Review: Sleep, Merel, Sleep

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Click here to purchase the book on Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

This was such a cute children’s book! As a 23 year old with no kids, I’m not necessarily the target audience, but I still liked it. 

Since this book was about dreams it gave me a lot of Alice in Wonderland vibes. The main character, Merel, encountered many interesting and unique characters throughout her journey. A few of them reminded me of various Alice characters. For example, King Marmott reminded me of the Queen of Hearts because they were both pretty awful rulers who chased after the title character. 

The other characters were great as well. I especially loved Merel’s encounter with the moonfish. That was my favorite part. 

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The book had a whimsical quality about it that went perfect with the dream theme. The author created a beautiful world with her prose.

I loved how the flashbacks to Merel’s real life were woven into the story. Each little flashback gave insight into Merel, her life, and her sick baby brother. 

I would have loved to seen a map or illustrations because I feel like that could take the book to a whole other level. 

I also wished the book was a tad bit longer, but that’s probably because I’m an adult not a kid. The book is an appropriate length for a young reader. 

Overall, this book was a fun adventure through a child’s dreamland that both kids and adults will enjoy. 

Review: The Fashion Intruder

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Click here to purchase the book on Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

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

I was so excited to read this because it was about a transactional lawyer who leaves the legal world for the fashion world. As a law student who loves fashion, this book was right up my alley!

The book started off a bit messy. There were a lot of little one or two paragraphs from other characters’ viewpoints which made the book a little confusing in the beginning since I had no idea who they were. But once the book and the story got going, it all became much clearer.

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I loved how the book showcased the intricacies of the fashion world and all the politics that go into it. The fashion world is definitely tough and this book showed that.

I also enjoyed the jet-setting atmosphere. The main character was always traveling somewhere glamorous. As an American, I envy how easy it is to travel from one country to another in Europe. 

There was a reference to Lana Del Rey that I just have to mention because it was just so perfect. The novel states, “Although Sofia could swear she’d put her phone on silent, she suddenly heard the loud sound of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Salvatore’” (156). That song was so perfect for the character since she’s Italian and “Salvatore” is such a dreamy song that makes you wish you were in Italy.

Overall, this was a fun look into the European fashion world. It’s has a The Devil Wears Prada vibe but set in Europe. 

Life update: Finals season, writing assignments, and finding time to read

Hello! It’s been quite a while since my last life update. Law school is killer the first semester because there are like no breaks. The only breaks we get are Labor Day (1 day at the beginning of the semester) and Thanksgiving break (3 days towards the end of the semester). Aside from that there is nothing. It’s nonstop school.

The semester is winding down now. We only have a few classes left before finals start in December. It’s so crazy how fast this all went.

Right now everyone is working hard on our big writing project due before Thanksgiving.  It’s not hard, just a lot to write. And since it is legal writing, you have to cite a lot. Like sometimes after every sentence. Tedious I know.

Recently, I’ve been finding time to read which is amazing. I’m not getting through as many books as I used to and I still have a ton of unread books, but I’m slowly making progress.

So that’s it from me. But before I sign off I just want to say that if you enjoy my blog or my other social channels, please consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi. To do so just click here.

Thank you so much for reading. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments.

xoxo,

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Review: Shelter of the Most High (Cities of Refuge #2)

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Click here to purchase the book on Amazon

Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Bethany House) in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is the second in a series and I did not read the first book. Like a lot of Christian fiction series, the first book centers on one of the characters in this book. The fact that I did not read it did not hinder my comprehension of the story. Anything that happened in the previous book was explained fully in this one, so it it totally possible to read this as a stand-alone. 

This was also my first time reading biblical fiction so I had no idea what to expect or if I would even like it. Luckily, I ended up really enjoying it. 

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The book captured my interest from the very first page. We are immediately thrown into the action of when Sofea and her cousin are kidnapped by pirates. Sometimes books can take too long to get the actual storyline, so I was happy to see this book get right to it. As a whole, this book had quite a bit of action and excitement which I wasn’t expecting (but loved). 

There was a really good balance of the religious elements. I never felt like it was too much or too preachy. It was woven into the story beautifully. 

The only thing that prevented me from giving this 5 stars was that I didn’t connect much with Sofea. I wanted a little bit more from her. I connected with Eitan no problem, but Sofea not so much. 

All in all, this was an exciting tale and if you are looking to get into biblical fiction, consider picking up this book/series. 

 

What Lara Jean means to me

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It’s been a few months since To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before hit Netflix and I’m still in love with it. I’ve probably seen it at least 10 times (I watch it about once a week). I’m currently listening to the soundtrack while writing this blog post.

I’ve never felt this way about a character before. I remember when I first read the book back in January of 2016. It was the first time I read a book and was like So this is what representation feels like. Lara Jean is half Korean and half white. I am half Filipino and half white. To see and read about a character that was also half and half, was life changing. I related to so many little aspects of Lara Jean’s life. Like the fact that we both hate driving (fun fact: I still do).

I remember people had criticisms about Lara Jean and said that she was “childish.” I never thought that because she was totally me in high school. Being more “innocent” is not a bad thing. I personally think it’s kind of an Asian girl thing. I think a lot (but obviously not all) Asian girls are a bit more innocent than other girls and that is totally okay. I love that Lara Jean normalizes this innocence.

I read the sequel immediately afterwards and fell in love with Lara Jean even more. The third book came out when I was a Senior in college and I didn’t want the book to end because I didn’t want to leave Lara Jean and her story. I was too attached.

Then I got into law school and the weekend before school started, the movie came out on Netflix and took Lara Jean to a whole new level. I loved Lara Jean in the books, but movie Lara Jean was exactly what I needed.

It was crazy to see an Asian American female lead character in a movie. And not just any movie, a movie that everyone was obsessed with. My heart swelled with Asian pride. Who would have thought that Lara Jean would have this kind of impact?

As much as I related to book Lara Jean, movie Lara Jean is literally me right now. And that is what makes her so special to me.

Lara Jean gives me hope. Hope that the shy Asian girl can get the hot guy. That Asian girls are not invisible. That we can get our own Peter Kavinsky. That we don’t need to be like every other white female lead in a rom-com. We are enough just the way we are. And that is the most powerful thing of all.

Just think about it. When have you ever seen a female lead like her?

Lara Jean inspired me this semester and is literally the reason why I’m getting through law school okay. I will often ask myself, What would Lara Jean do?, whenever I find myself in an awkward situation. I even had a crush on a gorgeous boy this semester and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I wrote him a letter (that I never ended up giving to him and never will because he dropped out of school).

Flashback to just last week on Halloween. Nobody in my section dressed up at school except for me and this one other Asian girl. And guess who we were? Lara Jean. I was wearing her airport outfit and she was wearing LJ’s party outfit. Another Asian girl (who first saw my outfit on my Instagram) commented on how much she loved my dressing up as LJ. Crazy what the power of representation can do. Lara Jean was just the second Asian character I have been for Halloween (the first being Mulan). I haven’t dressed up for Halloween in years (the last time was in 5th grade when I was a pirate) but I just had to because I finally had someone worth being.

Basically, Lara Jean is so important to me because she represents so much. She empowers and inspires us Asian girls. Thank you Jenny Han for creating her and sharing her with the world.

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Ponytail. Check. Sunglasses on top of head. Check. Necklace. Check. Striped sweater. Check. Skirt with buttons. Check. Too many feelings. Double check. Let’s do this.

Review: The Reluctant Healer

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from Smith Publicity in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was a pleasant surprise. When I was offered this book to review, I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant because of the healing aspect of the book. I decided to give it a chance since it is about a lawyer and I am currently in law school.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first third of the book. It started off a little slow and I didn’t know what direction the book was going to go. It wasn’t until Will takes a leave of absence from his law firm that things really picked up and got exciting.  

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As a law student I LOVED the legal aspects of the book. I loved that it was written as a Memorandum. I loved how it showed him going to court and the opinion at the end. Since the author is a lawyer it was all very authentic. I even saw some of the things I am learning about in school (like failure to state a cause of action and references to Learned Hand). 

As for the healing aspect of the book, it was interesting. I still don’t know what to think about it all, but it did provide a lot of food for thought. 

Character-wise, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Erica. At times she bothered me a lot because of her attitude. But on the other hand I loved Will. I loved seeing his journey and how he grew throughout the book. 

Overall, this was a different, yet intriguing read.

Review: Till It Stops Beating (The Maddie Chronicles #4)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour for the book. 

This is my second time reading Hannah R. Goodman. I had previously read the YA anthology book she edited and contributed to, Sucker Literary Magazine Vol. 1. I remember really enjoying it so I was excited to read this book. 

Going into this book I did not know that it was part of a series so in the beginning I was a tad bit confused because there were a lot of reference to things that happened in the past. However, I was still able to piece together what happened in the previous books, so you can read this book as a standalone. 

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This was a very touching and realistic story full of emotion and heart. It tackled a lot of heavy topics like cancer and anxiety in a respectful and caring way. There was a good balance between the happy moments and the more somber ones. 

As to what I didn’t like, the ending felt a but rushed to me. It ended pretty quickly. I would have liked for it to have been fleshed out a little more. 

There was also one line in the book that didn’t sit well with me. In describing the main character’s trip to NYC the book states, “We are right in front of one of those grocery stores that reek of Asian food and rotten produce” (83). I don’t quite know what this line was trying to get at, but to me it seemed like a slight jab at Asian grocery stores since they can sometimes be smelly. 

Overall, this was a wonderful and moving book. It had a few flaws, but was still an enjoyable read. 


 

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab). 

Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project, in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book about The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear. 

Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.

Purchase Link:

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/1684330807/‬‬  

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1684330807/‬‬


 

Author Bio 

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Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreenOC87 Recovery Diaries,  Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, the last was released in 2009 and all were self-published. This time around, indie publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating this summer.

Hannah’s  first YA novel, My Sister’s Wedding, won the first place award for The Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Contest, 2004, children’s book division. She published the follow-up, My Summer Vacation, in May 2006, which went on to win a bronze IPPY in 2007. The third Maddie book, Fear of Falling, was released in the fall of 2009 and was praised by teachers and readers for tackling subjects like homophobia and coming out. She’s published young adult short stories on Amazon’s Shorts, in an anthology entitled Bound Is The Bewitching Lilith, and in the journal Balancing The Tides. She also has written columns for The Jewish Voice & Herald. Recent, previous projects include Sucker Literary, which features emerging YA authors and All The Way YA, a group blog of writers telling the real deal about writing and publishing YA fiction.

Hannah is a member of  ARIA  (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe

Social Media Links 

You can find Hannah:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/969127.Hannah_R_Goodman

Twitter: @hannahrgoodman

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tillitstopsbeatingnovel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tillitstopsbeating/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-goodman-76b9596/

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-R.-Goodman/e/B002BLU56K

Website: https://www.hannahrgoodman.com


 

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