I Belive in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo | Book Review

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Title: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: BYR
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

What I thought

Do you guys ever just read a book that FILLS YOU WITH ALL OF THE FEELS AND JUST ENRAPTURES YOU AND TAKES YOU HOSTAGE UNTIL YOU BINGE READ THE HECK OUT OF IT? Well, for me that's what I Believe in a Thing Called Love was. Once I started, I couldn't stop. It was like finding a good k-drama during summer break. Incidentally, this book is about a girl using k-dramas to get the boy. Which I'm all about and thinking about implementing in my own life, because damn I could use some k-drama magic in my life.

Desi's and my love life before implementing the k drama magic. okay, still my love life. Also, is it cheating if this is technically a Japanese drama?

What's so great about this book, you ask. Well, friends let me tell you all about it. First off, Desi is lovable and awkward and flails (flirting fails) as much as I do, which gives her instant likability points. She's also a major nerd. What a dork. She also has this beautiful and loving relationship with her Dad, who is as obsessed with k dramas as I am. Boy, I wish my own Dad was that invested in k dramas*.  Not only that but her relationship with her friends was super cute and they were like real life friends. I wanted to hang out with them. They were very #squadgoals, just like the Healer super team.

*he's more into obscure corruption shows with twisted characters and not that fond of romance, but we can't all be perfect.

Then there was the actual romance itself, which was adorable and weird and very quirky. Desi and Luca don't seem to make much sense on paper, but they're both dorks. Don't let Luca fool you with the whole artist thing. Much like the k drama main lead he is a dork in hiding. Their romance was so well executed and just very cute. I also loved that throughout the whole getting the boy process there were drama references a plenty. I had a moment every time a k-drama was mentioned. As for the k-drama steps to finding true love there were some actual very k-drama-esque moments in the book. WHICH I LOVED, OF COURSE!

Now, if you're not a fan of k-dramas* this book is still for you. It's a cute contemporary with a huge heart. It's quirky and fun and watching Desi grow into herself and in a relationship was such an experience. There's also Luca, who also undergoes incredible character development. It's a read that's perfect for the summer for how honest and kind of ridiculous and funny and just feel-good it is. Besides, you can always get started on the path to k-drama fan. It's a sweet life, I promise.

*first, WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR FREE TIME???? Second, why would you not be???? Third, go watch one now.

come join us, you'll have fun
Have you read this book, if so did you LOVE IT SO MUCH YOU COULD BURST INTO EMBARRASSING AEGYO? If not, do you think you'd like to? Last, do you have any k-drama recs (or book recs) you would like to share?

Trusting You & Other Lies by Nicole Williams | ARC Review

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Title: Trusting You & Other Lies
Author: Nicole Williams
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Children
Publication Date: June 20th, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Nicole Williams delivers a seductive summer romance worth swooning over. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins. Phoenix can’t imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years—do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better? On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum—the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he’s impossible to figure out—and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he’s promising Phoenix a summer she’ll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?

What I thought

  I requested this book because it's summer and I'm in the mood for all of the light contemporaries this world has to offer (my bank account can be a witness to this fact) and so when I saw this book over at Netgalley, I figured, hey why not? Now that we've all established that I'm romantically frustrated we can move on to my thoughts on this book.

I liked this book, but I wasn't the biggest fan. It was enjoyable and light and all those things I was expecting to, but I wish it had been just that. Instead the book tried to mix in some class issues (which handled correctly I wouldn't have minded) and I wasn't the biggest fan of the way they were handled and I also wished the family topic had been deeper and gone over in more detail**. At times, the characters felt too written* and they did very out of character things. It wasn't very consistent, which irked me. That being said, I felt like the ending was too rushed and the character development too abrupt and again, it just irked me.

*does this make sense? like they weren't real people and you could tell they were fictional and it just sort of rubbed me the wrong way
**I live for them touching family scenes and I wish this book had had more of those.

It is a cute contemporary book and it does tell the story of a girl and a boy and how they become better people because of each other, and usually I'm down for that, but I couldn't really get into Phoenix's and Callum's relationship. MY heart just wasn't in it. I did not feel the butterflies. I only smiled like once when they were together and it was because it involved sort of sexy times and I was in a car with my parents, which made me feel like I was twelve and secretly reading about sex.

All in all, this book was enjoyable and a fast read but I wasn't the biggest fan. I didn't squeal and I wasn't all that invested in the characters or the story and I just wish it had been more. It had potential, but in my opinion, it fell kind of short.

Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin | ARC Review

Friday, June 9, 2017
Title: Aftercare Instructions
Author: Bonnie Pipkin
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

In the tradition of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, a big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen's decision to end an unwanted pregnancy “Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything. As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage. This powerfully immersive and format-crushing debut follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.

What I thought

To be honest with you, I requested this book because the cover looked awesome and because I'm always down for some coming-of-age type stories. Then, upon reading the synopsis and finding out it's a book about a girl dealing with the repercussions of an abortion I decided it to just dive in and read it. I've got to say I wasn't disappointed and quite enjoyed this book. 

The book opens up with Genesis being left at a Planned Parenthood by her boyfriend Peter. Reasonably, I detested Peter for just leaving her there at first. However, by the end I came to understand some of his motivations. He, after all, came from a deeply religious family and he was dealing with the abortion his own way. Was it a crappy way? Yes, but it was his way. There's no right or wrong way to react, I should think. Genesis, on the other hand, I found likable and unlikable at the same time. Odd combination, I know. There were moments where I couldn't stand her and found her selfish and others were my heart went out to her. As for the rest of the cast, they were all colorful in their own way and I would have liked a little bit more character development for their part.

As for the writing itself, I was expecting some Jandy Nelson vibes based on the synopsis, but it wasn't really like that. Pipkin has her own style and it's not as poetical as Nelson. This is in no way bad, just not what I was expecting. The book itself is told in prose and play format (which I wasn't expecting but liked) with the present being told in prose and the flashbacks being told in play format. I would have liked a little bit more of the whole theater aspect of the book to be explored more, too. However, there were some really gorgeous passages of writing in the book and I enjoyed Gen's voice.

Over all this was a very enjoyable contemporary about the what to do in the face of being hurt by various thins: family, friends, relationships, and ultimately an abortion. I wouldn't call it a book about abortion, but rather a book about a girl who went about finding herself after being confronted with so much hurt.

There Can Never Be Enough Cuteness! | Top Ten Tuesday

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
It's no secret I'm a lover of all things cute and cheesy and whatnot. I blame all those child telenovelas I used to watch* when I was like five. So, for today's Top Ten Tuesday I'm going to talk all about the delightful cute contemporaries I've added to my TBR recently BECAUSE THERE CAN NEVER BE ENOUGH CUTENESS!

*If you're still not over Daniela Lujan replacing Belinda in Complices al Rescate hmu

1. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo

This book is about an awkward Korean-American girl who decides to use kdrama tropes to get the boy. It sounds super hella cute and it has kdramas and those are two of my favorite things on this Earth. Not only that, but the main character is Korean-American, so it gets points for diversity. It's also a book written by an author of color. This book is just winning all around and if doesn't sound like something you would want to read WHY DO YOU HATE ALL THINGS CUTE IN THE WORLD LIKE PUPPIES AND KDRAMA TROPES AND CHEESY ONE LINERS? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU????*

*was that one too many caps? NO SUCH THING!

2. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

This book is about two people who hate each other. Like really hate each other, and when they're up for the same promotion the sexual tension JUST IMPLODES LIKE THE BIG BANG. Or at least, that's what I think happens. Or should I say, hope happens. To be completely honest I added it to my TBR because it just sounds like the perfect summer read. Not too complicated, just enough witty banter to go around and of course, the sexual tension. I'm all for people who hate each other slowly discovering it really was all just INSANE ATTRACTION AND ALL THAT WITTY BANTER WAS JUST FLIRTING and god, I'm game!

3. I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

I'm a big Just Between Us fan, so when I heard Gaby and Allison were going to publish a YA book I jumped into the bandwagon. I'm super excited for it because it is at its core a story about two best friends and I'm all about those friendships. A great friendship is just hard to find, OKAY? Not only that, but the book talks about self-discovery and coming out and mental illness. It just sounds like it's going to be a great ride and I can't wait to read about Ava and Gen and all their shenanigans.

4. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Queens of Geek follows a group of friends* as they travel to a Comic-Con-esque convention and that's about as much I know about that. I've heard it's absolutely adorable and that it has great bisexual representation and that it's just a delightful read all around. So, sign me up for all of it. The nerd convention, the best-friends turning to lovers, the bisexual representation, ALL OF IT!

*huge nerds, these ones

5. The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

This book is about Margot Sanchez, a Latina girl living in the Bronx. The first line of the description is "Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera." 

That sold it to me. That and the fact that it also has a diverse cast of characters.

6. Damaged Like Us by Krista and Becca Ritchie

It's no secret I'm trash for the Addicted and Calloway Sisters series. When I say trash, I mean it. We ride or die. As such, I'm super excited for the follow up series following the Addicted kids. There's a bunch of them and they're precious and I can't wait for them to grow and develop and GOD I'M SO HERE FOR MOFFY HALE FALLING IN LOVE WITH HIS BODYGUARD. Not to mention Jane and Sulli and the rest of the gang. I also can't wait to know what the parental units are up to now that they're all grown up and mature and whatnot.

However, be warned since this is New Adult it does contain some explicit sex scenes. So, keep that in mind BUT ALSO READ THE ADDICTED SERIES AND THEN READ THE LIKE US SERIES.

Those are all the cute books I've added to my TBR. Can you recommend some more? Because I'm always on the hunt for some cuteness.

Monthly Wrap Up | May 2017

Friday, June 2, 2017

Hello, muchachos. So, another month has come and gone by and the future looks ever so bleak. Fortunately we have books, so it's not all bad! I know I've been absent for a while and only recently got back to posting semi-regularly. However, because I did post (CAN YOU SAY MAJOR WIN!!!) this month, I figured I'd fill you in as on to what I've been up to!

Books read



 (to go to the goodreads page click on the image)

On the blog

I posted little this month, but at least I posted something. So, here we go:



In the life

I had finals this May. It was all terrible and dreary and I didn't study as much as I should've. It all turned out okay, though. Last time I did one of these I was all excited about a job, well, I still haven't started. Oh, well...

I'm on break for another week while I start summer. I'm taking a film class and a border studies class. I live in the border so this seems relevant. I don't know, I just had to take something. So... that's coming in June. 

Other than visiting my parents I haven't done anything terribly exciting. I've been loving Fight for My Way or Fight My Way or Third Rate My Way (WHY DO KDRAMAS HAVE LIKE TEN TITLES IN ENGLISH????) and Suspicious Partner*, as well as Father is Strange. I also loved Sense8 and I'm super pissed they cancelled it. I shall get my revenge, Netflix. I swear it!

both the reason I'm so obsessed over Suspicious Partner and my feelings towards Netflix right now

That is all on my end! How was your month? Did you fight any dragons or face any evil TV companies for cancelling your favorite series?

Monolingualism Isn't the Rule, but How Do We Make Fiction Do the Thing? | #WritingShenangians

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hello, dear readers. I KNOW, I KNOW. I've been absent for too long and you miss me oh, so dearly. I'm sorry to have deprived you of my magnificent presence. However, here I am and I promise I will try and blog more regularly. Let's just say life got a little too intense for a sec there and my motivation was lost somewhere back in 2013.

Enough of my rambling. You're here because you want good content, dammit! So today to bestow the title of Writing Shenanigans upon this post we shall speak about a favorite topic of mine: language! I'm a linguistics major* in university and that just means I'm crazy about language and the intricate ways our minds work about it.

It's no secret I'm a big advocate for languages other than English being a prominent thing in books. I wrote a post all about this very thing back when I bothered to post regularly (you can check it out here) but it's basically about how most of the world speaks more than one language and how fiction should reflect that. It's all very personal to my excitable and often confused bilingual brain.

actual representation of a conversation with my friends

*this means I sit around with my classmates and make a bunch of weird sounds and write in weird symbols which sounds way cooler than it it.

You say, that is all good and well, Laura, but what the hell does that have to do with writing? Patience, little grasshoppers, all in good time. First, a little background on my magnificent word-weaving, since this is after all the first installment of Writing Shenanigans.

Yours truly is currently trying to write a book. A hopeful endeavor that has consisted mostly of amassing a small fortune of pins over at Pinterest and not much writing. WE ALL START SOMEWHERE, OKAY? However, two of my characters speak languages other than English* and I've found that incorporating that into the story has been a bit of a challenge.

I'm still playing around with POV, but I definitely want one of my bilingual characters as a POV character. Only problem is that she is Korean-American. I know a bit of Korean. Basic stuff, really. My other character speaks Spanish. Perfectly fluent in that, although my parents might beg to differ. They're wrong. Languages grow all the time and my syntax is a bit wonky sometimes, BUT THAT IS CHARMING! That little tirade, however, brings me to my point. How do we make fiction do the thing bilingual (or multilingual) people do in their heads all the time?

actual face my parents make when I say something weird

*they also speak English, but I guess that's pretty self-explanatory.

And at last we have gotten to the very heart of this post. The thing I found while trying to incorporate other languages into my work is that it's freaking hard. Specially when my other MC doesn't really understand either of these languages. Oh, and when I barely know some of the other language my MC logically thinks and speaks in. Not all the time, but some of the time.

So, how do we all go about doing this thing people have no problem doing in their everyday lives and not make it wonky and weird in fiction? I see why so many writers take the easy way out and just brush it over. But, my dudes, language is a big part of who we are as people. Some would argue it's kind of who we are, or at least how we express ourselves.

As such, here we are with a big problem in our hands. JUST HOW DO WE MAKE FICTION DO THE THING WHERE LANGUAGES OTHER THAN THE ONE WE ARE WRITING IN JUST EXIST INSIDE THE MIND AND OUT IN THE WORLD??????? Can you feel the frustration?

My first thought was, just have the character translate. That's lazy and wrong and I'm just not for it because as a bilingual person myself I know that I sometimes think in English and sometimes in Spanish and that I use these two languages interchangeably and it's all as comfortable as slipping into another pair of shoes. I don't really have to think about it much, my brain and my lips just do. Even more so when I'm drunk. * SO HOW DO I MAKE THIS COME ACROSS ON THE PAGE????

My second thought was... well just throw in some words here and there. Some pauses** and lag time for certain complicated words. But I wanted my characters to speak and think in their other languages. Not only randomly say stuff in them. What about when they're with family? They would probably be thinking and speaking in their other language or in a mix of both. It all felt very complicated. Because, well, language is a complicated thing.

Then I figured I would just try and incorporate language like I use it everyday. Keyword being try because sadly enough fiction can do things we don't do everyday, but has a hard time with things we do everyday. Is it going to be hard? Probably. Am I up to the challenge? Definitely. If other authors can incorporate other languages, even made up ones, I can find a way too.

*my friends and I have been known to hold a conversation in at least 3 languages when drunk
**we multilinguals are known to speak slower, even if we're balanced bilinguals or extremely fluent in both languages

What are some ways you can think of to incorporate other languages into your writing? Like seriously, I could use all the help I can get.

Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson | Book Review

Friday, May 26, 2017
Title: Seeking Mansfield
Author: Kate Watson
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: May, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram's son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver's constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she'd finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater. When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram's, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver's stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her. But Finley doesn't want to be won, and she doesn't want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver's heart—and keep her own—she'll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.

What I thought

I picked up Seeking Mansfield seeking a cute contemporary. Spring time does that to me. Suddenly all I want of life is some disgustingly cute things happening for lack of disgustingly cute things in my life. So, here I am embarking on this journey. Now, I didn't know that this was a sort of retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen going in. Not that I've read the original, but I figured this was still useful information to know.

So, here I am embarking on this journey and though I admit I had a hard time getting into it. Fin was kind of hard to empathize with at first. However, soon I found myself in the swing of things and actually invested in the character's fates. If you follow me on Goodreads (and if you don't what the hell are you waiting for?) you know that I was living for Harlan Crawford* and his romance with Finley. However, Oliver was also a sweetheart and the real MVP. He just was the whole package and I wish the book had included more of their romance. Just because I was really in the mood for disgustingly cute

*regrettable decision, really. I just love me some asshole turned sweetheart arc.

Now, the writing wasn't anything out of this world, but it was fun and quirky. It certainly made me wish I knew more about movies. The technical knowledge of this and theater made this book fun to read. I like theater, but plenty of my friends love it and I never quite had a good grasp on exactly what putting a production on stage entailed. You can tell the author is also passionate about theater. Or at least I imagine she is.

I liked the book. It wasn't a five star book for me, but it was very enjoyable and it was certainly cute. Harlan Crawford was the best for a while there and then he was the worst. Emma is enjoyable, as well and I wish she had gotten off better. Fin and Oliver are super cute and their story was certainly compelling. Over all, a very nice contemporary to hold you over the spring/summer time.