Uncategorized · wrap up

January 2017 Wrap Up

I hate January because it’s the weird slump after the holidays when you realize all the festivities are over and you have to go back to real life. It also always feels like the longest month even though there are other months that have 31 days. I had a pretty ordinary January so I won’t be doing a favorites this month, I’m just going to combine it with my February favorites. And now, the books.

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3/5

The first book of 2017 I read was: Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George

This is the sequel to Dragon Slippers that I read last month. I don’t know what happened but the things I thought were endearing and charming in the last book grew to be irritating and annoying in this one. I think it’s because the characters were now a little too kitschy and gimmicky. Overall, it was still cute and fun but didn’t have that same charm as Book one. I still recommend the first book if you’re looking for a cute pick-me-up.

 

I then finally read a Sarah Waters book: The Little Stranger

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3.5/5

I first wanted to read this because I was looking for a gothic novel set in a creepy mansion that may or may not have a ghost in it. And I got that..somewhat. I loved the descriptions of the mansion and all its mysterious rooms and hallways. What I didn’t love so much was the repetitiveness. One of the characters in the book would tell Dr. Faraday, the main character, that some weird shit was happening and they were really scared and they would think it’s a supernatural entity but then Dr. Faraday would deny this and the cycle would repeat over and over again (esp in the last half of the book). GIRL, let me enlighten you: IT’S A GHOST. Also, the author spoonfed me everything that the characters were thinking so they grew kind of bland. It was also way too long for it to keep the suspense it was trying so hard to build up. But overall, I’d still recommend it (with reservations) for a historical fiction ghost story (it’s not really that scary). I still intend to read Fingersmith by this author; it seems well-received.

Luna: New Moon by Ian Mcdonald

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3.5/5

I don’t like to use the whole “this book is x meets x” but I’m going to break my own rule. If we can remember that this is its own book, I am going to say that it has a lot of similarities to Game of Thrones. So basically Game of Thrones on the moon. It follows a huge cast of characters that all have ulterior motives; they’re all vying for power for their families; there’s sex; there’s violence; a cut throat world. Perfect HBO bait. And I actually liked it. I thought the worldbuilding on the moon was super interesting because there are no rules. Everything is based on contract and negotiation and people’s lives are based on how much oxygen they have. It took me a minute to warm up to these characters because we had to know so many and the way Macdonald writes the third person is really detached but I did end up engaged. The cast of characters are diverse in ethnicity (the main family is Brazilian) and there’s an equal balance of male and female players and the female players are respected for different reasons (happily, no rape plot device).

 

The rest of the novels I have reviews for. I read two books that explored rape culture and everyday sexism. One I loved, the other not so much. Click on the pictures to be linked to my reviews =)

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I have a huge graphic novel recommendations post coming within the month where I’ll write more about these two graphic novels. Let me know if you have any specific types of graphic novels you want me to recommend, I’d be happy to oblige!

Something New: Takes from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley

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4/5

Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet

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3/5

What books did you read this January? And again, if you have any genre or types of graphic novel recommendations that you would like me to mention in my recs post, let me know! I hope you all have a wonderful February 🙂

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Uncategorized · wrap up

December 2016 Wrap Up (I read a lot!)

I definitely went crazy during December which was awesome. I read so much mostly thanks to the many graphic novels I read. I basically went on a graphic novel binge which helped bring my total books read last month to 14. I haven’t read 14 books in a month since 2015 so yay me. Without further ado, let’s get to the books.

First of all, the books..

The first thing I read was:

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (4/5)

This was so cute and light and fluffy and just the type of book that is food for my romantic soul (I’m definitely not immune to the idea of a meet-cute in NYC and falling in love in a day). I felt like the chapters were too short for me to feel truly invested in the other perspectives besides Natasha’s and Daniel’s. I wanted more from those chapters considering they touched on such interesting topics regarding the parents and their lives . I also thought Natasha changed her mind really quickly for someone who was dead set on not falling in love but whatever. I thought the way she wrote Daniel’s perspective was so spot on, probably helped by the fact that the author herself is married to a Korean man. I flew through this book and read it in a day so it’s a good pick-me-up or for when you’re in a reading slump.


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George by Alex Gino (3/5)

I was so disappointed in this book. It is a book about a trans girl (Melissa) who is known as George to everyone else and wants to play the part of Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web) in her school play except everyone thinks she’s a boy. She wants to find a way to tell who she is to the people around her. For a book that is #ownvoices and written from a trans girl’s perspective, it surprisingly gives in to many of the gender stereotypes it intended to subvert. At one point in the novel, Melissa’s brother says this after Melissa comes out to him, “Oh that makes sense because you don’t make a very good boy” and I was thinking what does that even mean because up until that point, the author shows the reader Melissa does not make a good boy because she likes pink and doesn’t like violent video games…what a disappointment.


I have reviews for both of these in my memoir mash up

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Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George (4/5)

This reminded me of my young days reading 90’s/2000’s type fantasy. You know the ones, the traditional sword and sorcery with princesses and dragons and a very traditional good vs evil storyline. I completely adored the simple but entertaining worldbuilding. It’s a world you want to visit despite its problems. I really liked how the heroine finds strength in sewing that’s considered boring and normally devalued because of its feminine qualities. There’s some good action near the end, a really clean romance, and some really archetypal but entertaining characters. 

 

 


 

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Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (4/5)

This book was adorable and Anne is one of those characters that I would hate in real life. She’s so self-righteous and wayyy too talkative but I really liked reading about her. But you can’t really help but be charmed by her because she’s lived a difficult life before moving in with Marilla and Matthew and to see her be so optimistic in spite of the odds is just kind of inspiring. I completely love the way that she writes the relationship between Anne and Matthew and Marilla. The way LM Montgomery writes the charm of Green Gables and Anne’s frenetic dialogue is effortless and top-notch.


And the rest were graphic novels.. I went crazy on the graphic novels last month as you will see.

First I went on a Wonder Woman binge because she is awesome but apparently she is really hard to write because most of the ones I’ve read so far don’t give her enough justice.

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Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Love and Murder by Jodi Picoult (3/5)

I should have know this was going to disappoint when I saw that Jodi Picoult was writing it..I liked the beginning when Diana was talking about she can’t get used to the ways of humans when she is an immortal but the plot got too rushed near the end and lost any possibility for good character development. Also why does Steve Trevor keep being portrayed as a creepy womanizer. It’s weird. The art is fine although a bit too chaotic for me.

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Excerpt

 

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DC Bombshells Vol. 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett & Sauvage (3/5)

I said just last month that my favorite artwork ever in a graphic novel was Harrow County. Well I was wrong, this is my favorite. It’s just so beautifully matte and every character is so beautifully drawn. The content itself was ok although the premise itself seemed so promising. It’s an alternate WWII fought with by all DC superheroines and if women were on the front lines. I think it just focused on too many characters for me to feel any cohesiveness, although if I’m to be honest I only read it for Wonder Woman’s origin story. I never get tired of it. But if you’re looking for something that includes many of the DC comics women superheroes but a paper thin, confusing plot, this is for you.

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Artwork

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DC Comics Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special #1 by various authors (3/5)

I’m still very angry about the fact that Wonder Woman was dropped as a UN ambassador because she was seen as only a sex symbol. Just read this collection of short stories and you can see that it is an insult to consider Wonder Woman just a sex symbol. It’s perfectly fine to be a sex symbol, in fact, most superheroes are. Just look at Batman’s muscles etc.  She is so much more than that. She stands for so much more. And this collection does just that. Some of the stories are a little simplified but there’s some gorgeous artwork that pays homage to who Wonder Woman is. I wish there was more.


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The Legend of Wonder Woman Vol. 1 by Renae De Liz (4/5)

This was the best wonder woman comic of the bunch because the story wasn’t rushed and it knew that it didn’t have to have page after page of action in order to keep the reader’s attention and her character was truly developed. It follows her journey before she left Paradise Island through her childhood and her teen years. I enjoyed learning how she really came to embody the characteristics Wonder Woman and why she is the way she is. The artwork is also pretty great.

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Excerpt

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Paper Girls Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughn

Paper girls Vol. 2 gives me so many answers from Vol. 1 but gives me just as many questions. But this volume is clearly better than Vol. 1 because the characters feel more distinct and there’s a lot more situations where the characters face their fears. I’m also excited about the ending because there’s so much potential for more epic plot lines and I really have no idea what’s going to happen next. This volume just felt way more cohesive so if you thought the first one was just ok, continue on! I think it was worth it.


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The Arrival by Shaun Tan (3/5)

The Arrival is drawn entirely in shades of brown, black and white (almost like a silent movie) and no words. It’s sort of an extended metaphor for immigration and going to a new place. I seriously want some of the artwork framed on my wall. A lovely book but nothing exactly memorable content wise.

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Excerpt

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I Hate Fairyland Vol. 1 by Skottie Young (3/5)

This book was so full of debauchery and fun. Don’t go into this book looking for anything character-driven. The art is so tacky; it’s drawn with vivid combinations of colors that should never work together but somehow does. There’s so many fairytale tropes turned on its head. It sort of reminds me of animated show on cartoon network..but for adults and with adult humor. If you’re into that, I think it’s worth it.

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Excerpt (My picture)

Now I’m paranoid that I forgot a book but I don’t think I did..Anyways, let me know if you’ve read any of these. I know I was pretty brief on some of them but if you want more of my thoughts, just let me know =)

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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

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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.

 

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omg she was so evil..
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Excerpt (my picture)
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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

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

Favorite Audiobook

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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

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Plenty of people like this book I know but just as many people don’t like it. 

I’m also adding categories:

Best Play

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An unexpected look at the different ways people deal with grief. 

Best Graphic Novels

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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.
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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 =)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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 😉

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Uncategorized · wrap up

September 2016 Wrap Up

September was a great reading month considering all the stress I went through (look forward to my stressful September favorites coming your way). Although the consistency of my blog posts definitely suffered. You really can’t have everything can you? Anyways, I read 5 books, a play and 3 graphic novels, so let’s discuss!

The first thing I read I read this month was a really short play called Trifles by Susan Glaspell

1033755Published in 1916 as a hallmark of feminist playwriting, Trifles follows the investigation of Mr. Wright, a farmer who had recently been found dead with a rope around his neck. His wife’s been sent to jail being the primary suspect. But did she really do it and if so, why? This play was beautiful. I loved it and I highly recommend. The entire play happens in one room with Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters trying to figure out why Mrs. Wright would have wanted to murder her husband. The men, seemingly busy finding clues upstairs, interrupts them sporadically throughout the play. It explores the oftentimes dismissal of women and the things they talk and notice about as “trifles”. I loved the unexpected buildup of tension and the ultimate reveal.

We Should Hang Out Sometimes: Embarassingly, A True Story by Josh Sundquist

WSHOS is a funny and endearing YA contemporary memoir that foll21822422ows Josh Sundquist as he navigates love and life. Each chapter follows one particular girl that Josh became involved with during his teen years and grapples with his ongoing insecurity of having only one leg. I really like the little graphs that litter the book. They added a humorous touch to the book.  And I love his humor. It’s a combination of light sarcasm and truthful but hilarious honesty. It’s a quick fun read but one I probably won’t reread.

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same..except lower the bar for math and change “girls” to “boys”

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

The strength of Burial Rites lies in its acute sense of time and place. I felt like I was truly in the 17333319living room of a 19th century Icelandic home. I really liked the otherworldly descriptions of atmosphere and inner thought and I loved the beginning half-ish of this book where there was a deep sense of mystery and character and immersion into the story. It felt like someone was telling me a story by the fireplace while it was raining outside. But I was unsatisfied with the latter half of the book. I felt all that buildup of the mystery ended up not being as mysterious as it led me to believe and the main character was definitely not as ambiguous as the story led me to believe. The rest of the characters that had such great buildup just fell so flat, like they climbed up a cliff and just fell down with no warning (figuratively). And the end to all the mystery was not rewarding and soap operay. It just had so much more potential. But if you’re willing to give it a try, the fall months are perfect for reading this.

The Thief by Megan Whalen TurnerImage result for the thief book

I’m planning on doing a full series review on this series when I’m finished with it. I’m currently on the sequel and will be reading the third and fourth book throughout the rest of the year so look forward to that post.

Kitchen by BanaImage result for kitchen banana yoshimotona Yoshimoto

Kitchen has just the right amount of sentimental and philosophical writing that I love. As with a lot of Japanese literature I’ve read, it’s focused a lot on character’s inner thoughts and it’s such a soothing meditation on death and grief. Kitchen is composed of two novellas about two different people. I feel like both are really similar so I didn’t find them distinctive.

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Americanah is a novel on race, immigration, gender, and identity.
And she makes some brilliant points on race and the daily integration of race in everyday lives but the problem is its characters felt like a platform to express these commentaries. I felt like this could have been written as an essay collection and have been more effective. I also thought sometimes it had a wish fulfillment kind of tone to it and some instances of author insertion which kind of took away from the story for me. I even researched the author after and she had a lot similarities to Ifemelu who was the main character of the book. But this book is very well-received and the writing is solid so I’ll leave it up to you.

Graphic Novels

Oyster War by Ben Towle

Image result for oyster warOyster War is drawn in your typical old-fashioned comic book style. The story itself is also old-fashioned in your typical swashbuckling adventure type of story. I love the artwork and the story was simple and enjoyable but nothing more than that.

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Monster Perfect Edition 4&5 by Naoki Urasawa

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I’m going to be bold here and say that this is one of the best manga series I’ve ever read. Honestly the fact that I’m still continuing should tell you something about it since I’m notorious for not finishing series. It just builds tension so perfectly and the cat-and-mouse chase finds a way to be refreshing even after so many volumes (unlike Deathnote). Highly recommend and I can’t wait to read the rest. And omigosh I just realized as I was putting the pictures together that they make a bigger picture! How cool is that?

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The Gigantic Beard that was Evil by Stephen Collins

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This graphic novel will literally only take you at most half an hour to read. It’s drawn all in black and white and follows a man who lives in a world where everything is tidy and neat. One day, his beard starts growing at an exponentially fast rate and he can’t shear it, cut it; he can’t get rid it. And the story escalates from there. This story is kind of like the equivalent of a Pixar short film. It’s quirky and eccentric with a feel-good message and a story that you don’t really know where it’s going till the end.

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DNF

Magic for begImage result for magic for beginnersinners by Kelly Link

his short story collection is like the book equivalent of films like Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Structurally and content wise, they combine fantasy and reality together in a way that’s suppose to be treated as normal. They’re very imaginative and offbeat but you always get the sense that the offbeat nature is hiding a purpose but you also always feel a sort of disconnect to it. There are some good stories in here but the other ones are just not to my preference.

 

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

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I really wished I had liked this more. It has such a unique main character who is really logical and is an accountant of all things. It’s also unique in that it’s a fantasy that focuses on the economics of war and how to fight a war using money. There’s also a lot of social commentary in here about sexual orientation.There’s also apparently a killer romance between Baru herself and another noblewoman of sorts but the thing is I think the writing is really dry and we do not spend enough time with the characters’ backstory in order to warrant me feeling anything for their motivations so I just stopped reading a third of the way through.

For October, I was planning on doing a spooky reads theme but I realized there was literally no horror books that piqued my interest so I’m going to watch horror movies instead.

What were your favorite books in September? Not so great books? And what are you mostly looking forward to in October? For me, it’s the one and only Crooked Kingdom which I’m currently reading and loving.

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book review · Uncategorized · wrap up

August 2016 Wrap Up

I don’t know what happened this month but I haven’t read this much in one month since last year. I usually read around 5-7 things per month in 2016 but this month? 12. And all of them were pretty good. So let me share them with y’all.

So first off, I actually read a couple of poetry collections. It’s shocking because I’m not a poetry person at all but I thought I’d give them another shot and it turned out pretty well.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

23513349If you’re looking to get into poetry, this is an amazing place to start. A lot of people, myself included, are discouraged from reading poetry because they don’t “get it”. But this poetry collection is easily understandable and covers a lot of accessible topics like breaking up a relationship, abusive relationships, and modern feminism. If you are a veteran of poetry or have read a couple of poetry collections, you can skip this one. Personally I found it a little lacking, the words lack precision and the themes weren’t even reiterated in a fresh or original way. It, however, would work really well as spoken poetry. I read a couple of them aloud (don’t judge me) and they just have a sense of power and anger in them that I don’t think you would get as much of with just reading them.


The Colossus and other poems by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia path is kind of like my angsty spirit animal and a very11627 interesting lady in
her own right. She went to Smith College and graduated with highest honors, married a fellow poet Ted Hughes but suffered from depression her entire life and tried several times to kill herself, first attempting to commit suicide in 1953 by overdosing on her mother’s pills and then in 1962, by trying to crash her car off the road and finally succeeded in 1963 by sticking her head in a gas oven and dying by carbon monoxide poisoning. I think it’s clear from her life why death pervades her poetry so much. She was utterly fascinated with it. Her words are so biting and anguished though not entirely understandable even if you tried. But I was less concerned with understanding her poetry than reveling in her mastery of language.


Poems by Emily Dickinson

Dickinson is one of my favorite poets of all time. She just uses these perfect analogies to describe emotion and it’s just perfect. She, too, was as equally fascinating as Sylvia Plath. She was a recluse in her own house for much of the time she wrote her poetry not even coming out of her room to attend her father’s funeral. But I think she’s a brilliant poet and it’s clear that she really liked nature..and also dashes.


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Onto the play I read and did not like, the infamous Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I did a full review and spoiler discussion here.


I finally, after two months, finished A History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, a contemporary masterpiece that won the Man Booker in 2015.

20893314Marlon James’s writing is amazing. It’s mesmerizing in a way that music is mesmerizing, it just has a power and beat rhythm to it. It’s really violent but despite the plethora of violence, each violent incident still feels like a fresh wound. It is epic in scope, covering the time periods from the 70’s to the 90’s centering around the killing of Bob Marley and covers a complex network of Jamaican politics, corruption, gang life, and drug operations. I’m so impressed with James’s ability to use dialect. Because he doesn’t just use it accurately, he uses it to its maximum potential, combining dialect in a sort of poetic frenzy as he seamlessly writes from one polarizing perspective to another from CIA agents to drug overlords to dead politicians. It’s not an easy read, both stylistically and content wise. In fact, I was confused for a lot of the book but I think if you’re really interested, I think it’s worth it.


And on the subject of Man Booker authors, I read and reviewed Hanya YanigihImage result for the people in the treesara’s debut novel about a renowned scientist that is convicted of rape, The People in the Trees and I really enjoyed it. My full thoughts here

I balanced a lot of these more heavier works with some YA and NA reads even though they were pretty dark too woops.

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I did mini book reviews of Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman, It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, and And I Darken by Kiersten White here.


I then read a little graphic short story called It’s Going to Be Okay by The Oatmeal which actually won (was nominated?) an Esiner award. It’s really sweet and took me less than 2 minutes to read and appreciate the art. You can read it here.

And more graphic stuff! I read two lovely, lovely graphic novels this month.

Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K Vaughn

Image result for paper girlsThis was one of the more weirder graphic novels I’ve read. It’s so weird. I suppose after watching Stranger Things that I needed something 80’s inspired to read. This one also follows a group of kids but all of them are girls (which is refreshing) and there’s a lot of supernatural stuff going on. There are time traveling machines, flying dinosaurs, and aliens. It’s action-packed right from the get-go and even when it gets convoluted, it seems to always have a purpose. The ending made me super excited to continue on to the next volume.

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Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

Skim is a slice of life graphic novel following a young girl as she goes through high schoolImage result for skim graphic novel. While this is happening, the novel follows her high school as they cope with a recent student’s suicide. Much like This One Summer by the Tamaki’s, this graphic novel is very quiet and subdued, nothing much happens and there’s barely any resolution but that’s precisely why I like it because it feels so true to real life. You don’t experience significant moments in life and think “wow that was such an important part of my life”. It just kind of passes by you shifting you ever so slightly. You get the sense after you read it that the main character still has a lot of adventure left ahead of her, that we only got a sneak peek in one part of her life but it still feels ever so poignant.

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Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Image result for far from the madding crowd book penguinAnd I even got to squeeze in a classic this month *drops mic*. This book really reminded me of why I love classics. The writing is gorgeous and I feel like a lot of things actually happen in this novel even if they were a little on the soap operay end. Hardy is not quite as witty as Jane Austen but the way he describes the Wessex countryside is nothing short of poetry. It is both oddly scientific at times (he describes body parts sometimes in their actual terms like larynx and coronary artery) but equally romantic and otherworldly. It’s also odd in the sense that it’s quite feminist but Hardy can’t fully escape the sexist notions of his time. I can see why this is boring to some, there are quite a few descriptions of sheep raising but for me, Batsheba’s adventures with her 3 lovers were just so fascinating that I didn’t really care.

How was your August reading? Have you read any of these, if so, what did you think of them?

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Uncategorized · wrap up

May 2016 Wrap Up: British Royalty, Horror, and Awkward Parties

May was probably the best reading month I’ve had all year. At least in terms of number of books read. Pretty average in terms of the quality of the books though so I guess I just lost my reason to celebrate..woops.

.Anyways, a couple of these I’ve done reviews for and there are others I will be doing reviews for in June so stay tuned for those.

The first couple of books I’m mentioning will be in my mashup review coming up featuring graphic novels so stay tuned for that.

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Sweet Tooth Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire (3/5)

 

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Lumberjanes Vol. 1 & 2 (4/5)

I’m also planning on reviewing Bedlam Vol. 1 (halfway through this one) and Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn in this mashup.


Next, I read Locke and Key Vol. 1 by Joe Hill

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3/5

This one was just ok to me. It’s definitely a setup volume for later works but I’m not sure if I’m interested enough to continue. I just think too much was packed into one volume and the supernatural elements should have been intriguing but just wasn’t. I don’t know, maybe just not the story for me.


Continuing my streak of reading plays, I read,

Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee

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3/5

This play takes place over a span of one night in the 1950’s and it follows a middle-aged drunk couple as they stumble home. A young couple they invite over join them, and then some really dark secrets are unintentionally revealed.

What ensues is probably the most awkward social gathering in the history of social gatherings. Like these people should not be getting drunk around other people. Admittedly this is not a play you can just let wash over you. It is chock full of symbolism exploring themes of the the disillusion of marriage and the bigger delusions of people who craft their own truth.  This play really reminded me of how rewarding reading critically can be and that reading carefully is always better than reading faster (because coughcough I kind of missed the plot twist at the end shhh) but yeah it’s definitely worth a read.


The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

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2.5/5

Warning Sign #1 This book is 454 pages.

A humorous romantic contemporary should NOT be this long unless you have a really good reason because it becomes booorrrinnggg.

Warning Sign #2- The main couple had about as much chemistry as a frog and a horse.

So when Nick’s and Bex’s 1000 couple problems start to come up, do I care? Mmmm…no.

Ironically, the thing I liked most of in this book is simultaneously the thing I didn’t like and that was the fact that it realistically portrayed the toll it takes on a couple to have the paparazzi tail you everywhere and your every movement is watched. I thought it was very accurate portrayal of how the media can affect a couple in the spotlight. I also liked how it showed the ups and downs of being a relationship. You take a break, you fight, you get back together again, you kiss your ex’s brother..ya know..but it was almost too realistic and that just became tedious. But that’s me, I think most people found the realism refreshing.

Sidenote: I hate the name Bex. Honestly, that is what you name your dog. It irritated me so much and it doesn’t even have a nice ring to it. (Sorry to any Bex’s out there).


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4.5/5

On the opposite of the spectrum, I read Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS by Joby Warrick, a 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner for Nonfiction, essentially a nonfiction about the causes of the Iraq War and the..rise of ISIS. Guys, this book has a 98% percent chance of ending up on my favorite books of 2016. It is so haunting and compelling. I will have a full review coming soon.

This month I also read,

the touching We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson and the disappointing Ruined by Amy Tintera, both of which I have reviews for.


I also read one short story by the fabulous Alyssa Wong who wroteHungry Daughters of Starving Mothers - illustrated by Plunderpuss one of my favorite stories of last year, The Fisher Queen. This year, she wrote the Nebula-award winning
short story Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers which is about a girl who sucks out people’s thoughts. A creepy and atmospheric story. I totally loved it.


And last I read, The Rose and The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

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3/5

Let’s be real here, The Wrath and the Dawn was basically the Sharzhad and Khalid show. Every other character paled in comparison to them. And I never thought I’d say that writing such stellar characters would turn out to be a double-edged sword but it did..Because in The Rose and the Dagger when Ahdieh takes the time to try and develop our secondary characters that we only saw glimpses of in the first book like her father, her sister, and Tariq, I just couldn’t care less about them because all I wanted was Sharzhad and Khalid to interact. Also, there is a little secondary romance between Sharzhard’s sister and someone and that’s fine but it was just nowhere as compelling as well.. Sharzhad and Khalid. My other issues with this book was the fact that there was basically no plot and there was so much buildup with an anticlimactic ending. Also, the magical elements in this duology were so, so unnecessary because it is only surface-level explained and it was just kind of there and basically used to provide a convenient ending. Despite my grievances, I did love the female-friendly interactions and Ahdieh’s writing is as always, A+. Her descriptions of physical settings are clear and concise with hints of magical detailing that make it unique.

And that’s my May reading! My little mini rants on these books always turn out longer than I expect. But whatever. Have you read any of these books? How did your May reading go?

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Book Recommendations

Recommendations: Graphic Novels

The world of graphic novels is awesome. You can read them in one sitting or read them when you need a break from your heavier dystopian or long ass classic but you need a sense of accomplishment from finishing a book. Maybe you love art combined with storytelling.

System: You can buy graphic novels the same way you buy single issue comics, that is to say whenever they’re released. Or you can buy what you all the trade paperback which is essentially a bind up of several single issues in one book.

If you would like to enter into the world of graphic novels, click play..i mean keep on reading..if not don’t read this and sit in the corner by yourself because that was uncalled for

Instructions for beginners:

  • Start off with something you know. Read the graphic novel adaptation of a series you’ve already read. Some examples include The Infernal Devices, Vampire Academy, Legend.
  • Flip through it at the beginning and see if you like the art style. If you don’t like it, come back to it but chances are you might not enjoy it as much.

Level 1: The Beginning aka for the beginners

In Which I try to pick graphic novels meant for a younger audience. The simpler story line makes the graphic novel easy to follow and is a great start for graphic novel beginners.

18527488Cleopatra in Space– Reminds me a lot of an animated Disney channel cartoon. The story is just so much fun. The art is crisp and clean so it’s super easy to follow.

Zita the Spacegirl-Has some adorable animal sidekicks and an old-fashioned good vs. evil storyline. 8879121

Bonus Level: Amulet series– Also has some adorable animal sidekicks and a really epic storyline and just brings out the adventurous spirit in you. It also some of the most gorgeous artwork in a graphic novel series I’ve seen. You can’t move onto the other levels without reading this one. Jk you can, but I highly recommend.1238684


Level 2: The Important Issues

American Born Chinese- This graphic novel has a lot to say about being an Asian immigrant in America without being too preachy or even heavy. It has a lot of humor and heart to it.

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Level 3: Graphic Memoirs

15196Maus  I & II– Maus is a memoir about Spiegelman’s experience in the concentration camps during WWII. It flashes back and forth between the past and present and the most interesting about it is that it’s drawn in an anamorphic way. The Nazis are cats and the Jews are mice. I’ve read a lot of WWII literature and this still manages to be thought-provoking because it delves into the mental consequences of having lived through such a horrific event but still trying to live a normal life after that.

9516Persepolis– About a young girl coming of age during the Islamic Reolution. I loved reading from the perspective of a young girl and her views on the world at such a period of turmoil.

Stitches by David Smalls- This one is about a mute boy and his relationship with his tumultuous relationship with his parents.    Completely heartbreaking but it’s one of those books that cheesy as it sounds makes you feel    like you can survive anything.


Level 4: The Weird..and the Explicit (Please don’t let this deter you from picking these up because their stories are so, so amazing.)

Chew– It’s about a detective who is a cibopath which means he gets psychic impressions from the things he eats. Anything he eats. Expect lots of cannibalism. Also expect laud out loud moments and super fun plotline.

Rat Queens– Forgive me for using the “X meets Y” formula but this really is like Lord of the Rings meets Bridesmaids. The funny and endearing characters really make this story worth rooting for.

Saga– It is essentially about two planets that are at war with each other. Well, two members of the opposing sides fall in love and have a child and are now on the run.

Sex Criminals– Whenever a couple has sex, they stop time. What do

they do with this ability? Read it and find out! I sound like an infomercial but seriously it’s good.

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BOSS LEVEL: The Adventures of TIntin

I’m not putting this last because it’s difficult to read, it’s just one of, if not my favorite graphic novel series of all time. I love the artwork, the characters, just the adventure and mystery are so well-crafted and fun.

What are your favorite graphic novels?

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