Posted in Reviews

Review: Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Recommended: eh
Maybe for a quick light read that won’t really linger, if you don’t know much about Taiwan you’ll get a small dose of history along with the YA drama and antics

Summary

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

Thoughts

This book wasn’t particularly mindblowing, but I guess I didn’t expect it to be with the word “Loveboat” in the title. I had to know there would be a little bit of cheese with this. xD Which is fine, and there definitely was. It was ok, and it read quickly so it’s not like I spent a lot of time of a middle of the road read.

Continue reading “Review: Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: On a Night of a Thousand Stars, 3/1/22

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 On A Night of a Thousand Stars by Andrea Yaryura Clark!
Expected Release: March 1, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • The setting of this one is an obvious draw for me. At least partially set in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I’m excited to travel to South America. I don’t often read books set there, so this is a nice chance to break out of that box a bit.
  • Similarly, since I don’t read about South America much, my historical knowledge of the continent is limited mostly to what I learned in high school Spanish classes. Which admittedly, is something at least, but I think there’s a lot more I can dive into with this historical novel.
  • As the main character, college-student Paloma, learns about her father’s history as well as Argentina’s history, I’ll be able to ride along with her. The character’s lens mirrors my own knowledge well, so I think it will gently carry me along. I say gently, but the topic is also pretty painful and grim, as Paloma will dive into the past dangers of the country and put herself in fresh new danger of her own.

Summary

New York, 1998. Santiago Larrea, a wealthy Argentine diplomat, is holding court alongside his wife, Lila, and their daughter, Paloma, a college student and budding jewelry designer, at their annual summer polo match and soiree. All seems perfect in the Larreas’ world—until an unexpected party guest from Santiago’s university days shakes his usually unflappable demeanor. The woman’s cryptic comments spark Paloma’s curiosity about her father’s past, of which she knows little.
 
When the family travels to Buenos Aires for Santiago’s UN ambassadorial appointment, Paloma is determined to learn more about his life in the years leading up to the military dictatorship of 1976. With the help of a local university student, Franco Bonetti, an activist member of H.I.J.O.S.—a group whose members are the children of the desaparecidos, or the “disappeared,” men and women who were forcibly disappeared by the state during Argentina’s “Dirty War”—Paloma unleashes a chain of events that not only leads her to question her family and her identity, but also puts her life in danger.

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: sure
For a frantic sprint through Europe, for unexpected knowledge discovered, for a domestic thriller on the run, for a desperately mad and all-consuming kind of love

Summary

The year is 1996—a time before cell phones, status updates, and location tags—when you could still travel to a remote corner of the world and disappear, if you chose to do so. This is where we meet Gina Reinhold and Duncan Lowy, a young artistic couple madly in love, traveling around Europe on a romantic adventure. It’s a time both thrilling and dizzying for Gina, whose memories are hazy following a head injury—and the growing sense that the man at her side, her one companion on this strange continent, is keeping secrets from her.

Just what is Duncan hiding and how far will he go to keep their pasts at bay? As the pair hop borders across Europe, their former lives threatening to catch up with them while the truth grows more elusive, we witness how love can lead us astray, and what it means to lose oneself in love… The End of Getting Lost is “atmospheric, lyrical, and filled with layered insights into the complexities of marriage” (Susie Yang, New York Times bestselling author of White Ivy). “Kirman is wonderfully deft with suspense and plot” (Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks) in this “electric page-turner” (Courtney Maum, author of Costalegre and Touch), a novel that is both a tightrope act of deception as much as it is an elegant exploration of love and marriage, and our cherished illusions of both. With notes of Patricia Highsmith, Caroline Kepnes, and Lauren Groff, Robin Kirman has spun a delicious tale of deceit, redemption, and the fight to keep love alive—no matter the costs.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman

The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman
Expected Release Date: February 15, 2022

Recommended: sure
For a frantic sprint through Europe, for unexpected knowledge discovered, for a domestic thriller on the run, for a desperately mad and all-consuming kind of love

Summary

The year is 1996—a time before cell phones, status updates, and location tags—when you could still travel to a remote corner of the world and disappear, if you chose to do so. This is where we meet Gina Reinhold and Duncan Lowy, a young artistic couple madly in love, traveling around Europe on a romantic adventure. It’s a time both thrilling and dizzying for Gina, whose memories are hazy following a head injury—and the growing sense that the man at her side, her one companion on this strange continent, is keeping secrets from her.

Just what is Duncan hiding and how far will he go to keep their pasts at bay? As the pair hop borders across Europe, their former lives threatening to catch up with them while the truth grows more elusive, we witness how love can lead us astray, and what it means to lose oneself in love… The End of Getting Lost is “atmospheric, lyrical, and filled with layered insights into the complexities of marriage” (Susie Yang, New York Times bestselling author of White Ivy). “Kirman is wonderfully deft with suspense and plot” (Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks) in this “electric page-turner” (Courtney Maum, author of Costalegre and Touch), a novel that is both a tightrope act of deception as much as it is an elegant exploration of love and marriage, and our cherished illusions of both. With notes of Patricia Highsmith, Caroline Kepnes, and Lauren Groff, Robin Kirman has spun a delicious tale of deceit, redemption, and the fight to keep love alive—no matter the costs.

Thoughts

I started this one for the different countries and the traveling, and I stayed for the question of who knew what, exactly. I honestly couldn’t tell for the majority of this book what was going to be the end. I did have a suspicion, but I wasn’t confident in it, just thinking that it was the most reasonable and likely ending based on what I had to work with.

Continue reading “ARC Review: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman”
Posted in Reviews

Mini Review: Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick

Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick

Definitely not the ending I expected but good. I’m curious to see where the next goes, but I also feel like I could not read it and wouldn’t think about it that much. Her relationship with Yujun was kind of weird to me, right from the start.

Also my book was weirdly missing pages from 182 to 215 and I had no issue picking up where it cut out, so that’s either a good thing (explained so well throughout that it was easy to understand) or a bad thing (nothing important happened in 40 pages).

Continue reading “Mini Review: Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick”
Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh (1/11/22!)

No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh
Expected Release Date: January 11, 2022

Recommended: sure
For characters who might make you cackle in delight every now and then, for a plot that flirts with absurdity just enough to make you smile, for a slow wind into more serious territory where you’re there without realizing when it went from silly to somber

Summary

It’s not over until someone says ‘I do’…
While her friends join the “Wife Club” one by one, Poppy feels like that part of her life is done and dusted. Already married and divorced she’s not desperate to go through all that again.

But what if her divorce never actually went through…?

After a shock revelation Poppy not only discovers she is still married, but that Zac is about to have his second wedding!

Coming face to face with her (almost) ex-husband after six years apart is never going to be easy. And when Zac panics and tells his new wife-to-be that Poppy is family, things can’t get much worse as she is welcomed with open arms as part of the wedding party!

As the memories flood back, can Poppy really leave the past where it is? And can she watch the first love of her life walk down the aisle to say ‘I do’ once again?

Thoughts

I think the simplest way to sum this up is by saying that if you read the blurb and it makes you smile and think it sounds like something you might enjoy, you probably will. It definitely delivered, even though going into it I was like “how on earth will they explain that this guy introduced her as his cousin when that would be SO stupid of him??” And yet, in the moment, I was totally on board and thinking that the only way out of the situation was to pretend they were cousins. Yep.

This is a romance of course, and I’d say that the romance in it was a definite slow-burn and honestly a little bit secondary to the main issues of the relationships. Since Poppy and Zac have already had a relationship built and even been married, that initial falling in love stuff happened more or less off screen. We get some nostalgia and reminiscing, but no real flashbacks. So if you’re coming into this hoping for steamy or swoon-worthy moments, you’re probably not going to be satisfied. It’s more of an element to the character’s story rather than the singular focus.

Continue reading “ARC Review: No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh (1/11/22!)”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: An Accidental Odyssey, 12/14/21

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 An Accidental Odyssey by K.C. Dyer!
Expected Release: December 14, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • As ALWAYS, a book that takes me places will be on my list. This one is an actual journey around the Mediterranean. While I don’t love boats or sailing, my first trip abroad was to Italy and Greece, so I’m really excited to see them again in this story. 🥰
  • This sounds like it will have a dual trope punch o unexpected love and a fresh start. Someone realizing they deserve better than what they have — whether in a relationship, a career, a dream, anything — and then taking the risk to try and go after that something better? Those make me feel so lovely. Bravery inspires me and helps me reflect on my own actions and happiness, and sometimes helps spur me to make changes of my own.
  • How much of this will parody Homer’s Odyssey? I don’t know, and I’m not even sure I’d recognize the moments if they happen. But I still hope they happen, just in case I do recognize them. I love having old or classic stories imagined in a new context, or as a callback to a current story.

Summary

Gianna Kostas is on the cusp of a fairy-tale life. Sure, she’s just lost her job, but she’s about to marry one of New York’s most eligible bachelors. On her way to taste wedding cakes, though, things go sideways. Shocking news sends Gia off on a wild journey halfway around the world in pursuit of her ailing–and nearly estranged–father.

In Athens, she learns Dr. Kostas, a classics professor, is determined to retrace Odysseus’s famous voyage. This is a journey her father is in no condition to take alone, so Gia faces a tough decision. When an unexpected job offer helps seal the deal and quash the guilt Gia feels from her disapproving groom-to-be, the journey is on. But as Gia adventures–and eats–her way around the Mediterranean, she discovers that confronting epic storms and ripped surfer dudes might be the easy part.

Along the way, as she uncovers family secrets, finds heartbreak, and learns more about a certain archaeologist with a mysterious past of his own, Gia discovers that fairy-tale endings might be messy and complicated, but they can happen anywhere.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Seoulmates, 12/7/21

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 Seoulmates by Jen Frederick!
Expected Release: December 7, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Admittedly, this is kind of a weird pick for me: this is the second book in a series that I haven’t started yet. 😂 That’s just how confident I am that I’m going to enjoy the whole story. So that’s a big part of my reason for this one: once I read (and probably enjoy) the first book, I won’t have to wait long before diving back in with the second book!
  • Soul searching and identity tend to melt my heart because I’m a sucker for self-discovery. I like seeing people find their happiness!
  • And obviously, add in travel, and particularly Korea. Seoul is an incredible city, and it’s ALSO great for puns. It’s so fun for me to read books set in places I’ve traveled to because I can picture the people, the places, and just the overall experience so clearly.

Summary

When Hara Wilson lands in Seoul to find her birth mother, she doesn’t plan on falling in love with the first man she lays eyes on, but Choi Yujun is irresistible. If his broad shoulders and dimples weren’t
enough, Choi Yujun is the most genuine, decent, gorgeous guy to exist. Too bad he’s also her stepbrother.

Fate brought her to the Choi doorstep but the gift of family comes with burdens. A job in her mother’s company has perks of endless company dinners and super resentful coworkers. A new country means
learning a new language which twenty-five year old Hara is finding to be a Herculean task. A forbidden love means having to choose between her birth family or Choi Yujun.

All Hara wanted was to find a place to belong in this world—but in order to have it all, she’ll have to risk it all.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim (12/7/21)

Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim
Expected Release Date: December 7, 2021

Recommended: yesssss
For a literary story that’s still easy to read, for characters who draw you in whether you like them or not, for a dramatic and complex history of a tiny country that has seen unbelievable change very quickly

Summary

In 1917, deep in the snowy mountains of occupied Korea, an impoverished local hunter on the brink of starvation saves a young Japanese officer from an attacking tiger. In an instant, their fates are connected—and from this encounter unfolds a saga that spans half a century.

In the aftermath, a young girl named Jade is sold by her family to Miss Silver’s courtesan school, an act of desperation that will cement her place in the lowest social status. When she befriends an orphan boy named JungHo, who scrapes together a living begging on the streets of Seoul, they form a deep friendship. As they come of age, JungHo is swept up in the revolutionary fight for independence, and Jade becomes a sought-after performer with a new romantic prospect of noble birth. Soon Jade must decide whether she will risk everything for the one who would do the same for her.

From the perfumed chambers of a courtesan school in Pyongyang to the glamorous cafes of a modernizing Seoul and the boreal forests of Manchuria, where battles rage, Juhea Kim’s unforgettable characters forge their own destinies as they wager their nation’s. Immersive and elegant, Beasts of a Little Land unveils a world where friends become enemies, enemies become saviors, heroes are persecuted, and beasts take many shapes.

Thoughts

The triumph in this book is the characters, and it’s a masterful example of the joy one can have in seeing people grow and change in a story. There are several characters introduced, and yet it’s never hard to remember who did what or where they left off. They fall widely within the gray areas of good and evil, and yet every one is a fascinating read with whom you can typically empathize if even in the most unexpected ways.

They bring the history of Korea to life. If you’re not familiar with it already, this will provide coherent insights into the whole saga; if you’re already familiar, you will see the visions of lives inside while it all unfolded. For many many years, Korea was ruled by others, and the victory and independence they found was conversely combined with a division that persists to this day between North and South.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim (12/7/21)”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that The Lucky Escape by Laura Jane Williams released today in paperback! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: yes!
For a fun travel adventure, for a cheeky attempt at no-strings-attached fun, for the “vacation with a stranger” trope that’s a little less scary because they were classmates way back when

Summary

ONE CANCELLED WEDDING

When the day finally comes for Annie to marry Alexander, the last thing she expects is to be left standing at the altar. She was so sure he was Mr Right. Now, she has no idea how she could have got it so wrong.
 
ONE UNEXPECTED ENCOUNTER

After a chance meeting with Patrick, an old friend who reminds her of who she used to be, Annie takes a vow of her own: she’ll say yes to every opportunity that comes her way from now on.

ONE SPARE TICKET FOR THE HONEYMOON

Could a spontaneous trip with Patrick be the way to mend Annie’s heart? She’s about to find out as she embarks on her honeymoon – with a man who’s not her husband…