Contemporary

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

This is one of the titles I’ve wanted to read ever since before the hardback was published, but somehow never got around to. Perhaps because not enough people were talking about it online, which is a really not a good reason not to pick up a book I’m already interested in anyway! The reason I was interested is the title, which is also the title of one of my favourite Rufus Wainwright songs.

I started this book prepared to find a story that didn’t have anything to do with Rufus Wainwright, and was pleasantly surprised to find otherwise. The main character is Alek Khederian, an Armenian American who grew up in a very, Continue reading “One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva”

Contemporary · Romance

#famous by Jilly Gagnon

I have to admit, I’m a complete sucker for so many things that are now YA tropes – which is precisely why I can’t seem to stop reading YA books. One of the tropes I like? Teens dealing with fame, especially insta-fame. And I do like happy cute romances as much as I like my angsty issue books. So, #famous got me from the moment I saw the title and cover.

Inspired by the story of “Alex from Target” – which I had to google because I’ve never heard of him until now – #famous is about a smart, funny, but terribly insecure (and rather unpopular) girl named Rachel, who has a crush of a popular kid named Kyle. Kyle isn’t as funny or as interesting as Rachel (and he knows it), but he is extremely cute. When Rachel “flits” (this book’s version of twitter) a photo of Kyle to her best friend with a particularly embarrassing hashtag, the only result she expects is for her friend to cheer up. She didn’t expect her flit to be reflitted… nearly half a million times over. Continue reading “#famous by Jilly Gagnon”

Comics

Just So Happens, Skim & The Shadow Hero

Just So Happens by Fumio Obata

I was recommended this title because of the London/Tokyo/Kyoto setting, but I ended up loving it because of the gorgeous watercolour art. Focusing on Yumiko, a Japanese woman who had been living in London for years, and her visit to Japan upon her father’s death. The story is told in a simple, subtle manner, slowly unveiling her relationship with her parents and siblings. In the beginning, Yumiko seemed disconnected from Japan – she would avert her eyes when passing by other Japanese people, as her English boyfriend observed. She didn’t talk a lot about home, either. Once she reached Tokyo, however, we get to see her memories – past conversations with her father, who seemed to wish she would take on more feminine, filial attributes (and get married/stay close). Continue reading “Just So Happens, Skim & The Shadow Hero”

Fantasy

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Note: spoilers forΒ The Girl From Everywhere

This is the fifth book I needed to complete a bingo for #AsianLitBingo, for the Mixed Asian MC square.

Nix Song, the main character, is a Hapa (a Hawaiian term for someone with mixed heritage) teen unlike any other – that is, she was raised at sea outside of her native time as the first mate on Temptation. Her father is a Navigator, able to travel to any land, imaginary or real, at any time – as long as he has the right map. Nix had never known her mother, who died giving birth to her, and all of her life the only father she’s known is one consumed with grief. The Ship Beyond Time is the second book in a duology; in the first book, Nix’s father is obsessed with finding the right map that would bring him to a moment before her mother dies, so that he could save her. Nix fears that the act of saving her mother would erase her from existence, and braces herself for it – but when they do find a way to 1884 Honolulu, Nix’s mother have disappeared, and the crew of Temptation ends up getting mixed up in a plot that would be a prelude to the American’s conquest of Hawaii. Continue reading “The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig”

Comics · Malaysiana

My Giant Geek Boyfriend by Fishball

Yet another comic for the #AsianLitBingo! And another Malaysian one – this time featuring a Chinese Malaysian author/main character.

This book is a compilation of comics by Fishball, who (mostly) chronicles the ups and downs of being in a relationship with a man who is 30cm taller than her – which makes him way, way taller than the average Malaysian. The comics are all bilingual with Chinese and English text, and are freaking hilarious. According to the comic, Fishball is of average Malaysian height, which makes her a little taller than me, but I relate to all the bits about being inconvenienced by one’s (lack of) height. Continue reading “My Giant Geek Boyfriend by Fishball”

Fantasy

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Hattori Mariko was on the way to meet her betrothed when her carriage was attacked, leaving her the lone survivor thanks to a servant shielding her. Knowing that it was likely that she was the target, she disguised herself as a boy and tracked down the Black Clan, the group she suspected was responsible for the attack. She wanted to find out why someone would want to kill her, as well as exact her revenge. When she found herself one of them, however, she began to wonder if they were really the ones responsible for the attack. In the meantime, her twin brother Kenshin is convinced that she’s still alive, and is doing his best to find her.

I have to admit that this book isn’t as fantastical as I was led to believe. I wanted a magical feudal Japan, and I got… mentions of yokai and a little magic at the end. The scene with a Jubokko was great, but it happened halfway into the book – I stopped at said to my friend Kit (this was during lunch) “finally some yokai!” and she replied, “halfway through the book?” Continue reading “Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh”

Comics

Dreamin’ Sun Vol. 1 by Ichigo Takano

Shimana Kameko felt like she no longer belonged at home – ever since her father remarried, he was utterly devoted to his new bride, and now that she had a new brother she felt more invisible than before. Deciding to run away from home, she skipped school to think about what to do next, when she met a strange man who claimed that he would let her rent out a room at his place for cheap if she fulfilled three conditions. And that was how Shimana ended up in an odd household with Taiga, Asahi and Zen. Continue reading “Dreamin’ Sun Vol. 1 by Ichigo Takano”