Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee // Book Review

Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee // Book Review

The highly anticipated ending of the Green Bone Saga and it’s a doozy. Filled with character growth, changing times, and a lot of introspection, this book isn’t like the others in the series. However, it will keep you interested especially if you’ve invested your heart and soul into the success of the No Peak clan. Thanks to Orbit Books for the gifted read. My opinions haven’t been influenced by the publisher or the author.

Here’s more about Jade Legacy

Jade, the mysterious and magical substance once exclusive to the Green Bone warriors of Kekon, is now known and coveted throughout the world. Everyone wants access to the supernatural abilities it provides, from traditional forces such as governments, mercenaries, and criminal kingpins, to modern players, including doctors, athletes, and movie studios. As the struggle over the control of jade grows ever larger and more deadly, the Kaul family, and the ancient ways of the Kekonese Green Bones, will never be the same.

The Kauls have been battered by war and tragedy. They are plagued by resentments and old wounds as their adversaries are on the ascent and their country is riven by dangerous factions and foreign interference that could destroy the Green Bone way of life altogether. As a new generation arises, the clan’s growing empire is in danger of coming apart.

The clan must discern allies from enemies, set aside aside bloody rivalries, and make terrible sacrifices… but even the unbreakable bonds of blood and loyalty may not be enough to ensure the survival of the Green Bone clans and the nation they are sworn to protect.

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My thoughts

I don’t know how to review this epic story. There’s so much that happens, but I also don’t want to spoil anything because it is a ride of a lifetime and you really need to get into it on your own. The book is a little over 700 pages long, which I thought at first was a bit excessive. But similarly to any epic story that’s coming to its end, the reason for the pages is to wrap everything up into a neat and clean bow; no straggling trails of story because this is it. This is the ending.

The story was such a saga and I was surprised by the way Fonda Lee decided to end the series. Instead of sharing the next part of the story, she shares the next 20+ years of the lives of all the characters. It was interesting to see their lives and the way they shape the No Peak clan throughout the years. I mean, you start off with them just starting to get their foot into the business and then you read how the clan ebbs and flows throughout the years. It’s really like reading a generational story and there are definite leaps into the future. The jumps into the future were kind of surprising and it took me a moment for me to understand what’s happening. I would keep an eye on the headers to remember when you are in the story.

I think the biggest part of this story is that you watch these characters grow. You see the people they become and I guess that’s the whole point of a legacy, you see what they leave behind for the next generation of Green Bones to look after. All the characters had some amazing moments and they all try to live their lives to the fullest. Some are blessed with some great things while others were devastated by their losses. But overall, these characters really come to life throughout the book, making decisions for themselves and for their family and for the clan. I think my favorite growths were Wen, Anden, and even Hilo. I was so surprised by how much Hilo changes throughout the story. He’s completely different from the man he starts off with in the beginning of the series.

Of course, the story wasn’t without its trademark fight scenes and power grabs, but I felt like there were less of these throughout the book and more into the political intrigue and character growth. I understand how the story evolves from being about clan fights and it was so interesting to see the evolution of these clans into the modern age; less about the fights and more about the business. However, that isn’t to say that this isn’t without its fights. There were a few key instances that really bend the story for you. It’s not that the clans stop fighting all together, but much of their fight is in obtaining as much power within Kekon and beyond. The political intrigue was the most palatable I’ve read in a really long time with lots of layers of information and backstabbing and surprises.

The most surprising part was how it ended. I kind of saw it coming, but at the same time you don’t. You think that they’re going to go on living as peacefully in their slow war for the rest of their days until the new generation comes up, but the ending definitely brings you back to the first book of the series.

Overall, the whole book was such a great way to end the series. I’ve never read a series ending that’s so detailed and deep. I took my time reading it, savoring every page because I knew that this was the end.

Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson // Book Review

Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson // Book Review

If you’re a fan of YA or if you want to get into Brandon Sanderson, I highly recommend this series. Because this just keeps getting better and better. Thanks to the publisher for a gifted copy of the book. My opinions have not been influenced by the author or the publisher.

Here’s more about Cytonic

Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home.

Now, the Superiority—the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life—has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa’s seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant. Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.

Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she’s able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy.

The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.

To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying.

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My thoughts

If you’re a fan of the Skyward series and you’re wondering if Cytonic is worth the read, I will say yes. Unequivocally, yes. Because this is the book that will get you all the answers you need. Each book in the series explores a different world. Skyward explores the planet Detritus. Starsight explores the planet ship. Cytonic goes deeper and explores the world where people hyperjump through space, where cytonic beings go when they hyperjump themselves, where the Krell get their resources for flying, and the location where the Delvers exist. It’s the Nowhere and Spensa is exploring the whole thing.

I absolutely loved how this story takes place in the Nowhere, exploring the grounds within, the wild way things work in there, and the people who are captured and thrown in there. There’s pirates and even a new sidekick named Chet. I loved Chet and the clues hidden behind who Chet is. Of course, there’s a new group of alien races to also follow along as well, which is so much fun because I loved it in Starsight. And exploring the Nowhere was really interesting. I loved the different adventures Spensa goes on with M-Bot in this world.

And of course, it’s Brandon Sanderson so there’s a lot of details to the world that I really loved. I’m really trying not to spoil this book, but let’s just say that the details Brandon Sanderson put into this book really pay off and make it just a world you want to stay inside for a really long time.

There were also a few themes throughout the story that really drew me in. One of the biggest, I think, were the emotions or how we react to certain things and despite the way we feel, we continue to push ourselves beyond our boundaries (in a healthy way, mind you). It reminds me that sometimes we come across some scary moments in our lives and while we can easily run away, these are also the moments that can push us and our courage. I really loved that theme and how that plays out throughout the book.

It’s incredible how Brandon Sanderson is able to introduce you to these new characters in each book and you immediately latch onto them. While there were a few surprises when it came to characters, I really loved Chet and the story behind him. I had my doubts about him and wondered if he would turn out to be the villain in the end, but as the story moves on and you learn more about all the characters, you realize that it’s about survival, about redemption, and about personal growth.

I think the only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of is Spensa going to this world and kind of forgetting about what’s happening in the somewhere while she’s in the nowhere. It doesn’t go into what’s happening on the other side (only a few times), and the fact that she leaves right in the middle of a war felt strange. I assume we’ll be getting an idea of what happened while she was in the nowhere, but it definitely left me wondering while I read.

Overall, a fantastic read and definitely my favorite in the series so far. I can’t wait for the next book!

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong // Book Review

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong // Book Review

The sequel to These Violent Delights will dazzle you with its action-packed retelling of both Romeo and Juliet and the Shanghai Massacre of 1927. Filled with mystery, political intrigue, and romance, this one will keep you reading all the way to the end.

Here’s more about Our Violent Ends

The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.

After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.

Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.

Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.

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My thoughts

I read the first book only last month, so it was pretty fresh in my mind and made the experience for this one even richer. I felt like the first book was good, but it definitely had a few flaws that many readers brought up. However, I saw this sequel as flawless and I would highly recommend checking it out if you read the first one and liked it. I’m probably bias because I loved it so much and overlooking some smaller issues, but it really blew me away.

The biggest components that I adored was using real Chinese history during the early part of the 20th century to help tell this tale. The communist and nationalist parties working in tandem with the gangsters was so intriguing. Incorporating them into creating Chloe’s own retelling of those events really made the story way more interesting! Of course, the gangs working alongside these two parties really brought another dynamic level to the story that really reminded me of Fonda Lee and her Jade City trilogy.

The characters were a huge part of why I loved this book. Roma and Juliette, of course, were so interesting and very different from each other. Roma is more of a lover than a fighter, but has no problems with pulling the trigger when needed. Juliette is always fighting for approval as a female heir to one of the biggest gangs in Shanghai, so she tries to keep a pretty stern air about her. But I love that you see all of that change for both of the characters throughout the second book. They grow and change into the people they’re supposed to be, which I loved reading throughout the process.

I think another surprising set of characters were Marshall and Benedikt. I loved seeing their friendship grow over time and although I don’t want to spoil anything, the book definitely dives further into that for you. And I think my favorite character of all was Alisa. In the first book, there wasn’t much about her. She was more the naive younger sister who was infected by the bugs, but in this book, she grows exponentially.

I did want to touch on Romeo and Juliet and how it plays out in this part of the book. If you’ve read the first book, then you know exactly where the story kind of leads you, but ultimately this second half of the book is no way similar to the play. And honestly, I preferred it. Chloe Gong has created something special here with her story and I don’t think the play was necessary. It was fun to see the nods to the play and see how she’s used the components within her own story, but I wouldn’t go into reading this series thinking you’re going to get a verbatim retelling. It’s way better than that!

Finally, the bugs aka the sci-fi element in the story that drew me to the book in the first place. It felt like it took a backseat in the second book and didn’t play as big of a role as it did in the first book. My anxiety thanks Chloe Gong for that. However, I think she did a good job incorporating into the story and making it a part of the bigger plot. I loved that the bugs formed a riff in power within Shanghai and subsequently led to the people wanting to move away from gang rule, but aside from that I like that she kept the bugs to a minimum (gross).

Overall, I absolutely loved this ending. The story wrapped up beautifully, surprised me all the time, and really captured the tragedy of the massacre days before it happened. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better sequel.

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen // Book Review

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen // Book Review

I’m a huge fan of mermaids, so when I heard that there was a book out there that combines The Little Mermaid with Children of Blood and Bone, I knew I had to check this out. I’m so glad I did because I found myself a new favorite. Thanks to Get Underlined for a gifted copy of the book.

Here’s more about Skin of the Sea

Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata–a mermaid–collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.

But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi does the unthinkable–she saves his life, going against an ancient decree. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy it.

To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But something is amiss. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail. . . .

Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she doesn’t, then she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

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My thoughts

The story follows Simidele, a young Mami Wata, or mermaid, who’s only job is to bless the souls passed at sea. However, being a newly minted mermaid, she’s been having a tough time coming to terms with her new life glimpsing at memories of her life as a human for clues to who she used to be. When she accidentally saves a boy, that’s when the story really starts to begin because as a Mami Wata, your only job is to bless the souls. Because she wanted to save a life, Simi sets off on a quest to speak with the Supreme Creator in hopes of remedying the situation.

And let tell you that the adventure is so much fun. From pirates who took over an enslavement slave ship to save other enslaved Africans to meeting mythical creatures to entertaining a riddle-filled trap of an island to save two children, this story just keeps moving from this point on.

I loved Simi and Kola so much. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the romantic elements going on, I loved their dynamic. Simi is this intelligent person with strength that surprised me to read. I loved that she uses her knowledge to help Kola get back his twin siblings. I also love Kola because of how much a leader he is. At first, I thought he was just a teenager who liked to get in trouble, but the moment he gets back to his village, he’s transformed into this man with a plan to get back his siblings and fight against Esu, the orisa who stole them.

The story itself is wrapped in so many layers. You have Simi who’s looking for some remnants of her past. You have Kola who must get back to his village to protect his siblings. But then they go on this adventure meeting mythical creatures, friendly allies, scary creatures, and the gods of this West African tale. And on top of that, you have these orisa making visits, secret deals being made, and so many faces that appear throughout the story. Honestly, you’re in for a ride that doesn’t let go not even at the end!

I mentioned this a second ago, but the only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the romance. It was fine, but a little forced and I much rather would see Simi and Kola be allies as they fought against Esu. However, I also know that this story is loosely based on The Little Mermaid, so there needs to be that romantic element to keep that basis still true. The only other thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the bits and pieces that kind of fell off. I was intrigued by Yemoja, Simi’s creator, and her abilities. I’m hoping that the second book will dive further into these, especially since the ending left you wanting the second book right away!

Overall, this was such a good story that combines so many mythical creatures, legends, gods, and people into a beautiful narrative. The characters are so interesting and you want to find out about them and you’ll fall in love with them (even the side characters!). I truly loved this one and can’t wait for book 2.

How did I not get on Lore Olympus before today?

How did I not get on Lore Olympus before today?

I recently received a gifted copy of Lore Olympus from the publisher. I was excited about this one because I’ve been wanting to get more into graphic novels and why not restart that with something that modernizes Greek mythology. But omg, I didn’t actually realize that this story would be so good. And now I’m asking myself why I didn’t pick this up on Webtoons before today?

Here’s more about Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe

Experience the propulsive love story of two Greek gods—Hades and Persephone—brought to life with lavish artwork and an irresistible contemporary voice.

Scandalous gossip, wild parties, and forbidden love—witness what the gods do after dark in this stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of mythology’s most well-known stories from creator Rachel Smythe. Featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story, Smythe’s original Eisner-nominated web-comic Lore Olympus brings the Greek Pantheon into the modern age with this sharply perceptive and romantic graphic novel.

This volume collects episodes 1-25 of the #1 WEBTOON comic, Lore Olympus.

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My thoughts

Ok, I’m going to keep this brief because I was really in love with the first volume of Lore Olympus enough that I went online and read the rest of the series on Webtoons. Yep, if you needed a mythological romance between the most notorious couples of the Underworld, then this is the one for you.

It centers around the love of Hades and Persephone and they’re probably my favorite couple from all of myths. When I heard that this story was based on that, I was so ready for it. However, I didn’t think it would be a modern take on this mythology. I loved the modernization (which is only within Olympus. The real world is still living in the BCE area) and it lends itself so well to the wild lives these gods and goddesses live. I wonder if that says a lot about modern society, but let’s not get into that.

On top of being the story between Hades and Persephone, there’s also additional stories from all the other Greek gods, which makes it more exciting. The issues these gods face are so closely related to the ones we have in real life that you won’t have any problems with relating to the story.

And the romance. OMG, I think this might be the first time I’m reading a romantic graphic novel as most of the ones I read are filled with murder and revenge, so it’s a wonderful departure from those gorey stories and reading about the modern romantic problems set with Greek gods just works. You’ll want to keep reading just to see if Persephone and Hades get together in the end (spoiler alert: they do).

So if you’re a fan of Greek mythology and all the retellings coming out nowadays, I would highly recommend this one. Start with the webtoon, fall in love, and then pick up a copy of the volumes for your bookshelf. I know I’ll definitely get the rest for mine.

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer // Book Review

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer // Book Review

It’s the final book of October! I know this review is coming a little way after the month ended, but it’s been tough for me to write blog posts lately. Just feeling a little creatively drained, but that has nothing to do with this book. I’m just letting you know lol.

If you like space operas, space drama, and the chase to claim the throne of a 1000 planets, then this is the one for you.

Here’s more about Crownchasers

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?

But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.

Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

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My thoughts

I love a good space opera, but over the past few months I haven’t had much luck with finding a space opera that really kept my attention. I read two books prior that were good, but weren’t the kinds of books I like to read. Honestly, if I kept on reading those books then I would have hated them and the reviews wouldn’t have been truthful to how truly good they are. There’s an audience for those books, it’s just not me.

That being said, I was so thankful to pick up Crownchasers at the last moment. I had a long flight back home and I wanted to read something as fun as the book I read on the way out. This was really good, really fun, and still had a deeper story that kept me going. The ride itself was filled with suspense and the challenges they came across while getting to the royal seal were so good. I love exploring different worlds and facing big challenges and fighting your way to get to the next clue.

The premise itself sold me; a group of royals chosen to find the royal seal and claim the throne of this massive empire. It had that heist vibe, which I really love and the characters were so much fun to follow. Hell Monkey had to have been my favorite because who doesn’t love a brooding silent type that’s the MC’s side kick?

I loved the way this book was laid out. It jumped from past and present, but it explained a lot about the royal families and their relation to Alyssa in the story. She doesn’t want the Empress position, so she helps her close friend who’s also up for the job to win the throne. It was such a good chase story with the villains being villainous and the protagonist thwarting the odds to make it through each round. I honestly I had a lot of fun reading this one.

It also read really young. I normally don’t complain about these kinds of things because I know a YA story is written with an intended audience in mind, but it did bother me how young the writing felt. I just wasn’t a fan.

Overall, definitely a quirky space adventure filled with intrigue and suspense. It really broke me from my space opera funk.

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske // Book Review

A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske // Book Review

I love a genre-bending story that expertly mixes historical fiction, classic writing, a mystery, and infuses it in a magic-filled world. It also doesn’t hurt if the romance is steamy AF. Thanks to Tor Books for a gifted copy of the book.

Here’s more about A Marvellous Light

Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it—not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else.

Robin’s predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they’ve been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles—and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep.

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My thoughts

I was honestly surprised by this one! A friend of mine suggested it to me and I was a little skeptic because I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction. But the Edwardian era lended itself beautifully to this story and while I came away from the book feeling it was more a romance than it was a fantasy, it definitely kept me entertained.

The story follows Edwin and Robin. Edwin comes from a magical family, but he was born with the least amount of power. Robin comes from a non-magical family and through some clerical error in the system, he goes to work for the magical corporation that Edwin works for. They meet at work, which is just too cute and the trope we all want to happen for us.

But things get dicey when Robin meets some thugs on the street looking for a magical item the last person who had his job had possession of. Without any knowledge of the item, they cursed him with a tattoo that causes pain and gives him powers of premonition. In a fury to find this magical item, Robin searches his office and when Edwin finds him there, he decides to help.

Grumpy and sunshine is probably one of my favorite tropes. Perhaps it’s a callback to my love for Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, but I was definitely getting those vibes from Robin and Edwin. When Edwin invites Robin to his family’s estate to look further into this magical item and what’s happening with his curse, that’s when things really start to get going.

I loved getting to know Edwin’s family and the world that he comes from. It reminded me a lot of the Darcy family with its opulence and magic. Edwin’s family is huge and there were a lot of characters I had a tough time keeping track of, but there was so much magic and so many secrets between them that it really engages you and it gets going.

This is definitely a slow burning story, but not a slow burning romance. Edwin and Robin definitely get closer as they stay at Edwin’s family’s estate and try to investigate the goings on with the curse. There’s a few open-door scenes and it will definitely leave you wondering if that magical hand thing works on everyone lol.

I wish there was more backstory for Robin. It seems like he comes from an affluent family, but I felt like there was only a small touch on his life throughout the book. You definitely get to know Edwin way better than you do Robin. I just wish it was the same for him.

The fantasy story also felt like it took a backseat while we watched Edwin and Robin flirt with each other and get steamy, but eventually the story does come back to the fantasy and that definitely peaked my interest. I loved the magic, the world-building, and history behind the magical items they were looking for and what was happening to Robin and his curse. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you’re in it for the fantasy parts, you’ll definitely be rewarded.

Overall, I really loved this story and I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2. It’s got romance, history, magic, and suspense and I think the little bit of everthing worked in their own ways. I’m hoping for more of the magic to be revealed in the next one and how Robin and Edwin’s relationship moves to the next level.

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P Manansala // Book Review

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P Manansala // Book Review

This was such a great read for vacations because it’s engaging enough to keep you interested, but perfect when family or friends draw your attention away. Mind you, I was totally caught off guard when the true killer was revealed.

Here’s more about Arsenic and Adobo

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

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My thoughts

I read most of this book on the plane while I was on vacation and it has to be the best book for that kind of trip. If you need something to engage you while you’re traveling across the country, I highly recommend this book for its funny lines, it’s cozy mystery, and the food. OMG the food! This book has a little bit of everything for everyone, so if you’re into genre-bending books that are a lot of fun, then you’ll really like this book.

It’s about Lila who’s recently come home after a pretty terrible break up. While she’s figuring out the next steps of her life, she decides to help out at her auntie’s restaurant. And the day her high school ex comes into the restaurant to review the place for the local paper, he ends up dying in a plate of food. The rest from there is an attempt to clear Lila’s family’s name, come to terms with who she knew her ex to be, and discovering a little bit more about herself.

This story carried with it a lot of depth. I thought the focus of the book would be on the mystery alone, but I loved getting to know Lila, her hopes and dreams, and see all the delicious food she makes for her friends and family. Of course, she’s got herself a dream to open her own place and I felt like she would do really well in that department. But I loved that this was more than a small town looking to figure out the killer. I loved that it even showed how imperfect the people in town were. It felt really human and that made me continue reading.

I also loved how complex the mystery turned out to be. Like I said, I had no clue it turned out to be the person it turned out to be, but I had my inklings and I felt like I was half right. In many ways, the mystery part was really sad. Despite not knowing who actually did the killings, the results leading up to it made my heart hurt.

There’s also a lot of characters and suspects to consider! Because no one liked the food critic, there were many people who could have easily done it. I thought it was fun to keep track of everyone like a big game of Clue to finally discern the murderer.

Overall, I loved it and maybe it was because I was on vacation and didn’t want anything too complicated. It made me laugh, it made me hungry, and it surprised me.

How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by KM Jackson // Book Review

How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by KM Jackson // Book Review

Sometimes you just need to believe that you have a chance with your celebrity crush to actually set the tone for the rest of your life. I picked this one up since I’m a huge fan of Keanu Reeves, but what I got was so much more than just a little crush. Thanks to Read Forever for gifting me a copy of this book. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.

Here’s more about How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days

Bethany Lu Carlisle is devastated when the tabloids report actor Keanu Reeves is about to tie the knot. What?! How could the world’s perfect boyfriend and forever bachelor, Keanu not realize that making a move like this could potentially be devastating to the equilibrium of…well…everything! Not to mention, he’s never come face to face with the person who could potentially be his true soulmate—her.
 
Desperate to convince Keanu to call off the wedding, Lu and her ride-or-die BFF Truman Erikson take a wild road trip to search for the elusive Keanu so that Lu can fulfill her dream of meeting her forever crush and confess her undying love. From New York to Los Angeles, Lu and True get into all sorts of sticky situations. Will Lu be able to find Keanu and convince him she’s the one for him? Or maybe she’ll discover true love has been by her side all along…

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My thoughts

While the title of this one is a mouthful, the story itself was super fun and lighthearted. It’s about Bethany Lu, a 40-something artist who’s feeling a bit of burnout. However, when she reads a tweet about Keanu Reeves getting married in 90 days, she decides to use that time to find him, stop him from making the biggest mistake in his life, and maybe convince him to marry her. Of course, she’s also using this time to figure out what she wants to do with a major gallery and art promotion deal she’s been handed as well.

The story also follows True, one of her closest best friends and instigator of her adventure to find Keanu. He’s a professor of Economics and a little bit more pragmatic than free-spirited Bethany, but their long-time friendship that started with Bethany’s brother turned into a partnership that can’t be broken.

That is, until Keanu comes into the picture.

The story was so much fun and while I wasn’t a full believer that someone would stop everything they’re doing to chase down a celebrity they didn’t even know, I was fully on board with the ride. The dual narrative gives you an idea of what both Bethany and True are feeling especially when it comes to their shared past and her passed brother, Cole.

And there is a lot of Keanu Reeves and his movie references in this book. Not only is Bethany a die-hard fan with extensive knowledge of his filmography, but they’re thwarted by him at every attempt to find him throughout the country. Yes, this story goes on the road to find Keanu. The chapter headers are also references to some of Keanu Reeves’s movies as well.

I thought it was a lot of fun to see Bethany and True come across celebrities while looking for Keanu. I don’t want to spoil who shows up in the book, but it did put a smile on my face to see them there. There was so much fun and entertaining components to this book (as well as some steamy scenes) that will definitely keep you reading.

I also loved that it goes a little bit deeper discussing what happened to Bethany’s brother and True’s part in what happened. I especially loved Bethany’s growth as she figures out the next steps in her life. It’s always refreshing to read a story about a person older than 25 trying to figure out their life. It makes me feel like I have some time to figure out mine still.

Overall, this definitely checked of all the boxes I needed to start the month of right. I wanted something fun and entertaining, about my favorite actor, and still have a bit of something to bite onto to. I enjoyed this one a lot.

Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw // Book Review

Nothing but Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw // Book Review

This tiny novella packs a punch with ghostly brides, haunted houses, and human sacrifice. The perfect Halloween read (or any time of the year if you’re like me).

Here’s more about Nothing but Blackened Teeth

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.

But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

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My thoughts

Ok this is a legit horror story perfect for Halloween weekend. Of course, I’m posting this review after Halloween, but if you’re looking for something for next Halloween, consider adding this one to your TBR. It’s a novella, so it’ll be a super quick, but super spooky read.

The story follows a group of tourists in town for a wedding and they rent out an old haunted house as a wedding gift for the happy couple. Creepy tastes, but we’re not here to judge the characters. The story follows Cat, one of the members of the group as she’s haunted by the ghost who lives in the house. She sees her from the corner of her eye or within the reflection of the mirror. But once you learn more about the ghost and why she haunts the house, then it starts to get really freaky.

The atmosphere alone will get you. With the decaying walls, dark vibes, even the scene when one of the characters put on the wedding dress of the dead person, so creepy. The darkness in the story, the anticipation of something hanging out in the corners, it really gave that shock value. I was bracing every single time Cat was seeing something she didn’t want to see. The action is quick-paced and the ending really surprised me.

I really liked this story, but there were many parts that I didn’t like. This story had so much potential. Honestly, I loved the spooky Japanese house and the aloof young people celebrating their marriage there. But the rest didn’t make sense and really didn’t add anything more to the story. I wasn’t really interested in the relationship Cat had with the rest of the people at the house. It almost didn’t make sense to include it unless it somehow would play a role in the story further down the line, but I didn’t get that either. I wish there was some relation because despite not making sense with the story, it does paint a view of who these people are and how they relate to each other. I wanted to dive into that, maybe have it come up as the hauntings got worse.

I felt like there was so much that needed to be explained or really explored to get the full horror scope. It was so quick-paced making little room for explanation. I’ll admit, it was spooky but it wasn’t enough for me to just be spooky. I really wanted there to be more.

Overall, this will definitely spook you and make you think you see things from the corner of your eye. Thanks to Netgalley for the gifted copy.