Review: The Duke and I (Bridgertons #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Avon Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

To preface, I just want to say that I have not watched the show yet so I cannot say how it compares to it nor did I have any particular expectations going in. I wanted to read the book first before watching the show.

I ended up really enjoying this book!

The book was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. The humor was woven throughout the novel nicely. The little excerpts from Lady Whistledown were a very entertaining touch that added to the hilarity. 

As for the two leads, I did prefer the Simon over Daphne. Daphne did some things that I was not a fan of. She wasn’t completely terrible; she just wasn’t my favorite. As for the supporting characters, I loved them all, especially the other Bridgerton siblings. I can’t wait to learn more about them in the rest of the books. 

This edition did include the bonus Second Epilogue (which was originally published separately online) which I also enjoyed. It’s relatively short so it didn’t reveal that much, but it was still fun revisiting the characters again.

Overall, I found this to be a delightful read. I am looking forward to finally watching the show and continuing the series. 


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Review: Victor and Nora

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (DC Comics) in exchange for an honest review. 

What a tragic love story! 

This was another great comic from the DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults imprint. This one followed a young Victor Fries (aka Mr. Freeze) as he first meets Nora (aka Mrs. Freeze). I thought this comic set up their origin story nicely. 

The comic really delves into the emotional states of the characters and the tragedies of their lives. There was a lot of depth and complexity to them. Both Victor and Nora have a lot of grief and it was interesting to see how they dealt with that. If you like tragic young adult love stories, then you’ll probably like Victor and Nora’s story! 

Since this is a comic, I have to talk about the artwork. It is amazing!The use of colors in showing their relationship was very clever. Victor was cool blues, while Nora was warm hues. The colors were also useful in distinguishing whose point of view was being shown. There were also a few art style changes in the comic that were super fun. For example, on pages 38-39, the art changes to the Tim Burton skeleton look, which was so spot on! 

Overall, I really enjoyed this young adult take on a famous Gotham villain couple! 


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Review: How to Date Your Wardrobe

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (William Morrow) in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a short and quick read all about finding clothing that works for you. 

First off, I liked how inclusive this book is. It discusses how it is totally fine if you want to shop in the opposite department (men shopping in the women’s clothing, women shopping in the men’s clothing department). 

I found the ideas and overall approach towards picking out clothes to be thought provoking. It really made you stop and think about why you bought a particular clothing item. I also liked that there was not an emphasis on being fashionable or trendy. You do not have to be a fashion lover to follow the advice in the book. 

There are some little cartoons dispersed throughout the book which I thought was a fun touch and highlighted some of the ideas and themes well.

However, this book is really short, so it is not as impactful as it could have been. I feel like the author has the ability and ideas to expand this into a full length book. 

Overall, I enjoyed this little book! I recommend it to anyone who wants to redo (or just clean out) their wardrobe.


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Review: Crystal Clear

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books) in exchange for an honest review.

So first off, I just want to mention that this is not a guidebook on crystals. If you are looking for a guidebook about different crystals and their properties, then I would suggest picking up another book. 

This book was an excellent collection of personal essays that connects the properties of certain crystals to the author’s own experiences. The author weaves the history and properties of the crystals into the essays very well. Sometimes with essays like these, they can become too textbook like when describing factual information. Here, it all felt very natural and not forced. The author has a very effortless and conversational writing style which makes reading the essays a breeze. 

My favorite essays were the ones on Pearl, Pyrite, Carnelian, and Obsidian. I liked that there were similar themes in some of the essays. For example, she discusses her mixed race heritage in a few of them. It made the collection cohesive. 

I also liked the brief mentions of tarot cards and astrology. Crystals, tarot, and astrology often go hand in hand so I was glad to see the connections. 

Design-wise this book is stunning. Quirk Books knows book design so well. There are cute illustrations before each chapter and the edges of every chapter are color coded to correspond to the crystal. 

The one thing the book was missing was a short concluding chapter. It had an introduction, but a concluding chapter with some final thoughts would have tied it all together neatly. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it if you like personal essays. Even if you have absolutely no interest in crystals, the essays are still relatable and thought provoking. 


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Review: Hot Texas Sunrise (Coldwater Texas #2)

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) in exchange for an honest review. 

I actually have the first book in this series but for some reason decided to start with this one. I’m glad I did because I loved it!

This book has the perfect blend sexy and heartfelt moments. The foster care system is at the center of the story so there were so many heart tugging scenes related to that. I really liked that the book dove deep into the complexities of the foster care system. You really got to see the good and bad sides to it. I really felt for the three boys and what they were going through. 

I loved the two leads, Cleo and Judd. They had sizzling chemistry and they made a great couple. I was rooting for them the whole time. 

I also loved the supporting characters. Judd’s sponsor (Judd is a recovering alcoholic), Mercy, was quite the character and juxtaposition. Her and Judd’s dynamic was unique to say the least. 

My only critique is the ending. The ending felt a little rushed and I wanted a little more closure, especially in regards to Cleo and Judd’s relationship and their future together.

Overall, this story was both spicy and heartfelt! I recommend this book if you want a romance with a little more substance than your typical romance novel. 


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Blog tour: Yolk (Excerpt + Giveaway!)

Hi beauties! Today I am a stop on the YOLK by Mary H.K. Choi Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I am so excited to read this one! I’ve heard her books are amazing! Check out the excerpt and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

About The Book:

Title: YOLK

Author: Mary H.K. Choi

Pub. Date: March 2, 2021

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 400

Find it:  GoodreadsAmazon, Kindle, AudibleB&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBDBookshop.org

From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters switching places and committing insurance fraud to save one of their lives.

Jayne Baek is barely getting by. She shuffles through fashion school, saddled with a deadbeat boyfriend, clout-chasing friends, and a wretched eating disorder that she’s not fully ready to confront. But that’s New York City, right? At least she isn’t in Texas anymore, and is finally living in a city that feels right for her.

On the other hand, her sister June is dazzlingly rich with a high-flying finance job and a massive apartment. Unlike Jayne, June has never struggled a day in her life. Until she’s diagnosed with uterine cancer.

Suddenly, these estranged sisters who have nothing in common are living together. Because sisterly obligations are kind of important when one of you is dying.


EXCERPT

From Chapter 1 of YOLK

By Mary H.K. Choi

Depending on where I focus and how much pressure I apply to the back of my throat, I can just about blot him out. Him being Jeremy. Him who never shuts up. Him being my ex. He whose arm is clamped

around the back of the café chair that belongs to another girl. She’s startlingly pretty, this one. Translucent and thin. Achingly so. She has shimmering lavender hair and wide-set, vacant eyes. Her name is Rae and when she offers her cold, large hand, I instinctively search her face for any hint of cosmetic surgery. Her lids, her lips, the tip of her nose. Her boots are Ann Demeulemeester, the ones with hundreds of yards of lace, and her ragged men’s jacket, Comme. 

“I like your boots,” I tell her, needing her to know that I know, and immediately hating myself for it. I’m so intimidated I could choke. She smiles with such indulgent kindness I feel worse. She’s not at all threatened by me. 

“I got them here,” she tells me in faultless English. I don’t ask her where there might be.

Jeremy says I’m obsessed with other women. He might be right. Then again, someone once described Jeremy’s energy to me as human cocaine, and they were definitely right. 

“Mortifying.” He shudders, blotting his slick mouth with a black cloth napkin. Jeremy’s the only one eating a full-on meal here at Léon. A lunch of coq au vin. I draw in a deep breath of caramelized onion. All earthy, singed sugar. 

“Can you imagine failing at New York so publicly that you have to ‘move home’?” He does twitchy little scare quotes around the last bit. He does this without acknowledging that for him, moving home

would be a few stops upstate on Metro-North, to a town called Tuxedo. A fact he glosses over when he calls himself a native New Yorker.

I watch Rae, with a small scowl nestled above her nose, purposely apply a filter on her Instagram Story. It’s her empty espresso cup at an angle. I lean back in my wicker café chair and resume lurking her

profile, which I can do in plain sight because I have a privacy shield. 

It’s the typical, enigmatic hot-girl dross on her main feed, scones cut out onto a marble surface dusted with flour, her in a party dress in a field. A photo of her taking a photo in a mirror with a film camera.

In an image farther down, Rae is wearing a white blouse and a black cap and gown. Grinning. It’s a whole different energy. When I arrive at the caption, I close my eyes. I need a moment. I somehow

sense the words before they fully register. She graduated from Oxford. It’s crushing that most of the caption is in Korean. She’s like me but so much better.

My will to live leeches out of my skin and disappears into the atmosphere. I should be in class. I once calculated it, and a Monday, Wednesday, Friday course costs forty-seven dollars, not counting rent.

Counting rent in this city, it’s exactly one zillion.

“Yeah, hi.” Jeremy flags down a passing server. A curvy woman with a tight Afro turns to us, arms laden with a full tray of food. “Yeah, can you get me a clean glass of water?” He holds his smeared glass to the light.

“I can,” she says through her teeth, crinkling her eyes and nodding in a way that suggests she’s garroting him in her mind.

“That’s not our server,” I whisper when she leaves. As a restaurant kid, albeit a pan-Asian strip-mall operation that charges a quarter for to-go boxes, I cringe with my whole body. Jeremy shrugs.

I check myself out in the strip of antique mirror behind Rae’s and Jeremy’s heads. I swear my face is wider now than it was this morning. And the waistband of my mom jeans digs into my gut flesh, stanching

circulation in my lower belly and thighs. I can feel my heartbeat in my camel-toe. It’s a dull pain. A solid distraction from this experience. I wonder if they were talking about me before I arrived.

I eye the communal french fries. Saliva pools in the back of my gums. Ketchup is my kryptonite. Especially swirled with ranch dressing, which I’ve trained myself to give up. The Raes of the world would

never. Or they would and it would be quirky and wholesome.

Her leg is the circumference of my arm.

I smile at the room in a way I imagine would appear breezy yet bored in a film about heartbreak. I love this place. You’d never guess that a dumpy French restaurant from the seventies would be the new hotspot, but that’s the other thing Jeremy’s good for: knowing the migratory practices of various clout monsters. That and ignoring the tourists as he sweet-talks Oni the hostess into ushering us past the busy

bar and into the seats in the way, way back.

Someday I’m going to eat a meal in a New York restaurant by myself without burning with shame.


About Mary H.K. Choi: 

Mary H.K. Choi is a Korean-American author, editor, television and print journalist. She is the author of young adult novel Emergency Contact (2018). She is the culture correspondent on Vice News Tonight on HBO and was previously a columnist at Wired and Allure magazines as well as a freelance writer. She attended a large public high school in a suburb of San Antonio, then college at the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in Textile and Apparel.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon 


GIVEAWAY

Giveaway Details: 

2 winners will win a finished copy of YOLK, US Only.

To enter click on the following link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba21245/


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

3/1/2021Westveil Publishing Excerpt
3/1/2021A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
3/2/2021BookHounds YA Spotlight 
3/2/2021Book-KeepingReview
3/3/2021Lifestyle of MeReview
3/3/2021What A Nerd Girl SaysReview
3/4/2021Momfluenster Spotlight 
3/4/2021Not In Jersey Review
3/5/2021Kait Plus BooksSpotlight 
3/5/2021Trapped Inside StoriesSpotlight 

Week Two:

3/8/2021My Fictional OasisReview
3/8/2021Eli to the nthReview
3/9/2021The Scribe OwlReview
3/9/2021Nay’s Pink BookshelfReview
3/10/2021Lala’s Book Reviews Review
3/10/2021The Mind of a Book DragonReview
3/11/2021Odd and BookishReview
3/11/2021Little Red ReadsReview
3/12/2021Amani’s ReviewsReview
3/12/2021michellemengsbookblogReview

Review: The Electric Kingdom

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Penguin Teen) for promotional purposes. 

Wow. This was such an interesting book (in a good way)! 

When I first started reading it, I was a little confused about what was going on. You get thrown into the world without much explanation. But as the book went on, it was all slowly revealed. 

I don’t want to give away too much about the plot, but I will say it is sort of circular and kind of trippy (if that makes any sense). It’s a book that you have to read for yourself. By the time I got to the end, my mind was blown. 

The writing style is so beautiful. It’s very lyrical and poetic at times, but also had a slightly haunting quality to it. 

This is also a book that would be great to reread. Since you don’t discover everything until the end, it would be fun to reread it and pick up on all the little clues woven throughout the story.

Lastly, it felt eerie reading this book during a pandemic. This book is about deadly flies and the flu they carry and it made me think about the situation we are in. 

Overall, this was a deep and thought provoking story. I really recommend it! 


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Review: The Lamps of History

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Rating: ★★★

I received this book for free from the author as part of an Instagram review tour with TLC Book Tours. 

I find that poetry is always the toughest genre to review. It is so personal and subjective that it is hard to critique it in the same way as prose. Because of this, poetry can be a hit or a miss and that is how I felt about this book. It is hard to put into words exactly what I thought about this book.  

This was a very interesting collection of poetry that didn’t quite resonate with me. There were some poems that I liked but others I didn’t really get. I felt like I missed some of the references in some pieces and struggled to make out exactly what the poem was about. That being said I still enjoyed some of the poems. My favorites were: 

  • Lokshen Kugel (pg. 12)
  • When Literature Made Something Happen (pg. 18)
  • After the Party, We… (pg. 20)
  • Thought Thread (pg. 30)
  • Garlic Press (pg. 44)
  • All Souls’ Day (pg. 48)
  • Iridescence (pg. 49) 
  • Acnestis (pg. 53)
  • Knock (pg. 58)
  • Still: Softening Stale Bread (pg. 59)
  • Cenobite (pg. 76)
  • After Certitude (pg. 89)

Overall, this collection wasn’t my kind of poetry but I’m sure others would love and resonate with it. 


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Review: Not THAT Rich

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is described as being Crazy Rich Asians meets Gossip Girl and that comparison has a lot of merit. It has the rich ridiculousness of Crazy Rich Asians and all the teen drama of Gossip Girl. 

I really liked how this book was both entertaining and insightful. The story was addicting to read but it also managed to say a lot about the Asian American experience and the college admission process. The book heavily explores the familial pressures to succeed that many students face. It masterfully showcases the effects it can have on them. 

As for the Asian American representation, this book did an amazing job showing how being Asian adds to the pressure. As an Asian American myself (I am Filipino American), I could relate a lot to their experiences. 

There is quite the cast of characters in this book (there’s a character list at the end that I found so helpful) and each one was so compelling in their own way. My favorites were Trisha and Pamela. I liked how they were so different from each other but yet such great friends. 

Also, this is kind of random to note but I loved that this book showed a school with a block schedule (3 classes a day as opposed to 6). I had a block schedule in middle and high school (and loved it) but never seen one in a fictional context before. 

Lastly, the ending of the book felt realistic in the sense that not everything was wrapped up nicely (teasing the possibility of a sequel maybe?). 

Overall, I really enjoyed this young adult debut! 


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Review: Dogstrology

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. 

I love dogs. I love astrology. So of course I loved this book! 

This is a cute little book that pairs adorable pictures of dogs with astrology. The tone is light and humorous. I laughed out loud a few times. I particularly loved the little note on the edition notice page. It said, “Any resemblance in these astrological readings to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Also, it’s astrology, of course it’s accurate.” I loved that they put that there even though very few people read the edition notice page. 

I enjoyed looking at all the photos of the dogs. However, it is worth noting that none of the photos are original to the book. The photos are from Shutterstock.

As for the astrological content, it is very basic. Don’t expect to learn a whole lot. The descriptions are very brief. I’m already well acquainted with astrology so nothing was new to me. I also just want to point out that this book is not about astrology for your dog, it’s a book that uses dogs to explain astrological concepts. 

Overall, if you love dogs or astrology or just super fun books in general, then pick this book up! It would also make a great gift.


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