Review of ‘The Epic Crush of Genie Lo’ by F.C. Yee

The Epic Crush of Genie LoThe Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A super funny action-adventure that involves Chinese Folklore, centering around the very modern, teenaged Genie Lo.
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Summary provided by publisher:
The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbors an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…
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Usually, I like to start off my reviews with the things I didn’t like, but when it comes to The Epic Crush of Genie Lo…I have nothing bad to say, because I absolutely loved this book!

–The Characters–
First, let’s talk about our MC, Genie Lo. I think that Genie will go down as one of my favorite heroines ever! She initially played the role of the stereotypical Asian teen, being the model student, and model daughter. But then, with the arrival of Quentin Sun, she’s suddenly thrust into a world in which Chinese Folklore is real, and something she just happens to play a major part of. But she’s still a teenage girl. So, cynicism and snark abound in her interactions with Quentin, which really had me cracking up at times. I really loved how she does grow more comfortable in her own way as the book goes on, and though there’s no mention of a book 2 on Goodreads (as of the last time I’d checked, that is), I really look forward to more Genie!

Now, for Quentin Sun, I won’t say much when it comes to exactly who he is, because you’ll just have to read to find out. But he’s so endearing, interesting, as well as super-funny, though his funniness stems more from his having to combat Genie’s snakiness. Again, I just loved their interactions together!!

–The Plot–
What an exciting, fantastical story! I know zilch when it comes to Chinese folklore, but the things that were introduced to me in this book were definitely super interesting! Genie’s strength, and the things she has to fight against really make for an even more exciting read!

–The setting–
It seems fitting that this book would take place in San Francisco, considering it is home to the oldest Chinatown in North America, and the largest Chinese enclave outside of Asia (I took this bit of info from Wikipedia, so hopefully it’s right, ha ha!). So, being that a lot of Chinese live in these parts, it’s the perfect place for Chinese monsters, and the like, to blend in, thus, the perfect setting for this fabulous book!

I think I’ve established by now, how much I absolutely loved this book, so obviously I will gladly recommend this book!!!

Thank you to Amulet Books via Netgalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘The Sunshine Sisters’ by Jane Green

The Sunshine SistersThe Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Contrary to the cover of this book…it did not evoke the feeling of a beach read for me.
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Summary provided by publisher:
Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine Girls are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy are all going through crises of their own, their mother s illness draws them together to confront old jealousies and secret fears and they discover that blood might be thicker than water after all.
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Honestly, it took me a long time to finish reading this one. Though I didn’t exactly hate it…I didn’t quite love it, either.

Let’s go ahead and start with the bad, first.

Ronni Sunshine, epitome of the Hollywood diva (though she never was quite the starlet she likely would have preferred), is also the matriarch of the family. Reading about her life and how she treated her children was painful, and all because of what a narcissistic person she is. God, I just really disliked her. I couldn’t stand reading the details of her tedious life, and could of cared less about her early years trying to become a breakout star, nor what she had to do in her attempt to get there.
Then, if I were to pick another person I didn’t like, it’d have to be Lizzie, the youngest of the Sunshine girls. She’s pretty much had everything handed to her because of her beauty, and the things she actually did earn due to talent? They seem a bit cheap because of her attitude and indifference when it comes to how she would treat others. She was just as despicable as her mother at times, and when she finally realizes how wrong she was about several things in her life, she pretty much thinks she can just take them back, as if she hadn’t abandoned them.

I’m not sure if this is supposed to be some “great family story”, where they lay aside their differences and hug it all out, because if it is, it did not leave me with happy, satisfied feelings. If you couldn’t tell by my last few paragraphs.

By now, you’re probably wondering, ‘why did you rate this three stars if you hated it so much?’

Because I didn’t hate it. Sure, I didn’t love it, but even though it took me forever to get through – and my dislike for Ronni and Lizzie – I was still curious about this family, and I still wanted to know how Meredith was doing in London, or how Nell was doing on her farm.

Oh, and as much as I hate saying it, a certain TMZ-side of me still had to know what was going on with Lizzie and her…”complications”. And yeah, I wanted to find out if there was a chance for redemption with it came to Ronni and the girls. Whatever.

As for recommending this book, if you’re a fan of Danielle Steele, you’ll probably like this, because it kind of reminded me of the few books I’d read of hers in the past.

Thank you to Berkley Books via NetGalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met RishiWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a cute, adorable, and fun read – can I use any more adjectives? – that I really enjoyed!

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Synopsis taken from publisher:

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
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When Dimple Met Rishi was a book that I had had on my radar for awhile. The fact that this was centered on two Indian-American teens with such different ideals when it comes to their culture?

Gimme Gimme!!

So, being that I am already a sucker for cutesy romances, I was really looking forward to see how Dimple and Rishi’s relationship would end up playing out.

Now, let’s start off by saying that Dimple and Rishi were fantastic characters. I enjoyed them both for their differences. Dimple is super independent, though her mother would love to see her embrace her culture more – mainly the part where she’d find the Ideal Indian Husband, that is. But Dimple’s goals are far different, and a husband is definitely not in the plans.
Then there’s Rishi, who definitely fits the Ideal Indian Husband description to a T. And he is more than happy to do the things that would make his parents proud, including marry the woman his parents have chosen for him. But still, he’s more than just being the ideal Indian guy, and it was cool seeing that he had something he really enjoyed outside of his parent’s expectations. (I won’t go into it, since you should be reading the book anyway.)

Anyway, when these two meet, it’s most definitely not love at first sight…course, it didn’t help that Rishi said, “Hello, future wife…I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!” On some girls, that might work, but on Dimple Shah (and most normal people)? Nope. And so comes into play the scene depicted on the back cover, of Dimple throwing a coffee in to Rishi’s face.

Of course, a moment in which Dimple is very much justified.

Though the first meeting went far from well, I really loved seeing the two characters get closer, as well as seeing them come to understand each other more. There’s definitely growth from both, and that does help make for a more interesting read!

Before I finish my review, I feel I should touch upon the fact that the two happen to be attending a summer program for aspiring web developers – something Dimple is very much interested in – and I think it’s a pretty cool setting that shows just how driven these characters are when it comes to getting what they both want. Though, Rishi’s end goal is a wee bit different than Dimples…

Finally, in conclusion, I really did enjoy this book and would be more than happy to recommend it!

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Mini Review of ‘Wake the Hollow’ by Gaby Triana 

Wake the HollowWake the Hollow by Gaby Triana

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary provided by publisher:

Forget the dead, Mica. It’s real, live people you should fear.


Tragedy has brought Micaela Burgos back to her hometown of Sleepy Hollow. It’s been six years since she chose to live with her father in Miami instead of her eccentric mother. And now her mother is dead.


This town will suck you in and not let go.


Sleepy Hollow may be famous for its fabled headless horseman, but the town is real. So are its prejudices and hatred, targeting Mica’s family as outsiders. But ghostly voices carry on the wind, whispering that her mother’s death was based on hate…not an accident at all. With the help of two very different guys—who pull at her heart in very different ways—Micaela must awaken the hidden secret of Sleepy Hollow…before she meets her mother’s fate.


Find the answers. 


Unless, of course, the answers find you first. 

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I really liked this book, and if not for a few annoying moments (mostly stemming from the fact that Micaela would be talking to either of her confidants — who would each tell her to not trust the other — and she’d basically be like, ‘okay, so I shouldn’t, like, trust him? Only you?’ It seemed to just go back and forth and she only ended up a nervous wreck with no idea what she should do), I probably would have rated this a five.

I loved the whole idea of merging the story of Sleepy Hollow with the life of the actual writer, Washington Irving to make for a creepy, somewhat ghostly, story. It wasn’t really scary, but that could be because I don’t scare easily, though I still liked the way the creepy scenes played out.

Anyway, back to the whole Sleepy Hollow/Irving aspect.
In this book, Irving plays a huge part in the history of Sleepy Hollow, having used it as the setting of one of his most famous works, and having his own personal history with the town itself, so it only makes sense Irving would have some secrets that would end up playing a huge part in the MC’s life, and the craziness of the town, right? Yeah, so there’s the usual things that comes with being in a small town. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone knows who the outcasts are. In this case, that would be Micaela, because she’s the daughter of the ‘town crazy’. I liked how well her role played out, because things made sense! They actually seemed plausible! I can’t really complain about a YA book that is actually pretty well written, can I?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and will be glad to recommend it!

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Review of ‘Toward a Secret Sky’ by Heather Maclean

Toward a Secret SkyToward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even the lush depictions of Scotland couldn’t bring me to fall in love with this book.
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Synopsis from publisher:
Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.
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This book had me torn when it came to actually decided whether or mother I liked it. The idea this book is centered on is pretty cool, what with there existing a secret organization to keep us lowly ones safe, as well as the promise of some code-breaking. But the “romance” (I cringe even thinking of it) is so ridiculous to me, that it played a large part in why I disliked this book.

Why don’t I first start with the good?

Call me cheesy, but I loved the idea of the American girl having to start over in a foreign country. Living with family she doesn’t know, maybe she’ll be able to find out more about the father she’d never known, and explore the Scottish countryside as well. And of course, she’ll fall for the handsome some of a Scottish laird, and the two will live happily ever after – once all conflicts and whatnot are cared for, of course.

The whole ‘secret codes and mysterious organization’ thing was an interesting part of the story, too. The former actually ended up playing only a small part unfortunately, but I did feel that it was well done and more clever than I could have been, attempting to crack a riddle-like code.
When it comes to the mysterious organization, we do get an explanation of its existence, as well as learning of some of its members, but again, those moments are seldom, and I wish we could’ve gone deeper into its missions or pretty much anything interesting, really.

So…now on to the bad/annoying.

I usually am the biggest sucker when it comes to romance, typically loving even the super cheesy stuff, but Maren‘s infatuation/instalove when it comes to Gavin is so ridiculous! When she first meets him, she swoons, falling to her knees because he’s so good-looking. Then, whenever she’s in his presence, all she can think about is how hot he is, yadda yadda. This goes on for pretty much the whole book, to the point where I was actually cringing at her excessive descriptions.
Honestly, the “romance” was one of the worst things I had to deal with when reading this book.

Finally, when the book seems close to having a satisfying wrap-up, we’re given more conflict, and something terrible happens in Maren’s life. This terrible thing bothered me because I didn’t really feel it had to have happened, and of course it leads to more terrible things and me hating the last 2o% of this book. I’m guessing that the way this book ended, there’s going to be a book 2, though I hadn’t seen anything listed on Goodreads. Seriously though, if there isn’t a book 2, I’m going to really hate this book even more in the future.

I’ll only recommend this if you can get past the annoying instalove and really would like to read a book that has mentions of secret organizations and codes.

Thank you to the publishers at Blink via NetGalley for giving this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review Of ‘Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault (Glass Vault, #1) by Candace Robinson

Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault (Glass Vault, #1)Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very interesting story that could have been better with some additional editing.

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Synopsis taken from publisher:

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?

A book that intertwines horror elements and retellings, with humor and darkness.
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Okay, so first, let’s talk about the things that bothered me.

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The writing.

The writing isn’t horrible by any means, but I feel like this book really could have benefited from some additional editing to improve the flow of the story. Perrie is the MC/narrator, and she was constantly telling us what was going on, as opposed to describing. It was like she was dictating events to a jury, so it did get to be a little much.
Then there was the strange wording that was sprinkled throughout, another thing that could have used some editing. I had already used this example in a status update on my Goodreads, but here it is, August reaches over, and with his hand he pulls apart mine that are clasped. It sounds so weird, and brought to my mind the spoof movie, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, which has a moment in which a character tells his mafia don-like boss, “I will take these cotton balls from you with my hand and put them in my pocket.” (I love the movie, which is why I couldn’t help but remember the line). So the strange wording threw me off a bit, and that did come to mind when I was rating this things.

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Maisie and her stinkin’ eye patch.

Perrie’s cousin and best friend Maisie had and endless supply of homemade eye patches, and did she need them? No, she was wearing them in solidarity with people who only had one eye. Right… When it comes to unique fashion, I could care less, usually, but I couldn’t help but think of the long-term damage that was likely happening to her eyesight. She also drove Perrie to and from school everyday, which seems like it’d be dangerous, but what do I know? I’m just basing this off the fact that she really did have 20/20 vision, but chose to wear a patch for the fashion aspect, and not out of real necessity. So yeah, ridiculous.

And finally:
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Perrie and August’s “relationship”:

August is another person Perrie labels as her best friend, and throughout the story, we’re seeing Perrie describe how she’d started looking at him differently, and in a more romantic way. But as I read it, I felt like it just didn’t make sense, and didn’t like these moments at all. Theirs was not a relationship I cared to read about.

Now, for the good.

I really enjoyed the story itself, and loved the horror aspect of it. Once we get to the real action, it’s so good! There are several well-known stories that are intertwined with the plot, and I really enjoyed how they each played out, as well as the author’s added touches to these stories, making them a bit more morbid or just plain interesting than the originals.
And can we talk about the fact that there aren’t many horror stories in YA, so how cool is it that this book really is centered on it?! I am such a fan of horror, so when I saw the ‘horror’ tag, I knew I had to read it!

Finally, that ending!!! It really surprised me, and now I need to know what happens next, so I definitely will need to read the next book!

Will recommend for fans of horror; just be mindful of a slow start, cause once you get further into the story, it’s definitely worth it!

Thank you to Candace Robinson via NetGalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘The Truth About Happily Ever After’ by Karole Cozzo

The Truth About Happily Ever AfterThe Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pure fluff that involves a princess who simply wants her happy ever after
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Synopsis from publisher:

Chin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.

A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in this contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa’s perfect summer falls apart.

Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her friend Miller’s support, she’s determined to prove that she’s more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she’s finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she’s ready for something real.
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I was a bit conflicted when it came to actually rating this book, cause I liked it, but then at the same time, I found aspects of it to be super annoying.

To begin with, Alyssa, the MC, is an theme park princess who is very dedicated to her job. I liked that her dedication wasn’t superficial, but because she genuinely loves her job and takes pride in giving the park visitors a great experience: so, while I can’t fault her in that, I will say that I found her expectations when it came to her prince charming to be pretty ridiculous.

Alyssa’s boyfriend – her prince charming – A.K.A. Jake, pretty much bothered me from the moment he first walked up onto the page. Alyssa is so excited for his arrival after having parted ways the previous summer, but he proves to be indifferent towards her feelings, and there are just so many sketchy moments, that I’m surprised it takes so long for Alyssa to recognize them…but then again, she does believe it’s love with this guy… Still, I just couldn’t get over how she continued to push her suspicions away.

But fortunately, we have Miller.

Miller makes things right.
His role in this book proves that sometimes your prince charming is the one you might least suspect. Cheesy, yes, but it’s so true in this case. He’s a real sweetie, and though his moments are few at first, his role does grow, as well as his friendship with Alyssa.

So, yeah, cute and cheesy.

Moving on…

The story progression was a bit slow at first, which had me bored for a good portion of it, and then the ending itself felt a bit rushed. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good ending – but considering how slow the pacing was, I was surprised things accelerated so quickly towards the end.

Anyway, weird progression aside – as well as things annoying me in general – I liked this book well enough, and will recommend it if you’re looking for a sweet and cheesy contemporary read.

Thank you to Swoon Reads via Netgalley for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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