I briefly considered doing a TV review instead of book reviews for April because I’ve watched some amazing shows (Legion and Big Little Lies), but more amazing shows are coming out at the end of the month (The Handmaid’s Tale, American Gods) so maybe I’ll wait until May. In the meantime, here are the books that I read this month:
The Magicians by Lev Grossman:
This has been hailed as Harry Potter for adults, though I’d say it’s more Harry Potter meets Narnia meets Catcher in the Rye – a young man gets accepted into a magical college in upstate New York and together with his friends, explores a magical kingdom while musing about the big questions of life, universe, and everything. If you think it sounds derivative and pretentious, then you’re absolutely right. The worldbuilding is nothing new, the characters are some of the worst I have ever seen – whiny, entitled, and self-absorbed – and the story feels both rushed and dragging. I was mildly curious about the TV adaptation, of which I’ve heard good things, but after reading this, I don’t think I want to check it out anymore. 1/5
The Spring Tone by Kazumi Yumoto: (“Spring Organ” in the Vietnamese edition)
I’ve loved the first two book by Kazumi Yumoto, Summer Garden (“The Friend” in English) and Autumn of the Poplar (“The Letters” in English), so I decided to check this out as well. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with this. It explores the same coming-of-age theme as the other two books, but the characters are not as memorable and the conflict feels weak. 1/5
Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo:
I’m putting these two together because they’re really one story split into two books. Out of all the YA series I’ve read over the years, the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo is one of my favorites, so I was quite excited to check out these books. They’re set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy, but while the trilogy is kind of standard YA fare – a “chosen one”, a grand good vs. evil battle, that sort of thing – these two books are on a refreshingly smaller scale.
They’re about a group of young criminals in a city (clearly based on Amsterdam) with the impossible task of breaking into a maximum security prison and rescue a scientist with an important secret (“Six of Crows”) and what happens after that (I can’t reveal the plot of “Crooked Kingdom” without spoiling the first one, so you just have to bear with me.) Basically, it’s a crime thriller/heist story with magical elements. It’s what The Bone Season series could have been. I really enjoyed these. They’re fast-paced, the world is well crafted, and the characters are colorful and sympathetic. I like Six of Crows a bit more, but then again the first one is always better, isn’t it? 4.5/5
A couple of weeks ago, while cleaning out my mom’s closet, I commandeered a bunch of her old blouses – my mom used to be quite the fashionista back in the day, but now she’s retired, so she doesn’t wear them anymore. A lot of her things are out of style (though you never know when they may be back in style again), but some are classic enough or basic enough that I could still wear today.
This blouse, however, isn’t one of those cases (I can’t imagine when a fish-printed blouse would be called “classic” or “basic”). Still, it’s made of silk, and the print looks fun, so I thought I’d give it a try. I expected it to be difficult to style because of the print and the pyjama-ish silhouette, so I kept the rest of the outfit simple, but it turned out quite well, didn’t it? Plus, it’s so nice and comfy. I’m hoping to wear it a lot more this summer.
Top: hand-me-down, Jeans: H&M, Sandals: Clarks
I thought I would struggle a bit with this week’s SIA, inspired by the Korean jogabok wrapping cloth, because it’s so colorful and I don’t have anything like that in my closet. But then I noticed there are white and blue squares in the cloth, and I have just the right piece for it. Then I added some pink and red accents with my belt and shoes, and my bow brooch as the last touch, to mimic the bow in the middle of the cloth – and I’m done. It was way easier than I expected.
Top: Mango, Pants & Heels: local shops, Belt: thrifted, Brooch: vintage
Don’t forget to check out Jen’s blog tomorrow for other looks inspired by this piece!
We’re having our first heat wave of the year, and normally I would grumble about how hot it is, but this year, I’m actually excited as the weather warms up because it means I could bring out my warm-weather clothes. Winter wasn’t particularly long or even particularly cold this year, but for some reason, I was getting tired of my winter wardrobe a lot earlier than usual.
Of course, it helps that I got a new pair of sandals. They fit the “black sandals” hole in my closet; they have wedge heels so they can be dressed up while still being comfy, and they go with everything. I say that’s a winner. Also, they kept my outfit simple and monochromatic – between the lace texture of the tee and the print on the skirt, the outfit is busy enough.
T-shirt: Banana Republic, Skirt: Mango, Sandals: Aldo
Last time I wore these pants, they made me feel French, and this time, my outfit feels vaguely Japanese. It’s probably because it was inspired by this blog of a Japanese stylist, or because of the minimalist styling. I did put on a necklace but I took it off before taking pictures. The outfit doesn’t need it. It’s just right the way it is – simple and to the point. Just like this post 🙂
Top: Earth Music & Ecology, Pants: local shop, Flats: Vagabond
I thought I’d learned my lesson with ordering things online (especially on sale) with this skirt a while ago. But no, apparently I didn’t, because when I saw this shirt for sale on Zalora, I ordered it. It’s a bit different from my normal silhouette, but the website says it’s cotton, so I thought it would be a nice addition to my summer wardrobe. Then I got it and was sorely disappointed. It definitely isn’t cotton (it’s some sort of cotton-polyester blend) and it’s way shorter than I expected – it doesn’t help that I have a long torso. You can see how I slumped a bit in the photos, because if I stood up straight, it would be a crop top on me. And of course, it was on sale so I couldn’t return or exchange it. I don’t have anything high-waist, so I’m going to try it with a skirt next time to see if it can be improved; if not, maybe it can fit my mom. I just hope this is going to be the last time I made this mistake.
Top: Zalora, Blazer: Atmosphere, Jeans: Mango, Boots: Topshop