Review: Know You By Heart (Heart Resort #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I read the first book in the series last year and liked it, but didn’t love it. This book was definitely a step up from the last one. 

The premise is the classic romance trope, marriage of convenience. However, it takes places when the marriage of convenience is nearing its end, which is a cool twist to the trope. I found that twist very refreshing and it offered a unique perspective to the trope. I enjoyed seeing the main characters, Chris and Eden, discover their true feelings for each other. 

I also liked that Eden and Chris went on a couple’s retreat at the resort. The couples resort was talked about in the first book, but this book really delved into how it operated and what the program was like. The couple’s retreat was fun to read about and also aided in Chris and Eden’s character development. 

I just have to point out that I love that this series has so much Filipino representation. As a Filipino American, I love seeing Filipino culture highlighted.  

Lastly, like the first book, I do feel like there were some pacing issues with this one. Some parts seemed to move slower than others. 

Overall, this was a great installment to the series and I am looking forward to the next one! 


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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: From Hollywood with Love

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Rating: ★★★★★

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

I absolutely love romantic comedy movies. It is one of my favorite movie genres so I was pretty excited to read this. This book was everything I hoped for and more.

This book explores the history of romantic comedies, starting with When Harry Met Sally and ending with To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Each chapter is dedicated to a different movie, with an essay in between exploring different rom-com actors. 

The selection of movies and actors were a good mix. I liked that it discussed non-white rom-coms (Waiting To Exhale) and rom-coms about older women (Something’s Gotta Give). 

I was also happy that the book dove into how problematic Hollywood can be. In discussing the Oscars So White controversy, the author writes, “this long standing bias reflected the type of loves stories the Academy deemed worthy of serious consideration…It raises a question Hollywood still hasn’t seriously reckoned with: Do critics and voters like the best stories, or the ones that out comfortingly reflects their own lives?” (pgs. 77-78). I found that question deeply intriguing and it brings up a very important point on the biases prevalent in the film industry. It’s a question that spans across all movie genres and not just romantic comedies. 

The author’s writing style was so accessible and easy to read. Sometimes nonfiction can be dry, but this book was like reading a magazine article. 

The book was also incredibly well researched. Every chapter is filled with so much information on the history and background of the movie, as well as fun trivia. The author includes a Notes section at the end with the citations to all his research. 

Lastly, The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter were adorable and a very cute touch. 

Overall, I loved this look into the world of Hollywood romantic comedies. If you are a fan of the movie genre, you have to read this book! 


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Review: A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received copy of this book for free from the publisher as part of an Instagram book tour I did to promote the book. 

This was the cutest Christmas story ever! It was an absolute Christmas dream. Everything from the setting to the characters was Christmas perfection. 

The fictional country of Tolvania was essentially a Christmas village come to life. It was Christmas central. The country had tree lightings, caroling, and even a Christmas crown! I wish it was a real place. 

I loved all the characters, especially the queen. She was such a cool queen and I loved her approach to ruling and how much she cared for her family. The Prince’s daughter, Princess Anna, was also a highlight. She was adorable and had a lot of spunk. 

I will admit this book is very light on plot. The majority of the book is the main character experiencing the various Christmas traditions of Tolvania. That being said, it was still fun and entertaining to read. There is some (predictable) drama at the end to keep things interesting. 

Lastly, I loved the bonus content at the end that included recipes and instructions for crafts that were featured in the story. Bonus content like this is always fun. 

Overall, this was a charming and feel good Christmas read. If you ever need to get into the Christmas spirit, read this book! 


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Review: Nothing Personal

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Rating: ★★★½

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

I was looking forward to reading this book because I’ve been using dating apps off and on for almost 2 years now. I was curious to see how my experience compared to the author’s. 

The book started off rocky. It felt a little discombobulated in the beginning because it would jump around from different points in her life. It was hard to follow what was going on.

The book could have been organized better. It was divided up into 4 sections, but there wasn’t any reason for how it was divided. There weren’t any section names or anything. The book would have benefitted from being told in chapters and thus would have been easier to navigate. 

What I did like about the book was the critical analysis of dating apps. It was incredibly well researched. The author included a ton of statistics like that 44% of Tinder users said they used the app for “confidence-boosting procrastination” and that over 70% said that they’d never met up with one of their matches in real life” (pg. 167). Yup. I have definitely encountered those people. I also agreed with a dating historian she mentioned who said that on Bumble, “the man doesn’t even have to lift a finger to even type you out a three-word message because now he’s not allowed to. So once again, women are shouldering so much more of the burdens of dating” (pg. 159). Amen to that! I’ve always hated the “women message first” aspect of Bumble. It does not empower me. 

The book started getting better around the second half. That is when it became more focused, so it was a lot easier to follow and I was able to enjoy her personal story more. 

Overall, this book wasn’t perfect but I appreciated the author’s candor and research. If you’re curious about dating apps, but don’t want to venture into the world yourself, consider reading this book. 


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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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Review: Beyond the Point

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received copy of this book for free from the publisher as part of an Instagram book tour I did to promote the book. 

Omg what a beautiful book! It definitely lives up to all the hype. 

The story was mesmerizing. I became so invested in the lives of the three women. I felt like I personally knew them and that I was right there with them through their ups and downs. All three of them felt so realistic.

The author’s writing style is phenomenal. There’s something utterly captivating about it. 

Some people mention that this book should be classified as Christian fiction because of the talk of God and religion. I have read my fair share of Christian fiction and I don’t think this book quite fits that. There are mentions of God, but that’s mainly due to one character being religious. Just because the Christian religion is discussed in a book does not mean it is Christian fiction. There is so much more to this book than that (friendship, love, grief, etc.). 

My edition had a little bonus section at the end with filled background behind the novel, including interviews with real life West Point women. I enjoyed hearing their experiences. 

Lastly, I wanted to share a quote from the book about love that really struck me. The author writes,

“Love starts in the body. It starts with the tingling of toes and the rushing of blood and the lightness in the head. It feels a lot like pain…There are convulsions, nausea, heartburn, and breathlessness. There is a physical ache you feel when falling in love. It’s your heart making room for someone else, like a gardener is there, digging out a hole for a new plant. There is pain, and there is fear. The fear that the hole might stay forever”

pg. 151-152

Overall, I LOVED this book and consider it a new favorite of mine. If you’ve been putting off reading this book like I did (it had been sitting on my shelf since 2019), just pick it up already and read it! 


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Review: The Duke and I (Bridgertons #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

To preface, I just want to say that I have not watched the show yet so I cannot say how it compares to it nor did I have any particular expectations going in. I wanted to read the book first before watching the show.

I ended up really enjoying this book!

The book was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. The humor was woven throughout the novel nicely. The little excerpts from Lady Whistledown were a very entertaining touch that added to the hilarity. 

As for the two leads, I did prefer the Simon over Daphne. Daphne did some things that I was not a fan of. She wasn’t completely terrible; she just wasn’t my favorite. As for the supporting characters, I loved them all, especially the other Bridgerton siblings. I can’t wait to learn more about them in the rest of the books. 

This edition did include the bonus Second Epilogue (which was originally published separately online) which I also enjoyed. It’s relatively short so it didn’t reveal that much, but it was still fun revisiting the characters again.

Overall, I found this to be a delightful read. I am looking forward to finally watching the show and continuing the series. 


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Review: Victor and Nora

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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. 

What a tragic love story! 

This was another great comic from the DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults imprint. This one followed a young Victor Fries (aka Mr. Freeze) as he first meets Nora (aka Mrs. Freeze). I thought this comic set up their origin story nicely. 

The comic really delves into the emotional states of the characters and the tragedies of their lives. There was a lot of depth and complexity to them. Both Victor and Nora have a lot of grief and it was interesting to see how they dealt with that. If you like tragic young adult love stories, then you’ll probably like Victor and Nora’s story! 

Since this is a comic, I have to talk about the artwork. It is amazing!The use of colors in showing their relationship was very clever. Victor was cool blues, while Nora was warm hues. The colors were also useful in distinguishing whose point of view was being shown. There were also a few art style changes in the comic that were super fun. For example, on pages 38-39, the art changes to the Tim Burton skeleton look, which was so spot on! 

Overall, I really enjoyed this young adult take on a famous Gotham villain couple! 


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Review: Hot Texas Sunrise (Coldwater Texas #2)

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

I actually have the first book in this series but for some reason decided to start with this one. I’m glad I did because I loved it!

This book has the perfect blend sexy and heartfelt moments. The foster care system is at the center of the story so there were so many heart tugging scenes related to that. I really liked that the book dove deep into the complexities of the foster care system. You really got to see the good and bad sides to it. I really felt for the three boys and what they were going through. 

I loved the two leads, Cleo and Judd. They had sizzling chemistry and they made a great couple. I was rooting for them the whole time. 

I also loved the supporting characters. Judd’s sponsor (Judd is a recovering alcoholic), Mercy, was quite the character and juxtaposition. Her and Judd’s dynamic was unique to say the least. 

My only critique is the ending. The ending felt a little rushed and I wanted a little more closure, especially in regards to Cleo and Judd’s relationship and their future together.

Overall, this story was both spicy and heartfelt! I recommend this book if you want a romance with a little more substance than your typical romance novel. 


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