Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: 6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that 6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!


Recommended: sure
For a low-key sad love story, for teen caretaker stories, for grief and trauma and pain

Summary

Penny and Tate have always clashed. Unfortunately, their mothers are lifelong best friends, so the girls’ bickering has carried them through playdates, tragedy, and more than one rom-com marathon with the Moms. When Penny’s mother decides to become a living donor to Tate’s mom, ending her wait for a liver transplant, things go from clashing to cataclysmic. Because in order to help their families recover physically, emotionally, and financially, the Moms combine their households the summer before senior year.
 
So Penny and Tate make a pact: They’ll play nice. Be the drama-free daughters their mothers need through this scary and hopeful time. There’s only one little hitch in their plan: Penny and Tate keep almost kissing.
 
It’s just this confusing thing that keeps happening. You know, from time to time. For basically their entire teenaged existence.
 
They’ve never talked about it. They’ve always ignored it in the aftermath. But now they’re living across the hall from each other. And some things—like their kisses—can’t be almosts forever.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) by Tess Sharpe (1/24/23)

6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe
Expected Release: January 24, 2023

Recommended: sure
For a low-key sad love story, for teen caretaker stories, for grief and trauma and pain

Summary

Penny and Tate have always clashed. Unfortunately, their mothers are lifelong best friends, so the girls’ bickering has carried them through playdates, tragedy, and more than one rom-com marathon with the Moms. When Penny’s mother decides to become a living donor to Tate’s mom, ending her wait for a liver transplant, things from clashing to cataclysmic. Because in order to help their families recover physically, emotionally, and financially, the Moms combine their households the summer before senior year.
 
So Penny and Tate make a pact: They’ll play nice. Be the drama-free daughters their mothers need through this scary and hopeful time. There’s only one little hitch in their plan: Penny and Tate keep almost kissing.
 
It’s just this confusing thing that keeps happening. You know, from time to time. For basically their entire teenaged existence.
 
They’ve never talked about it. They’ve always ignored it in the aftermath. But now they’re living across the hall from each other. And some things—like their kisses—can’t be almosts forever.

Thoughts

This is one of those books where even though characters are in and around love of all kinds, it sort of breaks your heart the whole way through. It’s not often a buoyant, easy love of light. It’s a quieter, maybe more desperate love tinged with their shared histories and pain. A perfect quote to sum up the vibe:

Scratches give it character. Nothing in life comes out unscathed.

As you can probably guess from the title, there’s a good amount of tension in their interactions given the six times they almost kiss. It’s told in two timelines, with the current-day taking up some of it, and the reflections on past near-kisses and other dominating events alternating in. This worked for me in this story because it broke up some of the fear and worry of the current-day narrative with their moms getting surgery.

Continue reading “ARC Review: 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) by Tess Sharpe (1/24/23)”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Chang Compestine!


Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Chang Compestine released today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: yup!
For a feel-good story set during the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, for a look at what it was like for folks in Wuhan where it originated, for absolutely delicious food (complete with recipes!!)

Summary

Weaving in the tastes and sounds of the historic city, Wuhan’s comforting and distinctive cuisine comes to life as the reader follows 13-year-old Mei who, through her love for cooking, makes a difference in her community. Written by an award-winning author originally from Wuhan.

Grieving the death of her mother and an outcast at school, thirteen-year-old Mei finds solace in cooking and computer games. When her friend’s grandmother falls ill, Mei seeks out her father, a doctor, for help, and discovers the hospital is overcrowded. As the virus spreads, Mei finds herself alone in a locked-down city trying to find a way to help.

Author Ying Chang Compestine draws on her own experiences growing up in Wuhan to illustrate that the darkest times can bring out the best in people, friendship can give one courage in frightening times, and most importantly, young people can make an impact on ton the world. Readers can follow Mei’s tantalizing recipes and cook them at home. 

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Chang Compestine (11/8/22)

Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Chang Compestine
Expected Release Date: November 8, 2022

Recommended: yup!
For a feel-good story set during the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, for a look at what it was like for folks in Wuhan where it originated, for absolutely delicious food (complete with recipes!!)

Summary

Weaving in the tastes and sounds of the historic city, Wuhan’s comforting and distinctive cuisine comes to life as the reader follows 13-year-old Mei who, through her love for cooking, makes a difference in her community. Written by an award-winning author originally from Wuhan.

Grieving the death of her mother and an outcast at school, thirteen-year-old Mei finds solace in cooking and computer games. When her friend’s grandmother falls ill, Mei seeks out her father, a doctor, for help, and discovers the hospital is overcrowded. As the virus spreads, Mei finds herself alone in a locked-down city trying to find a way to help.

Author Ying Chang Compestine draws on her own experiences growing up in Wuhan to illustrate that the darkest times can bring out the best in people, friendship can give one courage in frightening times, and most importantly, young people can make an impact on the world. Readers can follow Mei’s tantalizing recipes and cook them at home. 

Thoughts

I’ve been reading book about Covid-19 since Covid-19 was still locking everyone at home. For me, it’s cathartic in a way to read about so many other people’s experiences of this one global experience. It’s a connection to basically everyone in the world, which I find quite incredible, though of course it’s not the connection I’d have asked for. Point being, while the topic can be difficult because of the recent and ongoing pain around it, I do still love reading about it, and this book is a prime example of why.

Mei is my tiny hero. I aspire to be more like Mei. Though this is a book about Covid-19 and it’s onset, it’s also a book about perseverance and generosity and just being a really decent person. Mei not only steps up to help those around her, but she encourages others to do so as well. Standing up to anyone can be tough, but especially tough when you’re a young teenage girl and you’re standing up to a scared mob of large adult men. What a powerful moment that was, among so many others.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Morning Sun in Wuhan by Ying Chang Compestine (11/8/22)”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Happyish by Jeanette Escudero!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Happyish by Jeanette Escudero published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: yep
For a story with “last day to live” vibes, for a lot of character reflection, for lovely settings and journeys that’ll make your feet itch to wander

Summary

It was supposed to be a good day.

On the one-year anniversary of her divorce, Alex Martinez is getting closure—and margaritas with her two best friends. But just before the celebratory meetup, Alex is clobbered by life once again. Damping the cheer is the diagnosis of a brain tumor she can’t pronounce, a procedure she’d rather postpone, and the prospect of what to say to an already heartbroken mother. Not that Alex plans to tell her anything anytime soon.

Going from blissful to blindsided in one afternoon, Alex has other plans: to be impulsive and embark on an adventure she’ll never forget. Expected destinations: the Grand Canyon, Puerto Rico, and zip-lining through Costa Rica. Unexpected companion: a hiker named David who’s found a woman after his own heart. But no matter how enriching the journey, how long can Alex keep running?

It’s time to accept past griefs, reconnect with her mother, and find her way back to happy. For Alex, whatever the future holds, maybe everything she really needs to face is right where she left it. 

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Happyish by Jeanette Escudero (9/20/22)

Happyish by Jeanette Escudero
Expected Release Date: September 20, 2022
Recommended: yep
For a story with “last day to live” vibes, for a lot of character reflection, for lovely settings and journeys that’ll make your feet itch to wander

Summary

It was supposed to be a good day.

On the one-year anniversary of her divorce, Alex Martinez is getting closure—and margaritas with her two best friends. But just before the celebratory meetup, Alex is clobbered by life once again. Damping the cheer is the diagnosis of a brain tumor she can’t pronounce, a procedure she’d rather postpone, and the prospect of what to say to an already heartbroken mother. Not that Alex plans to tell her anything anytime soon.

Going from blissful to blindsided in one afternoon, Alex has other plans: to be impulsive and embark on an adventure she’ll never forget. Expected destinations: the Grand Canyon, Puerto Rico, and zip-lining through Costa Rica. Unexpected companion: a hiker named David who’s found a woman after his own heart. But no matter how enriching the journey, how long can Alex keep running?

It’s time to accept past griefs, reconnect with her mother, and find her way back to happy. For Alex, whatever the future holds, maybe everything she really needs to face is right where she left it. 

Thoughts

Key point to jump straight to because there’s one big, obvious question when the blurb and point of the book is about a woman learning she has a brain tumor: the ending was unexpected, but in a good way. I felt like I learned a lot about myself through the way the ending was handled, and that was an interesting (and maybe humbling) experience in itself. I won’t say exactly what happens, just that it was done well and added to the rest of the story building up to that critical moment.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Happyish by Jeanette Escudero (9/20/22)”
Posted in Reviews

Review: This Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That by Nicole E. Williams

This Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That by Nicole E. Williams

Recommended: yes!
1. For people with vaginas
2. For people without vaginas (just be careful not to get too jealous)

Summary

In This Is How You Vagina, Dr. Nicole Williams presents readers with a much-needed education on the history, science, and attitudes of the most fascinating and misunderstood part of the female anatomy: the vagina. She covers valuable information about sexual function, childbirth, and physiology and provides answers to her patients’ (and probably your) most asked questions. She matter-of-factly dispels the most common myths and misinformation concerning female genitalia, including—

• No, your vagina doesn’t need steaming 
• Those panty liners are unnecessary—your vagina needs to breathe
• It’s actually perfectly normal for your vagina to have an odor—consider it your personal brand

This book is an easy-to-understand guide, complete with illustrations, for women to explore and understand their vaginas in a way they never have before. You will learn what’s normal and what’s not, including that, yes, yours is most certainly normal too.

This is How You Vagina is essential reading for anyone who is looking to better understand the form and function of this most majestic and fascinating organ.

Thoughts

Disclaimer: this is the weirdest review I’ve probably ever written. I’m also not sure it’s a review. Enjoy..?

I was excited to read this book because I know basically zero things about my vagina. How is it shaped? How does it WORK? How can I get it to feel great? What do I do when it feels terrible? And because I’m always a reader first, I of course sought out a book. Just call me Hermione.

I now have some answers to those questions, and damn if I don’t feel so great about that. I’m so happy to finally understand my body better! My current state and my future state! I’ve had SO many questions about menopause and was like, well it’s a while off I guess I’ll deal with it then. And yet, if I take care of myself now, I can make that transition a hell of a lot easier on myself. Basically I need to keep having lots of sex. Thanks Doc. 😏

Continue reading “Review: This Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That by Nicole E. Williams”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Fastest Way to Fall, 11/2/21!

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 Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams.
Expected Release: November 2, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Oh man, maybe it’s just because I’m deep into my first read of Lore Olympus, but the idea of the forbidden love is making me swoon! Mostly because it’s only lightly forbidden, since Britta is technically Wes’s client and he probably shouldn’t bang her (bad PR). Plus, Britta is technically doing a review of this guy and his company… so she probably shouldn’t seemed biased toward him (aka by banging him).
  • Weirdly, I’m pretty into the fitness angle here too. Since Wes is Britta’s personal coach and she’s into body positivity, I’m feeling some connection to my recent attempted foray into healthier living. (Note the word attempted…) So maybe reading about two people who really love being healthy (plus each other) can reinvigorate me to move a little more myself!
  • Although I never actually ended up reading it, How to Fail at Flirting was a book I wanted to read (and still do!). So if Denise Williams also wrote that one, then it’s no surprise I’m interested in this other title by her! Plus I just saw How to Fail at Flirting is available at the library, so maybe I’ll grab a copy and use that to whet my appetite for now. 😊

Summary

Britta Colby works for a lifestyle website, and when tasked to write about her experience with a hot new body-positive fitness app that includes personal coaching, she knows it’s a major opportunity to prove she should write for the site full-time.

As CEO of the FitMe app, Wes Lawson finally has the financial security he grew up without, but despite his success, his floundering love life and complicated family situation leaves him feeling isolated and unfulfilled. He decides to get back to what he loves—coaching. Britta’s his first new client and they click immediately.

As weeks pass, she’s surprised at how much she enjoys experimenting with her exercise routine. He’s surprised at how much he looks forward to talking to her every day. They convince themselves their attraction is harmless, but when they start working out in person, Wes and Britta find it increasingly challenging to deny their chemistry and maintain a professional distance.

Wes isn’t supposed to be training clients, much less meeting with them, and Britta’s credibility will be sunk if the lifestyle site finds out she’s practically dating the fitness coach she’s reviewing. Walking away from each other is the smartest thing to do, but running side by side feels like the start of something big.

Posted in Reviews

Review: How Lucky by Will Leitch

How Lucky by Will Leitch – Expected Publication: May 11, 2021
Verdict: eh, not for me but I’m confident others will really love this

Recommended: sure, for other people
For folks curious about life with SMA as a wheelchair-user, for a light mystery heavy on character introspection, for small laughs about dark things

Summary

Daniel leads a rich life in the university town of Athens, Georgia.  He’s got a couple close friends, a steady paycheck working for a regional airline, and of course, for a few glorious days each Fall, college football tailgates. He considers himself to be a mostly lucky guy—despite the fact that he’s suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child, one that has left him unable to speak or to move without a wheelchair. 

Largely confined to his home, Daniel spends the hours he’s not online communicating with irate air travelers observing his neighborhood from his front porch. One young woman passes by so frequently that spotting her out the window has almost become part of his daily routine. Until the day he’s almost sure he sees her being kidnapped. 

Thoughts:

I can’t really believe I’m rating this as “just ok” but that is indeed what’s happening. I can’t really pinpoint what missed for me with this book. Objectively I can look at it’s components and think it would probably be good, but ultimately I just wasn’t that into it. Reading it wasn’t a chore, but I guess I just never really connected with the characters nor the plot.

Continue reading “Review: How Lucky by Will Leitch”