#amonthoffaves awesome TV and audiobooks

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by Tanya and Tamara

 On the Screen or in Your Ear: What did you watch this year that you absolutely loved and did you see any movies inspired by books you’ve read – what did you think. Or, what are some of your favorite podcasts, audiobooks or songs / albums that you listened to and have on repeat.

 

 

TV series

The Mandalorian

Yes, that one with the Baby Yoda. But Baby Yoda aside, I’m loving this whole space western series that is on Disney+

Terrace House

I LOVE this Japanese reality series. I’m not much of a viewer of reality series like this in which the aim is to find romance but I’ve seen some of the Bachelor before so I guess I’m comparing it to American-type reality shows.  I love that Terrace House has hosts (the three women and three men above) who discuss the contestants and what’s going on. It’s often very funny and provides a different insight into Japanese culture.

 

Audiobooks

I listened to 18 audiobooks so far this year and these are my favourites.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

I had such a blast with this one! This was just great banter back and forth between Mullally and Offerman. I’ve not seen the physical book but apparently the Barnes and Noble exclusive came with a jigsaw cover?!

Beastie Boys Book

I am not really a Beastie Boys fan but this was some audiobook! I loved that they had so many guests narrating the different chapters, not just musicians like Kim Gordon and Nas and Elvis Costello but also actors and comedians like Will Ferrell and Rosie Perez. One of my favourite parts was listening to Jarvis Cocker read.

Library Loot (December 11 to 17)

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.

 

Happy Wednesday!

We are down to the last few Library Loots of 2019!

 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown – Talia Hibbert

Talia Hibbert, one of contemporary romance’s brightest new stars, delivers a witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who’s tired of being “boring” and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her experience new things—perfect for fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

 

 

Oh! I did not know that Okorafor had this comic!

LaGuardia – Nnedi Okorafor

From Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award Winner Nnedi Okorafor (Who Fears Death, Binti, Akata series) comes Laguardia. Set in an alternative world where aliens have come to Earth and integrated with society, LaGuardia revolves around a pregnant Nigerian-American doctor, Future Nwafor Chukwuebuka, who has just returned to NYC under mysterious conditions. After smuggling an illegal alien plant named “Letme Live” through LaGuardia International and Interstellar Airport’s customs and security, she arrives at her grandmother’s tenement, the New Hope Apartments in the South Bronx.

There, she and Letme become part of a growing population of mostly African and shape-shifting alien immigrants, battling against interrogation, discrimination and travel bans, as they try to make it in a new land. But, as the birth of her child nears, Future begins to change. What dark secret is she hiding?

 

 

 

Cantoras – Carolina De Robertis

From the highly acclaimed, award-winning author of The Gods of Tango, a revolutionary new novel about five wildly different women who, in the midst of the Uruguayan dictatorship, find one another as lovers, friends, and ultimately, family.

In 1977 Uruguay, a military government crushed political dissent with ruthless force. In this environment, where the everyday rights of people are under attack, homosexuality is a dangerous transgression to be punished. And yet Romina, Flaca, Anita “La Venus,” Paz, and Malena–five cantoras, women who “sing”–somehow, miraculously, find one another. Together, they discover an isolated, nearly uninhabited cape, Cabo Polonio, which they claim as their secret sanctuary. Over the next thirty-five years, their lives move back and forth between Cabo Polonio and Montevideo, the city they call home, as they return, sometimes together, sometimes in pairs, with lovers in tow, or alone. And throughout, again and again, the women will be tested–by their families, lovers, society, and one another–as they fight to live authentic lives.
A genre-defining novel and De Robertis’s masterpiece, Cantoras is a breathtaking portrait of queer love, community, forgotten history, and the strength of the human spirit. At once timeless and groundbreaking, Cantoras is a tale about the fire in all our souls and those who make it burn.

I first saw this bizarrely titled book in a Japanese bookstore in San Jose and was intrigued!

I want to Eat Your Pancreas – Yoru Sumino

The manga version of the coming-of-age tearjerker that inspired two films!

Also known as Let Me Eat Your Pancreas, this deeply moving first-person story is about a high school boy who finds the diary of his classmate—and discovers that she’s dying. Yamauchi Sakura has been silently suffering from a pancreatic disease in school, and now exactly one person outside her family knows. He swears to her that he won’t tell anyone what he learned, and the shared secret brings them closer together. The two have very little in common, but they find themselves drawn to each other in Sakura’s final months to live

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

 

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

This is THE LIGHT BRIGADE by KAMERON HURLEY.

A book I hadn’t heard of before going over the Tor.com reviewers’ best books of 2019.

Some years ago, if you’d have said “military sci-fi” my answer would have been, what? no!

But this was fascinating! Mars and Earth are at war and Dietz has signed up to fight. He’s part of a team that is turned into particles of light and then beamed at lightspeed to wherever they’re ordered, sometimes Mars. But something keeps going wrong with his drops, he seems to be joining his team at different times and situations. And soon he learns the truth behind it all.

It is an intense read. So much happens and the reader is trying to puzzle it out along with Dietz. I’ve seen a few reviews since that talked about this book being a new take on Starship Troopers, which I don’t know about as I’ve not seen the movie or read the book. So I’ve come into this as a reader who doesn’t really know much about more classic SF or military novels.

But what I really liked about this book is the way she constructed her future world. Where there are no nations, just corporations. Where you are either citizens or not. And if not, you have no rights and privileges. You are a “ghoul”. Dietz is a one of these “ghouls”, once an inhabitant of São Paulo which has been wiped out by the Martians.

What a read this is. It is brutal and bloody. It discusses politics and capitalism that, while set in a future society, rings so relevant and true to our current one. Loved it.

A not-so typical Sunday #amonthoffaves

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by Tanya and Tamara

 

A Day (or Weekend) in the Life.

Let’s take a peek into each others lives as as we chronicle what we did on a typical (or not-so-typical) day or weekend … or week.

Well so I didn’t notice this topic until Sunday morning so I was forced to decided to chronicle my Sunday. It’s not exactly a typical Sunday though but here it is!

Wake at 635 thanks to a fire truck siren outside. But I’m usually up before 7 on weekends (and before 6 on weekdays).

Check email and messages and see messages from my sister in Singapore asking about presents for the boys. I lie in bed checking out the Book Depository links she sent and give suggestions.

655: Head down for breakfast. The boys are awake but giggling in bed. I decide to go down first and have quiet breakfast

I grab homemade raisin bread from the freezer and into the toaster. Make some tea with milk. Eat a walnut cookie I had made on Friday while waiting.

Sit and read some digital magazines (library) while eating breakfast. Not long after, the boys come down and so does the husband. My mum is staying with us until after Christmas and she’s down too.

730 I finish up and go brush teeth etc and throw jackets in the wash. We went to a korean BBQ last night and our clothes and jackets smell smoky!

745: sit down to write some blog posts. Realize that Monday’s Month of Faves is about “a day in the life) so start typing down what I remember!

830: Watch a YouTube video on a Christmas gnome pattern. Decide to make some for the kids’ teachers

9: head to Costco to pick up some gifts for the husband’s colleagues. Lots of chocolates!

10: I sit with the kids as they practice piano

1115: Firehouse subs lunch. Requested by the six-year-old.

We head to the music school after lunch for the winter concert

120: The 8yo’s session is on. He’s supposed to be fourth but two of the kids ahead of him haven’t turned up by the time the session starts so he’s second. He plays the song Moonlight Sonata and does great (with a couple of minor mistakes!)

230: Back home and I start working on a new-to-me cookie dough recipe. This is a sesame sea salt cookie from Dorie Greenspan’s cookie book.

The husband had asked if I could make some things to send to his mentor in Seattle. They sent us some lovely Christmassy treats last year.

Yesterday I had premade some more cookie dough, citrus shortbread (recipe from The NY Times).

I bought cookie stamps last year but never tried them out. So when I saw this recipe it was meant to be. I adapted it slightly to be a Meyer lemon shortbread to use the Meyer lemons in my backyard. The original recipe calls for orange and lemon zest in the dough and juice in the glaze. The stamps are a bit more tricky to work with than expected and I realize that a very liberal flouring of the balls of dough is required.

330 or so: The husband takes the kids and my mum our for a walk in the park. It’s a nice break from all the rain last week so might as well get some sunshine and fresh air! I continue with the cookie making. I have to bake my cookies, glaze the shortbread.

445: They decide to pick up dinner from a nearby Chinese takeout place.

530: The kids skype my in-laws in Singapore. I clean up all the cookie making equipment and stuff. After that they watch some TV. And I finally sit down and take a break.

630: We usually eat around this time and so we were hungry. Noodles, fried rice, broccoli beef, salt and pepper chicken. Also oranges and plums and sesame balls for dessert.

730: clean up, put the dishes away. The kids clean the dining table and sweep the floor.

I redo the Christmas Gnome body I had started on earlier today. I realized I had forgotten to do the Back Loop only part of a single crochet row which meant I had to redo 7 rows. At least it was quick! I decide to continue the rest tomorrow and head up to shower.

815: Reading time.

9: The kids go to bed. And I go lie in bed and read a book.

1030: Goodnight!

It’s Monday

 

Happy Monday!

Wow is this month just zooming by or what. I guess the late arrival of Thanksgiving has really thrown me off.

I don’t quite feel ready for Christmas yet. How about you?

We did put up our Christmas tree already and I’ve bought some gifts but not everything yet.

 

Here’s some stuff we did last week…

 

 

We went to an all-you-can-eatKorean BBQ.

 I’ve been making cookies. Matcha shortbread and a Chinese-style walnut cookie.

Our Christmas tree and decorations are up! And I made this Christmas pudding amigurumi to go along with it.

Currently…

 

Reading:

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

 

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

 

Watching:

Sugar Rush Christmas and The Mandalorian!

 

Listening:

On the Move by Oliver Sacks

 

Eating:

Raisin bread for breakfast

 

Drinking:

Tea with milk. I recently found a three-box of Tetley tea at Costco and decided to try it. Luckily for me, it’s quite strong!

Cooking:

 

Last week:

I read:

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations – Mira Jacob (5*)

An excellent read! I hope to write a proper post about this one!


Mouthful of Birds – Samantha Schweblin (3*)

I was very confused…


Gods of Jade and Shadow -Silvia Moreno-Garcia (4*)
I really enjoyed this one. I liked the setting of Mexico in the Jazz Age and the fascinating Mayan gods that I’ve not known much about.

I posted:

 

Underrated books that need more buzz #amonthoffaves

Library Loot (December 4 to 10)

Popular books worth the hype (or maybe not) #amonthoffaves

 

badge
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

 

Underrated books that need more buzz #amonthoffaves

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by Tanya and Tamara

Dec 4 – #AMonthofFaves Underrated Books We Think Deserve More Buzz

I love this topic! I especially enjoy finding out about books I’ve not heard of. And I’m always interested in learning how people find out about books.

So here’s a question for you: how do you usually discover new-to-you reads? Is it Bookstagram, Litsy, or social media? Bookish websites like Goodreads? Word of mouth? Bookstores? Newspapers? Bloggers?

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai (published 2019)

An awesome middle grade book about a pair of brothers from Vietnam trying to fit into their new life in Australia. And also, making cakes!

 

Tiare in Bloom by Célestine Hitiura Vaite (published 2006)

I enjoyed this book mostly because of it’s unusual setting – Tahiti! This is actually the third book of the series, but my library only had this one!

 

Edinburgh by Alexander Chee (published 2001)

This is not a new book, since it was published in 2001, but while Chee is known for his newer works like Queen of the Night, I do think this is one book that deserves more attention. It is absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking (my thoughts).

 

South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby (published 2017)

Another unique setting and also, great humour!

 

The Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal (published 2018)

As you may have guessed, I tend to like unusual books. And I like how Kowal often brings in a unique perspective, like in The Glamourist Histories series which features magic in a Austen-esque setting. This series, which has two books, The Calculating Stars (my thoughts) and The Fated Sky, imagines an alternative 1952 when a giant meteorite crashes into Earth, creating the start of an extinction event. Space exploration (only an idea at the moment) becomes necessary and one female mathematician/pilot wants to be a part of it.

 

Have you read any of these? What are some underrated books you’ve read and loved?

Library Loot (December 4 to 10)

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.

 

Happy December!

It was Thanksgiving week here in the US last week. The kids were off school, my mum arrived from Singapore, and the husband was working from home. Also it was finally rainy season! We are always thankful for rain here in bone-dry CA, but it was an especially chilly and windy few days so we didn’t really want to go out much!

So instead, more ebooks (and an audiobook!) were borrowed.

 Claire has the linkup this week.

 

 

It Occurs to Me That I Am America – edited by Jonathan Santlofer

(I realise though that I should also borrow the book as there is artwork!)

In time for the one-year anniversary of the Trump Inauguration and the Women’s March, this provocative, unprecedented anthology features original short stories from thirty bestselling and award-winning authors—including Alice Walker, Richard Russo, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Cunningham, Mary Higgins Clark, and Lee Child—with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen.

When Donald Trump claimed victory last November, the US literary world erupted in indignation. Many of America’s leading writers and artists openly resist the current administration’s dogma and earliest policy moves, and they’re not about to go gently into that good night. In It Occurs to Me That I Am America: New Stories and Art, more than thirty of the most acclaimed modern writers consider the fundamental ideals of a free, just, and compassionate democracy—through fiction.

Featuring artwork by some of today’s best known artists, cartoonists, and graphic novelists—including Art Spiegelman, Roz Chast, Marilyn Minter, and Eric Fischl—who cover political, social, and cultural issues, this anthology is a beautiful, enduring collection that will resonate with anyone concerned with the contest for our American soul.

 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

 

The kids’ loot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?