x Printed Words: April 2020

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

The Waiting List: 5 May Releases I'm Excited For

The Waiting List is a feature hosted by PrintedWordsAnd, where I list some upcoming releases for the month that I'm most excited about!



Expected Publication Date: May 19th, 2020

I'm fairly sure there is going to top many May release lists and honestly, I wouldn't blame them. It's been so long since we were introduced to The Hunger Games and now that Suzanne Collins has decided to revisit the world, the book community is holding their breath in anticipation.
This release is centered around Snow, before he was president. It's definitely not a character we would've chosen to hear from but I think he makes for an interesting character to read about. Feels like I'm 14 again!




2. Burn by Patrick Ness
Expected Publication Date: May 7th, 2020

I will be very honest in saying I have no clue what this book is about, even though I've read the synopsis multiple times. There's dragons involved, hired to help out a farm, during the 1950s. Seriously, what? What I do know though, is that Patrick Ness is a wizard with words and anything he writes is bound to be an experience.





3. Library of Legends by Jamie Chang
Expected Publication Date: May 12th, 2020

A historical novel about a girl named Lian who embarks on dangerous journey across China, escaping Japan's attacks whilst trying to protect a collection of myths and folklore know as the Library of Legends. This gives me Cinderella Sister and Mao's Last Dancer vibes, and if anything, I'm hoping this read gives me a feeling of nostalgia along with a rather fulfilling adventure.





4. The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhader
Expected Publication Date: May 19th, 2020

I truly expect this to be a magical read, and something really out of the blue for me. Zeyn Joukhader delivers a story about 3 generations of Syrian Americans, tied to a mysterious species of birds and what truths lies in their relationships to the birds.





5. The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert
Expected Publication Date: May 12th, 2020

Millie runs the Cloak & Dagger, a swinging speakeasy, in the 1920s. The club's star performer, Marion, the boy in the red dress, finds himself being named the main suspect in the murder of a young socialite. Millie doesn't believe it's true but no one else is willing to help her prove Marion's innocence. Posed as A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery I'm expecting an enthralling murder mystery bundled together with the glitz and glam of the roaring 20s.




Other Releases To Look Out For

Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke
Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally
We Dream of Space by Erin Entranda Kelly

What Releases Are You Excited For?


Read more »

Thursday, 23 April 2020

10 Books I Want To Read Whilst We're Staying At Home // April/May TBR

I will have to admit that in the last 5 years I have really lost my motivation to read. It's not that I don't like reading anymore, I just have prioritised other things in my life over it. However, now that I have found myself with a lot more time on hand, this really is the time to pick up my love for reading again. 

I have 10 books that I want to read as we continue to stay at home and honestly, this has made me excited to start reading again! There is a mix of YA, Adult and Middle Grade novels to break up my list and keep things interesting. 

What Are You Currently Reading?


Read more »

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Michelle McNamara Leaves Behind An Incredible Legacy With "I'll Be Gone In the Dark"


Title: I'll Be Gone In The Dark 
Author: Michelle McNamara 
Publication Date: February 27th, 2018 

The masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer - the serial rapist turned murderer who terrorised California for over a decade - from the late Michelle McNamara. 

I'll Be Gone in the Dark offers a unique snapshot of suburban West Coast America in the 1980s and a chilling account of the wreckage left behind by a criminal mastermind. It is also a portrait of one woman's obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth, three decades later, in spite of the personal cost. 


Review


I’m worried that this review won’t really convey how accurately I feel about I’ll Be Gone in the Dark or do Michelle McNamara’s work justice. I write this with so much respect for what McNamara has left behind with this incredible read. She really has left us a legacy to remember her with. 

It’s McNamara’s writing style, how she sets out the content and facts and overall tone that makes I’ll Be Gone in the Dark stand out. It’s easy enough to head online and search up the details of the killer’s crimes and cases, but McNamara adds to the learning experience by also detailing her research efforts, the connections she made and how much her long-standing fascination with the Golden State Killer really affected her personal life. I loved that McNamara was so upfront and honest as she wrote this. She didn’t mind inviting myself, as a reader, into her daily life as she reflected on how she became interested in true crimes, which then extended into her obsession with discovering who the Golden State Killer is. She admits to her obsession, which makes reading through her much more relatable. It’s well known that we are find fascination in gruesome events or stories, and serial killers are something many people invest their time into reading, watching or learning about. McNamara’s writing also flows in a way that delivers the details of the cases in an immersive way. I could vividly envision what was occurring, which becomes very confronting but also made sure I was engrossed whilst reading. 

Beyond appreciating my reading experience, I think, ultimately, the reason why I hold I’ll Be Gone in the Dark in high regard is because of the feeling I had while reading a book that was completed and released posthumous. Michelle McNamara, sadly, passed away in 2016 - 2 years before I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was finally published. Unfortunately, I was not aware of who she was until picking up this book and so did not have the experience of reading her articles and blog pieces when she was still alive. She didn’t get the opportunity to finish writing this novel or see her work come to fruition but the completion of it, with the help of a number of people in her life, really gave us something special. That’s how I felt, at least, throughout reading it. It was also somewhat saddening to think that what I was holding in my hand had the author’s heart and soul poured into it without her even witnessing its completion, but if anything, McNamara should be proud of what I’ll Be Gone in the Dark has become. 

It’s hard not to get lost in I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and find yourself becoming obsessed as McNamara was with the Golden State Killer. I will be honest in saying I barely knew anything about the Golden State Killer when starting this so reading I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was my first introduction to the killer and the murders he committed. This might have enhanced my reading experience as I cannot speak on behalf of those who are aware and know a fair deal about the killer. 

Ultimately, I want to thank Michelle for being the drive force behind I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and leaving us with something that took up a part of her life.  


Read more »

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Why I Both Liked and Disliked "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman

Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publication Date: March 4th, 2005
Days before his release from prison, Shadow's wife, Laura dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the kind of America. 

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a story of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break. 

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You'll be surprised by what - and who - it finds there ...


Review


I am going to be very honest and say that I finished reading American Gods in October of 2018. 2018!?! As in over a year ago. 

I put off writing this review partly because I wanted to watch the TV series and do a comparison, but mostly because I was highly confused about how I felt about the read overall. I struggled with whether I wanted to write a review as well as how to write one, but ultimately felt that American Gods is worth talking about to hear what others think about it and encourage people to pick it up as well! 

You’d be hard pressed to find a novel by Neil Gaiman that is not well written. Gaiman has a way with his words, being able to bring to life rich and in-depth characters alongside immersive storylines. I flew through 3/4 of American Gods, engrossed with Shadow’s journey as he transitions from prison life to reality and becomes involved with Mr Wednesday. It was fascinating. That’s the easiest way to explain it. It was like I had been invited into this exclusive, secretive world and the longer I was there the more addicted I became and wanted to be a part of it. A part of me wanted Shadow to leave as he had already dealt with so much in his life, and another part didn’t wanted to continue to see what he got up to so it felt somewhat like a guilty pleasure. It feels weird describing my reading experience as such but it is very much true. Beyond just Shadow and Mr Wednesday’s journey, Gaiman draws on mythological legends of gods that had been previously idolised to create a plot with a fantasy element to it. I found it made the story much more interesting and I liked that I was being educated on a topic that I would never have looked into myself.

Not only was I fully captivated by the storyline, I also appreciated how much effort Gaiman put into creating his characters to make them as realistic and relatable as possible. The characteristics had traits that any normal human being would, not quite black or white. When the different characters are first presented, you easily judge them as good or bad straightaway but those lines begin to blur as you continue to read about them. This allowed the story to explore questions of what is right and wrong, whether behaviours and actions can be excused if the intention is deemed right or good and if good can and should always defeat evil. 

The struggle I had with American Gods was when I reached the last quarter. It really felt like I had hit a brick wall and it took me 2-3 months to really drag myself to the end. This isn’t to discredit the entire novel. If anything, I think it came down to my own reading experience as the plot line became more complicated and I found myself less motivated to endure it. The last quarter really made me realise I had to pay attention and rely on my memory of what had happened previously and the different characters that were introduced. No matter when they were involved in the story, at the end they still had some type of impact and it really came down to myself, as a reader, to try and remember who they were and what relations they had to the Shadow and the story itself. It really didn’t help that I kept picking up and putting down the book, because it made it harder to remember what had happened a few pages back and which characters were which. 

Maybe it’s the fact that I found it hard to finish the book and that ruined my overall reading experience, hence why I couldn’t decide if I liked American Gods or not. Also, I was slightly disappointed in myself for not enduring until the end and read the book within a timely manner. However, not that I have had time to reflect, I can honestly say that American Gods is a story that I would 100% immerse myself back in and see if my initial thoughts will change. 

I love a thought-provoking and memorable read, and Gaiman delivers that with this book. For those who have watched the show or plan to, maybe it will make it easier to follow along, in terms of the characters. Just make sure you’re ready to pay attention and you’ll be treated to a creative and captivating story that is bound to make an impression on you. 

Also, I just wanted to share that this is my favourite passage from the entire book:


Read more »

Thursday, 9 April 2020

20 Korean Dramas You Watch On Netflix To Get You Through Self ISO Period

I’m not going to lie, I have spent more time on Netflix during the last week compared to the last 4 months. This is definitely due to the fact that I have to be at home and I am coming to a point where binge-watching series is helping past the time. There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend most of your time on Netflix or any other streaming platform these days. I am guilty of spending the last 3 nights consuming TV shows, specifically Korean dramas, until 2 or 3AM. I wouldn’t condone this behaviour because sleep is important to our health BUT I’m working on it. 

The influx of Korean dramas on Netflix has certainly been interesting to me. I find that it has made the viewing of K-dramas so much more universal, exposing a different form of entertainment to a larger range of audience. Personally, I haven’t watched all the new series, post 2017, but have started to see Netflix making available shows that I loved when I was obsessed with watching dramas. 

So today I’ve compiled a list of shows that I think is worth watching if you are getting into or already involved in the Korean drama world. If anything I think older dramas are worth watching just to see how Korean dramas have evolved, from story lines, costume and make up to production value. I’m pretty amazed by the quality of the Netflix-produced dramas that I’ve come by recently as older dramas looked nothing like these back then. 

Watch Below 



Dramas Mentioned


Romantic Comedies

The Master's Sun
My Love from the Star
Another Miss Oh!
My Girlfriend is a Gumiho
BIG
You Are Beautiful

Crime/Thriller

I Hear Your Voice
While You Were Sleeping
Vagabond

Melodrama

Nice Guy

Romance

The Hymn of Death
It's Okay That's Love
Love Rain

To Kill Time

Doctors
Let's Eat 1&2
Dream High 1&2
Wok of Love

Old School

Full House
Coffee Prince
Pasta

Links to these can be found in the description box of the video.

Let Me Know If You Have Any Recommendations!


Read more »

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Why I Couldn't Stop Thinking About "Everything I Never Told You"


 Title: Everything I Never Told You
Author: Celeste Ng
Publication Date: June 26th 2014

Lydia is dead. But they don't know it yet.

So beings the exquisite novel about a Chinese-American family living in the 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfil the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them all into chaos. 



Review


I bought this book on a whim, intrigued by the mystery behind what happened to Lydia but also about how Celeste Ng would address the issues surrounding the death of a family member. What I got out of the read was a lot more than that. Everything I Never Told You isn’t a long read, but for the length of it, there is so much to unpack. In all honesty, what I felt after finishing the book was a lot of confusion - not regarding the plot, but how I actually felt about the read. So much that it’s taken me almost 9 months to write a review on this.

Thinking back, I honestly appreciate how real Everything I Never Told You is. It’s painfully and uncomfortably real. Ng explores not only the dynamics of a family that is faced with internal problems but also the pressures of being Asian navigating a Western community that, during the time, was not tolerant of people with different backgrounds.

I would imagine that living in the 70s in America wouldn’t be as easy as how my family and I have it now. I wouldn’t say that we don’t experience some form of discrimination, but it is definitely not an everyday occurrence and it never hindered my experiences during school or university for the most part. Ng highlights the difficulties many families of different backgrounds would have faced when living in a predominately, if not all, white community and it serves to either be relatable, for readers like myself, or raise awareness for readers who have never experienced discrimination based on race. What I found most relatable and terribly uncomfortable reading was the pressures of trying to fit in and being accepted. From Lydia’s grandparents to her parents and eventually herself, the desire to be liked by those around them may not always be a glaring want but it is a constant thought on the edge of their mind. The questions of accepting one-self for who they are vs. grasping onto any means of conforming is such a big part of this story and something I can understand. I found myself both frustrated but also sympathetic with the characters, wanting to knock some sense into them but also to comfort them and let them know it will be okay. 

Despite the characters written in such a realistic manner, I couldn’t bring myself to like any of them. Maybe the frustrations I had with them and their actions overwhelmed my ability to feel bad for them overall. I think it came down to how human they are - not that I don’t like humans. Instead, what I mean is that, we are so use to thinking of the present and how we want to act a certain way or say something in the moment but not consider what the consequences will be for ourselves and others around us in the near future. The lack of perspective from most of the characters and their inability to really think of the people who they supposedly care about and care about them really painted them in a bad light. It really asks the questions of whether good intentions, or the belief that you are acting out of good intentions, an excuse for terrible behaviour? If it is possible to disregard everyone else’s feelings to fulfil your own wants and needs and not come across as selfish? And ultimately, if the mere act of forgiveness can really make everything okay again. 

Cleary I was very emotionally invested in Everything I Never Told You, but not in the way I thought I would be. I went into it hoping to be engrossed by the mystery but came out with an abundance of emotions that sprung from so many questions during the read. I honestly love reading books that can engage with you and make you think about every element that is being brought. I feel like everyone will take something different out of this read. For me, it is what can be considered right or wrong, how do we best understand and acknowledge others’ feelings and what can we do with regret. 

Everything I Never Told You is well worth a read, based purely on the content. Ng writing adds to the experience, inviting readers to really envision everything on page and get on board the rollercoaster of emotions that will happen. 


Read more »

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Ya Girl Makes A Comeback on YouTube With Book Recommendations for Self-Isolation

Well, well, well. If this isn't the comeback of the new decade.

Ok but all jokes aside, this is my first book-related video in 9 months.
I started a YouTube channel 8 years ago!! And for a long time it was my baby. I loved being able to talk about books, but gradually couldn't find the time for it anymore.

If this isn't the best time to make a comeback, I'm not sure when it will be.

With us staying at home to ensure we are flattening the curve and protecting those around us, myself, along with many others I'm sure, now have a lot of time to do well ... whatever it is we can think of. Well I'm here to give you some book recommendations to get you through this period! These are books I've read and loved in the last 5-10 years.




I hope you enjoyed watching! Please let me know if you will read any of these or have read them and what you think. Take care to stay happy and healthy everyone!

What Are You Reading Currently?


Read more »