Hi all! Sandhya Menon's next book, Of Curses and Kisses, is out next month! Yay! I and many other bloggers/booktubers on her street team are participating on the blog tour for the book, featuring reviews, Q&A's, movie castings, and many other creative posts. The tour runs from February 4th through the 25th, so I'm posting here a schedule for the tour in advance so that come February, you'll know exactly where to go! I've linked to these bloggers' homepages, so you'll have a chance to check them out right now. Booktuber's links go to their landing pages as well. Enjoy!
*tour header by Rameela (@stars.brite on Instagram)*
Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
Tweet Cute is an adorable, modern enemies-to-lovers romance that’s sure to hook any contemporary reader. Its charming, tropey storyline and classic plot full of heart had me from the very first page. I loved the Twitter war, the anonymous chat app, and all the little things about watching Jack and Pepper fall in love.
Jack and Pepper were such well-developed characters who complemented each other perfectly. Pepper is an over-achieving superstar, with top grades and extracurriculars… but is also funny, down to earth, and loves desserts. Jack helps run his family deli in between swim practices and self-pity over his “golden child” twin brother. These two had the wittiest conversations and text chats, while also feuding on Twitter via corporate accounts for their family businesses. Their chemistry was amazing. Pepper and Jack knew each other so well, even when they were just starting to become friends. I’m honestly so jealous of their relationship and ability to cut to the core of what was bothering the other person. The way they connected is so innately realistic as well, showing the joy of finally getting to know someone you’ve been around for years.
All of the characters made this novel shine, but I especially loved Pepper. I think she’s the most relatable character to me in some aspects, and I had so much sympathy for her plights. She struggled to balance her school life, baking blog, and friends with her mother’s demands, and I constantly hoped that she would find balance. Once she lets down her guard she starts to enjoy her senior year more, make some new friends, and realize there’s more to life than working, I saw her light up on the page. I also appreciate her struggle to keep her family together and being a go-between for her mom and sister who no longer speak. That takes a toll on her energy and is a source of frustration throughout the novel.
The plot is equally adorable. Tweet Cute is a modern “You’ve Got Mail,” with Jack and Pepper acting as rivals while falling in love over a chat app. Their antics were so amusing, and I had so much fun watching them up the ante on their feud. Of course, the emotional and familial components to the story tie in perfectly, with neither Jack nor Pepper missing out on their fair share of family drama. Luckily, they find each other—though they don’t find that out until much later. The tension between Pepper and Jack wondering who the person on the other end of the app is while simultaneously but unknowingly growing close in person drew me in. I wanted them to figure it out from all the dropped hints, but I also thought it fun to read about them (especially Pepper) wondering who it was.
The Twitter war, however, is my favorite plot point. It’s the hook of the novel, giving insight into the difference between running a small business and a big corporation, and the families behind both. Pepper and Jack go to bat for their restaurants armed with memes and witticisms, and their over-the-top challenges got a laugh out of me, keeping me on my toes! The combination of this humor and the romance gripped me throughout the novel.
Lastly, Pepper and her sister Paige connect over a baking blog they run, and seriously, with all the food talk, Tweet Cute made me so hungry! From Grandma’s Grilled Cheese to Monster Cake and Kitchen Sink Macaroons, I *need* a recipe book stat! I love books that connect to real world fun, but in this one I hope hard copies contain recipes, because I think this needs to be an interactive activity!
My one bug is that I think some of the cultural references will date Tweet Cute quickly. Two, five, seven years from now, will we be interacting with media culture in the same ways Tweet Cute expects readers to understand? It’s a very specifically timed novel, and time will tell whether these quirks and specific late 2010’s in-jokes will age well. However, this is such a subjective issue that I decided not to let it affect my overall rating.
Tweet Cute earned 5 stars from me because of its sharp ideas and originality. This has to be one of the cutest new romances I’ve read in a while, and you should check it out!
Hi all! So excited to be on the Blog Tour for Spellhacker by M.K. England, an electric sophomore novel that you need on your TBR. Visit the rest of the tour here, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page!
The Book and its Author
In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource.Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.
Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.
But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.
M.K. England is an author and YA librarian who grew up on the Space Coast of Florida and now calls rural Virginia home. When they’re not writing or librarianing, MK can be found drowning in fandom, rolling dice at the gaming table, digging in the garden, or feeding their video game addiction. They love Star Wars with a desperate, heedless passion. It’s best if you never speak of Sherlock Holmes in their presence. You’ll regret it.
THE DISASTERS is their debut novel. Follow them at www.mkengland.com.
The stakes are high in this action-packed novel about a group of friends trying to save their home—and possibly the world. I loved Spellhacker’s group cast and magnetic tension in combination with the magical world it introduces.
Cast: Diz, Remi, Ania, Jaesin.
Diz: Kind of a jerk to her friends at all times, but England wrote her narration so sympathetically at all times that I couldn’t help but feel constantly sorry for her. Communication! It’s important! Especially with the friends you don’t want to leave!
Remi: Totally adorable. I just love them. Remi works with maz naturally as a spellweaver, and I loved the scenes where they got to make spells and use maz because I truly felt like I was right there, watching it come to life.
Ania: Techwitch. Rich. Mom friend. I fell so hard. She’s the one to take care of Diz, saving her in the very first scene, but also a powerful force if she’s angry.
Jaesin: I wish we got to see more of him! As Diz says, he has the most “mundie skills,” which means cooking and fighting, but he’s also fiercely protective and fun.
All of the characters are so well-rounded and wonderfully characterized! They are wonderful additions to the YA heist book canon, and I wish the book had been a little bit longer so I could have spent more time with all of them. I also wonder if switching POV’s would have been beneficial to the reading experience? We spend the whole book with Diz, and a lot of the emotions start to become repetitive as she spends most of the book in the same headspace, which can be articulated in a limited number of ways. I’d love to see what the others made of their situations, and how that would have impacted the storytelling. England is a great writer, so this definitely could have added to the book’s quality.
As much as I loved reading about the gang’s hijinx in Kyrkarta, my favorite part of Spellhacker was learning about the world. As explained in the blurb, magic (maz) is a commodity used by many citizens, but its availability is limited since the plague. I love an evil corporation, like we see in The Last Dragonslayer, one of my favorite books, and Spellhacker definitely takes us there with Maz Management. This bureaucratic realism adds a layer of ironic humor to the action.
Maz itself is an intriguing concept as well. Different strains glow different colors, and description throughout helps the reader visualize how Remi and Anya manipulate coils of it to create spells, including fun ones like playful animal replicas and dangerous ones such as firebombs. The glossary at the front of the book explains the different categories, and I found that helpful to refer back to. I liked the well-defined limits of the system, which showed the difference between the specifically digital abilities such as Diz’s hacking, and the magical abilities like Remi’s spell weaving.
Overall, I’d give Spellhacker 4/5 stars and encourage y’all to read it ASAP!
How are y'all? I feel like I haven't posted one of these in months, even though my trip out to Porter Square Books was just one week ago. This week I am reading Jane Anonymous, which was kindly sent to me by Wednesday Books, and The Phantom Tollbooth for a children's literature class I'm taking. I'm so glad to be returning to this old favorite, and you're sure to see it pop up on my bookstagram soon when I get my own copy! Later, I plan to finally start reading One of Us is Next and Just Breathe, so I can't wait until I have some free time.
That's my reading life... in other news... nothing. I'm trying to rid myself of stress by eating healthy, exercising, and drinking lots of water. Hopefully this will lead to better sleep and a balanced life! I walked on a treadmill today for half an hour, and I hope to be able to do so every day. Everyone who knows me was shocked when they found out, because I'm not usually an active person... but there's hope yet for me!
What are some of your self-improvement plans?
I'm back today on the Blog Tour for Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson, a new novel out this week from Harlequin Teen! Check out the other tour stops here, and stop by my Instagram to see the bookstagram tour and its participants! At the bottom of this page, after my review are my favorite quotes and a great giveaway for you to enter as well.
The Book and its Author
Adam Moynihan’s life used to be awesome. Straight As, close friends and a home life so perfect that it could have been a TV show straight out of the 50s. Then his oldest brother died. Now his fun-loving mom cries constantly, he and his remaining brother can’t talk without fighting, and the father he always admired proved himself a coward by moving out when they needed him most.
Jolene Timber’s life is nothing like the movies she loves—not the happy ones anyway. As an aspiring director, she should know, because she’s been reimagining her life as a film ever since she was a kid. With her divorced parents at each other’s throats and using her as a pawn, no amount of mental reediting will give her the love she’s starving for.
Forced to spend every other weekend in the same apartment building, the boy who thinks forgiveness makes him weak and the girl who thinks love is for fools begin an unlikely friendship. The weekends he dreaded and she endured soon become the best part of their lives. But when one’s life begins to mend while the other’s spirals out of control, they realize that falling in love while surrounded by its demise means nothing is ever guaranteed.
Abigail was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snowstorms for year round summers, and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip (in a purple spiral bound notebook that she still has)and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen, but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high school production ofCinderella, and becoming a published author.
Review and Favorite Quotes
Every Other Weekend is a romantic coming-of-age story about split families, loss, and two teens learning to love and be loved. However, the length of the book and execution of several of the plot lines irked me, which has unfortunately lowered my rating.
I want to pause here and say that although I had my difficulties with Every Other Weekend, I am rating it 3/5 stars and saying, “it’s not you, it’s me.” I believe there’s a book for everyone, and this could be yours, so give it a chance!
Hi all! I'm posting this Tuesday's Two so late you'll probably see it on Wednesday, but that's okay! I wanted to share the most exciting parts of my day, which actually happened this evening.
I made a spontaneous trip out to Porter Square Books to attend Karen M. McManus's launch event for One of Us is Next, the thrilling sequel to One of Us is Lying! I love love love YA mystery, so I knew I had to go get this book as soon as possible (being at the launch is a fun bonus!) so I could devour it like I do all of McManus's mysteries. The event was amazing, moderated by Rory Power (author of Wilder Girls, one of my favorite books of 2019), and included a fun truth or dare portion as well as a q&a. I highly recommend going to author events if you're able! They're a great way to meet other booklovers and pose some questions to authors if you're a writer as well.
While I was there, I saw Just Breathe by Cammie McGovern on the shelf and I had to "treat myself" (or maybe treat myshelf?). I found out about this novel through EpicReads' First Five, so I was able to read the first five chapters through them and they hooked me! I also love the illustrated cover--the paper crane is so pretty, and the black background gives it all a little pop. All in all, it was a great day, and I'm eager to cozy up and read my new picks (Hopefully soon. Hopefully in this century. Agh, my TBR!)
Happy Tuesday everyone!
Aaaaaaahhh!!! I'm so excited to be on the blog tour for Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen. I've got a review for you here today, and you can click here for more stops on the blog tour. Just don't forget to enter the fabulous giveaway down below as well!
The Book and its Author
When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to studyMandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.
Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.
Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?
Abigail was born in West Virginia to a family of immigrants: Her mother is from the Philippines and her father from Indonesia, and her grandparents emigrated to those countries from Fujian and Shandong provinces in China.
Abigail grew up in Ohio and graduated from Harvard University and Columbia Law School. She worked in Washington DC for the Senate, as a law clerk for a federal judge, and now in Silicon Valley in venture capital and artificial intelligence. She also earned her Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
In her spare time, she enjoys long walks with her husband and two boys, and hanging out with friends and over 100 family members in the Bay Area. She loves music and dances to it when no one is watching.
Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club and Inkyard Press for sharing a copy in exchange for my honest review!
“Our cousins have done this program,” Sophie whispers. “Best kept secret. Zero supervision.”
And just like that, Ever Wong’s summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, snake-blood sake flows abundantly, and the nightlife runs nonstop.
But not every student is quite what they seem:
Ever is working toward becoming a doctor but nurses a secret passion for dance.
Rick Woo is the Yale-bound child prodigy bane of Ever’s existence whose perfection hides a secret.
Boy-crazy, fashion-obsessed Sophie Ha turns out to have more to her than meets the eye.
And under sexy Xavier Yeh’s shell is buried a shameful truth he’ll never admit.
When these students’ lives collide, it’s guaranteed to be a summer Ever will never forget.
Loveboat, Taipei is an absolutely unforgettable novel about family, friends, and how to grow up without losing touch with yourself. Everything was absolutely perfect, and I can’t wait for everyone to read this book.
Ever, our main character, was a fantastic narrator. She’s full of spirit and newfound independence (which comes back to bite her in some ways, but bolsters her in others), and she’s ready to explore Taipei and make the most of her summer program, despite wanting to enjoy her last summer back home. She is resilient, always helping her friends, and so full of forgiveness it astounds me.
Family is a big part of Ever’s life: she’s got overbearing parents who want her to go to medical school despite her queasiness around blood and dreams of being a dancer, and she plans to fulfill their expectations and make them proud. To do what her dad couldn’t and become a doctor in the United States. In talking about Ever’s family, Loveboat, Taipei explored life in an immigrant family—the unfamiliarity with a faraway homeland and culture, but still not being considered fully American and regaining any status held from one’s past. The novel hits these notes perfectly in a stirring portrait of Ever, a daughter trapped under her parents expectations.
I also loved Ever’s friendships at Chien Tan. Sophie, Rick, Xavier, and the army of side characters were each well developed and full characters of their own right. Seeing this kind of group cast in a contemporary novel is fun to read, because each character has a chance to come into their own as the main character does. Loveboat, Taipei is a novel about defying expectations and growth, which comes across clearly in each of their journeys, not only Ever’s.
The romances were so adorable as well! I didn’t love the love triangle at first, but the resolution was satisfying and I enjoyed the ending (even if the epilogue felt trite). Rick was considerate and thoughtful, always taking care of Ever. Xavier had surprising depth, which was nice—it’s always neat to see a “playboy” character not be reduced to a stereotype. Wen gave each of them importance and backstory which added to the plot outside of their relationships with Ever.
The setting in Taipei was new to me, and the descriptions and cultural outings (both program sanctioned and, *ahem*, extracurricular) helped me learn more about the city and culture. I think it’s neat that Loveboat is based on a real cultural immersion program. It gave the novel a distinct real-world connection.
Wen writes with mastery, weaving a variety of themes and creating an intricate story that will tug at the heartstrings of any reader, no matter what genre you usually prefer. 5/5 stars, and one of my favorite reads of 2019. Definitely recommend!
Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! I want to use this space today to talk about my reading goals for 2020. Maybe you've seen my 2019 reading wrap-up, or maybe you haven't scrolled down yet. Either way, two things to know: I read a lot in 2019. I want to read more in 2020.
I haven't decided on a number yet for my GoodReads challenge, but I know how I want to fill it. I want to fill it with books that will make me happy. As we saw way back in 2018, I'm a mood reader and terrible at filling assigned reading challenges, so I'm going to set simple challenges for myself. They are twofold:
What are your reading goals for 2020? Let me know below, and I'll give you a shoutout next week!
It's been quite a year for reading in 2019! I finally reached my goal of 150 books after a long slump in November-December. I almost didn't finish, but a couple unexpected library holds pushed me over, and I couldn't be happier. This is my fourth year of successfully completing my GoodReads challenge, and I look forward to the fifth.
Here's some data that GoodReads collected and showed me:
The most popular book I read was The Great Gatsby, and the least popular was Loukas and the Game of Chance (which I reviewed here).
My average rating is 4.2 (wow! I'm generous! Or maybe I just know how to pick books I'll like)
In January 2019, the first book I reviewed on GoodReads was Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. The first book I reviewed here is History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. My last review of the year, from last Monday, is Reverie by Ryan La Sala.
In 2019 I read 150 books, and 50 of them earned five stars. I guess I had ridiculously good luck this year, and I hope it carries through to 2020! Here's the complete list. These are just books I've read in 2019, not only ones published in the past year, and they're in reverse chronological order to match the blog feed. All my reviews will be linked, and I'll also do a short gallery of my favorite covers at the bottom! I strongly recommend all of these books, and I hope you'll choose a couple for your 2020 backlist TBR!
Hey, I'm Shreya! I love to read, write, travel, and drink coffee.