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: 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: 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: Fake

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

I previously read the author’s debut book, The Boys’ Club, and loved it, so I knew I just had to read this one. Once again, I was not disappointed! 

Like her previous novel, this one is highly engaging. From the very beginning it takes you on a roller coaster of a ride through the glamorous world of high art. 

The storyline unraveled at a steady pace. The use of the interview transcripts at the beginning of each chapter were a great foreshadowing tool. The book was a little predictable towards the end, but it was still an entertaining read. 

The characters are all fascinating and dynamic. I particularly liked the juxtaposition of Emma’s three friends, Sienna, Leah, and Jules. It was interesting to see her friend dynamic with each of them since they all came from different art backgrounds. 

I enjoyed the theme of being a “fake” and how it was explored throughout the book. I liked how the book incorporated being an Instagram influencer. I found its portrayal of what is “real” and what is “fake” to be so relevant and current. 

Overall, I found this book to be an enthralling read. I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next!


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Review: A Girl Like You

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I was very excited to read this book because 1) the main character has my name and 2) I  have ventured also into the crazy world of dating apps. All in all, it was a very fun read.

Even though I am only 26 and the main character is in her 50’s, I related a lot to Jessica and her adult children when it came to online dating. I’ve been on my fair share of dating apps so I know how wild and frustrating it can be. The book really highlighted the range of people and experiences you can run into on dating apps. 

I also found it refreshing to read about a woman in 50’s dating and having (hot) sex. You don’t see that in very many novels. When it comes to books about women dating, the main characters are usually in their 20’s or 30’s. 

I enjoyed how short the chapters were. It kept the book moving at a fast pace. 

However, the ending could have been fleshed out more. It ended a little abruptly. The story was going and then something major happened (I won’t give any spoilers about what happened, but I will say it was something super relatable and sad) and then the book ended quickly after that. 

Overall, this was an amusing read. If you’re looking for something light and sometimes steamy (it does get explicit at times), consider reading this book! 


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Review: The Certainty of Chance

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Rating: ★★★★

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

What a cute Christmas read! 

First off, I love that this book basically takes you on a tour of London during Christmas. I’ve never been to London (but have always wanted to) so that aspect was exceptionally fun for me. It felt like I was right there with the characters! 

I found the romance to be pretty cute. It is a little insta-lovey, but it’s a Christmas romance so that’s to be expected. I liked that the book gave the perspectives of both Madeleine and Julian. I always enjoy seeing what goes on in the minds of both the guy and the girl. 

I also liked that the book had a lot of depth to their main characters. One of the central themes, aside from the romance, was Madeleine’s grief. I liked how the book explored that topic and didn’t shy away from it.

Music also plays a role in the story and the choice of music was so spot on. At one point, it discusses a Christmas playlist Madeleine made and it included the songs, “River” by Joni Mitchell and “Something About December” by Christina Perri. “River” is such a heartbreakingly beautiful Christmas song and I love any song by Christina Perri. 

Lastly, I appreciated the glossary of British terms at the end. They were really helpful! 

Overall, if you’re looking for Christmas romance this holiday season, consider picking this one up! 


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Review: So We Meet Again

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I had previously read the author’s other book, Loathe at First Sight, and liked but didn’t love it. I knew I wanted to give her books another shot, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. This book was so much better! 

First off, I liked the romance in this one. This book had more of a romantic story than Loathe At First Sight. Daniel was a swoon-worthy love interest for sure! I loved his interactions with Jess. They had the most adorable meet-cute. As soon as I read their meet-cute, I knew I was going to like them as a couple. 

I also loved that the book was more than a romance and focused a great deal on Jess’s career change. It explored all the ups and downs of starting over. It was wonderful seeing Jess grow from an unsure former investment banker into a full fledged businesswoman. 

As for the supporting characters, Jess’s parents were so precious! You could tell that they really loved Jess, even if they didn’t always show it in the best way. I could relate to Jess’s experiences with her critical mom. 

I did find the book to be a little unrealistic at times. The book wasn’t super clear on the passage of time, but it felt like Jess’s business took off too quickly. But I will admit I don’t know that much about business so maybe it was realistic. Also, Daniel did something at the very end that could have got him in trouble as a lawyer. It wasn’t anything egregious (just a conflict of interest issue). It was only something I noticed since I am a recent law graduate. Most lawyers would have foresaw that conflict of interest and handled the situation differently. 

Overall, I enjoyed this read! If you want a light and fun romance and/or women’s fiction novel to read, pick this one up! 


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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: Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1)

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Harper Teen) for promotional purposes. 

I was really looking forward to reading this one since it is an Asian American Own Voices novel, but unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations. 

The whole beginning and middle section felt like an early 2000’s teen book. There was a lot of unnecessary drama and it felt so unrealistic. The main character, Ever, went from total good girl to rebellious teenager so quickly. Also, the students in the program would often get in trouble for some things, but for other things, the faculty had no clue what was going on. (Sorry if that sounds super vague, I’m trying to remain spoiler free). 

Additionally, I didn’t love either of the two potential love interests for Ever. I just didn’t see any chemistry between Ever and either one of them. 

The book did get better towards the end (around the last quarter). Once a lot of the initial drama was resolved, the book became more enjoyable. There was actually time spent on character development, which was sorely missing for a large part of the book. Also at the end, the message and lessons really shined through. 

Overall, parts of this book were lacking, while other parts were satisfying. 


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Review: Super Fake Love Song

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I had previously read Yoon’s other novel, Frankly In Love, and loved it, so I knew I had to pick this one up.

It should first be said that this book is different than Frankly in Love. This book is less serious and more light hearted, so don’t go into this book expecting it to be just like Frankly in Love. 

I thought this book was so fun. I found the whole “fake being in a band to impress a girl” premise to be well executed. I loved seeing how it all came together. 

As for the actual romance, it was not the most exciting thing. I didn’t find Sonny and Cirrus’s relationship to be all that interesting or compelling. I just didn’t see the chemistry. In terms of relationships and dynamics, the book really shined in regards to Sonny and his brother. I loved seeing them reconnect. I also liked the friendship dynamic between Sonny and his two best friends, Milo and Jamal. 

I was really glad that Gunner, the school bully, was so much more than that. Oftentimes YA authors just use bullies as an adversarial cliche, but in this book we discovered that there was more lurking under his tough exterior. 

Lastly, I just love Yoon’s writing style. It flows so well and is highly entertaining. He is also so good at making big points in very subtle ways. For example, there is a short mention of the racist background of the national anthem. He writes, “ the crowd groaned along with its hoary antiquated lyrics, as always omitting the third stanza threatening murder for free former slaves” (pg 107). It was a brief nod, but I liked how it brought attention to it. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading what he writes next! 


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