February 2018 Wrap Up


February has ended and we’re fast approaching the next month. Can you believe the time moving so quickly? I guess it moves quickly through the shortest month of the year. But I feel the green shoots of Spring starting to break through the ground. I can feel the winter finally thawing out. I think it’s going to be a good one, that March.

For February, I was only able to read four books this month, which feels like a lot but also it feels like I could have done better. I got completely sidetracked by this Korean drama called Goblin that my friend Michaela and I couldn’t resist and it basically took over our lives. I started watching the show on Valentine’s Day, finished the show maybe a day later, and then felt the worst hangover from it for pretty much the rest of the month. It wasn’t until the last full week of February that I felt like I could read a book again without going back to thinking about that show. If you ever get a chance to watch Korean dramas, definitely check out Goblin.

But onto the books! Again, I’ve only read four and most of them were because I requested those copies. Here’s what I read:

The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty


While this felt like a pretty tough read for me (the language was a little too wordy for me), I loved this book. It was a great entrance into a new fantasy series that takes place in the Middle East and uses a lot of Middle Eastern folklore to lend a hand in writing it.

The story follows a girl named Nahri who finds out that she’s part Daevabad, a tribe of folks who were born of fire. Her friend, a djinn, helps her to get back to Daevabad and rightfully belong with her own people again. However, the journey is treacherous with a lot of sabotage and twists. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat and you’ll definitely fall in love with these characters.

Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik


This novel is inspired by the life of Forough Farrozhkad, an female Iranian poet around the early 1960s. I thought this book was so captivating and Forough Farrozhkad’s life wasn’t anywhere from dull. If you’re a fan of her poetry or of women, then you’ll definitely want to read this one.

While the book is based on the life of a real poet, it’s actually fiction. The story Jasmin Darznik writes is basically what she could provide with the research she’s done. Many pieces of Forough’s life was destroyed by her family after she died, so not much exists about her. I also did some research online and really couldn’t find much.

However, you’ll love this story of a modern woman living in the wrong place at the wrong time. Reading through her struggle, you really start to appreciate the freedoms women have nowadays. It’s not perfect, but it’s more than what she’s experienced.

Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee


I read Free Food for Millionaires as the first book for Words Between Worlds. The story follows a young woman named Casey Han who just graduated from college and figuring out what she wants to do next. However, coming from an immigrant family, it’s difficult to make decisions on your own life when your family wants you to be successful.

Our book club talked a lot about the struggle to make your parents happy and also make yourself happy. How do you choose between the two? How do you show your family that there isn’t failure if you take up a vocation or do something outside of being a doctor or lawyer.

The book resonated a lot with me and the way I grew up, but it definitely reflect my life completely. If you loved Pachinko, then you’ll love this one. I’m not a fan of Min Jin’s wordy writing (I don’t like wordy writers), but it definitely is a great read.

Master Assassins by Robert VS Redick


This final read is for a late blog tour I was participating in. It’s a great read with a few tiny flaws, but it’s also my first foray into male-written Fantasy novels. Seriously, I haven’t even read George RR Martin.

I can definitely see the differences between male and female writers (like more vulgar language and more action and adventure). If you’re into a good action movie, then you’ll definitely like this one. This story follows two brothers (Kandri and Mektu) who accidentally murdered two sons of this vengeful Prophet. Now they’re on the run to save their own lives.

On the way, they meet a ton of people who help them along sharing the same feelings they have about the state of their village’s government. It is a super compelling read with excellent world-building. This has got to be the best example of world-building I’ve ever seen. Without taking away from the story, Robert VS Redick is able to fill in the backstory. It’s pretty well written and I would recommend it (trigger warning: there is some mention of rape and human trafficking).

What did you read this month?

January 2018 Wrap Up


And the first month of the year is done and February is just along the way. I loved reading this month. Although I did have to catch up on a ton of books, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I was able to read all the ARCs I received from NetGalley to put me back on a good track with them. I was able to try a new regime with a lot of failures. It’s been a pretty trying month and on top of that, I turned 33!

But let’s go into the details.

I read 9 books

This is a new record. I don’t think I’ve read this many books in a month in my life except for maybe college. I wasn’t sure how much I read in college, but it was enough to burn me out at the end of it.

I’m finally going to start reading some books that interest me and approaching books that come my way thoughtfully. I think I’ll have to write a blog post about it because it’s been a process and a lot of telling people “no,” which I don’t do very well.

Without ado, here’s my list of reads from January 2018:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer –  will be continuing this series soon, but I just wanted one fun read for myself this month!

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking – This was a super quick read, but super informative. I’m so obsessed with the hygge lifestyle that I wrote about it in a post for Book Riot.

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller – This was an ARC I received from Simon Books and it was a pretty interesting fantasy novel! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and see how Robert will continue to fight against the Trenchers.

Haikantwithyou by Nicole Best – This was a pretty quick little poetry book about the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship. So many of the haikus in this book were so poignant and made me reflect on some relationships I had as a kid.

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko – This (as well as the next book) was one of the big reads for January. I loved this book and its dive in Native American culture, the experience of being Native American, and how this world needs to accept and nuture instead of turn people away.

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender – This one came in my Capsule Books box and was quite honestly the strangest book I ever read. While I wasn’t a true fan, I’m currently reading the second book from this box and I’m definitely seeing a theme here. I’ll chat about that more next month.

Indecent by Corinne Sullivan – This was another egalley that I was reading for review. While this wasn’t my favorite book of the bunch (and my first serious 1-star review in a really long time), perhaps there is something redeemable in the story that I missed. I was bored. I didn’t want to finish it, but maybe you will!

Catalina by Liska Jacobs – This was my final egalley to read for January and I loved it. I think I might have missed some bigger points here about drug abuse and depression, but honestly this read like some rom com or a dramedy that I’ll see adapted into a movie later this year.

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao – This was the last book I read this month and it’s the one still clinging to the spaces in my brain. I couldn’t put this book down and the way they describe the strength of the female friendship will make you wonder if your friendships are as strong as theirs.

I started life as a full-time blogger

January has been such a transition from being a full-time office worker to a full-time blogger. While I’m not making any money off of this (yet), I’m enjoying spending my time reading books and writing reviews and sharing my thoughts with you all. I do hope to get more done in the coming months.

I feel like January was the test month. Don’t commit to creating anything until you’ve got this whole staying at home and creating something for nothing down. I’ve been adjusting and re-adjusting to life living and working from home and being my own boss. It’s been tough. There’s a certain obligation to always be working, but some days lack inspiration and I feel like doing nothing. Some days I would rather watch TV or play video games than talk about the book I just read.

But after a month, I feel like I’ve put together a plan that will allow me to work and not have that sense of obligation to do work. I believe that I am able to generate enough work for myself to be busy all day long.

It’s easy to fall behind or become prey to procrastination. I’ll probably struggle with this my whole life, but I also carry within me the ability to stay strong and keep moving and strive forward.

I will be better. I think that’s the best I can do right now.

I hope you enjoyed this! What did you end up reading this month? Anything worth sharing?

My 2017 Bookish Wrap Up

My 2017 Bookish Wrap Up

Wow, 2017 felt like a whirlwind. I hit a ton of different milestones, came to some interesting decisions, and will be starting my new year with a different career path. While the world was in shambles, 2017 treated me pretty well and I’m thankful to be starting off 2018 with some great plans.

It was a great year for books (well, every year is a great year for books) and I’m so excited to share with you what I’ve read, what I’ve learned, and a little on what I will be reading next year.

First, let’s get to the numbers.

  • # of books I wanted to read: 25
  • # of books read: 43
  • # of books that were diverse reads: 18

My favorite books of the year


It was tough to dwindle this list down and I had a tough time to get it to these eleven. I restrained myself and thought about what really captivated me about them. Here’s my favorites:

  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  • Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  • Artistotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saez
  • Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  • Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Isn’t it kind of funny that by the end of the year, you remember most of the books you read during this half rather than the early half. I feel like the books I read in the early half of the year don’t really represent the repertoire of reading I picked up in the second half. I think I’m going to try and keep my reading pretty even across the months.

Some interesting insights

I read some really interesting books this year. Books I didn’t think I would read because it just wouldn’t be available to me in the methods that I chose. I also received so many books from various different publishing companies and I couldn’t be more grateful of that.

I think my favorite books will have to be the ones I ordered from Book of the Month Club. I don’t want to gush or advertise for them, but the judges have wonderful taste and I always found every book I read to be intriguing and interesting. I would strongly recommend especially if you’re a bestselling books reader. You’ll be the first to read the best sellers!


I realized that thrillers and mystery aren’t my favorite thing. I think I have a few that I will try and read but mostly because I heard good things. I don’t think I’m going to actively search for any more thrillers, but maybe horror will be in there? I don’t want to poop my pants while I read.

I also revived my love for Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, which also ties into my love of Young Adult novels. I’m so excited to continue reading more of these stories in the future.

My future plans

I’ve accumulated a fairly large pile of books. While my book buying ban will continue to go through 2018, I want to focus on reading what I already have. Being surrounded by books all the time is quite comforting, but sometimes it can be a real eyesore and a nuisance. I can’t justify buying any more books not only because I’m trying to save money, but because there’s already enough for me to read.

I also haven’t read ANY non-fiction. I love non-fiction every once in a while and I somehow just skipped over all of that this year. I do have some non-fiction in my TBR so I hope to read those and get some more stories that aren’t just based in the mind of the author. I think I already know where to start.


I’m also going to focus on reading more books written and about POC. While I did read 18 diverse reads this year, this was still less than half of my reading. I am pretty proud that the majority of my reads were from female authors, I still feel like there’s more diverse books to read and share with people. I especially want to read books by Middle Eastern/South Asian authors and characters. I also want to read way more Latinx and Hispanic authors and characters. I feel like both of these areas have been really neglected by me and other readers and they should also get some of the spotlight.

The final resolution (can we call these that?) is to really share more with you all. I’ve been pretty busy all this year with work and other obligations, but I want to double up my efforts with my blog and share a lot more with you all. You know where to find me on the social media universe, so I’ll be sharing on all those platforms.

Happy New Year, bookish peeps! I can definitely see 2018 as a big book year for all of us!



November 2017 Wrap Up


November seemed to go quickly, but also jam packed with news, articles, and great reads. I had a blast this November and here are some of the highlights.

Thanksgiving at my in laws

I’ve never had Thanksgiving at anyone else’s house before. I’ve always had it with my family with the same meal and the same sides to be expected. The same guests too! But this year, I got to explore what other people observe for their Thanksgiving.

If you ask my friends, I always bring up how Thanksgiving is one of those meals that is the same for everyone but different as well. We all have the turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes. Coming from an immigrant family, many of my Thanksgiving included things like kimchi and rice and even a little lasagna.

I have this great pic from a feast like this many years ago and there, right in the middle of the table, is a pan of lasagna. I’m not sure who brought the lasagna, but it really isn’t Thanksgiving without it on the table.

So this Thanksgiving, I was thankful to have a place to go and share a meal with my other family. The food was slightly different than what I would see, but there were some subtle differences. Like my family never watches football…ever. Also, we don’t have the adults fighting over the desserts. Most of the adults passed over dessert making room for a cup of hot tea.

It was fun to hear family stories and laugh with people who welcomed me into their home. I think it was the most American Thanksgiving I’ve ever seen!

Alright, enough chit chat, let’s hit the books.

Books I read

Links from the Internet

This is probably my favorite part about the entire post! I get to share the articles and essays I found this month and LOVED! Make sure to definitely check these out when you have a chance!

I found this really great article from 1995 about what Little Women was really about. I was doing some research on an article about women and literature and I was just enamored by this detailed article about Little Women. Definitely check it out!

My favorite thing this month was reading this article about Colin Kaepernick and how GQ found him his own team while he still is banned from playing in the NFL. It must be really difficult to follow your dreams only to be thrown out from your dreams because of what you believe in. How do you manage to do both? Are they mutually exclusive? I don’t know, but this article was great to read!

This is a reminder for myself that I need to pick up I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez because this interview really blew it up for me!

I feel like I should mention this, but I’m super sad that The Mindy Project is done. However, I found this wonderful article about how great the show was and how it really appreciated the romantic comedy genre.

Continuing my work to become a better writer, I found this wonderful essay in NY Review of Books about writing memoirs especially after a family member has died.

I’m such a nerd because Mara Wilson aka Matilda wrote this article for Elle magazine about young female actresses and how they’re sexualized at way too young an age. It also dives into Millie Bobbi Brown and the controversy she didn’t mean to cause, but did because she’s 13 and yeah, that makes sense (eye roll).

I couldn’t be more happy for my friend, Maggie, @mugandnook for opening up and sharing her personal story about being a human with a disability. Thank you so much for sharing, Maggie!

I am so happy that people are seeing Lena Dunham for what she truly is and writers like Zizi Clemmons are taking a stand against her backhanded, racist comments. Take a look at the official statement in this article.

I love me some great essays lately and this one from TheMillions.com talks about how we shouldn’t forget that a walk in the woods in a book shouldn’t replace a real walk in the woods. This was a pretty interesting read!

I love Sophie from Main St. and Maple and how candid she is about her struggles to find work in a very male-dominated career. Good luck! I know that something will find its way to you and don’t give up! Come out to the coasts where women are totally wanted to help break down those barriers!

This was one literary piece from Electric Lit about how women turn themselves into trees when approached by unwanted desire. It’s moving and poetic and makes you want to tear the years of bark growing over you.

That’s it! Thanks for reading my blubber about the Internet. Honestly, I love sharing these articles with you!

Until next time!

October 2017 Wrap Up

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

I’ve decided that I’m going to make my wrap ups way more robust. Yes, I’ll be highlighting my reads, but something else I want to do is also highlight great articles I’ve read around the Internet and maybe a few updates from my life. There are so many other great things that happen over a month and I just want to share that with you!

First, let’s talk about the weather because no small talk doesn’t have some amount of weather conversation. It was really hot in October and when you’re trying to get in the cold weather mood, the last thing you want to do is wear shorts. However, we all persevered and November is already starting off with some nice chill feels.

We start off the month with an article written by Jeremy Lin and his recent hair choices. If you’ve got a moment to read an article written by a basketball player, I would suggest doing so. While Jeremy Lin isn’t the most profound writer, he does speak more about cultural appropriation, being Asian, and always keeping in mind the culture you’re choosing from.

One thing I know for sure was that October reads were on fire with a new one from John Green, a prequel to Practical Magic, and some thrillers. Because what kind of October is it without some spooky reads?

The Ardent Biblio asked me to write up my favorite from the month, so I’m going to skip my review of them here and just point you to what I did read. Check it out!

Processed with VSCO with c9 preset

Last month, Celeste Ng released her book Little Fires Everywhere and the Internet broke with how many people loved this book. I even loved this book! But I was able to find a dissenting voice amongst all the likes and Owl’s Little Library review of Little Fires Everywhere will switch your perspective just a little bit.

Which brings me to the post I wrote about how not all POC writers need to write about the struggles of being themselves. I spoke with a friend that didn’t want to feel the obligation of writing about being Chinese American and I thought it was a great point. POC writers shouldn’t feel pigeonholed to writing about being themselves. Many of the conversations I had with bookish friends felt it was important to share these stories. Where do you stand on the issue?

However, that post did bring up some issues with my writing. I made an early resolution to write better than I am doing. So, I did what I do best, I did some research.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

I dug up this amazing article from Joan Didion on why she writes. Written in 1976, she discusses her process for writing; how she took the observations she made in reality and answered the rhetorical questions brought up in her mind. It reminded me how I used to write. When I was little, I would be able to write and create beautifully. Now I’m trying to find if it’s as easy to get back on this bicycle. Here’s a great quote:

By which I mean not a “good” writer or a,“bad” writer but simply a writer, a person whose most absorbed and passionate hours are spent arranging words on pieces of paper.

I also just watched the Joan Didion documentary on Netflix. While my post on my thoughts there won’t be up until tomorrow, I did want to mention that it was a deeply moving story and it’s way more substantial than just her losses. I honestly am so enamored by her right now I can’t think straight!

Not to shamelessly plug my own work, but I wrote a piece for Bookriot on 5 ways to cope during a book buying ban. Please don’t get caught up on the “addict” language. I see how I messed up there and I won’t do it again. Here is where I mention again that I’m working to improve my writing.

We end the month with Kevin Spacey’s allegations and coming out. Everyone on the Internet is up-in-arms about this one especially since it touches on the LGBTQ community. Me? Well, I think it’s bad form to save yourself by coming out of the closet. Uncool, Kevin Spacey. Uncool.





March 2017 Bookish Wrap Up


Middle of the month isn’t so bad to post a March recap, right? It’s been a really busy time here at my real job and (surprise!) I’m getting married, so my hobbies have taken a little dip in productivity. I swear I’m coming back!

Onto the recap; I read four amazing reads during the month of March. I noticed recently that all of the books I’ve chosen to read have been pretty amazing. Even my TBR has so many books I’m excited to read (although I can’t read as fast as I accumulate). It makes me really happy I have such great reads. Here’s the rundown:

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan


When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

Next Year For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson

30201150After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.

As Kathryn and Chris stumble into polyamory, Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily grows beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new romantic possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris will be forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

27883214Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.


February 2017 Bookish Wrap Up

Better now than never, that’s what I say!

February seemed like such a short month! Then again, it technically is a short month and goes under the radar a lot. However, it is Black History Month and I dedicated it to reading all PoC writers.

After looking over all the books I’ve read, I’m surprised I only came out of it with only reading 3 books. While I try not to keep up with my reading challenge, I did notice that I’m already 2 books behind. Have you ever had that feeling that you’re in a book slump, but you don’t want to admit it to yourself?

I love looking over a month of reading or a month of anything that I track and really processing the data. It’s a very corporate thing to do, but I work for a corporate company, so I can’t help but to analyze things and use jargon in my reviews. SYNERGY!

But February is much too short to enjoy the plethora of novels about PoC coming out. I love the upsurge of novels about different races and sexes and people. It always fascinated me about books how much you can learn about human beings and I think the choices from this past month really put that on display.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Zadie Smith’s Swing Time

28390369Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Brit Bennett’s The Mothers

288153711It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything

186924311My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.