REVIEW: Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


circling back to you cover

Book: Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu

Release Date: July 12, 2022

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: Chinese-American protagonist, Filipino-American protagonist, Chinese-American side characters, Filipino-American side character; (Chinese-American author)

CW: mentions of death of a parent (mother)

Summary: Julie Tieu, an exciting new and diverse voice in contemporary romance, returns with a hilarious and sexy new novel about colleagues who decide to take their relationship outside the office.

Cadence Lim has transformed from behind-the-scenes number cruncher to an integral part of the sales team at Prism Realty. But despite moving up the corporate ladder, her complicated relationship with her estranged elderly father weighs heavily and she can’t seem to shake the desire for a new beginning.

At least Cadence can always lean on her favorite co-worker and co-conspirator, Matt Escanilla. A top broker with an unsuccessful love life, the forever single Matt is constantly being nagged by his loving Filipino family to settle down.

Their relationship takes a turn when a business trip lands them both in their hometown and Matt enlists Cadence as a pretend girlfriend for a family gathering. The new after-hours setting forces the two friends to see each other in a new light, and their previously buried feelings rise quickly to the surface. When competing promotions threaten to separate Cadence and Matt, these office besties must work together to round up their ambitions and families to pursue their overdue romance.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Circling Back to You by Julie Tieu”

REVIEW: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


i kissed shara wheeler cover

Book: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Release Date: May 3, 2022

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: bisexual protagonist, lesbian love interest, dyslexic gay Black main character, Black nonbinary achillean main character, lesbian side character, gay side character, nonbinary side character, bisexual side character; (queer author)

CW: religious homophobia

Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of One Last Stop and Red, White & Royal Blue comes a debut YA romantic comedy about chasing down what you want, only to find what you need…

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.

Continue reading “REVIEW: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston”

TOUR / REVIEW: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley for this blog tour (thank you, Colored Pages Book Tours and Feiwel & Friends/Fierce Reads!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


the girl who fell beneath the sea cover

Book: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh

Release Date: February 22, 2022

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: Korean inspiration and characters; (Korean-American author)

Summary: Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…

Continue reading “TOUR / REVIEW: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh”

REVIEW: When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


when you get the chance cover

Book: When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord

Release Date: January 4, 2021

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: Chinese-American love interest, wlw side characters

Summary: An effervescent, endearing, joyful contemporary romance of one young woman searching for her birth mother one summer, by New York Times bestselling author Emma Lord.

Nothing will get in the way of Millie Price’s dream to become a Broadway star. Not her lovable but super-introverted dad, who after raising Millie alone, doesn’t want to watch her leave home to pursue her dream. Not her pesky and ongoing drama club rival, Oliver, who is the very definition of Simmering Romantic Tension. And not the “Millie Moods,” the feelings of intense emotion that threaten to overwhelm, always at maddeningly inconvenient times. Millie needs an ally. And when a left-open browser brings Millie to her dad’s embarrassingly moody LiveJournal from 2003, Millie knows just what to do. She’s going to find her mom.

There’s Steph, a still-aspiring stage actress and receptionist at a talent agency. There’s Farrah, ethereal dance teacher who clearly doesn’t have the two left feet Millie has. And Beth, the chipper and sweet stage enthusiast with an equally exuberant fifteen-year-old daughter (A possible sister?! This is getting out of hand). But how can you find a new part of your life and expect it to fit into your old one, without leaving any marks? And why is it that when you go looking for the past, it somehow keeps bringing you back to what you’ve had all along?

Joyous, heartfelt, and brimming with emotion, When You Get the Chance is a novel about falling in love, making a mess, and learning to let go that will have you happy-sobbing and cheering all the way to the end.

Continue reading “REVIEW: When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord”

REVIEW: The Heartless Divine by Varsha Ravi

the heartless divine cover

Book: The Heartless Divine (The Heartless Divine #1) by Varsha Ravi

Release Date: November 29, 2019

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: Indian (Tamil)-inspired world and characters; (Tamil-American author)

CW: mentions of deaths of loved ones in a car crash

Summary: In this unexpected twist on mythology inspired by Sangam India, reincarnated lovers find themselves bound together, connected to their past by a centuries old tragedy that only one of them remembers.

In the ruthless martial empire of Naja, Suri is the crown’s unfailing blade. But the princess dreams of a life exploring the lands beyond the borders, unshackled by blood. The king and queen offer her freedom, at a price: marriage to a king she’s meant to kill, and the death of Athri, a kingdom her family once nearly destroyed.

Her only obstacle lies in the mountains above the Athrian capital of Marai, where a young prophet sees a world struck by catastrophe—a world where a girl lies dead in the temple of the fire god, and the city lies burning below.

Centuries later, Suri lives with no recollection of her past lives. Haunted by her family’s deaths eighteen years ago, Suri sees the boy bleeding gold on her doormat as an opportunity to unravel the mystery of the car crash that took their lives. But not all gifts are created equal, and the boy soon proves to be more trouble than he’s worth, a dangerous link back to a world of gods and wishes.

Continue reading “REVIEW: The Heartless Divine by Varsha Ravi”

REVIEW: For All Time by Shanna Miles

**I received an ARC from the publisher as a giveaway prize. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


for all time cover

Book: For All Time by Shanna Miles

Release Date: September 28, 2021

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: Black protagonists and side characters; (Black author)

CW: racism

Summary: “A romance for the ages. Fresh voices and original predicaments make this one perfect little novel.”
—Stacey Lee, award-winning author of The Downstairs Girl

The Sun Is Also a Star meets Outlander in this vivid, utterly romantic debut novel about two teens who relive their tragic love story over and over until they uncover what they must do to change their fate.

Tamar is a musician, a warrior, a survivor. Fayard? He’s a pioneer, a hustler, a hopeless romantic.

Together, Tamar and Fayard have lived a thousand lives, seen the world build itself up from nothing only to tear itself down again in civil war. They’ve even watched humanity take to the stars. But in each life one thing remains the same: their love and their fight to be together. One love story after another. Their only concern is they never get to see how their story ends. Until now.

When they finally discover what it will take to break the cycle, will they be able to make the sacrifice?

Continue reading “REVIEW: For All Time by Shanna Miles”

REVIEW: A War of Swallowed Stars by Sangu Mandanna

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


a war of swallowed stars cover

Book: A War of Swallowed Stars (The Celestial Trilogy #3) by Sangu Mandanna

Release Date: June 29, 2021

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: Indian-inspired world and characters, wlw side characters; (British Indian author)

Summary: “A rare gem of a sequel . . . Each page drips with action and moral complexities.” —Natasha Ngan, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Paper and Fire, on A House of Rage & Sorrow

A prince without his kingdom.

A kingdom without its princess.

The destruction of the stars themselves.

War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered a gift that may well be a curse. Alexi, the exiled prince, is asked to pay a heavy price for his mistakes. And far, far away, on a dark, mysterious planet, a sleeping god stirs awake.

War or family.

Pride or peace.

As the end of the world draws ever closer, Esmae and Alexi must decide how far they’ll go to win—and who they’ll sacrifice along the way.

Celebrated author Sangu Mandanna promises a gripping conclusion to the Celestial Trilogy in A War of Swallowed Stars.

Continue reading “REVIEW: A War of Swallowed Stars by Sangu Mandanna”

REVIEW: Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

**I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you, Simon Teen!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


blood like magic cover

Book: Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic #1) by Liselle Sambury

Release Date: June 15, 2021

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: Trinidadian-Canadian protagonist and side characters, Mexican-Canadian trans boy love interest, Trinidadian-Canadian trans girl side character, Trinidadian-Canadian demisexual lesbian side character; (Trinidadian-Canadian author)

CW: blood, gore, whipping scene within the context of slavery, gun/police violence, discussion of and character with an eating disorder, violence, mentions of substance abuse and addiction, mentions of child neglect

Summary: A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury”

REVIEW: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

**I received an ARC from a giveaway (thank you, St. Martin’s Press!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


one last stop cover

Book: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Release Date: June 1, 2021

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: bisexual protagonist with anxiety, Chinese-American lesbian love interest, gay side character, Black sapphic side character, Black gay side character, Puerto-Rican-American trans side character, Black pansexual side character

Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks…

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that.

But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane.

All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one—namely, displaced in time from the 1970s—she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

Continue reading “REVIEW: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston”

REVIEW: Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

**I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley (thank you, Penguin Teen!). These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.**


luck of the titanic cover

Book: Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

Release Date: May 4, 2021

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Rep: biracial (Chinese, white) protagonist and main character, ownvoices Chinese side characters, lesbian side character

CW: racism, use of slurs

Summary: From the critically acclaimed author of The Downstairs Girl comes the richly imagined story of Valora and Jamie Luck, twin British – Chinese acrobats traveling aboard the Titanic on its ill fated maiden voyage.

Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie–her only family now that both their parents are dead–and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val’s ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it’s unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens–the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow–and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.

Stacey Lee, master of historical fiction, brings a fresh perspective to an infamous tragedy, loosely inspired by the recently uncovered account of six Titanic survivors of Chinese descent.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee”