Nikki’s Animarathon Continues! | Entry × 001

Hello, all! It’s me again! I’m back with another “not-a-book-post” post. I know, I’m sorry, but I haven’t been reading tons of books lately. Well, apart from manga, which I’ve really gotten into recently! (See? I haven’t abandoned books completely!) I’ve been reading a few different manga series that I will definitely want to talk about here, but I’m saving those for another post once I’m up-to-date with all of them (or maybe a series of posts? not sure yet).

In the meantime, I really want to keep talking about the anime I’ve been watching lately, so I hope you’ll put up with me while you wait for more bookish content!

My first anime post was quite long — it covered all the anime I’d watched or had started up to that point. But that was quite the undertaking; so in the interests of… well, my sanity… I’ve decided to start a series of posts to talk about the anime I’ve watched. And I’ll be keeping the groupings a bit smaller. ;) I’m only going to cover five (or so) in each post; and I’ll list them in chronological order, from least- to most-recently watched. I’ve finished watching about 15-ish anime since January, so I’ve got a small backlog, but eventually we’ll catch up to the present, and then I’ll just post every time I have another group of five to talk about!

So, without further ado…

Animarathon Round-up × 001

Note: For each anime below, you can click on the poster or “synopsis” link to view the show’s synopsis and info on MyAnimeList.net (sort of like Goodreads for anime). I’ve also included links to watch the shows on Crunchyroll and Hulu where available! (For those who don’t know, Crunchyroll is like Netflix for anime, and most of it is totally free!)

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This Is Not A Post About Books (…whoops?)

This Is Actually A Post About Anime (Whee!)

Happy New Year, all!!! Did you miss me?

I know, I know, I haven’t posted anything on this blog in forever. My last review was posted on July 5, but I know things have been slow on the blog for much longer than that. *sigh* I’m sorry I’m not providing regular reviews anymore. But I realized, sometime during the past few months, that I’m just sort of… done… trying to regularly review books. At least for the time being.

The truth is, I’ve been feeling kind of burnt out, not only on reviewing, but on reading in general (apparently that’s a thing???). It’s a feeling that’s been creeping up on me since around June, I think, but it really came on strong the past few months. I binged New Adult books for a while, which became my happy place (seriously, I read ~40 New Adult books in a row during July/August). They were quick to read, and light and fun for the most part, which made them perfect for my burnt-out self.

After that, though, not even New Adult could keep me glued to a page. September/October were very light reading months — and I actually haven’t finished reading a book (just for fun, that is) since October 28. That book was the novella Superior (which was super fun and you should totally read it). But then… well. Something pretty great happened.

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know how in love I am with the anime Yuri!!! On Ice. I discovered YOI in late October/early November, and it was one of the greatest things to happen to my 2016. YOI is the first anime I’ve ever really gotten into, and since then, I’ve been devouring pretty much all the anime I can get my hands on. It’s been wonderful. The anime train hit me just as I started to consciously realize how burnt out I was on reading, and honestly? I am super grateful that it did, because it’s brought me so much joy lately.

I’ve been having an absolute blast researching different animes to watch, getting recs from people, chatting with other fans, and generally discovering this new (well, new-to-me) form of storytelling that I didn’t know I needed in my life. I recently realized that I haven’t been this excited about something since I discovered that YA books were A Thing. It’s a really, really wonderful feeling. 

SO! All that to say — I obviously need to write a post about my new obsession. A post on my blog. My book blog. …Shut up, I do what I want. ;) I’m going to do short little writeups for the anime series I’ve completed so far, and then probably just list all the others that I’m currently watching (or have at least tried/started watching). Where possible, I will link to the anime’s page on Crunchyroll, where you can watch a whole ton of anime series for free (yes, free! and legally! Crunchyroll is the best). The ones that aren’t on Crunchyroll are available on Hulu, and I’ll provide links to those too.

So, without further ado…

Here’s what I’ve watched over the past two months!

 

Yuri!!! on Ice  |  Sword Art Online  |  Haikyu!!

Yuri!!! on Ice1 season (so far) / 12 eps — The anime that started it all! :D This show is ACTUALLY FLAWLESS, you guys. There is just… too much to love. If you’ve heard anything about YOI, you’ve probably heard about the ship, which IS spectacular. But one of the other main reasons I love this show is for its genuine and thoughtful portrayal of a character with anxiety, who grows so much and yet remains himself through it all. That portrayal means a lot to me, personally. ♥ Anyway, YOI focuses on Yuri Katsuki, who’s the top figure skater in Japan. Except he did really badly in a string of competitions and has decided to take a bit of a break — but then his skating idol, Victor Nikiforov, shows up in his town to be his coach. Yuri and Victor are the main characters, and they are so fantastic, but honestly every other character is also wonderful (except the ones who are fun to hate — shout-out to Chris and JJ!). This anime is just great on so many levels, and if you enjoy wonderful things, you should watch it.

Sword Art Online2 seasons / 49 eps — This one is pretty good. It’s about a virtual reality game set in a fantasy world, and the players all get trapped there. This wouldn’t be a big deal, but… if you die in the game, you die in real life. O_O SAO was the first anime I ever watched all the way through, thanks to bingeing it in its entirety before YOI S1 was done airing. The first half of the first season (which is the first story arc) was REALLY REALLY GOOD; the second half, I did not like; and the second season was sort of hit or miss — some eps were really good, some were meh. I’m still a superfan of the first arc, so I’d recommend that for sure; but if you watch it, go into it knowing that the rest… will not be as good.

Haikyu!!3 seasons (so far) / 60 epsHaikyu!! is currently tied with Yuri!!! on Ice for the title of my favorite anime. THIS SHOW IS EVERYTHING. If you watch anything from this post other than YOI, watch Haikyu. I’m obsessed. I’ve watched the first two seasons twice already, and I’m gearing up for another rewatch soon (I actually also just bought the manga that this anime is based on. I am in too deep, send help.) I love love love these volleyball nerds with the fire of a thousand suns, they are SO PRECIOUS TO ME I can’t even handle it. The friendships in this show are just amazing to watch grow and develop. Like YOI, Haikyu has an incredible, large cast of characters — if anything, Haikyu!! handles its large cast even better than YOI, but that might just be the product of its having more episodes out than YOI does, so far. There is something to love and adore about literally every single character (except Oikawa, he is pure evil — lol kidding, just seeing if Sydney is paying attention :P). Please, please, please watch this anime.

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A violent—and violently beautiful—book. | THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab

A violent—and violently beautiful—book. | THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab
This Savage Song
Monsters of Verity #1

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Release date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Source: Edelweiss
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads


Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

MyThoughts_v2

I’ve been putting off finishing this review for so long, you guys. This is a tough one. But not because I didn’t love it. It’s tough becuase I did love it. Way too much.

Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,

Sing you a song and steal your soul…

I first read This Savage Song back in December, and I fell completely head-over-heels for it. But like many books I love, This Savage Song is not easy to explain, and neither are my feelings about it. I tried writing down some vague notes after the first time I read it, but honestly? I was in such a state of “oh my god this book how why i just can’t ugh,” and those notes didn’t make much sense. So I re-read the book in May, hoping it would help clarify my earlier notes and give me a better idea how to express my feelings. …It didn’t. But what it did do is solidify my very firm belief that Victoria Schwab’s books are all incredible, and they just keep getting better and better. This Savage Song is no exception. It is phenomenal.

This Savage Song does so many things so, so well. This is a violent, and violently beautiful, book. There is a lot of darkness — it’s set in a city where violent acts create literal monsters — but the way that darkness contrasts with hope and light is just… achingly gorgeous. The writing is incredible, as well. Victoria Schwab strikes the perfect balance for me, between words that simply disappear in favor of the story, and beautiful prose that reaches out of the pages and grabs me and doesn’t let go.

Other than those constants in Schwab’s works, there are three other things I want to talk about that This Savage Song does so well: its characters, its emotions, and its message.

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“There were not quite words for it.” | Reflecting on THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater

“There were not quite words for it.” | Reflecting on THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King
The Raven Cycle #4

Written by: Maggie Stiefvater
Published by: Scholastic Press
Release date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 438
Source: Purchased
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads

* Synopsis has some spoilers for previous books in the series, but my review is spoiler-free! *

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

My Thoughts

Disclaimer: This “review” is spoiler-free for the entire series.
Also it’s not really a review. I just have a lot feelings.

 

When it comes to The Raven King, there are a lot of things I could talk about.

I could talk about its plot — how this book weaves every little detail from previous books together into something that is so remarkable, and so, so satisfying.

I could talk about the characters — how tangible they feel, how ridiculously over-invested I became in all of their stories. But it’s not just about the specific characters, either. There are moments when each and every character flawlessly displays these truths about how people and emotions work, truths that are so succinctly and effortlessly presented that it hurts.

I could talk about Maggie Stiefvater’s way with words — which is, as usual, incredible. The Raven Cycle‘s words will both delight you and cut you, deeply. There were moments when I grinned like an idiot, and moments (including nearly the entire last 20%, I’m not ashamed to admit it) when I was sobbing. And that’s not hyperbole. I mean literally sobbing.

I could talk about how, as the finale to a much-beloved series, The Raven King had a lot of expectations to live up to — and it did so. It really, really did.

I could also turn into a total fangirl and talk about my ships. (My shiiipssss.)

But I don’t want to get into those things in detail. Talking about details could get spoilery, and this series is one that you need to experience, beginning to end, in the right order. So, no details. No spoilers.

There’s just one thing I really want to talk about, which is: the reason for this post.

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Gunslinging heroine stars in a YA fantasy? MORE OF THIS PLEASE.

I received this book for free from Viking Juvenile. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Gunslinging heroine stars in a YA fantasy? MORE OF THIS PLEASE.
Rebel of the Sands
Rebel of the Sands #1

Written by: Alwyn Hamilton
Published by: Viking Juvenile
Release date: March 8th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.

My thoughts

THIS BOOK, YOU GUYS. This book was SO MUCH FUN. You all know how much I love a great fantasy, and I’ve been craving a fun “Wild West”-inspired book for quite some time. So when I read Rebel of the Sands, it was like getting the best of both worlds, and it was AMAZING. There are so many things to love about it — the plot and pacing (nonstop!), the worldbuilding (omg)… but most of all, of course, the characters. And especially Amani.

Amani is so fierce — and believably so. She had to grow into a tough young woman to survive in her town. She taught herself how to shoot, and she’s decided that her skills will get her out of her old life and into a better one. In the course of finding this new life, she gets caught up in a rebellion, and finds a purpose totally different from what she originally wanted, but it’s something she’s willing to fight for — and I loved this. Her goals broaden, from intensely personal to something that reaches beyond herself, and it was wonderful to watch.

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Tracking my TBR – March 2016

TrackingTBR
Last month: February 2016 | This month: March 2016

In Tracking my TBR, I look back on the prior month’s TBR progress; and, in this edition, I’m also featuring the books I’m currently reading, and a couple titles I’m most looking forward to picking up this month.


February was… ugh. So let’s jump right into it, shall we?

BOOKS READ IN FEBRUARY

A Gathering of Shadows Final Bands of Mourning CaptivePrince PrincesGambit KingsRising

Five books last month! One re-read, Bands; new reads were A Gathering of Shadows and the Captive Prince trilogy (AGOS was 5 stars, obviously; CP trilogy were 2.5, 3.5, and then 4 stars respectively).

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