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: Lucie Yi Is Not A Romantic (6/24/22)

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 Lucie Yi Is Not a Romantic by Lauren Ho!
Expected Release: June 24, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I have never read a novel about a co-parenting partnership, and I LOVE that this is one. I’m not sure what the correct term is, but an alternate family structure like this is another example of diversity in stories for people of all kinds to see their own experiences reflected. I also think it’s an option for parenthood that is unknown/stigmatized, so seeing it in fiction is great!
  • There’s an extra perk for me of travel in this novel, as Lucie goes to Singapore to see her family once she’s pregnant. Since she’s pregnant and a local, I’m not sure how much exploring will happen for my benefit, but just being there in the story will be exciting! Even if her parents aren’t exactly on board with her co-parenting decision…
  • And then toss in the reappearance of an ex-fiance! Drama with lovers! I assumed the plot would go towards her falling for her co-parent, but I like the idea that it could go the direction of having a romantic partner and a parenting-partner and negotiating those intertwined relationships. Or maybe she’ll only give her heart to her baby, who knows! I think there are a lot of good options for the path, and I’m so excited to see which one plays out. 🙂

Summary

Management consultant Lucie Yi is done waiting for Mr. Right. After a harrowing breakup foiled her plans for children—and drove her to a meltdown in a Tribeca baby store—she’s ready to take matters into her own hands. She signs up for an elective co-parenting website to find a suitable partner with whom to procreate—as platonic as family planning can be.
 
Collin Read checks all of Lucie’s boxes; he shares a similar cultural background, he’s honest, and most important, he’s ready to become a father. When they match, it doesn’t take long for Lucie to take a leap of faith for her future. So what if her conservative family might not approve? When Lucie becomes pregnant, the pair return to Singapore and, sure enough, her parents refuse to look on the bright side. Even more complicated, Lucie’s ex-fiancé reappears, sparking unresolved feelings and compounding work pressures and the baffling ways her body is changing. Suddenly her straightforward arrangement is falling apart before her very eyes, and Lucie will have to decide how to juggle the demands of the people she loves while pursuing the life she really wants.

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 Release Day!

Just Published: We All Fall Down by Rose Szabo!


Hey y’all! Just a reminder that We All Fall Down by Rose Szabo published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended:
For folks who like character identity exploration, for almost-meetings and vague magic saturating the real world. Not for a strong, clear plot or robust exploration of magic

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In River City, where magic used to thrive and is now fading, the witches who once ruled the city along with their powerful King have become all but obsolete. The city’s crumbling government is now controlled primarily by the new university and teaching hospital, which has grown to take over half of the city.

Moving between the decaying Old City and the ruthless New, four young queer people struggle with the daily hazards of life―work, school, dodging ruthless cops and unscrupulous scientists―not realizing that they have been selected to play in an age-old drama that revives the flow of magic through their world. When a mysterious death rocks their fragile peace, the four are brought into each other’s orbits as they uncover a deeper magical conspiracy.

Devastating, gorgeous, and utterly unique, We All Fall Down examines the complex network of pain created by power differential

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 Chatty

June 2022 TBR: somehow I have a pile

Hey y’all! It’s DAY ONE of June, and for the first time in a really long time (maybe ever?) I have my TBR already planned out AND posted! 🎉 The reason — and theme — for this is “oh wow, I actually have all these books to read, when did that happen?” It certainly wasn’t on purpose, but somehow I have a bunch of books lined up ready to be read. So here they are!

Thanks, local library!

Two out of these three are also Fast Forward Friday featured books, but the main tie for these is that they’re all new releases and they’re all ones I have a library hold coming up for in the next week or two! I got really lucky with some of these to have copies so soon! But that also means I ended up with three books with a time limit to read. xD

Continue reading “June 2022 TBR: somehow I have a pile”
Posted in Reviews

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: Two Nights in Lisbon 5/24/22

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 Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone!
Expected Release: May 24, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • 1The setting, of course. I love books set in places that aren’t where I am, and Lisbon, Portugal is one of those places. This seems like a book that will track all through the city so I’ll see it a bit.
  • The mystery! I love a good amnesiac episode of trying to find out who you are. Siri, Who Am I? was a surprisingly good title, and The End of Getting Lost feels like it will have similar vibes to this one as well. Both were fab!
  • Who is the one person she doesn’t want to ask for help!? The blurb ends with that juicy little tidbit, so on top of the “who am i where am I” mystery, there’s definitely going to be some tension elsewhere as well. It must be someone she meets during the process or else she wouldn’t remember them, right? So what new person is catching her attention?
  • OH AND ALSO ITS BY THE GUY WHO WROTE THE EXPATS!!! That book was one I picked up I don’t even know how, and it was SO GOOD. I still think about that book. I recommended it to my mom and she loved it too. I didn’t realize Chris Pavone wrote it as well until literally just now when I saw the byline on the cover and yoooo I’m even more excited and maybe actually preordering this one now. 😍

Summary

Ariel Price wakes up in Lisbon, alone. Her husband is gone—no warning, no note, not answering his phone. Something is wrong.

She starts with hotel security, then the police, then the American embassy, at each confronting questions she can’t fully answer: What exactly is John doing in Lisbon? Why would he drag her along on his business trip? Who would want to harm him? And why does Ariel know so little about her new—much younger—husband?

The clock is ticking. Ariel is increasingly frustrated and desperate, running out of time, and the one person in the world who can help is the one person she least wants to ask.

Posted in Reviews

Just Published: Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: sure
For a light k-pop-y romance, for a normal girl + superstar pair that’s a bit easier to believe, for characters who you can root for

Summary

Elena Soo has always felt overshadowed. Whether by her more successful older sisters, her more popular twin brother, or her more outgoing best friend, everyone except Elena seems to know exactly who they are and what they want. But she is certain about one thing – she has no interest in going to prom. While the rest of the school is giddy over corsages and dresses, Elena would rather spend her time working to save the local community center, the one place that’s always made her feel like she belonged.

So when international K-pop superstar Robbie Choi shows up at her house to ask her to prom, Elena is more confused than ever. Because the one person who always accepted Elena as she is? Her childhood best friend, Robbie Choi. And the one thing she maybe, possibly, secretly wants more than anything? For the two of them to keep the promise they made each other as kids: to go to prom together. But that was seven years ago, and with this new K-pop persona, pink hair, and stylish clothes, Robbie is nothing like the sweet, goofy boy she remembers. The boy she shared all her secrets with. The boy she used to love.

Besides, prom with a guy who comes with hordes of screaming fans, online haters, and relentless paparazzi is the last thing Elena wants – even if she can’t stop thinking about Robbie’s smile…right?

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.