The End of the Year Book Tag

I’m tempted to call this (By) The End of the Year Book Tag instead of the original name. But then again, I call the End of the Year wrap-up a “survey”. Ah, the technicalities. I’m making too much of a fuss.

This was created by Ariel Bissett and I happen to see it on Chelsea Dolling Reads this morning. I was going to do a Top 5 Wednesday but a lot of my answers are better suited for another week’s topic so I’m skipping this week. Anyway, tags are always fun and easy to do so here we are.


Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?
Not really. I’m usually a one-book person. I sort of can’t read anything else until I finish that one book that I’m currently reading.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?
I tell myself that I don’t but I think I do. I tend to read more high fantasy during the latter part of the year vs the s/s months. Being cozy puts me in the mood to read and watch stuff with a heavier subject matter. I used to prepare to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte around September but I already read a manga edition some months ago. Maybe it’s about time I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?
It was released yesterday. Warcross by Marie Lu. I’ll be picking up my copy later today and will have it signed on the 22nd!

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?
Yeah, a lot. But if you want specific titles: The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson. The whole The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu, the rest of the books in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor (I’ve read the first one so far), Birthday by Koji Suzuki, and a bunch of other Japanese fiction I have lying around.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?
A Marie Lu book could do that. I have four to read by the end of the year, hopefully.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?
I plan to participate in more readathons. I really enjoyed Tome Topple and I will try to partake every round. Readathons aren’t only fun but they make me look at my TBR pile more closely. It’s sort of like “forcing” myself to read the books that I already have vs reading those I recently bought. And once you accomplish one or more challenges, it adds to the satisfaction of finishing a book.


I tag all of you. Feel free to do this and do link back if ever you post it on your blog.

Also, I saw Taeyang last night. If Heaven has a voice, it’s Taeyang’s voice. He was so charming and it was such an intimate concert. It was my 5th time seeing Eyes, Nose, Lips performed live and his solo version of Last Dance pretty much killed me. I miss my boys. VIP ’til whenever!

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#T5W | Back to School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHYSICAL EDUCATION, Onepunch-Man by ONE.
Instructed by: Saitama.

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


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

What was your favorite class in school?

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. 😉

#T5W | Bro.

This week, we are talking about Bromances.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Am A Guilty Reader TAG

I seem to be in a weird reading and blogging slump. I primarily blame Tome Topple and Haikyu for this situation. Yet, I have no regrets. It’s annoying to not read as many books as previous months but I give myself a pass. After all, I read three books over 600 pages this month. I’ll try to pad it even further with manga.

I literally have 99 pages left on A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. I started it on the final day of Tome Topple and then I started watching Haikyu. Five days, sixty episodes, new favorite. I read almost 300 pages yesterday, mostly on my Kindle. I proved to myself that I can finish a book in one day (I mean, read 300 pages at least), read multiple huge books in one month… and I tend to read faster on my Kindle than with a physical book because of that nifty “minutes left in chapter” thing on the bottom of the page. Heh. XD

Also, I’m a few minutes away from finishing the audio book to A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. I admit, I wasn’t completely into it at the start but I recognize that it is so beautifully written. I have it on ebook and I might re-read it in the near future. But the audio book is fantastic as well.

How about doing a Tag post today? I’ve been uninspired and as much as I would love to write a review – I’ve read quite a few awesome books lately – I just don’t have the time and the attention to do that. Plus, I blog at work and often, I have an audio book blaring through my earphones while at my desk. (Either that or I’m writing fan fiction on the side lmao.) So here’s a tag and I’ve been seen a lot on booktube lately and it has made its way to the book blogging community as well.

It’s the I Am A Guilty Reader tag, originally by ReadLikeWildfire. I enjoy watching and reading tags and this one looks like something I can quickly do. Ten questions. I’ll try to keep it as interesting as possible!


Have You Ever Regifted A Book That You’ve Been Given?
Yes, I have. Although, it’s a book that I won from a giveaway. I can’t remember what it was exactly but it’s a non-fiction book by a stand-up comedienne. I was going to unhaul it but a co-worker said she wanted it so I gave it to her for Christmas.

Have you ever said you’ve read a book when you haven’t?
Yes, especially when I was younger. Hey, if you want to sound smart, you drop names like Jane AustenNathaniel HawthorneVictor Hugo, etc. Understand that I never had “required reading” and while I eventually read books from these authors, I did fake it a little bit in the past. 😉

Have you ever borrowed a book and not returned it?
Not from the library. I never checked out a book from the library… yet. But borrowed from someone else and never returned it? Yes. It was two Nancy Drew Mystery books. For sure, one was #56 The Thirteenth Pearl. I remember I was so excited to see that because that’s the last one in the series that I was collecting. I can’t remember the other one though.

Have you ever read a series out of order?
Yup. The Sigma Force series by James RollinsI won book 7, The Devil Colony at a Goodreads giveaway and read that. Then I started collecting the whole series but I couldn’t find the first one, Sandstorm… until late last year on audio. So I pretty much read that series 2-5 in order then jumped around depending on what was available on Hoopla.

Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?
My mom. Just because she asked me. I’m pretty good about not spoiling a book or a show to anyone.

Have you ever doggy eared a book?
I may have but I don’t like the look of it. Definitely not MY books. Not even text books. That’s why page flags exist, people.

Have you ever told someone you don’t own a book when you do?
No. But I’ve done the opposite – I’ve told people I own a book when I actually didn’t. And it doesn’t really matter because I don’t lend out my books anyway.

Have you ever told someone you haven’t read a book when you have?
Nope. I will tell you that I’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey and I will tell you how you can enjoy it (hint: read it like bad fanfiction). There’s nothing wrong with reading a book, any book.

Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section of a book?
Absolutely. I would skim a lot like I did in Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. And I have skipped full chapters from the A Song of Ice and Fire books by George RR Martin. I didn’t care for some of the POVs and frankly, I didn’t lose anything by doing so.

Have you ever bad mouthed a book you actually liked?
Er… no. Even if I were talking to someone who didn’t like it. It’s a start to a potentially good bookish conversation. If I faked it and agreed with that opposing opinion, I might just end up judging that person’s reading taste and turn me off from that person totally.


So there you have it. Which ones are you guilty of?

I actually finished A Madness So Discreet as I was typing this out. I’m starting Asylum by Madeleine Roux. And yes, it’s an ~asylum~ again. Oops. XD

#TomeTopple Round 4 | Readathon Wrap-up

I would have you know that I did absolutely ZERO reading over the weekend. Instead, I binge watched Haikyu!! I polished off half the season 1, all of season 2, and almost half of season 3. I have no regrets… other than why haven’t I watched it sooner. I’m such a sucker for good sports anime and this is definitely one of them. My seiyuu otaku self is the happiest it has been. I love my some voice actors.

But I did finish my main goals for Tome Topple Round 4. There were 4 books in my TBR, 2 priority reads and 2 backups. My priority titles satisfied 4 of the 5 challenges. I skipped “Buddy Reading a Tome” because I just don’t buddy read. I don’t like it and I don’t have time for it, realistically.

I completed 5 out of the 14 Instagram challenges. I could’ve done more but my Instagram account is not specifically a Bookstagram so I didn’t want 5 posts in a row to be about books. And some categories either didn’t apply to me or didn’t appeal to me at all. But I did have fun finding creative ways to take pictures of my books with the most minimal preparation and props.

My bookmark for the whole weekend said — “I like BIG BOOKS and I cannot lie” — which I thought was appropriate for the readathon. I quite prefer those bookmarks with the tassel on top. I tried those magnetic bookmarks I didn’t like the way the closed book looked with a large bump on top. The magnetic bookmark was just too big.

But I digress.

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson was my first read of the fortnight. I read it both as a book and as an ebook. I had to go out of the house during that first weekend and I did realize that I read slightly faster on my Kindle. My copy of the book, albeit pretty, acts like a mass market paperback. And it’s huge so I didn’t want to risk breaking the spine.

Needless to say, I loved it. I loved the many twists, the political intrigue, the war planning… and the characters! I love them all. This is marketed as an adult fantasy fiction but it is so easy to read and it’s so much fun. The Mistborn trilogy is a very good gateway to adult fantasy if you’re coming from YA. I had so much fun with this. I even was dream casting the characters with anime characters instead of real-life people. There was no way I’m giving this less than 5 out of 5 stars.

At 781 pages, this is my longest read to date. The Final Empire is my 1st read of 2017. And by the looks of things, The Hero of Ages could close out the year. This satisfies 2 challenges: “Read a tome that is part of a series” and “Read an adult novel”.

My next read was Tomie by Junji Ito. This is the deluxe collection where all the chapters are collected into a 752-page tome. I finished this in a few hours. I loved Uzumaki and I had high hopes for this. But I wasn’t all that impressed. I did give it 4 stars but I’m kind of leaning towards a 3 to 3.5 to be honest. While the premise was good, it became a bit repetitive as it went on. I was thinking that if I didn’t consume this in one go, I would have a better experience with it.

It’s a story about a girl named Tomie who is so beautiful, she enchants every male that lays eyes on her so much that they are driven to kill and and cut her to pieces. Those pieces then grow and become more Tomie and then spread the “virus” to the rest of Japan. You can imagine how many times that main story line can be recycled before it becomes redundant. The art style is pretty creepy; that much you can expect from Junji Ito. I still prefer Uzumaki but Tomie isn’t so bad.

This satisfies two more challenges: “Read a graphic novel” and “Read more than 1 tome”. If I call it right here, then I read 1533 pages between two books.

But I started reading another book on the final days of the readathon. A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. I figured this was an easier read than Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab. I clocked in about 172 pages by August 17th. I wasn’t forcing to finish it but at least I was able to get 25% of the way through.

With that, it brings my total to 1705 pages across 2.25 books. Not bad for my first showing!

I don’t have a TBR for the next round yet but I’m definitely taking part as well. I learned a lot of things during this readathon. It might have “readathon” in name – such as a marathon, a race to accomplish something. But Tome Topple is not about finishing as many books as possible. A 700-page book can have you reading the whole two weeks. Reading 200 pages in one sitting means nothing if you’re reading a 1200-page tome. Reading a big book does take time.

Pacing is key. No one is actually chasing you. Do not compare yourself to others participating with you. We all have different activities in life outside reading. Maybe you’re just unlucky that things went to shit during those two weeks and you couldn’t do as well as you hoped. Or maybe you’re not as fast a reader than the next person. THAT. IS. PERFECTLY. OKAY. If by the end of the readathon you’ve only read one book, pat yourself on the back. You did it! That’s one less tome, one less intimidating read on your TBR.

Although… it kind of sent me to a sort of slump. When I finished both priority books, I was so ready to read a trashy NA novel. But then I never got to it. I thought of pushing myself for one more book, thus ACOWAR but I was just a bit burnt out in the end that I did things other than reading. (Or maybe it’s Tomie‘s fault… Hmmm.) Now that I started ACOWAR, I’m stuck with it. I need to finish that before I can move on to other books. And so far, I’ve only completed 3 books this month. THREE. I might pad that number with manga. 😉

Overall, I enjoyed this readathon. I wasn’t able to participate in any sprints because I’m at work or asleep whenever they are on. By the time I get home and start reading, no one’s holding one. But I did answer Twitter questions as I saw them on my timeline. The hashtag #tometopple on social media was fun to check out too. Congrats to all the hosts and participants and see you all next round!

 

 

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Turning Japanese

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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