Review: Christmas Reunion in Paris

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Rating: ★★★★

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

This was a short and sweet romance set in France! 

First off, for such a short book, there was a lot of chemistry between the two main characters. Since this was a second chance romance, the characters already knew each other and had history. I enjoyed learning their backstory and seeing them get back together. 

Also, there was quite a bit of plot which I was happy about. Given the length, I wasn’t expecting too much to happen but I was pleasantly surprised with the storyline. 

The Christmas aspect was pretty minimal. The book takes place during winter/Christmastime but doesn’t have any super Christmasy scenes. So if you’re looking for a Christmas romance, this doesn’t quite hit that mark. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this second chance romance! If you’re looking for something quick to read this winter, then give this book a go! 


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Review: Beast Boy

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I’m not super familiar with the Teen Titans so going in I knew very little about Beast Boy. Because of this, I didn’t have any particular expectations going into it. I ended up enjoying learning the origin story of Beast Boy. 

As a whole, the plot is fairly basic. There really isn’t anything super exciting going on since this is just the first part of his story. It basically him navigating high school while also discovering who he is and his powers. I am very intrigued to see how the rest unfolds. The book did a good job setting up things to come. 

The artwork was amazing. It worked really well with the overall vibe of the book and I liked how shades of green were featured and incorporated. 

Overall, this was a great start to Beast Boy’s story and I look forward to reading more of his adventures (especially with Raven)! 


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Review: Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon A Con #3)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I am such a huge fan of this series so I was excited to read this, especially since Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. I ended up enjoying this a lot!

So first off, there are a lot of references to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Like on page 37 there is a reference to “the great wide somewhere” and on page 224 there is talk of “Magic spells. Daring sword fights. A prince in disguise.” As a Beauty and the Beast super fan I had a ton of fun picking up all these little Easter eggs. 

As for the characters, the author always writes the most interesting and dynamic ones. Both the main and supporting characters were so lovable and fleshed out. My favorite was Rosie’s dad, aka Space Dad. He seemed like the coolest dad ever. 

The writing style as usual was perfect for the genre. It was a good amount of geeky mixed in with an easy to read prose. 

This books also had amazing descriptions dedicated to the love of books. For example, Rosie states, “But there is so much more in those words than just loving books. I love the smell of them. I love the way their bindings look pressed together on a shelf…They are portals into places I’ve never been and people I’ll never be, and in them I have lived a thousand lives and seen a thousand different worlds” (pg. 39). I couldn’t agree more. 

I also would like to point out something the author put in the acknowledgments that I absolutely loved. She writes, “I wrote this book for me. So, if you didn’t really enjoy this book, that’s okay! You’ll find one that you love” (pg. 284). I thought this was a great reminder to readers that it is okay if you didn’t like a book and that authors can write what they want to write (on the assumption for course that it is not offensive, problematic etc.) 

Lastly, I did feel like there was something missing in this book compared to the other ones in the series. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. It could be that this book is significantly shorter than the other two and I wanted a bit more. 

Overall, if you are a fan of this series (or books or Beauty and the Beast), you’ll probably like this one! 


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Review: A Wealth of Pigeons

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Rating: ★★★★

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

This was a delightful book of cartoons!

In such uncertain and anxious times, it’s nice to be able to just sit down, take a breather, and have a laugh. This book did exactly that! 

The humor is very much like the cartoons you encounter in the newspaper. The same goes for the artwork. It definitely made me nostalgic for the cartoons I used to read in my local paper when I was a kid. 

As typical with a cartoon collection, there were some cartoons that I really liked and some that I didn’t quite get. 

I liked that there were cartoons about the creation of the book interspersed throughout it. It was a fun touch and I liked seeing the collaboration between Steve Martin and Harry Bliss come together. I also liked that the end pages showed rough drafts of some of the cartoons. It was cool to see that behind the scenes aspect. 

Overall, if you like the cartoons that you get in your Sunday paper, then you’ll probably like this collection! This book would also make a great gift.


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Review: Loathe at First Sight

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from Books Forward in exchange for an honest review. 

So first off, this book is Own Voices (Korean American). I was happy to see that since this book is about gaming, which is typically a white male dominated field. 

The title of the book is a little misleading. Loathe at First Sight implies that this is an enemies to lovers romantic comedy. In actuality, there was not much of that. The romantic storyline was not the main focus of the book and the two characters were hardly enemies to begin with. As a whole, the love story was not that exciting. I never really felt the chemistry between the two. 

One thing that took me as a surprise was all the harassment. This book has a lot of harassment. From racism to misogyny this book covered it all. On one hand I liked that it went there and tackled that issue. But on the other hand, it was a little off-putting at times because it was so heavy. The book tries to be light at times with some humorous scenes (I really liked some of funny scenes), but all the harassment takes away from it.

I did like the ending. It all worked out and a lot got resolved at the end so I was left feeling very satisfied. 

As for the writing style, I liked how easy the book read. 

Overall, this book didn’t live up to my expectations but I was able to enjoy some parts of it. 


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Review: Temporary Wife Temptation (The Heirs of Hansol #1)

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Rating: ★★★

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

First off, I just want to say that I was very happy to see that this was an Own Voices (Korean American) romance. It’s nice to see Harlequin embracing other cultures since they aren’t typically the most diverse. I really liked how Korean culture was incorporated in the book. It added a more personal touch to the story.

Another aspect I liked was the big emphasis on family and becoming a family. I found all the family moments to be very sweet. 

One thing I didn’t like was the time jumps. The pacing of the book moved super fast. From one chapter to the next, a lot of time would pass. There were quite a few things that we didn’t get to see since it happened off page.

As for the plot, it is fairly basic but that is to be expected from this sort of romance. I didn’t love the conflict at the end. It felt a little out of left field. It only seemed to serve the purpose of having a last minute conflict. 

Overall, despite its shortcomings, this was a solid Harlequin romance. I am planning on continuing the series. I hope that Harlequin continues to publish more Own Voices romances.


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Review: The Shadows

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I just want to start off by saying that I haven’t read The Whisper Man so I cannot say how this book compares to that one. Because of that, I didn’t have any expectations going into the book. I ended up really enjoying it.

At first, I was a little hesitant to read this because I didn’t know how scary it was going to be. It ended up only being a little scary (at least to me). So if you’re a little bit of a scaredy cat like me, you should be able to handle this book.

The strongest part of this book was definitely the writing style. It was so effortless but still managed to create a creepy vibe. I liked the use of short chapters since it made the book easy to digest. There is some back and forth between past and present which was done really well. It wasn’t confusing at all since it was done in short spurts. I never felt like there was a huge information dump which can happen with dual timelines. 

My only critique of this book was the ending. I wasn’t wowed by it. I thought the reveal was going to be mind-blowing but it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad ending. It just didn’t have the impact I was expecting. 

Overall, despite the ending, this was still a solid thriller. I would definitely recommend it. 


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Review: Anxious People

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

This was my first book by Fredrik Backman and I was not disappointed. I didn’t have any expectations going in and this book ended up taking me for a ride. There were a lot of twists and turns that I did not see coming. I didn’t know that this book was a little bit of a mystery so I ended up being pleasantly surprised. 

The author’s insights into the human condition are so insightful. He really delves into the choices people make and what motivates them. He has a talent of saying so many poignant things in such an effortless way. I can definitely see why so many people love his books. 

The cast of characters were probably the best part of the book. They were idiots, but lovable idiots. I don’t have a favorite because I loved them all. They all had something about them that I found compelling. 

I loved how the story all came together. There are a lot of little random things that get mentioned, especially in the beginning, that you don’t quite know what to do with yet. But by the end, it all makes sense and there is that a-ha moment where everything falls into place. 

Overall, this book lives up to all the hype! 


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Review: Dating Makes Perfect

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Entangled Teen) in exchange for an honest review. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative. 

This was the cutest YA rom-com! 

Okay so first I just have to talk about the #OwnVoices aspect. As a Filipino American, I know how important it is to have your stories told, so I was so happy to finally see a book about the Thai American experience. I had never read a book about the Thai American experience before so I was super eager to read this. From food to the Songkran festival, there was a lot of Thai culture woven throughout the novel. 

The premise of this book is adorable. I loved how the dates were inspired by romantic comedies including some of my favorites, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “Always Be My Maybe.” 

I found this book to be highly relatable. As an Asian American, I could relate to some of Winnie’s experiences. For example, at one point, Winnie’s mom jumps to the conclusion that Winnie could be pregnant. Winnie replies, “Must you always skip fifty million steps? I haven’t even kissed him yet” (pg 126). Yup. My mom is like that too. You start dating a boy and their mind immediately goes to pregnancy. There’s also the quintessential bringing weird food to school moment that Winnie mentions in passing. Lastly, I related to how Winnie talks about respect towards her parents. She states,

“Sometimes, I get so bored of this respect. Yes, it’s important, and yes, it’s my parents’ due. But respect also prevents us from admitting our infractions— and talking about them. That’s what I want. For us to talk. Not as friends, exactly, but certainly without this yawning chasm between us.”

pg. 237

I think that is so true. There can often be this divide between Asian parents and their children because of this notion of respect. 

As for the romance, I thought it was so cute. It’s the classic childhood friends to lovers and enemies to lovers tropes but I thought it was done very well. Winnie and Mat had a lot of chemistry so I loved them as a couple. 

Overall, I recommend this #OwnVoices romance! This book gave me a ton of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” vibes, so if you like that movie or the books, you’ll probably like this! 

Review: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

So first off I just want to say that it is incredibly refreshing to read a book about mythology that isn’t Greek. I know very little about African/African American mythology so it was fun to learn about it through reading this book. 

Since this is the first book in a new series, it is a little slow. That is understandable since there is a lot of world building and set-up that needs to be done. The one thing it could have done better was developed some of the supporting characters more. Like I wanted to know more about Ayanna. I can tell there is more to her. However, I am sure this will be revealed in the coming books. 

I really liked that there was a map included. Maps are always so helpful in reading fantasy books and makes it easy to follow the heroes on their journey. 

I also liked how the author would slip in some important messages throughout the book. At one point John Henry is talking about the Jim Crow laws and states, “A lot of times those little facts get smudged cutoff the history books. If you gon’ tell a story, you better be sure you’re telling the right one” (pg 108). At another point the main character muses, “it was my job to carry the stories of the land to its people. All the stories. If we ignored the past, how would we learn from it” (pg 426). Both of these quotes are so important because they show the importance of learning history, both the good and the bad.

Overall, I thought this was a Strong start to a new Own Voices series. I am intrigued to see what happens next. 


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