Review: City of Dragons The Awakening Storm (City of Dragons #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

This was a fun and wild ride! 

You can’t review a graphic novel without first talking about the artwork. The art in this book is colorful, vibrant, and full of life. It complemented the story beautifully. Additionally, the dragon illustrations were superb. They were depicted as fierce and majestic. 

The story was so entertaining. I’m a sucker for fantasy adventure quests. Plus, who doesn’t love a tale about dragons? At the same time, there was also a lot of heart and emotion throughout which gave the story some balance. 

However, the ending felt a little convoluted. There was a lot going on. Luckily, this is the first book in the series, so more will be revealed in the coming book. The end does set up the next book nicely. I am very intrigued to see it how unfolds. 

I also loved the characters. Grace and all her friends were fleshed out, dynamic characters. I was glad that their backgrounds were touched upon. It made them feel more real and relatable. 

Overall, this was a highly amusing graphic novel. It’s aimed at middle grade readers, but can be enjoyed by people of all ages. If you’re a fan of dragons or Chinese mythology, be sure to check this one out!


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Review: Kicking Ass in a Corset

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a book review tour with TLC Book Tours. 

This was a short but very insightful read!

Basically, this book uses 6 Austen heroines to display 6 different leadership principles and explains how to incorporate them into your day to day life.

The book had a slightly academic tone and structure since it is published by a university, but it still flowed well. The first chapter felt very much like an academic paper, but the rest of the chapters were more accessible. The academic structure was very helpful in keeping the book organized and on point. It was very easy to follow the author’s main points. 

I also liked that at the end of each chapter, the author included a short guide on how to use that principle. 

I’ve one ever read two Jane Austen novels, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility, so I was only familiar with two of the heroines. However, the author does a great job summarizing the stories of the heroines so I was still able to grasp what each one was about. That being said, if you want to avoid spoilers for a particular book, then probably skip that chapter because the summaries are not spoiler free. 

Lastly, I liked the range of the principles. They didn’t reiterate the same things over and over again. Each one was something new and together they made an intricate blend.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and will be using some of the principles in my life! 


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Review: Snapdragon

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of an Instagram book tour (Storygram Tours) I did to promote the book.

This was such a cute graphic novel!

The story was so heartwarming. I loved how Jacks and Snapdragon’s backgrounds and pasts were connected. There were some parts where I was wondering on the relevance of some things (like the story of One-Eyed Tom), but it all came together at the end. 

However, in regards to the plot, I wanted more about the magic. Since this is a book about a witch, naturally there is magic, but it was a little vague on how it all worked. I would have loved to seen it explored in more detail. 

The diversity and representation in this book is amazing! There was so much black and LGBTQ representation. For example, Snapdragon’s friend, Lulu is transgender. I loved seeing how Lulu slowly came out to be the person she was meant to be! 

The art style worked well with the story. The color use in particular was incredibly well done. I liked how vibrant the art was. 

Lastly, I thought they should have stuck with the original name of the novel, Roadkill Witch. Snapdragon is too basic of a name for this slightly odd (in a good way) graphic novel.

Overall, this was a charming graphic novel with a dash of magic. If you’re looking for a quick read this spooky season, give this one a try! 


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Review: It Takes Heart (Heart Resort #1)

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Rating: ★★★

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

I thought this was a solid second chance romance and start to a new series.

First off, I really enjoyed seeing all the Filipino culture. I am half Filipino myself so it was so amazing seeing the representation. From the Filipino names of the tiny homes to a discussion on “Filipino time,” there was so much culture woven throughout the book. Additionally, the family dynamic of the Puso family was very typical of a Filipino family. Side note, I loved that the resort was named Heart Resort because their last name, Puso, is Tagalog for heart. That was very clever.

I also liked “cozy” feeling of the storyline. The plot was so family oriented and you could tell there was a lot of love between the family members themselves and their friends. 

My biggest issue with this book is the pacing. The book dragged in parts, mainly in the beginning and middle. There wasn’t a whole lot happening besides set up for future books in the series (i.e. relationship issues for Brandon’s other siblings). At times there was little focus on Brandon and Geneva’s romance. Towards the end the book finally picked up speed and became more exciting. 

Overall, I can tell this will be an amazing series. This book just fell a little short on Brandon and Geneva’s story. 


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Review: So We Meet Again

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I had previously read the author’s other book, Loathe at First Sight, and liked but didn’t love it. I knew I wanted to give her books another shot, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. This book was so much better! 

First off, I liked the romance in this one. This book had more of a romantic story than Loathe At First Sight. Daniel was a swoon-worthy love interest for sure! I loved his interactions with Jess. They had the most adorable meet-cute. As soon as I read their meet-cute, I knew I was going to like them as a couple. 

I also loved that the book was more than a romance and focused a great deal on Jess’s career change. It explored all the ups and downs of starting over. It was wonderful seeing Jess grow from an unsure former investment banker into a full fledged businesswoman. 

As for the supporting characters, Jess’s parents were so precious! You could tell that they really loved Jess, even if they didn’t always show it in the best way. I could relate to Jess’s experiences with her critical mom. 

I did find the book to be a little unrealistic at times. The book wasn’t super clear on the passage of time, but it felt like Jess’s business took off too quickly. But I will admit I don’t know that much about business so maybe it was realistic. Also, Daniel did something at the very end that could have got him in trouble as a lawyer. It wasn’t anything egregious (just a conflict of interest issue). It was only something I noticed since I am a recent law graduate. Most lawyers would have foresaw that conflict of interest and handled the situation differently. 

Overall, I enjoyed this read! If you want a light and fun romance and/or women’s fiction novel to read, pick this one up! 


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Review: More Bad Days in History

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of a review tour hosted by TLC Book Tours. 

What an outrageously fun book! 

I haven’t read the first volume (Bad Days in History) so I cannot say how it compares. 

I’ve always loved learning about history, so naturally I found this book to be fascinating. I loved learning about all the weird, strange, and terrible things that have happened throughout the course of history. Some events were hilarious, others were more tragic, and a few were a little disturbing. 

I appreciated the use of footnotes and the extra information they provided. They were utilized well and not overdone (some authors go a little overboard with footnotes). 

There are also a few illustrations scattered throughout that added to the comedic appeal. 

My one critique is that I wished it was more global. The majority of the events were US or Europe based. For example, there were numerous events about various US presidents. I would have loved to seen more diversity in the events and people showcased. Bad days are a universal experience after all. 

Overall, this was an intriguing read. I recommend it to anyone who loves weird history or is having a bad day and needs a pick-me-up. It’s a book you can read all at once, or read daily. It would also make a great gift to the cynics and pessimists in your life.


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Review: Conquer the Day

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Rating: ★★★★

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

This was a strange yet inspiring book!

Essentially, this is an illustrated cartoon style book of affirmations. It features classic affirmations such as “I attack the day with energy and conviction” alongside tongue-in-cheek pictures. That particular affirmation was paired with the cover photo, showing an unamused, not ready to get out of bed person. This contrast and duality made the book very fun and relatable. I find typical affirmation materials to be a little too upbeat and saccharine, so I appreciated this take on affirmations. My favorite one was a doodle of a man wearing headphones and listening to the affirmation, “I am sexy and people want to be around me.” That one was hilarious and also resonated with me. 

I am not familiar with the author’s work (@PantsPants on Instagram and @Pants on Twitter if you want to check out his stuff), so this was my first exposure to it. I found the illustrations to be cute but also weird and sometimes disturbing (but not in a bad way). It’s unique to say the least, but it worked so well for this book. 

Overall, this was an amusing little book and would make a great gift! 


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Review: The Rose (The Godwicks #2)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher for promotional purposes.

I loved everything about this book! 

I first have to preface this review by saying that I haven’t read the first book in the series but that did not affect my comprehension or enjoyment of this book. It can be read as a standalone. This is also my first Tiffany Reisz book.

This is some damn good erotica. There is a lot of sex, but it was done so well. Sometimes erotica can be a little cringey, but this one wasn’t. Who knew that greek mythology fantasies could be so hot? 

I loved that there was also a plot; it wasn’t just all sex. There was actual substance to it.

The characters were fantastic as well. Lia and August had sizzling chemistry. They were perfect together. Lia’s parents were an unexpectedly hilarious touch. Even though they were barely in the book, I liked Lia’s friends. They seemed so cool and I low-key want a spin-off book about their sexual adventures. 

The book is also incredibly well written. I can tell why so many people love Tiffany Reisz’s book. She knows how to write! 

Lastly, the book was so sex-positive. There was a lot of emphasis on both men and women enjoying sex. 

Overall, this was an impressive erotic romance. I will definitely be reading more from Tiffany Reisz. 


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The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from he publisher for promotional purposes. 

First off, this is not your typical YA vampire book. It’s a very subtle vampire book. The word vampire isn’t even used until way late in the book. 

This book is a slow burn, which I liked. It definitely takes a while to get into the story. I found that the slower pace worked well in creating the mystery and intrigue. This is the first book in a series that is projected to have 4 books, so a lot of this book is likely setting the stage for the rest of the series. The slower pace is to be expected.

The book has a lot of interesting supporting characters. My favorite was Odette. She was awesome. I can’t wait to see how her character progresses in the coming books. There’s a lot to explore with her. I also loved Pippa because she’s quite the mystery. This book didn’t delve much into her past or background so I am intrigued to find that out in the coming books. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I am very curious to see how the rest of the series pans out. I recommend this book if you are interested in a more historical fiction take on vampires and also if you want to read a YA vampire series that isn’t Twilight (no shade against Twilight, I just know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea). 


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Review: From Little Tokyo, With Love

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher for promotional purposes. 

This was such a cute and heartwarming story!

I loved the representation in this. Both the main characters are biracial. Rika is Japanese and white and Hank is Filipino and Chinese. I am biracial myself (Filipino and white) so I related a lot to them. I really resonated with something Rika said. She states, “But it’s not like white people look at me and think I’m one of them” (pg. 130). I have felt that way my whole life. 

Also in terms of representation, Rika’s aunts were lesbians which I found very refreshing and important especially in regards to the Asian American community. Often times LBGTQA+ people are not accepted by the Asian American community and this book highlighted that fact.

I liked that the Rika was flawed. So many young adult female leads are written as perfect people, so it was nice to see one who had flaws. It made her feel more realistic. 

I also enjoyed that the city of LA was utilized well. Numerous books just use LA as a backdrop but never explore the city. Here, it was given a life of its own and featured lesser known attractions like the old Griffith Park Zoo (I never knew this existed and need to check it out!). 

Lastly, going back to Asian American communities, this book delved into the shortcomings of said communities. One character states,

“I really wish so many of our communities would just, like, acknowledge that anger isn’t always a bad emotion…You can’t just reject it — you have to let yourself feel it, make room for it, or all that repressing will burn you up inside”

pg 313

That is so true. We are often taught to just hold our anger inside but that isn’t healthy. We can and should be angry. Additionally, the book also talks about shame in relation to not being what is considered to be “perfect” in the community. 

Overall, this book was relatable with a super cute romance, but it also struck a more serious note and shed a light on the Asian American experience. 


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