Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge: This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

I recently read This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki for my book club’s discussion and I wanted to share a mini review while the story is still fresh in my mind. Also, This One Summer can also be a contribution to my 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge, which I’ve sadly neglected because real life got in the way of things. I thought one graphic novel a month wouldn’t be too challenging, but I overestimated myself. I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch up on this challenge! My bookstagram for this title:

 

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

AN UNFORGETTABLE SUMMER.

Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family.

But this summer is different.

Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

I’ve had my copy of This One Summer for almost a year! I bought it back when I started to become more interested in graphic novels, and it took me this long to get to it. Sigh, the problems of an ever expanding TBR pile. I’ve seen mixed reviews from blogger friends regarding this title but I was feeling hopeful about it because I thought the summer setting would make for a fun read. Browsing through the pages, I could also see that the artwork is beautiful. And it really was, I thought the purple tones of the images and the artistic style fit the story well. However, I wasn’t such a big fan of this slice of life story. The writing flows in a stream of consciousness style and I found that a bit disjointed. Also, I felt that there wasn’t much that happened throughout the course of the book, which I wouldn’t have minded so much if I cared for Rose or Windy or the rest of the secondary characters a little bit more. As it was, I just wasn’t as invested in them as I wanted to be. I liked the friendship between Rose and Windy, and how they supported each other even though they bicker from time to time. I thought the other relationships in the book weren’t so great. I wish Rose’s parents were more open and honest with her about what was going on with their family. The local teens whom Rose and Windy were observing also didn’t feel like they had much to offer. The overall feel of the book was also bittersweet, so maybe I wasn’t in the right mood to read it. I might have enjoyed this more if I was the target audience for it, like if I read it as a middle grade reader. I feel bad that I didn’t enjoy reading this as much as I was expecting but I’m glad I finally picked it up because I’ve been curious about it for a while. As always, go ahead and give this graphic novel a try if you feel like it might work for you.

graphicnovelmangachallenge by espressodream

Book Haul – Christmas 2015 Edition

I rarely receive books for Christmas, or even for my birthday. I usually only get books when I join bookish Secret Santa events. Most people tell me that they don’t give me books as gifts because they don’t know what to get for me. So it feels like a special treat whenever I get books for Christmas. In 2015, I got several of them! Which was why I thought I should put up a post to mark the occasion.

On the last work day of the year, right before I flew home to Manila, I got these two:

Christmas 2015 - SG haul 1

When I was in Manila, I was able to attend a bookish meet up and got the following:

Tweedle Book Cafe - book haul

Sadly, I had to go back to Singapore for work. But I did have some lovely snail mail waiting for me when I got back:

Christmas 2015 - SG haul

While on vacation in Manila, I bought a few graphic novels (Ms. Marvel, The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium, Halina Filipina and Maktan 1521). I received The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1 from a friend, and used the Kinokuniya gift vouchers I received from our office Secret Santa to buy Soppy and Giant Days.

Christmas 2015 - graphic novels

For someone who doesn’t usually get books for Christmas, this really is quite a haul! Here are the titles I was lucky enough to receive:

Chronicles of Elantra by Michelle Sagara
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles
Soppy by Philippa Rice
Giant Days by John Allison, Lissa Treiman

Thank you, Donna, Estara, Kim, Mina, Gene, Nellie and my office Secret Santa for these books! I’m really grateful for the generosity. 🙂 I’ve already started reading the first Elantra book and Soppy. Looking forward to reading the rest of the titles in this pile.

Christmas Shopping – Singapore Edition

As I mentioned in one of my posts last week, I love the Christmas season. It doesn’t really start feeling like Christmas is near until I start my Christmas shopping. I think it’s a lot of fun to browse around malls, go into stores with Christmas carols playing on their speakers, and try to decide what would make great gifts. This year, I’ve decided that I’ll mostly be giving books as gifts. I was at the bookstore the other day and was able to get Christmas-themed board books for my newborn godson:

Christmas 2015 - Kinokuniya books for Adrian

The bookstore offered free gift wrapping services and I think their Christmas gift wrappers are adorable. These two titles are inside:

Dream Snow Little Santa

I hope my godson enjoys these books! Or I guess I should say, I hope his parents enjoy reading these aloud to him. Another bookish shopping experience that I enjoyed was putting together a Secret Santa package for my book club. This has become a tradition that I’ve participated in for the past three years (the Secret Santa haul I got from previous years: 2012, 2013, 2014). Of course I can’t share the contents so here’s a preview instead:

Christmas 2015 - YAckers Secret Santa

That gift bag is from Kikki.K, the same store where I’ve been getting my planner for the past few years. Fingers crossed that my YAckers Santee will like the stuff I put inside! Now I just need to drop by the post office during the hours that they’re open.

For my friends back home, I’m planning to buy Filipino titles. I was thinking Filipino romance titles (lots of new releases this year) for my girlfriends, Filipino graphic novels for guy friends, and Filipino kiddie books for my godsons. And for those, I wouldn’t be able to start buying them until I’m in Manila. So watch this space for another bookish Christmas shopping update!

What about the rest of you, have you started your Christmas shopping? Planning to give any books as gifts?

2014 YAckers Secret Santa

My online book club now has a tradition of having a Secret Santa for its members. Since I post my 2012 and 2013 book hauls, I wanted to be consistent and post about what I got this year too. A few weeks ago, I got a mysterious package that contained this gorgeous postcard-themed scarf:

YAckers Secret Santa 2014 - postcard scarf

Photo taken using Instagram.

Isn’t it beautiful? The fabric is also soft and I have a feeling it will be comfortable when I finally get the chance to use it. Turns out this lovely present is from my good friend Michelle! Since I’m such a big fan of postcards, I think it’s a perfect gift. Thank you, Michelle. 🙂

Since I looked back on previous book haul posts for YAckers Secret Santa, I wanted take note that I still haven’t read Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor and The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. Sigh, the TBR pile just keeps expanding. I hope I’m able to go get to these soon!

How about the rest of you, have you joined any book club or book blogger Secret Santas? Or have you received any books for Christmas?

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Edited to add (December 25, 2014):

I was pleasantly surprised when Michelle sent me the ebook edition of Greenglass House by Kate Milford to go with the scarf as her Secret Santa present. I’ve already started reading it since I heard that it’s a story set during Christmastime. Thanks again, Michelle. 😀

YAckers Secret Santa 2014 - ebook

February 2014 Recap

March has started! One of my favorite months in the year. Time to look back on the month that has passed by. I was only able to publish two reviews in February that’s better than nothing, right? I’ve put together a recap for all of the books that I read, with brief comments and links to ones that I have reviews for:

The Touchstone Trilogy by Andrea K. Höst – Review can be found here.

Staking His Claim by Tessa Bailey – A bit darker that Tessa Bailey’s earlier books but I still finished it fairly quickly. She’s an auto-read romance author for me.

The Diviners by Libba Bray – Read this one for our YAckers discussion. I started out liking it but never connected with any of the characters and felt that the various plot threads weren’t successfully brought together so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was expecting.

The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand – A new Laura Florand novel always feels like a treat. I love reading her books and this was no exception. I really liked both Patrick and Sarah and I found their romance sweet.

Medair duology by Andrea K. Höst – Review can be found here.

The Champion of the Rose by Andrea K. Höst – I didn’t enjoy reading this as much as the other Andrea K. Höst novels that I’ve read. I found the world and the magic in it intriguing but there were some aspects of the story that bothered me and I couldn’t get past them to fully appreciate the book. Hopefully I’ll like the sequel more.

I read more books back in January partly because February is shorter and also because I had a really busy month (which included a work trip to Kuala Lumpur and packing and moving to a different flat). I also posted a list of my favorite fictional couples from books I’ve read in the past year. What about the rest of you, what were the books that you’ve read in February? Any particular title that stood out for you?

Book Haul: YAckers Secret Santa

I’m sorry for the radio silence for the past few days. There’s so much going on ever since I’ve been back in Singapore that I haven’t had a chance to update the blog. I thought I’d post a quick update on a package that was waiting for me when I got to the office last Tuesday. I knew it was from the YAckers Secret Santa and I was excited to see what was inside:

YAckers Secret Santa 2013

YAckers Secret Santa 2013_2

YAckers Secret Santa 2013_3

It’s a package from Angie! Thank you so much for the lovely books and chocolates, Angie. I’ve already started on the Godiva chocolates and they’re yummy. I’m looking forward to reading these two books. 🙂 This reminds me that I still haven’t finished reading the books that I got from last year’s YAckers Secret Santa.

What about the rest of you, did you get some nice books for Christmas?

YAckers Discussion: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

YAckers

Our YAckers’ pick for the previous month was If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch. I don’t think I would have picked this up if it wasn’t a book club read but the premise looked intriguing enough. Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

If You Find MeA broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

Unfortunately, we were all disappointed in this one. Head on over to the YAckers site to see what we had to say about the book. I don’t think I’ll be posting a review of this. I’ve moving on to the next title that we will be discussing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be better!

YAckers Discussion: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

YAckers

Remember the YAckers Secret Santa that I mentioned a few weeks ago? Well, I participated in my first ever YAckers discussion and we talked about The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. The post can now be viewed over at the YAckers blog. Head on over there to check out our thoughts about the book. I’m glad the latest pick was a book that I’ve been planning to read for a while, The Raven Boys was one of my anticipated titles this year because I loved The Scorpio Races last year.

The Raven Boys from the library

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I had a lot of fun reading and discussing this with fellow YAckers and I look forward to more YAcking in the coming months.

12/12/12: A Day of Books and Shirts

It’s December 12, 2012! I wasn’t planning on putting up a post today until I dropped by the post office after work. I got a notice to pick up a package that couldn’t fit into the mailbox. I thought it was my latest Threadless order but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it wasn’t! Turns out, it’s a package from my YAckers Secret Santa.

YAckers

I know I haven’t talked about YAckers here on the blog, I was waiting for my first book discussion with them before bringing it up but the Secret Santa came first so here we are. Basically, it’s a YA book club with awesome members. Check out the YAckers site for more info and feel free to go through the list of books that have been YAcked. I’m so glad I was able to join the Secret Santa. Anyway, these are the contents of the package when I opened it up:

2012 YAcker Secret Santa2

I already had a smile on my face when I saw these because I wasn’t expecting to get several books. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how nicely wrapped the books were:

2012 YAcker Secret Santa3

Penguins and hearts! Aaaaaaaaaand here are the books inside:

2012 YAcker Secret Santa

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews
Soho Teen 2013 sampler

I had a huge grin by the time I opened the presents. Many, many thanks to my YAcker Secret Santa, Janice! You know me so well, my friend, because I’m super excited to read all of these. 😀 The three books are on my wishlist and I’m curious about the Soho Teen sampler. Isn’t Janice a amazingly generous person? This the first Christmas gift that I’ve received this year and I’m more than happy with this surprise package. It really made my day.

Even better, my Threadless order also got delivered tonight. These shirts got added to my growing collection:

Threadless shirts

Always yes to more bookish shirts. I need to wash and iron these so I can wear them right away. Guess what shirt will I be wearing when I watch The Hobbit this weekend? What about the rest of you, have you started getting any bookish gifts?