Book Review | My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I’m Crazy by Grace Buchele Mineta

WOA

For a listing to the links for all the other review posts for the Words of Asia blog event click here.

About the Authour:
Though, a native Texan Grace has lived all over the world. Currently she works as a freelancer in Japan where she currently lives with her husband, Ryosuke. My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I’m Crazy, is the second book of comics that she has published and now her third book, Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo is now also available.

Where Does it Take Place?
Mostly in Tokyo and various parts of Japan that Grace and her husband travel to.

JPStill

What’s it About:
This is Grace’s second comic book, and once again we get more adventures of her and her husband living in Tokyo as broken newly weds. Follow Grace, her husband Ryosuke and Marvin (Grace’s over-active imagination who appears to her as a talking rabbit), as they experience both the joys and hardships of living abroad.

My Thoughts:
Ordinarily, I don’t really feature self-published books though once in a blue moon I make an exception. I’ve been a fan of Grace’s blog and comics for a while in fact I was one of her original Kickstarter backers.

Grace’s storytelling style is both accessible and entertaining, and I love reading the comic strips that show the unique and compelling perspective of a young American woman who is married to Japanese salary man and how they live their lives being broken newlyweds. Grace and her husband are incredibly adorable and if you get the chance you should check out a few of her YouTube videos featuring the two of them. They are definitely a couple that I would love to meet and befriend in real life.

Being somebody who is extremely interested in learning more regarding the Japanese culture, as I hope to visit one day the essays Grace includes throughout the book were one of my favourite parts of this book. Even the essays that weren’t directly concerning life in Japan, I still enjoyed reading. In particular, found them incredibly relatable especially the one concerning deciding to settle for doing things until they were “good enough” for you and not being a perfectionist. As always, the comics were quite amusing and I loved the one on takoyaki as it is definitely relatable since I’m just as obsessed with takoyaki and can totally picture myself eating it all day also. My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I’m Crazy is another adorable portrayal of Grace’s life and as always I adore the light-hearted manner she takes when it comes to tackling serious topics akin to depression, anxiety, discrimination.

jpstill1
One of my favourite comics, that shows just how adorable Grace and her husband are. From page 12 of My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I’m Crazy.

You’ll like this book, if you love:
Comics and reading about what’s it to being in an interracial relationship.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

punysorrowAuthour:
Miriam Toews
Format:
Trade Paperback, 321 pages
Publication date:
February 24, 2015
Publisher:
Vintage Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“It was the first time that we had sort of articulated our major problem. She wanted to die and I wanted her to live and we were enemies who loved each other. We held each other tenderly, awkwardly, because she was in a bed attached to things.” (p. 37-38)

Long ago CBC had a radio show called “Between the Covers”, which was basically readings from audio books. I would stay up “late” (after all it was late for me back then) just to listen to people read from books, which were almost always Canadian. I remember one night I found myself listening to a reading from a book regarding the coming of age story of a teenager living in a Mennonite community and her struggles to discover who she was. I was instantly hooked, for the reason that the protagonist was just so complex and compelling that I ended up listening to almost all the chapters (I missed a few since I often fell asleep before it was over). Anyways that was how I was introduced to the writing of Miriam Toews and how I became a fan of her storytelling.

In her latest book which is also her seventh book, All My Puny Sorrows, which can be shortened to AMPS Toews tells a story about two sisters, one who wishes to die and the other who wishes her to live. It is also a story that accurately depicts what it means and what it takes to care for a loved one, and the toil that it can take on the caregiver. Akin to the majority of her books, AMPS is inspired by actual events from Toews’ life and in this case the relationship between Elf and Yoli is based on the real life relationship between her and her sister.

Once again Toews showcases her affinity for telling heartbreaking stories on the subject of families that ultimately ends up being both relatable and uplifting. I believe that AMPS is a vital book concerning both mental illness in addition to suicide, and I believe Toews does an excellent job of also capturing the confusion and anger people feel when a person close to them tells them they no longer has the desire to live. Finally I believe the book itself has an excellent message and I hope that it leads to the discussion of topics in the vein of mental illness and suicide, especially for people and families who often attempt to brush those issues under the rug.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Early Book Review | I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

meetyouAuthour:
Heather Demetrios
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 388 pages
Publication date:
February 3rd 2015
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co.
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
When I first heard of this book, I immediately wanted to get my hands on a copy as PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a subject that is extremely significant to me. Fortunately I received an ARC of this book, and I ended up doing a read along of this book with another book blogger, Tiff.

I’ll Meet You There is a book told from two perspectives, one which is Skylar Evans who cannot wait to leave Creek View and set off off to college while the other point of view is from Josh, a young man who is a Marine who has now come back to Creek View after losing a leg from his time in Afghanistan. This book was definitely not quick paced however it was an extremely character driven story which in this case worked to its benefits as both the protagonists are compelling individuals.

Initially while reading this book, I was not the biggest of Josh as he annoyed me a bit at first especially seeing how he treated other people nevertheless I found the chapters that were from his point of view extremely intriguing the PTSD recollections were incredibly vivid to the point where you can almost feel him struggling. On the other hand, I liked Skylar from the start even though she had her own personal issues I could honestly emphasize with what she was experiencing. In addition I liked her friendship with Dylan and her relationship with Marge who acted as another mother figure for Skylar when she needed one and her actual mother was not able to be there for her. I suppose out of everybody, Dylan would probably be my favourite character in this book for the reason that she’s the one who gives Skylar tough love and advice when no one else can. Finally while I initially was unsure of Josh, he did gradually grow on me to the point that I was actively rooting for him and Skylar to come together as a couple since the two of them are a great deal better off when they are together than when they’re not.

I’ll Meet You There is not your typical, light-hearted contemporary YA novel. It is however an emotional read concerning two troubled individuals that tugs at your heart strings and stays with you even after you have finished reading.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Frenzy Presents 2014 | Four Titles I Can’t Wait For!

Last Sunday, I got the great privilege of attending my first publisher event for bloggers. Hosted by the HarperCollins team at their offices, “Frenzy Presents” is sort of like a fall preview but just for upcoming YA titles from Harper. Anyways instead of doing an event recap, I’d thought I’d just highlight four of the upcoming titles (four because that was my team number for the trivia game, shot out to my teammates, Tiff and Melissa, sorry I wasn’t more useful with the questions) from the presentation that I am extremely excited for. And if you guys want recaps, I provide some links below to bloggers who are doing event recaps. So without further delay, here are the four YA books (in no particular order) that I’m anticipating from Harper:

fallingintoplaceFalling into Place by Amy Zhang

Interesting fact, the authour of this book is only eighteen years old! Pretty awesome no? This contemporary YA title was actually one that I was on the fence about, however after hearing more about it at the Frenzy Presents event, I am definitely going to pick this one up, Falling into Place follows the story of Liz Emerson a girl who one day tries to kill herself by running her car into a tree. She ends up in the hospital and the story,told by an apparently unexpected narrator consists of nonlinear “flashbacks” which will give readers more insight into who Liz was and why she did what she did. Falling into Place seems like it will be a very moving story and I am very intrigued as to who the narrator is. This book releases on September 9th 2014.

 

blackholesMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Mental illness and suicide is a topic that remains very important to me, as I personally know many people who are suffering from mental illness and have tried to do it at some point and even more than once. The story in this book is about a girl named Ayse, who because of all the stressors in her life both from her family and her classmates, decides to take her own life. She ends up going online to find a suicide partner (someone to help her take her life), and instead she finds someone who makes her question her decision to take her own life even though he is still determined to take his own life. Sounds like it will be an important and emotional read. Cannot wait for this book which comes out, February 10th 2014!

 

jewelThe Jewel (The Lone City #1) by Amy Ewing

Proclaimed as The Selection meets The Handmaid’s Tale, this is one title that I have been excited for since the start. I love that even that it’s a YA novel that tackles a lot of very serious topics like human trafficking and surrogacy as the protagonist, Violet is a surrogate whose job is to carry the children of others. There is also romance in this book which is always nice though I hope there won’t be a love triangle. If this book sounds like something right up your alley, be sure to check out The Jewel by Amy Ewing is coming out in stores September 2nd 2014!

 

redqueen2Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Okay before this event, I had heard ALOT of things about this Red Queen. However being someone who almost always reads just contemporary fiction in the YA genre I chose to enjoy all the hype around this book as I figured it wouldn’t be the kind of book I’d like. I was proven wrong when Suman started to talk about it at “Frenzy Presents”! People with special powers, a rebel movement and awesome, kick butt characters? I am for sure intrigued, and will be definitely checking out this book when it comes out February 10th 2015.

 

Anyways those are the four teen titles, I’m looking forward to from HarperCollins. I’d like to thank Suman for the invitation as well as give a shout out to Kaitlyn (thanks for the books!) and Shannon, it was lovely to meet and talk with you again. Oh and as promised, here are some links to recaps done by other bloggers:

Video Recap from Maji Bookshelf – http://youtu.be/H4W3NNyowHA
Blog Event Recap from Maji Bookshelf – http://majibookshelf.blogspot.ca/2014/08/hcc-frenzy-presets-recap.html
Book Nerd Canada’s Event Recap – http://booknerd.ca/recap-2014-hcc-frenzy-ya-book-blogger-event/
Booking it With Haley G’s Event Recap – http://booknerd.ca/recap-2014-hcc-frenzy-ya-book-blogger-event/