Posted in Book Talk

Top Ten Tuesday: Lovely Wordy Covers 😍

Hey y’all! Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish question idea that was originally created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, from way back in June 2010! Since January 2018, Top Ten Tuesday has been hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Thanks for taking it over! The idea is to make a list of ten books or bookish things on different topics each week. Check out her site for details on how to join and what the upcoming prompts are. 😊 You can also see all the posts from other bloggers linked on each weekly post on their main site.

This week’s prompt is typographic covers. Covers where words are the winner, and that’s all there needs to be. Covers where the title is the focus, and maybe it’s done creatively or just smashed in huge letters so you can’t miss it. I ADORE this topic because I think making an attractive, interesting cover without any usual visuals is an impressive skill, and can be done so well. I found a bunch below!! 😀

The books

The covers are more giant than usual this week since the focus is entirely on the cover!

That’s it for this week! Have you read any of the above books? Link to your posts this week in the comments as well 🙂

Posted in Reviews

Review: Honey & Spice by Bolu Bablola

Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola (Honey and Spice)
Recommended: YES!!
For fake dating gone right, for gestures both grand and minute that matter equally as much, for characters who confront hard truths about themselves and challenge others to do the same, for excellent frienships, and yes, romance too

This is one of the few books this year — maybe the only book this year? — that I finished and feel like it was EASILY a five-star read, smashing through and getting all the way to the top. Loved it. 😍

Summary

Sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship-evasion and the host of the popular student radio show Brown Sugar, she’s made it her mission to make sure the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of “situationships”, players, and heartbreak. But when the Queen of the Unbothered kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” in front of every Blackwellian on campus, she finds her show on the brink.

They’re soon embroiled in a fake relationship to try and salvage their reputations and save their futures. Kiki has never surrendered her heart before, and a player like Malakai won’t be the one to change that, no matter how charming he is or how electric their connection feels. But surprisingly entertaining study sessions and intimate, late-night talks at old-fashioned diners force Kiki to look beyond her own presumptions. Is she ready to open herself up to something deeper?

Thoughts

So many of the women in this book sound like excellent people to be friends with and I wish I knew where to find folks like them. Making friends as an adult is weird, y’all. I think the female friendships in this book were very well done and I adored them. Yes, some of them come about because of a man, and they do talk about their men, but damn if it wasn’t so much more than that. It felt empowering and hilarious and vulnerable all at once.

Continue reading “Review: Honey & Spice by Bolu Bablola”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Where We End & Begin

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 Where We End & Begin by Jane Igharo!
Expected Release: September 27, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE! The stories of people reconnecting after years apart and finding that their love still holds true just makes me swoon and cry happy tears every time. I want Dunni and Obinna to fall in love all over again… while I watch. 😅
  • I also love stories of women making hard decisions to go after what they truly want in life. Dunni certainly seems to be doing that, abandoning the fiance approved by her parents in hopes of a chance to see where things go with Obinna. 🥰
  • I’ve read and/or added several other books by Jane Igharo to my list, and I generally really enjoy them. Part of it is learning about Nigerian culture through the characters, but I also find that her approaches to love stories don’t shy away from painful truths, giving her love stories some realistic pain with the love.

Summary

Dunni hasn’t seen her high school boyfriend, Obinna, since she left Nigeria to attend college in America. Before their devastating separation, they vowed to find their way back to each other one day.

Twelve years later, and their vow is a thing of the past. Dunni works as a geneticist in Seattle and is engaged to a man she doesn’t love but one her parents approve of. Her future is laid out for her, and everything is going according to plan until she returns to Nigeria for a friend’s wedding and runs into Obinna. The shy, awkward boy she loved as a teenager is now a sophisticated, confident man. Things have changed, but there’s still an undeniable connection between them.

As they rediscover each other, their days filled with desire and passion, Dunni is reminded of the beautiful future she once planned with Obinna. But when devastating secrets are revealed and the reckless actions of their past bring new challenges, she’s left questioning everything, including if the love that consumed her as a teenager is still worth holding on to.

Posted in Book Talk

Things I Love and Hate About the Goodreads Redesign

Ugh.

If you use Goodreads and haven’t seen it yet, the book page on their website has been redesigned! Personally I’m not a fan overall, but I tried really hard to think of some positives about it too. 😂 Below are my lists and overall thoughts. Vote below on if you like it or not and drop a comment about why!

Love!

  • The fact that they redesigned it means they’re giving Goodreads more attention than it’s gotten in like a decade. Maybe that will bring some good changes soon!
  • The spot that shows how many people have the book marked as “currently reading” is really cool! It feels more like a community thing with that.
  • It remembers your settings for whether the book page should show the edition&book details or have it collapses by default.
  • The reviews show a breakdown of people you’re friends with or following and how each of them rated the book.
  • The book cover, status, and rating in the left sidebar stays with the main page as you scroll through sections.

Haaaate.

  • The reading status / tags button. I hate that it’s popped into the middle of the screen now — why make me go somewhere else from where I just clicked? I also hate having to select reading status, THEN tags on a new screen. Again, more clicking. Ugh.
  • Everything is HUGE! Why is it all so giant!
  • I can’t get to my individual review page from my review on the books page — only through the “My Books” listing. EDIT: Misty noted that you can see the review page by clicking the date on the review. Added a photo below! Thanks Misty!
  • If you’re looking for other books in the series, you have to scroll WAYYY to the bottom of the page in order to find them. WHY.
  • The book details button to collapse it when it’s open is not intuitive to find as it’s buried under a bunch of stuff instead of remaining at the top as a coherent “open/close” toggle.
  • There’s just SO MUCH on the page and I have to scroll so far to get to any of it. God forbid I’m at the bottom and want to return to the top. A floating Table of Contents with links to each section or TOC embedded in a sidebar would help navigate the page a ton. Even a standard “Back to the top!” floating button! SOMETHING!
  • Randomly get an error saying it cannot load reviews under the Friends and Following section, and retry doesn’t work. Kind of also a pro though, because now I have less scrolling to do!
Continue reading “Things I Love and Hate About the Goodreads Redesign”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Take It From Me by Jamie Beck!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Take It from Me by Jamie Beck released today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: yep
For a book about a person writing a book, for some free therapy, for two characters who blend beautifully well, for a nuanced look at mental illness (Specifically one that’s usually played for laughs, dismissed, feared, etc)

Summary

Wendy Moore hides her collection of pilfered bric-a-brac from everyone, including her husband. He thinks she licked her kleptomania in therapy more than a decade ago. Therapy did help, as did focusing her attention on motherhood. But now Wendy’s gardening and furniture-refinishing hobbies fill up only so much of the day, leaving the recent empty nester lonely and anxious—a combination likely to trigger her little problem. She needs a project, fast. Luckily, Harper Ross—a single, childless younger woman in desperate need of highlights—just moved in next door.

The only thing Harper wants to change is the writer’s block toppling her confidence and career. Then a muse comes knocking. Sensing fodder for a new antagonist, Harper plays along with Wendy’s “helpful” advice while keeping her career a secret so Wendy keeps talking. Sure, she’s torn about profiting off her neighbor’s goodwill—especially when Wendy’s matchmaking actually pans out—but Harper’s novel is practically writing itself.

Just as a real friendship begins to cement, their deceptions come to light, threatening Wendy’s and Harper’s futures and forcing them to reconcile who they are with who they want to be. Easier said than done. 

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Happyish by Jeanette Escudero!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Happyish by Jeanette Escudero published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: yep
For a story with “last day to live” vibes, for a lot of character reflection, for lovely settings and journeys that’ll make your feet itch to wander

Summary

It was supposed to be a good day.

On the one-year anniversary of her divorce, Alex Martinez is getting closure—and margaritas with her two best friends. But just before the celebratory meetup, Alex is clobbered by life once again. Damping the cheer is the diagnosis of a brain tumor she can’t pronounce, a procedure she’d rather postpone, and the prospect of what to say to an already heartbroken mother. Not that Alex plans to tell her anything anytime soon.

Going from blissful to blindsided in one afternoon, Alex has other plans: to be impulsive and embark on an adventure she’ll never forget. Expected destinations: the Grand Canyon, Puerto Rico, and zip-lining through Costa Rica. Unexpected companion: a hiker named David who’s found a woman after his own heart. But no matter how enriching the journey, how long can Alex keep running?

It’s time to accept past griefs, reconnect with her mother, and find her way back to happy. For Alex, whatever the future holds, maybe everything she really needs to face is right where she left it. 

Posted in Book Talk

20 Books of Summer 2022 – Complete!

Hey y’all! In early June, I started my first year challenging the 20 books of summer goal that’s hosted at 746 Books. The goal is to read and review 20 books from June to September 1. The reviewing is the key part!

In my sign up post, I chose to go for 15 based on specific prompts that I wanted to fulfill. I did hit all 15 prompts, as well as a lot of other books that I read and reviewed outside of it! Below is a list of the books I completed for each prompt, as well as the other reviews I posted during the summer. 😊

The 15 prompts & their books

Continue reading “20 Books of Summer 2022 – Complete!”
Posted in Reviews

Review: The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center

Recommended: eh
For ok characters who are sometimes inconsistent, and an ok plot that moves really quickly, and an overall ok read

Summary

She’s got his back. Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka “bodyguard”), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.
He’s got her heart. Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.
They’ve got a secret. When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.
What could possibly go wrong??? Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

Thoughts

This is definitely not my favorite Katherin Center book. It was a lot of small things that built up and brought this one down for me. If it was only one or two things I probably could have gotten over them, but so many all together just bombed it. This one was solidly ok. I read it in two days, but that’s because it was very simple and easy to read rather than that I was so compelled by it. 🤷‍♀️

The first issue that hit me was how much I disliked the overall character voice and style of writing. It’s narrated as though it’s a story being told to the reader by the main character, complete with statements like “I’ll save you the trouble of reading it and summarize for you” when, well, I’m never going to read those documents because they don’t actually exist and I don’t know, it just irked me.

Continue reading “Review: The Bodyguard by Katherine Center”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Seoulmates (9/20/22)

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 Seoulmates by Susan Lee!
Expected Release: September 20, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I’ll basically read any book with a premise of a k-pop star dating a Regular Ol Person. This very specific niche of celebrity trope has absolutely stolen my heart, and I’m really hoping that’s what will happen with Hannah Cho in this book too. ^.^
  • This one blends a few approaches I’ve seen in other books. The MC isn’t interested in/aware of k-pop (Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham), and has a former best friend who became a k-pop star and is now returning home (Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho). Did I mention I enjoyed both of those other books? 😁 In my mind, there’s no way to not enjoy them being combined then with their own new style!
  • The best revenge is a life well-lived, right? It sounds like that’s exactly what Hannah is poised to do when her friends and boyfriend are all into k-pop and essentially ditch Hannah. First of all, shallow. Second of all, her falling in love (you know, probably) with a BFF-turned-idol is delightfully karmic. 😄

Summary

Hannah Cho had the next year all planned out—the perfect summer with her boyfriend, Nate, and then a fun senior year with their friends.

But then Nate does what everyone else in Hannah’s life seems to do—he leaves her, claiming they have nothing in common. He and all her friends are newly obsessed with K-pop and K-dramas, and Hannah is not. After years of trying to embrace the American part and shunning the Korean side of her Korean American identity to fit in, Hannah finds that’s exactly what now has her on the outs.

But someone who does know K-dramas—so well that he’s actually starring in one—is Jacob Kim, Hannah’s former best friend, whom she hasn’t seen in years. He’s desperate for a break from the fame, so a family trip back to San Diego might be just what he needs…that is, if he and Hannah can figure out what went wrong when they last parted and navigate the new feelings developing between them.