Winter 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

Oh man, I haven’t done one of these in….forever. How do they even work again? lol

Well, even though I haven’t been reading a ton of books in the last two years or so, I’ve been keeping up with webcomics and other things, and so I wanted to talk about the various comics, manga, and books I’ve read this past winter!

So, here’s all the things I read between December-ish/January-March 2020!

Webtoons

A sexy supernatural story about being out on your own, finding your dream apartment and discovering that your new place is haunted by a handsome spectral stranger from another dimension. Sure, HE can’t see you and YOU can’t touch him, but who said every relationship starts out perfectly?

Let’s start off with this lovely gem: Freaking Romance by Snailords. Oh. Man. If you want hilarious content with beautiful artwork and a great story, check this series out! It’s supremely my sense of humor so I was DYING laughing at a lot of the things said, especially by the main female character, Zylith. Hil. Ar. I. Ous. But not only that, it’s a story involving time travel, different kinds of love, toxicity, life, college, and a whole bunch of stuff. Trust me, it’s worth the read. As of right now, it’s completed through season two, with season three on the way for later this year. Plenty of episodes to binge!

★★★★★

Edith is not your typical heroine. She struggles with her confidence, her morals, and life in general by not only holding herself to high standards, but her men as well. Enter two less-than-perfect men: one who may be the Prince Charming she’s been waiting for to deliver a fairy tale ending, the other a brash reality check who does NOT believe in happily-ever-after. What will Edith do? Will she sacrifice her standards? Or keep searching for that mythical white knight who may or may not exist in the first place? Funny, messy and sexy, Edith’s journey is relatable to anyone who’s ever left their heart on the battlefield of the dating world.

Edith by Swansgarden has a unique drawing style, which drew me into the story in the first place. Though I still need to continue it (as of writing this post I’m on episode 29), but what I’ve read so far has an interesting dynamic that I feel a lot of people can relate to. Not only does it explore a toxic and kind of manipulative relationship, but also depression, anxiety, bullying, and other strong topics. If you want an enticing read with sides you don’t know to choose from, check this webtoon out!

★★★☆☆

The Great Prophet Godo has a place for everyone in his perfect society… so long as you aren’t a failure. Itshou is living a diligent and sheltered life when she suddenly finds herself denounced and marked for exile. While her beliefs are shaken to their very core, a chance encounter with a childhood sweetheart derails Itshou’s banishment and puts her on the path to political uprising. Now facing down the same forces she once trusted to protect her, Itshou must untangle the web of lies at the heart of her city and unmask the Shadow Prophet.

As of writing this post, I’ve only read the first two chapters of The Shadow Prophet, BUT the art style and story? VERY gripping so far. It’s like a science fiction dystopia (which, by definition, dystopian stories are usually….science fiction… anyway) with hope sprinkled in it. Even though I’m only two chapters in, something happens at the end of chapter two that I saw coming, BUT I’M STILL MAD ABOUT IT. That’s how you know you have good characters and a good story building, haha! As of writing this post, there’s only 12 episodes out, but check it out!

No rating, as I haven’t read enough to gauge it yet.

What happens when your entire life is ruled by a prophecy – your future foretold by people you’ve never met, who died long before you were born. Such is the story of two young sea creatures. One believed to be a guiding light for his people, a Beacon who will lead them to a bright, prosperous future. The other is a teenage prince for who’s destiny is to KILL the Beacon so that HIS own people might thrive. When both reject the course set for them, it leads to a raucous adventure as big and unpredictable as the ocean itself – and a romance that nobody could have predicted.

LET ME JUST GUSH ABOUT CASTLE SWIMMER, YOU GUYS. This is a boys love series, and it’s just. So. CUTE. But it’s not the story I was expecting either, because though there were plenty of funny moments (some of the queens are literal memes), there was also an undercurrent of a more serious tone that involved the prophecy of the shark clan and just how the prophecy was supposed to go. It was actually really great, and had a few good messages in it to take away from it, so I highly recommend this. The second season just started recently, so go check it out!

★★★★★

Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories — The Taking of Persephone — as it’s never been told before.

Lore Olympus is an ongoing series that I’ve been keeping up with since it left Canvas and got onto the big scene on Webtoon. I’ve done a review about it before, but let me just say that I still highly enjoy this series, and if you enjoy mythology and different takes on it, then definitely check this comic out! It’s got romance, humor, hardships, and more. The art and story are really good.

And just remember, the author does, in fact, state that she knows it’s not the exact retelling, but her retelling. So some of the characters might act differently than their actual god counterpart (such as Apollo). Tis just another story!

★★★★★

Getting crushed by your crush. Coming out to your parents. Learning that your sister is your biggest dating rival. High school sure does have its share of twists, turns and moments of high drama. To get through it all with your smile and sanity intact, you’re going to need some friends. Really good friends. Friends like Johnny, Mariel, Gaby and Martina who, one way or another, will find a way to get through their teenage years together.

I’ve talked about The Four of Them before, and it’s still one of my favorite long term series I’ve been keeping up with. It’s a great coming-of-age story about four (technically five) teens who are all going through various life things that many teens experience (love, sexual identity, school, etc). There’s supportive side characters and parents, and just a great story so far. Go check it out!

★★★★★

With a dead sister and 25 years to go on her soulmate timer, Anya decides to cryogenically sleep away her problems. Too bad she wakes up to an apocalypse full of them. Now stuck in a burnt out landscape full of killers, Anya must decide which she wants to keep: her heart or her head.

In the Bleak Midwinter is a newer series, and I’m so glad I found it because WOW is it good! Not only does each chapter have music that perfectly fits the scenario that the main character is going through (and just the overall tone of the chapter), but the artwork is also lovely, and the story’s plot seriously just drew me in. It’s science fiction, and like the synopsis saying, she wakes up 25 years later to…well, let’s just say: a difficult situation. Though there are only four chapters out as of the writing of this post, I highly recommend checking it out!

No rating as there’s not enough chapters for me to gauge, but it’s definitely a great read so far!

Ever since her parent’s funeral, Florette seems to only find solace in her flower shop and garden. Her love for nature is tested when she meets a tiny plant prince from a miniature plant world. With the “invaders” threatening his plant kingdom, Florette finds her calling to help save the world and its people. Could it be her botanist skills, or is there a bigger connection between Florette and the Kingdom of Soleil?

I’m not sure if I talked about Soleil before, but it’s SUCH a cute series stylistic-wise, but it also has a good plot that involves the world of plants, and how that world is dying due to the “invaders.” There’s magic in it, and I’m interested to see more of this because even though, at the point I’ve read to (chapter 18), I want to see more and how it not only affects the Kingdom of Soleil, but also how it’s going to affect the outside world. It’s a good series so far, so check it out if you’re interested! (And seriously, the cutest art style uwu)

★★★★☆

Dogged by pain and misfortune from the very beginning, Shin-Ae decides she wants nothing to do with people nor anything to do with romance. Although content with her unsocial, boring, loveless existence, her lifestyle is challenged after she ruins an unsuspecting strangers’ clothes.

I’ve definitely talked about I Love Yoo before, but I’m here to let you know that I’m still reading this series very faithfully. There’s plenty of drama in it (as it is…a drama…) and there’s even soft little moments of romance that have happened since I last talked about this series, as well as a whole slew of other things that have been happening. Oh man. But I’m still glad that the series is going because it was supposed to end at episode 100 originally, but clearly not so much as we’re up to 119 as of writing this post. If you want some drama, pretty boys, a love square(?), and some great funny moments, check out this webtoon!

★★★★★

After hearing the devastating news about her condition, Ayane Konno, 29 y/o who is at the height of her writing career, knew that she was fighting a losing battle for her life. Instead of being struck by sadness, she accepted her fate and decided to live out the remainder of her life doing the things that she loves and the experiences that she wishes to make memories of. She then met someone who would accompany her on her journey and paint the short story of her life with pastel-colored pages.

Pastel-Colored Pages is one I haven’t gotten too far into yet, but I wanted to mention it because the art style very much reads and looks like a manga would! I do think it goes in the comic style format of reading left to right, and not right to left, but the story so far is very good. A writer gets diagnosed with terminal cancer, and a young man who’s beaten up on the street ends up staying with her. I can’t give too much of my thoughts because I’ve only read the first two chapters so far, but check it out!

No rating as I haven’t read enough to gauge it yet.

In school, Tooru is known as “The Prince”. He’s smart, popular, and can have anyone he wants. So why is it that he can’t think of anyone but Yamamoto, the plainest, dullest guy in the entire school?

I’ve definitely talked about Plain Boy & Prince before, but it’s a boys love story with a lot of cheesy jokes and classic tropes that just make me chuckle a lot. I’m really enjoying it, though, as it brings me a lot of happiness. If you’re looking for some light-heartedness in these trying times, check it out!

★★★★☆

The King is back. With the defeat of his father, Wolfgang Goldenleonard has achieved all that he’s sought — the love of Shin Soohyuk, the power of the throne, and vengeance over the kingdom’s tyrannical ruler. But, Soohyuk, a “possession” of the former king, views their rocky relationship as one of war trophy and victor, despite Wolfgang showering him with affection. As uncertainty grows in the royal courts, forces beyond their control are preparing a second coup d’etat. Will these two be able to keep a grasp on the throne and on each other?

YA’LL. Do you KNOW how EXCITED I was when I discovered that my favorite comic series from a couple years ago is CONTINUING!? Pumped. Stoked. Hyped. King’s Maker: Triple Crown is the sequel to the first season of this comic in which we continue to follow Wolfgang and Shin, and now that Wolfgang is king, all of the troubles that come along with that.

This second season so far (which is on a different website than it used to be, by the way), has had a lot of dangers for the main protagonists, as well as some laughs with the side characters. I’m excited to continue and see what happens because there’s a lot of different sides to keep track of and try to figure out, and I love iiiiiit.

If you want to check out the first season of King’s Maker, here’s the link!

★★★★★

I THINK… those are all of the webcomics I want to talk about that I’ve been keeping up with. Whew. That was more than I thought, haha!

Manga

The meeting between Takane and Hana ends in an explosive manner, and Hana is convinced that she’ll never have to see that awful Takane again. But Takane actually seems interested in Hana! Exasperated by Takane’s immature attitude, yet amused and intrigued despite herself, Hana wonders if her hilarious rivalry with Takane just might lead to love!

Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu is a story that involves an age-gap romance, so if you’re uncomfortable with that at all, then probably skip this one, but it’s a comedy romance that has a sassy main female protagonist, and a rough-cut rich male protagonist, and let me tell you, their dynamic? Perfectly hilarious. I read the first three volumes at the behest of my best friend, and I really enjoyed them. They’re very funny and I find myself wanting to continue the series eventually!

★★★★☆

“I’ve met you and my world changed in a heartbeat.” The pure love story of a hearing-impaired woman and a man who travels the world.

Yubisaki and Renren by Suu Morishita is a sweet comic with lovely artwork of a hearing-impaired woman who’s going to college, and of a stranger she meets one day on the train – who also goes to the same college. There’s a lot of sweet moments between them so far, as I’ve only read the first volume, but it’s very enjoyable. I can’t wait for more because I want to see where it goes. I’m not sure if I trust the male protagonist yet, and it looks like there will be a childhood romance aspect, as well as a side romance, but I’m interested to see what happens. AND the story include Japanese Sign Language, which is cool to see in manga form! I’m even learning a few signs for things like “eat” and “cute.” It’s very neat!

★★★★☆

That’s it for the manga! Not a lot, but that’s okay. More shall be read this year, I’m sure.

Books

I’ve done a full review of this book, but Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor was one I started many months ago, put it down, and picked back up and knew what was happening after not having read it for so long. It was such a great story with romance, fantasy elements, heartache and heartbreak, death, revenge and vengeance, hope, sorrow, and more. I love Laini Taylor’s writing so much, and I’m so glad I read this. I’m going to have to pick up the sequel sometime this year because that ending!

★★★★★

I’ve done a full review of this book, but once again, Elle Kennedy did a fantastic job with this steamy new adult book. It’s the third standalone in the Briar U arc, and we follow two new characters, Hunter and Demi, as they go through college, play hockey, deal with some relationship and rebound things, as well as a darker matter all together. An overall good story that I enjoyed.

★★★★☆

I’ve done a full review of this book, but Rick Riordan’s sequel in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series continued to exceed my expectations with the series, for sure! This is really the only middle grade series I’ve picked up (as of writing this post), and it’s my first read through of the series in general, so I’m absolutely loving it! It’s fun, action-packed, and I love seeing the characters grow older and the different struggles they have to face – not just by outside sources, but also within themselves. A great sequel and I can’t wait to continue!

★★★★☆


That’s it! That should be everything I’ve been reading and keeping up with these last few months. It’s crazy to think I’ve been reading as much as I have, and also how I’m picking up newer reads, too. I’ve missed this, truly. Webcomics are great (especially when you’re dealing with a lot of emotional and mental things and just need visual stimulation to help ease it), but I miss reading a book and allowing my imagination to take over.

I enjoy doing these quarterly wrap-ups, too, so expect more of these in the future!

Have you read any of these webcomics? Do any of the ones I listed interest you? What about the books, have you read any of them? What are your thoughts? What was your favorite story you read this winter? Let me know in the comments!

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse | Book Review

Title: The Titan’s Curse
Series: Percy Jackson & the Olympians #3
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: May 5, 2007
Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy, Mythology
Pages: 312
Format: Kindle eBook

IT’S NOT EVERYDAY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN COMBAT WITH A HALF-LION, HALF-HUMAN.

But when you’re the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive…

As this is the third book in the series, there might be spoilers!

Oh man, this series is SO fun to read! Why didn’t I read these before? Haha, anyway, I found myself enjoying this third installment quite a bit. It was just as fast-paced and action-packed as the first two, but I found myself seeing Percy and his friends starting to mature as they get older with each book, starting to grow into their young teenage years. So not only do they have to face the monsters, gods, and other such things in their environment, but they also are starting to really come into their own and to discover more about themselves.

This particular book follows Percy, Thalia, and two Hunters who are usually hunting with the goddess Artemis: Bianca and Zöe, in their journey to not only save Artemis, but also Annabeth.

It felt like Percy was dealing with a lot more inner turmoil and emotions in this one than the last two. Being left alone or cast out, depending on where he was, he definitely seemed lonely a lot of the time. But through that, there was a determination to help his friend Annabeth, to save her from wherever fate might have taken her.

Thalia – who used to be a tree thanks to her father, Zeus, who changed her into one so as to save her life – is navigating her own feelings on her father, as well as her own situation and whether or not she fits into a prophecy told about a child of the three big gods betraying them. Though we see everything through Percy’s eyes, I still felt a sense of anger and frustration of Thalia at her decisions, and how she makes an ultimate decision so as to not be the one spoken of in the prophecy – which I thought was very mature for her to decide.

Bianca, and her younger brother, Nico, were such a mystery in the book, but when the reveal happened as to who they were, I had guessed it just before I read it. It was still shocking, but oh man, I wonder if and how they’ll return and how the situation could play out in the future. Although, I’m sad about Bianca, but also I found her to be very selfish in leaving her brother behind to join the Hunters, but… Ah, I don’t know what else I can say on that because of what happened to her in the desert.

And then Zöe. Oh man, I thought she was very mature for her “age,” though, to be fair, she was thousands of years old at that point. I didn’t quite understand the hostility between her and Thalia, though it was explained eventually later on, but I still thought that maybe they could have gotten along more. However, I did almost cry at the end with what happened to her because I really grew to really like her, and I wanted to know even more about her past, but I don’t think we’ll get any more than what we got.

And of course there were new villains to face in this story – a manticore, as well as a god who helped the Titans long, long ago – and it was interesting to see how it played out! I actually really liked the villains, in terms of villainry, and I’m interested to see if the betrayer god will make another appearance later on.

Overall, the plot was fast-paced, and it included a couple of twists I wasn’t expecting, as well as a few that I was. I found this particular installment to be really good, and probably my favorite of the series so far. There was a lot more at stake in this book, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for Percy and the crew because I’m sure, especially after that ending, that there’s going to be a lot more trouble for the young teens to go through.

★★★★☆

Get to Know the Fantasy Reader | Tag

Hello lovely people! Today I have a fun tag that I saw on Sam’s channel on Thoughts on Tomes. The original creator of this tag, Bree of Falling for Romance, created the tag to get to know the romance reader, but the questions here were tailored more toward those who read fantasy (which I do lol). So, let’s jump right into the tag, shall we?

1 . What is your fantasy origin story? (How you came to read your first fantasy novel)

Oh man, I have to think way back. Unlike many people my age (late twenties), my first fantasy read wasn’t Harry Potter or Percy Jackson (both of which I’m reading for the first time now, in my twenties). I think for me it was a collection of some fairy tales such as Rumpelstiltskin, The Old Lady in the Shoe, etc. I can’t for the life of me remember who this particular collection was by, but it should still be at my parents’ house somewhere.

But, in much further memory, the first fantasy/paranormal book that really pulled me into the genre was A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. It was on the reading list for that year’s summer reading and, admittedly, the only time I actually did summer reading and enjoyed it. I mean, it’s hard to get high schoolers to actually read something off of those lists, let me tell you, so to say I’m glad it was on her list is an understatement.

It was the first young adult novel I read where I was actually hooked on the story and the characters and wanted to learn so much more about them. I still have the book and hope to do a reread of it sometime this year or soon to see if I’ll still enjoy it, but it has a special place in my heart as the first fantasy-esque book that sent me off on my current journey today.

2. If you could be the hero/heroine in a fantasy novel, who would be the author and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?

Oh man, Laini Taylor, hands down. I’d love to be written beautifully into one of her worlds – new or old. She’s an incredibly poetic author and I love her books and worlds so much.

As for a trope I’d insist being written into the story… Ooh, I know: give me that enemies-to-friends-to-lovers trope. I love iiiiiiiit~

3. What is a fantasy you’ve read this year, that you want more people to read?

I mean, considering at the time of writing this post I’ve only read one fantasy novel so far this year, and that’s Strange the Dreamer (which I loved, spoiler alert), I definitely want more people to read it. It’s beautiful and so complex and intriguing. Go check out my review for more mushy feelings about it.

BUT, I do have a few fantasy-esque webtoons/comics I can definitely recommend!

4. What is your favorite fantasy subgenre? What subgenre have you not read much from?

My favorite fantasy subgenre is probably high/epic fantasy. I love to be immersed in new worlds, magic systems, political systems, and just all manner of things. And the books and series are usually super huge, so I can stay with those characters for a lot longer, which is nice.

The subgenre I haven’t read much from is probably grim dark. I’m the kind of person that enjoys reading about happy things and really loves fluff. Not that I mind reading the darker stuff, I just don’t like it when it’s all encapsulating in the novel. But sometimes the darkness of my soul needs to be fed, so.

5. Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?

Laini Taylor

I was just going to move onto the next question, but I guess I’ll elaborate a little lol I just love her worlds and the way she writes. I feel like I can taste and feel and sense what her characters do, and I get so attached and want to know what will happen next. She’s just a fantastic writer and I look forward to her work.

6. How do you typically find fantasy recommendations? (Goodreads, Youtube, Podcasts, Instagram..)

Ah, well, because I pulled back a lot from the book community in the last year, I haven’t actually been getting a lot of recommendations (which is fine, my TBR appreciates it), but typically through YouTube or just browsing sites like Amazon or WEBTOON.

7. What is an upcoming fantasy release you’re excited for?

The Stormlight Archives book 4, Rhythm of War, by Brandon Sanderson. I mean, I know I’ve only finished the first book in the series – Way of Kings – but it’s one of my new favorite series of all time, so of COURSE I’m excited for this book, even if it takes another five years to get to it, but by that time, the fifth book will have come out, so it all evens out haha!

8. What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?

Not all GOOD fantasy books are written by white, straight, male authors. There are many female writers who write amazing worlds, stories, characters, scenes, etc.

9. If someone had never read a fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?

Oh man. This is a tough question because 1) every book I ever read would cease to exist in my mind, and 2) I’d need to know their own reading tastes and such before telling them, but these three are ones I think I’d recommend:

10. Who is the most recent fantasy reading content creator you came across that you’d like to shoutout?

I don’t think I have any new ones, but I’ll shoutout some of my favorites:

And that’s it for the tag! If you’d like to do this, please feel free to do so, and let me know if you do!

What’s one fantasy book/series you’d recommend anyone? Let me know!

Strange the Dreamer | Book Review

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

You know, I started reading this book what feels like forever ago, and I put it down not because I was bored with it or anything – quite the opposite! – but because I was in a reading slump of sorts. Now that I picked it back up and finished it over the last two or three days, I’m SO glad I did because WOW, was this a great book.

Laini Taylor never ceases to amaze me with her works. She is one of my favorite authors, and this book definitely showed me why. The writing, of course, was elegant and poetic in many different ways. She has a way of describing feeling and the human emotion in such depth that it makes you feel like you’re experiencing what that character experiences, rather than just sitting back and watching it happen.

Among those well-written words are the characters and the plot of the story, both of which I feel are both dynamic as they are complex. The story unfolds in a fantasy world (though it feels a lot like Earth), with gods who lived among the people, great creatures that could tear a person apart, and many mysteries that have yet to be revealed. The world itself felt very large, but also very small, given most of it is told from Lazlo’s point of view (as well as several others).

Besides that, the characters themselves had such varying histories behind them that I felt drawn to learn more about each one. Lazlo, an orphan made librarian, seemed like such a dreamer that he felt very naive and new to much of the world. I loved his love for stories and how he would often describe the world around him as something very poetic and beautiful.

Sarai felt so troubled, so tired, and I felt like I could feel how tired she was. She was holding onto old anger that she no longer held in her heart, but a curiosity that was sparked in kind thanks to Lazlo and his dreams.

The other godspawn, as they’re called – Minya, Ruby, Feral, and Sparrow – had all such distinct characteristics and personalities, and powers. They each felt real and had their own share of problems, worries, etc.

Among other characters, such as Eril-Fane and Azareen, who share horrible pasts due to the gods, there was one that stood out a lot that I felt frustrated with but also very intrigued by: Thyon Nero. He’s the son of a king and queen who were losing their kingdom, until one day, Thyon managed to turn things into gold. But he has a lot of secrets, and a bad personality, but I can’t say that I don’t want to see more of what he’s capable of.

The story to save Weep – the town whose name was stolen – is one of adventure and many questions and uncertainties. I could feel the sorrow of the city even in the small bits and glimmers we got through the other characters.

Honestly, this book was so wonderfully done. If you’re looking for a book with fantastical elements, deep emotions explored, dark pasts, and hopeful futures, then you’d enjoy this novel.

★★★★★

The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender | TBR

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! I know I’ve been absent for a while, but I’m attempting during these trying times to kickstart my love of reading novels once more with my first readathon of the year!

This is The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender, hosted by Rachel Marie on YouTube!

Last year I participated in The Bookie Trials as a Mage, going across the Queendom to read the books in my challenge group as much as possible. Though I did not complete my quest, I still had a blast and am excited to be joining this 48 hour readathon.

This particular weekender readathon is coming up this weekend, March 28-29, 2020.

I also must let you know, that I am not a Mage this time around, as I took the newer quiz that came out over the winter and am, in fact, a BARD! I am very excited to be joining this group of lively people, storytellers, musicians, poets, and orators, and setting off on the quest to earn my Honor Badges throughout the weekend while I read a book or two on my TBR.

What are on these honor badges? Well, the goal is to earn the eight badges during the weekend – four for everyone, four based on your team – and to be an Honorable Person of the Queendom.

Bard badges of honor (top) and badges everyone can earn.

Let’s start with the badges that everyone can earn first, shall we?

  • Oath Maker: Shared Your TBR – The first badge is one that I’ve earned just by sharing this post with my TBR! I’ve made an oath as a Bard to read the book(s) I’ve set out for this Royal Weekender, and I’m sticking to it/them!
  • Tournament Ready: Joined a Competition – This second badge is for joining one of the competitions on Twitter during the weekend. This is separate from the next badge, Power Surge.
  • Power Surge: Completed a 2 Hour Sprint – During the weekend, there will be a couple two hour sprints where each team – Bards, Outlaws, Magi, and Scribes – will compete against one another to read as many pages as they can within those two hours.
  • Tome Champion: Completed a Book – You’ve done it! You’ve managed to complete one book this weekend. Congratulations, you’ve earned this badge of honor!

Now let’s talk about the Bardic Badges that I shall gain this weekend~

  • Superior Inspiration: Read a Retelling – Pretty self-explanatory, this badge is for reading a book based on a retelling! The retelling can be one as old as time, or as new as the day is young.
  • Song of Joy: Dance with Your Eyes Closed – This is a self-care badge that has nothing to do with a book, but rather to look after yourself during the weekend. Each team has their own specific ones, and this one is perfect for the bards to let loose and have fun.
  • Soft Heart: Cinnamon Roll Character – This is for all of the uwu’s to be had, as this one focuses on all of the soft characters that you find in novels. Ones that you just want to squish their cheeks and protect with your life.
  • Simple Soul: An Illustrated Cover – Who doesn’t enjoy looking at pretty things? A beautiful illustrated cover is just the thing to be had. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if one person finds it beautiful, and another doesn’t, that’s okay.

And now, for the TBR!

As this is only a 48 hour weekend, I want to keep my choice(s) simple. Oh, a few things to mention: yes, one book can satisfy all of the prompts! Yes, you can read a graphic novel, manga, audiobook, ebook, comic, etc. So with that, I am choosing…

Percy Jackson and the Olympians III: The Titan’s Curse

I started reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series for my first time as an adult back in 2018. I had never given it a go, but I decided to on a whim one day and found that I really enjoyed it! It’s such a fun, fast-paced series about a boy who doesn’t seem to fit in at any of the schools he’s attended, until one day things go a little crazy and he’s suddenly being attached by a mythical creature – thus beginning his journey and discovering just who, and what, he is, and so I want to continue it with the third installment in the series.

So, for the badges, this book hits all three!

  • Superior Inspiration: This book is a retelling about the Greek gods in a modern day setting!
  • Soft Heart: The cinnamon roll is totally Grover. He’s adorable and I want to protect him.
  • Simple Soul: I mean, look at that cover! Definitely illustrated, as is the whole series. And this one is really cool looking!

I’m only choosing one book that I’ll actually be focusing on for this readathon, BUT I do have a… “few” more that I’ll at least start if I have the time and energy to do so, and they are:

My Hero Academia, volumes 1-6 by Kohei Hoshitori

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…

I started watching My Hero Academia when it first began airing a few years ago and instantly fell in love with the characters and the series. It even inspired me to create some of my own original characters that could fit into the world! It’s action-packed, gripping, funny, and a lot of fun.

Bonus Points: There’s several cinnamon roll characters (Deku, Ochako, Iida, Kirishima, etc.), as well as super illustrated covers as they’re manga.

So if I have the time and energy to do so, I’ll read these first six volumes since I have yet to do so – and I own volumes 1-15!

As for the self-care prompt, I have a whole playlist on my phone called “Jam” and I fully plan on listening to that while closing my eyes and just jamming out to some of my favorite tunes, letting go of some of the stress and sadness the world has been feeling lately – at least for a little while.


Alas, my dear friends, this is where this Bard’s introduction and TBR comes to a close! I hope that this fun little weekender readathon inspires you to join not only this weekend, but also the bigger event set to take place this summer in July.

Are you joining in the Royal Weekender? Which team are you representing? What’s one book you hope to read during that time?