book review · Uncategorized · wrap up

February 2017 Wrap Up

Surprisingly I actually read a lot in February considering it’s a month that always seems to go by much faster than the other months. It sometimes feels like February doesn’t even happen. However, I had a pretty good reading month so here are my thoughts on all the books 🙂

Image result for the star touched queen
3/5

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

This reminded me soooo much of The Wrath and the Dawn especially in terms of the characters. We have an independent young woman who doesn’t want to get married blah blah blah and a mysterious king with secrets and they both fall in love. But while Renee Ahdieh imbued her main characters with originality and individualism, I didn’t think Chokshi’s characters achieved anything past two dimensionality and superficial love confessions. Because the second half depended on my investment into these two main characters, suffice to say that I was skipping through
it waiting for it to end. I did, however, like the incorporation of Indian mythology and all these creatures of lore.

 

Image result for the blackthorn key
3.5/5

 The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

This was so much fun!! A historical fantasy that takes place during 16th century England following Christopher who is an apothecary apprentice. He and his friend, Tom try to solve the mystery of the murders that have been happening around their town. Omg guys, this was so cute and fun and full of middle-grade goodness. There’s a cute bromance, interesting puzzles and codes, some interesting historical facts, a fun mystery, and a lot of the main character being a little shit and getting into trouble every other page. Highly recommended for middle grade readers.

Reviews for these coming soon!
Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong | Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Image result for night sky with exit wounds    Image result for born a crime

Image result for a rose for emily
4/5

A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner

This is a short story by the classic author William Faulkner. This was a good prelude to me reading As I Lay Dying next month which I’m excited to read since I’ve never read Faulkner before. This story very much follows the Southern Gothic writing tradition, following a black woman living in an old mansion alone except we only get to know her through the people around her. The ending was so creepy but again very much in style with the Southern Gothic themes. Faulkner is not a hard author to read in terms of language, it’s fairly simply, it’s just everything in between that’s difficult to decipher.

 

Nana Vol. 1 by Ai Yuzawa

Image result for nana vol 1
4/5

I haven’t read a shojo manga in so long but I heard that this series focuses on friendship than romance and it was so good. I think part of the reason why I adored this so much is because it’s more of a coming-of-age story of two flawed, university aged girls trying to find who they are as they navigate romance and friendships and all that good coming-of-age stuff. The first volume follows them in their separate storylines, the first Nana is just getting over an affair she had and moving to Tokyo to try and attend art school. The other Nana of the story is part of a punk rock music group. They couldn’t be any more different but they will eventually meet and become best friends. I love the mixture of typical shojo humor and the more emotional scenes of self-discovery.

 

Image result for 5000 km per second
2/5

5000 km per second by Manuele Fior

 

This is a French graphic novel following two people who fall in love over a period of time. Life happens. They break up. And they meet again. This is a novel that was completely lackluster in the story department but so lovely in its artwork. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that it’s a monochrome palette painted with watercolor (my favorite style). It really rendered the setting of Egypt and Italy in a lively way.

 

Related image

 

Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher

Image result for bryony and roses
3.75/5

This is a beautiful Beauty and the Beast retelling that gives a lot of nods to the original French story but of course, gives an original spin to it. Beauty is a gardener who wanders into the Beast’s castle one day and the rest of the story goes from there. Contrary to many BatB retellings, this one actually addresses the subject of bestiality head on (subtly) and a lot of the sexist notions of Belle “fixing” the Beast. And what I really liked was that it puts Beauty on equal footing with the Beast. The Beast himself is actually a really considerate and mild-mannered person/beast without a mean streak or temper problem which is completely different from other renditions of the Beast which was refreshing. There’s an overarcing mystery about the magic mansion that Belle is trapped under that they both try to solve together. However, I was missing a central internal conflict that I’d hoped would propel more character development. Still, this was a retelling worth reading..or listening to because I did listen to this on audiobook. It is narrated by the same person who narrated The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. I think her raspy, antique voice really fits this story.

Image result for el deafo
3.5/5

El deafo by Cece Bell

I mentioned this in my graphic novels recommendation post here. I definitely recommend this for younger readers. The artwork is very cartoony but definitely doesn’t detract from the overall theme of being ok with yourself and trying to learn that as a young child who is deaf.

Image result for el deafo

 

Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Image result for ship of magic
4/5

I’m going to be doing a full review of this whole trilogy when I’m finished with it so I plan on reading the second one in March and third in April. But so far, this fantasy has impressed me a lot more than other epic fantasies of late although it still makes me wonder why epic fantasy authors are so obsessed with writing about whores. I seriously think the word whore appeared on every other page.

DNFs

Do No Harm by Henry Marsh

Image result for do no harm book
3/5

As much as this book reveals about what it’s like to be a brain surgeon, I feel as though the author was holding back from revealing too much about his cases especially his failed ones. I suppose I understand that because he is still practicing (I think). But the problem is I can watch videos of these procedures and it would be better for me visually. What I wanted was the human side to these cases. But the writing was lackluster and he incorporated pieces of dialogue that were completely unnecessary and he would keep skipping around topics within the same chapter even though the previous topic clearly needed some more explanation. For most of the book, he talks about his cases but I felt like he was just listing them off and not going into too much depth about any one of them so that kind of frustrated me. Maybe it was also the fact that he was kind of an arrogant asshole most of the time. That doesn’t bother me so much as the fact that it feels like he uses the book to excuse himself rather than to grow. Maybe that’s just me.

Image result for imagine me goneImagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

This is a story about a man who has depression and how his family copes with this. In as far as I read, I think it was a fairly good translation of what it means to be a person with depression but the writing and the family members were compelling to make me keep reading.

 

 

And that was my reading in February! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, what you thought of them, anything really, I’d love to know!

 

sig

favorites · Monthly Favorites · Uncategorized

February/March 2016 Favorites

 

Warning: Extreme Ranting Ahead..

Omigosh was February and March hectic. The beginning of March was especially stressful since my phone and wallet actually got stolen while I was taking a midterm at a theater near my school (yeah I actually have class in the movie theater). And yeah, some student decided it would be fun to steal my stuff WHILE I WAS TRYING TO PASS COLLEGE. Can you be any more cruel? But the police found them so it’s all good but then the next day I lose my apartment keys and then I found out I couldn’t call anyone so I had to buy a new SIM card and I was out all last week because my fraternity had rush and also my  new credit card isn’t working and I didn’t get the job I wanted..and because I had to cancel my credit card, my order for The Winner’s Kiss COULDN’T COME IN. Ok I’m done. Be calm, Carolyn.

It’s like the bucket of problems got dumped on me this month. And I’m telling you it’s not even the big problems that really frustrate me, it’s the addition of the little things. But on a side note, I’m so thankful to my friends and my sister for being so emotionally supportive during this time. I’ve honestly never felt so loved and I feel like everyone deserves a chance to feel this way at least once in their life.

In other more pleasant news, I got my eyebrows threaded for the first time and I did not know eyebrow shaping could make such a difference but it does! I also went shopping a lot because shopping is actually really therapeutic. I had my spring break where I honestly spent it all trying to find PAs to shadow (Why is this so hard?) and hanging out with my friends. If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that I went to the Carlsbad Flower Fields. It was so pretty!! I’m not a big flower person but one look at these flowers and I was converted.

meee
Ah, so serene..unlike my life

Makeup

I think getting my eyebrows threaded got me really into more of the possibilities of makeup and I’ve been loving it.

I would highly recommend the Nyx eyebrow pencil. It just gets so much coverage with so little ink and the color is perfect for my brows. I’ve also been loving my Nyx liquid eyeliner as well.

cream4
This post was not sponsored by Nyx, fyi

 

Clothes

White crop top from forever 21- so pretty and summery; I can’t wait to wear it in the upcoming weeks because it is so hot here in Socal.

cream2
This post was not sponsored by Forever21 but that tag is all kinds of cute. 

Apps

Google Opinion Rewards-Basically you do free surveys for free money to buy things on the Google Play Store. You can’t really go wrong with that. I buy games and ebooks with it. Surprise, surprise.

Songs

20160310060202coldplay_hymn_for_the_weekend_artworkcharlie-puth-nine-track-mindtroye_sivan_-_blue_neighbourhood

Hymn for the Weekend-Coldplay’s new album is so awesome and I think this one’s my favorite out of all of them.

One Call Away by Charlie Puth– A random surprise

I Won’t Let You Walk Away-more EDM

Youth by Troye Sivan-My youth is yours.. This song has been playing nonstop for me. I even internally fangirled when I heard it playing at Starbucks

Wild by Troye Sivan– I love the melancholy in this song.

Lost Boy by Troye Sivan-I normally would not like the beat of htis song but something about it is just so charming and yeah this has been a Troye Sivan month. No shame.

Recommendations from Summer and Joey 

Your Lie in April OST– AHH so beautiful, it makes me want to cry. Thanks for the rec Summer!

Smoke-filled room remix– I actually usually don’t like remixes but I really liked this one. Thanks Joey, I’ve been looking at all your retrospective posts for music recs 🙂

TV

This whole month I haven’t watched basically anything but FRIENDS and this is actually the first time I’ve seen Friends. I know, I know, how can a lover of comedy not  have watched Friends by now. Well, funny story, I didn’t like Friends at first. I thought it wasn’t funny..but I’m officially converted! I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. It’s hilarious and charming and Joey and Chandler are probably my favorites haha 🙂

 

Well that’s it! Hopefully, hopefully, April brings better luck. Fingers crossed.

sigfinal

 

 

 

Uncategorized · wrap up

February 2016 Wrap Up

February was an interesting month in terms of reading. I’m glad I got to go out of my comfort zone a little and it paid off. I’m surprised to say that I’ve really been liking all the nonfiction I’ve been reading recently.

Novels

2/5

Embassy town by China Mieville– This is actually one of the most unique books I’ve read in a long, long time, thematically at least. It explores the concept of language and language barrier in a scifi world where some humans serve as ambassadors (basically translators) to an alien race. What is truth? What are lies? And you really feel as though you’ve been submerged into this strange world. BUT. The characters and the storyline were lacking so, so much and were not engaging at all. But to be honest, I think I am not smart enough to understand it. I’ll probably reread it in the future.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes– Full review here

4/5

The following 2 books are going to be featured in my next genre mash-up review post so stay tuned for that! These are all nonfiction.

4/5

 

3.5/5

 

Novellas

4/5

The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn– A must read if you are a fan of fairytale retellings and magical realism! I wasn’t expecting too much from this but it kinda blew me away and I can see why it’s getting Hugo buzz! The general gist of it is that young boy hears the story of his grandfather living with a jinn and a princess in Pakistan and when his grandfather passes away, he feels an urgent need to go back to Pakistan and find out what this jinn really is. It weaves in so many insights on cultural identity, immigration, and generation barriers. You can read it free at the SFF website Tor here

 

 

Graphic Novels/Comics

Descenders Issue 1 by Jeff Lemire, Artwork by Dustin Nguyen– You expect precise and

3.8/5

hard, concrete drawn lines when it comes to the artwork in scifi comics but omigosh Dustin Nguyen so precisely renders this scifi world in watercolor and it works so well. It makes the world so much more expansive and surreal. The story itself is interesting, even if a little generic (it follows a young robot as he tries to survive in a world where robots are outlawed but there’s also an intergalactic war mixed in) and I can’t really judge it yet since I’ve only read one issue but I’m excited for the rest. It reminds me a lot of Star Wars and the kaiju in Pacific Rim. If you’re looking for your next space opera read, I think this one should be on your radar.

An excerpt panel from Issue 1

What did you read this February?

sigfinal