The Perfect Book Tag

Blogmas 2019

Heya book friends! I saw this tag over on The Orangutan Librarian‘s blog (check it out, it’s awesome!) and decided to tag myself since I liked the prompts. Obviously, nothing is truly perfect, so take my answers with a grain of salt. ^_~

The Perfect Genre

pick a book that perfectly represents its genre

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is pretty much the perfect cyberpunk novel.

The Perfect Setting

pick a book that takes place in a perfect place

This one was hard because I don’t think any of the books I have read take place in the perfect place…mostly because I don’t believe such a place exists. Every place will have its problems. However, I do really enjoy the inclusivity in Megan Derr’s Tales of the High Court series. Otherwise, any book that takes place in a library pretty much has my idea of a perfect setting.

The Perfect Main Character

pick the perfect main character

This prompt was even harder than the last one because no one is perfect, and if a character is actually written to be that way, I will most likely hate them because of how unrealistic they are. I believe the truly great characters must have flaws. So I looked at the prompt with that point of view in mind. Circe, in the eponymous Circe by Madeline Miller, is a smart, strong, lonely woman who doesn’t let her past or her family break her. And yeah she makes mistakes, but she learns and grows from them.

The Perfect Best Friend

loyal and supportive, pick a character that you think is the best friend ever

Samwise Gamgee, of course!

The Perfect Love Interest

pick a character you think would be an amazing romantic partner

Perfect for me? Uh, well, no one actually. I am asexual, possibly straying into aromantic territory, and I am really happy being single and not having to deal with another person all up in my space or business all the time. So, while I enjoy reading about other people’s romances, I am perfectly happy not to have one of my own. Just the idea of it freaks me out more than a little.

If we are just talking in a kinda general way then I would have to say Samwise Gamgee again hahaha.

The Perfect Villain

pick a character with the most sinister mind

Surely this isn’t a spoiler at this point, but Light Yagami in Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata is one of my favorite evil geniuses.

The Perfect Family

pick a perfect bookish family

I really like the found family in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

The Perfect Animal or Pet

pick a pet or fantastic animal that you need to see on a book

I am not a huge horse person, I mean, I like them fine, just don’t want one of my own, but I absolutely adore the horse in Green Rider by Kristen Britain.

Oh wait, I didn’t read the fine print of this prompt hahaha. Need to see is a little strong, but I always appreciate seeing dragons or unicorns on the cover of a book.

The Perfect Plot Twist

pick a book with the best plot twist

I accidentally spoiled myself on the plot twist in Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. About 20 pages or so from the end of the book no less. I am still mad at myself to this day, but my God what a twist!

The Perfect Trope

pick a trope that would make you buy the book without knowing anything else about it

Enemies to lovers. Or even better, lovers to enemies to lovers. The second one is rarely done well, but when it is, it is just *chef’s kiss*.

The Perfect Cover

pick that cover that you would easily put in your own book

…I really dislike how this prompt is worded cuz it basically assumes I want to write my own book (I don’t) and implies that I would steal art for the cover.  So, I am just gonna go with “pick that cover” and leave it at that.

You unfortunately don’t get the full impact of this book unless you see it in person, but it also has teal stained edges which enhance the teal on the cover. Super cool.

The Perfect Ending

pick a book that has the perfect ending

Oh man, 3 come to mind immediately, but if I can only pick one then probably Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane.

Thanks for reading! If you liked the tag and want to do one too, please consider yourself tagged!

Manga Series I Picked Up This Year

Blogmas 2019

Hello people! Is anyone else out there an old taco like me? I might be late to the game, but I saw this on the internet the other day and just about died laughing:

old taco

For those of you who are confused, the person means “otaku” (those people who stay inside and watch anime and shit) and mistakes that word for “old taco”. When I read this, I couldn’t help but say “Yes, I am an old taco. I embrace this new reality.” Hahahaha.

Anyway, for any fellow old tacos out there, I just wanted to let you know of a couple of manga series I have picked up recently that I think are really freaking good (in both manga and anime format actually).

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba by Koyoharu Gotouge – This manga follows the story of Tanjiro, who’s entire family is slain by a demon, save for one sister who is instead turned into a demon herself. Tanjiro sets off to become a demon slayer, in hopes of one day finding the demon that massacred his family (and who may-or-may-not be an ancient enemy of his family) and make the demon turn his sister back into a human.

What I find particularly amazing about this manga, is that even though there are some characters with a lot of “screen time” that I intensely dislike, it doesn’t put me off the manga (or anime) at all. Also, while some scenes do work better in the anime (like the fight with the demon that could shift a room’s orientation) the manga is still worth a read. So I guess what I am saying is…I recommend you do both, read the manga and watch the anime.

Ascendance of a Bookworm by Miya Kazuki and Suzuka – I am obsessed with this series right now. Obsessed. Technically it is another isekai (person from our world gets pulled into another world) but what I love about it is that not only is that person female (a rarity in the isekai genre), but when she dies in our world, she ends up inhabiting the body of a 5 year old little girl in the new world. Not only that but she has no overpowered “superpowers” to speak of, except for her love of books, and vast knowledge she accumulated from reading all those books in her past life. Well, in this new world, she and her family are very poor and books are a luxury item for the nobles and the rich. So she decides she is gonna make books herself! It is so great.

Magus of the Library by Mitsu Izumi – I literally just picked up the first volume of this last weekend and I love it. It is about a boy with elf ears, something only he has in his small village, who wants nothing more than to read books. In this world, books are highly valued, there is even an entire city dedicated to books, and there is a robust library system. However, because the boy looks so different from the rest of the villagers, is poor, and lives in the slums, he is forbidden from using the village’s small branch library. But one day, a group of kafna, librarians, from the city of books come to the village and the meeting changes the boy’s life.

I really like how much this manga stressed the importance of books, and also showed another aspect of how damaging discrimination truly is.

Phantom Tales of the Night by Matsuri – So far there are only 2 volumes of this out in English, but I really am intrigued by it. It is about a yokai (demon/spirit) named Owner who runs an inn located kinda…between dimensions, maybe? Anyway, Owner has 2 employees, Spider and Butterfly, and the three of them collect people’s secrets. This many not seem particularly sinister but hoo boy do bad things happen. So far most of the chapters act as vignettes, but there is a deeper, overarching story slowly emerging.

It is so fascinating to me to have a morally grey (even morally black) MC that you, as the reader, are not 100% how you should feel about them. Horrified? Anger? Sympathetic? Hopeful? Maybe all of them? I have no idea where this story is going and I love it.

Made in Abyss by Akihito Tsukushi – If you like Promised Neverland then this manga is for you. I actually like it even better than Promised Neverland. It follows the story of Rico, who’s mother is (was?) one of the best explorers of the Abyss. The Abyss is a giant hole that was discovered on an island. No one knows how deep it goes, because there is a strange phenomenon that once you start to descend, bad symptoms will happen to you when you attempt to ascend. Eventually, if you descend deep enough, ascending will cause pretty much instant death. There are strange ruins and artifacts in the abyss, and even stranger skeletal corpses, hinting at an ancient civilization. There are also strange and dangerous creatures, making descending into the Abyss a very risky business. Well, Riko’s mother descended with the intent of reaching the bottom and never came back, so Riko, with the help of a robot boy she finds in the Abyss, decides to go find her mother, and find out what’s at the bottom of the abyss.

I have so many questions about the Abyss and I hope they are all answered by the end of the manga.

Land of the Lustrous by Haruko Ichikawa – This manga is a bout a race of gem people who are attacked fairly frequently by creatures called lunarians, which look like giant Buddhist statues made of clouds, who destroy the gem people and then take their bodies away to the moon for unknown purposes (though the theory among the gem people is that their bodies are used for jewelry).

I really disliked the main character Phos at the beginning of this series. But their evolution is so fascinating, and kinda sad, plus the mysteries of the world they live on and why the lunarians keep attacking them all keep me invested in this manga series. I was equally intrigued by the anime series, but disappointed that they didn’t really pick a great place to end it. But continuing on with the manga series has been infinitely rewarding.

Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui – This story starts off somewhat goofy and lighthearted, with a rather ridiculous premise. There is a magical dungeon that is discovered and is full of treasure so a bunch of adventurers attempt to delve into the dungeon. Well, one adventurer group is attacked by a red dragon and one of their party is eaten, while the rest escape out of the dungeon with magic. The brother wants to immediately head back in but has no money, food, or supplies, so he comes up with the idea of eating dungeon monsters. He and the two party members that stuck with him, along with a dwarf they pick up along the way (who is all about eating dungeon monsters) head back into the dungeon. Pretty much each chapter has them defeating, and then eating, some new monster (and providing a recipe!). Interestingly though, the overall story has become much darker, and I am interested to see where it is going to end up.

H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness adapted by Gou Tanabe – The artwork is really stark and stunning in this manga, a perfect representation of H.P. Lovecraft’s novella. I really like how Gou Tanabe put this manga together. It even made me realize I really need to read more Edgar Allen Poe.

Anyway, that’s all for today!

The I Dare You Tag

Blogmas 2019

Hello merry people! Or perhaps not so merry, in which case I wish you a happier week (and a happy new year). I was not actually tagged….wait no that is a lie. I saw this on the Orangutang Librarian‘s blog, as well as my friend Emily‘s blog, and at the end of Emily’s post she said that if I liked it I should consider myself tagged. Well, I liked it so, I guess that mean I was tagged. Thanks friendo!

What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Consistently? Perhaps Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey. I am not actually sure though hahaha.

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

I am not actually currently reading any books right now. I mean, I have a lot of back burnered books, but will I actually pick them up again anytime soon? Probably not. The last book I read was That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 6 by Fuse. The next book I read will (hopefully) be Desdemona and the Deep by C.S.E. Cooney. I keep saying I want to read it and keep not reading it so we shall see.

What book did everyone like, but you hated?

I feel like most people really liked A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (or they really hate it). I fell into the “really hate” camp and this was one of my few DNFed books.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

I…don’t really know. I never really know where my reading whims will take me, and I feel like I get around to all my “want to read” books eventually. Of course, sometimes books fall completely off of my TBR list, but they usually weren’t books that I felt all that strongly about reading in the first place.

What book are you saving for retirement?

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha none. I might be dead before then, so why the fuck would I save anything, much less a book, for retirement.

Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end?

Wait ’til the end. I have never, ever read the last page first.

Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

Interesting aside. I always read the acknowledgement. I figured if it was important enough for the author to write, the least I can do is honor them by reading it.

Which book character would you switch places with?

I mean, unless it was for like a set period of time or something, then probably not any of them.

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (place, time, person?)

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell reminds me of my friend Sarah as it was the first book she recommended to me that I read after becoming friends with her in Japan.

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

I probably shouldn’t be saying this so, shhhh ok? Growing up, my parents owned a bookstore, and we happened to get the boxes for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling a few days before the release date and…my dad let me take a copy home, provided I didn’t tell anyone (at the time). So, I got this book a few days before pretty much anyone else in America.

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

A book from my own library? No. I have bought the occasional book for someone for a special reason.

Which book has been with you most places?

The Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop has been with me in America, Japan, and South Korea.

Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

I mean, it took me more than 2 years to come around to reading The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri again, but I remember being really uncaring about his book and annoyed to have to read it in school. Now I appreciate it, and how much it has influenced other literature.

Used or brand new?

Either, though I typically buy new so that the author will receive royalties.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Yes, The DaVinci Code. It was ok but has pretty much non-existent re-read value, because once you know the codes there’s not much else to the book.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Lord of the Rings trilogy. I can’t stand Tolkien’s writing.

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Not that I recall, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened at least once.

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Always? No one. Though I do tend to take a lot of recommendations from my friends Sarah and Emily.

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

It is not one of my all time favorite books, but I did not expect to like Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen as much as I did considering how far outside my usual genres it is.

I dare you to do this tag!

Review: Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran

Blogmas 2019

Hi fellow book lovers! So, I almost never do full on reviews for books, but I thought I might try my hand at a couple this month, mostly so I don’t just end up doing tags every day of Blogmas hahahaha.

Warning: Spoilers ahead

Today’s review is for the graphic novel Snow, Glass, Apples written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Colleen Doran.

Neil Gaiman spins a stunningly creepy re-telling of Snow White in this graphic novel that Colleen Doran illustrates with heartbreaking beauty. The story is told from the point of view of the not-so-wicked step mother, as she attempts to protect herself and her kingdom from her step daughter’s darkness. I don’t really want to say any more about the plot or I will really give stuff away.

It was very interesting to me to read a story from a point-of-view I didn’t expect. True, I have read other re-tellings from unconventional points-of-view, like Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. However, I had never conceived there could be a story where the step mother in Snow White is actually good. How can someone good order the death of their step daughter? As a step daughter myself, this was a little hard to wrap my brain around.

Neil Gaiman does a masterful job of slowly building sympathy for the step mother queen while also creating an aura of disturbed unease around Snow White. That sense of unease continues to grow throughout the story, eventually turning into a feeling of horror and disgust, which mirror the emotions of the step mother.

Colleen Doran’s illustrations are truly magnificent. They are saturated with color, and flow beautifully from frame-to-frame, page-to-page, bringing Neil Gaiman’s words to full vibrant life.

It is rare that I so thoroughly enjoy a graphic novel that it gets an immediate 5 star rating from me, but this one I knew would be a 5 from the first page and I was right. It is wonderful.

Sharing Recipes With My Friendos

Blogmas 2019

Hi people! I decided to stop counting the days, mostly because I know I will loose track. Today’s post is short, and completely un-book related, cuz I decided to give myself a little break.

A bunch of my work friends and I all tend to do a lot of meal prepping for work. We work at a tech company, and lunch is not provided, so we either have to eat out or bring our own lunches. It is cheaper and healthier to eat the food we cook ourselves, and we all tend to have a few recipes that we like to use for work meals. Typically, the best recipes are the ones that make a lot of food that can be portioned out for the week. Yes, it gets a little tedious eating the same food every day, which is why we also tend to share meals among each other.

Well, we got to be fans of each other’s food and decided to start sharing recipes. My friend Emily made a folder for us on Google drive where we have all slowly been adding recipes. I am really excited to try and make the recipes for myself!

I just thought I would share this idea since it is a good, simple way to share recipes with your friends. It is overwhelming sometimes looking for recipes online, plus you have no idea how they are actually going to turn out. But sharing specific recipes with your friends really makes it easy to find a recipe and to know in advance that it will be good because (even if you haven’t tasted it for yourself) one of your friends has tried it out and liked it.

The Boujee Book Tag

Blogmas 2019

On the seventh day of Blogmas my true love gave to me, a book tag named Boujee. My friend Emily @Embuhleeliest tagged me a couple months ago but I didn’t do it immediately since I decided to save it for Blogmas. Thank you Emily!

This tag was created by abookolive.

1. What is your average monthly budget for books?

Like my friend Emily, I don’t have a budget, but unlike her I buy as many books a month as I like/can afford. Typically I spend about $100 per month on books. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I am attempting to build up my physical book library right now, so I am spending more on books than I did in past years (cuz physical books are more expensive than ebooks).

2. What’s the most you’ve ever spent in a bookstore?

Uh, not sure exactly, but probably somewhere in the $250 range.

3. Are you willing to pay full price for a brand new release, or will you wait until you have a coupon or there’s a sale?

Depends on how much I want the book. Fortunately, new releases usually come with a discount anyway, especially at Barnes & Nobel, where I get at least a 10% discount being a member.

4. Would you rather buy one new book or several less expensive used copies?

Again, depends on the book. More books is always nice, but if it is a new book I really want I will buy that instead (or lets be real, I would probably just buy all of them).

5. What do you think is a reasonable price for a new hardback book? A paperback? An eBook?

For a hardback, $20-$30. A paperback, $8-$10 (or $15 for trade). An ebook, $3-$6.

6. Is a signed book worth more to you? How about a first edition?

If I was in the actual presence of the author as they signed my book then yes. Otherwise, it feels like cheating and I don’t really care (certainly wouldn’t be willing to spend more for it, unless there was something else that was special about it). First editions though are absolutely worth more, especially if they are older and out of print.

7. What is your most valuable book (sentimental or actual value)?

Just talked about this in a post the other day, but I received both of these hardback, full color editions of Elfquest from my mom when I was a kid. She died when I was 10 and I don’t have many actual memories of her (I kinda wiped my memory of her) but her giving me these books is one of the few memories I do have. So, sentimentally, these are the most valuable books I own. Possibly actual value too, since they are out of print and hard to find.

8. Will you pay more for a cover or edition you like better?

Absolutely. Have done it before and will do it again no doubt.

9. What physical characteristics does a good quality book have?

Thick, good quality paper. Good binding. Possibly leather cover. Deckled or sprayed edges. Immaculate dust cover.

10. If you won the lottery, what bookish things would you do with the money?

Build the library in the bonus prompt below, and then fill it with books.

BONUS: Give us an image (actual or mental) of your dream home library!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dream library is a combination of these plus the library from (the animated) Beauty and the Beast. 2 stories minimum and a spiral staircase are required. I don’t even really need the rest of the house except a bathroom and kitchen.

That’s it! Consider yourself tagged if you wanna do one of your own versions of this tag.

Books I Loved, but Don’t Really Remember

Blogmas 2019

Hello everyone! Happy 6th day of Blogmas! Anywho, so, I saw this post over on Reader Fox’s blog, and it got me thinking about all the books I had read in the past that I know I loved, but now couldn’t tell you the plot to save my life. Funny how memory works like that huh (or doesn’t work in this case, hahaha). Anyway below are some beloved books that I have completely forgotten:

The Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle – I remember absolutely adoring this quintet of books, particularly the 3rd one, A Swiftly Tilting Planet….but beyond very VERY broad strokes, I could not tell you what the plot is about.

The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper – I remember loving this series but I have no idea what it is about anymore.

Enchanted Forest Chronicles series by Patrician C. Wrede – Now this one I remember a little about. I know there was a princess who was plucky and went to live with dragons, but beyond that I have no idea what happens in the plot.

His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman – I also remember a little bit more about this series because there have been movies and things, and I remember what happens at the end of the original trilogy and that it absolutely destroyed me…but I don’t remember a lot about the characters, even main characters, nor do I remember big chunks of the plot. Like, I could not tell you for the life of me what happens in the second book. Not a clue.

Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce – I actually didn’t even remember this series until I saw someone mention it on r/Fantasy. When I looked it up and I saw the covers I was like, “Oh yeah, I have read that! I recognize the covers! I think I really liked it! I have no idea what it was about though.”

So, yeah, those are the major ones. I am absolutely sure there are others, but heck if I can remember them (HA!).