#amonthoffaves – Blogger Love

 

A Month of Faves is hosted by  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge

#AMonthofFaves [The Blogger Love Edition] – Recommend some bloggers and for us to check out and tell us what you like about each blog, e.g. bookish, food, fashion, travel, lifestyle, money, mom blogs, productivity etc. 

First of all, a shout out to the three hosts of A Month of Faves –  Tanya Patrice and Kim at GirlXOXO,  Tamara at Traveling with T and Andi at Estella’s Revenge for hosting this event!

Also some great blogs out there, in no particular order….

Reading the End 

The Captive Reader  (full disclosure: I’ve just started co-hosting Library Loot with her)

Buried in Print

746 Books

A Fantastical Librarian

 

Some food bloggers

Bake For Happy Kids

Cardamom and Tea

And also, I’ve started following some crochet bloggers

Attic 24

Look At What I Made 

Cherry Heart Blog

Repeat Crafter Me

#AMonthOfFaves – Books worth the hype (and not)

 

 

A Month of Faves is hosted by  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge

WED. | Dec. 5 – #AMonthofFaves Popular Books Worth the Hype (and/or Not Worth the Hype)

I’m not exactly one who reads bestsellers and hyped books, at least I don’t think so. I am never quite sure what ‘hype’ means with books. Does it mean those lists of “most anticipated releases” that get published every so often? Or does it mean that I see it appear on the blogs and Instagrammers that I follow?

I was looking at my Goodreads ‘read’ list for the year and started noticing the number of ratings that each book had. There were the rare ones, like Wonder, that numbered in the 500,000s. And we don’t need to talk about the Harry Potter books which are in the sky high 5 million plus! But anything in the six figures were definitely popular books like Turtles All The Way Down by John Green and Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. In contrast, an excellent book like Mishell Baker’s The Impostor Syndrome only has 445! (Note to self, always put a rating in Goodreads, especially for books like this)

But if I were only to count those in the six figures, I wouldn’t have read many. So instead I decided to go for those books with more than 25,000 ratings. There were some that I read, not that many, but some that surprised me as I had expected more ratings for them, as, to me, they were ‘hyped’. For instance, it felt that I keep seeing the Jackaby series by William Ritter, but surprisingly, just 18,663 ratings, so that means I can’t quite call it ‘hyped’, can I?

Ok, grumblings aside, here are….

Books read in 2018 that were worth the hype!

The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish (26,535 ratings)

I listened to the audiobook and it was a lot of fun.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman (254,854 ratings)

Eleanor is such an awkward but endearing character, you can’t help but root for her.

Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood – Trevor Noah (161,674 ratings)

I don’t watch late night TV but I was interested in Noah’s story of growing up in South Africa and it definitely was a fascinating read. His mother was quite a force to be reckoned with! Unfortunately my library didn’t have an audiobook version but I’m sure it would make for a great listen.

Pachinko – Min Jin Lee (80,172 ratings)

Loved this intergenerational saga that begins in Korea and ends in Japan. Such details and lovely writing!

Agnes Grey – Anne Brontë (43,705 ratings)

For a classic, that’s not a huge number of ratings actually. But I really was surprised to find myself liking this short (251 pages) story based on Brontë’s own experience as a governess.

I’ll Be Gone In the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer – Michelle McNamara (56,806 ratings)

Oh man this book, just thinking about it gives me the chills. An absolutely terrifying, well-written true crime book.

 

 

Books read in 2018 that weren’t worth the hype

I don’t think there were really books that made me go “Ugh not worth it!”. So just a couple that made me think that maybe it’s more like, “eh, not for me”. Maybe these books are just more for someone else.

The Cuckoo’s Calling – JK Rowling (400,033 ratings)

A decent enough read, but I haven’t been hooked enough yet to start on the next book in the series…

The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin (58,632 ratings)

It was an intriguing premise but for me, I kept wanting more of the stories of two of the siblings and wasn’t so interested in the others.

 

Books read in 2018 that I wish had far more hype

I know it’s not mentioned in the prompt but there are so many great books out there that don’t have enough hype.

Everything Here is Beautiful – Mira T Lee (6,634 ratings)

Lee has written an absolutely gorgeous book about two Chinese-American sisters, of mental illness, of immigrants. Read it! Read it!

The Arcadia Project series – Mishell Baker

This urban fantasy series begins with Borderline (3,322 ratings), goes onto Phantom Pains (1,082 ratings), and ends with Impostor Syndrome (447 ratings). Baker creates great settings and very memorable characters – her lead is a double amputee with Borderline Personality Disorder!

Forty Rooms – Olga Grushin (1,060 ratings)

Such a beautiful book – a kind of collection of short stories taking place in different rooms that a woman has lived in over her lifetime.

Death by Dumpling (A Noodle Shop Mystery #1) – Vivien Chien (just 582 ratings)

This was such a cute and fun foodie cozy mystery series set in an Asian mall in Cleveland. I really appreciate the way Chien draws her protagonist, not as your typical successful Asian but instead somehow who’s not done so well – bad breakup, quit her job, moved back in with her parents.

What books lived (or not) up to hype for you this year?

Check out what books I thought were worth the hype (or not) in 2017

 

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.

#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 – books worth the hype?

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Fri. | Dec. 8 – 3 Popular Books Worth the Hype #AMonthofFaves

Oops a few days late with this one.

The Book of Dust – Philip Pullman

I know there have been some mixed reviews and I wasn’t entirely that into Lyra as an infant but I really loved being back in that setting. Daemons!

When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

A cute and fun YA romance read. Now if they’d just turn it into a movie.

Jane, Unlimited – Kirstin Cashore

I had fun with this book – a sort of “choose your own adventure” of sorts, with multiple possibilities and endings. Also, a main character who makes umbrella art. I loved this one. About the hype though? I don’t know.

Not worth the hype

Angel Catbird – Margaret Atwood

Was it because it’s Atwood that I was expecting more (a whole bloody lot more) than this? Yes yes of course. But I think even if this was by an unknown writer, I would have expected more. It was just too simplistic and it made me feel like she hasn’t seen how complex storylines and characters in well-written comic series can be (like Saga). Anyway, I think because it’s Atwood that I even gave Volume 2 a try. I can safely say I am not reading that series anymore.

Needs more hype

I don’t know if there’s very much hype about these books but whatever, they are great reads and they need more hype!

 

All the Rivers – Dorit Rabinyan

It’s only got 909 ratings on Goodreads so that’s a bit on the low side. This book, written by an Israeli writer, is about a relationship between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. She’s in New York for just six months and it’s a chance meeting with this man but can it work? Can it last? Lovely and thought provoking.

 

Cork Dork – Bianca Bosker

What a fun nonfiction read. I was constantly having to disturb the husband with a newfound fact about the wine world or sommeliers or fine dining. And that to me is what makes nonfiction enjoyable. Learning new things. But it was also very personable (it is after all her discovery and journey, learning about wine and the world of sommeliers) and it made me want to keep reading and reading.

 

The Strays – Emily Bitto

I loved this Australian novel set in the Melbourne art world (my review here) but haven’t really seen that much about it online – or perhaps I just am not aware of book hype these days…?