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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Review: Beyond the Point

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received copy of this book for free from the publisher as part of an Instagram book tour I did to promote the book. 

Omg what a beautiful book! It definitely lives up to all the hype. 

The story was mesmerizing. I became so invested in the lives of the three women. I felt like I personally knew them and that I was right there with them through their ups and downs. All three of them felt so realistic.

The author’s writing style is phenomenal. There’s something utterly captivating about it. 

Some people mention that this book should be classified as Christian fiction because of the talk of God and religion. I have read my fair share of Christian fiction and I don’t think this book quite fits that. There are mentions of God, but that’s mainly due to one character being religious. Just because the Christian religion is discussed in a book does not mean it is Christian fiction. There is so much more to this book than that (friendship, love, grief, etc.). 

My edition had a little bonus section at the end with filled background behind the novel, including interviews with real life West Point women. I enjoyed hearing their experiences. 

Lastly, I wanted to share a quote from the book about love that really struck me. The author writes,

“Love starts in the body. It starts with the tingling of toes and the rushing of blood and the lightness in the head. It feels a lot like pain…There are convulsions, nausea, heartburn, and breathlessness. There is a physical ache you feel when falling in love. It’s your heart making room for someone else, like a gardener is there, digging out a hole for a new plant. There is pain, and there is fear. The fear that the hole might stay forever”

pg. 151-152

Overall, I LOVED this book and consider it a new favorite of mine. If you’ve been putting off reading this book like I did (it had been sitting on my shelf since 2019), just pick it up already and read it! 


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I am an affiliate for Slumber Cloud!

As summer heats up, it can sometimes be tough to stay cool at night. I recently discovered a new company called Slumber Cloud that helps solve that problem. They make bedding that is designed to regulate your temperature. No more waking up all sweaty!

Sounds interesting? I am now an affiliate and you can use my code ODDANDBOOKISH15 to save 15% on your order!

So far I’ve tried out their Plush Throw Blanket (pictured above) and it is amazing! It’s so soft and cozy but still light enough to use in the summer nights. I definitely recommend it!

In addition to so many bedding options (I’m talking sheets, comforters, mattress pads, and pillow), they also have sleepwear and laundry products!

What are you waiting for? Go and check them out!

xoxo,


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Review: Tokyo Ever After

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Flatiroin exchange for an honest review.

This was such a cute read! 

The premise is everything. A Japanese American girl discovering she is a princess? Yes please! As a whole, I thought the premise was well executed. There was a good balance between the humorous adjusting to royal parts and the more serious discovering who she is parts.   

I really liked that the book included a family tree with a brief description of everyone in the family. It made the book so easy to follow. 

Character-wise, I loved Izumi’s all Asian friend group (nicknamed Asian Girl Gang, or AGG for short). It was so nice seeing a female lead with a large friend group to support her. Also, one of her friends was half-Filipino just like me. I always love seeing Filipino representation in books, even if it’s just a small side character. 

I also enjoyed the writing style. It was engaging and flowed well. 

The Own Voices aspect was also really strong, especially in regards to feeling like a foreigner. The book highlighted how visiting Japan while being Japanese American feels strange since she’s not “Japanese” enough. That is so true. Being American is an added layer of identity and affects how others perceive you. I’m Filipino American and there is a difference in how people in the Philippines view you if you’re American born versus Philippines born. 

However, the book is on the predictable side. If you’re familiar with the lost royalty trope or have seen The Princess Diaries movies, then a lot of the plot points are nothing new. 

Additionally, the romance in this book is a little insta-lovey. I felt like the book didn’t even need a romance sub-plot; it was already strong on its own. 

Overall, I throughly enjoyed this Own Voices take on lost royalty! I recommend it if you love stories about royal families. 


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Review: When the Bee Stings

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Rating: ★★★★★

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

Last year, I read the author’s other book, This Woman is Still Girl, and enjoyed it, so I of course wanted to read her newest collection. It did not disappoint! 

The growth from her other book to this one is so apparent. I liked her other book (I gave it 4 stars), but this one took it to the next level. IT tackles a wide range of topics from heartbreak to mental health. Every poem hits the right note. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s authentic. It’s inspiring. 

So many of the poems resonated with me. Here is a list of my favorites:

  • When I Wear Red Lipstick (pg. 10)
  • All The Stupid Things I Considered After The Breakup (pg. 12)
  • Heartbreak Survival Guide (pg. 18)
  • Walk Away (pg. 33)
  • Hunters (pg. 38)
  • Sunday Service (pg. 40)
  • Faith (pg. 54)
  • Inside Voices (pg. 59)
  • When The Bee Stings (pg. 61)
  • What I Live For (pg. 78)
  • My Own Advice (pg. 83)
  • Coloring Outside The Lines (pg. 87)
  • Hope Will Be The Shelter (pg. 92)
  • Catch Fire (pg. 94)
  • Winter (pg. 105)
  • Thankful (pg. 110)
  • My Honest Poem (pg. 117) 
  • On Her Own Terms (pg. 128)
  • Your Body Is Poetry (pg. 138)
  • No One Tells You (pg. 241)
  • Women’s Evolution (pg. 151)

Overall, this was a stunning collection of poetry that comes from the heart! 


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Review: Bad Lawyer

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Rating: ★★★★

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

What a wild ride!

I’m just about to graduate law school so I thought it was the perfect time to read this book. 

Even though the author is a white woman from a privileged background and I am an Asian American woman, I still related to her and her experiences becoming disenchanted by the law. I agree with a lot of her issues with the legal profession and system. She went into criminal law, a field I have no interest in, but I am not surprised by her experiences or her realizations. The legal system is incredibly archaic and it can be frustrating because of that. 

Even law school itself makes no sense sometimes. She writes in relation to summer jobs,

“representatives from all the top law firms in the country came…and interviewed students for their 2Ls summer jobs, which are said to determine the rest of our legal careers. Why? I have no idea. It was just something we all knew and all accepted.”

pg. 83

That is a true statement and just highlights how cookie cutter becoming a lawyer can be.

I loved how the author explained everything so simply. For example, she explains all the basics of law school in such uncomplicated language. She really provided an in-depth overview of all things law school. She even mentions bar review which was something I was super confused about when I first started law school (I naively thought it was when 3Ls studied for the bar exam, but it’s actually when law students go out to a bar for drinks). 

If the author needs an idea for another book, she should totally do a “Law School For Dummies” type of book. Her writing style is so accessible (unlike most law books) so even the lay person can understand what she’s saying. This probably stems from her inability to master the Bluebook (another archaic legal gatekeeping tool or as she puts it, “The cursed Bluebook is filled with ways to make the law inaccessible to non lawyers. That’s what the law is all about— making what should be accessible esoteric to keep lawyer salaries high” (pg. 66)). 

I did feel that the book lost a bit of its steam towards the end. It felt a little lost, like the author didn’t quite know how to end the book. Because of that, the last few chapters were disjointed from the first half of the book. The last chapters dealt with how messed up the criminal justice system is and I felt that those chapters could have been a jumping off point for a whole other book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this memoir on the realities of being lawyer. I really recommend this if you are interested in becoming a lawyer. Not everything she says may apply to you, but it does give honest insight into the profession. 


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Review: My Last Summer with Cass

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Rating: ★★★½

 I received an ARC of this book for free from The Novl in exchange for an honest review. 

The strongest part of this book was how it portrayed a complicated friend dynamic. It explored their past as childhood friends, then their last summer together in New York, and then finally revisited them a few years later. It really highlighted the highs and the lows of their friendship well.

Since this is a graphic novel, I have to talk about the artwork. I had an ARC so the art was not in full color. But I did look through the book preview on Amazon and saw it in full color and the coloring was amazing! 

However, I wanted a little bit more from the story. The plot is incredibly basic and I would have liked for it to have been more nuanced. It’s also very fast paced and would have benefited from a slower pace, especially after the main conflict happened. It jumped from the main conflict to three years later so fast. I would have liked to seen the aftermath of it play out more (most of it happened off page), especially in regards to Megan and her parents. 

Overall, I enjoyed this graphic novel, but ultimately was left wanting more. If you like art or are an artist yourself, you may like this one! 


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Easy gift idea: Birthdate candles and books!

Hi beauties! This isn’t bookish related but I just wanted to let you guys know about a super easy gift idea. With so many occasions coming up (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, etc.), it can be hard to find a gift. But I’m here to tell you that Birthdate Co. (formerly Birthdate Candles) has two great gifts. Keep reading to find out more and look out for my special discount code!

The first is their birthdate candle which combines astrology, numerology, and tarot to create a unique candle!

Photo Credit: From their website

The second is their new product, the birthdate book! It’s a beautiful, made-to-order book that illustrates your unique astrological birth chart — the map of the stars and planets at the exact moment you were born. With over 70 pages of detailed horoscope analysis, you’ll uncover secrets and insights about your life and personality. Written with psychic intuition and charm, each page offers a deep reading into who you are and what your future holds. This item is customized! How cool is that?

Photo credit: From their website

As an affiliate, I have a special discount code that will get you 10% off your purchase. Just use code: ODDBOOK10. I have many of their candles and I honestly love them. I am a big astrology and tarot nerd so I love reading the insights on each candle. I haven’t gotten one of their books yet but from what I hear they are wonderful!

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you decide to try one of these out!

xoxo,


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Review: The Maidens

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Rating: ★★★½

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

First off, I just want to preface by saying that I have not read the author’s other book, The Silent Patient. I cannot speak as to how this book compares nor did I have any expectations going in. I have heard from other reviewers that this book is set in the same universe as The Silent Patient, so if you’ve read that there are probably some references to it in this book. 

There were some things that I really liked about this book, and some things I did not like.

I really liked the dark academia setting and aesthetic. I thought it was very well done and had the perfect tone to create the dark academia atmosphere. 

The incorporation of greek tragedy and mythology was also well done. 

I also liked the short chapters. It helped the book flow so nicely and made reading the book a breeze. 

Now onto what I didn’t like. 

For a book called The Maidens, there was little time actually spent on the Maidens. We never really got to see what they did in their secret society, nor were the girls themselves explored that deeply. I felt like this was a missed opportunity and could have added to the mystery. 

When it comes to thrillers, the endings are often a hit or a miss. The ending of this one was a miss for me. The ending seemed a little out of left field and also felt rushed.

Overall, this book had a lot of potential but it fell a little flat for me. 


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Review: I Used to Have a Plan

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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 such a gem of a book! 

The book is full of illustrations and sayings to help you through tough times. It is divided up into 5 sections for every step in your journey. I found the whole thing to be so relatable. My life has definitely not gone according to plan. There were many pictures/sayings that resonated with me. I particularly liked one in the beginning that said, “This was not how it was supposed to go” with a headstone that said “My ego” on the opposite page. That one hit hard. 

I loved the overall aesthetic of the artwork. It was very clean and simple yet still packed a punch. Because of its simplicity, it had a calming effect. 

I also liked the short introduction that the author wrote explaining the inspiration of the book. I can tell that the book comes from her heart and experiences. 

The book is fairly basic, so I wished there was a little bit more in terms of depth and content. It could have been expanded more. 

Overall, I loved how relatable this book is! I recommend it for anyone who may need a little pick me up after life knocks them down. 


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