Category Archives: Reviews

Quick Take: Dear Martin

Dear Martin by Nic Stonefive-star-rating-black-clip-art-hi

If you can’t tell how much I loved this book by my star rating, then I will tell you that I 38346862read this in two days! 😀 I couldn’t stop reading because the story was so mesmerizing and heartbreaking. I absolutely loved it – this is an incredibly important read!! Everyone needs to absolutely read this book!!

This book follows Justyce, who is a young black man attending a predominantly white affluent preparatory high school. He is at the top of his class and Ivy League school bound. Suddenly at the beginning of the book, however, he is mistakenly arrested by a white cop solely because of his skin color. This leads Justyce to reflect on not only the incident, but also the greater injustice of police brutality against black men. To help his reflections, Justyce starts writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr. and really dives into his teachings in order to be “more like Martin”.

I not only have the words to describe how impactful this book was, but I also do not want to spoil the experience of anyone who also wants to experience this book. The format of this book was incredible and definitely added to the impact that the book had on me. Last year, I read The Hate U Give which was also an incredibly impactful read, but one of the main things that stood out about this book was that we followed the perspective of a young black man, which I think is a perspective that gets left out in books and the overall media.

In conclusion, READ THIS BOOK! Not only are we giving room for the stories of young black men and women, but it’s also supporting more authors who identify as people of color, particular women of color. READ THIS BOOK! 😀



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A New Kind of Love Story

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

This was an absolutely lovely read! 🙂 I was so happy to receive this for Christmas from 28458598my future mother-in-law and I was so excited!! I’ve heard such great reviews about this book, so I was excited to dive in myself.

When Dimple Met Rishi is a YA contemporary story that follows our two protagonists, Dimple and Rishi. Dimple is Stanford bound to study computer science and we follow Dimples’ summer before Stanford as she attends a summer camp, Insomnia Con, for aspiring web developers. Once Dimple arrives to Insomnia Con, she unexpectedly meets Rishi, who is there because his parents have told him that they have set up a meeting for him with his future wife at the same summer camp. However, their first meeting was not quite what Rishi had hoped it was going to be. Needless to say, this is where this quirky, heartwarming, heartbreaking and fun love story begins!

This was such a fun and important read, especially today. I think what was so great about this book was not that it was the most different story in terms of plot, but it was the most different story in terms of representation. We’ve all read stories like this before, but never with these characters. These characters who are not only ordinary college-bound young people, but characters who also carry the weight of their cultural upbringing.

I appreciated how we saw both characters wrestle with their culture in such different and real ways. I also appreciated that the book was real in how young people of color are typically received by their white counterparts. It’s unfortunate and hurtful, but it is so true. I know I’ve had similar experiences, as a woman of color, growing up so this definitely tugged at my heartstrings. This story was real, raw, but also just so much fun which I really appreciated.

Overall, this was a great story and I think everyone should read it!! We need more stories out there like this and I cannot wait to read Sandhya Menons’ upcoming novel which is coming out this May!!! 😀

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The Burden We Carry

Pachinko by Min Jin Leefive-star-rating-black-clip-art-hi

Wow…my third 5-star book of the year already?!?! o_0 Well, this book is beyond pachinkodeserving of it. I’d give it 100 stars, if I could. This book came out last year and I actually bought it right when it came out, and then it just sat on my shelf for a year. I think my hesitation around getting to this book was that I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect out of it. As a Korean-American woman, I’ve been trained by American society and popular culture to dread my own culture’s portrayal in books and movies, that even this book written by another Korean woman filled me with hesitation.

I am so happy that I stopped putting this book off. This book is definitely going down as one of the best books that I will have ever read. I am not even joking. This book is so important and needs to be read by so many.

This book is a generational story about a Korean family that moves to Japan in the early 1900’s, and explores themes of family, faith, and cultural identity during some anxious and unknown times. What I think Min Jin Lee did an incredible job of was portraying generational pain, but not necessarily amongst the context of a really heavy book. I actually wouldn’t describe this book as a “heavy” or “slow” read, as some generational historical fiction books tend to be. Min Jin Lee weaves an incredible story about this family that is equal parts fun and sad, which makes the story just easy and enjoyable to read.

This was an emotional reading experience for me only once I had finished the book. I set the book down once I had finished it and begun to reflect on my own identity as a Korean-American woman and the things that I’ve heard within my family. Some of the pain that my ancestors had to endure and even the burden and things that my parents may still carry. All of this definitely led to a cathartic emotional breakdown that I was incredibly grateful for since I don’t see these stories often in contemporary movies and books. I don’t see the struggles of Koreans portrayed in the way that Koreans have experienced them, rather than the way that the White Americans have portrayed our struggles. To this day, Korea is still a broken country and no one pays much attention to how sad the brokenness feels because of the BS within the political climate. How can you not look at a country of a people that share blood and ancestry, but are still divided amongst themselves and not feel broken yourself? How do you not begin to picture how much pain that country must have endured over the years?

I am beyond thankful that this book is out there in the world and I think everyone needs to read this, Korean or not. Books like this and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi are the stories that we need desperately today. Books like these give us the opportunity to read about an experience that may not be our own, but can give us a compassionate glimpse into the burden that someone may carry through the generation. If you haven’t done so yet, I highly recommend checking out one of these generational historical fiction stories. They are beautiful and deserve way more hype than they get.

So that’s my super emotional review, haha! 🙂 If you take anything away from this review, it’s definitely to go read this book! 😀


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Quick Takes: The Humans

The Humans by Matt Haig (3.5)

16130537Some parts of this book were definitely a four, others a three, so I’m settling at a 3.5! The Humans is about an alien that comes to Earth in order to complete a somewhat heartless mission but ends up falling in love with the human race instead. The beginning of this book was quite hilarious as he acclimated to what life on Earth was all about, but it started to drag a little bit. The rest of the book settles into more of a heartwarming tale of becoming part of this family of his.

Although I thought it was a good story with a lot of clever observations on the human condition, the novelty of the story started to wear away and parts of it did start to drag. I also felt at times that I was being hit over the head with all those clever observations. It seemed like Haig was trying to cram all the ones he thought up into these pages without realizing that fewer well-placed ones could have a much more significant effect on the reader. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more had I not come off a five-star book that also had similar themes. Still, a fun quick read!

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Quick Take: Red Clocks

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
ijss5 (.5)

I read this as a part of the Women’s March movement this past weekend. As this book hasred clocks to do with a near future of ours where abortion is outlawed and a law has passed that requires every family to have two parents, I thought that this was quite fitting in the vein of supporting the mission of the Women’s March movement. This book follows four (technically five) perspectives of five different women: the Biographer, the Daughter, the Mender, the Wife and the Explorer (?). We basically follow each perspective, aside from the Explorer, as they maneuver through the world and we see how these laws impact each of these women differently.

From the premise, this book definitely sounds super promising! I was expecting to get a similar reading experience to The Handmaid’s Tale, but unfortunately it just left me wanting a little bit more. I felt incredibly emotionally distant from the characters and felt that the author was keeping us at bay from the characters. That being said, I did feel quite a bit of anxiety following one of the perspectives, but other than that, I just couldn’t get attached to any of the other characters. I do feel like this book wasn’t a character-driven book, so that was probably why I felt so distant, which to me just means that maybe this wasn’t the book for me. I think this format could definitely work for some people, but for this kind of premise I do feel like I need to be able to emotionally connect with the characters. I need to feel the anxiety and the horror of living in this kind of society, like The Handmaid’s Tale definitely does.

Overall, if the premise peaks your interest I definitely recommend giving it a go! The style definitely may work for you, it just unfortunately didn’t work for me.

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Mini Series Review: Shades of Magic

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (#2)
A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (#3)

I read the first book in the Shades of Magic trilogy last July and definitely enjoyed it. I knew that I wanted to finish reading this trilogy – I just never got around to it. This past holiday when my fiance and I went used bookstore exploring, I found two hardcover editions of both A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light for half their original prices, so I knew I couldn’t resist picking them up!

Rachel has also done a series review and I remember she very much enjoyed this series, as well and I definitely have to agree! After reading her Monsters of Verity duology also last year and then this, this has firmly established with me that 1) Victoria Schwab can do absolutely no wrong and 2) Victoria Schwab is hands-down one of my new favorite authors!! 🙂

Spoilers to come!! 

Continue reading

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Quick Take: Binge

Binge by Tyler Oakley

bingeI always have a hard time writing personal memoir’s with anything other than 5-stars, anyone else have the same issue? :’) That being said, I really did love this memoir. I got the audiobook version which was narrated by the author, which definitely added quite a bit to my overall reading experience.

I’ve watched Tyler Oakley on YouTube for a number of years and I’ve always appreciated his overall positivity, his willingness to be vulnerable and his activism to bring better support for the LGBTQ+ community. This book was a microscopic view of his upbringing and the various personal experiences (both good & not so good) that led him to who he is today.

I think it’s so important for stories like this to be shared, especially in today’s social and political climate. I appreciate Tyler for trailblazing the way for other young LGBTQ+ community members to, hopefully, continue to share their stories and to be open with who they are knowing that they most certainly have a place in this world. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have read this book and I thank Tyler for putting his story out into the world 🙂 ❤


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