Odd and Bookish

Odd and Bookish

With a Dreamy Far-Off Look and Her Nose Suck in a Book

Review
3.5 Stars
The Mermaid's Voice Returns in this One - Amanda Lovelace

I received an e-ARC of this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  

 

This book is really similar to the other two books in this series. So if you liked those, then you’ll probably like this one. That being said, I still think her first book is the strongest. 

 

The subject matter of the book is very timely. A large majority of the poems center on the Me Too movement. 

 

 

The theme of this book is mermaids/The Little Mermaid story. However, there wasn’t a lot of actual mermaid inspired poems. She seemed to revert back to princesses/queens and fairy tales in general. Given the focus on Me Too/sexual assault, there could have been a lot done with The Little Mermaid theme. To me it felt like a missed opportunity. 

 

This collection also contains some guest poems from other poets and I loved that addition. It added some variety and it worked well with the Me Too message because it showed strength in numbers. 

 

I did enjoy a lot of the poems. There were some that really spoke to me. I did love that one of her poems was an homage to The Chronicles of Narnia, which is one of my favorite book series of all time.  

 

Overall, this collection is perfect for fans of Amanda Lovelace. If you’re looking for something different from her, you may want to skip this one. 

Review
4 Stars
The Gilded Wolves - Roshani Chokshi

I received this book for free from BookSparks as part of their YA Winter Reading Challenge. 

 

I just want to preface this review by saying that I haven’t read Six of Crows, which everyone has been comparing this book to. Since I haven’t read it, I can’t speak as to how similar this book is to SOC. Personally, I got a tiny bit of an ACOTAR inner circle vibe. 

 

I have to admit that I was pretty confused at the beginning of this book. There was a lot going on and I didn’t quite understand the forging and the dynamic of the houses. But after about 50 pages I slowly started to get it and from then on I really enjoyed the book.

 

The best part of this book is the diverse cast of characters. There is so much diversity and the author highlights it so well. She showcases the struggles each of the characters face in a nuanced way. I also loved the interactions between the characters and their friendship and blooming romances. So. Cute. 

 

 

My favorite character is of course, Enrique, the bisexual biracial (half Filipino, half Spanish) historian. As a half Filipino myself, I’m always thrilled to see any Filipino representation and I loved that there was even some Tagalog words. There was one line in particular that I loved: “Enrique muttered something in Tagalog that would have made his grandmother smack him with her slipper” (65). I read this line and thought it was such an accurate Filipino response. 

 

As for the storyline, it is your typical YA book so no surprises there. There wasn’t anything that I haven’t seen before but that’s not a bad thing. I liked that it was historical, as opposed to being a straight up fantasy novel. By adding that historical touch, it allowed the author to comment on the time period and the reality of the “La Belle Epoque” era which I think is super important. 

 

Overall, I enjoyed this diverse fantasy take on historical France and am looking forward to the next book in the series!

Reading progress update: I've read 23 out of 352 pages.
Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution - E.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Review
4 Stars
Mistletoe Miracles - Jodi Thomas

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their Bookstagram Christmas mailing.

 

This was such a heartwarming book!

 

This book tells three different romance stories and all of them were so cute and uplifting. They all had the common thread of finding love in unexpected places, which I loved. I liked how the author balanced the three stories. Griffin’s story seemed to get the most screen time but didn’t overshadow the other two. The other two stories got the proper attention they deserved and I’m glad the author didn’t force the stories to be longer. Sometimes less is more. 

 

 

The three storylines don’t really overlap or connect to one another (there is one or two instances of characters interacting with each other but that’s about it), but I wished they would have. That felt like a missed opportunity and it would have took it to the next level. 

 

This book does have a Christmas theme, but it is not super Christmasy so you can read it any time of the year. The central aspect of the book are the romances that blossom and romances are fun to read any time of year. 

 

Overall, this was a wonderful collection of three romance stories! I definitely recommend it if you want something sweet to read. 

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Old Books (Date unknown) by Frederick R Spencer (1806-1875) [x]

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January 2019 Wrap-up

After one year of blogging, I finally wrote a wrap-up post. 

Review
4.5 Stars
29 Dates - Melissa  de la Cruz

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Review
5 Stars
Sea of Strangers - Lang Leav

 

This is my second time reading a poetry collection from Lang Leav. I had previously read Lullabies and loved it. I’ve also read her novel, Sad Girls, and thought that was just okay. 

 

Basically, I loved this collection. Her poetry is just so beautiful and I love that some of her poems even rhyme (which you don’t get all that often in contemporary poetry). Her poems are a wonderful blend of contemporary and classical poetry which I think makes it very special. There is an effortless quality to them which I love. 

 

 

This collection had the theme of water/sea/ocean and I liked that the poems touched upon that without being too much. Not every poem incorporated that theme, but a good chunk of them did. I liked that she didn’t go overboard with that theme, because that sometimes happens in poetry collections and it makes them boring. 

 

I had so many favorites. I’ll list them below:

 

-Where It Hurts

-Strength

-Writing

-A New Day

-Poetry and Prose

-The Mermaid

-More to Me

-Letter by Letter

-Crazy Love

-Who You Love 

-Love What You Love

-Misunderstood

-Writer’s Block

-A Letter to My Love

-Love Poetry

-We the Poets 

 

As you can see, I connected with a lot of her pieces. 

 

Overall, this is a beautiful and enchanting poetry collection!

Review
3.5 Stars
The Lost Coast - Amy Rose Capetta

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

 

I had such high hopes for this book, but it ultimately did not live up to my expectations. 

 

Let’s start with what I did like. 

 

I liked the diversity. There was a lot of sexual (lesbian, ace, etc.) and racial diversity. One of the girls was Filipino which I was super happy about since I’m Filipino. I love seeing Filipino representation.  

 

I also liked the aesthetic of the book. The descriptions perfectly captured that foggy, mystical, Northern California vibe. 

 

 

Now on to what I didn’t love. 

 

There were a lot of point of view changes throughout the book which really made it difficult to understand especially in the beginning. Each POV would last for only a few pages so it ended up being a bit jarring and all over the place. 

 

As for the storyline, it wasn’t exciting. It felt kind of blah to me until the end which is when things finally got interesting. 

 

I also wished the book focused more on June and Hawthorn. They were my two favorite characters and I wanted to explore more of their backstory. 

 

Overall, this book had some good moments (Queer POC witches for the win!), but didn’t reach its full potential. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 226 out of 352 pages.
The Lost Coast - Amy Rose Capetta
Review
4 Stars
Unopened - Doug Hoekstra

I received this book for free from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. 

 

This was interesting poetry collection. It’s different than the type of poetry I usually read (I usually read more of the Instagram poet type), but I still enjoyed it. I liked that, unlike a lot of Instagram poems, some the poems were longer (more than a page long). I like it when poems are a bit longer because it allows you to go more in-depth. There was a good mix of both short and longer poems.

 

 

 

I liked how the book was divided into three sections. All the poems fit well into the section they were in and I could tell the themes (family, nature, music, etc.) of each section without it being overly obvious. It was subtle which is sometimes very hard to do.

 

Additionally, I loved the story behind the cover. It added a really nice personal touch. 

 

My one critique is that the book should have been longer. I would have loved to seen at least 20 more poems to really make it more impactful and feel more complete. I felt like I got a small taste of his poetry, but I wanted more. 

 

Overall, this was an enjoyable and unique poetry collection. 

Review
4 Stars
We Hope for Better Things  - Erin Bartels

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

 

This was an insightful historical novel about three generations of women from Detroit. It takes place during the civil war, the Detroit riots, and present day. 

 

Out of the three stories, I found Mary’s (the civil war one) to be the most compelling and interesting. The present day storyline was probably the weakest just because there wasn’t anything super exciting going on and it was more focused on discovering what happened in the past. 

 

 

I liked how the three stories intersected and connected. The events were woven together nicely and I liked how the secrets slowly unraveled. I also liked that it took place in Detroit and talked about the riots because that isn’t a topic that is often discussed. 

 

I also appreciated that the author included a note at the end of the book discussing that any shortcomings or pitfalls are her own fault and acknowledging the fact that she is a white woman writing about people of color. I love that level of awareness and am always happy to see authors admit that. 

 

The thing that prevented me from giving it 5 stars, was that it took me a while to connect with the story and characters. It wasn’t until I was near the end that I felt that emotional connection with them. 

 

Overall, I enjoyed this look into the past and found this to be a wonderful debut book. 

Review
3 Stars
Snowed in with the Cowboy - Maisey Yates

This story was included at the end of A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas (which I received for free from Harlequin as part of their Bookstagram Christmas mailing). 

 

Since this was a novella, it was pretty short and that was my main issue with it. The whole romance happened at lightning speed so it felt rushed. This would have been better as an actual novel so that the feelings and emotions could develop more fully.

 

I was also not the biggest fan of the step-sibling trope. It felt a little weird, given the fact that I didn’t know much about the characters (I never read any of the previous novellas). As I mentioned, the romance happened fast so that made the step-sibling trope even weirder. I do have to say, Chloe and Tanner do make a nice couple minus the step sibling thing. 

 

But for what it was, it wasn’t that bad. It’s a quick holiday romance that’s short and sweet with a little bit of holiday spice. 

 

Review
4 Stars
A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas - Maisey Yates

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their Bookstagram Christmas mailing.

 

This was my first time reading Maisey Yates and I throughly enjoyed it. I obviously haven’t read any of the other books in this series, but that did not hinder my reading experience. I was able to read this as a standalone with no problems. 

 

I loved Grant. He was a tall, dark cowboy with a tragic past. So swoon worthy. 

 

 

Plot-wise, the storyline was pretty good. It was well paced and the romance happened at just the right speed. However, Grant being a virgin was a bit unbelievable and kind of threw me for a loop. 

 

I loved the wintery Christmas spirit that the book had. I could just picture Gold Valley all decorated for Christmas. Also, McKenna’s search for a family and Grant overcoming his grief fit in perfectly with the holiday theme. 

 

The one thing that I didn’t like was that there was too much inner dialogue that didn’t really do much of anything. It got repetitive after a while. It felt excessive and could have been cut down significantly. 

 

Overall, I enjoyed this Christmas themed cowboy romance!

 

Note: This book also contains the novella, Snowed in with the Cowboy, which I will be reviewing separately. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 218 out of 496 pages.
A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas - Maisey Yates
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I made a "virtual" TBR jar

Check out my latest blog post about my TBR jar. 

currently reading

Progress: 23/352pages
When Summer Ends - Jessica Pennington
Women, Rise Up!: A Fierce Generation Taking Its Place in the World - Cindy Jacobs