Cicada Girl

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Title: Cicada Girl | 蝉女
Author: Gong Yuanqian
Genre: Contemporary, Graphic Novel
Rating: ★★★☆☆ | 3.5 out of 5.0

warnings: slightly nsfw; nothing too explicit, but r-rated at least

Why did you change your handle to “The Clay Bodhisattva?”

Clay bodhisattvas can’t cross the water.

When I told the friend I dragged down this rabbit hole with me that I didn’t know how to write this review, she wrote me this:

this manhua was very distress 2 read and made me have no hope for love and marriage but A++++ art and pretty girls

which, retrospectively, is a pretty good way to sum up the manhua, which is currently unfinished. Because it was distressing to read––and also so, so beautiful.

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무사 |《武士》| The Warrior

942 Title: Musa (The Warrior)
Starring: Jung Woo-sung, Joo Jin-mo
Genre: Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Drama
Rating: ★★★★★ | 5.0

warnings: violence, gore

I’m probably not going to do a good job reviewing it properly for this blog because I have too many thoughts to even begin to summarise, but if you guys can handle gore/bloody battle scenes, I highly recommend y’all watch Musa (The Warrior), which stars Jung Woo-sung and Joo Jin-mo. It’s an old favourite of mine and it honestly does everything right.

The overall plot is about a small diplomatic mission from Goryeo (Korea) that gets sent to China right around the turn of the Ming Dynasty, when Zhu Yuanzhang emerged victorious from the war with Toghon Temur, the last Mongol Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty in China. Because Goryeo had previously plead allegiance to the Yuan Dynasty, the diplomatic mission is jailed and then sent into exile in the Gobi Desert.

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Comfort Woman

10596Title: Comfort Woman
Author: Nora Okja Keller
Genre: realistic fiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, women’s fiction, literary fiction
Rating: ★★★★★

content warning: rape, sexual violence, sexual slavery, child neglect

This was a surprisingly easy novel to read despite its incredibly weighty topic. I’m taking an Asian American lit class this semester, and I was assigned this to read immediately following a really frustrating documentary about comfort woman, and to be quite frank, I expected to have to force myself through this, crying and moaning the whole time. And I did cry––of course I cried, I’m the girl who cried during Madagascar––but there was a sense of effervescence throughout the narrative that made it bearable. The writing was, of course, beautiful, but it wasn’t just that. There was a life to the story, a spirit.

Comfort Woman tells the parallel stories of Akiko, a Korean comfort woman, and Beccah, the daughter she eventually comes to have with the American missionary she chooses to marry in order to leave Korea. After Akiko’s death, Beccah is forced to confront the mother she thought she knew––and the woman who, she comes to realise, she didn’t know at all.

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Cinder & Ella

22724488Title: Cinder & Ella
Author: Kelly Oram
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, YA
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ || 1 star

warnings for: in-universe ableism, death, suicide ideations/attempts

Can someone tell me why this has such a high rating on Goodreads? I truly would like to know, because this book was fucking awful. Like I’m sorry, did we travel back in time to 2003? Because that was the last year this book would have been acceptable to me, and even there would have been a question mark punctuating my enjoyment. And several exclamation points following. (FTR, I would have been seven or eight, and I still might have looked down my nose at this book.) It’s just sexist hogwash, is what it is.

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Sofia Khan is Not Obliged

25707621Title: Sofia Khan is Not Obliged
Author: Ayisha Malik
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Rating
: ★★★★☆ | 3.5 stars

warnings for: islamaphobia (in text), fatphobia (metatextual)

After Sofia Khan breaks up with her fiancee, she swears off dating. It’s too bad, then, that her colleagues at the publishing house where she works overhear her complaining about how hard it is to date as a Muslim, especially as a hijabi, in London, and think that writing a book about Muslim dating would be a good idea. Told in the form of journal entries, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged follows Sofia as she tries to figure out the finer points of online dating, of marriage, and of what she wants out of her life as she edges into her thirties.

Some of the comp titles for this novel have been Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice (if the former is a retelling of the latter, can they both be used as comp titles for a third book?) and I can definitely see elements of both of those in this. Sofia is a spunky protagonist with a bigger mouth than is probably good for her and more heart than she knows what to do with. Outside of that, though, Sofia is a character of her own.

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Enter Title Here

enter_title_final_revealTitle: Enter Title Here
Author: Rahul Kanakia
Genre: Realistic, Contemporary, Young Adult
Rating: ★★ || 5 stars

warning: drug use, suicide ideations, overdosing

When was the last time you read a novel with a truly detestable heroine? When was the last time you had to spend three hundred fifty pages with a horrid person? When was the last time you enjoyed it?

Reshma Kapoor is the valedictorian at her selective, Silicon Valley high school. She’s written columns for the Huffington Post, and she has an agent interested in a novel she hasn’t written yet. She’s a shoo-in for Stanford, but it isn’t enough. She’s only one of 30,000 valedictorians competing for less than 6,000 spots at Stanford, so she can’t be simply good. She could never have settled for simply good. What Reshma needs, what is almost a compulsion for her, is to have confirmation that she is better than everyone else. And she will go to almost any length to be the best.

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Creed (2015)

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Title: Creed
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stalone
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Drama
Rating: ★★★★☆ || 4.5

I’ve never watched the Rocky films and I hate most sports films, so if I cried while watching this on a 15 hour plane ride I want y’all to know this was absolutely not the fault of my own damn sentimentality. No, this was just a good film, period.

Creed follows Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son, Adonis, who despite being raised by Creed’s wife Mary Anne with the wealth and resources and education to escape the life of a fighter, dreams about going professional. He quits his day job to pursue the goal, but quickly realises that his father’s old friends are more interested in protecting him from the pursuit that ultimately killed Apollo. Adonis, going by Donny Johnson (his mother’s maiden name), moves to Philadelphia to seek his father’s old friend and rival, Rocky Balboa. Though Rocky is initially wary and reluctant, Adonis’ confidence and determination sway him, and he soon finds himself up against “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, a British fighter who is looking for one last hurrah before going away to jail for the last of his prime fighting years.

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