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.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

GoodReads Summary:
With her daughter to care for and her Abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.
With the Fire on HighReview:
I love Elizabeth Acevedo. I adore The Poet X and I was so excited to see what she was going to do next. With the Fire on High was different from her first novel in the sense that it’s written like a traditional novel. Though, there were these cute recipes that I will definitely be attempting when I get the chance.
In With the Fire on High, we follow the main character Emoni as she navigates the world that is being a teen mother who is about to graduate high school. She’s trying to figure out what the best path for her and her family is all. I really like Emoni. She was a hard worker that didn’t really complain about things she couldn’t change. She did her best to cover it all, being a mother to her daughter, co-parenting, graduating, and working. I really liked her strong values and work ethic. She values family and I absolutely adored her relationship with her grandmother. I thought the challenge of co-parenting was an interesting one, but Emoni doesn’t let anyone push her around. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and I really respected that trait in her.
This story was a more character-driven story with less focus on the plot. We get to know Emoni and what her struggles are. I thought this was a really quick read. I think it talks about a lot of really important topics and it does so really well. I also enjoyed the cooking aspect of the story. All the smells and tastes were sounded so delicious and it added a little something special. I definitely will be recommending this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Birds, The Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

GoodReads Summary:
Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke is the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she’s been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.
But then everything changes.
When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls’ restroom. But things with Theo become complicated quickly, and Lacey is soon not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but hers as well.
The Birds, The Bees, and You and MeReview:
This new release had me hooked from the cover. Then I read what it was about. After that, I found out that the author was going to be at the NoVaTeen Book Festival that I’m going to (or probably have already been to by the time this review posts.)
I wish this book had been available to me when I was in high school. I grew up in a single parent household. My dad raised me. Now, he did his best to be everything I needed but sex was not something either of us w comfortable talking about. So, we just didn’t. I learned from books and my friends. I would have loved this book even more than I do now have I been able to read it when I really needed it in my younger years.
Our main character, Lacey is so fierce and passionate about getting the facts out there and making people move away. Her mom has taught her all the right things and she feels that it’s her responsibility to share those things with her classmates. I thought she was a great main character. Even though she didn’t have the experience she had the knowledge and she didn’t hesitate to share that knowledge with everyone and anyone that wanted it. She advocated for all the right things. She spends this book learning while also pushing the limits and standing up for what she knows is right. I really enjoyed her learning to love being a doula and all things nursing.
Then there’s her best friend, Evita, who is on the ace spectrum and isn’t afraid to share what she knows and feels. She is the president of the LGBTQIA group at their school. She was sassy and unapologetic about who she is. She spoke her mind and I really liked her. She called people on their shit, stood up for what she believed in, and stood by her friends.
Theo was honestly my least favorite of the trio. He spent the first half of the book with a girlfriend that no one liked. I did like how he was used as a tool to explain certain things and ideas within the story. Plain and simple, he was a great guy. Considerate and kind and attentive to his friends but I just preferred the girls.
I loved pretty much everything about this book. My only complaint would be that in the beginning of the story the sex-positive stuff was a little heavy-handed and clunky. There was a lot of “my mom taught me” again and again. But as the story progressed it got much better. Really only the first few chapters had a bit of info dumping with the sex conversations.
Overall, I loved the characters. They were entertaining, funny, and passionate. I loved the message the story was sharing. It’s one I really could have used in a book when I was young and learning. I loved all the parental support the kids had from their parents. I only wish this book had been longer. I would have loved to spend more time getting to know these characters and being in their world. I can’t wait to see what this author comes out with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.