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.

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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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