Posted in Chatty

Ten free digital books set around the globe with Amazon’s World Book Day

Hey y’all! If you haven’t heard yet, don’t fret: at the time of writing, you still have nine days to claim your free books! Every year, Amazon does a Read the World event where they share books set in different countries around the world. You can download the digital books for free here if you’d like!

Below is my breakdown on each book, including the ones I’ve read and the ones I’d most like to read! 🙂

Bolivia: The Puma Years

YESSS I LOVED THIS BOOK! Definitely read this one! 🙂

Ghana: North to Paradise

I got this one in February and am looking forward to it!

China:

Fantasy with an epic timeline, gods, vengeance… and a stunning cover!!

Continue reading “Ten free digital books set around the globe with Amazon’s World Book Day”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei, 4/5/22

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 The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei by Christina Matula!
Expected Release: April 5, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Hong Kong is a thrilling place for so many reasons. It has such a wide variety of landscape and lifestyle, and SO MANY PEOPLE in such a small area. I love stories set there because it seems almost impossible for the setting to not matter. Hong Kong is vibrant even in books. ^.^
  • Holly-Mei sounds extremely likable, and I don’t always read books with likeable characters. Just this once, it would be really nice to have a character I can easily cheer for who values and shares kindness. ^.^
  • Ahh, middle school drama! Even in my fairly easy time of it, I saw first- or second-hand some of the truly serious problems kids can have in those years. Friendship, sex, drugs, abuse, self-harm, identity… it is RIFE with things that can go wrong. I don’t think Holly-Mei is going quite down such a dark path, but I do think navigating friendships (or enemy…ships) can be very tricky on its own.

Summary

Holly-Mei Jones couldn’t be more excited about moving to Hong Kong for her mother’s job. Her new school is right on the beach and her family’s apartment is beyond beautiful. Everything is going to be perfect . . . right?

Maybe not. It feels like everywhere she turns, there are new rules to follow and expectations to meet. On top of that, the most popular girl in her grade is quickly becoming a frenemy. And without the guidance of her loving Ah-ma, who stayed behind in Toronto, Holly-Mei just can’t seem to get it right.

It will take all of Holly-Mei’s determination and sparkle (and maybe even a tiny bit of stubbornness) to get through seventh grade and turn her life in Hong Kong into the ultimate adventure!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Recommended: eh
Maybe for a quick light read that won’t really linger, if you don’t know much about Taiwan you’ll get a small dose of history along with the YA drama and antics

Summary

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

Thoughts

This book wasn’t particularly mindblowing, but I guess I didn’t expect it to be with the word “Loveboat” in the title. I had to know there would be a little bit of cheese with this. xD Which is fine, and there definitely was. It was ok, and it read quickly so it’s not like I spent a lot of time of a middle of the road read.

Continue reading “Review: Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen”
Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

Recommended: sure
For a long journey with characters you’ll fall in love with, for a narrative that places you more as an observer than an active participant

Summary

It is 1938 in China and, as a young wife, Meilin’s future is bright. But with the Japanese army approaching, Meilin and her four year old son, Renshu, are forced to flee their home. Relying on little but their wits and a beautifully illustrated hand scroll, filled with ancient fables that offer solace and wisdom, they must travel through a ravaged country, seeking refuge.

Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. Though his daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down? Yet how can Lily learn who she is if she can never know her family’s story?

Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the haunting question: What would it mean to finally be home?

Thoughts

My note in my book at the end:
“The last words are the title and it’s so perfect and fitting it brought a tear to my eye.”

The title fable was gently included throughout, referenced in various situations. Along with other folktales, this book had so many smaller stories within it that resonated with me a surprising amount. Those were the moments I was most entrance by this story: when they unrolled the scroll, ran their fingers over the silken strands, and fully envisioned each scene before sinking into the tale. I was right there with them in those moments.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: On a Night of a Thousand Stars, 3/1/22

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 On A Night of a Thousand Stars by Andrea Yaryura Clark!
Expected Release: March 1, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • The setting of this one is an obvious draw for me. At least partially set in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I’m excited to travel to South America. I don’t often read books set there, so this is a nice chance to break out of that box a bit.
  • Similarly, since I don’t read about South America much, my historical knowledge of the continent is limited mostly to what I learned in high school Spanish classes. Which admittedly, is something at least, but I think there’s a lot more I can dive into with this historical novel.
  • As the main character, college-student Paloma, learns about her father’s history as well as Argentina’s history, I’ll be able to ride along with her. The character’s lens mirrors my own knowledge well, so I think it will gently carry me along. I say gently, but the topic is also pretty painful and grim, as Paloma will dive into the past dangers of the country and put herself in fresh new danger of her own.

Summary

New York, 1998. Santiago Larrea, a wealthy Argentine diplomat, is holding court alongside his wife, Lila, and their daughter, Paloma, a college student and budding jewelry designer, at their annual summer polo match and soiree. All seems perfect in the Larreas’ world—until an unexpected party guest from Santiago’s university days shakes his usually unflappable demeanor. The woman’s cryptic comments spark Paloma’s curiosity about her father’s past, of which she knows little.
 
When the family travels to Buenos Aires for Santiago’s UN ambassadorial appointment, Paloma is determined to learn more about his life in the years leading up to the military dictatorship of 1976. With the help of a local university student, Franco Bonetti, an activist member of H.I.J.O.S.—a group whose members are the children of the desaparecidos, or the “disappeared,” men and women who were forcibly disappeared by the state during Argentina’s “Dirty War”—Paloma unleashes a chain of events that not only leads her to question her family and her identity, but also puts her life in danger.

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: sure
For a frantic sprint through Europe, for unexpected knowledge discovered, for a domestic thriller on the run, for a desperately mad and all-consuming kind of love

Summary

The year is 1996—a time before cell phones, status updates, and location tags—when you could still travel to a remote corner of the world and disappear, if you chose to do so. This is where we meet Gina Reinhold and Duncan Lowy, a young artistic couple madly in love, traveling around Europe on a romantic adventure. It’s a time both thrilling and dizzying for Gina, whose memories are hazy following a head injury—and the growing sense that the man at her side, her one companion on this strange continent, is keeping secrets from her.

Just what is Duncan hiding and how far will he go to keep their pasts at bay? As the pair hop borders across Europe, their former lives threatening to catch up with them while the truth grows more elusive, we witness how love can lead us astray, and what it means to lose oneself in love… The End of Getting Lost is “atmospheric, lyrical, and filled with layered insights into the complexities of marriage” (Susie Yang, New York Times bestselling author of White Ivy). “Kirman is wonderfully deft with suspense and plot” (Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks) in this “electric page-turner” (Courtney Maum, author of Costalegre and Touch), a novel that is both a tightrope act of deception as much as it is an elegant exploration of love and marriage, and our cherished illusions of both. With notes of Patricia Highsmith, Caroline Kepnes, and Lauren Groff, Robin Kirman has spun a delicious tale of deceit, redemption, and the fight to keep love alive—no matter the costs.

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Red Thread of Fate by Lyn Liao Butler!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Red Thread of Fate by Lyn Liao Butler released today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: sure
For a drama that has a bit of everything, and yet doesn’t feel like it’s crammed too full of things; for a strong focus on family and forgiveness (of others, yourself, the world…)

Summary

Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn’t seen since the child was an infant.

Overwhelmed by her life suddenly being upended, Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when a long-concealed secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened. As Tam begins to unravel the events of Tony and Mia’s past in China, she discovers the true meaning of love and the threads that bind her to the family she is fated to have.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman

The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman
Expected Release Date: February 15, 2022

Recommended: sure
For a frantic sprint through Europe, for unexpected knowledge discovered, for a domestic thriller on the run, for a desperately mad and all-consuming kind of love

Summary

The year is 1996—a time before cell phones, status updates, and location tags—when you could still travel to a remote corner of the world and disappear, if you chose to do so. This is where we meet Gina Reinhold and Duncan Lowy, a young artistic couple madly in love, traveling around Europe on a romantic adventure. It’s a time both thrilling and dizzying for Gina, whose memories are hazy following a head injury—and the growing sense that the man at her side, her one companion on this strange continent, is keeping secrets from her.

Just what is Duncan hiding and how far will he go to keep their pasts at bay? As the pair hop borders across Europe, their former lives threatening to catch up with them while the truth grows more elusive, we witness how love can lead us astray, and what it means to lose oneself in love… The End of Getting Lost is “atmospheric, lyrical, and filled with layered insights into the complexities of marriage” (Susie Yang, New York Times bestselling author of White Ivy). “Kirman is wonderfully deft with suspense and plot” (Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks) in this “electric page-turner” (Courtney Maum, author of Costalegre and Touch), a novel that is both a tightrope act of deception as much as it is an elegant exploration of love and marriage, and our cherished illusions of both. With notes of Patricia Highsmith, Caroline Kepnes, and Lauren Groff, Robin Kirman has spun a delicious tale of deceit, redemption, and the fight to keep love alive—no matter the costs.

Thoughts

I started this one for the different countries and the traveling, and I stayed for the question of who knew what, exactly. I honestly couldn’t tell for the majority of this book what was going to be the end. I did have a suspicion, but I wasn’t confident in it, just thinking that it was the most reasonable and likely ending based on what I had to work with.

Continue reading “ARC Review: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman”
Posted in Reviews

Mini Review: Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick

Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick

Definitely not the ending I expected but good. I’m curious to see where the next goes, but I also feel like I could not read it and wouldn’t think about it that much. Her relationship with Yujun was kind of weird to me, right from the start.

Also my book was weirdly missing pages from 182 to 215 and I had no issue picking up where it cut out, so that’s either a good thing (explained so well throughout that it was easy to understand) or a bad thing (nothing important happened in 40 pages).

Continue reading “Mini Review: Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick”
Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
Verdict: come on, y’all, it’s RUTA SEPETYS. You know it’s good.
Expected Release Date: February 1, 2022

Recommended: yes, it’s Ruta
For Ruta’s trademark history that’s ignored by American schools (mine at least…), for a story of true events told in one possible existing story, for revolution and oppression and determination and risk, for a bite-history of Romania’s not-so-distant past of becoming their own country again

Summary

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?

Thoughts

As are all of Ruta’s young adult historical novels, this is very thoroughly researched in many different ways, from conversations with people who lived during the time to artifacts from it to written works about it and so much more. It really shows in the details of the story how Ruta learned about Romanian’s lives. After finishing reading this, I really appreciated the notes at the back with details about references within the book. I was so curious about the woman who dubbed so many western films, and found a name to start my own research into her some more.

Continue reading “ARC Review: I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys”