Top books of 2021 and a reading year in review | Blogmas Day 31

Well hi! It’s the last day of Blogmas and my favorite post of the year. My favorite books! I’ll also look back on my 2021 reading resolutions and check out some Goodreads stats.

Goodreads stats:

Reading Resolutions:

  • Read 100 books – I set this goal pre-pregnancy. Well, that threw a wrench in things. I ended up adjusting the goal down to 80, which I’ve hit. So I’ll count this as a Success.
  • Reduce physical fiction tbr to 185 – I definitely hit this one. The purge really took a chunk out of it. My current physical TBR (not including Christmas presents) is 147. Success.
  • Reduce manga tbr to 50 – While I did read a lot of manga this year, not enough apparently. My current manga tbr is 139. Failure.
  • Maintain blog schedule – Lol. Failure
  • Finish my 10 in 2021 list – I was making good progress in this until the Great Reading Slump™. I managed to complete 5 out of 10. Failure.

So overall not great but considering I had a baby this year and fell into a huge reading slump, it could have been worse.


Top books of 2021:

These are all the new reads I rated 5 stars this year. They are in no particular order.

Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy, #1)I buddy read Foundryside with Meredith @Allboutthembooksandstuff and both of us adored it. The tone is light and funny and serious and gritty at the same time. The characters are well developed and likeable, and the plot was well-paced and interesting.

Goodreads synopsis:

Sancia Grado is a thief, and a damn good one. And her latest target, a heavily guarded warehouse on Tevanne’s docks, is nothing her unique abilities can’t handle. But unbeknownst to her, Sancia’s been sent to steal an artifact of unimaginable power, an object that could revolutionize the magical technology known as scriving. The Merchant Houses who control this magic–the art of using coded commands to imbue everyday objects with sentience–have already used it to transform Tevanne into a vast, remorseless capitalist machine. But if they can unlock the artifact’s secrets, they will rewrite the world itself to suit their aims. Now someone in those Houses wants Sancia dead, and the artifact for themselves. And in the city of Tevanne, there’s nobody with the power to stop them. To have a chance at surviving–and at stopping the deadly transformation that’s under way–Sancia will have to marshal unlikely allies, learn to harness the artifact’s power for herself, and undergo her own transformation, one that will turn her into something she could never have imagined.


The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)The Fifth Season was another buddy read, read with a friend irl. I ended up reading the entire trilogy this year but this first book was my favorite of the three. It was such a unique world and the characters, while not “likeable” persay, were interesting and I felt for them. The plot was also super neat.

Goodreads synopsis:

This is the way the world ends. Again. Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries. Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.


Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn TooEveryone’s A Aliebn When Ur A Aliebn Too was a Christmas gift and a last minute favorite of the year. It was just so simple and pure and wonderful and I adored it.

Goodreads synopsis

The illustrated story of a lonely alien sent to observe Earth, where he meets all sorts of creatures with all sorts of perspectives on life, love, and happiness, while learning to feel a little better about himself—based on the enormously popular Twitter account. Here is the unforgettable story of Jomny, an alien sent to study Earth. Always feeling apart, even among his species, Jomny feels at home for the first time among the earthlings he meets. There is a bear tired of other creatures running in fear, an egg struggling to decide what to hatch into, a turtle hiding itself by learning camouflage, a puppy struggling to express its true feelings, and many more.


The Turn of the KeyI stepped a bit outside my usual genres and picked up a thriller, The Turn of the Key, and I loved it. It was eerie and isolating and exactly what I was hoping for.

Goodreads synopsis:

When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family. What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder. Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.


All the Murmuring BonesAnd finally, I read All the Murmuring Bones and was reminded of the whimsy of a Miyazaki movie, but darker. Gothic. The tone of this book is its best point. It’s so enthralling and it was wonderful.

Goodreads synopsis:

Long ago Miren O’Malley’s family prospered due to a deal struck with the Mer: safety for their ships in return for a child of each generation. But for many years the family have been unable to keep their side of the bargain and have fallen into decline. Miren’s grandmother is determined to restore their glory, even at the price of Miren’s freedom. A spellbinding tale of dark family secrets, magic and witches, and creatures of myth and the sea; of strong women and the men who seek to control them.


And this is it. The end of Blogmas. I hope if you visited a post or two this month that you enjoyed them. If you visited more, I appreciate it. I do have another post coming out tomorrow, but it’s going to be the start of my “normal” posting schedule.

Blogging every day this month has reminded me why I made the blog in the first place. I had a lot of fun! I’m going to try to maintain it again, get back into it. I’m hoping it’ll also inspire me to read more, because I gotta tell ya, what little down time I get while the baby is sleeping, my brain tends to just want to scroll on tiktok. Reading is better for me though (and I enjoy it when I do it!) so wish me luck on that too.

So again if you’ve stuck around for the month, I do appreciate it. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate, a wonderful month otherwise, and a Happy New Year!

 

Favorite books of 2020!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl!

Hiiiii it’s my favorite post of the year! My favorite books!

Today’s post is also a Top Ten Tuesday post, but I’m doing it slightly out of order. Technically last week was the official ‘fave books’ topic, but I wanted to actually finish 2020 before picking, in case I had a last minute favorite! So we’re rolling with it.

I read 171 books this year and I have ten to talk about. My favorite books of 2020. These are ranked from ‘least favorite favorite’ to ‘most favorite favorite’:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – This got a 4.5 from me, the only 4.5 on this list out of the twenty-something 4.5s I gave this year. This is the 4.5-iest and my fave out of the ones with the same ranking.

I’m so late on this bandwagon man. I don’t know why I never read this before. I buddy-read this with two irl friends, one of which had read it a million times already and was just amused at us other two as we read. It. Was. Great. I loved this book.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green – I gotta tell ya, I was not expecting to love this as much as I did. I’m a sucker for the big dumb object trope I guess, and this book also went into a really interesting commentary on how sudden internet fame can affect a person. This book was my only 4.75 rating of the year.

I bought the sequel to this book right after it came out, and it’s on my 10 in 2021 list so I hope to get to it soon!

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino – This is where the five stars start. This is the ‘lowest’ of the fives, but it’s still a five, and honestly I don’t give those out very easily.

This one-shot manga, contrary to its name, talks about a very serious topic. The main character finds a diary of a girl with terminal pancreatic disease, and it tells the story of him befriending her, all while she knows she’s going to die soon.

I cried.

Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb – What’s a favorites list without a Hobb novel? This is the first book in the Soldier Son trilogy and I think my favorite of the three (I’m about six chapters away from the end of the last one, so unless it totally wows me, this is my fave). This is also the last series by Hobb that I have to read. After this, I need to find something to fill the void.

This series follows a young man as his life is thrown in a direction he did not expect, and deals with court politics and shamanic magic and it gets dark after a while. Robin Hobb really puts her characters through it. But this first book, I loved. And I hope I end up loving this last one as much as I did this one. I hope I hope I hope.

As per usual, I buddy read this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux – The second classic to make this list, and man I was not expecting to love this, but hey, I did. This isn’t the only gothic horror novel I read this year and because of it I think I’ve discovered a love for a new genre.

It’s so, well, horrifying and creepy and unsettling and I loved it.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice – Gothic horror! Would you look at that!

I’ve been sleeping on this book for years – my buddy originally tried to get me to read it in high school fifteen years ago. I read half of it and got distracted. Shame on me!

I picked it up again this year and absolutely loved it. It’s so eerie and unsettling and compelling. I loved it!

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio – Another unexpected favorite! Really, I loved this book. I still don’t own a copy though, I gotta pick one up.

This is a mystery thriller set at an acting university that focuses on Shakespearean plays. The tone this book has is awesome and the plot as it unfolded was so great. I couldn’t stop reading.

Out of all the books I’ve read this year, this is the one I think about the most.

Our Dining Table by Mita Ori – This is a fluffy one shot manga I picked up at the very beginning of 2020 that honestly I only bought on a whim. Definitely didn’t expect it to become one of my favorite manga of all time but there you go, I guess.

This is a romance between the two adults on the cover and is super stinking cute. It’s so wholesome and soft and lovely and if you need something to brighten your day, this is the manga for you.

Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko – This is my favorite novel of the year, hands down. This book was just so eerie and weird and confusing in the best way. The whole time in the book, I felt like I almost understood what was going on. And for some reason, the way the book was written, being confused made me want to read more not less.

Honestly I still don’t fully understand what I read. But. it. was. awesome.

Black Butler by Yana Toboso – Anyone who’s read even a few of my posts this year probably isn’t surprised by this. I read the entire 28 volumes of the series that were out when I first picked the series up this year. Since, vol 29 came out as well and I’m gonna read that too. So yes, this number one spot, my favorite of the year, is this entire series. I feel like pointing out individual volumes was pointless. All of them were between four and five stars, the vast majority of them 4.5 or 5. This series is awesome.

This is a wonder, funny, dark, twisty, comical story of a boy who sells his soul to a devil to get revenge on those who slaughtered his family. And then it’s so much more than that. It’s so great. It’s so well written, it’s so well paced, the characters are so well developed. I. love. it.

And that, that is it, ladies and gents. My favorite books of the year. 2020 was a shit year but for reading? It was great!

If you’ve read any of the above, lemme know!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I loved but never reviewed

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl!

Happy Tuesday! Today’s topic is honestly one of the easiest ones I’ve done. I had zero problem coming up with ten books I loved but never reviewed, mostly because my reviews tend to be few and far between. I like writing them mind you, I just never feel like I have enough coherent thought about a book to review it, so most of the time I don’t, and just touch on them in wrap ups and stuff instead.

And guess what, I’m still not gonna review them, so here are titles and pictures and synopses:

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If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

If We Were Villains

Goodreads synopsis: Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingenue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

Goodreads Synopsis: Also known as Let Me Eat Your Pancreas, this deeply moving first-person story is about a high school boy who finds the diary of his classmate—and discovers that she’s dying. Yamauchi Sakura has been silently suffering from a pancreatic disease in school, and now exactly one person outside her family knows. He swears to her that he won’t tell anyone what he learned, and the shared secret brings them closer together. The two have very little in common, but they find themselves drawn to each other in Sakura’s final months to live.

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice

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

Goodreads synopsis: This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires–a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

Our Dining Table by Mita Ori

Our Dining Table

Goodreads synopsis: Eating around other people is a struggle for salaryman Yutaka, despite his talent for cooking. All that changes when he meets Minoru and Tane—two brothers, many years apart in age—who ask him to teach them how to make his delicious food! It’s not long before Yutaka finds himself falling hard for the meals they share together—and falling in love!

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)

Goodreads synopsis: Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what giants or wicked witches are to European culture: the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. Valente’s take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever peasant girl to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, that will bring Russian myth to life in a stunning new incarnation.

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Fate (The Fitz and the Fool, #3)

Goodreads synopsis of Assassin’s Apprentice (book 1): In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)

Goodreads synopsis: Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Trigun: Deep Space Planet Future Gun Action!! by Yasuhiro Nightow

Trigun: Deep Space Planet Future Gun Action!! Vol. 1 (Trigun, #1)

Goodreads synopsis: Somehow the past has placed a sixty billion double dollar bounty on Vash’s head, and the gunslinging pacifist can’t seem to get away from money grubbing, itchy-trigger-finger citizenry. Find out why Vash is worth so much money dead! Feel the clumsy worry of the unfortunate citizens of the pulverous planet! Follow the follies of an unlikely hero in a forbidding world! Join Vash the Stampede – with his troubled past and an uncanny ability to dodge a gazillion bullets – and a cavalcade of unlucky characters on a dusty, desert planet in the distant future.

The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2)

Goodreads synopsis of The Black Prism (book 1): Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #1)

Goodreads synopsis: Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg…and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders…even to kill. Except his powers aren’t unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher’s Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are…


And that’s it! If you’ve read any of the above, lemme know! If you plan on reading them, lemme know! Happy reading!

I turned 30 yesterday so here are some of my favorite books from each decade of my life

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Hi guess what, my age begins with a 3 now and I’m gonna write it wrong for like a month, just like I do the date every time we enter a new year.

I figured I’d lighten my existential dread a bit by creating a list of my favorite books from my childhood, teens, and twenties. Could be neat, could be neat.

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Childhood faves

I Spy Mystery: A Book of Picture Riddles

The I Spy books by Jean Marzello were a huge part of my childhood. I had a lot of these books, and they were the main books I’d look for in school book fairs and book orders. They were the ‘thing to do’ in my neighborhood growing up, and we’d all gather up and look at them at the same time. It was neat.

Island of the Giant Pokemon (Pokemon Chapter Book, #2)

The Pokemon Chapter Books series by Tracey West was another series that I really loved as a kid. 1999 was the year I became a nerd. aka it was the year I picked up Pokemon, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. After that there was no turning back. These books too I would get from school book orders, and for a while I had a complete set. I don’t know if I still do. I have some now, and there’s a chance I have more in storage at my parents house – I’ll have to ask them. As a kid these took me maybe 45 minutes to read, so I loved sitting and binging them. Out of all of them, this one was my favorite.

All by Myself (A Golden Look-Look Book)

I have come to realize that people either tended to grow up reading the Bearenstein Bears or Little Critters. I was definitely a Little Critters kid – these books were formative in my ‘learning to read’ years. I remember being super duper little and picking them up with my parents, and we’d read through them together. As I got older I’d do so on my own. I used to have all sorts of collections and whatnot of these books.

Teenage faves

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I don’t know if the Garfield comics by Jim Davis would be late childhood faves or early teenage faves, honestly. But when my sister and I were tweens, we loved these. We had almost every volume, and a lot of them actually ended up getting destroyed because we were so careless with them. Honestly I should really rebuy them. My dad used to have a lot of single volumes that we’d read as well and being the little shits we were, we didn’t take care of those either. I feel so bad about it honestly. Maybe I should rebuy them for me and for my dad. It’s the least I could do, my goodness. But Garfield was the first comic that we really got into. We’d read them for hours, we had favorite volumes, favorite comics! We’d scan them, print them out, and tape them on our walls. We were obsessed.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

I realize bringing this series up might be a bit of a touchy thing. I’m fully aware of and do not condone the actions of she who must not be named, and will be making a point to not invest any more funds towards her. I have to acknowledge though, the effect these books had on my teenage-dom. (which… is why the author’s actions are so bitterly disappointing to me. Anyways).  These books technically were first introduced to me when I was 9, in 1999 (again, the year I became a nerd). My 4th grade teacher read the first one out loud to the class – he did the voices and everything. I remember it super well. After that, maybe a year later, a classmate of mine had mentioned finishing the fourth book – this would be fall 2000, and the book came out summer 2000, so it was really picking up a lot of steam at that point in popularity. That’s when I picked up the first one myself to read.

My dad would take my sister and I to the library every other week growing up, starting when I was little to my mid to late teens, and starting from when I was about ten or eleven up until I was maybe thirteen or fourteen, I’d rent and re-rent the Harry Potter books. At the time, five were out, so I’d read all five, then start over. I’ve probably read the first five books forty times each. The sixth and seventh are another story. When I was a young teen I actually got my own copies for my birthday, so I stopped doing the library thing at that point and switched to my own. But weirdly out of all of it, I remember the smell of the room in the library where the books were. That’s the memory that sticks out to me the most.

InuYasha: Turning Back Time (InuYasha, #1)

I think the most memorable series from my teenage years that has stuck with me until today is Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi. I started with the anime though to be fair. My neighbor friend when I was about 14 years old came to me one day and started telling me about this show and after the fifth or sixth time hearing her talk about it, I stayed up late to watch it with her. I was smitten immediately. This show too is the reason I have so many online friends. This is the first series that got me into a fandom. Like, I learned what fanfiction was through this, I participated in forums, I found fanart, I drew fanart, I participated in online roleplays and played these characters through different plot lines! Through the fandom I met three of my best friends all online, and to this day, I still have those friends. Two of them I’ve met in person now, the other we’re still figuring it out. Hell I flew across the world to Malaysia to meet one of them, and we still talk all the time. And it’s all thanks to this show.

Right now I’m actually rewatching the show with the friend the originally introduced me, in anticipation for the sequel that’s coming out this October. I still don’t know how to feel. I’m hesitantly excited, is the best description I guess.

But man, this show – this book series, was definitely a key part in forming who I am and who I’m friends with. And because of that it’ll forever be a favorite in my heart.

Twenties faves

My twenties were when I really started tracking my reading. I made a Goodreads account in August 2011, so I had just turned 21. From that point my reading basically exploded, as I became more and more involved in the online book community through it, and in 2014, through this blog.

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)

The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik I probably first picked up in my late teens or early twenties. I know this because I read it for the first time when was I attending community college, which I think I did from late 2008 until early 2010. This is one of the few books I’ve reread during my twenties as well. When I was a teen, I would mainly just reread things. It was rare for me to branch out. But as an adult I started reading almost solely new things. I’m not sure why that changes. But this series man, this one has always held a wonderful place in my heart. My best friend was always more adventurous in her reading than I was and picked this up on a whim. She loved it and made me read it. Honestly this was one of my first bouts into adult fantasy, and since then I’ve become a huge fan. I recently reread this series, finishing off the last four books that I never actually read as well, and it’s definitely solidified itself as one of my favorite series of all time. If you haven’t, you should really check it out.

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

Black Butler by Yana Toboso. I fully realize I’ve been gushing a lot about this series lately, and that’s because it somehow wound its way deep into the cockles of my heart, to the point where it’s one of the defining series of my twenties. I’m like not even kidding. At twenty nine years old – months before my 30th bday, I picked up this manga for the first time and fell in love. I’m telling you, it’s like… it’s amazing. And if I wouldn’t have bought it on a whim, I would have never known.

To be fair, I had watched the anime of this beforehand, maybe three years ago, and I wasn’t a huge fan. It was okay, which is why I put off picking the manga up for so long. But hey, turns out most of the anime is filler, and the plot in the manga is just so much more and it’s hard to put into words how great it is.

Really. Out of all the manga series I’ve read ever since I was fifteen years old, this one gets a spot in the top three. Black Butler, Rurouni Kenshin, Fullmetal Alchemist. They’re the best.

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)

Out of all the hundreds of books and manga I’ve read in my twenties, and looking at them it’s literally hundreds, I think Robin Hobb’s books are the ones that have hit me the hardest. The one I have listed above is the first one in her Farseer trilogy, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve read almost all her books at this point – I have two left, and each one has really stuck with me. I pine for them, for the characters, for the setting. I love these books, and think about them all the time. Robin Hobb is my favorite author, no question. Her books are my favorite books, period. Don’t ask me to pick between them though. But really, out of all my favorite books – I have 45 or something, according to Goodreads – these are the favorite of the favorites. They’re just… man, they’re just wonderful. I really hope I can get my future kids to read these, because they’re ones I’m going to keep with me for the rest of my life.


And that is it. Being thirty is weird. It’s not bad, though. For some reason I thought it was gonna feel more stressful than it is. But thirty isn’t bad. I’m sure I’ll have another crisis when I turn 40, believe you me.

So for three decades I’ve been reading books. It’s really hard to believe. I feel the same as I did when I was 25. I feel like mentally I stopped aging around then. We’ll see if I still feel 25 in another ten years I suppose. In the meantime, I hope to read a lot more books, and discover many more favorites.

 

Best Books of the Year (so far!) and 2020 Reading Stats

top books 2017

Happy day! Today I wanna talk about all my favorite books that I’ve read so far this year! And after that, I wanna look a bit at my reading stats, as I’ve been keeping track of them as one of my 2020 Reading Goals.

I have nine books to talk about today – all of them got at least a 4.5 star rating from me, and over half got a five!

For those unfamiliar with my rating system, to get a five stars from me, the book has to be perfect to me. Objectively it can have flaws but to me, it’s the bees knees. Basically I have to read it and think ‘man this is a new all-time favorite’. So a 4.5 star book is still a fantastic book, and while I consider it a favorite of the year, it might not quite be an ‘all-time’ favorite. So usually I tend to only have a handful of five star books a year. But so far this year I already have quite a few – it’s a good year! These are ordered from least-most-favorite to most-most-favorite.


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All You Need Is Kill

All You Need is Kill by Takeshi Obata4.5 stars – This is a one-shot manga about a man who gets stuck in a time loop while fighting alien invaders. Sound familiar? This is the source material of the Tom Cruise movie, Edge of Tomorrow. The movie took some liberties for sure, but it’s pretty entertaining. This manga though, I loved it. It’s so gritty, but has hints of humor at the same time. It conveys the emotional state of the main character as he lives the same day over and over and over and over, each time knowing he’s going to die and restart again. It’s a good psychological book, and has plenty of action and suspense as well. And it’s short! One volume!

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen4.5 stars – I know, I know, I’m late to this one. I have a weird aversion to classics, what can I say (Though when I do read them I tend to actually like them, so, like, what gives). I buddy read this book early this year with a couple friends, one of whom has read this book a million times and is an all-time favorite of hers, and the other who had attempted to read it a couple times and never had finished. So we were all at different levels of exposure, so it was neat to see how each of us reacted differently to the story. Me, personally, I ended up taking pictures of passages, scribbling on the pictures, and sending them to the friend that’d read the book a million times. Didn’t wanna spoil the other friend or I would have sent to her too. If you’re interested, here is the post I made with all my scribbles. But yeah I ended up really, really liking this book, and I’m kinda mad I put it off for so long.

A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #1)

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan4.5 stars – I picked this book up back in April, and I still think about it almost every day. There’s just something about it. This book follows the fantasy-equivalent of a Victorian era woman as she goes on a research exploration to study and document dragons. It has sketches in the book that she draws, and tells the narrative from her point of view, as if you’re reading her memoir. It has a lot of charm and wit, along with some fascinating illustrations, some neat plot twists, and some memorable characters. I seriously loved this one.

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

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green4.75 stars – I’m late on this one too, I know. It was a big thing a couple years ago when it first came out. But in my mind for some reason I had categorized it as something I wouldn’t be interested in. Why, I don’t know. The hype? I don’t knowwww. But honestly, this book is right up my alley. It contains one of my favorite tropes: the big dumb object. You know, when something weird just appears, and nobody knows where it came from or what it is. The object itself may or may not be dumb, but the trope is the trope. But I really loved this – I liked how the main character was so incredibly human. Her flaws – the way she handled relationships, the way the fame got to her head after she told herself it wouldn’t – was all so incredibly believable. It was like a character study, almost. It’s so incredibly good.

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino5 stars – This manga made me feel very distinctly, consciously mortal, and I didn’t like it. But that also made me love the book. This manga is a one-shot, and follows a teenage boy who befriends a teenage girl with terminal pancreatic cancer. The girl though, is determined to live her life while she can, and is always taking an almost dead-pan humor take on her situation, like saying things like ‘we should go do this before I die and worms eat me’ and stuff like that. It’s morbid, funny, and heartbreaking all in one. I still get the happysads when I think about this one.

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

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice5 stars – This book has been on my radar since I was about fifteen years old. I remember borrowing it from a friend and trying to read it, then got distracted about a third of the way through and never finishing. So when I picked it back up, I had it in my head that I was going to get stuck in a similar fashion. But then it surprised me with its atmosphere and tone. This book is seductive, for lack of a better word. It pulled me right in and kept me there, and I enjoyed every page.

Our Dining Table

Our Dining Table by Mita Ori5 stars – This is a oneshot manga, following a young man who has trouble eating in front of others and another young man who wants to learn how to cook for his younger brother. It’s a fluffy, sweet romance, and it melted my heart. It deals with the issues around the main character’s food issues, and also touches on topics relating to adoption, absentee parenting, and more. It’s really wholesome and really nice.

If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio5 stars – This is officially my favorite novel of 2020 so far. And honestly it’s very outside my usual genre of fantasy. This is a literary suspense novel following a group of college students studying Shakespeare at a liberal arts college. The writing is lyrical, sprinkled with Shakespearean verse and at times paralleling its themes. This book really knocked my socks off. Originally, I had given it a 4.5 – I knew I loved it, but I didn’t think it would be an all-time fave. But after sitting on it for a month and not going a single day without thinking of it at least once, I just had to bring it up to a five. This book was really something.

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

Black Butler by Yana Toboso5 stars – For anyone even remotely following my blog this should really come as no surprise, because since I started reading it I have not shut up about it. I technically cheated by picking a series as my ‘favorite book so far’, well, favorite manga – favorite read – you know what I mean. But with manga it’s really hard to separate the story out into individual volumes. It’s just one story – it’s one entity. And Black Butler, man. Individual volumes rated I think at the lowest 3.5 stars for one volume, and then many 4 or 4.5, and then more a full 5 stars. Overall though, this series in my opinion is five stars. It’s just fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough.

It follows a thirteen year old boy who sells his soul to a devil, bent on gaining the means necessary to take revenge after his family was slaughtered in their homes and he was taken and tortured by the same people. The story is set in Victorian England, and the boy’s father was an earl of the queen. The boy inherits the title, and using his demon – posing as a butler of the family – the boy works to get closer to those who wronged him.

This series has action, comedy (weirdly a lot of comedy), horror, suspense, thrills, sads, all of it. It literally has a bit of everything, and I cannot understate how much I love this. It’s really the best thing I’ve read all year, especially with the latest arc in the most recent volumes. It shook me to my bones, man. It’s so fantastic.

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And that’s all of my favorite books! I’m actually rather proud of myself for actually ranking them for once. Onto the stats!


Total books read: 136

  • Manga: 114
  • Novels: 17
  • Novellas: 2
  • Anthologies: 1
  • Graphic novels: 1

Breakdown by….

Genre:

  • Literary fiction: 3
  • Science fiction: 6
  • Fantasy: 25
  • Romance: 32
  • Horror: 2
  • Magical realism: 2
  • Shojo: 30
  • Slice of Life: 3
  • Historical Fantasy: 29
  • Humor: 3
  • Classic: 1

Age Group:

  • Adult: 14
  • Young Adult: 5
  • Kids/picture books: 1
  • New Adult: 1
  • Manga – Teen(13+): 34
  • Manga – Older Teen(16+): 68
  • Manga – Mature(18+): 13

TBR:

  • 85 read from books added to TBR this year
  • 17 read from books already existing on TBR before 2020
  • 34 read from books borrowed from friends/services/library
  • 4 rereads

Month:

  • Jan: 14 books – 3749 pages
  • Feb: 7 books – 2078 pages
  • Mar: 32 books – 8031 pages
  • Apr: 39 books – 7778 pages
  • May: 22 books – 4661 pages
  • June: 19 books – 5284 pages
  • July (so far): 2 books – 550 pages

Rating:

  • 1 star: 1 (DNF’d)
  • 2 stars: 2
  • 2.5 stars: 1
  • 3 stars: 8
  • 3.5 stars: 33
  • 3.75 stars: 13
  • 4 stars: 42
  • 4.25 stars: 4
  • 4.5 stars: 21
  • 4.75 stars: 1
  • 5 stars: 10

Avg rating: 3.9

Author gender:

  • Male: 16
  • Female: 119
  • Unknown: 1

Author country:

  • United States: 20
  • United Kingdom: 1
  • Japan: 112
  • South Korea: 3

Diversity:

  • Race: 64
  • LGBTQIA: 5
  • Author: 6
  • Combo of more than one diversity (including race, lgbt+, mental illness, disability, author, chronic illness and ownvoices): 49
  • None: 12

And that’s it! I’m gonna save all the fancy bar graphs and pie charts until the end of the year when all of the books from 2020 are present and accounted for. That being said, my end of year faves may contain totally different books! There’s still just under half a year to go. All of these books could totally get swept away by even better books, who knows!

If you read all of this, thank you so much, I really appreciate it! And if you’ve read any of the above or have been keeping stats of your own, lemme know! Happy reading!

 

 

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.

Favorite books of 2019!

top books 2017

Today’s the day to talk about my favorite books of the year! All of these books, with the exception of the first honorable mention, were five star reads for me, new all-time favorites.

Honorable mention

The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #3)

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – This book got a 4.75 stars from me, the only book that did this year. This is the finale to Johansen’s Queen of the Tearling series and honestly, I still don’t know how I feel about the ending. It was perfect but also terrible, and I think that’s why it got rated so high. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, I really recommend doing so.

2019 Favorites

Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire, #8)

Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik – This is the eighth book in the Temeraire series, and I feel one of the strongest (though… none of them got below a four, don’t think I didn’t love them all). I think what I appreciate about this book the most was that it took a trope I hated and did something different with it. I actually made a post about it: The Amnesia trope, and I made it because I was hesitating about reading this book. But man, this book proved to me that the amnesia trope can actually be handled well. This was an awesome book.

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Complete Four-Panel Comics

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Complete Four-Panel Comics by Hiromu Arakawa – I don’t know what I was expecting with this little comic collection, but it definitely wasn’t ‘this’ll be a favorite book of the year’. This book collects all the little side comics at the end of the manga, in the dvd releases and in the blu-ray releases of both animes. It puts them all in a fashion roughly linear to the main plot of Fullmetal Alchemist (which, if you haven’t read, is fantastic). Maybe I was just feeling nostalgic for this series, who knows, but I really, really enjoyed this. It was funny and endearing and just such a joy to read.

The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #2)

The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – Second book syndrome, what’s second book syndrome? This book’s never heard of it. Monster Baru is the second installment to Dickinson’s Masquerade series, and the first book, The Traitor Baru Cormorant made my favorites list back in 2017. And this, this was no different. It took the story so much farther, opened the world so much, and made our main character Baru so much more complicated. I loved every single second.

O Maidens in Your Savage Season 1

O Maidens in Your Savage Season vol 1 by Mari Okada – It’s kind of hard for a single volume of manga to get a five stars from me, let alone the first volume of a series, when all the characters are still being introduced and the plot is still being laid out… usually it’s like, set-up, right? This one though, plops you right in, and man, does it make you feel like a fifteen year old right away. This book was so refreshing. It was funny, it was endearing, and it was just so pleasant. I’ve been collecting the series since and while none of the other volumes have matched the five stars of this one, the series is still going strong and I’m hoping volume 5 that just came out upholds its predecessors.

Assassin's Fate (The Fitz and the Fool, #3)

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb – Let’s be real here, I knew way back at the first book of this trilogy that if Hobb ended the series in a good, strong way, the last book would be definitely getting five stars. And guess what, she pulled it off. I really, really loved the ending of this. I’d heard iffy things going in so I was a bit nervous, but once I finished it, there was no doubt in my mind: This is a favorite book. I loved this book. I read this – along with basically all the other Robin Hobb Realm of the Elderlings books with Zezee @ZezeeWithBooks and I’m pretty sure we both adored it. It’s the end of an era and I don’t know what to do with myself now.

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente – This book was on my first and only 5 star predictions post…. and so far, it’s the only one to hit the mark. I have a couple left to go and I’ll get to those. But this. This book was fantastic. It’s disjointed and lilting and dark and gritty and whimsical… everything I wanted. It’s a story about Koschei the Deathless, a figure in Russian mythology, and I found the way Valente wrote about him and the story around him to be really fantastical. It really felt like a fairy tale, and I loved it. I loved it.


And those are all my five star books of the year! I read 118 things this year, and only these six made the five star list. I’m hoping I read just as many books next year, with even more five stars mixed in.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful reading year. Happy reading!

Christmas movies to watch this year

Blogmas 2018

Hello! Today’s post will be about Christmas movies I wanna watch this year! I make one of these lists every year, but rarely actually get to all the movies on it. This year though, I’m actually doing pretty well! I’ve watched most of them already 😀

Elf – Done

A Christmas Carol – Disney – Done

A Christmas Carol – Patrick Stewart (my fave) – Not Done

Home Alone – Done

Home Alone 2 – Not Done

The Santa Clause – Done

Jingle All The Way – Done

A Christmas Story – Not Done

The Bishop’s Wife – Not Done

The Christmas Chronicles – Done

Good Eats – The Cookie Clause – Not Done

No trailer for this one. This is an episode of a TV show I try to watch every year. Good Eats – a cooking show. This episode, Santa kidnaps Alton Brown and demands he bake him a bunch of Christmas cookies!

Scrooged – Not Done

Three Quotes Challenge – Day 1 | Nanowrimo edition

Book Tag

Hello! Today a tag! I was tagged by the Orangutan Librarian, so thanks friend! 😀

What they did was rather interesting – instead of just random quotes, they used favorite first lines from books! So I’m going to twist it as well, but in a different way. For those of you who haven’t seen my word vomit lately, I’m participating in Nanowrimo this year. Therefore, I’ve decided to post quotes that inspire me or relate to the story I am writing.

Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you
• Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
• Nominate three new bloggers each day

(trigger warning for suicide)


One of my characters goes through.. well, he goes through some pretty difficult things. But, don’t worry, he’s the hero of my story.

Today I tag: Hadeer @CaireneLibrarian, Sarah @DragonsandZombies and Katy @BookbinderWay

See you next time, peeps!

Top 5 Favorite Villains

Top 5 Wednesday.png

https://i.imgur.com/XS0XVS1.gifHello! Happy Hump Day! Today’s topic is favorite villains. If you’d like to participate in T5W, you can do so here!

 

 

The AI from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

This short story is slightly terrifying. If you want something short and sweet to read for October, check this one out.

The Masquerade from The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #1)

Two words: Social Hygiene.

Kennit from Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1)

The reason I love this character so much is because I hate him so much. He’s just. pure. asshole. He commits all sorts of acts that are unforgivable, but he sees himself as someone with a good end goal. His motivations I think make him so complex. But holy cow do I hate him.

The Darkling from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (Grisha Verse, #1)

Hey, shocker. I bet this guy will be on a lot of people’s lists. I don’t know what it is about him, he’s just morbidly fascinating to me, man.

Shigaraki Tomura from My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi

Image result for shigaraki

Is he the most matured, well-put-together villain? No. He has temper tantrums and is inexperienced. He’s not an all-powerful grade-A villain. But that’s what makes him so interesting to me. I feel like as the series progresses, we’ll get to see him develop into a great villain the way the hero characters are improving into their own titles.


And that’s it! Making this list made me realize I don’t read many villains with a true hero/villain dynamic. Most of the time, the antagonist is more of a gray character than the archetype ‘villain’. Good or bad, who knows.

Happy reading!