WRAP-UP | NOVEMBER 2017 + Tome Topple Round 5

Can you believe it? It’s the final month of the year. My 2017 has been pretty chill with some really high highs from time to time. Reading-wise, I’m extremely satisfied. I can always do better but hey, I have so many other things on my plate and I want to do as well in those as I did in reading.

(I’m not going to go into the whole “reading fatigue” discussion. You do you. It’s perfectly okay to read 0 to 100000 books a year. We all have lives beyond the pages.)

November is almost like a cheat month for me. I still did okay but I pretty much binge read manga on the last three days of the month. I only read two physical books (one is a photo book even), three audio books, and five manga. Well, technically two books but I failed to finish The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson before the 30th thus it not counting for Tome Topple Round 5. However, I did reach 551 pages before I gave up so… it sorta-kinda counts? 😉 In my head it does. So yeah, I had it pretty easy. No pressure. Tome Topple was fun and it pushed me to focus on the audio book that I included in my TBR.

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 10.

  • Junji Ito’s Dissolving Classroom. I’m working my way through Junji Ito’s collected works and I think I only need to read two more to be caught up. This was creepy. It’s about a boy who is obsessed with the devil and his little sister who torments everyone around her. He goes around town after his sister then things started melting. Oh man, I liked this a lot. 4/5 stars.
  • Hole In the Sun by Viggo Mortensen. How do you even review a photo collection? I’m not smart enough for this. But hey, it’s Viggo Mortensen. I have a couple of his photo books (one is signed!) and they fascinate me. 3 stars.
  • The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson. What a ride! I enjoyed the audio book immensely because of the different narrators and the pace of the story lent itself nicely for that medium. It was kind of frustrating to piece together the events per POV though. Not the fault of the book; I think that was the point but it did hook me into listening more intently and continuously. 4 stars.
  • Birthday by Koji Suzuki. I finally read through the Ring series. I’m not the biggest fan of short story collections but I am a fan of the full novels in this series. I thought I was going to love Lemon Heart the most, Sadako’s origin story and the basis of Ring 0: Birthday film but I loved Happy Birthday, the companion continuation piece to Loop which was my least favorite of the 3 main novels. Coffin in the Sky which went with Spiral was good too. 4 stars.
  • The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson. I went straight to this book right after finishing the previous one in the series. I had to know what happens next! And oh man, the ANGST. I am definitely Team Kaden and with all things considered, I’m happy with his ending. I was prepared to dislike Rafe as much as I loathed Tamlin but he redeemed himself so much in the end. It was so beautiful and dark (har-har) and I loved it. 4 stars.
  • Haikyuu! Volume 1Hinata and Kageyama by Haruichi Furudate. Los Angeles Public Library heeded my call and acquired this for their OverDrive catalog. I loved the anime. Absolutely obsessed with the stage play. So I guess I should start reading the manga, right? And yes, I loved this to pieces too! 5 stars.
  • My Hero Academia Volumes 2 and 3 by Kohei Horikoshi. Nothing less than 5 stars for this awesome series. I am amazed at how faithful the anime is to the source material and everything about this series is amazing.
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. Another finished trilogy on audio. I give the narrator 5 stars. Zuzana and Mik-mik, 5 stars. But the story itself, 4 stars. I don’t know, it kind of lost me in the end. Reminiscent to the ending of The Beauty of Darkness, actually but that one felt more effective to me. I had the same problem with the first book Daughter of Smoke and Bone where it lost me in the end. But Laini Taylor’s writing is like high-end rich chocolate paired with the finest wine and cheese. It’s so good!
  • sweetness & lightning, Volume 5 by Gido Amagakure. My wish is that they would continue the anime. I really do. The manga has so many funny and endearing storylines that I would LOVE to see with movement. 5 stars.

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OCTOBER 2017 BOOK HAUL

In my October wrap-up post, I mentioned that I received 27 books in the month of October. That’s a huge haul for me. I bought only 6 books in September but then all the sales and the coupons started to come in.

Book Outlet had their Booktoberfest where I managed to get free shipping at $35.03. THREE CENTS! I had “15% off one item” coupons left and right from Barnes and Noble. I had two $5 Reading Rewards coupons from Thriftbooks expiring within a week of each other. I received a birthday coupon from Right Stuf Anime which I decided to spend on a manga. Even Better World Books had a juicy sale. So yeah, 27. Let’s do this.

BOOK OUTLET

  • A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. I read this on audio book form and loved it so much, I want a physical copy.
  • Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress by Marissa Meyer. I went back and forth whether to get the boxed set of hardcovers that included Winter and Fairest but I have no interest in reading the novella and I kind of liked paperbacks (when I was shopping) so I went for these. I’ll be waiting for the final book to come out on paperback. I also listened to Cinder and loved it so much, I want a copy of it.
  • Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire. I have no idea what this is about but it was super cheap on Book Outlet and everyone is in a Seanan McGuire kick.
  • Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali. I’ve been eyeing this book since seeing it at a brick-and-mortar store some months ago.
  • Orange Volume 2 by Ichigo Takano. Yes, I’ve read the whole series but I went ahead and bought the collection.
  • The Burning World by Isaac Marion. The sequel to Warm Bodies. I would’ve gotten a signed copy but this was too good of a deal to pass up.

BARNES AND NOBLE

  • Gauntlet by Holly JenningsArena was a surprise hit for me. Since this is just a duology, I went ahead and bought the next one.
  • Origin by Dan Brown. A Robert Langdon fan will always purchase this on the day of release.
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban illustrated edition. Do I even need a reason?
  • Dissolving Classroom by Junji Ito. It’s about time I come clean that I sort of am collecting his works.
  • Umehara Fighting Gamers. Members of the fighting game community will get my drift.

BETTER WORLD BOOKS

  • Hole in the Sun by Viggo Mortensen. I may or may not be collecting his published work. 😉
  • The Informer by Akimitsu Takagi. BWB is the best place to get Japanese fiction for cheap. I saw this as a brick-and-mortar and found it super discounted on Better World Books.
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. Hardcover. I have the paperback.
  • Rashomon and 17 Other Stories by Ryunosuka Akutagawa. Same story as The Informer. And I got the cover I want too!
  • The Hobbit illustrated by Michael Hague.am collecting all the pretty editions of The Hobbit. The cover that I got wasn’t in the best condition but inside is marvelous.

THRIFTBOOKS

  • Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente. I’ve always wanted a physical copy of this book.
  • Vibrator by Mari Akasaka. Good luck reading this in public. 😉
  • Orange Volume 1 by Ichigo Takano. Now I have the whole story.
  • All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Another title that I’ve wanted for such a long time. I had no idea that it’s a short-ish book.
  • Kamikaze Girls by Novala Takemoto. This had been in and out of my shopping cart for literal years. It’s about time I bought it.

OTHERS

  • The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. I wasn’t going to buy this right away but I saw it for discounted at Target and it was a Target exclusive so I bought it.
  • The Creeps by Fran Krause. This is my Blogging For Books pick.
  • Invictus by Ryan Graudin. I bought this signed from Blue Bicycle Books.
  • My Brother’s Husband Volume 1 by Gengoroh Tagameh. I had a Right Stuf Anime coupon expiring and I found it cheaper here than other online stores.

I read 9 out of these 27 books. Heh. I wish I could say I’m on a book buying ban but I already have one book received this month and about 4 more coming in the following days. Oops. 😉

WRAP-UP | OCTOBER 2017

Can you believe we only have two months left in 2017? I mean… how did that happen?

It was raining 4 and 5 stars in my reading world for October. I read 13 books, 3 of those are audio books and five are graphic novels/manga. Actually, I was planning to post this yesterday but good thing I didn’t. I managed to squeeze in one more short story on the final minutes of October bringing my total to 13 instead of 12.

I didn’t read a lot of horror or mysteries as a lot of people do during October. For some reason, I associate scary stuff more in November. That’s when I tend to read more fantasy and try to finish out series. Mistborn trilogy will definitely be finished out by the end of the month for Tome Topple Round 5. As always, I plan to make a dent on the NA books I’ve been acquiring. I’m still testing the waters and so far, the ones I liked the most are M/M stories and those with taboo topics. Hey, I’m curious!

So let’s see how my month went, shall we?

I participated in one readathon: #GetGraphic Readathon. I ended up reading 5 things but not Maus. Again.

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 13.

  • Priest by Sierra Simone. Forgive me, Father (Bell), but I fcking loved this book. I saw this in passing on my GoodReads feed and the premise sounded so sinful and steamy. And it was. It’s about a priest falling in love with one of his parishioners. It sounds so wrong but it made for such a compelling – and very human – read. 4 stars.
  • The Creeps by Fran Krause. I still have to write up a Blogging for Books review for this. This is sort of a picture book of people’s “fears” from the small things to the paranormal to the profound. I quite enjoyed it. 4 stars.
  • Barakamon Vol 3 and 4 by Satsuki Yoshino. Volume 3 is probably one of my favorites so far. It’s definitely one of my favorite episodes from the anime adaptation. I gave that 4 stars. Volume 4 however got 5 stars. Naru is just the best-est kid.
  • Gyo by Junji Ito. Not as good as Uzumaki but definitely a more enjoyable read than Tomie. It’s about stinky dead fish with mechanical legs invading dry land. 5 stars.
  • My Hero Academia Vol 1 by Kohei Horikoshi. I loved the first season of the anime and am currently fourth of the way through the second. I love everyone in this story. And it seems like the anime is a super faithful adaptation. I cannot wait to read more. PLUS ULTRA! 5 stars.
  • Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. I finished Fire in March of 2016. It took me this long to finally finish this trilogy. I did try to read this a long time ago, I do own a hardcover. But the one character named “Death” but rhymes with “teeth” was throwing me off. When I finally got Overdrive to work for me, it was time. I loved the audio narration. Bitterblue is so precious. But Po from Graceling is definitely book boyfriend. 5 stars.
  • Sweetness & Lightning Vol 4 by Gido AmagakureI think the anime stops here. I loved it. I absolutely love everything about this manga/anime. I wish it could continue to be adapted into a show. 5 stars.
  • Midnight Mass by Sierra Simone. More Father Bell goodness! This is a novella set three years after the events of Priest. It’s just as sinful, just as good. 4 stars.
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini TaylorAudio. The audio book is a gift from the gods. I tried reading this not too long ago but I wasn’t in the mood for it yet. But I saw the audio book was available so I jumped at the chance. It is a work of art. The book itself is an intricate masterpiece. Zuzana is the best girl ever. This was marvelous. 5 stars.
  • Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor. Audio. A dual-narrator audio book of the novella that is about Mik and Zuzana’s first date. It’s the most precious thing! 4 stars.
  • Origin by Dan Brown. 7 of 7 for Dan Brown’s works. I admit, this had me slumping a little bit. It’s his usual Robert Langdon formula and it’s not as complicated as the ones that came before this. But it’s a very easy read. 4 stars.
  • Life After Legend by Marie Lu. This was the pre-order perk for Warcross and I managed to read this in 20 minutes last night. This was the Champion epilogue in Day’s perspective. As you know, I was destroyed by that epilogue. Therefore, this short story effectively destroyed me as well. 5 stars.

STATS:

  • 3656 pages (I don’t remember how many pages Life After Legend is so I put in 20.)
  • 5 graphic works and 3 audio books.

As for book purchases… well, that deserves its own post. I received 27 books this month. It’s a mixture of post-birthday coupons, Book Outlet’s Booktober Fest, signed new releases, and a surprise find. I’ll try to gather them into one post so I can show them all to you guys. I’m super excited for all of them.

We’re on the final stretch for 2017. How many more books can I fit in? 😉

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.

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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!

WRAP-UP | AUGUST 2017

September is my birthday month! Expect quite a few book hauls (or just one big haul wrap-up at the end of the month).

How was your August reading? I think I went into a slump this month because I kicked off August with Tome Topple and boy, that kind of burnt me out. Although, I did manage to read three books that are over 600 pages. Two of them were within the readathon duration and one was in my TBR but I read it afterwards. I planned to fill the month with manga but… Haikyuu happened. I binge watched all 60 episodes in five days. No regrets.

But it did effectively put me into a reading slump. Also, I realized that I read faster on my Kindle than any other format. It’s that “time remaining” thing on the bottom. My Samsung Nook has a similar option that it counts the pages left in the chapter. Not quite the same but effective nonetheless. I will still have the book on hand so I can annotate it. I just find it easier to read on the tablet.

I wish I have more to show you reading-wise but hey, at least I found new favorite anime characters and Japanese voice actors.

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 6.

  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson. Wow. Holy crap. What a monster of a book. It started off kind of slow but the plot twists will unknowingly creep up on you. I love all of the characters. I could not help but root for everyone. I will definitely have the 3rd one lined up towards the end of the year. 5/5 stars.
  • Tomie Deluxe Edition by Junji Ito. I expected to like this more than I actually did. The premise is that a girl, Tomie, has the power to allure men so much that they would want to kill her and tear her apart. Then those parts regenerate to more Tomies thus spreading horror. I did like it but after a while, the story got very repetitive. If I read this bit by bit, I think I would have enjoyed it more. 4/5 stars.
  • Black Butler Volume 11 by Yana Toboso. I finally reached the start of the Book of Atlantic arc! The previous volumes reminded me so much of And Then There Were None. I liked it but it was too wordy for my taste. I would love to see that animated though. 3/5 stars.
  • Girls und Panzer Volume 3. Katyusha-sama is my girl! I enjoyed this volume a lot. And I appreciated the anime episode more after reading this. They added so much but kept the a lot of the source material also. So they really did skip the Anzio match even in the manga. Interesting. 4/5 stars.
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. As “trashy” as this trilogy was, I kind of loved this. I think it’s my favorite out of all three books. I don’t know… the writing was still flat and the main characters were still dull. But the side characters, especially my love Azriel Altin, brownie points if you get that reference. I still don’t like Nesta. As for Elain, bless you, my girl. I want both of your potential love interests. I’m not very bothered by the “mate” situation but yes, it was kind of awkward and ridiculous. It was definitely overused. Still, I actually liked this book. 4/5 stars.
  • A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. Audio book. I’ve been meaning to get a copy of this but when I found that the audio book was on Hoopla Digital, I decided to borrow it from there. What a well-written story. I fell in love with the writing. The narration was very good as well. I would still like to read this in the future and revisit this in book format. 5/5 stars.

STATS:

  • 2988 pages
  • 3 manga and 1 audio book

As for book buying, I was very good. I only bought four – two are the same book just different formats.

  • The Hollow Crown by Jeff Wheeler. Audio and Kindle book. The 4th book in the Kingfountain series. I haven’t even started this but I have 4 books in both Kindle edition and audio. I mean, if they’re available for $1.99 for each format, why not?
  • The Thief’s Daughter by Jeff Wheeler. Audio book from Amazon. See above.
  • Iron to Iron by Ryan Graudin. Kindle. Read it. Loved it.

So I’m almost done with the first season of My Hero Academia. It’s giving me some Onepunch-Man vibes and I’m liking it a lot. And I’m currently continuing with The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson. I am meeting Marie Lu on the 22nd for the Warcross signing. I would like to start her The Young Elites series this month… maybe finish it even. This will be my 2nd time meeting Marie Lu this year and I’m looking to have my copies of Legend (former library copy) and Prodigy (ARC!) signed also. After that, all my Marie Lu books are signed!

And since we’re on the topic of TBRs, I need to read and review Arena by Holly Jennings. I planned to read this in July when I got it but hey, I wasn’t in the mood. Hopefully, I am now.

I also want to read some of the New Adult books that I acquired or already have on my Kindle. They usually go by fast; a lot of them are less than 300 pages and seriously, they’re not that profound anyway LMAO.

Provided I don’t get distracted by anime and anisong concerts again this month… we’ll see. 😉

WRAP-UP | JULY 2017

How is it August already? It’s almost Christmas!

I did quite well in my July reading even with Anime Expo at the start of the month. I did especially well in the audio book department. I discovered that Hoopla has Japanese fiction on audio. I’ve come to realize that they are awesome to listen to and a lot of them are short reads – listens – at less than 6 hours. Most of them anyway. Plus, I lucked out with the narrators. Sure, they’re not perfect Japanese pronunciation when it comes to names but I still enjoyed it.

I finally did a Jane Eyre re-read after not doing it for 2-3 years. I acquired the Manga Classics by Udon Entertainment copy and oh boy, I loved it. I am looking at getting all the other Manga Classics versions. They’re so much easier to read than the dense original text. I also finished a very hyped and beloved YA series and once again, was kind of let down by it. This month’s reading had been filled with most anticipated reads, recommendations, and audio books. Let’s see how I did!

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 11. I hit a total of 80 reads this past month.

  • Sound! Euphonium, Volume 1 by Ayano Takeda. This is the light novel source material of one of my favorite anime shows. This is a story told through Kumiko’s eyes; she is a euphonium player for the Kitauji High School band. She goes through normal high school stuff on top of band club drama. While I definitely prefer the anime (it has actual music and playing of music), I really enjoyed this one as well. My Shuichi x Kumiko heart, especially. But I’m only giving this 4/5 stars because to me, there was a bit (a lot) of queer baiting. Now, it could just be a form of fan service but this was written before the anime was aired.
  • Amazonia by James Rollins. As with every James Rollins book, I listened to this on audio. I did enjoy this. It had a slow start but it built up quite nicely. Of course, make sure your suspension of disbelief is quite strong. As much as Rollins’ books are filled with adventure, they’re not the most believable. 4/5 stars.
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. I listened to this. I also own this book. But when I saw this on Hoopla, under 5 hours, I thought it’s going to be a quick read. It was but it was so good. It reminded me of Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. A housekeeper is hired to help out at an elderly professor’s house. After a while, the professor invites the housekeeper’s son with them. They then develop a sort of familial relationship that makes such a differences in all of their lives. The narration by Cassandra Campbell is A+! 5/5 stars, favorite.
  • The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski. Book 2 in the trilogy. There were so many things going on but none of it was truly exciting. Then it just ended. Yes, it was full of political intrigue. Think of a chess game but with a lot of misunderstanding. Really, things would’ve ended much faster and cleaner if they only just talked. But then again, we have a 3rd book. 3.5/5 stars. At this point, I almost slumped… I wasn’t enjoying this.
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. I was good. But it wasn’t life changing as everyone says. I actually didn’t get it much. It was a magical realism mystery novella with an asexual main character. Okay. 4/5 stars.
  • Girls und Panzer, Volume 2. I’ve since completed the Nendoroid Petit Collection 1, thanks to Anime Expo. I… didn’t enjoy this volume. They pretty much left out the whole Saunders match. It was merely mentioned but the anime has 1.5 episodes about that. I understand the choice but I would’ve liked to see more of the match on the page. 3/5 stars.
  • When It’s Real by Erin Watt. Holy crap. Holy crap, I loved this. Oh man, this was an awesome audio book read by two narrators, Caitlin Kelly and Teddy Hamilton. This toed the line between YA and NA but there’s no explicit sex scene yet it still managed to be so hot. It touched all my feelz and then some. 5/5 stars, favorite!
  • Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino. Another audio book with A+ narration by David Pittu. I enjoy his mystery novels so much and they are perfect to listen on audio. This is about a husband murdered when his soon-to-be ex-wife is on vacation. Yes, it was predictable in a way that you know who did it. The question is “how.” Amazing. 5/5 stars.
  • Last Winter We Parted by Fuminori Nakamura. Based on the blurb, I should love this. This is about a journalist interviewing a man on death row after being convicted of killing 2 women by burning them to death. Then it unravels a very complicated web of accomplices, secrets, and deceit. But I had a problem with the narration. The names were badly pronounced, there wasn’t much difference between character voices. I got lost so many times. So I don’t think it’s the novel’s fault. I do own this so I may just have to read it again. 2.5/5 stars.
  • Manga Classics: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, illustrated by SunNeko Lee. You don’t know “cute” until you’ve seen Jane and Rochester in chibi form. I will give this book nothing but a perfect score. 5/5 stars.
  • The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski. I’m filing this under the same umbrella as The Grisha trilogy – hyped series that ended up disappointing me. I wanted to read this book when I heard that this featured a pianist main character and music. Well, so much for that. I did enjoy this too but there was just too much traveling and talking and not much else. I still like Arin. Kestrel’s okay too. Over all, this series is a 3.5/5, just like this book.

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