Quarantine Memoir Challenge

I’ve been seeing this around Instagram and thought I’d attempt at the quarantine memoir challenge.

THE GREAT UNEXPECTED fell upon us and now we are living on this UNACCUSTOMED EARTH. I WONDER when we will be able to get back to living like NORMAL PEOPLE again.⁣

Now more than ever it’s great to see people sharing LOVE AND OTHER WORDS and reminding each other that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Though I’m staying at home, that hasn’t stopped me from having CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS virtually to help through these unprecedented times. It also helps that stores are temporarily making PLASTIC bags free in California (they’re usually 10 cents or we have to bring our own bags).⁣

I’ve been trying to stay positive, but I must CONFESS that sometimes it feels like our lives have been FOREVER, INTERRUPTED and there is NO EXIT from this quarantine. EVERY BREATH feels like a year and it feels like February was MAYBE ANOTHER LIFE. I’ve wanted to wander out into THE SIMPLE WILD, but DON’T LOOK FOR ME because I’ll be at home. IF ONLY I COULD TELL YOU the number of times I’ve seen people not take this pandemic seriously infuriates me. Remember that this is temporary and that only NECESSARY PEOPLE like essential workers should be out and it helps if the rest of us are at home for the time being. On a lighter note, I’ve learned quite more than what I’d like to know about my neighbors especially THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS 😂. ⁣

MAYBE SOMEDAY soon we will be able to enjoy THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS. We’ll look back at this and remember ALL THE UGLY AND WONDERFUL THINGS from this quarantine.⁣
-⁣

Review: One Month Only

One Month Only by Kate J. Blake
Publication Date: 2/19/2020

Disclaimer: I received a finished ebook copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: I’m a billionaire, I’m a chaser, I’m a wolf. I worked too hard to get where I am now, so I don’t need any distractions, especially the one called LOVE.

Don’t get me wrong, I love and enjoy sex, but all I need to do to have a fuck is to show a woman my Amex Black Card and let her hear my Italian accent and here we go: a one-night stand guaranteed.

Everything worked just fine for me until a chance meeting with her —Angelica Sorreno — when she came back into my life. She is like a strong, terrifying tsunami that blows everything in its way.
She asked me for help and I agreed, but only because we were friends, and not because I used to have feelings for her.

It’s just that…

I’ve made a mistake, a huge one: I’ve tasted her and she happened to have the most delicious pussy I’ve ever tried.

Now I don’t think I can let her go that easily.

Review: One Monthly Only is the first book in The Tuscany Night series and is debut by Kate J. Blake. It’s a quick light read that I finished in a day. It’s a nice palette cleanser to read if you’ve been reading heavy or intense books lately. It is a slow burn read so it felt most of the action happened at the end. Personally this book wasn’t for me. The story was cute, but I found the characters to be a bit too naive for my taste. I‘m not a fan of the cliffhangers at the end, but second book should be coming out soon so that’s great. I’d recommend this book if you love second chance romance and want something quick and light to read.

Rating: 3/5

Review: 11/22/63

11/22/63 by Stephen King
Publication: Gallery Books
Publication Date: 7/24/12

GoodReads Synopsis: Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

Review: If you had the power to go back and change a monumental event in American History, would you do it?

This is one of those rare instances where I watched the show, 11/22/63, on Hulu before I read the book. After binging the show, I knew I had to get my hands on the book. 11/22/63 is the second book I’ve read from Stephen King. When I first bought the book, I’m not going to lie that I was intimidated by it’s 800+ pages. What I found the most fascinating is that the premise focuses more on time travel, JFK’s assassination, and wasn’t as horror heavy as I anticipated. The strength that lies within the story that Stephen King executes well is ethical questions and the butterfly effect.

After reading the book and the TV show, I have to say that I liked the TV show much more which is super rare. As much as I loved the premise of the novel, I found the characters to be much more likable and to have more of a human element in the TV show. In the book, the characters, especially Jake, came off crass. However, I did find that I liked the explanation of time travel in the book which I felt the show rushed it a bit. I thought that the book could have been reduced by 300-400 pages as there were some scenes that seemed to ramble on and were unnecessary. I liked that the TV show cut to the point. I highly recommend reading the book and watching the show if you’re into time travel elements.

Rating: 4/5

Review: Girl Gone Viral

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai
Publication: Avon Books  
Publication Date: 4/21/20

Disclaimer: I received an advanced digital copy of this book from Avon Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

NetGalley Synopsis: In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a reclusive investor goes viral, shoving her into the world’s spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’s been pining for…

OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???

I don’t see any wedding rings

Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a random guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire encounter with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae has the world swooning. Going viral isn’t easy for anyone, but Katrina has painstakingly built a private world for herself, far from her traumatic past. Besides, everyone has it all wrong…that #CafeBae bro? He isn’t the man she’s hungry for.

He’s got a to die for.

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, offers his family’s farm as a refuge. Alone with her unrequited crush feels like a recipe for hopeless longing, but Katrina craves the escape. She’s resigned to being just friends with Jas–until they share a single electrifying kiss. Now she can’t help but wonder if her crush may not be so unrequited after all…

Review: Girl Gone Viral is the second installment of Modern Love series and the fifth book I’ve read from Alisha Rai. I have to say this may be my all-time favorite Alisha Rai novel to date! I adored the main characters. I love that Alisha continues to use a diverse set of characters in her contemporary romance novels. Beyond that, she brings deeply complex characters with different backgrounds and brings them together seamlessly. It’s also a delight to see characters from her previous books appear as well. I devoured this book in about two days! I really liked that Alisha shed light on the importance of mental health, PTSD, and when to ask for help. I can’t wait for her third book in the series to come out and I’m hoping it will be about Jia’s story! If you liked The Right Swipe or contemporary romance in general, I highly recommend picking up this novel!

Rating: 4/5

Review: Darling Rose Gold

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
Publication: Berkley
Publication Date: 3/17/2020

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from Berkley in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home. 

Review: This is the first book I’ve read from Stephanie Wrobel and definitely won’t be the last! This thriller is fast paced from the get go filled with unlikable characters. I liked the unreliable narrators and the alternating perspectives from Rose Gold and her mother, Patty. They have such a messed up relationship that it was interesting to see the past versus the presence and how they got to where they were. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, I highly recommend picking this one up!

Rating: 4/5 

Review: The Boyfriend Project

The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon
Publication: Forever
Publication Date: 6/9/2020

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from Forever in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon launches a new series about three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they’ve all been duped by the same man.

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

Review: This is my first time reading Farrah Rochon’s books. The Boyfriend Project is a start of a new series that takes place in Austin, Texas. This contemporary romance explores viral catfishing, successful females in tech, female empowerment, and friendship. What stood out to me the most in this book was the strong female friendships. I loved that the author expresses how important this is and how the book shows all the women to be strong and independent thinkers, but also shows their vulnerabilities. Daniel was also a great male counterpart to Samiah. I loved that the characters had dimension and tackled obstructions that seemed to be believable. Though I loved the characters and the plot line, I did feel that the story dragged on a little bit and the dialogue felt a little stilted at times. However, I am looking forward to the rest of the books in this series. If you love romance and are looking for something similar to Jasmine Guillory, I’d recommend checking out this one!

Rating: 4/5

Review: The Shape of Family

The Shape of Family by Shilpi Somaya Gowda 
Publication: William Morrow
Publication Date: 3/17/2020

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from William Morrow in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: The Olander family embodies the modern American Dream in a globalized world. Jaya, the cultured daughter of an Indian diplomat and Keith, an ambitious banker from middle-class Philadelphia, meet in a London pub in 1988 and make a life together in suburban California. Their strong marriage is built on shared beliefs and love for their two children: headstrong teenager Karina and young son Prem, the light of their home.

But love and prosperity cannot protect them from sudden, unspeakable tragedy, and the family’s foundation cracks as each member struggles to seek a way forward. Jaya finds solace in spirituality. Keith wagers on his high-powered career. Karina focuses relentlessly on her future and independence. And Prem watches helplessly as his once close-knit family drifts apart.

When Karina heads off to college for a fresh start, her search for identity and belonging leads her down a dark path, forcing her and her family to reckon with the past, the secrets they’ve held and the weight of their choices.

The Seekers is an intimate portrayal of four individuals as they grapple with what it means to be a family and how to move from a painful past into a hopeful future. It is a profoundly moving exploration of the ways we all seek belonging—in our families, our communities and ultimately, within ourselves.

Review: The Shape of Family is Shilpi Somaya Gowda’s latest book. I enjoyed Shilpi Gowda’s previous books, Secret Daughter and The Golden Son so I was really excited to read The Shape of Family. The Shape of Family was such a heartbreaking book. First and foremost, there are some trigger warnings to be keep in mind before reading this book: death of a loved one, suicide, toxic relationships, and depression. After reading the first 10% of the novel, I had to put the book down for a bit because it was so emotionally heavy. That first part of the book is important and I understand the intention behind it as it affects the storyline throughout the rest of the novel, however, there doesn’t seem to be much lightness after that. However, the author’s writing style is captivating from page one and is a page turner throughout the novel. There were a few scenes in the book that truly resonated with me. I admire the author for being able to write in a way that made me think of this book long after I read it. One of the reasons I gave this book a 3 star rating was because of the alternating perspectives and the character depth. I found the male perspectives, Keith and Prem, to be unnecessary. I felt that Jaya and Karina’s perspectives had the most depth and kept the story moving along. Personally, Secret Daughter is my all-time favorite so far. If you decide to read this book, I recommend to read the synopsis before you dive in so you can be emotionally prepared and know the trigger warnings in advance.

Rating: 3/5

Review: The Eighth Girl

The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung
Publication: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 3/17/2020

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from HarperCollins  in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: One woman, multiple personas. 

But which one is telling the truth? 

Beautiful. Damaged. Destructive. Meet Alexa Wú, a brilliant yet darkly self-aware young woman whose chaotic life is manipulated and controlled by a series of alternate personalities. Only three people know about their existence: her shrink Daniel; her stepmother Anna; and her enigmatic best friend Ella. The perfect trio of trust.

When Ella gets a job at a high-end gentleman’s club, she catches the attention of its shark-like owner and is gradually drawn into his inner circle. As Alexa’s world becomes intimately entangled with Ella’s, she soon finds herself the unwitting keeper of a nightmarish secret. With no one to turn to and lives at stake, she follows Ella into London’s cruel underbelly on a daring rescue mission. Threatened and vulnerable, Alexa will discover whether her multiple personalities are her greatest asset, or her most dangerous obstacle.

Electrifying and breathlessly compulsive, The Eighth Girl is an omnivorous examination of life with mental illness and the acute trauma of life in a misogynist world. With bingeable prose and a clinician’s expertise, Chung’s psychological debut deftly navigates the swirling confluence of identity, innocence, and the impossible fracturing weights that young women are forced to carry, causing us to question: Does the truth lead to self-discovery, or self-destruction?

Review: The Eighth Girl is Maxine Mei-Fung’s debut novel. This psychological thriller explores mental health (more specifically dissociative identity disorder or also known as multiple personality disorder), trauma, abuse, sexuality, and control. Overall, I found the storyline to be quite intriguing. I loved the alternative perspectives of Alexa and Daniel. For Alexa, it was interesting to learn about her multiple ‘selves’, how they interacted with one another, and how we are introduced to them throughout the book. For Daniel’s perspective, I found his psychiatrist and patient sessions to be most fascinating and learned a great deal. It was great to see how complex these characters were by diving into their pasts and seeing how it affected their present selves. I did find that I took my time with novel due to the nature of the content instead of speeding through books like I usually do. If you decide to read this book, I recommend to definitely read the synopsis before you dive in so you can be emotionally prepared and know the trigger warnings in advance if needed.

After I finished the book, I found out from the author that The Eighth Girl has been optioned by Netflix. Click here to learn more. I’m super excited to see that this book will be potentially a movie and can’t wait to see who they will cast!

Review: 5/5

Review: Break Your Glass Slippers

Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace
Publication: Andrew McMeel Publishing Paperback
Publication Date: 3/17/2020

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from Book Sparks in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: “more forgetting time. more midnight dances with yourself.”

amanda lovelace, the bestselling & award-winning author of the “women are some kind of magic” poetry series, presents a new companion series, “you are your own fairy tale” the first installment,break your glass slippers, is about overcoming those who don’t see your worth, even if that person is sometimes yourself. in the epic tale of your life, you are the most important character while everyone is but a forgotten footnote. even the prince.

Review: Breaking Your Glass Slippers is the first installment of You Are Your Own Fairytale. I was a fan of Amanda’s previous work so I was excited to hear about this new poetry collection. The concept of her poetry collection seemed intriguing. However when I read the actual material, I felt like this was similar to her poems in The Princess Saves Herself In This One. I was also a bit disappointed that the poetry collection wasn’t a retelling of Cinderella. The poems were nice and depicted female empowerment, but they didn’t have the depth I thought they would have. If you’re a fan of Amanda Lovelace’s poetry, you may like this collection.

Rating: 3/5

Review: My Dark Vanessa

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Publication: William Morrow
Publishing Date: 3/10/20

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from William Morrow in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

GoodReads Synopsis: Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

Review: Wow what an amazing debut novel from Kate Elizabeth Russell! The writing in this book was phenomenal. The author has such a way in her writing style where she pulls your heart out and puts it back, but it doesn’t feel the same. Though she does a great job tackling on controversial and sensitive topics, I definitely had to take my time with this book. There were times where the scenes evokes such emotions that I had to put it down and get back to it. Without giving too much away, it really made me think on a higher level what consent is, how sexual power is used, and what psychological grooming is, and what’s healthy and what’s not in relationships. This was such a resonating read that it left me in a book hangover. Though this was a 5 star read for me, I would recommend reading this book only if you read the synopsis above and feel that you are emotionally equipped to handle this.

Rating: 5/5