September 20, 2017

Mini-reviews: You Bring the Distant Near + Invictus

pub 9/12/17 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Young Adult - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub
You Bring the Distant Near spans three generations, provides the perspectives of five very different women and Mitali Perkins easily and quickly makes the reader fall in love with every single journey almost immediately. That is no easy feat! But because of the sincere writing and relatability of her characters, I have no doubt that anyone who picks up this book will feel the same way. It explores a multitude of topics such as the balancing act between cultures, first loves, family and sisterhood, friendships and the desire to be your own person. Looking back, it's pretty incredible how much the author covers in a book that's only a little over 300 pages but she does so thoroughly. As a Filipino-American woman who grew up with a first generation mother, matriarchal type grandmother and plenty of aunts – I just related these stories in both little and big ways even if my own life experiences were and have been quite different. We first meet two sisters with opposite views and personalities, then we meet their children and how they integrate culture with their American life and later it all comes back to the grandmother who from the very beginning has been worried about identity. I loved how it all came full circle and I can't say enough how impressed I am with Mitali Perkins' storytelling and writing.

Do I recommend? I do! It's definitely a quiet novel but one that very much left an impact on me.

pub 9/2/17 by Little, Brown Books
for Young Readers
Young Adult - Science Fiction
Received at BookCon 
Doctor Who meets Guardians of the Galaxy? There was no way I wasn't going to read this book! Farway Gaius McCarthy is the son of a present (err future) day time-traveling Recorder and a Roman gladiator from 95 AD and as a result of this forbidden relationship, was born outside of time. He's basically a recipe for adventure and after he fails his time-traveling exam, he takes a job commanding a ship with his crew of friends to steal valuable artifacts from the past. But during a heist Far crosses paths with a mysterious girl he's seen before and is shocked when she demands to join his crew. Together, they go on their biggest adventure yet as everything they thought they knew about history and time comes into question.

I am a sucker for adventure-type stories that involve unique individuals, heartwarming friendships and romance and this book had all three. Far may come across as a little cocky but history is important to him for a reason. He wants to know who he is and see what the world has to offer. It's also clear how much he cares for his crew and vice-versa. I enjoyed seeing how their little family worked and even how it was disrupted with the appearance of this new member. The author managed to make my jaw drop a few times with her surprises and that is always fun for me as a reader (even though I'm admittedly easily surprised).

Do I recommend? Yes! I've read almost all of Ryan Graudin's books at this point and they're also so different! This is probably my favorite from her.

September 18, 2017

Summer Bucket List Check-In

This week marks the official end of summer (so, so sad) and that means it's time to look back on how I did with my bucket list.

Go to the beach • Went to Buttonwoods Beach in Providence and that was the first time I'd been to a beach in a very long time.

Plan a weekend getaway • Providence, RI with Alexa. I love exploring new-to-me towns along the east coast.

Try at least 5 new ice cream spots • I went to 6! Taiyaki NYC, New Territories, La Newyorkina, Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, Bingbox Snow Cream and Momofuku Milk Bar.

Attend Shakespeare in the Park • This is my white whale. I will put this on my list every year and hope that one day it'll happen!

Visit a museum I haven’t been to before • I finally went to the Guggenheim!

Go to Smorgasburg in Brooklyn • Carina and I went to Smorgasburg and I definitely think we need to go back.

Visit 3 indie bookstores • I went to 5: Cellar Stories (RI), Book Barn (CT), Mast Books (NYC), 192 Books (NYC) and Greenlight Bookstore (Brooklyn).

Watch 5 new-to-me Audrey Hepburn movies • I tried! I managed to watch Love in the Afternoon and The Nun's Story but then numerous TV shows, Inuyasha and summer plans in general distracted me.

Picnic at the park (preferably with a movie!) • I went to the Bryant Park Summer Film Festival with Alexa and it was one of my favorite memories from this summer. She brought the blanket, I brought the food and the park presented "Dirty Dancing".

Learn a whole song on my ukulele • Even though I did pick up my ukulele a few times and even had my cousin tune it, I never learned an entire song.

Try one recipe from my Red Velvet Lover’s Cookbook • I tried and failed (sigh). I wanted to make the red velvet bread. I've never tried making bread before and it seemed fairly easy (my mom makes banana bread and zucchini bread all the time!) but mine turned out terribly.

Indulge in a spa day • This is what Carina and I did for my birthday and seriously, the best way to celebrate getting older.

Say yes to something I’d typically say no to • I typically only go to work outings that I feel are "required" or implied to be that way. But I went to two this summer that were totally casual, much to everyone's surprise, and I'm glad I did!

Summer went by so quickly this year! It feels like one minute I was excited for June and the next, it was August. It was at that time that I realized how little I had crossed off my list and last month became this flurry of plans because I did want to do all these things. Having a bucket list really pushes me to do more and I can't wait to come up with another one next year.

What have you been up to this past summer? 

September 15, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (50)

Weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews 

I definitely bought more books this month. But it's to be expected in September! So many great books came out and I was stress shopping so.. here we are. I'm genuinely excited for all these novels though and I've already read 3 of them since purchasing.

So, onto the books!


What new books have you guys gotten lately?