Hi there and happy end of January! I can’t believe the first month of the year is already over. It’s crazy to think that we’re already one step closer to the end of the year.
If you remember, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to blog 3 times a week. I’ve already sort of failed at this one, but seriously, college and blogging aren’t always compatible! I actually had wanted to post this yesterday, but it got pushed back to today because I still had a lot to do even though I had the day off yesterday.
Anyway!! Here I am again with a wrap up post for the month! In this post, I’m going to talk about the books I got to read this month (Ahh so many!!), and I will definitely link my reviews if they are live.
This month I managed to read a total of nine books. I’m pretty impressed with that! I had been struggling to read two books in the fall, and I’m even busier this semester.
Something that helped me this semester was getting back into listening to audiobooks. I absolutely adore audiobooks because they let me get other work done while still engaging with a good book. I think my favorite book to listen to was The Wicked King by Holly Black. The narrator is excellent and the book itself is incredible! I can’t wait for Queen of Nothing to come out next year!!
Eleanor & Park was a re-read, and I’m so glad I did. I think that was the third or fourth time I’ve read that book. Every time I read it I remember how much I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing. I can’t wait for Wayward Son!!
Have you read any of the books I read this month? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you’re having a good week so far. This remember when I said I would make a longer list of books that are coming out this year with Asian characters? Well today is that day! I’ve been looking forward to this day for so long, and I can’t wait to make this compilation for you. I will be including ones that have been or will be released in 2019, so get ready.
1. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He | April 2
Described as Chinese Game of Thrones, He’s debut follows Hesina as she’s thrust into her crown when her father, the king, is murdered. As she investigates her father’s death with illicitly retrieved information, Hesina must protect her court and navigate the deception.
Lu and Min are betrayed when their father, the king, names their male cousin the heir to the throne. The sisters descend on two very opposite paths, but both pursue what they believe to be their rightful place in the kingdom: the throne.
K-pop idol Lucky is on a sole mission to find a burger after her performance in Hong Kong, and tabloid writer Jack sneaks into her hotel on assignment. When the two accidentally bump into each other, sparks may catch fire.
4. Hungry Hearts ed. by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond | June 18
This anthology chronicles lives through one of the best parts of culture: food! While it’s not particularly Asian focused, it does include many tales written by Asian authors, and I can’t recommend this enough. I can’t wait to read it myself!
5. There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon | May 14
Ashish Patel gets dumped and loses his mojo, so he grudgingly agrees to be set up by his parents. Sweetie Nair, a formidable track and field athlete, is tired of her parents telling her that her fatness makes her lacking. In a turn of events, the two find themselves together and sparks may be flying.
Maia’s dream of becoming the best tailor in the land is suddenly rocketed forward when she answers a summons from her father at the court. Posing as a boy, Maia weaves her way through court intrigue, and will face the ultimate challenge of sewing the gown of the emperor’s bride-to-be.
7. Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim | June 11
Returning to her childhood home in San Francisco’s Chinatown upon the news of her mother’s passing, Natalie Tan find the transformation of businesses that were once booming. Natalie also finds that she inherits her grandmother’s restaurant. Facing the choice of helping her community grow and her own harbored resentment toward it, Natalie finds help in unexpected people.
Fashion enthusiast Kimi Nakamura is determined to turn everyday things into her own original projects. As things become a mess at home, she jumps at the chance to visit her grandparents in Kyoto and is swept up in the gorgeous new-to-her city. Unbeknownst to her, Kimi may just find things are closer to her heart and discover more about her mother than she thought she would.
9. The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala | April 23
Esha moonlights as the Viper, the top assassin combating the fallout of what she lost in the coup. Kunal has been a trained soldier his whole life, and he has never strayed from his path under the watchful eye of his uncle. When their paths cross, their worlds are blown apart with both vying to be the one on top.
Sora and Daemon seek to set themselves apart in their society and become part of the elite warriors Society of Taigas. During one of their scouting missions, Sora and Daemon encounter a mysterious group of soldiers and decide the best way to help is to infiltrate them.
11. 96 Words for Love by Rachel Roy and Ava Dash | January 15
Raya Liston feels bound to her path with her acceptance to UCLA. When her grandma passes and the opportunity to spend the summer in India with her cousin in the place her grandma spent many of her formative years, Raya jumps at the chance. What surprises her the most is the abundance of love and herself.
With an affinity towards blood, Anastacya Mikhailov has learned that she is a monster. An accident in the middle of the night results in the death of her father, and she is sentenced for his murder, but Ana flees with the truth. On the run, Ana must find allies and uncovers the deadly world that would kill her father to stage a coup.
Aza Wu has been burned by magic before — it has taken her sister from her, and she knows to stay far from it. In the shadow of her sister’s loss, Aza must save the legacy of her family’s teahouse, Wu Teas. Stumbling upon a secret invitation, Aza decides to take a chance and enters an underground casting ring, where the stakes may be higher than what she bargained for.
That was an awfully long list, I know, and that doesn’t even cover half of what I want to read. I’m sure that I will come out with another list once more releases are announced, especially toward the middle of the year. I hope that you make sure to check them all out this year and support this amazing community.
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope the holiday season has treated you well. I’m here with a new review of one of my anticipated reads of the year. Seriously, guys, if you haven’t added this to your TBR, you need to right now. Thank you to the publisher for sending a copy for review! This had no influence on my reading and reviewing of this book.
Title: We Set the Dark on Fire
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Expected release: February 26, 2019
My rating: 5/5 Goodreads stars
In this daring and romantic fantasy debut perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and Latinx authors Zoraida Córdova and Anna-Marie McLemore, society wife-in-training Dani has a great awakening after being recruited by rebel spies and falling for her biggest rival.
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children. Both paths promise a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class.
Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her pedigree is a lie. She must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society.
And school couldn’t prepare her for the difficult choices she must make after graduation, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio.
Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or will she give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?
Once I opened this book it was really hard to set it down. I was swept up into the world of Medio immediately, and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen.
Dani was fun to watch grow. Her strength and evolution throughout the bus was compelling. I love how she wasn’t afraid to stick up for herself, but knew when to back down. She knew her weaknesses, and while they seemed like a setback, they proved to be a strength in the end.
I didn’t know what to think of Carmen the whole book. She seemed on the fence, never truly committed the whole time. That’s all I’ll be able to say about her without giving much away.
One of my favorite parts of the book were the Latinx elements. They were rich within the story, and slipped in flawlessly and respectfully. I couldn’t imagine a better setting.
There were so many twists and turns in the plot. I didn’t know who to trust! Everyone seemed suspect, and I didn’t even know who I wanted to win. I wish we got to know Alex more, and I hope that we do in the second book. I loved it so much, I am already dying to read book two!!!!!!
Make sure to get that pre-order because you’ll want to read it as soon as it comes out.
Hi there! I hope you’ve had a good new year so far! I’m going to feature a few authors whose books I read and absolutely loved last year. I had the chance to interview them thanks to their amazing publicist.
Today I’m talking with Siobhan Vivian, author of Stay Sweet, and many other novels. (Read my review of Stay Sweet here.) Siobhan was actually the first author who did an interview on my blog here! You can read that here.
Here’s a little more about her formally:
Siobhan Vivian is the author of THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD (April 2016), as well as THE LIST, NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL, SAME DIFFERENCE, and A LITTLE FRIENDLY ADVICE. She also co-wrote BURN FOR BURN series with her best friend JENNY HAN. She currently lives in Pittsburgh.
I absolutely loved Stay Sweet, and couldn’t put it down when I took it with me over spring break! Here’s some more info about the book.
Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—
the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…
Hi, Siobhan! Thank you so much for taking time to sit down and answer my questions. It’s lovely getting to work with you again, but this time forJustine! I wish you the best with Stay Sweet, and I’m already looking forward to your next book We Are the Wildcats.
Thank you so much for the great questions, Sophie! It’s always a pleasure to “speak” with you! J
Let’s start with you describing your book in ten words or less.
Simply put, it’s about sisterhood, summer, ice cream, and romance.
A big part of this novel is about Molly Meade, a self-made woman who owned her own business. Where did you come up with the character of Molly?
Molly is based in large part on a teenage version of my grandmother, who was very resourceful, ambitious, and driven, particularly for a girl in the 1940s. And the more research I did about that time in American history, I realized that many of the challenges young women were facing back then parallel the issues of our time.
If you were the proprietor of your own business, what would it be? Why?
I would love to run a small coffee shop with homemade baked goods, because coffee and baked goods are fundamental to my daily existence.
While it’s written in third person, this follows mainly Amelia. What was it like writing in her headspace? Did you think about writing a little from Cate’s perspective too?
I actually wrote several drafts of Stay Sweet in first person, and it just never felt right. I found it very difficult to capture the timelessness and history of Meade Creamery through Amelia’s contemporary perspective. I also didn’t like how the story transitioned from Amelia’s POV into Molly’s diary entries in first person. There wasn’t enough POW to the change in perspective. Once I made the decision to change it to third person, I felt more deeply immersed in the storytelling.
I love the best friendship in this book. It reminded me of all the girls who have been there for me in the same way. Did you draw on your own relationships to help build the friendship between Cate and Amelia?
Oh absolutely. I’m extremely lucky to have befriended several strong, successful, sparkly women throughout my life and I used lots of different facets of them to build the friendship between Amelia and Cate.
Have you ever worked in an ice cream shop yourself? If so, what was your favorite part?
I never did! But one of my former students at The University of Pittsburgh worked at a small ice cream parlor and she gave me many incredible details.
How did you come up with the flavor Home Sweet Home?
I had a really in-depth conversation with Katie Heldstab—one of the founders of Pittsburgh’s Leona’s Ice Cream (www.leonaspgh.com) –about what ingredients someone might use to sweeten ice cream if they didn’t have access to sugar. Katie is a graduate of the infamous Penn State Ice Cream program and super well-versed in the science and chemistry of ice cream making. Her input was beyond helpful!
Alright to wrap this up, is there anything you can share about your upcoming novel with us?
Yes! It’s a 24-hour clock, which is a device I’ve always wanted to use in a book. And I’m returning to a mutli POV ala my book The List. Finally, the story allows me to explore one of my favorite themes—all the complicated and magical ways that girls form friendships with each other.
Thank you so much, Siobhan, for taking the time to answer my questions! I can’t wait to read We Are the Wildcats!! Please be sure to check out all of her books — they’re divine!!
Hi, guys! I hope you all have been having a lovely summer so far. As it winds to a close with the fall equinox rapidly approaching, August has brought to us a wealth of Asian stories. Crazy Rich Asiansby Kevin Kwan and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Beforeby Jenny Han are two very different, very unique stories starring narratives of Asian main characters and both have been released as movies in the same weekend. There have been a series of Tweets recently about why Asian stories don’t matter, and that is plain hurtful. I can’t even begin to explain what I’m feeling because everything is so tightly wound together. So here’s my piece on WHY THEY DO MATTER. BECAUSE ALL REPRESENTATION MATTERS.
With the heady rush to see and support both of these masterful creations, it’s important to stop and think about why these movies (and books) mean so much to the Asian-American community.
While Crazy Rich Asians certainly isn’t exclusively a story about only Asian-Americans (the only Asian-Am character is Rachel Chu), it still stands as a great feat because it stars an all Asian-American cast, the first in 25 years. Why did it take so long for America to produce a movie like this again? The fight for representation reaches to all people of color, and that includes Asian people and culture. This should be done in a respectful manner, not done by white people who think they have an idea of what Asian people would like. And that is something that has happened for far too long. This story follows Asian families and tells an Asian story. It centers around the vast diversity within the Asian community and includes many nuances that are hard to grasp if you’re not born and raised in it.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was originally only a YA contemporary novel written by Jenny Han. It was the first time I clearly remember seeing an Asian girl on a book cover. It was published in 2015. At that point I was already 16 years old. For me to have lived as long as I did without seeing someone who looked like me on something as simple as a book cover is mind blowing. What about all of the people who lived longer without this kind of simple representation? Think of all of the covers with white people on it. There are gobs of them. I want to emphasize that this isn’t terrible, but it’s something to consider when our nation quite frankly is not all white. It has never been solely white people.
TATBILB is not a story about a girl and her Asian-ness. And not every story featuring a person of color has to be that kind of teaching moment. It shouldn’t have to be. People of color shouldn’t have to explain themselves and who they are to be accepted as people. We want to see people who look like us doing things that we do. We go to school, go to work, fall in love, fall out of love, get angry, get into arguments, make amends. We live as normally as anyone else. When this kind of story is missing, it is saying that they are less important than others. It takes away the unique struggles that we face as people of color because of our skin. Not every person of color faces the same challenges either. What matters is that these problems we face get acknowledged. We have been silenced and told our stories don’t matter for so long. We can no longer stand for this. People of color need to raise each other up. Everyone wants a piece of the equality pie, and fighting each other is counterproductive and hypocritical.
That’s all I’ve got for now, folks. Thanks for reading this piece!
Hi there! I know this is coming a bit late for an anticipated releases post, but I do want to talk about all of the amazing books coming out this month. So many came out on March 6, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to get them all.
However, I will get to them eventually! I have a few that I’m really excited to read here with me, and some that I’ve already read that you definitely need to keep your eye on.
Wow, that’s a lot of books. I didn’t realize it until I typed it all out. A few books I want to highlight are The Astonishing Color of After and The Final Six. I got the chance to read those early, and they were amazing. I fell in love with the writing of both authors. Astonishing is full of lyrical, haunting magical realism. The Final Six is a high stakes sci-fi novel that I couldn’t put down!
What’s something you’re looking forward to this month? Have you read any good March releases yet? Tell me in the comments below!
Hi, guys!! I read this way back in February, but to this day I still love it so much. Maybe this calls for a re-read… Anywho, I cannot wait to finally write my thoughts down about this book. MY HEART WAS JUST A LITTLE BIT BROKEN AFTER IT NO BIG DEAL HAHAHAHA *tear*
Title: Seven Days of You
Author: Cecilia Vinesse
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 7, 2017
Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.
Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?
I had a lot of feelings about this book when I finished it — and when I was reading it. Here are some things I said on my Goodreads account:
WHAT IS THIS LIFE?!?!? THIS BOOK. I’M CRYING RIGHT NOW OH MY GOD.
Okay, well this is a beautiful story about beginnings and endings and everything that comes with both. It’s lovely to see everything play out (even though it’s ripping me apart right now) and I can’t help but feel the bittersweetness of the entire situation. More thoughts to come with a full review!
So maybe some tears were shed. Just because I get really invested in characters doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing! It was poignant and fresh and I loved the setting!
Maybe it’s because her name was Sophia, but I loved her. I could picture her in Tokyo savoring her last few days there, and dragging her feet to leave. I couldn’t imagine that kind of move. I moved houses within the same city and that was hard.
The characters are what made this book amazing for me. I loved their development and their quirkiness. Mika was hilarious and the *perfect* (but flawed) best friend. David was the brooding-but-lovable guy friend. Honestly, their trio reminded me of my trio of friends I had at the time. When Jamie enters the scene, it was fun to see their dynamic change and shift around him. They seem like great people to be friends with overall.
I wish I had more details that helped me get around Tokyo a bit better. A map on the end pages would have been so fun! I did like the small details that Vinesse added about it, but there could have been a few more to make it more immersive.
I really wanted to finish this book, but also I wanted more than seven days. I wanted a year. Or more. Really, anything more that Cecilia would give me I would read. I want to know what happens after. PLEASE TELL ME THERE’S A COMPANION NOVEL OR SEQUEL IN THE WORKS I’M DYING OVER HERE.
Hello! Hope you’re having a great week thus far. I’ve got a short week this week at school, so I have a lot of time to read! (Well, and do other things like see Beauty and the Beast with my friend and watch more Glee.)
Today I wanted to talk to you about reading slumps. We’ve all been there. You’ve just finished a phenomenal book and you’re still living in the wonderful world that just ended (or didn’t if it’s a series unless it was the last book in that one). Alas, all good things must come to an end at some point. Yet, you want to go back in time and start reading that book for the first time again. I have felt that way with many books (The Upside of Unrequitedbeing the latest probably).
As a book blogger, being in a reading slump is the worst. I need to read so I can review and stay up to date with all of the buzz! So what do I do to fight this? Here are a few of my tried and true tricks.
1) Read a contemporary. I love contemporaries because they’re light and fluffy. Many of them have strong underlying messages in them too, and I love them even more for that. It’s nice to take a dip into the “real” world and see someone go through something that you have (or haven’t) and sympathize with their plight. Also, I love how fast they usually go. Some of my go-to contemporaries are To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, anything by Sarah Dessen, and the latest contemporary that I bought.
2) Re-read my favorites. I don’t know how you people expect me to have just one favorite book. I have some all-time favorites (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Shug by Jenny Han, You Were Here by Cori McCarthy to name a *few*). Re-reading a favorite book is an awesome solution because it’s revisiting a world that you’ve come to love. I always find that there are details that I missed the first time around and it’s fun to find all of the new things about the book that I love.
3) Start reading multiple different books. This one isn’t for everyone! I know it’s tough to read more than one book at a time for a lot of people, but if I’m feeling a slump come on I start a bunch of different books. Chances are one is going to grab me and suck me in. After I finish that one I have all of the other ones that I started that I can come back to. I slowly make my way through my books this way. (I have so much that I have to read vs. ones that I want to read in addition to this that it’s necessary to read more than one book at a time.) If the book that you picked up isn’t working for you then you can try one that you already started and come back to it later! This is how I finish so many books around the same time. It’s pretty effective when you have a huge tbr stack.
I hope my tips have helped! Are there any tried and true ways that you use to get out of a slump? Let me know in the comments below!
Welcome to the club my friend! We’ve been waiting for you. I, myself, am a proud book addict and absolutely love hanging out in all places bookish. You may have recognized yourself whilst reading my last post on this (Book Chat: Help! Am I a Book Addict?). If you do, then welcome; if you didn’t, then I hope you can use these to better understand your friends who are.
Step one: Acknowledging you have a problem
Congratulations! This is sometimes the hardest part – saying you’re addicted to books makes it a real thing instead of something you can hide away in between the pages. There is a certain level of liberation you’ll feel after seeing this in yourself and admitting to it. That by any means doesn’t mean you’re yet done with it! You still have urges to sit in between the shelves of books, cancel plans last minute because you’re “sick,” and read all the time.
Step two: Finding ways to cope
Now I’m not saying that being a book addict is necessarily a bad thing! It only is kind of bad when it gets in the way of things like laundry and dishes. It’s gross to eat off of plates crusty with last week’s pasta sauce. It’s nice to eat something that’s out of your fridge and not a restaurant. The best way to manage your time is to read while doing other things. Ride a bus? Read on your commute. Cooking dinner? Doing the dishes? Listen to an audiobook. There are so many ways to consume literature and I promise there are great ways to do so.
Step three: Find a support group a.k.a. a book club
Book clubs are the ultimate support group for book lovers. There are people here that can sympathize with you when you’re feeling those feels, especially when you read those gut wrenching books. Here you’re going to find people with different perspectives that will let you see your reading in a new light.
Step four: Read
Seriously, why should you stop reading? Reading is one of, if not the best way to explore new worlds. Books give you a new perspective on the world and develops empathy within you. They make you think and feel and it truly brings the world (and more) to you in the span of a few hundred pages.
Hi, happy Wednesday! I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. I didn’t have school Monday, and since then I have been screwed up on what day of the week it is. I can’t complain too much – it’s an okay problem to have in the scheme of things.
Today I’ll be discussing the very serious topic of Book Addiction. Are you a book addict? What are the signs and symptoms of this disease?
What is a book addiction?
A book addiction is defined as a disease of literary lovers who cannot stop consuming the written word (spoken or read). These people eat, sleep, and dream of worlds known only to them and their books. Often times you will find these people cooped up in the corner of the room at a party with a book in their lap quietly ignoring the people while they escape into a different world. Be careful when approaching a book addict when they are reading. There is an array of reactions you may receive when taking them by surprise varying from a cold shoulder to an angry outburst.
Bags under the eye
Sleep deprivation (due to reading through the night)
Increased coffee/tea/hot chocolate consumption
Carrying +1 book around with you anywhere (even if you know when you won’t have time to sit and read)
Intense craving to stay in a read your book
Cancelling plans because you’re “sick”
Telling friends and family you’re “going to sleep” when in actuality you’ll be reading for the next hour or so
Frequenting a bookstore, library, or any other source of literature
Visits may include getting another book to read after the one you’ve decided to read next
Finding solace in the shelves
Or simply by being surrounded by books
Looking at the stack of books you have and deciding you simply must get another because you need it
Obsessively checking the release date of a book
Repeatedly refreshing your browser to check if your book mail got left in the mail
Though this list of symptoms is certainly not complete, these are some behaviors of book addicts. You may have been reading this list and thinking – I do [insert behavior here]! Have no fear, I am a book addict too. I have come to embrace my addiction. Stay tuned next week for the next installment!