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Surviving life after death

Here are my latest book recommendations for Northwest Asian Weekly:

Dove Arising
By Karen Bao
Viking, 2015

Phaet Theta, a teenage girl of Chinese descent who has grown up on a colony on the moon, has only known one way of life, one of strict rules, military-like police and the law enforcement and the Committee — their governing body — watching over citizens through audio receptors in implanted hand-screens.

After her father died about nine years ago, Phaet (pronounced like fate) has barely spoken, relying on her best friend Umbriel to speak for her. She spends most of her time staying off the government’s radar, cultivating plants in Greenhouse 22.

But then her mother is arrested and all of a sudden, 15-year-old Phaet has to step up and figure out a way to take care of her two younger siblings.

The only way she sees to do this is to enlist in the Militia, the colony’s law enforcement entity. Once she enters training, Phaet must work extra hard to make it to the top of her class in order to secure the highest ranking, and as a result, the highest paycheck.

At the beginning of “Dove,” Phaet is nearly mute, but as the story progresses, she learns to use her voice — both literally and figuratively, as she begins to stand up for herself and the injustices she sees around her.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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Hold on — Series that keep you reading

Here are my latest book recommendations for Northwest Asian Weekly:

Infiltrator
By Peter Stone
Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2014

Ethan Jones and the remaining members of his ragtag team of foragers are back in the second installment of Stone’s Dystopian trilogy. The group is on their way back to Newhome, the post-apocalyptic Australian town where Ethan and his friends — with the exception of his Japanese wife, Nanako — grew up.

It is Nanako’s dream for her and Ethan to return to a relatively normal life, especially after they leave her hometown of Hamamachi under the less-than-ideal circumstances of being accused of being terrorists.

Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse almost the moment they pass through the gates into Newhome.

First, there’s a senior custodian officer (Newhome’s law enforcement) who has it out for the teenaged couple. Then there’s Ethans jilted, ex-fiancee, who has made it her mission to make Nanako’s life a living hell. And to top it all off, there is a sniper among the Skels — wandering scavengers, attacking anyone who comes in their way — terrorizing and killing custodians and civilians of Newhome alike.

In addition, memories from Ethan’s lost year — thanks to a bout of amnesia after he was shot in the head a few years earlier — begin to return. But not all of the returning memories are good as he begins to realize he spent that year as a Hamamachi Ranger — that community’s elite law enforcement group that is not all what it seems.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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Ghost stories — Books that will make you enjoy being scared

Here are my latest book recommendations for Northwest Asian Weekly:

Deadly Love
By Wesley Robert Lowe
Wesley Lowe Media, 2014

Five years ago, 20-year-old actress Jasmine Huang died in Beijing. She had asked her boyfriend Chris to rehearse with her for an audition for the role of a battered woman.

She was convinced he needed to make the pain real, as this role would be the biggest of her life. Unfortunately, things went too far and Jasmine died.

Haunted by not knowing the truth surrounding her death, Jasmine spent years stalking Chris. She is in Chinatown in Vancouver, B.C. when she learns what had really happened. Feeling at peace with the truth, Jasmine prepares to leave the natural world for the Next Place. But then she hears her daughter Mei-Mei — who she gave birth to eight months after her death — call her back to earth.

“Deadly Love” is Jasmine’s story as she searches for her daughter, who, despite having been born to a ghost, has somehow grown into an energetic and rambunctious 4-year-old. Along the way, Jasmine encounters Buddy, the lecherous ghost of an old Chinese man, and Tanya, a 14-year-old prostitute and her demon pimp (literally) Larry.

Despite her reservations, Jasmine asks for their help in her search for Mei-Mei.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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BOOK RECS: Remembering family, new year must-reads

Here are my latest book recommendations for the Northwest Asian Weekly:

Noodle Magic
Written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, Illustrated by Meilo So
Orchard Books, 2014

Each year, on the emperor’s birthday, everyone in Mei’s village prepares something special in their leader’s honor.

For Mei and Grandpa Tu, that means making enough long-life noodles to feed everyone at the celebration. But these noodles aren’t just any noodles. Grandpa Tu’s noodles are magical. In addition to eating the noodles, they can be used to string kites, as jump ropes, and to catch clouds.

Usually, it is Grandpa Tu who makes the noodles, but this year, he has handed the task over to Mei. With her grandfather’s ability being the stuff of legends — impressing even the Moon Goddess — Mei is understandably terrified with what awaits her.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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All about action — Book recommendations

Here are my latest book recommendations for the Northwest Asian Weekly:

Tiger
By Wesley Robert Lowe
Wesley Lowe Media

At 28, Micah Keating is fresh out of law school and traveling back to Hong Kong to start his new law career at one of the country’s top firms.

On his first day, Micah meets Brenda, the daughter of his boss, Garret Southam. Micah is immediately smitten, but Brenda, having grown up around lawyers, is less than impressed. The two are assigned a seemingly boring – but multi-billion dollar – client.

It soon becomes clear that not all is what it seems and that Garret is the attorney for Chin, a Triad leader and psychopathic Shaolin kung fu master, and Micah and Brenda’s client is actually a cover for Chin’s dealings. In addition, Garret and his best friend Tommy (father to Brenda’s best friend Abby) have ripped off the crime boss for billions of dollars.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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Gaming, gender shifts, and a Samurai among Panthers

Here are my latest book recommendations for the Northwest Asian Weekly:

In Real Life
Written by Cory Doctorow, Illustrated by Jen Wang
First Second, 2014

After a guest speaker visits her class at school, Anda joins the world of Coarsegold Online, a massively multiplayer role-playing game.

She ends up spending most of her free time playing and for the naturally shy and quiet Anda, it’s a place she can be a take-charge leader and hero. And as Anda gains confidence in her skills as a gamer, it begins to show in other areas of her life.

Through Coarsegold, she meets and makes friends with people from all over the world, but when she meets a gold farmer played by a poor Chinese teen, things get more complicated.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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Women in control — Reading recommendations

Here are my latest book recommendations for Northwest Asian Weekly:

Real Dangerous Girl
By Kim Oh
Editions Herodiade, 2013

As a teen and young adult, Kim Oh has worked hard, keeping her nose to the grindstone. Never mind that her boss McIntyre is one of the most corrupt men – if not the most  – in Los Angeles, who has no compunction hiring a hit man to get rid of his business competition.

As McIntyre’s bookkeeper, Kim has been the one to cut the checks for the hit man in question, a slightly psychotic man named Cole.

But when McIntyre decides to go legit with his business dealings, both Kim and Cole each find themselves out of a job. Kim is desperate for money to support herself and her younger brother. Cole is now crippled after a bullet meant to kill him didn’t quite do the job. The two team up – at Kim’s insistence – to seek revenge on their former employer.

While Kim starts out as a timid, naïve young woman, who still has some faith in humanity (despite who her boss and his associates are), she quickly grows up when she finds herself in a tight spot. Instead of wallowing and pitying herself for her bad luck, she decides to do something about it. And even though her response to the situation is probably more violent than recommended, the fact that she is taking her life and destiny into her own hands is quite admirable.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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