Review: Wonderful Women of the World

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Rating: ★★★★★

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

What a wonderful anthology of amazing women!

This anthology showcases numerous women from all around the world, not just the US. Some of them are well known like Beyonce, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Malala Yousafzai. While others are more obscure like Teara Fraser, Mariana Costa Checa, and Ellen Ochoa. 

My favorite stories were the following:

  • Leiomy Maldonado because her story was told with two timelines highlighting her life when she was younger and struggling with being transgender versus her life now. The dual timelines were an effective way to showcase the progress she made.
  • Brene Brown because her story was told using her technique: BRAVING. BRAVING is an acronym for behaviors/values she uses every day to help her live her best life. Her story was organized around each behavior which I found to be so clever! 
  • Keiko Agena because her story was so relatable. Her story centered around Asian American representation in media and as an Asian American this one hit home for me. This story was written by Sarah Kuhn, an author I am familiar with (I’ve read one of her books and loved it). 

Since this is an anthology, there is something for everyone. There is a lot of diversity from the types of women to their accomplishments. The art styles also vary! I enjoyed seeing all the different types of art. All the contributors are either female or nonbinary which adds to the inspiring narrative of the collection. 

Overall, I loved this anthology of astounding women, created by an incredibly talented group of female and nonbinary artists and writers. If you’re looking for some girl power inspiration, be sure to consider this book!  


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Review: Tripping Arcadia

Rating: ★★★

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

This book had such a great premise. I love gothic novels, however, the execution could have been better. 

The book started off strong. As soon as the main character, Lena, started working for the mysterious Verdeau family, I was intrigued and was excited to see where the story would go. The book held steady until the last 1/3. The story seemed to be losing its momentum by that point, like it didn’t quite know where it should go. By the end, I felt let down. I was expecting a big reveal or twist but nothing shocked me or made me have an “aha” moment. 

One thing I did like about the book were the supporting characters of the Verdeau siblings, Audrey and Jonathan. They were both fascinating characters with well developed character arcs. Audrey was stuck in the middle trying to balance what she wanted versus what her dad wanted, while Jonathan was such a melancholy and tragic character who was obsessed with death. Their separate relationships with Lena was also interesting to see unfold. They each had such different relationships with Lena. It made for a nice juxtaposition. 

The author’s writing style worked with the overall vibe of the book (gothic with a touch of dark academia), although it could be a little wordy at times. 

As a whole, the plot itself was on the weak side, but the strong supporting characters helped the story. If you’re into gothic novels or stories about poison (this book is all about poison), then I would still say to give the book a shot! It might work for you. 


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Review: You Brought Me The Ocean

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

This was a heartfelt origin story that tackles identity and sexuality. 

Prior to reading this, I had no idea who Jake Hyde (aka Aqualad) was so I had no expectations going in about his origin story. I was pleasantly surprised. The superhero element was a lot more subtle than I thought it would be. Jake trying to figure out the mystery behind his powers and coming to terms with his sexuality were both given equal weight. I liked that the book didn’t go too overboard with the superhero aspect because that could have easily overshadowed the coming-out story. 

The plot is very basic (it’s not the most exciting superhero comic you will read), but it works well for what the story was trying to accomplish. Sometimes less is more, and this book proves that. 

As for the characters, I loved Kenny. He was hands down my favorite character. I also loved the diversity in the characters. Jake is black. His best friend, Maria, is Latina. Kenny is Asian. The teacher, Mrs. Archer, is Native American. 

At first I wasn’t a fan of the artwork. I saw a sneak peek of this in another DC Comic and I was a little hesitant. The artwork seemed a little incomplete. But as I started the book and kept reading, I grew to love and appreciate it. There was actually a lot of detail in the sketches. I loved that at the end of the book there was sketches from the illustrator explaining the thought process behind them. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this beautiful superhero comic and its coming-out storyline! #RepresentationMatters 


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Review: The World is Ours

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

This book took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions and I loved every minute of it. 

I was reminded a lot of the TV show, Andi Mack, while reading this. In case you don’t know, Andi Mack was this amazing show on Disney Channel that featured the network’s first gay main character, Cyrus. I was obsessed with the show until Disney Channel canceled it (but that’s a discussion for another day). Riley’s journey and who he ended up with reminded me of Cyrus. I was very happy with who Riley ended up with at the end. It gave me similar feels to the Cyrus storyline. From the very beginning I was rooting for Riley and that person to get together but I didn’t know if it would happen. So when it did happen I was ecstatic and had a mini freak out over it. 

I loved Riley’s journey in discovering his sexuality. It was so heartwarming to see him become more confident in who he is. 

I also liked Riley’s friend group and how supportive they were. They also reminded a little of the friend group in Andi Mack. 

Overall, this was an amazing LGBT read. If you are a fan of Andi Mack or Love, Simon (I haven’t read the book but have seen the movie), you’ll like this one. 

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! 

Review: Amelia Westlake Was Never Here

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received this book for free from The NOVL in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so good!

First off, the premise is absolute genius. Creating a fictional student named Amelia Westlake to fight school injustices was such a clever idea. The injustices were a wide range of issues such as sexual harassment, homophobia, and elitism in private schools. 

The pacing of the book was spot on. Everything happened at appropriate times and nothing felt rushed. There was never a time where I felt that the story was being dragged on for too long. 

Another thing I liked was how real it was. Not everything got wrapped up super neatly at the end which is what happens in real life. Some things take a long time to resolve and mend. There were two things in particular at the end that a lot of authors would have magically fixed, but I’m happy that the author went a different route.  

The reason why I didn’t give it the full 5 stars was because the romance felt like it was missing something. I was looking for that special spark between the characters, but never quite saw it. 

Overall, I really liked this book. I loved the feminist messages and the issues it touched upon. It’s a powerful read while still being light-hearted and fun. 

I received this book for free from The NOVL in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Fat Angie Rebel Girl Revolution (Fat Angie #2)

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Rating: ★★★½

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

First off, I just want to put out a trigger warning since this book deals with a lot of serious topics such as fat shaming, bullying, grief, homophobia, and self-harm. 

This book is the sequel to Fat Angie, and going into this book I did not know that. I had thought it was a standalone book. Even though I did not read the first book, I was still able to understand what was happening in this book. There were a few things that I was confused about in the beginning, but I managed to figure it out. 

I liked the plot of the book, particularly the road trip aspect. The reason why I wanted to read this book was because it was about an RV road trip. I’m an RVer so that appealed to me. The best parts of the book involved the road trip. The beginning of the book is really heavy subject-wise, so the road trip came at the perfect time. 

However, the execution of the book wasn’t great. The writing style wasn’t my favorite. It was a bit awkward and clunky at times. I wished it flowed more smoothly. 

Overall, I enjoyed the story despite some flaws in the execution. 

Review: The Lost Coast

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Rating: ★★★½

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

I had such high hopes for this book, but it ultimately did not live up to my expectations. 

Let’s start with what I did like. 

I liked the diversity. There was a lot of sexual (lesbian, ace, etc.) and racial diversity. One of the girls was Filipino which I was super happy about since I’m Filipino. I love seeing Filipino representation.  

I also liked the aesthetic of the book. The descriptions perfectly captured that foggy, mystical, Northern California vibe. 

Now on to what I didn’t love. 

There were a lot of point of view changes throughout the book which really made it difficult to understand especially in the beginning. Each POV would last for only a few pages so it ended up being a bit jarring and all over the place. 

As for the storyline, it wasn’t exciting. It felt kind of blah to me until the end which is when things finally got interesting. 

I also wished the book focused more on June and Hawthorn. They were my two favorite characters and I wanted to explore more of their backstory. 

Overall, this book had some good moments (Queer POC witches for the win!), but didn’t reach its full potential. 

Review: Would You Rather?

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.

It wasn’t until I actually read the blurb on the back that I realized that this was written by the girl who wrote Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date. I had really wanted to read that book and even marked it as such on Goodreads, but I never did get around to reading it. I’m glad that I was able to read this book because it does touch upon some of the themes that Never Had I Ever covered.

So basically, I loved this book. I loved it because I related so much to it. I’m not a lesbian, so I couldn’t relate to her coming out but I did relate to a bunch of other stuff. I related to the fact that she was single until her late twenties (I’m currently 23 and still  perpetually single). I related to her anxiety, especially when it came to googling medical symptoms and convincing yourself that you have some grave condition (I’ve done that many times). I related to her obsessive bed making. Pretty much I felt like I was a lot like Katie. I saw a lot of myself in her.

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What really made the book so fantastic, was the writing. It was so conversational. It felt like she was talking to you. Every essay was clear, to the point, and a lot of fun. 

I also really liked the balance between the fun and the serious. There were a lot of quirky anecdotes, but also a lot of introspection.

Overall, this was a very touching and relatable memoir. 

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Review: Who is Vera Kelly?

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Rating: ★★★½

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

This book is a slow burn. It’s not your typical spy novel. It’s on the slow side and there isn’t much action. I was expecting some twists and turns to the story, but that wasn’t what I got. It was a pretty straightforward plot. As a spy novel, it was a bit lackluster. I also felt that the spy parts could have been developed more because all the events seemed to move at lightning speed. I would have loved to seen more of Vera’s day to day life as a spy and more of her interactions with her fellow students.

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As a work of literary fiction, this book was more successful. I actually enjoyed the flashbacks to her youth a lot more than the spy parts. I liked unraveling who Vera was and how she got to be the person she is. I particularly liked the parts about her sexuality because it shed light on how different things were for the LGBT community back in the 50’s and 60’s.

Overall, I was a bit underwhelmed by the spy aspect, but was satisfied with Vera’s character development.