Review: My Fine Fellow

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Rating: ★★★★

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

This was a really cute My Fair Lady retelling! I have seen My Fair Lady, but it was a while ago so I didn’t pick up on any of the references to it. If you’re a fan of the movie I’m sure you would appreciate those references. 

I loved that it was a gender swapped retelling. I also loved that Penelope was half Filipino and Elijah was Jewish and that their backgrounds were a central and integral part of the story. The book explored the prejudices that both of them faced. 

The three main characters were all well developed. I particularly liked seeing Helena’s character arc unfold and how her actions affected her friendships with Penelope and Elijah.  

Food is a big part of the story so do not read this book on an empty stomach. You will get hungry! Luckily there is a recipe at the end for the empanadas mentioned in the book. 

Since this is a retelling, the story is a little predictable and straightforward. There are no big surprises.  

Overall, I enjoyed this historical YA retelling of My Fair Lady. If you like reading about 1830s England or books about food, I recommend checking this book out. 


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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: 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: 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: Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon A Con #3)

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Rating: ★★★★

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

I am such a huge fan of this series so I was excited to read this, especially since Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. I ended up enjoying this a lot!

So first off, there are a lot of references to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Like on page 37 there is a reference to “the great wide somewhere” and on page 224 there is talk of “Magic spells. Daring sword fights. A prince in disguise.” As a Beauty and the Beast super fan I had a ton of fun picking up all these little Easter eggs. 

As for the characters, the author always writes the most interesting and dynamic ones. Both the main and supporting characters were so lovable and fleshed out. My favorite was Rosie’s dad, aka Space Dad. He seemed like the coolest dad ever. 

The writing style as usual was perfect for the genre. It was a good amount of geeky mixed in with an easy to read prose. 

This books also had amazing descriptions dedicated to the love of books. For example, Rosie states, “But there is so much more in those words than just loving books. I love the smell of them. I love the way their bindings look pressed together on a shelf…They are portals into places I’ve never been and people I’ll never be, and in them I have lived a thousand lives and seen a thousand different worlds” (pg. 39). I couldn’t agree more. 

I also would like to point out something the author put in the acknowledgments that I absolutely loved. She writes, “I wrote this book for me. So, if you didn’t really enjoy this book, that’s okay! You’ll find one that you love” (pg. 284). I thought this was a great reminder to readers that it is okay if you didn’t like a book and that authors can write what they want to write (on the assumption for course that it is not offensive, problematic etc.) 

Lastly, I did feel like there was something missing in this book compared to the other ones in the series. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was. It could be that this book is significantly shorter than the other two and I wanted a bit more. 

Overall, if you are a fan of this series (or books or Beauty and the Beast), you’ll probably like this one! 


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Review: Dating Makes Perfect

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Entangled Teen) in exchange for an honest review. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative. 

This was the cutest YA rom-com! 

Okay so first I just have to talk about the #OwnVoices aspect. As a Filipino American, I know how important it is to have your stories told, so I was so happy to finally see a book about the Thai American experience. I had never read a book about the Thai American experience before so I was super eager to read this. From food to the Songkran festival, there was a lot of Thai culture woven throughout the novel. 

The premise of this book is adorable. I loved how the dates were inspired by romantic comedies including some of my favorites, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “Always Be My Maybe.” 

I found this book to be highly relatable. As an Asian American, I could relate to some of Winnie’s experiences. For example, at one point, Winnie’s mom jumps to the conclusion that Winnie could be pregnant. Winnie replies, “Must you always skip fifty million steps? I haven’t even kissed him yet” (pg 126). Yup. My mom is like that too. You start dating a boy and their mind immediately goes to pregnancy. There’s also the quintessential bringing weird food to school moment that Winnie mentions in passing. Lastly, I related to how Winnie talks about respect towards her parents. She states,

“Sometimes, I get so bored of this respect. Yes, it’s important, and yes, it’s my parents’ due. But respect also prevents us from admitting our infractions— and talking about them. That’s what I want. For us to talk. Not as friends, exactly, but certainly without this yawning chasm between us.”

pg. 237

I think that is so true. There can often be this divide between Asian parents and their children because of this notion of respect. 

As for the romance, I thought it was so cute. It’s the classic childhood friends to lovers and enemies to lovers tropes but I thought it was done very well. Winnie and Mat had a lot of chemistry so I loved them as a couple. 

Overall, I recommend this #OwnVoices romance! This book gave me a ton of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” vibes, so if you like that movie or the books, you’ll probably like this! 

Review: Opposite of Always

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free free as part of an Instagram tour (Storygram Tours specifically) I did to promote the book.

This was such a fun YA book!

I absolutely loved the premise. The time loop aspect was so interesting. I liked how you saw the consequences to Jack’s actions throughout every go around. 

In a way this book is kind of sad because the love interest is continually dying. But at the same time it is still full of hope. 

I loved the characters. Since this book is a time loop you spend a lot of time with them and get to seem them react to different scenarios. I loved the friendship between Jack, Jillian, and Franny. They were so supportive of one another and were like a tight knit family (most of the time). 

The only downside to the book is that it is a bit repetitive because of the time loop. Luckily, after a few times through, it does not rehash the same events. 

Lastly, this book is Own Voices which I loved. The book even mentions the importance of it. The main character states, “I’ve always loved reading. But there aren’t a lot of books about kids like me. And I just think every kid deserves a book that looks like them” (pg 34). Amen to that! 

Overall, I really enjoyed this YA debut! 


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Review: An Unexpected Role

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Rating: ★★★½

I received this book for free from JustRead tours as part of their Blind Date with a Book tour. 

This is a fun YA novel with a dash of faith, romance and mystery. It is also an incredibly quick and fast paced read. I just flew right through it. 

As a young adult novel it works really well. At its core, it’s about a teenage girl discovering who she is. That part was really well done, especially her character development. 

The mystery is pretty basic but still interesting. It’s not a very sophisticated mystery so if you’re looking for something more Nancy Drew-like, you probably won’t find it here. The mystery was a good supplement to the overarching plot. 

This book is considered to be Christian fiction, but the religious aspect is fairly light. Religion gets talked about but it is not the biggest part of the book. There are some Bible verses and some praying. 

I really liked the romance. I was very happy with who she ended up with (although it was very predictable) and thought their interactions were very cute. 

Overall, I thought this was a solid young adult novel. I didn’t find it to be mind-blowing in any way but it was still an enjoyable read. 


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Review: 10 Blind Dates

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free as part of a blog tour

This was such a cute YA Christmas romance! I honestly wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. 

First off, I loved the premise. 10 blind dates picked by family members is a hilarious idea. The execution was great as well. There were some cute dates and some OMG dates (like the one that her twin cousins set up). 

I also loved the emphasis on family, both with her immediate and extended family. I loved the bond Sophie had with her pregnant older sister, Margot. It was so heartwarming to see how much they supported one another. Additionally, Sophie’s extended family was insane, but so lovable. You couldn’t help but laugh at their craziness (like them placing bets on what time she came home from her dates). Despite that, they all cared for Sophie and wanted to help her get over her heartbreak. 

The pacing of the book was amazing. It was faced paced but at the same time everything was well developed and there was no insta-love. This book could have very easily dragged on in some parts, but didn’t. 

Overall, this was the perfect YA holiday read. It’s light, fluffy, and full of Christmas cheer! 

Review: When Summer Ends

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free as part of a Storygram book tour. 

When I first started this book, I just thought it would be your typical YA summer romance book. Something generic and cliched. But it ended up exceeding my expectations and being so much more. 

This book was so damn cute. Aiden and Olivia had such a cute relationship. Like that is the teen summer romance that I have always wanted. They were so good together and brought out the best in each other. They complemented each other so well. And Aiden in general is just amazing. Like he’s total boyfriend goals. 

I also enjoyed the writing style. It was easy and effortless and the POV changes were done very well. Because of this, reading this book was a breeze. I flew through it. 

I loved that this book dealt with a teenager with vision loss. That’s something that I haven’t come across in a YA book before so it was nice to see that representation. 

The only critique I have is that I wanted a little bit more closure in the epilogue. It was short and only from Aiden’s perspective. There was something in Olivia’s life that I had wanted to see how it played out. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a cute YA romance to read for the summer, definitely pick up this book!