March 2021 Wrap Up: the Kate Daniels series, These Violent Delights and a bunch of romance books

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to talk about the books I read in March, which were mostly the books in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I literally did nothing else with my free time the last two weeks but read these books and it was such a fun experince.

Without further ado, let’s talk about the books

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (4 stars): Roma and Juliette felt so real and I really enjoyed their complicated, angsty relationship. Also, the side characters were pretty interesting and there was a sort of romance between some side characters that gave me life. Also, the way this book explore political struggles and colonialism was fantastic (full review)

An Introduction to the World of Kate Daniels for New Readers | Den of Geek

The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews (4 stars): I read the 10 books and 3 novellas in a period of 2 weeks and absolutely loved it, I gave all the books 4 or 4,5 stars except for the last one that got a 3,5 but was still a good book. The series has an amazing main character, who is strong, smart and compassioante but also very flawed, and it also has so many lovable side characters, I was so invested in all of their stories. The main relationship was a slow burn, dislike to love romance and it was so good. Also, the world and magic system were so intricate and interesting, this series included mythologies from all over the world and it was really fast paced, easy to read, full of action. Reading these books was such a fun experince. My main issue with this series is that the writing got a bit repetitive because they recounted who all the organizations and charcters were and what happened with them in previous book over and over again throughout the series.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert ( 4 stars): I loved reading about Eve and seeing her grow throughout the book. The tension between Eve and Jacob gave me life, their chemistry was so evident and their bickering, especially at the beginning, was so entertaining. The way they both accepted and made space for the needs of the other person was incredibly sweet. Also, this book has some really steamy scenes.

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron (4 stars): I enjoyed seeing the main character work to improve different aspects of her life. Also, the romance was really sweet, I liked seeing Reena and Nadim become friends and then seeing that friendship evolve into something more. Also, Nadim was really sweet and considerate. (Full review)

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai (3,7 stars): I like the two main characters and the exploration of complicated family dynamics. I also really appreciated having more traditional Muslim heroine in a romance novel. My main issue with this book is that the chemistry and tension between the characters weren’t there. (Full review)

Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras (3,5 stars): A full review is coming closer to the release date. But for now, I really liked this slow burn, second chance romance. The tension and chemistry between the characters was great. My issues with this had to do with the writing and the fact that I found the hero a bit frustrating.

Marriage and Murder by Penny Reid (3,5 stars): My enjoyment of this series comes in a big part from nostalgia. The characterization of Cletus is very good, even if he can be irratating at times, he has a very strong personality, but Jenn got a bit lost in the background, even when she had some important realizations in this book. The strength of this book is definitely Cletus and Jenn together.

Tarot magicomístico de estrellas (pop) - Amalia Andrade | Planeta de Libros

Tarot magicomístico de estrellas (POP) by Amelia Andrade (4 stars): this is an introduction to the tarot but the illustrations in the tarot cards are famous people who embody the essence of the card. It’s done by a Colombian author and illustrator and it’s really cool, so if you speak Spanish and you are interested in the tarot, I would recommend this.

What is your favorite and least favorite book you read in March? What book are you looking forward to reading in April?

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Reviewing 2021 Romance Books by Asian Authors: First Comes Like by Alisha Rai & Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Hi everyone! Today, I’m so excited to be reviewing two romance books by Asian authors that I read back to back a few days ago and that I enjoyed.

*Click the book title to go to the goodreads page*

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall–with hopes that Reena will marry him.

But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.

As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.

4 stars

This book was really good! The main character, Reena, feels like a real person and it’s very entertaning and relatable seeing her work to improve different aspects of her life throughout this book. It was really interesting to see this type of story of a woman finding herself and figuring things out told from the perspective of an Indian – East African Canadian Muslim woman. While these aspects were not the main focus of the book, it did a good job of including into the story different elements of being first generation Canadian and growing up with elements of three different cultures.

Beyond the personal journey of the main character, her cultural and religious background plays a huge role in her relationship with her family. The family dynamics in this book were complicated but also really entertaitning, and seeing Reena try to deal with and improve her relationship with different members of her family added an interesting layer to the book.

Lastly, the romance in this book is lovely, it was really sweet to see Reena and Nadim become friends and then seeing that friendship evolve into something more and then see them find comfort with each other. Nadim was really sweet and considerate and he was always there for Reena, which was pretty great. The one thing that maybe didn’t work so well was the ending, because the relationship moves a bit too fast, even if I understand that cultural aspects played a part in that.

First Come Like by Alisha Rai

Beauty expert and influencer Jia Ahmed has her eye on the prize: conquering the internet today, the entire makeup industry tomorrow, and finally, finally proving herself to her big opinionated family. She has little time for love, and even less time for the men in her private messages—until the day a certain international superstar slides into her DMs, and she falls hard and fast. There’s just one wrinkle: he has no idea who she is.

The son of a powerful Bollywood family, soap opera star Dev Dixit is used to drama, but a strange woman who accuses him of wooing her online, well, that’s a new one. As much as he’d like to focus on his Hollywood fresh start, he can’t get Jia out of his head. Especially once he starts to suspect who might have used his famous name to catfish her…

When paparazzi blast their private business into the public eye, Dev is happy to engage in some friendly fake dating to calm the gossips and to dazzle her family. But as the whole world swoons over their relationship, Jia can’t help but wonder: Can an online romance-turned-offline-fauxmance ever become love in real life?

3,7 stars

The two main characters of this book were great, Jia  is a Pakistani Muslim hijabi beauty influencer and Dev is a Bollywood movie star, and they both were three-dimensional characters with strong voices and personalities. Also, they both had complicated relationships with their families and complex pasts, which added interesting elements to the story. One of the things that made this book different and interesting is that both main characters are more traditional, and , in particular, having a Muslim heroine who follows the ideas and traditions of her religion was really cool.

The main issue with this book is that the chemistry and tension between the characters weren’t there, their attraction to each other was only shown by having the characters think about how attractive the other was but nothing beyond that. Also, even just in a romantic sense, this needed to be more emotional so it was believable that they loved each other. Their relationship was sweet but that was it. Also, I was expecting more from the ending.

Overall, this was an entertaining and easy to read story that had great characters but that had a romance that was a bit lackluster.

Have you read these books? Did you like them? What romance books by Asian authors do you recommend?
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Disappointing Books of 2020 | Blogmas Day 23

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing my most disappointing reads of 2020. I didn’t hate any of these books, I gave 3 and 3.5 stars to most of them, there’s only one book I gave 2.5 stars on this list. Honestly, at this point, I know my taste well enough and I’m very selective with what I read, so I only gave two books less than 3 stars this year.

These are all books that I was expecting to like more than I did, they are books that I read in 2020 but they weren’t all released in 2020, there’s a lot of romance on this list simply because it’s my most read genre (by a lot), and for this list, these books are in the order I read them in. Without further ado, let’s talk about the books that disappointed me in 2020:

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

I enjoyed the first 40% of the book until the romance started. There were so many characters that had the potential for being the love interest in the story and I didn’t like the fact that the author chose the sister of the main character’s dead boyfriend. I think that was unnecessary. Moreover, I didn’t like the dynamic between the main character and the love interest, the main character was rude and disrespectful without a real reason, there was a point where the main character punches the wall next to love interest’s face and the love interest thought she was going to hit her, which to me is not ok. Also, I didn’t really see why they would like each other, they have this instant connection that comes out of nowhere and it’s based on nothing.

Domink by Sawyer Bennett

This is book 6 in the Arizona Vengeance series and, while I recognized the writing in these books is not the best, this book was in my most anticipated romances of 2020 list because I always end up enjoying the couples in this series. Nonetheless, I really disliked Dominik as a protagonist, he was arrogant to an extreme degree, controlling and a two-dimensional character. Also, the main characters had no connection beyond physical chemistry, they barely spoke for the first half of the book and there were no romantic moments between them. Lastly, as I mentioned, the writing isn’t the best and the inner monologues of the characters were so repetitive.

Whatever It Takes and Wherever You Are by Krista and Becca Ritchie

I have been waiting for this duology for at least 4 years, since I finished the Calloway Sisters series, and I was left wanting Willow and Garrison’s story. I read the original Wattpad chapters with the beginning of their story and I have waiting for the rest for SO LONG. I still loved Willow and Garrison as well as their relationship, but the structure the authors decided to tell this story in didn’t work for me. I didn’t enjoy the dual timeline, but my main issue with these books is that it feels like a bunch of scenes put together, like vignettes of their story, instead of a cohesive and fluent narrative.

The King of Crows by Libba Bray

I LOVED the first three books in this series and I’m so sad I didn’t love the conclusion to the series. I didn’t dislike this, and I actually think the ending was ok, I just didn’t like the way we got there. The main characters were separated in three groups for most of the book, so we had three different road trip stories where almost nothing happened. That’s the main problem with this book, nothing happened until the very end and then when the final confrontation took place it was so anticlimactic. The stakes felt exceptionally low and the ending wasn’t memorable at all.

Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

The main problem I had with this book was that the heroine was the worst, she was judgmental, rash and selfish and she went through some character development, but it happened too suddenly, and it didn’t feel organic. Also, the characters go from friends to lovers and I felt like there was something missing from that transition, it didn’t work that well.

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

This book started so strong, I loved the first 10%, it was hilarious. I think that’s why it was such a disappointment, this book fooled me in the beginning into thinking I was going to love it. My main problem with this is that so many moments between the main characters were they were getting to know each other and starting to flirt and like each other happened off page and I was so frustrated about it. When I read a romance book I want to see the characters fall in love, I don’t want to be told that they fell in love in all the moments I didn’t get to read about. Also, the fact that the hero lied to the heroine for 90% of the book didn’t sit well with me.

Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

This cover of this book is so beautiful and everyone on twitter seems to love this, so I was excited to read it. Unfortunately, I never managed to fully get into this book, mainly because the writing was flat, I was bored, and the characters were two-dimensional. Also, this book switched viewpoints without warning of any kind of indication that it had happened, sometimes the same scene switched from one pov to another and then back again, which was confusing.

Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai

I have been hearing wonderful things about this book for so long and when I read it, I had just finished an amazing book by this author, so my expectations were way too high. I had a tough time with the beginning of this book because the main characters had only one scene together in the first 30% of the book, so we didn’t see them interacting and getting to know each other again, which is connected to my second problem, which was that the relationship between the main characters relied too much in their past together, but 10 years is a long time and people change, so what was missing for me was seeing the characters fall in love in the present.

Mangos and Mistletoe by Adriana Herrera

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I think this book was huge disappointment because I have liked every other Adriana Herrera book so much and this was her first f/f relationship, which made me really excited to read it. My main problem with this book is that the characters switched from liking each other to being angry and mean to each other constantly. They didn’t spend more than 5 consecutive pages without fighting in the entire book, right up to the end. There was definitely insta love and there was nothing to back that love.

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

I have really liked the previous books in this series, and this was one of my most anticipated romances of 2020, so even if think it was ok, it simply didn’t live up to my expectations. My main issue with this book is that the romance was not memorable at all and, while the heroine is great, the hero is really meh, there was nothing special about him. Also, certain elements of the plot felt unrealistic and rushed, especially when it came to the reality show and to the storyline of Wes being the guardian of his nice.

Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

The premise of this book sounded so cool, I had this idea of what this book was going to be, and it ended up being something completely different that wasn’t half as interesting as what I had imagined. Even if by the end I got more invested in this book, what really annoyed me is that there was a reference to the fact that the person behind the murders stopped taking his meds for his mental illness and that’s a route that I never want a horror book to take. I’m over people with mental illness being the bad guys in horror.

What books disappointed you in 2020?

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5 Amazing Self-Published Romance Books

Hi everyone! I think it’s not a secret for anyone that follows this blog that I read A LOT of romance and recently I was curious about whether I was reading more traditional published, indie published or self-published romance books. I don’t actually pay attention to that when I pick books (at least when it comes to romance), to me it’s all the same and it turns out I read basically the same amount of traditional and indie published books, and even when I read a little less self-published books, the difference is not very significant.

Since I don’t usually pay attention to which books are self published, I don’t know if I tent to enjoy them less, more or the same amount as trad or indie books. And since I know self-published books often get a bad rep or are thought as “less good than” traditionally published books, I thought I would read 5 self-published books that were on my tbr and I would let you know how I felt about them. Spoiler alert: I really liked all of them and I even have a new favorite romance!!

Without further ado, here are the books in the order I read them:

A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai

The main characters in this book were step siblings for a year when they were already grown ups who didn’t live with their parents and, since the beginning and still years later, their relationship has been filled with sexual tension, which has made them both pretend to not like each other to avoid revealing how they much want each other.

This book is SO STEAMY!! One of the steamiest romance novels I have read. The main characters have so much chemestry and such a captivating dynamic of bickering and fighting and pretending they don’t like each other. The hero’s family plays a big role in this book, since he finished raising his siblings, and the exploration of his relationship with them is well done and it adds a great element to the book.

One of the best part of this story is how incredibly sex positive it is. The heroine, who is japanese and bisexual, hosts sex parties and things get wild and she has found a community of people who enjoy the same things as her and don’t judge each other. Also, the hero who has always tried to repress the things he wants sexually, comes to terms with them and stops feeling ashamed, which I think sends a very powerful message.

The Blind Date Diaries by Branda St. John Brown

This book is definitely my least favorite out of all of them, but it was still good. The premise of this book is really interesting, the heroine works for a magazine and to save it from having to go digital, she agrees to go on blind dates with guys that the readers vote for and write about it, but for the first date her boss has to chose the guy and she chooses her son, who the heroine hates.

At the beginning, I didn’t like the main characters and I didn’t understand why they were so antagonistic and defensive towards each other. But the dynamic between them changed as they got to know each other and I ended up actually enjoying their relationship. They were sweet together and they had chemistry. Also, there’s a grand gesture in this book that was very sweet and it worked perfectly with the premise of the story.

My main complain with this is that they only hanged out like 3 times and even when the hero liked the heroine since before, I still think it’s way too fast to say that they fell in love by the end of the book.

Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese

This is my favorite out of all of this books and it’s a new favorite romance for me. This book revolves around a female soccer star and her lumberjack  college classmate, who after a bad first impression have to work together on a project and quickly realize that they don’t actually hate each other, they are just destined to be frenemies.

This book was fantastic. It took me a couple chapters before I started to like Willa, but I ended up really admiring her strenght, dedication, loyalty and her vulnerability. It was cool to see a female character being the one playing a sport and being great at it, and while the storyline with her mom was devastating, it added so much to the story. On the other hand, I liked Ryder from the very first time he appeared on the page and I loved his storyline so much, his life changed drastically a couple years before the book starts after an illness and I wasn’t expecting his emotional and powerful journey. It gave this book depth and a unique element.

Willa and Ryder have a frenemies to lovers, slow burn, angsty and emotional romance that I absolutely loved. The pranks, the bickering, the fighting, the trust, how caring they were, made their realtionship fascinating. There’s a bit of lack of communication but I could defenitely understand why both characters were being reserved since they have very big, difficult things happening in their lives. Honestly, there are so many elements that made this a highly emotional book and it ended up making me cry, which very rarely happens.

I really liked all the secondary characters, specially Ryder’s family, and I can’t wait it read the next book in the series, which will be about one Ryder’s brothers.

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin

This book is about a Billionaire who needs to have a more family friendly image for a client, to do it he needs a fake fiancée and he wants someone too annoying to tempt him, so his team ends up hiring his hairdresser to pretend to be his fianceé because she is everything he thinks he doesn’t want.

I had a hard time with the beginning of this book because I didn’t like the heroine, but as the book went on I discovered that there was so much more to Tabitha beyond the first impression and I ended up really liking her as a character. There was so much depth to her, she was understading, compationate, smart, observant and kind. Her obssesion with soap operas was pretty funny and the role it plays in this book was very cleverly done. I wasn’t expecting to have a soap opera worthy plot, but it was really fun.

This book has a grumpy/sunshine romance, it includes fake dating and forced proximity, which are all things that I love. The characters had so much chemestry, I slowly fell in love with their dynamic and I ended up really enjoying their relationship. Tabitha brought out a less serious, less asshole-y version of Rex and he saw beyond her happy, positive facade.

Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon

This is book tells the story of Xeni and Mason, who are left money in the will of Xeni’s aunt but to claim it they have to get married to each other and since both of them need the money they decide to do it. They had no plans to actually fall in love, but things don’t go as they expected.

The main characters in this book are both adorable, Xeni has a tendency of blurting out everything she likes about Mason when he’s around her and Mason does magic, cooks, plays the bagpipes  and like a 100 other instruments, and it’s so understanding and caring with Xeni. Also, Mason is a bisexual fat Scotsman and Xeni is a bisexual Black woman.

This book handled instant attraction very well and it didn’t become insta-love. Xeni and Mason had so much chemestry and they opened up to each other and were vulnerable with each other in a way that was very sweet to read about. Honestly, they were so cute together. And there were some very steamy scenes!

Do you read self- published books? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Are you planning on reading them?
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Ranking all the books I read this month aka My May 2020 Wrap Up

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Hi everyone! Today, I want to share my wrap up of all the things I read in May, but before that I want to encourage you to support the protests going on right now against the murder of Black people by the police, which were sparked by the murder of George Floyd. If you want to know how to help, click this link where you can find where to donate, petitions to sign, where to text or call to demand justice, and other useful information.

In terms of my wrap up, I rank all the books I read from my least favorite to my favorite book of the month. The ranking is not enterily dependent on rating, so there can be books with lower ratings that are higher on the list than books with higher ratings and that has to do with my enjoyment of the books.

Without further ado, here are the books I read in May:

*Click the book titles to go to the Goodreads page*

My Least Favorite Book of the Month

This month there wasn’t one book that I truly disliked, so for my least favorite of the month I chose a disappointing romance:

20.Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon (3 stars):  The writing was flat, I was bored and the characters were two-dimentional. But there were some cute moments and the steamy scenes were actually really good. (My review)

The “I Mostly Liked Them, But…” Books

These are books that I had significant issues with, but they had redeeming qualities that made me mostly enjoy them:

19. Wylde by Sawyer Bennett (3,5 stars): I really liked the hero in this book but the heroine was so judgemental and “not like other girls”. (My review)

18. Guarding Temptation by Talia Hibbert (3,5 stars): Solid novella! The main couple in this was cute and there were a couple of really steamy scenes, but I didn’t care about the plot at all.

17. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai (3,5 stars): I liked this and while I really liked the main couple, their relationship relies too much in the past. 10 years is a long time and people change and I feel like this book would have been better if it showed the characters falling in love with the people they are in the present and it didn’t rely so much in them being in love in the past.

16. Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (3,5 stars): This is my least favorite book of the series so far. It took me a long time to get into it because 1) this book starts in the middle of a “case” so I wasn’t as invested in it as I was with the cases in the other books and 2) I usually don’t like very religious characters and this book opens by introducing a new and very religious character. The second half of this book is a lot stronger than the first and I liked how it ends. 

15. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (3,5 stars): I wasn’t invested in what was happening in this book and I didn’t care about the characters for most of this book. But the last 100 pages of this are brutal and brilliant, I teared up reading them, I was incredibly emotionally affected by everything that happened and I suddenly cared about all the characters and their safety. And the ending! The commentary of this book on the cyclyc nature of violence is brilliant and the depiction of the social, political and economical situation in Chile in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s is outstanding.

14. Yours in Scandal by Lauren Layne (3,6 stars): This book started really strong, the banter and chemistry between the characters was great, but the transition from the flirty relationship of the beginning to a more romantic relationship was lacking something.

The Ones I Liked

The ones I liked are books that I had really small issues with, but after I finished them I had mainly positive feelings towards them:

13. Yes, No, Maybe So by Becky Albertalli (3,7 stars): The friendship in this book is so cute and the political aspect of it is really interesting. This book feels like a conversation starter about the link between the personal and the political, how that link particulary affects minorities, and how we shouldn’t engaged politically only when it’s easy or convenient for us but, at the same time, how self-care within political activism is incredibly important.

12. Unforgettable by Melanie Harlow (3,8 stars): This book pleaseantly surprised me and it ended up being my favorite of the series. The romance is great and it has a very positive depiction of adoption. (My review)

11. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare (3,8 stars): I really liked this, the little girls are the best part of this book and the relationships that both main characters have with them are so sweet and I loved seeing how all of them learned to trust each other. My main issue with this is that it took me a while to actually believe or be invested in the romantic relationship between the main characters.

10. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (3,8 stars): This wasn’t an enjoyable read, but it was brilliant. My main problem with this is that I really dislike terrible parents in books and this book was asking me to look beyond them being terrible parents to understand the traumas and expectations that their childhoods had caused and understand that they couldn’t see what they were doing to their kids, and I had a hard time doing that. But I really liked how it explored the different ways in which women and people of color experience otherness

9. A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai (3,9 stars): THIS IS SO STEAMY!! I loved both of the main characters, they have so much chemestry and such a captivating dynamic. Also, this is incredibly sex positive which I LOVED. The heroine is japanese and bisexual.

8. Wanna Bet? by Talia Hibbert (3,9 stars): I really liked the characters in this book and their relationship. This is so emotional and angsty and I loved it. My main complain is that the ending was a bit hasty, but overall this was really good.

The Ones I Really Liked

I consider books I really liked the ones I really enjoyed, but they are not new favorites:

7. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (4 stars): The writing – as always with Elizabeth Acevedo- was fantastic. I just wish that the two main characters had met sooner and that we got to see more of them intarcting and bonding. This was such an emotional read and the ending made me tear up.

6. The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel (4 stars): I loved a lot of things about this book, but especially the relationship between the main characters, Jay was so patient and kind, I loved their banter and the whole hate to love, slow-burn romance worked so well with these characters and I was so invested in their relationship. (My review)

5. Beach Read by Emily Henry (4 stars): This was darker than I was expecting, but so good. Interesting character, great writing and a swoony romance. (My review)

4. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (4 stars): I liked this one more than the first book in the series, it was quick and entertaining. The different types of werewolves in this book were fascianting and the fact that no one could be trusted kept me gripped.

3. China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan (4 stars): This is such a fun read! I was fascinated by how excessive and opulent all the descriptions of wealth are, the strongest element of this book is that sucks you in into this world of privilige that’s so far removed from normal life. I was interested in all the characters and storylines and I’m specially invested in Astrid story.

2. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (4 stars): This book was really dark and unexpectedly fast-paced (at least it felt that way to me). I was completely invested in the story and once I finished the book I was shocked and I truly didn’t know how to feel, I still don’t. This was really good, engaging and thought-provoking.

My Favorite Book of the Month

My favorite books of the month can have different ratings depending on how good a particular reading month was. This month one brilliant book that instantly became one of my favorite books:

1. Jade City by Fonda Lee (4,7 stars): This was so intense and I was so invested. The concept of this story is unique and captivating and I LOVED the characters so much. This book broke my heart but it was SO GOOD. It’s definitely a new favorite book for me.

 What were your favorite and least favorite books you read this month? Have you read any of the books on this wrap up? Do you agree with my opinions about them?

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10 Romance Books by Asian Authors

Hi everyone! I think it’s pretty obvious for anyone that follows this blog that I read a lot of romance books, I’m a huge fan of the genre and I have been reading it for years. As I have mentioned before, it took me a long time to realize that I was only reading romance books by white authors and while I love a lot of those stories, I’m commited to reading diversely and that’s why in the last couple of years I have been trying to read more romance books by women of color.

Since May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and since I have read quite a few romance books by Asian authors, I thought it was a good idea to share some of my favorite ones with you. I have done this before with romance books by Latinx authors & romance books by Black authors, so check those posts out, if you want some recommendations!

*You can click the book titles throughout the post to go to the Goodreads page*

The Modern Love Series + A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai

The Modern Love series addresses the role that social media plays in romantic relationships in today’s society, while centering diverse characters and sensitive subjects. The interesting concept, the great writing and the diversity are definitely the main reasons I like this series. While I enjoyed the second book a lot more than the first, I still think both are worth the read.

The first book, The Right Swipe, revolves around two rival dating app creators who find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom. This book has a Black heroine and a Samoan hero. The second book, Girl Gone Viral, is about a tweet that goes viral and shoves a camera-shy ex-model into the spotlight and into the arms of the bodyguard she has been pining for. This book includes a thai-american plus sized heroine with anxiety and an Sikh hero dealing with his PTSD.

Now when it comes to A Gentleman in the Street, my favorite thing about it is how sex positive and feminist it is, and the fact that it is incredibly steamy doesn’t hurt either. This book is about a man and a woman who have known each other for years and have been pretending they don’t like each other, but a single touch is all it takes for their simmering need to explode. This book includes a Japanese heroine.

Graham Delicacies + Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed

These two books where first release by the author Em Ali, but due to personal reasons they were released again under the pseudonym Mina Waheed. These books are fluffy, soft and angst-free romances, which is the main reasons I recommend them. If you are looking for cure, light queer romances these ones are for you!

Soft on Soft is a novella about a makeup artist that falls in love with a famous model. Both of the main characters in this book are queer, fat, women of color. This book doesn’t include sexually explicit content.

Graham’s Delicacies is a collection of three queer love stories set in one bakery. It includes a romance between a woman and a non-binry character, an m/m romance and a romance between a man and a non binary character.

If The Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman

There was a time when I would not shut up about this book, I love this and I need to re-read it soon. If the Dress Fits is set in the Philippines and it has an entire cast of Filipino characters. The main character is fat and and she has a very positive relationship with her weight. This is a best friends to lovers romance and it also inlcudes the fake dating trope, which it’s the best combination of tropes in my opinion.

A swoon-worthy romance with my favorite tropes, an insightful and vibrant depiction of the Philippines and fantastic #ownvoices representation are my favorite things about this book and the reasons I recommend it.

The Kiss Quotient Series by Helen Hoang

I’m a huge fan of The Kiss Quotient, I even got my IRL friends to read it and they loved it too. While I didn’t enjoy the second book quite as much, I still liked it. The diversity, the writing, the cute and steamy romances are the reasons I recommend this series.

The Kiss Quotient is about an Autistic woman who hires a male escort to teach her about sex and they end up falling in love. This book includes a very soft Vietnamese/Swedish hero, a successful and caring heroine and very steamy scenes! The Autistic rep is #ownvoices.

The Test Bride is about an Autistic man, whose mother wants to see married but thinks it won’t happen without her help, so she gets a mail-order bride from Vietnam and the son and the woman fall in love. This book inlcudes #ownvoices Vietnamese and Autistic rep.

Beginner’s Guide + Feels like Summer by Six de los Reyes

Both of theses books are set in the Philippines and they have a cast of Filipino characters. The representation is #ownvoices.

Beginner’s Guide is about a woman who is a scientist and who creates a methodology to find her perfect partner and she decides to test it with the most  unsuitable candidate and ends up falling for him. If you like romances where opposites attract and where people fall in love with someone that they didn’t expect, I would recommend this one!

Feels like Summer is about a woman who doesn’t want a relationship and a man who’s getting over a breakup, so they decide to casually date for 3 months and be done, but things change along the way. If you like romances with soft heroes and a great group of friends, I think you would enjoy this book.

What romance books by Asian authors would you recommend? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Do you want to read any of them?

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Mini Reviews: The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon + Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

Hi everyone! Today I have mini reviews of a couple of romance books I read recently: one that just came out and another that will be out soon. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on them:

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

(Release date: June  9th 2020)

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I really liked Samiah, the main character in this book, she is a smart, hard-working and successful woman working in a tech company, which is a very white and male environment. This book did a good job of showing all the hardships that she, as a black woman, faces in STEM and how those hardships are different than the ones faced by other people of color like the love interest, Daniel, who is part-Korean and part-Black.

Samiah’s relationship with the two women that she meets at the start of the book when they all find out they were dating the same guy without knowing it, was the highlight of the book. Their support for one another and their unconditional friendship were things I really enjoyed reading about. And the first 10% of this book when they all find out the truth was hilarious and maybe my favorite part of this book.

My main problem with this book was that so many moments between the main characters when they are getting to know each other and start flirting and liking each other happened off page and I was so frustrated! I’m reading a romance book, I obviously want to see them fall in love, I don’t want to be told that they fell in love in all this little moments that I didn’t get to read about. Also, the fact that he lied to her for almost 90% of this book didn’t sit well with me.

Despite not loving the romance in this book, I loved the female friendship so much that I will read the rest of the series to get the other two women’s love stories.

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

(Release date:  April 21st 2020)

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for…

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

I went into this book with low expectations after liking but not loving the first book in the series, The Right Swipe. Thankfully, I enjoyed this book more than the first. Girl Gone Viral has two sweet, kind main characters – Katrina and Jas – and I loved them both and I really enjoyed their slow burn romance. I was really glad that Alisha Rai didn’t feel the need to use miscomunication as a plot device, there were two big moments were miscomunication could have been used to create more drama and angst, but it wasn’t, the characters actually talked to each other and expressed their feelings and concerns.

Most of this book takes place in Jas family farm and because of it, his family is a big part of the book and I really liked them as secondary characters and I enjoyed seeing the complex family dynamics and the conflicts between them and how they had to learn to communicate better and how their relationship evolved. Besides the storyline of Jas and Katrina in the farm with his family, this book had subplots revolving each character – the going viral storyline and the trial/pardon storyline – which I didn’t find interesting and so I was glad those were small parts of the book and at the end I liked the way they were both resolved.

Have you read any of these books? Are you planning on reading them? What good romance books have you read lately?
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May 2020 tbr (Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month + New Releases) & Life Update

Hi everyone! I hope you all are doing well and staying safe! I have been in an unexpected hiatus for the last two weeks and I thought I would give you a little life update about why that happened before getting into the books I’m hoping to read in May.

Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away at the beginning of april (it was unrelated to what’s been going on in the world) and that, on top of the lockdown and all the stress because of current events, proved to be too much and I had to step away for a while. There’s also a more lighthearted reason, I started to watch The Office for the first time a week ago and I’m already on season 6, it has absolutely consumed my life and because of that, it took me even longer to come back. But now I’m ready and excited to talk about books again!

TBR

Most of the books on my tbr for May are written by Asian authors because it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I also included some new releases that are coming out in May and that I’m really excited for!

As always, I have a list below with the goals and challenges that I want to keep track of in 2020 and I chose an emoji that represents each one. Next to each of the books on my tbr, I’ll put the emoji of the goal or challenge that that book is going to help me fullfil.

  • Read 20 fantasy books in 2020 (🔮)
  • Read 35 books by Latinx authors in 2020 (🔥)
  • Keep reading diverse books: by Asian authors (☁️), by black authors (🌞), other #ownvoices rep (🌈)
  • Read 50 books by the #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge (⭐)
  • Read the 20 books on my tbr for the #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge (💫)
  • Read a book from a genre that’s not fantasy or romance (🦄)

Without further ado, here’s my May tbr:

🔮☁️⭐The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang: I have been meaning to read this and lately I have been hearing people whose recommendations I trust talk about how much they love it, so I’m finally picking it up.

🔮☁️ Jade City by Fonda Lee: one of my friends loves this book and while I wasn’t that interested when I first heard about this, her excitement made me really want to read it

☁️⭐🦄 Want by Cindy Pon: I have been meaning to read this for SO LONG and it’s finally time

☁️⭐💫🦄China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan: I need to continue with this series and what better time!

☁️⭐🦄Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: I really liked Ng’s other book Little Fires Everywhere and I have heard this one is even better, so I’m excited to give it a chance.

☁️A Gentleman in the Street by Alisha Rai: I want to read more romance books by Asian authors and this seems like a great place to start.

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler: This is a romance set in Alaska and it gives me The Simple Wild vibes and I loved that book, so I’m excited to see if I enjoy this one. (Release date: May 5th 2020)

Beach Read by Emily Henry: this has a great premise and it seems like everyone who got an arc loved it, so I have high expectations. (Release date: May 19th 2020)

🔥 🦄🌞Clap When you Land by Elizabeth Acevedo: I love Acevedo’s other books and I have heard nothing but great things about this one, so I’m excited to read it. (Release date: May 5th 2020)

🔥🦄 Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez: the first book in this duology is my favorite middle grade of all times, so I can’t wait to see how the story ends. (Release date: May 5th 2020)

What are your reading plans for May? If you want to buddy read any of the books on my tbr, let me know in the comments!

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April TBR: Anticipated Releases + Latinx Book Club + Mystery & SFF Books

Hi everyone! It’s that time of the month again when I put together my tbr. With the currrent situation that we are living around the world, I haven’t been reading that much because I don’t seem to be able to concentrate on books, especially if they are long. So for April I decided to pick up some of the short books on my tbr, some of my most anticipated releases or books that I feel excited about to see if I actually manage to get back into reading.

As always, I have a list below with the goals and challenges that I want to keep track of in 2020, I chose an emoji that represents each one and next to each of the books on my tbr, I’ll put the emoji of the goal or challenge that that book is going to help me fullfil.

  • Read 20 fantasy books in 2020 (🔮)
  • Read 35 books by Latinx authors in 2020 (🔥)
  • Keep reading diverse books: by Asian authors (☁️), by black authors (🌞), other #ownvoices rep (🌈)
  • Read 50 books by the #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge (⭐)
  • Read the 20 books on my tbr for the #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge (💫)
  • Read a book from a genre that’s not fantasy or romance (🦄)

Without further ado, here is my Febraury tbr:

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle: This sounds so good and I’m counting the days until it’s out and I’m able to read it. Release date:  April 7th 2020 

☁️ Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai: I read the first book in this series in 2019 and I thought it was just ok, but I’m excited about this one because I think I’ll like it more. Release date: April 21st 2020 

🔥🔮 Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega: I love Claribel and I have been waiting for this book for so long, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Release date: April 7th 2020

🦄🔥⭐ The Victoria in My Head by Janelle Milanes: I’m reading this for the Latinx Book Club, which I co-host on Twitter and Goodreads.

🦄⭐An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena: This sounds like an Agatha Christie book and I can’t wait to read it.

🦄⭐ A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro: I really want to finish this series and find out what happens to Jamie and Charlotte.

🔮Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski: I read the prequel/first book of this series in March and I really liked and I’m curious about what happens next.

🦄To Be Taught, If Fortunate y Becky Charmbers: Since I want to read the nominees for the Booktube SFF awards and this one is really short, I thought it would a great pick for April.

🦄The Test by Sylvain Neuvel: same as the one before, it’s nominated for the Booktube SFF awards and it’s really short, so it was perfect for April.

What are your reading plans for February? If you want to buddy read any of the books on my tbr, let me know in the comments!

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Authors I'd Give a Second Chance

Hi everyone! After an unexpected mini-hiatus caused by the current situation and the hard time I have had the last few days coping with it, I’m back with a new blog post! But before getting into that, I just want to say that I hope you all are doing well and staying safe during this difficult time.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about Books I Want to Give a Second Chance, which were books I had DNFed in the past and I wanted to try to read them a second time. In this post, I’m going to talk about authors I’d give a second chance, which means that I read one book by them and didn’t like it as much as I hoped but for some reason I think I could enjoy a different book by those authors.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This is the author that inspired this post. I read one of her books – Certain Dark Things – and I didn’t like it that much, but there were enough elements in it that I found interesting so I knew I would read another of her books at some point. Add to that, the fact that I have two friends who absolutely adore Moreno-Garcia’s books and I was even more inclined to give her another chance. Actually, I’m currently reading another book by her – Gods of Jade and Shadow – and I’m happy to say I’m really enjoying it.

Zaida Polanco

Zaida Polanco wrote one of my most disappointing books of 2019 – Crush, Interrupted – I hated the hero in the group and the writing was pretty bad, but I’m always looking for new Latinx romance authors and I own two more of her books that I haven’t read, so I’m REALLY hoping it was just a case of that one book didn’t work for me. The book I want to try next is Swing Batter Swing.

Alisha Rai

Last year there was so much hype surrouding The Right Swipe, so I had huge expectations when I decided to pick it up and while I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t like it as much as everyone else seemed to. I felt disconnected from the characters and I never got fully into the story and I think it may have been the writing style that made me feel that way. Nonetheless, I’m giving the second book in the series – Girl Gone Viral– a chance to see if I enjoy it and hopefully I will like Alisha Rai’s writing more.

Avon Gale

I read The Love Song of Sawyer Bell two years ago and unfortunately didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped, mainly because I wasn’t completely sold on the romance and I didn’t feel the chemestry between the characters. Nonetheless, I have heard great things about some of her other books and I’m always looking for more authors who write queer romance novels, so I’m hoping to enjoy Off the Ice, which is the most popular out of all her books.

Arthur Conan Doyle

I’m a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes’ movies and tv shows adaptations, so I was really disappointed when I read my first Sherlock book – A Study in Scarlet – and I really disliked it. The book had a weird structure, it jumped to 20 years in the past in the middle of the book to tell a story that had nothing to do with Sherlock, we actually don’t see Sherlock and Watson for most of the book, which was what I was interested in. Nonetheless, I’m hoping other stories are better and I’m planning to read A Scandal in Bohemia next because I have heard great things about it.

What authors would you give a second chance to? Is there someone on my list that you think really deserves a second chance?

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