Reviewing 2021 Releases: Twice Shy, The Intimacy Experiment and Meet Me in Paradise

Hi everyone! Today’s post is very exciting, because I’m having a lucky streak in April with all the amazing new releases that I have been reading, and I want to share some of my thoughts about these books:

Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle

Maybell Parish has always been a dreamer and a hopeless romantic. But living in her own world has long been preferable to dealing with the disappointments of real life. So when Maybell inherits a charming house in the Smokies from her Great-Aunt Violet, she seizes the opportunity to make a fresh start.Yet when she arrives, it seems her troubles have only just begun. Not only is the house falling apart around her, but she isn’t the only inheritor: she has to share everything with Wesley Koehler, the groundskeeper who’s as grouchy as he is gorgeous—and it turns out he has very different vision for the property’s future.

Convincing the taciturn Wesley to stop avoiding her and compromise is a task more formidable than the other dying wishes Great-Aunt Violet left behind. But when Maybell uncovers something unexpectedly sweet beneath Wesley’s scowls, and as the two slowly begin to let their guard down, they might learn that sometimes the smallest steps outside one’s comfort zone can lead to the greatest rewards.

4.5 stars

This is such a sweet, wonderful slow burn, sunshine/grumpy romance with a good dose of forced proximity.

When each of the main characters was introduced I had a brief moment of thinking I wasn’t going to like them, but it was a false alarm, I ended up loving both of them. And the same happens to them, they have a bad impression of each other at first, but then slowly that changes and it was beautiful to see. Wesley was so precious, once he got over his extreme shyness and grumpiness, he was still shy and grumpy but he was also kind, sweet and charming. And Maybell was such a genuinely nice, caring character, she was easy to root for.

I do think the shift from antagonism to liking each other was a bit abrupt, but I got over it because Wesley and Maybell were wonderful together and once they were together, they approached every situation and misunderstanding with so much compassion and care, which was very refreshing, because there wasn’t some dramatic conflict, they faced obstacles together and got through them. This is not an angsty romance at all, it’s just a sweet, lovely romance and I loved it for it.

The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her.

Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city’s hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they’ll close the doors of his synagogue for good.

Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems–until they discover a new one–their growing attraction to each other. They’ve built the syllabus for love’s latest experiment, but neither of them expected they’d be the ones putting it to the test.

4 stars

My favorite part of this book are the main characters, both of them are very compelling, likable and easy to root for. The heroine is badass and prickly and the hero is a complete cinnamon roll and they are so cute together. They slowly become close and it was entertaining to witness their encounters, Ethan got really flustered when Naomi was around , and Naomi was so surprised by how much she liked him, which was kind of funny.

This is a very sex positive book, from the modern intimacy classes to the steamy scenes between the main characters, which was great and especially the classes added an interesting element to the story. And while I’m not someone who enjoys books that deal with religion, the way this book talks about religion and faith and the interception with romanctic relationships in modern times was very smart and thought-provoking.

My main issues with this book are that it was a bit longer than it needed to be, so there were some parts that were a bit too slow. Also, Naomi let go of her defense mechanisms when it came to relationships really easily, which seemed a bit out of character. And finally, the last part didn’t work so well, Naomi was completely unprofessional which was so out of character, and both of the main characters get to give speeches about their feeling at the end, which felt a bit forced.

Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

Ever since her journalist mother died on assignment, Marin has played it safe, refusing to set foot outside the state of Tennessee. Her wild-child younger sister, Sadie, has trotted the globe as a photographer, living off of art and adrenaline.

When Sadie returns from a tough assignment abroad and looks a little worse for wear, Marin reluctantly agrees to a sisters’ spa weekend on the tropical island of Saba. But her lifelong fear of travel is affirmed when Sadie misses the flight, Marin’s luggage gets mixed up with another passenger’s, and an episode of turbulence sends her hurtling into the lap of Lucas Tsai, the handsome stranger who stole her sister’s seat.

For the first time in a long time, Marin has to step outside of her comfort zone as she explores the island with Lucas and learns what she’s been missing out on. With each breathtaking new experience, Marin gets closer to her real self, the man she’s falling for, and the heart-wrenching truth about why she’s there in the first place.

4 stars

This book destroyed me, I cried so much reading it, which doesn’t happen often. I thought this was a romance book, and while there is a romance in the book, this is definitely women’s fiction. The focus is on the main character’s personal growth and her relationship with her sister, and it was such a gripping story.

Most of this book is spent seeing the main character basically coming back to life: learning to face her fears, reigniting her passions, and connecting with others. The journey she goes through is captivating. The romance is also a significant part of the book and while I liked both main characters and liked them together, I wish they had a bit more chemistry. Still, it was fun seeing this two very different people go in adventures together, get to know each other and fall in love.

The final part of this book is so heartbreaking, the reader knows early on that something devastating is going to happen, but the main character doesn’t know and seeing her come to the realization and deal with the consequences is really sad.

Have you read these books? Did you like them? What 2021 releases have you loved?
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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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Mini Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Title: These Violent Delights

Author: Chlor Gong

Publishing date:   November 17th 2020

Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 449

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery. A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Goodreads | Amazon

Content warnings: Graphic description of blood, gore, violence, death, and murder, loss of a loved one, mentions of drug use and addiction, brief mention of past transphobic microaggression, exploration of contagious disease and self-harm due to illness.

This book is SO GOOD. The whole set up with the two rival gangs who have been fighting for control over Shanghai for years was very captivating, but what made it even better was seeing these gangs dealing with other powerful players that were trying to take control of the city, whether these forces came from within the country like the communist and nationalist parties or from outside like the British and the French. I particularly found interesting the way this book explores colonialism and the way outsiders come and take land and erase culture and think they are superior to the native people of the country. There’s this underlining anger when these subjects are brought up that helps the message of the book resonate.

In terms of the plot, the mystery is really interesting, but it takes the characters a bit too long to figure things out when there are some obvious clues. Nonetheless, Chloe Gong does an amazing job of connecting the mystery about this madness that it’s swiping the city to the fight for control of the land and the trade by the different players within the city.

Beyond these aspects, one of the strong points of the book is the characters: Roma and Juliette feel so real and while they are not perfect, they are easy to root for, because behind the terrible things they do there’s a real love for their city and their people. The complicated, angsty relationship between them is captivating, they are rivals, they were in love at one point and there’s this betrayal standing between them, which is why it’s gripping to see them dancing around each other while there are all these conflicting feelings between them. Also, the side characters are pretty interesting and there is a relationship between some side characters that is full of tension and a bit of angst, they have this strong connection and it’s going to be interesting to see where it goes in the next book.

Finally, the ending is definitely intense and it sets up the sequel perfectly.

4 stars

Have you read this book? Did you like it? What historical fantasy books do you recommend?
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Reviewing 2020 Latinx YA Releases: Cemetery Boys, Furia & Never Look Back | Blogmas Day 7

Hi everyone! it’s day 7 of Blogmas and I want to share reviews for some amazing books I read lately and that were my last batch of 2020 releases by Latinx authors that I was looking forward to reading this year. I read a total of 23, a lot of them ARCs, which honestly in a year as hard as 2020 was such a source of happiness.

I had ARCs provided by the publishers for two of the books I’m going to talk about, Furia and Never Look Back, but this hasn’t affected the content of my review.

*The amazon links in this post are affiliate links, so if you use it I may get a small commission, that doesn’t affect the price of your book*

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Goodreads | Amazon

CW: Misgendering, allusions to deadnaming, depictions of gender dysphoria, discussion of parental death, references to blood magic

This book is SO GOOD! It manages to be sweet, hopeful, and fun, while still addressing difficult subjects like transphobia, deportation, homelessness, gang violence, and abusive parents. This book’s exploration of the way transness is viewed and treated in a lot of brown communities, and particulary in the Latinx community, is very powerful.

My favorite thing about this book is the main characters. I love Yadriel and Julian so much. Julian is like a puppy, he can’t stand still, he can’t stay quiet, he is such a vibrant character and I LOVE HIM. And thinking about the romance between Yadriel and Julian warms my heart and makes me so happy. They are adorable, I loved the way they listened and supported each other.

The plot in this book revolves around a murder mystery, which was fun and entertaining. Even if I did figure out the whole thing very early on, that didn’t matter to me, because I was enjoying the reading experience so much.

Rating: 4,5 stars

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her. 

Goodreads | Amazon

CW: domestic abuse, child abuse, homophobia, femicide

This book has so many unique elements. It’s set in Argentina and it does such a good job of showing the reality of living there. The worries about jobs and the dollar price, the delicious food, the beutiful role that soccer plays in the communities, the way the patriarchy is so rooted in the culture and the many types of violence that women face, the wave of feminicides and the emergence of the #NiUnaMenos movement in Argentina. All of it makes this book feel like something you haven’t read before. I appreciate the way the characters, especially Camila and Diego, love their city even with the things that are not so pretty.

The inclusion of Women’s Soccer was such a cool and unique element as well, I love that we get to see the passion, determination and joy of women playing a sport they love, as well as the many obstacles that they have to face because of the patriarchy and the idea that it’s a men’s sport, and because of lack of funding and support.

I really like the main character, Camila. I love her passion for soccer and I love the fact that she knows what she wants and she goes for it. I think one of the most valuable aspects of this story is the development of Camila’s mom, I love that she found the streght to stand up for herself and for her kids and I appreciated the way her relationship with Camila evolved throughout the book. The romance is cute and a bigger part of the book that I thought it was going to be, and I like the way it wraps up, I think it’s hopeful but also realistic.

Rating: 4 stars

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

Eury comes to the Bronx as a girl haunted. Haunted by losing everything in Hurricane Maria–and by an evil spirit, Ato. She fully expects the tragedy that befell her and her family in Puerto Rico to catch up with her in New York. Yet, for a time, she can almost set this fear aside, because there’s this boy . . .

Pheus is a golden-voiced, bachata-singing charmer, ready to spend the summer on the beach with his friends, serenading his on-again, off-again flame. That changes when he meets Eury. All he wants is to put a smile on her face and fight off her demons. But some dangers are too powerful for even the strongest love, and as the world threatens to tear them apart, Eury and Pheus must fight for each other and their lives.

Goodreads | Amazon

TW: sexual assault, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, PTSD

I really enjoyed this book, the writing is very captivating and the main characters are lovable and easy to root for. This book explores serious topics like toxic relationship, trauma and mental illnesses in a very honest way, which adds a layer to the story and makes it standout.

The most magical thing about yhis book is that it’s a love letter to Puerto Rico, to its beauty and to the strenght of its people, and that was such an emotional and raw element of the story. Also, the way this talks about Hurricane Maria is so powerful and heartbreaking.

I wish this was a bit longer, just because I wanted more time to establish Eury and Pheus’ relationship and I wanted to spend a bit more time in the Inframundo at the end. I think the final part of the books feels a bit like vignettes and I wish there was a bit more time to explore and see more of the Inframundo, which was such a cool part of the story.

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read these books? Are you planning on reading them? what 2020 releases by Latinx authors have you read this year?

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Reviewing Romance Books: Party of Two, The Switch, Headliners and The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics

Hi everyone! I’m really excited to have 4 mini review for you today of books that I really, really enjoyed. I gave all of these books 4 stars and I would totally recommend them!

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite

Goodreads | Amazon

Lucy has helped her father with his astronomy work for years, so when she finds she finds a letter from the Countess of Moth after his death, looking for someone to translate an astronomy text, she knows where to go. Catherine expected to hand off the translation and wash her hands of the project—instead, she is intrigued by the woman who turns up at her door and she agrees to let Lucy stay. They start to fall in love, but sabotage and old wounds threaten to sever the threads that bind them.

Historical romance is not usually a subgenre that I read, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from a historical romance with queer characters. I thought it may be angsty and sad, but I am so glad it isn’t. This is a cute and interesting story and the romance is just SO SOFT! Lucy and Katherine are strong, smart and passionate and they care for each other so much and want what’s best for each other. The plot revolves around sexism in STEM back in 1816 and I was invested!!! I was frustrated over the situations Lucy had to face and I was rooting for them in their fight against the patriarchy.

My only little complaint is that the “fight” the characters have in the third act didn’t make any sense to me, I literally read the conversation 3 times and I didn’t understand what happened and why they got to the conclusion that they did at the end of that conversation. But is is a very small issue and I ended up really loving this book.

Party of Two by Jamine Guillory

Goodreads | Amazon

Party of Two is about  Olivia Monroe, who just moved to LA to start her own law firm and who meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and discovers too late that he is none other than senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but a sweet gesture convinces her to give him a chance. They date in secret for a while but when they decide to go public with their relationship, the media attention may prove to be too much.

I really enjoyed Party of Two! The characters were great, flawed but likable, and I could see why they liked each other. They were both successful, ambitious, smart and kind and they both cared about helping their communities. I really enjoyed that the book actually shows them go out in dates, get to know each other and slowly fall in love. The progression of the relationship felt realistic. I also appreciated that, as always with the books in this series, it didn’t shy away from addressing white privilege, racism and even incarceration of black and brown youth.

My issue with this book is that it did drag a little for me once they went public with their relationship, but overall it was still really enjoyable.

Headliners by Lucy Parker

Goodreads | Amazon

Headliners (London Celebrities, #5) by Lucy Parker

Hedliners is about two tv presenters, who have a very public rivalry, are forced to work together resurrect a sinking morning show and save their careers —and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed. When mishaps start to happen on set, Sabrina and Nick find themselves working together to hunt down the saboteur and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant cohosts are secretly lusting after one another. The public might not be wrong.

I loved this book! The main characters are tv presenters that don’t like each other but have to work together and it’s awkward and hilarious. I laughed out loud so many times while reading this. This book does an amazing job showing how the relationship between the main characters slowly evolves and changes. That is really important because Sabrina has a very real and valid reason to hate Nick, so the slow pace really worked with the story.

Sabrina and Nick are adorable together and the best part about this book is that they both act like adults, who TALK to their significant other, don’t assume the worst, and actually trust each other. There is no miscommunication in this book, and beyond that, the opposite of that trope is present in this book. Both characters are so good at communicating, and that’s not the only refreshing thing about this book, Lucy Parker steps away from the “romance formula” in the third act of the book, which I truly appreciated. My only issue with this is that it dragged a little bit in a few places, but overall it was great!

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Goodreads | Amazon

The Switch: The funny and utterly charming novel from the bestselling  author of The Flatshare (English Edition) eBook: O'Leary, Beth: Amazon.es:  Tienda Kindle

The Switch is about Leena Cotton, who is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical from work, so she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen. Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Just like that, Leena stays in the samll village and Eileen goes to Londo and both of them have adventures that change their lives.

I enjoyed The Switch a lot. I loved the journey each main character goes on and the changes they both experience. Grief is a esencial part of those journeys, especially for Leena, and I appreciated that this book addresses grief in a very realistic way and it does a good job of showing how the characters relationship with grief changes with time. While Leena’s journey is mostly about overcoming grief, Eileen steals the show with her journey of self discovery and of helping the people around her.

The secondary characters in this book are captivating and adorable. It is very interesting to see Leena and Eileen have to interact and build relationships of their own with people in the other woman’s life. The romances in this book are not the focus of the story, but they are present and I really liked them. Since this book was focused on so many other things related to the character’s personal growth, the romance feel a bit rushed. But overall, the love stories in this are really adorable.

Beth O’Leary is very ambitious, each main character in this book has a completely separate plot and romantic subplot and, because of that, the stories aren’t as flesh out as they could have been, still both plots were engaging and cute.

Have you read any of these books? What romance books have you enjoyed lately?
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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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Mini Reviews: Comics Edition (Hi Fi Fight Club + Lumberjanes)

mini reviews2

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing some mini reviews of comics that I have read lately. I used to think that comics weren’t for me, but I kept trying because there were some that sounded amazing and, after a while, I have gotten used to reading them and I have started to really enjoy them, so you will probably see more posts about comics in the future!

Hi Fi Fight Club 1

Title:Hi Fi Fight Club #1

Author: Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva (Illustrator)

Release date:  August 23rd 2017

Published by: BOOM! Box

New Jersey, 1998. Chris has just started the teen dream job: working at Vinyl Mayhem, the local record store. She’s prepared to deal with anything—misogynistic metalheads, grunge wannabes, even a crush on her wicked cute co-worker, Maggie. But when Rory Gory, the staff’s favorite singer, mysteriously vanishes the night before her band’s show in town, Chris finds out her co-workers are doing more than just sorting vinyl…her local indie record store is also a front for a teen girl vigilante fight club!

Goodreads | Amazon 

  • I read this comic thanks to the really cool quiz that the amazing Laura put together! If you want to get more into comics and you need some help deciding where to start, you should definitely check it out!
  • This first issue was really short and it just sets up everything for the series, but it’s still really enjoyable. This has enough to get a general feel of both the world and the characters, since it mainly focuses on introducing the characters and their dynamics and giving some hints of where the series is going.
  • The best part of this comic are the characters, they all have their own styles and personalities and by the little bit that this first issue shows, I’m sure I’m gonna love them. I think it’s important to mention that the main character is queer, which is something else to love about it.
  • The art is amazing, it’s so delicate and the color pallet is so pleasing and lovely.
  • This is oozing with girl power and I’m sure that would increase in the other issues.

RATING: 4 STARS

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The Lumberjanes 1

Title: Lumberjanes #1

Author: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allen (Illustrator).

Release date: April 9th 2014

Published by: BOOM! Box

Jo, Apri, Mal and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!

 

  • The first page in this is amazing. The art, the way it conveys what’s happening and the way it has this spooky feel to it, everything in that first page is great and sets a great tone for the next couple of pages.
  • I had heard this mentioned a lot before reading it, but I didn’t know what this was actually about so I was pleasantly surprise by a lot of things. I knew this had supernatural elements, but I didn’t know it’s about girl scouts solving mysteries while being in some spooky situations. This ended up being a lot more fun and unique than I was expecting!
  • Another great thing about this is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s kind of funny at some points, which I really enjoyed.
  • The art style is not my favorite, but the color pallet is very vibrant and works really well with the story.

RATING: 3,8 STARS

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Lumberjanes 2016 Special

Title: Lumberjanes: 2016 Special: Makin’ the Ghost of It

Author: Jen Wang, Kelly Thompson, Shannon Watters,  Christine Norrie (Illustrator), Savanna Ganucheau (Illustrator).

Release date: May 18th 2016

Published by: BOOM! Box

Jen takes the girls on a nature walk to show them which plants are edible in case they need to survive in the wilderness. Along the way, she tells them the story about an axe murderer who took his friends out, one by one until no one was left, thoroughly scaring Mal. Terrified and unable to sleep, Mal thinks she sees something lurking outside. Is it…THE AXE MURDERER?!?!

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  • I have to admit that I got a bit confused and this was the first Lumberjanes issue that I read, which sucks because I didn’t enjoy this that much and it also diminished my enjoyment of the first issue a little bit when I finally read it.
  • There’s a main story in this issue that was good, but then at the end there was this short story that I felt didn’t add anything to the issue.
  • The best part of this is a small section at the beginning when a scary story is told to the girls, it was a bit spooky and entertaining.
  • But the rest of the story was a bit ridiculous and not as enjoyable.
  • The art on this is prettier and more delicate than in issue 1, if it doesn’t seem that way from the cover.

RATING: 3,4 STARS 

Do you read comics? Which ones would you recommend to me? Have you read any of the ones on this post?

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Book Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

What if it's us

Title: What If It’s Us

Author: Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

Published by:HarperTeen

Publishing date: October 9th 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary

Pages: 437

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

 Goodreads  | Amazon

I took me some time to get into this book and I think it was mainly because of the characters. First we have Arthur, who annoyed me a little at the beginning. He has zero chill, he talks SO MUCH, he’s jealous and immature. But eventually I started to like him more because he’s also smart, kind and earnest. Then we have Ben, he grew on my as a character and by the end I really liked him. He’s an introvert and a writer and a bit of an asshole at times and I could relate.

For the first half of the book, I felt like Ben and Arthur had no chemistry and honestly, I didn’t know why they kept trying to make things work. But then they had some cute moments and I started to like them together more. I will say that they went from no chemestry, awkward moments, jealousy and miscomunicationcute to a couple that seemed to work pretty well together in the blink of an eye, from one chapter to the next. The pacing of the development of the relationship could have been better.

As I was saying the characters and romance in the first part of the book didn’t seem to be working, but then when Ben and Arthur finally find their footing in their relationship, even if it’s abrupt, the book becomes so much more enjoyable. They just became this adorable couple that wanted to spend all their time together being cute and this became the fluffy book that I imagined when I saw the cover.

I need to mention that the parents in this book are amazing, both Ben’s and Arthur’s, they are understanding, caring and involved in their son’s lives. I also really liked Ben’s best friend, Dylan, he was funny and quirky and nice, and I liked the glimpses we got from his relationship with Samantha.

This book handles some sensitive topics very well, it addresses light-skinned latinx and how while they have certain priviliges for it, there’s pain that comes from having your heritage doubted and erased as well. Also, this is a very sex positive, which I feel is something we need more of in YA.

Finally, I’ll just say that I liked the ending, which I know a lot of people may not, but it was one of the most realistic parts of the book. I would give the first part of this books 3 stars and the second part 4 stars, so that’s why the rating is what it is.

 Rating: 3,6 stars 

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? What diverse contemporaries would you recommend?

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Mini Reviews of 4 Hercules Poirot Novels by Agatha Christie

Mini Reviews

Agatha Christie created a character called Hercules Poirot, who appeared in 33 novels, one play, and more than 50 short stories published between 1920 and 1975. Recently, I started to read Agatha Christie books, first I read And Then There Were None (review), followed by Murder on the Orient Express in which the main characters is Poirot. After that, I started to make my way thorugh a bunch of Hercules Poirot books and I decided to review them a few at a time here on the blog. These are the first reviews:

Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the orient express

(Published 1934) – 4 stars

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

  • I really enjoyed the setting of this book, the train is stuck in the snow in a secluded area, so there’s no way out, all the characters are stuck together in the same place and Poirot has no information that wasn’t provided by those involved in the murder. I just like that kind of setting the most.
  • I liked that this was told by an omniscient narrator that is unobtrusive and only gives the facts.
  • I love the way this book was structured because we are shown the method that Poirot uses to solve the murder and the way he organizes the information, which I thought was really compelling and fascinating. It was my favorite thing of this book.
  • I really liked the ending, it was surprising because it’s hard to imagine how elaborated the plan is, so much so, that when the connetion between some of the characters was revealed, I still didn’t guessed the answer to the mystery.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Published 1920) – 3,4 stars

Who poisoned the wealthy Emily Inglethorpe, and how did the murderer penetrate and escape from her locked bedroom? Suspects abound in the quaint village of Styles St. Mary–from the heiress’s fawning new husband to her two stepsons, her volatile housekeeper, and a pretty nurse who works in a hospital dispensary. Making his unforgettable debut, the brilliant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is on the case.

  • This was the first Poirot book and it definitely established the fact that these books were not gonna be action packed or the detective chasing the murderer around. Poirot books are about the conversations with the people involved and the clues in the crime scene and the slow and thoughtful evaluation of the information, which I find fascinating and intriguing and I think it’s the reason I enjoy this book so much.
  • I didn’t like the narrator in this book at all. It was narrated by a character named Hastings and he was so annoying, he keep inserting his own theories that made no sense, he was swayed by everything and he made fun of everything Poirot did or said. His narration frustrated me so much and was the main reason I gave it a low rating. 
  • I really enjoyed that there were lot of viable suspects, everyone had secrets (many not related to the murder) and because of that, they were acting in a suspitious way.
  • I found the ending logical but not satisfying, I didn’t though it was as clever.
  • This book shows that Poirot is a romantic, which added a fun an cute element to the story.  I really liked that.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd(Published 1926) – 4 stars

Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose. But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish the letter, hwas stabbed to death…

  • In Christie’s books, there’s these ‘smaller mysteries”, these questions that need to be answered before solving the mystery of the murder.  I liked that, in this book, the clues allowed the reader to figure out those small mysteries and  I was actually able to solve them, which was fun.
  • The ending of this book is spectacular, the twist is brilliant and I didn’t see it coming at all. The worst is that I noticed a clue right at the beginning that pointed to the killer and I still didn’t figure it out, I think it was because it was the only clue that pointed to the actual murderer. Anyway, this book has one of the best endings to a mystery that I have ever read.
  • But – like I have mentioned before- I do have the feeling that to have that very surprising ending in this book, there’s not as many clues or information that point to the actual murderer. I feel like the reader couldn’t have solved this before Poirot reveals the answer to the mystery, at least not by following the clues.  Which I think it’s not the point of a mystery book, I like to feel that I could have solved it.
 Evil Under the Sun

Evil Under the Sun

(Published 1941) – 3,8 stars

Set at the Jolly Roger, a posh vacation resort for the rich and famous on the southern coast of England, Evil Under the Sun is one of Agatha Christie’s most intriguing mysteries. When a gorgeous young bride is brutally strangled to death on the beach, only Hercule Poirot can sift through the secrets that shroud each of the guests and unravel the macabre mystery at this playground by the sea.

  • It had a secluded setting, which I really enjoyed, because I feel like it intensifies things. This takes place on an island that while it’s not entirely cut off from the world, it did felt a bit separed and isolated.
  • I really liked that this book wasn’t told by one character that it’s part of the story, like a lot of the Poirot books. In this one, we get different perspectives and that means we get a lot more information and particulary we get a lot of information that Poirot has and that he probably wouldn’t have share if another character was telling the story.
  • I really liked the twist in this book, because they discover something and it seems like it’s pointing them in one direction but it’s too obvious, so when it’s time to the reveal and everything is explained, it’s surprising and a bit far fetched, but I still enjoyed it.
  • I liked the overall theme of the book, there’s a lof ot talk about evil in this book and at the beginning I didn’t understand the purpose, but then by the end I really liked the message. It was kind of a commentary on the shaming and vilification of women. 

 

Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? Have you read any Agatha Christie books? Which ones? 

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Mini Reviews: Poetry Collections

Mini Reviews

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

the sun and her flowers

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

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The first few poems are about heartbreak and they were  beautiful and so infinetly sad, but so relatable as well. Having being through a break up recently, these poems made me cry my eyes out. I felt so incredibly heartbroken when I read them, but also I felt so relieved that someone else felt that way, that someone else understood. I also felt so very grateful that she shared those poems with the world.

There was a part of this book that was all about immigration and refugees, and it talked about those things in such a powerful, raw and heartbreaking ways. The poems where she talks about  immigration were intimetly woven with the story of her parents and that made it feel so much more authentic. Also, the poems she wrote specificly to her mother were beutiful, sad, heartwarming, devastating, everything at once.

There are in this collection a lot of  poems that are written in a style that’s not my favorite, these short poems that feel more like a sentence than like a poem. Also, the poems about love were my least favorite. I felt like in some of the poems, love became the thing that gave meaning to life and it’s strange because in so many of the other poems Rupi Kaur talks about life having meaning in itself, so it was like a step backwards when she talk about love in this all consuming and kind of dependant way. Maybe no one else felt this way, but it bother me.

Rating: 4 stars 

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The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One by Amanda Lovelace

the witch

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

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I definitely liked the first book in this series, The Princess Saves Herself in this One, more than this second installment. There are a few poems in this collection that I really liked, but most of them were  just ok for me.

I do think Amanda Lovelace writes about some important topics. I’m glad this type of poetry collection exists that deals with feminist issues, body positivity, sexual assault, self-love, etc. But I feel like the way these topics were explored in this collection became repetitive.  Also, the poems in this one didn’t evoke any emotion from me, which was weird because I feel like I usually relate to poetry that deals with these topics.

I feel like overall themes of the book, witches, witchcraft and witch hunts were interesting and they were present in all the poems. There was a lot of consistency in the collection, both in terms of the overall theme and the different topics it explored. But,  as I was saying before, my main problem with this book is that i didn’t feel touched or connected to a lot of the poems and most of them didn’t provoke any emotion in me.

Rating: 3 Stars
Have you read these books? Did you like them? Do you have any of them on your tbr?

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