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: 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: The Rose (The Godwicks #2)

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher for promotional purposes.

I loved everything about this book! 

I first have to preface this review by saying that I haven’t read the first book in the series but that did not affect my comprehension or enjoyment of this book. It can be read as a standalone. This is also my first Tiffany Reisz book.

This is some damn good erotica. There is a lot of sex, but it was done so well. Sometimes erotica can be a little cringey, but this one wasn’t. Who knew that greek mythology fantasies could be so hot? 

I loved that there was also a plot; it wasn’t just all sex. There was actual substance to it.

The characters were fantastic as well. Lia and August had sizzling chemistry. They were perfect together. Lia’s parents were an unexpectedly hilarious touch. Even though they were barely in the book, I liked Lia’s friends. They seemed so cool and I low-key want a spin-off book about their sexual adventures. 

The book is also incredibly well written. I can tell why so many people love Tiffany Reisz’s book. She knows how to write! 

Lastly, the book was so sex-positive. There was a lot of emphasis on both men and women enjoying sex. 

Overall, this was an impressive erotic romance. I will definitely be reading more from Tiffany Reisz. 


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The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from he publisher for promotional purposes. 

First off, this is not your typical YA vampire book. It’s a very subtle vampire book. The word vampire isn’t even used until way late in the book. 

This book is a slow burn, which I liked. It definitely takes a while to get into the story. I found that the slower pace worked well in creating the mystery and intrigue. This is the first book in a series that is projected to have 4 books, so a lot of this book is likely setting the stage for the rest of the series. The slower pace is to be expected.

The book has a lot of interesting supporting characters. My favorite was Odette. She was awesome. I can’t wait to see how her character progresses in the coming books. There’s a lot to explore with her. I also loved Pippa because she’s quite the mystery. This book didn’t delve much into her past or background so I am intrigued to find that out in the coming books. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I am very curious to see how the rest of the series pans out. I recommend this book if you are interested in a more historical fiction take on vampires and also if you want to read a YA vampire series that isn’t Twilight (no shade against Twilight, I just know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea). 


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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: Tokyo Ever After

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Flatiroin exchange for an honest review.

This was such a cute read! 

The premise is everything. A Japanese American girl discovering she is a princess? Yes please! As a whole, I thought the premise was well executed. There was a good balance between the humorous adjusting to royal parts and the more serious discovering who she is parts.   

I really liked that the book included a family tree with a brief description of everyone in the family. It made the book so easy to follow. 

Character-wise, I loved Izumi’s all Asian friend group (nicknamed Asian Girl Gang, or AGG for short). It was so nice seeing a female lead with a large friend group to support her. Also, one of her friends was half-Filipino just like me. I always love seeing Filipino representation in books, even if it’s just a small side character. 

I also enjoyed the writing style. It was engaging and flowed well. 

The Own Voices aspect was also really strong, especially in regards to feeling like a foreigner. The book highlighted how visiting Japan while being Japanese American feels strange since she’s not “Japanese” enough. That is so true. Being American is an added layer of identity and affects how others perceive you. I’m Filipino American and there is a difference in how people in the Philippines view you if you’re American born versus Philippines born. 

However, the book is on the predictable side. If you’re familiar with the lost royalty trope or have seen The Princess Diaries movies, then a lot of the plot points are nothing new. 

Additionally, the romance in this book is a little insta-lovey. I felt like the book didn’t even need a romance sub-plot; it was already strong on its own. 

Overall, I throughly enjoyed this Own Voices take on lost royalty! I recommend it if you love stories about royal families. 


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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: 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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