Thursday, December 29, 2016

Diverse Reads: Graphic Novels!

Hello it's Val again. WITH GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEWS! More like Val needed 10 books to complete her Goodreads Challenge, and after last years embarrassing 99 out of 100 books (in which she added a picture book she read). This year, I WILL make 100 books, even though they will all be short.

First, I would like to say that the books featured here are 1) awesome and 2) one of which are by my fave and 3) Asian authors!

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: September 5, 2006
Source: Library
Date Read: 12/15/16
240 pages

All Jin Wang wants is to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he's the only Chinese American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl...

Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables. Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kung-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth. But the Monkey King doesn't want to be a monkey. He wants to be hailed as a god...

Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he's ruining his cousin Danny's life. Danny's a popular kid at school, but every year Chin-Kee comes to visit, and every year Danny has to transfer to a new school to escape the shame. This year, though, things quickly go from bad to worse...

This is actually a reread, I read this such a long time ago, when I was a BABY (more specifically I was in middle school). I will be completely honest, I don't think I understood what I read back then, but I get it now. Sometimes I wonder if anything would have changed during my childhood if I fully understood the meaning behind this book. Maybe I would have looked at my own culture differently, because man does this hit home now.

I realize that I never fully explained what this novel is actually about. In this case, the title is pretty self explanatory. American Born Chinese is simply (but not so simply) about a Chinese American student who finds himself not being able to fit in at his school. There are three stories woven throughout this novel that all come back together in the end. There is a bit of magical realism, along with a short retelling of the Monkey King (woo!), BUT THE MESSAGE IS GREAT.

Shoutout to my dad, who maybe doesn't remember this, but he remarked back when I first borrowed this that I wasn't American Born Chinese but rather Canadian Born Chinese. Pretty sure there's no difference but I could be wrong.

I was initially going to review Saints by Gene Luen Yang as well, but I realized that it was a companion novel for a book I haven't read yet. I hope to get my hands on Boxers but until then I will wait.

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Source: Library
Date Read: 12/16/16 to 12/16/16
320 pages

Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It's a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age — a story of renewal and revelation.

Rashika recommended this one to me! And to be honest, I'm not exactly sure if this counts as a diverse book, but it is by two diverse authors (I may be wrong, it is hard to tell in graphic form)!

This was definitely interesting, in that the plot revolves around the two 15-year old girls, and their summer vacation together. Every year Rose and her family hang out at Awago Beach, where she meets up with her best friend Windy. Everything seems really simple, but the novel actually touches upon some very heavy topics. But it does it through the eyes of Rose, who doesn't fully understand what is going on or what kinds of consequences her actions may have. This is truly a coming-of-age story, and due to the graphic format and art of this book, it is easy to take Rose's perspective. But at the same time, you can tell that her thoughts and actions aren't always right.

I highly recommend this read as well. I'm just still impressed over how such little dialogue can have a profound effect on the story. The imagery really plays a role here, even if it is not as detailed as some other graphic novels out there.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

End Of The Year Book Survey 2016

Today, my dad asked me why I hadn't book blogged in so long. Well, it's because I'm lazy, ok? And it's been hard to be motivated to blog, especially as the year comes to a close. Also, have I mentioned that I've finished pretty much zero books? Other than Scythe, which I was supposed to review weeks ago? My bad.

But for those of you who are concerned, I haven't quit! I have at least two posts planned before 2017, one about diverse graphic novels I've read from the library, and then my review of Scythe. So stay tuned for that!

And of course, there's this! My year in review! This will be quite long as there are a million questions. This was created by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner, and here's the link back to the original post if you want to do your own!

Number Of Books You Read: 94 (As it's not quite the end of the year, I will update this later!)
Number of Re-Reads: 2!
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy, I'm sure.

1. Best Book You Read In 2016? Noooo, why do I just have to pick one? I'm definitely cheating.


2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? Can we talk about how this was all of the 2016 releases (Looking at you Vassa in the Night and Of Fire and Stars)? I really hope it's not like that next year haha. But anyways, for me it will definitely be the Peaches book. I was really hoping to love it, but it made me really sad and therefore I couldn't enjoy it (my review)

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? Mainly because I thought this was fantasy but it was not. Fortunately that didn't end up bothering me one bit.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? My friends finally read The Book Thief and I have no regrets.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016? The Raven King would be here, if I didn't finish the Abhorsen series. Which is my fave. Also the former kind of lacked in climax, unfortunately.


6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016? Everyone? Just kidding, I would say Shaun David Hutchinson. If you're not familiar with him, he wrote this great title, and has something new releasing next year!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? I struggled with this a bit because I haven't really read outside my comfort zone (whoops), but then I don't read much middle grade, but Furthermore was exceptionally good!

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? This was a reread, but while reading, I was so happy to be rereading it. Never was I bored 😀

9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? I really want to say A Gathering of Shadows, but I'm not sure I'll have the time to. Because I always plan to but it never happens!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016? The first one that popped into mind was The Love That Split the World, but then I realized I read that in 2015 and not 2016. Boo. I did buy the UK Nevernight specifically for that cover, so I will say that!

11. Most memorable character of 2016? Manchee because pupper.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016? A lot of choices, but in the end I am going with The Song of Achilles.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016? Because everything he writes is thought-provoking.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? Technically I listened to the audiobook of this, but MAN this was one of the FIRST books I added to my GR list back in 2012, and I FINALLY got to it! And it was good!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016? From the above book. This literally tore me up into little tiny pieces. I was sobbing in the car as I was driving back home, listening to this.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016? Just going to leave this here.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most. More like was constantly shocked by the events of this book haha.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) I went down with this ship, it was painful.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year. I didn't read many friendship stories, which is SAD, except for This One Summer!

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: Patrick Ness needs to be on the top of my list. I need all of his books asap.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: Here you go Amber.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016? NO ONE. EVERYONE SUCKS. Just kidding. I really love Alucard, and pretty much everyone from AGOS

23. Best 2016 debut you read? It's really a tie between Iron Cast and Timekeeper


24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year? I'm currently reading Return Once More, so this is kind of cheating (until I finish it this year obviously). But I love the fact that Historians time travel and record past events! It is so cool.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? Sorry, I only read sad books.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016? This one again. Like I said. I full on bawled.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? Everyone needs to read this. Also the sequel is coming out next year! (!!!)

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? Again. Though a lot of books crushed my soul. Like If I Stay, and also Leonard Peacock!


29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016? I can't decide. I read a lot of unique books this year.


30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)? Nope, definitely hated this. I can't believe I spent $3 on this, and I really wished I returned it after reading it as it only took 30 minutes or so.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016? I don't exactly remember if I discovered them this year, but I love all the posts by CW @ Read, Think, Ponder and also Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016? Definitely Zenith. That was fun to rant about.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog? The one where I discussed whether you could still love something even though it's problematic.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? First off, there was BEA16 (When it was actually called BEA). Oh and ALAMW16 as well! That was so much fun! AND the Make Me Read It Readathon was SUCH A SUCCESS. Ok now I am just listing everything.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016? All of it. Blogging is fun guys. I can't pick just one thing. I guess I would say when Ely and I hosted a readathon and it became really popular. Or the time where I received a physical ARC (WWII obviously)

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year? The election results.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)? I'm just going to go with my views because I'm lazy. But it's my sign up post for the Make Me Read It Readathon.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? Hmmm. Maybe that review of Spontaneous. Though I don't really care so much.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Probably Feedly. Though that's not exactly bookish. OH I really love Flyleaf books even though I've been there only once.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year? I will definitely read 100 books this year. Or at least I will try.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017? Pretty much all of them. And don't yell at me for not finishing Crooked Kingdom.


2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)? Do you even have to ask?

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? Needed this book yesterday

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017? Points to A Conjuring of Light above.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017? At this moment, I really am just holding on, and hoping that I won't end up quitting due to all the crap that's happened this year. Right now, my bar is set really low for 2017, but I guess if I were to set some sort of goal, I guess it would to not be pressured by my GR challenge. WHICH IS WHY I AM SETTING MY CHALLENGE TO 1 GUYS. IT'S GOING TO BE GREAT. Oh, and also to hang out and chat with my friends Shannon, Rashika, Holly, Amber, AND YOU TOO ZOEY we literally just spent an hour talking about you coming to visit me to go see lemurs at Duke. Let's do it.

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone: Well. This is awkward because the only 2017 book I've read is Max, which I really liked. Unfortunately the cover is not the greatest in that it has an image of an unborn baby with a swastika on its arm. But, I thought it was a great WWII book and I would recommend it to others. It just....needs to have a cover change. Did I mention that when I mailed it to Shannon, the packaging was completely torn up, but the book itself suffered minimal damage! Definitely a demon book that one. Pretty sure the mail person saw it by accident and was like "NO" and proceeded to rip up the packaging even more, which I don't blame them for. I mean I like to believe this happened. 😂


Have you guys filled this out yet? This is so long to get through I don't blame you if you read it all!
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