#T5W | I like these authors. A lot.

This week, we are talking about Authors You Want to Read More From.

I am at a loss at how to kick off this post so I’ll just go straight to the list. I’m having a bad day at work today and I need a distraction. Wish.com, AliExpress, and several online book shops aren’t helping much. (LOL.)

  1. Roshani Chokshi. I met her last February and had my copy of The Star-Touched Queen signed and personalized. Then I read it. It’s quite purple prose-y but I truly enjoyed it. Instead of it being annoying and tiring with all the flowery words and metaphors, it set up the mood nicely and it made imagining the world she wrote so easy and enjoyable. I do have A Crown of Wishes which I will get to very soon. And she recently announced that she is releasing a middle grade book next year. Yaaasss!
  2. Marie Lu. I also met her at the same event that I mentioned above. Ever since reading the Legend trilogy last year, Marie Lu has become an auto-buy author. I just love how well she writes action and her characters are so simple yet rich. I have The Young Elites trilogy (signed and) waiting for me. And I cannot wait to get my hands on Warcross. And I also hope to have all of my copies of her books signed… eventually.
  3. Ryan Graudin. I read her Wolf by Wolf duology and instantly fell in love. So much that I plan to try her All that Glows duology even though I’m not a fan of fae. There’s something about her writing that feels so strong and solid. Both Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood blew me away. Yes, they are YA books but it had none of that shallowness that even dystopian YA has, whether intentional or not. Invictus is going to be released this year and I will surely read that.
  4. Brandon Sanderson. My 2017 project is to finish the Mistborn trilogy. I’ve read and absolutely loved The Final Empire. I might read the next one in the coming months and the last one by the end of the year. And this author has a LOT of other books. So many of them are well-loved by the book community, not just by the SFF readers. The Final Empire was so easy to read and follow despite the large cast of characters and rather complicated magic system.
  5. Keigo Higashino. I debated whether to mention him or another Japanese author here but I decided with Keigo Higashino. I own six of his translated works but have only read one. Which is strange because I enjoyed the one that I read, The Devotion of Suspect X. I don’t know what I’m waiting for. I love how he puts a spin on a detective story. What I love about Japanese fiction is that it has its own mood that is so distinct from Western mysteries. I really should pick up the other books by this author because all of them sound so interesting.

I have other picks. But looking at my list, I am most excited about these five authors.

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | NOPE.

I know, my previous post is also a TTT but I’ve been busy, okay?

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten things that will make me instantly NOT want to read a book.

In a way, it’s okay. Last week’s topic is the opposite of this one. I had to dig deeper for this. I see myself as an equal opportunity reader. As with food, I’m willing to try anything at least once. In doing so, I think I’ve arrived at my preferred and/or comfort genres.

A little disclaimer, as with every “negative” post, it’s cool to have an opinion. By saying that I’m not a fan of these things, I don’t mean that you have bad taste if you like them. It’s great that you like them. I just… don’t. So let’s get to them, shall we?

(This is a list of things that make me not want to even pick up a book. Bad writing and other components may make me DNF a book but in order for me to know that, I would have already picked up the book and started reading it.)

  1. If the book is written in verse. Poetry. I am not a fan of poetry. I’m sure it’s beautiful, profound, deep, etc. But it doesn’t do anything for me. I hated it when we were asked to write poetry back in school. I just rhymed every line and called it a day. I ain’t that deep. 😉
  2. Christian fiction. NOPE. I’m okay with religious text, historical texts talking about religion – I devour stuff like The Da Vinci Code. But I cannot stand Christian books. They tend to get preachy and please, spare me.
  3. Speaking of preachy, John Green books. I’m not saying they’re religious in anyway but I found that the text rather tells me what to feel. I hated The Fault in Our Stars. Please don’t tell me what to feel and how to react to this situation. Then I heard that his other books are like that as well. So I’m sticking with his online content, I think.
  4. Ugly covers. We are told not to judge a book by its cover but sadly, we all do that. And unfortunately, a lot of self-published work have atrocious covers that turns me off from them. I’m sure there are diamonds in the rough but the covers, man. Mainstream books aren’t exempt from this, you know. Covers ARE important. After all, they’re the lure that attracts you to even look at the book.
  5. If the dog dies. I can’t. I just can’t. God forbid if Makkachin dies. I hate watching those pet adoption ads on TV because I’ll be a sobbing mess by the end of that ad. Kill everyone else in the book except the dog, please.
  6. Fae. Sookie Stackhouse said it best – “WTF”? And I also stopped watching True Blood when it was announced that Sookie was part-fae. I blame this anti-fae-ness on True Blood. I did read ACOMAF and I kept shaking my head at all the fae – all their pomp and snobbishness.
  7. Chicklit. It’s annoying. Here you have an educated white girl, living in the heart of the city, about to start a glamorous job that pays well, has a closet -full of shoes and clothes, a dog, and friends who brunch. And what does she do? Complain. Bitch. Woe is me.
  8. A Goodreads rating that is below 3.5 stars. Life is short. These people read it so I don’t have to. I know we all have different tastes, opinions but there must be a reason why a certain number of people rated a book low.
  9. A short story collection by multiple authors. I love immersing myself in an author’s writing. One short story is not enough for me to do that. I’ve tried that and it was so jarring to read different writing styles in one go. I’m not saying I don’t like short stories – I just like it when it’s one author’s collection.
  10. YA Contemporary in general. Let’s face it, it’s not my genre. I got lucky when I read Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. But even the synopses at the back of YA contemporary books turn me off completely. I like my escapes to come in the form of fantasy and sci-fi… things that can’t really happen. I have enough drama IRL to bother with it in a book.

How was that? Harsh? Eh… 😉

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Cate-bait

I met Gary Sinise and Daniel Henney yesterday. I’m still not over it. 😄

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten things that will make me instantly want to read a book.

At first, I had no idea what to put on here. I didn’t think I had “criteria” or “reasons” why I want to read a book. I checked out a few entries and they said “pretty covers”, “sale prices/free”, “interesting blurbs or first sentences”, etc. While I do like all those as well, I see them more as reasons to BUY a book. I never really relied on blurbs and summaries; that’s what GoodReads is for — I do so much “research” before committing to a book. (I do that with every purchase that I make LOL.) And while I prefer pretty covers, it doesn’t influence my want to read a certain book over another. But all those reasons are totally valid. Just… not for me.

Then I sat down and looked through my GoodReads “read” shelf. I noticed I do have a preference. I went through a phase where I bought books in bulk because of all the sales but most of them still sit unread… somewhere in my room (who has enough shelf space anyway). And a lot of my “read” books are purchased pretty recently. So here are my 10 things that will bait me to reading books sooner than others.

  1. Japanese fiction with anime and/or live action adaptation. I have a lot of Japanese fiction. I would love to be able to read all of them but I tend to put priority on those ones with anime adaptations. All of the manga that I read so far have anime versions – and I may have watched the anime before reading the manga or light novel. That’s usually how I hear of manga or light novel anyway. It’s interesting for me to see the drawings come to life on the screen and voiced by my favorite voice over actors.
  2. Anything recommended/mentioned on the Sword & Scale podcast. True Crime is one of my favorite genres but sadly, I don’t read nearly enough of it. I’ve taken some recommendations from this incredible true crime podcast and have enjoyed some of them. I’m tempted to have a “Sword & Scale book club/shelf” because of all the interesting titles mentioned in several episodes.
  3. Finished duologies and trilogies. I’m almost done with my marathon of The Grisha Trilogy. I’m not a follower of new releases. I actually prefer reading older series. The best way to read duologies is to read it back-to-back. It feels like one whole story. And I think I may have to do the same with the other trilogies that I own but have not started yet. I quite enjoyed it this way.
  4. RUSSIA! I blame the great and fictional Viktor Nikiforov of Yuri!!! ON ICE for this renewed interest in anything Russian. I went through a binge-watch of Russian-themed espionage films back in the day. Now, I’m looking to books as well. Thus, The Grisha Trilogy marathon.
  5. Mixed media content. I breezed through Illuminae and Gemina. I read Train Man in one day. These kinds of books fly by fast and they’re a good thing to mix up one’s reading experience. Rather than block words on a page, these have pictures and new ways to enjoy a story.
  6. Sci-fi/mystery adventure thrillers. Along the lines of James Rollins and Dan Brown. The latter’s Robert Langdon series is an auto-buy for me. James Rollins’ adventures are just so good. Formulaic as they might come, they’re still so enjoyable – especially on audio! Actually, I will read anything from either of these authors.
  7. World War II / Holocaust. Except Anne Frank’s diary. In high school, I read every Holocaust-related book that I could get my hands on. Fictionalized or historical, lemme at it.  Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman sat so very high on  my wishlist last year. I prioritized Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin over so many other things because it was set in a world where the Axis Powers won. That whole era is so fascinating for me.
  8. A very hyped book on SALE. I’m talking about free to $1.99 at the most. I felt this especially with Vassa In the Night by Sarah Porter. (And again, Russia.) I got my copy for less than 99cents because it was green tag day at Goodwill and this had a green tag on it. I remember this was so hyped back when it was released. And when I got home, I wanted to start it so badly. But Shadow and Bone called out to me. (Russian, again.)
  9. Anything by VE Schwab, Marie Lu, and Pierce Brown. Welcome to my list of auto-buy authors. I will ready anything they put out. Even poetry. And I don’t care for poetry. I have dropped everything to read Morning Star when it came out. I purposefully didn’t start another book before I got my hands on A Conjuring of Light. I will make time to read these authors’ works.
  10. Fantasy, in general. I will more likely to read fantasy than contemporary.

But being the mood reader that I am, I will read whatever the hell I want whenever the hell I want it. 😄

#T5W | I’m (a) Game(r)

This week, we are talking about Books That Would Make Good Games.

One thing you may not know about me is that I’m a gamer. Sure, I spectate more than I actually play but I’ve always had a controller in my hand since the classic Nintendo Famicom. I had three PSX consoles, 2 PS One, 2 PS2, a PS3, 3 PSPs, a PS Vita, and a PS4 Pro. My brother and I are actually planning to buy another PS Vita because the one we have now is rooted in the Japanese PlayStation store. And if it’s not yet obvious, we’re Playstation fans. I’ve never even held a GameBoy or a Nintendo DS in my life. No joke. 😄

My favorite genres are Japanese RPG, survival horror, and fighting games. Tekken 3 is like the national video game in the Philippines. Final Fantasy VIII was my top favorite JRPG until recently. And while kids spend the day with their dads in parks, malls, or fixing cars… I was helping him beat Silent Hill. Today, I still love Tekken and have grown to love Street Fighter. Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has dethroned FF8 as my favorite JRPG so much that I am seriously contemplating on buying a Windows system so I can play the game’s re-release with 5000 extra voice over clips. And I think Resident Evil: Biohazard is one of the scariest video games ever! I can talk you to the ground about video games like I can with books and anime.

Anyway, I figure this is going to be a long post. I will not only name 5 (or more) books that would make great video games but I will try to mention games that can be good books too. And I will be categorizing them into genres/modes instead of the book’s genres. This is going to be fun!

Continue reading

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Fandom

Ah, fandom. Where do I even begin?

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a Fandom Freebie.

Well, well, well. If you follow me on Goodreads, I call myself  “The Professional Fangirl”. Not that I get paid for it with money… with amazing memories, maybe. I may have a slightly addictive personality wherein I want to know everything about something that I like. Then I buy merch. No making money there, that’s for sure. 😉

(I provided a lot of links in place of photos. I have a feeling this post will be quite long.)

I remember when Tumblr was still new, I was pretty active on it. Then it grew. More fandoms started to join in. I then fell off the Tumblr wagon. Scrolling back and forth became too tedious and I found too many things to like and reblog. I pretty much set myself up for failure because I was a meticulous tagger and that became a chore fast. I also was managing a Castle tumblr and oooh boy, my interest for that show fizzled faster than a candle wick. Looking back now, Tumblr is perfect for inspiration (I never got the hang of Pinterest) and pretty stuff but I’m too multi-fandom to keep up with it.

Speaking of that, here are 10 fandoms that I subscribe to and follow. These are not my ONLY fandoms but these are the ones where I’m fairly active. Really, scroll through my Instagram feed and you can probably guess what they are. I tend to go merch crazy. Not all the time but I have moments. I never do posters, rather I collect fan art from Artist Alleys at conventions. The way I display my “affiliation” to certain fandoms (lately) is through charms/keychains. In the past, I was never the one for keychains but when my brother started collecting some for his JRPGs, I was hooked.

When I saw that this was this week’s topic, I felt overwhelmed. How do I present this? I can’t have pictures of everything. You guys will think I’m crazy. I already think I’m weird and nerdy. I’m proud of that. While my lipstick collection is quite big, my fandom merch is easily double that, if not more. Unfortunately, I don’t have much in terms of bookish fandom merch. Outside of pre-order swag and signed books, finding book fanart at conventions is not easy.

So I think that went on for far too long. Let’s get into the fandoms.

LORD OF THE RINGS. I guess you can consider this a bookish fandom. While I do love the books, I fangirl a tad bit harder for the movie-verse. I will and have dropped everything – school, work, social responsibilities – to attend LOTR-related events. I’ve been to red carpet premieres, Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonies, post-LOTR project events, and the One Last Party held by TheOneRing,Net. I have the movies in every disc form, two sets of the trilogy, several covers of The Hobbit, including the 50th anniversary limited edition, two Keys of Thorin, pillows, fleece blankets, shirts, Funkos, bobble heads, Legos… you name it. I will never truly leave Middle-Earth. You can’t make me. Hannon le.

HARRY POTTER. Another bookish fandom. And this time, I’m more into the books rather than the films. But that didn’t stop me from meeting Daniel Radcliffe! Also, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Studios Hollywood is one of my favorite places in the world. I can just go there, park myself somewhere and people watch. I don’t even have to ride the rides to enjoy. It’s just the feel of that place… it’s wonderful. I’m so happy that the friends I made through LOTR are pretty much the same ones that I hang out with at WWHP. We would dress up, one big group of students and other patrons would compliment us, the employees would give us free front of the line passes (this happened 3x in one day!), and even take photos of us. This fandom can be overwhelming but it’s always so much fun.

THE FIGHTING GAME COMMUNITY (FGC)I don’t know if this is a fandom per se but it definitely a community. I follow mostly the Street Fighter scene. It led me to amazing matches, great reading materials, and my favorite food truck ever, Okamoto Kitchen. You would think, “Oh it’s just a bunch of guys and girls at an arcade beating each other up with game pads and controllers”. Well, don’t knock it until you’ve experienced it. Either by being a stream monster or standing right behind the players in person, the thrill is unmatched. Continue reading

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Authors

My entry for last week’s TTT already featured author event photos. I should’ve checked this week’s topic. Pfft.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten Authors I’m Dying To Meet / Ten Authors I Can’t Believe I’ve Met.

I’m lucky to live in an area that has a very good independent bookstore community. Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena has made a lot of author events so very accessible to me. Not to mention a lot of popular conventions are held conveniently near where I live. I wish I could go to more but well, life… work… life. But still, looking at my “authors I’ve met” list looks pretty good.

My list of “authors I want to meet” is substantially shorter. I don’t really think, “Oooh, I want to meet this author”. No, I check schedules and then decide whether to go or not. I’ve missed opportunities to meet Jane LynchCameron Diaz, and Lyndsay Faye. But then again, I once scheduled my day around an author meet. 😉

Here is the list of AUTHORS I WANT TO MEET:

  • PIERCE BROWN. I hope and pray that he does an event at my local Vroman’s Bookstore. I remember he did one with their sister bookstore, Book Soup, but that was too far away from me. I do have Morning Star signed and I would love to have the previous two books signed as well. Not to mention my ARCs.
  • ERNEST CLINE. I would love to hear him talk about Ready Player One. And have my copies of that book and Armada signed as well. Yup, my main goal is to have my stuff signed.
  • NEIL GAIMAN. One day, maybe. And I do have that illustrated version of American Gods.
  • JK ROWLING. I wonder which book I’ll bring to have signed.
  • EVAN WRIGHT. I already have a copy of Generation Kill signed by him. But I bought that. I want him to sign the “special copy” that I have signed by the cast and one of the actual Marines from the book.

And here’s a list of AUTHORS I’VE MET (off the top of my head): Continue reading

#T5W | Bring on the ANGST!

This week, we are talking about Favorite Angsty Romances.

If you know me at all, angst is my favorite category of fan fiction. Some people get bedtime stories, I pull up a 100,000 word piece and bawl my eyes out before bed. I’m currently reading one about Yuri!!! On Ice and I’m blown away at the quality of some of the stuff I find on there.

But we are not talking about fanfics. Here are some angsty relationships from books. They’re not as frustrating and angsty as my fics but they’ll do.

  • Naho x Kakeru from Orange This is actually a part of an adorable but incredibly frustrating love triangle. I honestly prefer the other guy (and think he got the shortest end of an already short stick) but this was the direction the story was going. If you’re not familiar with Orange, you might not get it. But in a nutshell, five friends at present day meet up again to celebrate the birthday of a friend that died ten years ago. Then they get an idea to somehow send letters to their past selves and try to save this friend from dying and “erase” whatever regrets they have at present time. That wasn’t a good synopsis but trust me, this is SO GOOD – manga, anime, live action. But if you’re in the mood for so much frustration that you’d want to fling a shoe at both of their heads, this one is perfect for you. 😄

  • Let’s get this out of the way, shall we? Jane Eyre x Mr. Rochester from Jane EyreDo I even need to explain this? He was playing hard-to-get. She pretends that she doesn’t care. Both of them insult each other as a kind of flirting device. One is the key to the other’s happiness but they both refuse themselves of that. Argh… both of them are angsty as hell.

  • Shahrzad x Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn duology. This will be in a lot of lists today. What is it with brooding male characters? I love them. In anime, they end up being my favorite characters. But it is a source of such frustration from the female character. And the reader. More often than not, these brooding male characters are “No one can love me. Don’t love me; I don’t deserve it. Stay away from me!” Khalid is definitely that to the very end.

  • June x Day from the Legend trilogy. The ending of the 2nd book, Prodigy, drives the angst home. If you don’t know what I’m talking about… well, Legend is an easy trilogy to marathon. And oh, there are graphic novels. I enjoyed those so much because I got to see what these two characters look like. Day, again, is one of those brooding male characters with so many dark secrets from a dark past. No matter how much June tells him that she is willing to help, Day pushes her away. But unlike other female characters, she allows herself to be pushed away. Yes, she’s still hung up about him but she lets it go. And for a reader and shipper, I wanted to pull my hair out.

  • Alana x Marko from Saga. Man, these two. Hell, they don’t even speak the same language! But you can just feel the love that they have for each other. It’s almost tangible. Yet their trust for each other is broken. This graphic novel series is definitely SFF with outer space and aliens and stuff but it  is definitely very human at the same time. I’m rooting for them so hard. And I cannot wait to read the next volume coming out next week!

That’s my list. I still think my fanfics have more angst but hey.