favorites · Uncategorized

2018 Favorites

2018 is coming to a close and as per usual, I consumed a lot of media/things in genearl as you can probably guess. I’ve been debating the future of this blog for a while now but I’ll get into that in the next post. I didn’t do a book stats post like I normally do and even debated doing this one. But for now, a recap of my 2018 favorites!

Books

Image result for the cruel princeThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black – The Cruel Prince has probably ended up on a lot of people’s favorites and I am giving into the hype because this book deserves most of it. I completely adore this twisted world with its lies and deceit. I adore the character arcs and I simply cannot wait for what is going to happen between Jude and Cardan. The plot twists were so insane. I hadn’t read a YA fantasy book that had me on the edge of my seat and had me gladly suspend disbelief in a while. I’ll be picking up the next book as soon as it hits shelves.

 

Educated by Tara Westover – This year I read a Image result for educatedcouple of memoirs but this one was by far the best one. One of my favorite things about it was the narrator’s voice. It is completely raw and honest in its discussion of what she remembers won’t exactly be accurate all the time but that she tries to confirm with other witnesses. She surprisingly stays pretty much neutral and objective even when talking about the most horrific things that have happened to her which can sometimes be frustrating because I wanted to know what she thought of being in that situation. I loved reading about her journey written with stark descriptions of the nature that she grew up in. I loved reading about her realizations about the world she lived in and where she fit into that world and the power she gained by getting an education.

Image result for single ladies rebecca traister

All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister – Nonfiction was definitely my jam this year and this was the most well-crafted I read this year. Although at first, I considered this book to be especially niche considering it is about single ladies but it turned out to be all encompassing and really lays out how this trend will affect society hereafter. It gave me so much food for thought. It gave me thoughts about how this trend will affect dating, marriage, work life, housing, the job market, and most importantly,  longstanding prejudices against single women.

March Vol. 3 by John Lewis – What I love most about this series and Image result for march vol 3this book in particular is its refusal to quite literally be black and white. Although the end goal of the civil rights movement was right, the means to get there was debated and argued. The dissent among the people of the movement, the focus on moderates of the movement.

The fact of the matter is no movement is as clean cut, heroic, and simple as one would believe. The cause is heroic but the reality is behind the scenes, there is much debating and sacrificing even your views for the greater cause. But what happens after is something worth seeing through.

Image result for the poppy warThe Poppy War by RF Kuang – Although the ending of this novel is kind of eh, there is no doubting the immense entertainment provided by its relentless main character, its study of military strategy and the often overlooked Unit 731 human experiments. I cannot wait to see where the series goes.

TV

The Haunting of Hill House – Scary and tense, the Image result for the haunting of hill houseHaunting of Hill House was absolutely incredible. More of a family drama than a horror story, it proves horror can be just as character driven as other genres.

Image result for the marvelous mrs maiselThe Marvelous Mrs Maisel Season 1 – I fell in love with Maisel and her can do attitude. The bright vividness of the production and the snappy editing and dialogue never ceased to entertain. Although season 2 failed to live up to my high expectations, the first season is so worth watching.

 

 

 

Image result for anne with an e season 2

Anne with an E Season 2– Anne with an E reminds me of everything that is quaint and wholesome in the world. It reminds me of my childhood reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Anne’s optimism is always appreciated as she fights for what is true to her.

This season focused much on the secondary characters including Gilbert, Diane, newcomer Cole, and Anne’s foster parents. They are each endearing in their own ways and each are finding out how they belong in this world. It’s so positive and accepting you can’t help but love this show.

Image result for love season 3Love season 3 – I’m so happy more realistic rom com TV shows are being made and this one has stuck with me throughout all these years. I completely adore the hidden satire in this series. Of course, the main draw of any rom com is the main couple. The main couple in this one is

Fargo Season 1 – I can’t believe I actually watched thisImage result for fargo season 1 show this year! It’s amazing. It’s actually quite a metaphoric show attached to a realistic often violent core. Martin Freeman is an actor I’ve always loved and I think he does a beautiful job in this one. This show is well crafted on every level from its acting to its screenplay to its editing and directing.

Movies

Crazy Rich Asians – I might love drama and intense action but at my core, there is no beating a romantic story. Crazy Rich Asians delivered on so many fronts for me. It breathes air to the stagnant trope of rich boy meets poor girl trope and the “evil mother in law” trope while being generally funny and heartwarming. This is my favorite type of commercial movie, one that is original, detailed, and passionate but still adheres to a simple formula.

Games

2018 is the year I discovered my love of games. Although it will never replace my love for books and binging TV shows, I really have found happiness in the competitiveness and stories in games.

Image result for stardew valleyStardew Valley – I love this game. It’s so cute and relaxing. You literally just take care of a farm and befriend the villagers and discover new creatures and alternatively, types of fish. There’s always things to do that keep it from becoming boring.

Soul Calibur – Soul Calibur brings me back nostalgia for fighting games. Unlike a lot of games I’m attracted to, Soul Calibur really forced me to pay attention to how I press buttons and thinking more about the movement and strategy instead of just mashing random ones like I use to do.

Polytopia – Polytopia is a simple game that still results in numerous end results plus the animation is just hella cute so there’s that too. I love the strategy you have to employ to gain control over others’ territory.

MakeupImage result for tarte microliner

Tarte Microliner – Eyeliner is my favorite piece of makeup and the tarte microliner is my favorite eyeliner I’ve ever used. It is so good; it’s shaped like a fine tip pen. It’s easy to use but very precise for the perfect winged tip. It dries really fast and does not smear but is super easy to take off.  I have such a higher standard for eyeliners now that I’ve used this one.

Image result for maybelline fit me foundationMaybelline fit me foundation – This foundation color is a perfect fit for my skin undertone. It’s not too heavy and has a more dewy finish which is perfect for me. The best part of this foundation is the drugstore price. It is amazing for the price.

Music

This year was definitely the year of the popular kpop. I fell in love with Seventeen (my favorite being “Thanks”. I love their music and will continue to listen to any new albums they come out. Although Seventeen is my favorite, I can’t forget BTS, NCT, and Red Velvet.

This was also the year of Ariana Grande, my favorite release this year being thank u, next. I don’t know, I just really like her songs but don’t ask to explain why.

sig

 

 

 

 

 

favorites · Uncategorized · wrap up

January 2018 Wrap Up

jan6

It’s been a minute since I’ve done one of these but I told myself I would restart this year so here I am. As a side effect of only posting 2x a month now, I’m compiling all the books, movies, TV shows, and music in one big monthly wrap up rather than separating my favorites apart from the book wrap up. I am convinced that January is just not my month. It’s like the Monday of the year. I anticipate a change because it’s the beginning of the year but usually everything stays completely the same. Consequently, I think it’s the month I feel the most restless. It’s the month when the holiday cheer is gone and over, set in by a gloominess and overcast, everyone is suddenly back to business. If January was about anything, working those hours, I realized what was and is truly important to my time. I started doing this project called the one second a day for the rest of the year. The idea behind it is that you take a video of your life everyday and compile one second of each to put into a video compilation at the end of the year. I’ve modified it so that it’s one picture a day. This year is more of a test year than anything because I’m not used to taking pictures frequently but nevertheless, I have taken on this endeavor. However I realized that during the middle of January, that each day was a blur of work and I just did not have a picture that highlighted my day.

IMG_0121
Matcha Ice Cream

Sadly, a symptom of being a fully fledged working person is that while you realize you have more responsibilities, you also realize you have to fight for what is truly important to you and how to distribute that time. I have a habit of “sucking it up” or adapting rather than changing. It’s the way I taught myself to do things but I realize that sucking it up doesn’t change anything and it just makes you more miserable. You have no sense of whether something is truly working out for you or not. If it is not working, it doesn’t mean that I should keep doing it. Life is too short to just endure.

jan

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison (3.5/5)

17934655The Empathy Exams is an interesting concept of a book. It deals entirely with our ability to empathize and the nuanced ways in which we do so. One essay explores the irony of going on a tour to learn about poverty, another follows empathy through her experiences as a medical actor and how we must have common ground before we are able to empathize with someone, and another essay defends the concept of being too sentimental. As with any essay collection, there were definitely ones that had excellent premises but that I wished she had analyzed more of what she observed from it. But the very best stories are so worth the more mediocre ones because they are so in tune to how we perceive empathy in our daily lives.

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (4/5)

I actually don’t think I’ve been this enamored by a YA fantasy since The Winner’s Kiss. 26032825The only thing I wish it had more of is Marie Rutkoski’s ephemeral writing. Holly Black’s writing cuts like a bland knife. It cuts, and does the job, even fairly well, but it just lacks a certain sharpness not to mention she uses the cliche that every YA writer uses and overly emphasizes a feeling. But what makes this different from other YA fantasies is that every single character has an immediate stake but also an underlying stake throughout the book that is not immediately apparent when they are introduced. Our main character is utterly fascinating. Jude is someone who has grown up with fire. She hates these fairies who have tormented her and who have ultimate power over her, but at the same time, this is the place she calls her home and the place that has nurtured the brutal, caustic person she has become.  Of course, I also cannot forget the slow burn romance that I fervently hope will develop more in the second book. I don’t think I’ve shipped two characters this much since Arin and Kestrel. I cannot, cannot, wait for the next book.

Meet Cute by various YA authors (3.5/5)

33503607I have to say that this is probably the strongest short story collection I’ve read in terms of how many of the stories I liked. Even if the execution was not up to par, the premises provided such a fascinating take that I had a lot of fun reading it anyways. It was such a lighthearted and happy collection and only proves why I could like YA contemporary. It brought such a smile to my face.  My favorites were “Oomph” by Emery Lord, a story that follows two girls at the airport and “Print Shop” by Nina La Cour, Nina La Cour really knows how to write a dreamy, vintage California setting. Honorable mentions have to go to Nicola Yoon’s, “The Department of Dead Love” which follows social workers who help you after a break up, Dhonielle Clayton’s, “The Way We Love Here”, where you know who your true love is beforehand, Jocelyn Davies’s, “The Unlikely Likelihood of Falling in Love”, which follows a girl’s statistics of meeting this boy on the train everyday, Julie Murphy’s “Something Real”, which follows two girls on the set of a reality show, and even Jennifer L. Armentrout’s, “The Dictionary of You and Me” which follows a librarian and her repeated calls to the owner of an overdue book. All are squirmingly cute. I want a full book on some of these.

What do you think the difference between wanting to be friends and wanting to be more than friends is?

Some people you want to get to know and some people you want to know you. I think that’s the difference.

jan1

My Happy Family | B+

Image result for my happy family

My Happy Family is a quiet movie about a woman who leaves her family and buys an apartment to live alone. It’s one of those movies where nothing much actually happens, and yet you have this rich sense of the main character’s inner life. When she first presents this idea of living on her own after living with her extended family including her mother, father, husband and children, her entire life. Her family cannot fathom why she would want to do this; they immediately ask if her husband has abused her in any way, wondering what she could be unhappy about. I love the way this movie explores a person, especially a woman, finding her own space, literally and figuratively. It explores the importance of finding your identity separate from your family, and how it is difficult for a woman to do so as they are expected to sacrifice for family often at the expense of their own health. This movie is set in Georgia (European Georgia) and I did watch the dubbed version, it did take me out at first because I’m so used to finding a subtitled version but I got used to it.

It | B

Image result for itI’m not really sure how to feel about this movie. On the one hand, found family especially between kids is one of my favorite things ever and this movie delivers that. It’s a fun (and scary) romp to defeat this evil clown (who is btw terrifying). It delivers a scary story that only Stephen King can write where the scary entity is just an extension of the real things to fear: abusive parents, mean bullies, and growing up. And yet, on the other hand, I just think this ’80s nostalgia has gotten old. Maybe it’s just me, but I just cannot deal without another disproportionate all white male kid gang and that 1 manic pixie dream girl. Maybe I’m not as attached to the ’80s because I was obviously not born during this time but the oftentimes racist and sexist undertones is just not nostalgic for me. This was definitely a movie adapted from a book that was definitely written in the ’80s which is different from, say Stranger Things, that has a love for the ’80s but feels less stranded in its time.

jan3

Father is Strange | finished 8 episodes 

Father is Strange is the perfect example of why cliches can work if they are well Related imageexecuted. I’ve rolled my eyes a lot at the traditional family dramas that have pervaded TV and you know, this drama’s story doesn’t deter from those familiar plot points: missing dad, shrewish mother- –in-law, miscommunication, an unexpected pregnancy subplot, no nonsense grandma, poor vs rich class conflict, and of course, some good ol’ fashioned romance. These plot points, however, are done with a subtlety and are better appreciated with distinct characters and strong acting. It also has a progressiveness that has been missing from many traditional dramas that helps it feel fresh and modern while keeping the nostalgia of a family drama. I have since stopped this drama because, however much I enjoy it, the storylines move at a snail’s pace, and I would appreciate this more when I do not have other, faster shows to occupy my time.

Image result for the end of the f *** ing worldThe End of the Fucking World | Finished 2 episodes

I think I would have liked this show 2 years ago, even a year ago, but the fact of the matter is, I just have less tolerance now for shows with apologetically shitty characters. There are always exceptions but I just do not think I’m in the mood to watch shitty, pretentious teenagers at the moment. Don’t let my review deter you from watching it though, objectively, the acting and editing are on point.

Alias Grace | Finished 4 episodesImage result for alias grace

Another stopped show. I liked it fine, but it just needed more space to explore its concepts. I love the set design and the cinematography but the story is lacking. I should just finish the last two episodes but honestly I’ve got other shows to watch.

 

 

jan4

Feminist Frequency

Image result for feminist frequency podcastAs I get more and more into the podcast world, this continues to be one of my favorite podcasts. This features 3 women, including Anita Sarkessian who produced the video games vs tropes series on YouTube. The podcast discusses the latest media including movies, TV shows, games, and the news and looks at them through a feminist lens. I really love the discussion these ladies have together. I also get some great recommendations from them.

 

jan7

Illenium – Beautiful Creatures (feat. MAX)

I’m actually really enjoying all of Illenium’s music, but this one I’ve been listening to the most. My perfect kind of EDM.

If love is a lie, then why do we need it?
We swear we’re alive, but we’re falling to pieces

jan5

Clash RoyaleImage result for clash royale

Yes, I had been playing this a lot in January and it made me realize how much I actually like playing games if only I can really apply my analytical and strategical skills. The only bad part is that I get really competitive and angry when I lose.

 

 

 

February is already shaping up to a great month, and I hope that bodes well for the rest of the year. As always, let me know if you have enjoyed any of these and if you have any recommendations for me based on these. =)

sig

 

 

favorites · Uncategorized

Favorite Books/TV Shows of 2017

Sadly, because 2017 was not a great reading year, there weren’t many books that really stuck out to me. I even hesitated making a best of 2017 for books because even the ones I considered my favorites of the year were not the same greatness that my favorites for previous books. But I decided I do want to mention the most memorable of the year. I tried to include a variety of formats that I read. Unlike in previous years, I have not ordered these in any way.

Human Acts by Han Kang

30091914Han Kang is such a daring writer. She experiments with format and writing style and whether or not it is effective is often besides the point. What I feel she always tries to achieve though is capturing the rawest emotion of her characters. I think it works very well here. It is stylistically quite different than her previous work, The Vegetarian. Human Acts is definitely more like one long metaphor but it completely works as she portrays the brutality of the 1980’s rights as an extension of death and life.

 

 

I have a few short forms I would like to celebrate.

  • A Series of Steaks by by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Short story) – A clever scifi story about 3D printing and female friendship.
  • Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station by Caroline M. Yoachim (Short story)- A throwback to Choose Your Own Adventures stories. It, at once, celebrates the format but also pokes fun at it.
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Agozi Adichie (novella) – nothing in this novella is particularly new but the way Adichie crafts her writing about feminism makes you feel as if this should be common sense and her arguments are
  • The Death of a Moth by Virginia Woolf (Essay) – I need to read virginia woolf’s other works asap after reading this. This short story is literally about the narrator watching a moth die but the spectrum of feelings you get while reading it is  all encompassing.

We were Feminists Once from Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl: the buying and selling of a 25898263political movement by Andi Zeisler

I’ve read a lot of feminist rhetoric and it’s surprising to find a recent one that I learn so much from. This book ties modern feminism and how it has affected capitalism. This book has been so eye-opening for me and I see how feminism in the modern age can be manipulated for less than wholesome motives.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

35247769You know I like this book because I’ve read it twice..in 1 year. It’s hard to explain why exactly this book and this series is so special to me. On the surface, it wouldn’t seem so, after all it is just a romantic contemporary about a high school girl and her journey through high school and romantic entanglements. But it is just so sincerely heartwarming and fun to read. I love Lara Jean’s little family, Peter, and of course, all the cookies Lara Jean baked.

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios29102896

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. I have no qualms about coining this book as the best YA book discussing the progression of a toxic relationship. It is subtle and powerful and just has an all around depth to it. It paints everything in greys instead of blacks and whites and it’s such an honest and realistic portrayal of all different types of toxic relationships.

Image result for the language of thornsThe Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

I’m starting to like Leigh Bardugo more and more as a writer. My favorite thing about this collection is how it upends fairy tale traditions and canon. By reversing these traditions, Bardugo really shows the reader how much we have relied on traditional tropes to write our fairy tales and how when you look at these tropes in the light, it might cause you to look at these characters differently than you always have. It is honestly worth a hard copy just because the illustrations inside are so beautiful!

TV Shows

I had much better luck in finding great shows this year. These are my top 5 definitive TV shows of 2017 and I would rewatch all of these in a heartbeat. I thought it would be a little repetitive if I included Superstore because I have a feeling that that show will be here for a while and it will probably on every single one of my favorite TV show lists. But other than that, here are my favorite shows of 2017. These are in order from least favorite to favorite show of 2017

Insecure, Season 2

Comedy|8 episodes|HBO

Image result for Insecure season 2I watch Insecure like I listen to friends gossip. It is so deliciously juicy and enticing in the way that the world of dating can be.  But the great thing about this show is that its so clever about portraying how the different men in Issa’s and Molly’s life reveal who they really are. But it’s not just about that. It’s about their struggles in the workplace and of course, the struggle to find who or what they truly want. Even better is that in the end this show is about Issa’s and Molly’s enduring friendship. It is a completely bingeworthy show.

 

Master of None, Season 2

Comedy|10 episodes|Netflix

Image result for master of none season 2

I am so, so impressed with this show above all else to experiment with different storytelling formats. One episode will be an hour long while another will be half an hour. One episode is partly told in subtitles with the main characters not even being present in the episode. One is told like an old Italian movie. There are long pauses without dialogue. This show feels like a meandering but it manages to stay cohesive. It is absolutely brilliant in its discussion of modern dating, workplace harassment, and diversity. I’ve seen and read a lot of media that covers the coming of age of high school to college to post grad people but Master of None shows that a coming of age for the late 20s-30s group can be done so well.

Search Party Seasons 1&2

Dark comedy|20 episodes|TBS

Image result for search partyI love Search Party and it is one of the most unique shows I’ve seen in a long time. Its young 20something characters are very difficult to like and even sympathize but they are great fodders for discussing self entitlement and self obsession as well as the struggle that a lot of 20some year olds struggle with now: the struggle for purpose and meaning in their lives. Don’t take this to mean that this show is a continual philosophical story but these themes are the foundation for a darkly funny and satirical tale. This show is weird. It combines a mystery featuring amateur detectives with a great look at characters that we think we know until they sweep the rug from under our feet to reveal who they truly are. My review for this is coming soon but this is truly a unique, weird little show that deserves so much more hype.

Anne with an E

Drama|7 episodes|Netflix

This was honestly a wonderful gem of a show and I’m so happy it has been renewed for aRelated image second season. This is just one of the few book to TV show adaptations that have so accurately casted the right actors and actresses for their respective characters. I also think it is one of the few book to movie TV adaptations that have stayed so true to the book’s core themes while still adding its own individuality to the show.  The addition of the stable boy, Jerry, was such a delight considering how much humor he brings to the show. This show is somber, melancholic, and aesthetically beautiful but it is full of hope and lightheartedness just like its main character.

 

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo

Korean drama|16 episodes| MBC

My number one favorite show of the year is Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo. I’m actually Image result for weightlifting fairy kim bok-jooalready thinking of rewatching this next month. It is a beautiful, beautiful drama full of hope and love. I completely adore the lighthearted and vibrant tone of the show. Our main character, Bok Joo, is a charismatic and blunt weightlifter who goes to a college for athletes. She is always a character that you root for and throughout the show you are cheering for her success and the ambitions she has despite the many comedic and cringeworthy situations she finds herself in. Cushioned around this character are two lovely best friends, a well meaning father, some endearing coaches, and a charming and swoonworthy love interest. I especially like this drama for how it upends some traditional korean drama tropes and understands that at its heart, it is a story of a girl who dreams of being the best weightlifter instead of a story of a girl who has a romance. It had me smiling, laughing, and crying the entire way through.

Have a wonderful New Year’s and here’s hoping that 2018 will be full of even better books and TV shows!

sig

 

 

 

 

favorites · Monthly Favorites · Uncategorized

December 2016 Favorites

I know 2017 is already here but I kind of want to rewind back to December again in some ways because December was an unexpectedly good month for me. That’s the thing about the Christmas season, everyone just seems to be in a better mood than usual and you are just extra cruel to do anything bad to someone at Christmas so usually they just wait until the 26th to do something mean. At least in my experience. Maybe you’re the Grinch. I don’t know. Over Christmas, it was almost a constant influx of guests at my house and I got to spend time with family that I hadn’t seen in a really long time (3 years in fact). It’s crazy how someone can change in that time and your perceptions of them are kind of blown out of the water.

15970676_1306290186059377_899443415_n
Our family photo is so on point. My cousin in the back is posing like a fucking bodyguard. My brother is separated from us by the stairs…

Of course, the more important part is getting to eat all the food..

15941759_1306290172726045_943553745_n
Do you know how you can tell this is a Viet gathering? All of those aluminum trays..
15696314_10210825295250277_827082006_o
Mama D’s pasta. It was so delicious and the service was even better than the food.
15682110_10210825295330279_1208710218_o
Omg this is making my mouth water. Cream Pan’s strawberry croissant with cream inside and powdered sugar on top. 

I also got to enjoy the season with my friends. We went ice skating and I suck at ice skating so, so much that it was shameful. I had to have someone holding me throughout most of the allotted time  but it was still fun nonetheless.

I also went to see the Christmas lights near my hometown. It is insane how creative and decorative people get with their Christmas lights.

15682597_10210825294250252_1955082876_o

15658170_10210825294410256_1470979080_o
This was the sweepstakes winner for this neighborhood.

There are some crazy lights during this time of year. I also went to see a single house where the whole house was covered in lights and it changes colors and you can even tune into a certain radio station to listen to it while you watch it.

I did my annual tradition of Secret Santa; I got Exploding Kittens that I’ve been wanting for a while. This is so fun and very nearly the perfect icebreaker. The rules are so simple anyone can play and there’s both luck and strategy involved. Basically your goal is to not draw an exploding kitten. I played a lot of games in general in December like poker, Heads Up, Monopoly, and Forbidden Island but this one’s my favorite.

dsc_0010

I actually didn’t listen to a lot of Christmas music in December which is kind of unforgivable but I did listen to Pentatonix’s Christmas album with Hallelujah being my favorite out of the songs. In terms of other music, I fell in love with The Weeknd’s new album Starboy. I honestly like all the songs but my favorites are Six Feet Under and Party Monster. I also liked the hip hop song Black Barbie by Nicki Minaj and Mike Will Made It. It was nice to go back to popular hip hop last month.

Writing this post made me really happy. I mean writing on this blog makes me happy in general but it was nice to go back down memory lane. Wow, I’m making it seem like this was 10 years ago even though it was only last month. But yeah, that was my December. Let me know what your last month of 2016 was like =)

sigfinal

 

 

Best Books · favorites · Uncategorized

Best of 2016!

2016 wasn’t an amazing reading year but no matter what kind of reading year it is, a few will always emerge as my favorites. Eve @ Eve Messenger’s Otherworldly Endeavors kindly tagged me in a “Best of 2016” tag and I’m going to try and incorporate it into my favorites!

So here are some of the best that will not be mentioned in my favorites.

Books so Fun They Felt Like Reading Parties

Image result for i hate fairyland
The main character reminds me of the bitch from Cats Don’t Dance both physically and personality wise. This graphic novel also reminds me a lot of Wreck it Ralph but for adults.

 

Related image
omg she was so evil..
dsc_0008
Excerpt (my picture)
Image result for dragon slipper
There’s a princess, dragons, a prince, political scheming and old-school fantasy characters. Young Carolyn would have been ecstatic. Present Carolyn was still pretty ecstatic

 

 

Best Female Protagonist

Is it weird to say that my favorite is Wonder Woman? I found and fell in love with her this year. She stands for everything I have come to love in my changing life: wonder and courage but also the utmost compassion.

Best Book Boyfriend

Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables. I just think he is funny but also very honorable and loyal. I love him.

Best Cover

anne1
Look how gorgeous this Puffin edition is?? I borrowed it from library just so I can take pictures of it. Oh and read it.
anne.png
How exquisite.

Favorite Audiobook

Image result for scrappy little nobody
I kind of love her voice and her sarcasm “voice” is so similar to mine.

The #1 Book No One Else Seems to Like But Me

Image result for the vegetarian
Plenty of people like this book I know but just as many people don’t like it. 

I’m also adding categories:

Best Play

Image result for rabbit hole play
An unexpected look at the different ways people deal with grief. 

Best Graphic Novels

Image result for the legend of wonder woman renae de liz
I’ve read so many WW comics this year and I don’t understand why this character is so hard to write about. But thankfully this one did not disappoint.
Image result for paper girls vol. 2
I like the idea of your future self meeting your younger self which is exactly what I got in this sequel. Also a ton of action and a stellar ending.

Now on to my favorites of 2016!! I’ve only included 8 this year and there was never any doubt that they would end up on this list. Banners will all link to my review =)

untitled-design

Best Small Press Standalone

Author: Silvia Moreno Garcia

I find it funny how glad I am to leave my high school days behind but somehow want to read about characters that are finding themselves in high school settings. Maybe it’s the accuracy and grace with which Garcia portrays teens with a not-so-great home life navigating high school. But I think more than anything, I love coming-of-age stories that illustrate friendship in all its frustrations but ultimately its glories. A stand out story that features magical realism and the weaving of folklore and music.

untitled-design-1

Author: Shaun David Hutchinson

I just loved my coming-of-age this year. Like Signal to Noise, it’s not a straight up contemporary but includes hints of science fiction that blend together so nicely with its more realistic aspects. This book is standout among its type because it gives layers to all of its characters, the bully is not just the bully because there needs to be a bully in a YA contemporary and the brother doesn’t exist just to be an asshole, even if you don’t like them, you can sometimes glimpse an understanding of them. It is pessimistic but inspiring all at once and so genuinely written, it will be hard not to love.

6

Best Plot Twist

Author: Marisha Pessl

Night Film was so deliciously creepy and eerie. I loved the mystery, the suspense and that plot twist at the end was so mind boggling. And to top it all off, it gives such a unique reading experience with its addition of articles and blogs and photos interspersed throughout.

6-1

Best Worldbuilding

Best Setting

Author: Becky Chambers

Whenever I think about this book, I think about how wondrous this world really is (as cheesy as that sounds). It’s also one of those books where you just sit in awe at how they could create a world like this, a world so teeming with possibility and comfort you kind fo wish it was real. Becky Chambers just turns your expectations of gender, orientation, culture, and identity upside down in the most unexpected and wonderful ways possible. It sort of harkens back to what Star Trek use to be, a low-stakes (for the most part) heartwarming scifi opera.

6-2

Author: Jung Yun

As Shelter progressed, it grew a lot more intense that I expected. There’s that sense of claustrophobia and ominous foreboding. The main character is also deeply flawed as main characters go but what it does best is explore the intersection of family fidelity and individualism that a lot of Asian cultures face and explores the extent of human endurance.

It’s down to my last three!! Let’s go…

6-3

Best Sequel

Author: Libba Bray

Libba Bray’s writing is so, so underrated. It takes a couple of years between her books but you know that each second of her writing time is dedicated to details of making 1920’s New York seem as real as possible. I also really respect the diversity of her characters and that she doesn’t blame the historical period for not including people from other walks of life.

6-4

Favorite Series

Author: Marie Rutkoski

This is the third book in The Winner’s Trilogy and while I loved her writing in the previous two books, this third book just showcases how exquisite her writing is. It just hits all the sentimentality and the dramatic that I love in writing. The plot was even more intense than ever and it was almost the perfect conclusion I wanted from this series. Kestrel will always remain one of my favorite female characters of all time. I will be rereading this series for many years to come.

6-5

Most Devastating Read

Author: Bryan Stevenson

I always save my favorite book for something that worms its way into my heart and opens it in unexpected ways. Last year, it was A Little Life and this year, it’s no less emotional in Just Mercy. This book talks about those who have always been sidelined and talks about them with such compassion. This book broke my heart and really forced me to think about the laws that I have always  stood by and turned them upside down.

Those are my favorite books of 2016! I’m accompanied with that same sense of sadness and hope that follows me at the end of every year. Let me know what you think of my choices. I want to thank you all for reading my blog this year. I have so many plans for this blog for next year and I hope you’ll be there with me. I hope you’re having a wonderful New Year’s Eve and I will see you next year in 2017 😉

sigfinal

 

 

 

favorites · tv review · Uncategorized

My Favorite TV Shows of 2016

Hi! I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas or holiday yesterday. I spent it with my family eating good food and just catching up with them. I hadn’t seen some of my cousins for a while and it’s interesting what time will do to someone both physically and personality wise.

The last week of December is always my favorite because I get to reflect on the things I’ve read and watched over the year and compile and talk about my favorites. And as you probably know, I never get tired of talking about my favorite things. 2016 was if nothing else a really great TV year for me. If you look at my 2015 favorite TV shows, I tend to gravitate towards the comedy and the slightly weird. This year was actually really different and here’s why: the inclusion of kdramas and shows revolving around crime. These two categories of TV have always been polarizing to me and I thought I would never really enjoy one enough to call my favorite but it just goes to show you that you shouldn’t judge a genre of TV before you’ve really dug into its many different facets. I have 4 honorable mentions and 8 favorites and at the end, I list a couple of shows that I would like to get to in 2017. The honorable mentions have no particular order however I have ranked my favorites but some my favorites can be interchangeable. Bear in mind that I have only included new shows that were new to me this year. So shows like Brooklyn Nine Nine will not appear because even though I watched the new season this year, the show itself wasn’t new to me this year. Also, if you would like to know more of my thoughts for a certain show, click on the corresponding banner and it will lead you to my review. As always, if you have any recommendations for me based on what I’ve mentioned, I would love to know, I can never have too many shows to watch. Actually I can but I would like to think that I don’t.

Honorable Mentions

Signal.png

It’s a kdrama and a crime thriller, so who would have thought it would end up on my list but it was an amazing surprise. This show is the near perfect melding of character and plot. You would be surprised at how many shows fail to find this balance, when plot fails to be the proper catalyst for the character’s development or when the characters don’t get enough choices to advance a stagnant plot. I loved the exploration of the concepts of idealism and corruption of the police force through episodes of tightly-woven suspense, a blend of magical realism, thrilling soundtracks, and heartbreaking characters at its core.

the-night-of

I’ve been loving my limited series this year mostly because they are so binge worthy. The Night Of is comprised of subdued, monochromatic blues and grays which is fitting for its gritty and brutal examination of an oftentimes flawed justice system. A system that would rather paint the picture of innocence and guilt instead of finding the truth. It’s less concerned with plot (although it still has a decent one) and prison life (like in Orange is the New Black) than its characters and ideas.  But what emerges is a thought provoking drama that actually doesn’t answer the whodunit at the end but by then, it doesn’t really matter.

voltron-legendary-defender

Voltron is the type of show that I naturally gravitate towards and it does exactly what it set out to do. It’s a really fun and entertaining animated show featuring a diverse ensemble of characters that play off one another in funny and heartwarming ways. It’s one of those shows that can reach a wide audience, kids, teens or adults and still be fun to all. The animation is expertly done (what did you expect from the team behind Legend of Korra) and it never seems to run out of action-packed fight scenes and adventure to keep you on your toes.

WTwo Worlds.png

As of the time I’m writing this, I’m currently on episode 9 but I cannot imagine an honorable mentions list without it. I have to admit at points, I was more in love with the concept than the execution. And what a concept, I mean a surgeon from the real world accidently gets sucked into the world of a comic and falls in love with the main character. Please. That shit is my jam. And while it does fall into some unbelievable territory and tension-sucking tropes and the old mistake of consistently making the main female character’s story revolve around the male main character, I continued watching because of the gorgeous production value (I particularly loved the transitions between the comic art world and the real world), the nonstop action and plot twists, and of course, the romance (That handcuff kiss though; I’m shook). And although there is just so many loopholes and logic problems, this show boasts main leads that are as smart and capable as they come which to me, is kind of a staple of the thriller genre second only to the horror genre.

Favorites

the-ladies-paradise-1

When I started watching this, I was expecting an angst-fest similar to the likes of Downton Abbey. What I got instead was a sweet and touching story about one woman’s ingenuity working at London’s first department store with a surprising commentary on feminism, how a woman’s ideas often gets credited as their male counterpart’s work. What it lacks in plot, it compensates with a (mostly) lovable cast of characters that get their own resolutions. This show also cemented my aesthetic love for period pieces set during the Industrial Revolution (the latest being Peaky Blinders). The set design of the department store is so intricate and aesthetically pleasing and Denise, the main character, works for women’s fashion so there’s a lot of gorgeous costume designs. I’m sad to see that this show only got 2 seasons but it was sweet while it lasted.

friends-1

This had to be included in here somewhere. I cannot believe this is the first time that I’ve watched this series from start to finish. It’s so awesome how this show has stood the test of time and I can totally see why. It shows a deft hand when writing about friendships and relationships and at the end of the day, it is just hilarious. Everyone probably knows or is some parts Monica or Chandler or Joey or any of the Friends cast. I can’t wait to watch these again and again. I suspect that when I do, it’ll feel like a cozy cafe ready to invite me back. And you do not want to know how many times I’ve referenced “We were on a break” in outside conversation. It’s embarrassing.

Stranger Things (1).png

Do I really need to explain why I like this show? I don’t think so. Although I have to admit I might have been predisposed to like it because my favorite movie of all time is Super 8 and guess what it features: an 80’s suburban setting, middle school aged kids running around having adventures, themes of friendship and coming of age, and a supernatural alien. You can see why I might like Stranger Things..

love-2

I watched this near the beginning of the year and it has stuck with me ever since. This show is so completely underrated. It’s a romantic comedy following two eccentric characters but unlike most romantic comedies, the end goal is not necessarily for the two characters to be together but more about how people meet each other, how they perceive others and how they interact with other people. Of course, this is all helped by an amazing screenplay and great acting from the two main leads. It also has just the type of humor that I love where the two characters get into bizarre, derpy situations that are just hilarious and both of them are really sarcastic and wry. I can’t exactly explain why I love this show so much because it might seem just like any other comedy but there’s just this level of hard hitting emotion and truth that undercuts the episodes that elevate it above other comedies I’ve seen. Whether you like romantic comedies or not, please give this one a shot, you will not regret it.

The People vs. OJ Simpson.png

This show is so, so deserving of its 22 Emmy nominations including Outstanding Limited Series. I guess, in 2016, I’ve become as crime-obsessed as every other American. But inaccuracies aside, there is literally no weak point in this show. It’s such a compelling story told with so much sympathy for its characters under a shroud of ambiguity and never ending tension. It’s clear that this is more than just the biggest celebrity crime case in America, it’s about how these characters manipulate the changing racial and gender politics to bend to their agenda and win the case. The reason why this crime show is on my favorites and not The Night Of is because it keeps such a breakneck pace and no scene feels unnecessary and each character (from both the prosecution and the defendant side) feels as fully realized as if they were all the main characters. Although I have to admit I cannot see David Schwimmer as anyone but Ross however he was brilliant in this one so it’s ok. I finally understand why this case is so interesting to so many Americans and to this day, this case has still not been solved which is kind of bizarre to me.

We’re getting to my top three now. DRUMS PLEASE

superstore

It feels like I’ve been watching this show but I’ve only started this year. It’s crazy. If you saw my favorite TV shows from 2015, you’ll know that I included Parks and Recreation in that list and this show is very similar to it in feel. It follows a cast of eccentric but loveable characters working in a big box store that looks suspiciously like Walmart. It started as a sweet but forgettable comedy that grew into such a funny romp that makes the most of its funny situations. I cannot get enough of these comedies so it’s only natural this show would end up on my list.

descendants-of-the-sun

Just from the things I read and the TV I watch, you can probably tell I have a huge, huge soft spot for epic romances. Don’t be fooled by my jaded and pessimistic exterior, in my cold heart of stone sometimes there is nothing more pleasing to me than to see my OTP exchange witty banter and give swoon worthy, angsty looks at one another. And holy shit, did this drama deliver that for me featuring, let’s face it, such good looking actors (Soong Joong Ki, you slay me) and magnetic chemistry. Oh and a really good ost. And the best part was that it was so blissfully unproblematic in the romance department. Aside from that, this drama was just pure escapism for me, logic and reason be damned. I also know that objectively speaking, Signal is far superior drama in almost every way but I also know that when there was a scene with Kang Mo Yeon and Yoo Shi Jin flirting together, nothing could tear my eyes from the screen. Obviously, I’ve got my priorities straight. It also reminds me of happy times when I was watching this with my roommates eating ice cream until 4am screaming at the computer screen.

age-of-youth-4

While Descendants of the Sun delivered in the feels department, it lacks in its plot objectively but Age of Youth delivers on both fronts. It’s true that it’s quite a niche drama seeing that it will probably only appeal to people in their 20’s (most likely women) but hey that’s me. Don’t let that deter you from watching however, it is so well-crafted and such a gift to the coming of age genre. Age of Youth is ultimately an ode to friendship more specifically female friendship. It is funny, inspiring, and hopeful in all the right ways but more than anything it is a quiet melodrama that resonated with me, with who I was, who I am, and who I will be. I miss these girls already.

TV to watch in 2017

The Americans (long overdue)

Homeland (political thriller)

Please Like Me (another comedy)

WestWorld (against my better judgement; the hype’s getting to me)

Narcos (show about drugs is all I know LOL)

Sense8 (Why haven’t I seen this yet?)

And that’s it! My top TV shows of 2016! I hope there is more good TV to come in 2017; I can’t wait to watch them all. Winter break is almost over so watch these before you’re too busy to 😉 Let me know what your favorite TV shows of 2016 were and if we have any of the same ones!

sigfinal

 

favorites · Monthly Favorites · Uncategorized

November 2016 Reflections/Favorites

So how was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Mine was a total fucking disaster (family fights for the win!) but I’m not going to wallow in self-pity this month. I’m going to give thanks because that’s what November is about and to remember most of us have it a lot better than the pilgrims and Native Americans did before that first Thanksgiving (now you feel better right? Jk I don’t so we’re going to move on). But seriously,the lovely people in my life deserve all the love that this world has to give them. But I also want to give thanks to the entertainment in my life from books to movies to food that have given me so much comfort and happiness in my daily life. And I’ll also give a bit of thanks to my favorites this month.

-This year in particular as you might have known I did graduate from university. I know I mention this quite a bit on my blog but I will forever be eternally grateful for this experience.

-I’m immensely thankful for my brother and sister who are infinitely more patient and selfless than I am. I know they’ve always got my back and I’ve always got theirs so it works ya know?

-I also have to give the biggest shoutout to my closest friends. It’s rare that you find people that understand your situation and will always be there for optimistic support but are also there to laugh with you through life. It’s one of those things where they know exactly when you need to get out of the house, what kind of memes and gifs you find the funniest, and can just talk about things even if you haven’t seen each other in a while. I write and maintain a freaking blog as a hobby and words still can’t truly describe how much they mean to me. And some of them will actually read and comment on your blog! LOL What more can I ask for? *winkwink*

-I spend a lot of time reading (you didn’t know?), and watching movies and TV shows and Youtube creators. Thanks for shaping my ideas and beliefs and being outspoken about your own beliefs. To all the creators, you are my inspiration. To all the books, movies, and TV shows I’ve enjoyed this year, thank you, thank you, thank you.

And last but most definitely not least, I want to thank all of my followers who have decided to follow and like my posts in my little corner of the internet. To my frequent commenters, you make my blogging experience special. I hope you all have gotten as much out of my blog as I have out of yours =)

Moving on to favorites, I’ve seriously been in the mood for pumpkin pie which is weird because I’ve never liked pumpkin pie until about 2 years ago and now I’m obsessed.

PS: Between Albertson’s pumpkin pie vs Trader Joe’s, Trader Joe’s definitely wins.

pump
Expect a lot of photoshoots with this Christmas tree in December. Also, pretend that’s the Trader Joe’s pumpkin pie and not the Albertson’s one. 

Starbucks also had their BOGO holiday drink special and I didn’t think I’d like the peppermint mocha because I don’t like minty food unless it’s toothpaste (wait that’s not a food) but I ended up surprising myself and really liking it.

star
It’s soooo good!

I know this is basic but I’ve literally been wearing leggings nonstop this month and will probably continue to do so in December. A word of advice: I love my pair from Forever 21. They’re so affordable ($4!) but so long-lasting and comforting. It’s not a scam!!

Classic Cotton-Blend Leggings
Credits to the Forever21 website

And last but not least, music!

I watched Mamamoo’s music video Decalcomanie and they instantly became my girl crushes. I think my favorite by them so far is Um Oh Ah Yeh. I completely love their music style. They have regular pop, some jazz and R&B influences, and rap. I also love them because they have more edgy concepts which was really refreshing to me.

I’ve also been listening to Taeyeon’s new song 11:11 which just emphasizes her clear and soothing vocals. I love the slow melancholy acoustics.

I’ve been loving Jai Wolf’s EDM, Indian Summer which actually does sound like an EDM song with Indian influences. I can’t wait to listen to more of him.

And last but not least, I know this came out a while ago but I’ve only recently become obsessed with it and that is Troye Sivan’s song Heaven. I honestly think I’m in love with the main chorus. It just speaks to my angsty, drama-queen self LOL.

Let me know what your November favorites were or any crazy Thanksgiving stories?

sigfinal