WRAP-UP | MARCH 2017

It’s finally Spring and the weather in Southern California is going insane. One day, we get 80s and then 60s the next. The day would start with a very humid mid-50s only to go up to 80s by midday and then 60s at night. It’s tricky dressing up every morning for work; either you’re stuck in the heat and humidity in a sweater or chilly in short sleeves.

But it did bring (the illusion) of longer days. It would be 8PM and there’s still light in the sky. “Longer” days meant I can do more thing before my body clock starts winding down and I turn into an anime binge monster. Then I guess that is so. 🙂

I made a Spring TBR and since then, I’ve been very conscious about which books to read next. I’m trying not to pressure myself too much though. The reason why I never really did TBRs is because I refer to it a lot and I self-destruct when I don’t feel like reading any of them and end up just quitting, which then leads to a slump. We don’t want that. Right now, I think I made a doable list and I hope to get to the majority of them. In fact, I already read a few titles off of that already.

Last month, I read 3 books that are over 600 pages. And I’ve accepted that manga will always be in the mix not just as filler for my GoodReads goal. I genuinely enjoy it so expect a good chunk of my monthly wrap-up to include a bunch of manga.

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 12.

  • Black Butler, Volumes 4-6 by Yana Toboso. It’s the Indian Butler and Book of Circus arcs. As you know, the 2nd season of the anime is an original story and does not exist in the manga. Thank goodness for that. These two are my favorite arcs and I love the manga versions just as much as I do the anime. I gave Volume 4 a 4-star rating while Volumes 5 and 6 both got 5 stars. Soma, Agni, and Joker (especially his Japanese voice actor, Mamoru Miyano) are all so close to my heart.
  • A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab. All the feelz. This was a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. Everyone found closure. A part of me doesn’t want anything else from this story. I mean, a lot of other books release novella collections, graphic novel continuations, POVs from other characters, etc. I sort of don’t want that for this ‘verse. But another part of me wants a graphic novel version of this. I loved it. Five stars, as if that was any question.
  • Orange, Volumes 4 & 5 by Ichigo Takano. As I am still and will always be Team Suwa, I finally finished this gorgeous piece of a manga. I find myself re-reading certain parts as I would rewatch certain episodes of the anime. This was just beautiful. That’s all. Five stars for both.
  • The 6th Extinction by James Rollins. Audio book but still counting the pages. I didn’t enjoy this as much as other James Rollins work. I’ve read and listened to the other Sigma Force novels and I know their general formula. But this one didn’t hook me all that much. I mean, I still followed the story enough but I realized that I wasn’t really listening as closely. I got lost a couple of times. But I did listen to this pretty quickly. I might re-read this in the future. 3/5 stars.
  • Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. Holy shit. That should be enough for a review for this masterpiece. Oh boy, and you thought The Hunger Games was brutal with the idea of killing children. Add to that the explicit explanation on how the children are killed. Yup, this does not hold back. I would definitely read this again. 5/5 bloody stars.
  • A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. After the blood and gore, I needed something light and fun. This was definitely that. It was a bit confusing but it did what it said it would. I breezed through this quickly. A light read indeed. 3/5 stars.
  • Barakamon Volume 2 by Satsuki Yoshino. I save this series for those times when I’m in between books and I just want a distraction. I know I will like this; I love Naru and the gang. 4/5 stars.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I’m calling this the biggest letdown of 2017. I don’t understand why this was so hyped up to begin with. No, I know. It’s the reference to The Night Circus. Effective but dang, you set yourself up for failure, dear book. This was not good. I’m debating whether to do a full review on this but there are other amazing reviews on GoodReads that basically say what I want to say and then some. While I did get over the writing “style”, Scarlett was just impossible. 1/5 star.
  • Train Man by Nakano Hitori. After that not-so favorable reading experience, I wanted a pick-me-up. This book literally arrived the night before I read it and finished it inside of 24 hours. Having read two Japanese fiction books this month means I’m back on track with my “one Japanese fiction a month” sort of goal for this year. I absolutely loved this little gem. This is told in forum postings in a channel called 2-chan. Sort of 4-chan and reddit, if you’re into that. BANZAI FOR THE GEEKS! It’s a cute story about a shy geek guy and how he meets this girl that seems like out of his league. I love it. Go read it. 5/5 stars.

STATS:

  • 4142 pages – counting audio books as if I read the physical books
  • 1 audio book – ~14 hours

As for my book-buying… I did so well this month! I didn’t buy anything from the Book Outlet sale. Actually, I filled a cart but when I looked through it again I realized that I have no dire need for any of those titles. So I guess that’s an improvement? I felt like this with makeup last year. I would look at makeup but there would be no urge to buy it. I still love books (and makeup) but I think I’ve controlled my urges now. 😉

(Or so I tell myself LMAO.)

I bought three signed books last month. Two of them, I already previously had unsigned. But hey, whatever. 😄

  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman – Book Alley, Pasadena. It was a random Thursday where I had to go somewhere after work but I didn’t have a book on me. I’ve always wanted to read this despite the not-so favorable reviews.
  • Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino – Book Alley, Pasadena. Signed. I already had this in paperback but I just had to get the signed copy of this.
  • Train Man by Nakano Hitori – Barnes & Noble. I needed a copy of this book. I needed a couple of dollars more for free shipping. Read. Loved.
  • A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi – Barnes & Noble. I pre-ordered this so I also got the free novella, Death & Night.
  • Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter – Goodwill. I remember wanting this book because of the cover and it’s about Russia. Other than that, I don’t know anything. It’s a short book. I hope to get to this eventually.
  • The Young Elites by Marie Lu – AbeBooks. Signed. Now all three of my Young Elites trilogy books are signed copies.
  • A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – I finally gave in and bought the signed copy from Target.

This was the best reading month for me so far this year. I enjoyed a good chunk of what I read and wanted pretty much everything that I hauled. Let’s keep this up!

WRAP-UP | WINTER [12/21/16 through 3/20/17]

It wasn’t hard for me to narrow down the my best reads of Winter to five titles. I read a total of 32 books, most of them are manga. I also listened to quite a few audio books. Overall, I’m happy with my result.

While I did read a lot of good books, here are five that stood out the most (in no particular order):

  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. The first book in the Mistborn trilogy. It’s a perfect starting point for fantasy. I was surprised at how easy it was to follow despite having such a large cast of characters and a not-so-simple magic system. The language was so readable. I cannot wait to get to the rest of the series… and Sanderson’s other works.
  • Spiral by Koji Suzuki. This is the 2nd book in the Ring series. I rated this 4 stars while I gave the first book 5 stars. But I chose this instead. Honestly, this is scarier, gorier, and more compelling than Ring. I was already familiar with Ring even before I realized it was a book. I gave it 5 stars because I had never read anything like it. Going into Spiral, it has somewhat the same formula – a mysterious virus that kills certain people. But oh boy. This was terrifying.
  • Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. I finally got to this masterpiece. If you thought The Hunger Games were good, you haven’t seen anything yet. There is YA and there’s Japanese YA. You have your usual young adult characters, romance, teenage angst, bullies, and school problems. Add about a ton of violence, blood, guts, gore, guns, knives, beheading, explosions, and evisceration. Yup. It makes Peeta’s abduction a vacation.
  • A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab. The third and final book to the Shades of Magic trilogy. This was a pretty solid conclusion. I got all the feelz — dread, wondering what will happen to my faves; happiness, because they found theirs; sadness, for there were things lost. It was so good.

  • Orange by Ichigo Takano. This 5-volume manga is absolutely beautiful. Gorgeous. Also, all the feelz. Watch the anime. Watch the live action. Read the manga. Everything!

What are your top reads last winter? What is your most anticipated reads for spring? 🙂

WRAP-UP | FEBRUARY 2017

February is the shortest month of the year. Even shorter this year because we don’t have the 29th. Reading-wise, I did okay. But the thing that stood out was the amount of signed and full-priced books that I acquired this month. I buy books at full price very seldom – only if they come signed, really. But I went to two back-to-back author events and found signed copies of books that I love. When did I ever been this concerned about new releases?

I fully had a TBR in my head for February. I wanted to read books with a romantic aspect. Not contemporary or new adult. Just anything with romance in it. I also planned to finish Orange but I started Black Butler instead. And I actually played around with the idea of a March TBR but given my history with them, I dunno. LOL.

Anyway, I still call this a good month. I could’ve done better but my anticipation for A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab got in the way of everything. I actually did start it in February but only finished it yesterday. Yep, I was destroyed. But that’s for the next wrap-up.

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 10.

  • Black Butler, Volumes 1-3 by Yana Toboso. I’ve been meaning to read this manga series for a long time. I recently watched the entirety of the anime and loved it. I didn’t love the second season then I find out it’s an anime original. Well, that explains it. To be honest, I’m a bit lukewarm towards the manga. It’s still fun but it definitely benefited from seeing the pictures move. I still enjoy it and squee whenever Finnian is on the page. I can actually hear Grell’s and Lizzie’s Japanese voices when I read their panels! I’m definitely continuing with it.
    • Volume 1 – 3/5 stars
    • Volume 2 – 4/5 stars
    • Volume 3 – 3/5 stars
  • Orange, Volumes 2 & 3 by Ichigo Takano. I don’t know why I’m taking my time with this finished series. I mean, I know what happens – I watched the anime and live action. Still, I have one more volume to go (as of this posting). I love it. I think I’ll end  up rating all five volumes a full five star. I was actually just rewatching the 9th episode this morning. The more I do that, the more I’m sure that I’m Team Suwa. I love Kakeru but Suwa’s taking a MAJOR one for the team. Both 5/5 stars.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Oh dear. This book. I finally cave only to have my initial hesitations prove me right. I posted a word vomit about this when I was around halfway through the book. I have a full review outlined that I might not post because it really just boils down to one question: how was this a good book? Harsh, I know. But I just don’t get why people literally puke and cry over this book and the rest of the author’s work. Granted I will still read the next one but this time, with the mindset that this is strictly a guilty pleasure read. I may or may not post a full review for this book but let’s just say that I don’t get the hype. 3/5 stars. And that’s me being generous.
  • Rad Women Worldwide by Kate Schatz. I should do better with my Blogging For Books reviews. I got this almost two months before reading and reviewing it but it only took me an hour to read it. I loved it. This should be in every library. I hope there’ll be a second volume. 5/5 stars.
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. I’m torn with this. At first, I loved it. It was atmospheric, the Indian culture was rich and lovely. But then the purple prose started to weigh on me. It got tedious. The writing is already beautiful even without the flowery words but it got too much. All that bogged down my reading experience. The romance was sweet though. I already pre-ordered the next book; that comes out later this month. 3/5 stars.
  • The Bone Labyrinth by James Rollins. More Kowalski, please. This is another audio book but I’m counting pages. I am enjoying these in the audio format (I’m listening to another Rollins audio book right now). But I also think that I will eventually re-read them in physical form. These books are very formulaic but never boring. 4/5 stars.
  • Sorako by Takayuki Fujimura. I borrowed this one on a whim from Hoopla Digital. It’s about Sorako, a young woman who just graduated and is on the hunt for a job. It’s a collection of short stories in manga form. It was okay, nothing mind-blowing. 3/5 stars.

STATS:

  • 2649 pages – counting audio books as if I read the physical books
  • 1 audio book – ~15 hours

As for my February haul… like I said, I went to two author events, meeting six authors: Leigh BardugoS. Jae-JonesMarie LuJessica Cluess, and Stephanie Garber. I got Leigh Bardugo’s autograph on a Post-it note as kind of a book plate. Then I got a couple of books signed. On top of that, I bought a couple of signed editions. And a mini-Book Outlet order. Here’s the list:

  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones – Vroman’s Bookstore on release date
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – Vroman’s Bookstore during the Wintersong event
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber – Vroman’s Bookstore during author signing
  • A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab – Barnes and Noble, signed pre-order
  • The Midnight Star by Marie Lu – Barnes and Noble, signed edition
  • The Rose Society by Marie Lu – Book Outlet, signed edition
  • Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – Book Outlet
  • A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard – Book Outlet
  • Recent Forgeries by Viggo Mortensen – Better World Books
  • Linger by Viggo Mortensen – Better World Books

Honestly, this book haul looks like a TBR list. I already read two out of the list. Notice that I’m missing the first book in The Young Elites trilogy. Well, I recently bought it. And yes, also signed. 😉

That’s my wrap-up. I’m still thinking about a possible TBR for March. Who knows. I got a lot of new releases. I’m inspired.

WRAP-UP | JANUARY 2017

LE NOUVEL

One month down, eleven more to go. Unlike the previous months, I am not listening to an audio book at this moment. I recently finished one yesterday and now I’m at a loss. What do I read next? There’s so many audio books on Hoopla. How does one pick? I mean, I can continue listening to James Rollins but I had the sudden urge to actually READ The Eye of God instead of listening to it. Decisions… decisions.

So far, I’ve been working my way through the James Rollins audio books on Hoopla. I guess I’ll be listening to The Bone Labyrinth then. (I have a feeling I have a copy of Bloodlines and/or The Eye of God in the mess I call “my room” somewhere.) Sci-fi mystery thrillers are definitely my audio book genre so if you have any suggestions, let me know. They might end up in future wrap-ups. But here’s my January wrap-up. How about we start the year with good numbers, ei…

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 11.

  • The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson – Okay, I sort of cheated on this one. I read most of it in December but finished it on January 3rd. That counts! I fell in love, guys. It’s totally worth the hype. It’s a great read for people who love fantasy and those who are new to it. I loved all the characters and was genuinely rooting for them. Hopefully, I get to finish the rest of the trilogy by June. New favorite. 5/5 stars.
  • One-Punch Man Volumes 4 & 5 by ONE – Mumen Rider holds a special place in my heart. Puri-puri Prisoner is just… special. 5/5 stars for both.
  • sweetness & lightning Volumes 3 by Gido Amagakure – I realize that I enjoy the anime more because I can see them cooking instead of just reading about it. I don’t actually care for the recipe. Plus, Tsumugi is an adorable little munchkin. Nevertheless, 5/5 stars.
  • Subterranean by James Rollins – I actually listened to this but I’m counting the pages as well. This is not in his Sigma Force series but I did still enjoy it. It’s a little bit crazy; my suspension of disbelief was very much challenged. But it does follow the same formula so it was easy for me to follow. I admit, the ideas were pretty cool and besides, this is fiction. Thinking back now, I would’ve DNF’d this if I read it but since I listened to it, I enjoyed it. 4/5 stars.
  • Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brogsol – This is a graphic novel about a Russian immigrant family. Then Anya meets this ghost who becomes her only friend. The blurb sounded so interesting and if only they expounded on the “immigrant” part of the story, I would’ve rated this higher. Ultimately, this is about something else. 3/5 stars.
  • A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab – I finally got to this, just in time for the release of the 3rd book this month! And there should be no surprise that I loved this. Alucard/Rhy is life. Actually, anything Rhy is awesome. I pre-ordered my copy of A Conjuring of Light signed so all three of my Shades of Magic books are signed. 😉 Of course, 5/5 stars.
  • Orange Volume 1 by Ichigo Takano – The anime hit me right in the feelz. Once again, I ugly cried. If going by this first volume, the manga will do exactly the same. This is a story of time-travel, magical realism, and romance in a very slice-of-life setting. If you’re new to manga, this is the perfect place to start. 5/5 stars.
  • The Doomsday Key by James Rollins – This is another audio book, another James Rollins book. This time, it’s part of his Sigma Force series. This is not my favorite but I still enjoyed it, especially Kowalski and Monk. It love it when big burly tough guys show a softie side. And of course, Grayson Pierce. 4/5 stars.
  • Barakamon Volume 1 by Satsuki Yoshino – Again, anime was awesome. I read this at the Little Tokyo public library and I wish they had the rest of the volumes. I loved everyone in this manga and having watched the anime, it didn’t take away from my reading experience. 4/4 stars.
  • Spiral by Koji Suzuki – This is the 2nd book in the Ring series but this wasn’t the source material for the second movie. Oh boy, this was amazing. It was very scientific but geez, so twisted. I loved how everything was pieced together and how it tied to the previous book. I’m definitely picking up the 3rd one very soon. 4/5 stars.

STATS:

  • 3695 pages – counting audio books as if I read the physical books
  • 2 audio books – 26.5 hours
  • 5 manga and 1 graphic novel

As for purchases, I acquired 16 books. I don’t think I can commit to a book buying ban, to be honest. Not like I did for makeup in 2016 where I only really bought makeup at IMATS. I do sort of collect Japanese fiction in hard copy as well as uncommon editions – signed, non-US cover, translated, etc. I also have a growing collection of Jane Eyre pretty covers as well as Viggo Mortensen works. So I can’t really go on a book buying ban. But a good thing is that I can control myself when it comes to books. I don’t mind the cost… it’s the space that bothers me. And besides, I may go to Book Outlet and the likes but there are times when I struggle to find a book that I want to actually purchase. Yup, it’s happening. I’m happy with what I have right now and apart from a few titles, I can settle for digital copies. So I’m doing good!

wp-1486078154136.jpgTechnically, the books in this first photo are purchased during Boxing Day. December 2016. Those in the 2nd photo were in fact ordered and received in January 2017.

Click on the photo for the post where I talk more about these books. This was one of the better hauls that I did because I genuinely wanted everything in this batch. I actually started reading Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Judd Trichter but I suddenly felt the strongest urge to finally pick up and read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Yes. And I’m loving it so far. I went in absolutely blind and unaffected by the hype. When is the next book coming out of paperback, by the way? 😉

Also, in the last days of January, I ordered three books from Thriftbooks and they arrived today. These three fit nicely with the reason I stated above about being unable to go on a buy ban. I’ll talk about them in a separate post next week.

wp-1486078154145.jpg

If you want to buy books for cheap but not from a used bookstore, I suggest you check out Target, Walmart, and Barnes & Noble online. I got ACOTAR for $8.25 and A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro for $7.99. Winter Sleep by Kenzo Kitakara came up as a recommendation on Goodreads and then I found a copy for super cheap on Better World Books during their promo (20% off 5+ sale books). Something that I realized last year is that the best way to read duologies is to read them back-to-back. I already have Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein so when I saw Rose Under Fire at a discount, I picked it up.

For my 2017 reading challenge, I put there The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee as my food memoir pick. While I do love my ramen and Japanese curry, you can never go wrong with Chinese food. I already have a copy of The Devil of Nanking by Mo Hayder but that’s a beat up mass market paperback. I saw this hardcover for the same price with a discount. And finally, a book that I’ve been wanting to read ever since it came out: Night Film by Marisha Pessl.

I feel so good with these latest hauls. There are books that I really wanted and I can see myself reading in the remaining months of the year. Looking at February, I may have a couple of books that I will definitely get to, namely A Conjuring of Light and possibly two more other books coming out this month. But right now, let me go back to one more episode of Bungou Stray Dogs and ACOTAR.

 

WRAP-UP | DECEMBER 2016

LE NOUVEL

I’m listening to Subterranean by James Rollins as I finally compose this December wrap-up post. It’s not as interesting as my previous listens but I read enough James Rollins works to follow his formulas. I am enjoying it.

I won’t bore you with any more stuff. I’ve talked about my 2016 reading in previous posts, rounding everything up and picking out my favorites and disappointments. If you so desire, just scroll through them. And thanks!

7cb1938ce9fdc0ecf6e42f96972ba98b010438a9_hq

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 12.

  • One-Punch Man, Volumes 1, 2, and 3 by ONE. Oh man, this is a RIOT. I love both the anime and this manga. I’m glad that the anime stayed true to the source material. Every character and every scenario is hilarious. When I first heard of this, I thought it was ridiculous because Saitama beats everyone with a single punch. Where’s the fun in that? Well, everything is fun in this manga/anime! I rated volumes 1 & 2, 5 stars and volume 3, 4 stars.
  • Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu by Junji Ito. Imagine a horror manga artist writing a comedic memoir about his wife’s cats. The story is actually heartwarming but the art is so funny. It’s the effect of scary faces as reactions to funny moments. 5/5 stars.
  • Prodigy: Graphic Novel by Marie Lu. I read this as catch up before reading the final book in the trilogy. I like that they have this. And I enjoyed this more than I did the 2nd book. I felt that it needed the visuals to tell the story better. It’s your typical second book where there’s nothing but action but no conclusion. They went everywhere and I appreciated seeing that instead of just reading it. 4/5 stars.
  • Deception Point by Dan Brown (audio). I loved this so much. It had me on the edge of my seat almost the entire time. I planned to read all of Dan Brown’s work but I just couldn’t find the time. I saw the audio version was available on Hoopla so after the not-so favorable experience with A Study in Scarlet, I went with a writing style I am familiar with. And loved it. 5/5 stars.
  • Gekkan Shoujo, Nozaki-kun, Volume 7 by Izumi Tsubaki. I admit, I’m reading the fan translated scans. Sorry. But I just have to have my Hori-senpai fix. This volume doesn’t follow the anime anymore but I still found parts of it funny. Not as good as the previous volumes though. 3/5 stars.
  • Sandstorm by James Rollins (audio). I finally got to this! This is the first book in the Sigma Force series. I now read from book 1 to 5. Here I go with my 5s again. This is one of my favorite series but this first book doesn’t have Grayson Pierce so… yeah, I would’ve liked it more if he’s in it. 4/5 stars.
  • Champion by Marie Lu. I finished a series that I started in 2016! The ending alone deserves these 5 stars. It destroyed me. I cannot wait for the graphic novel version to complete my collection.
  • Ring by Koji Suzuki. You guys have no idea what lengths I went to just to complete this series. And this book is so worth that effort. It’s slightly different than the events in the movies but still creepy with that signature deadpan style that I find in a lot of Japanese fiction. 5/5 star.
  • sweetness & lightning, Volumes 1 &2 by Gido Amagakure. Tsumugi is my favorite child. Shinobu is my new favorite girl’s name. I watched this on Crunchyroll in December and fell instantly in love! It’s about a single father and his adorable little girl and food. Watch it. Read it. Love it. 4/5 stars for both.

STATS:

  • about 2075 pages, not counting the audiobooks
  • about 30 hours of audio
  • 1 finished series
  • 1 graphic novel; 7 manga

I originally wanted to finish The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson before 2017 but things got so busy. I did finish it already and my Favorites of 2016 would’ve looked so different had I finished that on time. 😉

And now, for my purchases. I didn’t think I bought a lot but I had enough to fill a page:

wp-1483463013371.jpg

The Will to Keep Winning by Daigo Umehara is actually a November purchase. I forgot to put it on there. The e-ARC of The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco is from NetGalley and it comes out in March. The author is Filipino so I figured, I should go and support her work. The Hobbit: 50th Anniversary Edition by JRR Tolkien is the gold-bound edition that comes with a slip cover. I scored that at a used bookstore for $12. TWELVE. DOLLARS. And yes, it’s there… American Gods illustrated edition by Neil Gaiman, Daniel Egneus. It’s such a huge and intimidating book but I already love it.

If you don’t already know, Generation Kill by Evan Wright is one of my all-time favorites. I am trying to collect all covers and I think I have one more to complete the collection. Come through, Abebooks.

And it’s done!

End of the Year Survey 2016

2016-end-of-year-book-survey-1024x984-1024x984

Three days into the new year and I’m already being lazy. Oh well. Let’s shake off the long weekend cobwebs and hit the ground running!

I’ve said it many times before and I will say it again, 2016 was an awesome reading year for me. I read a total of 80 books, rediscovered manga, realized I like listening to mystery/thriller audio books, I acquired a crazy number of physical books, read a good amount of physical books vs e-books, and so much more. This time last year, I posted my Pop Sugar Reading Challenge. This year, I’m doing something different. But that’s for another post. 😉

Once again, thanks to Perpetual Page Turner Jamie for this tag.


2016 READING STATS

Number Of Books You Read: 80
Number of Re-Reads: 0 (whoa!)
Genre You Read The Most From: manga (format) and fantasy.

BEST IN BOOKS

1. Best Book You Read In 2016? I keep going back and forth among three books but if I really think about it, my favorite is Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. Every one told me I was going to enjoy it… nope, quite the opposite.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  Manga in general. I knew I didn’t like graphic novels that much so when I started reading a couple of manga, I was surprised at how easy I fell back into it. Also, I watch a lot of anime with manga adaptations or manga as source materials. It’s not like with books-to-movies where you tend to not enjoy one or the other that much. I enjoy both anime and manga quite equally.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? Confessions by Kanae Minato. I recommended it to anyone who would listen.
5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016? Started (and finished): Legend by Marie Lu. Sequel: Symbiont by Mira Grant. And the best series ender ever, Morning Star by Pierce Brown.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016? VE Schwab. I’m looking forward to completing her existing work in 2017.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? Same as last year, short stories. Zoo by Otsuichi scared the living hell out of me.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? Morning Star by Pierce Brown. I inhale-read that book. As well as Eon by Alison Goodman. I remember many late nights and early mornings because of those books.
9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? Not too sure about re-reading but I tend to re-read manga. Although, I do want to marathon Red Rising trilogy.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016? Probably any of the Parasitology books. They look like those pill blister packs. Continue reading

TOP 5 DISAPPOINTING READS OF 2016

No, this is not a Top 5 Wednesday post. I don’t have an answer to this week’s topic but I do have a top 5. Since it’s nearing the end of the year, why not put it up now. The remaining reads I have planned for sure are not going to disappoint me anyway.

Let me preface this by saying that just because a book is in this list, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. I just didn’t like it. I may have rated it rather “high” (for some) but it still disappointed me. And frankly, some of these titles I just did not like at all. I read three of them in physical copy but have since unhauled them. Well, more space for books that I actually like.

In no particular order, here we go:

  1. Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. Well reader, I had high hopes for this book. Jane Eyre is my favorite book of all time and a serial killer retelling would have been amazing. But alas, I was disappointed. I guess I expected too much. First of all, this is NOT a “retelling” of Jane Eyre. The source material itself is in this book where Jane Steele is sort of referring to Eyre throughout her adventures. Some events mirror those in Eyre but it felt like the author was just forcing it. The overall mood felt unnatural and I expected more kills. I really did. I happen to like reading about serial murders and while on paper this looked like a perfect combination of two things I like a lot, it fell short.
  2. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Speaking of killing… I loved the premise of this book. The protagonist is a son of a convicted serial killer but someone is committing seemingly copycat murders around town. It’s up to him to solve it and trace it back to his dad. Dark, right? Er… try middle-grade level mystery thriller. Don’t get me wrong, I have a soft spot for middle-grade books. Just not with my supposedly dark and sinister mystery thrillers.
  3. Sex Criminals, Volume 1 by Matt Fraction. What even was this? So when a couple has sex, they both have the ability to stop time. While time is on a standstill, they rob banks in order to get money to save a library. Whut? I get the Robin Hood act. The whole having sex to stop time thing looked interesting and funny on paper but I got bored so fast within the first few frames. I just did not get it. After reading this, I went into such a deep graphic novel reading slump. Good thing I have manga to keep me afloat.
  4. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. This is disappointment at its finest. The blurb reads like a fine episode of Criminal Minds. What I got is some disjointed, unedited, word and idea dump. Some parts were so promising like the MO of the killer where he stitches half the body of a deer to a human. I liked that. That’s why I went out of my way to buy a physical copy of this. But as I read, oh dear. DEAR not deer. Needless to say, I unhauled this without hesitation.
  5. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. I even bought my copy of this book and its sequel in the Philippines. I wasted previous luggage space for these books. Man, the author said it herself… she started the process of writing this book when she was 12. And it showed. The writing was AWFUL. Inconsistent. I wasn’t sure if the female protagonist is considered a strong female character or some lost girl who merely crosses the bridge when she gets there and somehow makes it work. The best thing about this is the love triangle. If the next two books have, I don’t know, 70% of that love triangle, I might continue on. But no… life is too short and I have a lot more books to read.

I notice that almost all my disappointing reads have reviews. Heh. What can I say? It’s therapeutic. And I prefer posting rants right after I finished the book, while all the feelz are still fresh in my mind. I’m useless writing positive reviews because I’ll just end up blathering and repeating myself over and over again.

There you have it. Again, apologies if you liked any of these books. I’m happy that you found something good in them. I hope 2017 brings us better reads!