Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: How to Win a Breakup by Farah Heron (3/21/23)

How to Win a Breakup by Farah Heron
Expected Release Date: March 21, 2023

Check out the Goodreads Giveaway, open until March 21!

Recommended: sure
For a sweet story with some actual mystery to it, for a fun integration of nerdy gamer things that you’ll be in on the joke for if you’re a gamer, for characters who support being their true authentic selves


First, math genius and gamer-nerd Samaya gets dumped by her boyfriend. Then he sabotages her job and hooks up with her frenemy. What could be worse? Clearly, her golden-boy ex is winning the breakup. The only way Samaya can get some rebound cred is to find someone new. Even if she has to fake it.

At a volunteer bake sale, Samaya meets a sweet opportunity. Daniel is a handsome hockey jock and a whiz when it comes to lemon squares and brownies. And he agrees to play along. Quid pro quo. He’ll pretend to be the boyfriend of her dreams if Samaya helps him pass calculus.

This may well be the recipe for the best revenge, but Samaya has no idea how complicated it will get. As they whip up an imitation romance, and a bumbleberry pie, resisting each other’s very real charms proves impossible. Samaya finds herself on an unexpected journey of secrets, self-discovery, and the true meaning of moving on.


This starts off with a premise that could easily fall to the lazy, boring trope where the conflict is driven by people simply not talking to each other. Happily, that lazy boring trope is not where this book draws from. Instead, there’s a well-developed sense of identity and authenticity, as well as mutual support. Considering this is a fake-dating trope, it’s really impressive that it still felt very genuine for the characters!

I loved that they were pretty honest with each other from the start. Even though there’s the one obvious lie of pretending this guy is an excellent gamer, they both focus on staying true to themselves and encouraging each other to do the same. Daniel’s interactions with Samaya’s friends was focused a lot on who he genuinely is, rather than solely on his assumed persona. They even call that out to each other after, which was a heartwarming moment of clarity. This is a critical basis of any relationship, so I was quickly invested in them, regardless of if romance came or it stayed as a strong friendship.

Continue reading “ARC Review: How to Win a Breakup by Farah Heron (3/21/23)”
Posted in Chatty

My new reading goal, fueled by determined frustration!

Alright y’all, I’ve abruptly gotten fed up with myself. I have all these books that I’ve been various degrees of excited about (from not at all to extremely) that are just taking up room on my shelves and NOT BEING READ! AUGH! It’s really starting to get to me — maybe as an early spring-cleaning frenzy is taking hold of me.

So my new abrupt reading goal for the foreseeable future is to read a bunch of books that I’ve actually spent money on. Then I can decide if I want to keep them, or get them off my shelves and make room for others! Gah! I’m running out of room, and if these are duds then I need them OUT!

So here begins my sudden change in TBR plans. 🙂 Although to be fair, my TBR this month is one I literally described as “slightly aimless” and I’ve completed 3 of the 4 books on that original list — AND the fourth book from that list is also on this one. xD

Book of the Month books that are gathering dust

Aardvark Book Club books that I had never heard of

Other books that I bought just to look at apparently

I’m ready to read with the fury and speed of a thousand suns!!!!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller by Meredith Ireland

Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller by Meredith Ireland

Recommended: eh…
If you can be ok with an MC / narrator who is actually an unlikeable dick, if you enjoy academic rivals, if you enjoy mini road trips, then this might work for you. If any of that turns you off… probably pass


Today Tonight Tomorrow meets A Pho Love Story in this whip-smart young adult novel about a girl who embarks on a road trip with her long-time rival to win back her best friend and his girlfriend.

There’s no one Kelsie Miller hates more than Eric Mulvaney Ortiz—the homecoming king, captain of the football team, and academic archrival in her hyper-competitive prep school. But after Kelsie’s best friend, Briana, moves across the country and stops speaking to her, she’ll do anything, even talk to Eric, to find out why.

After they run into each other—literally—at the last high school party of the summer, Eric admits he’s been ghosted by his girlfriend, Jessica. Kelsie tells him she’s had zero contact from Briana since she left their upstate New York town.

Suddenly, a plan is formed: they’ll go on a road trip to the University of Pennsylvania the following week when both Briana and Jessica will be on campus. Together, they’ll do whatever it takes to win back their exes.

What could go wrong?

Used to succeeding in everything, Kelsie and Eric assume they’ll naturally figure out the details on the drive down. What they don’t expect is that the person they actually need may be the one sitting next to them.


The main problem here is that I finished this book 4 days ago and I’ve already almost forgotten it. That alone tells me that it’s not anything wildly special to me, if four days have already let it slip away. I acknowledge as part of that, though, that two things went against this for me immediately:
1. I’m not a fan of road trip stories, which this is like 35% a road trip story
2. I’m not a fan of enemies to lovers where it’s really that one person is just an asshole and there was never actually any animosity needed or present for the other person

The road trip portion is blessedly short, which I was super grateful for because a story entirely in a car is a hard sell for me. Once they get out of the car again I was more into it and able to sink in to the characters a bit more. There were definitely a few moments that made me smile in mild amusement, but there were also moments that were so legitimately unbelievable that they just seemed stupid and forced.

Continue reading “Review: Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller by Meredith Ireland”
Posted in Chatty

Word Origins: Vampires, and vamps, and …lamias?

Hey y’all! In honor of my comfort read mystery book that I posted about yesterday (Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, by the way!) I’m doing a word origin post on vampire today. And I can’t believe I never thought of this before, to be honest, because it had quite a lot to dig into and learn!

Origins of “vampire”

When did it first get used?
1732, in French

What does it mean?
a “spectral being in a human body who maintains semblance of life by leaving the grave at night to suck the warm blood of the living as they sleep”

Or if you want to get a little loose with it, “night-walking, blood-gorged, plague-spreading undead corpses”

Continue reading “Word Origins: Vampires, and vamps, and …lamias?”
Posted in Reviews

A-Z Challenge 2022 Complete!

Hey y’all!

It’s February, and I’m just starting some of my “2022 wrap up” kinds of posts, because I’ve been procrastinating a lot. These posts take a tonnn of formatting which often bores the heck out of me. But finally, it is done: my list of books for the A-Z title challenge, where I read a book that begins with each letter of the English alphabet. Below is the gallery of my 26 representative books from 2022, as well as some notes on each in the section below the gallery!

“But wait!” you cry. “What about those crazy end letters, like V and X and – my god – Z?!

Yep, I got those covered too. This year, I only read two F books and two R books and yet there was a shocking abundance of H books. And Z? I read TWO Z books this year! Wild!

The Gallery of A to Z

The Summary of A to Z

  • C: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty was a book I had planned to read for a while, and I finally did. And I LOVE IT. Enough to buy the second and third books and immediately read them back to back, finishing the whole ~1500 page series in about 2.5 weeks

  • E: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is one that I honestly don’t remember why I read it, but I think it was for a challenge. My overall thoughts at this point are “meh” since I don’t really remember it.

  • F: Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen was a book from Aardvark book club, a new one I joined! It was about Northern Ireland in the 90s and a girl graduating high school and trying to figure out what she wants to do, or at least what she’s able to do in the shitty life she has.

  • H: A Hundred Silent Ways by Marie Jojie was an incredibly emotional hit with a really well-done deaf main character and a love story that’s equal parts pain and harsh truths mixed with genuine “I’d do anything for love” moments. I adored it so much, and I want everyone to know about it.

  • I: I Named My Dog Pushkin by Margarita Gokun Silver is one of those long-time TBR lingerers that I finally bought after admitting that no library was going to have it, for some reason. It was SO FUNNY! I enjoyed it quite a lot, and got a lot of unique insight to Russian culture that I’ve never encountered before.

  • K: Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram was not honestly my favorite, but it was available on a long train ride home when I had finished my other book.

  • M: My Inner Sky by Mari Andrew was an excellent therapeutic read with it’s combination of beautiful words and a beautiful physical presentation through the whole book. I think this will become a mental health re-read for me each year, similarly to Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy.

  • Q: Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf made me feel smart about the words I knew that were touted as the “impressive” words, plus it had an unexpected touch of realism in the murder-mystery plot.

  • S: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty made me think about death a lot, but in a good and healthy way. I will probably re-read this one every few years for both it’s pratical knowledge and the way it makes me reflect on where I’m at

  • T: Take It From Me by Jamie Beck was overall decent, but was unique in it’s handling of a main character with kleptomania, which I have not often seen and especially not in a serious manner (as opposed to being used as a laugh).

So that’s it for 2022’s alphabet challenge! I have some ideas for 2023, but we’ll see where my reading takes me first!

Posted in Reviews

Review: This Is How Your Marriage Ends: A Hopeful Approach to Saving Relationships by Matthew Fray

This Is How Your Marriage Ends: A Hopeful Approach to Saving Relationships by Matthew Fray

Recommended: yes!!
For anyone who interacts with other humans, for anyone who wants to have better relationships of all kinds with others (friendship, coworkers, roommates, etc), for anyone in a long-term relationship or who wants to be, for anyone who shares a living space with other humans


Good people can be bad at relationships.

One night during his divorce, after one too many vodkas and a call with a phone-in-therapist who told him to “journal his feelings,” Matthew Fray started a blog. He needed to figure out how his ex-wife went from the eighteen-year-old college freshman who adored him to the angry woman who thought he was an asshole and left him. As he pieced together the story of his marriage and its end, Matthew began to realize a hard truth: even though he was a decent guy, he was a bad husband.

As he shared raw, uncomfortable, and darkly humorous first-person stories about the lessons he’d learned from his failed marriage, a peculiar thing happened. Matthew started to gain a following. In January 2016 a post he wrote–“She Divorced Me Because I left the Dishes by the Sink”–went viral and was read over four million times.

Filtered through the lens of his own surprising, life-changing experience and his years counseling couples, This Is How Your Marriage Ends exposes the root problem of so many relationships that go wrong. We simply haven’t been taught any of the necessary skills, Matthew explains. In fact, it is sometimes the assumption that we are acting on good intentions that causes us to alienate our partners and foment mistrust.

With the humorous, entertaining, and counterintuitive approach of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and the practical insights of The 5 Love Languages, This is How Your Marriage Ends helps readers identify relationship-killing behavior patterns in their own lives, and offers solutions to break free from the cycles of dysfunction and destruction. It is must-read for every partner no matter what stage-beginning, middle, or even end–of your relationship.


I found this book and author, probably like many, through a New York Times article about his blog post titled “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By The Sink” which he even acknowledges in his book as being part of what got him known. He has an updated version in the book which I appreciated, as it toned down and removed some of the bitterness that still lingered at the original time of writing as well as the man-woman dichotomy presented. He makes room for relationships of all kinds in his book, and that was critical because it’s truly applicable in so many ways.

Look, y’all, I’m not married and frankly I don’t ever plan to be. BUT, I am in a long-term monogamous relationship sharing a house and finances and stuff so it’s basically marriage just without the government being involved. So for me, reading this book was a way to get some advice and more formal tips on being in a relationship. I think I’m doing okay so far, but it’s a skill, and not one I’ve ever had teaching on. I decided to change that, and goddamn was it awesome.

Continue reading “Review: This Is How Your Marriage Ends: A Hopeful Approach to Saving Relationships by Matthew Fray”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q Sutanto (3/14/23)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q Sutanto!
Expected Release: March 14, 2023

Why wait on this one?

  • Y’all, I like reading about old people. And I don’t mean that like “50s” or, god forbid, “30s” as being old. I mean actually elderly. Like septuagenarian and beyond. 75+ ideally! I love glimpses into life at a point I hope to reach someday, and also the wealth of experiences that older people have. Throw that in a novel and it’s ready to go!
  • Okay also.. I kind of relate to older people now, as compared to The Youth. I’m not even thirty yet, but goddamn if I have a clue what the trends and slang are right now. I definitely am at a point where I have to be googling words because I don’t know what they mean from the latest social media platform or trend. (I think it’s currently still TikTok?)
  • It sounds sassy AF y’all. I love that she’s using her observational superpowers to try and take someone down, and I suspect there will be a strong sense of community being formed (a la found family) that I love so much. Take me away!!!


Vera Wong is a lonely little old lady–ah, lady of a certain age–who lives above her forgotten tea shop in the middle of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Despite living alone, Vera is not needy, oh no. She likes nothing more than sipping on a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy detective work on the Internet about what her Gen-Z son is up to.

Then one morning, Vera trudges downstairs to find a curious thing–a dead man in the middle of her tea shop. In his outstretched hand, a flash drive. Vera doesn’t know what comes over her, but after calling the cops like any good citizen would, she sort of . . . swipes the flash drive from the body and tucks it safely into the pocket of her apron. Why? Because Vera is sure she would do a better job than the police possibly could, because nobody sniffs out a wrongdoing quite like a suspicious Chinese mother with time on her hands. Vera knows the killer will be back for the flash drive; all she has to do is watch the increasing number of customers at her shop and figure out which one among them is the killer.

What Vera does not expect is to form friendships with her customers and start to care for each and every one of them. As a protective mother hen, will she end up having to give one of her newfound chicks to the police?

Posted in Chatty

2022 Year in Review, Part 1: Goodreads & Storygraphs Base Stats Version

Hey y’all! GUESS WHAT I’M FINALLY DOING! 😀 My 2022 wrap up posts basically didn’t happen this year because I just didn’t have the energy for it (lots of formatting 😑) but now here we go!

I’m taking a look at compiling all the delicious data about my reading in 2022, starting with what Goodreads gives me and comparing those stats to what Storygraph has of the same. My main reason for that is because Goodreads has some nice simple presentations of info sometimes, BUT Storygraph is what I actually use daily so it’s more accurate. When differing numbers are given, Storygraph is the winner for sure! To be honest there’s not a ton of point in me using Goodreads when it’s data is bad, but I’m not ready to let go yet so 🤷‍♀️ Maybe next year!

Black backgrounds are from Storygraph, and white backgrounds are from Goodreads!

Books read: 145
Pages read: 51,288
Minutes listened: 7.02h

This is one of my highest years ever, somehow! According to Goodreads, I read 142 books in 2020, so by that count I made it to a new record with the book I read entirely on New Years Eve! xD BUT, according to Storygraph (which is probably more accurate since that’s the one I use daily) I read 145 this year (and 143 in 2020) so I’m actually a few over. But either way, DAMN!

Plus, hey!! I listened to a WHOLE audiobook this year! Usually I’ll dip into one but stop.

Continue reading “2022 Year in Review, Part 1: Goodreads & Storygraphs Base Stats Version”