#T5W Rewind | Booktube Made Me Read It

This week, we are talking about the book recommended by Booktube.

But before that, I would like to share an update regarding my previous T5W post. I posted my Merch Monster topic a few weeks ago and there, I said I would love a Treebeard Funko Pop (as much as I don’t prefer Funkos). Well… during my weekly Little Tokyo visit, I picked one up. 

Yep. Call me “multi-fandom”. This is why I don’t do Tumblr anymore. I mean, I was there when it first started but now, it’s become to big and I have so many active fandoms, I can’t do it.

A former professor noticed that I have a Groot bobble head at the bottom there. Next time I rearrange, I will put him next to Treebeard. Below this shelf is a sneak peek of my LOTR collection. Right above is my Gunpla display pictured in this post. That part of the fandom obviously overflowed to this shelf. It’s supposedly my Harry Potter and Jane Eyre shelf. There’s Hagrid in the back with Dumbledore. Those The Hunger Games books there are in Filipino. Behind those 3D glasses (that I got when I watched The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies red carpet premiere) and below the spare GP base is a VHS (yes) copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone signed by Daniel Radcliffe and Chris Columbus. I may retire those Gundam: IBO keychains so I’ll have more space for figures. It’s an ever evolving process.


Anyway, I already have a list of 10 things that I bought/read because of booktube. But if I’m being honest, about 80% of my TBR is because of booktube. I’ve since weeded out some and added in titles that were under the “Recommended” tab but the fact still remains that booktube is a damn good promoter of books.

  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee.
    When this became the OwlCrate book of the month, there was no way to miss this book or hear what it’s about. I have no interest in subscription boxes (I have enough merch to last me several lifetimes) therefore, I wasn’t interested in reading or purchasing this. Until I saw it available on Hoopla Digital as an audio book. I took the chance and I’m so glad I did.
  • A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis.
    Just how out of touch am I with the bookish community? Well, I’ve heard of her other book, The Female of the Species. I heard about this book from other smaller booktubers who I trust. Until I looked up the author’s other works, I had no idea that one person wrote both books. Hehehe, yeah. I haven’t read Female but I damn love this one.
  • Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente.
    I heard about this from the current moderator of this weekly tag, Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. We may have different opinions about this book but I’m thankful that I got this recommendation from her.
  • The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson.
    Another recommendation from Sam. I heard this first from her channel and as the books were released, she had nothing but high praises. With this trilogy, I agree with her opinions. I then bought all three books in hardcover.
  • New Adult genre.
    All the NA books that I’ve read – and loved – so far are direct recommendations from booktube. My most recent one, Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas, is from Jess from PeaceLoveBooks. The New Camelot trilogy by Sierra Simone and Him/Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy were from Julie from Pages & Pens. Although I’ve read Sierra Simone’s other book, Priest, I would have never checked her other series out without hearing someone I trust talk about it. Then the first NA book that I actually liked, Amour Amour by Krista and Becca Ritchie, I heard from Carol from The Reading Wallflower. Now, I’m starting to branch out on my own. I’m beginning to realize what I like and what pushes my buttons, so to speak. 😉

I had Seanan McGuire books” on my draft list but I read her works as Mira Grant before The Wayward Children series was released. And while I did hear about ACOTAR on booktube, I would’ve read it eventually because I saw it everywhere I went. And as I listen to the final hour of Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, I placed it on my TBR before I heard anyone on booktube talk about it.

Social media is a great platform to have one message reach so many. Our responsibility as consumer is to decide if these things are worth our time and pay it forward if it is.

 

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#T5W Rewind | Merch Monster!

This week, we are talking about Favorite Fandom Items.

It was actually last week. And yesterday. But look, I barely posted last month after saying time and time again that I will be better about it. Well, that’s life for you. My last post was my March wrap up and here we are at the very beginning of May, waiting for my April wrap up.

I would have you know, however, that I’ve been reading quite a bit. My reading hasn’t suffered. Just my blogging, both in time and inspiration. No T5W topics interested me last month except this last one. It was a perfect topic for someone like me… a merch monster. I had a list down, of five “wants” and five favorites in my current collection. I even planned some photos to go with it. But they weren’t exactly bookish. Honestly, I do not collect bookish merch outside of signed books. I’ve even said that I will only buy books if they are signed. So far, I’ve been very good with my purchasing. I have mostly anime merch. But understand that a lot of these anime are adapted from manga… which is a form of book. So I guess it counts?

Unfortunately, I already threw away my old list. I was hoping to retro post it but I gave up. I shouldn’t have because May is a freebie month. Looks like I may still have a chance! Like my original list, I will split this into two: my wish list and my favorites. Note that wish listing is very hard for me because I tend to have trigger fingers when I see something I want. 😉


Let’s start with my WISH LIST.

  • Deku and Bakugo Nendoroids from My Hero Academia.
    I admit, I’m a bit late on this Nendoroid train. I only started collecting around September of last year (and now have all of Karasuno and some more; it’s an addiction). Had I known about this sooner, I would’ve pre-ordered them. But now, they cost an actual arm and an actual leg. I’ve resorted to “collecting” the Funko Pops and the Banpresto DXF figures but I wouldn’t say no to these Nendoroids for a good price.
  • Yuri Plisetsky , GEM Series figure from Yuri!!! On Ice.
    I don’t care much for the Yuuri and Viktor figures but this one is so beautiful. My mom actually promised this for my birthday but I don’t know… either I want something else for my birthday or I eventually get it myself.
  • Large Kaeru plushie from The IdolMaster Side M.
    I can’t even begin to explain how much I want this. BADLY. Ever since I saw it in one of their Nico Nico livestreams, I so want it. I love Pierre and I want this huge Kaeru plush in my life.
  • Treebeard Funko Pop from The Lord of the Rings.
    I’m not the biggest fan of Funko Pops but I want this. I might look out for this at conventions if I can’t get it at Hot Topic asap or something.

And here are my FAVORITES:

  • Pictured above is a small part of my Haikyuu!! collection. That one is the complete “Karasuno vs Nekoma: Battle of the Garbage Dump” set from Banpresto. It took me a while to complete but it is so worth it. I have all but two figures from the Banpresto DXF line, every released Karasuno Nendoroid and Kenma, and a couple of smaller official figures and charms (both legit and knock offs). I also have two seasons on limited edition BD/DVD and I’m in the process of collecting all the stage plays on video. Yes, this is my life.
  • And you’ve seen photos of my Gunpla collection in past posts. It’s something I share with my brother. I’ve assembled my share of Bear’gguys and Petit’gguys and I’m slowly venturing out to Gundam and mobile suits. I recently finished my first “humanoid” kit, the Mrs. Loheng-rinko model. It was so much fun. With the new season, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to add to this never-ending collection. I still have so many other to assemble!

China’gguy and Mrs. Loheng-rinko.


Someday, I will take a photo of my collection. There is just so many and no, I don’t think I will ever sell them. I’m not like that. It’s only going to get bigger from here. I mean, Haikyuu is still releasing figures. I may have stopped buying books and makeup but my monies are definitely going somewhere else. 😉

#T5W | SFF Anime and Games

This week, we are talking about Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy in Other Media.

It’s the second day of Spring and it’s pouring rain here in Southern California. All I want to do is stay at home and veg. I have a pile of Gunpla that needs to be assembled, a stack of books waiting to be read, a backlog of anime to watch, and Aidios knows what else to do. But hey, gotta make the money, right? 😉

I’ve been reading a good chunk of NA Contemporary lately but Sci-fi/Fantasy still remains one of my favorite genres. Yes, they’re harder and more intimidating to read than fluffy contemporaries but they’re so much fun. It’s the same with my consumption of other media. I love me some fantasy games. While I love the slice of life genre, anime is where fantasy and science fiction are made possible. For someone who grew up on Yuyu Hakusho and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, can you blame me for being conditioned to love SFF? I’d do the same to my future children, to be honest. Western animated shows be damned lol.

The list that I drafted definitely was over 5… hell, it was over 10! Majority of the anime that I watch may be slice of life but has fantasy elements in it. Take Orange for example. It’s about the day to day lives of six friends then they receive letters from their future selves. Girls und Panzer looks like a cutesy moe show about a tankery school but come on, I just wish a tankery school would exist! Even something as confusing as Glasslip has fantasy elements.

Maybe I’ll do 5 games and 5 anime? Or at least separate them in this list? Let’s see.


VIDEO GAMES (with all of these, I suggest playing them in publication order)

Legend of Heroes franchise.
Specifically Trails of Cold Steel. Before I found about about this wonderful game, Final Fantasy VIII ruled my gaming heart. This took over so fast. I love EVERYTHING about it – the story, the attack system, music… the VOICE ACTORS. It’s both character and story driven. Every single character – playable or not – has a rich backstory. All the other games – Sky, Azure, Cold Steel, etc. – are all connected. It has elements of magic as well as science fiction in Gundam-like machinery and other technologies. The world-building is like no other. It’s such an engaging game series.

The Tales of… series.
Graces f, Symphonia, Xillia, Zesteria, Berseria… don’t ask what they mean because I’m pretty sure it doesn’t really mean anything. But the games, goodness me. Tales of Zesteria even has an anime adaptation that I actually prefer over the game. I love all the characters across all games. Again, as with a lot of RPGs, there is a big element of magic and lore. It’s whimsical, magical, and all around amazing.

Persona 4.
Specifically this game. I like P5 as well but I enjoyed every version of P4 from the fighting game to the rhythm game so damn much. I loved the voice acting as well as the sometimes freaky art style. But really, the music… come on. It also deals with rather complicated matters of the self and other people. You go into the “Midnight TV” and there, you encounter your alternate self, your “shadow”. Then you fight your shadow to discover the real you. It’s awesome.

Final Fantasy VIII.
I can’t help it. I still love it. I hope they remaster it so you can skip long ass cut scenes and have much better graphics. And maybe voice acting too? Squall is still one of my fictional boyfriends. This game has my favorite magic systems (and card games) of all time. And the music… I’m still in love with all the songs on every soundtrack CD.

(I could also put Kingdom Hearts but my main pull to that game franchise is the crossover with Final Fantasy VII and VIII. I do like it too but it’s in no way a favorite.)


ANIME

Mobile Suit Gundam franchise.
I think the above photo is explanation enough. I grew up watching Gundam Wing. I assembled Gunpla in high school. I picked it up again not too long ago when I discovered Iron-blooded Orphans and Build Fighters. I’m obsessed with Bear’gguys. Now, I’m working my way through Gundam 00. It’s your classic mecha anime. I think under this item also comes classic favorites such as Voltes V and Daimos. My parents watched those shows around me therefore, I grew up loving them too.

Steins;Gate.
Technically, it’s also a game. A visual novel. But my introduction to Steins;Gate was through the anime adaptation. It’s more science fiction than fantasy because it deals heavily with time travel. I love it so much that I cosplay Mayuri every Anime Expo. It starts off as a comedy then it gets darker and darker as the series goes on. The 2nd game will also have an anime adaptation and I can’t wait!

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
This won’t be a list of fantasy anime without FMA. Despite the “metal” in the name, this is definitely more fantasy than sci-fi. And while I do mention Brotherhood specifically, do watch the first series before this one. I know it’s long and you’d think it’s repetitive but you’ll definitely thank me later.


Well, I couldn’t do five each but I tried. Of course, there are still more titles but if I mention everything here, we’ll be here forever. Let me know if you want more recommendations – or if you have some for me – and we can talk in the comments!

#T5W | That Lovin’ Feelin’

This week, we are talking about our favorite romance novels.

Yeah, yeah. I disappeared from the blogosphere for two weeks. I don’t have a good reason so I won’t even pretend I have one. I’m sort of back. That should be okay, right? Right.

So, romance novels. To be honest, I haven’t read that many strictly romance novels. It’s always a side plot in a fantasy or a chapter in a mystery/thriller. I’ve read my share of smutty erotica romance. But it’s only recently when I started appreciating New Adult Contemporary Romance. I still won’t touch YA Contemporary but oh boy, I’m loving all these NA goodness lately.

I’m currently marathoning the New Camelot trilogy by Sierra Simone. And I guess the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, too, on audio. But dang, American Queen and American Prince are so… actually, written very well. The plots were crazy at parts and everyone seemed to take it all in stride but I liked these books and I’m sure I’m going to like American King just as much. I need Embry Moore in my life, please. (Sierra Simone has another sinfully hot series called Priest. It’s not really the “romantic” type but this was the book that started this sort of NA binge read for me.)

I won’t fill up my list with NA, no. I still haven’t read enough. But I so want to. So if you have any recommendations, let me know!


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
I may not read a lot of romance but my favorite book of all time is a romance classic. I don’t think the inclusion of this book on this list needs any further discussion. #TeamRochester!

When It’s Real by Erin Watt.
I borrowed the audiobook from Audible expecting a steamy sexytimes romance. The other Erin Watt book that I’m aware of is the Paper Princess ones. I wanted those but I figured this would be along the same lines. But it’s more of a YA-ish, mildly sexy , actually pretty sweet story about a pop star and a simple girl. It’s a fake-to-real relationship romance and I had my earphones glued to my ears the whole time. I loved every bit of it. The narrators were excellent. It’s just an all around great read.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi.
The banter between Gauri and Vikram was so cute. They weren’t the lovey-dovey couple like in the first book. They were like a cat and a dog, bickering every chance they got. Sort of like Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Their way of showing endearment is through a verbal sparring. Tsundere, if you can call it that.

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy.
Jamie and Wes were also in my previous T5W list. I went with Him instead of Us because in this book, there are still establishing and exploring each other and the potential in their relationship. Imagine, two burly athletic guys with the feelz of a teenager. It’s so sweet. They’re so sweet.

American Prince by Sierra Simone.
I just have to include this one. Embry!!! My poor tortured Embry. This book is told in his perspective and it’s definitely the most “romantic” of the three. He’s such an idealist, a romantic, and a martyr. His love for… the people around him… hurts him so much. I question yet love the dynamics of his relation… ships. Yes, I can’t give anything away. It’s part of the “charm”.


Again, my comments section is open for any NA romance recommendations. I want it. I crave it!

(I might retro-post yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday topic later today or tomorrow… depending on how I’m feeling.)

T5W | yaoi

This week, we are talking about our favorite M/M couples.

I actually only have ONE couple that came from a book and the only one that is technically canon. No matter how much we pray to Arda to make Legolas/Aragorn canon, it only really exists in fanfiction. Oh and what amazing fanfiction it has!

What I’ll do is I will fill up my list of anime pairing. Yes, some of them are originally manga, therefore, from books. But I fell in love with them through the anime so they will count as such. I did have other bookish pairs but it didn’t feel right to me to just give examples just so I’ll have five when they’re not really my favorites anyway. While I do love Alabaster/Innon from The Fifth Season, I like the threesome even more. 😉

Really, if you’re looking for really good and juicy m/m couples, look to fanfiction. A good chunk of fanfiction writers get it so right. Or watch sports anime. You’ll love it.


Dadchi and Sugamama

Let’s start with the only bookish pairing on the list:

Wesley and Jamie, “Wesmie”, from Him duology by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy.
I don’t know ANYTHING about hockey. But holy crap, this duology made me want to read every hockey romance out there, especially if it’s M/M romance. Wesley and Jamie are childhood friends. They grew up in the opposite parts of the country but they spent summers at hockey camp. Wesley is out while Jamie had no idea… no idea that Wesley is in love with him since forever. These two books talk about their journey from friendship to finding oneself to denial to acceptance. Oh LOVE!

Shino and Yamagi from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-blooded Orphans.
This is the sweetest and most heartbreaking part of this already gut-wrenching show. Shino is one of the Gundam operators of the Tekkadan while Yamagi is one of the engineers. Both of them are war orphans or “human debris”. Yamagi is sort of close to Shino but romantically admired the Gundam pilot from afar. Later, someone tells Yamagi that Shino knows of this affection but was hesitant to act on it because Shino saw Yamagi as family.

Daichi Sawamura and Koushi Sugawara… and absolutely EVERYONE from Haikyuu!!
Even their live action stage actors give me epic Daisuga feelz. With a Z. Daichi and Suga are the captain and vice-captain of the Karasuno Boys Volleyball team. Conveniently, they are Dad and Mom. But they are best at praising and taking care of each other. In the story, there’s a potential canon love interest for Daichi but he’s totally oblivious to it. But he listens to Suga. Suga is the only one who can scold Daichi like a little kid. I love them both so very much and they have the sweetest and hottest fanfiction ever.

Other equally amazing pairings are as follows: Oikawa/Iwaizumi, Kuroo/Kenma, Bokuto/Akaashi, Asahi/Nishinoya, Tsukishima/Yamaguchi… everyone.

Haruka Nanase and Makoto Tachibana from Free!
They’ve been best of friends since they were little babies. They literally grew up together, went to the same schools, swam the same teams. Needless to say, they are like an old married couple. In the live reading at the seiyuu event, Haru was able to take Makoto’s food order without any words exchanged. Makoto knows what Haru is feeling, what Haru is thinking just by looking at him. Makoto takes care of Haru. Haru saves Makoto and in the whole series, Haru shows the most emotion when he thought Makoto drowned. It’s so beautiful.

Viktor Nikiforov and Yuuri Katsuki from Yuri!!! On Ice.
I’m going to cheat and put Yurio and Otabek here too. This is the purest, most innocent and beautiful pairing. Viktor inspired a younger Yuuri to skate. Later in the darkest part of his professional skating career, Yuuri suddenly finds Viktor at his doorstep, offering to be his coach. Viktor helps Yuuri improve. Yuuri helps Viktor find life and love.

As for Yurio and Otabek, Yurio is like a different person when Otabek is around. Otabek was brazen enough to approach Yurio and demand his friendship. I am looking forward to more Otayuri in the movie and season 2!


If anything, I encourage you to check out everything on this list. Read Him and Us. Watch these shows. You’ll thank me later.

T5W | Talking Trash

This week, we are talking about books you disliked but love to discuss.

One of my favorite things to watch on Youtube is “Books I Hate” or “Worst Books” lists. There’s something cathartic talking about books – or anything, really – that you dislike. You get fired up. You get so passionate about it. And honestly, the more intelligent booktube conversations come from these types of videos. Of course, there are those butthurt people lurking in the comments but mostly, I find actual smart conversations about a why so-and-so book was bad or why this other person liked it. The discussions between the two parties are very interesting to me; it shows how people differ in taste. When I participate, I mostly just expound why I didn’t like the book. I haven’t found a book (or movie) that I feel so passionately about that I will defend it to no end.

Then there are some books that people just really enjoy dragging through the mud. Ah, these. These are the 1-star books, the truly garbage books. Oh what fun. XD

The titles on my list today all rated 3 stars and below. Hell, probably 1-star but I’m just too lazy to look up my rating on Goodreads. I will try not to be mean… however, these “negative” topics bring out the best in me. LMAO.


Caraval by Stephanie Garber.
This will forever be hard for me because I did genuinely like the author when I met her. She’s such a darling. She was so excited about the book and you can tell she was so proud of it. HOWEVER.

“No longer white, the untouched snow at Scarlett’s feet winked up at her with periwinkle sparkles, as if it were in on some private joke.”

What. The. Hell. Is. That? I get purple prose but this is… periwinkle prose? Eh, I don’t even know. Scarlett was irritating; so much that the other characters in the book were calling out her stupidity. This book was so hyped and it fell so flat. It wasn’t unreadable but it wasn’t enjoyable at all. But I do love repeating that absolutely pointless color quotes. This was just awful.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.
I hated this book. I don’t know what possessed me to read this at the first place. I’m not the biggest fan of YA contemporary and this definitely has all the reasons why. I got so angry reading this book. I started off my rating at a 3 but as I thought about it more and I kept seeing it around, it just angered me more and I took it down to 1-star. While I don’t like being reminded of this book, I’m still like talking about it. Particularly about how this didn’t work for me and why I dislike it so much.

The epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling.
Let’s be real here, it was like bad fan fiction. But since JKR wrote it, it’s not fan fiction. Honestly, I’ve read better fan works and that whole thing was such a wet blanket. The story should’ve been left there and let the fans imagine the 19 Years later or whenever that was. I will never touch The Cursed Child with a 10-foot pole so I can’t speak about that. It’s just this epilogue… no.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.
I don’t hate this book. I quite liked it. But it’s not as life-changing as many people say it is. At least, not to me. I do like reading and watching reviews about how amazing this is and see if I “get” it, you know? I appreciate the diversity and the representation and all that. It’s a move towards the right direction. But that doesn’t really make the book. This was pitched as being about a home for kids who went through magical doorways and how they cope about being back to the real world. It was there but if you really think about it, the book isn’t really about that. While I do have the 2 sequels waiting to be read, this book is just meh. We can talk about it but convincing me that this book will change my life is not going to work.

Our Fault In Our Stars by John Green.
If you love this book, good on you. I personally did not like one bit of this. I don’t appreciate being told what to feel, especially when I went through a loss much harder than anyone in this book. I don’t like Green’s writing style; as I’m told that all his books have that same vibe of tropes and condescension. I really don’t get why this became such a thing.


What did I say? Fires you up, right? Don’t be butthurt if you love any or all of these books. I don’t know you. It’s not a personal attack. We all have different tastes and that is what makes it beautiful.

#T5W | Do I Know You?

This week, we are talking about forgettable books.

Raise your hand if you remember each and every book you read.

*crickets*

If you do, bravo to you.

Sometimes, I come across movies that I’m not entirely sure that I watched before. Same with books, until I look at the cover hard enough or read the blurb. I’m not the kind of reader who memorizes whole passages from the things I read. I don’t have the best memory when it comes to things that matter. But I can tell you each and every single Gunpla I own, what scale and how much I paid for it. XD

And then there are those books that I simply… forgot. Those books that simply didn’t leave any kind of impression on me, content-wise. Sure, I can remember a beautiful cover or a new way of storytelling. I can remember why I picked up that book at the first place. But if you ask me what it was about? I’ll search for it on GoodReads for you.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children trilogy by Ransom Riggs.
Yes, the whole trilogy. I read this at the right time — waaaay before that Tim Burton movie (with the same name, totally different plot), way before people were starting to talk about its interesting pictures. I loved it. It was magical and upon the release of the next two books, I devoured them all in one sitting. But now, years later, after all the hype… I have no flippin’ clue what Hollow City and Library of Souls are about. Thanks to the movie, I can still remember the first book — and my memory is very different from what I saw on screen. Really, I draw a blank every time I try to recall the events of the 2nd and 3rd books. Maybe I should rethink my ratings, yeah?

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.
Probably my least favorite Dan Brown book. The only thing I remember is the scene where Langdon is lying down on some scaffolding and then the painting above his head finally made sense. I can’t remember specifics. Also, is that the one where there was a kidnapping scene in the Philippines? I can’t be too sure.

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers.
The 2nd book in the trilogy about assassin nuns. I vaguely remember the male love interest was this huge beast bear of a man. And that’s about it. I’m not opposed to re-reading this trilogy though.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.
I feel a bit bad about this because I absolutely loved the second book. And yet, the only things I recall from this book is how much my head hurt from all the flowery writing and that obnoxious talking horse. For the life of me, I cannot remember anything else about this book.

The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh.
The only thing I remember about these books? The cover. Yup.


How bad are you? XD