Top books that blew my mind #amonthoffaves2017

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution – Samar Yazbek
A difficult read but so important (my thoughts)

The Strays – Emily Bitto

This gorgeous book set in the Melbourne art world. Fantastic read.

The Spiderwoman series written by Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez

A pregnant superhero!

 

The Captain Marvel series written by Kelly Sue DeConnick

I’ve read a few different versions of Captain Marvel so far and this is absolutely the best.

Borderline and Phantom Pains – Mishell Baker

I am not much of a reader of urban fantasy but this one was so absorbing and has such an unforgettable main character – she has Borderline Personality Disorder and after a suicide attempt, lost her legs. I am impatiently waiting for book three to come out in 2018.

My Favourite Thing is Monsters Vol 1 – Emil Ferris

Each page of this graphic novel is mesmerizing but this is probably my favourite.

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste – Bianca Bosker

Ridiculous long subtitle aside, this was a truly fun non-fiction read. And I learnt far more about the wine world and sommeliers than I expected.

 

The Soul of an Octopus – Sy Montgomery (audiobook)

Octopuses are truly fascinating creatures! I definitely fell in love with them after listening to this book.

The Harry Potter series on audiobook, read by Stephen Fry

This is the first time I’ve listened to the series and it’s also the kids’ introduction to Harry Potter (we just finished The Prisoner of Azkaban). And I love sharing this experience with my two boys! Also, Stephen Fry does an amazing job.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

I love multigenerational family stories and this was a great one, a story of a Korean family living in Japan. It’s sad to learn about how these Koreans, who are born and have lived in Japan their whole lives, were (and still are) treated as foreigners and looked down on. A full-bodied book about belonging (and not belonging), full of sorrow and heartache and persistence.

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#amonthoffaves2017 – most memorable reads

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

 

Wed. | Dec 20 – The Most Unique, Weird or Memorable Book(s) Read This Year #AMonthofFaves – books you did not finish, were super weird, characters you disliked, book award winners (from this year) you read and didn’t like, books you didn’t think you would like, but you did.

A book based on a video game (that I don’t play) that was surprisingly good

Injustice: Gods Among Us #1 (Injustice: Gods Among Us #1) – Tom Taylor (Goodreads Author), Jheremy Raapack (Illustrator)

 

A comic series which is really messed up and yet funny

Demon – Jason Shiga

(warning: it has to do with suicide)

A book with multiple possibilities and endings 

Jane, Unlimited – Kristin Cashore

 

A book full of goats (and also slavery)

Goat Days – Benyamin (my review)

 

What a title

Like a Mule Bringing Ice-Cream to the Sun – Sarah Ladipo Manyika

 

 

 

#amonthoffaves2017 I Love December

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Mon. | Dec 18 – I Love … December #AMonthofFaves – Rep your home’s holiday look, share pictures of your holiday decorations. Christmas tree, your favorite holiday traditions, holiday festivities, favorite ornaments, places to go, holiday drinks, holiday eats, holiday themed reads.

We put up our fake tree just after Thanksgiving – both my husband and I grew up in Singapore where you can’t find real trees (at least not when we’re growing up, as I hear that these days you can!) so we’re used to fake plastic trees…

We also take a stroll around this neighboring estate, a cul-de-sac in which every home is well decorated for Christmas. It’s really cute and fun to see how each house is decorated each year.

This year, some of my gifts are handmade. I made each of my boys a dinosaur hat and mittens for the younger one (who has outgrown his). The hat and scarf are for a friend overseas.

#amonthoffaves2017 -Best Changes

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Fri. | Dec. 15 – Best Changes You Made To Tweak This Year #AMonthofFaves – best changes you made or routines you kept that to better organize your day / life; your = morning, evening or daily routines.

Ever since school started in September, mornings have been a rush-rush-rush affair. My older boy was in afternoon kindergarten last year so we didn’t have to join in with the morning traffic as school only started at 1130am. This school year though he goes from 830 to 250. I also drop off my 4yo at preschool, which is in the opposite direction of the elementary school. Long story short, after a few weeks I figured out a good route, learnt how to negotiate my way into the surrounding neighbourhood and while of course mornings are still rush-rush-rush, I think we’ve got a good routine going.

With a lot of after-school activities going on (Monday swim class; Tuesday tennis class; Wednesday evening math club for the 1st grader; Thursday piano class for the 1st grader), I make sure to get my meals prepped in the mornings. I don’t necessarily cook my meals ahead (although sometimes I do baked pastas and then pop it into the oven to bake when we get home) but I just make sure I know what I’m doing.

(Gah my life is just kinda boring)

#amonthoffaves2017 – This is how we blog

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Wed. | Dec. 6 – This Is How We Blog #AMonthofFaves – Essential Computer Programs, Browser Plugins, Websites and / or your blogging routine, blogs on blogging that you follow, blog tips you learned and used this year

 

I always have trouble with this topic as my blogging is very simple: open wordpress.com click on “Add new” and start writing.

That is, if I remember to.

That is, if I can be motivated enough to sit down at the laptop and start writing. I haven’t been blogging much, other than the usual “It’s Monday” posts. I especially haven’t been writing much about the books I’ve read (and if you’ve been following along, you know that I read a lot of books).

Maybe joining more memes will help? I used to be a regular Library Loot poster. And an occasional Weekend Cooking poster. Tanya’s Master List of Book Blogging Memes is always useful! I just need to pick something and stick with it.

How about you? How do you keep blogging when there are just so very many things to do???
(I really want to know how you do it!)

#amonthoffaves2017 – This is how we read

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Mon. | Dec. 4 – This Is How We Read #AMonthofFaves– eg. Number of books read so far, genre you read the most from, picture of favorite (or most often used) reading location, most read author, % eBooks, hardcovers, paperbacks and/or audiobooks, hint at what your favorite read of the year is (let us guess), types of books you wish you read more of, month you read the most and least)

According to Goodreads, I’ve read 204 books so far this year.

A lot of the books I read were comics (76!) so lots of fast reads but generally I am a rather quick reader. I read a lot of literary fiction but also a good deal of speculative fiction.

 

Also a lot of books were library ebooks. I am very fond of my library but find myself increasingly borrowing more ebooks than physical books. Most of the physical books I borrow these days are picture books and some chapter books.

Also about 10 audiobooks so far this year.

27 books were from my own collection, the rest were library books and e-books

 

 

Fave reading spots: 

This one at the library

And my own library at home!

Of course I really do most of my reading in bed before going to sleep!

How about you?

#amonthoffaves2017 begins!

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Fri. | Dec. 1 – #AMonthofFaves [The 2017 Favorites Edition]– eg. to eat, drink, wear, smell, see, do, enjoy, best purchases, most used gift received etc, favorite concert, outdoor activity, place visited, most squee worthy moment of the year.

Fave eats:

So many. I found a new seafood place in Santana Row (EMC Seafood and Raw Bar) and they had this beautiful seafood tower with really all you could ask for in seafood.

We ate at some amazing restaurants in Singapore like Whitegrass (see my post here). The second photo is what we were served first – some little ‘snacks’ of a deep-fried little crab, a pea tart and some Parmesan crisps. The photo above was one of my favourites that was our first course and actually listed in the tasting menu (it was a five course menu but that didn’t included the ‘snacks’ and in betweens that they served us!). This was a beautiful presentation of roasted and pickled white beetroot and hamachi slices. The contrast of textures (crunchy from the pickled beetroot and soft from the roasted beetroot and hamachi) and tastes was truly sublime. It was the start of a truly amazing meal, the chef (who came out to present some of the dishes himself) was a master of combining western and Asian flavors as well as textures. 

Also there was Braci, a tiny restaurant where every diner gets a full view of the cooking (and from our table, the heat of the wood burning oven!). We were just across all the playing action. It was fascinating watching how it all went on.

Fave drinks:

I always start my day with Yorkshire Gold with milk, have a Nespresso mid-morning and then maybe some green tea later. I stick to water after lunch. Occasionally wine or beer.

Fave activities:

Hiking. We’ve explored lots of new to us places like the Sunol Regional Wilderness and Rancho San Antonio. The kids have done surprisingly well and enjoy our little hikes.

Crocheting

I started teaching myself to crochet this year and managed to finish several scarves, a granny square lap blanket, and some hats. I’m currently working on some kids mittens.

Fave place visited:

Every year we take a trip back to Singapore to visit friends and family. This year my parents and sister joined us in a little family holiday to Sentosa, a small island that’s part of Singapore and is full of hotels and fun activities. So all of us went to Universal Studios and had such a great time, despite the heat and humidity and crowds. We also went to the beautiful aquarium and stayed at the lovely Sofitel Sentosa Resort which had a lot of peacocks strutting around and a fantastic breakfast buffet spread included in the room rate.

Best purchases:

Well this year, we bought a piano. My 6yo has been learning to play since last year, and he had been practicing on a keyboard for a while. After much back and forth (it is quite an investment after all), we decided to go with a Kawasaki piano. My husband likes playing the piano so it’s a great buy for everyone!

And of course, books. Every single book I bought was awesome – even those I haven’t read yet. 😛

How was your 2017?