Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Instant Karma, 11/3

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 Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer, which should probably be a surprise to zero people who are familiar with my reading habits and this book.
Expected release: November 3, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • A judgy girl has to challenge her own prejudices. Plus, come on, who doesn’t sometimes just want life to be more fair? Good deeds rewarded? Or at least, bad deeds aren’t punished?
  • Enemies to lovers? Yes please! Sometimes I end up choking on it when the people are both actually terrible people. But I always go in hoping that I’ll enjoy it.
  • It’s Marissa Meyer. It’s really hard for me to resist Marissa Meyer. Plus I think it will be interesting to read her first go at a contemporary book, albeit with still a bit of magic involved.

Summary:
Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate.

Posted in Reviews

Review: One Year of Ugly by Caroline Mackenzie

This is going to be one I recommend to basically everyone. 🥰

Recommended: yeeeeeeeesssssssss!!!!!!!!!!
for a lovable lot of characters, for a story that has a lot of elements to it, for a wide variety of situations

Summary:
After fleeing crumbling, volatile Venezuela, Yola Palacio wants nothing more than to settle into a peaceful new life in Trinidad with her family. And who cares if they’re there illegally—aren’t most of the people on the island? But life for the Palacios is far from quiet—and when Yola’s Aunt Celia dies, the family once again find their lives turned upside down. For Celia had been keeping a very big secret—she owed a LOT of money to a local criminal called Ugly. And without the funds to pay him off, Ugly has the entire family do his bidding until Celia’s debt is settled. What Ugly says, the Palacios do, otherwise the circumstances are too dreadful to imagine.

To say that the year that follows is tumultuous for the Palacios is an understatement. But in the midst of the turmoil appears Roman—Ugly’s distractingly gorgeous right-hand man. And although she knows it’s terrible and quite possibly dangerous, Yola just can’t help but give in to the attraction. Where, though, do Roman’s loyalties lie? And could this wildly inappropriate romance just be the antidote to a terrible year of Ugly?

Thoughts:
I saw this book’s synopsis and thought I would probably love it, and yup, I was right. 😍

What I loved
The setting in Trinidad was an quick obvious draw for me, because I don’t know much of anything about it. Well, now I do! Like the fact that there’s the largest natural tar deposit in the world there, and also that they have notoriously poorly paved roads because they export all their tar. 😂 The little tour around the island on Yola and Roman’s excursions were a perfect way to introduce readers to the area.

Continue reading “Review: One Year of Ugly by Caroline Mackenzie”
Posted in Reviews

Review: White Ivy by Susie Yang

White Ivy by Susie YangRelease Date November 3, 2020
Verdict: I was expecting something different than a slow burn character study of a compulsive liar, but if you go in knowing that’s what you’ll get then this is a fantastic read.

Special Note: this book currently has a Goodreads Giveaway going on! So if you’re interested, head on over and enter the giveaway! (Ends 10/7/20)

Recommended: to people who know what they’re getting
For a psychological study of a woman who lacks empathy, for race and class reflections on a life lived, for a strangely compelling view of someone constantly on the edge of self destruction, for a very slow-paced read that focuses on the inner workings on one woman’s mind

Summary:
Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her. Raised outside of Boston, she is taught how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops by her immigrant grandmother. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, where her dream instantly evaporates. Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when she bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate. Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners and weekend getaways to the Cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Thoughts:
This book was not what I expected. Instead of an explosive thriller watching a descent into madness fueled by racism and class striation, I got a character study of a person trapped in their own mind as they self destruct their happiness in lieu of what they see as The Good Life. By the end, I felt a little deflated. But hopefully, if I can set expectations correctly, you can read this book happily the whole way through and end it feeling quite satisfied with what you’ve had.

Continue reading “Review: White Ivy by Susie Yang”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott (⭐⭐⭐) published today! Grab a copy from Book Depository or check out the full review here.

Recommended: sure
for a lighthearted YA novel, for an MC who works on being okay with her body image, for an MC with a fairly unusual goal of being a standup comedian

Summary:
Haylah Swinton is an ace best friend, a loving daughter, and an incredibly patient sister to a four-year-old nutcase of a brother. Best of all, she’s pretty confident she’s mastered making light of every situation–from her mom’s new boyfriend to unsolicited remarks on her plus-sized figure. Haylah’s learning to embrace all of her curvy parts and, besides, she has a secret: one day, she’ll be a stand-up comedian star.

So when impossibly cool and thirstalicious Leo reveals he’s also into comedy, Haylah jumps at the chance to ghost-write his sets. But is Leo as interested in returning the favor? Even though her friends warn her of Leo’s intentions, Haylah’s not ready to listen–and she might just be digging herself deeper toward heartbreak. If Haylah’s ever going to step into the spotlight, first she’ll need to find the confidence to put herself out there and strut like the boss she really is.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Ties That Tether, 9/29

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 one that is hard to miss with it’s striking cover, Ties That Tether by Jane Igharo, featuring a Nigerian Canadian woman who’s done with her series of parental setups and stumbles upon a chance man of her own.
Expected Release: September 29, 2020

  • What’s better than an unexpected romance? I dare say most people don’t expect much to come from a one-night stand after that one night, but Azere finds a whole lot more of a connection with Rafael. I think this will be a delightful fall into love and I can’t wait to be there for it. ^.^
  • As if new love wasn’t fraught enough, Azere also has to worry about her cultural navigation in this new relationship. Dating a guy who doesn’t share her ethnicity can have it’s own difficulties, but she also has to deal with a family that’s big on preserving heritage. AKA – you’re Nigerian, so you’d better be dating a Nigerian, even if you move to Canada! This is two cultures I’ll get to learn about!
  • Basically, this whole thing sounds like a plot basis I know and love. A sweetly developing romance; a culture I’ll get to learn about; an immigrant’s work to navigate her past and her future; Canada; it’s got it all!

At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture even after emigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping–forcing–her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company and later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and white.

When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage.

Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott

Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott – ⭐⭐⭐
Expected Release: October 1, 2020

Recommended: sure
for a lighthearted YA novel, for an MC who works on being ok with her body image, for an MC with a fairly unusual goal of being a standup comedian

Summary:
Haylah Swinton is an ace best friend, a loving daughter, and an incredibly patient sister to a four-year-old nutcase of a brother. Best of all, she’s pretty confident she’s mastered making light of every situation–from her mom’s new boyfriend to unsolicited remarks on her plus-sized figure. Haylah’s learning to embrace all of her curvy parts and, besides, she has a secret: one day, she’ll be a stand-up comedian star.

So when impossibly cool and thirstalicious Leo reveals he’s also into comedy, Haylah jumps at the chance to ghost-write his sets. But is Leo as interested in returning the favor? Even though her friends warn her of Leo’s intentions, Haylah’s not ready to listen–and she might just be digging herself deeper toward heartbreak. If Haylah’s ever going to step into the spotlight, first she’ll need to find the confidence to put herself out there and strut like the boss she really is.

Thoughts:
Okay, I feel like the #1 question about this book should be “the main character wants to be a stand up comedian, so is the book funny?” and I can report that it’s more or less a yes. The plot itself is a standard YA coming of age sort of read, but the moments of specific comedic routines are funny enough. They’re delivered by high school students, so that’s the experience the material focuses on, but if you can pass yourself back to that age you can probably get a chuckle or two.

Continue reading “Review: Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Smash It!, 9/22

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 one that I think people will probably have heard of before now because it’s getting a good amount of attention. if you haven’t had the pleasure yet, let me introduce you to Smash it! by Francina Simone.
Expected Release: September 22, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • This is pitched as a story concept that is pretty familiar, but one I never get tired of hearing. When someone — particularly a young woman — stops being quiet and meek and starts standing up for herself and doing what she wants without unwarranted fear or societal shame? That is like my favorite read ever.
  • I think this will be one of those books that makes you cheer for the main character and get a burst of pure community and support for another person. It also makes you want to take life by the horns and just do all the things you’ve ever been nervous to do. Quit your job! Move to Korea! Ask out your cute coworker! These may or may not be personal examples. Let’s move on.
  • Honestly, the cover and description and tagline and title — they did a great job marketing this!!! Zoom in on that cover. The detail is incredible and you can really see it on her fingers and hair and face. The tagline is “mistakes were made” and I’ll be damned if that doesn’t make me grin and smile indulgently and want to know for all the life of me what mistakes were made. And come on, a title with an exclamation point? I am all about it. We do not have enough of those. Marketing team: seriously, well done, because this is a perfect example of how to do it right.

Olivia “Liv” James is done with letting her insecurities get the best of her. So she does what any self-respecting hot mess of a girl who wants to SMASH junior year does…

After Liv shows up to a Halloween party in khaki shorts–why, God, why?–she decides to set aside her wack AF ways. She makes a list–a F*ck-It list.

1. Be bold–do the thing that scares me.

2. Learn to take a compliment.

3. Stand out instead of back.

She kicks it off by trying out for the school musical, saying yes to a date and making new friends. Life is great when you stop punking yourself! However, with change comes a lot of missteps, and being bold means following her heart. So what happens when Liv’s heart is interested in three different guys–and two of them are her best friends? What is she supposed to do when she gets dumped by a guy she’s not even dating? How does one Smash It! after the humiliation of being friend-zoned?

In Liv’s own words, “F*ck it. What’s the worst that can happen?”

A lot, apparently.

Posted in Reviews

Review: I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones – ⭐⭐⭐

Recommended:
yes
For a totally wild ride through a normal town gone mad, for reluctant allies forced to help each other when no one else will, for race relations sprinkled throughout, for a story that starts with a bang and only gets more intense from there, for teachers looking for conversation starters about racial issues in America

I love a clever cover 😍

Summary:
Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school. When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together. They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.

Thoughts:
I mean honestly this book was its own kind of terrifying. The escalation happened so quickly, and yet the inciting incidents for it were something I could easily see occurring at so many schools. I didn’t have to wait long for the action to start, but once it started it didn’t stop. Right up until the last chapters, the tension was carried the whole way through. I was so clenched up while reading this, so on edge wondering what was going to happen. I literally delayed dinner and made my S.O. wait so I could finish the book, because even the last pages were critical.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle – ⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure!
For a romance that’s a bit different than most but has familiar tropes worked in, for a book that made me cackle and cackle and really just laugh a ton, for a lovers who are enemies back to lovers kind of storyline that strays a bit from the usual in all the best ways

Summary:
Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him. Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare. But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

On Valentine’s Day we sat in separate rooms and tagged each other in gushing Facebook posts. We don’t need to say sweet words in person because we know what Real Love is.

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Thoughts:
I read Angelica’s review and that reminded me of how I had wanted to read this book when it came out, before it fell off my radar. Well, she successfully brought it back to my mind, and it was available at the library right away so the fates were aligned! And, oh my, was this exactly what I needed at the moment!

So many romance novels or romcoms are of a couple who are first meeting and starting to fall in love. This one is well after that, when they’re sort of falling out of love. As for me, well, I loved that! It’s a refreshing change to the usual formula. Having felt that fizzle in a relationship when it starts feeling more like an annoying roommate than the love of your life, Naomi’s fears mirrored my own from the past. They delivered poignant moments that made it so easy to sympathize with her.

Continue reading “Review: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle”