Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Review: THE SUMMER I FOUND YOU by Jolene Perry

Amazon | Book Depository | B&N | Goodreads

The Summer I Found You
by Jolene Perry
Published: March 1, 2014
Genres: YA / Contemporary / Romance

A romance between a 19-year-old Afghanistan veteran Aidan and a 17-year-old high school student named Kate sprouts soon after Kate is dumped by her boyfriend. Both Aidan and Kate suffer from bodily otherness: Aidan lost his arm in Afganistan, and Kate has Type 1 diabetes, and this is what ultimately brings them together, despite their shame and self consciousness of their otherness. 

This is a beautiful premise, but what I end up seeing is a shallow relationship propelled by raging hormones in which Aidan and Kate use each other as a "distraction" from their problems:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: THE WISDOM OF THE SHIRE by Noble Smith


The Wisdom of the Shire
by Noble Smith
Published: October 29, 2013
Genres: Nonfiction / Philosophy / Self Help / Secondary Source


A self help book based on Tolkien's philosophies in his works on Middle-earth, Wisdom of the Shire is a wonderful guide on living the simple and fulfilling lives of Hobbits. It's a short work - you can finish it in a day if you like, but I chose to read it slowly over the course of a month to make it last. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review: WORLD OF WARCRAFT: ASHBRINGER by Micky Neilson, Tony Washington, and Ludo Lullabi


World of Warcraft: Ashbringer
by Micky Neilson (author), Tony Washington (illustrator), and Ludo Lullabi (illustrator)
Published: June 9, 2009
Genres: Comics / Fantasy / World of Warcraft

Read this one on my tablet - the colors are gorgeous!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (3/24/2014)

This meme is hosted by BookJourney. :)

Final exams ended not with a bang, nor a whimper, but with a heavy snore. I'm at my parents' house hanging out with my brother and sister. Spring break is only a week long, so I'll have to make the most out of it in terms of reading, hanging out with friends and family, and sleeping. :) I'm taking a course on Vampires in Literature this coming quarter. You can probably guess at least one of the books that we'll be reading.

Check out my blog tour stop for Jewel of the Thames and enter to win a free eCopy of this wonderful novel! I've read it and totally recommend it. 

This week, I finished:


Sunday Scoop #21


Hi! Welcome the Sunday Scoop. This week, we are taking part in the Blog Tour for Angela Misri's Jewel of the Thames. Click here to read about the upcoming mystery novel and win a free eCopy!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Interview with Angela Misri: JEWEL OF THE THAMES

Angela Misri, author of Jewel of the Thames
Jewel of the Thames has made me quite smitten with all things related to the Sherlockverse...and tea. Following the death of her mother, Portia Adams is uprooted from her rundown Toronto apartment to London - into the same exact apartment where Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson used to hang out and solve mysteries. This transition is facilitated by Mrs. Jones, Portia's mysterious and wealthy guardian. As Portia attends college and gets to know the other friendly tenants in the building, she finds herself swept into into three mystery cases. As she applies her curiosity and logical reasoning to the mysteries, she also learns more about the secrets of her family.

_____________________________

1. Portia Adams has a unique family history, as the granddaughter of Watson. How did you get the idea for Portia Adams as a character?
I've been toying with the idea of a young female detective for a long time - since university really, but originally, I had imagined Portia just renting the Baker Street townhouse and finding herself attracted to detective work just by a kind of osmosis. What sparked the idea for the family connection was a short story I read by Stephen King called 'The Doctor's Case.' It opened the door for me to think of ways to make Holmes and Watson my own, while still very much respecting Conan-Doyle's original writings - which King did very well in his short story.

2. The setting for most of the novel is London in the 1930s. The writing and descriptions of clothes, trains, and the socio-economic class structure in Britain created an impression of what the era was like. How did you do your research on 1930s London?
Extensively. I watched movies made in the ten-year span, read books published at the time, read political speeches written in London at the time (later made into packaged anthologies) and read as many history books on It as I could get my hands on.

3. The characters drink much tea, and there is a scene on a train in which Portia and some companions drink several pots of tea as they work out a mystery. What's your favorite tea?
Ha! I like Earl Grey and Jasmine teas myself ; )

4. Have you been to London before? And if so, have you visited 221B Baker Street?
Yes, I was born in London (a little burrough called Croydon) and lived there till I was six. I have been back many time as my brother still lives there. Yes, I have visited 221 Baker Street and the museum many times.

5. Which is your favorite Sherlock mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and why?
'A Scandal in Bohemia' because Adler is an absolute favorite character of mine.

6. What is your favorite Sherlock adaption (play, film, TV series)?
The one you list below in question 7. is my favourite, though I also like the Robert Downey Jr. movies.

7. The BBC Sherlock series has become quite popular worldwide. Have you seen it, and how do you feel about the modern adaptation of Sherlock as a high-functioning sociopath?
I love it! My senior thesis in my English degree was a paper in which I postulated that Sherlock Holmes was bipolar, so as an avid reader of the original canon, I could not agree more we the BBC interpretation.

8. I'm so excited to read more! Are you working on the second installment of the Portia Adams Adventures? How's it going? :)
I've actually finished my first draft of books 2 & 3 at this point (and am halfway through 4) so I'd say it's going rather well ; ) Portia is one of those characters who is both loud and busy, so she's constantly in my ear whispering ideas.
____

Find out more about
Jewel of the Thames by Angela Misri

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Waiting On" Wednesday: THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER by Leslye Walton

Waiting On Wednesday is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. :)


The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton is coming out this Tuesday on March 25, 2014! I'm planning on reading this book during my spring break. There are already like ~140 or so reviews on Goodreads, and it looks like it's a consistent rave.

Book Review: THE WAVES by Jen Minkman (The Island #2)

 


The Waves: an Island novella (#2)
by Jen Minkman
Published: October 4, 2013

Genres: YA fiction / Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (3/17/2014)

This wonderful meme is hosted by Sheila of BookJourney. :)

Hi! Hope your Monday is going well. These upcoming days will be finals week for UCSD, so my reading has slowed down a bit. But it's fine. I have a HUGE list of books that I want to read for spring break. It's better to aim big, right? :P


This week, I finished reading:



Sunday Scoop #20


Hey! Hope your Pi Day was awesome this week (and don't forget - it's still pi month!). It's finals week so I shall be brief.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

NEWS: World of Warcraft: War Crimes by Christie Golden

Release Date: May 6, 2014

Hey all! A teaser has been posted on the Amazon page for Christie Golden's upcoming World of Warcraft: War Crimes

This novel, in which Garrosh is charged with the crimes that have been committed beneath his power, is intended to transition the lore between the expansions Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor. During the trial, the Bronze dragonflight will use their powers to give the audience a close-up flashback vision of what Garrosh did. 

Christie Golden has stated that she takes some of the ideas for the war crimes from research into our world history (Earth, that is). Here's her response to someone who criticized her for borrowing from the war violence in our own histories:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Review: THE MANGO BRIDE by Marivi Soliven


Published April 30, 2013

Genres: Literature / Fiction / Asian American / Filipino

The Mango Bride by Marivi Soliven is centered around the lives of two women who live in Manila, Philippines. Amparo comes from the wealthy and well-reputed Duarte-Guerrero family but was banished to the United States after a scandal. Beverly Obejas, on the other hand, lives in poverty and fantasizes of a more glamorous life that she sees in movies. 


Beverly: A Cinderella Story Gone Wrong


After her mother's death, Beverly clings on to notions of romance and material prosperity, eventually coming to believe coming to the United States as a mail order bride would help her attain those dreams. As a pretty-faced nobody in the Philippines, Beverly constantly compares her life to those of people around her.
Her constant envy of others and self-delusional mindset irritated me throughout the novel, but that's the sort of "antagonistic personality" that Marivi Soliven likes to write. I was torn between understanding Beverly's situation and disliking her for her self-destructive (and naive) mindset. It made The Mango Bride all the more compelling because I wanted to find out what would happen to Beverly and Amparo. In short, Beverly life is a Cinderalla story gone horribly, horribly wrong.


Amparo: Exiled from Manila; Finds New Home in California


As for Amparo, she is living in the United States, and overall, I get the sense of loneliness that one feels when they are disconnected from the community of people like themselves. As a telephone translator, she speaks with Filipino women from across the United States, and there is this overall feeling of quiet despair at how spread apart these people are, especially for the women enduring domestic abuse. Fortunately, Amparo lives in California and has formed an alternate family with some fellow outcasts of society: her uncle Tito Aldo (exiled due to scandal, like her), Manong Del (one of the earlier Filipino migrant workers), and her boyfriend Seamus, who isn't exactly an outcast but lives with a more liberal mindset than those that Amparo grew up with. 


Senora Concha: The Matriarch


Senora Concha is an example of the type of person I enjoy reading in a book but would hate to meet in real life. I imagine the fun Soliven had in writing up such a bitchy character, who is an example of preserving the status quo of postcolonial values, in which all things (languages, culture, people) European/American trumped the Filipino. I wanted to happily plunge a knife into her back. At times, I had trouble believing that some people can be so superficial, but I can see how someone who has grown up in the seat of privilege, who wants to see the family's reputation prosper in the long run, can end up that way.


Marivi Soliven's Style and Influence


The writing throughout The Mango Bride is stunningly beautiful. Marivi Soliven describes the surroundings of Amparo and Beverly's lives with such vividness that I could almost taste the food or scrape off a layer of grime from the walls of the run-down parts of Manila with my finger. Spanish and Tagalog terms are interwoven fluidly with the text along with their translations for those who are unfamiliar with either language.

Amparo and Beverly are intriguing characters in The Mango Bride, and some elements of their lives are borrowed from soap operas - an influence that Soliven nods to in the interview at the back of the book.


Conclusion


The Mango Bride has the drama of a soap opera, but instead of perpetuating the status quo, it critiques the postcolonial and classist values that many people live by but don't question every day. It also calls into question the idea of motherhood, and how close familial bonds can be forged between people who aren't related by blood - a concept beautifully played out in this multi-layered story. 

Check out my interview with Marivi Soliven here.

My rating:


Learn more about The Mango Bride:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review: THE ISLAND by Jen Minkman (The Island #1)


The Island
by Jen Minkman
(The Island #1)

Genres: YA Fiction / Dystopian / Star Wars / Post-Apocalyptic

Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (3/10/2014)

Hosted by Sheila @ BookJourney. :)

Hi! Hope your week is doing well so far. 

This week, I'm reading a smattering of books for fun. Oddly (or maybe not-so-oddly), I'm getting into a range of fun reads in these final weeks of the quarter. What a procrastinator. *self scolds* 

Just finished this week:

Sunday Scoop #19

Photo Source: Venture Galleries

Hello, welcome to the Sunday Scoop. I'm a few episodes into Being Human (UK), and I've finally started writing my thesis project. My poly and I went to see 300: Rise of an Empire today, and Eva Green's performance was STUNNING. She is my new Hollywood crush.

So, for this week:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review: THE WOUNDED by Lauren Nicolle Taylor


The Wounded
by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Book 3 of The Woodlands Series

Published: February 28, 2014

Note: I was given an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Despite the controversy over Rosa's character (let's face it: she has a strong personality, and we probably wouldn't get along very well), I thought it was realistic for all the trauma she has gone through. Her determination to make things right for her family is also what distinguishes Rosa as a badass heroine. I actually thought Clara in the first book was some sort of lovable freak of nature. How does one go through such horrific things (like being pulled away from your family, forced artificial insemination) and still be nice and pleasant? One would become a tiger, trying to protect whatever they have left. 

And that's exactly what Rosa is. She is a protective tiger, ever so ready to protect her new-found family. Following her adventures from the second novel, she has become reunited with her dad, Pelo, but holds resentments against him for abandoning her as a child for the cause. With father and daughter reunited once more, they have to go back to The Wall, where the Survivors live. The path is paved with dangers, and once they return, they have to figure out what to do.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Scoop #18


Hello. :) Welcome to the Sunday Scoop. I've spent the whole afternoon researching for my second and last Tolkien paper. I also had a dream that I was a male assassin and hid a large, white envelope inside my thigh wound. Pretty nasty. This week has been rainy for San Diegan weather, but we needed the rain. Finals are approaching fast, so these next Sunday Scoops will be brief.