|You can check out the full schedule for the 2014 Book Blogger Love-a-thon here!|
Alexa Loves Books and Kate's Tales of Books and Bands have put together a really awesome weekend event for book bloggers!
I missed a lot of yesterday's festivities and only got to introduce myself, but hope to make up for it today! Some of yesterday's mini-challenges looked like so much fun! (Especially the Book Spine Poetry!)
I'm excited to take part in the Mash-Up!
The challenge is to:
Mash-up your bookish life with a non-bookish hobby/passion/talent you have in real life. For example, if you are passionate about travel, maybe discuss books you want to travel to in real life, authors/characters you’d want to road trip with, etc.
A lot of you commented on yesterday's interview about the fact that I previously lived in Japan. I got into the JET Programme right after I graduated and taught ESL (English as a Second Language) for two years in Nagasaki Prefecture! I had so much fun traveling on vacation, too! If you ever visit Japan, outside of the obvious addition of Tokyo (OMG, visit Tokyo Disney Sea...best park ever!), I highly recommend visiting Kyoto for its beautiful history (temples, castles, and geisha, oh my!) and Hiroshima, which has completely rebuilt itself from the ground up (It's so peaceful now, and if you take the ferry to nearby Miyajima Island, there are roaming deer and monkeys!)
So today, I want to talk about some of my favorite things that have an Asian flair! I'm tentatively planning a return to Japan in 2017. I miss it so much!!! The following titles make me miss it all over again...and might make you feel like you're there! (I am limiting this to TEN because I could go on forever...!)
In no particular order...
1) SHADOWS ON THE MOON by Zoë Marriott
This rendition of Cinderella is dark and not for everyone. I love it, though. It's layered and rich, and really solidifies Zoë as a powerful author. It's also full of Asian elements, and having lived in Japan for two years, I appreciate this all the more. The characters live in a country called 月の光の国 (Tsuki no Hikari no Kuni/The Moonlit Land), which incorporates the feel of Feudal Japan and mixes it with a few Chinese elements while creating her own unique time period. She also creates her own story mythology, building a world where Kage Oribito, or shadow weavers who "can weave illusions from the threads of the world" (pg. 63, UK first edition), live and prosper. I really love the mix of fairy tale, fantasy, and Japan, three of my favorite things!
2) Kyochon Chicken!
Whenever I go to NYC for a book signing or Broadway performance, I love stopping at Kyochon Chicken for lunch! It's located on 5th Avenue between 32nd and 34th Street. We'd been walking by in passing once during their grand opening and they'd been giving away free chicken. It was DELICIOUS, and of course, we had to have more! The restaurant is very popular in Korea. It's fast food, but feels healthier than going to, say, McDonald's. And it's very affordable, too!
My favorite thing to order is the chicken sandwich with this delicious green tea-infused bread that I can't even describe. It's crispy and delicious, though! I think I need to stop there next week when I go to Marissa Meyer's signing at Books of Wonder!!! (I think there's also a Kyochon in California somewhere, and maybe elsewhere as well?)
3) The Dragon King Chronicles series by Ellen Oh
This series is full of fantasy and adventure, completely right up my alley! I wanted to read PROPHECY so badly for so long. Before it ever even had a cover and most people knew about it. I pre-ordered a copy and never had time to read it when it came out. And then I never had time...and I never had time...and then it was easier to wait half a year until the next one was out. This year, I WILL FINALLY READ THIS. Because I love Ellen, and her short story in the DIVERSE ENERGIES Anthology (Which I DID review, but Blogger ate it, and I never re-wrote, so boo...) was my favorite in the collection! The series is set in Hansong, a fantasy version of ancient Korea! Plus, I bumped into Ellen at ALA a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to fangirl gush about her books! *cries*
4) INK by Amanda Sun
Another series I'm crazy excited to read! This one takes place IN Japan, and it's about a Western girl named Katie who is forced to move halfway across the world. The cover is GORGEOUS and really reminds me of traditional rice paper. I also love the way the title, INK, is almost like Japanese calligraphy! There are also the famous cherry blossoms on the cover, and, oh! Just looking at it makes me miss Japan!
I don't play a lot of video games anymore, but one of my favorites is LittleBigPlanet for PlayStation. I love the ability to create and manipulate the environment, plus, Sackboy is just adorable.
When I was playing through the Japanese-themed world, I missed Japan so much! You had sets that looked like traditional temples:
and enemies that looked like delicious sushi:
It was so fun and innovative, but also very nostalgic!
...I think I need to brush off my PS3 and play this again soon!
(Anyone else have the game and want to become LBP friends? We can play together!!)
6) THE NIGHT ITSELF by Zoë Marriott
Yet ANOTHER book I have wanted desperately since the moment it was announced, but haven't read yet! I always import Zoë's books from Book Depository. This time, I didn't. I REALLY want to see the series do well in the USA, so I decided to support the series here. Plus, maybe we'd get a cover I liked better. I do like the new re-design, though, and waiting is really hard for me now...but Candlewick is finally saying it will come here in November....... Can I hold out a little longer??? This sounds like an amazing fantasy series that I will fall for as hard as I did all of Zoë's other books!
7) SILVER PHOENIX and FURY OF THE PHOENIX by Cindy Pon
This series is set in a fantasy version of China, but it's so lush and amazing. It's full of some great mythology and it really felt very traditional! I love Cindy Pon, and can't wait for her to release another novel! I really wish the cover from FURY OF THE PHOENIX was as epic as the cover for the hardcover edition of SILVER PHOENIX. It's so much more striking! Unfortunately, the book was repackaged during the YA Paranormal boom and made to look like every other Twilight clone. And yet IT IS NOT.
When FURY came out, I even put together a large desktop wallpaper featuring the book and won a Contest with Cindy Pon:
8) WHEN YOU WERE HERE by Daisy Whitney
I have been a fan of Daisy Whitney since devouring her debut novel THE MOCKINGBIRDS. When I heard that she was going to write a YA novel about a teenage boy who goes off to Japan in search of answers after his mother passes away, I knew I had to read it IMMEDIATELY. I was SO PLEASED that Daisy featured the tale of Hachi-ko the dog in the novel because I fell for his story so hard when I lived in Japan. To me, you can't have a story about loss without the tale of this brave little dog!
WHEN YOU WERE HERE was everything I wanted and more. It also made the author appeal more to people who had never read her before and resounded with everyone. This made me especially happy!
9) CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS
Ready for one more book I STILL haven't read, but have been coveting since I heard about it...and I pre-ordered it...and, yeah, you know this story...
CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS takes place in a fantasy Southeast Asian environment. The cover is epically amazing. That girl looks FIERCE going through those two statues, and the cover has a very Asian feel to it, don't you think? Ahh, every time I see this cover, I WANT IT!!! HarperCollins just revealed the cover for the book's sequel, EMPIRE OF SHADOWS, and I already want that, too. Better get reading!
10) THE BOOK OF HEROES by Miyuki Miyabe
Do you like books about, well, books? I do! If a book is about a book or an author or some such, I'm immediately going to give it a try! THE BOOK OF HEROES was translated into English. It was originally published in Japan by award-winning author Miyuki Miyabe. The novel has a very traditional Japanese feel, and some of the fantasy elements have a very out-there anime appeal at times. I could see this becoming an animated movie or TV series! It's a very different, original fantasy that I really enjoyed!
I can't wait to see what themes everyone else went with! ^_^