May 2023 Wrap Up: not my best reading month

May was definitely not my month in terms of reading. I read absolutely nothing in the first 15 days of the month because I just didn’t feel like it. The only thing I wanted to do was watch kdramas so that’s what I did, which is why I only read 5 books in May when I usually read about 10. Also, in terms of quality, the books I read were hit or miss, which also didn’t help to make me want to read more. Still, I found a couple books I really liked and I’m excited to talk about them.

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murders by Jesse Sutanto (4.5 stars): This book has a very strong narrative voice and, at first, I wasn’t sure if I liked it because the main character is opinionated, judgy, and set in her ways. BUT I ended up loving Vera as a character with all her flaws. Moreover, I absolutely adored the found family in this. All of the characters with their secrets and mistakes were so different from one another but they were all lonely people that found each other and it was so beautiful. If a book gives me characters that I can be invested in, I don’t need anything else and this book delivered that. Also, the writing was good, the mystery was entertaining enough and I liked the resolution.

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji (3.5 stars): It took me a while to get into this, at first I was a bit bored. It wasn’t until the murders actually started that I got invested in this. But overall, it was a compelling isolated closed-circle mystery, by the end, I really wanted to figure out what was going on on the island but also why there was a whole perspective that took place outside of the island. I appreciated the ending, I wasn’t expecting the reveal at all.

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma (4 stars): This was a fun enemies-to-lovers with a bit of fake dating. The thing I enjoyed the most about the book was the chemistry between the two main characters and the evolution of their relationship from enemies to friends to lovers. All their interaction were entertaining to read and the steamy scenes were really good. I also liked the aunties and the main characters’ best friends. In terms of issues, the reason behind the animosity between the main characters is an argument they have on live tv because Prem doesn’t believe in love and Kareena does, and by the end, I felt a bit frustrated with Prem because it took him too long to get over that and realize that he loved Kareena. The ending in general was a bit messy and I didn’t love it, especially since I dislike public grand gestures.

The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee (2.5 stars): This is such a big disappointment because the premise sounded right up my alley. This is not a long book but it dragged so much for me, I couldn’t wait to be done reading it. There’s mainly one reason, the writing was not great, the dialogue was stilted, cringy, and it felt so unnatural sometimes. I have read other Jayci Lee books before and I knew I didn’t love her writing, but in this book, it was worse than in the others. On a positive note, the characters had chemistry and I did like seeing their relationship develop, but beyond that, I didn’t enjoy anything else. Also, the conflict at the end was really frustrating.

I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Se-hee: ‘m not rating this because it doesn’t feel right. This is a very complicated book to talk about. There were feelings and thought processes from the author that I could relate to, and there are things I took away from this that are thought-provoking to me as an individual. Nonetheless, this book is made up of vignettes from longer therapy sessions and just from some of the many therapy sessions that the author had, so the transitions were not smooth and the book felt at times disjointed. Moreover, I think this book clearly shows how much the mental state of a person, as well as the therapy they receive, is determined by their culture and their context, which in a way it’s interesting to see, but it’s also the reason why a lot of the things that were said in this book, especially by the therapist felt inappropriate or unhelpful to me. Still, I’m glad I read this.

What were the best and worst books you read in May?

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June 2023 TBR: books I want to read for Pride month

I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks because my mental health hasn’t been the best, work has been busy and I have been trying to make some important life choices. But I’m so happy to come back and share my June tbr full of books by and about queer people to celebrate pride month.

Finna by Nino Cipri: a woman lost in the multiverse, two furniture store employees needing to rescue her, and an exploration of queer relationships. All of it sounds so interesting, I can’t wait to read this.

The Mimicking of Know Successes by Malka Ann Older: a mystery set in space and there are queer characters. So many of my favorite things, what more could I ask for.

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson: I have heard nothing but good things about this book where two of Dracula’s brides fall in love. Also, it seems like a book I would love.

The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett: I need more sapphic romances in my life, which is why I included a few on this tbr. A chef, a restaurant owner, a cooking reality show … It sounds excellent!

The Fiancée Farce by Alexandria Bellefleur: another sapphic romance, I love fake dating in books and I have read and loved books by this author before, so I think I’ll love this too.

We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib: I think this short memoir of a Pakistani, Muslim queer person will be fascinating. It’s a perspective I haven’t read before, so I’m looking forward to it.

What are you planning to read in June? Have you read any of the books I put on my TBR?

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April 2023 Wrap Up: lots of books but overall not a good reading month

This post it SO LATE, but I had a work trip during the first week of May and I didn’t have enough time to leave this post ready before going. Still, it’s late but it’s finally here. While I read a good amount of books in April, I didn’t have the best reading month in terms of quality, even if I had a few really good 4 stars, the other things I read were so mediocre that I felt my reading month overall was not that great. Hopefully May will be better (even if I have not read a single book so far).

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson (4 stars): This book was atmospheric and sensual, there wasn’t a ton of world-building but just enough to be interesting.. Most of it was slow-paced, but there was enough tension and anticipation, so I wasn’t bored at any point, and by the end, it picked up the pace and there was a lot more action. The characters were interesting, the story was compelling, and even if everything got resolved a little too neatly, I didn’t mind it. My one issue was the romance, it was insta-lovey, I tried to accept it as a representation of the allure of power and newness. But I could never really understand the connection and how quickly feelings developed between characters, I couldn’t understand what they saw in each other. Nonetheless, their scenes were still compelling and I liked how that storyline wrapped up.

A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher (4.5 stars): This was a fantastic take on an atmospheric and creepy haunted house story, with a touch of southern gothic in its exploration of racism, the mix of realistic and supernatural elements, and the “remote” southern community. The tension and dread were there, I actually felt scared and anxious while reading it, and this book had compelling characters that react very realistically to the situations there find themselves in. My one issue with this is that the second reveal was a bit disappointing and once it took place the book lost the tension it built throughout the book.

Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Casimano (3.5 stars): This was still a quick, easy read, with characters that are easy to root for, and good writing. It was as ridiculous and full of convenient situations as the other two, but the plot wasn’t that entertaining, they spend most of the book in the middle of nowhere conveniently getting some clues, and honestly, it felt like the author wanted to keep Finlay’s story going but wasn’t sure where it should go. Also, Vero’s impulsiveness started to annoy me a little bit, and with the hints of where the next book is going I’m scared that it’s going to get worse, but I hope not.

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten (3 stars): This was ok for me. The narrative voice is engaging and the stories are entertaining, but something prevented me from completely loving this, I think it may be because this is a collection of short stories, which I don’t usually love, and I found the reasons for the murders in this book a bit dumb, a lot of them were problems that could have been easily solved another way.

Small Favor by Jim Butcher (4 stars): It took me a little while to get into this, mainly because there were repetitive descriptions that messed with the pace. But once I got into it, I had a lot of fun. I usually feel like these books are formulaic, but this one broke away from the mold, at least a little bit. I liked where the plot went, there were so many amazing side characters from previous books present in this and some interesting villains were back as well. Also, I appreciate that we are getting more information and a better idea of the looming danger that has been heavily hinted at throughout most of the series.

Turn Coat by Jim Butcher (4 stars): I’m so glad these books are stepping away from the formula. This is the third book in a row that I’ve felt it’s really good. I loved that this book shows more of the world, the political conflict, and the different players involved in the big mystery of this series. And I loved that so many of the side characters from previous books keep showing up and that there’s character development happening for a lot of them.

Built to Last by Erin Hahn (4 stars): This is a perfect example of low angst, low conflict, little plot romance book done right. The main characters were likable, and their chemistry was amazing; the steamy scenes were really good, and there were some good side characters. Even if not a lot happens, the storyline surrounding the home renovation show was interesting enough. I was scared that the author was going to add some unnecessary conflict at the end but they didn’t. Overall, a very solid romance.

Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley (3,5 stars): I usually like low-angst romances with little plot, but in this case, something was missing and I wasn’t thoroughly engaged. Still, it was entertaining enough, I liked the main characters, their dislike to like dynamic, and the way their relationship slowly developed, and the writing was good too. I was not the biggest fan of the conflict at the end, I saw it coming and I wish we could have skipped it, but at least it was solved quickly. And in terms of the third act break up, the reason behind it was kind of dumb, so I was a bit disappointed by that.

Funny Feelings by Tarah Dewitt (3.5 stars): I didn’t love this as much as most people seem to. While the characters and their chemistry were really good, the book dragged at certain points and I didn’t love the conflict at the end (full review).

A Guide to Being Just Friends by Sophie Sullivan (3.5 stars): I really liked both of the main characters in this book, he is serious and analytical but a softy on the inside, and she is warm, friendly, and hardworking, their dynamic works really well, they have great chemistry and I loved seeing them become friends and then lovers throughout this book. There’s not a lot of plot in this, at times I found the book a bit boring, and the final conflict was unnecessary because there already had been a conflict that made sense to the story, so why dragged it out with another thing.

The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest (3 stars): The connection between the main characters was easy to see and root for and there was some good character development. But I was frustrated by the fact that Nick was lying by omission for most of this book, and that kept taking me out of the story. Also, the story dragged a bit for me. (full review)

What were the best and worst books you read in April?

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May 2023 TBR: reading books by Asian authors

I had so much fun putting together this tbr, I have so many options of books by Asian authors that I want to read. I’m falling into a bit of a reading slump, so I chose a lot of romance books and shorter books. But I have other options which I’ll read if I finish all the books that I included.

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma: I usually like hate-to-love romances, so this sounds right up my alley. While I’m a bit nervous because I have seen so many mixed reviews, I finally decided to just try it and see what I think.

The Dating Dare by Jayci Lee: I didn’t love the first book in this series, A Sweet Mess. I had so many issues with it but overall the reading experience wasn’t bad. I’m willing to give this book a chance because the premise of this book sounds like something I’d love.

Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice on Murders by Jesse Q. Sutanto: I read the first book in the Aunties duology and really enjoyed it but I haven’t read book 2 because I have heard nothing but bad things about it. Still, I’m excited to read another book in a different series by Sutanto. I hope I enjoy it!

Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi: I really liked the first book in the series and I have been meaning to pick up the sequel for a while. It seems it’s finally time!

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki by Baek Se-hee: the title and cover of this book caught my eye the first time I saw it and I have really been looking forward to reading it.

The Burning God by R.F. Kuang: I’m embarrassed to include this book in another tbr, because I have put it in a million of them and I still haven’t read it. But this time, it’s definitely going to happen. I won’t be able to live with the shame if I don’t get to it.

What are you planning to read in May? Have you read any of the books I put on my TBR?

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Reviewing romance books: Funny Feelings + The Neighbor Favor

I haven’t been posting a lot of reviews on my blog because I felt like most of the time people don’t read them, so I have been posting mini reviews of all the books I read on my wrap ups. But I feel like I have kind of unpopular opinions about to romances that I have seen a lot of people reading lately, so I decided to share reviews for both of them.

Funny Feelings by Tarah Dewitt

Rating: 3.5 stars

Farley Jones is being forced to date Meyer Harrigan, the man she has come to love, in order to make all of her stand-up dreams come true. It’s agony— a tragedy, even. In lieu of flowers, please send cash…

Meyer and his daughter Hazel have been everything to her since they came into her life three years ago. So, all joking aside, the stakes really are high when it’s not only her career, but both of those relationships on the line.

A former stand-up star himself, Meyer has helped the trajectory of her career take off since he began managing her… Since he became her closest and most treasured friend, in the process. This is the only reason why, when the biggest opportunity of Farley’s career includes thrusting him back into the spotlight to stir up publicity, he agrees— despite his grumpiness, his protectiveness over Hazel, and his disdain for public attention. When helping her includes taking those barriers down, all those funny feelings start coming out into the open, and it quickly begins to feel like anything but a joke.

I didn’t love Funny Feelings as much as most people seem to. I went into it hesitantly because I don’t watch comedy shows, and I usually don’t find comedians funny, so I was nervous if I was going to enjoy this. Nonetheless, while there were some parts of the comedy routines that were included in the book and I didn’t find them funny, it wasn’t a big problem in the end because they weren’t a big part of the book.

I actually liked a lot of things about this, both of the main characters were actually likable and easy to root for, their chemistry and their friends-to-lovers dynamic was great, the steamy scenes were good, the low-angst worked well and the relationship the heroine had with the hero’s daughter was really sweet.

But I had issues with the lack of a plot, this is mostly a slice-of-life book, and not a lot happens, so that made me feel like the book dragged at some points, I didn’t love the conflict at the end and I’m not a fan of public grand gestures so I was annoyed at the way the conflict wrapped up. Also, the whole fake dating plot was not only unnecessary but it made little sense.

The Neighbor Favor by Kristina Forest

Rating: 3 stars

Shy, bookish, and admittedly awkward, Lily Greene has always felt inadequate compared to the rest of her accomplished family, who strive for Black excellence. She dreams of becoming an editor of children’s books but has been frustratingly stuck in the nonfiction division for years without a promotion in sight. Lily finds escapism in her correspondences with her favorite fantasy author, and what begins as two lonely people connecting over e-mail turns into a tentative friendship and possibly something else Lily won’t let herself entertain–until he ghosts her.

Months later, still crushed but determined to take charge of her life, Lily seeks a date to her sister’s wedding. And the perfect person to help her is Nick Brown, her charming, attractive new neighbor, whom she feels drawn to for unexplainable reasons. Little does she know that Nick is an author–her favorite fantasy author.

Nick, who has his reasons for using a pen name and for pushing people away, soon realizes that the beautiful, quiet woman from down the hall is the same Lily he fell in love with over e-mail months ago. Unwilling to complicate things even more between them, he agrees to set her up with someone else, though this simple favor between two neighbors is anything but–not when he can’t get her off his mind.

This book started strong, I loved that we got to read all the emails that the main characters send each other while being strangers and I could immediately understand their connections. Actually, their chemistry, connection, and the understanding that existed between them were constant throughout the book, which it’s something I enjoyed. Also, I really appreciated how their love for literature was used to build and strengthen their connection. The character development for both characters but especially Lily was lovely to witness, and I also really enjoyed all the side characters and especially the complex but caring relationship that Lily had with her family.

Unfortunately, I was frustrated by the fact that Nick was lying by omission for most of this book, and that kept taking me out of the story and didn’t allow me to feel completely invested. Because of that and in general the pace of the book, I felt like the story dragged a bit. Also, I didn’t love that a big conflict related to Nick’s past, which plays a bit part in his character’s actions and motivations, was resolved really easily and quickly. Lastly, I don’t like public grand gestures, and even if the one in this book wasn’t too bad, I didn’t enjoy it.

Still, I would read another adult romance book by this author, and if this becomes a series with books about Lily’s sisters, I will definitely give it a chance.

Have you read any of these books? What great romance books have you read lately?

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Watched in 2023 (#3): Shadow and Bone, The White Lotus, Crash Course in Romance and More

I’m so behind on this Watched in 2023 posts, which is weird because I feel like I haven’t been watching that many things in 2023, but I guess that’s not entirely true. This time, I’m particulary excited to talk about some tv shows that I was highly anticipating.

The White Lotus Season 2 (3,5 stars): it took me a while to get into this, I was not engaged while watching the first couple of episodes and I even thought about not continuing with it. But in the end, while it wasn’t as good as season 1 to me, I ended up enjoying it. Part of the problem was that this time I didn’t find anyone particularly likable, and I didn’t find it easy to root for anyone. But I got over that, and I realized that what makes this series so interesting is that the characters are clever caricatures, they are all complex, not good or bad. I especially enjoyed the storyline with the two married couples, which depicts different types of power, cheating, and gender roles in relationships, because it was the storyline that shocked me the most and left me thinking. In terms of the twist at the end, I saw it coming but it was still bizarre and it didn’t entirely make sense.

Shadow and Bone Season 2 (4 stars): I had a bit of a hard time getting into this at first, the pacing was a bit off during the first few episodes, and I think it had to do with the fact that Alina and Mal’s storyline and the Crows storyline felt so disjointed in those episodes. I understand they wanted to keep part of the original plot of the Six of Crows duology but it made no sense with the general plot of the series and they ended up rushing through Kaz’ storyline and it lacked the emotional depth that it had in the book. Once the “made-up” storyline for the Crows started, the series flowed more naturally. Beyond that, the series was entertaining, I didn’t mind the changes they made to the plot of the books because I felt that it made the series more cohesive, the acting was SO GOOD, the character development was great, Inej and Kaz were fantastic and had some incredible scenes from the books, and the cliffhanger ending was great (if we get another season, if not, it sucks). The one thing I didn’t love about the ending was what happened between Mal and Alina, they made me like them which I didn’t in the books, and then that ending was kind of dumb.

Crash Course in Romance (3,5 stars): I’m not sure how to talk about this kdrama because I overall had a good time watching it but I had a couple of issues. The two main things that bother me were: 1) that they kept trying to pretend that the main female character was this young woman raising a daughter and that she looked so young, when the actress looks her age (she is in her 50s) which is not bad at all, but the fact that they kept talking about how young she looked took me out of the story because it was obviously not true. 2) While the love story was sweet, I didn’t feel any chemistry between the two leads. 3) the romance that came out of nowhere at the end between the main character’s brother and her best friend felt forced. Still, there are so many things I enjoyed about this. The performances of the lead actors and the rest of the cast were amazing. The storyline revolving the daughter and the two guys that liked her and in general her slow-burn romance with one of the guys was so sweet and fun to watch. I also really appreciated the depiction of the academic pressure that teens in Korea have to face and how toxic the mothers obsessed with their children’s grades are. In general, the impact on teens’ mental health of all this academic pressure was well depicted.

Broker (4 stars): Great performances, a very unlikely and messy found family that it was easy to feel invested in, morally ambiguous characters, emotional plot, and a thought-provoking look at the cyclical nature of socio-economical vulnerability. The climax at the end felt rushed and the epilogue wasn’t my favorite, but overall, a touching and tender film.

What Have I Done to Deserve This? (4 stars): I think Almodovar has created his own genre of movies of women killing men that have been shitty to them by accident and then chaotically dealing with it, and I LOVE it. Honestly, this movie is funny, bizarre, very random at some points, and above everything CHAOTIC. My main issue with this was the casual pedophilia, which added nothing to the story and wasn’t really addressed all that much, it was just there.

What movies or tv shows have you loved lately? Have you watched any movie or tv show that really disappointed you in 2023?

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Reading other people’s favorite books of 2022 | Wrap up

This is my second year doing this, but unlike last year (you can read my wrap up here), this time it didn’t take me the entire year to read the books on my tbr. In January, I posted a tbr with 6 books that were included on lists of favorite books of 2021 from bloggers and booktubers, and today I wanted to tell you how that experiment worked out, if I enjoyed the books or not and if I found a new favorite.

Here are my thoughts on the books I selected:

  • I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdyI was expecting more. Quick and accessible read, but very descriptive, I wanted more reflection and insight into the effects of all she went through. (review)
  • Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield: ⭐⭐⭐⭐- Beautifully written, haunting, atmospheric, and even claustrophobic at times.  A slow-paced exploration of loss and grief, with interesting sci-fi elements. (review)
  • Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda: ⭐⭐⭐ – Unique take on vampires. The distant tone of the story and the narrative voice didn’t work for me. Some interesting topics could have been explored more deeply. (review)
  • The Book of the Most Precious Substance by Sara Gran: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – A quick, entertaining read. Engaging narrative voice and good writing, little plot, and a mystery that slowly unraveled, interesting side characters, and a realistic ending. (review)
  • Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 – A well-balanced mix between dark and lighthearted tones, it deals with heavy subjects, especially domestic violence. An interesting quest plotline, a cast of mismatched but lovable characters and fantastic writing. (review)
  • The Push by Ashley Audrain: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – rough start, but it ended up being a quick, entertaining, and a little anxiety-inducing read. It addressed the hardships that mothers face, intergenerational trauma, and nature vs nurture. (review)


Just like last year, I think the biggest advantage of doing this is that I end up reading books that are outside my comfort zone, that I may have not read, or that it would have taken me forever to get to.

I will admit that this year the experiment was not as successful as last year when I found one 5-star read and the rest of the books were all 4 stars. Unfortunately, this year I didn’t get a 5-star but I did find a 4.5 stars book, and the other books were a mix between 4 and 3 stars. But I think the 3 stars are a result of stepping outside my comfort zone and that’s not a bad thing, since it helps me discover more about my reading taste.

I ended up reading books by 5 new-to-me authors, and from those, I’m sure I’ll read more books by Sara Gran and Julia Armfield. I also ended up reading a book by an author that I discovered while doing this experiment last year: T. Kingfisher, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I would say this is a good strategy to find new authors that I enjoy.

Overall, I think this a really cool experiment, I have fun doing it and I can’t wait to do it again in 2023.

What were some of your favorite books of 2022?

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April 2023 TBR: hoping to make progress on book series

I have a goal this year of finishing or catching up to as many series as I can, I have a whole spreedsheet dedicated to tracking this, and I recently shared a blog post talking about some fantasy series that I want to make progress on this year. I don’t want to lose sight of these goals, so I’m going to try to make a lot of progress in April. I hope I wasn’t too overly ambitious.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin: I finally read the second book in this series in February, two years after reading the first one. I don’t want another 2 years to go by before I finish this series, so I’m reading it right away. The

The Lady of the Lake by Andrzej Sapkowaki: It’s time to read this final book in this series even if I’m a little nervous that it won’t be a satisfying ending because the last few books have felt like set up and it’s time to see if this book delivers it or not.

Small Favor by Jim Butcher: I read book 9 last month and surprisingly I ended up really enjoying it, so I want to keep reading the next few books before I lose steam.

Cazadora by Romina Garber: I loved the first book in this series and my library finally got the audiobook for the sequel, so it’s time to read it and finish this duology.

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson: I finally read The Year of the Witchling in February and I really enjoyed it so I’m excited to read more from Alexis Henderson.

Finlay Donovan Jump the Gun by Elle Cosimano: I’m next in line for the audiobook on my library, so it’s finally time to read it! I liked the first two books in this series so much and I can’t wait to see what new trouble awaits Finlay.

Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley: a common theme in this tbr: my library got some new books that I was looking forward to. Haven’t read anything by this author before, but this sounds so fun.

Built to Last by Erin Hahn: I have been meaning to read this book for a while, because it sounds so good and it has gotten pretty good reviews as well, and I finally decided to include it on one of my tbrs.

What are you planning to read in April? Have you read any of the books I put on my TBR?

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March 2023 Wrap Up: I read 17 books!

It’s been a long time since I felt such a big desire to read as I did this month. Reading was the only thing I wanted to do and that made me really happy, I had so much fun and I read so much. It was incredible!

Since I’m going to talk about so many books, I won’t say any more. Here are my thoughts on the books:

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (4.5 stars): I loved so many things about this, from the very beginning the narrative voice worked for me and the writing was really good. I loved the found family in this book: 1) the 3 girls were so sweet and I loved the relationship the main characters formed with them; 2) The adults were great too, each one was very distinctive; and 3) The grumpy/sunshine dynamic worked so well and seeing the romance slowly develop was lovely. I think it strikes a good balance between fantasy and romance. This didn’t get a full 5 stars because there’s one scene where the hero says something really messed up in the middle of an argument and I think the heroine deserved better than the almost non-existent apology that she got.

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher (4.5 stars): The first part of the book is a lot darker than the rest, and domestic violence is a big focus. The rest of the story is a quest that it’s entertaining, and lighthearted while still dealing with heavy subjects, and full of a cast of mismatched but lovable characters: an almost nun, a witch, a fairy godmother, a knight, a bonedog, and a chicken possessed by a demon. I enjoyed following their journey and the challenges they face, as well as the small bits of romance, and I found the resolution to the conflict satisfying. The writing as always with T. Kingfisher was fantastic.

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (4 stars): This book was so good. Just like the first installment, this has beautiful writing, a fascinating world and magic system, and complex, flawed characters and relationships. The Obelisk Gate is definitely a second book in a series, in the sense that not a lot happens. Important information is slowly revealed and events also slowly unraveled to put all the pieces in place. Still, I found this to be incredibly immersive, and learning more about the world and seeing the character development was fascinating. The ending was really good and it showed glimpses of what is coming in the next book and how heartbreaking it’s going to be.

White Night by Jim Butcher (4 stars): I’m surprised to have enjoyed this as much as I did after having a lot of issues with the last few books. This is a fun, easy-to-read series, I find the world complex and interesting, I’m invested in the characters and I’m glad that we are seeing more of the larger political storyline beyond the case-of-the-week plotline. These books can be formulaic but I have gotten used to it and it didn’t bother me so much in this book. The big issue I have with this series is the sexism passing for chivalry and the hypersexualization of female characters.

Where The Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire (4 stars): I enjoyed this so much more than the previous installment. It took me a bit to get into it but once I did, I was hooked. I liked Cora as the main character, and seeing Sumi and Regan again as well as meeting the new characters was fantastic. I enjoyed getting to see more of this world and learning about the other school for wayward children. Finally, I appreciate that this series addresses serious topics, in this case, Fatphobia.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel (4 stars): The writing in this is beautiful and accessible, and I think it was why this book captivated me from the beginning. This short book is engaging the entire time, packs a lot of thematic content including a bit of philosophy, and weaves different storylines together very successfully.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers (4 stars): This was such a warm, sweet, and hopeful book. Mosscap is such a precious character and I loved that he was such a big part of this book. Also, really enjoyed seeing people and Mosscap (a robot) trying to learn about each other’s cultures and societies. And the final message about the importance of separating our value from our productivity is one that resonated with me.

Blackmail and Babingka by Mia P. Manansala (4 stars): This was fun and easy to read, and the writing sucked me in. I love the tight-knitted Filipino family at the center of this series, all the other side characters, and all the mentions of Filipino food and desserts. The mystery wasn’t mind-blowing, I figured out who one of the bad guys was pretty early on, but I didn’t mind. The one thing I keep noticing in all the books is that the main character and her love interest have zero chemistry, he is very nice but he’s just there, and something I (and the main character) forget he exists.

A Sinister Revenge by Deanna Raybourn (4 stars): I’m so happy that I enjoyed this book because I was starting to consider DNFing this series. One of my main problems with the past few books was that the mystery started halfway through the book, which meant the first half drags a lot. But that didn’t happen in this book, I was interested in the story from the very beginning, and I liked that there were some personal stakes in the mystery, some of my favorite side characters were present and as always Veronica and Stoker were great.

Woman, Eating by Claire Kohda (3 stars): I went into this thinking I was going to love it, I usually enjoy character-driven stories with little plot, but the distant tone of the story and the narrative voice didn’t completely work for me, and I think there were some interesting topics that could have been explored more deeply. Still, this is a very unique take on a vampire story so I’m glad I read it.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (5 stars): This is my first time re-reading this book, after reading it for the first time 10 years ago and I had forgotten so many details. I loved how the book didn’t show only Darcy’s pride at the beginning to then reveal later on his true feelings and personality, instead is clear from very early on how he admired Elizabeth. Also, the book made Elizabeth’s prejudices so much more obvious. I loved all their interaction throughout the book. I love Jane Austen’s writing, her very deliberate choices of what to tell the reader and when, her humor, and her ability to portray the class and gender relations of the time. My only issue with this is that the Lydia storyline, which takes somewhere between 30 and 40 pages of the book, dragged a little.

The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon (4 stars): I enjoyed this book so much more than the first book in the series, I really enjoyed the two main characters, the fake dating, their chemistry, and the way their relationship develops. I also really appreciated the friendship between women and the way learning disabilities were addressed. This book is definitely not very plot-heavy but I didn’t mind that too much. The one thing that I will say is that the steamy scenes are not that steamy.

The Hookup Plan by Farrah Rochon (3.5 stars): This was entertaining and easy to read, but I had a lot of issues with it. It’s always hard to have characters that are hooking up from the very beginning because it eliminates the tension and build-up, which it’s exactly what happened in this. A lot of relationship development happened off-page and it’s hard to be invested in a romance if you don’t see the characters falling in love. Also, the plot was not that interesting and not a lot happens. And the fact that they were in a relationship while he was auditing her workplace felt unethical, especially since he was promising her funds for something she wanted. And that, unfortunately, kept bugging me and pulling me out of the romance.

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center (3.5 stars): It took me a while to get into this, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it until about 20-25% of the way through until the main characters finally met. I enjoyed the overall story, the character development of the protagonists, and the side characters. It was overall a sweet, low-angst story. Nonetheless, I wasn’t completely convinced by the main character’s feelings, it feel like they came out of nowhere and were very intense all of the sudden. Moreover, the book was ending in a way that felt natural to the story, but the author decided to add a “second” ending that felt unnecessary.

First Love, Take Two by Sajni Patel (4 stars): This is a second-chance, slow-burn romance and I really enjoyed it! This is the type of second-chance romance that I like, it doesn’t rely on flashbacks or on the characters remembering what they loved about each other, the book actually showed why they were in love: the empathy and support between them, the small gestures that meant so much, the chemistry and connection. Beyond the romance, this book also did an excellent job of exploring anxiety, the stigma that comes with mental illness, and racism within desi communities.

The Singles Table by Sara Desai (4 stars): I really liked that and it was surprising because I thought the first two books in this series were just ok. But I LOVED Zara and I really liked Jay two. They definitely have a grumpy/sunshine dynamic which I really enjoyed. I had so much fun seeing how their relationship evolved from dislike to like to love, and their chemistry and banter were great.

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean (3 stars): This book was so disappointing. While I loved Sesily, who was rebellious and fearless, I found Caleb to be such a generic hero, there was nothing interesting about him and I felt like I finished the book knowing very little about him. The only thing I know is that he liked Sesily and he was very protective, that’s it. The concept behind this book is so interesting, a group of women who try to fight injustices, but it’s not executed well enough, so the plot ended up dragging and feeling like an afterthought.

What were the best and worst books you read in March?

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Watched in 2023 #2: Your Place or Mine, Emily in Paris, Love to Hate You and more

I have been in the mood for romance-centric entertainment lately, which will be obvious by this post as well as my March reading wrap-up, which is coming next week. I don’t think that mood is going away soon, so I’m happy to talk about the rom-coms (both movies and tv shows) I have watched and I also want to ask you for your recommendations of recently released ones that you enjoyed.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the movies and tv shows I have watched recently:

About Fate (3.5 stars): I always love Emma Roberts’ acting in rom-coms, and she was as captivating as always in this movie, she had great chemistry with Thomas Mann, which is basically all I ask for when it comes to this type of movie. This is absolutely predictable and full of cliches but that was exactly what I was expecting and I enjoyed it. Plus, there were some funny moments. The main thing I didn’t love is that the main guy is in a relationship with someone else the entire time, but they are wrong for each other, so…

Your Place or Mine (3 stars): This isn’t bad, and a big reason why is that Resses Whetherspoon and Ashton Kutcher are barely together in it, because unfortunately, the rumors are true (at least in my opinion), they have zero chemistry. But also, I feel like this wasn’t better because it wasn’t a true rom-com, they are BARELY TOGETHER and the ending when they get together was rushed. Still, I did like both characters and their separate storylines.

Alis: I don’t feel good giving this a rating, it was a very hard-hitting, thought-provoking, touching documentary, that very clearly showed the reality of girls living in group homes in Colombia after living in the streets and having to experience things like violence, sex work, and drugs. A group of girls creates a fictional character and, through her, they describe the reality but also the dreams of girls like them. I think the exercise is very valuable, but I was a bit worried while watching about how much the girls understood what it means to participate in this project because they were using a fictional character, but sometimes they forgot and it was obvious that they talking about themselves (e.g. one of them described her first time having sex). I found out that the girls had psychological support, so I feel a bit less worried, but I’m still not completely comfortable.

Emily in Paris – Season 3 (4 stars): This show fulfills a very particular need for me, the need of an easy-to-watch, ridiculous, entertaining show full of messy characters and lots of drama. I had so much fun watching this, even if there were silly moments, unrealistic storylines, and mediocre dialogue at some points.

Love to Hate You (3.5 stars): the two main characters had so much chemistry and I enjoyed seeing their relationship progress from dislike to like. The side characters were also great and I liked them together, even if their romance was a bit rushed. Also, the bromance in this was fantastic. Overall, it was a funny, a little silly, easy-to-watch show with good performances and a good romance, which I was looking for. Nonetheless, the feminist angle that they were trying to incorporate missed the mark for so many reasons (e.g. the “strong” woman who uses her fist instead of her law degree, the ex-boyfriend having to come to rescue her at the end, and more)

What have you been watching recently? Do you have any movie or tv show recommendations?

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