Posts by Sharlene

Reader. Book blogger. Parent. Eater of foods aplenty. Tea drinker. Crocheter

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

A book like this just makes me wish I were years younger! When I was a teenager, YA didn’t really exist. And really, pretty much all the books I was reading as a teenager were probably written and starring white people. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of these books I read (especially for school), were great books. I am especially grateful to one of my A-Level English lit teachers for introducing Carol Shields to me. But I hardly remember reading anything with an Asian protagonist. Or if there were Asian characters they tended to be your stereotypical nerdy Asian kids.

So to read this book by Maurene Goo, many years too old for this genre, was with a wistful, oh, if only I could have read this when I was younger. But also a eh, who cares if I’m reading this too late, I’m just glad someone out there is writing this for the young girls of today.

Clara Shin is a prankster. But she takes a prank one step too far and is suspended from school, along with, Rose, the girl she fought with.

Clara’s dad, who owns a food truck selling Korean-Brazilian food, convinces the principal to switch the suspension to having them work on the KoBra for the summer and pay off the damage they caused. And that becomes a life-changing experience for her.

First of all, I love that this book was pretty much a love letter to LA. I have been to LA a few times but I don’t really know it that well, still it was fun to read about places they go to. And while I live in the northern part of CA, where there is a pretty decent variety of food from Asia, it cannot beat LA especially when it comes to East Asian food.

And on that note, a book that features food always makes me happy. I really want to try some kimchi and cheese pasteis. I love kimchi (although I’ve not eaten it with cheese!) and we eat Korean food regularly but I’ve never had Korean-Brazilian food before.

Clara wasn’t easy to like at first. She comes off initially as really immature but as the story progresses, she grows into herself and I really liked being on this journey with her and her friends.

I’m excited to read the rest of Maurene Goo’s books. And whee, she’s got a new one out!

This is my read for East Asian MC for AsianLitBingo

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Library Loot (May 8 to 14)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

 

 

Hello! It’s Wednesday again! And I have a nice lot of library books this week.

The library has seen some changes in the past month or so. There’s a nice new reading area which hopefully I’ll get to take some photos of soon. And the kids’ section has been updated with better shelves for its growing collection of picture books!

Claire has the link-up this week.

 

The Far Field – Madhuri Vijay

An elegant, epic debut novel that follows one young woman’s search for a lost figure from her childhood, a journey that takes her from Southern India to Kashmir and to the brink of a devastating political and personal reckoning.

In the wake of her mother’s death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote Himalayan village in the troubled northern region of Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him. But upon her arrival, Shalini is brought face to face with Kashmir’s politics, as well as the tangled history of the local family that takes her in. And when life in the village turns volatile and old hatreds threaten to erupt into violence, Shalini finds herself forced to make a series of choices that could hold dangerous repercussions for the very people she has come to love.

With rare acumen and evocative prose, in The Far Field Madhuri Vijay masterfully examines Indian politics, class prejudice, and sexuality through the lens of an outsider, offering a profound meditation on grief, guilt and the limits of compassion.

 

A River of Stars – Vanessa Hua

In a powerful debut novel about motherhood, immigration, and identity, a pregnant Chinese woman makes her way to California and stakes a claim to the American dream.

Holed up with other moms-to-be in a secret maternity home in Los Angeles, Scarlett Chen is far from her native China, where she worked in a factory job and fell in love with the owner, Boss Yeung. Now she’s carrying his baby. Already married with three daughters, he’s overjoyed because the doctors confirmed he will finally have the son he has always wanted. To ensure that his son has every advantage, he has shipped Scarlett off to give birth on American soil. U.S. citizenship will open doors for their little prince.

As Scarlett awaits the baby’s arrival, she chokes down bitter medicinal stews and spars with her imperious housemates. The only one who fits in even less is Daisy, a spirited teenager and fellow unwed mother who is being kept apart from her American boyfriend.

Then a new sonogram of Scarlett’s baby reveals the unexpected. Panicked, she escapes by hijacking a van–only to discover that she has a stowaway: Daisy, who intends to track down the father of her child. They flee to San Francisco’s bustling Chinatown, where Scarlett will join countless immigrants desperately trying to seize their piece of the American dream. What Scarlett doesn’t know is that her baby’s father is not far behind her.

A River of Stars is an entertaining, wildly unpredictable adventure, told with empathy and wit. It’s a vivid examination of home and belonging, and a moving portrayal of a woman determined to build her own future.

 

The Way You Make Me Feel – Maurene Goo

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the Honeycut, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) on the truck next door is pretty cute. Maybe Clara’s estranged mum deserves a second chance. What if taking these relationships seriously means leaving her old self behind? From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love comes another funny story of friendship, romance, and discovering that even when life gets serious, it can still be seriously fun.

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

It’s Monday – how is it May already?

 

 

 

 

Last week felt like a looonnggg week. The husband was away in Denver for work and when he got back he fell ill.

It’s Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May and this month, on social media and blogs, I’m taking part in #LitCelebrAsian and #APICelebrAsian where we feature books by Asian and Pacific Islander authors. This past weekend was the topic of favourite API-authored books. And that was what I posted above!

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

 

 

Watching:

 The husband and I rewatched Infinity Wars

Listening:

Not listening to any audiobooks at the moment but I have a couple on hold

Eating:

 

I made this French chocolate cake (recipe from David Leibovitz) on Sunday and it was so good.

Drinking:

 Water

Cooking:

Fried noodles

Some kind of pasta dish

Maybe if I’m up to it, some bacon cheddar scones

Last week:

I read:

Woman World – Aminder Dhaliwal
Faith Vol 1 – Jody Houser
Watch Us Rise – Renee Watson, Ellen Hagan

I posted:

Quincredible Vol 1

Library Loot (May 1 to 7)

Crenshaw

#AsianLitBingo 2019 TBR list

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

#APICelebrAsian – top API-authored books

This month is Asian American Pacific Islander (API) Heritage Month and on Instagram I am featuring API-authored books as part of #APICelebrAsian. This weekend, the topic is favourite API-authored books.

Here are the books that are in the photo which I first posted on Instagram

The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (Japanese/Fiction)

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (Malaysian/Speculative fiction )

Mãn by Kim Thuy (Vietnamese/Fiction)

The Housekeeper and the Professor
The Diving Pool
by Yoko Ogawa
(Japanese/Fiction)

Inheritance
Sugarbread
by Balli Kaur Jaswal (Sikh-Singaporean/Fiction)

Half a Lifelong Romance
Love in a Fallen City
by Eileen Chang
(Chinese/Fiction)

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Korean/Historical fiction)

The Song Poet by Kao Kaila Yang  (Hmong/Memoir)

Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (Chinese-Malaysian/Historical fiction)

Shelter by Jung Yun (Korean/Fiction)

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (Chinese/Graphic novel)

When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka (Japanese/ Historical fiction)

The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy (Indian/Speculative fiction)

Kinder than Solitude by Yiyun Li (Chinese/Fiction)

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Japanese/Middle Grade)

向左走向右走 (Turn Left, Turn Right) by Jimmy Liao (Taiwanese/Graphic novel)

The Year She Left Us by Kathryn Ma (Chinese/Fiction)

Are some of these among your favourites too?

#AsianLitBingo 2019 TBR list

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Happy May everyone! Yes, I realize that we are indeed several days into May already, and so this is a slightly belated post to say that I’m joining in Asian Lit Bingo again!

I had such great fun with it last year – and read so many amazing books! You can see my 2018 wrap-up here.  I also wrote up a TBR list last year (although I didn’t manage to read them all).

You can find all the details about the challenge at Lit CelebrAsian.

 

Here are some of possibilities.

 

East Asian MC – The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee

Asian Refugee MC – Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai

Asian immigrant MC – Native Speaker by Chang Rae-Lee

Asian MC with disability –Love Made of Heart by Teresa LeYung Ryan

Multiracial/Multiethnic Asian MC – Mambo Peligroso by Patricia Chao

LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC – Edinburgh by Alexander Chee

West Asian MC

Asian Muslim MC – Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Religious Asian MC

Poor or Working Class Asian MC

SFF with Asian MC – Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Historical Fiction with Asian MC – The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim

Retelling with Asian MC – Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Contemporary with Asian MC – Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

Graphic novel with Asian MC – My Brother’s Husband Vol 2

Queer romance with Asian MC

Romance with POC/Indigenous love interest – The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Central Asian MC – Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata

Translated work by an Asian author – The End of the Moment We Had by Toshiki Okada

South East Asian MC – America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo

Asian Superhero MC – Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Asian Transracial Adoptee MC

Non-fiction by Asian Author
The porcelain thief: searching the Middle Kingdom for buried China by Huan Hsu

South Asian MC – The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

Quincredible Vol 1

A fun read. After a strange meteor shower, Quinn is invulnerable and can’t be hurt. He thinks it’s a lousy superpower at first. Then he meets Glow, who also has a meteor-given superpower and she encourages him to do something to help his community.

I like Quin and how relatable he is, and I like how his parents are a part of the story too. The rest of the diverse cast of superheroes is great too – like Quin, many of them are just trying to figure things out as they go. The villain in this case was a bit forgettable but hopefully in future volumes that can be improved on.

I appreciate how the comic was optimistic and hopeful, and has a great young superhero for our times.

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free ARC of this book*.

Library Loot (May 1 to 7)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

It’s Wednesday again! And that means it’s Library Loot day!

Share with us your library haul right here!

 

 

I got to wander the library without kids! Always an exciting time. As such, I had a lovely time upstairs at the comics section.

 

First Year Out: A Transition Story – Sandra Symington

This intimate and striking graphic novel follows Lily, as she transitions from male to female. Depicting her experiences from coming out right through to gender reassignment surgery, Lily’s story provides vital advice on the social, emotional and medical aspects of transitioning and will empower anyone questioning their gender.

Woman World – Aminder Dhaliwal

With her startling humor, it’s no surprise that Aminder Dhaliwal’s web comic Woman World has a devoted audience of more than 150,000 readers, updated biweekly with each installment earning an average of 25,000 likes. Now, readers everywhere will delight in the print edition as Dhaliwal seamlessly incorporates feminist philosophical concerns into a series of perfectly-paced strips that skewer perceived notions of femininity and contemporary cultural icons. D+Q’s edition of Woman World will include new and previously unpublished material.

When a birth defect wipes out the planet’s entire population of men, Woman World rises out of society’s ashes. Dhaliwal’s infectiously funny instagram comic follows the rebuilding process, tracking a group of women who have rallied together under the flag of “Beyonce’s Thighs.” Only Grandma remembers the distant past, a civilization of segway-riding mall cops, Blockbuster movie rental shops, and “That’s What She Said” jokes. For the most part, Woman World’s residents are focused on their struggles with unrequited love and anxiety, not to mention that whole “survival of humanity” thing.

Woman World is an uproarious and insightful graphic novel from a very talented and funny new voice.

Bad Friends – Ancco, translated from the Korean by Janet Hong

Told with arresting honesty and strength, this graphic novel conjures a grim vision of growing up in late-1990s South Korea. Rebelling against her abusive father and teachers who routinely beat her, 16-year-old Pearl smokes, slacks off at school, and runs with the bad-girls crowd. Yet her situation is well-adjusted compared to her fellow delinquents, especially her best friend, Jeong-Ae, who survives in chaotic poverty and is already dabbling in sex work. Pearl and Jeong-Ae run away together, try to get work in a hostess bar, and share a seedy motel room. When they’re finally forced to give up, only Pearl has a home, however unhappy, left to go back to. Reflecting as a comfortable, mostly happy adult, she can barely believe she escaped her hometown: “Even now I feel relieved when I realize I don’t have to get a beating,” Pearl marvels. Yet for all its bleak moments, the book has a tender warmth. Ancco evokes the confused excitement of adolescence: realizing adults can’t be relied on, standing up for yourself, trusting in friendship. In sharp, kinetic charcoal lines that seem in constant danger of toppling off the page, she renders a hostile world of monotone classrooms shadowy alleys, Oppa lovers, and the defiant girls who stand out from the crowd. Stunning in its stark look at child abuse, and empathy for its characters, Ancco’s artfully told story grabs the reader’s attention and never lets go.

Faith volumes 1 to 4 – Jody Houser

This one is sort of a re-read. I read the first three in digital form some years ago and when I spotted all four volumes on the library shelves, I quickly picked them up!

Valiant’s most demanded hero steps out of Harbinger and into an all-new miniseries adventure!
Orphaned at a young age, Faith Herbert – a psionically gifted “psiot” discovered by the Harbinger Foundation – has always aspired to greatness. But now this once ordinary teenager is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she’s always known she can be – complete with a mild-mannered secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues, and a day job as a reporter that routinely throws into her harms way! Well, at least she thought it would When she’s not typing up listicles about cat videos, Faith makes a secret transformation to patrol the night as the City of Angels’ own leading superhero – the sky-soaring Zephyr!
But flying solo is going to be tougher than she ever thought when Zephyr uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy. Two-bit burglars and car thieves are one thing, but when the world needs a hero to stave off an full-blown extraterrestrial invasion, will Faith find herself in over her head or ready for her biggest challenge yet?

 

The kids’ loot:

 

 

I didn’t go to the children’s section as I’ll bring the kids there on Thursday. But these four books were on the hold shelves waiting to be picked up.

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).