Review: Reflection by Elizabeth Lim

ReflectionTitle: Reflection
Author: 
Elizabeth Lim
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 Stars


What if Mulan had to travel to the Underworld?

When Captain Shang is mortally wounded by Shan Yu in battle, Mulan must travel to the Underworld, Diyu, in order to save him from certain death. But King Yama, the ruler of Diyu, is not willing to give Shang up easily. With the help of Shang’s great lion guardian ShiShi, Mulan must traverse Diyu to find Shang’s spirit, face harrowing obstacles, and leave by sunrise–or become King Yama’s prisoner forever. Moreover, Mulan is still disguised as the soldier called Ping, wrestling with the decision to reveal her true identity to her closest friend. Will Mulan be able to save Shang before it’s too late? Will he ever be able to trust her again? Or will she lose him–and be lost in the Underworld–forever?

Review_

I’ve loved the story of Mulan for as long as I can remember. It’s always been my favorite Disney movie, so when I saw this book on a shelf in Target last year I spazzed out and nearly sprinted to the check out. And then it sat on my shelf, where I stared at it longingly for a year before finally getting myself together enough to read it. And I am SO. GLAD. I finally did. I had really high expectations for this book and it surpassed all of them! It’s for sure going to be one of my favorite reads of 2019.

There are so many things that brought this story together in an absolutely perfect way, not the least of which is the fact that Elizabeth Lim knows her stuff. Not only is she Asian herself, she has a degree in East Asian studies. It was clear the whole time I was reading that she had a massive knowledge base of Diyu and had watched the Mulan movie over and over. Every now and then she’d drop a line from the movie in a clever way and I lived for those little nuggets.

I was so relieved that Lim didn’t make the book all about a romance between Mulan and Shang. She stuck true to the heart of the movie and kept the book focused on finding your inner strength, honor, and friendship – although we do get a few flirty bits towards the end, just like in the movie. My biggest worry going into the book was that it would be turned into a book about Mulan trying to pull Shang out of the Underworld because she was in love with him and blah blah blah, but Lim adds layers of complexity on top of any feelings Mulan may or may not be having. There isn’t anything about it I would change (except the fact that there won’t be a sequel coming). 

I can’t recommend this book enough!

5 Stars

Review: Rumple Buttercup by Matthew Gray Gubler

Rumple ButtercupTitle: Rumple Buttercup
Author:
Matthew Gray Gubler
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Genre: Children’s
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 Stars


A charming and inspiring story about embracing your weird, written and illustrated by Criminal Minds actor/director, Matthew Gray Gubler.

Rumple Buttercup has five crooked teeth, three strands of hair, green skin, and his left foot is slightly bigger than his right.

He is weird.

Join him as he and Candy Corn Carl, his imaginary friend made of trash, learn the joy of individuality as well as the magic of belonging.


Review_

I’m a massive fan of Matthew Gray Gubler. I love his art style and I especially love him on Criminal Minds, so when I saw he was publishing a book wayyyyy back in October, I immediately pre-ordered it. Some context, so you understand how serious that statement is: Rumple Buttercup was my first pre-order. Ever. 

There’s absolutely nothing in Rumple Buttercup that isn’t precious. First of all, the character’s names are Rumple Buttercup and Candy Corn Carl. I mean, c’mon. What more do you want? The art was just like the right mix of unusual and charming. It was the real star of the show… I could have flipped through pages and pages of the illustrations for hours.

The story itself was really well done too. There was a clear and concise moral: everyone has their own shade of weird, so don’t bother being ashamed of yours. I really hope we get more books soon!

See the source image

5 Stars

 

Easter Time Book Tag!

Easter Time Book Tag

The Easter Time Book Tag was created by Theresa @ The Calico Books as were the lovely graphics that I’ve swiped to save myself some time.

1

25428489

When I read this book a few years ago I fell head over heels in love with it but it never took off. It only has 191 ratings on Goodreads and honestly, that’s a crime.

2

33643994

Daughter of the Pirate King was amazing, and it’s always nice to see young writers making it big.

3

35960069

The most recent book I hated to finish was Reflection by Elizabeth Lim. I’m so glad she’s writing another Mulan-inspired story!

4

256683

I buy almost all of my books super cheap, but when I found City of Bones in a thrift store for $0.25 a few months ago I couldn’t believe it.

5

40909460

Rumple Buttercup was the purest read of all time. Perfection. My review will be up next week!

6

20926079

I may have mentioned this before, but The Cattleman Meets His Match was the book I was reading when something clicked and I finally decided to write my own book. A lot of hard work later and The Rancher’s Runaway Bride was born!

7

22299763

Sooooooo many plot twists in Crooked Kingdom.

Divider

My ‘Easter Time’ is going to be filled with final papers and lots and lots of caffeine if I can’t get myself together by tomorrow night! Ugh!

Do you have any easter plans?

Can We Guess Your Age Based On Your Taste In Books? | Buzzfeed Quiz!

age-quiz-title.png

You can take this quiz here if you want to join along!

 

Age Quiz 1

As much as I love Harry Potter, I read A Series of Unfortunate Events at a younger age and loved the series sooooo much.

age-quiz-2.png

Ummmm, I could have answered with any of these! I find more books on Goodreads / book blogs than anywhere else though, so I went with that.

Age Quiz 3

I loved Goosebumps and the cheesy movie adaptations that Cartoon Network used to do.

Age Quiz 4

Big floppy paperbacks 4 lyfe.

Age Quiz 5

I’ve used every ounce of willpower I possess to avoid Pride and Prejudice adaptations until I can actually get around to reading the book. Yet I somehow know that Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are the ultimate couple.

age-quiz-6.png

*insert hysterical laughter here*

How old does buzzfeed think I am?

Age Quiz Results

Not bad! I turn 24 next month! Did you take the quiz? What did you get?

Review: An Amish Kitchen by Beth Wiseman

An Amish KitchenTitle: An Amish Kitchen
Author:
 Beth Wiseman
Publication Date: December 17, 2012
Genre: Amish, Christian Fiction
Format: eBook
Rating:4 Stars


The Amish Kitchen is the Heart of the Home – and the Ideal Setting for Stories of Love and Hope.

Fall in Paradise, Pennsylvania, always brings a brisk change in the weather. This season also ushers in unexpected visitors, new love, and renewed hope for three women.

Fern has a green thumb for growing healing herbs, but longs for love to bloom in her life. Then the next-door neighbor’s oldest son, Abram, comes running into Fern’s kitchen seeking help for his little sister. The crisis soon leads to a promise of romance–until mistrust threatens to end the growing attraction.

Nearby, Hannah runs her parents’ bed and breakfast, Paradise Inn–but her life feels nothing like Paradise. She longs for a man of integrity to enter her life, but never expected him to knock on the front door looking for a room. Will she be able trust Stephen with her future once she discovers his mysterious past?

When a storm blows a tree onto Eve’s farmhouse, she has little choice but to temporarily move her family into her parents’ home. Outside of cooking together in the kitchen, Eve and her mother can’t agree on anything. But this may be just the recipe for hope in healing old wounds.

“Three Amish stories–each celebrating love, family, and faith–all taking place in a tight-knit community where the kitchen truly is the heart of the home.”

Review_I’ve been on a roll with Amish short story collections lately. I really love the ones that Beth Wiseman puts together because they all focus around a central theme which is gently incorporated into all of the stories. This one is obviously all about the kitchen being the heart of the home, so the kitchen is where the main characters connect and come together.

As with both of the other collections I’ve read, Beth Wiseman’s story (the last in the book) was by far my favorite of the three. Two big things set it apart: it was mainly about the relationship between a grown, married woman and her mother, and the romance included in the backdrop isn’t between two self-sure adults, it’s the first romantic experiences of the main character’s 16 year-old sons. I’ve been on a bit of a bender with these collections, so it was super refreshing to get a story about a mother and daughter repairing their relationship through shared time in the kitchen instead of a more traditional love story.

Out of all the stories I’ve read in these collections, Abram, the male MC in the first story, was by far my least favorite. He was surly and rude, and his feelings for Fern go from contempt to love for seemingly no reason at all. I liked Fern well enough, but something about Abram just rubbed me the wrong way, I guess. The plot was still fun and creative, though, and I did enjoy their relationship eventually. The second story was sweet and, in some ways, touched on the relationship between mother and daughter too, although the ending left me wanting a bit more closure. I guess that’s one of the hazards of a short story!

4 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

It’s well known that curling up under a blanket with a good book is the best way to pass a rainy day, but what kind of book should you pick up? Personally, rainy days put me in the mood for dark supernatural and fantasy stories.

I haven’t actually read It, Outlander, or City of Bones yet, but they give me major rainy day vibes!

What’s your favorite rainy day read?