#TomeTopple | ROUND 5 (11/17 through 11/30)

It’s that reading time again. Tome Topple Round 5 is upon us and I’m so excited!

Tome Topple Readathon is created by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. She also hosts the Top 5 Wednesday weekly tag. She’s one of the booktubers whose opinions I trust. I also go to her for SFF recommendations. The GoodReads group for this readathon can be found here. If you’re looking for recommendations, inspiration, and/or buddies to read with, go check out the group.

I figured I’d just repost that since I was about to say the very same things anyway. The only real “rule” is to read a book with 500 pages or more. This is the chance to tackle those daunting reads that are collecting dust on your shelves.

It’s going to be from 12AM of November 17 through 11:59PM of November 30, your time zone.

For me, that’s Pacific Time, if you want to play along. 🙂

Your pick will ultimately depend on the edition you’re reading from. Titles have different page numbers depending on which medium you’re patronizing. For example, I’m currently reading The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. The paperback has 468 pages while the Kindle edition has 512. If you’re planning to read the Kindle edition, it counts for this readathon.

Short story collections don’t count, unfortunately. It’s easier to go through short stories than one dense novel – although I’m not very fond of short stories… they send me to slump hell. It’s okay if you’re reading a graphic novel omnibus or a collected works of manga.

Reading a 500plus-page book is okay. But if you want to challenge yourself:

  1. Read more than 1 tome.
  2. Read a graphic novel with more than 500 pages. (Trust me, this exists.)
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series.
  4. Buddy read a tome.
  5. Read an adult novel.
  6. Instagram challenges.

One book can count for multiple items. My main read is definitely going to be The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson, to finish off the Mistborn trilogy. I have the UK edition with 748 pages. For an audio book, I’m hoping to be able to borrow Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (613 pages), the final book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I was going to listen to this but Overdrive was able to get me The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson after such a long hold. You can read/listen to that one as well because it has 679 pages. If I can, I would like to finally get to Night Film by Marisha Pessl (602 pages) or continue with the Rot and Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry with Dust and Decay (519 pages).

I don’t have a graphic novel read… yet. I can always read those 3-in-1 manga omnibus for Fullmetal Alchemist or whatnot. I was looking at the Another: Omnibus by Yukito Ayatsuji that has 720 pages but the thing is, I already read the first volume separately. I’m not sure if that counts. Well, I can always reread that part.

Anyway, I had so much fun with the previous round. I learned not to put too much pressure on myself, that this TBR is merely a list of options. I’ll be happy to finish The Hero Of Ages and call it a day.

Let me know if you’re participating in this readathon. If so, what’s your TBR? 🙂

Advertisements

#T5W | Problematic Faves

This week, we are talking about our Problematic Faves.

I’m pretty black and white when it comes to characters. I do have my guilty pleasures here and there but when it comes to characters, I let them redeem themselves. If the character is stupid – *cough*Lara Jean*cough* – then I wouldn’t even bother wasting my time to justify their actions even though they’re the main character. I actually find myself liking side characters more than protagonists most of the time.

For example, I never ever liked Draco Malfoy. If not for the movie, I wouldn’t have cared much for Snape. Their actions were questionable and they never truly redeemed themselves to me. (Yes, Snape loved Lily so he felt obligated to protect Harry but… it’s a whole can of worms that I’m too tired to open up.) If he’s painted as a bad guy, then he’s a bad guy in my book.

But having said that, I easily found five that I can share. Actually, it was 7 but everybody already had The Darkling on their lists and A Court of Wings and Ruin isn’t a character. But to explain, I liked The Darkling 1000x better than Alina and Mal. Him and Nikolai were the only reasons why I finished that trilogy; I mean, there wasn’t enough David and Genya to sustain my interest. As for ACOWAR, it’s my favorite from the series. The only way that anything could top that is an Azriel-centric book. Anyway, on with the list.

Tooru Oikawa as Asuma Kousuke… or it’s the other way around. 😉

Tooru Oikawa, Haikyuu!
(It’s not enough that I’m obsessed with the anime. I freakin’ LOVE the stage play too.)
Oikawa is the “great king” of the court. He’s seen as pompous, arrogant, and he always provokes his opponents especially the Karasuno team. He rarely shows a vulnerable side of him. On paper, he’s sort of the villain of the story. But I can’t help but like him. He’s such a rich character. Yes, he’s arrogant but he’s also determined and focus. I mean, there’s a reason why a genius setter like Kageyama looks up to him and wants to surpass him, right? Then there’s Ushijima regretting that Oikawa didn’t go to Shiratorizawa. And most of all, even with so many people admiring him, he still feels insecure at Kageyama’s genius tendencies, Sugawara’s “refreshing” vibe, Hinata’s athleticism, and even Ushijima’s abilities.

Wow that was long. I’ve always wanted to discuss that but I don’t have anime-watching friends. Or reader friends on that note. Hmm.

Robert Langdon, The Da Vinci Code and the like.
Professor Langdon goes with another name: Gary Stu. There’s not an arc in the Langdon series books where his eidetic memory is not mentioned. He’s well-versed in every ancient concept. He’s studied and lectured in all the ivy league universities around the world. He has friends in astronomically high places. He falls from a helicopter and survives. And oh, women love him. His only flaw is his claustrophobia. But dang, he’s such a compelling character to follow.

Mr. Rochester, Jane Eyre.
Let’s face it, Mr. Rochester is a lying piece of shit. He insta-fell in love with Jane but never ever mentioned his own circumstances. His term of endearment is belittling Jane’s status and abilities. He doesn’t know how to show affection. But damn if he’s not the most romantic person in classic romance. Sue me, I still fall into giggles every time I read Jane Eyre at how strangely sweet he is to Jane. You can have your Mr. Darcy. I’m keeping this one, missing hand and all.

Kaden, The Remnant Chronicles trilogy.
I’m listening to Beauty of Darkness right now and from the reviews, he unfortunately gets demoted to platonic friend from potential love interest. But that’s okay. I sort of knew from the start where he fits in the story. I still really like his character though. His backstory has so much potential and his character can really go anywhere. I actually don’t like Rafe that much because he reminds me too much of Tamlin and I honestly don’t see his motivation and reasons behind his decisions.

Katsuki Bakugo, My Hero Academia.
I recently finished watching the anime. I thought the first season had so much fillers but season 2 was jam packed. I’m excited for the next season and the next volumes of manga. I admit, I still sort of don’t like Kacchan compared to how I love everyone else in the show/manga. To me, he’s more fitting to be a villain. His attitude is rotten. His quirk is more destructive than helpful. But I think he knows that. And that’s the most important thing. His attitude is more of a front. He’s so vulnerable and insecure of Izuku, of all people; his quirkless childhood friend who looks up to him. Why is it so important for him to be better than Izuku every time? And then the destructiveness of his quirk. Even with explosions threatening to destroy life and property, he still fights to be a hero instead of a villain. I still don’t truly get his motivations and why he’s so rotten towards other people but the fact that he’s aware that he can easily be a villain but chooses not to… makes his very endearing.


What is up with these anime-related essays?! I’m curious… do you watch anime? We can talk about it!

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? 😉

#T5W | Scary Non-Horror Books

This week, we are talking about Non-Horror Books That Scared You. And yes, I am aware that is is already Thursday. 😉

I have not done this weekly tag all month. I just feel uninspired. Not just over this… but with everything — reading, writing, watching anime, crochet… life, in general. Most of my reading this month is either manga or audio book. Origin will be finished by the end of the month, for sure. But I think I hyped myself up so much over that that it sent me to a sort of slump. A slump that stretched to all aspects of my life. But I’m slowly crawling back and here we are with the final T5W for October.

This was sort of a struggle for me. As you know, I don’t get scared easily. Movies, books, TV shows, in real life. Well, real life is a different story but in fictional media, I’m pretty chill. In fact, I like horror movies. Asian horror movies to be specific. There are some horror books that freaked me out but the deal with this week’s topic are book NOT under the horror genre that scared me. I managed to think of 4 that freaked me out a bit and I just have to throw in one actual horror book/short story collection to round up five titles.

wtf asahi!

Warm Up by VE Schwab
This is a companion short story to Vicious. It’s not going to make sense if you haven’t read Vicious but let me tell you… THIS is how you make a companion piece. It was eerie, atmospheric, and pretty dark. VE Schwab was able to put so much in less than 20 pages and it was so good.

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
It’s not about paranormal scary but more of scared of the situation. Grace was sent to an insane asylum with several forces working against her and she must find a way to outsmart it all. But if you’re supposedly sane and then sent to a mental institution by powerful people, how can you convince them that you are not crazy?

Armada by Ernest Cline
Alien invasion. Tell me, who won’t be scared by that? But this novel is pretty cool. I don’t get why it get so many low ratings just because people expect Ready Player One V2.

Confessions by Kanae Minato
This one is really blood-chilling. It’s technically a mystery thriller but in the usual Japanese fashion, it’s pretty damn dark. I can’t tell you why this novel scared the hell out of me but when you read it, you’ll know why it’s terrifying.

And for my actual horror pick:

ZOO by Otsuichi
I believe I have a full review of this where I talk about all the short stories in this collection. Like I said, I don’t get scared easily but this book had me from the first short story all the way to the end.


What are you dressing up as this Halloween? I have a comic convention this coming weekend and I might dress up. 😉

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Unique Book Titles

I took quite a break from everything – reading (books; I still managed to finish an audio book), blogging, social media, even collecting figures. I’m dragging my feet back. I missed it. And I blame Origin by Dan Brown for this self-imposed reading slump.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten Unique Book Titles.

I will limit my list to books that are on my shelves – virtually and physically. I don’t have time to peruse other people’s posts but I’m sure there are a lot of really unique ones out there. It’s like pretty covers – a pretty cover can draw you in. An interesting title will make me click on that book’s link and check it out.

I’m easy to please when it comes to that. Buzzwords often get me going. But with so many books out there, how do you think of the perfect title? A lot of today’s books have titles like “The [SOMETHING] of [ONE] and [ANOTHER]” or “The Girl Who [SOMETHING]” or “The [MAIN SUBJECT OF THE STORY].” Some have made it very interesting like The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. Or the Millennium trilogy titles. Sarah J. Maas made it work with A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy where the title can be abbreviated to easy to remember “words”.

Here’s a quick list of interesting titles from my shelves:

sweetness & lightning by Gido Amagakure.
This will make sense if you’ve read the manga or watched the anime. The Japanese title is Amaama to Inazuma which roughly translate to “sweetness & lightning”. The main family’s last name is Inazuma. And this little girl, Tsumugi, is the sweetest little thing ever.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore.
Just saying it… BITTERBLUE. Who names their kid that? Leck apparently. The whole trilogy has single-word titles, Graceling and Fire but come on, Bitterblue!

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.
This is rather misleading (or I just didn’t make the connection lmao). It’s not really a “guide” in the strictest sense. There was talk about vice and vitrue though. But paired with the cover, it definitely did its job and hooked me in.

Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino.
Sounds like the very ominous mystery novel that it actually is. It makes you wonder who is the saint in the story and why does he or she needs salvation. And why would a SAINT needs SAVING? Dun, dun, duuuun…

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.
It does explain the main premise of the book but not the actual topic of it. It’s about kids what come back to reality after spending time in fantasy worlds… but when I finally read it, I realized it’s not just about that.

S. by JJ Abrams.
What? Just “S”? What? I’ll leave it at that.

Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas.
What even does this mean? The 57th punk? I guess I have to read this to understand.

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.
What a title! Really. That alone had me checking out this book.

All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.
For some people, all they need is love. This, it’s kill. Hollywood renamed this as Edge of Tomorrow. Between that and the original title, what do you think is more compelling? Yep, not even Tom Cruise will sell me the other one. 😉

Salmonella Men on Planet Porno by Yasutaka Tsutsui.
What… even… is… that?! I don’t know, man. XD


I read the first five titles. Then the bottom 5 picks are definitely influenced by their titles. Let me know if you have “strictly title-based” reads and how that worked for you.

#GetGraphic | Readathon Wrap-up

Armstrong plush from Wee Bit O’Freak @ Etsy

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

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

So what did I read? I read five things.

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

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

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