WRAP-UP | #SMUTATHON Round 2

I don’t participate in a lot of readathons but I had so much fun with my time doing Smutathon. I admit, I didn’t take myself as seriously as I would with, say… Tome Topple, and I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. Really, it was a mere reason for me to read just romance for the whole week and I did that.

I read two and a half books. I finally pushed myself into reading two very popular contemporary romance titles. And I discovered a new favorite trope. I know I could’ve done better but I’m preparing for my vacation, going through a stash of yarn, and I wasn’t in the mood to read stuff just for the sake of satisfying the challenges. But if you did that and read more than 7 books in five days, I love you and I want to be you.

So let’s see how I did, yes?

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, narrated by Carly Robins.
This book made its rounds in all of booktube, not just with the romance booktubers. It’s about Stella Lane, a 30-year-old career woman on the autism spectrum. Her parents have been pressuring her to settle down and start a family. Social situations aren’t her best suits, let alone romance, so she hires a professional escort, Michael, to teach her the ways of the bedroom.

I’ve heard of plotlines like this before – a fake relationship between an awkward girl and an experienced guy, they fall in love in the end anyway. And I’m not gonna lie, this was that, yes. However, this was done so well. Stella is such a sweet girl. Michael, yes is very experienced, but I loved how he’s so vulnerable. I liked the narration. It was easy to follow even with the POV changes. The sexy-times were just right. I kind of wanted more but this was just perfectly toeing the line between tasteful and plot-driven and gratuitous.  I loved it. So much.

Very early in the book, they mentioned that Michael looks like Daniel Henney. I’ve met Daniel Henney and that definitely helped enhance my enjoyment of the book. 😉 This satisfies the FAKE RELATIONSHIP challenge as well as the FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS, if I had to force it hahaha. 5/5 stars.

A Nordic King by Karina Halle.
I hereby declare that my new favorite trope is anything to do with royalty. It could be between fellow royals or with commoners. No, this is not fairytale kink. I just terribly enjoyed this one book and am interested in reading more. Age gap romance is still my all-time guilty pleasure. And this book satisfies both of them!

Aurora starts working for the royal family of Denmark, headed by King Aksel, as a nanny for the two princesses Clara and Freya. The whole family instantly love her… including Aksel. I’ve read another Karina Halle book a few months ago and I do enjoy her writing. It was so easy to read and the enjoyment level is really high. The steamy scenes were very steamy indeed. I docked half a star because the bit about Aurora towards the end came out of nowhere and I thought a certain someone would have a bigger role. Other than that, I loved it!

And like with the previous book, I also had a dream casting for Aksel. Sure, you can argue he’s Swedish but Alexander Skarsgard is the perfect romance leading man. For anything. I survived reading the first two Fifty Shades books because I had him in mind. I’ve met Alex plenty of times and every time I do, I still get overwhelmed by his presence. We actually have a photo together on Getty Images, lol.

A Nordic King is my read for both DIFFERENT WORLDS (royal and commoner) and FORBIDDEN (age gap, if you really want to… Aksel is 14 years older than Aurora but she’s not that terribly young anyway) challenges.

I am currently 5.5 hours into The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. (Thank you, Hoopla for your no-wait audio books.) I thought I could work through this book over the weekend but a bout of anxiety laid waste on my Saturday and Sunday, I had no time. It started off rather… idk, uninteresting? I mean, it was just a back and forth banter between Lucy and Joshua from Lucy’s POV. I got tired of it quick and I really wanted the story to move along. I guess I was expecting The Kiss Quotient vibes but it wasn’t like that. It is smut-light, as someone on Twitter said, but so far, it’s been romance-light too. I am enjoying it though. I’ll finish it before I go on vacation.


I loved Smutathon. I will be participating again. Haha, as if I need an excuse to read romance. 😉

As always, I’m open to more recommendations. Remember… royalty and age gap romances are my jam!

 

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#T5W | For the Anime Lovers in Your Life

This week, we are talking about Books to Give ANIME FANS as Gifts.

I have reader friends and anime friends. I have no idea how much they overlap. I hope I find that out with this topic. I know they’re out there somewhere. 😉

I admit I had a slightly difficult time composing this list. I am reading mostly contemporary NA romance lately but in general, I prefer my reading to be more fantasy and sci-fi. However, I lean towards the slice-of-life genre in my anime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for mecha and isekai but whenever I just want to relax and have an anime playing to pass the time, I like my guys ikemen (playing a sport or an instrument or cooking) and girls kawaii (also playing a sport or an instrument or crushing over someone). Not to say that that doesn’t happen in fantasy anime though.

Here are my picks for this topic. I will also include anime recommendations and explain as best as I can why I associated these books to fans of the anime I will mention.

(I’ve used this photo so many times but hey, I like it.)

The Illuminae Files trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
One word: MECHA. This trilogy is sort of a space opera complete with airships, machines, robots, artificial intelligence and all that jazz. It fits well with the Gundam and Macross franchises because it’s a battle in space between different airships and planets. I can even mention it to fans of Space Battleship Tiramisu for shits and giggles.

Warcross duology by Marie Lu.
It’s already set in Japan with Japanese characters. It’s an intense tournament, sort of like the Hunger Games minus the actual killing of players. And can you imagine all the colors when this is animated? Some parts gave me Psycho Pass vibes and I really saw it in my head. It’s non-stop action. It’s like watching an anime without filler episodes.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang.
Wotakoi
vibes, anyone? This totally has a slice-of-life feel with a lot of romance – and adult – aspects in it. There are anime that toe the line between risque and full on hentai and I love those. I’m currently listening to this book for Smutathon as I type this and oh goodness me, it’s so adorable.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor.
This is for my fantasy anime lovers. Think Phantom of the Twilight — magic and fantasy in an urban setting. It’s a bit on the darker side and that can totally work in anime. Anything goes.

Train Man by Hitori Nakano.
This is cheating a little bit because this already has a live action adaptation. This is a Japanese book written in a sort of Reddit format. It takes a bit of getting used to but it’s so super cute.


You know, I can cast voice actors for these roles right now if I had the time. It’ll probably the same handful of people though… just like sports anime. XD

 

#SMUTATHON | Round 2 + Reading Plan

If you asked me three years ago if I would ever participate in a New Adult/romance/smutty readathon, I would’ve said no faster than the speed of light. Sure, the Fifty Shades series introduced many to this genre and reading in general, much like the Twilight effect for Young Adult. But both books did the opposite for me. I did not read YA for a long time after Twilight. Then I read very little new adult (although, smutty reads are my guilty pleasure).

Until about a year when I was convinced by a booktuber’s enthusiasm. Amour Amour by Krista & Becca Ritchie was the book that got my foot into the genre. Then it was all good things from there. It opened me up to a new genre and more stuff to read. Now I’ve filled my Kindle Fire HD with smutty romantic reads (because a lot of them are offered for free lol) as well as my Kobo Aura ONE (if it’s on the Kobo ecosystem). They’re quick reads, fun reads, guilty reads.

So here we are. It is hosted by Riley Marie and Ginger Reads Lainey.

The second round of Smutathon starts today, the 10th until the 16th, Sunday.

I honestly wish it were longer. XD Not that I need a readathon to read smutty books lol. I actually planned to read NA all throughout December. That is, if I can do actual reading while on vacation. But this week, we have this and we’re so doing it!

There are 7 “challenges” in this readathon. You can have one book to count for one trope or have one book count for multiple. I’ll include either recommendations or my own reading plan in the following list. A lot of them are common tropes and pretty self-explanatory.

  1. Enemies to lovers – I think Infini by Krista and Becca Ritchie counts for this one. It’s the sequel to Amour Amour. I initially DNF’d this because I wasn’t feeling it but I found it on audio the other day and got interested again. The main couple is not exactly “enemies” but it sort of starts out that way for them in the main story of the book. They were childhood best friends who became lovers and eventually had an awful break up. Years later, they reconnect and try again.
  2. Friends with benefits – I’m not really a fan of this trope, to be honest. But you know what, there’s a perfect manga recommendation for this: Scum’s Wish by Mengo Yokoyari. The whole series is pretty messed up but so good.
  3. Fake relationship – I like this one better than the previous one. I know I’ve read a couple of them but titles escape me right now. However, I plan to listen to The Kiss Quotientby Helen Hoang. I already have it borrowed from Hoopla!
  4. Slow burn – I’ve always wanted to read slow burn romances. I like me some angst and tension. But not for a week-long readathon. Next Tome Topple maybe? There’s no shortage of recommendations out there and I’m so excited to dive into this trope next year.
  5. Forbidden – Ah, my favorite trope ever. From age gaps to student/teacher to class difference… I want it all. My favorite so far is Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas. I loved it so much that I purchased a signed copy after I finished reading it. Unteachable by Elliot Wake is good too. It’s a student/teacher relationship. I seem to have a lot of those. I’m very into age gaps, the bigger the better lmao. Welcome to the Dark Side by Giana Darling has a very taboo age gap trope that is so sinful but so good. Along the same lines is a book in my End of the Year TBR, Balance by Lucia Franco.
  6. Different worlds – This could mean different social classes or actual worlds all together. I choose different social status with A Nordic King by Karina Halle. I think it can also count under Forbidden because the male protagonist is 14 years apart in age with the female lead. So I guess this book counts for two. This is a very popular trope especially with those “trashy” royalty mass market paperbacks. I love those.
  7. One night stand – This was the trope that was voted on by participants. I’m only a fan of this trope if there’s an accidental pregnancy. Heh, I’m particular like that. XD I know a lot of rockstar romances have this and I’ve heard great reviews on them.

I will try to read at least two books over the course of the readathon. Definitely one lol. Then I will still read smutty reads throughout the rest of the month, year.

Also, I’m open to recommendations. I’m quite a newbie to the genre so my comments section is wide open for any and all you can recommend.

WRAP-UP | NOVEMBER 2018 + #TomeTopple Round 7

When the weather turns colder, some people call it the “perfect reading weather”. That also holds true even if you live in the “always sunny” Southern California. Well, there have been a couple of rainy days around here lately which sounds like another perfect condition for reading. But when the temperature drops, my fingers get that sudden urge to grab yarn and start crocheting. In fact, I’ve finished a couple of project already. I don’t always know what to do with them after I finish them though.

Thus I bring you my November wrap-up consisting of six books. Mostly audio books. I was left alone at my workplace for about a month and that meant at least eight hours of me being by my lonesome in the office. That meant I could listen to audio books undisturbed without seeming rude. I finally scratched off some of the titles in my TBR that had been there for a long time. With Tome Topple Round 7, I was determined to read more. In a way, I did but I either spent more of my free time crocheting… or assembling Gunpla. XD

Anyway, I’m still very close to 125 books read this year and that ain’t bad at all. I’m almost caught up to the Haikyuu titles that are officially translated to English and published in a volume so that kind of slowed me down a little bit.

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 6.

  • The Eye of God by James Rollins – I was spoiled for the ending for this book. Normally, I wouldn’t have minded that but that particular spoiler hit me in the feels. I do read these books out of order but the spoiler mainly came from my nosy self flipping through the pages of the book in the store. Oops. BUT… Rollins books are amazing audio books so I still did enjoy this very much. 4/5 stars.
  • Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman – Why it took me so long to read this book, I have no idea. I heard about this years ago from a booktuber and I got super interested, I got a digital copy. Eventually, I got the duology in book form but hey, the audio books are what finally got me into finishing it. It’s beautiful. So very beautiful. 5/5 stars.
  • Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman – Of course I had the sequel downloaded and waiting for me. (I actually had to borrow, through Overdrive, the first one from the LA Public Library system and the second one from the Pasadena/Glendale Library.) The whole series read like one long and beautiful book. It was GORGEOUS. So very atmospheric and it was… “beautiful” is the word to describe it. 5/5 stars.
  • Haikyuu Volume 26 by Haruichi Furudate – See that photo above? Shimizu Kiyoko is queen. She is the best-est girl there is. 4/5 stars.
  • Wildcard by Marie Lu – It’s been a while since I read Warcross and I was afraid that I forgot a lot of it. It did take me a while to remember who everyone is but after that, it was action from page one. What I love about Marie Lu’s books is that no one has it easy. And the ending is not truly 100% a happy one. It’s more satisfying and “that’s what should have happened”. I loved it. 5/5 stars.
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab – Like with The Eye of God, I was also spoiled for the ending. Yep, exactly the same way but with my own signed copy. I can’t help but want to find out how things end when things become tense. Even so, I cannot end the year without reading this. I put it off long enough and Tome Topple was the perfect time to tackle it. This book destroyed me. 5/5 stars.

STATS:

  • 2260 pages
  • 4 audio books, 1 manga.

I think I bought one book? Yeah, the 3rd collection of Wotakoi by Fujita. Like I said, I haven’t been buying books much at all. I’m saving up… usually for anime figures. But this time, I’m actually going to Japan! Yes, in about two weeks, my brother and I are going to a Wake Up, Girls! concert as well as Jump Festa 2019. I’m so stupidly excited, y’all have no idea.

As for Tome Topple Round 7 round up… Continue reading

The K-pop Book Tag: Two Worlds Collide!

My fandom worlds colliding? I find this happening a lot. I’m mainly from the anime community but that doesn’t mean I haven’t dabbled in the others. In my past like, I was an avid K-pop fan. Specifically, a YG stan. Up until now, I can’t outwardly say that I like K-pop but I do like the stuff that YG and YG-related (friends, family, former talents) people put out.

Now, I really only am a fan of Big Bang, Winner, and Epik High. I’m seeing Winner in January 2019 while I’ve seen Big Bang and Epik High, and some of their members solo, multiple times. I might not be much for merch (just those greeting DVDs and shiz) but I go all out for concerts! I wish I could’ve seen Winner with all 5 members and experience that amazing cover of Missing You in real life but I’ll take what I can get.

And of course, I also quite like books and reading. Duh. So here we are. The K-pop Book Tag. You know how this goes —

Rules:

  • Credit the creator of this tag, The Book Prophet, and link back to her original post.
  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Answer all the questions to the best of your ability.
  • Tag as many people as you like.
  • Have fun!

As usual, I wasn’t tagged by anyone and I’m not tagging anyone. I’m not sure how a lot of you feel about K-pop. I’ve since stepped FAR AWAY from it myself so I’m a little bit out of touch. But not so much that I don’t know who these artists are lol. Continue reading

#TomeTopple | ROUND 7 (11/16 through 11/29)

Come on, guys, you know the drill. Read a book (or books, if you’re feeling ambitious) with 500 pages or more. It’s all about the page numbers and not how many books you finish. Plus, it’s an excuse to finally tackle those heavy bricks. Hey, you (or your mailman) worked hard lugging them around; might as well take the effort to read it, right?

The Tome Topple Readathon is created by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. The GoodReads group for this readathon can be found here. If you’re looking for recommendations, inspiration, and/or buddies to read with, go check out the group.

Look at your shelf. Pull out the biggest books. Have a work out with it while you’re at it. Check the page numbers. Some of these books are printed on bible pages so they don’t look like they have 500+ pages. Check Goodreads if the edition you own has 500 pages. Maybe the e-book format has more pages, who knows. That counts too. The audio book might be 11 hours long but written out, it can have 600 pages! There’s no Tome Topple police. Read whatever you want.

It’s going to be from 12AM of November 16 through 11:59PM of November 29, your time zone.

For me, that’s Pacific Time, for those playing along. Spend your Black Friday downtime when lining up for the cashier (or to even get into the store) reading. Then maybe Cyber Monday spending all those coupons from B&N.

So any 500+ page book counts. No, I lied. Except short story collections. I don’t read those anyway but I do see why they are kind of like cheating. However, graphic novel omnibuses and manga collections do count. They do exist. They’re not as readily available but they are out there. I just prefer my manga consumption by volume. But my forever recommendations are Tomie and Uzumaki by Junji Ito.

No pressure! But here are the challenges anyway:

  1. Read more than 1 tome.
  2. Read a graphic novel with more than 500 pages.
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series.
  4. Buddy read a tome.
  5. Read an adult novel.
  6. Instagram challenges.

I feel like my TBR every round consists of the books that I didn’t end up reading the previous round. I decided to change that this time. I even played around with the idea of buddy reading! I already started Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab on audio. I know, I’ve had this book forever (my copy is even signed), but I was spoiled for the ending that’s why this got pushed further and further down my TBR. But it’s here now and I hope to get through this quickly on 1.6x speed. I’m also planning to start Night Film by Marisha Pessl on my e-reader. I do have a physical copy of it (again, signed) but it’s much more convenient for me to read it on my Kobo for my commute. I might switch over to my physical book at home. Same with Our Dark Duet. And finally, on the chance that I finish either one before these two weeks are over, I hope to finally get to Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry.

Some people from the GoodReads group are planning on reading Orange by Ichigo Takano. I read this already, by volume, but I do own both collections. I’m game for another re-read. I love this series: source manga, animated series, and live action movie. #TeamSuwa all the damn way.

I will try to do as many Instagram challenges as I can. Last round, I was in the middle of Anime Expo and while I had plans for fabulous pictures, I did none of them LOL. I’ll do better this round.

Anyway, one advice I can give is read at your own pace. I know it’s tempting to compare yourselves to others participating in the readathon. I admit, I click on the hastag and see people who read 3-4 books in a week while I’m sitting at 15% on my first one. But that’s okay. All of us are different. We read at different speeds, have different things going on in our real lives, and have different moods and interests towards the book we’re currently reading. No one will judge you if you read one or half a book in those two weeks. Just have fun and read when you can!

#T5W | A few months to go

This week, we are talking about Books You Want to Read Before 2019.

I’m not much for TBRs. I tend to read what is available and convenient at that time. Especially when it comes to audio books. I will read it if it’s available. More often than not, the books that I want to read at that moment are so very popular that the waiting list is a mile long. Nope, if all else fails, I listen to a James Rollins book.

But I do have a list of things that I really do want to read before the year ends. This is a quick list. I wanted to have this up when I got to work but now I’m about to leave, I’m still typing this out!

The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin.
I started reading The Broken Earth trilogy this year and I would like to finish it this year as well. I tend to do this every year where I have a series to start and finish for those twelve months. Previous titles were Legend and Mistborn trilogies.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab.
Tome Topple pick for sure. This is on Hoopla so I know it will be available no matter what. I don’t know, I think because I got spoiled for the ending that I pushed reading this farther and farther back. But I’m still game. I love Victoria’s writing.

Vengeful by VE Schwab.
VE if it’s adult, Victoria if it’s YA. Remember that. 😉 Well, I’m not spoiled for this ending but this was released during a hectic time in my life and I just had no time to read it right away. I will make time before the year ends. Maybe bring it to Japan with me on my trip next month.

Balance by Lucia Franco.
So I went through this age gap NA romance shopping spree some months ago and this came up in every single recommendation, list, review. It’s not only age gap, it’s also forbidden. I’d skimmed through and oh boy, it’s not for everyone. People either love it or abhor it hahaha… I can take it from what little I’ve read of it. I don’t know. We’ll see.

And several manga that I own.
I’m putting them all under one item because they’re manga. They’re easy and fun to read. I still have the 2nd Wotakoi collection, Kemono Friends! Welcome to Japari Park, and the 2nd volume of My Brother’s Husband. I’m 100% sure to get these out of the way before 2019.


Aaaand this post all but took me ten minutes. XD

I’m interested to see what’s on your list. Maybe I’ll find more titles to add on mine. Have you read any of these?