the kiss quotient | review

The Kiss Quotient

written by Helen Hoang | narrated by Carly Robins

published by Dreamscape Media, LLC (2018)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

Non-spoiler Section
Image result for cringey romance book covers
Image result for romance book tessa dare

This is single-handedly the best romance I’ve ever read. In the past I have refused to read any romance books for fear of cringe-worthy love stories.

I mean look at these covers…

Why? Just why?..

And yes, I know, I shouldn’t judge books by their covers; but look at them. Do they not make you cringe too?

I’m glad that some of the romance books written in the past few years have taken a different approach to their covers. It’s prompted me to given the romance genre a chance.

Spoiler Section
Continue reading “the kiss quotient | review”

june anticipated releases | 2020

2ndYou Should See Me In a Crown by Leah Johnson | POC + Queer

Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small town; but she has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack, who’s also running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?

9thThe Marriage Game by Sara Desai | POC + Enemies to Lovers

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco; but in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door… In search of a quiet new office, Sam Mehta, a CEO, finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life. As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly.

16thI’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee | POC + Plus-size MC

The world of K-Pop has never met a star like this. Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, her sudden media fame and scrutiny, or the sparks that soon fly with her fellow competitor, Henry Cho. But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition—without losing herself.

16thYou Say It First by Katie Cotugno | Politics + Priviledge

Meg has her entire life set up perfectly: her boyfriend Mason is sweet and supportive, she and her best friend Emily plan to head to Cornell together in the fall, and she even finds time to clock shifts phonebanking at a voter registration call center in her Philadelphia suburb. But everything changes when one of those calls connects her to a stranger from small-town Ohio, who gets under her skin from the moment he picks up the phone. Colby is stuck in a rut, reeling from a family tragedy and working a dead-end job—unsure what his future holds, or if he even cares. The last thing he has time for is some privileged rich girl preaching the sanctity of the political process. So he says the worst thing he can think of and hangs up. But things don’t end there… That night on the phone winds up being the first in a series of candid, sometimes heated, always surprising conversations that lead to a long-distance friendship and then—slowly—to something more. Across state lines and phone lines, Meg and Colby form a once-in-a-lifetime connection.

23rdForest of Souls by Lori M. Lee | POC + Necromancy?

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo. And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life. Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.

23rdTake a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert | POC + Fake Dating

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom. When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse? Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis.

june tbr

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is backlist-title-group-read-queer-friends-female-over-40-summer-vibes-queer-sports-poetry-non-coming-out-2.png

This year, we get to kick off the month of PRIDE with the Queer Lit Readathon. This will be my first time participating in the readathon, which runs from May 31st to June 6th.

I’ve decided to ignore the time restraints and read whenever I can, because I will be starting a new job during this time. I don’t want to stress myself out, or fall into another reading slump; especially when I just have started back reading.

There are some challenges that I won’t be completing. I won’t be reading a book with a female protagonist over forty, a graphic novel, nor the group book, which is This is What it Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is take-a-hint-dani-brown.jpg

Additionally, I received an ARC from a GoodReads giveaway, and I would like to read and review it before it releases on June 23rd. It is the second book in The Brown Sisters Series, the first being Get a Life, Chloe Brown.

What are your reading plans for the month of June? Are you participating in the Queer Lit Readathon? Let me know down below!

finding audrey | review

Finding Audrey

written by Sophie Kinsella | narrated by Gemma Whelan

published by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group (2015)

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Audrey can’t leave the house. She can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Non-spoiler Section

I’ve had this book on my shelves for a few years, and I had such high hopes for it; but ultimately, I was let down. I got the book because I heard that the main character has social anxiety, and the representation was good. The mental health representation was okay, but there were other parts of the book that made it impossible to enjoy the book.

If someone were to ask me for a book with anxiety representation, I wouldn’t recommend this one.

Spoiler Section
Continue reading “finding audrey | review”

the marriage clock | review

The Marriage Clock

written by Zara Raheem | narrated by Ariana Delawari

published by HarperAudio (2019)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband in their South Asian-Muslim American community is as easy as match, meet, marry. But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance which has her convinced that real love happens before marriage, not the other way around.

Finding the right husband was always part of her life-plan, but after 26 years of singledom, even Leila is starting to get nervous. And to make matters worse, her parents are panicking, the neighbors are talking, and she’s wondering, are her expectations just too high? So Leila decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating.

She makes a deal with her parents: they’ll give her three months, until their 30th wedding anniversary, to find a husband on her own terms. But if she fails, they’ll take over and arrange her marriage for her.

Non-Spoiler Section

This was a super quick read, which is exactly what I was looking for because I’ve been in a reading slump for quite some time. However, I found the cultural aspects of the book more enjoyable than the romance, and the ending left me disappointed.

Spoiler Section
Continue reading “the marriage clock | review”

national poetry month recap | 2020

This year, National Poetry Month felt like a huge failure. I only wrote a poem for eleven out of the thirty days. I was out of work for the entire month, so in theory I should’ve been able to master this challenge.

It would seem that with everything going on, my ability to write anything even remotely decent went right out the window. Here is what I ended up writing:

Did you participate in National Poetry Month? How was your experience?

book blogger hop #2

About The Hop

The Book Blogger Hop was created by Crazy-For-Books in 2010 and ended in 2012. Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the hop in 2013. Each week the hop poses a book related question with the purpose of giving bloggers a chance to build their online community.

The Question
The Answer

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t have a favorite author. I’ve been out of the reading sphere for so long that the last time I remember having a true favorite author was when I first read the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series’. That was right before required reading began, and we started to be force fed books by dead men.

Don’t get me wrong, I like some classics. Fahrenheit 451, for example, loved it; but I didn’t read it until after I graduated high school. When there was no longer an expectation attached to the book, I was able read and enjoy the book.

I SparkNoted my way through most of my high school literature classes, one of my biggest high school regrets. I barely read any books from my freshman to senior year, which is sad considering how much I loved reading in elementary and middle school.

That’s why I created my blog – to get back into reading and to connect with other readers. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me, I hope you’ll be joining me.

[Some of] My Favorite Quotes

“A book is a loaded gun.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.” ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

first book of the year | april wrap-up

I did it! I finally did it! I finished reading a book this year!

Anne Hathaway Clapping GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Thank you, thank you. I’ve been in a reading slump for a while now, and finally finishing a book feels so good. I’ve started books, put them down, and abandoned them.

I haven’t logged onto NetGalley in ages, my physical ARCs have piled up, and my bookshelves are now a majority of unread books. So that doesn’t help my slump, but what can you do?

So what was this slump crushing book, you ask?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Illustrated Edition. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, but hear me out.

Some people say when times are hard, turn to the things that comfort you. When I was a child, and was forced to grow up fast, books were my refuge.

I found solace in the pages of books – in a Magical Tree House, Hogwarts, and Camp Half-Blood. So I decided to board the Hogwarts Express, because “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

What books did you finish this past month?

book blogger hop

On Twitter recently, I hopped onto a blogger follow train, where I found Kerri McBookNerd. The first post of hers that I read was this weeks Book Blogger Hop, so thanks for introducing me to the hop Kerri!

About the Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop was created by Crazy-For-Books in 2010 and ended in 2012. Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the hop in 2013. Each week the hop poses a book related question with the purpose of giving bloggers a chance to build their online community.

This Week’s Question
The Answer

Yes and no… The first time I see a book is usually in one of three places: BookTube, Twitter, or a book blog that I’m following. If I’m intrigued I’ll look it up on GoodReads to learn more about it. What I look at is the synopsis, reviews from people I follow, and any content I should be aware of (homophobia, sexual assault, etc.).

Star ratings don’t really matter to me, but the ratings/reviews from those I follow do. The voices that I listen to belong to LGBTQIA, disabled, and persons of color. When it comes to stories about those identities, I do pay attention to the reviews from persons with those identities because it’s their story – and their opinion of how it’s told matters to me.

What about you, do ratings affect whether you buy a book or not? Let me know in the comments below.

2 readthons, 1 month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. As such, individuals in the book community have created readathons to acknowledge and celebrate the voices of these identities.

As someone who deals with mental illness, it’s important to me for resources to be available to the public for whenever they may need them. However, it’s equally as important for those suffering to know that they’re not alone, and that’s what books give us (as well as this online book community).

Let me preface this by saying, I’m white and am therefore privileged. Privileged in ways that I was unaware of until a few years ago, and it’s because of that privilege that I believe it’s important to read about experiences that are different from your own. Those stories may be written by or have a main character whose race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity/expression, religion, or disability differs from you; however, you should always choose to read broadly.

Asian Readathon Challenges + TBR

The first challenge of the Asian Readathon is to read a book by an Asian author, very simple. For this challenge I’ll be reading The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I’m also reading this as a part of the Ramadan Readathon.

Challenge two is to read a book featuring an Asian character, or written by an Asian author, who you can relate to. I’ll be reading Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan for this challenge. There are many elements of the first book that I can relate to: sexual assault survivors, queer women, etc. So this is the perfect read for this challenge; also, I’ve been putting this book off because I loved the first one, and I’m scared for my babies.

The book I’ve chosen for the third challenge is the one I’m most nervous about. For this you’ll read a book featuring an Asian character, or written by an Asian author, who is different from you. This book has been translated, which is what makes me nervous because translations aren’t always exact. I’ll be reading The Vegetarian by Han Kang, which has a vegetarian character. I’m an omnivore, so diet is how the character and myself differ. Kang’s book also discusses mental health, so I may be able to use it for a challenge in the Mental Health-athon.

The next book on my list is The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. This will cover the challenge of reading a book recommended by an Asian. Cindy is also reading this book during the readathon… so that counts, right? On a side note, there is autistic representation in this book, so if you’re looking for that – here you go.

For the Asian Readathon, the Group Book pick is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. There’s going to be a read-a-long and watch-a-long with live-shows for each as well. So it’s definitely going to be a community affair.

The read-a-long will be from May the 1st to the 15th, and the live-show will be on Saturday, May the 16th @ 7pm EST on Ali’s channel. Use #littlefiresreadalong on Twitter to update as you read.

After you’ve read the book, why not watch the adaptation? Join the watch-a-long running from May the 15th to the 29th, then the live-show on Saturday, May the 30th @ 7pm EST on Ali’s channel to discuss it. Use #littlefireswatchalong on Twitter to update as you watch.

That being said, I won’t be able to read the group book because my library is closed (COVID-19) and the current wait time for the e-book and audio-book editions is six months.

Some Notes About the Readathon
  • Challenges CAN be combined.
  • Try to vary the Asian ethnicity in each book you choose so that your books have more cultural diversity. Ex: one book may focus on an Indian character, while another book focuses on a South Korean character.
Learn more about the Asian Readathon in Cindy’s Announcement Video.

Mental Health-athon Challenges + TBR

I will be using Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for two prompts, read a host pick and the oldest mental health book on your TBR. Published in 2013, I’ve been putting this book off for a while because of its size. There’s no time like the present though, right? Especially since Tome Topple #11 will be taking place during the May as well, so many readathons y’all!

For the learn more about challenge I’ll be reading The Vegetarian by Han Kang. The main character becomes vegetarian after some gruesome dreams she has. I don’t know how much factual information is in this novel, but maybe I’ll learn something?

The newest mental health book on my TBR is The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, which was published in 2018. This book in particular is going to be difficult to get through, and it’s one reason that I’ve put it off for so long – the main subject of the story is suicide.

Many members of my family have struggled with depression, and some have made attempts at taking their life. One has succeeded. So I’m going into this with the mindset that if it gets to be too much I can put it down. I can revisit it whenever I’m ready and in a good head space.

Though most of the books I’ve chosen are YA, the one that I’ve selected for the young adult mental health category is All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I could’ve just doubled up for this challenge, but I’ve seen such mixed reviews for it that I want to form my own opinion on it; then watch the adaption that is coming out.

Green is the color of the Mental Health Awareness Month ribbon, so we are to choose a book with green on the cover. For this challenge I’ll be reading Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella. I figured that I would give this one a go, I just found it hiding on my shelves. I’m sorry, I’ll see my way out.

Lastly, there are 2 challenges that I won’t be participating in: the group book (The Million Pieces of Neena Gill) and a non-fiction mental health book. My library doesn’t have the group book on OverDrive, and don’t feel like reading any non-fiction currently. I’ve been in a reading slump, so I don’t want to weigh myself down with heavy material.

Is there a book that made you feel like you’re not alone? If so, what is it?