#T5W | A Community of Enablers

This week, we are talking about Books I Read Because of Booktube.

I already have a similar Top Ten Tuesday post about this. I think it was more about the books that I bought because of booktube. I can also have a separate list of another 5 books that I bought – but have not read yet – because of booktube but this first list is going to be the books that I already read and loved.

Frankly, I very rarely listen to recommendations from popular booktubers. Especially when their videos come out at the very same time. I have no issues with any of them; I mean, I still enjoy watching their content. Sponsored videos are a part of that business and they’re free to do it. However, I had been severely burned by a popular booktube recommendation before. The Fault in Our Stars. I wish I could take back those two days that I wasted. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Geez, really? And lately, I’ve seen so many book that are being shown on booktube around the same time and never spoken about again because it turned out to be an overhyped book with low ratings. Oh well. *kanyeshrug*

But where else do I get recommendations anyway? Sure, blogs and other social media streams help but the truth is… booktube is a massive resource for recommendations and reviews. I love watching and I’m grateful to the many good reads I gained from it. Now here are 5 that I really, really loved:

No reason. I just want to post a Tsukki photo for his birthday! 😉 Oh look, he has books on his desk!

  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.
    This was one of those books that exploded throughout booktube at the same time. Mainly because of OwlCrate, methinks. But everyone was talking about it. It did sound interesting to me but I wasn’t running out the door to pick up a copy. Then I saw the audiobook on Hoopla Digital. I loved it. It was amazing. Now, I’m looking to pick up a signed copy. Good on you, booktube.
  • Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire.
    Everyone was talking about this book. EVERYONE. Whether you read only YA or only adult, you must have heard about this book or read it already. I wasn’t at all interested, to be honest. I much prefer her work as Mira Grant. But I found it on Book Outlet for stupid cheap so I picked it up. I read it. It wasn’t as life-changing as many said it was but I liked it.
  • Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
    I would’ve never picked up this book if not for a booktuber who said that this had playlists. Actual playlists. Guess what, I ended up loving not just the playlists, but the whole damn thing.
  • The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.
    You’re not a legit booktuber or bookstagrammer if you don’t have the pretty UK paperback boxed set in your possession. That’s just the truth. Even I did that. I got the mass market paperback set from Book Outlet but then unhauled that so I can purchase the UK ones. It’s now one of my favorite series of all time. Thank you, booktube, for your love of pretty covers and UK editions.
  • New Adult in general, specifically Him Us by Sarina Bowen.
    I’ve always been curious about the NA romance genre. But the free ones from Amazon were just plain garbage. I’m glad to have found some booktube channels that mainly feature romance novels and it made me see that there are good ones out there. I lucked out with Him and Us. I read them in collectively 24 hours and absolutely loved them. I now have quite the collection and I can’t wait to devote time to reading them.

I want to add as an honorable mention The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I bought it because of booktube love but I haven’t read it yet. Soon. Very soon.

 

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#T5W | Back to School

This week, we are talking about Classes Based on Books/Characters.

It’s back to school season. I’m on the final episode of My Hero Academia season 1. Let’s do this!

I remember doing a similar topic for Top Ten Tuesday… the Ten Things I Wanted to Learn Because of Books, or something to that effect. It had stuff like Archery because Katniss and playing the violin because of This Savage Song. This time, it’s classes in school that is based on books and characters. Or probably taught by said characters. Think Harry Potter and the instruction of magic. But HP is out of the running… that’s just too easy. 😉 There are other books and characters out there that can teach you how to fly, right?

I will try to make the subjects as “practical” as possible. Although, I wouldn’t mind being taught by Azriel Altin the art of angsty brooding and pining. XD

HOSPITALITY, Black Butler by Yana Toboso.
Instructed by: Sebastian Michaelis.
Anyone who has read the manga or watched the movie will know that Sebastian is the perfect butler. He can cook, clean, do laundry, garden, tend to pets, and more without a perfect hair out of place. And he does other stuff too. After all, “A butler that can’t do this much, isn’t worth his salt.”

INFILTRATION, Red Rising by Pierce Brown.
Instructed by: Darrow.

This is infiltration of the enemy camp to the extreme. It’s like Mission Impossible mask making on steroids x 100. Not to mention complete behavioral change to blend in with the enemy society. Combat and survival are also included in the curriculum.

TANKERY, Girls und Panzer.
Instructed by: Miho Nishizumi.

The rest of the Ooarai girls will have lectures on specialized stuff such as mechanical and technical aspects of Tankery, steering, supplies while in combat, paperwork, repairs, etc. Guest lecturers from different schools – St. Gloriana, Saunders, Anzio, Pravda, and Kuromorimine – will also provide further sessions and demonstrations.

METALLURGY, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson.
Instructed by: Kelsier.
Do I even need to explain this? This course will cover the different effects and/or benefits of different metals to a body. Also, experimentation as to the discovery of new alloys will also be covered. Pre-requisite to the Allomancy course.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION, Onepunch-Man by ONE.
Instructed by: Saitama.

Here is the curriculum: 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and 10km running. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Class will be joined by his protege Genos. Classes will be joined by Bang aka “Silver Fang” and his disciple, Charanko. 


I will be sure to sign up for any – all of them! Especially Tankery!

What was your favorite class in school?

#T5W | Bro.

This week, we are talking about Bromances.


I have two lists for you today. The boring book list – I say “boring” because it’s going to be the same as everyone else’s – and my anime list. I am truly more excited for the anime list. I’ve been watching a lot of sports anime and it’s a black hole of bromances, straight up yaoi, and fan fiction fodder for years to come.

I won’t dwell much on the book list but do hear me out:

GRAYSON PIERCE & MONK KOKKALIS, Sigma Force series by James Rollins.
Let’s start with the lesser known one. Their friendship is so great. They’ve been through hell together and lived their lives side by side. They’ve protected each other and have feared to lose one another multiple times. Theirs is one of the strongest relationships in these books.

KELL & RHY, Shades of Magic trilogy by VE Schwab.
They’re adoptive brothers and they quite literally share a lifeline. I feel like this is kind of cheating a bit but this is the best bromantic relationship in this trilogy without crossing the actual m/m romance line. I love how much they care about each other and the guilt they both feel because of how they affect the other’s life.

LEGOLAS & GIMLI, The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien.
Legolas spent the rest of his Middle-Earth life and beyond with his friend Gimli, a dwarf. They blurred racial lines and forged a lifetime of loyalty and friendship. I mean, I love Aragorn but to be truly honest, he was a 3rd wheel in this friendship. 😉

DARROW & SEVRO, Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown.
Loyalty plays a huge part in all the bromances I’ve mentioned so far. This one is no different. These two are foils of each other. They’re opposites but somehow, they found a friend and ally in each other. Sevro continued when Darrow couldn’t and kept the band together. Darrow never lost hope in Sevro. I just love them!

CASSIAN & AZRIELA Court of Mist and Fury and A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas.
This entry will link my two lists together. Why? Because in my head as I was reading these two books, I dreamcasted Cassian as JJ Leroy and Azriel as Otabek Altin from Yuri!!! On Ice. More on that later but in the books, they’re these seemingly chill dudes – really, dudes. They keep Rhysand in check. But then they go to beast mode. They’re so devoted to protecting their loved ones and the sense of obligation is so strong. They’re the best part of the series.

And now, for the fun list… the Top 5 Anime Bromances! Continue reading

#T5W | Better Than The First

This week, we are talking about Second/Middle Books That Are the Best in the Series.

Long time no post. I have good reasons for that.

I wrote a fic! It’s in the Yuri!!! ON ICE fandom but inspired by my new obsession, Pitbulls and Parolees. It’s aptly called Poodles and Figure Skaters. It’s Makkachin-centric. Now, I’m so inspired to write more fic. I haven’t finished anything in almost ten years. I even have a Generation Kill fic that is very loosely based on Jane Eyre… 60,000 words and counting. And unfinished. It’s almost done… almost seven years ago.

Another thing that is taking my mind off blogging is Pitbulls and Parolees. Thank goodness for Animal Planet Go. They have all the seasons on there and I’m loving this show so much. If I’m not reading for Tome Topple, I’m probably watching this.

So there’s that. This week’s topic is quite a bit of a challenge. Like with other series lists, I realize that I read a lot of stand alones in the past. I have quite a few series on-going and not a lot finished. And from those I’ve finished, I’m not a huge fan of either the middle book or the series as a whole. While I agree that The Winner’s Crime is the best in the series, I’m not really impressed. I haven’t finished A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy yet so I can’t say for sure if ACOMAF is the best. And Siege & Storm is only better than the other books because of Nikolai’s introduction to the story. IMHO, anyway.

I have three books, one movie, and one anime series for you. I hope you enjoy!

Taken 3 years ago, almost to the day!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
This should be the only title in this list. Catching Fire was leaps and bounds better than The Hunger Games and Mockingjay. Even the movie was fantastic. It was all action from the get-go and it was such an adventure. I thought it was going to be tedious because it was potentially just a retelling of the events of the first book but it was so much more fun. Then Mockingkay. Well, let’s not talk about that.

Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy.
I loved the first book, Him. When I thought it can’t get any better, it did. Us didn’t have the angst from miscommunication and uncertainty from the first book. The relationship was already established and all they had to deal with was the effect of fame and fortune on their relationship. Plus, the new characters were awesome. So much that I actually want a book about them.

Spiral by Koji Suzuki.
I say this again and again, I rated Ring 5 stars but this, only a 4. But I thought this was better than Ring. Oh man, this was a mindfuck. I thought I would merely skim read this but I was hooked all the way to the end. I understand that this might not translate to film as successfully as Ring. This book doesn’t have a long-haired girl in white that comes out of TV sets. It has a terribly smart virus. Scary.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
This is actually – officially – my favorite movie of all time. While I can recite The Fellowship of the Ring from memory, I love rewatching The Two Towers. Especially the Helm’s Deep scene and when the ents attack Isengard. What I do is I try to track ONE ORC and see where it goes. There’s always something new whenever I watch this.

Free! Eternal Summer
The second season of the Free! anime series. I love Free! Iwatobi Swim Club but I find myself rewatching Eternal Summer more. They’re all friends in this series and everything means so much more. All of them have grown and it sort of became more of a slice-of-life than a gimmicky sports dramedy. I love this series so much! I’ve since met one of the voice actors from the anime so it made it much more special.


That’s my list! Now, let me go back to writing my next YOI fic… this time, inspired by another anime, sweetness & lightning. I’m gonna have so much fun rewatching this series!

#T5W | It’s Going to be Worth It

This week, we are talking about Series That Got Better.

Guys, this was hard. Sure, I had one trilogy that instantly popped into my mind but coming up with four more was not easy. I realized that I haven’t really read that many series. A good handful of what I started are not finished because I quit them… not because I don’t have time to continue on with the next books. Although, I do own a lot of finished series. Reading other people’s posts is making me reaarange my TBR. If enough of you say that it’s good, it must be, right? As for the stuff I watch, I lose interest on a TV show faster than I can log in to my Hulu account and most of the stuff I choose to watch are single-season anime.

Also, as much as I prefer binge reading finished series, a lot of them suffer from either the “middle book slump” or the “disappointing finale”. Almost always, my favorite book tends to be the first one. My favorite movie in a franchise is probably the first one. Or maybe the 2nd book is the best then it went downhill with the 3rd/final one. So many things can happen. But I will stop rambling and try to give you guys a decent list.

Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown.
I must admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first book. I thought it was info-dumpy, pretentious, silly, and overall trying too hard. But for some reason, I decided to read the next book. I loved it. So much. I loved it so much that I screamed when I finished it because I didn’t have the next book yet. (Of course, I read it as it came out.) I got the 3rd book on Kindle because I ordered a signed copy and that would take a while to ship. I read it in 2-3 days. It was phenomenal.

Him duology by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy.
This is currently my favorite NA books/series. Him was so teeth-achingly sweet provided we are talking about two sporty, muscled hockey players surrounded by their equally manly teammates. Goodness, the angst in this duology was palpable, it hurts. I loved how real it felt, their struggles within themselves and with dealing with the outside world. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, Us happened. I read this duology in two days. I would read it again in a heartbeat.

One-Punch Man manga by ONE.
Let me set this up for you. A seemingly ordinary young man is actually a pretty fcking powerful superhero who can defeat anyone and anything with a single punch, hence, the name. How can that be interesting for more than one volume? Trust me. It can. I’m on Volume 6 and I’m pacing it. I loved the anime and I hope that one continues on as well.

Free! anime produced by Kyoto Animation.
This currently has two seasons, an OVA, and three theatrically released movies… with one more coming up. It was first released in 2014 and people still love it to this day. I sure do, judging by the number of times I’ve rewatched certain episodes from both seasons. And the OVA. And the seiyuu event. Oh man, I love this series so damn much. I do prefer season 2 over the first one that’s why I included it in this list. But I recommend the whole package. (BTW, I met one of that Japanese voice actors, Daisuke Hirakawa who plays Ryuugazaki Rei, at Anime Expo 2017. It made me entire life.)

Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel JRPG by Nihon Falcom.
For the longest time, my favorite Japanese role-playing game is Final Fantasy VIII. Until this gem of a JRPG entered my life. I love it so much, I cosplayed a character from the first game twice during AX2017 weekend. And guess what, I even met the CEO of Nihon Falcom, Toshihiro Kondo, while in my Fie Claussell costume! This is a game about NINE kids in a military academy training to be “the best Thors Military Academy” can offer. This game is so rich in story while also being character-driven. I loved ToCS1 but I loved the 2nd one even more. I cannot wait for the 3rd!


I really have to work on the series that I own. I want to read so many yet I gravitate towards the stand alone and manga lately.

#T5W | Books Not Set in or Inspired by the Western World

This week, we are talking about Books Not Set in or Inspired by the Western World.

(I tried for a wittier title but my brain is not working right now.)

 

Here’s the thing, I read a lot of Japanese fiction. These are books by Japanese authors translated into English. They can be manga, light novels, or full length novels. So obviously, majority of them are in a non-Western setting, both in location and tradition. This is where pretty much all of the “diversity” in my reading is coming from: Asian authors writing in an Asian setting. So this won’t be much of a challenge, right? I can just fill up the spots with my favorite Japanese novels, right?

But where’s the fun in that?! Surely, I’ve read other stuff set in other non-Western places by non-Japanese authors. However, “non-Western” is sort of tricky to define so I’ll just go with what I know. It’s actually safer to just stay in the Asian setting and avoid the whole English-speaking regions all together. However, many of these books eventually find themselves out West within the story. Either the main character immigrates or works in the US/UK but tells the story in flashback, thus having majority of the book set in their non-Western home country. I’m thinking about this too much. XD

Anyway, here’s my list. Surely all the Japanese fiction books I’ve read are good candidates but I won’t bore you with that. If you’re interested in my Japanese lit collection, here’s my GoodReads shelf for that.


The Flowers of War by Geling Yan.
This is a novella about the Rape of Nanjing where Japanese troops did unspeakable acts of massacre and rape to the residents of Nanjing, China in 1937-1938. I have never read a more powerful, a more moving piece of literature about war and what it does to those in that situation. In not so many pages, this book horrified and saddened me. But it was so rich in emotion. It’s a tough read but it needs to be read.

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.
Here’s another quick yet poignant read. This book reminds me of Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom but set in Japan. An elderly professor with a failing memory hires a housekeeper. Eventually, their relationship grows into a more familial one through Math, of all things, and the housekeeper’s son. I listened to an audio book version and I absolutely loved it. It was so touching and real and funny… all the feelz.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
I don’t remember this book having a happy ending for anyone. This is one of the heaviest reads ever. We follow two characters, one stays in Afghanistan while the other finds a better life in the United States. They go through a lot and man, it’s one tragedy after another. I don’t know how I got through this book without sinking deeper into depression.

Eon and Eona duology by Alison Goodman.
This is set in a fictionalized China, I think, taking from the dragon lore and some nomenclature. Sort of Mulan-esque because Eon is really Eona. She dresses up as a boy so she could enter a competition only open to boys, trying to capture the powers of a dragon. I loved this duology so much.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang.
This is one twisted book. This is sort of a collection of short stories about a Korean family and how they deal with one of their family members becoming vegetarian. But don’t take this as a light and fluffy read based on that description. It’s anything but light and fluffy.


I realize that I stayed firmly in Asia for this list. Hey, to be safe. 🙂 I could’ve stayed within Japan for a list of 20 but variety is the spice of life.

Random question: What is your favorite Asian food?

#T5W | Hate-to-Love

This week, we are talking about Hate to Love ShipsBe aware of possible SPOILERS.

Okay, so this week’s list will be a bit half-assed. I’m currently in total planning mode for Anime Expo 2017 happening this weekend until Tuesday, 4th of July. They just announced the event schedules for the creators of Yuri!!! ON ICEMitsurou Kubo and Sayo Yamamoto and frankly, I’m freaking out. I’m looking at my July 1 plans and I’m low-key overwhelmed, a bit anxious, but so very excited. I never planned this extensively for any conventions but this year looks so jam packed.

(If you don’t know what Yuri!!! ON ICE is then you must remedy that right now. If you’re bitching about the book community’s lack of diversity, this anime will answer all your woes. It has LGBTQ+ themes, cultural diversity, mental illness, characters of different ages, races, species, love, life, friendship… everything!)

Hate-to-love ships. I thought this would be an easy list but as I looked through my shelves, either I haven’t read that many romances or I just don’t care about ships much. I tend to be more invested in screen ships – TV, anime, film – than book ships. I actually consider book ships more canon, if that makes any sense. Once the ink is dry, it’s official… something like that. But I managed to compose a decent list. I’m just so distracted right now with the AX2017 planning situation.

(By the way, who’s going to Anime Expo? Comment down below if you are.)

JANE EYRE & MR. ROCHESTER. Jane Eyre.
You can take your Mr. Darcy, I don’t care. I’m #TeamRochester all the way. These two have such a cat and mouse relationship. She’s no damsel in distress. His terms of endearment come in the form of insults. She honestly blurts out that he is not handsome. He teases her every chance he gets. But you know – YOU KNOW – that they have feelings for each other. It’s just that both of them are stubborn as hell.

MUSTANG & DARROW, Red Rising trilogy.
Now, Darrow “hated” Mustang at first because of she is one of the Golds. Darrow, a Red, hates that level of society as a whole. He kind of just lumps everyone in there just because. But later on, he gets to know Mustang. Mustang admires Darrow but from the outside, she had to keep up appearances, having to come from an esteemed family. They eventually find an ally in one another.

YAEL & LUKA, Wolf by Wolf duology.
Picture a world where Hitler and the Nazis won. She’s Jewish. He’s Aryan. They don’t even need to talk to hate each other. But when you experience something traumatic together, a special bond is going to form. I was rooting for these two characters from the first time they met. Yael is a strong female character and Luka is this arrogant yet goofy boy with a serious side. Sigh. My feelz!

JUNE & DAY, Legend trilogy.
Same with the above entries, these two hate each other by virtue to their social status. June is rich, Day is poor. June is the darling of the Republic while Day is Public Enemy Number One. Then they start to get to know each other, working with one another, and understanding where the other is coming from. Both of them eventually see the good in each other. The ending of this trilogy killed me. These two killed my feelz.

And I give in, guys. FEYRE & RHYSAND, A Court of Mist and Fury trilogy.
I knew from the get-go that these two will be the main ship of the series. Tamlin was just too unlikable to bear. This is a one-sided “hate” since it was only Feyre who disliked Rhysand. He’s been in love with her from the moment they met. And he’s so nice to her… granted I’ve only read the first two books. Rhysand’s Inner Circle is probably the best group of people in Fantasy YA in a long time. Everyone supports each other and all of them are likable. And I love how SJM handled this ship… I was convinced that Tamlin is going to be the one; I was ready to hate. But I felt like this change happened organically. I really like it.


This took four hours to type out, in between me doing actual work and Anime Expo stressing and planning. I hope you guys have a good rest of the week and an awesome Fourth of July weekend. I know I will.