2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge

It’s making a comeback! I’m doing the PopSugar Reading Challenge again this year. Last year was a bit too crazy for me so I picked something else. This year, I saw this reading challenge master list. I looked through each of them and PopSugar’s seemed most interested to me. Sure, I also wanted to beat the backlist and finish series and read more diversely. I can also do those while mainly following these categories.

This year’s challenge consists of 40 main prompts. If you’re feeling confident, there are ten “advanced” categories. I’m only doing the main 40. That’s challenging enough for me.

As mentioned in my 2018 Reading Resolutions post, I will try my damn hardest to stick with the choices that I mention in this post. Now, I’m not saying that I will not change it when (1) I feel like it or (2) if I read another book that fits the bill. I will still do that. But I will be trying to construct my TBR to include books mentioned here. We have a whole year of new releases and who knows what else could happen. Also, I’m leaving some blank and will fill up as I encounter books that satisfy that category.

Basically, I’m just making excuses for myself. LMAO.

Honestly though, I am determined to broaden my horizons reading-wise this year and read not just the more popular, newest releases, or the cult YA favorites. Think of this as having a “reason” to finally get to these books. Same as with Tome Topple, an “excuse” to read books with 500+ pages, this challenge will be all about reading things I won’t normally think of when building a TBR.

I hope that makes sense. I know I’m blabbering. I apologize. I’m at work. I don’t drink coffee anymore. LOL.

Let’s get to the titles, shall we?

  • A book made into a movie you’ve already seen: Your Name. by Makoto Shinkai. I watched this for the first time last Christmas but I’ve seen the novelization at my local Kinokuniya bookstore for months. Now I have a reason to pick it up.
  • True crime. His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet. I have this on my TBR for quite some time. I actually started this on audio but it didn’t hook me. I’m thinking this is better to be read instead of listening to it.
  • The next book in a series you started. Cress by Marissa Meyer. It can be so many other titles, really.
  • A book involving a heist. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I wholeheartedly wanted to read this last year but the Grishaverse left a sour taste in my mouth.
  • Nordic noir.
  • A novel based on a real person.
  • A book set in a country that fascinates you. Japan. I have a lot of Japanese fiction to choose from.
  • A book with a time of day in the title. Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire. A short read too.
  • A book about a villain or antihero. I’m hoping that Vengeful by VE Schwab gets released this year. It’s the sequel to Vicious and that’s about antiheroes.
  • A book about death or grief.
  • A book with your favorite color in the title. Orange Vol 6. This is a must-have for every #TeamSuwa member.
  • A book with alliteration in the title. Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put this on a TBR and never even pulled it off my shelf. This is the year.
  • A book about time travel. Invictus by Ryan Graudin. Another book that I wanted to read last year. I have a signed copy even.
  • A book with a weather element in the title. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I’m definitely picking this one up for Tome Topple.
  • A book set at sea.
  • A book with an animal in the title. Either Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena or A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan.
  • A book set on a different planet. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown. Mars.
  • A book with song lyrics in the title. Suffer the Children by Craig di Louie. It’s a Tears for Fears song.
  • A book about or set on Halloween.
  • A book with characters who are twins.
  • A book with a female author who uses a male pseudonym. (Unfortunately, I know that I do not enjoy Robert Galbraith.)
  • A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist.
  • A book that is also a stage play or musical. Haikyuu by Haruichi Furudate. If you haven’t seen the stage play, you haven’t seen perfection yet.
  • A book by an author of a different ethnicity than you. This can be anyone except Rin Chupeco. 😉
  • A book about feminism.
  • A book about mental health.
  • A book you borrowed or that was given to you as a gift.
  • A book by two authors. Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
  • A book about or involving a sport. Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy, hockey.
  • A book by a local author. Pasadena, CA authors!
  • A book mentioned in another book.
  • A book from a celebrity book club.
  • A childhood classic you’ve never read.
  • A book that’s published in 2018. The Demon Crown by James Rollins. I’ve been listening to most of his backlist on audio. I would love to go back to actually reading his books.
  • A past Goodreads Choice Awards winner. I don’t particularly like any of them, apart from those I already read. The Martian by Andy Weir, probably.
  • A book set in the decade you were born. 80s!
  • A book you meant to read in 2017 but didn’t get to.
  • A book wtih an ugly cover. Hello, New Adult!
  • A book that involves a bookstore or library.
  • Your favorite prompt from the 2015, 2016, or 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenges.

I am very open to suggestions and recommendations. I don’t read a lot of YA contemporaries – to be honest, I don’t like to – but recommendations are welcome. I’d like to at least try them.

Good luck with your own reading challenges. Let’s make 2018 an awesome reading year.

 

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#T5W | Read More

This week, we are talking about Reading Resolutions.

“Read more” is probably in most resolutions list, not just reading or book-related. It could mean quantity or quality. Personally, I want mine to be of quality. I know I can read more than 100 books (hello, manga!). I’ve read diversely, especially in terms of author ethnicity. I patronized many different genres. Reading more is very doable and quite fulfilling.

Also, I’m not even going to consider “reviewing more” because that’s never going to happen. I can’t be bothered sitting down and writing words about a book I just finished or something I read in the past. Of course, there will be exceptions – say, if inspiration strikes hard or if I have raging feelz for such book – but overall, don’t expect it. I’ll stick to what I do best: LISTS.


So what do I want out of my reading in 2018? Here are some things:

Actually sticking to Reading Challenge picks rather than fitting the titles I randomly read to the categories.
We’re all guilty of this. I’m not saying that I will not give my self a pass (or several) but freely replacing titles takes the “challenge” out of reading challenges. I’m the kind of person who custom fits titles to a reading challenge at the start of the year. I’ve done PopSugar one year and Better World Books the next, and while they look rather successful, the only ended up that way because I replaced 80% of the titles with books that I actually read as the year progressed. Like I said, I might still do this but I’ll try to actually commit and be accountable.

I will be posting my picks for the PopSugar Reading Challenge 2018 tomorrow.

Barakamon

Reading a manga before watching the anime.
They say the “rule” is read the book before you watch the movie. I’ve never actually done that with manga. I usually find my way to the manga by way of watching the anime first. OrangeRurouni Kenshin, Fullmetal Alchemist, Haikyu, sweetness & lightning, Onepunch Man, My Hero Academia… the list goes on and on. I end up loving the source material as much as the anime adaptation anyway. I do plan to do that this year with Kuroko no Basket.

Read books from hauls past.
Inspired by Books and Lala‘s Closet Unhaul and by Julie from Pages and Pens where they revisit years old hauls and check in to see which ones they’ve read, unhauled, or was still unread. I went through a phase (when I first discovered Book Outlet) where I could complete series before reading them and having 10+ book hauls every couple of weeks. And took pictures of them! I still list them down though so I still know my damage. I don’t know about you but I tend to read newer acquisitions. Especially lately when I think I finally somewhat controlled my book buying urge. I will only buy a book if it’s signed and/or if I’m genuinely excited about it. Then I tend to read those instead of my existing TBR. I would like to change that this year and actively decide to pick up books that either I already own and/or have been waiting for a long time to be read.

Read more tomes.
Books that have 500+ pages. Not just during Tome Topple. That shouldn’t be an excuse to read a huge book. I find that I actually have fun when I hunker down with a big brick of a book. The mental preparation that I put myself through make it so exciting, as if you’re planning a long trip somewhere. And I’m not really intimidated by big books. I do have some ways around it like reading an ebook if I’m out and about or supplementing my reading time with an audio book version. Whatever will get it done, I will do it.

Unhaul.
Ever since becoming a Haikyuu figure and Gunpla monster, space has become a major issue in my room. No way in hell I would I sell back my figures or disassemble my Gunpla so my books will have to take one for the team. I do have a sizable pile of unhauled books already just waiting to be shipped out but I have so much more that I can get rid of. I know, in a sense, that unhauling is throwing away money – regardless if it’s a full priced book or discounted – but let’s be real… you chose to buy that book and now, you come to regret that purchase. We all have different reasons of unhauling. I got rid of my copies of the Grisha Trilogy because I didn’t like it. I know I will unhaul some more books that I simply do not have any interest in anymore. It took me a while to accept it but whatever’s necessary, right? Think of it as your books getting a new home that will love them more than you did.


On my draft, I put in “buy less books” but I already do that. I only bought two books in December. This month, it looks like I will only get another 2 more. (Don’t quote me!) But my other fandom-y expenses are on a slight rise… or it could be just because of Christmas lol. Anyway, here’s a good thought to curb your buying urges…

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE EVERY COUPON YOU RECEIVE.

I know that’s common sense but a certain percentage off, especially on total purchase price, is rather tempting. I know Barnes and Noble got me so many times. Just this past month, Tokyo Otaku Mode destroyed my budget with absolutely wonderful deals and coupons. (Come on, 20% off with free shipping? Yes, please.) Really, you don’t have to use it.  But if you absolutely want to, by all means, do it!

As a blogger, I only have one resolution: to comment more. Not just on my posts but on other blogs. I love reading other people’s posts. It gives me ideas and I just love the conversations and opinions shared. I hope I can do more of that here and around the blogging community.

Let’s all cheer each other on! Three days into 2018 and it’s already looking like it’s going to be fun!

WRAP-UP | DECEMBER 2017

We survived 2017! How is everybody? 🙂

I read 130 books last year. I mean, that’s the most I’ve ever read in a year. EVER. What’s the secret? Manga and graphic novels. Mostly manga for me. I would like to say audio books too, in a way, because it let me “read” on my commute or when I’m unable to read an actual book. But my consumption of manga was far more than how many audio books I read. Plus, they’re so much fun.

I managed to read 12 books this past December. Seven of them are manga (6) and graphic novel (1). Then two audio books. I feel that I did do a lot of reading but it was mostly 190-page manga so page count-wise, it wasn’t that much. I recently got a Kobo Aura ONE and guys, I’m in love. I used it to read manga but I think I’ll still go to my B&N Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook for that.

So here we are. The final wrap-up for 2017 to kick off 2018. XD

TOTAL BOOKS READ: 12.

  • The Hero of Ages by Brandon SandersonI read this for Tome Topple Round 5 but was unable to finish it on time. Goodness gracious, this book. THIS TRILOGY. It’s everything I want in a high fantasy in-between a YA and adult reads. The ending destroyed me. FIVE stars! Favorite!
  • Haikyuu! by Haruichi FurudateI read 4 Haikyuu volumes this month. I got carried away a bit. I love this anime so much, then the stage play, and now, the manga too. I love the original art style. I can’t wait to see my lovely Ennoshita’s chapters. Right now, it’s just by Asahi vs Date Tech timeline… my absolute favorite arc!
    • Volume 2: The View from the Top – 5 stars.
    • Volume 3: Go, Team Karasuno – 5 stars. Nishinoya is my rock star!
    • Volume 4: Rivals! – 4 stars. Kenma is life.
    • Volume 5: Inter-High Begins! – 5 stars. GO GO LET’S GO LET’S GO DATE-KO!
  • Unsub by Meg Gardiner. I received an ARC of the 2nd book in the series. So I decided to read this. This has been on my radar since it came out because… ever the Criminal Minds fan, I’ll try anything with “unsub” on the title. But this ended up being just okay and quite generic. It was quite predictable and everyone made rather shallow decisions. 3 stars. Audio.
  • The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I finally got to this. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I admit, I had no idea what was going on for majority of the book. It was like a bunch of random stories one after the other. But it all came together nicely in the end. There was something poetic in the whole thing and it was beautiful. On to the next book in the series. 4 stars.
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. This was sort of misleading. It wasn’t really about Scarlet after all. It was still about Cinder. (I don’t know anything about the Lunar Chronicles prior to starting the series.) I wasn’t the biggest fan of Scarlet but I’m going to add Wolf to my list of bruised, battered, and brooding male characters. I’m waiting on my audio book hold on Cress… or I might just go ahead and read it. 3 stars. Audio.
  • Saga Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I love that this is available on Hoopla right away with no holds and waitlists. This was actually cute. Hazel’s growing up and their ragtag family is still on this journey, adventure… quest. Old characters make an appearance and it was very chill compared to other volumes. But it was mainly cute. 4 stars.
  • Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente. I had the most trouble with this book. This is based on Russian lore and I thought I would just gobble this up. I didn’t. I enjoyed it but it was a slog to read. The writing was good but I felt that there are parts where it was trying hard to be lyrical, whimsical, to make it seem like it’s a fairytale. I don’t think I fully got it though. 3 stars.
  • My Hero Academia, Volume 4 by Kohei Horikoshi. It’s the UA Sports Festival! It’s as fun as the anime. 5 stars.
  • Sweetness and Lightning Volume 6 by Gido Amagakure. I still wish they’d continue the anime adaptation. This is getting so much cuter! 5 stars.

STATS:

  • 3732 pages
  • 6 manga, 2 audio books

I only bought TWO BOOKS in December. I didn’t receive any as gifts. Since finishing the Mistborn trilogy, I had to continue with the next series. I bought The Alloy of Law from Book Depository. I will get all future Brandon Sanderson books from Book Depository. XD

The other book was a signed copy of The Demon Crown by one of my auto-read authors, James Rollins. I usually read Sigma Force novel on audio but this time, I couldn’t pass up a signed copy.

 


I have a target of 4 posts this week in total. One post a day until Friday. I have tomorrow’s Top 5 Wednesday topic (Reading Resolutions), my reading challenge for this year, and my long overdue fall wrap-up on the way. I hope I can do it!

Have an awesome 2018!

End of the Year Survey 2017

I debated whether to wait for the actual end of the year before doing this but I figured I won’t be able to finish that many books between now and the 31st. I’m currently almost done with Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente. I see myself squeezing in a few more manga volumes to round up my final number to, hopefully, 130 but I will only be continuing series I’m already reading. On the audiobook side, I borrowed All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka but haven’t even started it. I actually got an hour into A Long Way to A Small and Angry Planet by Becky Chambers but it failed to keep my attention for longer than 5 seconds. I guess that’s one of those books that you have to actually read.

I think I did well with my Better World Books Reading Challenge. Basically, it was fitting in books I already read vs reading those titles that I chose at the beginning of the year. So it’s a fail in that aspect but still, I’ll give myself that. I may do something like this again just for a guide or inspiration to broaden my interests.

My consumption of manga and audio books were definitely more than last year. I mean, I read (as of this posting) 126 books (including Deathless). Twenty-six of those are audio books and fifty-nine are manga or graphic novels. That leaves 41 novels/books. Not bad considering I did read some big books this year. I’ve grown to love my library apps, Hoopla Digital and Overdrive a lot. They are an awesome source of audio content. In my 20some years, this is the most I’ve gotten use out of a library. XD

Overall, 2017 was a crazy reading year. See you on the other side!

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


2017 READING STATS

Number Of Books You Read: 126 (as of 12/29)
Number of Re-Reads: (I did read Jane Eyre this year but in manga form.)
Genre You Read The Most From: manga (format) and fantasy.

BEST IN BOOKS

1. Best Book You Read In 2017? The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson owned 2017. All of the books are amazing. Despite their lengths, I look forward to reading them.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Let’s see… I was excited to finally see what the fuss is all about over The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling it from the first few pages of the first book. I did finish the trilogy only by the combined forces of Nikolai, Genya, and David. Mal and Alina actually made me dislike the trilogy even more.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  In a good way, New Adult! If ever I said in the past that I dislike NA, I take it back. I’m so fascinated by it. Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy changed my opinion on the genre. Then I read Priest by Sierra SimoneOh lawd! Now, I have a sizable collection of NA romance on my many e-readers just waiting to be enjoyed.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? Japanese fiction in general. I’ve amassed quite a collection and read a good amount and I tend to love most of them. It has a different vibe from Western writing even though it is translated into English. I recommended the Ring series by Koji Suzuki to those who loved the movies but never knew they were originally books. Same with Keigo Higashino translated works.

5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017? I finished quite a few series this year and wow, it’s an awesome feeling to cross those out finally. The best that I started is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer with Cinder. Best sequel is a toss up between Spiral by Koji Suzuki, from the Ring series; and Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy, from Him. And the best ender has got to be The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017? I want to say Brandon Sanderson but I started reading The Final Empire late December of last year. I say… Laini Taylor. The word to describe her writing is magical. Yes, it’s a bit purple prosey but it works with the theme of her books. At least with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? From the YA Contemporary genre, When It’s Real by Erin Watt. I listened to this on a whim and oh boy, I was hooked so much that there were times when I would stop typing (at work) so I can savor the story better.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. It’s The Hunger Games on steroids. And as an honorable mention, A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Totes serious.

9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? I should just come out and say that I’m not one for re-reads. Yeah, those days are behind me.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017? The UK editions of the Mistborn trilogy. Continue reading

Kobo Aura ONE – Limited Edition: A Non-Review

So… I did a thing. I bought a thing. I got it yesterday and already, it’s one of the best things ever!

 

Let me introduce you to my new Kobo Aura ONE 32 GB Limited Edition. Yes. After eight years, your girl got herself an e-ink e-reader. My first ever digital reader was the 1st generation Barnes and Noble Nook. You know, that one with the colored panel at the bottom? Yeah, I wasn’t much of a fan of that. Then my 2nd e-reader was the Kindle Fire HD 32 GB. I’ve been using it a lot again lately because I love the Kindle’s feature of putting how many minutes are left in the chapter/book. But Amazon’s ecosystem is quite limiting even with its large selection of books on sale. Then upon its release, I bought the Barnes & Noble Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. I love it. I now mainly use it for manga reading because it’s basically a Samsung Tab 4. And I also put videos on there so I can bring it on the go with me.

So with two perfectly working e-reader tablets, what is the Kobo Aura ONE for? Continue reading

T5W | GIVE THEM A LUMP OF COAL

This week, we are talking about Characters On Our Naughty List.

A day late. I didn’t go to work yesterday and I blog at work. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. 😉

One character entered my mind the moment I read the December topics, specifically for this week. One male character would’ve been my whole list. Then I thought of more characters with similar traits as this person. Then another. Three little bitches. But then I needed girls in my list. So I found 2.

I won’t be putting direct antagonists or villains. Thiago from Daughter of Smoke and Bone made my draft but I figured, the was written to be disliked. Sutter Keely of The Spectacular Now is extremely unlikable and I think that was on purpose. I’m not the biggest fan of Katniss from The Hunger Games but I do like her a whole heckuva lot.

But there are some characters that I dislike so much, I’m tempted to skip their chapters if they get a POV. Yup. Some I dislike so damn much, I ended up disliking the book/series. Not sorry. And I swear in this post. Be warned.


MALYEN ORETSEV, The Grishaverse.
Oh Mal. I could state him as my answer five times over and this’ll be the easiest Top 5 Wednesday ever. Mal is a bitch. Froget brooding, he’s a whiny bitch. I never liked him from the get-go. Hell, I ended up disliking the Grisha trilogy because there was too much of him and the canon pairing featured him. He didn’t deserve any good thing that happened to him. I don’t ever want to see him again. LOL.

TAMLIN, A Court of Thorns and Roses.
Here comes another little bitch. A weepy bitch this time. I don’t know about you but my picture of Tamlin in my head is Fabio. You know, a tanned and muscly guy with long wavy hair. That’s Tamlin to me. So imagine that throwing an actual kiddie tantrum, destroying a room, and pounding his fists on the floor crying. Also, I liked him during the first half of ACOTAR. I honestly thought he was OTP. Until it turned out that he’s pretty irrelevant to the whole trilogy after all. Gee thanks, Sarah. But hey, he was an effective Mean Girl character.

Lets round up the little bitches with —

FELIX WOLFE, Wolf by Wolf.
I actually loved Felix at the very start of the story. I felt so sorry for him. He wanted to save his family from ruin and get his sister back. But holy shit, after everything they went through, he didn’t even care for the others who had a hand at saving him. He had a one-track mind that all he needed was Adele and everyone else can die, for all he cares. He didn’t deserve the ending he got and geez, I regret investing emotions on his character.

LAOGHAIRE, Outlander.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Yeah, but girl… he ain’t even yours to begin with. She wanted Jamie but Jamie didn’t want her. Jamie will always come back to Claire. I actually do like her character but she’s in my naughty list because Laoghaire acted so entitled to Jamie with no reason at all.

SCARLETT DRAGNA, Caraval.
One of the stupidest characters I’ve ever read all year. Even the other characters were actively calling out her bullshit. She is so frustrating but of course she gets away with it. Everyone in the book was pulling her along and she believed every damn thing. No. Forget you, Scarlett.


That felt good. Very good.

Review: The Creeps by Fran Krause

Man, I haven’t done this in a long time! And my last one was also a Blogging For Books assignment. XD

I don’t know what took me so long to review this. I received this graciously from Blogging For Books late September; just in time for the Get Graphic readathon. In fact, this was my first read for that weekend. So what took so long? Uhm… I don’t exactly know how to review a picture book. Hah.

But I will try my best. Here goes.

The Creeps: A Deep Dark Fears Collection by Fran Krause is a little illustrated book about just that… a book of fears. But don’t be fooled. Some entries are cute, yes, but some made me stop and ponder about my own mortality. Really. All of these are legit fears, no matter how simple they are. Some center around the fear of the paranormal: ghosts, ghouls, monsters. Then some are what scares me more: embarrassing social situations that can (and has) happened in real life.

They are illustrated mostly in 4-panel comic strips. I like the almost childlike art style. It makes the situations seem friendlier… until it actually scares the wits out of you. I did tab a few – a couple – of my favorite situations, especially those that gave me pause. At first, I thought this book wasn’t going to affect me much because it takes a lot to scare me. But I was thinking of horror situations with ghosts and slashers, that kind of stuff. I wasn’t expecting this little book to hit me where it hurts the most. The fear of humiliation, being alone, rejection, failure… all of those are featured in a comic strip or two.

So yeah, I was expecting this to be a quick read, forget about it when I’m done. But no. This little book stuck with me and hey, it’s staying on my bookshelves for good. 🙂

Rating: 4/5 stars. It is a quick but meaningful read.