I’m working on my dissertation and I welcome death. But although my soul has left my body and I am now a shell of the human I was before, thanks to my mental health, I have managed to read a fair amount.
Shout out to the bad sleep cycles and the calming light on my Kindle!!!!!!
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CRAZY RICH ASIANS
[CRAZY RICH ASIANS #1]
by Kevin Kwan 🎭👨👩👧👦💰
When this book got a lot of traction some time last year, I was curious. Only because it was set in my dinky island home of Singapore. Rarely does a story about Singapore get global traction, unless it’s a WW2 period drama, or something non fiction. Then earlier this year when I went to visit a high school friend he URGED me to read it. So I finally caved and read it this month.
I THINK I WAS INTERNALLY SCREAMING NEARLY THE ENTIRE WAY THROUGH?! I HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE REFERENCES AND IN-JOKES OF A BOOK LIKE THIS IN MY LIFE!!!!!!!! There was Singlish!!! References directly about Singapore!!!! It was surreal in a way let me tell you.
Long story short, this is a very Pride and Prejudice-social class-family drama type story. While it might not be your usual kind of read, I think it’s a breath of fresh air in this genre, that to my knowledge, does not really depict Asian families like this. And by Like This, I mean as ridiculous and messy as any old high society rich white folk. Anyway it was a welcome distraction for me since I was also feeling a bit homesick when I decided to read it. I’ll definitely read the sequels and CANNOT WAIT to hear Singlish on the big screen from a Hollywood movie!!!!!!!!!!!! WYLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
📘📘📘📘 4 Books!
EVERY HEART A DOORWAY
by Seanan McGuire 🚪🏫✨
This novella is billed as a YA book, which makes sense on completion, but uh, did not really know what age range the book was for before reading. Which made it all the more jaw dropping when one of the characters, that I pictured as a LITERAL child, said, Do you want to fuck him? and then, Do you mind if I masturbate? 😱 NOT EXPECTING THAT.
ANYWAY I went in really hoping I’d like this despite hearing some negative comments, and I think I still like it, I especially love the concept of it at least. The idea that children who disappear to other worlds through doors, eventually return and have trouble coping with life on the other side again. So they get sent to these schools that sort of act as a ‘rehab’ but without making them feel that there is no hope of return to what they now see as ‘home’.
But since it’s a novella, it is rather short, and I think therein lies the problem. It’s too short!! It felt rushed about halfway through when the plot thickened, and then felt like I was running downhill for the rest of it and when it ended I was just like, ???????? … HELLO?! I wish this could have been a bit longer, maybe like 200-300 pages instead, so that the conflict could have been fleshed out a bit more, and the kids could have more discussions about these other worlds. Gr8 concept, not so gr8 execution.
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**WANNA ADD: 10/10 though for asexual and trans representation. And for being OBVIOUS about it. I hate when you read a book and you can just TELL the character is meant to be gay, or trans, or non binary, but there’s no actual mention of it??? Like you’re meant to guess??? COUGHjkrowlingCOUGH….
📘📘📘 3 Books!
by Ellen Klages 🏳️🌈🎨🗺️
Short review: Girls. I love girl. Girl r gr8. LADIES!!!!!!!! … BUT SERIOUSLY, this was so much fun and so sweet and tender and the writing was lovely so I am TOTALLY gonna read more by Ellen Klages.
Passing Strange is about the queer scene in San Francisco in the 1940s, but specifically the lesbian scene. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the World’s Fair, the ‘forbidden’ city of Chinatown, the ‘alien’ world of exotic food and ‘authentic’ experiences at nightclubs. Inspired by the pulps, film noir, six women find that their lives intertwine with each others’ more than they initially thought. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic and science intersect, where outcasts from conventional society can meet in city. The magic part, without spoiling anything, is all about escape and avoiding these conventional worlds for the unconventional, and also possibly for safe havens.
Also there’s a cameo of Diego Rivera just after he divorced Frida but the main character is all like, LOL IT’S COOL WE SLEPT TOGETHER ONCE. IT’S FINE. ?!?!? And this character is an artist too with flowing blonde hair and it makes me cry because WIFE. ME. UP.
Anyway, this book is super lovely and a short read, and even though a bit disjointed at times, is a great sapphic short.
📘📘📘📘 4 Books!
THE WITCHFINDER’S SISTER
by Beth Underdown 👀🕸️🔮
Well this book was… a Lot. But it was good. It really sucked me in more than I thought it would. It was also a bit graphic at times, which was in line with the story though, seeing that it was set in the mid 17th century, before the Salem witch trials began. But by far the most horrifying part of this book, apart from the details of how the trials and ‘questionings’ were done, is the fact that Matthew Hopkins was a REAL person who took it upon himself to become a “witch finder”, assisting in the deaths of over 100 women because they were accused of being witches… And his cases are very well documented as well. Even though it’s not certain if he had a sister at all, I think the artistic liberties taken were necessary and really help bring the horrors of this story to life. At the end what I came away from this is that men can be horrible, vengeful people, and probably shouldn’t be given absolute power like Matthew Hopkins was able to get.
TL;DR TRUST NO MAN!!!!!!!!!!!
📘📘📘 3 Books!
THE JEWEL AND HER LAPIDARY
by Fran Wilde 💎⛰️⚔️
I remember when I first heard of this novella, I was led to believe that it contained a F/F relationship. Not an explicit one, since they were teenagers, but something that would be obviously read as a romantic one. I WAS DECEIVED!!!! Or maybe I remembered wrong and deceived myself… ANYWAY the relationship of the 2 girls in this story does not read to me as a romantic one, and honestly one that is more of 2 best friends that care deeply for each other. Almost an asexual one? I’m not sure I’m not asexual.
It WAS fun to read though!! Since it was so short though it did feel quite rushed and a bit disjointed at times, but I really like the concept of the jewels having different powers over the population, and the idea that there would be specific people with abilities to harness these jewels, but were not allowed to rule and simply were ‘translators’ of sorts for the rulers of the kingdom and their ‘weapons’. I also kinda… really liked… the villain…. I uh… I’d date her. OOPS.
I digress, long story short, it’s a fun little novella that won’t take much time with an interesting concept that was new to me. Definitely read as a YA story, but also could have benefited from being a bit longer! Also has a sad ending. Sorry.
📘📘📘 3 Books!
by April Daniels ⚧✈️🌟
Right so to my knowledge, this author is not a trans person which 100% gave me pause when I learned this book was about a transwoman teen superhero. But also it sounded like conservative nightmare which was EXCELLENT. So yes. Trans superhero. Danielle Tozer. To cut to the chase, she transitions quite literally, to a superhero at the dying feet of the famous superhero Dreadnought. When he dies, he passes onto her some kind of energy that not only gives her powers, but her ideal body. Which is basically how she transitions.
This book should contain trigger warnings though for a LOT of transphobia as well as abusive parents. That being said, I think it’s important for Danny’s story, since it really does help her reaffirm her belief in herself as a hero and the person she has become. Again, since the author is not trans – to my knowledge – I’m not gonna assume that the thought processes in the book are accurate in anyway, but it really did feel to me that they were written with a LOT of sensitivity and research from talking to other trans teens.
Danny also teams up with an adorable black girl who is what they call a ‘grey cape’, not a legion member but also not a bad guy. Flexible morals we’ll say. But also a teen. Anyway, there’s also a legion of superheroes, these guys are like the Avengers with the Sokovia Accords. All in all the writing was really fun to read and sucked me in! The ending did feel a bit rushed and anti climactic, but I assume that is because there’s a sequel planned, so probably half of that ending was cut for the next book…? Whatever. I’m reading the next one for SURE.
ETA: I was told that the author is indeed trans which YES, does actually make a difference! Gives more feeling and emotion to both the behaviour and inner dialogue of Danny! Also as someone who is cis, it feel a bit better knowing that this was written by someone who likely wasn’t trying to imagine what it was like, and rather was likely writing from lived experiences, y’know like #OwnVoices books… Which are important… 👌🏻
📘📘📘📘 4 Books!