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

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.

#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.

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?


#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.


#T5W | Back to School

This week, we are talking about Classes Based on Books/Characters.

It’s back to school season. I’m on the final episode of My Hero Academia season 1. Let’s do this!

I remember doing a similar topic for Top Ten Tuesday… the Ten Things I Wanted to Learn Because of Books, or something to that effect. It had stuff like Archery because Katniss and playing the violin because of This Savage Song. This time, it’s classes in school that is based on books and characters. Or probably taught by said characters. Think Harry Potter and the instruction of magic. But HP is out of the running… that’s just too easy. 😉 There are other books and characters out there that can teach you how to fly, right?

I will try to make the subjects as “practical” as possible. Although, I wouldn’t mind being taught by Azriel Altin the art of angsty brooding and pining. XD

HOSPITALITY, Black Butler by Yana Toboso.
Instructed by: Sebastian Michaelis.
Anyone who has read the manga or watched the movie will know that Sebastian is the perfect butler. He can cook, clean, do laundry, garden, tend to pets, and more without a perfect hair out of place. And he does other stuff too. After all, “A butler that can’t do this much, isn’t worth his salt.”

INFILTRATION, Red Rising by Pierce Brown.
Instructed by: Darrow.

This is infiltration of the enemy camp to the extreme. It’s like Mission Impossible mask making on steroids x 100. Not to mention complete behavioral change to blend in with the enemy society. Combat and survival are also included in the curriculum.

TANKERY, Girls und Panzer.
Instructed by: Miho Nishizumi.

The rest of the Ooarai girls will have lectures on specialized stuff such as mechanical and technical aspects of Tankery, steering, supplies while in combat, paperwork, repairs, etc. Guest lecturers from different schools – St. Gloriana, Saunders, Anzio, Pravda, and Kuromorimine – will also provide further sessions and demonstrations.

METALLURGY, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.
Instructed by: Kelsier.
Do I even need to explain this? This course will cover the different effects and/or benefits of different metals to a body. Also, experimentation as to the discovery of new alloys will also be covered. Pre-requisite to the Allomancy course.

Instructed by: Saitama.

Here is the curriculum: 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and 10km running. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Class will be joined by his protege Genos. Classes will be joined by Bang aka “Silver Fang” and his disciple, Charanko. 

I will be sure to sign up for any – all of them! Especially Tankery!

What was your favorite class in school?

#T5W | Bro.

This week, we are talking about Bromances.

I have two lists for you today. The boring book list – I say “boring” because it’s going to be the same as everyone else’s – and my anime list. I am truly more excited for the anime list. I’ve been watching a lot of sports anime and it’s a black hole of bromances, straight up yaoi, and fan fiction fodder for years to come.

I won’t dwell much on the book list but do hear me out:

GRAYSON PIERCE & MONK KOKKALIS, Sigma Force series by James Rollins.
Let’s start with the lesser known one. Their friendship is so great. They’ve been through hell together and lived their lives side by side. They’ve protected each other and have feared to lose one another multiple times. Theirs is one of the strongest relationships in these books.

KELL & RHY, Shades of Magic trilogy by VE Schwab.
They’re adoptive brothers and they quite literally share a lifeline. I feel like this is kind of cheating a bit but this is the best bromantic relationship in this trilogy without crossing the actual m/m romance line. I love how much they care about each other and the guilt they both feel because of how they affect the other’s life.

LEGOLAS & GIMLI, The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien.
Legolas spent the rest of his Middle-Earth life and beyond with his friend Gimli, a dwarf. They blurred racial lines and forged a lifetime of loyalty and friendship. I mean, I love Aragorn but to be truly honest, he was a 3rd wheel in this friendship. 😉

DARROW & SEVRO, Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown.
Loyalty plays a huge part in all the bromances I’ve mentioned so far. This one is no different. These two are foils of each other. They’re opposites but somehow, they found a friend and ally in each other. Sevro continued when Darrow couldn’t and kept the band together. Darrow never lost hope in Sevro. I just love them!

CASSIAN & AZRIELA Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas.
This entry will link my two lists together. Why? Because in my head as I was reading these two books, I dreamcasted Cassian as JJ Leroy and Azriel as Otabek Altin from Yuri!!! On Ice. More on that later but in the books, they’re these seemingly chill dudes – really, dudes. They keep Rhysand in check. But then they go to beast mode. They’re so devoted to protecting their loved ones and the sense of obligation is so strong. They’re the best part of the series.

And now, for the fun list… the Top 5 Anime Bromances! Continue reading

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Turning Japanese

Long time no see – both for this tag and blogging in general. Life got in the way, it still is, but I need this distraction.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Ten book recommendations for ______________: (Sky’s the limit here…examples: for Hufflepuffs, for fans of Game of Thrones, for people who don’t normally read YA, for animal lovers, for video game lovers, etc.

I was tempted to go for the “video game lovers” part but I might just fill it with Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel stuff. Plus, I already did a video game-related post so maybe check that out if you’re interested.

So I went with Ten Japanese Fiction Recommendations. As you know, it’s one of my favorite genres and I’ve collected quite a few titles. I’ve read my share of translated fiction and so far, the Japanese are nailing it. I also like how they do mystery and horror. They don’t shy away from shock, blood, gore, and sex. I feel like every Japanese book should come with a trigger warning. But it’s so worth it in the end. And I recently found out that some Japanese fiction are perfect to listen to on audio. A lot of them are pretty short so even with 1.0x speed, they’re only around the 5-hour mark.

You might recognize these titles if you’ve been on my blog for a while. Some of these are my absolute favorites not just from the genre, but of all-time. So I might not talk about them at length here. And I have so many more unread in my collection. But as of right now, here are my recommendations.

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.
If you like The Hunger Games, you’re going to love this. You won’t find Peeta but make sure you’re ready for uncensored violence and gore. And oh, there’s a movie version of this!

Confessions by Kanae Minato.
I went into this with zero expectations. The blurb at the back totally sold me. This is about a school teacher whose daughter was murdered by one of her students. If that doesn’t get you, I don’t know what will.

Another by Yukito Ayatsuji.
I recommend the anime adaptation too. And also read the companion, Another Episode S/0. It’s a total mindfuck horror and psychological thriller. I admit, I enjoy the anime a bit more because you can actually see the descriptions and the scenarios but the book is quite beautiful too.

Ring series by Koji Suzuki.
Especially the second on, Spiral. But of course, Ring is probably the most iconic. Don’t expect a super faithful page-to-screen translation but it’s still pretty close.

Train Man by Hitori Nakano.
Take a break from all the darkness and read this light-hearted novel told in message board format. Think reddit. It’s about an otaku man meeting the girl of his dreams on a train. Yup.

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.
To explain it easier, this is sort of like the Japanese Tuesdays With Morrie. You have an ailing professor spending the final years of his life with a housekeeper and her son. This was an amazing audio book and I would gladly listen to it again.

Orange by Ichigo Takano.
This is my recommendation for a finished manga series. I’ve proclaimed my love for this series for such a long time, I’m sure you know about this too.

Black Butler by Yana Toboso.
And here’s an on-going manga series. The anime adaptation is one of my favorites and the manga series does not disappoint. It’s different than a lot of manga because it’s not set in Japan. It’s a period piece with paranormal themes and detective work. And the anime is so awesome… such a perfect cast of voice actors! Japanese, I mean. 😉

Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino.
I have so many books by this author, I should start making a dent on that pile. This is only my second Higashino read, first audio book and I am in love. When you think a case is open and shut, maybe it’s the in between that’s most interesting. What looks like a typical wife killing her husband over an affair becomes so much more complex. This was such an enjoyable audio book.

Uzumaki by Junji Ito.
Snails. That’s all. Snails.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these and if you have recommendations for me. I will read any Japanese fiction out there.

#T5W | Better Than The First

This week, we are talking about Second/Middle Books That Are the Best in the Series.

Long time no post. I have good reasons for that.

I wrote a fic! It’s in the Yuri!!! ON ICE fandom but inspired by my new obsession, Pitbulls and Parolees. It’s aptly called Poodles and Figure Skaters. It’s Makkachin-centric. Now, I’m so inspired to write more fic. I haven’t finished anything in almost ten years. I even have a Generation Kill fic that is very loosely based on Jane Eyre… 60,000 words and counting. And unfinished. It’s almost done… almost seven years ago.

Another thing that is taking my mind off blogging is Pitbulls and Parolees. Thank goodness for Animal Planet Go. They have all the seasons on there and I’m loving this show so much. If I’m not reading for Tome Topple, I’m probably watching this.

So there’s that. This week’s topic is quite a bit of a challenge. Like with other series lists, I realize that I read a lot of stand alones in the past. I have quite a few series on-going and not a lot finished. And from those I’ve finished, I’m not a huge fan of either the middle book or the series as a whole. While I agree that The Winner’s Crime is the best in the series, I’m not really impressed. I haven’t finished A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy yet so I can’t say for sure if ACOMAF is the best. And Siege & Storm is only better than the other books because of Nikolai’s introduction to the story. IMHO, anyway.

I have three books, one movie, and one anime series for you. I hope you enjoy!

Taken 3 years ago, almost to the day!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
This should be the only title in this list. Catching Fire was leaps and bounds better than The Hunger Games and Mockingjay. Even the movie was fantastic. It was all action from the get-go and it was such an adventure. I thought it was going to be tedious because it was potentially just a retelling of the events of the first book but it was so much more fun. Then Mockingkay. Well, let’s not talk about that.

Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy.
I loved the first book, Him. When I thought it can’t get any better, it did. Us didn’t have the angst from miscommunication and uncertainty from the first book. The relationship was already established and all they had to deal with was the effect of fame and fortune on their relationship. Plus, the new characters were awesome. So much that I actually want a book about them.

Spiral by Koji Suzuki.
I say this again and again, I rated Ring 5 stars but this, only a 4. But I thought this was better than Ring. Oh man, this was a mindfuck. I thought I would merely skim read this but I was hooked all the way to the end. I understand that this might not translate to film as successfully as Ring. This book doesn’t have a long-haired girl in white that comes out of TV sets. It has a terribly smart virus. Scary.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
This is actually – officially – my favorite movie of all time. While I can recite The Fellowship of the Ring from memory, I love rewatching The Two Towers. Especially the Helm’s Deep scene and when the ents attack Isengard. What I do is I try to track ONE ORC and see where it goes. There’s always something new whenever I watch this.

Free! Eternal Summer
The second season of the Free! anime series. I love Free! Iwatobi Swim Club but I find myself rewatching Eternal Summer more. They’re all friends in this series and everything means so much more. All of them have grown and it sort of became more of a slice-of-life than a gimmicky sports dramedy. I love this series so much! I’ve since met one of the voice actors from the anime so it made it much more special.

That’s my list! Now, let me go back to writing my next YOI fic… this time, inspired by another anime, sweetness & lightning. I’m gonna have so much fun rewatching this series!

#T5W | It’s Going to be Worth It

This week, we are talking about Series That Got Better.

Guys, this was hard. Sure, I had one trilogy that instantly popped into my mind but coming up with four more was not easy. I realized that I haven’t really read that many series. A good handful of what I started are not finished because I quit them… not because I don’t have time to continue on with the next books. Although, I do own a lot of finished series. Reading other people’s posts is making me reaarange my TBR. If enough of you say that it’s good, it must be, right? As for the stuff I watch, I lose interest on a TV show faster than I can log in to my Hulu account and most of the stuff I choose to watch are single-season anime.

Also, as much as I prefer binge reading finished series, a lot of them suffer from either the “middle book slump” or the “disappointing finale”. Almost always, my favorite book tends to be the first one. My favorite movie in a franchise is probably the first one. Or maybe the 2nd book is the best then it went downhill with the 3rd/final one. So many things can happen. But I will stop rambling and try to give you guys a decent list.

Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown.
I must admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first book. I thought it was info-dumpy, pretentious, silly, and overall trying too hard. But for some reason, I decided to read the next book. I loved it. So much. I loved it so much that I screamed when I finished it because I didn’t have the next book yet. (Of course, I read it as it came out.) I got the 3rd book on Kindle because I ordered a signed copy and that would take a while to ship. I read it in 2-3 days. It was phenomenal.

Him duology by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy.
This is currently my favorite NA books/series. Him was so teeth-achingly sweet provided we are talking about two sporty, muscled hockey players surrounded by their equally manly teammates. Goodness, the angst in this duology was palpable, it hurts. I loved how real it felt, their struggles within themselves and with dealing with the outside world. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, Us happened. I read this duology in two days. I would read it again in a heartbeat.

One-Punch Man manga by ONE.
Let me set this up for you. A seemingly ordinary young man is actually a pretty fcking powerful superhero who can defeat anyone and anything with a single punch, hence, the name. How can that be interesting for more than one volume? Trust me. It can. I’m on Volume 6 and I’m pacing it. I loved the anime and I hope that one continues on as well.

Free! anime produced by Kyoto Animation.
This currently has two seasons, an OVA, and three theatrically released movies… with one more coming up. It was first released in 2014 and people still love it to this day. I sure do, judging by the number of times I’ve rewatched certain episodes from both seasons. And the OVA. And the seiyuu event. Oh man, I love this series so damn much. I do prefer season 2 over the first one that’s why I included it in this list. But I recommend the whole package. (BTW, I met one of that Japanese voice actors, Daisuke Hirakawa who plays Ryuugazaki Rei, at Anime Expo 2017. It made me entire life.)

Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel JRPG by Nihon Falcom.
For the longest time, my favorite Japanese role-playing game is Final Fantasy VIII. Until this gem of a JRPG entered my life. I love it so much, I cosplayed a character from the first game twice during AX2017 weekend. And guess what, I even met the CEO of Nihon Falcom, Toshihiro Kondo, while in my Fie Claussell costume! This is a game about NINE kids in a military academy training to be “the best Thors Military Academy” can offer. This game is so rich in story while also being character-driven. I loved ToCS1 but I loved the 2nd one even more. I cannot wait for the 3rd!

I really have to work on the series that I own. I want to read so many yet I gravitate towards the stand alone and manga lately.