October TBR

Hello Everyone!

It’s that time for another TBR. I know this last month I have been kind of failing on the book review front, and I am going to try to be better, but my classes and life are kind of kicking my butt right now! But I do have some good posts coming in October that you all might like. So stay tuned for those.

I might have mentioned in my last TBR or Wrap-up that for the next few months I am going to be focusing on reading mainly “adult” fiction because I have to read 35 “adult” fiction books for one of my classes (thankfully I get to choose most of them!). So here are some of the books I am planning on reading in the month of October:

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaeffer and Annie Barrows


2. The Waking Land by Callie Bates 


3. Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin


4. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss


5. Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts


6. The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel Kraus 


Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

Book Review: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

Hello Everyone!

Today’s review is on A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and


Since this is an anthology, I am going to do a review of each story and then give a quick overall review at the end.

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi 

This story was inspired by Filipino Folklore and was a beautiful, lyrical tale about a mountain goddess who falls in love with a mortal and the complications that happen with that. I really felt that this was a strong start to the collection, even though I found the beginning a little bit confusing. 3.75/5 Stars

Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong 
Inspired by Chinese culture and folklore, this was also an interesting story, although not as good as the previous one. It is about a woman who serves food to ghosts once a year in a small town in Arizona in order to appease them. I did like how the author took this tradition and made it her own by referring to her mixed-race heritage (Chinese-America) and set it in Arizona which according to the author’s note was known to attract a lot of Chinese settlers. 3/5 Stars
Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee (Hmong) 
This was an interesting story set in the future. I like how the author explains the whole story that this is based after and how she went about making it her own, because it is a very interesting twist on it. 3/5 Stars
Still Star-crossed by Sona Charaipotra (Punjabi) 
This story was confusing until I read the author’s note about the myth is based after. It is kind of like a Punjabi version of Romeo and Juliet, except where Juliet is the main character and Romeo is a ghost (?) and thinks that her daughter is his long lost love. 3.5/5 stars
The Counting of Vermillion Beads by Aliette De Bodard (Vietanamese) 
This was a weird story that I never fully understood and I kept having to go back and read what I had read before. It had good ending, but it was too confusing, even after reading the author’s explanation about what inspired it. 2.5/5 Stars.
The Land of the Morning Calm by E. C. Myers (Korean) 
An interesting story where the main character visits the after life in the form a computer game that her mother used to play. I liked the concept and feel like it should have been longer to further explain certain things in the story. It was also hard to keep track pf when the story was in the past or the present. 3.75/5 Stars
The Smile by Aisha Saeed (South Asian) 
This was yet another interesting story in the collection, I liked how it kind of touched on how oppressive South Asian culture could be historically. 4/5 Stars.
Girls Who Twirl and Other Dangers by Preeti Chhibber (Gujarati) 
I liked learning a little bit more about a Hindu festival that I have never heard of before (Navrati) and how the story of why it is celebrated has some parallels to the main characters revenge plot in the present day. However, it also seemed drawn out at points. 3.5/5 Stars
Nothing into All by Renee Ahdieh (Korean)
I really enjoyed this story and how it read like a fairy tale. I also liked how Renee Ahdieh changed the original tale up a little bit to make it her own. I wish I could read more about what happened after the end of this story. 4/5 Stars.
Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia (South Asian) 
This was a weird story, and it was only towards the end that I kind of understood what was going on. However, it wasn’t until I got to the end that I realized it was a take on the events that happen in the Mahabharata (from which we get the Bhagavad Gita) and the author taking a look at why someone would or would not fight with Krishna and Arjuna. 2.5/5 Stars.
Code of Honor by Melissa de la Cruz (Filipino) 
This story was short and simple. Unlike some of the previous stories I easily understood this story. It is about a lone vampire who is trying to find a coven of vampires that is rumored to be in New York City. 3/5 Stars.
Bullet, Butterfly by Elise Chapman (Chinese) 
This was an interesting story that really needed more world-building in order to help readers understand more of what was going on. I felt like I was just thrown into the middle of a world a barely started understanding when I got to the end. I did find it interesting that this was based on a Chinese folktale that is similar to Romeo and Juliet. 3/5 Stars

Daughter of the Sun by Shveta Thakrar (South Asian) 
An interesting combination of two South Asian stories taken from Mahabharata told with magical realism. Again, this was hard to follow at first and it is definitely something that needed more than 30 pages in order for the reader to understand it. 3/5 Stars.
The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon (Chinese) 
For some reason I never wrote a review for this story when I finished reading it, but I do remember that I liked it. 3/5 Stars.
Eyes Like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa (Japanese)
The same thing that happened with The Crimson Cloak happened with this one, I can’t remember much of this story but I liked it. 3/5 Stars.
I really liked this anthology, definitely one of the better ones that I have read. I enjoyed most of the stories in this collection. All of these authors were new to me, and they are ones that I definitely plan on reading more of their works. I also appreciated the authors’ notes at the end of each story because it helped me understand some of the stories a bit better. I liked how each of these represented a different facet of the East Asian cultures that they represent. Definitely worth the read! 4/5 Stars.
Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.


Book Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

Hello Everyone!

Today’s review is on Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.



Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. 

My Thoughts: 

I’ll admit that it took me a while to get into this book, but I really enjoyed it. It was cute and heartbreaking at the same time. I also loved the webcomics and I wish there was a graphic novel available of them (if there is, let me know!)

Eliza was an interesting characters, especially since she is someone who is struggles with anxiety and depression and how she finds an escape in her web comic, Monsterous Sea. Wallace was another great character, especially when we find out more about his tragic past and seeing how similar he is to Eliza.

It was sad to see how out of touch Eliza’s parents were, they might have meant well, but not really, they never seem to be considerate of her and her issues.

There were also several good quotes that I underlined in the novel:

“Truth is the worst monster because it never really goes away” (p.286). 

“But motivation doesn’t come from nowhere. Like any good monster, you have to feed it” (p.375). 

It was interesting to see how Eliza copes with her secret being let out in the open, in the end she does the right thing.

Even though I did enjoy it, I also feel like this book has been overhyped by a lot of people. 4/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.


Book Review: Listen to Your Heart

Hello Everyone!

Today’s review is on Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West.



Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere. 

My Thoughts: 

Ever since I read By Your Side last year, Kasie West has become a favorite contemporary author to me. I’ve read all of her latest books and have enjoyed them. Listen to Your Heart was cute and I love how the main character, Kate, was pushed out of her comfort zone by being a host of a podcast. She really comes to enjoy being a host once she get the the hang of giving advice. I also love how passionate she is about the marina, where she lives, and how she just wants to be out on the water all the time.

Then there is Diego, he is sweet and kind, and the object of Kate’s best friend Alana’s affections. I loved watching his interactions with Kate while she was trying to push him toward Alana.

I also liked the seemingly Romeo and Juliet-esque story that almost ensue, and I am very happy that it didn’t!

This was just a sweet, clean, fluffy, YA contemporary novel that is the perfect read for summer. And I can’t believe I have to wait until next year for another Kasie West book to come out, but that also gives be a chance to finally catch up on everything she wrote before By Your Side. 3.75/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

August Wrap-up

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my August Wrap-up! I managed to read 20 books this last month, however most of them were pretty average, only a few of them were really fantastic. Here are the books I read this month:

1. Save the Date by Morgan Matson


A cute contemporary following a seemingly perfect family and a wedding where almost everything goes wrong. I also loved the comic strips and I wish there had been more. 4/5 Stars.

2. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo 


I did not like the main character at first, but I grew to like her as the novel progressed and she started to grow as a character. 3/5 Stars.

3. Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka 


A cute contemporary that revolves around a performance of Romeo and Juliet. I am looking forward to seeing what this duo publishes next. 3/5 Stars.

4. Sunrise by Karen Kingsbury 


As always, an enjoyable time rereading this book. I loved watching all the characters grow . It is a good, light read, perfect to take on vacation. 3/5 Stars.

5. Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly 

I really liked this take on an adventure Belle could’ve gone on during her stay at the Beast’s castle. It was interesting and I flew through it. However, I did find that I had to not think to much about the movie and certain things that happen before and after that make this not quite fit in. But it was still a great read! 3.75/5 Stars.

6. Katy by Jacqueline Wilson


This was an okay book, there were aspects that I liked and others that I didn’t, mainly that it took 200 pages to get to the main plot of the story. 3/5 Stars.

7. A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman


An interesting collection of stories based on Asian folklore and myths. I enjoyed most of the stories and I am sad that it is over. 3.5/5 Stars.

8. Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn


Another reread. I really enjoyed getting to know Christy and Todd in this very first book that they appear in and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series! 3.5/5 Stars.

9. Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade 


It took me a while to get into it. I am also glad I watched the first few episodes of Felicity so that I understood most of the references and parallels that occurred in this novel! 3/5 Stars.

10.  A Whisper and A Wish by Robin Jones Gunn


I enjoyed watching Christy navigate the new changes in her life. Also there is a character with the same name as me that is introduced, so that is always a bonus! 3.75/ 5 Stars.

11. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett


It was okay. It was pitched to me as having You’ve Got Mail vibes but that was only at the very end, plus the synopsis basically spoils the ending so the shock factor is non-existent when the big “twist” is discovered. 3/5 Stars.

12. Summer by Karen Kingsbury


I really enjoyed rereading Summer and it definitely brought tears to my eyes at the end, such a beautiful and heartbreaking story. 4/5 Stars.

13. Yours Forever by Robin Jones Gunn


Another good reread that reminds me of some of the feelings I had in high school in regards to friends. It was interesting to read this again since I have been out of high school for almost six years. 3.75/5 Stars.

14. Someday by Karen Kingsbury 


This was a rollercoaster ride of a book watching some beloved characters to go through some very hard things. I loved the theme of someday because I feel like it is something that a lot of us look forward to! 3.75/5 Stars.

15. Surprise Endings by Robin Jones Gunn


A good installment in this series which teaches an important lesson: be willing to step aside so that others can do what the Lord wants them to do. 3.75/5 Stars.

16. Sunset by Karen Kingsbury


A good conclusion to this particular series that brought some tears to my eyes. However, I know this is not the last time I’ll see the Baxters! 4/5 Stars.

17. The Ten, Make That Nine Habits of Very Organized People, Make That Ten by Steve Martin


I liked reading these tweets, even though I expected a lot more humor. But reading some of these made me think of my brother because these are things he would probably tweet. 3/5 Stars.

18. The Radium Girls by Kate Moore 


I flew through this! It was really good. A shocking expose about the dark side of corporate greed and the ignorance of radium. 5/5 Stars.

19. Island Dreamer by Robin Jones Gunn


Interesting to read this after graduating college and seeing how I still relate to Christy in some ways. 3.75/5 Stars.

20. Take One by Karen Kingsbury 


I liked this installment in the series, but it was a slow start for me. 3/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.