Review: Fangirl, Vol. 2 (Fangirl: The Manga #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

Full disclosure: I have not read volume 1 of this manga. However, I have read Fangirl, the novel that this is based upon, and have always been curious about this manga adaptation. I am familiar with the story so I was able to read and understand this volume without having read volume 1. 

If I could use one word to describe this book it would be cozy. It feels like such a comfort read, probably because the book is set during the fall/winter. It has those cozy vibes that makes you want to read this while curled up with a blanket and a hot beverage. 

I loved the art style. The illustrator specializes in black and white manga style and that is very evident. The art looks like a classic manga. The illustrator did a phenomenal job conveying all of Cath’s emotions. 

I liked that the manga followed in the book’s footsteps and used snippets from the Simon Snow books and Cath’s fan fiction. Since this manga doesn’t use chapters, it helped separate different parts of the story. Generally, I prefer chapters in manga to avoid it feeling like one long scene. 

Overall, this was such a warm and heartfelt read. I cannot wait to read the next one since this one ends on such a cliffhanger! 


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Review: Darling Girl

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Dutton Books) for promotional purposes. 

Wow! What a book! This was a dark retelling/reimagining of Peter Pan that managed to creep me out quite a bit. This book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it worked. 

I loved the dark take on Peter Pan. There is something inherently a little sinister about the original story and this book really delved into that. It made me rethink the classic story and want to rewatch the Disney movie. 

The story moved at a good pace, with everything unraveling at the right time. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept me hooked and turning the pages. This book kept me guessing until the very end. 

As for the characters, I liked the incorporation of the original Peter Pan characters. The main characters from Peter Pan (Peter, Wendy, John, Michael, Tinker Bell, and Captain Hook) are either characters in this book or mentioned/incorporated in some way. I also enjoyed the dynamic between the main character, Holly Darling, and her mom, Jane Darling (the daughter of Wendy). They had a very complex mother-daughter relationship that grew as the story went on. 

Overall, if you love Peter Pan and want to explore a darker side to the classic tale, then read this book! 


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Review: Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron

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Rating: ★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Avon Books) for promotional purposes. 

Let me preface this review by saying that I am not familiar with Miss Butterworth. I’ve only read 1 Julia Quinn book (The Duke and I) and have seen both seasons of Bridgerton. I enjoyed both the book and the show. However, neither of those reference Miss Butterworth. Because of that, I did not know what to expect in regards to this story. Initially, I had thought it would be more Bridgerton-like. 

This was a very absurd graphic novel. It was sort of insane, but that was the point. The story was a little gruesome/morbid at times, which I was not expecting. I found the whole story to be a bit strange and I didn’t necessarily love it (nor did I completely hate it). It was just okay for me. I probably would have liked it better if I was more familiar with Miss Butterworth. 

The art style is very cute and cartoon like and worked well for the story. Like I said the book was a little morbid at times, but the art kept it more humorous and light. 

I did love the “In Memoriam” at the end. In case you didn’t know, the illustrator, Violet Charles, was Julia Quinn’s younger sister who tragically passed away in 2021. Julia wrote a beautiful tribute to her sister and I am glad that this collaboration between them was able to be published. 

Overall, if you know more about Miss Butterworth from Julia Quinn’s other books, you’ll probably enjoy this one! 


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Review: Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free as part of a blog tour.

First off, I loved the first book in the series, Tokyo Ever After. It was one of my favorite books of 2021 which made me very excited to read the sequel. I still think that the first book was a tiny bit better, but for the most part I found the sequel to be a worthy successor. 

This book picks right up where the last book left off and from there continues Izumi’s story. It does not miss a beat and gets right into the drama of royal life. Like the first book, the writing style is easy and a breeze to read. 

I loved the character development, especially the development of Akiko and Noriko (aka the Shining Twins). I enjoyed seeing them get more of a spotlight and how dimensional they became. They could have easily stayed the villains, but instead got more depth. 

I also liked how the book explored growing up and maturing. The story explores Izumi’s post-high school life and contrasts it with her friends. The juxtaposition highlighted Izumi’s coming of age journey well. 

There was a love triangle, which I didn’t think was necessary. The book would have still worked without it. 

Overall, this was a sweet sequel and I hope Izumi’s story continues! 


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Review: Crazy Food Truck, Vol. 1 (Crazy Food Truck #1)

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

What a fun and crazy ride! Action, adventure, delicious food, this manga had it all. 

I loved the juxtaposition of the two main characters. Gordon is a gruff middle aged man running a food truck. Arisa, on the other hand, is a naive and very hungry girl. They don’t have much in common (other than the fact they both know how to fight and have mysterious backgrounds), but they have a dynamic that works. Gordon acts as a sort of quasi-father figure/protector to Arisa. 

Since this manga is titled Crazy Food Truck, I have to talk about the food. The pictures of the food looked so yummy! It made me so hungry. I also loved the “recipes” included at the end of the book. That was a fun touch. 

I enjoyed the artwork a lot, especially the fantasy creatures like the sand squid and puffer cow. There is quite a bit of nudity regarding Arisa’s character that sometimes seems unnecessary. However, there may be a reason for it since Arisa’s background is alluded to but not revealed. There is something “off” about her that could explain her constant nudity.  

Overall, I had so much fun reading this! I cannot wait to see what happens in the next volume. 


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Review: Alliana, Girl of Dragons

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Rating: ★★★

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

I previously read one of the author’s other books, Eva Evergreen, Semi Magical Witch, and absolutely loved it. I was very excited to read this one since it acts as a prequel to the Eva Evergreen books. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as Eva Evergreen. 

This is a Cinderella retelling and because of that, the book felt constrained plot wise. I didn’t feel as though the story benefitted from being a Cinderella retelling. If the book was just a regular middle grade fantasy without the Cinderella aspects, it still would have worked. I also felt that the book wasn’t as magical as Eva Evergreen. Eva Evergreen had a certain charm about it and I was hoping this book would too since it is set in the same universe. 

Additionally, for a book with the word “dragons” in the title, it was light on the dragons. The book never seemed to fully explore the dragons and Alliana’s relationship with them. (Maybe this will come in a later book?)

Don’t get me wrong, I did like some things about the book. I enjoyed the supporting characters, especially Grandmother Mari and Nela. Each of them had such a special relationship and bond with Alliana that was heartwarming to see. I also liked the parts that did feature the dragons. 

Overall, there were some things I liked about this and some things I had issues with. I hope there is a sequel to this book since there’s still more to explore with Alliana. If you are looking for a middle grade fantasy, I would say to give it a shot! 


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Review: Know You By Heart (Heart Resort #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I read the first book in the series last year and liked it, but didn’t love it. This book was definitely a step up from the last one. 

The premise is the classic romance trope, marriage of convenience. However, it takes places when the marriage of convenience is nearing its end, which is a cool twist to the trope. I found that twist very refreshing and it offered a unique perspective to the trope. I enjoyed seeing the main characters, Chris and Eden, discover their true feelings for each other. 

I also liked that Eden and Chris went on a couple’s retreat at the resort. The couples resort was talked about in the first book, but this book really delved into how it operated and what the program was like. The couple’s retreat was fun to read about and also aided in Chris and Eden’s character development. 

I just have to point out that I love that this series has so much Filipino representation. As a Filipino American, I love seeing Filipino culture highlighted.  

Lastly, like the first book, I do feel like there were some pacing issues with this one. Some parts seemed to move slower than others. 

Overall, this was a great installment to the series and I am looking forward to the next one! 


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Review: Inheritance

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Rating: ★★★★★

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

This was a beautifully illustrated and powerful poem!

Being a huge poetry lover, I surprisingly have not read any of Elizabeth Acevedo’s previous works. I’ve heard countless amazing things about her work, so I was excited to finally read something by her. I was not disappointed! 

The poem was short yet so impactful. It beautifully highlighted the struggles of natural hair as well as the complexities of being Afro-Latinidad. It’s personal, real, and authentic, which are all qualities I look for when reading poetry. 

Since it is a visual poem, I have to talk about the illustrations and the role they played. The illustrations were gorgeous. They were so colorful, bold, and vibrant. They complemented the poem and its message very well. I can tell a lot of thought went into the illustrations. For example, some of the words are written in cursive which mimics the curves and coils of curly hair. 

Overall, I highly recommend this little book! Get it for yourself, or gift it to a friend who loves poetry and/or Elizabeth Acevedo (I cannot reiterate how stunning this book is. It would make a great gift).


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Review: Sari, Not Sari

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free as part of a read along.

This was such a simple and sweet story! 

I loved the premise of the story. I love stories about women reconnecting with their heritage and roots, so naturally I liked this. I enjoyed learning more about Indian culture, especially their wedding customs. I also liked that the book explored being “white-washed” and how it can make people feel disconnected towards their culture. 

The book is a very light and easy read. The prose flows nicely and the chapters are short which makes reading a breeze. The beginning of each chapter includes an email from a client that added a consistent touch of humor throughout the book. 

However, the book is very heavy on instalove. The characters fell in love after only knowing each other for a week which did not feel realistic. Also, Manny’s company, Breakup, did not seem like a viable company (it was an interesting concept but I don’t think that many people want to breakup via email). But this book is a romantic comedy so some suspension of disbelief is needed. 

Overall, despite a few flaws, I still enjoyed this debut novel and am looking forward to seeing what else the author publishes in the future. If you’re looking for an entertaining romance with some Indian culture woven throughout, consider picking this one up! 


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Review: William Shakespeare’s Avengers

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books) for promotional purposes. 

This book is pure genius!

I’m a huge MCU fan (I’ve seen every movie and tv show) and I enjoy reading Shakespeare so I knew I needed to read this. I’ve also read the author’s Shakespearean Mean Girls retelling (aptly titled Much Ado About Mean Girls) and loved it. 

This book is all 4 Avengers movies written as Shakespearen plays. It includes stage directions, a list of characters, and even full color illustrations (loved seeing the Avengers dressed Shakespearean style). All the iconic lines and scenes are translated perfectly. 

However, the most genius aspects are the Prologue and the characters’ speech patterns. The Prologue recaps the previous movies (i.e. Iron Man, Captain America) and is written in an acrostic that spells out the movie titles. How smart is that? 

The author gave all the main Avengers characters (20 in total) unique speech patterns. For example, Hawkeye’s dialogue features bird related terms for obvious reasons and Ant-Man’s dialogue contains both a one syllable word and a 4 syllable word since he can shrink small and grow very large. The fact that the author came up with patterns for 20 different characters is insane. Major kudos to him. 

Overall, this is a must read for Marvel and Shakespeare fans! It would make a great gift as well.


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