Music Monday! | #1

Happy Monday! Today I’m starting a new type of post on my blog. The first Monday of every month, I’ll go into the music I’ve been listening to recently, since the previous music Monday. Since this is the first one, I’ll just go into some stuff that I’ve discovered recently.

I listen to a variety of music from metal to rock to alternative to electronica and some other things in between. Most of what I like tends to be upbeat, but that’s not a hard rule. So if you’re interesting in that kind of music, give the links I give a listen:

Genre: Alternate/Indie Rock
Genre: Electronicore
Genre: Alternative Rock
Genre: Power Metal

So all of the above I’ve discovered within the past month. I figured sticking the genres on there will help you decided which if any you wanna listen to. If you decide to give any a listen, let me know what you think! Next month I will have more!

August Book and Manga Haul! #43

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Happy still-August! This month, I got a bunch of books and manga – some I bought myself, some I received as gifts from my friends and family for my birthday. This is everything I got!

 

Hunted by Meagan Spooner – This is one of those titles that since it came out, it’s kinda sorta on your radar. Every time you see it in the store, you pick it up momentarily and then put it back down with a ‘I’ll get this eventually’. Well, I got it this time.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas – All my other editions are in paperback, but I got this hardback because I found it for three bucks, man.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green – I read the first one of these earlier this year and really enjoyed it. Lucky me, I didn’t have to wait too long for the second one.

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb – With this acquisition, I officially have all the novels that Robin Hobb has written. I don’t know how I feel.

Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko – I’ve been eyeballing this one for a while, waiting for it to come out in paperback. I found a European paperback edition online and grabbed it. I still don’t think it’s out in paperback in the US yet. I don’t think.

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor – This is a bit outside my usual genre, but I’ve picked up a couple thrillers recently and found that I like them, so… branching out!

Burn by Patrick Ness – This one, I actually went to buy on release day. The book store I went to said they had some in stock but the seller couldn’t find them. -_- Cue me coming back every weekend or so looking for the thing, which never showed. When my birthday rolled around I just said ‘eff it’ and ordered it for myself online.

I Had That Same Dream Again by Yoru Sumino – This is by the same author that wrote I Want to Eat Your Pancreas and MAN I AM HERE FOR IT. I HOPE IT BREAKS MY HEART. This was also a birthday gift from my bff :”D

Act-Age vol 1 by Tatsuya Matsuki – A couple days after I bought this, the author got himself arrested and his series was cancelled. I don’t know why he was arrested, and I’m not going to look it up until after I read this, because I don’t want to know, not yet.

Dead Mount Death Play vol 1 by Ryohgo Narita – This one I picked up on a whim after a recommendation from one of my best friends. Honestly I have no idea what it’s about, but my friend has a pretty good track record when it comes to picking out manga I’d like, so I’m keeping my hopes high.

Black Butler vol 29 by Yana Toboso – IT’S FINALLY HERE. But to be honest I kinda wanna reread the whole series first :p

Toritan: Birds of a Feather vol 1 by Kotetsuko Yamamato – I don’t know too much about this one either, aside from there’s a romance and one of the characters can talk to birds, I think?

Noragami vol 3 by Adachitoka – I’ve been after this vol for a while and finally it showed up. I think I’m gonna have to reread this series, too.

The Promised Neverland vol 1 by Kaiu Shirai – I fell in love with the first season of this anime and decided I couldn’t wait for season 2, so now I’m collecting the manga.

Ouran High School Host Club box set, vols 1-18 by Bisco Hatori – This was a birthday gift to myself. I’ve been meaning to collect this series for a while – I loved it as a teenager. So I bought the box set! It’s the full series, so now I can buzz through it all!

And that’s it!

Well, no it’s not. The same day I made the online order for the Ouran High manga over a month ago, I made another order to another website for more manga. That order hasn’t shipped yet. Hopefully it does soon, otherwise I’m probably just gonna cancel it and look elsewhere. Boo.

OKAY NOW THAT’S IT. PEACE.

2020 Anticipated Releases! #2| Top Ten Tuesday

Anticipated Releases
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl!

Happy Tuesday! This week’s topic lines up perfectly with a post I do semi-annually anyways, which is anticipated releases! I made one of these posts back in January too, in case you’re interested.

This is what I’m lookin forward to for the rest of the year. I don’t have ten but I have enough:

~~~

Malorie (Bird Box, #2)

Tentative release: July 21st

Malorie by Josh Malerman – I read Bird Box last year and really enjoyed it. The movie was decent too. But with the way the first book ended, it made me really curious what happened next! So I’m pumped about it.

Goodreads synopsis of Bird Box: Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor (An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, #2)

Tentative release: July 7th

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green – I was a late-comer to the first book in this series, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, but I ended up really enjoying it. This one picks up where the first left off and, again, I’m pumped for it.

Goodreads synopsis of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: The Carls just appeared.

Roaming through New York City at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship–like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor–April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Seizing the opportunity to make her mark on the world, April now has to deal with the consequences her new particular brand of fame has on her relationships, her safety, and her own identity. And all eyes are on April to figure out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

Black Butler, Vol. 29

Tentative release: Aug 18th

Black Butler vol 29 by Yana Toboso – I binged this series over the last few months and I am obsessed. It’s funny, it’s action-packed, it’s shocking, and heart stringy, it’s got everything, man. I am so, so very excited for this one.

Goodreads synopsis of volume 1: In the Victorian ages of London The Earl of the Phantomhive house, Ciel Phantomhive, needs to get his revenge on those who had humiliated him and destroyed what he loved. Not being able to do it alone he sells his soul to a demon he names Sebastian Michaelis. Now working as his butler, Sebastian must help the Earl Phantomhive in this suspenseful, exciting, thriller manga.

A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1)

Tentative release: Sept 29th

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik – Honestly I have zero idea what this is about, and I wanna keep it that way. It’s on my most anticipated because it’s by Naomi Novik, the author of the Temeraire series, Uprooted and Spinning Silver. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her, so I’m pretty sure I’m gonna love this too. And here’s the synopsis I didn’t actually read myself:

Goodreads synopsis: A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

Piranesi

Tentative release: Sept 15th

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – This is the author of the well-known Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which I… own, have started, and haven’t finished. hyuck. The synopsis of this one sounds super interesting though so I think I’m gonna try to read it.

Goodread synopsis: Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol. 4

Tentative release: Oct 13th

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku vol 4 by Fujita – Maaaan I’ve been waiting for this one for like a year and a half, two years, something like that. Wotakoi ended up being one of my favorite books of 2019 (or 2018, I can’t remember how long it’s been) and I’ve been pining for the next volume. It’s just so nice and refreshing and pleasant!

Goodreads synopsis of volume 1: Narumi and Hirotaka are, by all appearances, a power couple. They’re young, good-looking professionals. But they have secrets from everyone but each other: They’re serious geeks! Narumi is a fujoshi, and Hirotaka’s a hardcore gamer. Their sweet, awkward love story started life as a webcomic before becoming a full-blown manga series by popular demand

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #3)

Tentative release: Aug 11th

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – This is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most. I read Traitor and Monster, the first two books in the series, and loved them. This latest one, Tyrant, I have high hopes for. Maaaan I’m gonna get this on release day, I’m gonna I’m gonna. I’m so pumped!

Goodreads synopsis for The Traitor Baru Cormorant: Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.

~~~

And that’s it! These books I see myself definitely buying shortly after release if not exactly on release day. I think the only exception is Piranesi, but that’s only because it’s a new book and not a sequel or by an author that’s an auto-buy. But even then, I’ll get there eventually.

If you’re excited about any of these, or if you’ve got releases you think would be up my alley, lemme know! Happy reading!

January Book Haul! |#36

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It’s been a while since I posted, about since I made a post going ‘I’m gonna post consistently’. C’est la vie.

Today I’m gonna post about all the books I got this month, and I’m doing it a bit early because I’m going on a self-imposed mini ban, starting today through February 14th. Basically I got a lot this month and I wanna actually read a lot of them.

This is what I got:


Manga

I’m really on a manga kick right now. And you’ll see this in my wrap up, but I’ve literally not read anything else so far in 2020. Maybe that’ll change by the end of the month, but we’ll see.

Black Butler vol 1 by Yana Toboso – Finally bit the bullet and decided to start this series. I watched the anime a while back and thought it was decent. I wanted to see the source material though and find out if anything had been changed between the two medias.

Magus of the Library vol 1 by Mitsu Izumi – Confession here: I have no idea what this is about, aside from a Magus and a Library. I picked it up because Katy @Bookbinderway really loved it and her tastes in manga overlap mine a lot, so, Katy don’t let me down. No pressure.

All You Need is Kill by Ryosuke Takeuchi – I’ve actually read this one. If you’ve ever seen the movie Edge of Tomorrow, that Tom Cruise ‘Live, Die, Repeat’ movie, this is the source material of that. The movie definitely took some liberties but honestly I thought it was pretty solid. This manga in my opinion is even better.

O Maidens in Your Savage Season vol 5 by Mari Okada – I need to reread the first four of these before hopping into this one. This is a recent favorite series, and I hope this volume keeps it up.

Ajin: Demi-Human vol 1 by Tsuina Miura – I picked this one up at the recommendation of my husband, who watched the anime and really liked it. I tried the anime, but I couldn’t get farther than like five seconds, purely due to the animation style. I didn’t dig it. The plot though sounds neat to me, so I’m gonna try the manga instead.

Our Dining Table by Mita Ori – This. This is my first five star read of the year. This is a little one shot, fluffy BL romance and it’s so damned cute. I loved this.

Ouran High School Host Club vol 3 by Bisco Hatori – Going through and collecting this still. I’ll read them eventually, probably after I have at least half of them.

Otomen vols 1-12 by Aya Kanno – I’m also on a shojo manga kick and guys. Guys. This is one of the most ridiculous series I’ve ever read. I like it. I shouldn’t. But I do. I’ve read four volumes so far and literally in volume four a guys chucked a shark over his head. It’s. ridiculous. But I can’t stop, hahahaaa

Books

The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb – The trek I had to go through to get a copy of this damned book, man. I ordered it in early December, and it never came. Never came, never came. Then, I get a message from the seller going ‘so…. we received this book back – USPS returned it to us because it was damaged.’ and I was all ‘oh no, can you send me another’ and they went, ‘No 😦 that was our only copy’.

Cue me finding another seller, ordering it, aaaaaand…. it never came. Eventually, I contacted this seller, too, saying ‘what gives’. They respond with ‘we’re having trouble getting a copy of this from our supplier. Would you like to cancel or wait?’

As soon as I finished being mopey about it, I responded saying that if they can confirm the supplier is working on it, I’ll wait, but otherwise, I’ll cancel. Then I get an email with shipping confirmation, and the seller replies with ‘well it just shipped, so’.

It arrived. It’s above. That’s it. Goodness. I’ll eventually buddy read this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks and it’ll be neat.

The Wolf by Leo Carew – My buddy got me this book! And then I dropped it twice and bent it up. Whoops. I’m still digging it though – I’m in the middle of it right now.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – Jumped on the bandwagon with this one. Honestly I’m not sure if I’m gonna like it or not. I hope I do, but we’ll see.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – Bandwagon buy. Might be neat!

Jerusalem by Alan Moore – This is a bucketlist book. One of those ‘I’ll read it some day’ books, but I saw it for cheap, and I knew I wouldn’t see it that cheap again. PS I can’t get the damned sticker off without ripping the cover. So there’s that.

Windwitch and Sightwitch by Susan Dennard – These aren’t actually going on my TBR, as I’ve read both of them at this point via audio. But I saw them for cheap so I got’em. All I need is Bloodwitch now.


And that’s it! As you can see from above, I got a decent amount. On the plus side though, I paid list price for 0 of them, so pbtbtbt. Ban for me, then fun manga things which I’ll get into later. Peace!

 

Anticipated 2020 Releases! | #1

Anticipated Releases

Happy day! This is the last day of my blogmas, which I’ve been doing since November. It’s been a long (yet fast) month and a half. I’m rather pumped about it.

Today I wanna talk about 2020 releases that I’m pumped for that are coming out between January and June.  Releases for the second half of the year will be… posted towards the second half of the year.

I’ve got ten titles to talk about! All release dates are tentative. As usual, because I haven’t read these and all I can say about them is ‘I’m pumped’, this will be release date, cover if available, and summary.


The Seep by Chana Porter

The Seep

Release date: Jan 21st

Goodreads synopsis: Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a fifty-year-old trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity called The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.

Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seeptech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.

Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina follows a lost boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind. A strange new elegy of love and loss, The Seep explores grief, alienation, and the ache of moving on.

Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Highfire

Release date: Jan 28th

Goodreads synopsis: In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs—now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie—now he goes by Vern. However…he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone. Or are they?

A canny Cajun swamp rat, young Everett “Squib” Moreau does what he can to survive, trying not to break the heart of his saintly single mother. He’s finally decided to work for a shady smuggler—but on his first night, he witnesses his boss murdered by a crooked constable.

Regence Hooke is not just a dirty cop, he’s a despicable human being—who happens to want Squib’s momma in the worst way. When Hooke goes after his hidden witness with a grenade launcher, Squib finds himself airlifted from certain death by…a dragon?

The swamp can make strange bedfellows, and rather than be fried alive so the dragon can keep his secret, Squib strikes a deal with the scaly apex predator. He can act as his go-between (aka familiar)—fetch his vodka, keep him company, etc.—in exchange for protection from Hooke. Soon the three of them are careening headlong toward a combustible confrontation. There’s about to be a fiery reckoning, in which either dragons finally go extinct—or Vern’s glory days are back.

Finna by Nino Cipri

Finna

Release date: Feb 25th

Goodreads synopsis: When an elderly customer at a big box furniture store slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but our two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago.

Can friendship blossom from the ashes of a relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.

Docile by K. M. Szparza

Docile

Release date: March 3rd

Goodreads Synopsis: To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future.

Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.

Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson

The Empire of Dreams (Fire and Thorns, #4)

Release date: April 7th

Note: This is the start of a sequel series to The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, which I read years ago and really liked. Also, the name ‘Red Sparkle Stone’ is cracking me up.

Goodreads synopsis: Even though Red Sparkle Stone is a foundling orphan with an odd name and a veiled past, she’s about to be adopted into the royal family—by Empress Elisa herself. Sixteen-year-old Red can hardly believe her luck. Then, in a stunning political masterstroke, the empress’s greatest rival blocks the adoption, and Red is left with no family and no future.

Grieving and lost, but determined to find her place, Red hatches a daring plan: she will prove herself as a recruit for the world’s most elite fighting force, the legendary Royal Guard—something no woman has done before. But it’s no coincidence that someone wanted her to fail as a princess, someone whose shadowy agenda puts everything she loves at risk. As danger closes in, it will be up to Red and her new friends—and maybe some new enemies—to save the empire. If they can survive recruitment year.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)

Release date: May 19th

Note: This is a preqel to the Hunger games, which I read years ago and thought was pretty decent.

Goodreads synopsis: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.

 

Malorie by Josh Malerman

Malorie (Bird Box, #2)

Release date: May 19th

I’m not listing the goodread synopsis for this one, because all it says is ‘hey this is the sequel to Bird Box! It was on Netflix! Netflix Netflix! You get the idea.

Stormblood by Jeremy Szal

Stormblood (The Common, #1)

Release date: June 4th

Goodreads synopsis: Vakov Fukasawa used to be a Reaper, a biosoldier fighting for the intergalactic governing body of Harmony against a brutal invading empire. Now, he fights against the stormtech: the DNA of an extinct alien race Harmony injected into him, altering his body chemistry and making him permanently addicted to adrenaline and aggression. It made him the perfect soldier, but it also opened a new drug market that has millions hopelessly addicted to their own body chemistry.

But when Harmony tells him that his former ally Reapers are being murdered, Vakov is appalled to discover his estranged brother is likely involved in the killings. They haven’t spoken in years, but Vakov can’t let his brother down, and investigates. But the deeper he goes, the more addicted to stormtech he becomes, and Vakov discovers that the war might not be over after all. It’ll take everything he has to unearth this terrible secret, although doing so might mean betraying his brother. If his own body doesn’t betray him first.

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Tyrant Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #3)

Release date: June 9th

This is the one I’m most excited for!

Goodreads synopsis (spoilers for books 1 and 2): The hunt is over. After fifteen years of lies and sacrifice, Baru Cormorant has the power to destroy the Imperial Republic of Falcrest that she pretends to serve. The secret society called the Cancrioth is real, and Baru is among them.

But the Cancrioth’s weapon cannot distinguish the guilty from the innocent. If it escapes quarantine, the ancient hemorrhagic plague called the Kettling will kill hundreds of millions…not just in Falcrest, but all across the world. History will end in a black bloodstain.

Is that justice? Is this really what Tain Hu hoped for when she sacrificed herself?

Baru’s enemies close in from all sides. Baru’s own mind teeters on the edge of madness or shattering revelation. Now she must choose between genocidal revenge and a far more difficult path — a conspiracy of judges, kings, spies and immortals, puppeteering the world’s riches and two great wars in a gambit for the ultimate prize.

If Baru had absolute power over the Imperial Republic, she could force Falcrest to abandon its colonies and make right its crimes.

The Angel of Crows by Katherine Addison

No cover available as of today!

Release date: June 23rd

Goodreads synopsis: In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.


And that’s it! There are a lot of book I’m looking forward to in the first half of the year alone. We’ll see how many I actually read.

Happy reading!

Manga for Beginners! – Recs for new manga readers

Manga recs

Hello! Today’s post is for those who have seen the online book community picking up more and more manga, are interested in trying it, but have no idea where to start.

For those who already are knee deep in reading manga, a lot of these recommendations will seem super obvious (which… is the point! Easy to pick up and get into) So if you’ve ever been curious about manga, but haven’t read it yet, here are some places you could start. I myself have been reading manga since I was about 14, so 2004. I’ve got a lot of favorites, and a lot that I read one volume and went ‘yikes’. There’s something for everyone though, you just need to find what you like.

But we’ll begin with the basics:

How to read a manga

Most manga are published in their original format: right-to-left, which is what I think puts off a lot of potential readers. I promise, it’s not that bad, and once you get used to it, it’s as natural a process as reading an American-style graphic novel.

Image titled Read Manga Step 8

(Picture above and below sourced from wikiHow, if you’d like a fuller explanation of how to read manga, check out their how-to page)

So you see, right to left. Look at the top section – a large rectangle encompasses the first three panels. You read the right section, then the left one, top to bottom. Then four and five have their own rectangle, and six is by itself in its own as well. A lot of times, the art will reach across panels, but this is the basic pattern, and it’ll become identifiable to your eye pretty quickly. Another example of the right-to-left, top-to-bottom style is this:

Image titled Read Manga Step 9

See the top rectangle’s ‘right section’ is comprised of two pictures? Read the entire right section first – the top and the bottom, then move over to the left section. Simple, right? You read the entire manga like this – you start at what would be the ‘back’ in a western comic, and flip the pages backwards, reading like shown above the whole time.

Don’t worry – if you forget and open what would be the ‘front’ of a western comic, which is actually the back of a manga, there’s usually a warning page that says ‘stop! you’re reading the wrong way!’ along with a diagram shown above to teach you how to read the panels. So dun worry, you won’t accidentally read the thing backwards.

Where to start

I’m gonna base this on genres of books! So if you hopefully you’ll find some stuff for you!

If you like contemporary fiction, you might like…

Silver Spoon, Vol. 1

Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa – This is a nice slice-of-life manga with some comedic elements about a city-dweller student who goes to agricultural school. It delves into themes concerning self-motivation, ambition or lack thereof, the grit about where your food actually comes from, and the realities of running a farm. It’s a really good solid, light-hearted yet also serious-sometimes series. It has a lot of cute animals, good side characters, a main character that sometimes doesn’t quite know what he wants, and I find it very relatable, even though I have literally never touched a cow in my life. I wrote a review on the first volume, if you want more non-spoilerly thoughts on it.

Hotel Africa, Volume 1

Hotel Africa by Hee Jung Park – Technically this is a manhwa, which is a Korean comic. Same concepts to manga though, so no worries, there’s not another reading style to learn. This is another slice of life, following two timelines around the same character: Elvis. In one, Elvis is four, living with his mother at Hotel Africa, a hotel out in the middle of nowhere in Utah, where Elvis interacts with the guests who come wandering in. The other timeline follows Elvis as an adult, dealing with friends and life. Both timelines have a theme to them that kind of pull at your heartstrings. It’s a very sedated pace, but the intricacies of the characters that are explored within are very well developed. I wrote a spoiler-free review on this one too!

If you like thrillers and/or mysteries, you might like…

Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom (Death Note, #1)

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba – This is in my top five manga series of all time, and it’s definitely thrilling. It follows the main character, Light Yagami, when he finds a Death Note, a notebook dropped by a god of death. When you write a name in the note, that person dies. I don’t wanna give away much more, but… this series is smart, it’s suspenseful, it’s twisty and turny and very exciting. And, it’s relatively short! Twelve volumes. It obviously has some fantastical elements – gods of death, yada yada, but it’s set in modern day (maybe early 2000s). If you check only one thing out in this list, make it this one.

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit, Volume 1 (Ikigami, #1)

Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit by Motoro Mase – This is a modern day dystopian series followed the man on the cover in a world where the government has decided it needs to remind its citizens of the value of life. To do this, all babies are injected with a capsule at birth… most are harmless and do nothing. Every so often, though, that capsule will kill the person it’s injected into at a randomly set day in the future. Twenty four hours before that person is to die, the main character or someone like him shows up at their door and hands them an ikigami: a death notice. The story follows all the different people living out their last day before they die, and the thoughts of the man who has to tell them it’s going to happen.

Case Closed, Vol. 1 (Meitantei Conan #1)

Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama – Now I gotta warn you, this one is long (it’s still ongoing and it has been for years) but it’s really easy to read and sucks you in right away. It follows Shin’ichi Kudo, an ameteur detective who witnesses something he shouldn’t, and then in an attempt to kill him, the people he saw unknowingly turn him into the kid pictured above. The story follows Shin’ichi as he tries to find the people who turned him into a kid. It’s very episodic and each chapter is a Sherlock Holmes-esque crime. It’s really, really good.

If you like magical realism and light romance, you might like…

Orange: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (Orange: The Complete Collection, #1)

Orange by Ichigo Takano – This one I’ve seen around a lot recently. It seems like a lot of people are using this as their gateway, and after reading it myself, I can see why. It’s easy to pick up, and it’s short – two bind-ups and a normal sized epilogue of sorts. This follows a girl among her group of friends who receives a letter from herself ten years in the future, warning her that one of her friends is in danger, and she must protect him. This one covers deep topics like suicide, so be aware.

Fruits Basket, Vol. 1

Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya – This was actually one of my gateway manga in high school, hehe. It follows the main character Tohru, on the cover, after she is kicked out of her family’s house and decides to live in a tent in the woods… only to find she was camping on the Sohma property. The Sohma family takes her in, and she soon discovers they’ve been cursed with the signs of the zodiac, and whenever someone of the opposite sex hugs them, they transform into animals. This one is really, really cute and sweet. Tohru is a precious little bean, each member of the Sohma family is unique, and the plot that develops is pretty great. PS the cover above is out of print, but they do have bind-up editions that are currently being printed, which should be fairly easy to find.

If you like historical fiction, you might like…

Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 01

Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki – This manga is set in Meiji Era Japan, eleven years after the fall of the Bakamatsu regime. It follows Kenshin, who was known as Battousai the Man Slayer during the bloody revolution. Now living as a wanderer, he has sworn off killing, and is trying to live in penance for his actions. The characters in this series are inspired here and there by real people, and you get cool reference pages in between the chapters, detailing where each character came from. It’s really good.

InuYasha: Turning Back Time (InuYasha, #1)

Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi – This is a historical fantasy, first off, so know that. It follows the girl on the cover, Kagome, after she falls down an ancient well on her family’s shrine, and appears five hundred years in the past, surrounded by Japanese demons of myth and legend. After she accidentally breaks the Shikon Jewel, a powerful gem that grants its user great strength, into fragments, she then goes on a journey to collect them all before they can fall into the wrong hands. This series is a tad dated – ‘modern’ day, Kagome’s time, is 1997. But it’s neat, the characters are fun, it’s funny, and there’s a bit of romance, too. This one is one of my all-time favorites.

If you like fantasy, you might like…

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

Noragami by Adachitoka – Now, I’ve only read two volumes of this so far, but from what I’ve read, this has the makings of a solid manga. It follows Yato, a god without a shrine, as he leaves his phone number scrawled on bathroom walls in hopes of getting people to call him so he can help them and gain some spiritual followers. Two volumes in, and there are already some interesting characters, some neat creature designs, and the beginnings of a good overarching plot. This was nice and easy to pick up and get into.

Delicious in Dungeon, Vol. 1

Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui – You’ll probably really appreciate this comedy fantasy if you’re a fan of Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder or some other dungeon crawler game. It follows a group of rag-tag people who end up together, trying to survive within a dungeon, after one’s sister is kidnapped by a dragon. In the meantime, on the quest to retrieve the sister, they catch and eat as many dungeon monsters as they can. Who knew treasure chest mimics were delicious?

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

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa – Recognize the name? Same author who did Silver Spoon! Very, very different manga, though. This manga is also in my top-five favorites ever. It follows Edward and Alphonse Elric, shown on the cover. When the boys were young, their mother died, and they used alchemy to try to bring her back. It didn’t go well though, and as a result, Ed lost his arm and leg, and Al lost his entire body. All that remains is his soul, tethered to a suit of armor. As the story takes off, you follow the two on their journey to get their original bodies back. This is probably one of the most amazing plots I’ve read in a manga, honestly. The plot twists, the scope, the characters, the depth. It’s all absolutely amazing and I honestly feel it’s a masterpiece.


And that’s it! I’m thinking this’ll be enough to get you started. If you’re a new manga reader, and end up liking any of these, do let me know! And if you wanna talk shop or more recs or anything, shoot me a comment! I hope this guide is able to help someone out!

2018 Anticipated Releases | July-December

Anticipated Releases

Happy Half-Way-Through-2018! (obligitory ‘what no how did time happen it went so fast blah de blah’). One day the space-time continuum will knock it off and then we’ll be fine.

This is a continuation of a post I made back in January, which covered releases from January through June. I figured it’d be easier with release dates and yada yada.

Like last time, I can’t really say much about the books aside from ‘I’m excited for them’ so these will contain mostly release dates, synopses, and maybe a little bit of me foaming at the mouth.


Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning SilverAnticipated release date: July 10th

Goodreads synopsis: Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.


Everything I’ve ever read by Naomi Novik, I’ve loved. I’m currently rereading her Temeraire series and Uprooted was one of my faves last year or two years ago. Am v. excited.

Rejoice, A Knife to the Heart by Steven Erikson

Rejoice, A Knife to the HeartAnticipated Release Date: October something-th

Goodreads synopsis: Rejoice, A Knife to the Heart tells the story of the Intervention, which begins when Samantha August, science fiction writer, disappears into a beam of light, apparently from a UFO, while walking along a busy street in Victoria, Canada. While footage of the incident – captured on smartphones – goes viral, Samantha wakes up in a small room, where she is greeted by the voice of Adam, who explains that they are in orbit and he is AI communicant of the Intervention Delegation, a triumvirate of alien civilisations seeking to ensure the continuing evolution of Earth as a viable biome. Thus begins an astonishing, provocative, beautifully written and startlingly visionary novel of First Contact.


So, Malazan is on my list of things to read, but it’s intimidating. I figure starting with another of the author’s books might uh… acclimatize me.

Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual History by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Sam Witwer

Dungeons and Dragons Art and Arcana: A Visual HistoryAnticipated Release Date: October 23rd

Goodreads synopsis: Dungeons and Dragons is the most iconic and pervasive gaming franchise in the world. It is a seminal RPG (role-playing game) and the inspiration for video games like World of Warcraft and Zelda, fantasy art, and countless other facets of “geek culture.” This officially licensed illustrated history provides an unprecedented look at the visual evolution of the game, showing its continued influence on the worlds of pop culture and fantasy. It features more than 700 pieces of artwork–from each edition of the game’s core books, supplements, and modules; decades of Dragon and Dungeon magazines; classic advertisements and merchandise; and never-before-seen sketches, large-format canvases, rare photographs, one-of-a-kind drafts, and more from the now-famous designers and artists associated with the game. The superstar author team gained unparalleled access to the archives of Wizards of the Coast and the personal collections of top collectors, as well as the designers and illustrators who created the distinctive characters, concepts, and visuals that have defined fantasy art and gameplay for generations. This is the most comprehensive collection of D&D imagery ever assembled, making this the ultimate collectible for the game’s millions of fans around the world.


I AM SO PUMPED FOR THIS BOOK, MAN. UGH.

The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Monster Baru Cormorant (Baru Cormorant, #2)Anticipated Release Date: October 30th

As this is a sequel, here is the Goodreads synopsis to the first book in the series: Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.


This is my absolute number one anticipated book. I am dying for it.

I NEED IT.

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And that’s it! I decided to do a bit different than the last post – I posted the books I’m absolutely certain I will purchase. Many of the ones from the Jan-June list are still unread and unpurchased both. So these are the top of the top, man.

So! What are you looking forward to this year and why is it The Monster Baru Cormorant? Also, I mean, other books too. Happy reading!