#GetGraphic | Readathon Wrap-up

Armstrong plush from Wee Bit O’Freak @ Etsy

I’m still reeling over how amazing Bitterblue is and its audio book. I finished it today and oh my goodness, it was a perfect decision to listen to it. I tried reading it a few years ago but the name “Death” pronounced so as to rhyme with teeth was throwing me off. I’ll be listening to Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor next. I’ve just started with Origin by Dan Brown. I couldn’t pick anything up until I got that book. XD

But my #GetGraphic readathon participation was a success. I was able to cross out all 6 challenges and 2 Instagram challenges. I still haven’t read Maus by Art Spiegelman though. Sorry, I got my hands on the first volume of My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi and that was that. I didn’t even get to Kuroko no Basuke or Black Butler. Sure, I could’ve read more but we also got our wonderful Kiseki Box and we’re working our way through Samurai Flamenco. There’s only so much time in a day!

So what did I read? I read five things.

  • The Creeps by Fran Krause. I got a free copy from Blogging for Books just in time for the readathon. It’s a book of 2-4 comic panels about what scares people. It can be real-life worries, ghosts, actual creepy things, and/or superficial craziness. It was cute.
  • Barakamon Volumes 3 and 4 by Satsuki Yoshino. This satisfies “reading two installments from the same series”. I could read so much more but my manga-reading limit is 2 in one sitting. 😉
  • Gyo by Junji Ito. This is my 300-page read. And wow… it’s so good! I like this more than I did Tomie. It’s about rotting fish with mechanical legs that excrete a very bad smell. Pair that with Junji Ito’s art style, gimme!
  • My Hero Academia Volume 1 by Kohei Horikoshi. This is a new-to-me series.  And I can count this as a friend recommendation since I see this all over. I loved the anime. And I think I’m going to love the manga as well.

All the manga counts to “black and white art”. Overall, I read 1122 pages. Suh-weet. I can’t wait to see my final page count for this month.

(I also got some volumes of Haikyuu during the readathon weekend. I got too excited so I decided not to read them yet. I might blow another paycheck on all the volumes that are currently out in English. Those Nendoroids are bad enough. LMAO.)

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TOP TEN TUESDAYS | #NationalBoyfriendDay

For those who don’t have a boyfriend (hell, even for those who do – this is fiction anyway), I got us covered!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends (Which characters do you have crushes on?)

I know… this post is going up super late. I didn’t go to work today. I’ve been dealing with some health issues lately. Retail therapy’s been great though. Sigh. I planned to do some reading today but there are too many things on my mind.

I totally drafted a whole list yesterday. And I left it at work thinking I’ll be able to make it today. Nope. But hey, I think I know my own book boyfriends. 😉  In truth, I actually was planning to make a collection in my bullet journal about book boyfriends. Really!

Anyway, here’s my list, in no particular order:

Left: Eden; Right: Day

DANIEL ALTAN “DAY” WING, Legend.
Oh hello, grown up Eden is pretty easy on the eyes too. Day though… whoo. A Russian-Mongolian mix ethnicity, although the graphic novel didn’t really show that. I love how Marie Lu described him. And just his story over all; his struggles, his strengths and weaknesses, what he went through in life. I wanted to gather him up and hug him!

Since we’re in the topic of Marie Lu books and the Wings anyway…

ASHER WING, Warcross.
If you’re sitting there thinking, “Hmmm… are they any way related?” The answer to that is YES. Marie Lu herself said that Warcross is set in the same universe as Legend but years in the past. So there’s a huge possibility that Asher Wing is distantly (or directly) related to Day. Yeah-yuh. That’s some hero DNA right there.

HIROTO SUWA, Orange.
#TeamSuwa forevermore. Kakeru’s nice and tragic and all but Suwa sacrificed his own happiness just so Kakeru can have his own. The anime character design is dreamy. The live action actor is dreamy. Suwa is dreamy.

ARIN, The Winner’s Curse.
As you know, I’m trash for the slave/master trope. Not dom/sub though, don’t get it twisted. The female protagonist in The Winner’s Curse, Kestrel, bought Arin as her slave. When I read that, I was super sold. In the end, the trilogy was pretty “meh” but Arin did make it into my list of book boyfriends. I love that brooding, dark, and glass hearted male trope.

Speaking of brooding…

AZRIEL, A Court of Wings and Ruin.
Give this guy a love interest, pretty please! A whole book series, while you’re at it. Everyone walked away happy in this initial trilogy except this poor soul. I’ll take him if no one wants to do it. Also, I dream-casted him as Otabek Altin. Yes, undercut and piercing eyes and all. Google him. I even hear his voice similar to Otabek’s Japanese voice actor, Yoshimasa Hosoya.

PEETA MELLARK, The Hunger Games.
No, I’m not going to post my photo with Josh Hutcherson again. LOL. But really, even without his casting, Peeta is hands down my favorite character from that trilogy. I hated how Katniss treated him but I’m glad my boy ended up with the love of his life.

OAKLEY FORD, When Its Real.
This is a new one. I listened to this book by Erin Watt and honestly, I was prepared to hate the male protagonist. A lot of YA/NA contemporary male characters are assholes and stupid. Oakley was arrogant, yes, but was also vulnerable at the same time. He was damaged. And he was so sweet. I don’t have a fancast since I do not know anyone in Hollywood anymore but trust me, he’s worth it.

TYLER BELL, Priest.
Or should I say Fr. Tyler Bell. 😉 This is an even newer one. I just finished this book and whooo, forgive me geebus but this NA book by Sierra Simone was so good. So good! So hot! I could not put it down and I wished my eyes read faster because I was so into it. And yes, Tyler. YES.

PO, Graceling.
I actually like him more in Bitterblue. I’m listening to that book right now and it totally reminded me how much I loved Po in the first book in the trilogy. He’s so capable, charming, sweet, and just… ah! Lucky Katsa and Bitterblue to have him around.

LUKA LOWE, Wolf by Wolf.
Readers are supposed to hate him. He was introduced as kind of the villain. But as you read through the books, you’ll realized that he is such an innocent little nugget. By the end of the first book, I was so in love with him. I’m so glad he has a novella to himself but I won’t be complaining if he has a whole spin-off series all together.


Who are your book boyfriends? Or what makes a character worthy of being your book boyfriend?

WRAP-UP | SEPTEMBER 2017

“Fall is here, fall is here! It’s my favorite time of year.” If you know where that quote is from, you’re pretty cool in my book. 😉

So let’s talk about September. I had a birthday and I blew epic monies on Haikyuu Nendoroid figures. Here I have Hinata and Kageyama, Tsukishima, Sugawara, ordered Nishinoya, and preordered both Daichi and my baby Yamaguchi. On top of all that, my actual birthday gift to myself was tickets to Taeyang‘s LA concert. It was lovely. There were tears, not gonna lie. I also got the Free! Starting Days seiyuu event blu-ray. So yeah, September was pretty much “goodbye monies”. I’m seriously considering a no-buy across all my interests. (The fact that I have a crapton of birthday coupons from last month – to use until the end of this month – does not help. Pfft.)

In bookish news, I met Marie Lu (for the 2nd time) and Tahereh Mafi at the Warcross signing event held by Vroman’s Bookstore Pasadena. It was so much fun. Also, I read 11 books. How the hell did that happen? My September reading started off slow. I was still feeling the slump from August plus being slightly disappointed by a hyped book I was slugging through. Audio books pretty much saved me. And companion novellas. Overall, I enjoyed a lot of my reads this month and I’m super close to 100 books read for 2017! (Oh, idk where to put this tidbit but here goes… I realize that I enjoy reading on my Kindle Fire HD than my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook.)

All signed!

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 11.

  • Iron to Iron by Ryan Graudin. The novella in between Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood. It’s about how the “alliance” between Luka and Adele came about. Honestly, I would read anything in Luka’s perspective. He’s my favorite character in the whole series. This novella adds so much to the story but I understand why it had to be separated from the first book. I really love how sassy and witty Luka is in this book and it definitely carried over to Blood for Blood. 5/5 stars.
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I think I expected too much from this book. Booktube has hyped this up to no end. A princess runs away on the day of her wedding as two men chase after her, one is her betrothed and the other an assassin sent out to kill her. Yes, please. While I did enjoy it, I found that it was rather repetitive. How many times can you talk about a day in one’s life in a small and sleepy town? And then it just ended. I would very much like to continue with the series but I cannot find the rest of the books in my collection. DX 3.5 stars.
  • Malice by Keigo Higashino. Audio book. This was tough. I rated the story 4/5 stars. In true Higashino fashion, the twist in the end totally changed my opinion of the book 180. It as so smart. But the audio narration, goodness. 2/5 stars. It was so confusing and no fun at all. I do own a physical copy of the book so I guess I’ll re-read it to see if my enjoyment will be the same.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Audio book. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Christian Coulson, you might know him as 16-year-old Tom Riddle in the 2nd Harry Potter movie, was the perfect narrator for Monty. I laughed out loud and was at the edge of my seat for most of it. Monty and Percy are so cute. Felicity is an amazing character. I’m actually considering buying a signed copy of this book. That’s how much I loved it. 5/5 stars. Favorite!
  • Arena by Holly Jennings. Half-read, half-audio. I had to read this for Blogging For Books but I ended up enjoying it a lot. I actually have a review for it. 4/5 stars.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Audio book. WOW. For actual years, I’ve been asking my brother if this was worth reading. I’m now kicking myself… why did it take me so damn long to get to this book?! It was amazing. Iko is hilarious. Still waiting to see if Kaito is book boyfriend material though. I’m waiting for Scarlet to be available on Overdrive and I’m actually bummed that it’s not! I guess I will have to finally go ahead and buy that Lunar Chronicles boxed set from Book Outlet. 5/5 stars.
  • Warcross by Marie Lu. Signed by author at event. Yes, I read this right after Arena and finished it on the same night as Cinder. Yes, it was quite similar to Arena but I enjoyed both in different ways. To be honest, I’m not sure how to rate it yet. I have rated it 5/5 stars but I feel like it’s more 4.5 or 4. I’m pretty sure there was insta-love. Not that it bothers me. (Okay, yes a bit.) But the heavy topics, implications to reality, were a thing of brilliance. So yeah, maybe my rating will change in the future. (But the fact that this book is set in the same universe as Legend and hey, Asher Wing is bae… that alone is 5 stars in my book.)
  • Girls und Panzer, Volume 4. I finally finished this manga series. And this one gets 5/5 stars! The last episodes of the anime are my favorite and this was definitely the source material for those.
  • Warm Up by VE Schwab. A 15-page prequel companion to Vicious. It’s not going to make much sense if you haven’t read Vicious but if you have, this little piece is pretty awesome. 5/5 stars.
  • Life Before Legend by Marie Lu. Day’s first kiss and June’s first day at Drake University. It was meh. I can’t wait for the Champion epilogue in Day’s POV that came free with the Warcross preorder. 3/5 stars.
  • Priest by Sierra Simone. I think I now know why a lot of NA books have exceptionally high ratings on GoodReads. You either love them or hate them. This… I absolutely loved. Forgive me, Father, this book is so sinfully good. It’s about Tyler and Poppy. And you guessed it, Tyler is a Catholic priest. There’s something about taboo topics that make me so damn curious. 4/5 stars! I’ll be reading the follow-up novella very soon.

Continue reading

#T5W | A Community of Enablers

This week, we are talking about Books I Read Because of Booktube.

I already have a similar Top Ten Tuesday post about this. I think it was more about the books that I bought because of booktube. I can also have a separate list of another 5 books that I bought – but have not read yet – because of booktube but this first list is going to be the books that I already read and loved.

Frankly, I very rarely listen to recommendations from popular booktubers. Especially when their videos come out at the very same time. I have no issues with any of them; I mean, I still enjoy watching their content. Sponsored videos are a part of that business and they’re free to do it. However, I had been severely burned by a popular booktube recommendation before. The Fault in Our Stars. I wish I could take back those two days that I wasted. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Geez, really? And lately, I’ve seen so many book that are being shown on booktube around the same time and never spoken about again because it turned out to be an overhyped book with low ratings. Oh well. *kanyeshrug*

But where else do I get recommendations anyway? Sure, blogs and other social media streams help but the truth is… booktube is a massive resource for recommendations and reviews. I love watching and I’m grateful to the many good reads I gained from it. Now here are 5 that I really, really loved:

No reason. I just want to post a Tsukki photo for his birthday! 😉 Oh look, he has books on his desk!

  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.
    This was one of those books that exploded throughout booktube at the same time. Mainly because of OwlCrate, methinks. But everyone was talking about it. It did sound interesting to me but I wasn’t running out the door to pick up a copy. Then I saw the audiobook on Hoopla Digital. I loved it. It was amazing. Now, I’m looking to pick up a signed copy. Good on you, booktube.
  • Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire.
    Everyone was talking about this book. EVERYONE. Whether you read only YA or only adult, you must have heard about this book or read it already. I wasn’t at all interested, to be honest. I much prefer her work as Mira Grant. But I found it on Book Outlet for stupid cheap so I picked it up. I read it. It wasn’t as life-changing as many said it was but I liked it.
  • Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
    I would’ve never picked up this book if not for a booktuber who said that this had playlists. Actual playlists. Guess what, I ended up loving not just the playlists, but the whole damn thing.
  • The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.
    You’re not a legit booktuber or bookstagrammer if you don’t have the pretty UK paperback boxed set in your possession. That’s just the truth. Even I did that. I got the mass market paperback set from Book Outlet but then unhauled that so I can purchase the UK ones. It’s now one of my favorite series of all time. Thank you, booktube, for your love of pretty covers and UK editions.
  • New Adult in general, specifically Him Us by Sarina Bowen.
    I’ve always been curious about the NA romance genre. But the free ones from Amazon were just plain garbage. I’m glad to have found some booktube channels that mainly feature romance novels and it made me see that there are good ones out there. I lucked out with Him and Us. I read them in collectively 24 hours and absolutely loved them. I now have quite the collection and I can’t wait to devote time to reading them.

I want to add as an honorable mention The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I bought it because of booktube love but I haven’t read it yet. Soon. Very soon.

 

WRAP-UP | SUMMER [6/21/17 through 9/21/17]

Check out my SPRING wrap-up here.

Summer is finally over. Thank goodness! We will still have summer-like weather here in SoCal for another week or so but as long as I can wear my scarves and boots, I’m good. I’m not the biggest fan of summer but it looks like my summer reading was pretty good.

I read 25 things in the summer months spread among physical books, ebooks, audio books, and manga. I participated in Tome Topple. I finished three series; read a version of Jane Eyre, and found pretty awesome New Adult favorites. I experienced somewhat of a reading slump after Tome Topple (and found Haikyu!! while at it). Here’s my Top 5 reads during the Summer and some that didn’t impress me much.

In no particular order:

  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. I listened to this. Five hours of brilliance. What an amazing story. The best way I could describe this is a Japanese Tuesdays With Morrie. The story is so beautiful and unassuming.
  • When It’s Real by Erin Watt. Another audio book. And ooh boy, I loved this so damn much. It was this or Us by Sarina Bowen. I love that too but holy shit, this book broke me. The narrators were amazing. It’s actually more YA than hardcore NA and they give it just the perfect amount of tension between the characters. It’s so cute. OMG, I’m thinking of buying my own copy.
  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. The second book in the Mistborn trilogy and man, this was awesome. It as funny, sad, exciting… everything! I can’t wait to close out the year with the final book in the trilogy.
  • A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. Oh yeah, another audio book read. This was a surprise. I kept on seeing this on Book Outlet, hearing it on booktube… all signs point to me reading this book. And I liked it a lot. It’s dark and just so atmospheric. I will definitely read this again.
  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Guess what, audio. This was read by Christian Coulson aka, 16-year-old Tom Riddle. Holy crap this was hilarious. This was intense. This was oh so sweet. Felicity FTW!

I did read mostly good books in the summer but the last two books of The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkoski was a bit disappointing. Actually, the whole series didn’t meet my expectations. It was “sold” to me using piano and music, all that. I didn’t get any of that. While I loved the slave/master dynamic, I went in looking for another thing and didn’t find it.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire but it wasn’t life-changing book everyone said it would be but it was a good book. It’s like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children with better writing and the “peculiarity” made more sense. 

Also, A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas is officially my favorite of the trilogy. I didn’t care for the first book, the second book was better than that but I didn’t care much for it. The third one though… can we cast Otabek Altin as Azriel already? Please.

Fall is here! Bring out the high fantasy and creepy reads!

Review: Arena by Holly Jennings

I remember starting to read this book around the second half of July. Yeah, it was around EVO 2017 was streaming. I thought that was the best time to do so. You know, I was in the gaming mood so reading this book during that time was a perfect combination! It wasn’t.

I requested this book from Blogging For Books and received it on the first day of Anime Expo, July 1st. I finished it a few days ago, September 21. This is a classic example of myself being a mood reader. I was psyching myself up for an epic eSports gamer girl kind of read but after the stress of EVO 2017, I was burnt the heck out.

But I’m here now. I read it. I finished it. And guess what… I liked it. A lot.

As you know, I love eSports. I’m usually a stream monster than an active player. I follow some Blizzard games and such but my gamer girl heart belongs to the fighting game community. My first foray into gaming (apart from JRPGs and survival horror) was Tekken 3, the national video game of the Philippines, and Marvel vs Capcom. I could play them for hours and this was the time before online gaming. Eventually, I got familiar with Street Fighter and Mortal Combat.

Fast forward to 2016. Specifically EVO 2016, my first and probably only EVO. We might go again but for now, I say “only” because… well, some people watch a stream for 9 hours straight in the comfort of ones room. My brother and I were on the stream for 9 hours. Straight. Like right behind the players’ chairs. It was an insane experience. No food, almost no drink, standing on our feet for about 9 hours. And thanks to Twitch, we have proof. The year before that, we also took a drive up to San Francisco for the Capcom Cup Finals where we bought our first fight stick. Up to that point, we were pad players. We’ve met most of our favorite players (I pretty much died when I met Nemo and Tokido so… I’m all good). I mean, these players are almost legendary. I was in awe. And I guess I always will be.

But I digress. That’s my background in eSports. This book, while it does mention Street Fighter, is about another kind of eGaming. It’s more of a virtual world. Think MMORPG. Our protagonist, Kali Ling is the first female captain of a team competing in the RAGE Tournament. It is an elite competition where virtual warriors fight to the death. Virtually, that is. But higher levels of the game become so intense that even real life players feel pain.

Kali, being the captain, has to deal with a last minute lineup change. Rooke replaces one of their longtime teammates and at first, he was hard to deal with. Apart from that Kali has to juggle being in the spotlight, her own personal problems, dealing with her inexperience with leading a team, and of course, the business aspect of a professional gamer. I enjoyed all the points mentioned in the book in explanation as to why professional gamers became athletes in their own right. For a geek/gamer girl, it was pretty awesome and so empowering.

I have to say that I half-read and half-listened to this on audio book. And I enjoyed both. It was a fast read. Sure, it wasn’t the best writing but it was fun and engaging. Although there were times when I felt the events in the book was all over the place. Some characters weren’t very developed but at the end of it all, they weren’t that needed to further the story. I loved Kali’s and Rooke’s back stories. Erin Spencer was a good narrator. She gave life to Kali and made it sound real. She was both strong and whiny at the same time. It actually reminded me of NA audio books for some reason. But then again, I wouldn’t 100% consider this YA either. Maybe an older YA? This does not shy away or sugarcoat sex and sexuality. Also, I love how easy and natural the addition of diverse characters felt. It was organic and not at all forced. There were characters of color and a lesbian relationship.

Another thing that I got an absolute trip from is that this book is set in LA! The final tournament was set “across the street from the newly renovated LA Convention Center”. Coincidentally, there’s construction going on right now at that general area. Hint, hint.

Overall, it was such an adventure. If you’re not much of a gamer, don’t shy away from this. There’s not much jargon and the few “classic” games mentioned are pretty familiar to many. And besides, the action was easy to follow and understand. It was pretty badass, if you ask me. I can totally see this played out in an RPG or an actual team tournament. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second book, Gauntlet. If that’s anything like this one, then I’m going to for sure enjoy it too.

Rating: 4/5 stars. I’m reading Warcross next so I’m definitely in a gaming mood!

#GetGraphic | Readathon + TBR (10/6 through 10/8)

I haven’t been reading many manga (or any kind of sequential art) these past two months. I usually pad my numbers with manga. After all, a lot of them are long series with many volumes. I have quite a few that I have to catch up with and a lot that I want to start. What better way to finally get to those than a dedicated readathon!

Like my previous comic book/graphic novel readathon, I’m going to exclusively read manga. It’s just my preferred medium for sequential art. And besides, it messes me up when I read a graphic novel… I’m so used to reading right to left.

I first heard about the #GetGraphic readathon from Adriana from Perpetual Pages. There are others hosts and also a twitter page. Click the image on the left and follow for updates and sprints. There are six main challenges and five Instagram/social media challenges leading up to the actual readathon.

It’s going to be from 5PM of October 6 through 11:59PM of October 8, your time zone.

A chill weekend. It’s doable, right? And besides, it usually takes me about 30 minutes to get through a standard manga volume. This way, I won’t feel too guilty padding my GoodReads numbers with very short reads. Hey, it’s to satisfy a readathon. It so counts!

And what’s a readathon without challenges? I’ll be mentioning some titles as both a possible TBR and recommendations. Really, any comic, manga, and/or graphic novel counts. But here are the challenges:

  1. Read from a new-to-you series
  2.  Read two installments from the same series
  3. Read a work over 300 pages
  4. Read a work with black and white art
  5. Read a work picked out by a friend
  6. Read at least five things

Like with other readathons, one book can cover multiple challenges. Most of my choices will have black and white art. I’m planning to read a new-to-me series that is finished with 30 volumes. That is also a recommendation from a friend – although she recommended the anime more than the manga.

Here’s my list of titles that I’m interested in… and some that I’ve already read and recommend (yeah, think of me as your friend, see #5 lol):

  • Orange by Ichigo Takano – I will never stop singing its praises. This comes in a 2-volume collection that is well over 300 pages. Just read it. Fall in love with it.
  • Kuroko no Basuke by Tadatoshi Fujimaki – After falling head over heels obsessed with sports anime such as Yuri!!! On Ice, Free!, and Haikyu!! (exclamation points FTW), I want to check out another one. I’m also planning to watch the anime but with 75 episodes… lemme finish my queue first. (But that seiyuu cast list is a dream.)
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman – wow, not a manga but I have both volumes and it’s been sitting on my shelf for years. This time is as good as any.
  • Gyo by Junji Ito – This is going to be my 300-page read. I loved Uzumaki (read it for the previous comic readathon), read Tomie for Tome Toppleand now this.
  • Black Butler by Yana Toboso – I need to catch up! I think I’m on Volume 12 already.
  • Barakamon by Satsuki Yoshino – I love the anime but I’ve only read 2 volumes. Catch up!
  • sweetness and lightning by Gido Amagakure – If I can get my hands on the latest volumes translated to English. I love this series. In fact, I’m writing a Yuri On Ice AU loosely based off of it!

That looks like a lot but trust me, it will go by fast. A lot of manga are not wordy… except maybe Black Butler. I also want to read My Hero Academia and Haikyu but I couldn’t find them on my library apps. Oh well. Eventually.

Let me know if you’re participating. What’s your #GetGraphic TBR?