Favorite books of 2020!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I cried.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A decade in review: Favorite books and other stuff

top books 2017

This is gonna be a neat post!

PS I’m still grumpy that my comments were turned off for a month without my realizing it. Even if you have nothing to say about this post, say hi, because now I crave human interaction, augh.


So! Favorite reads of the decade. I’ve only been actively tracking my reading since 2011, when I joined Goodreads, so 2010 is gonna be a bit of a challenge to remember what I read.

I’m also gonna add in a bit of what I was doing each year… just because I don’t think a separate point on all that is warranted, but I wanna reminisce. It’ll all be in the second paragraph of each year, so you can skip that one if you’re not interested!

2010

In 2010, I was doing mostly rereads if I remember. Before I started tracking my reading, I didn’t really branch out. I do have one book for this year though:

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I read this when I was in college for my psychology degree, in the one literature class that was required of me. The professor picked this out, and I remember being told to read 5 chapters a week… but I read the entire book in that first week. I couldn’t put it down. And then after, I would have to refresh myself each week on the contents of that week so I wouldn’t spoil anything for my classmates who were actually following the curriculum. It was a fun time, and thinking of this book reminds me of being in college for that degree (I went twice for two different ones).

I turned 20 in 2010. During this time, I was living off campus with my best friend in an apartment nearby. It was the first year I was doing it: the previous two years of college I attended were from home and at a community college. I was a junior, and experiencing self-management for the first time in my life. I adjusted to it quite well, I think. I was never late for class, I rarely skipped, I kept up my grades, and I made some good friends I still have to this day. 2010 was a good year.

2011

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 27 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #27)

2011 was the first year I joined Goodreads, and that year, I read 13 books. By far, my favorite was volume 27 of Fullmetal Alchemist. It’s the final volume of the series, and I read it right after it came out in December of that year. I adore this series, and the finale was so satisfying and I loved it.

In 2011, I was still in college, and in the fall, my senior year. I was living in the same apartment with my same friend, but that year we allowed another friend to move into our living room after their housing became unavailable. Honestly I kind of hated my life during that. The house became a disaster zone. It went from a comfy apartment to a place that I didn’t feel welcome, didn’t feel at home, didn’t feel like it was my space anymore. When I was home, I never left my room – I even kept my food that didn’t need refrigerated, my silverware and kitchen stuff in my room with me. I joined a bunch of clubs and stuff that year specifically so I wouldn’t have to be home. I hated my apartment that year. It was not a good situation for all three of us. The books I read that year though, were wonderful. A lot of them were library books, and I picked them because I was spending extra time at the campus library. They definitely got me through the year. Out of all these years, 2011 is the crappiest one.

2012

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)

In 2012, I read 14 books. A lot of them were text books I read for classes. My favorite was The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. It’s such a dark, gristley book, and it honestly caught me off guard. I actually got creeped out reading this, and I loved it. I’ve since collected books two and three of the series but haven’t read them. I’ll have to reread this before I can read them, as I don’t remember the details of the book at this point, but I do remember the feelings I got. This was a great book, people. Definitely worth the read.

2012 was a very good year. I graduated college with a bachelor’s in psychology, I moved out of my apartment living arrangement and back in home with my parents. I was unemployed for the first three months after graduating, so I did some traveling! I went to Chicago in May or June to check out a grad school. That didn’t pan out but the friend I went with did, and shock, he is now my husband. We also went to historic Williamsburg, VA, and Busch Gardens in July that summer. My husband and I started officially dating in August, and in late August, I got a job as Therapeutic Staff Support, which was a decent job for what it was. I ended up working there for two years. And then the apocalypse didn’t happen in December of 2012 so that was nice.

2013

The Dark City (Relic Master, #1)

According to Goodreads, I complete 0 books in 2013. I really dropped off reading that year – I didn’t buy much, and I didn’t read, either. I did however start The Dark City by Catherine Fisher in 2013, even though I didn’t actually complete it until 2014. So this is the one I’m going with. I really adore this series, mostly because it got me interested in reading again. You’ll see next year my reading picks up a lot. And I owe it to this series for doing it. It’s so underrated, I think – I’ve never seen anyone talk about it. It’s so good!

2013 was a decent year. It was very status-quo. I was working as a TSS, dating my husband, living at home. I did a bit of traveling, too. Went to Niagara Falls in March, went to Hershey, Harrisburg and Gettysburg all in one trip during the summer, and I went to my first ever ‘traditional’ rock concert: Infection Mushroom. Technically they’re electronic, not rock, but it’s the first one where I was in a mosh. It was intense, man. Also, the big rubber duck came to Pittsburgh!

2014

In 2014, my reading bumped! I read 30 books that year! I actually have more than one favorite this year, so I’m gonna list a couple (and probably will do so from this year on):

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessSnow Crash by Neal StephensonMy faves were The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Both of these books really sparked me to read more, the first one in particular. I remember flying through this book, and I remember getting the next two right away and looking at them lovingly in my room.

2014 was an interesting year. I started this blog in 2014! I originally did so with the intent of starting a youtube after, but once I hit that deadline, I decided I liked the blog format better. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll start a youtube, but I have no plans to do so right now. I also quit my job as a TSS and went back to college to get another degree, this time in computer science. I also moved in with my husband this year. We’ve (obviously) been living together ever since. I remember my advisor showing me my class schedule and was like ‘You already have all the electives because of your first degree, but with the way the pre-reqs are stacked, you’ll still be here til Spring of 2017’ and I remember thinking ‘WOW THAT’S SO FAR AWAY’. Hahahahahah. hahahahahaha. ha.

I saw Sonata Arctica live for the first time in 2014, one of my favorite metal bands. I also went to Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Hampton VA! During the fall I went to San Francisco to present a project I was involved in too!

2015

In Order to Live by Yeonmi ParkThe Fold by Peter ClinesPerdido Street Station by China MiévilleThe Martian by Andy Weir

 

 

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In 2015, I really really jumped up the number of books I read. I finished a whopping 111 books! My blog was starting to take off, and I fell into the ‘THERE ARE SO MANY BOOKS’ trap that we all hit when we join the book community and our eyes are opened to just how many books there are. Favorite of 2015 included In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park, which I still think about, The Fold by Peter Clines, Perdido Street Station by China Mieville and The Martian by Andy Weir!

In 2015, I was in the middle of my computer science degree, and I got a job at the technology desk in the campus library, helping students with computer problems. This honestly is the best job I’ve ever had. I remember during winter break – Jan 2015, I was working full time, but barely anyone was there as it was winter semester, a short one between the two main fall/spring ones. I literally got paid to binge X-Files for a month at my work computer. My boss knew it too – he was in his office binging The Office. Spring 2015, I went to Washington DC for the Sakura Blossom Festival, which was the third time I done so but was still as neat as ever, and then in the summer, I went to Rehoboth Beach with my husband’s family, and to Niagara Falls again (I like it there, pbtbt). I also went to Ohio and saw Nightwish live for the first time, my favorite ever metal band.

2016

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin HobbUprooted by Naomi NovikLeviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyIn 2016, my reading dropped a bit, 56 books. I started getting more and more into thick fantasy books, so while I read fewer, I had a lot of new favorites as a result. Namely, I started reading Robin Hobb, and finished out the entire Farseer trilogy that year. I buddy read I think from book two onward with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks (that means we’ve known each other for at least four years now, wow!). Robin Hobb has since become one of my favorite authors of all time and will stay there forever. Other favorites of the year were Uprooted by Naomi Novik and Leviathan’s Wake by James S. A. Corey, which really awakened my interest in science fiction.

2016 was full of traveling. I was still in college but used my breaks to my advantage: Went to Prospect, New Haven, and Mystic Connecticut in March to visit a buddy, went to Philadelphia in the summer, and the biggest trip of all: went to Malaysia in December to see one of my best friends get married. I met my friend when we were 14 and 16 respectively online on fanfiction.net of all places. We kept in touch all this time, talked daily for years, then talked less often as we got older and started jobs/school/etc etc. We stayed in touch though. It became a running joke that when she got married, that she’d invite me. When she finally did get engaged, she said, “So.. are you coming?” So I did. I flew literally to the other side of the planet and saw my bestie get married, and it was wonderful.

A month before we flew out, my husband and I got engaged! I proposed to him with a gummy bear and it went horribly, but he still said yes for some reason, so that was neat. I also got an internship at a software company that would end up offering me a job upon graduation, so that was really nice, too. 2016 was a great year for me. For the country? Not so much. But for me, it was wonderful.

2017

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth DickinsonThe Black Prism by Brent WeeksIn 2017 my reading dropped a tad more, 50 books. The reasoning, I know was my work load with my classes. It was nuts. But more about that in paragraph two. My favorite books this year were The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson and The Black Prism by Brent Weeks. The first, I’ve reread since and the second I’m still working on my initial read of the series. I’m on book four now! I read a lot of really great books this year, despite the number itself being smaller. I’m ok with that though – I’d rather read fewer and love them than read more and not like them.

In 2017, I went to Niagara Falls again (this is the last time, I promise). I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, took the weekend off, and then started work the following Monday as a software developer at a software firm. I still work there to this day! I like it there, it’s neat. My workload my final semester though was insane. Like, it was crazy. During this final semester – Spring of 2017 – I had my first panic attack. I’ve only had a couple since then, but the way my own professor taught my course, the way he pressured us, the workload he gave, the threats he gave about failing us, it just got to me. I mean, he was a smart guy, and actually really nice outside of class, but in class? He literally gave me anxiety. Before this I had none. Now I have some, and I blame him for it. Woot. PS – the whole ‘YOUR WORK WILL TREAT YOU EXACTLY LIKE THIS’ he jammed down our throats during class is not true. My work is the chillest damned place.

I also got married in 2017! We tied the knot on Aug 1st, the day of our five year dating anniversary. We had a small cook out in my in-laws’ back yard with about fifty people and it was lovely. The next day, we left on our honeymoon and spent two weeks on a cruise ship floating around Hawaii. This was the best trip of my life and I almost… mourn it? That it’s over? It was such a happy time in my life, so care-free, so warm and magical. I really, really miss my honeymoon. I also ended up going back to Connecticut over Christmas break to visit my buddy again, and that was a blast as well!

2018

Senlin Ascends by Josiah BancroftSpinning Silver by Naomi NovikWotakoi by FujitaGolden Fool by Robin Hobb

 

 

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2018 was a good reading year. With school over, I got more time to indulge again. I read 88 books in 2018, and I really liked a lot of them. My favorites that year were Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, Wotakoi by Fujita and the top of them all: Golden Fool by Robin Hobb. I liked the whole Tawny Man trilogy by Hobb, but Golden Fool was by far my favorite. Man, I get all warm and happy just thinking about it now. This is the year I really think I honed my reading tastes. I got rid of a lot of books I had that I realized weren’t for me.

2018 was another status quo year, a good one. Working, married, yada yada. Went to see the Foo Fighters live, definitely a bucket list thing, and went to Chicago again for my one year anniversary. In the fall, over Halloween, went to Disney World for the first time in my life, along with Universal too! And in December, Meredith @Allboutthembooksandstuff came and visited me for a week! I met her shortly after meeting my Malaysia buddy – she actually introduced me! So we three and one other who I have yet to meet in person are all buds, and I’ve been trying to see them in person now that I’m an adult with like… money. One day, all four of us will meet together. ❤

2019

Deathless by Catherynne M. ValenteAssassin's Fate by Robin HobbO Maidens in Your Savage Season 1 by Mari Okada

The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

 

 

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2019 was another boom year when it came to books – 118 of them! I really got back into manga this year. When I was in high school I read almost solely manga, and while I still read occasionally this decade, I didn’t nearly as much as I did this year. So much good stuff is coming out, man. So much. Some favorites for this year are Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb, O Maidens in Your Savage Season by Mari Okada, and The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. All of these books are stellar, and I really recommend you pick them up (and their prequels, very necessary)

2019 was good! Same job, same husband! Went again to Connecticut in the spring, where I stayed again with my buddy pal. In the summer, I went to an anime convention for the first time. Me, Katy @Bookbinderway and Sarah @WindsorWrites piled into a car with all our stuff, and zoomed over to DC for Otakon, which is one of the largest anime conventions in the country. And man, was that awesome. I’m going to another in February with them too and I’m so pumped! Shortly after, for our second anniversary, my husband and I went to New York City, both to just see what all the hubbub was and to see Moulin Rouge in Broadway, which is something I’ve wanted to do since before it was a broadway show. That’s my favorite movie, by the way. So it was a bucket list thing I’ve had since like 2004. And it was grand. I’ll tell you what though: NYC is stinky. I liked the stuff we did there but the city itself is so smelly! Augh!

I also saw Iron Maiden live this year, and it was totally awesome!


And that’s it. Ten years of books, of life, of travel, of music, of friends and family. It was all lovely, and writing all this out made me both happy and sad at the same time. I turn 30 later this year and to think at the beginning, I was just turning 20. It’s weird, it’s weird, it’s weird.

If you took the time to read this, thank you. If you didn’t, that’s ok too, I know I rambled a lot.

I hope you all had a good decade. I did.

Favorite books of 2019!

top books 2017

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

Honorable mention

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

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

2019 Favorites

Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire, #8)

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

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Complete Four-Panel Comics

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

The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, #2)

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

O Maidens in Your Savage Season 1

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

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

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

Deathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)

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


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

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

10 in 2020

Blogmas 2019

It’s time to make a new list! As I write this, I’m on track to complete my 10 in 2019, and unless something goes horribly wrong, I should do so. That means it’s new-list time!

Technically this is still my blogmas, as I posted that I’d be doing it through early January, so get ready to keep seeing me pop into your feed for the next week or two.

Anyways, these are the top ten books I want to read in 2020. They will (mostly) align to my Fantasy Bingo, in the hopes that I get them done early this year and not racing the clock at the last minute, so wish me luck:

  1. The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
  2. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
  3. Pestilence by Laura Thalassa
  4. The Scar by China Mieville
  5. Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
  6. The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemison
  7. Heaven’s Devil by William C. Dietz
  8. That Time I Was Reincarnated by a Slime vol 1 by Fuse
  9. The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams
  10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

And that’s it! I think I have a good mix in there – light novels, sci-fis, fantasies, and even a classic. The classic is intimidating me honestly, but that’s why I chose it.

Lemme know what your top reads for 2020 are! Happy reading!

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!

Coffee Time: Top read authors

Blogmas 2018

Today’s post is a follow up of Tuesday’s, which was my top owned author list. These are the ones I’ve actually read. And hey, everyone on today’s list was also on Tuesday’s list so I won’t go into author detail like I did last time. At least I’m consistent, yeh?


J.K. Rowling – 9 books

Naomi Novik – 9 books

Sarah J Maas – 9 books

Robin Hobb – 11 books

Eoin Colfer – 12 books

As you can see, I’m a creature of habit. Writing this makes me want to do an updated series of posts about unfinished series that I will be completing and ones that I won’t. I think it was around this time last year that I posted them, so they’re about due for an update.

If you’ve read any of these authors, do let me know. Happy reading!

Favorite Books of 2017

Top Books 2017

Hello! This is one of my favorite posts to write every year – my favorite books! Any books that made this list were rated 5 stars by me and were also added to my ‘favorites’ list on goodreads (so think of them like 6 star books I guess). So, not all of my five-star books will be on this list. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love them, but it just means they weren’t my absolute top favorites. This list will obviously change in size from year to year because of this, because a favorite is a favorite.

So sit back, relax, and witness what white-russian-fueled-emily comes up with 😀


Descender Vol 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire

Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars

This graphic novel is the one and only that made my favorites list this year. Other series I’m currently reading (Saga cough Saga) also got a 5 stars from me, but this is the one that made the favorites list.

This series has a bit of everything – adorableness, shock factor, sci-fi elements, beautiful art, mystery, thriller… I absolutely loved it. The art style especially had me smitten – each picture looks like a water color painting. It’s gorgeous! There are three or four trade volumes out right now I think. Something like that. I need to get the rest of them!

It follows a young boy robot, who wakes up out of a sleep years after planet-sized artificial intelligence beings have attacked and ravagd intelligent life in the universe, then vanished without a trace. As a result, AI has been outlawed, and robots are actively hunted down and dismantled. Tim-21, a companion robot to a human boy, crosses the galaxy, trying to find his human companion family amidst this chaos, and slowly learns what occurred during the attack years ago and why he might be more than he was programmed to be.

AHH IT’S SUPER GOOD.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)This was a surprising read for me. I picked this book up in January after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses (which… I ended up liking despite low expectations) and was blown away by how much better this book was than the first one. I mean sure, the first one was decent, but the love interest was definitely uh… problematic, which was my main issue. But this book man. It totally made up for it. I looooved this book.

And then I picked up the third book and was a bit underwhelmed. But this book! The second in the trilogy! This is definitely the strongest of the three.

This series follows a young woman after she shoots and kills a fae with a bow and arrow, and then is whisked away into fae land to pay retribution, Beauty and the Beast-style. Honestly I wasn’t expecting much going into it but this book in particular really blew me away. I loved it!

The Black Prism and The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks

The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1)The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2)These are books one and two in the Lightbringer series, which I have been devouring all year and loving every second of it. I’m currently in the middle of the third book, and plan to read the fourth this coming year. And the fifth and final book is set to release in 2018 as well, so hopefully I can latch onto that one, too!

This series follows a cast of characters in a world revolving around color. The magic system involves the users ‘drafting’ colors into physical material. Those who are found to be able to perform this task are called drafters, and can usually cast one or two colors. Sometimes three. Occasionally and rarely, more than that. And then there’s the Prism, the head of the Chromeria where the book takes place, who can draft them all.

And the more a user drafts, the quicker it brings them to death. Drafting slowly drives them insane.

The plot follows the Prism, who finds out he has a son from a woman he had seen when he was fighting the False Prism’s War, a war where the prism and his brother both fought for the seat as Prism.

This book has all sorts of stuff: Humor, action, adventure, a good cast of characters, a great magic system, good world building, intrigue… all sorts of things. I loooove this series. I love it!

Also look at those covers. I just adore them.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The Traitor Baru Cormorant (Baru Cormorant #1)This book. This book is probably my absolute top favorite book of the year. It’s just… It’s just so fantastic.

I wrote a full, spoiler-free review where I go more into my thoughts, if you’d like to read it.

This book just left me speechless. It follows a girl, Baru, as her home is destroyed around her by the looming Masquerade, a remote empire that slowly takes over and colonizes her country. And instead of getting red hot, Baru gets icy cold. She vows to blend in, to maneuver her way to the top, and to tear down the Mask from the inside.

This book is fantastic – you read it and you think you know what’s going on. You think you know who’s good and who’s bad, what’s happening, what people’s intentions are… and then it’s pulled out from underneath you and your jaw drops and just…

AUGH I LOVED THIS BOOK. <333

Book two is supposedly coming out in 2018, and I’ma jump on it.


And that’s it! These were my favorite books this year, and I hope to gain as many if not more favorites next year! 😀

Happy reading!

Top 5 children’s books

Childrens Books T5W.png

Top 5 WednesdayHappy Wednesday! (whop whop) Today’s topic is favorite children’s books. Off to nostalgia-land we go!

If you’d like to join T5W, you can do so here.


5 – The Tawny Scrawny Lion by Kathryn Jackson

Tawny Scrawny LionThis was my favorite Golden Book when I was younger. This whole list could have been full of Golden Books but I feel like that might have gotten a bit repetitive. It’s about a lion who’s really hungry and ten rabbits to teach him to make carrot stew to avoid being eaten. It’s super cute and I’m gonna read it to my future kids.

 

4 – The Island of Giant Pokemon by Tracey West

Island of the Giant Pokemon (Pokemon Chapter Book, #2)This is another pick that this whole list could be dominated by. This is the second book in a what, 8 or 9 book series? Maybe more. Usually this series gets brought up when discussing topics like ‘Why I’m a Reader’ or ‘Childhood memories’ in blog posts. This series definitely got me reading and this one in particular stands out as the most memorable. I have my copies somewhere still – I think they’re at my parents’ house in storage. I need to go get them.

 

3 – Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Inkheart (Inkworld, #1)When I was first starting my book collection, I’m talking actually making a conscious effort to buy and read books, I was about 12 I think. I had books before then, but I didn’t love buying books yet, if that makes sense. This book and its sequel were my first purchases. My dad convinced me to buy hard backs, which I had never done before. It was super neat and now I’m a hopeless case – books books everywhere and not a drop to drink!

 

2 – Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella EnchantedThis is the first book I ever read that could be considered ‘romance’ to any degree. I was again probably 12 or so when I randomly picked it up at the library…. and then I proceeded to re-rent it over and over. I have probably read this book 20 times if not more. It’s definitely one of the cornerstones of my childhood reading development and I still have a really soft spot for it.

 

 

1 – Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)This is number one for a few reasons: It sparked my love in fantasy (along with HP), it’s a really, really good series that I still enjoy as an adult, and it’s very easy to dish out as a recommendation for a young, budding reader. It follows a 12-year-old mastermind and his lethally trained butler named Butler. Artemis is neat but I love Butler. He’s definitely one of my favorite characters ever.

Wah, NOSTALGIA.

 

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And that’s it! Happy reading!

Coffee image designed by Onlyyouqj

Top 5 Non-Written Novels

Top 5 Wednesday

Aaaaand it’s hump day again, whop whop. This week’s topic is non-written novels – manga, comics, audiobooks, yada yada. And hey would you look at that, I like all of these things. If you’d like to participate in T5W, here is the link to join the group!

If you’re even a semi-regular viewer of this blog, none of these titles should surprise you.


5. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket, Vol. 1  (Fruits Basket #1)23 volumes long. (I own 9 or so, but have read all 23)

This series I started reading when I was in high school (actually, all five series I’ve listed I’ve been reading since high school. Each one has been read over and over throughout the past decade). This particular series is a light-hearted comedy with hints of romance following a girl who finds herself taken in by her classmate and his family after she’s discovered living in a tent on the family property. She then stumbles across the family’s secret – the family is cursed by the signs of the zodiac, each one transforming into an animal when hugged by the opposite sex.

It’s cute, it’s funny and at times it gets kinda dark. It’s super good.

4. Death Note by Tsugumi OhbaDeath Note, Vol. 1: Boredom (Death Note, #1)

12 volumes long. (I own 9, but used to own all 12. Long story that I’ll likely make a post about at some point)

I’ve noticed this series becoming rather popular again lately, especially with people who haven’t really read manga before. Well. Good, I say! Buy manga! Read manga! If you liked this series and want others, check out this list, ask me for more recommendations! The manga sections of stores in my area have gotten smaller lately – buy more so the sections get bigger again! Do it!

If you haven’t read or heard of this series before, it follows a young man who picks up a notebook dropped by a shinigami, a god of death. When a name is written in the notebook, that person dies. This series explores good and evil and lawfulness and chaos and all the gray areas of life. And it’s a super good thriller. Ahhh I love this series. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reread it.

3. InuYasha by Rumiko Takahashi

InuYasha: Turning Back Time (InuYasha, #1)56 volumes long. (I own 25 or so but have read all 56)

Inuyasha was my gateway anime (and gateway manga). It’s the one I have the most nostalgia for and will be a fan of for life. I’m slowly collecting the episodes on dvd and now that I think of it, should look into finding a bluray box set or something.

This series following a young woman, Kagome, who is dragged into an ancient well on her family’s shrine only to emerge 500 years in the past, smack in the middle of the Japanese Feudal Era. This is the feudal era of myth though – full of demons and spirits and lore. The story takes off when Kagome finds Inuyasha, a half-demon who has been pinned to a tree and kept in a deep sleep for 50 years.

This series man. Action, comedy, romance, tragedy, drama, conspiracy, EVERYTHING. I love this series! Both the anime and the manga are fantastic, so pick whichever one you want.

2. Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu ArakawaFullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #1)

27 volumes long. (I own all 27)

Honestly this one might be tied with my number one. Depending on the day, these two can swap places. I’m very happy to see this series picking up steam with readers who are just getting manga as well. This series seriously deserves every bit of praise it gets. One of the most intensive, epic, funny, serious, emotionally draining, entertaining series I’ve ever read, manga or otherwise. It just has everything.

For those who haven’t read it, it follows a pair of brothers as they try to regain their bodies. When the boys were young, their mother died. They attempted the forbidden art of human alchemy to revive her but severely underestimated the price. In exchange for their mortal crime, Ed lost his arm and leg and Alphonse lost his whole body. Now only his soul remains, tethered to the suit of armor you see in the cover. This series, man. This. Series. I need to reread it. Again.

1. Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki

Rurouni Kenshin, Volume 0128 volumes long. (I own all 28)

My favorite series ever I think (maybe tied with #2). It follows a young man living in Meija Era Japan who during the bloody Bakumatsu revolution acted as a manslayer, killing hundreds of people. He now wanders aimlessly, having vowed to never kill again and protect everyone he can, but his past has a way of staying with him.

This series, if you hadn’t guessed, is historical fiction. The characters in it are based off real historical figures from the time period and between chapters, the author will give little blurbs of where he got his inspiration. I love this series. I’ve said that about every one listed here but I seriously love this series. It has action and comedy and suspense and plot twists and history and all sorts of stuff. I love it so much. 


So overall, if you take anything away from this post, it’s that if you don’t read manga already, you should really give it a chance. There’s some fantastic storytelling to be found here. Happy reading.

 

Top Books of 2016

Hello! This is one of my favorite posts of the year. 😀 Originally I had planned for a ‘Top 10’ but I’m thinking not enough books stood out in my mind for that. So I’m going to do a top… however many I want.

Each one of these I’ve rated five stars and can’t recommend them enough. There, now that I’ve said that up here, hopefully I won’t repeat it over and over for each book I mention. 😛 Hahaha. Also, I won’t be going much into the synopses as much as why I loved them, but I’ll have each linked to goodreads so you can check them out if you wish.

So right, these are the books I thought were the bees knees (in no particular order – I couldn’t pick a favorite!)


The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb.

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin HobbRoyal Assassin by Robin HobbAssassin's Quest by Robin Hobb

Robin Hobb was a new author for me this year and has quickly become one of my favorites. This series is her first and last year its first book celebrated its twentieth birthday! I think what makes me love this series so much is that it caught me so unaware. The synopsis on the back of the first one, forgive me for saying but it’s horribly generic. Like, I never would have picked it up if not for the Hobb-along Readalong that I had joined (which… has since fallen to the wayside for me, but that’s not the point).

This series taught me not to judge a book by its cover (or its synopsis). It has humor and adventure and action and even a tad bit of romance at times. The world it’s set in is rich and developed, the characters are complex and varied. I loved everything about this series.

I think the greatest strength of these books is the character development. The main character starts as a toddler and by the end, he’s a grown man. Each book allows the reader to see how he develops and why his personality ends how it does. It’s unusual to follow one character for so long and I really enjoyed it.


Stars Between the Sun and Moon: One Woman’s Life in North Korea and Escape to Freedom by Lucia Jang.

Stars Between the Sun and Moon: One Woman's Life in North Korea and Escape to Freedom

I picked this book up early this year after buzzing through In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park, which like this memoir, is a North Korean woman’s story of her life in North Korea and all the horrors she had to go through to leave it.

I’ll start by saying that this story is heavy. It’s deep, it’s dark and it’s draining. There were times that I found myself emotionally unable to function for a while after reading sections of this book. So I warn you now, don’t go into this expecting a fluffy read. This woman went through a lot, much of it unfathomable to me and I’m sure it will also be to you.

But it’s definitely worth the read. It’s such an eye-opening experience, reading Lucia Jang’s perspective. People are always talking about wanting to read books that will change them or alter how they see the world. Well, this will do it.


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted

Are you really shocked that this is on here? I’ve been a Novik fangirl for nearly a decade now. Her Temeraire series is gold and when I saw this had come out, I jumped on it. I was not disappointed. This book artfully mixes whimsy and fairy tale and darkness and grit together to tell a tale of a dark wood, a young maiden and a man who calls himself a dragon.

This book screamed nostalgia for me and honestly I couldn’t tell you why. I just felt like I was going home, reading this. It felt ‘just right’. I want to reread it again sometime soon and I want the rest of the planet to read it with me.


Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse #1)

This was my delve into epic space operas and science fiction that didn’t also scream ‘YA’. This book is a chunker. Heavy as a brick and just as big, this book introduces our solar system as an inhabitable if not deadly entity. This book had me from the prologue and didn’t let me go until after I had finished it.

What I loved most about this book was the way all the different genres were interwoven to create a gripping saga that I still want more of. Sci-fi and horror and thriller and at times, comedy. It was all in here. The imagery in this book was gritty and grimy and gave me the chills. The story and the characters crafted this could-be world that I could see myself in had I been born a hundred years from now. This book was by far my favorite sci-fi read of the year.

It’s good. It’s great. If you’re looking for a gateway into sci-fi, here it is for you.


And that’s it! The books I call my favorites. If you’ve read any of these, let me know what you thought! If you haven’t, read them and then tell me what you thought! :”D

Happy reading!