♥ The Book Love Tag! ♥

So, I’ve seen this tag in a few places recently, and I wasn’t tagged for it, but I decided to do it anyway, since it’s Valentine’s Day, and it looked like fun (mostly the “fun” part, though). This tag was created by Anette from Anette Reads, and I first stumbled across it on Cátia’s blog, The Girl Who Read Too Much.

1) Your favourite book couple:

There are a lot of pairings that I really like, but I don’t really have any absolute favourites… My favourite pairing at any given time tends to be the one I liked most in whatever book I’m currently reading, or have just read and am obsessing over. ^^’

A few that have stuck with me, however: Vin & Elend from the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon SandersonCelaena & Chaol from Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series; and, of course, Ron & Hermione from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, which I’m sure many people count among their OTPs. 😉

2) Your top 3 book boyfriends/girlfriends:

I… don’t really have any. ❓ There are a lot of characters in the books I read that I really love as love interests, but I’d rather ship them with other characters than with myself… I did at one point have the hugest crush on Briar from Tamora Pierce’s Emelan books, though. (Okay, maybe I still do. 😳 )

3) Imagine your favorite book couple. Who would propose, and how? (If there’s already been a proposal: who would be more into organising the wedding?)

Sticking with the couples I mentioned in question 1:

  • Vin & Elend – Elend, and Elend. Or at least, if they’d had a wedding in the conventional sense. 😉
  • Celaena & Chaol – Hmm… Chaol would propose, and I think they’d organise it together. Celaena would take charge of most of the aesthetic things – like where the wedding would be, how to decorate, and what the bridesmaids would wear, etc – while Chaol did the boring things like actually arranging these things. And vetoing Celaena’s more outrageous suggestions (or trying to, at least).
  • Ron & Hermione – I feel like Ron was probably the one who proposed, though not without significant prodding. And I expect that Hermione (and Molly!) did most of the work of actually planning the wedding.

4) Unpopular opinions time! Name a popular pairing you can’t stand.

I sense that this opinion will be very unpopular, but: Percy & Annabeth in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. 😳 I actually dislike most of the pairings in Rick Riordan’s books (with the surprising exception of Leo & Calypso in The Blood of Olympus); I just don’t think he writes romance very well…

I also really disliked the romance between Celaena & Rowan in Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (and not just because I’m a Chaolaena girl!). The dynamic between them (which was a big part of why I loved Heir of Fire so much), was just completely altered, and not for the better.

5) What’s your favorite and least favorite romance trope?

There are so many romantic tropes that it’s difficult to pick favourites, and I can like most tropes, if I feel they’re done well… But, in the interest of actually having an answer to this question… I’m quite fond of arranged marriages, and forbidden love, and I usually dislike insta-love and love triangles. I just come across them way too often. :/

6) Do you ship non-canon couples often? Name some if you do.

I actually sometimes get more invested in non-canon couples than in canon ones, because I put so much energy into rooting for them. Some of the ones I feel most strongly about (and have for a while) are: Sansa & Sandor (from A Song of Ice & Fire by George R.R. Martin); Arya & Gendry (also from ASoIaF); Will & Brân (from Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence); Kuroko & Aomine (from the Kuroko no Basuke manga by Tadatoshi Fujimaki); and Gabriel & Nathan (from Sally Green’s Half Life trilogy).

7) Your opinion on love triangles. Go!

They’re over-done, and rarely done well (it’s usually really obvious who the main character is going to pick the whole way through).

8) Favourite and least favorite love triangle?

Favourite: Will, Tessa & Jem in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy (the only really excellent love triangle that I can think of). Least favourite: Hmm…? Maybe Edward, Bella & Jacob from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, though I don’t really consider that to be a proper love triangle, since Jacob obviously never had a chance with Bella. She even told him so. Repeatedly. ^^’

9) Sometimes romance just isn’t the way to go. Favorite friendship?

I really, really loved the friendship between Rowan & Celaena in Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas… The direction it took in Queen of Shadows was such a shame. 😦

10) What’s your favorite scene with your bookish OTP?

  • Vin & Elend – their first meeting at the ball in The Final Empire. So cute! XD
  • Celaena & Chaol – pretty much the whole of Crown of Midnight. Just… guh (*turns to goo inside*). There was also a really hilarious scene in The Assassin & the Underworld (one of the prequel novellas) where they met at a party, Celaena drunkenly hit on Dorian, and Chaol just stood there Not Approving – but none of them knew each other at that point, and even if they had, they were all in disguise…
  • Ron & Hermione – so many moments… I can’t decide! (Life is hard.)

11) Imagine your favorite book couple again. Who’s most excited about Valentine’s Day (either ironically or genuinely)?

  • Vin & Elend – Elend (genuinely).
  • Celaena & Chaol – Celaena (half genuinely, half ironically. She’d be excited for the possibility of chocolate, if not the actual holiday).
  • Ron & Hermione – Hermione (genuinely, but secretly).
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Thematic Recs: Sports Manga

As you can probably tell from my last wrap up post, I’ve been reading a lot of manga recently… But something I didn’t mention in that post is my extreme, irrational love for sports manga (and anime!), which is probably my favourite genre of manga. It’s not something I can explain – I find watching real-life sports dire, and playing is only marginally better. For some reason, though, it’s an entirely different story when it’s in manga-form! 😀 Here are some of my favourites:

Haruichi Furudate//Haikyuu!! vol. 11) Haikyuu!! by Haruichi Furudate. My most recent obsession is a volleyball manga that follows two first years in high school: Hinata, who adores volleyball, but who’s never been part of a real team before, and Kageyama, a genius setter known as the “King of the Court” because he’s prone to making unreasonable demands of his teammates. After ending up at the same school, they’re forced to learn to work together in order to join the volleyball club. This series has everything: a full cast of wonderful characters, plenty of character development, a heavy dose of realism, an interesting storyline, exciting matches, and beautiful artwork.

Daisuke Higuchi//Whistle! vol. 12) Whistle! by Daisuke Higuchi. A football anime that follows a middle-schooler called Shou Kazamatsuri, who transfers to a new school in hopes that, at a school with a much smaller football team, he might actually be able to play in games sometimes. This is one of the best sports manga I’ve ever come across, and it really holds up, even though it’s quite old (it ran from 1998-2002), with an engaging story, and a whole cast of incredibly relatable characters – but the realism is really what sets this manga apart. No magic football to be found here! 😉

Tadatoshi Fujimaki//Kuroko no Basuke vol. 13) Kuroko no Basuke by Tadatoshi Fujimaki. Basketball, this time! Our main character Kuroko was once the “Phantom Sixth Man” in the legendary middle school basketball team known as the Generation of Miracles for their miraculous skills on the court, but… people tend to forget about him. Now his teammates have all gone their separate ways for high school, hoping that facing off against each other will provide them with a real challenge – while Kuroko hopes that he will be able to rekindle their dwindling love for the sport. Suspension of disbelief is required from the get-go for this one, but the story is gripping, and the humour is spot on. You should also be prepared for feelings. Lots and lots of them, particularly as the series progresses.

Takeshi Konomi//The Prince of Tennis vol. 14) The Prince of Tennis by Takeshi Konomi. A super-popular manga that follows a tennis prodigy called Ryoma, who returns to Japan from the U.S. at his father’s request, in order to attend his old middle school. Be warned that the actual tennis in this series gets rapidly more and more ridiculous as it goes on – most people who love it, seem to love it for the characters (of which there are many), and it inspires a huge amount of loyalty from its fans. I’m a Rikkai girl through and through (and not just because they wear Hufflepuff colours!), and I experience inexplicable joy whenever the team reappears in the story. 🙂 This series isn’t for everyone, but give it a chance, and you might just fall in love with it, too!

Riichiro Inagaki//Eyeshield 21 vol. 15) Eyeshield 21 by Riichiro Inagaki. This follows a high school American football team (called “Amefuto” in-series) that’s struggling to survive with incredibly low membership. Enter Sena, a first year whose main talent is running away from bullies… and who the team captain decides will make a brilliant running back. Consent not required. This series is heavy on the comedy, but the characters are great fun, as are their interactions (Sena often comes across as the sole sane man, surrounded by lunatics). The match scenes are fairly realistic, and it’s quite easy to follow the rules of the game, even for someone like me who doesn’t really know anything about American football…

Honourable Mentions: Area no Kishi by Hiroaki Igano, and Giant Killing by Tsunamoto Masaya. These are both football manga, and are great so far. They haven’t been included in the main list only because I haven’t actually read that much of either of them yet… Area no Kishi follows a high-schooler who’s dealing with the tragic death of his super-football-star brother, while Giant Killing focuses (interestingly) on the coach of a professional team who are hoping to play their way out of mediocrity. Also Baby Steps by Hikaru Katsuki, which is a more realistic take on a tennis manga. I haven’t even started reading the manga yet, but the anime is excellent (despite the weird art style), and anime adaptations tend to be quite faithful to their source material, so I expect that the manga is, too!