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: 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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Review: 29 Dates

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Rating: ★★★★½

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

This book doesn’t get the greatest reviews but I tend to rate books based on what they are. This was a YA romantic comedy and I thought it was a super cute one!

In the beginning it slightly reminded me of Melissa de la Cruz’s middle grade series, The Ashleys (which I read way back in middle school), because it had a slightly materialistic vibe and was set in San Francisco.

The romance itself was basic but still cute. I loved the little snippets from her 29 dates that were at the beginning of the chapters. 

I really liked that the book touched upon the casual racism that Asians in America face daily such as people thinking Asians all look the same, people being surprised at how well an Asian person speaks English, and the notion that Asians are quiet. 

Since I am Filipino, I also loved the inclusion of some Filipino representation. One of the love interests was Filipino and I loved seeing that. I enjoyed the chapter that explored his life because we got to see a little bit of Filipino culture such as Filipino food and karaoke. 

I noticed at least one use of the word “hella” (pg. 353) which I was super happy to see because that is one of the most popular Bay Area slang words.  

Lastly, I have to address the controversy that surrounds this book. Many people have issues with this book because a non-Korean (Melissa de la Cruz is Filipino) is writing about Korean culture. I think that is a fair and valid critique and I can’t really say much about the Korean aspects since I am not Korean. The one thing I will say however, and this may be controversial, but I do think some of the criticisms I’ve read are overly harsh. Going into this book, I knew this wasn’t going to be a deep book because Melissa de la Cruz’s books are never deep. Even the one book she wrote about a Filipino American immigrant experience still had that classic Melissa de la Cruz fluff. In my personal opinion (which you do not have to agree with), I think Melissa de la Cruz just wanted to write a fun cute story and she tried the best she could with the Korean aspects (which she addresses in her author’s note at the end). She wasn’t trying to make some grand statement about the Korean experience. 

Overall, I really liked this book. Is it mind blowing? No. Is it fun? Yes. So if you’re looking for something fun and not super serious, then consider reading this book.

Review: The Proposal

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Rating: ★★★★

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

Please note that I have not read The Wedding Date, so all the characters in this book were brand new to me. I also cannot speak to how this book compares with that book. 

It took me forever to read this book because I just started law school, but this was such a fun romance! 

First off, I loved the diversity! The main character is black. One of her friends is a plus sized Korean American. The other is a black lesbian. The love interest is Latino. It was just so refreshing to see and read about, especially since the book takes place in Los Angeles which is so diverse. 

The premise of being proposed to at a baseball game (if only it wasn’t a Dodgers game- Go Giants!) and saying no was so creative and fun. I could picture this being turned into a great rom-com movie. 

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I also loved the overall vibe of the book. It felt very LA. Like when I was reading it, I could totally tell that it was LA and I felt like I was there with the characters. 

The romance was really good as well. Nik and Carlos made a great couple. I loved their interactions, especially the ones with Carlos’s family. His family is the best. 

The ending for me fell a little flat which is why I gave this 4 stars. It ended quickly and I wished that it would have been fleshed out more. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable diverse romance!