Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Reading Quest TBR & Updates

FYI, before jumping into the post, this post goes alongside my TBR in video form, which is embedded below. However, given that my TBR is subject to change (and I need a place to keep track of my point totals and how far I've gotten into my TBR), I'm making this post to keep track of everything in a single place.

If you haven't heard of The Reading Quest, here's the link to the original post over on Read at Midnight, with all of the challenges, rules, etc: Reading Quest Sign Up.

Brief summary, for those of you who didn't read that post: Each person participating chooses a character (to start out as) between the 4 listed above. Each of those characters has specific challenges that take up one side of The Quest Board. Your goal is to travel around the outside of the board, completing the challenges for as many characters as possible, while also completing optional side quests. But, you have to fully complete a character's path before starting a different character's path. There are several more specific rules, but those are the basics. Like I said, check the original posts for more of the details.

Below is the quest board. Predictably, I'm going to be beginning as a Mage (and then moving clockwise from there). I'm sure that I'm not going to get around the entire board and complete all of the challenges, but I AM going to create a TBR with options for each and every challenge, which will be updated as I continue along. At the very least, I'm hoping to fully complete the Mage path before the end of the quest.

Now that all the explanatory stuff is out of the way, let's go through my TBR, challenge by challenge. 


A Book With a One Word Title
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors (if not my favorite), and this is one of his adult novels that I have yet to read. It's also the one I'm most intrigued by, since the last standalone I read by him (Warbreaker) was my favorite book of last year. Super hyped for this one. 

A Book That Contains Magic
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

A few months back, I announced a series (called YA Bandwagoning) on my YouTube channel where I was planning on reading popular YA books and doing an "as I read" style of video for them. That was like... March/April, and I still haven't done a single video in that series or read a single book on that list. So I'm using these challenges to help me actually get to those books. This is the one I'm probably most excited about on that list, so I'll probably try to get to it pretty quickly. 

A Book Based on Mythology
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Look, I know re-reads aren't supposed to count (if I can't actually get points for this, so be it), but the last time I read this was 7th grade. I don't remember much about it at all. Plus, it's the only book I have based on mythology, and I never finished the series (and want to finish the series), so here we are. I've been meaning to get to Percy Jackson, so I'm guessing this is the best opportunity. 

A Book Set in a Different World
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Like with Six of Crows, this is for my YA Bandwagoning series. I've been meaning to read this for literally 3 years. I've had the book for almost 2 years. And I still haven't read it. I'm super curious about it, given the really mixed opinions on the series overall, but I'm also kinda anxious about it because it's so loved by so many people and I have a sinking suspicion that I might be one of the people who doesn't like it. But we'll see. 

The First Book of a Series
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

I feel like a broken record here. This is for my YA Bandwagoning series. It's the first in a popular YA series. I actually think I might like this more than Throne of Glass. I feel like reviews of this series have been pretty solid across the board (but not outstanding), while reviews for Throne of Glass are all over the place (but generally on the decline as the series goes along). Anyway, I'm intrigued by this one and love when there are multiple plot threads following multiple characters throughout a novel. 


A Book With a Verb in Its Title
The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season series is my favorite ongoing series, and (per usual) I have yet to read the most recent release. It's partially because I feel the need to re-read The Mime Order before jumping into book 3, but there's also a summary up on Samantha Shannon's website for The Mime Order, so I might just be able to read that too. IDK, we'll see what I end up doing when the time comes. I'm honestly pretty skeptical about making it to this point, given that I plan to do a few of the side quests before moving on to the Knight path. 

A Book With A Weapon On Its Cover
Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

I recently re-organized my bookshelves so that an entire bookcase is devoted to my TBR (well-- most of a bookcase. Fortunately, my TBR isn't as big as it once was). I have that bookcase organized by the year that I got it, and this is on the "2014 or earlier" shelf. AKA the ones I've had for way too long without reading them. So this is one that I at least need to try to read, even if it's one that I don't end up liking. 

A Book With A Red Cover
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

This is another one that's on my "2014 or earlier" shelf. I discovered it on a book recommendation site after reading Ready Player One, and it's one that has a super intriguing premise, but I honestly just completely forget that I own it. It's been on my shelves so long that my eyes just glance over it when scanning for things to read. At the very least, this quest gives me a reminder that this book is still sticking around. 

A Book That Has a TV/Movie Adaptation
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

I feel like a broken record again here. This is on my "2014 or earlier" shelf, and it's one I've been meaning to read for quite a while. And I also forget that it's there because of how long it's been sitting there. So... we'll see. I don't think I'm going to get this far. But... optimism! Yay!

Taking a quick step away from the main quest into the side quests, since I'm much more likely to get to these than I am to the other 2 characters' paths...
Side Quests

Potions: A Book by 2 Authors
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

I tried listening to this during the BookTubeAThon, and I thought it was just alright. I'm hoping to start over by reading the physical book (while listening to the audiobook?) to hopefully immerse myself more in the world and make it a bit more interesting. This is one of the ones I'm a bit less likely to get to. But, it is a YA Bandwagoning book, so... maybe?

Multiplayer: Buddy Read a Book
Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

I'm gonna be real honest here-- I really don't plan to read this. I'll only get to this if it's my last available spot and I'm desperate. Which is extremely unlikely. Anyway, this is the Booksplosion book of the month, and it did sound kinda interesting. That being said, it's not a book I own, which motivates me a lot less. There are only 2 books on this TBR that fall under that category and they're both ones I don't really think I'm going to get to. But I figured I might as well still chuck them on here anyway. 

Time Warp: A Book Set in Either the Past or Future
Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

I started the Gemma Doyle trilogy during the BookTubeAThon, and I've been meaning to jump back into it ever since, so this might actually be the first thing I read instead of starting the Mage path. I'm really excited about continuing this series-- the first book was really awesome. 

Grind: A Book With 500+ Pages
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Along the same lines, I'm also hoping to move on to The Sweet Far Thing. Rebel Angels also technically counts here (530ish pages, I think) but given that double-counting books doesn't count (ayyy, bad pun), I figured this was the better one to put here. It's real chunky-- 800+ pages. 

Open World: Read Whatever You Want
I'll probably end up doing this one, but given that I'm a mood reader, I'm keeping this open for now just so that I don't feel like I'm obligated to read whatever I put in this spot. 

Re-Spawn: A Book You Previously DNF'd
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Honestly, I've DNF'd a lot of books on this list, but this one just fit nicely here. I didn't do it because I wasn't interested in the book, but rather that I was in a BookTubeAThon time crunch and didn't have enough time to read the whole thing. I've been meaning to return to it for almost 2 years now, so I think it's finally time to. Plus it's another Bandwagoning YA book, so that's good. 

Expansion: Companion Novel or Short Story
The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

This is a companion to Elantris that's meant to be read after it, so I'll probably end up just reading The Emperor's Soul right after finishing Elantris. Like I said earlier in the post, I mean to get to a lot more of the side quests than the actual character paths. 

Mini-Game: Graphic Novel, Novella, or Poem Collection
Battle Royale Vol. 3 by Koushun Takami

I read the first 2 volumes of the manga adaptation of Battle Royale during the BookTubeAThon, so I want to keep on making my way through the series, so that's what I'll do with this. 

Animal Companion: References Animal in the Title

Honestly, I can't think of a single book on my TBR that fits this. Maybe I'm missing something (I didn't try too hard here) but I'm drawing a blank. I'll update this if I figure something, but... I'm doubtful.


A Fairy Tale Re-Telling
Geekerella by Ashley Poston

I got this back around the time it came out because I was in a reading slump and wanted to read it alongside Booksplosion to get myself back in a reading mood. Unfortunately, that clearly didn't end up happening. But, it still sounds super cute and it'll be a breath of fresh air, given all of the fantasy & darker stuff that I'm planning on reading. 

A Book Cover With Striking Typography
Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

If I'm planning on reading book 1 during the quest, might as well add book 2 to the TBR as well. At this point, I'm really kidding myself if I think I'm actually going to make it this far around the board, but oh well. 

A Book Translated From Another Language
Battle Royale Vol. 4 by Koushun Takami

I'll get to the side quest before making my way all the way here, hence the side quest getting Vol 3 & this getting Vol 4. Either way, I'm hoping to continue the series ASAP. 

A Banned Book
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

I actually first got this for a class (my sophomore year of college. Another from the 2014 or earlier shelf) and I never ended up reading it because I just watched the movie instead. But it's always really intrigued me, so I've kept it on my shelf all this time, so I might as well throw it on my TBR, even if we've already established that I'm not making it to this point on the board. 


A Book Published by a Small Press
London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton

There are probably a couple other books on my shelves that could fit here, but I figured I should throw in a contemporary to lighten up this super dark TBR. I mean, I've got A Clockwork Orange on here. I'm going to need something happy after that. 

A Book With Less Than 500 Ratings on Goodreads
Gamescape: Overworld

This is the other book on the TBR that I don't own. I'm definitely intrigued by it and it's one that I want to read, but since it's one I'd have to pick up from the library it's a bit lower priority. 

A Book Cover W/ A Partially Obscured Face
Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Once again, I'm probably not going to be getting to this, but if I'm going to be putting the first 2 books on here, I might as well throw this one on too.

So, that's my TBR for The Reading Quest! Ultimately, I think that my genuine goal is to complete the entirety of the Mage path and a few side quests, but obviously it would be fantastic if I were able to get all the way around the board (don't get your hopes up!). Overall, I'm just really excited for this quest, and I hope that it helps me to get a lot of reading done and to hopefully crush a good chunk of my tbr shelf!

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Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See you soon! 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Top 10 Songs: July 2017

I've decided to try out something new on here, so we'll see how this goes. I'm hoping to make this a monthly thing, so expect to see more of these in the future!

Anyway, for the past couple months, I've been listening to music a lot more than I usually do. I've always really loved music (I mean, I have a literal degree in it...), but over the past couple years I've been listening to podcasts in the place of music when commuting and haven't really been discovering new music apart from recent releases from my favorite bands. But, in May I started to get into KPop. And ever since then, I've been devouring new songs & bands left and right and decided that I might as well document it. So today, I'm going to be listing my top 10 songs of July 2017-- the 10 songs that I've had on constant repeat all month long.

Given that I tend to get obsessed with musicians and songs for long periods of time, I figured monthly posts were the best way to go. I'm discovering new songs constantly, but the ones that stick always end up sticking for quite a while.

For this first post, a lot of the songs on here are ones that hooked me at first listen. Something about the music just spoke directly to me and refused to let me go. This is particularly true for the last song on this list, which I fell in love with quicker than I've ever fallen in love with a song before. Seriously, it might be the most auditorily satisfying song I've ever listened to. So, without any further rambling, here are my top 10 songs of July!

Imaginary Parties by Superfruit

I'm starting the list off with the only non-KPop song on it. I absolutely LOVE Superfruit, the musical duo made up of Scott and Mitch from Pentatonix. I've been a Pentatonix fan for years, and I've been watching Superfruit's YouTube channel from the very beginning. So, of course, when they announced that they would be releasing not one, but TWO EPs, I was excited and immediately pre-ordered them. And Future Friends Part 1 did not disappoint-- the whole thing is awesome. I've had Bad 4 Us on repeat since they released it in the fall, but the other song from the EP that really grabbed me was Imaginary Parties. It's got such a unique sound and the music video is so aesthetically pleasing that I just couldn't help but fall in love with it. Worth It (Perfect) is another favorite from the EP, but Imaginary Parties is the one I've listened to the most.

Her by Block B

A common theme you'll find among these K Pop songs is that I discovered them through "guess the song" YouTube quizzes. I heard the chorus of this song and immediately needed to know what it was, because it was so catchy. I subsequently discovered their song Yesterday the same way & fell in love with it as well, but Her is the one that I've had on constant repeat. These are the only two songs by Block B that I've listened to, but I need to check out more of their music. Their songs, especially Yesterday, give me a little bit of an early 2000s pop-rock vibe, which is one of my favorite genres. This is a group that I can definitely see myself falling in love with very soon. All that being said, I actually can't watch this music video, because a freaking OSTRICH randomly pops up in the first rap verse and my biggest fear is large birds so I had to actually turn the video off when that came up. Pls no.

Growl by Exo

In July, there was one single KPop group that I completely fell in love with. Apart from songs by that group, this is the #1 song I've fallen in love with this month. I could also easily see myself falling in love with Exo as a group as well (because I've now downloaded several of their songs), but I really need to listen to more of their music and watch some of their variety show appearances before that happens. But this song is possibly one of the catchiest songs I've ever heard-- not just the chorus, but the entire thing. It popped up on a "guess the song" quiz and I was obsessed. I immediately went and listened to it all the way through and loved it. I already had a bit of a soft spot for Exo because Xiumin guested on several episodes of Crime Scene, one of my favorite TV shows, so that probably helped them out too. Either way, this is such an amazing song and I'll probably continue listening to it on repeat for quite a while. 

Overdose by Exo

After Growl (I almost wrote Wolf there lol. Definitely not Wolf. Yikes. I still can't make up my mind about... that.), this is my favorite Exo song so far. Once again, the chorus is incredibly catchy, but the verses are also really interesting. I also have Call Me Baby, Monster, and Love Me Right (and have enjoyed others that I have yet to download), but Overdose is leading the pack (ayyy Wolf haha I'll stop now...). I've listened to my fair share of Exo songs at this point, and I've liked every single one. I'm guessing that by this time next month, I've begun stanning Exo, and I'm perfectly fine with that. No other group I've listened to casually has impressed me like they have. 

Devil by Super Junior

I've been familiar with Super Junior for a bit longer than most of these groups because A- 4 Super Junior members were on an episode of The Genius (my favorite TV show ever), and B- Heechul is like... everywhere. But, I finally listened to some of their music this month, and they're definitely impressing me. Not quite as much as Exo, but close. Devil is a pretty up-tempo song, but it also has this kinda chill vibe to it that I really enjoy. I wouldn't necessarily call it a "catchy" song, like I have with the others, but rather one that just really grabbed me. I definitely plan to listen to more of their music soon.

Mamacita by Super Junior

This is the first Super Junior song I listened to, and this one is super catchy. This is once again a "guess the song" quiz discovery and I immediately found it interesting. I've known for a while that brass instruments (or tech-produced faux brass instruments) are something that I always love hearing in songs, and that's one of many reasons that I really loved this one. I have yet to listen to any songs by Super Junior apart from these 2, but I'm definitely going to be listening to more in the very near future. 

Bad by Infinite

Forget "Songs of July." This is my song of the summer, 2017. Infinite is bae. I've refrained from using that phrase for months at this point, but I can't help myself. I fell head over heels in love for Infinite back in May and they've quickly become one of my favorite bands of all time. From their mega-talent, to their great choreo, to their hilariously precious and dorky personalities, I've gotten obsessed with them. And this song, Bad, is my favorite song by them. It's been on constant repeat since the beginning of May and I'm still completely in love with it. Their live performances of Bad are so epic, the line distribution is one of their best (still not super even, but Sunggyu has one of the most repetitive lines, so it's more even than it seems), and Woohyun's vocals on it are NO JOKE. UGH, this song is so good. 

The Got7 Section

So, before I jump into these last 4, I should probably talk about the fact that they're all by the same group, AKA the aforementioned group that I fell in love with in July-- GOT7! Honestly, I can't believe that I didn't start listening to them until July, because it feels like so much longer. But, here we are. Anyway, I'd seen their videos pop up constantly as recommended videos in the sidebar of other Infinite videos and for some reason, though there were other groups who would often pop up, they were the ones that intrigued me. I actually listened to a song or two back in June and liked them, but didn't quite fall in love. The last song on this list is the aforementioned "most auditorily satisfying song ever" and the song that made me actually fall in love with them in July.  

Note: I'm writing this on July 31st and JJ PROJECT COMEBACK YAY! But, since it just released today, I'm not including it here. It'll probably end up on my August list in some form or fashion.

Never Ever by Got7

Got7's most recent single! On first listen (in June), I thought it was alright but that was about it. Fast forward to July, when I was going through their music and finally listened to this one again (I was worried I might actually dislike it, given my 'meh' vibe the first time). But, this time, I really loved it. The rap lines in this one are especially interesting for me, with the unique inflections that they put on the lyrics. Plus, something about Yugyeom's voice on this one just works super well, as does Jinyoung's, so it's nice to see the lead vocalists shine more (IMO) than the main vocalists, for once. 

Hard Carry by Got7

What can I even say about this? It's just such a cool song. The MV is really awesome and the music is fantastic. Jackson's voice is at peak deep-raspy and it works so well. And don't even get me started on Mark's solo "Hard Carry, hey" near the end of the song. For a group of 7 absolutely precious humans who don't even have to try to be cute when doing cute concepts, this song has such a cool, epic vibe and they absolutely slay the cool concept. Also, Youngjae's high note tho. Also, can we get Jinyoung out of these water case things? lol

Just Right by Got7

This might possibly be the cutest song on the planet. The music video is adorable, and their various dance practices for the song are hilarious because they can't manage to be serious for more than 5 seconds. Like I said, they kill it when it comes to cute concepts. Especially Mark. Like... Stop Stop It (sorry, couldn't help myself with the pun...). The chorus of this song is incredibly catchy, bubbly, and fun. This is probably the song by them that's gotten the most replays this month, and I've watched this video and the other dance practice SO MANY TIMES and I'm still not sick of it (and probably won't ever be). Just Right is honestly just Got7 being completely in their wheelhouse, doing what they do best, and doing it to utter perfection.

If You Do by Got7

Guys. This is the song. THE SONG. The song that (IMO) is possibly the most auditorily satisfying song I've ever listened to. If you haven't heard this song before, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Watch the actual music video, and then watch the dance practice below. Seriously, the DP is presh but the song is much less important in the video than the adorable chaos going on with these dorks dancing in their living room, with their puppy, in PJs & slippers. 

Anyway, this is the song that made me fall in love with Got7. Honestly, idk if this speaks to other people the same way it does to me, but I fell in love during the first verse. Like I said, it's less that it's catchy and more that it's so satisfying. Everything about it just works so perfectly. Jinyoung's part at the very beginning is beautiful, and JB's part in the chorus is honestly actual perfection. Also, in the real dance practice (as opposed to the silly one below), the stomping of their feet in perfect rhythm with the lyrics during JB's part of the chorus is 10x more satisfying than any "oddly satisfying" video compilation will ever be. I'm dead serious and completely obsessed. I don't like the spoken word parts, but I care so little about them that I just forget they're there. This song is just... perfect. TBH, it's pretty high up there in terms of my all-time favorite songs. It's so fantastic. Seriously, check it out if you haven't already listened to it. And if you have already seen it, enjoy the silly dance practice below, because it's the cutest.

OK, so those are the 10 songs. I did want to briefly mention one "honorable mention"-ish thing really quickly though. So, there's one last song that I considered putting on this list, but decided not to. And that is War of Hormone by BTS. I've only listened to a couple BTS songs, but I've enjoyed them so far. And the music of War of Hormone is far and away above many of the songs I've listened to this month, including several on this list. HOWEVER, I can't stand the lyrics. This is the problem with K Pop-- it's so easy to listen to a song and not realize that the lyrics are awful until you've already fallen in love with the music. It happened to me once with Inconvenient Truth by Infinite, and it happened again with War of Hormone. WoH has such a cool early 2000s pop-rock vibe, much like Block B, and the music immediately made me fall in love with it. But the lyrics are pretty misogynistic and honestly just kinda gross, so I have trouble considering it a song that I like. But, I did want to at least note that the music is freaking fantastic, which makes the lyrics even more of a shame.

So, those are my Top 10 Songs of July 2017! Let me know down in the comments what you think of the songs I've mentioned in this post, and if this is a series that you'd like to see more of in the future! I'm going to keep doing it (or not doing it-- idk, I'm indecisive) regardless, but I always enjoy getting feedback!

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Thanks for reading! If you like my posts, I'd really appreciate if you'd subscribe/follow so that I know you're enjoying what I'm posting! See you soon!