The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

GoodReads Summary:
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)Review:
After a long week of my husband being away at a wedding and taking care of my daughter without him, I was due for some much-needed self-care. So, I picked up The Bride Test and settled into a glorious bubble bath.
While I didn’t love this book as much as I loved The Kiss Quotient, I still really enjoyed it. I liked that Khai, while super-hot, wasn’t your usual male love interest. Nothing about this book was the usual. Khai was annoying at times. I just wanted to shake him. But I think that also made me like him even more.
I felt the same about Esme. At times, mostly in the beginning, I just wanted to shake her. But by the end of the book, I adored her. I really enjoyed how she made a plan to stay in the States that didn’t have to do with Khai. She was going to earn her way and not depend on a man to get the things she wanted. I just loved it. I loved how smart she was and her enthusiasm to just enjoy her time in America.
I really loved the way these two eventually came together. I loved that this wasn’t your typical romance. It still followed the same formula for the most part but the characters and the story was unique and I really enjoyed it. I think any romance lover would enjoy this fun story with a diverse cast of characters.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Let’s Call It a Doomsday by Katie Henry

GoodReads Summary:
There are many ways the world could end. There could be a fire. A catastrophic flood. A supereruption that spews lakes of lava. Ellis Kimball has made note of all possible scenarios, and she is prepared for each one. What she doesn’t expect is meeting Hannah Marks in her therapist’s waiting room. Hannah calls their meeting fate. After all, Ellis is scared about the end of the world; Hannah knows when it’s going to happen.
Despite Ellis’s anxiety—about what others think of her, about what she’s doing wrong, about the safety of the ones she loves—the two girls become fast friends. But time is ticking down, and as Ellis tries to help Hannah decipher the details of her doomsday premonition, their search for answers only raises more questions. When does it happen? Who will believe them? How do you prepare for the end of the world when it feels like your life is just getting started?
Let's Call It a DoomsdayReview:
After absolutely adoring Heretics Anonymous, I knew I had to pick up Katie Henry’s new release, Let’s Call It a Doomsday. I’m so so glad that I did because it was even better than I expected it to be.
We follow Ellis as she struggles to keep her anxiety under control. She has intrusive thoughts, some that we get to see on the page. Her biggest worry is that the world is going to end. So, when she meets Hannah at her therapist’s office and then sees her again at school, she’s interested. Especially when Hannah tells her she knows when the world is going to end.
I loved Ellis. She was realistic and thoughtful and I just enjoyed her character. She battled her anxiety every day. She’s Mormon and despite lots of factors, she says true to her faith which was inspiring. Being able to believe so fiercely in something is admirable to me because I don’t have that same faith. Her journey of self-discovery, learning about her sexuality and how to handle her anxiety.
Then there’s Hannah, who is quirky and eccentric. I really liked her at first, but the more I learned about her the more I wanted her to just leave Ellis alone. She was the cause of pretty much all of the conflict in the story and every single one of her motivations were selfish. Despite that, she managed to push Ellis out of her comfort zone, to try new things and of course, she introduced her to Sam, Tal, and Theo.
These three boys were one of my favorite parts. Pot smoking, deep conversation having, ‘five-word-book-title’ guessing kind of friends. I love that they just immediately accepted Ellis into their group. They never pressured her to do anything that they were doing. They were just a funny group of kids.
I really really loved Tal. I loved the conversations about religion they would have. I also loved how he helped her see that there’s more to sexuality than she thought. I thought he brought so much goodness to the story. I 10000% ship them with my whole heart.
Overall, this book was funny, and heartfelt, and just wholesome. It showed anxiety in a realistic way. It talked about religion in a thoughtful way. Sexuality was talked about by several different characters in an honest way. I think this book did just about everything right. It’s one I plan to recommend again and again.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s September Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Hi, lovelies! I really enjoyed the post I made last month with mini-reviews of all the graphic novels I read in August (check it out here), so I think I am going to continue doing that each month for all the graphic novels I read. So, this post will be mini-reviews for all the graphic novels I read in the month of September.

Moonstruck Volume One: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, & Kate Leth

This was the perfect graphic novel to start of the spooky season. There is magic and mystery and a wide cast of characters. I just adored the characters. There are some werewolves, centaurs, magicians, ghosts, and seers. This cast of characters was beyond diverse, too. There is representation for fat, POC, non-binary, and queer characters. There is a female/female romance that was so sweet. I loved the mystery and the friendships that we were given. I think Cass (the seer) was my favorite character. She was the perfect amount of weird. Overall, this graphic novel was everything I wanted it to be.

Oz: Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by Eric Shanower & Skottie Young

I enjoy this one the most out of this graphic novel series so far. It would have been a five star read for me, but I felt like it lingered on just a bit too much at the end. The gang finds themselves falling to the center of the earth after a series of massive earthquakes. I thought this was a really interesting story. I really enjoyed all the weird communities they found down there and all the ways they managed to get themselves out of trouble. It was a fun and quick story.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

I completely adored The Prince and the Dressmaker. I found this one through one of my library apps and I’m glad I decided to try it. I thought the art was vivid and absolutely stunning. I also really loved the story. Everyone getting a happy ending made my little heart warm. I also really like the way the story was told. There were only words when the art couldn’t tell the story on its own. I just loved this one and will definitely be recommending it in the future.

Moonstruck Vol. 2: Some Enchanted Evening by Grace Ellis & Shae Beagle

I really like the art in this series, but I’m having a little trouble with the plot. The story was kind of all over the place, but I enjoyed the characters well enough. I was a bit sad to not get as much Cass as the previous volume. She was definitely the most interesting character to me. Moonstruck is a diverse story, that was filled with fun characters on sometimes confusing adventures.

These are all the graphic novels I managed to read in September! Have you read any of these? Or any that are similar? Let me know below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Summary:
Zane Obispo spends every day exploring the sleeping volcano in his backyard. “The Beast,” as he calls it, is the one place where he can escape other kids, who make fun of him because he has a limp and walks with a cane.
After a twin-engine plane crashes into the Beast, a mysterious girl named Brooks shows up at Zane’s doorstep insisting that they meet at the volcano, where she will reveal a terrible secret. Zane agrees, mostly because beautiful girls like her don’t usually talk to him. Brooks tells him that the volcano is actually a centuries-old prison for the Maya god of death, whose destiny is directly tied to Zane’s.
No way, Zane thinks. He’s just a thirteen-year-old nobody, and destiny or no destiny, he wants nothing to do with any of it, especially some god of death. But Brooks opens his eyes to the truth: magic, monsters, and gods are real, and Zane is at the center of an ancient prophecy that could mean the destruction of the world. Suddenly finding himself entangled in a web of dangerous secrets, Zane embarks on a quest that will take him far from home and test him to the very core.
Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.
The Storm Runner (The Storm Runner, #1)Review:
The Storm Runner is a book that follows an unlikely hero on a quest to save the world. Where have I heard that one before? There were things I liked about this book and I wouldn’t say that there were things I didn’t like; I just think that this book didn’t hit the mark for me.
I liked the mythology that we learned about in this story. I thought it was the most interest part of the story. I would have liked to have more vivid and descriptive settings though. Zane finds himself in some pretty interesting places, but I think they could have been built up a little more.
I didn’t find myself connecting with the characters as much as I have with some of the others I’ve read that are middle-grade books. I’m not sure if that’s due to my reading so many middle-grade books that focus on mythology or that I’ve really loved the others that I’ve read.
I don’t want to say that there was anything wrong with The Storm Runner because there certainly wasn’t. It was fun to read. It was fast-paced, but not too much so. There was adventure and mystery. I just didn’t connect to the story in the way I expected to.
Overall, this was a fun story but it was average for me. I think it’s definitely worth reading. The mythology was fascinating and we follow the main character who has a physical disability. I liked this book and will be continuing the series without a doubt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Summary:
Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.
Daughter of the Burning CityReview:
Daughter of the Burning City was not at all what I expected. I really enjoyed it, but I was not expecting a murder mystery set in a carnival, which is what we got. I really liked so many things about this story. First, I’d like to say that there’s a hugely diverse cast of characters from those that are bisexual, gay, and I believe one of them was somewhere one the ace spectrum. There are characters of all sort of race and even one that is a giant tree.
Next, I’d like to mention the world-building. I loved the setting of the Gommorah festival. It was complex and dark in some places and bright in others. Then we learn about the rest of the world, full of strict religion and hatred for those that are a part of the festival. We learn that Sorina’s adoptive father and the festival’s proprietors play more of a part in history than we’d previously known.
The mystery of those that are being murdered was not at all what I predicted. There were several theories that I had along the way and none of them were correct. I love mysteries that keep me guessing and then leaving me spinning when we finally find out the truth.
I really enjoyed the characters and their abilities. I loved Sorina and the family she created for herself. They were really such a sweet family with such good family dynamics despite the fact that they are technically illusions.
I also really enjoyed the magic that we learned about, but I would have liked to know just a little bit more.
Overall, I really enjoyed Daughter of the Burning City. It was a complex world filled with mystery and drama and love. I adore Amanda Foody and her writing and I cannot read what she comes up with in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Asian Readathon Wrap Up

Happy June lovelies!  We have finished another month this year and completed another readathon. This readathon was hosted by the wonderful Cindy (and a few others!) Find her channel here.  This readthon was to read and celebrate books written by Asian authors and about Asian characters. Check out the announcement video here for all the details. There were a few prompts to help choose books and I did my best to fulfill them.  These are the books I read and the challenges  I completed.

Read any book by an Asian author

Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi

Read a graphic novel featuring an Asian character or  written/drawn  by an Asian author

The Shadowglass by Rin Chupeco

I don’t read graphic novels so I chose another book that is written by an Asian author that features an Asian character.

Read a book featuring an intersectional Asian character or written by an intersectional Asian identity

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Read the group book

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh

fullsizeoutput_1816

Did you participate in this readathon? What did you read in May?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads