April 12, 2021

Angela Mi Young Hur: "Folklorn" (ARC Review)

Title: Folklorn  [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: None
Author: Angela Mi Young Hur [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Contemporary with a Twist
Year: 2021
Age: 18+
Stars: 4/5
Pros: Imaginative yet honest depiction of immigrant trauma and a woman's place/struggles in Korean culture. Rich and well-written.
Cons: Mostly gloomy. The lead remains at a distance if you haven't shared her same experiences.
WARNING! Domestic abuse. A character suffers from schizophrenia.
Will appeal to: Those who love a family saga (albeit dark) and East-Asian folklore. Those who have experienced  immigration and displacement firsthand.

Blurb: Elsa Park is a particle physicist at the top of her game, stationed at a neutrino observatory in the Antarctic, confident she's put enough distance between her ambitions and the family ghosts she's run from all her life. But it isn't long before her childhood imaginary friend comes to claim her at last. Years ago, Elsa's now-catatonic mother had warned her that the women of their line were doomed to repeat the narrative lives of their ancestors from Korean myth and legend. But beyond these ghosts, Elsa also faces a more earthly fate: the mental illness and generational trauma that run in her immigrant family. When her mother breaks her decade-long silence and tragedy strikes, Elsa must return to her childhood home in California. There, among family wrestling with their own demons, she unravels the secrets hidden in the handwritten pages of her mother’s dark stories. (Amazon excerpt)

Review: First off...DISCLAIMER: I requested this title on NetGalley and Edelweiss, and got approved for it on both sites. Thanks to Erewhon Books for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.


I have to be honest: I expected something different when I requested this book - something where the magical realism angle was more prominent, or just incorporated in a different manner. Then again (and this is still me being honest), upon rereading the blurb after turning the last page, I realised that I hadn't been lied to or led astray, except by my own wishful thinking, since I love stories where magical realism permeates the whole narrative. I did appreciate Folklorn nevertheless, but keep in mind that I might not be the best audience for this kind of book.
Folklorn is, basically, the story of a woman (Elsa) growing up into a toxic family and experiencing different shades of racism in modern-day America, trying to establish her identity by distancing herself both from her family and her roots, and ultimately realising that the only way to become whole is to confront them both. Told in an alternation of present tense and flashbacks, peppered with mythical tales about women's sacrifice, dominated by a mother figure torn between thinking her line is doomed to repeat the tragedies of the past and hoping her daughter can break the curse, with a thread of magical realism and a dash of romance (not precisely instalove, but quite close), Folklorn is many things: a family epic with a broken center, populated by siblings who are part real, part imagined and part (maybe) lost; a bildungsroman; an immigrant saga; a testament to all the women who have been abused by their own culture; and even a physics textbook that doubles as a real-life paradigm. [...]

April 04, 2021

The Usual Mess

 Hi sweeties,

and in case you celebrate...Happy Easter! 🐰

I was DYING to have an excuse to post this gif LOL

This is one of those posts. You know, those where I rant and vent out and basically acknowledge that my life is shit and I can't do a damned thing about it. I wish I could say that I'll try to keep it short, if not sweet, but what are the odds? LOL.

(BTW, I was supposed to post a new installment in my Tooting Your Trumpet series today, except all the posts I had lined up seem to have made the rounds on everyone else's blogs already, so why bother? 🤷‍♀️ All but Lissa's excellent ones about digital art - or traditional and digital art combo - completed with tips, which, if you're interested in the topic, can be found here and here).

So, brace yourselves for the rant/vent...

March 28, 2021

Taste the Books: Review Morsels #22 Colleen Nelson, Kali Wallace, Sean McGinty


Hello beauties!

Welcome again to my own brand of mini reviews! I never thought I'd do minis, until I recapped a few of my long reviews in some digest post in 2014, and then guest-posted some shorties for a blogging event in 2015. And Karen from For What It's Worth started praising my short recs/recaps 😊. Just to be clear,  I'm NOT taking a break from writing long reviews - no such luck LOL. But while I'm making up my mind about a new book I've read, or in case I want to draw attention to some old ones I've already reviewed, I might as well give you the short version 😉. Just be warned - this feature will be VERY random!

Note: all the mini-blurbs (in italics) are of my own creation.