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

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Starting Another Series

I’ve been looking forward to this topic for weeks.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start bu Haven’t Yet.

I’m getting better with the series on my TBR; actually finishing them, back-to-back sometimes. I realized that I enjoy it that way. I get to be in the world for longer and I don’t forget anything in between books. Since I’m super late on this YA train, I have a crapton of finished series that I have yet to start. I narrowed down my ~extensive~ list to ten. Some of these I already own the whole set, some just the first book, and some I’ve yet to own the physical copy. I can’t guarantee I will get to them. That’s just the way it is. But I am interested. Very interested.

(This is a list of finished series. I have more to mention but a lot of them are still on-going.)


The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson.
I’ve been intrigued by this since the first book came out. A princess runs away on her wedding day and she’s being chased down by two guys, her betrothed and an assassin. But you won’t know who’s who until the end. So many booktubers sing its praises. I’ve picked up and put down this series so many times – including just now at the Book Outlet sale.

The Young Elites trilogy by Marie Lu.
My copies of the complete trilogy are all signed. I’m planning to marathon this before the release of Warcross or before the end of the year. I will read anything Marie Lu writes. Anything.

The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen.
At first I thought this was a YA book but I eventually started seeing it shelved with the adult SFF. I honestly don’t know anything about this trilogy but I am interested to read it. I heard it’s high fantasy but still easy to follow.

Starcrossed trilogy by Leisa Reyven.
You will see this trilogy of my TBR until I actually pick it up and start it. I have the whole thing in paperback. Now that I’m getting in to New Adult, I just might pick this up this summer.

Prisoner of Night and Fog duology by Anne Blankman.
When I heard that this was about a world where Nazi Germany won, I put it on the top of my wishlist. When I finally got a copy of the two books, I planned to marathon it. But that didn’t happen. At least not yet. I love reading duologies back-to-back. I will definitely get to this around the fall season.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
I only have book 1 and have technically started it. I think I’m on chapter 2-3? But that was some time ago and I’ve forgotten much of it. This doesn’t have the best reviews but I’m still interested. I won’t go into this expecting a grown up Harry Potter. I heard that if you do that, you’ll only set yourself up for failure.

The Divine Cities trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett.
Again, I have all three books. This has been in my radar since the second book came out. It was offered on Blogging For Books but I didn’t have the 1st one. Then I won an ARC of the 3rd book a year later. I never forgot the blurb for the second book so I then decided to pick up the first one so I can read it.

Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of The Grisha trilogy. I was super disappointed, to be honest. But I heard that this duology is way better so I still have high hopes.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.
I literally just finished The Scorpio Races on audio about a minute ago. Her writing is magic. I’m debating whether to listen to this series on audio or read it. Or both!

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.
I was supposed to buy the boxed set today from the Book Outlet sale but in the end, I decided to skip the sale all together. It was $30 for all 4 books in hardcover including Fairest. But no thanks. Not right now. Eventually. Maybe when Winter is released on paperback. I’ve asked my brother time and again if Cinder was worth the read. He always said yes but for some reason, I never followed through. I think it’s about time I do.


I want your recommendations! Which ones have you already read? Which series should I prioritize? What else should I add to this list?

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Recent Additions to My TBR

My TBR grows faster than I can read from it. It’s so easy to click “Want to Read”. But of course, it is more satisfying to finish a book.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the 10 Books From X Genre That I’ve Recently Added To My TBR ListI want to know what books have piqued your interest lately from whatever genre you choose!

I tend to get recommendations from blogs, videos, websites, even at the bookstore. I would go into a bookstore not really looking for a book to buy but maybe a new-to-me title to check out. If the blurb sounds interesting, I then put it on my GoodReads TBR to possibly purchase on a later date. As much as I love and support my brick and mortar bookstores, I don’t always have the monies to buy a book at full price right then and there.

I picked two genres today — one of my favorites, Japanese fiction; and the other is something I never thought I would enjoy, New Adult. Yes. I’ve said it over and over that I’m not very into NA but after Amour Amour… I’m now more willing to explore that genre.

As for Japanese fiction, it’s addicting. It has a certain mood that I only could get from Japanese authors, even translated. My collection is definitely growing. I prefer my Japanese fiction to be hardcopies so I’m on the look out for the best deals. I usually get them from Better World Books and Kinokuniya Los Angeles. That’s also where I get most of my recommendations. I honestly love that bookstore.

Anyway, here are the last 5 additions to my Japanese fiction and New Adult TBR. You can actually see for yourself here. I won’t tell you much about these titles because I don’t know much about them myself.


JAPANESE FICTION

  • When I Whistle by Shusaku Endo
  • Orbital Cloud by Taiyo Fujii
  • In Searcxh of A Distant Voice by Taichi Yamada
  • Penance by Kanae Minato (If you know me enough, Confessions is one of my favorite books!)
  • Slum Online by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

NEW ADULT

  • On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (I’ve heard of this book before and I think I may have a Kindle copy of it.)
  • Breaking Skin by Debra Doxer (This was a free Kindle deal a couple of days ago.)
  • Him and Us by Serina Bowen and Elle Kennedy (It’s a duology, I think. I heard a booktuber talk about it and I’m so intrigued.)
  • Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
  • Smut by Karina Halle

There you go. Short and sweet. Have you read any of these? Do you have other books to recommend to me? Let me know!

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Mom and Me

I thought this was yet another week that I’m going to skip but I somehow found inspiration while checking out other people’s posts. Last week kicked me in the butt so hard and I didn’t post anything on this blog at all. I did finish a couple of books so at least I’m still reading. Just… not posting. I must do better.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a Mother’s Day-related freebie.

Best and worst literary/fictional mothers are done to death. I kind of do want to make an anime edition of it because I’ve never come across a “good” book mom apart from Molly Weasley. Every book family is rubbish, it seems like. Absent. Negligent. And at times, poorly written. I’m sure there are good ones out there but I haven’t read very many.

But my mom is cool. She likes pretty much the same things that I like because I got it all from her. She was the first one out of our household to watch Mythbusters. Many years after, my brother and I were able to meet Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. I took her to the premiere of Thor 2: The Dark World and there she met Jeremy Renner and Chris Hemsworth. She was with me when Orlando Bloom got his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She went with me to the LA leg of the BIGBANG MADE Tour. She’s been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida twice! Heck, I haven’t even seen Diagon Alley yet because when I went there, they literally just opened a week prior. We’ve been to IMATS twice; she even hung around for a while at WonderCon 2015. Aside from high fantasy, she accepted every book recommendation I gave her. And she gave me the first book recommendation that I absolutely loved. I dare you to find a cooler mom.

So here is a list of books that both my mom and I enjoyed. (She’s actually read all of the Divergent and The Maze Runner trilogies and kindly steered me away from the final books. Many thanks.)

  1. Nancy Drew: The Ringmaster’s Secret by Carolyn Keene. It’s actually all of the Nancy Drew Mysteries but this one stands out the most because I remember my mom specifically singling this out whenever we go to the bookstore to buy one. And she’s right. Out of all the Nancy Drew books that I’ve read, this is one of my favorites.
  2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I was so excited when I read this. I knew my mom was going to like this too with all the 80s and pop culture references.
  3. Confession by Kanae Minato. I recommended this to anyone and everyone who will listen. My mom listened and liked it. At first, she was a bit apprehensive because it is a slow start. But she pushed through and ended up liking it.
  4. Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. She actually marathoned the physical books. She also is interested to see the graphic novels to see what the characters look like. I’m pretty sure once I read The Young Elites I’m going to pass it on to her too.
  5. Deception Point by Dan Brown. Any Dan Brown book actually. She’s read all of his work. I have not. Yet.
  6. Wolf by Wolf duology by Ryan Graudin. This is another one that I literally placed in her hands. She was intrigued by the alternate history and how it’s a rather grown up YA story. She also read this back-to-back.
  7. Parasitology trilogy by Mira Grant. My mom has misplaced the dust jacket for the 3rd book, Chimera. While I was reading that, she kept on bugging me to speed up so she could read it too.
  8. The Strain (Book 1) by Guillermo del Toro. We’ve only read the first book and she’s asking me for copies of the rest of the series.
  9. The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. This is what I call a “family book”. My mom, brother, and I all read this trilogy. We would even talk about it in depth.
  10. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I mean. Do I really need to explain this?

I’m sorry it’s such a rushed entry. Things are still hectic at work. But here’s my ten. Except for one, these books are my recommendations to my mom. While she ignited this love of reading in me, I supplied her the books – both physical and digital on her own Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook.

How about you? Do you recommend books to your mom? What does she think about them? 🙂

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | NOPE.

I know, my previous post is also a TTT but I’ve been busy, okay?

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten things that will make me instantly NOT want to read a book.

In a way, it’s okay. Last week’s topic is the opposite of this one. I had to dig deeper for this. I see myself as an equal opportunity reader. As with food, I’m willing to try anything at least once. In doing so, I think I’ve arrived at my preferred and/or comfort genres.

A little disclaimer, as with every “negative” post, it’s cool to have an opinion. By saying that I’m not a fan of these things, I don’t mean that you have bad taste if you like them. It’s great that you like them. I just… don’t. So let’s get to them, shall we?

(This is a list of things that make me not want to even pick up a book. Bad writing and other components may make me DNF a book but in order for me to know that, I would have already picked up the book and started reading it.)

  1. If the book is written in verse. Poetry. I am not a fan of poetry. I’m sure it’s beautiful, profound, deep, etc. But it doesn’t do anything for me. I hated it when we were asked to write poetry back in school. I just rhymed every line and called it a day. I ain’t that deep. 😉
  2. Christian fiction. NOPE. I’m okay with religious text, historical texts talking about religion – I devour stuff like The Da Vinci Code. But I cannot stand Christian books. They tend to get preachy and please, spare me.
  3. Speaking of preachy, John Green books. I’m not saying they’re religious in anyway but I found that the text rather tells me what to feel. I hated The Fault in Our Stars. Please don’t tell me what to feel and how to react to this situation. Then I heard that his other books are like that as well. So I’m sticking with his online content, I think.
  4. Ugly covers. We are told not to judge a book by its cover but sadly, we all do that. And unfortunately, a lot of self-published work have atrocious covers that turns me off from them. I’m sure there are diamonds in the rough but the covers, man. Mainstream books aren’t exempt from this, you know. Covers ARE important. After all, they’re the lure that attracts you to even look at the book.
  5. If the dog dies. I can’t. I just can’t. God forbid if Makkachin dies. I hate watching those pet adoption ads on TV because I’ll be a sobbing mess by the end of that ad. Kill everyone else in the book except the dog, please.
  6. Fae. Sookie Stackhouse said it best – “WTF”? And I also stopped watching True Blood when it was announced that Sookie was part-fae. I blame this anti-fae-ness on True Blood. I did read ACOMAF and I kept shaking my head at all the fae – all their pomp and snobbishness.
  7. Chicklit. It’s annoying. Here you have an educated white girl, living in the heart of the city, about to start a glamorous job that pays well, has a closet -full of shoes and clothes, a dog, and friends who brunch. And what does she do? Complain. Bitch. Woe is me.
  8. A Goodreads rating that is below 3.5 stars. Life is short. These people read it so I don’t have to. I know we all have different tastes, opinions but there must be a reason why a certain number of people rated a book low.
  9. A short story collection by multiple authors. I love immersing myself in an author’s writing. One short story is not enough for me to do that. I’ve tried that and it was so jarring to read different writing styles in one go. I’m not saying I don’t like short stories – I just like it when it’s one author’s collection.
  10. YA Contemporary in general. Let’s face it, it’s not my genre. I got lucky when I read Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. But even the synopses at the back of YA contemporary books turn me off completely. I like my escapes to come in the form of fantasy and sci-fi… things that can’t really happen. I have enough drama IRL to bother with it in a book.

How was that? Harsh? Eh… 😉

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Cate-bait

I met Gary Sinise and Daniel Henney yesterday. I’m still not over it. XD

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten things that will make me instantly want to read a book.

At first, I had no idea what to put on here. I didn’t think I had “criteria” or “reasons” why I want to read a book. I checked out a few entries and they said “pretty covers”, “sale prices/free”, “interesting blurbs or first sentences”, etc. While I do like all those as well, I see them more as reasons to BUY a book. I never really relied on blurbs and summaries; that’s what GoodReads is for — I do so much “research” before committing to a book. (I do that with every purchase that I make LOL.) And while I prefer pretty covers, it doesn’t influence my want to read a certain book over another. But all those reasons are totally valid. Just… not for me.

Then I sat down and looked through my GoodReads “read” shelf. I noticed I do have a preference. I went through a phase where I bought books in bulk because of all the sales but most of them still sit unread… somewhere in my room (who has enough shelf space anyway). And a lot of my “read” books are purchased pretty recently. So here are my 10 things that will bait me to reading books sooner than others.

  1. Japanese fiction with anime and/or live action adaptation. I have a lot of Japanese fiction. I would love to be able to read all of them but I tend to put priority on those ones with anime adaptations. All of the manga that I read so far have anime versions – and I may have watched the anime before reading the manga or light novel. That’s usually how I hear of manga or light novel anyway. It’s interesting for me to see the drawings come to life on the screen and voiced by my favorite voice over actors.
  2. Anything recommended/mentioned on the Sword & Scale podcast. True Crime is one of my favorite genres but sadly, I don’t read nearly enough of it. I’ve taken some recommendations from this incredible true crime podcast and have enjoyed some of them. I’m tempted to have a “Sword & Scale book club/shelf” because of all the interesting titles mentioned in several episodes.
  3. Finished duologies and trilogies. I’m almost done with my marathon of The Grisha Trilogy. I’m not a follower of new releases. I actually prefer reading older series. The best way to read duologies is to read it back-to-back. It feels like one whole story. And I think I may have to do the same with the other trilogies that I own but have not started yet. I quite enjoyed it this way.
  4. RUSSIA! I blame the great and fictional Viktor Nikiforov of Yuri!!! ON ICE for this renewed interest in anything Russian. I went through a binge-watch of Russian-themed espionage films back in the day. Now, I’m looking to books as well. Thus, The Grisha Trilogy marathon.
  5. Mixed media content. I breezed through Illuminae and Gemina. I read Train Man in one day. These kinds of books fly by fast and they’re a good thing to mix up one’s reading experience. Rather than block words on a page, these have pictures and new ways to enjoy a story.
  6. Sci-fi/mystery adventure thrillers. Along the lines of James Rollins and Dan Brown. The latter’s Robert Langdon series is an auto-buy for me. James Rollins’ adventures are just so good. Formulaic as they might come, they’re still so enjoyable – especially on audio! Actually, I will read anything from either of these authors.
  7. World War II / Holocaust. Except Anne Frank’s diary. In high school, I read every Holocaust-related book that I could get my hands on. Fictionalized or historical, lemme at it.  Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman sat so very high on  my wishlist last year. I prioritized Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin over so many other things because it was set in a world where the Axis Powers won. That whole era is so fascinating for me.
  8. A very hyped book on SALE. I’m talking about free to $1.99 at the most. I felt this especially with Vassa In the Night by Sarah Porter. (And again, Russia.) I got my copy for less than 99cents because it was green tag day at Goodwill and this had a green tag on it. I remember this was so hyped back when it was released. And when I got home, I wanted to start it so badly. But Shadow and Bone called out to me. (Russian, again.)
  9. Anything by VE Schwab, Marie Lu, and Pierce Brown. Welcome to my list of auto-buy authors. I will ready anything they put out. Even poetry. And I don’t care for poetry. I have dropped everything to read Morning Star when it came out. I purposefully didn’t start another book before I got my hands on A Conjuring of Light. I will make time to read these authors’ works.
  10. Fantasy, in general. I will more likely to read fantasy than contemporary.

But being the mood reader that I am, I will read whatever the hell I want whenever the hell I want it. XD