TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Saving Grace

For April, I will try to blog more often. I hope. Don’t take me seriously. LOL.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday the 10 Characters I Liked That Were in Books I Didn’t Like.

This list was actually easier than I thought. I don’t dislike that very many books; I’m usually a good judge of picking reads that I think I will like. It’s usually when I buy into the hype that I get those random 3-star reads or less. But I tend to like certain characters even if the book overall wasn’t up to my liking.

Again, we’ll try for ten. Here goes…


Nikolai, Genya, and David from The Grishaverse.
Is that the official trilogy name now? I don’t know. I didn’t like this trilogy. But Nikolai was a brilliant character. I kept reading the books because of him but in the end, there wasn’t enough. Then Genya and David’s relationship was suddenly introduced and developed towards the end out of almost nowhere. It also kept me going to see where they’ll end up. Forget Alina and that loser Mal, I wanted more of Genya and David.

Kaden > Rafe from The Remnant Chronicles.
I didn’t hate this trilogy particularly. I actually kind of liked it – definitely more than the other “popular” YA trilogies I’ve read in the past year or so. But I had problems with the main girl and the first book was kind of disappointing to I guess it counts. I say Kaden more than Rafe even though I liked both boys. I did kind of hate Rafe at some point in the trilogy but things got better eventually. I won’t say why because that’s a potential spoiler. 😉

Wolf from Scarlet.
Scarlet is my least favorite book from the Lunar Chronicles. And I don’t like Scarlet, the character, as much as the rest of the main crew. I thought she was just there… a tool so there’s a red-headed girl to represent Red Riding Hood. But Wolf was such a delight to read about. I loved every scene that included him, even in the graphic novels. To the end, I wanted all the best for him — and it made Scarlet more bearable for me.

Julian from Caraval.
Giiirl, I didn’t like this book AT ALL. Scarlett Dragna is one of the worst characters I’ve ever read. And I think even Julian knows! He called out her BS multiple times in the book. That is what made me like him out of the many bad characters in this book.

Minho from The Scorch Trials.
I did like The Maze Runner. Except for Theresa. What the hell happened to everyone in The Scorch Trials? But I’m glad I still liked Minho. I also like him in the movies. He’s a solid character and at least the author didn’t mess with him as the series went awfully downhill.

Mather from Snow Like Ashes.
I was so badly disappointed with this book. It was sold as this whimsical world divided into seasons but it wasn’t really like that. Then the writing was amateurish. I was told it got better but I… maybe. I haven’t dropped this trilogy officially yet. However, I liked Mather from the get-go. Meira was okay too. But like I said in my review (somewhere here on the blog or on GoodReads), the best thing about this book was the love triangle. Yes.


And that is it. I had more on my list but these are the only ones I felt rather strongly about. And looking at this list, even if I loved these books, these characters will still be my favorites. 🙂

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TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Surprise Me

It’s been FOREVER since I participated in this weekly meme. I missed it. I miss blogging.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday are books that we are thankful for.

I think this is my first time (?) doing this since The Artsy Reader Girl took over this. Anyway, I’m happy it’s still a thing. I love making lists. It calms me down.

So… books that surprised me in good ways and bad. I’m not sure how to tackle this topic. I’m pretty good at picking books that I most likely will like and I tend to stay away from genres that I know I won’t like. Off the top of my head, I can think of more series than books so I guess we’ll do this my way. As always, I can’t promise 10 but I’ll try!

The New Adult genre in general.
If you look back in my very earliest posts, I may have mentioned that I am not the biggest fan of NA books. I take that back. I’m still not a fan of YA contemporary but give me NA any time. I think the quality has gone up over the years and the number of good NA books have increased also. No longer are they simply plotless and poorly written sexytimes. I think it’s because of the reaction that 50 Shades got that NA authors want to do better to represent their genre. Also, NA is awesome when you are in a reading slump… unless it puts you in one at the first place.

Author Sierra Simone.
I’ve read five Sierra Simone books in the last five months. More like binge-read through them. Priest and Midnight Mass caught my eye because I saw it on my recommendations on Goodreads. It’s a bad pun but those books are so SINFULLY hot. Then New Camelot came along. Needless to say, it was intense. I read all three back-to-back-to-back because I couldn’t stop. The plot can be a little (a lot) whacko but it was so well-written and easy to read. I am determined to read everything Sierra Simone has published. However, I enjoyed New Camelot a lot that it did put me into a sort of a reading slump. XD

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.
I’m surprised at how much I didn’t like it. Okay, I don’t HATE it. But it didn’t change my life either. The marketing was vastly different than the content of the book. Yes, the whole series matched the description but this particular book was more of a mystery than anything.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.
I had not so good experiences with fairytale retellings before finally taking the plunge and reading this series. I listened to all 4 books on audio and it was my best audio book experience yet. The retelling elements were obvious but subtle at the same time. It was there but not in your face. It was so creative that I almost didn’t want it to end.

Audio books.
The trick is finding the right mood and the right narrator for the book. I’ve DNF’d audio books because I wasn’t happy with the narrator. Recently, I stopped listening to a book by a Japanese author because I hated the way the narrator pronounced Japanese names. I can listen to 2-3 audio books per month depending on my mood or how busy I am at work. I love the experience. It’s like podcasts but longer.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber.
This was a shock. Like I said, I’m pretty good with choosing what I read. I chose wrong with this. This was all around BAD. I was surprised how huge this book got. If you liked it, good for you. I didn’t. Stephanie Garber is a sweetheart though.

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.
Classified in the YA genre, this had more blood and guts than a hundred The Hunger Games put together. This makes Western YA horror books seem as if they’re written for children. Schools ban books for the most trivial of reasons… I want to see what they say about this book.


I’m trying to think of more but I’m all tapped out today. It’s raining in LA today and all I want to do is curl up in my room and read… or watch anime. 😉

 

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Thank You

I’m actually more excited for Black Friday, to be totally honest.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday are books that we are thankful for.

It was the same topic as last year, Books that I’m Thankful For. I can give you ten more books (well, my other list isn’t all about books either) but how about I give you five bookish things and five anime fandom things? I pretty much abandoned my other blog – because PhotoBucket is a fail – so who knows… I might transition this blog to incorporate that too. After all, my anime stuff also reside on my shelves. Hey, I put anime stuff on my posts anyway. 😉

Also, the Top 5 Wednesday topic is the exact same thing so I’ll give you books

Let’s sit around a huge pile of books, hold each other’s hands and share the things we are most thankful for this 2017:

AUDIO BOOKS.
I never would’ve thought that I would love audio books this much. This medium has helped me enhance not only my read count but also my overall reading experience. It’s like a whole new world of stories. I’ve enjoyed so many books that I wouldn’t have had the time to read. Or new genres that would take me much longer to get through. I’m just so happy that I was in the perfect mood, the perfect time, and the perfect read when I decided to try audio books again.

On that note, HOOPLA DIGITAL and OVERDRIVE.
I started out with Hoopla. I read through all of Dan Brown, James Rollins, and Keigo Higashino backlist from that amazing app. The choices are awesome. The audio quality is so clear. Then I finally made Overdrive work on my phone. With my rarely used LA Public Library card, I had the chance to start – and finish – more popular titles such as the Lunar Chronicles, Graceling Realm, and The Remnant Chronicles. Really guys, free audio books. I’m currently waiting for LAPL to acquire the rest of the Haikyu!! manga so I can read it digitally.

THE MISTBORN TRILOGY BY BRANDON SANDERSON.
If not for booktube and the pretty UK boxed set, I don’t think I would’ve never even started this. I had the mass market paperback and I put it down after 2 chapters. But I’m glad I bought the boxed set and decided to push through. I’m on the 3rd book right now for Tome Topple. I think I still would read this even if there’s no readathon to satisfy. I love these books so damn much.

You might be surprised but… A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES TRILOGY BY SARAH J. MAAS.
Yes. I don’t care much for the first book. But for some reason, I read the 2nd book. Didn’t impress me much either. I bought the third book on the day of release then read half of it for last round’s Tome Topple. I ended up loving ACOWAR and then gaining more appreciation for the trilogy as a whole.

SIGNED BOOKS AND AUTHOR EVENTS.
I’ve been to more author signings and acquired more signed books this year vs previous ones. I’m lucky that I live near an independent bookstore that is popular with authors. And really, I love collecting signed books. Especially books that I already know I love.

Now for the anime things:

KUMA-02 Beargguy II

HAIKYUU!!
I binge-watched all 3 seasons some months ago and hell, I’m still rewatching the whole damn thing up to this day. I’m super obsessed with the live action stage play. I’m actually in love with the actors. 😉 The anime features almost all my favorite male seiyuu, including my very favorite one, Yoshimasa Hosoya. I love everyone and everything Haikyuu.

ANIME FIGURESNENDOROIDS and GUNPLA.
Blame Gundam Build Fighters. I think I now have 10+ Beargguy versions, my first being Beargguy II. They’re probably the easiest Gunpla to assemble. Then my brother has several Gundam Barbatos figures because we both love Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. I also have quite the collection of Good Smile Company’s Nendoroid figures, especially Yuri!!! On Ice and Haikyuu!! Yeah, I’m definitely not a minimalist. I love my fandom toys too much.

LEGEND OF HEROES: TRAILS OF COLD STEEL.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this Japanese role-playing game. I love it more than Final Fantasy, to be perfectly honest – and I love Final Fantasy. My favorite seiyuu and voice actors are in this so it’s so awesome all around. Hell, I even cosplayed a character from this game when I met the CEO of the development company, Nihon Falcom. I’m thankful for the DVD copy of the stage musical with English subtitles. And I’m also thankful for the 3rd game in the series that came out this year.

ANIME EXPO 2017.
Say what you want but this is so far my best AX ever. My brother and I were able to do so damn much and accomplished everything on our plates. I met one of my favorite seiyuu, Daisuke Hirakawa (Rei from Free!) and so many Trails of Cold Steel voice actors. I just have so much love for this convention, its attendees, and everything it offers.

And to top that off, I’m thankful for ANISONG.
Anisong World Matsuri. Singing seiyuu. Anime songs – opening, insert, ending. Not so much J-pop but specifically songs from anime. Animelo Summer Live is my new favorite thing. Anisong brings me so much life. I still love YG Entertainment but Anisong is taking over right now.


What are you thankful for? Bookish or not, I’d love to know.

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Unique Book Titles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | #NationalBoyfriendDay

For those who don’t have a boyfriend (hell, even for those who do – this is fiction anyway), I got us covered!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends (Which characters do you have crushes on?)

I know… this post is going up super late. I didn’t go to work today. I’ve been dealing with some health issues lately. Retail therapy’s been great though. Sigh. I planned to do some reading today but there are too many things on my mind.

I totally drafted a whole list yesterday. And I left it at work thinking I’ll be able to make it today. Nope. But hey, I think I know my own book boyfriends. 😉  In truth, I actually was planning to make a collection in my bullet journal about book boyfriends. Really!

Anyway, here’s my list, in no particular order:

Left: Eden; Right: Day

DANIEL ALTAN “DAY” WING, Legend.
Oh hello, grown up Eden is pretty easy on the eyes too. Day though… whoo. A Russian-Mongolian mix ethnicity, although the graphic novel didn’t really show that. I love how Marie Lu described him. And just his story over all; his struggles, his strengths and weaknesses, what he went through in life. I wanted to gather him up and hug him!

Since we’re in the topic of Marie Lu books and the Wings anyway…

ASHER WING, Warcross.
If you’re sitting there thinking, “Hmmm… are they any way related?” The answer to that is YES. Marie Lu herself said that Warcross is set in the same universe as Legend but years in the past. So there’s a huge possibility that Asher Wing is distantly (or directly) related to Day. Yeah-yuh. That’s some hero DNA right there.

HIROTO SUWA, Orange.
#TeamSuwa forevermore. Kakeru’s nice and tragic and all but Suwa sacrificed his own happiness just so Kakeru can have his own. The anime character design is dreamy. The live action actor is dreamy. Suwa is dreamy.

ARIN, The Winner’s Curse.
As you know, I’m trash for the slave/master trope. Not dom/sub though, don’t get it twisted. The female protagonist in The Winner’s Curse, Kestrel, bought Arin as her slave. When I read that, I was super sold. In the end, the trilogy was pretty “meh” but Arin did make it into my list of book boyfriends. I love that brooding, dark, and glass hearted male trope.

Speaking of brooding…

AZRIEL, A Court of Wings and Ruin.
Give this guy a love interest, pretty please! A whole book series, while you’re at it. Everyone walked away happy in this initial trilogy except this poor soul. I’ll take him if no one wants to do it. Also, I dream-casted him as Otabek Altin. Yes, undercut and piercing eyes and all. Google him. I even hear his voice similar to Otabek’s Japanese voice actor, Yoshimasa Hosoya.

PEETA MELLARK, The Hunger Games.
No, I’m not going to post my photo with Josh Hutcherson again. LOL. But really, even without his casting, Peeta is hands down my favorite character from that trilogy. I hated how Katniss treated him but I’m glad my boy ended up with the love of his life.

OAKLEY FORD, When Its Real.
This is a new one. I listened to this book by Erin Watt and honestly, I was prepared to hate the male protagonist. A lot of YA/NA contemporary male characters are assholes and stupid. Oakley was arrogant, yes, but was also vulnerable at the same time. He was damaged. And he was so sweet. I don’t have a fancast since I do not know anyone in Hollywood anymore but trust me, he’s worth it.

TYLER BELL, Priest.
Or should I say Fr. Tyler Bell. 😉 This is an even newer one. I just finished this book and whooo, forgive me geebus but this NA book by Sierra Simone was so good. So good! So hot! I could not put it down and I wished my eyes read faster because I was so into it. And yes, Tyler. YES.

PO, Graceling.
I actually like him more in Bitterblue. I’m listening to that book right now and it totally reminded me how much I loved Po in the first book in the trilogy. He’s so capable, charming, sweet, and just… ah! Lucky Katsa and Bitterblue to have him around.

LUKA LOWE, Wolf by Wolf.
Readers are supposed to hate him. He was introduced as kind of the villain. But as you read through the books, you’ll realized that he is such an innocent little nugget. By the end of the first book, I was so in love with him. I’m so glad he has a novella to himself but I won’t be complaining if he has a whole spin-off series all together.


Who are your book boyfriends? Or what makes a character worthy of being your book boyfriend?

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.

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Best of 2017 So Far

When I reviewed the topics for this month weeks ago, I thought to skip this topic. But when I saw that TTT is going on hiatus until August 15, I had to do it.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten Books You’ve Read in 2017 So Far.

I admit, I honestly thought that I will have a hard time with this topic. So far, I’ve finished 69 books – most of them manga and other sequential art. I remember liking most of what I read. Loving them is another story. I went through my Read list and had to check again just to make 10. Sigh. I hope the second half of 2017 is better.


The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.
The first book in the Mistborn trilogy and the first book that I finished this year. The Mistborn trilogy is my series of the year, meaning I will read the books throughout the year just as long as I finish the entire thing by December 31. I’ve only read the first one so far. I love it. It’s a nice gateway from YA to Adult Fantasy. It actually feels more YA Fantasy because Vin is in that YA age, the language and world-building is very easy to follow even with how complicated it is and how many characters are in it. It’s an awesome book. I can’t wait to continue on with the rest.Orange manga series by Ichigo Takano.
Team Suwa forever! This manga series moved me. I loved everything about it in every format it came in. Anime, print, live action… it’s all perfection. I sincerely urge you to watch it or read it. It’s a 5-volume finished series about a group of friends in present day, coming together on the birthday of a friend they lost ten years ago. Then they write letters to their younger self, asking them to please save that friend in their own parallel universe. It’s not the best explanation but trust me, it will hit you in all the feelz… even those you didn’t know existed. Continue reading