use all her spooky banners’ season (which… will start with the post after this :p)

I read a decent amount this month, both books and manga.

Books

1776 by David McCullough – This is a nonfiction read, which I picked up on audio book. It follows – well, the year 1776, in America. It goes over the battles and reads from diary entries of those alive during those times. I learned a lot that I don’t remember learning in school at all. I rather enjoyed this.

4 stars

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – I did it, I finished my Hunger Games reread! I wrote a full post about my thoughts on this, if you’re interested but long story short: I liked it more this time than I did ten years ago.

4 stars

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – So I picked this one up on audio and buzzed through it in one day. Honestly despite it being a classic, I knew basically nothing about it aside from what pop culture has told me.

I ended up really enjoying this. It was so morbid in a classic horror kind of way.

 4 stars

A Dance with Fate by Juliet Marillier – I picked this book up with my buddy on release day, after finishing Harp of Kings last month! I ended up really enjoying this too – the character development in it was awesome. I really can’t wait til the third one comes out… a year from now. Cry.

4 stars

Manga

Hotel Africa vol 1 by Hee Jung Park – This was a reread for me, in prep to read volume 2, which I’m currently in the middle of. The first time I read this, I loved it. I gave it a 4 point something. Upon reread, I liked it even more!

5 stars

act-age vols 1-2 by Tatsuya Matsuki – Shortly after getting this series, I heard that the author was arrested for being a terrible human. So we’ll see if the rest of this gets translated or not, though honestly I don’t know if I’d pick up anymore.

For what this was though, it was pretty good. It follows a young girl, trying to get into acting. She’s a method actor though, and has issues with emotions during her roles. It was a really fascinating read.

4 stars and 3.5 stars, respectively

Hands Off! vols 3-4 by Kasane Katsumoto – Continuing this series from last month, I’m still enjoying it. I can’t tell what this series is trying to be, though. Parts of it are light fluff and other parts are pretty morbid. Parts of funny and others are super dramatic. I have no idea! I’m enjoying it though. It’s cute.

3.75 and 3.5 stars respectively

Graineliers vol 1 by Rihito Takarai – I picked this one up because this is the author that wrote Ten Count, which I really liked. This however is totally different, and definitely one of the weirdest manga I’ve read. It’s a weird… dystopian series about seeds with fantastical powers on the black market. It’s neat!  – 4 stars

Shaman King vol 8 by Hiroyuki Takei – Sloooowly reading through this series. It follows a boy trying to become the king of Shamans in late 90s Japan. It’s funny and entertaining, and one of my sister’s favorite series, which is why I’m reading it. This one was pretty good! – 4 stars

And that’s it! My goal this coming month is to cut down on my tbr is quickly as I can. That might mean more DNFs, which I rarely do, so don’t be surprised if those pop up in October’s wrap up. Happy reading!

Top 10 books on my Fall TBR!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl!

Happy Tuesday! Today’s topic is books on my fall tbr. So I want to start off by saying I don’t really do tbrs, except during readathons. So this is definitely a tentative list. So at the time of writing this, these are the ten books that are calling to me the most:

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams

These three are all on my 10 in 2020 list. Luckily for me, they’re still at the top of my ‘want to read’s. The first one I have a buddy read lined up for. The other two, to be honest, are intimidating. One’s a Stephenson book, and the other is a brick. I’m hoping I enjoy both though!

The Scar by China Mieville
Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey
Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb

The Scar is another 10 in 2020 book. Caliban’s War I’m actually most of the way through, it’s just on the back-burner. Renegade’s Magic is gonna be bitter sweet. It’s the last full-length novel I have to read of Robin Hobb’s. When I’m done with it I’m not sure when I’m gonna do. It will, as always, be buddy read with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks :”D

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

The ones on the ends are somewhat recent purchases, and I wanna pick them up, they’ve been on my mind! The middle is another 10 in 2010 book, the last of them. I’m gonna finish that list this year, dammit. I’m gonna.

Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko

This is the final book I wanna read this fall, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking it up soon-ish, as I have a buddy read set up with Katy @Bookbinderway :”D We’re both rather looking forward to this one!

And that’s it! Ten books I really wanna read. Will I get to them? Well, I mean I hope so. Pbtbt.

Happy reading!

Top 5 “Reader Canon” books I haven’t read yet

Top 5 Wednesday topics can be found here!

Happy Wednesday! Today’s topic is reader canon books I haven’t read. Meaning, books that considered ‘essential reading’ for one’s niche of reading, in the way that Pride and Prejudice is to classics for instance. Well known ones, y’know! I read a lot of fantasy, so that’s the genre I’m going to be sticking to today! To make it harder (or easier?) I’m going to limit this to books I physically own. I want to read all these, man. I just… haven’t.

And today I have six to talk about!

Starting with the most intimidating ones. The reason why I haven’t read these is well, they’re intimidating. All of them are big and thick and dense and they scare me. I’ll read them someday. I might need a buddy read to do it, honestly. I read scary books like this better in that situation.

These three are a bit more modern, and not nearly as intimidating. I don’t really have a good reason why I haven’t read these yet other than ‘I just haven’t’, I suppose. I have a buddy read lined up for The Fifth Season at least… at some point. We’re in the middle of Juliet Marillier at the moment, and then we’ll hop over to N. K. Jemisin. For the other two? No idea. They’ve survived multiple cullings though so I definitely do wanna read them, I just don’t know when it’ll happen.

And that’s it! If you’ve read any of the above, particularly the top three, lemme know. Give me hope that they’re not as dense as I imagine them to be. Happy reading!