Recent Haul: Graphic Novel, Lipstick and Bookish Shirts

Quick post to share some of the book-related stuff I’ve acquired. I actually only bought one book: Monstress Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, which I’m been waiting to become available here in the Philippines. I loved Vol. 1 and I can’t wait to dive into Vol. 2. On the same day, I also bought a sort of bookish lipstick because it has a Beauty and the Beast theme. Check it out:

Swipe right to see more pics. πŸ™‚ Next is my haul of bookish shirts! I found a local seller here in the Philippines who does custom prints and I ordered the designs below. Honestly, it was so hard to narrow down the choices to just five designs. I wanted to many more. But then I can always order more later on, right? πŸ˜› The last time I had bookish shirts was when I ordered them from Threadless, and sadly those shirts don’t fit anymore. These new shirts of mine will be perfect with my bookish skirts.

Swipe right to see more pics of the shirts, and a pic of me wearing one of them. πŸ™‚ I shared the pic on Twitter and Ilona shared it, yay:

I’m traveling for a few days, so I wouldn’t be online here on WordPress that much but I will be updating all other social media apps that I have on my phone.:D What books or other bookish stuff have you acquired lately?

Graphic Novel Challenge: Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

I feel like I’ve been waiting for Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda to be released for ages! I’ve been hearing good things about it from various sources since the first issue was released but I don’t want to start reading graphic novels per issue, so I to wait for Volume 1 to be released before I could read the series. I was thrilled to find that not only did Kinokuniya Singapore carry copies of Monstress, they also had a variant cover for it:

 

I recently finished reading a graphic novel that I wasn’t such a big fan of, which made me want to pick up another graphic novel that I was more likely to love and that led to me reading Monstress. I read this along with my good friend Kim of Dreaming of Espresso, who is based in Malaysia but was also able to get the Kinokuniya variant copy. Also, this counts as another book for me to include in my 2016 Graphic Novel and Manga Challenge, which hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on in the coming months.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, Monstress tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both.

Monstress was brilliant! I loved reading every bit of it. If I wasn’t busy with work, I would have gulped down the whole thing in one sitting but I guess it was also lucky that I was able to stretch out my reading of this because I could savor both the gorgeous artwork and the intriguing storyline. I thought Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda did a fantastic job in collaborating on this graphic novel, and I could see why people have been raving about it. The first thing I noticed about Monstress was how detailed and intricate the artwork was, I couldn’t stop staring at the drawings. Looking at the artwork was like a visual feast. I’m not usually a fan of too much blood, gore and violence in graphic novels because I find them a bit more difficult to swallow than when I’m just reading about them as text. The violence was the one minor quibble that I had with this book, but that was overshadowed with how much I loved everything else about it. Monstress is dark in tone but I found that it was a necessary aspect of the storytelling. The setting of the story is not exactly a happy one.

The worldbuilding is incredible. It’s a world inhabited by humans, ancients, arcanics (half-human and half ancient), the old gods and last but not the least are (talking) cats. It’s a war-torn world with a rich history behind the current situation that the heroine finds herself in. I feel like we’ve only been shown the tip of the iceberg in terms of worldbuilding and there’s so much more that can be explored. I kept reading not just because I wanted to learn more about Maika and her past, but also about the world she lives in. Maika is not content to have survived the war, she won’t rest until she uncovers the secrets behind the psychic link that she has with the monster inside her. I thought the story was paced very well, and there was never a dull moment throughout the course of this volume. I loved that the setting is a matriarchal Asia in the 1900’s, and I thought it was awesome that I kept seeing strong female characters in this book. Considering the short length of Monstress, I was amazed at how it was able to tackle important themes such as identity, race, class, and power. There really was a lot going on in this volume and I have a feeling I’ll be itching to reread it sooner rather than later. Having said all of that, I guess it’s not surprising for me to say that Monstress is one of my favorite reads this year. I think the last graphic novel I loved this much was Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. I really, really hope I’ll keep loving the series because I’ve come across two Image Comics series (Saga and The Wicked and the Divine that seemed promising at the start but I eventually decided wasn’t for me after reading Volume 3.

Sharing my other bookstagrams of Monstress so you can see for yourself the gorgeous artwork that I’ve mentioned:

 

Monstress readalong with @espressodream continues. I stayed up late reading this and I can't wait for the workday to be over so I can read more of it. Pretty sure I'll finish it tonight! I'm usually not a big fan of too much violence in graphic novels but the art in this one is beautiful and detailed, the storytelling is lovely, and it has strong worldbuilding. There's so much history behind this world and I want to find out more. Also, I noticed that all the major characters are female! And there are talking cats. What are your thoughts so far, @espressodream? Anyone else read this yet? . . . #Monstress #Awakening #Volume1 #MarjorieLiu #SanaTakeda #graphicnovel #comics #Kinokuniya #ImageComics #bookstagram #instabooks #IGreads #IGbooks #bibliophile #booknerd #bookblogger #book #reading #readalong #ChachicsBookNook

A post shared by Chachic (@chachickenpie) on

 

And a link to the 9th Annual Graphic Novels & Manga Challenge 2016, credit to Kim for the graphic below:

graphicnovelmangachallenge by espressodream

Comics and Chocolates Haul

My favorite bookstore in Singapore is Kinokuniya because they have the best stocks. I signed up for membership last January and I have been steadily increasing the size of my TBR pile because if it. They have a marketing trick that works well on me – members get a 10% discount on regular days and a 20% discount on special sale dates. I think sales happen at least once a month? In any case, I’m always tempted to buy books whenever there’s a sale because I want to take advantage of the bigger discount. So this was my comics and chocolates haul last Thursday:

Comics and Chocolates Haul - July 2016

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Guay
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

The dark chocolates are from La Cure Gourmande – the four on the left are mint ganache, the middle ones are dark chocolate ganache and the last four are pear-flavored. As for the books… I have been hearing good things about Monstress ever since the first issue was released. I didn’t want to start reading a graphic novel per issue so I had to wait for Vol. 1 to be released. I saw The Last Dragon in a previous bookstore visit and marked it as something I would come back for because I like standalone graphic novels. As for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, I’ve had the first two volumes since January but still haven’t read them yet! So many books, so little time. I had not anticipated how much real life will be sucking time away from reading.

I also bought an ebook yesterday based on a recommendation from romance author Courtney Milan (you can see her tweets about it here).

Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions

Beginner’s Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions (Talking Nerdy #1) by Six delos Reyes is a Filipino romance novel that has a nerdy heroine. I’ve had it on my wishlist for a while but I one clicked it after I saw the rec for Courtney Milan because I don’t want to get left behind in supporting a fellow Filipino!

I really should stop buying more books when I still have SO MANY in my TBR pile but it’s so hard to resist. To be fair, I’ve already finished reading (but not reviewing) the last two books in my previous book haul post. I could use that as my excuse for buying more this time. What about you, have you acquired any new books lately? Have you read any of the titles included in this post? Let me know what you think of them if you have.