Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Dear Dana by Amy Weinland Daughters!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Dear Dana by Amy Weinland Daughters published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: sure
For people who like to see the good in others, for a real story about human connection, for a story that makes you feel inspired and motivated

Summary

When Amy Daughters reconnected with her old pal Dana on Facebook, she had no idea how it would change her life. Though the two women hadn’t had any contact in thirty years, it didn’t take them long to catch up—and when Amy learned that Dana’s son Parker was doing a second stint at St. Jude battling cancer, she was suddenly inspired to begin writing the pair weekly letters.

When Parker died, Amy—not knowing what else to do—continued to write Dana. Eventually, Dana wrote back, and the two became pen pals, sharing things through the mail that they had never shared before. The richness of the experience left Amy wondering something: If my life could be so changed by someone I considered “just a Facebook friend,” what would happen if I wrote all my Facebook friends a letter?

A whopping 580 handwritten letters later Amy’s life, and most of all her heart, would never, ever, be the same again. As it turned out, there were actual individuals living very real lives behind each social media profile, and she was beautifully connected to each of those extraordinary, flawed people for a specific reason. They loved her, and she loved them. And nothing—not politics, beliefs, or lifestyle—could separate them.

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: How To Be The Best Third Wheel by Loridee De Villa!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that How To Be The Best Third Wheel by Loridee De Villa released today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: yup!!
For a trope-y book that ends up going way past the tropes, for a lighthearted yet fairly deep story, for a whirlwind set over 3 months but feels like so much more than that

Summary

After spending summer vacation in the Philippines with family, Lara returns to school eager to catch up with her close knit group of girlfriends. But within minutes of reuniting with her friends, she learns that not one, not two, but all three of them are now in relationships that blossomed over the summer. And to make matters worse, Lara’s long time frenemy, James, won’t stop bugging her in class and eventually forces her into tutoring him everyday after school.

Surviving high school was never easy to begin with, but with occupied friends, a hectic Filipino family, and her annoying childhood enemy pestering her more than ever, Lara tries to juggle everything, while trying to figure out her own place in the chaos.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: How to Be the Best Third Wheel by Loridee De Villa (5/3/22)

How to Be the Best Third Wheel by Loridee De Villa

Recommended: yup!!
For a trope-y book that ends up going way past the tropes, for a lighthearted yet fairly deep story, for a whirlwind set over 3 months but feels like so much more than that

Summary

After spending summer vacation in the Philippines with family, Lara returns to school eager to catch up with her close knit group of girlfriends. But within minutes of reuniting with her friends, she learns that not one, not two, but all three of them are now in relationships that blossomed over the summer. And to make matters worse, Lara’s long time frenemy, James, won’t stop bugging her in class and eventually forces her into tutoring him everyday after school.

Surviving high school was never easy to begin with, but with occupied friends, a hectic Filipino family, and her annoying childhood enemy pestering her more than ever, Lara tries to juggle everything, while trying to figure out her own place in the chaos.

Thoughts

What hit me most with this story was how much more there was to it than I expected. From the silly title and cutesy cover, I figured this would be a lightly angsty YA book about discovering oneself that would probably end in a romance. While that wasn’t totally incorrect, there was so much more to it. Amazingly, it never felt crammed or forced to me. It was more like a three-act play, where one arc of the story would resolve and a new one would begin.

Continue reading “ARC Review: How to Be the Best Third Wheel by Loridee De Villa (5/3/22)”
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: The New Girl by Kid Toussaint

The New Girl by Kid Toussaint

Recommended: for sure!
For a cute friendship story with a twist of family drama, for some (possibly accurate?) insight into Dissociative Identity Disorder, for a flavor of Inside Out with the different personalities that come out, for gorgeous art to render a potentially complicated problem

Summary

Elle is just another teenage girl… most of the time. Bubbly and good-natured, she wastes no time making friends on her first day at her new school. But Elle has a secret: she hasn’t come alone. She’s brought with her a colorful mix of personalities, which come out when she least expects it… Who is Elle, really? And will her new friends stand by her when they find out the truth?

Thoughts

I saw this book a few times and was debating reading it, but I figured it would be pretty much like that movie inside out and didn’t really want to bother reading a story I felt like I would already know (despite the fact that I haven’t actually seen that movie…). Finally, I read a couple of reviews and several people mentioned that it’s more focused on dissociative identity disorder and other personality things like that rather than just being a characterization of emotions in general. Frankly, that’s what sold me. I was hoping this would be fun, and creative, but also a way that mattered a little bit more and could give people insight into those that need it.

Continue reading “Review: The New Girl by Kid Toussaint”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: A Thousand Questions, 10/6

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I use Fridays to look ahead to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi, and if you want something light and wholesome, here it is!!
Expected Release: October 6, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I love going anywhere, and since I can only travel in books right now, I’m delighted to join Mimi on her trip to Pakistan to meet her long-distant grandparents. Having a main character who doesn’t know much about the country despite her ties there helps provide a bridge for me, since there’s a lot I wouldn’t know about living there either.
  • I’m a sucker for a nice happy story about friendship and learning to understand each other. Mimi x Sakina (love that name!) sounds like a friendship I can get behind. I already want to know them and see them succeed and work together and bond… and they’re just characters in a book. 😂
  • It might only be a small part, but there’s a language aspect to this book as Sakina is torn between learning English to go to school or staying at her job to help her family. I’m sure it will be a difficult situation, but I still can’t wait to see her work through it. Plus, language! Love it! I hope there are some delightful little mixups as they each learn. ^.^

Summary:
Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.

The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?

Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most. 

Posted in Reviews

Review: Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent

Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For a slow start and hot finish, for a book about people, for explorations of connections and community, for enemies-to-friends kind of relationships :). It’s also seriously quotable. So many good lines!

Read for SRC2020!

Summary:
The only thing reclusive bookworm Nora, high-powered attorney Christina, and supermom-in-training Leanne ever had in common was their best friend, Molly. When Molly dies, she leaves mysterious gifts and cryptic notes for each of her grieving best friends, along with one final request: that these three mismatched frenemies have brunch together every month for a year. Filled with heartwrenching scenes and witty prose, Brunch and Other Obligations explores the intricate dynamics of girlhood acquaintances who are forced to reconnect as women. This upbeat novel reminds readers that there’s hope for getting through the hard times in life―with a lot of patience, humor, and a standing brunch date.

Thoughts:
To be honest, when I first started this book I was surprised by how rigid the characters seemed. Each was defined by a very specific characteristic that felt exaggerated and as though it was their whole identity. But as it continued, they were given more characteristics even if they were still a bit pigeonholed into their original cliche. But I ended the book with a smile and a tear in my eye, which is always a solid way to end.

Continue reading “Review: Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent”
Posted in Reviews

Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan – ⭐⭐⭐
Decently entertaining, though mostly predictable and at times not that driving in action. I’ll probably pick up the second one, but not in a huge hurry. Oddly enough, the notes and acknowledgements at the back are what changed my mind on that.

Recommended: for a spare-time casual read
For a decently entertaining story, for a read that you can read between other more enticing books (you won’t mind putting this one down for a bit)

Summary:
Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest. Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge. 

Thoughts:
I had high hopes for the world here, with the caste system on a range of human to demon, but I felt like it didn’t come into much detail besides the general plot point of the unfair system. I love the dedicated lore and explanation behind interesting world features like this, but I wanted more here. The plot itself was solidly meh for me, as it felt like not much actually happened. When things did happen, I was invested in seeing how they would play out, but it was also largely predictable so the motivation through suspense was missing.

Continue reading “Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan”
Posted in Reviews

Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Perfect timing for my trip, many ideas went into play! I’m motivated to do all the important things for myself now, so I guess I should capitalize while that lasts. 👍

Recommended: YES!
For anyone who has to talk to people but doesn’t always enjoy it, for insight into the struggles people face who don’t always enjoy talking to people, for a really funny and personal story, or for a thoroughly researched look into how common loneliness is, for those who’ve run out of ideas from The Escape Manual for Introverts and are looking for a new method

Let’s go ahead and make that cake.

Summary:
What would happen if a shy introvert lived like a gregarious extrovert for one year? If she knowingly and willingly put herself in perilous social situations that she’d normally avoid at all costs? Writer Jessica Pan intends to find out. With the help of various extrovert mentors, Jessica sets up a series of personal challenges (talk to strangers, perform stand-up comedy, host a dinner party, travel alone, make friends on the road, and much, much worse) to explore whether living like an extrovert can teach her lessons that might improve the quality of her life. Chronicling the author’s hilarious and painful year of misadventures, this book explores what happens when one introvert fights her natural tendencies, takes the plunge, and tries (and sometimes fails) to be a little bit braver.

Thoughts:
I LOVED IT. That’s probably pretty clear. I loved it from probably page 6, but the true cinching moment was when she started talking about performing for The Moth and that she did a show with David Litt. Guess what I need to go find footage of?

Continue reading “Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan”