WRAP-UP | SPRING [3/21/17 through 6/20/17]

Check out my WINTER wrap-up here. 

I read 38 things during the Spring season. I don’t know but that felt entirely too short. We had crazy weather here; one day it’s in the 90s then the next day, it’s 30 degrees colder. We had rainy days then incredibly humid ones with 0% precipitation. I never wore my spring cardigans or boots because the day would start out cold then would end super warm. It was unpredictable. Just like my reading.

I read a lot of manga. As of today’s count, I’ve read 35 sequential art books vs 31 actual novels. Not sorry. I just got the whole collection of Girls und Panzer manga yesterday and I have the rest of Black Butler to read. Not a lot of audio books this time. I started/continued some well-loved YA series and dipped my feet into New Adult. I thought it would be easy to narrow down the list to five favorite titles but strangely, I found it easier to list down the books that I did not like. But most of these, I’m just okay.

So here’s a list of 5 titles that I liked this season and 3 that were disappointing.

  • Uzumaki by Junji Ito. I have the deluxe edition so I read all three volumes in one sitting. And oh boy, it was so intense. It got better as it went along and the art style is yet another aspect that made it so horrific. It scared me so much that I think I am now terrified of snails. Yup. I will definitely pick up his other works in the future. For sure.
  • Train Man by Hitori Nakano. An otaku meets a pretty girl on the train and decides to let his online buddies know about his progress with her. The book is told in message board format… think Reddit. It is just so cute! I was rooting for Train Man since his first post and I was just so happy with the events. There’s a live action adaptation of this that I have yet to watch but I will.
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I literally finished this yesterday but I’m putting it here not just because the book was very good, the writing is spectacular. It’s so lyrical and magical. This is my first Stiefvater read and if The Raven Cycle also has these writing aspects, gimme it!
  • The Kill Switch and War Hawk by James Rollins and Grant Blackwood. I’m putting these together because I’m loving this series as a whole. Tucker and Kain is an awesome team. And I enjoyed listening to this. The narrator uses a different voice for those in the dog’s point of view. And I have a rather hot image of Tucker in my head, just sayin’. I hope they write more about these two. And Jane. 🙂
  • Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. I read this in cumulatively 24 hours. Oh boy, yes please. This was a surprise. Well, not really. I enjoy slash and yaoi fiction and this book is an m/m New Adult and it was so hot. Wes and Jamie are so adorable. I want more of them.

Now for the three that were disappointing. It’s sad because two of these are in my most anticipated reads list.

  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber. This was painful. Oh so painful. And that sucks because I was excited for this book. I met the author and she is so darling! I received a swag bag. But I didn’t like it one bit.
  • Loop by Koji Suzuki. My least favorite from the Ring series. I mean, it’s not bad but I wasn’t into the storyline as much as I was in the first two. This sort of rewrote and disregarded the sequence of events from Ring and Spiral. But it cemented the fact that Sadako is really not the main character of this series. It’s just scarier to portray a girl with long black hair than an older and fatter office worker man.
  • The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I binge read this and it almost put me into a reading slump. I wanted to DNF Siege and Storm so bad but I wanted to get to the final one. I did not enjoy this trilogy at all. I didn’t care for Alina and Mal (geez step aside, boy). I wanted more Nikolai, David, and Genya. I now feel a bit apprehensive but I’m still moving forward with my Six of Crows marathon.

So it’s summer now. Happy Summer Solstice!

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Starting Another Series

I’ve been looking forward to this topic for weeks.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start bu Haven’t Yet.

I’m getting better with the series on my TBR; actually finishing them, back-to-back sometimes. I realized that I enjoy it that way. I get to be in the world for longer and I don’t forget anything in between books. Since I’m super late on this YA train, I have a crapton of finished series that I have yet to start. I narrowed down my ~extensive~ list to ten. Some of these I already own the whole set, some just the first book, and some I’ve yet to own the physical copy. I can’t guarantee I will get to them. That’s just the way it is. But I am interested. Very interested.

(This is a list of finished series. I have more to mention but a lot of them are still on-going.)


The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson.
I’ve been intrigued by this since the first book came out. A princess runs away on her wedding day and she’s being chased down by two guys, her betrothed and an assassin. But you won’t know who’s who until the end. So many booktubers sing its praises. I’ve picked up and put down this series so many times – including just now at the Book Outlet sale.

The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu.
My copies of the complete trilogy are all signed. I’m planning to marathon this before the release of Warcross or before the end of the year. I will read anything Marie Lu writes. Anything.

The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen.
At first I thought this was a YA book but I eventually started seeing it shelved with the adult SFF. I honestly don’t know anything about this trilogy but I am interested to read it. I heard it’s high fantasy but still easy to follow.

Starcrossed trilogy by Leisa Reyven.
You will see this trilogy of my TBR until I actually pick it up and start it. I have the whole thing in paperback. Now that I’m getting in to New Adult, I just might pick this up this summer.

Prisoner of Night and Fog duology by Anne Blankman.
When I heard that this was about a world where Nazi Germany won, I put it on the top of my wishlist. When I finally got a copy of the two books, I planned to marathon it. But that didn’t happen. At least not yet. I love reading duologies back-to-back. I will definitely get to this around the fall season.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
I only have book 1 and have technically started it. I think I’m on chapter 2-3? But that was some time ago and I’ve forgotten much of it. This doesn’t have the best reviews but I’m still interested. I won’t go into this expecting a grown up Harry Potter. I heard that if you do that, you’ll only set yourself up for failure.

The Divine Cities trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett.
Again, I have all three books. This has been in my radar since the second book came out. It was offered on Blogging For Books but I didn’t have the 1st one. Then I won an ARC of the 3rd book a year later. I never forgot the blurb for the second book so I then decided to pick up the first one so I can read it.

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of The Grisha trilogy. I was super disappointed, to be honest. But I heard that this duology is way better so I still have high hopes.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.
I literally just finished The Scorpio Races on audio about a minute ago. Her writing is magic. I’m debating whether to listen to this series on audio or read it. Or both!

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.
I was supposed to buy the boxed set today from the Book Outlet sale but in the end, I decided to skip the sale all together. It was $30 for all 4 books in hardcover including Fairest. But no thanks. Not right now. Eventually. Maybe when Winter is released on paperback. I’ve asked my brother time and again if Cinder was worth the read. He always said yes but for some reason, I never followed through. I think it’s about time I do.


I want your recommendations! Which ones have you already read? Which series should I prioritize? What else should I add to this list?

TAG | Book Buying Habits

Is #TagThursday even a thing? If not yet, it is today!

I believe that this is the one tag that every book blogger, booktuber, and/or bookstagrammer should fill up. Hauls are a staple of any book-related media. So many books come out every month – big releases, indie published, re-releases, special editions… So. Many. Things. If I were perfectly honest, a good chunk of my budget is for books, whether I spend it or not.

I love going to bookstores and checking out the latest releases. I may not make use of them as often as others but I love going to libraries. And of course, online bookstores are awesome. I can spend a whole day just filling up the perfect cart with all the discounts and qualify for free shipping. And I hate paying for shipping.


Where do you buy your books from?

Most of them, I purchase online just because of convenience. And for some stores such as Barnes & Noble, it’s actually cheaper to buy online vs in store. It’s insane the amount of books I bought from Book Outlet. I mean, I’m not as trigger-happy as before but now with their free shipping thing, ooh boy. Thriftbooks, Alibris, and Better World Books are good sources also. I buy a lot of Japanese fiction off of Better World Books. Book Depository gets my business because they carry those pretty non-US covers. As for actual stores – Barnes & Noble, Vromans Bookstore, Kinokuniya Los Angeles, Goodwill and other thrift stores. If a store carries books, I’ll be there.

Do you ever pre-order books and if so, do you do this in-store or online?

I will only pre-order a book if it can come signed or if it comes with a perk. I have so many unread books so I’m never in a hurry to purchase a new release. And I do it online now. But my first ever pre-order was the final Harry Potter book and that one I made in person because online transactions weren’t available at my side of the world back then.

On average, how many books do you buy a month?

I’m trying to be better at it – aka buying less per month – but it depends. I usually average 10 books, I should say. But I often go over that. I can control my ebook buying but I get into episodes where I just load up my cart and expect a big box of books to arrive within the week.

Do you use your local library?

I don’t… which is strange because there is a branch of the local library down the hill from where I live. However, I do have a library card that I use for Hoopla Digital.

If so, how many do you borrow at a time?

Fun fact: I’ve never ever borrowed a book from the library.

What’s your opinion on library books?

I think they’re great. I actually like buying hardcover library copies because they come with the acetate cover. I can deal with the stickers but as a kid, my mom used to put plastic cover around all my books for protection from wear and tear. Also, I love the very used, very loved look of a library book. It has character; the pages are soft, some written on and folded. I don’t mind receiving a library copy of a book.

How do you feel about charity shop/second hand books?

I love going to used bookstores because they always have good prices and you’ll never know what you’ll find. I’ve found many gems at my local Goodwill and I’m looking to visiting a Goodwill Bookstore. But what’s more fun for me is finding what’s hidden in between the pages of a book donated to a used bookstore.

Do you keep your read and TBR pile together/on the same bookshelf or not?

Together. Especially if it is in a series. Right now, I don’t have a lot of shelf space so most of my books are either under the bed or on the floor. That’s why I have GoodReads, to separate my TBR from my read books.

Do you plan to read all the books you own?

Truthfully, no. I went through a phase where I bought complete series with the intent of binge reading them. Or if I read the first book as an ebook, I bought the whole series in hard copy. But that got overwhelming fast and I eventually realized that I wasn’t that interested in them anyway. So yeah. Lesson learned.

What do you do with books that you own and that you’ll feel you’ll never read/enjoy?

I put them in a box for donation.

Have you ever donated books?

Well, it’s not actually “donating”. I send them to my aunt so she can sell them.

Have you ever been on a book buying ban?

I try. I was able to go on a makeup buying ban for the whole of 2016. For books, I’m trying to be more thoughtful about it. I now only buy books that I am for sure going to read.

Do you feel like you buy too many books?

I do. Especially when the number of the books that I buy exceeds the number of books that I read for that month. But for some reason, I do not feel guilty about it. No, I do… sometimes. But I learned now only to buy books that I genuinely want and not just because I gave into the hype.


I thought June was going to be a good month for book buying. I survived the first 10 days with only one Kindle book purchase. But then I found the signed book section at Vroman’s Bookstore. Three full-priced signed books. And I thought that was the end of it. Nope. Book Outlet decided to have a sale. Sure, later this month. But I saw the whole Girls und Panzer manga collection on there so I couldn’t wait for the sale because Volume 1 was about to sell out. Good thing I had a $5 coupon bookmark from a previous order. 😉

One of these days, I’m just going to have to accept that book buying is tantamount to stress-relief. XD

#T5W | B-Team Romance

This week, we are talking about Favorite Side Ships.

Or what my brother and I call “B-Team Romance”.  I can mention so many of these from anime. Who knows, maybe one or two will be on this list. It’s basically relationships that does not include the main character of the story. I am only including canon ships here so be warned of SPOILERS.

So technically, Ron/Hermione can be a side ship since Harry is the very main character but I personally consider Ron and Hermione main characters too. That is one of my very favorite ships and I am willing to fight anyone who says they should’ve ended up with different people. I know that even JKR is not a fan but this is a good example of characters having a life of their own. Fleur/Charlie is more side ship-y to me. Arthur/Molly, even. James/Lily. (Fun fact: I used to write James/Lily fics exclusively when I was in high school.)

Anyway, here’s my list… and some honorable mentions. Because I tend to like side ships more than the main ones. 😉

AZU & HAGITA, Orange.
While I am very firmly a lifetime member of #TeamSuwa, I was rooting for these two misfits the whole time. Hagita is that one odd and awkward friend in the group while Azu is the social butterfly. Even their friends are pairing them together. They are pairing themselves up. Hagita once invited Azu to train with him for the school race and Azu is always picking on Hagita. Although, she was the one who said that Hagita looked like an angel without his glasses… which I tend to agree.

ALUCARD / RHYS, Shades of Magic trilogy.
Notice the use of the slash there? Yes, they are the sweetest and most angsty pairing in this trilogy. Oh goodness, the pining… whoo, Alucard really punished himself for what he “had to do” to and for Rhys. I had legit tears in my eyes during their scenes; the scenes where they talk it out and where Rhys is pleading for Alucard to not leave again. That right there is my favorite kind of fanfiction (which I find in abundance in Yuri!!! ON ICE fics).

JOHN / TIMOFEI, Aerial Ethereal duology.
I’ve yet to decide whether to DNF Infini or not but these two might just be enough to keep me going. I don’t care about the main pairing in both books but I wanted John and Timofei to be canon so bad. They are so cute together! John pretends he’s jaded and fed up of the Aerial Ethereal performers having their way and here comes free spirited Timo trying to thaw him. So fcking cute!

GENYA & DAVID, The Grisha trilogy.
I will go as far as saying that they were the only pairing I cared about in this whole trilogy. Add Nikolai and there’s the list of the only characters I cared about. David doesn’t care about any other living being apart from Genya. I love that they complement each other even though on the outside, they are opposites.

JENNY & IAN, Outlander series.
Domestic bliss. Who said that everything changes once you get married? Jenny is a strong and capable woman who loves her equally strong and capable husband. The love they have for each other is so sweet and they’re the best couple in this whole book. Yes, more than Claire and Jamie.  Continue reading

MUSING MONDAYS | Books vs Chocolates

My last Musing Monday post was in January. Whut?

musing

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

My June reading isn’t going as well as other months. I’ve only finished an audio book so far. And because of last month’s comic book readathon, I’m all manga’d out at the moment. With Anime Expo anticipation and preparation, I’d much rather catch up on anime than read. Or read Yuri!!! ON ICE fan fiction. But I did some reading yesterday. That’s good, right?

I’m currently have less than 200 pages to go on my current read, A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I gave the first book 3 stars and everyone says that the 2nd book is way better than that. I have yet to see that, to be perfectly honest. There’s something about SJM’s writing that does not click with me. I find it bland and one dimensional. Azriel, however, I need a whole book about him. I keep reading him with the face of Otabek Altin of Yuri!!! ON ICE in my head.  I may go ahead and read A Court of Wings and Ruin right after just to get it over with.

I pre-ordered a signed copy of Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab! I thought I would have to wait until after release to get a signed copy but thanks to Parnassus Books, I’m getting my personalized and signed copy in the mail. Like I said, I want all my VE Schwab books signed. I’m holding on to The Archived and The Unbound to be signed in person eventually.

I am currently listening to The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Hoopla has all of her books, including The Raven Cycle but I’m stubborn and want to read them in book form. I’m very picky with audio book narrators. I seem to prefer male voices over females. And if the book doesn’t hook me within the first 30 minutes, I quit. This one so far is keeping my interest so we’ll see.

I wasn’t planning to buy any books this month at all. I wanted to save all my $$ for Anime Expo. But when I dropped by Vroman’s Bookstore, I saw a whole shelf of signed books and I was gone. I bought three books, one of them I already owned:

  • Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin – I pre-ordered this when this came out and it became one of my favorites. When I saw a signed copy, I just had to get it.
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I checked and it was an actual signature, not the printed ones that came in subscription boxes.
  • Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods by Tania del Rio – I wasn’t able to come at her signing last week but thankfully, there were signed copies available.

For this week’s random question: Which would you rather live without? Books or chocolate.

Easy. Chocolate. I don’t like chocolate. Not even chocolate ice cream.

 

#T5W | Slytherin Pride!

This week, we are talking about Books for your Hogwarts House.

I remember when Pottermore was in its beta stages, I received an invite to try out the sorting hat section. I’ve taken many of those fan made sorting quizzes and I was sorted into Gryffindor consistently. I was happy about that – being in the same house as the main protagonists of the books, not to mention Oliver Wood. But when I took the Pottermore quiz once, twice, three times… I was always sorted into SlytherinI never looked back ever since.

(My Pottermore handle is PhoenixSword207. I don’t go there often but if you so desire to add me as a Housemate or friend, feel free to do so.)

My hair may be red but my Quidditch robe and shirt underneath represent my House!

Slytherins are defined by the following traits:

  • Resourcefulness
  • Cunning
  • Cleverness
  • Strong sense of fraternity
  • Ambition
  • Self-Preservation
  • Determination

The books that I’m going to mention have characters that personify some or all of those qualities. In Harry Potter, a lot of people associate Slytherins as dark, bad, evil… misunderstood is more likely the case. Everyone needs a villain, right? And that’s okay. We’ll take it. But also do realize that Slytherins are good people too. We are as friendly as your nearest Hufflepuff, as loyal as the next Gryffindor, and as motivated as any Ravenclaw. 😉


A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. I’m currently reading this and when I heard of this week’s topic, I immediately thought of this book. It’s not that any of them are terribly resourceful or determined but a good lot of them are cunning and ambitious. The Fae has this general thought of “I’m better that all of you” towards the mortals. Think of the pure blood/half blood/muggle born dynamic.

Vicious by VE Schwab. Talk about a book about anti-heroes. There’s no clear cut good guy in this book. Victor and Eli both have their devious sides but they’re very smart and cunning. This book has a rather dark vibe. It makes me think of long dark alleyways, trench coats, and stormy nights.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Determination is the word for this book. And a little bit of self-preservation. This is about a man just living his life and then suddenly, he gets abducted and thrust into a world so very foreign to him. This book talks about his struggles and journey back to his own reality.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Arin is very resourceful. Kestrel is very clever. They both had their shining moments in this book.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Katsa’s “grace” is looked upon by many as something evil. But she goes on with her head held high and in the end, she survives is all with her quick wit and abilities.


I know I’m reaching a bit on some of these but I’m happy with these recommendations.

How about you? What’s your Hogwarts House?

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Recent Additions to My TBR

My TBR grows faster than I can read from it. It’s so easy to click “Want to Read”. But of course, it is more satisfying to finish a book.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the 10 Books From X Genre That I’ve Recently Added To My TBR ListI want to know what books have piqued your interest lately from whatever genre you choose!

I tend to get recommendations from blogs, videos, websites, even at the bookstore. I would go into a bookstore not really looking for a book to buy but maybe a new-to-me title to check out. If the blurb sounds interesting, I then put it on my GoodReads TBR to possibly purchase on a later date. As much as I love and support my brick and mortar bookstores, I don’t always have the monies to buy a book at full price right then and there.

I picked two genres today — one of my favorites, Japanese fiction; and the other is something I never thought I would enjoy, New Adult. Yes. I’ve said it over and over that I’m not very into NA but after Amour Amour… I’m now more willing to explore that genre.

As for Japanese fiction, it’s addicting. It has a certain mood that I only could get from Japanese authors, even translated. My collection is definitely growing. I prefer my Japanese fiction to be hardcopies so I’m on the look out for the best deals. I usually get them from Better World Books and Kinokuniya Los Angeles. That’s also where I get most of my recommendations. I honestly love that bookstore.

Anyway, here are the last 5 additions to my Japanese fiction and New Adult TBR. You can actually see for yourself here. I won’t tell you much about these titles because I don’t know much about them myself.


JAPANESE FICTION

  • When I Whistle by Shusaku Endo
  • Orbital Cloud by Taiyo Fujii
  • In Searcxh of A Distant Voice by Taichi Yamada
  • Penance by Kanae Minato (If you know me enough, Confessions is one of my favorite books!)
  • Slum Online by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

NEW ADULT

  • On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (I’ve heard of this book before and I think I may have a Kindle copy of it.)
  • Breaking Skin by Debra Doxer (This was a free Kindle deal a couple of days ago.)
  • Him and Us by Serina Bowen and Elle Kennedy (It’s a duology, I think. I heard a booktuber talk about it and I’m so intrigued.)
  • Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
  • Smut by Karina Halle

There you go. Short and sweet. Have you read any of these? Do you have other books to recommend to me? Let me know!