[Review] Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Nora & Kettle has been on my radar since its blog tour last year. In fact, I participated in (my one and only) book blitz for it because I was that excited for it. True to form though, it's taken me a year to actually get around to reading it. 😅 In that time, my excitement for it were raised further by the glowing reviews. Thankfully, with its gorgeous writing style and two characters that I rooted for, Nora & Kettle absolutely lived up to my expectations.

[Review] The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

'I contend that there are no whole truths, there are only pertinent truths—and pertinence, you must agree, is always a matter of perspective. I do not believe that any one of you has perjured himself in any way tonight. I trust that you have given me the truth, and nothing but the truth. But your perspectives are very many, and you will forgive me if I do not take your tale for something whole.' 
(Possible spoilers ahead!)

It took me five months to finish reading this book. Five. Months. By the end of it, I felt like it was a proper accomplishment that I actually finished it. That doesn't mean it's a terrible book. On the contrary, I finished it feeling in awe of Eleanor Catton. Along the way, there were genuine moments of shock, and just when I was about to give up, something pulled me back in. That said, I was ready to give up multiple times. You can say I'm pretty conflicted about how I feel. 😝

[Book Talk] The Four Stages of Discovering My Fave is Problematic

I have loved a number of books that turned out to be problematic. Harry Potter and The Lunar Chronicles jump to mind. Learning that your fave has a serious flaw can be a hard thing to grapple with.  The first time I found out that Harry Potter was problematic, I went through several stages before coming to terms with it. I like to think I get to acceptance much quicker these days, but it's interesting to look back and reflect on why I reacted the way I did back then.

My TBR for #AsianLitBingo

Header and bingo board by Read at Midnight

Confession: Unless it's a year-long one, I'm terrible at reading challenges. Picking one up while I'm heading into the busiest time of the semester is probably madness! That said, I want to be a part of #AsianLitBingo because I'd like to spread the word about this challenge. Not only does it look like a lot of fun, but it also shines a spotlight on Asian characters and writers. I've talked about wanting to read more diversely this year, and this lines up perfectly with that goal.

Realistically, I'm not going to be able to get a bingo due to time constraint. So my aim is just to read as many books off my TBR as I can and share them with you guys. 😄 Without further ado, here is my TBR!

Multiracial / Multiethnic Asian MC: Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

"What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?" (Goodreads)

Taking place in 1953, 17-year-old Kettle is an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of the interment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Eighteen-year-old Nora is privileged but trapped, enduring abuse from her father, a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans.

I'm in the middle of reading this, and it's heartbreaking yet beautifully written at the same time! 

Poor or Working Class Asian MC: Laurinda by Alice Pung

Laurinda is an exclusive school for girls. At its hidden centre of power is The Cabinet, a triangle of girls who wield power over their classmates – and some of their teachers.

Entering this world of wealth and secrets is Lucy Lam, a scholarship girl with sharp eyes and a shaky sense of self. As she watches The Cabinet in action, and is courted by them – as she learns about power and repression – Lucy finds herself in a battle for her identity and integrity. (Goodreads)

I won this book from Nicole's giveaway a couple of months ago, and it was brought to my attention by a good friend who shares my taste in books, so I'm excited for it!

South Asian MC: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large. (Goodreads)

I've been hearing good things about this book for a while now, and I finally have it! The plot looks like it would be right up my alley too!

Translated Work by An Asian Author: The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata

Ikal is a student at Muhammadiyah Elementary, on the Indonesian island of Belitong, where graduating from sixth grade is considered a major achievement. His school is under constant threat of closure. In fact, Ikal and his friends - a group called The Rainbow Troops - face threats from every angle: pessimistic, corrupt government officials; greedy corporations hardly distinguishable from the colonialism they've replaced; deepening poverty and crumbling infrastructure; and their own faltering self-confidence. But in the form of two extraordinary teachers, they also have hope, and Ikal's education is an uplifting one, in and out of the classroom. (Goodreads)

I was in high school when this book first came out, and my father loved it. He tried to get me to read it, but he had a tendency to be a tad condescending about what I read (still does, actually), so... Anyway, I think in a challenge that celebrates Asian authors, I should make an effort to read one from my home country. And it is supposed to be really great!

Contemporary with Asian MC: Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices. (Goodreads)

This book was on my most anticipated releases of 2016. Like most books on that list, I didn't get around to it. I'm still keen to read it, so hopefully I can get to it this month!

If you're interested in participating, check out Shenwei's announcement and master post. I'm excited to see everyone's TBRs, and all the discussion and spotlight posts that will be posted this month! 

Are you participating? 
What's on your #AsianLitBingo TBR? 

[Rewind] April 2017

April has been a really busy month, surprise surprise. I tried to remember to do some self-care that isn't being a vegetable on the couch with Netflix, and there has definitely been some fun moments! Life continues to be hectic, but the end of the semester is in sight. In the meantime, blogging will keep on taking a backseat. I hope we can still catch up every once in a while though!

New to My Shelves

Now that I think about it, I have managed to not step foot in a bookshop all month. There may be something wrong with me. 

I have, however, been to the library (once). My request for Nora and Kettle is finally granted! My library is the best, honestly. This book has been on my TBR since it came out, so I'm excited to actually be reading it. 

For review, I received Internet Famous and The Dr Pimms' Series. I've read the former and half of the latter, and they're all really interesting in their own ways. Reviews will come some time this month!


April's the month for 5-stars review, it seems!

↠ Sofia Khan is Not Obliged. Witty, adorable, and my favourite audiobook so far. ✮✮✮✮✮ 
↠ I posted a spoilery review/discussion of Me Before You
↠  The Hate U Give stole and broke my heart. ✮✮✮✮✮ 

Other Things on the Blog

There's... actually nothing else. Oops. Also, I just realised, while writing this post, that I completely forgot about my second blogoversary. Something to celebrate this month, perhaps?

Challenges Progress

↠ Goodreads challenge: 14/30 books
↠ Discussion challenge: 3/24 discussion posts
↠ ReadDiverse2017 challenge: 5 books
↠ #RockMyTBR challenge:  1 book
↠ Backlist Books challenge: 4 books

Around the Blogosphere

↠ Laura shared 5 great podcasts for writers.
↠ AJ has been doing the A to Z challenge, and you should check out her entries. I still need to catch up, but I is for If Dogs Could Talk is my favourite so far.
↠ Cristina wants to know how much you're reading annually.

In Life

Here's one exciting bookish event that I had in April: I did my first cosplay! Three guesses who my friend and I were going as:

If you guessed Linh Cinder and Queen Levana of  The Lunar Chronicles, you'd be right! And you'd be one of the few people who recognised them. 😂 It was a lot of fun dressing up, though I pretty much couldn't use my 'cyborg' hand for the whole day!

In Store for Next Month

I'm hoping to join the #AsianLitBingo in May, even if I'm unlikely to complete it! I have a discussion post that has been sitting in my drafts folder for the last three weeks, so hopefully that will actually go up one of these days. Also, keep an eye out for my blog tour stop for Internet Famous!

How has your April been? What have you been reading?
Have you ever cosplayed before? Would you like to, if you haven't?
If you posted an April wrap-up post, link me to it! I'd love to catch up on what's been going on with you!

[Review] Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

“Oi,” I shouted. “Terrorists don't wear vintage shoes, you ignorant wanker!”

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged had me smiling from ear-to-ear the whole time I was reading it. It's the kind of book I'd pick up if I'm feeling a little down and want to read something quick but with a lot of heart and humour. It has a fantastic heroine, a brilliant cast of friends and family, and a slowburn romance that at one point literally made me squeal. There is nothing about this book that I didn't love.

[Spoilery Discussion] Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

(I started writing this post as a review, then realised a discussion is a more suitable format for what I want to say. So this is a non-star, spoiler-filled discussion!)

The hype of Me Before You sailed by me almost entirely. I knew that it's a tearjerker, I vaguely knew the ending, and the movie came out (from the trailer, Emilia Clarke looked adorable), and there was some controversy around it. I didn't pay any attention to it all until last summer, when I spotted a copy in the library. I finished it within six hours, and then I was torn.