Bookish Playlists: July 2019

Hey everyone!

I cannot believe that July is already at an end. It feels like summer just started! Or maybe that’s because my June was filled with cloudy weather…

Playlist: Night Court II (cate.fenner)

Although I have not read A Court of Thorns and Roses yet, I fell in love with this playlist. It is the second in a series of Night Court inspired playlists by cate.fenner, and it makes for a perfect addition to a night of getting lost in your thoughts.

Some of my favorite songs from the list include:

  • Eyelids (Saro)
  • Closer (Lemaitre, Jennie A.)
  • Habits of My Heart (Jaymes Young)
  • Tied Down (Jaymes Young)

Until next time! ♡

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Bookish Playlists: June 2019

Hi everyone!

I have a little surprise for the June playlist. *drumroll*
Presenting… the first monthly bookish playlist by me!

Although this is not the first playlist I have created, this is the first one I am sharing on my blog. I usually like to add more songs to my lists as I find them, so you may or may not see changes to the playlist in the future.

Playlist: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins was one of my favorite reads for the month of June. The book whisked me away to the streets of Paris, and the romance between Anna and St. Clair drew me deeper into the story. While creating this playlist, I tried to encompass the romantic mood that is normally associated with the City of Love. I also thought about songs that directly reflected the characters and their backgrounds.

Do you have any suggestions? Leave a comment below! ♡

Book Review: American Panda

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

Read (finished): June 15, 2019

Rating: ⭐ 5/5

“It was a clashing of personalities and interpretations of cultures. How would my parents and I ever find a solution to this impossible mix of opposing ideals and desires?” – American Panda

Before I even finished the book, I knew this would be a 5-star read for me.

American Panda is about seventeen-year-old Mei, who struggles between being true to herself and being the perfect Taiwanese daughter. As her freshman year at MIT begins, Mei tries to enjoy her pre-med career path, but her heart is set on opening her own dance studio. As the secrets from her parents become too heavy to carry, Mei has to decide how she wants to live her life.

As an Indian-American, I have had the privilege of experiencing two cultures, but there are times where this makes life a little difficult to juggle. For example, my grandparents began to get “inquiries” about whether I was looking for a husband…right after my 18th birthday. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who are happy with getting married at that age. I am just not one of them. When I told my friends about it, only a few of them understood how I felt. They also just happened to be the ones in a similar situation.

As I read about Mei, it was hard not to relate. Luckily, my parents and I see eye-to-eye about a lot of things, but it still felt like I was looking into a parallel universe of what could have been my life. What if my parents held onto a different set of traditions? What if my sister and I were raised according to my grandma’s values? We all have different influences that shape our perspective, so I understand why not everything in the book reflected my own experiences. The book, however, never felt out of place.

Here is my warning to you: my review does not do the book justice. I like avoiding spoilers in my book reviews, which leads to vague descriptions and generic “I loved it!” statements. If you really want to know why Gloria Chao’s book is a treasure, you’ll just have to read it yourself.

Until next time, happy reading! ♡

P.S.- I wanted to express my opinion on the book by including some of my personal experiences. This is not a claim that all Asian-Americans live the same lifestyle. This is also not a claim that I hate my family because I love my family and would never trade places with someone else.

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s waiting for?

Read (finished): June 10, 2019

Rating: ⭐ 5/5

“How can I have been so stupid? How could I have ever for a moment believed I wasn’t in love with him?” – Anna, Anna and the French Kiss

When Anna is sent to a boarding school in Paris, she doesn’t know if she will ever move past the loneliness. Luckily, she meets a group of new friends…and St. Clair. Soon, Anna is exploring the city streets that she now calls home. As she navigates both old and new relationships, however, Anna learns that home can sometimes be a person.

Two days. It took me two days to finish this book (one day if my eyes could keep up). This book is just so cute and romantic!

Anna is an easy character to relate with (or at least for me). Thinking back to my high school years, I was always afraid of being adventurous on my own. Like Anna, I was scared of failure and embarrassment. Luckily, I had a group of supportive friends. Anna finds the same encouragement in her new group of friends, which leads to her own growth.

Another thing that stuck out to me was the lack of “fluff.” The obstacles that arise throughout the plot are all important and plausible. Some contemporary and romance books bring in too much drama, but Stephanie Perkins explores the deeper connections of navigating relationships. Without giving any spoilers, I liked how the book included the idea of communication being important in a relationship. Anna and St. Clair’s relationship is not the only important relationship in the story. Friendship and family ties are just as important, and both are affected by the presence of communication.

If you like traveling as much as I do, then read this book. The descriptions made me feel like I was actually walking down the cobblestone roads or watching movies at a vintage cinema. My cravings for Parisian pastries and desserts definitely doubled too.

Anna and the French Kiss was relatable, cute, and romantic. After falling in love with this book, I am excited to read Stephanie Perkins’s other novels.

Until next time, happy reading! ♡

Summer TBR: YA Romance

Hey book lovers!

With the end of the school-year and warmer weather just around the corner, my TBR book pile is calling my name. Aside from wanting to finish the Throne of Glass series, there are so many cute YA Romance novels I want to read.

Here are my top 5 for this summer:

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Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

This was actually recommended to me by one of my best friends, and it sounds like a good summer read. It’s about a girl named Lina who travels to Tuscany on her late mother’s request to get to know her father. While there, she finds her mother’s old journal and discovers the magic of Italy.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is one of my favorite YA Romance/Contemporary novels. I could really relate to the main character, Cath. When I first started college, I had a hard time adjusting to the new social environment. It was easy to isolate myself and not realize there was a problem. I first read Fangirl at the beginning of my third year in college, and I instantly saw the similarities. It helped me reflect on far I’ve come since my freshman year. Although I have already read this book, I think it’s time for a reread.

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Maybe This Time by Kasie West

I am so excited for this upcoming release from Kasie West! Maybe This Time follows Sophie Evans from event to event over the course of a year. While working with the local florist, Sophie can usually be found at every event or party in her small hometown. Add in the preppy son of the new chef in town, and you get unexpected romance.

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Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This one has been recommended to me since I was in middle school, so I am finally going to give it a try. Anna is less than thrilled to leave her life behind and spend her senior year at a boarding school in Paris. Then she meets the charming Étienne St. Clair.

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American Panda by Gloria Chao

Growing up in an Indian-American household, I was lucky that my parents were accepting of my dreams and interests. They understood that I might not want to become a doctor or lawyer or engineer. Not all my family members agreed, however. American Panda is about MIT freshman Mei facing the dilemma of following her heart or her parents’ plan for her life. I might not be Taiwanese, but I can understand the pressure that comes with living up to expectations. This book seems like it will be a relatable read for many Asian-Americans who struggle between their dreams and their parents’ wishes.

Do you like YA Romance books? Which ones do you plan to read this summer?

Book Review: Wicked Saints

(Note: Special edition copy from April 2019 OwlCrate)

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

Read (finished): May 15, 2019

Rating: ⭐ 5/5

Oh no, don’t mind me. My heart just shattered into a million pieces, but I can put it back together.

Emily A. Duncan’s Wicked Saints was elegant, dark and romantic! It was easy for me to fall in love with the characters, and the world-building reeled me in.

The chapters switch between Nadya and Serefin’s perspectives, showing the two sides of a centuries-long war. Nadya, who I immediately liked from the start, has the ability to speak to the gods. This power makes her the hope for her people – and a target. Enter in the enemy’s High Prince, Serefin. It was hard to see him as an enemy after reading his perspective, but that is all I will say on that matter. Without giving away spoilers, your heart will go through an emotional roller coaster regardless of who your favorite character is, so just get attached to whomever you like.

Speaking of heartache, that brings me to another important character – Malachaisz. If you fell in love with The Darkling, then you won’t be able to resist the mysterious Tranavian soldier and his secrets.

I do not recommend this book for younger readers because there are scenes of torture and self-harm. There is also a lot of blood, which is to be expected with the elements of blood mages and war.

Wicked Saints was different from my normal reads, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. Captivating from the beginning, I can’t wait for what happens next!

Until next time, happy reading! ♡

Bookish Playlist: May 2019

Hi everyone!

May is coming to an end, which means another month’s bookish playlist is revealed.

Playlist: Wicked Saints (Emily A. Duncan)

This month’s bookish playlist is inspired by Emily A. Duncan’s new debut novel Wicked Saints. Created by the author herself, the playlist captures the dark, romantic atmosphere created in the book. I love how the songs are a mix of languages because it helps better connect to the novel’s world-building. This playlist is different from the music I normally listen to, but it provided a nice change to my routine.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the playlist or any recommendations for future bookish playlists.

Until next time! ♡