Reading Challenge: Reading Twos

Ten books on my Reading Twos TBR

Reading Twos TBR

If you’ve read my 25 Bookish Facts post then you know that, while I do read series in sequential order, I generally don’t read them consecutively. Sometimes it actually takes me quite a while to get back to a series that I’ve started. In fact, since last year I’ve started at least ten series that I’m kind of still in the middle of reading. So in honor of all the Geminis out there I will be tackling my series TBR.

Wait, what? What the heck to Geminis have to do with anything? I can explain… Since the symbol for Gemini is the Roman numeral two, I will be “reading twos” while the sun is “in Gemini,” from May 21st to June 21st. Meaning that, for the next thirty days I will be reading Book 2 in various series that I’ve previously started.

Here’s the list of books I’ll be choosing from:

Glory in Death by J.D. Robb (In Death series)
The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan (The Wheel of Time series)
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (His Dark Material series)
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone series)
Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal (Glamourist Histories series)
The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa (Haruhi Suzumiya series)
Before the Fall by Francis Knight (Rojan Dizon series)
Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich (Lizzy and Diesel series)
*Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino (Detective Galileo series)
Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos (Frontlines series)

I don’t have a reading order planned. I’ll just be picking from the list at random. However, I will be leaving The Great Hunt for last in hopes that I won’t actually get to it, since I wasn’t that crazy about book one in that series. Ideally I’ll get through at least eight of these books. I’ll still have a lot of books in a lot of series left to read but, hey, it’s a start.

So, do you guys have any series in your TBR that you’ve left hanging? Let me know in the comments.

Peace and Books,
The Dollar Reader

*I did a little research and it turns out that Salvation of a Saint is actually the fourth book to feature “Detective Galileo” (which is actually the character’s nickname.) However, only the latter two books in the original Japanese series have been published in English, so in the US this title marketed as book 2 in the series.

BookTube Tag: 25 Bookish Facts About Me

hashtag booktube

I started watching videos on Booktube very recently but I’m already totally enamored of Booktube tags. One of my recent faves is the “25 Bookish Facts About Me” tag, which I first saw on Lauren and the Books. So I thought I’d just go ahead and tag myself. (I’m pretty sure that’s not how this works but, hey, it’s my blog, dagnabit.) Feel free to share some bookish facts about yourself in the comments.

Peace and books,
The Dollar Reader

  1. I really hate not reading series sequentially, but I rarely read them consecutively.
  2. I don’t have a favorite author but the author by whom I’ve read the most books is Stephen King. (I’ve read 20-25 of his books.)
  3. I have absolutely no preference between paper books and digital.
  4. I used to read multiple books concurrently but I stopped doing that years ago. The most books I’ve read at one time is four.
  5. I like to read book reviews after I’ve read the book to see how other readers’ opinions differed from my own.
  6. I don’t mind reading books written in another era but I’m not a fan of present day books set in other eras. (I know, it’s weird.)
  7. My favorite place to buy books is Dollar Tree hence, the name of my blog.
  8. I read my first Nora Roberts book last year and now I’m a fan.
  9. I’ve been trying for years to get into YA and, so far, I just can’t.
  10. I have zero desire to write fiction.
  11. I started shopping at used book sales last year and now I am positively addicted to them.
  12. My favorite color is purple because of the Unicorns in the Sweet Valley Twins series.
  13. I’m still trying to get myself into the habit of using bookmarks. I prefer to dog ear.
  14. The most influential factor in my decision to read a book is still the back cover copy. Reviews have little influence on my book reading and the cover image has no influence at all.
  15. The first book I can remember reading was Puss in Boots.
  16. I don’t do audiobooks. I’ve tried. It’s just not my thing.
  17. I’ve DNFed three books so far this year: The City & The City by China Mieville, The Magicians by Lev Grossman, and Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson. I still plan to read one of them.
  18. Not finishing books drives me crazy. I’m still haunted by the ghosts of DNFs past.
  19. I think The Princess Bride movie is way better than the book.
  20. If you ever hear me saying that I’m trying to buy less books, I’m lying. I really just can’t stop myself.
  21. I truly hope to one day be able to read books in a language other than English. That’s something I’ll be working on over the next few years. #itsnevertoolate
  22. I very rarely read nonfiction. I feel like I should work on that but…meh.
  23. I used to re-read books all the time. Now I feel like I have so many books to read that re-reading one would be a waste of time.
  24. I stopped reading books in the bathtub after I dropped a library book in the water.
  25. I currently have three library cards: one from my township, one from my county, and one from out of state.

Unboxing: May Bookcase Club Subscription box

Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlisch and The Godless by Ben Peek

The two books I received in my BookCase Club book box.

I wanted to subscribe to a book subscription box for quite some time and after scouring the internets, I found one that worked for me, in terms of both price and content. But the BookCase Club and I got off to a rocky start (through no fault of theirs, I assure you.)

I subscribed in February, so my first box came in March. I was really excited when it arrived. Less so when I opened it and saw that I already owned one of the books in the box. Major bummer, but not entirely unexpected, since I buy a wholly unreasonable number of books. But stiff upper lip, and all that. I soldiered on, by which I mean I just waited for the April box. It came, I opened it, and…sigh. This time, I’d already read one of the books in the box – two years ago.

Well, now I had to make a decision. Each Bookcase Club box contains two books, but for two months straight I had effectively only received one book. Which meant that, for me, the club was no longer cost effective. So, I thought, maybe I need to cancel. But I really didn’t want to give up the unmitigated joy of not only getting books in the mail, but having no idea what those books might be. So I hung in there for one more month and the May box did not let me down. Therein were two books that I not only did not own, but that I had never even heard of. Yahtzee!

I’ve decided to read at least one book from my box the same month I receive the box. That way I won’t have a whole year’s subscription just sitting around unread. So I’m currently reading Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch. But I’ll put the synopses for both books below and link to their Amazon pages if you want to check them out. Let me know which you’d want to read straight out the box.

(Note: I don’t make any money if you click the links on my blog. The links are just meant to be informative so feel free to click with wild abandon.)

The Godless by Ben Peek

(from the publisher)

cover of The Godless by Ben Peek

The Godless by Ben Peek

The Gods are dying. Fifteen thousand years after the end of their war, their bodies can still be found across the world. They kneel in forests, lie beneath mountains, and rest at the bottom of the world’s ocean. For thousands of years, men and women have awoken with strange powers that are derived from their bodies. The city Mireea is built against a huge stone wall that stretches across a vast mountain range, following the massive fallen body of the god, Ger. Ayae, a young cartographer’s apprentice, is attacked and discovers she cannot be harmed by fire. Her new power makes her a target for an army that is marching on Mireea. With the help of Zaifyr, a strange man adorned with charms, she is taught the awful history of ‘cursed’ men and women, coming to grips with her new powers and the enemies they make. Meanwhile, the saboteur Bueralan infiltrates the army that is approaching her home to learn its terrible secret. Split between the three points of view, the narrative of Godless reaches its conclusion during an epic siege, where Ayae, Zaifyr and Bueralan are forced not just into conflict with those invading, but with those inside the city who wish to do them harm.
The first installment in Ben Peek’s exciting new epic fantasy series, The Godless is a fast-paced page turner set in an enthralling new world.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Ben Peek

(from the publisher)

cover of Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlistch

Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Thomas Sweterlitsch

Pittsburgh is John Dominic Blaxton’s home even though the city has been uninhabitable ruin and ash for the past decade. The Pittsburgh Dominic lives in is the Archive, an immersive virtual reconstruction of the city’s buildings, parks, and landmarks, as well as the people who once lived there. Including Dominic’s wife and unborn child.

When he’s not reliving every recorded moment with his wife in an endless cycle of desperation and despair, Dominic investigates mysterious deaths preserved in the Archive before Pittsburgh’s destruction. His latest cold case is the apparent murder of a woman whose every appearance is deliberately being deleted from the Archive.

Obsessed with uncovering this woman’s identity and what happened to her, Dominic follows a trail from the virtual world into reality. But finding the truth buried deep within an illusion means risking his sanity and his very existence…

May Mini Manga-thon! 7 Days, 26 issues

The twenty-six issues of manga I read in one week.

All the manga issues I read during my May Mini Manga-thon.

You know how you have something on your bookshelf for ages and then you finally say to yourself, “Gee, I think I might like to read that.” That’s pretty much how the May Mini Manga-thon was born. Well, that’s the short version, anyway. I recently started snapping up whatever manga I could find at used book sales so I’ve amassed what I like think of as a respectable manga collection. But I hadn’t bothered to read any of it. So I took stock and decided to interrupt my regularly scheduled reading for a special manga edition TBR. And I set aside a week in May to see how much of my manga I could get through.

Pretty. Awesome. Week. I’ve never been a big reader of comic books but I know that the stories in manga are very often turned into anime, and I do enjoy those versions. So I figured that if I gave it a chance, I would probably enjoy manga as well. That absolutely turned out to be the case and I had a really fun reading week.

Not only was the May Mini Manga-thon a lot of fun, but it turned out to be interesting as well. Reading so many different series back-to-back was enlightening, in that it allowed me to compare several different styles of manga and helped me discover what I really like. As is typical for me as a reader, I tended to gravitate to the stories with slightly darker themes. But even in terms of the visual presentation, it turned out that I even like dark artwork. Like, literally, art that features a lot of black ink. It makes for some incredibly striking imagery and has a way of bringing certain scenes to life for the reader. I feel like I took a crash course in manga appreciation that’s made me a more informed reader, and given me a good idea of what I want to look for in the manga I read in the future.

All told, I read 26 issues of manga, out of a total of 63 issues that I own. That means I read about 41% of my manga collection. A more than respectable TBR takedown, I think.

Without further ado, here’s what I read:

xxxHolic Ominbus by CLAMP, Volume I (Issues 1-3)

xxxHolic is about a teen aged boy who sees spirit who starts working for a witch, and his ensuing supernatural adventures. I generally enjoyed the story, but for the clumsy cross-overs with other titles by the same authors. The cross-over scenes were a painful drag on the story that did little to nothing to move the xxxHolic series forward because they have no real impact on the main character, Watanuki. That aside, I find the story pretty interesting and I intend to read the entire series.

Buso Renkin by Nobuhiro Watsuki, Issues 1-5

This series follows a young boy who is killed by a creature called a humonculus, but is resurrected by a magical artifact and begins fighting humonculi. The series is a shonen manga, which means it’s meant for a young male audience and it reads as such. This one wasn’t really my cup of tea. There’s a lot of action and fighting, but not much character development. And the villain was pretty silly. I don’t think I would like to read any more of this series.

MARS by Fuyumi Soryo, Issues 1-7 & 9-12

This is the story of a “bad boy” and a “good girl” in high school who unexpectedly fall in love. It’s a really good story that called to mind both Boys Over Flowers (Korean version) and Felicity as I was reading. However, both of the main characters lives were besieged by tragedy. Events depicted or alluded to in the series include rape, murder, suicide and mental illness so it’s not a happy, sunny kind of tale. And given that it’s manga, there really wasn’t a lot of room to really delve into each of these situations. So it can feel like the story kind of drops one bomb after another on the reader and then moves on, rather briskly, to the next story arc. However, the two leads, Rei and Kira, are compelling enough to keep you moving forward with them. I loved this series and I’m hoping to be able to read the last three issues.

Vagabond by Takehiko Inoue, Omnibus Volume 1 (Issues 1-3)

This is the story of a seventeen year old ronin named Takezo (who later takes the name Musashi) in feudal Japan who seeks to become a master samurai or, as he puts it “invincible under the sun.” It’s a fictionalization of the life of a real Japanese historical figure name Miyamoto Mushashi. I loved everything about this work. Not only is the story gripping, but the characters are engaging, and the artwork is stellar. This is the only manga I read last week that could be considered “adult,” both in terms of style and content, and it was, for me, the breakout star of the May Mini Manga-thon. Not only do I want to read more of this series, but I’d even love to learn more about the real life Miyamoto Mushashi.

Nodame Cantabile by Tomoko Ninomiya, Issues 1-4

This was the last of the manga series that I sampled last week. I first heard of this series, a light-hearted romance between two music students, straight-laced Shinichi and free-spirited Megumi, when the story was remade as a Korean television drama. I haven’t seen the drama yet, but I got the sense that the original manga was very popular. I was curious enough about it to pick it up these four issues when I saw them at a used book sale. The series is not without its charms but, overall, I just couldn’t get into it. It has some funny moments but I felt like the storytelling could be really incoherent at times. And at the start of the series, the romance is completely one-sided. Although they have become friends, Shinichi is not responding very positively to Megumi’s advances so the story’s just not that romanctic yet. I’m sure that changes down the road but, so far, the romance is off to a pretty slow start.

I’m more eager than ever to start seeking out more manga, now that I have a better idea of what appeals to my taste as a manga reader. Not only that, but I’m also looking forward to having future Manga-thons as my collection grows.

Leave a comment and let me know if you’re a manga reader and what series, old or new, you think I should check out.

Peace and books,
The Dollar Reader