End of Year Survey 2017

2017-book-survey

Oh hi, long time no see! I’ve been wicked busy these days, what with the end of the year and big life plans that I’m trying to see through to the end, so I haven’t had much time for blogging and stuff. But here we are with Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner’s 8th Annual End of Year Survey! I’ve done this survey the last few years, and in keeping with tradition, I’m doing it again! So let’s jump in.

P.S. All the banners are from her blog because I’m #lazy.

reading-stats-2017

Number Of Books You Read: 60+ (I’m counting all the chapters of comics, plus manga, plus novels I’ve read.)
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: Comics! Specifically web comics.

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1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

I picked up the Tokyo Ghoul series which is a SUPER awesome manga series! I still have the last two volumes to finish, though, as of this survey being posted lol

Oh, also Noragami. And King’s Maker. And I Love Yoo. So many good things. I can’t choose just one.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Deathnote. Okay, I still liked it, don’t get me wrong, but I just felt like there was SO much dialogue! Like… way more than I’m used to in manga.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

Hadome! I mean, it’s a series about a man who has a wicked foot fetish, and a girl who falls for that guy. Okay, that’s really oversimplified, but that’s the basics of what it is lol But it’s one of my favorite ongoing webcomics!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I recommend King’s Maker all the time because OMG IT’S SO GOOD. Blood and stabbing and betray and subtle boys’ love, and the ARTWORK? I can’t even.

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

Best series: Noragami

Sequel: Um. I have no idea, honestly.

Ender: Something About Us

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Go check out this post where I talk about a crap ton of my online reads because I love all of these people.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Hmm… I feel like I’ve read all things I’d want to read, so…

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Tokyo Ghoul! So action packed and so good. Also Blue Exorcist and Noragami.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Probably any of the manga I’ve read this year lol

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

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11. Most memorable character of 2017?

Ren from Blue Exorcist. I love him.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

I looooooved A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab! So goooood!

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

The Sun is Also a Star had a lot of topics I haven’t read about before. Also A Silent Voice manga!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

A Darker Shade of Magic, let’s be real.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”
― V.E. SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Shortest: Probably some webcomic I’ve read lol It would take too long to look through them all, and a lot are still ongoing.

Longest: A Dark Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

I’m trying to think of which one did but I’m not sure…

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

LET ME COUNT THE WAYS BECAUSE THERE’S SO MANY.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Yuki and Yato from Noragami

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Sun is Also a Star

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

*shows long list of webcomics* Thank you, Internet.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

Hmm… I don’t know that I have one.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

I Love Yoo, Siren, My Dear Cold-Blooded King, King’s Maker, Crushed

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I mean, I can literally see the worlds in the comics I read, and so many of them are incredible in their detail and color. My favorite is King’s Maker.

As for novel, I’m going with ADSOM.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Star x Fanboy IS THE CUTEST WEBCOMIC EVER AND YOU NEED TO READ IT NOW.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

None.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Out of Control

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Hmm…. this one’s hard. I don’t think I can actually pick anything for this one.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

A Guy Like You

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

At the End of the Road had a stupid ending. That’s all.

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

I don’t think I’ve actually seen any new ones this year.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

Well, I think my Summer Reading one is because it took me a million years to write with how much I put in it lol

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

Finally Fall Book Tag

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Love-a-thon 2017 – Get to Know Me

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

I discovered my love for comics and manga again, which has been amazing.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

Psh, what blogging life? I’ve barely blogged this year at all because I just haven’t had the motivation to and I just haven’t been able to read “books” to review and I just haven’t had anything to talk about. Plus I’ve distanced myself from the book community, so yeah.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Finally Fall Book Tag

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Eh, I’m fine with everything I think.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Not really a discovery, but I love going to Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA because it’s the only independent book store I know of in my state and it’s lovely.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Nope lol

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

Probably A Court of Wings and Ruin.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Umm… I’m not sure. Again, I haven’t been keeping up with book news much. OH. Maybe Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi.

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Not sure.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

I’m looking forward to the next book in the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

I’m not sure. I’m debating stopping blogging because this year I just haven’t been into it. So… TBD.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

N/A

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Beautiful Books 2017 | Introduce the Novel

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Hey peeps and welcome to Beautiful Books, hosted by the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up & Further In. What is Beautiful Books? It’s very similar to the monthly link up of Beautiful People, but this month it focuses on NaNoWriMo writing projects rather than specific characters in the novels. You obviously don’t have to be participating in NaNo in order to join; it can be any writing project. Click here or the picture to be taken back to the most recent Beautiful Books linkup page!

It’s time to talk about what I’m going to be writing this year and frankly… I needed this post because I’m still working out a few kinks in what I want to write and I’m just a mess. Ha.

Here’s the questions!

  1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
    • I’ve been wanting to write a character with dark powers since I started working on my NaNo novel last year. I had a character who was able to manipulate shadows and use darkness as a power, but it just didn’t fit right with the character and the world (of course I didn’t realize this until later on). And then… well, I wanted a way to cope with my depression, and so I decided to write about a character that uses darkness as a power, but this power controls her and consumes her (much like depression does with me). So… yeah.
  2. Describe what your novel is about!
    • Mahlia is unknown. She blends in with the crowd as much as possible and tries to just go through her day to day life without bothering anyone. But she has a secret that she can’t make known unless she wants to forfeit not only this life that she’s made, but also her freedom. If she keeps this secret any longer, though, it may just consume her – body and soul.
    • Vex is the third prince in line for the throne, and as such he gets away with pretty much whatever he can. As he was forced to choose between priesthood and the military, he decides to join the royal army alongside his second eldest brother. Fire courses through his veins just as it does through his second brother and his mother, but his magic is stronger, different, and one that could ignite a change he hadn’t expected.
    • In a world where elemental magic is abundant, the threat of war is upon the country of Arkin from their neighbors across the sea – Nyrrin, who craves their lands and their very prosperous resources. But these once comrades of Arkin come with weapons unlike that which Arkin has ever seen, and it could change the outcome of the war for the worse for Arkin.
  3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
  4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
    • Mahlia is a 19 year old apprentice to a weapons maker. She’s been under his care for the last six years and has been learning the ins and outs of how to make weapons suited for the person based on their power: swords that can hold fire for fire wielders so as to not melt the steel; bows and arrows for wind users that are both lithe and powerful and have secrets within them to carry farther than the average arrow; and so on. She has a good sense of humor and is often complimented on her smile. She loves to make others laugh and forget their worries because she knows what it’s like to be so down in darkness that looking for a light is near impossible. Her power is Darkness, a path from Spirit that is very dangerous and unknown to many. She wears gloves often because her hands are tainted with the black mark that signifies a Darkness user. As such, she rarely uses her power because it feels like a living thing, something that will consume her from the inside out – the marks on her hands prove that. She often has depressive episodes as a result, but she doesn’t often speak her mind when she’s in those moods because she doesn’t want to burden others.
    • Vex is a 23 year old prince, the youngest in the line of succession, and is a high spirited young man. He has three elder siblings: two brothers and a sister, and cares for each of them deeply. Family is very important to him and he couldn’t imagine his life without any of them, especially his second eldest brother, Maks, whom is also like a best friend to him. Vex is a Fire user like his brother and mother, and though their flames are strong, his seems to be stronger and he sometimes likes to show it off. He is part of the Royal Army, second to his brother, but he didn’t just earn the spot because of who he is, but he fought and earned his right to be there. He works alongside men and women who have varying powers and he views them as family. He has an easy going smile and attitude, but can be very serious when the situation calls for it.
    • Maks is the second eldest sibling of the four royal siblings at 28 years old. He has a good head on his shoulders and uses logic over emotions in almost all situations. He loves his family dearly and views his little brother as a comrade in arms as well as a friend. He is strong physically and in power, his flames very potent when used. He has a wife, Kema, who is 26 years old, and a two year old daughter named Camile.
    • Tilla is the only daughter of the four siblings and is 25 years old. She is very gracious and loving, but she’s also a fighter. She trained with her brothers with weapons from a young age with both of her parents’ blessings. But she much prefers being in dresses and being a woman of the court than being a soldier. She enjoys shopping and gossip, but she is also an artist and loves to paint and create. She is a Water user and her magic is fairly strong.
    • Berol is the eldest son of Arkin at 30 years old and is a Wood user. He is strong physically and in power and he has a good head on his shoulders. As he is the first heir to the throne, he has been trained in politics, military tactics, and general ruling of the country. He is married to his childhood friend, Sera, and they have three children ages 6, 4, and 1, two daughters and a son.
    • Geron is the king of Arkin and is a Water user who is incredibly strong in power and physically. He is a kind and generous king who truly cares for his people and family. His wife is Queen Sephie who is a Fire user, very powerful, and incredibly warm hearted. She is very family oriented and cares much for the people.
    • Serath is the master weapons maker that Mahlia has been training under and his bark is worse than his bite. He looks like a very bedraggled man in his late fifties, but there are hints of love and tenderness under his skin, especially when it comes to children and those close to him, like Mahlia. In public, though, he is all business and rarely smiles. He is a Metal user (surprise surprise).
    • Jaqar is the king of Nyrrin and a very strict ruler. He believes that power and money are the two things he needs most in life and because of this his view of the world has become warped in ways that have slowly been hurting his people more than helping them. He is an Ice user and is fairly strong in his power, but not strong enough.
    • Lucmer is the eldest son of Nyrrin at 27 years old and is much like his father, but crueler. He was trained under the sword from a very early age, and his power as an Ice user is one that would impress even the tribes living in the northern mountains. He is one that uses strategy and logic in many situations, but he also relies a lot on his power and brute force to get what he wants. He’s short tempered and one not to be crossed.
  5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
    • Cry a little. I’ve been trying to outline to make sure I have a loose plot that I want to follow. Once I figure out the main point of the story the rest should hopefully fall into place. Other than that, I get inspiration from other writers when they talk about their own work, and I read in the genre I want to write in to really get a grasp on how other writers write their stories and how I want mine to be, too.
  6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
    • Just seeing where it goes. I want the story to be about how Mahlia will conquer the darkness eventually, but it’s going to take a lot of trials and heartache to get there, and I don’t know if I’m ready for it. (Also the romance because I’m a super romantic at heart.)
  7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
    • Two countries are going to be at war with one another: Arkin, a prosperous country with lush fields, forests, and distant mountains with many homes and villages nestled together, where people come to start over; Nyrrin, a strong country with a thirst for gold and greed and power, with tall, stark buildings, crowded streets, and advancing weaponry.
    • Magic is abundant in both lands and across the world, and it’s elemental magic. As such, there are varying “branches” to the elemental magic, such as “Ice” is a branch under “Water.”
    • Many secrets to unlock (for me, too, let’s be real).
  8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
    • Mahlia’s ultimate goal is to conquer her own power from consuming her. She is what stands in her own way.
    • Vex’s ultimate goal is to make sure his country remains safe. Jaqar and Lucmer stand in his way.
  9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
    • Mahlia will most likely conquer her demons and feel like she can finally breathe again. But will she still have her freedom? That is the question.
    • Vex will go through a lot in the course of the story, and he might change a bit from what he was at the beginning, but one thing is certain: he won’t take life for granted anymore.
  10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
    • One theme is going to cover depression, and I’m going to do my best to make it #ownvoices because I’ve had depression for over 10 years now and I want to show what my depression is like through Mahlia. The Darkness is a symbol of that, but she’ll also have it.
    • Sacrifice is going to be another theme and one that I hope readers will understand that tough choices happen in life, especially in unforeseen circumstances.
    • Redemption is also going to be poignant because I want Mahlia to be able to overcome the Darkness and how strong of a hold it has on her.
    • Love is another theme, but not just romantic love. I want to also feature familial love because I just don’t see enough of it in books.
    • When the story is over I hope my readers feel a sense of connection with more than one character and that they, too, will find themselves in one of them.

That’s it for this month’s Beautiful Books! I’m very excited and nervous to start NaNoWriMo, but I honestly hope that it goes well and that this story is what I’ve been needing to write this whole time.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

Are you going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How many characters do you have? What are three points about your setting? How do you want readers to think about your story at the end?

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit 2017

NaNo-2017-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Hello beautiful people! Today is all about NaNoWriMo! If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, here’s a brief description: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a month long challenge that takes place every November and challenges you to write 50,000 words in the month. It’s a fun challenge and I’ve participated for several years, and this year is no different.

So I was watching some NaNo Prep videos on YouTube and came across some NaNo Survival Kits – essentially items that you can’t write your novel without during the event. I figured I’d share my own items that I know I couldn’t be without when it comes to NaNo, so here’s my list:

  • My laptop. I mean. Duh. How else am I going to write this novel? I’m certainly not going to handwrite it because ain’t nobody got time for that.
  • My USB thumb drive. I’ve had this same USB for years and years now, and it’s the second most important thing to me when it comes to writing. I save my story after every chapter that I write. I don’t want to lose any of my hard work in case anything happens to my laptop, so I save everything to this USB as a backup.
  • Music. I can’t really listen to music with actual lyrics when I’m writing unless I’m super focused because then my attention will be drawn to the music rather than what I’m working on, and that’s kind of not the goal. I listen to a lot of Lindsey Stirling and movie scores; pretty much anything classical in some way.
  • My NaNoWriMo scarf, hat, and mug. Okay, so these aren’t like super essential for the actual act of writing, BUT I still found these items to be super comfy when I was writing last year, and a little comfort whenever I looked at them because I’d think to myself, “I’m doing this for me and for something I’m passionate about.”

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  • A bottle of water. I don’t know about you, but I need to stay hydrated. I can sit for hours writing, sometimes writing over 1k words every half hour if I’m super into it, so I need to stay hydrated while my brain goes into overdrive.
  • Candy and/or snacks. Not the healthiest option here, but sometimes those little bits of sugar can really make or break when it comes to having enough energy to get out just that last paragraph to call it a day.
  • Writing space. Okay, I don’t know about you, but I can’t really write when I’m in a super distracting environment. I need a place where my brain can associate that when I’m in that space that it’s writing time. This year, I’m not sure where that will be. Maybe my desk, maybe my bed. Who knows? I just know I need that space.
  • My writing program of choice! Obviously I need this because how else am I going to write this novel? I’m most likely going to use Microsoft Word to write it, as I have for a long time now, and I’m fine with that. I write chapters in separate documents and keep planning in one and I have it organized in a way I understand. One day I might use Scrivener, but not right now.

And that’s it! I’m pretty easy to please, haha, but that’s really all I need for NaNoWriMo to survive it. I hope that each of my items help me survive, anyway.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What’s in your NaNo survival kit? Anything that you’d suggest that I add to mine? Are you excited for NaNo!?

Radiance Book Review

radianceTitle: Radiance
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Author: Grace Draven
Publisher: Grace Draven
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 297
Format: Kindle eBook

THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined. 

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE 

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light. 

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

I initially didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book. I had seen the cover pop up on Amazon and I thought it was going to be another cheesy, trashy romance novel. I didn’t even bother reading the synopsis before jumping into reading a sample – and immediately being hooked to the story.

This story features two races: the Gauris, who are human, and the Kai, an ancient non-human race with gray skin, black claws, and lamplight yellow eyes. A Gauri girl – one raised in a noblewoman’s position but one of little importance – is married off to one of the Kai – the second born prince, one who is unimportant as his older brother has already secured his place for the throne and has several sons to rule after him. The two are repulsed that they have to marry the other as each race finds the other revolting in looks and customs alike, but when Ildiko and Brishen meet unsuspectingly that they were to later wed, the two have a connection of sorts that later comes into play in a great way.

Ildiko and Brishen have a very slow burn romance as they don’t expect anything from each other at first, and instead find good friends in each other at first, talking to one another, picking on each other as friends do, and I think that was so sweet to see at first. As time passed and the two faced different kinds of trials together (such as dinner with Brishen’s mother), their feelings for each other grew into more than just friends, and eventually those first opinions they had on one another’s appearance – of Ildiko think Brishen looked like an eel, and Brishen thinking Ildiko looked like a hag – changed and they saw the beauty in each other physically, yes, but mostly through their personalities and morals and I thought that was a breath of fresh air to read about. It felt natural and progressive and I highly appreciated it.

As for the rest of the story, there were politics, some action scenes, and little hints of what was to come in the next novel, and I felt that the story was fast-paced, but not so fast-paced that we missed out on anything. I do, however, wish there were more action scenes and that some scenes had been expanded, but then maybe it would have taken away from the magic of it all.

I felt that both Ildiko’s and Brishen’s characters were mature, but I kind of wished to see more of them develop and whatnot. Ildiko was proper, quick-witted, and kind. She always was above the expectations of the Kai, much to their surprise, and I liked that about her. She was stubborn enough to always try and not give up, but not so stubborn that she made poor decisions in the heat of the moment. Brishen was so unlike his parents, which was nice because his parents aren’t the greatest, and had a sense of humor, and a caring compassion for his fellow Kai and Ildiko. I found that they melded well together and that I craved to see more interactions between them.

Though this book was sort of a quick read, I found that I could really dive into the world and really feel for the characters. I’m already reading the second book and let me tell you: I’m getting the action I craved from the first.

If you haven’t picked up Radiance yet, I highly recommend you do if you’re looking for a slow-burn romance set in a fantasy world.

I rated this book 4.5/5 stars.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Shapeshifters

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by the lovely Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes.

Here’s today’s topic:

October 18th: Books Featuring [paranormal creature of your choice]
–Here is the previously mentioned paranormal creature topic. This topic will revolve around one type of paranormal creature of your choice. So books featuring vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, demons, fae, zombies, etc.

This seems like a fun topic so let’s jump right into it! In no particular order:

5. Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

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This series has so many paranormal, mythical, magical beings in it, it’s like seriously a free-for-all when it comes down to it. But the shapeshifters I was thinking of were the werecats and other people who can shift into different animals, like Curran who can transform into a lion. It’s a really good adult urban fantasy series so far so I definitely recommend it.

4. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

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Now I know there are shapeshifters in some of these books. I just can’t remember which books and characters haha! But either way, this series has a lot of different magical creatures so take your pick.

3. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

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There’s one character whom I really like that’s a shapeshifter and she kicks ass! She’s very fierce and I love how she really embraces her nature in later books.

2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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Okay, I’m really only talking about Wolf here, but he’s still a shapeshifter sorta kinda, okay? Plus he’s awesome, so there’s that, too.

1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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I remember there being one instance of a shapeshifter so far, but there are SO many mysteries in this series and I think there could be a lot more surprises ahead.

Let’s Chat! ^w^

What books do you recommend with shapeshifters in them? What are some of your favorite and least favorite paranormal creatures?