Update on 2018 Goals

It’s approaching the end of the year, which means we reflect on how much we just absolutely failed at the goals we’d set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. I posted these in the middle of December I honestly…. Forgot about most of these? Until I looked at them before writing this and just felt…. immense shame lol I’m SO BAD AT THIS. And my goals were like. fuckign SMALL POTATOES.

Goal 1: Read 30 to 35 books.

This is like the one goal I knocked out of the park. As of publishing this update I’ve read a total of 172!!! books!!!! this year!!!!! Any only 45 of those were comics – the other 129 were actual books with only words in them. I just was on. An absolute ROLL this year y’all. I read enough books to come out with a legit Best Books I’ve read of 2018 without it being kinda sad.

Goal 2: Pick up some Nonfiction

Yo, I knocked this one way out of the park this year too! I read a total of…. 16 nonfiction books? And only like 6 of those were comics – the other 10 were books of prose!!! I’m really happy with how successful I was with this. Hell, I even read the book I mentioned in that post this year! (spoilers I absolutely loved it).Honestly, I really really LOVED a lot of the nonfiction I picked up this year. You’ll see that reflected in next years goals.

Goal 3: Finish Up a couple anime on your watch list.

Guys I think I watched a total of like. Two full anime this year and that’s not even counting the one I’m in the middle of – Sora yori mo Tooi Basho and  Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san. I did manage to get a couple episodes in of Outlaw Star before Funimation said later to Crunchyroll, and I did watch like…. 5 episodes of Phantom of the Twilight before I got bored (Also frustrated by the show trying desperately to convince me that Ton and Shinyao weren’t in love???? Like we’ve all seen the ending theme it’s practically CANON) so…. yeah this one was just a complete bust lmao. I’m about ready to give in my anime cred card since my SO’s been on that shit WAY more than I’ve been, which is pretty depressing LOL.

Goal 4-5: Finish Professor Layton and Virtue’s Last Reward

I haven’t even TOUCHED these games this year lmao. In fact I think I’ve finished like…. a total of 3 games this year? (Donut County, The Low Road and Stray Cat Crossing) All of them were indie games and not super long but??? At least I finished a couple games??? Though that’s not counting any games I played with my SO which I honestly…. don’t remember lol. So I finished games at least?

Goal 6: Participate in NaNoWriMo

Listen this is never going to happen as long as I’m working the job I am lmao it’s just gonna be the way it’s gonna BE.

I’ll have a 2019 goals later this month probably. Look out for that!

 

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Adult books I read in November 2018 – Reading Wrap up

Last Wrap up of the month! I read seven adult books this month, and like the rest of these wrap ups, they varied wildly in genre and in rating. It was a nice big ol mix of contemporary, genre fiction and nonfiction. And good ol mix of it I enjoyed it or not. And also semi-long! Let’s get into it.

  • Anime Supremacy by Mizuki Tsujimura

    • Rating: 4.5/5
    • Thoughts: Although book is WAY WAY WAY up my alley, I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised with how good this book was!
    • This book just has an absolutely impeccable balance between characters that are both interesting and fun to read about, solid pacing and plotting, and a really interesting setting and story. Though the book starts off a bit on the slow side, as you get new character perspectives, the story becomes more layered.
    • I LOVED all of the main perspectives that we got, I loved seeing the world they inhabited and the struggle and triumph each team had as the book went along. The last perspective especially – The setting in this perspective  is pristine and so so easy to visualize. And Tsujimura turns the characters up to the eleventh notch there – It expands on the characters you meet in the earlier perspectives really well, and the characters that the perspective DO focus on are muli-faceted and complex without being unrelatable. And honestly, I think that is Tsujimura’s strength – this story is SO achingly relatable. For a world so alien from mine, I feel like I’ve seen all these characters in people I’ve known.
    • Also there’s only a slight romance in this and it BLEW my socks off with how charming the relationships are in this book! Very character based and subtle stuff, but absolutely adorable.
    • Two small caveots – The translation work in this is a littleeee shoddy. There’s just a LOT of really awkward wording that the translator doesn’t do a great job of either explaining with side notes or naturalizing for the English reader. It can be a bit jarring at times, but isn’t super distracting throughout the novel. I would take that with a grain of salt though, since I’m pretty used to shoddy translation jobs (IE growing up on bad scanlations in my weeb days)
    • I do also feel like this book is a little unapproachable if you’re unfamiliar with the anime industry / anime in general. Which was okay for a reader like me, but could be a detriment for a less familiar reader.
    • All together, this is quite an amazing read with a few hurdles to overcome to get to it. If you’re like me and grew up on anime and don’t mind awkward wording here or there, I’d highly recommend picking this up.
  • Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones

    • Rating: 3.75/5
    • Thoughts: Novellas, especially Tor.Com novellas usually fall into the “really interesting, but not mind blowing” spectrum for me, and I gotta say this one was no different. Brings up a lot of really interesting ideas and atmosphere, but not really enough to carry it through to greatness.
    • Graham Jones has some great prose in this bad boy – Out of all the books I read in October for its “spooky-ness”, I think this book succeeds in sense of tone and atmosphere more than any of the other books I read. There’s just a general feeling of uneasiness throughout the whole work, and it’s just short enough not to overstay it’s welcome.
    • Graham Jones has just some really interesting themes in this book that I don’t think I’ve seen covered quite as well by other author – the feeling of loss permeates this novel in both a personal and cyclical sense.
    • I did find myself a bit disappointed with the ending of this novella however. It was a bit too…. ambiguous for my taste? And while the themes were interesting, the plot and characters used to convey them were passable, but not standouts. Still a good novella to read during the fall if you’re into that sort of thing!

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Young Adult/Middle Grade books I read in November 2018 – Reading Wrap up

November Part 2 – Teen and Middle grade book edition! HOO boy this is a rather long one folks – which considering i only ended up finishing 6 books that fall in this category this month is pretty weird.   I went a bit out of my comfort zone for most of the books I read this month, and you can kinda see what ended up succeeding for me and what didn’t by my ratings. For the most part it ended up being kinda…. just pretty good? Read on and you’ll see what I mean.

  • Sadie by Courtney Summers
    • Rating: 4.5/5
    • Content Warning for: Murder, sexual abuse, pedophilia, drug abuse, rape. This another one that like. Some of this stuff is explicit enough that had to put this down for stretches of time. I was saying that The Traitor Baru Cormorant was rough? It is NOTHING compared to this one.
    • Thoughts: This was an absolutely incredible audiobook. I feel like I’m usually pretty easily impressed with audiobooks, but the production and narration for this were absolute show stoppers. There is a REASON everyone who reads YA is yelling about this audio book – it is GOOD mate.
    • Story wise, the novel is almost pitch perfect. The writing is filled with SUCH emotion – it ends up kind of stewing in your gut in this really … impactful way? Stewing is a weird way to say it, but like while it’s technically really good,  the subject matter is still… a lot. The characters are SUPER memorable in this, and Summers just does SUCH a great job in the atmosphere and character in each of the perspectives she brings up.
    • This book is just absolutely heartbreaking. I really loved how it was able to discuss these fucking horrible topics without focusing on the violence in an almost fetishy and uncomfortable way I find a lot of true crime tends to do. It is still really moving without exposing the reader to the shock and violence of it all – which is why the emotion Summers writes with is SO important. It tells these horrifying things through what the characters are feeling, which is MORE than enough for the reader to feel its impact.
    • There’s a couple negatives that come to mind though. First, though not really a hard negative, I really wish this book had been featured with more trigger warnings. This book is just one big CONTENT WARNING, and really do not thing the synopsis prepares you for it. I do really appreciate all the reviewers I’ve listened to talking the time to add the content warnings, but I worry a bit about other people stumbling into this novel and not realizing how bad it really is.
    • Another minor thing – I really do not think this story would work as well in book format. There is something really vital to hearing parts of this book. I think most of the story strength is still maintained, but it’s something to note if you don’t do audio books.
    • The biggest minus for honestly is the ending. While I wasn’t as disappointed as a lot of other people were, it did end up feeling a bit rushed. Considering how much of a punch in the gut the ending for this type of story is supposed to be, how it ended up sorting out in the end was enough to impact my enjoyment of the novel.
    • If you can, listen to this book. It is one of those books that will just stick with you for a really long time. It’s going to hurt, but it’s an important kind of hurt.
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud
    • Rating: 3.5/5
    • Content warning: Colonialist themes IE racism, classism all that fun stuff.
    • Thoughts: As you can see, I’m trying to pick through some of the books on my shelf that were published in 2018 before the year is out and…. this was a pretty solid fantasy read!
    • For the most part, this book has a lot of really strong parts to it – the world that Daud paints is mesmerizing – I have rarely read genre fiction that does as good of job as this book does in painting its atmosphere. The majority of the characters you meet are surprisingly complex for the length of the book, and are all compelling and interesting in their own right. The way they play off of each other, especially the relationships the main character has, were really great to read.  The writing is pretty pitch perfect – without being wordy the books able to really excel with both its descriptions and its emotion. There are some tab-worthy quotes in this book I have to say.
    • I do have a couple nitpick and one kind of fatal flaw. Nitpick wise, this book is sold as a scifi, and it really doesn’t feel like one. At most, the scifi elements were more distracting than they were interesting or added significantly to the setting. With more time in the novel dedicated to the setting it may have been more compelling, but for the most part it fell a bit flat.
    • Honestly, where this book is the most disappointing is the plot and the pacing. It’s a shame too, because for the first 75% of the book, it was solid! Character development and plot development were interesting and paced perfectly. Then somewhere along the way it felt like the author thought they spent too much time doing all that and did a rush job escorting the story to its end. Which for such a solid read this was at the beginning, was a MEGA downer.
    • Another nitpick, the romance was just…. it was okay. It was interesting at the beginning of the book and kind of pulled a Strange the Dreamer on me and became just WAY too much by the end. (Though honestly still fucking better than Strange the Dreamer turned out to be BOOM got my first unpopular opinion in for the day and it’s just GONNA GET WORSE FROM HERE). It’s a bit of a personal preference for that note though, so keep that in mind if you like some heavy handed romance.
    • All together, this is a solid start to a YA Scifi series, especially as a debut novel, which a couple missteps but still a lot of fun. I’m still definitely excited to read this books sequel, along with any other book Daud comes out with.

Continue reading “Young Adult/Middle Grade books I read in November 2018 – Reading Wrap up”

December 2018 TBR

I kinda skipped the TBR for November after starting it up in October, but I think my reads for December are up in air enough that I can make a kinda-short one for all the books  I FOR SURE want to finish before the end of year – for seasonal reasons or because I’ve literally put them off all year or that my library hold should come in before the end of the year. Which I know aren’t like. the best reasons but I do what I want. I was pretty good at sticking to my October TBR save for like… one or two books, and this one will have EVEN less books to account for the end of the year and me being away from my physical book collection. Anyways here they are:

Adult Books

  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

    • My friend Mina read this year in the year and absolutely loved it and it’s been sitting my shelf long enough for me to start to fell guilty with this his high praise so…. I’m gonna read it and not be a lazy POS for once.
  • Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
    • I AM STILL THE WORST I bought some more Discworld that my SO recommended me in September and I STILL HAVEN’T PICKED IT UP which means I’m going to at LEAST read the christmas-y one, especially since Death is a starring character in it, AKA the best.
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    • Another one that a friend recommended to me…. this one’s been on my to read shelf for literally years. I got it for like a buck in a library sale so I have zero excuse at this point. Also I’m seeing my friend again during the holidays so… I should be able…. to talk to her about this book…..

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Comics/Graphic Novels I read in November 2018 – Reading Wrap Up

November is over, so here come the reading wrap ups! First is the comic wrap up – I read to eclectically to really have a theme, (I varied wildly from contemporary to horror to scifi to fantasy) but I overall enjoyed all four of my comic reading this month – though the mileage of that enjoyment varied fairly wildly.

  • Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love Written by  Sarah Vaughn and Illustrated by Lan Medina

    • Rating: 3.75/5
    • Thoughts: This one was a pleasant surprise! I unfortunately got this book in after the spooky month, but as that hasn’t stopped me before, I of course picked this up right at the beginning of November.
    • And just all in all this is a solid Deadman story and a solid ghost story. Medina’s art was MADE for gothic horror – everything’s so detailed and spooky, you can’t look away. I enjoyed the cast of characters we were introduced had great designs and were interesting to spend time with. There’s also some GREAT Nonbinary and wlw rep in this – which honestly raised my enjoyment significantly higher that I may have been otherwise.
    • This part of the wrap up is kind of short, but I don’t have much to say. It’s a good ghost story and a good story about Deadman, but not an exemplary one. The great rep in the story is what makes it a standout at all – and if you’re looking for that, I’d give this a look.
  • The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part Two, Written by Michael Dante DiMartino and Illustrated by Irene Koh

    • Rating: 3.75/5
    • Thoughts: Another book that pleasantly surprised me this month! I’m pretty ambivalent to the LOK TV Show, but DiMartino seems to be writing some interesting premises for Turf Wars. (Mostly because a lot of it is actually discussing elements that I’d wished they’d had time to go into in the original show, IE: Organized crime in Republic City that was BLATANTLY SHOWN to be a thing in the first season!)
    • I do put a bit of a caveat on interesting though. I still feel like a lot of these topics are not handled with the greatest finesse and end up coming off a little bit sloppy. But that might be because this is an in-between book.
    • I gotta say though, both Bolin and Mako have really improved as characters without a boring ass romantic plot dragging them into oblivion. Which bravo, you got me to be ambivalent towards Mako. A feat indeed.
    • If you take anything away from this, it’s that the characters are honestly the highlights of this book. Other than some stuff with Varrick and Zhu Li (which sighsssss I have some just. Negative feelings about that thing in general), everyone is still just a blast to read about. Probably even more so than parts of the show lmao.
    • Just all in all, I’m still enjoying myself, which is still a bit of a surprise to me! We’ll see if that trend continues on.

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Adult books I read in October 2018 – Reading Wrap up

Last one! For Adult books, I’m clocking in at about seven books, most of the ~semi-spooky~ variety,  whether it be supernatural or a thriller. There are one or two outliers in here, but I think both still discuss some uhhhhh horrifying shit.

  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

    • Rating: 4/5
    • Content Warning: Violence, Gore, Racism, Homophobia, Murder, Torture, Discussion of Eugenics, Conversion Camps, Genital Mutilation, Rape, Colonialism and Genocide. I especially mean this when it comes to the Homophobia. This book, while having LGBT characters, discusses a LOT about homophobia and persecution of people who experience same sex attraction or deviate from gender norms. These are incredibly important points to the story’s message but I absolutely urge you not to read this if you think it could be potentially triggering. This book is fucking rough. It absolutely refuses to hold bag which we’ll get into more below.
    • Thoughts: I battled with my feelings on this book a LOT over the past couple weeks. I was on the verge of writing a full blown review before my work schedule went absolutely wacko. I’m still super just… torn on how I feel about this book. I think I’ve settled on I like??? it? But BOY is that a tentative like.
    • This is fantasy story that refuses to shy away from a lot of really tough topics, and handles them with some extreme finesse. Seriously GOT who? Because this book feels just like a constant DRAIN. It’s good but it’s a LOT. But no other fantasy book I’ve read discusses colonialism better than this book has.
    • The characters developed in this are fascinating to watch. I don’t know if I’ve read any other book with a main character as multifaceted and complex and Baru is in this. While there a lot of other strong characters, Baru is by far the most interesting and memorable. Though again, you saw me mention this is book is depressing as fuck so maybe…. don’t get attached.
    • The plot to this book is also just an absolute PAGE-TURNER. I never would of thought a fantasy dedicated to revolution and its economic realities would be as interesting as this book turned out to be. Dickinson is great at constructing an interesting world and plot that
    • That all being said. There are a couple things that rubbed be a bit the wrong way in this. Which I think may be more of a personal thing than a general ‘oh this is an actual problem’, but still. Dickinson, while really good at addressing and exploring some absolutely heinous shit, I feel like does go maybe a tad too far in the horror in some moments. It was just super fucking overwhelming a lot of the time. There’s a couple other story choices that I didn’t quite find myself agreeing with. I can’t go much more into it without potentially spoiling some stuff but just. Keep that in mind.
    • This is just a fucking brutal book. It’s a good book, but it’s fucking brutal. Read this is if you want to pick up some fantasy that VERY CLEARLY has some stuff to say, but don’t expect to feel really good at the end of it. The sequel came out recently and just holy fuck I’m not touching that for a couple years. Man fuck this book.
  • Slade House by David Mitchell
    • Rating: 4/5
    • Thoughts: I read Cloud Atlas  a couple years back, but really didn’t have a strong feeling about most of it. Happy to say I liked Slade House more than it though!
    • Slade House works because the ideas it explores are fresh and interesting, and it’s short enough that you won’t get bored of them (though I will say the book does manage to reach a lull around the 3rd chapter). It’s not quite like any other ghost story I’ve read, in a really good way.
    • Though there are also just…. a couple things that it tries to explain away that it just really don’t make a lot of sense. The story was compelling enough to get me through without raising a lot of complaints, but you’ll definitely raise your eyebrows a couple times at the plot holes Mitchell kind of writes himself into.
    • Not a lot to say about this one – It’s a solid ghost story that plays with the genre in ways that I hadn’t seen before and only slightly overstays its welcome in the middle parts. Though maybe don’t think about some of the plot points too hard. It’ll fall apart under that kind of scrutiny.

Continue reading “Adult books I read in October 2018 – Reading Wrap up”

Young Adult/Middle Grade books I read in October 2018 – Reading Wrap up

I picked up a healthy seven YA/Middle grade books this month. And only two of them was an Audiobook! (Mostly because the other two I wanted to read I’d had on hold out from my library literally the entire month…. sighs you know how it is). It’s mostly modern YA picks, but there was some classic middle grade thrown into the mix. Also I uh. have some unpopular opinions in this bad boy, so just keep in mind these are just my feelings about the following books. It’s totally rad if you loved these.

  • The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
    • Rating: 2.25/5
    • Thoughts: Oh Bradbury. This story was a fucking mess.
    • I was hoping this was going to be a lot like Something Wicked This Way Comes in terms of capturing that great sense of nostalgia and creepiness but this story just goes off the rails really early on and then doesn’t get back on.
    • It doesn’t work. This is a super short book and it DRAGS. While the beginning is pretty damn good, it doesn’t make up for the SLOG the rest of the book is.
    • I don’t have a lot to say about this book? It’s okay? It’s short enough to be super offensive but it’s definitely just. Not recommended.
    • I also super don’t recommend the audiobook. The narrator whispers a ton of stuff which is just absolutely impossible to make out most of the time. I get that he was trying to enhance the atmosphere, but most of the time it was just kind of like. What is he saying. What’s going on. I don’t understand.
  • Iron Cast by Destiny Soria
    • Rating: 3.75/5
    • Content Warning: Discussions of Torture and Racism.
    • Thoughts: This book was such a pleasant surprise! I mean, again this kind of book is super-on brand (Diverse historical fantasy what what) for books that I enjoy, but there were a couple things that stood out a bit to me
    • First off the characters in this book were pretty dang great. the main female duo was fun to watch, and the side characters were all memorable and charming. The romance was also really nice and refreshing in that it was SUPER understated but still really engaging when it did come around. Also, I legit loved one of the white male characters in this. LOVED. which is a fucking FEAT in YA. You did it Soria. Amazing, incredible.
    • The setting was really interesting too – I don’t see a ton of fiction written on the eve of prohibition, and I really enjoyed seeing the magic system interact with the historical world. The plot was solid, albeit a bit predictable at times. I did appreciate that the author didn’t back down from how the historical realities of a lot of groups during the time period, and how that reality might fuck with these magic powers. (In the sense that this book has minority characters and while it doesn’t shy away from their persecution, also doesn’t try and make it some weird oppression fodder. Like it felt real, but not unbearable.)
    • All that being said though, the pacing, especially at the end was pretty bad. I also felt like the book withheld information to just kind of try and surprise me – which is fine but it felt super unnatural and jarring when events would happen because I was just finding out about something that in fiction did not make sense that it had not come up til just then. The tension ended up feeling kind of… manufactured. And the ending was a bit ridiculous in how kind of… run of the mill it was? After the first big twist I kind of called how it was all going to go down, which was a bit of a bummer.
    • And while I did enjoy most of the characters, the parts about the Corrine, aka the rich white heiress while not terrible, were not my favorite. It would start to feel like her POV was eclipsing some of the other characters, which I wasn’t really here for.
    • This is a solid historical / Fantasy YA that for all its faults was surprisingly a lot of fun! Give it a look if that genre’s on brand for you.

Continue reading “Young Adult/Middle Grade books I read in October 2018 – Reading Wrap up”