Leaving Scholastic

First, let me start by saying I’ve debated a lot about posting this but I don’t know how else to say that I quit without telling the whole story of why so here we go.

If you would’ve told me when I started at Scholastic in Nov. 2019 that I would be leaving this way I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are. When I was brought into the Scholastic Trade team I was hired as a Social Media Manager, who was going to support a Senior Digital Marketing Manager who hadn’t been hired yet.

I was excited to be starting a new position with a team that was just starting to be built. While I waited for my boss to be hired I reported to the Creative Director, who was great but didn’t know anything about digital marketing. In sum, I was on my own but that was fine because eventually I would have a new boss. Except that day never came. The Senior Digital Marketing Manager position was never filled and once COVID hit the job posting was eventually taken down. 

With everything going on in the world, I accepted that this was unfortunately another casualty of the crazy times. However, along with the pandemic came a lot more work for me. Suddenly everything had to be online. I was tasked with uploading coloring and activity sheets kids could do at home and read aloud videos from our authors. My workload tripled overnight and on top of that Scholastic employees were then told we were being furloughed. Twice.

Eventually, things calmed down as people settled into our new normal and I was even given a bonus for all the work I had to take on, but not a raise. 

As we continued to live through the pandemic, I asked my boss if I could get an assistant since they were no longer hiring a Senior Digital Marketing Manager. While my boss and her boss were receptive to the idea, it simply wasn’t in the budget and I had to continue to handle my work on my own.

Now, let me explain what that work was because it is a bit confusing. The Scholastic Trade accounts include Graphix Books, for graphic novels, I read YA, for YA novels, Facebook pages for Clifford, Goosebumps, The Magic School Bus, and The Baby-sitters Club, and sharing the Scholastic Corporate accounts with other business units. Unlike other places, the Scholastic Corporate account is not separate from Trade. Everything that isn’t Graphix or I read YA, i.e. picture books, middle grade, licensing, etc. lives on the corporate channels. In fact, 85% of the content that goes on the corporate accounts comes from Trade.

I was managing all of this social, except for I read YA, which is managed by the marketing manager, and that is a whole other conversation. Still, while I didn’t manage the accounts I did work on them and helped launch the I read YA TikTok so it was still part of my job.

On top of all of this, I also was responsible for doing the social for our School and Library team and every overarching social campaign we did like Reading Gives You Superpowers Week, Share Black Stories, the Power of Story campaign, our AAPI Heritage Month promotions, etc. It was my job to make sure all of our other business units and international partners got the social assets and copy for these campaigns and if there were any questions I was the point of contact.

In sum, it was a lot of work for one person and while I certainly had help from our corporate social team as well as the marketing managers I was struggling. So, in the summer of 2021 I started looking for another job. I ended up getting a job offer, which I brought to Scholastic and they countered, which I accepted. As part of the counter offer, a Marketing Director who was getting an assistant would share their assistant with me, I would be promoted to Senior Manager of Social Media with a raise, and I would report directly to our Senior VP of Marketing. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but it was enough.

Until last week. During a regular conversation with the Corporate Social Media Manager, I learned that she was making $11K more than I was. To say I was shocked was an understatement. While I appreciate what she does, her title is lower than mine and when I came in at her level I was making almost $30K less than she’s making now. Additionally, I have a direct report, and to be frank my workload is heavier. I have to post on the corporate accounts, as well as the other trade channels, on top of the other things that I do.

The only reasoning for this discrepancy was that she worked under Corporate and I worked under Trade and apparently that meant I would inherently make less. If the Corporate and Trade channels were separate entities I could’ve maybe understood the discrepancy but that’s not the case here. I was posting on the same channels she was and then some. So what was the difference?

I was determined to find out and brought this to my boss, who thankfully was also shocked and supported me 100 percent. She was more than willing to fight for my salary to be raised, which I greatly appreciated. However, after thinking about it all weekend I realized the damage was done. Even if my salary was raised to meet my co-worker’s or even go higher, it wouldn’t change the fact that I had been severely underpaid. Nothing was going to rectify that for me.

So, I quit. 

This was the hardest decision I think I’ve ever had to make but I know it is the right one. I want to thank my friends who helped me figure this out and my mom who when I told her about this whole situation simply said, “Do what you gotta do.” I could not make this decision without having her financial support behind me. To my colleagues at Scholastic and all the incredible creators I’ve had the opportunity to work with for over the past two years, I am sorry things are ending this way and I wish you all the best. We all deserve better. ♥️

From Page to Screen: P. S. I Still Love You

p. s. i still love you.jpg
Credit: Netflix

*I attended a free early screening of To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You in New York City. This did not influence my review of this movie in anyway. This is an honest review of the movie as I saw it. This movie will be released on February 12.*

When To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before came out last year it was an instant hit. Whether you’d read the New York Times bestselling book series by Jenny Han or if you were meeting Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) for the first time, fans instantly fell in love with this movie. The actors became stars and with the film’s success Netflix moved forward with not just one sequel, but two more, confirming that all three of Han’s books would be translated to film, much to fan’s delight.

Thus, the hype for To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, along with the expectations, were incredibly high, but could the sequel really hold up to the original? Unfortunately, not quite.

There were a lot of qualities that made To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before a hit. For starters, Condor and Centineo’s chemistry resonated off the screen. From their very first scene together, this was a couple you were rooting for despite all their missteps. But besides their sweet romance, there was also the relationship between the Covey sisters and their dad that really resonated with viewers. Kitty’s (Anna Cathcart) meddling in Lara Jean’s life was the perfect set up for the entire plot of the first film while Lara Jean’s struggle of having a crush on her older sister, Margot’s (Janel Parish), ex-boyfriend brought in a complication that also influenced the plot of the film.

Thus, Lara Jean’s relationship with her family was strongly interwoven with the relationship she developed with Peter creating a cohesive story that was altogether heartwarming. But the layers that made To All the Boys I’ve Loved You such a heartfelt film fell a bit flat in its sequel.

For starters, Margot is only in the film for one scene. While Lara Jean’s mom is heavily referenced throughout the film, we never see Lara Jean try to talk to Margot or Kitty about missing her mom, the two people who would probably understand her grief the most. Additionally, though we do get to see a bit of Kitty’s noteworthy meddling as she attempts to set up their dad (John Corbett) with the next door neighbor, Trina (Sarayu Blue), that storyline easily got lost in the background of the main plot.

Another loss was the lack of Kitty and Peter interactions. There was only one brief scene with Kitty and Peter that people will recognize from the trailer. And perhaps this loss could be attributed to not enough time, but the film also added an unnecessary romance plot line featuring Chris (Madeleine Arthur) as well as the introduction of Peter’s friend Trevor (Ross Butler) who also didn’t add much to the film.

But more than anything what P. S. I Still Love You really suffered from was trying to figure out how to continue telling Lara Jean and Peter’s story in a way that would keep the feel good vibes of the first movie. From the promotions to the trailer, it was clear P. S. I Still Love You was setting up a love triangle for Lara Jean between Peter and John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher). However, for there to be a love triangle the film had to throw a wrench into Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship and unfortunately it’s much more fun to see a couple fall in love than it is to watch them fall apart.

Perhaps if it seemed like there was ever a chance John Ambrose and Lara Jean were actually the couple to root for, maybe John Ambrose and Lara Jean’s romance could’ve been filler for Lara Jean and Peter’s fracturing relationship. Instead, however, John Ambrose just felt like another complication to the couple fans had already fallen in love with in the first film. Thus, any romantic moments John Ambrose shared with Lara Jean rang false.

Even so, there were still plenty of moments in P. S. I Still Love You that will make viewers feel all the heartwarming, fuzzy feelings as they felt with the first movie, beginning with Lara Jean and Peter’s first real date. P. S. I Still Love You also held onto some of the humor and charm from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and as always Condor’s facial expressions truly shined through in this film.

While the movie will certainly break viewers’ hearts at times, fans can rest assured that they’ll come out of the movie believing that though love can be complicated and messy, it’s ultimately still worth those bouts of heartache.

To All the Boys: P. S. I Still Love You begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, February 12. Watch the trailer below:

ARC Review: The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper


the gravity of us.jpg

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels–fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository


*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Bloomsbury YA at BookCon. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on March 17, 2020.*

I honestly don’t even remember how this ARC ended up in my hands at BookCon but I’m glad it did. I was aware of Phil Stamper because of the whole Handbook for Mortals scandal but I didn’t know him for his writing. Turns out that’s probably because The Gravity of Us is his debut novel, and what a great book to jumpstart a career.

First, I truly wanted this book just based on the cover alone, but then I read the synopsis. The story follows Cal, a teen journalist/vlogger who’s father just got accepted to join NASA’s very highly publicized trip to Mars. This in it of itself would’ve been interesting but Stamper heightened the stakes by adding in StarWatch. What is StarWatch? I’m so glad you asked. It’s a reality show all about the astronauts and their families, including the kids who are known as Astrokids.

Because of the show, the astronauts and their families are celebs, which is cool except Cal doesn’t think his family is fit to be in the spotlight. Oh, and also, because of the show he won’t be able to do his internship with BuzzFeed like he planned. He’s also not supposed to continue his vlogs, but Cal decides that he won’t let StarWatch halt his career just as it’s about to take off (pun intended) and so he continues with his vlog anyways.

There’s just one (or two) problems. The more time he spends with NASA and the crew of StarWatch the more unsavory things Cal uncovers. And while he knows sharing this story would be great for his career the truth about StarWatch could hurt a lot of people, including Leon, another Astrokid who Cal has feelings for. In other words, things are pretty complicated and I loved it.

I’m not a big science person but Stamper did a great job of making all the space stuff interesting. Honestly, I found some of those points even more interesting than the drama with StarWatch, though the drama was quite good. Stamper definitely surprised me with the plot of this story. I’m not sure what I was expecting exactly, but I love when I can’t predict the ending of a book and this story definitely kept me on my toes.

The surprising elements of the story could probably be contributed to how much was going on in this novel. Cal’s parents are going through a tough time in their marriage; when Cal leaves New York he has to leave his best friend/ex-girlfriend behind; Leon is dealing with depression; and there’s the StarWatch drama mixed in with the actual problems NASA is facing as they try to finally get to Mars. There was a lot happening in this book and yet I never felt lost or like it was too much.

And at the heart of this story was romance but also a lot of familial love as well. Though there were definitely some not so happy moments, overall I’d say this was a feel good read that made me smile and laugh and ultimately fall in love space and all the people working to get us there. Stamper also did a great job of handling Leon and Cal’s mom’s mental health. Honestly, I think my only complaint is that I would’ve liked a smidge more of the romance, but I always want a smidge more romance so I don’t fault this book too much for that.

If you haven’t already pre-ordered The Gravity of Us I highly recommend doing so. Besides this just being an awesome book, Stamper is hosting an epic pre-order campaign where you can get a signed book plate that’s been to space! How brilliant is that? Get yours before it’s too late and if you’ve been luck enough to already read The Gravity of Us let me know your thoughts below!

Highlight here (depression, anxiety, untimely death) for trigger warnings.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it, obviously!


4 stars

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My Definitive Ranking of Christina Lauren Books

The first book I read in 2018 was Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. It was the first book I read by the author duo comprised of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings and I was pretty much hooked from there. Thus, I made it my mission to read every single book they published and finally, over a year later, I’ve done it.

To be clear, I’ve only done books that have been published. Thus, I did not read their WattPad story, A Little Crazy, though I plan to at some point. Instead, I read all 26 of their books that are currently available to me (one was a digital ARC).

For clarity, I will be ranking the books from my least favorite up to my number one pick. Please feel free to agree or disagree with my choices in the comments. Let’s begin!


sublime.jpgTo be fair, ghost stories aren’t typically my cup of tea anyway so I think that was part of the issue with Sublime for me. I just didn’t really connect with either of the characters and I also didn’t really get it. By that I mean, the logistics of one of the characters being a ghost didn’t really work for me. Thus, Sublime is unfortunately coming in last.

Beautiful Bastard

beautiful bastard.jpgI know, I know! This is the OG CLo novel. How can it be so low? The answer is simple, I don’t really like Chloe and Bennett. Plus, I’ll admit that while I enjoy erotica this one was just a little too much for me. I’d say almost every chapter had a sex scene, and I’m pretty sure at one point I legit said to my book, “Alright you two, calm down.”

Dark Wild Night

dark wild night.jpgHonestly, a major part of the issue for me was that I listened to the audiobooks for this series and the narrator for the woman was exactly the same for the first three books. Thus, by the time I got to Lola it was hard for me to separate her from Mia and Harlow. Moreover, her relationship with Oliver just didn’t do it for me, which is saying something because typically if Steve West narrates it it’s already five stars in my book.

Beautiful Beginning

beautiful beginning.jpgI think I partially disliked this novella because Chloe and Bennett’s anxiety about their wedding low key gave me anxiety so this was just a no for me. There were some cute moments though.

Beautiful Bitch

beautiful bitch.jpgChloe and Bennett are back at it again, but I actually enjoyed seeing these two being a full on couple. And the proposal was hilarious. That cuteness made me rank this one a little higher.

Dirty Rowdy Thing

dirty rowdy thing.jpgI usually enjoy a hate-to-love story, but Harlow and Finn just didn’t work for me. The romance was fine but I don’t remember feeling like I couldn’t stop listening. I was just kind of meh about them.

Not-Joe Story

not joe.jpgI wasn’t even sure if I should count this one since it’s so incredibly short, but I honestly really enjoyed it so I figured why not. The only reason it’s not higher on this list was because I wanted it to be longer. Also, if you haven’t read this gem you can read it here!

Twice in a Blue Moon

twice in a blue moonI enjoyed this book but I hated how unresolved the ending was. I wanted to see what played out after and it felt like the book just kind of ended. I didn’t feel closure and so when I finished it I didn’t really know what to feel at all. Still, the romance was great and I liked the story inside the story that we got through the movie Tate works on.

The House

the house.jpgI was genuinely surprised by how much I loved this novel. Once again this was a YA suspense, though it was a bit stranger than Sublime, but in a way I liked. Without giving too much away, the house that the male protagonist, Gavin, lives in is possessed and isn’t all that happy when Gavin starts dating Delilah. Strange, but fun.

Wicked Sexy Liar

wicked-sexy-liar-9781476777986_hr.jpgThank goodness for a new female narrator! I truly think that really helped me fall into this novel. I also loved London and Luke’s story. I was fascinated by Luke, even though we didn’t really meet him in the first three books, but getting his side of things was really interesting. And he and London made a great couple.


roomies-9781501165832_hr.jpgI think I would’ve enjoyed this novel more if we got Calvin’s point of view as well as Holland’s. Unfortunately, Holland irritated me quite a bit. The romance was really cute though and it had a lot of great humor.

Beautiful Stranger

beautiful-stranger-9781476731537_hr.jpgI loved how Max and Sara’s relationship started. This book was steamy from beginning to end. However, the end made me rank it a little lower. I was kind of surprised by the conflict at the end and Sara’s reaction to it. That kind of ruined it a little for me.

Beautiful Beloved

beautiful-beloved-9781476791654_hr.jpgMax and Sara aren’t my favorite couple of the Beautiful series but they’re pretty close. Thus, it was super cute to see them as new parents and attempt to find a way to still be true to their very kinky selves. Also, the introduction of Niall was *chef’s kiss*.

Beautiful Bombshell

beautiful-bombshell-9781476755090_hr.jpgThis novella was so fun! I honestly love all the characters in the Beautiful series when they’re all together and that’s (almost) what I got with this novella. Plus, the group in Vegas getting into wacky and steamy shenanigans? Brilliant!


beautiful.jpgThis was the perfect end to this series. I absolutely loved that we also got to jump back into the heads of almost all the characters from the series before it came to a close. Low-key would read a YA series about all their kids because I know things would get interesting.

Sweet Filthy Morning After

sweet-filthy-morning-after-9781442382800_hr.jpgIf you’ve never heard of this little novella before it’s probably because it’s strictly in audio form. Luckily for me I stumbled upon it recently and it was amazing! It’s in the POV of Ansel, which we never got in Sweet Filthy Boy and honestly it made me just want to read Sweet Filthy Boy all over again. I love Ansel so much!

Beautiful Secret

beautiful secret.jpgNiall is my favorite book boyfriends! He was so pure and kind and sweet and having Ruby teach him all the ~things~ was so fun to read. I love this couple so much and they worked so well together. I also liked that their conflict made a lot of sense to me and I could totally understand Niall’s mistake.

Sweet Filthy Boy

sweet filthy boy.jpgAs I mentioned, Ansel is the love of my life. He’s French, he’s an eternal optimist, he will marry you and then try to make it work even though you haven’t even know each other 24 hours. He’s amazing. And I also love Mia. She’s been through so much, but she’s so strong.

Beautiful Boss

beautiful-boss-9781501146220_hr.jpgWill and Hanna are hands down my favorite couple in the Beautiful series. First of all, I’m trash for the guy falling for his best friend’s younger sister trope. But also, bonus is that Hanna’s nickname is Ziggy, which is also my nickname, so for a while I got to pretend Will was speaking to me directly, which was swoony. Anyway, I say this all to say this was a cute follow up to their story and I loved it!

Dating You/Hating You

dating-you-hating-you-9781501165818_hr.jpgAs I’ve said, I love a good hate-to-love story and CLo nailed it with this one. Not only was the romance great, but they really handled sexism in the workplace quite well. I might be reaching but it kind of seemed like their answer to the problematic bits of Beautiful Bastard.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand

my favorite half-night standHonestly, the only reason this isn’t higher is because of the catfishing bit. But without it we really wouldn’t have a story so what can you do? I loved this book mainly because I saw a scary amount of myself in Millie. Low-key this book was partially why I finally went back to therapy. So thanks CLo!

Love and Other Words

love-and-other-words-9781501128011_hr.jpgI honestly didn’t really expect CLo to break my heart the way they did with this book, but here we are. This book very much leans more towards literary fiction than romance, so it was a bit different from what I was used to but still very good. The switching between past and present worked so well, and while I did guess some things the twists still surprised me.

Beautiful Player

beautiful-player-9781476751405_hr.jpgI’m pretty sure I already made it clear how much I love Will and Hanna so I won’t reiterate here. Just know this is the best book in the Beautiful series. Period.

The Unhoneymooners

the unhoneymooners 2First, love that this featured a Mexican protagonist and her big Mexican family. Second, I loved pretty much everything about this book. Olive was a great protagonist. She was funny and headstrong. Ethan was also an iconic love interest and I fell for him pretty quick. Also, did someone say hate-to-love romance? I think so!


autoboyography-9781481481694_hr.jpgMy introduction to Christina Lauren. Of course, it’s high up on the list! If it wasn’t good I wouldn’t be the CLo stan I am today, obviously. Real talk though, CLo handled this book so well. From the way in which Tanner dealt with hiding his bisexuality to Sebastian facing his questions about his own sexuality while being the poster boy for Mormons, this book tackled a lot of issues. And I never felt like CLo missed the mark.

Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

josh-and-hazels-guide-to-not-dating-9781501165856_hrIf you know me at all you should know I love this book. Pretty sure I’ve never loved a book as much as I love this book. Hazel is me. I am Hazel. Besides the incredible romance here, I can genuinely say that Hazel has changed my outlook on life, specifically my (nonexistent) love life. For the most part, I’m fine with being single, but when I do have those moments where I wonder if I’ll ever meet someone who gets me and will accept me for me I go back to this book. One, because Hazel eventually got her Josh. But more importantly, because Hazel makes it clear she will not be with someone who wants her to change or be someone she’s not. And I feel the exact same way.

So, how did I do? Did I get it totally wrong or completely right? Let me know what your favorite CLo book is below!

ARC Review: No Judgments by Meg Cabot


no judgments.jpgWhen a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound


*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from William Morrow at BookExpo. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on September 24, 2019.*

I typically love Meg Cabot’s books. Whether it’s her YA novels or her adult novels, I almost always enjoy them. Which is why I was very disappointed by No Judgments.

It’s been a while since I read a Cabot book, but she was signing at BookExpo and I figured why not. I mean, she’s Meg Cabot. She’s, to put it mildly, a legend and an inspiration. I could not miss out. So I got an ARC of this book, which I didn’t really know much about, and decided to give it a try (after I read the quick novella that precedes it, Bridal Boot Camp). Unfortunately, No Judgments wasn’t really interesting.

The novel follows Bree who lives on Little Bridge Island, a fictional island off the coast of Florida, that she used to visit with her family over the summer. Except Bree is now there to stay because her father is dead, her ex sucks, and her mom didn’t totally believe her when she tried to explain why her ex sucks. The premise of this novel, at least based on the synopsis, is that a hurricane comes through the island and many residents have to leave the island without their pets so Bree decides to rescue them all. With some help from the town hottie Drew, of course.

The issue is that plot point doesn’t come until you’re about halfway through the book. Most of the book is build up to the hurricane. Bree gets calls from pretty much everyone who’s not on the island warning her to leave; she refuses. Meanwhile, everyone on the island is chilling as if a hurricane isn’t heading right towards them. Basically, there were just way too many conversations about this hurricane and not enough actual romance, which is simply because the romance doesn’t really get going until the hurricane arrives.

Thus, I was pretty bored for most of the novel. Once the hurricane hit things got a little more interesting, but because it took so long to build up to the romance it just ended up feeling pretty rushed to me. There wasn’t really any kind of slow burn or instalove with conflict that pulls them apart and then they make their way back to each other. Bree and Drew kind of just fell into each other and then the book was pretty much over.

Therefore, I cannot recommend this Cabot novel. Don’t let this dissuade from reading Cabot’s books entirely if you haven’t yet though. I suggest reading the Mediator series if you love YA and The Boy Next Door series if you like adult romance. But No Judgments? Skip it.

Highlight here (sexual assault/harassment memory) for trigger warnings!

Borrow or Buy: Borrow.


2 stars

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ARC Review: Frankly in Love by David Yoon


frankly in loveFrank Li has two names. There’s Frank Li, his American name. Then there’s Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California.

Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl–which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white.

As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he’s left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love—or himself—at all.

In this moving debut novel—featuring striking blue stained edges and beautiful original endpaper art by the author—David Yoon takes on the question of who am I? with a result that is humorous, heartfelt, and ultimately unforgettable.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound


*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Penguin Teen. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on September 10, 2019.*

I would argue that Frankly in Love by David Yoon is the most highly anticipated YA release of this fall. Besides the fact that Yoon is married to NYT bestselling author Nicola Yoon, the book has been everywhere. And did you see the book trailer? If not, do yourself a favor and watch it here!

My point is, the hype for this book is off the charts and ultimately well deserved.

The premise of the book is one of my favorite tropes in the history of tropes. Frank Li is falling for a white girl, Brit Means, but his Korean parents only want him to date another Korean American person. Thankfully, Frank’s friend Joy Song fits the bill perfectly. Thus, they hatch a plan to pretend to date each other so that Frank can date Brit and Joy can continue to date her Chinese American boyfriend. Of course, nothing could possibly go wrong in this scenario.

Now you might be thinking to yourself, I totally know how this will end, this is so predictable, blah blah blah. Except, you’d be wrong. Because while Frankly in Love is being sold as a rom com, I hate to be the one to inform you that it goes way deeper than that. I’m talking almost-made-me-cry-on-the-train deeper than that. Yoon uses Frank’s love life as an entry point to discuss the nuances and difficulties that come with being the child of immigrants and he does so brilliantly.

Frank has to reconcile with the fact that his parents are racist, but also that they come from a completely different life than the one he lives. Frank struggles with being the kind of son his parents want him to be while also trying to figure out what being Korean American means to him. It’s a constant culture clash for Frank and while he disagrees with his parents on many things, he’s also can’t deny how much they’ve sacrificed for him and his older sister to have the lives they do.

With all that said, I urge you not to go into Frankly in Love expecting a romance novel. That’s not what this is. Yes there is a romance, and it is really great, don’t get me wrong. But this book also deals with heavy topics and it will certainly surprise you, but for me, those surprises worked in the best way. I truly could not put this book down and I loved it from beginning to end. That is why I highly recommend picking up Frankly in Love when it goes on sale.

Highlight this space (parental death, cancer) for trigger warnings!

Borrow or Buy: Buy it, duh!


5 stars

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ARC Review: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren


twice in a blue moon.jpgSam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound


*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Gallery Books via NetGalley. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on October 22, 2019.*

I went into this novel not really knowing much because at this point if Christina Lauren wrote it I’m going to read it. Period. So I was intrigued to find that we were beginning in the past and that it would not be an alternating past and present type of situation but a lot of past and then a jump to the present. This wasn’t a format I expected but I was into it and it made sense for the plot.

The story is told solely in Tate Jones’ POV. She is the daughter of a big movie star, but when she was a kid her mom left her father and they moved back to her mother’s hometown where they kept Tate’s true identity a secret. Thus, Tate grew up out of the spotlight but she also had to keep this major secret from pretty much everyone in her life.

Enter Sam Brandis. While on vacation in London with her grandmother Tate meets Sam and it’s basically love at first sight. And as one is wont to do when they’re in love (or so I’ve heard) Tate bared her soul to Sam, which included telling him her the truth about her identity. Unfortunately, Sam, along with his grandfather, then left London and Tate’s secret was leaked to the tabloids.

Fast forward to the present and now Tate is a well known actress in her own right. Her relationship with her absentee father is strained at best but Tate is hoping that by working on a movie together that’ll bring them closer. However, what Tate wasn’t expecting was to run into Sam on the set of the film. Now Tate is stuck on location with her father and the guy who sold her secret. What’s a girl to do? Fake it until you make it, amirite?

I really loved this story because it wasn’t black and white. What Sam did to Tate was wrong but it launched her career in a way. Additionally, he of course had his reasons. Whether or not those reasons were valid…well I’ll let you read the book and decide for yourself. The more important question is whether or not Tate is able to forgive him and then trust him.

Obviously, the book dealt a lot with forgiveness and trust, but this wasn’t just through Sam and Tate but also with Tate and her father, which I found really interesting. I also loved learning Sam’s backstory and the movie that Tate was working on was just as interesting as Tate’s own story. The film dealt with racial prejudice and it was really well done. Honestly, I wish it was a real movie. I’d watch it.

But anyway, my point is I enjoyed this book. I wanted a bit more from the ending because it didn’t feel totally resolved to me, but otherwise it was a great read.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. I actually don’t think I’d reread this one, unfortunately.


4 stars

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Blog Tour Review: Say You Still Love Me by K. A. Tucker


say-you-still-love-me-9781501133442_hr.jpgLife is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is still alive and strong, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound


*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book via Atria Books. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on August 6, 2019.*

I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for K. A. Tucker’s upcoming novel, Say You Still Love Me. Full disclosure, I hadn’t read a novel by Tucker prior to this book but the synopsis sounded so good and I love romance so I figured why not and I was not disappointed.

This novel jumps between the present when our protagonist Piper is dealing with sexism at her father’s office and the past were Piper is a counselor at a summer camp for the first time. At both stages of Piper’s life she runs into Kyle Miller, a man who’s the opposite of who her father would believe is a good match for her. The difference? In the present, Kyle pretends he doesn’t remember Piper and in the past they were each others first love.

Thus, while in the past we see Kyle and Piper fall in love and then fall apart, in the present we see them try to find their way back to each other and man did they pull at my heartstrings. It’s so easy to question how two people who are obviously meant to be together struggle to get together but I felt for both Kyle and Piper. Their issues were real and valid, and trying to untangle the mystery of their past kept me turning page after page. I truly couldn’t put this book down and finished it in a day.

The romance was steamy with a dash of smut, but what Tucker almost effortlessly pulled off was the twist at the end. I was totally unprepared to discover what happened during that summer at camp and the unfortunate outcome of it all. Yes this story is about Kyle and Piper but I like how Tucker made this into a bigger story, encompassing Kyle and Piper’s friends from camp as well.

Overall, this was a great read for me. I’ll definitely be checking out more of Tucker’s books in the future. Make sure to grab your copy when the book goes on sale on August 6 and/or enter to win a copy here!

More About the Author

k. a. tucker.jpg
Photo Credit: Christa Hogan, Storeybook Studios

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. She is the bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series and the novels He Will Be My RuinUntil It FadesKeep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. She currently resides in a quaint town outside Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

Borrow or Buy: Buy for the cover alone honestly (though the inside is just as wonderful, obviously).


4 stars

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ARC Review: Maybe This Time by Kasie West


maybe this time.jpgOne year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love?

Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year’s Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas.

Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn’t so bad after all . . .

Told over the course of one year and following Sophie from event to event, this delightful novel from master of romantic comedy Kasie West shows how love can blossom in unexpected places.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound


*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book via #booksfortrade on Twitter. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on July 9, 2019.*

I’m a big Kasie West fan and have made it my mission to read every romance novel she writes, which is why I was so happy to snag an ARC of her latest novel.

Maybe This Time follows Sophie, a small town girl who desperately wants to move to the big city (New York). Over the course of the year we follow Sophie as her job working at a flower shop requires her to attend various events. Also attending those events are her best friend, Micah, who works for her dad’s catering company, and the new guy in town, Andrew Hart, who’s celebrity chef dad has taken Micah’s father under his wing.

After Andrew and Sophie have the opposite of a meet-cute, Sophie is totally over him, and Andrew isn’t exactly her biggest fan either. Thus begins one of my favorite tropes: hate-to-love. As the two are forced together again and again, Sophie begins to consider why Andrew gets under her skin. Sophie also has to confront her feelings about her parents and the small town that she loves but also can’t wait to leave.

Sophie is judgmental and headstrong, but she loves her little brother, Gunnar, and Micah fiercely. It was good to see Sophie be called out for her harsh treatment of some of the people in her life, but also recognize that there’s nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself than the life other’s think is right for you.

West did an excellent job of showing how nothing is ever just black and white. Our hopes and dreams are complicated. Love and friendship is complicated. Family is really complicated. And so while I loved the romance of this novel, I get why this was the first West romance cover with just the female protagonist on the cover. This wasn’t just a love story, this was about Sophie finding herself and understanding what she really wanted and then going after it.

I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a cute summer read that you won’t be able to put down. I certainly couldn’t stop reading until the very last page.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!


4 stars

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ARC Review: Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi


permanent record.jpgOn paper, college dropout Pablo Rind doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. His graveyard shift at a twenty-four-hour deli in Brooklyn is a struggle. Plus, he’s up to his eyeballs in credit card debt. Never mind the state of his student loans.

Pop juggernaut Leanna Smart has enough social media followers to populate whole continents. The brand is unstoppable. She graduated from child stardom to become an international icon and her adult life is a queasy blur of private planes, step-and-repeats, aspirational hotel rooms, and strangers screaming for her just to notice them.

When Leanna and Pablo meet at 5:00 a.m. at the bodega in the dead of winter it’s absurd to think they’d be A Thing. But as they discover who they are, who they want to be, and how to defy the deafening expectations of everyone else, Lee and Pab turn to each other. Which, of course, is when things get properly complicated.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound


*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on September 3, 2019.*

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a novel that felt like the New York City I know and love. I think a lot of books about NYC are centered around the rich areas and the Upper East Side but the world in which Pablo exists in is the one I know. The New York that makes you forget you live in a big city because you’re running into the same people in your neighborhood all the time. The city where you have to struggle sometimes and shake your head at how expensive everything is but know you’ll never leave.

The city where your homies are and you’re all struggling to make it, doing your side hustle along with your day job. That’s the city I know and Mary H. K. Choi displayed it perfectly. I’d love to listen to the audiobook when it comes out because I could practically hear the conversations in my head as I read. The slang was perfect and not forced. I felt like I was hanging out with my cousins and friends, not reading about fictional characters.

Similarly, Choi did a great of showing Pablo’s vision of the world in stark contrast to Leanna Smart, the pop star he falls for. Choi didn’t write some kind of epic romance between a boy in debt and the pop princess who rescues him with her money. She wrote a story that felt real. Pablo’s disassociation from his problems and growing debt was just as real as Leanna’s feelings about her lack of freedom and being trapped in what was very much a privileged life.

Nothing about this story felt forced or unrealistic, which is why I loved it so much. Choi gave us a love story while also keeping Pablo at the center because ultimately this was his story. This was about his mental health struggles and him carving out a future for himself with the help of his family and friends. Pablo was so relatable and it was great reading a story about a young adult who failed his own expectations for himself. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel that looks so closely at the difficulty many students face when weighing attending their “dream school” that they think will determine their future against the actual cost of that dream.

Choi handles so many different topics in this novel, just like she did in Emergency Contact, and she handled them with the same level of care and nuance that made me love her debut. I can’t wait for everyone to read this book because there is so much to talk about. This is definitely one I can see myself rereading and getting something new out of it every time.

Borrow or Buy: Buy it!


5 stars