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.

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REVIEW: Zoo by Otsuichi

Zoo / Otsuichi

Zoo / Otsuichi

Holy shit.

I don’t often start off reviews with words like that but… holy shit.

I think it’s about time I write out my thoughts on this book. I was so affected by it, especially the final story in this collection. The other’s other book, Goth, was super high on my wish and TBR lists. Why I decided to read this first, I have no idea. I guess it looked shorter? I thought short stories would be an easier read? Nope.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah… holy shit. Eleven short stories are in this collection. Some of them are less than three pages long. It is translated from the original Japanes by Terry Gallagher and I would like to applaud his efforts. Nothing was lost in translation. It was as gut-wrenching and terrifying as if I were watching a Japanese movie (dubbed, of course). In fact, a few stories were made into a movie in 2005. I will definitely watch that!

As with a lot of Japanese thrillers, there’s always a twist in the end. Some better than others. Some predictable, some will terrify. And some, I found confusing. The title story, Zoo, is about a man who receives a picture of his dead girlfriend’s decomposing body in his mailbox everyday. This is what sold this book to me; I didn’t even bother reading the rest of the blurb. I kind of knew where the story was going but I still like how creepy it was. It was literally just one character. Imagine an episode of Criminal Minds in the point of view of the unsub. The second story was a bit confusing to me. In A Falling Airplane reads like a short play. Two passengers of a hijacked plane were making final deals with each other. It becomes this crazy conversation that includes the hijacker and honestly, I can’t tell you its message or purpose. I was left confused by this story. It was neither scary nor thrilling.

The White House in a Cold Forest is about a man who grew up abused. He then builds this house made of corpses. One day, a little girl comes by and she then replaces one of the corpses in the house. For whatever reason, this kid is not fazed by a house made of dead bodies but hey, that’s magical realism (I think) for you. I thought it was just some creepy and disgusting short story but the ending made me incredibly sad. Find the Blood! is, I guess you can say, the comic relief of this collection. I wish it was located somewhere near the end for I really needed some cheering up. This is about an old rich man who was slowly bleeding out in front of his good-for-nothing gold-digging relatives. It is a funny murder mystery that I found clever. The shortest story in the bunch is In A Park at Twilight, A Long Time Ago and believe me, this review has more words than that story.

The stories in the second half the book are rather dark and more violent than the previous ones. Wardrobe is a straight up murder mystery with the most unreliable narrator ever. I actually read it twice and I was still confused by the ending. Song of the Sunny Spot reminded me of those mobile visual novels where there’s only you and another character in the story. Here we have the last human on earth and a robot companion that he created to help bury him when he dies. It’s very Haruki Murakami-esque. One of my favorites is Kazari and Yoko. They’re twins where one is treasured and the other is abused. The neglect and cruelty is so over-the-top, it makes the ending the most satisfying. SO-Far is another one that screams Haruki Murakami to me. It’s about a young boy whose parents are stuck in parallel universes. He then has to choose which parent to accompany. Words of God talks about the power of voice and how we should be careful with what we wish for.

(Geez, it’s hard to talk about these short stories without giving anything away.)

Seven Rooms needs its own paragraph. This is my personal favorite and it spoke to my own personal terror. It is about a brother and sister who are abducted and imprisoned in a room with water running through it. The water must come from and go somewhere so upon investigation, they figure out that there are six other rooms with people in them. Day by day, the water runs murky and disembodied  waste run through. Room by room, an unknown person is killing off the prisoners. The brother and sister count the days until it’s their turn. This one played to one of my worst fears. I have a younger brother and for some reason, I felt so fragile the day I was reading this. Sure, it sounds like some Saw-like torture porn but it affected me so much that it deserves its own star.

This book is full of twisted minds, twisted people. It is definitely not for the feint of heart. I’m usually a tough cookie when it comes to horror thrillers but I was deeply affected, especially by that last story, that I couldn’t focus for days after. I needed some serious cheering up. Would I continue reading my Japanese fiction in between reads? Of course. But I might go through my manga first. This one really messed me up.

Rating: 5/5. Some stories, I’d be open to reread… and some, I wish I could forget.

Psst… read In A Park at Twilight, A Long Time Ago here.

 

#T5W | I Still Have Four Months to Go

Long time no see. This week, we are talking about Books You Want to Read Before the End of the Year.

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I’m not much of a TBR girl. I’m a mood reader and I rarely follow at TBR. And really, those things can get away from my grasp fast. I acquire books faster than I can read them. I can read about one book a week but buy up to eleven in one go. Oops. 😉

Anyway, I’m splitting this into to Top 5s: five books I want to read before 2016 ends and five series that I want to start before 2016 ends. I’m only going to include books in my physical possession, books that are already released by the time of this post. For the series, I’m talking about those that I own, at least the first two books. I will not be counting any unreleased sequels. If only one book is out in a series, then that counts as only one book. Get it? Enough of these rules!

BOOKS

  1. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab. I loved  A Darker Shade of Magic and I had this in my possession even before I finished that book. Why I didn’t marathon it, no one knows. I actually plan to read all of VE Schwab’s books before the end of the year but this takes priority.
  2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’ve read mixed reviews but I’m way more intrigued than discouraged. This spurred a random impulsive Book Outlet haul not too long ago so I guess I really want to read this book? Yes.
  3. Lock In by John Scalzi. I’ve been wanting to read this book since hearing about it on booktube but I’m never in the mood for it. Soon, hopefully.
  4. Goth by Otsuichi. Out of all the Japanese books in my possession, I really want to read this as soon as possible. I want this book so badly that I bought it full price. (Which ended up being cheaper than buying it from an online bookstore that I frequent.)
  5. Any Brandon Sanderson book. I have the Mistborn trilogy, The Rithmatist, the first two books in The Reckoners series, and the first two books of The Stormlight Archive . I need to get started on this train!

I should also put Maggie Stiefvater on this list but I don’t own a single book by her. I really should remedy that. I’ve heard nothing but good things about her Raven Cycle and I want in on the action.

SERIES

  1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I have all three books and I’m trying not to pick up Six of Crows. I want to read this first before going into that.
  2. The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. I have the first two books, my copy of The Winner’s Crime is even signed! I bought it signed, by the way lol. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this trilogy and it involves music so… gimme!
  3. Snow Like Ashes duology by Sara Raasch. I bought both books in the Philippines during my vacation. It was cheaper there. Again, heard nothing but good things… this is in a lot of underrated book lists.
  4. Starcrossed trilogy by Leisa Rayven. I have all three; I even got the 3rd one for free! I’ve been curious about this series, at least Bad Romeo, for a long time.
  5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor. I have the first two books. I found the first one as an ARC at a dollar bookstore. I even have a sampler of this when it first came out. Yeah, I think I really need to get started on this.

I also wanted to include You by Caroline Kepnes but that’s a duology and I don’t have the next book yet. I might decide on that once I read You. I fully intend to.

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | A FULLY-LOADED GIFT CARD

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

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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!