Review: Mooncakes

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from The Book Drop.

Omg this book was so cute! It was cozy and fluffy and just plain adorable! 

First off, I loved the artwork! I had an ARC so I only had a little bit of the full color artwork, but from what I saw, it is amazing. The artwork gave the book a really cozy and autumn feel, which matched the entire vibe of the book. 

I also loved the representation. Nova is queer, Chinese American, hard-of-hearing, and has two grandmothers who are in a relationship with each other. Tam is non-binary and also Chinese American. I loved how all of these elements were incorporated into the story. For example, Nova’s hearing aids get talked about a lot throughout the book. 

The supporting characters were great as well. Nova’s friend, Tatyana, was awesome and I loved their friendship. Another standout was Nova’s cousin Terry (if you’ve read the book, you’ll know why). 

Also the bookshop/cafe that Nova’s grandmothers own is the cutest thing ever, especially the special room dedicated to the witchy books. 

The storyline is fairly simple but it worked. This is just a feel good graphic novel and a straight forward plot was exactly what it needed. 

Overall, this is the perfect fall/Halloween read! 

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Review: Frankly in Love

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative.

This book was so good! It’s a romance but it goes so much deeper than just that. At the core, it’s a story about first love, racism, identity, and family. 

I absolutely loved that this book did not shy away from talking about racism, especially the racism of Koreans towards African Americans and other Asian communities. I haven’t really seen that in a book before. 

I liked that this book explored the struggles of being Korean-American and having immigrant parents. Frank is often conflicted over his identity. At one point he states, “I call myself Korean-American, always leading first with Korean or Asian, then the silent hyphen, then ending with American. Never just American” (pg. 133). 

I also loved the end of the book. It was a bit sad but still realistic. 

My one critique is that the romances seemed a bit instalove-y, especially Frank’s romance with Brit. Frank fell in love with Brit so fast. It kind of came out of nowhere. 

Lastly, as a Filipino American I’m always looking for representation and this book has a tiny bit of Filipino rep. One of Frank’s friends, Paul, is Filipino. His character doesn’t do much, but the book does incorporate Isang Bagsak. Isang Bagsak is a Filipino unity clap, whcich I never even heard of prior to reading this book. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this #OwnVoices exploration of love and identity. 

Review: For Your Consideration Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books).

This book is what dreams are made of! I liked Dwayne Johnson before reading this book, but now I LOVE Dwayne Johnson.

Going into this book, all I was expecting was a silly little book about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. What I got was a fun book about Dwayne Johnson that also offered insightful commentary about masculinity and privilege. The book discusses how Dwayne Johnson challenges traditional notions of masculinity. For example, most of his love interests are age appropriate, which is becoming increasingly rare to see in movies. The book also highlights the fact that Dwayne Johnson is half black and half Pacific Islander and therefore did not have the same privileges as some of his fellow white action stars.

This book is also hilarious. It has fun extras like a quiz on which Rock character you should take to prom, a Rock version of the Oscars, and a ranking of his catchphrases. My favorite was the section on the Rock’s road to EGOT (an acronym that stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). The author came up with three theories on how the Rock can win all four awards. They were laugh out loud funny.

I also liked the short afterword the author wrote detailing how the book came into fruition. You can tell that he really loves and is passionate about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Overall, I recommend this book to both die-hard and casual Dwayne Johnson fans. This book will make you love the Rock even more than you already do.

This is just the first book in Quirk Books’ For Your Consideration series, and I cannot wait to read the next installment. It just so happens to feature my new favorite actor and current celebrity crush, Keanu Reeves.

Review: The Grace Year

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from The Book Drop. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative. 

Omg this was a roller coaster of a book. 

This book is described as The Handmaid’s Tale meets Lord of the Flies. I haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale but I loved Lord of the Flies. This was definitely like a female Lord of the Flies. In fact, it was 100 times more terrifying and disturbing than LotF. This book also reminded me a little of Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill because it also featured a sexist dystopian world. 

I don’t want to give too much away, so all I’ll say about the plot is that it is filled with non-stop action and intrigue, which makes it a fast read. You’ll be flipping through it trying to find out what happens next. You definitely won’t be bored. 

The writing style is also incredible. It’s hauntingly beautiful which perfectly captures the mood of the book. 

There was one quote in particular that really spoke to me. At one point, the main character states,

“We hurt each other because it’s the only way we’re permitted to show our anger. When our choices are taken from us, the fire builds within. Sometimes I feel like we might burn down the world to cindery bits, with our love, our rage, and everything in between”

pg. 345

I find this quote to be so reflective of our own society. In general, the themes behind this book are so prevalent in today’s world. 

Overall, this is an amazing and timely dystopian novel.

Review: Daisy Jones & The Six

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Rating: ★★★

I received this book for free from BookSparks as part of their Winter Reading Challenge.

I was really looking forward to reading this book because I heard nothing but great things about it and the author. Unfortunately, for me, it did not live up to all the hype. 

Basically, I was so bored throughout the first half of the book. The book is written in interview format, which is an interesting way to tell a story, but it made for a dull read in the beginning. I wasn’t able to become attached to the characters and didn’t feel any emotional connection to them. It wasn’t until page 200 that I became more interested in the story and characters. 

Additionally, a lot of the story felt generic and to me the story felt fairly simple. I was expecting some sort of magic spark to really pull me in while reading, but I never felt it. 

As for Daisy Jones, I didn’t really like her. To me, she felt like a manic pixie dream girl, especially in the first half. 

I did enjoy the ending, which I know some people did not like that much. I also liked the reveal of the author. I did not see that one coming. Also, the interview format did work well in the second half of the book. I liked that we will never truly know exactly what happened. 

Overall, I did not enjoy the book as much as I thought I would, but don’t let that deter you from reading it. It wasn’t perfect for me, but it may be perfect for you! 

Review: Love Street

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free as part of an Instagram tour (TLC Book Tours specifically) I did to promote the book.

I always love a good coffee table book and this one was perfect! 

This book is a spoof on 80’s pulp love magazines. I loved the whole vibe of it. The photographs were amazing. The aesthetic was very retro Los Angeles meets millennial women.

I loved the antidotes that the author shared. Some of them were incredibly funny, like the first one, “George from the Beach!” Others were really insightful and relatable like “15 Reasons Why I Wore a Dress Like This” and “Ruby, Ruby, Ruby!” 

The book also has some great one liners that accompany some of the pictures. My personal favorites were, “I wish I was full of donuts instead of anxiety” (pg. 72) and “One day we’ll look back on this period of unemployment and wish we had called it FREEDOM (pg. 2). 

To complete the pulp love magazine experience, there’s a crossword puzzle, recipes, and horoscopes. If that wasn’t enough, there are even paper dolls included that depict women in various situations like new relationship and recently single. I thought the dolls were a very clever and fun touch. 

Overall, this is the perfect coffee table book or gift for millennial women who love being in love. 

Review: The Birthday Girl

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Rating: ★★★½

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

I was really looking forward to reading this book because I love Melissa de la Cruz’s books. However, this book wasn’t as good as I expected it to be. 

As a thriller/mystery, the book falls kind of flat. There wasn’t much suspense. For a lot of the book I was waiting around for something big to happen. Nothing super thrilling happened until the very end. I was also expecting something to happen at her party but nothing really did. The big surprise happened in her past (the book is told in alternating timelines). 

One thing I did like were the descriptions. Melissa de la Cruz knows how to write about rich people and their lifestyle. I’ve read many of her books and that is a constant throughout a lot of them. I loved reading the descriptions of all the rich people at Ellie’s birthday party. They were hilarious; it was like watching a reality tv show. 

Overall, this book isn’t that surprising or thrilling but still has entertainment value. It’s a quick read, so if you want something short and entertaining to read, then go for it!