It’s the best time of the year! | December Favorites ’20

It’s the day after Christmas and it feels weird. It always feels weird on this day, augh.

So today I’m gonna talk about my fave things this month to make me feel less weird!

Food and Drink

  • Kujo beer – it’s a dark one and it’s been one I’ve gravitated towards the past few weeks
  • Chocolate oranges – It’s been like a decade since I’ve had one of these, but I got a couple in my stocking yesterday!
  • Irish Cream Cold Brews – my current drink of choice at SB
  • S’mores snack mix – This is technically my husband’s food but he’s been kind enough to share. My parents got this for him in his stocking
  • Breakfast egg bake – I have this every year Christmas morning at my grandmother or aunt’s house, but because the plague is around, I made one myself this year. I used turkey bacon as the meat. To be honest, I slightly overbaked it, but it still came out pretty decent
  • Charcuterie board! – My husband’s bday was at the beginning of the month so I made this for him!
  • Chocolate cookies with oreo bits – I made a lot of homemade cookies this year but I also made a store bought – these. And I gotta say the store-bought dough was way better than mine (wah).

Music

It’s literally ‘Music’ by Nightwish. This isn’t a newly discovered song, so it doesn’t fit in a Music Monday, but it’s one I’ve been listening to a lot recently and I love it. Give it a listen.

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And that’s it! Tomorrow, my 10 in 2021 list! My blogmas is still chuggin’ along.

Blogmas/vlogmas shout outs and faves!

Well, hi!

Today I’m gonna list some fellow bloggers (and a few youtube peeps) that are doing blogmas, and whose posts I have been following!

This is (obviously) not a comprehensive list of everyone I follow, so if you see yourself missing from this list and you’ve been doing blogmas, please let me know, and link me to your day 1 post! I’ll edit this post, add you, and then go binge all your posts so far. I did go through the posts of the last few days to make sure I wasn’t missing anyone, but I was actively looking for words like ‘Blogmas’ and the like. So if you weren’t being super in-my-face obvious about your posts being ‘official’ blogmas posts, I miiiight have missed you, I’m sorry! Correct me!

These buddypals are in no particular order, but you should definitely check them all out! I’ve linked their day 1 posts!

Bloggers:

Vloggers:

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So for right now that’s it! Obviously I’ll be editing this post if anyone pops up with a link of their own blog to add, so keep a look out for that. I’ll try to be quick about it.

I love Blogmas guys, augh I love it. It’s such a fun time 😀 I hope you all like these peeps and go follow them!

 

It’s the best time of the year! | November Favorites ’20

It’s the end of the month again! During my favorite time of the year, I do favorites posts. This is the second one, check out the first if you’re interested!

Food & Drink

 

Eight O’Clock’s decaf has been a life saver – I can’t do a lot of caffeine anymore because reasons, and this is the best tasting decaf I’ve found. It’s lovely. Also, peppermint schnapps in hot chocolate. It’s. baller.

Media

I’ve been watching a lot of Dragon Ball recently. My husband has never seen it, so we’ve been making our way through the original series. At this point, we have under twenty episodes left, and then he’ll pick up Dragon Ball Z!

Nightwish’s live concerts are awesome. Above is their concert from Wacken in 2013. In addition to that one, I’ve been listening to their Wembly and Tampere concerts as well!

This ‘Epic Instrumental’ playlist has been great this past month. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I did Nanowrimo all month and this is one of the music playlists I had playing almost constantly. It’s just a good vibe for fantasy novels!

Miscellaneous

Finally, my Thanksgiving decorations! I think I did a particularly good job this year, especially considering I had 0 decorations to start with and had to find them all. Tell me what you think!

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And that’s it! These are my favorite things for the month! Tomorrow, Christmas movies to-be-watched!

It’s the best time of the year! | October Favorites ’20

Last year, I started doing favorites posts during October, November, and December, because it’s my favorite time of the year. This year I’m gonna do it again! So today I’ll be talking about some neat things I liked during October!

Food and Drink

My two edible choices this month are both drinks – Starbucks’ Pumpkin Cream cold brew and this Coffee Liqueur I got from a local creator. Both are super great – I get the cold brews on Fridays as a ‘congrats for not falling into the void’ gift to myself and I use the coffee liqueur with some vanilla vodka and chocolate coffee creamer to make a bastardized form of a white Russian. V tasty.

Video Games

I’ve been playing a lot of DDR recently, and this is my favorite out of all of them. With the weather starting to get colder and it getting more difficult to fit in a walk before dark, this is how I’ve been getting my steps in.

I am fully on the Among Us bandwagon. I’ve still only played a few times – it’s hard to get peoples’ schedules lined up and all – but what I have played has been a ton of fun, and I very much like this game.

I realize this game is a few years old at this point, but at the start of the plague, I began a new file of this game. Six months later, I’m still playing it. I’m almost to the end – I’ve freed all the divine beasts and am ready to go to Hyrule Castle, but I decided I wanna do a completionist game, so I’m currently collecting all 900 korok seeds (and then I’ll do all the shrines and all the dlc, yada yada). But I play this almost every day during my lunch break and it’s such a good time. This game is so good, man.

Miscellaneous

Firstly, fall decorations! This is my set up for this Halloween. Come Thanksgiving, I’ll redecorate with turkeys and fewer skulls. But I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out!

I’ve also started to learn the guitar! I’ve tried both electric and acoustic at this point and definitely prefer the acoustic. It’s just easier for me to hold while I play. I’ve started learning Christmas songs on it so I can hopefully play them in December.

Yes, I’m still on the Frozen bandwagon, particularly the second movie recently, because its entire color scheme matches the season so well! And obviously I’m showing Olaf because he’s the best character.

Finally, some stuff I’ve been using for Nanoplanmo. The books on the left I’ve been using as references for some characters I’m making in my novel. One guess as to what they are. Otherwise, I’ve been slowly going through music that I feel fits the themes of this year’s novel, and Vindsvept’s Two Hours in the Woods playlist really fits the bill (below, listen to it!)

And that’s it for this month! I think I got a good variety of things. October was a lovely month.

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

Blogmas 2019

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

Food

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

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

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

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

Games

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

Other Stuff

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

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

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


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

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

fall post.png

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

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

This is what I liked this month!

Food

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

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

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

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

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

Games

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

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

Television

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

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

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

Music

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

Also, this song’s been pretty good lately:

Other Stuff

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

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


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

Happy falling and wintering!

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

fall post.png

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

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

Food

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

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

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

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

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

For example, a quick google:

cookietable.PNG

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

 

Games

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

Television

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

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

Music

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

  • Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves) by the Wombats
  • Hunter by Ken Ashcorp
  • Can’t Go to Hell by Sin Shake Sin

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


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

September Wrap Up | ’19

Wrap Up

Happy end of September! This past month was weird, as far as my reading went. If you remember, I made a post announcing that I would be participating in Space Opera September – well, I kinda did, and then my mood went ‘I’m done!’ and then I read whatever I felt like. So I got like… 35% into the readathon. My b.

Anyways:

Books

Wild Ones, Vol. 1 (Wild Ones, #1)

Wild Ones vols 1-10 by Kiyo Fujiwara – I read this entire series this month, and I very much enjoyed it. It follows a high school student whose mother dies. Right as she’s realizing she has nowhere to go, her estranged grandfather shows up at the funeral and offers her a place to stay. When she gets to his house, she realizes he’s a yakuza boss, and all of the people now living with her are members of his clan. It takes off from there, as she navigates the new environment. This series is a shojo one, so it was no surprised when it turned out to essentially be a rom-com, exactly what I wanted. I borrowed this series from the library, but I think I want to get my own copies. I can definitely see myself re-reading it. It’s out of print though, so I’ll have to find used ones. But yes, if you’re looking for a fluffy romance, this would be it.

All volumes between 3-4 stars

O Maidens in Your Savage Season 1

O Maidens in Your Savage Season vols 1-3 by Mari Okada – I think this is one of my new favorite series – It got my third five star rating of the year! It’s ongoing, with vol 4 coming out later in October, so for now I’m caught up. This is a slice of life manga following a group of fifteen year old girls in a literature club who are beginning to get feelings towards boys and just have absolutely no idea how to handle that. It makes for a lot of comedy, awkwardness, and relatable mindsets. Reading it reminded me of being fifteen, but I don’t think I was as uh… comedic about it, ahaha. I did write a full spoiler-free blabber on vol 1 if you’re interested, but man, I love this series and can’t wait to get more.

5, 4.5 and 4.5 stars respectively

Binti (Binti, #1)

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – This is the one book I managed to finish towards Space Opera September. I did start another one, but I didn’t get to finishing it yet. It was too big, aha. But this novella, I’ve heard a lot about for ages, and I was very keen on reading it. It follows Binti, who is accepted into a prestigious school across space, and now has to find a way there from her own planet. For such a short book, it deals with a lot of topics: prejudice, linguistics, mathematics, all sorts of things. A lot of things packed into here, and it made for a really good read.

3.5 stars

Land of the Lustrous, Vol. 1 (Land of the Lustrous, #1)

Land of the Lustrous vols 1-5 by Haruko Ichikawa – The first two volumes of this were rereads for me, but it had been so long since I’d read them, I needed to in order to read the next three. This series follows a set of humanoid creatures called the Lustrous. Gem-based things, they live on the land that humans once did, and are constantly battling and running from the Lunarians, these creepy looking things from the moon that are constantly attacking them and using their bodies as the jewels instead of the living creatures they are. I gotta say, this series took me a bit to get into – it was in volume 3 really that I got hooked. The lore to this I think is more than we know so far, and it’s really intriguing. I’m looking forward to learning more. I have vols 6-8 borrowed from a friend, and I plan on continuing them soon.

3-4 stars each

Song of the Hanging Sky, Volume 1

Song of the Hanging Sky vol 1 by Toriko Gin – This was definitely an interesting start to a series. It follows a combat medic who has run from the battlefield and hidden in the wilderness, where he finds a bird-child – a boy with feathers and wings. The bird child doesn’t speak his language, but the medic takes him in anyways, nursing him back to health. The story goes from there, introducing this bird-humanoid culture, and the prejudices between them and humans. I borrowed this first volume from a friend and if she has any more, I’ll likely pick those up too.

3 stars

Hotel Africa, Volume 1

Hotel Africa vol 1 by Hee Jung Park – Man, I was not expecting to love this as much as I did. This manga follows a young man named Elvis, and goes back and forth between different times in his life. One timeline is him as an adult, struggling like we all do, to make it. The other timeline is back when he was four years old, living at Hotel Africa, a hotel his mother started out in the middle of the desert in I believe Nevada. This story is a slow one, very character driven, and full of almost nostalgia-like heartstring tugs. I adored this – it made me happy, it made me sad. It explored the things that people go through in their lives, unfortunate events, and how people cope with them. I really love this. At the time I rated it a 4.5 but upon a reread if I ever get there I could easily see it going up to a 5.

4.5 stars

And that’s it for books! I consider any month where I don’t rate anything under a 3 to be a really good month. I even had a 5 this month! I’m so pumped about it!


Other Things

  • Nothing! September was very status quo.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 85/50 – Complete!
  • Finish the 10 in 2019 list – 7/10
  • Keep book purchases around 4-5 books per month
    • J – 5 | F – 6 | M – 7 | A – 0 | M – 0 | J – 3 | J – 5 | A – 5 | S – 4| O | N | D
  • Go on a 2 to 3 month buying ban – Complete!
  • Reduce physical TBR to 250 books – Currently 248 – Complete (now maintaining)
  • Finish the r/Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge by Mar 31, 2019 – Complete!
  • Post monthly book hauls
    • J | F | M | A (on ban) | M(on ban) | J | J | A | S | O | N | D
  • Maintain a S-W-S posting schedule
    • J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D
  • Keep track of statistics
    • J | F | M | A | M | J | J | A | S | O | N | D

Top Books of 2018

top books 2017

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

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

First, I’m going to eliminate the rereads:

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

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

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

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning SilverGenre: Fantasy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Victory of Eagles and Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount CharGenre: Fantasy/Horror

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

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

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

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

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

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

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

Golden Fool and Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

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

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

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

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

That’s what rereading is for, I guess.


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

Bout of Books 16 Challenge: Favorite Heart-Stoppers

Bout of Books

Today, a challenge! The prompt for today is to list your five favorites. Five favorite books, favorite characters, favorite whatevers. You pick, just list your top five. I chose heart-stoppers because when a book has that element, that ‘I need to put this book down because I need to go and restart my heart’ element, I tend to looove those books. So if you’re looking for a book or series that will send your heart into palpitations, look no further! And as a side-note. I’m going to list entire series instead of individual books. That way, you can’t guess when the moment(s) will hit you. 😛

5. Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba

Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom (Death Note, #1)This series, if you haven’t read it, focuses on a young man who comes across a notebook. When you write a person’s name in that notebook, that person dies. This is probably one of the best thrillers I’ve read and manages to keep it interesting for all 12 volumes. There are multiple instances of ‘WHAT WHAT WHY’ in this series, and I highly highly recommend it.

 

 

4. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)This series follows the apprentice of a ‘mad scientist’ of sorts, who hunts and documents monsters. This series is gritty, dark and heart-pounding. Don’t read it while you eat because it will put you off your meal. It’s really enthralling and I wasn’t able to put it down.

 

 

 

3. Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Saga, Volume 1I keep wanting to say ‘and this series is another good one that you should read’ because they all are, dammit. If you haven’t read this one, it follows two beings – one from a planet and the other from its moon, who have a child together. Unfortunately, the planet and the moon have been at war for years, and this child is sought after by both sides. Imagine Star Wars combined with Romeo and Juliet (only with real love). It. Is. Awesome. The art, the characters, the plot twists. Everything. My heart, it goes crazy when I read this one. The artist really knows how to position frames so you get the full-impact of a situation, so your heart jumps into your throat when you see the next picture on the next page. It’s. Wonderful.

2. The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)This is my newest obsession. It’s been so long since I read a book that made me stop and take a breather so many damn times because I couldn’t stand to read it all without falling into cardiac arrest. This is an action-packed sci-fi thriller horror action adventure space opera with bits of humor and romance thrown in here and there. I loved this book so much that I didn’t mind that it probably took two years off my life reading it. Currently have the second one, gonna hop into it very quickly here.

 

 

1. Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #1)This series, man. This one. I think this might be my all-time favorite series ever. Maybe. If not, it’s definitely tied for 1st place. This series follows two young boys who through an alchemic disaster lose their body parts – the older brother loses an arm and a leg, and the younger, his entire body. His soul is bound to a suit of armor as a result. After this, their determination to get their original bodies back leads them through a series of events and adventures and conspiracies and danger and… I can’t even sum it up in a way that gives it its due credit.

The plot in this series is so rich, so full of surprises, so intricate, that it still gets my heart going every time I zoom through its 27 volumes. And trust me, you’ll think ’27 is a lot’, but then you’ll finish it and think ’27 is not enough’. This is another series where the author knows how to frame panels to maximize the shock-factor. You read it and you can’t put it down except when you have to for fear of adrenaline causing you to faint. This series. Auuuugh, I cannot stress enough how much you should read this. Just thinking about it makes me want to re-read it for the 6th time.

READ IT. DO IT. PEER PRESSURE. GO NOW SHOO.


:”D Happy reading