Review: It Takes Heart (Heart Resort #1)

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Rating: ★★★

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

I thought this was a solid second chance romance and start to a new series.

First off, I really enjoyed seeing all the Filipino culture. I am half Filipino myself so it was so amazing seeing the representation. From the Filipino names of the tiny homes to a discussion on “Filipino time,” there was so much culture woven throughout the book. Additionally, the family dynamic of the Puso family was very typical of a Filipino family. Side note, I loved that the resort was named Heart Resort because their last name, Puso, is Tagalog for heart. That was very clever.

I also liked “cozy” feeling of the storyline. The plot was so family oriented and you could tell there was a lot of love between the family members themselves and their friends. 

My biggest issue with this book is the pacing. The book dragged in parts, mainly in the beginning and middle. There wasn’t a whole lot happening besides set up for future books in the series (i.e. relationship issues for Brandon’s other siblings). At times there was little focus on Brandon and Geneva’s romance. Towards the end the book finally picked up speed and became more exciting. 

Overall, I can tell this will be an amazing series. This book just fell a little short on Brandon and Geneva’s story. 


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July 2019 wrap-up

Hello beauties! Another month, another wrap-up.

This month started out super promising in terms of reading. It was by far my best reading month. I was in such a reading groove for most of July. I read a total of 9 books.

Then, on July 26th, I watched the series finale of Disney Channel’s Andi Mack, and I was completely decimated. I’m still not over it and am holding onto hope that Hulu will pick it up. I literally haven’t read a page of any book since I watched the finale.

Here’s what I did manage to read:

Overall, I’m happy that this month has been my best month of the summer.

How did you do this month? Let me know in the comments! Also, anyone else an Andi Mack fan? Let’s connect!

xoxo,


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Connect with me!

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Review: Faker

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I was so excited to read this book because it is an own voices book written by a biracial Filipino American woman. As some of you may know, I too am a biracial Filipino American woman. I knew I had to read this book because representation matters!

All in all, I found this to be a cute romance. 

I loved Tate. Despite his tough exterior, he was such a softie and a generous lover. I loved that he put female pleasure first. Speaking of pleasure, I really liked the sex scenes. 

One of things I really liked was the communication between Emmie and Tate. Many times in contemporary romances there will be miscommunications and misunderstandings between the main characters and they will go their separate ways and sulk for a week instead of talking through it. In this book, the characters will almost immediately talk about the situation, which I find more realistic. 

This book does get comparisons to The Hating Game by Sally Thorne because of the workplace enemies-to-lovers trope. I have read that book, but it was a while ago so I don’t remember much. Because of that, I can’t speak to their similarities. 

As for the Filipino representation, I enjoyed seeing lit bits of Filipino culture like Illocano words and Filipino food. I was also happy to see Emmie talk about being darker skinned and how that has impacted her. There is also a lot of talk about Hawaii, since Emmie grew up on the Big Island. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am so happy to finally see some Filipino rep in romance! 

Review: Patron Saints of Nothing

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher as part of a blog tour. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative. 

I just want to preface this review by saying this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Like the main character of this book, I am half Filipino and half white. Seeing myself represented in literature means the world to me. I also want to say that I’ve never been to the Philippines so I can’t speak to anything in that regard.

Wow. This book was everything. I don’t even know where to begin. 

First off, all the Filipino culture was amazing to see. I’ve never read a book with this much Filipino culture. Every time I saw something, I was like, “Yeah, that’s my culture right there!” By the way, that happened a lot throughout this book. 

The blurb on the back of the cover compares this book to Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. That was likely a marketing ploy, but in a way I do see merit to that comparison. There’s something about Randy Ribay’s writing that reminds me of Angie Thomas’s. They both like to bring up big points in subtle ways. If you’ve read my review of THUG, you’ll see some examples. In this book, one example is when  the author casually brings up the American human zoos. Tito Maning says to Jay, “Do you know the Americans stole entire villages and then displayed them in your country as I they were animals in a zoo?” (pg. 153). Yes, that really did happen. Just google, “1904 World’s Fair filipino.” I only just learned about that when I was in college. 

I thought that the author did a great job describing the President Duterte’s war on drugs in a multifaceted way. He showcased different viewpoints on it and shared actual accounts, like the story of Kian delos Santos, who was unjustly shot and killed by the police. 

I also loved how the author tackled the issue of identity and being biracial. As a fellow biracial Filipino, I could relate to Jay a lot. Being biracial is such a tricky thing and the author captured it perfectly. 

There’s a little bit of LGBT representation which I appreciated. It’s always nice to see the LGBT community acknowledged and normalized, even when it’s not a part of the main storyline.

As for the plot and what happened with Jun, there was a lot of gray areas, which made it feel realistic. Things aren’t so clear cut which is what happens in real life. I appreciated that approach. 

Basically, I just want to thank the author for writing this book. Not only does this book successfully highlight the biracial Filipino American experience, but it also shines a light on a lesser known social injustice. 

To end, I want to share a quote that really hit me:

“It strikes me that I cannot claim this country’s serene coves and sun-soaked beaches without also claiming its poverty, its problems, its history. To say that any aspect of it is part of me is to say that all of it is part of me”

pg. 227

BOOK DESCRIPTION

A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.

Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.

Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth — and the part he played in it.

As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.