• Mystery Thriller Book Review

    Arsenic and Adobo

    My Thoughts I had never read a cozy mystery and I hadn’t had much of an interest until I spotted this book. I’m Filipino, so it was an instant yes for me to read. Aresenic and Adobo follows Lila, a Fil-Am woman helping her aunt manage a struggling restaurant that finds herself caught up in a murder mystery involving her ex-boyfriend. The chapters are short which keeps the pacing of this book snappy, it’s an easy book to binge. “Food was how she communicated. Food was how she found her place in the world.” One of my absolute favorite aspects of this book is the great emphasis on food. All…

  • Romance Book Review

    Strange Weather in Tokyo

    Warnings: Mild Sexual Content My Thoughts Strange Weather in Tokyo is a poignant love story that feels like the changing of the seasons. There is really something to admire about Kawakami’s writing, the way she can convey loneliness cleanly in concise, sparse prose. A romance between two quirky people seems so unlikely, but in the quiet moments sat side by side eating at a local bar, they fit together so comfortably. The romance between Tsukiko and sensei doesn’t feel like a breathtaking lusty romance, but instead a warm companionship that eventually leads to a mutual need for the other person’s company. “This strange weather must be a result of the…

  • Horror Book Review

    Black Fairy Tale

    Warnings: Violence, Extreme Gore and Mutilation, Animal Torture, Death My Thoughts Black Fairy Tale is a bizarre story, full stop, it is the thought that kept circling my mind as I read the novel and especially when I finished. What made this story so enjoyable was precisely for that reason. It is an offbeat paranormal story about a girl that undergoes an eye transplant and finds that she can see the memories from her donor’s life. While it is a horror thriller, surprisingly this isn’t the horrific part of the story as would be predicted, and I liked that the novel toyed with my expectations. “Everyone in this town was…

  • Literary Book Review

    The Human Zoo

    Warnings: Violence, Death, Homophobia My Thoughts The Human Zoo is a surprising novel, one that I feel is needed to shine a spotlight on the current state of the Philippines’ broken political system. The main character, Ting, is researching and writing about Timicheg and the Igorot people who were brought to the United States as part of a human zoo. The Philippines’ long and horrendous history of colonization provides context for Ting’s story in present-day New Manila. I loved this book because it was both charming and uncomfortably real, many of the characters felt like I was reading about my actual friends and family. “If you spend enough time in…

  • Horror Book Review

    Zoo

    Warnings: Violence, Gore, Death, Domestic Abuse, Chlid Abuse, Animal Death My Thoughts I enjoy Otsuichi’s stories because he is unafraid to take risks, his stories are always a breath of fresh air. This collection was a delight because of the many genres included, and it showed Otsuichi’s range as a writer. From grimdark fairy tales to science fiction, black comedy to spine-chilling horror. I didn’t find the leaps in genres to be disorienting at all and enjoyed having something new and unexpected with each story. “I hope you don’t mind my asking, miss, but are you familiar with the prophecies of Nostradamus?” While not every story was an instant hit…

  • YA Contemporary Book Review

    A Step from Heaven

    Warnings: Domestic Abuse, Alcohol Abuse, Animal Death My Thoughts A Step from Heaven is not an easy book to address. It follows the life of Young Ju Park and her family; they are Korean immigrants pursuing the American dream. The book takes place over a wide span of time from the age of four to graduating high school. The story focuses not on the everyday events of the narrator, but instead on the major events that impacted her and her family as they struggle to acclimate to American culture. It is a classic immigrant story that is deeply heartfelt and inspirational, but it’s also a story about motherhood, and the…