TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Not What I Thought

I feel like I made a list like this before. But I’m too lazy to check the rest of my posts so we’re still doing this!

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten Books I Loved Less/More than I Thought I Would.

While it didn’t take me long to end up with this list, it was kind of difficult to come up with it. I’m a mood reader and quite picky at that. I don’t usually veer away from genres that I know I like. And I do extensive research even before putting a book as “to-read”. If I don’t like the sound of the blurb, I probably won’t pick it up.

But for those that made the cut, my expectations aren’t always spot on. For some, I liked it more that I thought I would and that’s awesome. Yet for those that I expected to like but ended up not liking, well… the disappointment is real. So why not we start with those.

BOOKS THAT I LIKED LESS THAN I THOUGHT I WOULD (this GIF pretty much describes my feelings about these books):

Trivia: Rei is my favorite character from “Free!”; then Makoto.

  • Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. I’m still not over this. This is the book that disappointed me the most. In all my life. I feel like I should be inserting that Tyra Banks gif here instead. I mean, to begin with, my expectation wasn’t that high. But that hook, man. Half-boy, half-deer carcass found in the woods? Criminal Minds should be wheels up in 30. Then it became this magical realism BS that is just so ridiculous. No. Unhauled faster than I hauled it.
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Same reason as above, really. The premise was A+ but it ended up being a C. At least to me. I was excited that it was a series but I’m not continuing on with it.
  • To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han. See, I went in to this prepared for cheese and bubbles and  a lot of eye-rolling. I already knew that I wasn’t going to sing its praises. But when I read this… geez. I originally rated this a 3 but the more I thought about it, I actually hate this book. Then this standalone is now a trilogy. Wow.
  • Snow Like Ashes by Sara RaaschThis wasn’t particularly bad. I just had high hopes for this book and everything in it. And it disappointed me at every turn. The writing wasn’t good, the world building is the most convoluted thing ever, the magic system had potential but none of the characters were good enough to embody it. The best thing about it is the love triangle. There you go.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Wow. It’s Twilight time all over again. Prior to picking up this book, I’ve never held a SJM book in my hands. I finally gave in to the pressure but I had low expectations, regardless of the glowing reviews this book has on Goodreads and everywhere. Dang, this is totally guilty pleasure read. And even with that mindset, this was laughably disappointing. Bordering on bad. Fae is not my thing. But you know what, I kind of want to continue with this series.

BOOKS THAT I LIKED MORE THAN I THOUGHT I WOULD (yes, Viktor — I love them too):

  • Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. I read the entire trilogy and two graphic novels last year. It was already an old trilogy filled with the dystopian tropes that avid YA dystopian readers are used to. But I wasn’t one of them and I loved this trilogy so damn much. I was able to have Champion personalized and signed by the author not too long ago.
  • Eon duology by Alison Goodman. I knew next to nothing about this book when I bought it. But my brother read it and he said it was okay. No, it was more than okay. I loved it. Enough to marathon the whole thing. Lost sleep even.
  • Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. No one is more surprised than myself. Contemporary is not my thing but I enjoyed this one so darn much. It was cute and it came in the perfect time in my life. It wasn’t super cheesy and I loved the playlists.
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Talk about going in blind. I bought this book because I needed something to read on a long-ish wait. And it was $1.99 at Goodwill. But I loved this book. LOVED IT.
  • Lexicon by Max Barry. It’s more like I’m surprised at the strong urge to re-read this book. I’ve been meaning to re-read this for about a year now. I knew nothing about this book when I picked it up but the story stuck with me. I can’t remember particulars but I remember how creative this story is and it’s so smart. I hope I can get to this book again this year.

Notice the anime gifs in my posts? Yep. It’s taking over my life again. I should do an anime version of this topic. 😉

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TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Nice To Meet You

It’s time to roll out the year-end tags, memes, and prompts. I’m loving it!

TopTenTues

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we’re listing down the Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016.

I’ve read 70 books as of yesterday. More than 50% of that list are from authors who are new to me. Some of them, I’ve read multiple titles. I’ve heard of them before but 2016 was the year when I finally checked them out. I mean, if they’re hyped, there’s got to be a reason why, right? While I’ve not jumped to every bandwagon out there – I’ve yet to read Sarah J. Maas, Laini Taylor, Rainbow Rowell, and so many more – I discovered a good number of new-to-me authors this year. It was kind of tough narrowing it down to just ten so maybe there are honorable mentions later? We’ll see.

(I got a Book Outlet box yesterday so I decided to make use out of the brown paper. Yeah, here I am trying to be artsy LOL.)

  • Kristin Cashore – I chanced on a copy of Graceling at my local thrift store and decided to pick it up. I liked it and then the next thing I know, I own the whole trilogy. I’ve yet to read Bitterblue and I found Fire rather lacking but I enjoy her writing style so much. It is fantasy but it is easy to follow and it’s very creative.
  • Jonathan Maberry – This started out as a cover-buy but now, I have all 4 in the Rot & Ruin series (missing the short story collection but that’s fine). And oh man, I enjoyed this more than I would ever The Walking Dead. I love how he writes horror and gore without it being disgusting. I mean, disgusting is okay too but Rot & Ruin came across as a story of “people in a zombie book” rather than a “zombie book with people in it”.
  • Marie Lu – I see her Instagram feed and I realize that I always miss the opportunity of meeting her on the street by a day. I was at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Little Tokyo a day before she posts that she’s there too. That aside, I only have to read Champion to finish that trilogy. I loved Legend; I thought it was straight to the point action. I pulled this out of my double stacked shelves so that I could read it before the month/year ends.
  • Graeme Simsion – I instantly fell in love with The Rosie Project from the moment I saw the Australian edition cover. Then I inhale-read it. While I see the US cover of The Rosie Effect a lot, I want a cover that matches. Book Depository has my back, for sure. I love how the author writes the main character’s voice. It’s so unassuming and quite funny. It’s very subtle and flowing. His writing made me so happy.
  • Keigo Higashino – I have six of this man’s books. SIX. I don’t know what it is but when I read that Song Minho was talking about him, I looked him up and bought one book, The Devotion of Suspect X. It’s a mystery thriller but you know the Japanese does things their way, right? And I like that way. I’ve since read other Japanese mystery thrillers but I like Higashino-san the most.
  • V.E. Schwab –  I’m sure she’s on a lot of people’s lists. She easily shot up my favorite authors and auto-buy list. Really. Right now, I prefer her adult novels than the YA. I love Vicious so much. Hopefully, I can squeeze in A Gathering of Shadows by the end of the year but if not, January 2017. Her world building is so rich and solid. Her characters are so well-thought out. I loved listening to her thought process when writing and how she updates her twitter followers with her progress. If there’s one thing I’m thankful for this 2016, it’s being introduced to her works.
  • Ryan Graudin – I inhaled Wolf by Wolf. And Blood for Blood. I actually stopped myself from reading that for two days because I was so scared of what was going to happen in the end. The vibe reminded me of how I loved The Book Thief. That’s the kind of YA historical fiction that I can get behind. More, please.
  • Alison Goodman – Oh goodness, Eon is one of the best things I’ve ever read this year. Eona too. I don’t know what possessed me to buy this before knowing what it is about but whatever that is… thank you. Alison Goodman knows how to incorporate other cultures without appropriation. I thank her for Lady Dela forever.
  • Otsuichi – I read Zoo and it traumatized me. Even translated it had that effect on me. I think that’s reason enough to put him on this list.
  • Ryu Murakami – Yep, I like this Murakami. He writes such twisted and fucked up stories and I love every single one of them that I read. They are so addicting. And he wrote the source material of one of my favorite horror movies, Audition. I dare you to read that.

Surely, I’ve read more books from new to me authors this year. While I do love Confessions by Kanae Minato, I do hope there are more of her books translated to English. Amie Kaufman also comes to mind but then again, she co-wrote Illuminae and Gemina with Jay Kristoff. I have to read something that she wrote on her own. Recommendations?

2016 has been a year of new things. I hope to continue reading more from these authors and discover new names next year.

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | A FULLY-LOADED GIFT CARD

KCON 2016 weekend was a rollercoaster of emotions. But at least I have my books.

TopTenTues

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday , we’re listing down the Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card.

Okay, how much are we talking about here? Is this the prepaid VISA that you can use anywhere or a store-specific gift card?

This is actually quite tough for me. I’m a monster at bargain book shopping. I rarely buy books at full price and when I do, they’re either with a coupon or a special edition rare signed edition or whatever. I might not have control when it comes to buying used books but I do have strong self-control when it comes to new releases and full-priced books because I know I can get them for cheap… eventually.

Also, I don’t really mind e-books. There are times when I prefer those over physical books especially when I’m traveling or when attending an event. E-books are usually cheaper than physical books, easier to acquire, and if I don’t end up liking the book, it won’t eat up space on my already overflowing shelves. A $20 Amazon gift card can last me 5 to 10 e-books on a good deal. It’s worth it to check the Amazon daily deals or those e-mail subscription services that sends you deals everyday. They can get annoying but they list all the sites that have that book on sale. I do have both nook and Kindle but lately, I’ve been using my nook more so at the moment, it’s more convenient for me to get book deals in ePub format vs mobi.

And besides, I have so many unread books that I’m not exactly in a book buying mood. And that, my friends, is a lie. XD

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  1. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion in the Text Publishing edition. This will be on every wishlist post until I get my hands on it. It’s the Australian version which will match my copy of The Rosie Project that I got from Goodwill. I doubt I’ll be as lucky so I have it on both Book Depository and Alibris wishlists.
  2. The Hangman’s Daughter Tales by Oliver Pötzsch. All 5 books in the series are $1.99 each right now on Kindle. I don’t know how long it’s going to be there though. I’m still debating whether to get it now or not. I don’t know when I’ll get to it.
  3. A Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman. I actually have an e-book of this already but there are some books that I want to read in hard copy. This is one of them.
  4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik in the UK hardcover edition. This is a beautiful book, and I’m just talking about the cover. I haven’t read much about this but I’ve heard it’s good. This is another one of those hard copy reads that I was talking about. And frankly, I need to read more stand alones.
  5. Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke. This is one of those “wait for a sale” books. I’ve always wanted to get this but like I said, I rarely buy full price. The cover is so beautiful and I want to see it on my shelf.ttt2
  6. ZOO by Otsuichi. There’s something about Japanese books that make me want to read them in physical format. I have a growing collection and the stranger it is, the more I want it. I already have Goth by the same author and I want this other book as well.
  7. Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena. I played the game a long, longtime ago. I didn’t even know that it’s a book. Now, I want it.
  8. The Crimson Labyrinth by Yusuke Kishi. Twisted, twisted, twisted. Japanese authors do this so well. Both in book form and film.
  9. Audition by Ryu Murakami. It makes sense that I read the book where my favorite Japanese movie was based. I remember reading the script and it was only 14 pages or something. I mean, I can watch the movie again but why not creep myself out more by reading the book.
  10. Another by Yukito Ayatsuji. I watched the anime and I heard the book is even creepier. I’ll be the judge of that.

 

This is getting so hard. Most of the titles on my TBR on GoodReads are books that I already own. XD For those Japanese books, just give me a fully loaded gift card from Kinokuniya Bookstore. Or Amazon is always a good place.

You know what, I really wish someone would give me a gift card with more than $10 on it. Not that I’m ungrateful… it’s just… I want books and nobody but myself buys it for me. Sob. LOL.

But anyway, September is my birth month so… fingers crossed!

#T5W | Wishlist Picks

This week, we are talking about Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist.

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This was tougher than I thought. Most of the books that I add on my TBR are titles that I already own. I use my GoodReads TBR shelf to keep track of the books I own but not read. But sometimes I add titles on there of books that I would like to remember to acquire on a later date. So it’s a 70-30 split between the two requirements.

Here, I will list five books that are on the top of my wishlist TBR. Hard copy TBR.

rosie

  1. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. I want the Australian edition though. I managed to find the Australian version of The Rosie Project at Goodwill for a steal. I ended up loving it so now, I want the sequel in the same edition. It’s a bigger size vs the US ones. Prettier. Off to Book Depository I go!
  2. And I Darken by Kiersten White. Apart from the pretty cover, all I know about this is a gender-bender Vlad the Impaler. I’m so ready for that!
  3. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. This title is currently sitting on my Book Outlet shopping cart waiting for the next sale/coupon.
  4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I’ve heard nothing but the best things about this book so I figured I need a physical copy of this.
  5. The Will to Keep Winning by Daigo Umehara. I was at EVO 2016 last weekend and they sold out of this book so fast. No worries, it’ll come out on Amazon soon. But my brother and I got the last copies of his manga from the seller. Score!

That’s it. No flowery explanations this time. Have a nice rest of the week!

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | IT’S A WHOLE WORLD OUT THERE

(I still have to edit and post my EVO 2016 photos, write up my recap for that as well. For now, watch me on the stream.)

TopTenTues

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday , we’re listing down the Top Ten Books Set Outside The US.

Have you ever been outside of the US? Well, I lived in another country for quite a while and I’ve done some overseas travel. I totally recommend it! Travel outside your home country at least once in your lifetime. But if you can’t at the moment, make a trip to your bookstore or bookshelf and pick up a book set outside your country.

For me, I live in the USA so here is my list of books set outside the USA. I’m actually listing countries so I might hit more than ten books!

SOUTH KOREA – I’ve visited Seoul a few times and I loved it. Not just because I’m a K-pop fan. I love the mix of tradition, culture, and the bustle of city life all rolled into one. It’s so clean, the people are nice, the food is great, and the shopping… yes!

  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang. This novel is twisted. I wish I could read this in the original Korean language. It’ll take me a long time but I think there are some things lost in translation.
  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin. It’s bee a while since I read this. It’s a story about a family’s search for their mother after she goes missing at a train station.

JAPAN – My favorite fighting game players are mostly from Japan… and Korea. XD I love ramen and I would like every Friday to be Ramen Fridays! I’m also in my Japanese author phase. I have a lot of books by Japanese authors waiting for me. I still haven’t cracked open Battle Royale even after years of talking about. Remedy that soon!

  • Confessions by Kanae Minato. I will forever thank the forces that made me choose this book while I was shopping online. It’s psychological, very dark, and so engaging. It’s about a school teacher who lost her daughter to murder. The suspects? Two kids in her class. Try resisting that.
  • The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. Choosing to pick up works by this author was a totally fangirly decision but after sampling this one, I now own three more books from this author and will definitely get more once they’re translated to English. This falls under the mystery genre which I love and it’s a series featuring a Sherlock Holmes like character.
  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I remember reading this and as soon as I started, it was like being transported to a hazy, foggy, and magical world. I need to read more Murakami.

UNITED KINGDOM – This includes Scotland. There’s something about English novels that seem so refined and magical. Yes, magical. So you know what’s coming up next.

  • Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Do I even have to explain?
  • Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Don’t be intimidated by this series. If you can get past the first 100 pages of the first book, the next thing you know you’re on the 5th book!
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab. You have four Londons. What more can you ask for?
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I’m not happy that they changed the setting in the movie. But hey, the main actress is still English so they might retain a bit of the book in it.

SWEDEN – They write the best mystery/thrillers! I can always rely on Swedish authors when I’m craving for a fix.

  • Game by Anders de la Motte. I don’t see a lot of people talk about this book. I’m dying to continue with this trilogy.
  • The Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I’m sticking with the original trilogy on this.
  • Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. A different take on vampire fiction.

Here are other recommendations. I realize that a lot of my reads are set outside the US. But I still need to explore even further. Once doesn’t have to read about a certain place to know about it. Even a novel set in a different country can give the reader a glimpse of its culture.

Have you read any of them? What else can you recommend? 🙂

Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This is the word “cute” in book form. I am so glad that I happened to be drawn into this bright red cover at a random trip to Goodwill.

(And I’m so excited to know that this is the Australian edition cover. Now, I have to track down the sequel in the same edition. Hello, Book Depository!)

Book surprises are the best things ever. You’ll never really know if you’re going to like a book until you get into it. To be perfectly honest, I picked up this book out of desperation. I was going to Little Tokyo after work and I knew I had a two-hour wait until I met up with my brother so I headed off to Goodwill for cheap reading material. I didn’t find anything to my liking until I saw this book. I saw another copy in the blue cover, the US one I think, but I opted for this one instead. I’ve heard of this book before. I didn’t know much about it. I didn’t have any expectations. Contemporary isn’t even my genre. But something about it made me want to read it.

Don Tillman is single. He is very smart, an established academic specializing in genetics with a reputable job, a good home, and interesting hobbies. He has a few friends and loves a good drink. And he is out looking for a wife. But he’s not doing it in the conventional way. You know, going out and meeting people – or going online and striking up a conversation with someone who sparks his fancy. No, he’s doing it in the most precise and academic way possible.

He called it “The Wife Project”. It is a questionnaire for the woman to answer so Don can weed out those that doesn’t fit the criteria. She has to satisfy every single item to his liking. She can’t smoke, drink, must have a certain GPA, should not have any hereditary defect, etc. It’s ridiculous. Understandably, no one made the cut. Hey, no one is perfect.

Until Rosie comes along. Rosie Jarman smokes, drinks, works at a bar, curses… everything that Don frowns upon. But there was something about her that Don couldn’t explain. And he couldn’t get rid of her.

Spoiler(s) ahead.

Continue reading

MAILBOX MONDAY (MUSINGS) #7 | Book Outlet’s Mothers Day Sale

Fourteen books for $30, excluding shipping (which was $9.99). It was a grueling eight hours of carefully crafting the perfect shopping cart with the best deals and best reads. But I did it. Although I did miss out on the Snow Like Ashes deal that came out the very next day. However, I still did enjoy what I got and cannot wait to get into them.

Last week, these beautiful babies finally came in the mail. I finally got that iconic Book Outlet brown paper. It’s so exciting to get book mail and this is the most exciting I’ve been so far. I should have one more coming up before I go on vacation. Yes! I’m going on vacation and I’m gonna need books to accompany me on this long ass plane ride. Feel free to scour through my book hauls and let me know what you think I should bring.

As the title suggests, this is another two-meme post. Let’s get into it!

Musing

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I am currently reading Confessions by Kanae Minato. It’s a bit less than 300 pages, translated into English, and is so engaging and easy to read. It’s about a retiring school teacher giving one final lecture to her homeroom class. And in that class sits her daughter’s murderer. This was that one book in my Book Outlet order that pushed me over $35 towards that $5 off. My first read from that stack. And oh, I started reading it at Little Tokyo. Heh.

It’s a short read so I’m hoping to finish it today or tomorrow, depending on how busy I get. I still haven’t packed for my vacation and there are a ton of stuff to settle at work and at home. I’ll be bringing my SGT4N with me as well as a physical book or two. What should I bring?

For this week’s random question: Name a book you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving.

It would be my latest finished read: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I’m not much for contemporary and I picked this up on a complete whim. I found myself breezing through it and I’m completely in love with the story. I’m dream casting Colin Firth as Don Tillman.

And now, on to the haul.

MAILBOX MONDAY #7 | Thank you, Book Outlet!

Ain’t that pretty. So many books! And still so many on my wishlist. XD

From left to right:

  • Malice by Keigo Higashino. I fully blame Song Minho for this new-to-me author. The Devotion of Suspect X was such a fascinating read. I cannot wait to read more. I own another one from this author, Naoko, that I bought full price.
  • The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry. I’m dipping more and more into middle grade. I’m starting to appreciate the easier read without sacrificing complex storylines and rich characters.
  • Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. I bought the first book at the One Dollar Bookstore. I’ve always wanted to start this series ever since I received sample chapters of Daughter of Smoke and Bone years ago.
  • Escape from Furnace series: Lockdown, Solitary, Death Sentence, Fugitives, Execution by Alexander Gordon Smith. This was a total cover buy. Kind of like Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. I picked it up without knowing what it’s about and I ended up totally loving it. I hope the latter happens with this series too. They’re fairly short reads and they look so interesting. By the way, my supposedly Scratch/Dent copy of Lockdown came signed. 😉
  • Confessions by Kanae Minato. I already talked about it above. I’m still on my Japanese authors kick.
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Another series that I want to get into.
  • You by Caroline Kepnes. Finally! This was a booktube buy. I almost bought this full price but I finally found a price that agreed with me.
  • Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. This was a “scour through Book Outlet” find. I also wanted to get the sequel, Dangerous Boys, but it wasn’t there. Next time. I’m pretty sure I have more than enough books to keep me occupied.
  • 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison. This was a recommendation from Richard Denney. I also picked up Liesl & Po and The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls as per his recommendation.
  • Nancy Drew Mysteries: The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene. Of course, I can’t pass up on a new cover. I don’t have this book yet so I picked it up.

Whew, that’s quite a list! Have you read any of them? I think I’ll be going on a book-buying-ban for a while. Vacation and July’s conventions will sap everything out from my resources lol. And I think it’s about time I make a dent on this ever growing stack of newly acquired tomes.