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?

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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! ♡

YALLWEST 2019

Santa Monica is known for its beach, pier, and seaside amusement park. On Saturday, May 4, however, the coastal city was home to the popular young adult and middle grade book festival known as YALLWEST. As the sister festival to the east coast’s YALLFEST, the event was full of games, panels, book signings, giveaways, and many more exciting activities.

This was my first year going, so it was hard to stick to any form of plan. There were so many things to see and do! My sister and I tried to visit every booth, but that was quickly proven to be impossible. Each booth was unique and had their own goodies to offer. Some had bookish merch giveaways, while others had ARCs. There was even an ice-cream truck to celebrate the release of a new summer read.

A lunch break was a must during the all-day event. There were so many options when it came to food trucks, but the In-n-Out booth was the winner. After grabbing our burgers, my sister and I found a table in the shade to enjoy our meal. It was there that we got to chat with another local book lover. We gave each other book recommendations and talked about which booths to visit.

Amidst all the chaos (the beautiful, totally amazing chaos), my sister and I were able to make it to one panel: How To Actually Write A Comic, The DC Way. It was definitely the right choice. The all-female panelist group included Danielle Paige, Gwenda Bond, Melissa de la Cruz, Lauren Myracle, Marguerite Bennett, and Shannon Hale. Full of honest advice and lots of laughs, it made me feel comfort that one usually only feels from talking with old friends.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on author signings. Luckily, I was able to personally meet Danielle Paige. She was so sweet and kind. I even got her to sign my copy of Mera: Tidebreaker!

Although we had to cut our day short due to a school commitment, my sister and I decided to make YALLWEST an annual tradition.

I loved the atmosphere and the kindness of everyone attending. If you get the chance, definitely take the time to experience YALLWEST. It just made my love for the book community grow. ♡

Book Review: The Princess and the Fangirl

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

Read (finished): May 8, 2019

Rating: ⭐ 5/5 stars

“Besides, you know what they say: Anything can happen once upon a con.” ~ The Princess and the Fangirl

The Princess and the Fangirl lived up to expectations as the second book in the Once Upon A Con series. I was worried that my love for Geekerella would only be limited to the one book, but my worries disappeared as soon as I read the first line. Without giving away spoilers, the story begins with a blog entry from a certain ‘Geekerella’ we all know well. The chapters for the rest of the book switches between the perspectives of Jess and Imogen.

Jess, also known as the famous Jessica Stone, was first introduced in Geekerella as Darien’s costar for the Starfield reboot. As the actress playing Princess Amara, she faces pressure from fans (and herself) to be perfect. The constant criticizing leads Jess to want nothing to do with the upcoming Starfield sequel, but not everyone is ready to accept Princess Amara’s departure.

Imogen has made it her personal mission to save Princess Amara from being killed off Starfield. She feels a connection to the character and refuses to let her go. With thousands of petition signatures, Imogen thinks she can change the fate of her favorite character. Especially, when the opportunity comes to swap identities with Jessica Stone for the weekend.

Sometimes we have to step into someone else’s shoes to see through the “glamor” filter. This book reminded me that life is never perfect, but we can come close by not comparing ourselves to others in order to be happy.

I definitely recommend reading this book, especially if you love fairytale retellings and geeky fandoms. Oh, and super cute romance…

Until next time, happy reading! ♡

Bookish Playlists: April 2019

It is the last Sunday of the month, so today’s post should come as no surprise. Although I only found it last week, this playlist wraps up my month perfectly.

Playlist: GEEKERELLA (Quirk Books 2017) (Ashley Poston)

My playlist choice for April is inspired by Ashley Poston’s modern-day Cinderella retelling, Geekerella. The soundtrack, created by the YA author herself, has just the right amount of “geek” and even includes a remix of “The Legend of Zelda” by Zedd. The lyrics and vibes of the songs immediately reminded me of the book, but the playlist can also be enjoyed without knowing the story.

New artists I was introduced to:

  • Vienna Teng
  • The Maine
  • Ashbury Heights
  • American Authors
  • Marianas Trench

Artists I recognized:

  • R5
  • Vampire Weekend
  • MIKA

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you like or dislike about this month’s bookish playlist choice. Until next time! ♡

Book Review: Geekerella

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad’s old costume, Elle’s determined to win – unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons – before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake – until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Read (finished): April 20, 2019

Rating: ⭐ 5/5 stars

“Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.” – Federation Prince Carmindor

Is it possible to join a made-up fandom? Because I am ready to completely devote myself to Starfield.

Cinderella retellings are my favorite (I stopped counting how many A Cinderella Story movie marathons I’ve had), but this one is different from the others. Geekerella is the perfect mix of nerd culture and fairy tale romance. Elle has loved the sci-fi series Starfield for as long as she can remember. She even has a blog dedicated to it. Living with her horrible stepmother and stepsisters, Starfield is also the one thing that makes her feel connected to her dad.

One day, Elle finds herself texting with a stranger, who turns out to be the one and only Darien Freeman. Darien, the male lead in the upcoming Starfield reboot, is a secret fan of the beloved sci-fi series. As a rising star, Darien struggles with hiding his true self from his fans in order to protect his image. Elle is the only one he can truly feel like himself with – even if it is over text.

Now, here comes something more squeal-worthy. Elle hates the actor Darien Freeman, and Darien hates the blogger (Elle) who is quick to assume he is just another heartthrob looking for money. Completely unaware of the other’s identity, the two begin to grow feelings for one another.

A story of romance and being true to yourself (geeks and nerds unite!), Ashley Poston’s Geekerella has easily become one of my favorite YA contemporaries.

Until next time, happy reading! ♡