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!

 

 

Inuyasha is getting a sequel and I don’t know how I feel about it

 

Obligatory spoilers for Inuyasha

The other day it was announced that a sequel to Inuyasha, an anime/manga series created by Rumiko Takahashi, was in the works. Titled ‘Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon’ it follows the daughters of the brothers Inuyasha and Sesshomaru on a new adventure.

Inuyasha has been one of my favorite manga/anime for… about half my life, since I was 14 or 15 years old. It was my first fandom, the first show I got really nerdy about. It’s the first one that drove me to read and write fanfiction. It led me to meet some of my best friends online (that I still have to this day and have crossed the world to visit!), and it was definitely a gateway anime that just threw me neck-deep into the world of all things Japanese animation. And as an almost-30-year old, I’m still there. And I know that if I wouldn’t have discovered this show when I was a teen, I wouldn’t be the same kind of anime fan I am today (who knows if I’d be one at all?).

I guess what I’m saying is, Inuyasha has been one of my all-time favorite shows throughout my life. I’ve rewatched it more times than I can count, I’ve read hours and hours and millions of words of fanfiction about it, I’ve collected merch from it, and just thinking about it, just hearing the music from it sends me back to 2004-2006 when a bunch of my childhood friends and I would stay up late on Saturdays to watch the new episode. It takes me back to my childhood. It’s nostalgic.

So hearing it had a sequel gave me so many mixed feelings.

It was announced by Viz here, and so far, this is what has been released so far of the plot:

The series focuses on twin demons Towa and Setsuna, the daughters of Inuyasha’s brother Sesshomaru.

The twins are separated from each other during a forest fire, and Towa wanders into a mysterious tunnel that takes her to present-day Japan. Towa is then raised by Kagome Higurashi’s brother Sota. Ten years later, Towa reunites with Setsuna, who has no memories of her sister and has become a demon slayer. The two are joined by Moroha, the daughter of Inuyasha and Kagome. They travel between past and present to unravel the mystery of why the tunnel has reopened, while Towa and Setsuna struggle to reconnect.

So basically, Sesshomaru has twins with… mother not revealed. And Inuyasha and Kagome have at least one kid. The latter is kind of expected but Sesshomaru having kids?? This is blowing my mind.

And apparently it’s blowing the internet’s mind too because what does the internet do when something happens?? They make memes. And there are a lot about this sequel already. And that’s how I’m gonna explain my feelings here too. Here are some of my faves:

These two in particular really grasp how it feels to be an Inuyasha fan right now. It’s something that nobody has really talked about in over a decade and then suddenly WE’RE EVERYWHERE and it’s wonderful. I’m excited and scared but I’m totally here for it.

So the internet (and me) like I said is really going wild about who the potential mom of Sesshomaru’s twins is. Long story short for those who don’t actually watch the show and are reading this for funsies, Sesshomaru is basically an ice king. He shows zero interest in anything aside from achieving power the entire show. Romance doesn’t seem like something he’s even capable of. So the fact that he’s a father – and becomes one quickly enough that his and Inuyasha’s kids can be close in age is mind-boggling. Part way through the show though, he takes in an orphaned human girl named Rin (character development!), about who’s eight years old. She is the primary suspect to a lot of fans right now – that’s where the second meme comes from.

Demons age far more slowly than humans. Sesshomaru himself during the time of Inuyasha is supposedly roughly around five hundred years old. Inuyasha is about 150 or 200ish. And the main characters Inuyasha and Kagome – who is 15 throughout most of the series and 18 at the end – have a kid. That’s why it’s not a stretch to assume Sesshomaru and Rin – who could age ten years into an adult and Sesshomaru age absolutely nothing – could also have a kid (or two, rather).

Whoever it turns out to be though, it’s gonna make the fandom explode, just you wait. We’re all gnawing at the bit to know who it is.


But as the title suggests, I don’t know how I feel about this sequel. I am excited for it, on one hand. On the other, it scares me. Inuyasha has been done and settled for a decade now. The Inuyasha fandom had become this thing that had the show… and then a million headcanons. Basically we’ve all already decided what happened next in our heads because hey, the show ended a decade ago.

So many fanfictions have been written about essentially this stage of life for the characters – what happened after the end of the show, who ends up with who, who has kids, who ends up just continuing their show-poodle ways… and this sequel basically blows all that out of the water.

And I get that my main complaint is ‘now it discounts all the fan-made stuff’, but… I feel like after having only that stuff to go on for a decade, that’s a legitimate reason to feel unease about this. It’s like breaking a Piaget schema in my head that I’ve held as true for a long time and having to reconstruct it to something new. I’ll do it, but I’m almost(?!?) grumpy about having to.

But I’m also excited, because now I get more time in the Inuyasha universe, which is something I didn’t realize I’ve been pining for, but now that I have it, I know I totally am, and was for years.

So time for more memes, these ones to show my excitement:

And that last one really, really explains it. When I was fifteen, that was me. I was obsessed. And then I kept that obsession locked inside me for the past ten or fifteen years – it was still there, as I’ve re-watched the show countless times like I said, but now it can BLOSSOM AGAIN.

I think the best thing that’s gonna come out of this (aside from more Inuyasha of course) is the merch. It’s basically impossible to find Inuyasha figures or whatnot that don’t cost $300 right now, because nobody’s making it! All the pieces on sale are old collector pieces, and while I like collecting merch, I’m not at that level…. yet. But with this new series, I’m hoping Inuyasha merch will make a come-back and I’ll finally be able to get figures of all the characters for my manga shelf.


So overall, my feelings: Mostly excited, very curious, partly annoyed for dumb reasons.

Will I watch and/or read it? Definitely. Will I like it? Probably. Will I be annoyed every time I see one of my headcanons bite the dust? Yes.

Tell me what you think. I wanna nerd about this a bit more.

 

Half Year Book Tag!

Half Year BT

Happy Saturday! Today I’m doing a tag! This is the Half Year Book tag and I was sorta-kinda tagged by Zezee (thanks friend :D). I wasn’t ‘tagged’ but I was mentioned in the post SO CLOSE ENOUGH I’M DOIN IT. This tag was created by BexnBookx

Also, this is more of a uh.. ‘last two months of the year’ tag for me. Shhhh


Favourite stand alone book hauled and read so far in 2017?

Sooo… I haven’t read any stand-alones this year that were also hauled this year. So I have to give this one a non-answer, hawhaw.

Favourite series that you started or continued to read in 2017?

The Black Prism by Brent WeeksThat would definitely by the Lightbringer series by Brent Weeks. I’ve read the first book, The Black Prism, along with the second. Both were five-star reads for me. I’m currently in the middle of the third and while I’m liking it just as much, it’s taken a bit of a back-burner to all the other books I’ve been reading lately.

 

Favourite bookish items purchased or received this year?

Ready, Set, Novel!: A WorkbookI can’t think of any book-related things I bought this year that weren’t actually books! The closest I can come up with is the Ready Set Novel workbook I purchased for Nanowrimo this year! I’m currently in the middle of it and my novel is more fleshed out now than it ever has been, haha. I’ve rewritten the same novel over and over for ages now and I really want it to actually get finished this year. PLEASE OH PLEASE.

Favourite debut author?

I feel like I’m going to be bad at a lot of these questions, hahaha. I didn’t read any 2017 debut authors this year.

Favourite under-hyped book that you read this year?

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth DickinsonThe Traitor Baru CormorantΒ by Seth Dickinson. This lovely piece of art has only 5000-something reviews on goodreads. IT DESERVES SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT, MAN.

 

 

Favourite book read this year that you were late to the party on?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThat would be the Harry Potter illustrated editions. I’ve been buying them since they came out (just bought the third) but haven’t actually read them until very recently. I waited too long, I think. They’re so lovely. πŸ˜€

 

Potential favourite that you haven’t got around to reading yet?

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1)I feel like I’ll really love The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. It’s a recent purchase for me – in the last haul I did before I banned myself. It just speaks to me, man.

 

 

Favourite re-read in 2017?

…unless you count Harry Potter from above, I haven’t reread anything… :”D

Favourite cover on a book released this year?

Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A BookEveryone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book by Jomny Sun. This looks like an adorably cute book and I really like this cover. Do I own it? No. Will I likely read it this year? …No. Book ban. Next year! πŸ˜€

 

 

(Optional) Favourite book box this year?

I don’t get any sub boxes. πŸ˜› Do all the boxes I’m shoving my books into to move this month count?


That’s it! Since it’s so late in the year, I’m not gonna tag anyone I don’t think. πŸ˜›

Happy reading!