Review: You Should Sit Down For This

You Should Sit Down For This by Tamera Mowry-Housley
Publisher: Legacy Lit
Pub Date: 10/4/2022

Thank you to Hachette Audio for the free audiobook copy in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: A lighthearted and supremely entertaining memoir, You Should Sit Down for This is like spending the afternoon sharing tea, fresh baked cookies, and conversation with Tamera Mowry-Housley, the fun-loving, wisdom-sharing girlfriend we all need in our lives (always ready to top off your wine!). Most of us know Tamera Mowry-Housley as a beloved TV star—one half of the memorable duo on the hit show Sister, Sister and co-host of the FOX talk show The Real. Tamera’s spunky Sister, Sister character stole the hearts of millions, but the transition in the public eye from teen-girl star to grown woman with a family and thriving career wasn’t easy. Being raised in Hawaii as an army brat instilled in her the discipline needed to succeed and conquer her dreams, but she felt secluded and sheltered, and wondered if living on her own terms would ever be her reality. Then, she decided it would. Tamera stopped letting other people define her, tapped into her faith, and tossed away negativity to hone her own happiness and create a unique path forward for herself. In this pink book of quirky advice and funny stories, she encourages everyone to do the same. In a book that celebrates cookies and the juicy parts of life, Tamera will leave you feeling liberated and motivated to embrace the highs and lows of growing up.
 
Tamera shares heartfelt stories about exiling herself from the world of beauty pageants, the pressures of being a teenage star, her struggle with rejection, the craziness of dating later in life, the challenges of balancing family and career, and why it’s okay for women to hide out in their closets when they just need a few minutes of peace. Tamera doesn’t shy away from the tough experiences, hilarious missteps, and big lessons it took to build a thriving career and the full life she’s living today. Our favorite girl next door offers “Tameraisms”—bite-sized pieces of wisdom to empower other women to step up to life’s unexpected turns and surprises and make it all work. You Should Sit Down for This is a much-needed reminder of the magic that can happen when we open our minds and hearts to become the very best versions of ourselves.

Review: You Should Sit Down For This is Tamera Mowry-Housley’s memoir. This memoir dives into family, values, and tidbits of advice. Tamera narrates this memoir herself with her wholesome and bubbly voice which sounds like listening to a dear friend. Though she seems like a sweet person and it’s great that she shared her experiences with readers, this one didn’t work out for me. It just didn’t seem memorable or to have substance. Some parts seemed to be a bit superficial and the way some parts were written seemed that they were intentionally left out which is fine. I found it odd that she didn’t have more about her siblings considering how popular her twin and one of her brothers are. I’d recommend skipping this one.

Review: Two Wrongs Make a Right

Two Wrongs Make a Right by Chloe Liese
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Pub Date: 11/22/2022

Thank you Berkley Romance for the free finished copy and PRH Audio for the free audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Opposites become allies to fool their matchmaking friends in this swoony reimagining of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.

Jamie Westenberg and Bea Wilmot have nothing in common except a meet-disaster and the mutual understanding that they couldn’t be more wrong for each other. But when the people closest to them play Cupid and trick them into going on a date, Jamie and Bea realize they have something else in common after all—an undeniable need for revenge.

Soon their plan is in place: Fake date obnoxiously and convince the meddlers they’re madly in love. Then, break up spectacularly and dash their hopes, putting an end to the matchmaking madness once and for all.

To convince everyone that they’ve fallen for each other, Jamie and Bea will have to nail the performance of their lives. But as their final act nears and playing lovers becomes easier than not, they begin to wonder, what if Cupid’s arrow wasn’t so off the mark? And what if two wrongs do make a right?

Review: Two Wrongs Make a Right is the first book I’ve read from Chloe Liese. This romcom contains a fake dating trope and dives into family, friendship, healing, and taking chances. Overall, I enjoyed this one! I really loved the relationship between James and Beatrice. I really liked the way that the author built the relationship between the two main characters. Two Wrongs Make a Right is the first book I’ve read from Chloe Liese. This romcom contains a fake dating trope and dives into family, friendship, healing, and taking chances. Overall, I enjoyed this one! I aapreciated the touching note from the author giving the reader a heads up about content warnings and to read with care. I really loved the relationship between James and Beatrice. I really liked the way that the author built the relationship between the two main characters. I also really loved the dual POVS. The audiobook narrators also did a fantastic job! Now I can’t wait for Kate’s story!

Review: Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pub Date: 11/1/2022

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: In an extraordinary story that only he could tell, Matthew Perry takes readers onto the soundstage of the most successful sitcom of all time while opening up about his private struggles with addiction. Candid, self-aware, and told with his trademark humor, Perry vividly details his lifelong battle with the disease and what fueled it despite seemingly having it all.

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that shares the most intimate details of the love Perry lost, his darkest days, and his greatest friends.

Unflinchingly honest, moving, and hilarious: this is the book fans have been waiting for.

Review: I had such mixed feelings about this book and was struggling to rate this. I loved that Matthew went into detail about his struggles with addiction, loneliness, and discussed about his childhood. I was surprised he didn’t blame his parents on any of it and was forgiving of them. I also loved the tidbits he shared about Friends and how he became casted as Chandler. I ended up listening to the audiobook which I highly recommend because even though his voice has changed due to age, drugs, smoking, etc, you can hear the vulnerability and the raw emotion in his voice. I applaud him for sharing his struggles in memoir as there is a stigma in men’s health not to discuss or share anything with loved ones and to suffer alone. November is men’s health awareness so I felt that was a very timely read. There were also some parts that didn’t work for me and made me lose a bit of respect for him. I know there were times he was just trying to joke around or be sarcastic about the way he was talking about other celebrities, but it just came off as mean or so unnecessarily desperate so he was trying to name drop. The way he spoke and treated women was no surprise to me. There times in the book where he seemed very arrogant as well which was a bit annoying. The last part that frustrated me was the writing style. He is an incredible writer and I was able to binge this in a matter of days, but it kept hopping all over the place which was difficult to follow and needed some more structure. If you’re a Friends fan and/or a fan of Matthew Perry’s work, I would recommend picking this one up. 

Review: The Angel Maker

The Angel Maker by Alex North
Publisher: Celadon
Pub Date: 2/28/2023

Thank you to Celadon for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Growing up in a beautiful house in the English countryside, Katie Shaw lived a charmed life. At the cusp of graduation, she had big dreams, a devoted boyfriend, and a little brother she protected fiercely. Until the day a violent stranger changed the fate of her family forever.

Years later, still unable to live down the guilt surrounding what happened to her brother, Chris, and now with a child of her own to protect, Katie struggles to separate the real threats from the imagined. Then she gets the phone call: Chris has gone missing and needs his big sister once more.

Meanwhile, Detective Laurence Page is facing a particularly gruesome crime. A distinguished professor of fate and free will has been brutally murdered just hours after firing his staff. All the leads point back to two old cases: the gruesome attack on teenager Christopher Shaw, and the despicable crimes of a notorious serial killer who, legend had it, could see the future.

Review: The Angel Maker is a horror/thriller that dives into a serial killer who supposedly knows the future, strained family relationships, fate, borderlines to paranormal, and dives into philosophy. The beginning of this book is extremely slow burn. There’s a ton of information thrown at the reader that can be confusing, but stick with it and everything will make sense in the end. There were a couple of portions that I had to reread or go back a chapter to make sure I was on track with what was going on in the storyline. Towards the middle of the book, things start to pick up and I couldn’t put the book down. I didn’t anticipate the twists and turns. I really loved everyone’s perspective except Katie’s. I understood the purpose of Katie’s perspective, but I found her character to be a bit drab. Overall, this was 3.5 stars for me, but rounded to 4 on GoodReads. If you’re a fan of Alex North’s other work, then The Angel Maker may interest you.

Review: Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go by Kennedy Ryan
Publisher: Forever
Pub Date: 11/15/2022

Thank you to Forever for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love alone couldn’t solve or save everything.

It couldn’t save their marriage.

Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she’s is finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm, co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.

Soon, one stolen kiss leads to another…and then more. It’s hot. It’s illicit. It’s all good—until old wounds reopen. Is it too late for them to find forever? Or could they even be better, the second time around?

Review: Before I Let Go is the first book in the Skyland series. book features Yasmine and Josiah This contemporary romance novel explores divorce, co-parenting, small business life, mental health representation, struggle, and hope. The author addresses some heavy subjects in here: grief, death of a loved one, child death, mental illness to name a few. Overall, I loved this one and it deserves all the stars. This is the first Kennedy Ryan book I read and definitely won’t be my last. I’m typically not a fan of second chance romance trope, but this was so well written. The storyline tugged at my heart strings and I truly felt empathetic towards each main character. One of the other aspects I loved about the novel was Yasmine and her best friends. It was refreshing for the main character to have best friends that she met in the last couple of years after her divorce than with friends she’s known for years. Hendrix and Soledad were so supportive of Yasmine and I’m really hoping each of them have their own books! Highly recommend picking this one up if you’re a romance reader!

Review: The Family Game

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 10/18/2022

Thank you to PRH Audio for the free audiobook copy in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Harry is a novelist on the brink of stardom; Edward, her husband-to-be, is seemingly perfect. In love and freshly engaged, their bliss is interrupted by the reemergence of the Holbecks, Edward’s eminent family and the embodiment of American old money. For years, they’ve dominated headlines and pulled society’s strings, and Edward left them all behind to forge his own path. But there are eyes and ears everywhere. It was only a matter of time before they were pulled back in . . .

After all, even though he’s long severed ties with his family, Edward is set to inherit it all. Harriet is drawn to the glamour and sophistication of the Holbecks, who seem to welcome her with open arms, but everything changes when she meets Robert, the inescapably magnetic head of the family. At their first meeting, Robert slips Harry a cassette tape, revealing a shocking confession which sets the inevitable game in motion.

What is it about Harry that made him give her that tape? A thing that has the power to destroy everything? As she ramps up her quest for the truth, she must endure the Holbecks’ savage Christmas traditions all the while knowing that losing this game could be deadly.

Review: The Family Game is the first book I read from Catherine Steadman. This domestic thriller is a slow burn and Dolores strained family relationships, unraveling secrets, instinct, and truth. The first half of the book is pretty slow and I guessed the twist early. I felt that the action didn’t start till the second half of the book. I found Harriet to be extremely annoying at first and didn’t understand why she didn’t listen to the tape in one sitting. The premise sounded interesting, but I felt it wasn’t executed well. As for the audio, I think it would have been better if there was a male narrator for the tape recording. The author reads it herself which is fine, but it didn’t have that much of an impact. This isn’t a book I would recommend, but if it is on your TBR, you might like it.

Review: Partners in Crime

Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai
Publisher: Avon
Pub Date: 10/18/2022

Thank you to Avon for the free ebook and audiobook copy on NetGalley and from LibroFM in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: At thirty-five, with a stable job as an accountant, Mira Chaudhary wants nothing more than to find a boring man to spend the rest of her life with. Having had enough excitement in her younger days and desperately trying to escape her dysfunctional past, she turns to a matching app specializing in Indian American singles to help her find someone to settle down with.

Enter Naveen Desai. An English professor with an uneventful, normal, and—dare she say it, boring—life, Naveen is perfect.

But just when things are going well, Mira receives news that her aunt has died. Suddenly a trip to Las Vegas to settle her aunt’s affairs turns into a mad dash to escape kidnappers, evade art thieves, and consorting with hackers who can decipher just what it was Mira’s aunt was involved with. Mira just hopes that Naveen isn’t chased away by the very same life of “excitement” that she’s been trying to get away from. But maybe, over the course of one wild night, Mira and Naveen will find the love connection that neither expected.

Review: Partners in Crime is a romantic suspense novel that has a second chance romance and takes place in Las Vegas. This romance novel explores a jewelry heist, family drama. strained relationships, and troubled pasts. This was a fun  and suspenseful story! I loved that it was action-packed and the story kept my interest throughout. I didn’t see the twists coming which was a pleasant surprise. The only part I didn’t like was how a couple of things at the end were resolved so quickly when there was resentment or tension about it for years – I found that part to be odd. As for the audio, I thought the male narrator chosen was perfect. The female narrator was okay, but I found her voice to be a bit too whiny at times. This was a 3.5 for me, but I rounded up to 4 stars on GoodReads. I’d recommend picking Partners in Crime if you’re looking for a combo of mystery, suspense, and romance! 

Q3 Wrap Up

Time is flying by and I can’t believe we only have a few more months until 2023! Q3 just wrapped up so now it’s time to see how I’ve been doing with my reading goals. This quarter I took a look at my goals and decided to modify one of my goals so it would fit more with my reading tastes/mood.

GoodReads Challenge: Put at 1 for fourth year in a row to continue to enjoy what I read.

I’ve read 137 books this year so far. I surpassed books I read from 2017-2021 with the exception of 2019. I’m not going to pressure myself to surpass 2019, In terms of next year, I’m kind of debating putting a goal number, but at the same time, I like this pressure of not having to hit a specific number of books to read and that I can focus on reading whatever I like instead. Not giving myself a specific number has been freeing in a sense that I allow myself to DNF more and be more intentional with what I read.

Read more books from South Asian authors.

I’ve continued to average reading one book from a South Asian author each month. I love that I’ve been more intentional with this goal and I’ve discovered some great South Asian authors that I may not have went out of my way to look for. I’m thinking of continuing this goal for next year but we’ll see as I get closer to the end of the year.

Finish the rest of Jane Austen novels this year.

As of 9/2, I decided to only count the six completed novels from Jane Austen which does not include Love & Friendship. Because of the modification, I’m done with this goal. I learned my lesson about putting goal on reading classics. Classics are great, but they’re just not for me.

Review: Our Missing Hearts

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
Publisher: Random House
Pub Date: 10/4/2022

Thank you to PRH Audio for the free audiobook copy in exchange for my honest review. 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.

Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.

Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact.

Review: Our Missing Hearts is the third book I’ve read from Celeste Ng and one of my most anticipated reads. This contemporary/dystopian novel explores themes of injustice, community, legacy, and parent-child relationships. This book is pretty heavy and so heartbreaking. The author touches upon subjects of missing children, discrimination, abandonment, and hate crimes to name a few. The story is about a boy named bird is sets off on a quest to find out the truth about his mother and why she left. The writing style captured me from the first page and as I was reading, I had no idea where the story would take me. All the characters are flawed and yet my heart ached for what they had to go through. Highly recommend picking this one up if you loved Celeste’s previous books!

Review: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
Publisher: Berkley
Pub Date: 8/23/2022

Thank you to Berkley for the free finished copy in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

GoodReads Synopsis: As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

Review: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is a fantasy romance and the first book I’ve read from Sangu Mandanna. This fantasy romance book contains grumpy/sunshine trope and explores themes of belonging, found family, identity, and kindness. Overall, I enjoyed this book! This was a book that tugged my heartstrings. I really loved that the theme of found family was the main focus and the romance was secondary. I liked how the setting was a character in itself as well. This was the perfect witchy read to start spooky season! Highly recommend if you love witchy books with a dash of romance in them!