Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Have I Told You This Already? by Lauren Graham (11/15/22)

WELL IT’S BEEN A MINUTE SINCE I HAD A BOOK I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO…

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 Have I Told You This Already? by Lauren Graham!
Expected Release: November 15, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Oddly, no, I have never seen Gilmore Girls and have no idea who Lauren Graham is. That’s not a pull for me here. Although I am curious to see if, after reading this, I’ll end up wanting to watch the Gilmore Girls for the first time, which could be fun if there are some stories of insight on the show in this collection.
  • A big part of my interest here is in my recently found love of essay collections. While saying that makes me feel super boring, it really comes down to the fact that I just love hearing people’s stories, and the collections tend to allow a person’s voice to really shine through in different ways.
  • I also recently finished The Office BFFs by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey and that certainly did spike me off on another watch through of The Office. Women in entertainment seems to be my theme in reading right now, and judging by how popular the tv series was (is?) and some of the examples in the blurb, I think this will be fun and heartfelt and lovely.

Summary

Candid, insightful, and wildly entertaining essays about life, love, and lessons learned as an actress in Hollywood, from the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and New York Times bestselling author of Talking as Fast as I Can.

With her signature sense of humor and down-to-earth storytelling, Lauren Graham opens up about her years working in the entertainment business—from the sublime to the ridiculous—and shares personal stories about everything from family and friendship to the challenges of aging gracefully in Hollywood. In “RIP Barneys New York,” she writes about an early job as a salesperson at the legendary department store — and the time she inadvertently shoplifted; in “Ne Oublie” she warns us about the perils of coming from an extremely forgetful family; and in “Actor-y Factory” she recounts what a day in the life of an actor looks like (unless you’re Brad Pitt).

Filled with surprising anecdotes, sage advice, and laugh-out-loud observations, Graham’s latest collection of all-new, original essays showcases the winning charm and wit that she’s known for.

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 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.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: She’s Nice Though by Mia Mercado (8/30/22)

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 She’s Nice Though by Mia Mercado!
Expected Release: August 30, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • This is a collection of essays and musings on societal expectations and stereotypes, which is always something that fascinates me. The social science behind decisions is often such a web to untangle, and I love going on that journey with someone. The blurb highlights a focus on Asians, Midwesterners, and women and some common ones that come to them: being “nice” in particular.
  • And you know what? I bet it’ll be funny. I bet I will half the time be cackling and the other half be thoughtfully tilting my head. If I’m really lucky, there’s be a bit of both at once.
  • The author’s other work, Weird but Normal, also sounds like something I’d like. That gives me a lot of hope that if I like one, I’ll like the other, and then potentially have two great books to add to my list! Humorous and personally introspective nonfiction is some of my favorite. Also as a side thing, to be 100% honest, the bright yellow cover absolutely makes me like it more, PLUS the cover format of title-on-cake looks like Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come by Jessica Pan which I LOVED.

Summary

And, at the center of it all, am I actually nice or am I just performing a role I think I’m expected to play?”

Mia Mercado is a razor-sharp cultural critic and essayist known for her witty and hilarious dissections of the uncomfortable truths that rule our lives. In this thought-provoking collection of new essays, Mercado examines what it means to be “polite,” “agreeable,” and “nice.” She covers topics from the subtleties of the “Bad Bitch” and why women dominate the ASMR market, to what makes her dog an adorable little freak and how you know if you’re shy. This is a book about the unspoken trick mirror of our “good” intentions: the inherent performance of the social media apology, celebrating men when they do the bare minimum, and why we trust a Midwesterner to watch our stuff when we go pee.

Throughout, she ponders her identity as an Asian woman and asks what “nice” even means–and why anyone would want to be it. With writing that is as precise as it is profound, and cultural references that range from trash reality television to the New York Times Sunday-morning crossword puzzle, Mercado uncovers weird, long-overdue truths about our frailties and failings. In the end, she sees them not as a source of shame but as a cause for celebration. Filled with revelations that range from the silly to the serious,

She’s Nice Though offers a mind-bending glimpse into the illusions and delusions of contemporary life–and reveals who we *really* are when no one is watching.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club (8/16/22)

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 Sophie Go’s Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim!
Expected Release: August 16, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Romance and meet-cutes are all well and good, but I do love something about matchmaking. It seems lovely to have someone who gets to know you so well they can recommend someone to you whom you might want to spend your life with. Sophie is taking a swing at being exactly that, even if she technically doesn’t have her degree in it. Side note: there are schools on matchmaking?
  • It’s all men in their 70s who are getting match-made, and I have really high hopes for that. I love love at all points in life, but I worry this could end up being treated in a really trite or cruelly comical way. Roselle, please do it justice!
  • This is prime to be sweet and tender and heartbreaking and make me cry a lot of different kinds of tears.

Summary

Newly minted professional matchmaker Sophie Go has returned to Toronto, her hometown, after spending three years in Shanghai. Her job is made quite difficult, however, when she is revealed as a fraud—she never actually graduated from matchmaking school. In a competitive market like Toronto, no one wants to take a chance on an inexperienced and unaccredited matchmaker, and soon Sophie becomes an outcast.

In dire search of clients, Sophie stumbles upon a secret club within her condo complex: the Old Ducks, seven septuagenarian Chinese bachelors who never found love. Somehow, she convinces them to hire her, but her matchmaking skills are put to the test as she learns the depths of loneliness, heartbreak, and love by attempting to make the hardest matches of her life.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Such A Good Mother (8/2/22)

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 Such a Good Mother by Helen Monks Takhar!
Expected Release: August 2, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • 1As much as I’m not interested in ever being a mother, I seem to freakin’ love domestic thriller-y stories about intense moms who seem to have their shit 100% together and do social media beauty shots, BUT — there tends to be a dark AF underbelly and I relish it.
  • Y’all the super mom clique is literally called The Circle and if that’s not the most obvious delightful name ever I don’t know what is. They aren’t pretending AT ALL to not be stuck up and awful. I can’t wait. I wonder if they actually are awful people? Hmm.
  • When the blurb has already prefaced the story with a death — a MYSTERIOUS death — I can only imagine what else is coming. Did she not wear pink on Wednesday and they made it so she couldn’t sit with them EVER?

Summary

Rose O’Connell is barely surviving. Her relationship with her husband is on the rocks and their son has isn’t fitting in at his new school, the prestigious Woolf Academy. Their tiny flat in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood–the very place Rose grew up as the daughter of an infamous local con artist–can barely contain her family. Rose can’t catch a professional break either, trapped in the same junior bank teller role for years. Life as the only mom in a nametag and uniform at The Woolf’s shiny school gates isn’t easy.

Not so for those in the elite and secretive Circle, a tight-knit group of mothers who rule the school, led by the charismatic and glamorous Amala Kaur. In exchange for supporting The Woolf’s relentless fundraising and public image drives, the women enjoy lucrative business opportunities, special privileges for their children, and the admiration of the entire community.

After the mysterious death of one of The Circle’s members, Rose dares to hope that filling the vacancy could set her family up for success. And when Amala makes the shocking decision to invite Rose into their clique, her fortunes, self-esteem, and status soar. But the deeper Rose gets inside The Circle, the darker the secrets lurking within every perfectly Instagrammable life. Far from being a dream come true, being inside The Circle could prove Rose’s worst nightmare…

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Long Story Short (7/26/22)

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 Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor!
Expected Release: July 26, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Wow am I a sucker for people doing that thing where they make a list of experiences to turn their life around, or change direction, or prove a point. Turns out my own love of lists translates into feeling kinship with characters who embrace them as well. xD
  • SHAKESPEARE CAMP! HELLO MY LANGUAGE LOVER SIDE! I am desperately hoping for old timey insults that make me cackle, and moody pining in Middle English, and the joy of acting and the fun that can be had with costumes and stage kisses. 🥰
  • I grew up in New England, so it being set in Connecticut will feel like a familiar comfort to me. The water, the green, the fresh air. The swanky preppy boat shoe boys (I assume). Not like that was my life, but the stereotype, right? xD I digress. I like the setting. 😁

Summary

Growing up homeschooled in Berkeley, California, Beatrice Quinn is a statistical genius who has dreamed her whole life of discovering new mathematical challenges at a school like Oxford University. She always thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. But while math has always made sense to Beatrice, making friends is a problem she hasn’t been able to solve, so her parents are worried about sending her halfway across the world. The compromise: the Connecticut Shakespearean Summer Academy and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. She has six weeks to show her parents she can pull off the role of “normal” teenager and won’t spend the rest of her life hiding in a library.

Unfortunately, hearts and hormones don’t follow any rules, and there is no equation for teenage interactions. When she’s adopted by a group of eclectic theater kids, and immediately makes an enemy of the popular—and, annoyingly gorgeous—British son of the camp founders, she realizes that relationships are trickier than calculus. With her future on the line, this girl genius stumbles through illicit parties, double dog dares, and more than your fair share of Shakespeare. But before the final curtain falls, will Beatrice realize that there’s more to life than she can find in the pages of a book?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Bodyguard (7/19/22)

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 The Bodyguard by Katherine Center!
Expected Release: July 19, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • MORE FAKE DATING MORE FAKE DATING MORE FAKE DATING! I’m pretty sure 3 of the last 4 books I’ve added for Fast Forward Friday have had fake dating, and a bunch of recent reads had fake dating, and I have no idea why I’m on such a fake dating kick. But it’ll be continuing on the 19th for sure. 😁
  • A twist! I adore that the man is NOT the bodyguard 😎 Take that, gender norms! I’m hoping the usual gender stereotypes are appropriately turned on their head in this — and it doesn’t become cringy with Hannah.
  • And a celebrity / famous angle too! Someone recently mentioned how they were reading a lot of books with royalty and famous-person romances, and I realized I also have been really enjoying those when they pop up. This one has an element of that too, though lately Jack has shied away from the public eye for unknown reasons…
  • Also, honorable mention reason: it’s by Katherine Center. And I’ve historically enjoyed her novels. Maybe not in a blew-me-away way, but they tend to have some unique element to them and feel overall very refreshing. I hope the trend continues!

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.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday, Reviews

Fast Forward Friday: Nothing But The Truth (7/12)

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 Nothing by the Truth by Holly James!
Expected Release: July 12, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I love a good story of reinvention. Whenever a person is like “Yo, the way I’m living right now A’INT WORKING” and then does something drastic to make change and find happiness, I love it! I can’t help but cheer for them!
  • I get the sense that Lucy is going to be a bold, take-no-shit kind of character. The title is all about giving the truth no matter what, and that usually leads to difficult or awkward conversations, as well as really lovely and personal ones! I want to see them all ^.^
  • Combining those two things, I expect some scenes of people getting what they deserve. And yes, I mean nasties getting schooled, but also — hopefully — sweethearts catching a break.

Summary

It’s the eve of Hollywood publicist Lucy Green’s thirtieth birthday, a day she hopes will bring the promotion she deserves and a proposal from her boyfriend. But he stands her up for a date, not for the first time, leaving Lucy alone at the bar—or at least, alone with the handsome bartender on the other side of the counter—so she makes a rueful wish over her cocktail for a perfect birthday. But when Lucy’s wish is granted in the most unexpected way, things go terribly awry, as things often do when wishes come true….

When Lucy wakes up on her big day, she can’t seem to force herself to go through her rigorous fitness and beauty routines—things she usually tells herself she likes. She has no desire to eat only a spoonful of yogurt for breakfast and she simply can’t bear to put on the uncomfortable shapewear needed for the power outfit she had planned for work.

When Lucy arrives at the office, she realizes that not only can she no longer lie to herself, she can’t lie to anyone else, either. Not her clients, not her boyfriend, not her creep of a boss. Now that she can’t hide how she feels, Lucy must confront all the injustices—small and large—she’s faced on a daily basis at work, in her relationship, and in every other aspect of her life…and the truth is going to come out in a big way.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Honey & Spice (7/5/22)

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 Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola!
Expected Release: July 5, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • FAKE DATING! I’m on an absolute TEAR of fake-dating tropes in books right now, and I’m ready to add another winner to the pile! I love that the angle for this one is salvaging each of their reputations (and radio shows).
  • It’s also a little bit enemies to lovers, since Kiki sees Malakai as the total player he is and calls him out in a WILDLY public manner as a piece of trash to be avoided at all costs — before frenching him (for some reason??).
  • Ah, and there’s also a lot of reluctant-to-love going on here. Kiki is never one to let herself be totally vulnerable, but it sounds like Malakai might end up worming his way past her defenses to a really lovely place. 🥰

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?

A gloriously funny and sparkling debut novel, Honey & Spice is full of delicious tension and romantic intrigue that will make you weak at the knees.