Format: eARC

ARC Review: The Friend Zone

Posted June 20, 2019 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
ARC Review: The Friend Zone

I had this book for a very long time and AS USUAL my terrible reading habits got in the way. I ended up starting this the week it published and wanted to turn my review around quickly. (I even knew that I’d need a full-length review for this one… something that hasn’t been seen on my blog in a while!) I love Forever Romance so much – please check into them if you live under a rock haven’t read my blog in a while. I had enough time to see early readers’ reviews of this one and let’s be real – the hype was huuuuge. I saw from others that it would make me laugh AND cry, so that’s my favorite kind of book. It didn’t take me that long to warm up to these characters. Josh, who just moved to California to work at the firehouse with his best friend, literally ran into Kristen on his way there. Turns out, they’re both in the wedding of Sloan and Brandon, maid of honor and best man, respectively. They didn’t get off to the best start but when Kristen needs help with her business, Josh is the only logical person to help her out. They become quick friends and Josh spends a lot of time at her house, while Kristen gears up for her deployed boyfriend to come home. Naturally they catch some feelings. I like that this was a slow-burn, where Kristen was already questioning her feelings for her boyfriend, […]

Blog Tour | Cover Colors: Screen Queens

Posted June 5, 2019 / Book Reviews, Cover Colors, Features / 0 Comments
Blog Tour | Cover Colors: Screen Queens

Mini Review This book just looked so girl-power-ish and I am here for it. I loved that they’d be taking on the tech world and Silicon Valley, especially because I read this right before heading off on a trip to San Francisco for this week! It centers around the three girls featured on the cover and their experience at ValleyStart, a prestigious tech incubator/summer internship. Lucy has tech running in her family, growing up local to Palo Alto. Maddie is from the Boston area and is hoping to beef up her graphic design portfolio, while missing her brother on the East Coast. And finally, Delia: she taught herself how to code and now she has to see if she can match up to everyone else at ValleyStart. I didn’t love Lucy at the beginning because she was a little irritating, with her constant chatter and semi-rude comments to Maddie when they first met. She grew on me the more I got to know her and understand why she struggled (under her mom’s big name and general pressure to succeed). To be completely honest, each of these girls had their own flaws that made them different from each other, as well as their own individual strengths. I loved that they were imperfect and trying their best in the “Dave-dominated” tech world. They came out of their shells (well, Lucy was already very much out of her shell already!) and grew together as a team. I loved the idea for their app, […]

Blog Tour | Review: Summer on Mirror Lake

Posted June 3, 2019 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
Blog Tour | Review: Summer on Mirror Lake

Review I was itching to return to Honeymoon Harbor – one of my favorite small-town settings! I fell right back in love with it from the first couple of chapters. I was worried that I’d forget the previous books (I seriously read too many cute small town companion series; I thought I would mix them up), but Ross did a nice job of reintroducing me to the town. It’d be easy to start in the middle of this series if you were unable to start at the beginning, that’s for sure. This story centers around Gabe and Chelsea. Gabe, one of the infamous Mannion brothers of Honeymoon Harbor, returns home to the Pacific Northwest after a health scare in NYC, where he has been working himself to the bone on Wall Street. Chelsea, a local librarian, begins caring for two foster children, and begins a wonderful summer romance with Gabe. I loved how honest they were about their attraction and nervousness on their first “date” – that’s always my favorite kind of romance. Miscommunication and lack of openness can lead to the black moment in romance too often and it’s refreshing to read something else. Chelsea was a great character – I loved that she was definitely not afraid to be herself and stand up for her opinions. The early scene where she talked about romance books with Gabe was perfection. (I may just have a soft spot for bookish /  librarian MCs!) As I alluded to before, the romance […]

ARC Review: Hungry Hearts

Posted May 24, 2019 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
ARC Review: Hungry Hearts

I was so excited for this anthology because I’m a huge fan of food (of all types) and short story collections in general! I love even MORE when the stories are connected. In this case, all of these occur on Hungry Hearts Row, a place where “magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.” As usual, I’ll be sharing mini reviews and ratings for each story, plus overall feelings and an average rating for the whole anthology. Rain by Sangu Mandanna I’m glad that the first story introduced the setting of Hungry Hearts Row, because I was curious about how they would set that scene if someone didn’t read the synopsis. The main character comes in from England and talks about the Indian food from her mother’s home. She’s grieving her mother and struggling to keep a connectiong with her father throughout the story, so it was a bit melancholy. I loved how she connected her mother with food (specifically her favorite dish). Such a cute and simple story about family, loss, and food… and how all three connect to keep someone’s memory alive. Kings and Queens by Elsie Chapman I loved the exploration Chinese food here, especially because it has become so Westernized in American Chinese restaurants. (I also loved that the first connections between the stories starting already, because this family’s restaurant was referenced in the first story and there were a few characters I assume will come around later.) It took a turn I […]

Blog Tour | Review: Romanov

Posted May 13, 2019 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments
Blog Tour | Review: Romanov

When I signed up for the Retellings Challenge this year, it was definitely intended to be an actual challenge for me. I love retellings in theory and have read a decent number of them, but I still focus so heavily on contemporary fiction. Add in the fact that ROMANOV is also historical fiction, and I knew it would be a great push out of my comfort zone. I’m a fan of the movie Anastasia of course because WHO ISN’T? so I signed up quickly for this blog tour. Killing a lot of birds with one stone! I digress. I was right: this book was definitely different than the other stories I have been reading this year! The Russian folklore/themes were a really nice change of pace for me. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy other genres 😳 It’s clear that Brandes did a lot of research on the history of the Romanov family and what the setting would have been like during that time. The story begins with Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov and her journey, with her family, into exile. She is tasked with stealing an ancient spell (through a doll) along with them. The first half or so of the book involves their travel and the rest of the book involves the more ~magical~ elements. I loved that the spell was connected to the Russian nesting dolls I’m familiar with. It personally took me a little while to get into this, but I feel it’s for a lot of […]

Review Round Up | Fumbled, The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project, and There’s Something About Sweetie

Posted May 6, 2019 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 0 Comments
Review Round Up | Fumbled, The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project, and There’s Something About Sweetie

In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews! I really enjoyed INTERCEPTED, despite the incessant internal hashtagging that the main character did. There were some parts I didn’t love about that book though, so I was slightly concerned but optimistic about FUMBLED. I really had nothing to worry about though, because this book was even better than the first! I loved TK when he made appearances in the first book so I was super excited to see that this starred him, in a second chance romance. Poppy and TK were together in high school… and TK has no idea that her nine-year old son is his. When they cross paths again at a club where Poppy works, sparks fly and she knows the truth will have to come out. I appreciated that this piece of drama was not dragged out; the honest moment happened early on instead of way-too-late like it would in most books. TK and Poppy had reasonable arguments, discussions, and conversations about everything. I loved their openness. There were actually quite a few moments where I expected there to be friction between them (about money, parenting style, etc.) that were handled perfect well and logically. It was genuinely refreshing to read in a romance novel where one person is a celebrity/athlete and […]

ARC Review Round Up | The Truth About Leaving, You Owe Me a Murder, and The Dating Game

Posted April 26, 2019 / Book Reviews, Review Roundup / 5 Comments
ARC Review Round Up | The Truth About Leaving, You Owe Me a Murder, and The Dating Game

In an effort to cut down on posts and burnout, my Review Roundups will feature 2-4 books I’ve read or listened to recently. Sometimes they’re newer releases and sometimes they’re all backlist titles. My ARC reviews usually get the solo treatment. Enjoy the mini reviews! I sincerely loved Blitt’s debut and have been eagerly awaiting her next YA release! THE TRUTH ABOUT LEAVING intrigued me, as I haven’t read many books involving Jewish characters (especially ones straight from Israel, now living in the United States). I actually read this book in one sitting without planning for it; it was easy to fall into and get lost in. Blitt’s writing is easy in that way, which is a great thing. The story centers around Lucy, who is in her final year of high school and trying to balance everything – helping with her brothers while her mom is away, figuring out what she wants to do about college, getting back into her old hobbies, and that new boy in town. Dov is the aforementioned character who comes to the US from Israel for a year, transferring into her senior class. Despite the very different futures they have planned, they quickly fall for each other. While the plot itself is pretty straightforward and simple (meaning not much actually happens – just a lot of character development and “finding yourself” moments), the bigger issues are definitely covered well. They have different lives, different plans, and different family situations. I thought they had pretty good chemistry […]

ARC Reviews: The Bride Test and Meet Cute

Posted April 18, 2019 / Book Reviews / 4 Comments
ARC Reviews: The Bride Test and Meet Cute

HOW DOES HELEN HOANG DO IT? This was perfection. Hoang writes such unique romances in just about every way, but especially the circumstances in which the characters get together (an “arranged marriage” here and the whole “male escort” thing KISS QUOTIENT). When Khai’s mom heads to Vietnam to essentially hand-pick a woman for her son to marry, she finds that Esme, who is working in the restroom, would be the perfect match. She is hesitant at first because she has a young daughter, mother, and grandmother to support. Her mother insists that she comes to California for the summer to try to make things work with him. She can also try to find her father, an American on business who never knew he got her mother pregnant. She eventually agrees for those reasons – why not give it a shot? Khai, on the other hand, just decides to appease his mom, live with Esme, and see what happens. He was obviously in for a surprise when he found himself instantly fascinated by her. I was completely charmed by both Esme and Khai; they were totally lovable in their different ways. Esme talked a lot while Khai would just take it all in. They were opposites but complementary. Watching them open up to each other was so entertaining and heartwarming. They didn’t just grow as a pair, but absolutely grew as individuals too. Esme learned about her own interests and goals while Khai opened up to the fact that he DOES have […]

Blog Tour Review & Cover Colors: Last Girl Lied To

Posted April 10, 2019 / Book Reviews / 3 Comments
Blog Tour Review & Cover Colors: Last Girl Lied To

Review I was a huuuuge fan of Flynn’s debut novel, FIRSTS, so I was super eager to find out what she’d be writing next. She started with a contemporary and then, for her sophomore novel, moved into mystery. I could totally see her knocking this kind of book out of the park, along with a new-ish pen name to match the new genre. Needless to say, I signed up for this blog tour so quickly! This book was incredibly addicting. There’s something about her writing that makes you want to keep reading until the book is over; I remember the same feeling with FIRSTS and reading it in 1-2 sittings. It also helped that the chapters were often really short and easy to breeze through, eager to see what would happen next. Fiona recounts the night Trixie supposedly walked into the ocean and various points of their friendship, while living her life in present day, trying to figure out what happened that night. I liked that the book was mostly about Fiona’s relationship with herself (and her body image issues), trying to remember who she was before and during her friendship with Trixie, in order to figure out who she actually is without any friends influencing her too much. There was a common pattern where she’d mold herself into whatever her friends needed her to be, which caused her to lose sight of things she loved (like fashion and making clothes). As I said, she’s also trying to figure out what […]

ARC Review: The Princess and the Fangirl

Posted March 21, 2019 / Book Reviews / 6 Comments
ARC Review: The Princess and the Fangirl

Initial Excitement & Summary I adored GEEKERELLA and was SO excited to see a companion sequel. I already need there to be a million books in this series. The first book was basically a love letter to being a fan, attending cons, and geek culture as a whole. I’m not QUITE as into fandom things (for anything really) as many of my friends, but I totally get it. While the first book was a Cinderella retelling, this was a Princess and the Pauper retelling – the classic situation where two people look like each other and switch lives for a few days. In this case, the actor who plays Princess Amara in Starfield (Jess) switches place with Imogen (a Starfield fan and leader of the “Save Amara” movement). The two switch lives so Jess can track down who leaked the new Starfield script. Storytelling & Characters Just like the first book, this was filled with geeky references that I loved. (Sometimes it feels like a little too much, but not bad! – I liked that Jess was not really a geeky character so the references were only during one of the POVs.) The Princess and the Pauper trope was really well done and super fun to follow in a con setting. I enjoyed both Jess and Imogen as main characters. Jess was hard to get used to in the beginning because she didn’t like Starfield; it was off-putting to hear her grouchy inner monologue. This definitely changed throughout the book […]