Posted in Book Talk

Barnes & Noble’s beach read recos are spot on!

Hey y’all!

I was just perusing Barnes and Noble’s website for my friends’ registry when I saw their recommended beach reads list. I had to laugh, because several of them are ones I have read (though not necessarily at the beach) and definitely agreed with!

The list

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

One of the few on this list that I haven’t already heard of! Judging 100% by the title and cover this might be a little too saccharine sweet for me right now, but does have a quick read beach book feel to it. ^.^

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Well, I definitely read this one! I think I was actually a little late to the party when it came out, but daaaang did I love it! This is a slightly chunky read but it goes by super fast because of how much you love the characters. Just be aware that it does get, ah, somewhat steamy at points, so if you do read it on the beach be warned! xD

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner

I haven’t read this but it’s on my list. After reading Big Summer by her last year, I knew to go for it when I saw her name!

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

I just read this from BOTM and it was WAY better than I expected. It had a lot more character depth than I anticipated, and the main conflict is one that’s a true problem and says a lot about the insight and aspects of the characters as they navigate it.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

It should be no surprise to avid chick-lit or beach-book readers to see Emily Henry on here twice! And it should be no surprise to ANYONE to see that a book titled “Beach Read” is on a list about books to read at the beach. No brainer. This one definitely fits the mold though, and I quite enjoyed it when I read it. I preferred People We Meet on Vacation, but maybe just because I’ve read it more recently. 😅

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

My only qualm with calling this a beach read is that it starts out with a bang. A literal one. Of the bedroom variety. You can probably guess that it doesn’t lighten up from there, so be prepared for some steam if you’re reading this on a hot beach!

The Layover by Lacie Waldon

The only other title on this list I haven’t already heard of! Judging this one as well by it’s title and cover, I’m probably going to be adding it to my tbr. If it’s anything to do with locations far from home, I’ll all about it!

Are any of these books in your bag to pack for the beach this summer? ⛱

Posted in Book Talk

6 Books with Weddings

Hey y’all! I saw people besides my significant other and family for the first time this weekend and my friend’s wedding! If you happened to notice that I didn’t post anything on Saturday it’s because I was too busy celebrating!

It was so fun and so lovely and beautiful and I’m so happy for them! And I also wanted to use this as some inspiration for a post because I started thinking about all the books with weddings in them, and how they’re not always the way you might expect a book with a wedding in it to be.

By that I mean, sometimes the wedding goes wrong. Sometimes it’s in a horror and someone’s being forced to get married. Sometimes it totally is just an excuse for a bunch of romantic novel tropes and you know it, but you love it anyway. Weddings come in all kinds of ways in books! So here are a few that I immediately thought of when making this list that showcase the variety that you can get with weddings in books.

Ahh, the fake date

A juicy fake-date trope, Lucie decides to take a vacation to Scotland with a total stranger as his date to a wedding. The wedding, the hotel, the exotic locale, two hetero people… you can guess where this is heading.

Lure him in

Although Poppy and Alex are not the ones getting married, she DOES use the wedding as an excuse to lure him into a vacation together, after years of their broken tradition. Ends with a wedding, but the good stuff is all before!

Continue reading “6 Books with Weddings”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: From Little Tokyo With Love, 5/11

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 From Little Tokyo, With Love by Sarah Kuhn.
Expected Release: May 11, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • I get I Love You So Mochi vibes from this, and that book was terribly adorable so I can only hope for the same here! It seems like it will be a little bit sweeter than reality, and maybe I’ll need to suspend cynicism to enjoy it, but I look forward to that. (Edit: I’m such a dope. Just realized this is THE SAME AUTHOR that wrote ILYSM so it’s not a surprise I get similar vibes! 😅)
  • There are bound to be plenty of identity and family woes as Grace is an orphan and biracial. The blurb highlights those facts, so I can only assume that they will become fairly central to the story in some way as she explores with Local Cutie Celeb. ^.^
  • The setting seems quite whimsically light, what with the meet-cute at a festival with a high-profile cutie. (K-Pop Confidential, anyone?). I guess I’m into the “secretly/accidentally dating someone famous” trope, who knew?

Summary

If Rika’s life seems like the beginning of a familiar fairy tale–being an orphan with two bossy cousins and working away in her aunts’ business–she would be the first to reject that foolish notion. After all, she loves her family (even if her cousins were named after Disney characters), and with her biracial background, amazing judo skills and red-hot temper, she doesn’t quite fit the princess mold.

All that changes the instant she locks eyes with Grace Kimura, America’s reigning rom-com sweetheart, during the Nikkei Week Festival. From there, Rika embarks on a madcap adventure of hope and happiness–searching for clues about her long-lost mother, exploring Little Tokyo’s hidden treasures with a cute actor, and maybe…finally finding a sense of belonging.

But fairy tales are fiction and the real world isn’t so kind. Rika knows she’s setting herself up for disappointment, because happy endings don’t happen to girls like her. Should she walk away before she gets in even deeper, or let herself be swept away?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Where the Rhythm Takes You, 5/11/21

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 Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass!
Expected Release: May 11, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • TOBAGO! That is a place I have never been in real life or in a book, and that is guaranteed to attract me to a story. While this story will primarily take place at a resort, I’m hoping I can learn some about the country and people.
  • A resort, a crazy successful DJ, and first-lost love. Also inspired by Jane Austen’s persuasion apparently? I haven’t read Persuasion, but Where The Rhythm Takes You sounds like it will blend grief and love and growing up and taking risks and moving on and all kinds of strong and difficult themes of LIFE together. The plot basically sounds really strong and like if it’s done well, it will be utterly captivating.
  • And, oooooooh I feel like this might also have some really delicious tropes to enjoy in the romance-y part of it! It’s a fancy resort? On a tropical island? And they have HISTORY TOGETHER? Yup, if there’s not some kind of accidental-falling-on-each-other moment, or getting caught in the rain, or the double take when they realize how close they’re standing, I’ll be surprised. The rest can be deliciously original. I just want a few! ^.^

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago, the Plumeria. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden – her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything – left the island to pursue his music dreams. Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try to keep the Plumeria running.

And that’s when Aiden comes roaring back into her life – as a VIP guest at the resort.

Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal – the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…

PS: here’s a map for anyone who has no idea where Tobago is. Learn something new every day! 😀

Posted in Reviews

2 Second DNF Review: Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Wow did I hate this. Really strange given that I really enjoyed the first one. I can’t read that Mack winks one more time because I’m 30% through and it’s been like two times a page and I can’t deal with this vom-inducing guy. I also hate the “you know you love me” attitude. Shut up dude and don’t tell me how I feel. I’m not a huge fan of Liv either, with her constant fake gagging and anger at everything. Basically no one is likable in this book, to the point where the idea of sexual tension between them is off-putting since I dislike them both. Ugh.

Other issues:
– There are tons of typos and incorrectly used words in the digital copy. Especially weird because it’s a digital file so updates can be made and spell check exists.
– A romance based around a sexual assault and revenge? Maybe a bit of an inappropriate combination?
– Flat characters. Felt like they existed only to each personify one extreme trait to make it enemies to lovers.
– The reason they’re enemies is because… he once ate her leftovers. Seriously?

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Expected Release Date: May 11, 2021

Recommended: sure
For fans of Emily Henry, for a unique way of getting to know the characters, for a romance where the key conflict isn’t entirely due to the fact that they didn’t just TALK ABOUT THEIR ISSUE which is the worst trope ever, for a romance with some other actual FUN tropes

Summary

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart–she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown–but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together–lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Thoughts:

The way of telling it by bouncing between past and present is interesting, and all the stories are enjoyable. You’re not stuck wishing it would just get back to the other time frame, because they’re ALL great.

The culminating issues are done really well because you get the conflict of the current-day story and the conflict of the 2-years-ago fiasco that caused the split. So as the story progresses, you get closer to TWO explosions of plot, which is delightful. They also wind so well together, as in the vacation stories you learn their history and little jokes and personal pains, which then come up again when you switch back to the current day story. I know some people struggle with reading multiple time frames switching back and forth, but I think it’s handled pretty well here.

Continue reading “ARC Review: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Honey girl, 2/23/21

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 Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers.
Expected Release: February 23, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • As my friend said when she was able to get an early copy, “I’m so pumped for lesbian romance. There are so few books on it in this genre.” Thanks Erin, for writing my post for me, because I’m totally on board as well. I’ve found a nice surge in lesbian young adult novels, but for a slightly older audience it’s been a bit scant still (or maybe I’m just missing them all). Give me that unexpected romance every day please!
  • Intersectionality! Not just lesbians, but Asian and black rep as well! Look, I’m not defining this book by these elements of the characters, because there’s so much more I’m excited for (see point 3) BUT I am still so excited when I see stories with characters who have a story beyond their labels and categories and whatnot.
  • IT SOUNDS DAMN GREAT. Drunken marriage to a stranger in Vegas? Falling in love with your accidental wife? Striking out on your own to figure out who you are and who you want to be? It’s got so much good packed in. It’s a whole crazy blend of moments that force Grace to grow up real fast.

Summary

With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.

This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.

In New York, she’s able to ignore all the annoying questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: 11 Paper Hearts

Hey y’all! I usually do these on Fridays (hence the title) but some holidays are falling on Fridays this month so… they’re a bit delayed. 😅 But nonetheless, I am still excited about this upcoming 2021 release!!! OOoooh, so shiny! 11 Paper Hearts is (hopefully) a lovely way to start off the new year.
Expected Release: January 5, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Alright, I’ll be honest, the plot relying on the whole “accident causes teenage amnesia and she has to relearn her own life” is pretty done out and, yes, cheesy AF. But. I still kinda love it. And I still want to read it. 😂
  • Falling in love, again, is also a trope I swoon for. I think falling in love with your partner daily is partly a choice, and a way to focus on the good and things you’re grateful for. Taking someone for granted seems like a fast track to the end of a relationship. So even though this is, you know, teenagers… I’m still on board.
  • Cute rom-com mystery! Who are the secret hearts from? Is it her boyfriend she doesn’t remember? Some newcomer who is emboldened at a chance with her, free of judgment? Love it up, y’all.

Summary

Ella’s life was picture perfect. She had a circle of close friends, a jam-packed social life, and an amazing boyfriend. But then something completely unexpected happened: a car accident after a Valentine’s Day dance. When Ella woke up in the hospital, she couldn’t remember the accident . . . or anything about the weeks before it, including the reason she broke up with her boyfriend.

Now, a year later, she begins receiving paper hearts from a mysterious admirer who seems to have the answers she craves. Ella is intrigued. The hearts contain clues to help Ella remember her life before . . . and take her on a journey she never imagined. Following the paper hearts is the most spontaneous thing Ella has ever done . . . but will she find love?

Posted in Reviews

2 Second Review: 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

2 sentence summary:

Sophie’s boyfriend ditches her just before Christmas, and she ends up heartbroken and surrounded by her (somewhat estranged) extended family. So they decide to each take turns setting her up with single young men for two weeks of daily dates, as they get to know their beloved relative again.

Thoughts?

I read this book in one sitting while I couldn’t move out of bed for a day. It was a wonderful distraction, way better than I expected, and perfect for a Christmassy-but-not-too-Christmassy read. Also I thought it would be pretty weird and awkward to get over the fact that her whole family is setting her up on these dates, but it was presented in a loving and fun way rather than in a “we are concerned about your sex life” way. Which is good since she’s only 17 anyway. Also matchmaking is still a thing, so I guess family-delivered blind dates really isn’t that weird.

Posted in Reviews

Review: The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz

Hey y’all! A quick note that the formatting for this post is pretty weak because I’m posting this from my phone with limited connection. So I have to keep it simple today! I’ll update it once I’m home again. ☺️

Summary

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.

Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.

When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.

_______________________

Thoughts

It was ok. There’s a chance I’d continue the series, but not in any pressing way. The writing was somewhat weak; there was lots of telling not showing, particularly in the very beginning and end. It weakened the story overall, as it felt distant from the story itself and like a blurb provided midway for an editor to have context. Not really the experience I want as a reader.

The plot is pretty generic, but there’s a reason I keep reading books with a secret royal / royal assassin / demon and magic baseline: I like them. I would say this was definitely more romance than adventure, though. A sprinkle of cave sleeping and near escapes, but overall there was minimal peril or even things going wrong.

Continue reading “Review: The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz”