Category Archives: Tag

The Pokemon GO Book Tag

Tag created by Aentee @ Read At Midnight.

This looks like so much fun! Links are to my reviews, except in the case of upcoming releases, where the links are to the Goodreads pages for the books. ūüôā

I’m not sure I can pinpoint one? But my fourth grade teacher read to our class regularly to promote reading, and the books that really stayed with me were Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville and Holes by Louis Sachar.

His Dark Materials.jpg

The His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but the characters stayed with me for a long time after reading the series. I’m still not over that ending. ūüė• I own the omnibus edition pictured above.

I feel like this encompasses a lot of super popular fantasy series that are by/about cishet white women, not to mention Problematic(TM) on various levels: Throne of Glass, A Court of Thrones and Roses, Red Queen, The Lunar Chronicles, Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Mortal Instruments and spin-offs (I read the first 3 books of TMI and lost track and never looked back tbh), etc.

I’d rather read diverse fantasy series, especially ones that are underexposed.

prophecy-book-cover

Hmm, I guess I’ll say Prophecy by Ellen Oh, which is the first book a historical fantasy trilogy set in a Korean-inspired alternate world. It has the standard fantasy fare: a prophecy, a chosen one, a quest for magical objects, a dragon, etc. I loved its portrayal of family bonds and friendship.

Crown of Stars.jpg

The Crown of Stars series by Kate Elliott. I bought the books a while ago and they’re sitting on my shelf, I just haven’t gotten around to them. Each book is like 800 pages and there are 7 books, so they’re longer than even the Harry Potter series, page-count-wise.

Way too many, I’m up reading all the time…Oh, I know.

green-island

Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan. I was up until around 4 am reading it, oops. It’s one of the best fictional representations of 20th Century Taiwanese history that I’ve ever read, and it was an emotional experience for me because of my family’s connection to that history.

The Reader full spread.jpg

Sefia and Archer from The Reader by Traci Chee. I liked that their relationship was developed from the ground up and had real substance to it beyond superficial attraction. I gushed about them a bit more in my review (see the hyperlink).

of-fire-and-stars
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst. It’s fantasy with f/f romance and political intrigue and a murder mystery thrown in.
I feel like very few of the diverse series I’ve read have any spin-offs. I’d love for Grace Lin to write more books in the Pacy Lin series since those are among the few middle grade books with Taiwanese American representation. ūüôā
I’m usually pretty good at gauging which books I’ll like or dislike so I’m rarely “pleasantly surprised” by anything. I guess I’ll say The Dove Chronicles by Karen Bao. The average rating on Amazon for the first book, Dove Arising, was about 3-3.5 stars, so I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as I found it to be. I have the second book waiting to be read, and the third comes out this year.
I’ve already read the first two books, but the remaining two An Ember in the Ashes books by Sabaa Tahir. I enjoyed the first book, liked the second more than the first, but I found some problematic things that I’m planning to address once I reread it closely. Side note: The author recently came out in defense of Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, despite the criticism from Black and Indigenous folks who were the ones affected by the racist tropes in the book, so I have reservations about continuing to read her work. If I do I’m probably getting the books secondhand.
Harry Potter boxed set.jpg¬†Not sure if it counts as a collector’s edition, but the new U.S. paperback boxed set of Harry Potter. I love the new cover illustrations and the Hogwarts castle montage that runs across the spines of all seven books. However, I don’t like buying big/long books in paperback because their spines get messed up easily. I guess if I bought them just to keep and not to read it wouldn’t be an issue. My sister owns the original 1st edition hardcovers, though (except book 1, which we have the 10th anniversary edition of), so I’d have to buy two sets of HP for myself.
FoaTL motif.png
No cover photo yet, but this an image from Julie’s website aesthetic/layout.
I’ve been raving about it on Twitter, but Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao, which is the first in a duology called Rise of the Empress, and set to release on October 10th. There’s a dearth of #ownvoices Asian fantasy, Asian fantasy written by Asian/diverse authors, and non-#ownvoices Asian fantasy that’s written well without falling into a racist garbage fire hellhole (See: The Lunar Chronicles, Stormdancer, Soundless, and basically every Asian fantasy written by a white author ever). The primary culture depicted in FoaTL is Chinese, but there are multiple Asian cultures represented within the story/series, and as far as my knowledge goes, they’re are treated as separate/distinct cultures, not thrown into a horrible mish-mash of Asian cultures that prioritizes East Asian cultures while ignoring the history of imperialism by East Asian nations in the region. The author is Vietnamese and not Chinese, but she hired multiple sensitivity readers, so I’m far more inclined to trust that the culture is treated respectfully. *fingers crossed*
Cindy Pon because she writes #ownvoices Chinese and Taiwanese¬†SFF which is like my number one priority as far as reading goes. You can find my reviews of her first four books, which are Chinese-inspired historical fantasy,¬†here and here. Her fifth book,¬†Want, is coming out this summer and one of my most anticipated releases of 2017 because it’s set in Taiwan. ūüėÄ

a-line-in-the-dark
I’m 99.99% sure this is not the final cover image, but it’s what’s on Goodreads right now.

Malinda Lo’s A Line in the Dark, which is coming out October 17th this year. She’d mentioned working on a new book around two years ago (I think?), in a different genre from her previous books, which are SFF. Once the word came that it would be a mystery YA with an Asian American protagonist, my excitement grew by leaps and bounds because there aren’t many Asian characters in the mystery genre, and I’m always eager for more Asian American protagonists in contemporary YA. And of course, because it’s Malinda Lo, we’re gonna get queer girls. ūüôā

The Rapid Fire Book Tag

Going to answer some bookish questions about myself. Not tagging anyone in particular, feel free to do it if you want to. ūüėÄ Tag created by Booktuber GirlReading, original video can be found here.

The Rapid Fire Book Tag

eBooks or physical books?

Physical because I love to sniff and pet books. ūüėÄ

Paperback or hardback?

I tend to buy paperbacks for the lower price, but ever since I discovered pre-order swag I’ve been buying a lot more hardcovers oops.

Online or in-store book shopping?

Online is convenient and I’m kind of lazy. But on the other hand, it’s relaxing to just wander around a bookstore browsing titles and being able to feel the books.

Trilogies or series?

It doesn’t matter to me. If the books hold my interest, I’ll keep reading no matter how long the series lasts.

Heroes or villains?

Villains can be interesting but in the end I prefer heroes because I’m a social justice activist, so obviously I want good to prevail. ūüôā

A book you want everyone to read?

Hmm, I’d probably go with Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. It’s such a magical tale that weaves together so many story threads, and the illustrations (done by the author herself) are gorgeous. Below is most of the jacket illustration.where-the-mountain-meets-the-moon-full-dragon

Recommend an underrated book.

the-ghost-brideThe Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. It wasn’t marketed as YA, perhaps because the protagonist is eighteen, which makes her an “adult” based on U.S. legal standards, but the story is fairly YA-esque in my opinion. It’s an #ownvoices fantasy novel set in colonial Malaya (modern-day Malaysia) in 1893, written by a fourth generation Malaysian-Chinese author. It focuses on the story of a girl who is asked to be a ghost bride (a bride to a dead man who did not get to wed during his life) and is then drawn into the Chinese afterlife, where secrets and danger lurk.

The last book you finished?s

Song of the Cuckoo Bird by Amulya Malladi. It’s a bittersweet historical fiction novel that spans decades and tells the stories of a family of women who are outcasts in society for various reasons. It’s a very emotionally honest book, with complex, flawed characters. But not for everyone. I talk about why in my review.

Used books, yes or no?

Yes. There are Used – Like New/Very Good books I get through Amazon because they’re cheaper or out of print. And then there are used books I buy at used bookstores, which are a great place to scour for old and/or obscure books by Asian authors. I prefer new books, but I won’t say no to a good used one.

Top three favorite genre?

  1. Fantasy – I love magic and alternate universes and fantasy creatures and deities and so on.
  2. Diverse contemporary YA – I’ll admit I’m partial to stories about 2nd gen kids because their experiences are so relatable to me.
  3. Literary fiction with intergenerational narratives – That’s a very specific category, but it’s what I’m drawn to because so much of my culture is structured around family and heritage and roots, so I love reading about threads that link generations of families together. I get really emotionally invested in family relationships, much more than I do in romantic ones.

Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?

That little strip you tear off a package/envelope to open it, lol.

Borrow or buy?

Buy. I’m a book dragon, I hoard books. ;D

Characters or plot?

Both. But in general, character-driven stories with not as much plot are better than stories with plot but characters I don’t really care about.

Long or short book?

Depends. 300-400 pages is a decent length for me. 500+ had better be a very good and very involved/complex story because otherwise…nope.

Long or short chapters?

Short ones, I guess. Feels like there are more pauses to take a mental break. More places I can stop reading for the day/time being.

Name the first three books you think of.

first-testFirst Test¬†(Protector of the Small #1) by Tamora Pierce – The first book in a series that’s among my all-time favorites. A girl enters the training for knighthood, the first since a few centuries ago. She fights against sexism and always defends the underdog. A very feminist series that empowers women of diverse backgrounds.

hawksongHawksong¬†(The Kiesha’ra #1) by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes – Not a very diverse book or series in terms of characters overall, but the author is queer. It features shapeshifters, political intrigue, and romance. There is a queer/lesbian MC in the fourth book, Wolfcry.

the-red-chamberThe Red Chamber by Pauline A. Chen – An English-language retelling of one of the four great classics of Chinese literature, Dream of the Red Chamber, a story of elite socialites and political intrigue set in Qing China, with a large cast of characters and complex relationships between them all. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my TBR. I have vague memories of the drama adaptation that my mom watched when I was very young.

Books that make you laugh or cry?

I think…books that make me cry…I laugh at a lot of things whereas crying at things is relatively unusual for me. It means I’m empathizing deeply enough with the characters to feel pain and sadness on their behalf…

Our world or fictional worlds?

Can’t we have both? Like an AU that’s connected to our world through portals or whatever?

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

I like pretty covers but I read books with ugly ones and don’t think books are worse for having an ugly cover or better when the cover is pretty. That said, I’d rather have a pretty cover for a book I love.

Audiobooks: yes or no?

No. I’m bad at processing information through sound, so I’d get distracted very easily and miss most of what’s being said. >.>

Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?

Depends. Some books can fit into a movie, others would be better off being TV series so you can get all the details and subplots.

A movie or TV adaptation you preferred to the book?

Unpopular opinion: The Lord of the Rings. I tried to read The Hobbit and I really could not get through it. It was so dry. I don’t feel much guilt though because it’s super white and cisheteronormative. *shrug*

Series or standalone?

I’m definitely a series person. Maybe because I’m always greedy for more about the characters I love?

The Diverse Books Tag

So I found this tag through Naz, who runs Read Diverse Books, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to share some of the books I’ve read and want to read. I’m doubling up and doing both a book I’ve read and a book I want to read for each category, where¬†possible.


The Rules

  1. Credit the original creator, Read Diverse Books.
  2. The Diverse Books Tag is a bit like a scavenger hunt. I will task you to find a book that fits a specific criteria and you will have to show us a book you have read or want to read.
  3. If you can’t think of a book that fits the specific category, then I encourage you to go look for one.A quick Google search will provide you with many books that will fit the bill. (Also, Goodreads lists are your friends.) Find one you are genuinely interested in reading and move on to the next category.

Everyone can do this tag, even people who don’t own or haven’t read any books that fit the descriptions below. So there’s no excuse! The purpose of the tag is to promote the kinds of books that may not get a lot of attention in the book blogging community.

Check out the master post, where I compile the hundreds of book recommendations provided by bloggers who have done the Diverse Books Tag. Click here.


Find a book starring a lesbian character.

A Book I’ve Read:

Huntress by Malinda Lo

huntress

Set in an alternate universe that blends East Asian (mostly Chinese) and Western elements, Huntress is about two girls, Kaede and Taisin, who are sent on a quest to find the Fairy Queen to figure out what is causing the unnatural disturbances in their kingdom. It’s the¬†prequel to Ash (a bisexual Cinderella retelling), but you don’t need to read Ash first to understand Huntress.

A Book I Want to Read:

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

tell-me-again-how-a-crush-should-feel

I’ve had this book on my TBR forever, and I finally bought it earlier this week. It’s a story about Leila, and Iranian American, and her crush on a new student, Saskia. She decides to take risks for the sake of Saskia that ¬†complicate her relationships with her friends and family. It’s so hard to find books about LGBTQ POC, especially #ownvoices books, so I was happy to find out that this book exists.

Find a book with a Muslim protagonist.

A Book I’ve Read:

The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi

the-secret-sky

Set against the political turmoil of present-day Afghanistan, this book is a story of forbidden love between two young people from different ethnic groups and different social classes. Fatima is a Hazara girl from a farming family; Samiullah is the son of the landowners who oversee the Hazara farmers. When they fall in love, they must fight against their families, their cultures, and the Taliban in order to be together.

A Book I Want to Read:

Ticket to India by N.H. Senzai

ticket-to-india

This book was on my wishlist for a long time, and when it was finally released in¬†paperback in November, I bought it. I’m probably waiting until after I finish my 25 books for #DiversityDecBingo to read it.

This  book  its  about a girl named Maya. She  assumes  her family  is from Pakistan,  only to find out from  her  grandmother  that her family has roots  in India.  As  she journeys across India in search of a family treasure,  she discovers  more about her hidden heritage and  the effects of  Partition  on  her people.

Find a book set in Latin America.

It was hard to find one I’ve read before for this category. This is one I really need to work on for my diverse reading quest. But anyway, here are the books!

A Book I’ve Read:

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende

city-of-the-beasts

Most¬†people know Isabel Allende through her literary fiction, but I was first introduced to her through her fantasy YA trilogy, which starts with City in the Beasts. It takes¬†place in the Amazon rain forest and is about the adventures of Alex Cold and Nadia Santos during Alex’s grandmother’s journalistic trip to document the existence of a fabled creature called The Beast.

It’s been years and years since I’ve read this book, so I can’t vouch for the representation of indigenous¬†people in the book. Also, I might consider re-reading it in the original Spanish to¬†practice my rusty Spanish literacy skills.

A Book I Want to Read:

Uprooting Community: Japanese Mexicans, World War II, and the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands by Selfa A.  Chew

uprooting-community

This is a nonfiction ¬†book, ¬†an academic ¬†one, ¬†actually. ¬†My ¬†friend who ¬†is ¬†third generation Chinese-Mexican ¬†American ¬†gave it to me as a gift because their mother, who’s a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, wrote it, and they know I’m an ethnic studies nerd. A lot of people don’t realize that ¬†Asian ¬†Latinx people ¬†exist. ¬†They do, ¬†and this book explores the devastating impact of ¬†anti-Japanese ¬†sentiment ¬†on ¬†Japanese Mexicans ¬†during World ¬†War II.

Find a book about a person with a disability.

This is a category that I’ve read few books from, unfortunately. I’m trying to remedy that.

A ¬†Book ¬†I’ve ¬†Read:

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

a-time-to-dance

Just read ¬†this ¬†yesterday, ¬†and ¬†I’ll be reviewing ¬†it shortly. ¬†It’s a novel-in-verse ¬†that tells the story of Veda, ¬†an ¬†Indian girl whose passion ¬†is for dancing ¬†the traditional Bharatanatyam. ¬†After she ¬†gets in an ¬†accident ¬†that results in her ¬†right leg being amputated ¬†below the ¬†knee, ¬†she must find a way ¬†to cope ¬†and relearn the skills ¬†that once came ¬†easily to her.

A  Book I  Want  to  Read:

Challenger  Deep  by Neal  Shusterman

Challenger Deep.jpg

I’ve read a lot of Neal Shusterman’s work in the¬†past, so when I found out that he wrote a book about mental illness based on his son’s experience with schizophrenia, I¬†put it on my TBR. The book chronicles the story of Caden Bosch, who is in high school but spends a large amount of his time immersed in a world of his mind’s fabrication. It’s illustrated by Brendan Shusterman, Neal Shusterman’s son, which adds an additional visual element to the narrative.

Find a Science-Fiction or Fantasy book with a POC protagonist.

A ¬†Book ¬†I’ve ¬†Read:

Silver  Phoenix  by Cindy Pon

book-silver-phoenix

This ¬†was one of the first #ownvoices ¬†Asian fantasy YA ¬†novels I’ve read. It is set in an alternate universe inspired by historical China. I wrote a review for it here.

A  Book I  Want  to  Read:

The  Grace  of  Kings by  Ken Liu

the-grace-of-kings

I’ve had ¬†this on ¬†my TBR ¬†for a while. ¬†It’s probably going to be my first foray ¬†into ¬†adult speculative ¬†fiction. ¬†It’s the first book in a ¬†fantasy ¬†epic ¬†that ¬†supposedly reads ¬†like an wuxia novel. Having grown up on wuxia dramas, this is totally my type of story.

Find a book set in (or about) any country in Africa.

Honestly, I cannot remember reading any books set in Africa besides required reading for school (Heart of Darkness and Cry, the Beloved Country) or books about Egypt written by white¬†people (e.g. the Children of the Lamp series by¬†P.B. Kerr), so it’s high time that I start filling in that gap. Here are two book I’d like to read.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

half-of-a-yellow-sun

I’ve read Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists, so I know her writing/speech is very eloquent, and I’ve been meaning to read her other works, especially Americanah and this book. It is a historical fiction novel that focuses on the¬†personal struggles and¬†political turmoil of eastern Nigeria in the 60s.

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

who-fears-death

I actually own several books by Nnedi Okorafor, but my TBR list is so long that I’ve never really gotten around to reading them yet, though I’m about to break that by reading Akata Witch for #DiversityDecBingo. Who Fears Death is about the spiritual journey of a young woman in post-apocalyptic Saharan Africa and an exploration of gender and oppression.

Find a book written by an Indigenous or Native author.

This is also a category that I have little to no experience with. I’m¬†putting down three books I’d like to read.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

the-absolutely-true-diary

Given how well-known this book is, I feel obligated to read it. It focuses on a boy named Junior who moves to an all-white school from the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Feral Nights by Cynthia Leitich Smith

feral-nights

I’m a sucker for animal-related and shape-shifter stories. The main character, Clyde, is a were-possum, and other characters are also were-somethings (were-cat, were-armadillo, etc.). Super cool concept, right? Also, the story takes¬†place in Austin, Texas, the city where I spent the last five years of my life, so reading a book that takes¬†place there will be fun. This book is the first in a trilogy, so I expect to read all three eventually.

Voices from the Mountain: Taiwanese Aboriginal Literature by  Hulusman Vava (Author), Auvini Kadresengan (Author), Badai (Author), and Prof. Shu-hwa Shirley Wu (Translator)

voices-from-the-mountain

So if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m Taiwanese. I’m really interested in the¬†politics and history of Taiwan. Unfortunately, Taiwan’s indigenous¬†population is marginalized in Taiwanese society much like Native Americans are in the U.S. As a non-indigenous Taiwanese, I feel that it’s very important to listen to and uplift the voices of Taiwan’s indigenous¬†people. This collection of short stories seems like a good way to increase my awareness of indigenous cultures and issues.

Find a book set in South Asia (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc.).

A Book I’ve Read:

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman

climbing-the-stairs

This book is a historical fiction novel set in India during World War II, when India was still under British rule. The main character, Vidya, is a teenage girl with ambitions to go to college. However, she’s forced to move into her grandfather’s house, where they are conservative and segregate the women’s and men’s quarters. Vidya breaks the rules by going to the second-floor library, where she meets Raman, who treats her as an equal and fosters her intellectual growth. However, her life becomes complicated when her brother makes a decision regarding the ongoing war. It’s a touching book about self discovery, friendship, romance, family, and¬†politics.

A Book I Want to Read:

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything by Uma Krishnaswami

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.jpg

This one’s a middle grade novel. It features eleven-year-old Dini’s move to India from the U.S. Dini loves Bollywood, but her family isn’t moving to Bombay, they’re moving to an obscure¬†place, Swapnagiri. However, it turns out that this town is home to interesting things, including, it seems, Dini’s favorite Bollywood star.

Aside from liking middle grade fiction a lot in general, I was curious about this book because it has a character who likes Bollywood. My knowledge of Bollywood is¬†pretty small: I know Shah Rukh Khan is a Thing, and I’ve watched clips of/analyzed some Bollywood movies featuring Indian American characters for my Asian American Media Cultures class, and that’s about it. So I think it would be fun to learn a thing or two about Bollywood through a fictional book.

Find a book with a biracial protagonist.

A Book I’ve Read:

Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities by Mike Jung

geeks-girls-and-secret-identities

Although the main character, Vincent Wu, is biracial, white and Asian (his ethnicity is never explicitly mentioned in the book, but Wu is a Chinese and Korean last name, though the Korean version is typically spelled Woo), the book isn’t about his race or ethnicity. It’s a superhero story with a genderbending twist. Vincent is one of Captain Stupendous’s biggest fans. When Captain Stupendous is injured in a fight involving¬†professor Mayhem, he ends up collaborating with his crush, Polly Winnicott-Lee (who is mixed white and Korean) to help save his city.

A Book I Want to Read:

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

full-cicada-moon

This book caught my eye because it¬†features a biracial girl who is mixed Black and Japanese. I have only read one other book that I can think of with a¬†protagonist who’s mixed Black and Asian, and it’s Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything. The vast majority of mixed Asian characters are mixed with white, and I wish there was more representation of those who are mixed with Latinx or Black or Native heritage. When I read the synopsis of Full Cicada Moon, I found out that it’s a historical fiction novel-in-verse set during the age of the Space Race, and the main character, Mimi, is an aspiring astronaut. I was a space nerd as a kid (and majored in aerospace engineering), so this felt like the¬†perfect story for me.

Find a book starring a transgender character or about transgender issues.

A Book I’ve Read:

For Today I am a Boy by Kim Fu

for-today-i-am-a-boy

This is the first and only book I’ve read with an Asian trans character as the protagonist. The main character,¬†Peter, is a Chinese Canadian trans girl. The book focuses on her journey to grow into herself. I first read it a while ago, and I’ve forgotten a lot of the details, so I’d like to reread it to do a thorough review of its trans representation. The author is a cis Chinese Canadian woman.

A Book I Want to Read:

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

symptoms-of-being-human

I need more books with genderfluid representation. This is one of the few I can find. Riley’s gender fluctuates between boy and girl, but they’re not out yet, especially because their father is running for re-election in conservative Orange County. Riley starts an anonymous blog about their life as a gender fluid teenager to vent, but the blog goes viral, and they face the threat of being outed.


Congratulations on making it to the end of this¬†post! I’m tagging everyone who read this. If you’ve already done the tag, feel free to drop a link to your¬†post in the comments. Otherwise, go do this tag, and come back and share your link. ūüôā