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#metoo by Lori Perkins

36531293#MeToo Essays About how and Why This Happened, What It Means and How to Make Sure It Never Happens by Lori Perkins

Published 3 November 2017 by Riverdale Avenue Books

Goodreads

Summary: #MeToo: Essays About How and Why This Happened,

What It Means and How To Make Sure It Never Happens Again

More than 16 million people had posted their #MeToo story and support against sexual harassment by mid-October as a reaction to Rose McGowan’s brave admission that she had allegedly been raped by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. A groundswell of reaction to and exposure of this sexual predation was unleashed that has spread throughout Europe and beyond. New revelations of unacceptable behavior in every industry break every day as people come forward in response to the viral #MeToo posts. Protests are scheduled such as the “Take back the Workplace” Hollywood march in November of 2017, and legislation is being drafted in New York and California to finally change the way things have been for far too long.

This is the turning point. Things are going to change.

This is a historic moment and it needs to be memorialized, passed around and passed on. Although social media is a fantastic means of igniting a fire, it needs to keep burning, like a torch.

So Riverdale Avenue Books, a woman-owned leading hybrid publisher, is putting its money, words and power, behind this and publishing this collection of 26 essays from people who understand want to make this change, and we, as a society, have got to figure out a way to drive that change forward.

So pass this book around. Share it with your sons, brothers, fathers, your daughters, sisters and mothers, your co-workers and friends. Read passages to them, if they won’t read it for themselves. Leave it on the desk of someone who should know better.

Help us make this movement more than a hashtag.

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#metoo, #metoo, #metoo.

I’ve been following the discussion on #metoo and honestly, this is one of the more important conversations we need to be having with each other. As I followed the news, I felt myself getting angrier and angrier. At a tender age of 13/14, I met a boy. And in the span on those turbulent 9 months, those were the most difficult times of my life. Back then I didn’t think of the word for it — I didn’t see it for what it was, but I knew that whatever happened wasn’t right. It wasn’t then, and when I think about it now, it’s not okay now either. At that age, I thought it was my fault, that maybe I brought it upon myself for being too forward with a boy a year older than me. That maybe I had led him on into thinking that this was okay.

I was wrong, and I want to tell my 13 year old self that whatever happened to me then, was not and will never be my mistake. #metoo taught me a lot — about sexual harassment, the different types of; the fact that sexual predators can be so sly and cunning and be as young as kids in high school. It’s something that’s been going on for centuries long, one that I hadn’t put my finger on or a name on it — until now.

I think the saddest part of reading this is that most people didn’t have an adult or person they could trust. The people they trusted betrayed them the most, and in search for help, they found themselves stuck in a cycle of hurt and distrust. Sexual harassment and abuse does a lot to a person’s psych. It damages them in some form and sadly… the predator usually doesn’t realise he’s in the wrong. Then there’s the people who are aware and don’t do anything, or the people who minimise the situation by telling you “it’s your own fault”.

I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t. It just happened when a boy gave me the ultimatum of a negative and a negative. I lost, no matter my decision.

I need you to read this. I need you to.

I want you to know that I’m here for you.

We need to change the system and make it safer for our children.

Please, I pray it will never be you too.

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Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn

35801649Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn
Published 18 Apr 2018 by Second Story Press

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads

Summary: Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish brown hair and she was “the Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador.” She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to cook their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!

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Let’s talk about Krista Kim-bap.

No, seriously. Let’s talk about it.

This book is such a conversation starter. There are so many good morals within this book that the Middle Grade book world just doesn’t have enough of. Let’s start with the very obvious: the title of the book. Krista Kim-bap follows a titular character called Krista Kim. She’s a Korean-Canadian girl who knows little to nothing about her culture except that they eat Korean food and lots of kimchi.

Krista goes on a journey to find out more about her culture, the intimate story behind the Koreans love for food and rediscovers what it means to love yourself, being confident and breaking the status quo.

I love this book. For starters, this is a diverse book. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see that many books about Korean culture, period. It’s pretty exciting to see the different aspects of their culture, told by a Korean and seeing it through the eyes of a child and how they’re raised by their parents and grandparents. I think there’s a lot of importance for kids to be learning about other’s cultures and traditions; learning how to respect people who are different than us and celebrate their differences. Its completely excellent how Krista loves being Korean and doesn’t necessarily want to change anything about herself.

Middle grade books are targeted mostly to children aged 8 – 12, so some of the topics discussed here may be a little heavy for younger children; so if you are a parent or a teacher, this is your call. You’re gonna have to decide what is appropriate and what isn’t and filter accordingly — but: this book does talk a little bit about plastic surgery.

The discussion about plastic surgery is a short one, but the aftermath of that short discussion creates something we need to talk about. Krista’s grandmother is pretty big on plastic surgery, and admittedly, from what we’ve seen in Korean dramas or read on the gossip news, it seems like a pretty big thing in Korea too. She has a discussion with Krista and her older sister Tori about getting double eyelid surgery when they’re older in Korea, which leads to Krista’s eventual experiment with eyelid tape. This is of course met with disapproval from her mother, who finds it completely okay to have “Korean eyes” and not have the need to look like anyone in the magazines.

Krista Kim-bap is a bit of a fresh breath of air. I do think its an interesting book with a lot room for discussion and maintains its relevance to our current society. Filter this book or not, discuss it or not, but Krista Kim-bap can teach you so many things even as a grown adult.

Because loving yourself, being respectful to other people and walking to the beat of your own drums will never go out of style.

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Crazy Rich Asians By Kevin Kwan

16085481Crazy Rich Asians By Kevin Kwan
Crazy Rich Asians #1

Published 11 June 2013 by Doubleday

Goodreads

Summary: Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.
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.

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This book is over the top dramatic.

I had initially pinned this as an Asian version of Gossip Girl, and yes, it read like gossip, but it was just so over the top. I am a Singaporean, born and raised and we often hear about this top few percent of billionaires so it was quite intriguing at first.

What I hadn’t imagined was this entire cast of madness. I came in thinking this book would be about Nick and Rachel and how they navigate returning home to Singapore for the wedding of the year and surprise! Nick is crazy rich. Except… Rachel doesn’t know it, and quite frankly, Nick doesn’t seem to realise he’s extremely rich either. The book was flamboyant, irritating at times and just so unnecessarily complicated.

I kept reading for one reason only: I wanted to know what was this deep secret that everyone seemed to know about Rachel Chu. Her family background. And when I found out, I felt empty. The ending made me feel empty, like I’ve been working so hard chasing after nothing. I just wasn’t impressed. It left me hanging, thinking, huh, that’s it? After all that drama towards the end, all for it to end up like this, neatly wrapped and everything is okay. It just didn’t blow me over.

I initially started listening to the audiobook of this, read by Lynn Chen but I didn’t like the way it was read (too difficult to listen to, all the characters sound the same) and there were too many characters being introduced for me to properly catch on. So I switched to the book and eased myself into the story again. Fairly disappointed at the audiobook — considering people were raving about it but it just really wasn’t for me. As someone who lives in Asia and can differentiate different dialects very well, I just don’t think the narrator does any of it much justice or even has a clue. Too much switching, too many bad attempts at dialects and Singlish (Singaporean English). Overall would not recommend you getting the audiobook (I believe she’s the only narrator for Crazy Rich Asians) at all and opt for the book instead.

Enjoyed the book as a whole, but got lost in too many insane characters and felt that Nick and Rachel’s relationship got lost in the process, being completely overshadowed by other colourful characters. Reminds me of Gossip Girl meets Sarong Party Girls (by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, which I read and devoured this year — a total must read, especially if you’re living in Singapore or Asia!)

Still very excited to see the movie! Very curious to see how all this will be interpreted for the big screen!

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Movie Review: Coin Heist

Spoiler free!

I freaking LOVED this movie adaptation of Elisa Ludwig’s Coin Heist. After I read the book in 2014, I wrote in my review that the book read like a movie. And boy was I all over this when I saw this in my Netflix recommended list.

Coin Heist the movie is essentially similar to Coin Heist the book. In fact, the movie played out almost exactly how I envisioned it in my mind. I loved the cast and the fact that I didn’t know any of them except Sasha because it kept the feel of it being a high school heist movie authentic. I am so grateful that they kept Coin Heist similar to the book without going too Hollywood on it. Coin Heist is already a great book without additional theatrics and Netflix pulled it off.

The core of the movie mainly revolves around the heist and how these kids from different status quo form an uncanny team to save their school. Tons of character growth, unexpected-expected love lines, an exciting heist and an all round great high school movie.

Fans of the book will be pleased to know that the movie didn’t ruin the book, but in fact, brought it to life. Easy watch with a great simple plot, Coin Heist is a wonderful book to movie adaptation.

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Home Sweet Home By Mia Cassany

cover124280-mediumHome Sweet Home by Mia Cassany

Published 3 Oct 2017 by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads

Summary: Kids will have their imaginations captured by this beautiful, non-fiction picture book that looks at home from around the world. Home from Home celebrates the wide diversity of living quarters people around the world live in.

Find out who lives in a Brooklyn brownstone or a Tokyo apartment! What about a London townhouse, or a cabin in Reykjavik?

Up and coming talent Paula Blumen illustrates all of these great views of home. There’s never been a better time to remember the importance of home for everyone.

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I love this book! From the illustrations to the cute little stories, it is fantastic! This book is great for discussions, interactive games and is suitable for children aged 3 and above. What I particularly like is that it is written from the point of view of the pets living in a particular home. We get to learn about the type of place it lives in, the people they live with and so on.

The illustrations are beautiful and captivating. I did a reading with my 7 year old sister and she loved it. She was into the colours, trying to spot different animals and we also did a discussion about the differences of all the houses. I loved that we got to travel to places we’ve ever been and see the houses and civilisation in that area.

We’re also exposed to different languages, where for example, when the book heads to China we get to see Chinese characters written everywhere in the streets and that easily opens up another conversation with children about languages and text.

It can be so difficult to find a book that’s engaging and interactive as this, all while being educational. I would love to have a copy of this in my classroom and just talk to the children about people, animals, cultures, languages and lifestyles.

One of the best new children’s book that I’ve discovered this year, hands down.

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve Done Better By Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

31944977Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve Done Better by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

Published 10 Jan 2017 by Animal Media Group

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads

Summary: Anonymous break up stories from men and women, old and young, serious and silly and the cartoons that inspired them. Author and artist Hilary Campbell turns the painful into the hilarious, validating emotions from forgotten middle school tragedies to relationships that ended only hours ago.

Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and cartoonist. Her films have won top prizes at Slamdance, SF IndieFest, and more. She was the co-illustrator of Jessica Bennett’s critically acclaimed Feminist Fight Club. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, But You Could’ve Done Better is her first book of cartoons.

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This book is suuuuper easy to read. Could be easily read in 5 minutes or so. The book consists of several break up stories, many of which are very relatable. I love that it included LGBTQ stories, long distance relationships as well as relationships from all different stages of our lives.

While the stories are very relatable, I’d have to say the star of this book are the hilarious illustrations. I LOVED the illustrations and personally, I feel that the illustrations itself could be an entire book by itself or even in comic form, similar to the Sarah’s Scribbles books or The Worrier’s Guide to Life. I’m very fond of illustrated books and these set of illustrations were cute, hilarious and speaks volumes with just a picture. I feel like these illustrations were even better than the stories in the book.

I personally have never seen any of Hilary Campbell’s other illustrations but they are definitely up my alley and I would love for her to come up with more books just with her illustrations. Please?

Loved the illustrations, relatable content. Better suited for those who need a quick reading fix or like coffee table books.

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The Girl Who Said Sorry By Hayoung Yim

cover122335-mediumThe Girl Who Said Sorry by Hayoung Yim

Published 5 Oct 2017 by Rhyming Reason Books

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads

Summary: Too girly or too boyish. Too thin or too fat. Too quiet, too loud. Be ambitious, but don’t hurt feelings. Be inquisitive, but don’t interrupt. Be outspoken, but don’t be bossy. Most of all, be yourself–but be a lady.

What’s a girl to do in a world filled with contradicting gender expectations, aside from saying sorry?

The way we teach politeness norms to children is often confusing, changing based on gender–and can have lasting effects. And while everyone should be courteous and accountable for their actions, apologetic language out of context can undermine confidence and perceived capability.

Within the subtle yet beautiful illustrations and powerful rhyme of “The Girl Who Said Sorry,” developing girls will learn that self-expression and personal choices can be made without apology, and with confidence.

50% of profits from this book is donated to Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation campaign dedicated to empowering young girls to take action on global issues.

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THIS. IS. SO. IMPORTANT.

Parents and educators: this is the one book you REALLY NEED ON YOUR SHELF FOR YOUR KIDS.

I found myself nodding while I read this because I could relate so much to this. Growing up, I heard a lot of stereotypes about being a girl. I should do this, not that, but you know… don’t be too girly, as if it was possible to measure the level of your feminism on any form of scale. It baffled me, that being a “tomboy” was seen as not raising your girls right, but then chastised for being too soft or quiet.

As a kid I always wondered: what is it that these adults actually want from me?

Our main character is often saying sorry, because she never seems to meet anyone’s expectations. She is neither here nor there, she cannot be this or that. The ending summaries it so well:

Words and choices that don’t hurt anybody else, I will not say “Sorry” — They’re an expression of myself

And that is exactly it.

This book is going to teach kids that they shouldn’t say sorry for being expressive and themselves. That they can be whatever they want to be, without judgement, if they aren’t hurting anyone else.

The book is short and simple to read and also has very nice accompanying illustrations.

Please buy this for your little girls (and even boys)! Teach them not to undermine themselves and to stand tall and proud of who they are without apology.

50% of profits from this book is donated to Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation campaign dedicated to empowering young girls to take action on global issues. I urge you to buy the book and contribute to a great cause for young girls everywhere.

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Don’t Dangle Your Participle By Vanita Oelschlager

18143322Don’t Dangle Your Participle by Vanita Oelschlager

Published 1 May 2014 by Vanita Books

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads

Summary: Words and pictures show children what a dangling participle is all about. Young readers are shown an incorrect sentence that has in it a dangling participle. They are then taught how to make the sentence read correctly. It is done in a cute and humorous way. The dangling participle loses its way and the children learns how to help it find its way back to the correct spot in the sentence. This is followed by some comical examples of sentences with dangling participles and their funny illustrations, followed by an illustration of the corrected sentence. Young readers will have fun recognizing this problem in sentence construction and learning how to fix it.

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PARENTS AND EDUCATORS, YOU NEED THIS.

Being in preschool education, I’m always on the look out for books that’s going to help us in the classroom and THIS IS IT. To most, this may be quite advanced for a 6 year old, but living in Singapore, this is exactly the thing we need to prepare the children for at age 6. My centre’s preschool curriculum is pretty tough, once they turn 6 and begin to prepare for their entrance to Primary schools. Teaching and helping them understand can be a struggle sometimes.

I love this book so much. The illustrations make it so clear for children to understand and helps us as educators to explain the concept of participles to them. English can be quite vague and it can be tough to explain to children using only words. The illustrations explain the concept perfectly through a fun and humorous way.

Colourful and short enough to gain attention, illustrated well to understand. A must have in every teacher’s arsenal. Get it, get it, get it now!

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Herding Cats By Sarah Andersen

35924705Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen
Sarah’s Scribbles #3

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: “. . . author Sarah Andersen uses hilarious (and adorable) comics to illustrate the very specific growing pains that occur on your way to becoming a mature, put-together grownup. Andersen’s spot-on illustrations also show how to navigate this newfound adulthood once you arrive, since maturity is equally as hard to maintain as it is to find … ”
The Huffington Post

Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah’s Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing.

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I LOVED THIS.

I thoroughly enjoyed Adulthood is a Myth and Big Mushy Happy Lump and it’s no surprise that I fell in love with Herding Cats as well. I love Sarah’s simple and hilarious comic strips about love, anxiety and her love for animals.

On a personal level, I found the comic strips to be relatable and absolutely loveable. I love these types of comic strips. The drawings are incredibly simple but it WORKS. They’re funny. It’s not a serious comic, neither is it one of those “incredibly fancy and illustrated” comic books. It just isn’t. But its funny. So there.

I love the second part of this book. It’s a small advice column for artists who worry about getting their work out there or being criticised. She shares her own experiences and advices. Despite not being an artist myself, I found that the column can easily be translated into any line of work. There will always be a form of self-doubt at any given time, and it is essential to just create and go forth.

Comics are hard for me to review — mainly because it just depends on your level of humour and how relatable this book will be for the reader. But if you are into cats, have crazy high anxiety and are just in for a good laugh, then this book is for you.

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Sea of Strangers By Lang Leav

cover126001-mediumSea of Strangers by Lang Leav

Publication Date: 9 Jan 2018 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o Netgalley in exchange for a review copy.

Goodreads

Summary: Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav picks up from her previous international bestselling books including Love & Misadventure, Lullabies, and The Universe of Us, and sets sail for a grand new adventure.

This completely original collection of poetry and prose will not only delight her avid fans but is sure to capture the imagination of a whole new audience. With the turn of every page, Sea of Strangers invites you to go beyond love and loss to explore themes of self-discovery and empowerment as you navigate your way around the human heart.

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The thing I fear about my favourite authors and poets is that that their previous work cannot surpass their current one and I’m left disappointed.

Am I disappointed?

No.

Lang Leav has this magic that leaves me with an aching heart and a dire sense of desperation each time. Its so surprising how her poetry gets more soulful with each release.

I have several favourite poems already: To Dare, Love What You Love, To Myself Ten Years Ago and Strength among others. Lang wrote at the start of the book that this set of poems was written a decade ago when she was having a difficult time.  I could really feel everything she was going through and I could relate to so many of these. Her poems of love, loss and self empowerment brought me back to my own times of difficulty. It is exactly the words I wish I could have written to myself years ago.

Lang’s poetry is one that is simple, raw and this time, authentic. Unlike her more dreamy poems in Love & Misadventure and Lullaby, Seas of Strangers is a more honest collection of poetry that will dig deep into your soul. Critics will say that her poetry is too simple, but I find that hers is just right. It makes getting into poetry simple. It goes right through the heart — which is what poetry is supposed to be about.

Despite this being one of her more honest collections, it doesn’t necessarily overtake my love for her first two books Love & Misadventure and Lullaby. Perhaps I’ve grown too attached to the words in those books that it makes it difficult for me to love the others like the first two. Her first two books were equally excellent and memorable, though I’ve yet to feel the same way for her latest collect.

But that isn’t to say I don’t love this book.

Another collection of poetry that is left deep imprinted into the soul. Here’s another for the shelves.

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