Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

May 2015 books

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Second reading 30 April 2015. Not as good as I expected the second time around. The implausibilities were so much more...implausible. I'd probably give it four stars now, but as a first-time read, five stars still stands.

A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to PowerA Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power by Paul Fischer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars. The only way I could have loved this book more (like a 5-star rating) is if I were a film buff, especially an Asian film buff. Since I'm not, the first half was a little slow-moving for me.

It was great to read the whole story behind this incredible sequence of events, which in newspaper articles about North Korea is usually allotted a standard, once-sentence "by the way" treatment. It is a CRAZY story.

North Korea continues to just be the worst, though.

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm not entirely sure this one will hold up to a second reading, but hot dang was it a great read the first time around.

It started out a little clunky and silly, but by about a third of the way in, I was hooked. I loved the Gladiator/ancient Egypt vibe, the incredibly high stakes, and all the interesting characters with their conflicting (and often hidden) motivations.

Some people have truly awesome imaginations, and Tahir is one of those people. This is a very rich world she has created. Plus, "Blood Shrike" has got to be one of the best government titles ever.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a jumble of Graceling, The Thief, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. But Selena (so help me I can't even with the names in this book and this is how I pronounced it in my mind SO THIS IS HOW I WILL SPELL IT.) (THAT GOES FOR YOU, TOO, CALE.) isn't as formidable as Katsa, or as endearing as Eugenides, or as sharp as Hermione, and the book suffers for it.

And Dorian, bless him, is supposed to be the charming rake, but he is no Thorne or Sturmhond.

But dad gummit, if it wasn't fun to read this book despite all of that. So yes, I will be reading the rest of the series (I hear there is a scene where the heroine burns all her ball gowns. CANNOT. WAIT.).

The Scorpio RacesThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Second reading May 2015: Delicious, delicious book. I loved it even more the second time around. This was the book that made me give The Raven Boys a chance when it came out, and I'm so glad I did. And now I can see aspects of certain Raven Boys characters in The Scorpio Races.

Plus, Sean Kendrick is the original Mysterious Loner Dude, am I right? Except better somehow. And obviously not literally the original since this book is from 2011, but the term was invented for him to eventually fulfill to the max, FOR SURE.

Also, I cannot stop laughing at this line: "Dory is what Mum used to call a 'strong-looking woman,' which meant that, from the back, she looked like a man, and, from the front, you preferred the back." I put the book down and just giggled to myself for a few minutes at that one. And then I read it to Jeremy and cackled some more. Classic Maggie Stiefvater.

Weaned? Or: CAFFEINE.

Spring 2015 repertoire, ranked