Library Loot (June 10 to 16)

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 Library Loot Day!

I just discovered that my library picked up Hoopla a few months ago! I’m really excited by that because the Hoopla subscription has a lot of e-comics! But with just SO MANY new comics to go through, I was just happy browsing through them. I picked a couple of them for this week.

Don’t forget to link up your Library Loot post, or share your loot in the comments below.


Here’s what I got via Hoopla:

Mooncakes – Suzanne Walker

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

Husbands Vol 1 – Jane Espenson

Written by Husbands creators Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Brad Bell, this is the comic-book continuation of the sitcom phenom. Husbands tells the story of famous gay newlyweds Brady and Cheeks, who sparked a media firestorm when they woke up legally wed after a drunken Vegas weekend. Now, a mystical wedding gift launches the couple on a series of adventures-a tongue-in-cheek journey through iconic genre realms-filled with obstacles that threaten to tear them apart. Follow Brady and Cheeks into a superhero showdown, a fairytale fantasy, a Holmesian mystery, an epic galactic battle, a madcap high school romp, and a saucy secret-spy thrill ride. Includes bonus “making of” material and a special introduction.

The rest are from Libby




I Was Their American Dream – Malaka Gharib

One part Mari Andrew, one part Marjane Satrapi, I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir is a triumphant tale of self-discovery, a celebration of a family’s rich heritage, and a love letter to American immigrant freedom. Malaka Gharib’s illustrations come alive with teenage antics and earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised.

Malaka’s upbringing will look familiar to anyone who grew up in the pre-internet era, but her particular story is a heartfelt tribute to the American immigrants who have invested their future in the promise of the American dream.

The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigates her childhood chasing her parents’ ideals, learning to code-switch between her family’s Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.

I Was Their American Dream is at once a journal of growing up and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children.


American Royals – Katharine McGee

What if America had a royal family?

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling.

Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her.

And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.


Also some of my ebook holds just came in!

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy

The Glass Hotel – Emily St John Mandel

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts


Now why are these books on my TBR? #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Books I’ve Added to my TBR and Forgotten Why



My TBR list on Goodreads stands at 2779 books at the moment of writing. And some of these titles have been on the list since 2007! (Are you on Goodreads too?) Actually, as I was looking over my Goodreads TBR list, I realised that I did indeed know why quite a few were on that list – some are classics so I had probably added them in an attempt to read more classics (so much for that happening). And some are books that have been on my physical shelves for a while.

But here are some I’m puzzled by:


Madness under the Royal Palms: Love and Death behind the Gates of Palm Beach – Laurence Leamer

Eh, I decided to remove it from my list. I really have no idea why this is here, at all! I added it in 2009. I am so not going to read it.


Things Kept, Things Left Behind – Jim Tomlinson

This is a short story collection, and now that I’m reading its synopsis, it does sound interesting – working-class, small-town America. I’m going to hang on to this one.


Three Trapped Tigers – Guillermo Cabrera Infante, translated from the Spanish by Donald Gardner and Suzanne Jill Levine

Another interesting one that I do not remember anything about, but is somehow on my list. I’m intrigued enough by this “more modern, sexier, funnier, Cuban Ulysses” to leave it on my list, but I doubt I’d ever read it. I’ll probably make another list like this in 2030 and go, huh, what is this now?


The Drop Edge of Yonder – Rudolph Wurlitzer

There is nothing really in the synopsis that would make me go, huh, I’m going to read this. Instead there is the dreaded (at least in my view) term “Western”. I’m saying bye to this one.


The Bolter: Edwardian Heartbreak and High Society Scandal in Kenya – Frances Osborne

Now this apparently has to do with Nancy Mitford’s novels so I guess that may have been why I put this on the list? Hey so maybe I do know the reason for some of these after all… but I am still taking this off the list.


Angels of the Universe – Einar Már Guðmundsson, translated from the Icelandic by Bernard Scudder

Another interesting one. An Icelandic novel first published in 1993. I added this in 2009 so maybe it was because of the Icelandic financial crisis??


Listen: 29 Short Conversations – Corey Mesler

Wow this book has 5 reviews on Goodreads. Now how did I ever learn about this book? I wish I knew!

One thing I’ve learnt after going over my old list is I should do this more often, weeding out the strays, but also trying to read some of them!

Have you read (or even heard of) any of these? Let me know!


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

It’s Monday (June 8, 2020)

Hello and happy Monday, or well, as happy as we can make it to be, all considering! I hope you are healthy and doing ok. I haven’t been posting my usual Monday posts these past couple of weeks.

But it’s the first day of summer vacation for the kids! And I’m still at a bit of a loss of what to do with the kids for all these many weeks! For this week at least, we will take it easy, get fresh air and sunshine, lots of reading time, TV time, some video games. I’ll figure out some cooking and baking plans, and maybe dabble in some arts and crafts. We won’t be traveling to Singapore this year (of course!), although our tickets had already been booked before all this happened.







Rodham – Curtis Sittenfeld


Private Practice – I started watching the first few episodes some years ago but never continued and oh well, I guess I needed something that’s kinda soapy




I made a big batch of waffles yesterday so we have lots of leftovers.




Thinking of making some okonomiyaki , maybe with bacon, cabbage, corn. I’ll try one with kimchi which I reckon would be like the Korean-style pancake.

Last week:

I read:

(So this is more than just the past week, but the past three weeks!)

Going into Town – Roz Chast
Click – Kayla Miller
The Bridegroom was a dog – Yoko Tawada
The Three Body Problem – Liu Cixin
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung

I posted:

Recent reads – magic, urban fantasy, Chinese sci-fi.

Library Loot (May 27 to June 2)

Pork floss buns #weekendcooking

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


Recent reads – magic, urban fantasy, Chinese sci-fi.

Ok it has been forever since I actually talked about the books I read recently. So while I have the willpower and the kids are taking a break and playing Lego, here are some thoughts!



Sorcery & Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot: Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country – Patricia C Wrede and Caroline Stevermer 

I adored this epistolary story that was written separately by the two writers, in a kind of writing exercise – they didn’t plan out the plot, and Wrede wrote as Cecelia, Stevermer as Kate. And here, I have to add that I wish the title were different. Kate is just as an important character here, why doesn’t she get into the title?? Or just not put any of their names in the title and call it something else, like Sorcery & Crumpets; Sorcery, Tea, & Biscuits. At any rate, if you’ve never heard of this book, it’s set in 1817 England and there is magic. It was the first time I’ve read anything by either author, and am curious to see what else they’ve written. Let me know if you have a recommendation.


Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) – Rebecca Roanhorse

I’ve been drawn to more speculative fiction lately, escaping from our current reality you say? Why yes indeed. Roanhorse is another new-to-me author and she has set this series in the Navajo nation, with most of the world drowned beneath the rising tides. Maggie is a powerful monster slayer who lives alone, far from anyone else, but she needs help from a young and handsome medicine man as there is a strange new monster threatening her people. Maggie takes a while to grow on the reader, emerging from her isolation and learning to accept others. The introduction of Navajo magic and legends was quite fascinating, the pacing of the story was quick and just what I needed as a distraction from the world.



The Three-Body Problem – Liu Cixin

I had a really hard time with this book. Parts of it was quite fascinating but a lot of the science went way over my head and many times I wanted to give up. But at the same time, I wanted to know what was going on. It was clever and thought-provoking but honestly a bit too much of a slog for me at the moment. Will I continue with the rest of the series? I do not know at the moment. Definitely not in the near future…my brain is not ready. I need to read more fluffy floofy things.








Library Loot (June 3 to 9)

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 and welcome to the first Library Loot of June. My kids will be on summer vacation next week! It feels weird not having any concrete plans this summer, but that’s how this year goes. I’m sure we will fit in lots of reading!

Don’t forget to share with us your library loot. Claire has the link-up this week!

Meanwhile, here’s my haul for the week.


Quiet Girl in a Noisy World – Debbie Tung

Sweet, funny, and quietly poignant, Debbie Tung’s comics reveal the ups and downs of coming of age as an introvert.

This illustrated gift book of short comics illuminates author Debbie Tung’s experience as an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Presented in a loose narrative style that can be read front to back or dipped into at one’s leisure, the book spans three years of Debbie’s life, from the end of college to the present day. In these early years of adulthood, Debbie slowly but finally discovers there is a name for her lifelong need to be alone: she’s an introvert.

The first half of the book traces Debbie’s final year in college: socializing with peers, dating, falling in love (with an extrovert!), moving in, getting married, meeting new people, and simply trying to fit in. The second half looks at her life after graduation: finding a job, learning to live with her new husband, trying to understand social obligations when it comes to the in-laws, and navigating office life. Ultimately, Quiet Girl sends a positive, pro-introvert message: our heroine learns to embrace her introversion and finds ways to thrive in the world while fulfilling her need for quiet.


My library has quite a few issues of this series so I expect I’ll probably end up borrowing most of them!

Ronin Island #1 – Greg Pak

After a mysterious attack wipes out the major cities of 19th century Japan, Korea, and China, survivors from all three lands find refuge on a hidden island and build a new society. Hana, the orphaned daughter of Korean peasants, and Kenichi, son of a great samurai leader, have little in common except for a mutual disdain for the other. But these young warriors will have to work together when an army invades the island with shocking news: there is a new Shogun and the Island is expected to pay fealty in exchange for protection from a new enemy…a mutated horde that threatens to wipe out all humanity. Award-winning writer Greg Pak (Firefly, Mech Cadet Yu) and artist Giannis Milonogiannis (Prophet) present a story that examines how we move forward when our past divides, set against the backdrop of a post-disaster 19th century Japan.



Once Ghosted, Twice Shy – Alyssa Cole

Alyssa Cole returns with a fun, sexy romance novella in the Reluctant Royals series!

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy–so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.

Library Loot (May 27 to June 2)

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.


Hi there! How’s your week going? I hope you all are staying healthy, both mentally and physically. We had a long weekend here in the US, it was Memorial Day on Monday and we had a nice time relaxing in the backyard (although it was quite hot on Monday itself!).

What have you borrowed from your library this week? Share it in the link-up or in the comments below!




Oh I am so excited to get my hands on this one! I don’t usually go for new releases but I would read anything Sittenfeld writes. Here’s a bonus: Judy Blume and Sittenfeld discuss the book!


Rodham – Curtis Sittenfeld

From the New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Eligible, a novel that imagines a deeply compelling what-might-have-been: What if Hillary Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton?

In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Lifemagazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced.

In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.

But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.

Brilliantly weaving a riveting fictional tale into actual historical events, Curtis Sittenfeld delivers an uncannily astute and witty story for our times. In exploring the loneliness, moral ambivalence, and iron determination that characterize the quest for political power, as well as both the exhilaration and painful compromises demanded of female ambition in a world still run mostly by men, Rodham is a singular and unforgettable novel.


I’ve still got a few other books from previous library loots going! So the rest of my haul this week are comics.

Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast

From the #1 NYT bestselling author of Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Roz Chast’s new graphic memoir–a hilarious illustrated ode/guide/ thank-you note to Manhattan.

A native Brooklynite-turned-suburban commuter deemed the quintessential New Yorker, Roz Chast has always been intensely alive to the glorious spectacle that is Manhattan–the daily clash of sidewalk racers and dawdlers; the fascinating range of dress codes; and the priceless, nutty outbursts of souls from all walks of life.

For Chast, adjusting to life outside the city was surreal–(you can own trees!? you have to drive!?)–but she recognized that the reverse was true for her kids. On trips into town, they would marvel at the strange visual world of Manhattan–its blackened sidewalk gum-wads, “those West Side Story-things” (fire escapes)–and its crazily honeycombed systems and grids.

Told through Chast’s singularly zany, laugh-out-loud, touching, and true cartoons, Going Into Town is part New York stories (the “overheard and overseen” of the island borough), part personal and practical guide to walking, talking, renting, and venting–an irresistible, one-of-a-kind love letter to the city.


I wanted to throw in a super light read – this is a middle grade comic.

Click – Kayla Miller

A debut graphic novel about friendship and finding where you “click” in school.

Olive wants to get in on the act . . .
. . . Any act!

Olive “clicks” with everyone in the fifth grade—until one day she doesn’t. When a school variety show leaves Olive stranded without an act to join, she begins to panic, wondering why all her friends have already formed their own groups . . . without her. With the performance drawing closer by the minute, will Olive be able to find her own place in the show before the curtain comes up?



What did you get from your library this week?


Library Loot (May 20 to 26)

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.


My library recently announced that they would allow curbside pick-up of library holds soon but when I tried to sign up, all the time slots were full! Oh well. Maybe there will be another chance in the future. For now, library books are due July 7 and there’s always ebooks and audiobooks.



I don’t really listen to podcasts much but once in a while I check in with the Reading the End Bookcast (hi Jenny!). And in their most recent episode, the Gin Jenny and Whisky Jenny mentioned this book. And it’s not a book I had heard of before, but sounds just perfect for reading now. Also, it has the word ‘chocolate’ in its title.

Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot – Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

A great deal is happening in London and the country this season.

For starters, there’s the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There’s also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he’s not doing a very good job of it–so just what are his intentions?) And then there’s Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn’t bothered to tell anyone where he is.

Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. And the girls might be in fear for their lives . . . if only they weren’t having so much fun!


I didn’t really want to get this as an audiobook but my library only has it as an audiobook, so no choice at the moment!

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) – Brandon Sanderson (audiobook)

Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world


What did you get from your library this week?



are for waking before 6 to the rattling of the garbage trucks.

are for 9am Zoom sessions for the 3rd grader.

are for updating my Library Loot posts before they post tomorrow, although on better days I do it on Sunday

are about working with the kids on their schoolwork, like it was yesterday, like it will be tomorrow, the day after, the day after.

are for a lot of cajoling and persuading in order for the 1st grader to get to doing his work.

are for lots of break times and shooing them outdoors in order to get some sunshine and fresh air and exercise and a break from the screen.

are for suddenly realising it’s 11 and that I have no idea what’s for lunch – hey, except this week, when I’ve decided we are going to have porridge today, as I had some fish to cook up, and I have already rinsed my rice and left it soaking in the pot and it’s not even 10am.

are for lots of caffeine in a variety of methods – black tea with a splash of milk first thing every morning, coffee about mid-morning, green tea for the rest of the day, and an occasional chocolate-covered coffee bean.

are for wondering, now what day is it again?

are for being grateful for the Internet, enough space for the kids to take part in basketball class (via Zoom), for a dishwasher, for a fridge full of produce (although I’m running out of milk), for patience, for love, for togetherness while being apart.

(Of course a lot of these are things that happen every day and not just Tuesdays).

It’s Monday (May 18, 2020)


Last week we marked 60 days of school closure. It sounds really long but somehow it hasn’t felt like that. It’s strange to think that we have been sheltering-in-place since before both my kids had their birthdays, since before spring break, and now we are in the last month or so of school. I’ve been reading that some places (like the city’s programmes) are planning summer camps (of course there have also been other news like a major summer camp company cancelling all their camps completely – and not giving refunds!).

I had been waiting and trying to decide and had not signed the boys up for summer camps in the Before. So now I’m glad I had waited because who knows what will be happening in the next few months. At this point, I’m still not comfortable with them going to be in a camp with strangers. And so I will have to figure out some summer fun of our own.

What about you? Do you have summer plans?

Some things we did last week…




The Three Body Problem – Liu Cixin

The Bridegroom was a dog – Yoko Tawada




Dead to Me Season 2



I just finished Frankly in Love yesterday so have not figured out my next audiobook.



Homemade scones




Lots of vegetables! I had a big order from an online Asian grocer and I have a big bag of broccoli and another of bok choy.

Last week:

I read:

Frankly in Love – David Yoon
The Fall – Tracy Townsend

I posted:

The Nine by Tracy Townsend #review

Library Loot (May 13 to 19)

Recent DNF books #TopTenTuesday



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


The Nine by Tracy Townsend #review


One of the best things about being part of the online book loving community of Instagram is discovering new-to-me authors! I would never have heard of Tracy Townsend if not for @basiclandcave’s posts.

And I loved every bit of The Nine, the first book in the Thieves of Fate series. This book is a complex, fascinating world that resembles our own a bit but for some very key elements. Like how science is a kind of religion and the Nine are the people (or creatures) whose actions determine the world’s fate (so say this self-scribing book that only some can decipher). There are fascinating walking tree-like beings and giant beasts with eyes on their feet (and in my mind, Komodo dragon-like but perhaps because my 7yo likes Komodo dragons and was telling me all about it over the weekend).

Similar to the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson (the last fantasy series I read before this), there is a young girl who has seen tough times working as a courier for the black market. Also, some fascinating world-building, but in a more of a steampunk variety, along with this exploration of the melding of science and religion.

I immediately jumped from this first book to The Fall, the second (is there more or is this a duology?), but am only just a couple of chapters in.