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: 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: 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, 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.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Thank You, Next (6/14/22)

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 Thank You, Next by Andie J Christopher!
Expected Release: June 14, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • After reading Bad Luck Bridesmaid and super loving it, this caught my attention by having another kind of romance-curse. In this case, it’s that Andie is the girlfriend who apparently sorts out the guy’s issues just in time for their next girlfriend to benefit. Alex is the girl we’re all thankful for being in our boyfriends’ past. Which, admittedly, really sucks for Alex.
  • This has so many romance tropes I can barely even track it! Alex and Will grew up close — physically at least — but seem to clash at every turn. So I guess they’re kind of like frenemies-to-lovers? Although it seems like Will knows pretty damn clearly what (who) he wants (Alex). So while Alex is trying to learn from her exes what she did wrong and how to avoid it, Will is along trying to learn from Alex’s exes what they did wrong — and how he can be sure to woo Alex.
  • Well I’m sure it will have some really funny and also really emotional moments! Considering this involves interviewing ex-boyfriends about “why not her” when they’re all now married, I think that alone is rife with opportunity for situational discomfort and humor. ^.^ Don’t forget the group of girlfriends — and Will — who are tagging along to interrogate!

Summary

Single divorce attorney Alex Turner is watching reality TV when she sees her latest ex’s new fiancé picking out her wedding dress. Yet again, the guy she dumped went on to marry (or at least seriously commit to) the next person he dates after her. Fed up with being the precursor to happily ever after, she decides to interview all her exes to find out why.

Up-and-coming chef Will Harkness mixes with Alex like oil and vinegar, but forced proximity growing up means their lives are forever entwined. When Will learns Alex and her friends are going on a wild romp through Los Angeles to reconnect with her ex-boyfriends, he decides to tag along. If he can discover what her exes did wrong, he can make sure he doesn’t make the same mistake with Alex.

On this nonstop journey through the streets of LA, Alex realizes the answer to her question might be the man riding shotgun…

Bonus fun / awkward fact: one time I was at a restaurant with a group of friends, including a guy I had recently broken up with but were still on decent terms. Part of the restaurant’s gimmick is to write mean things on hats for everyone, and mine said “Why are all my exes gay?” which was reeeeally awkward with my ex-of-2-weeks sitting right there with his buddy. Uhh, sorry. 😅

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Zyla & Kai (6/7/22)

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 Zyla & Kai by Kristina Forest!
Expected Release: June 7, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • This story of an unlikely couple — cynic and hopeless romantic — is one on my radar. I tend to enjoy that “grump & sunshine” trope in couples, no matter how much it annoys me sometimes, too. 😅I want to see them fall in love in flashbacks, and see the understanding between them grow into something more.
  • And yes, I expect flashbacks, because the crux of this novel is the mystery of their disappearance when they were broken up (or so everyone thought). I’m desperately hoping for a romantic elopment of some kind and not an ultimately sad story. I’m a little nervous about that though…
  • Considering this all happens on a mountain during a massive storm, I’m a bit worried that there might not be a happily-for-the-moment kind of ending. It might be trending that way and end with a tragic romeo-and-juliet mountainside rescue and/or double death. I don’t know. I’m in a rough place mentally so maybe that’s me projecting, because the cover CERTAINLY doesn’t look like it would go that direction. Just don’t break my heart here, Kristina Forest.

Summary

While on a school trip to the Poconos Mountains (in the middle of a storm) high school seniors, Zyla Matthews and Kai Johnson, run away together leaving their friends and family confused. As far as everyone knows, Zyla and Kai have been broken up for months. And honestly? Their break up hadn’t surprised anyone. Zyla and Kai met while working together at an amusement park the previous summer, and they couldn’t have been more different.

Zyla was a cynic about love. She’d witnessed the dissolution of her parents’ marriage early in life, and it left an indelible impression. Her only aim was graduating and going to fashion school abroad. Until she met Kai.

Kai was a serial monogamist and a hopeless romantic. He’d put a temporary pause on his dating life before senior year to focus on school and getting into his dream HBCU. Until he met Zyla.

Alternating between the past and present, we see the love story unfold from Zyla and Kai’s perspectives: how they first became the unlikeliest of friends over the summer, how they fell in love during the school year, and why they ultimately broke up… Or did they?

Romantic, heart-stirring and a little mysterious, Zyla & Kai will keep readers guessing until the last chapter.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: TJ Powar Has Something to Prove, 6/7/22

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 TJ Powar Has Something to Prove by Jesmeen Kaur Deo!
Expected Release: June 7, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Specific body positivity topics are more common in the past couple of years, and I love it! This one focuses on body hair, and a classically pretty, popular girl who puts her foot — and shaving razor — down.
  • This sounds like a story where people will be put in their damn place for being shitty people. And yo: I’m here for it. TJ is a debater, and a good one, so she is in perfect position to clap back at these assholes.
  • OOoooh and of course there’s romance. Sounds like it’s the kind where she tries to deny it, too, but just can’t quite pretend otherwise even to herself. Ahhh, young love. ^.^

Summary

When TJ Powar—a pretty, popular debater—and her cousin Simran become the subject of a meme: with TJ being the “expectation” of dating an Indian girl and her Sikh cousin who does not remove her body hair being the “reality”—TJ decides to take a stand.

She ditches her razors, cancels her waxing appointments, and sets a debate resolution for herself: “This House Believes That TJ Powar can be her hairy self, and still be beautiful.” Only, as she sets about proving her point, she starts to seriously doubt anyone could care about her just the way she is—even when the infuriating boy from a rival debate team seems determined to prove otherwise.

As her carefully crafted sense of self begins to crumble, TJ realizes that winning this debate may cost her far more than the space between her eyebrows. And that the hardest judge to convince of her arguments might just be herself.

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!