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A Pho Love Story | Review

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“I find refuge in art, escaping thoughts like this, to regain control when life throws another obstacle my way. When I work, magic happens; for a few hours at a time, the world just slips away.”

Loan Le, A Pho Love Story

In this loose Vietnamese take on the classic tale of “Romeo and Juliet”, the Mai and the Nguyen family have been rivals since forever.

Bao Nguyen and Linh Mai have been forbidden to speak to each other their whole lives, but when Bao comes across Linh in an alley one day, his curiosity gets the best of him.
They both soon realize that they have so many things in common and they wonder why they’ve never connected before, but despite them knowing they can’t ever be together they fall head over heels for each other.
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Can they find love in the midst of a family who have been at odds for so many years?

Thoughts

4 Stars

I honestly thought this was so stinkin’ cute!! I absolutely loved the relationship between Bao and Linh and seeing the duel perspective!

The family aspect has to be one of my favorite parts of this! Learning about the past of the Mai’s and the Nguyen’s definitely kept it super interesting, because I just had to keep reading to know what was happening there!
I originally picked this up thinking it was going to be a cute fluffy contemporary, but it was so much more than that!

“When I paint, there’s always a moment where I just know that I’m finally finished. The colors and textures come together to depict a feeling of rightness.”

Loan Le, A Pho Love Story

I loved seeing the creativity between the two main protagonists with Bao’s exploring new places to write his school newspaper articles as well as Linh’s drawings and paintings with the descriptions we got while she was painting!

I will say at some points it did seem like it dragged a bit, but I think in the end the story redeemed itself.

P.S. don’t read this book on a empty stomach HAHA!
There were so many descriptions of AMAZING sounding foods and recipes that just made me hungry!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Yours truly,

Rachel

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Title: A Pho Love Story
Author: Loan Le
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary
Age Range: Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis:

If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal.

If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant.

For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition.

But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember.

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“Requiem” by Lauren Oliver | Review

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Dear reader,

my first read of 2021 was a little bit of a disappointment..

Mini Review

With this story I just couldn’t get into it. With this book in particular I was so incredibly bored and nothing was keeping me interested at all. I didn’t care about the characters at all, and I’m definitely a character driven reader.

I started this series back in early 2020. It was one of those older classic YA series that I kept hearing people talk about how much they loved it, so I decided to check it out! The first two in the series I enjoyed, but this one just didn’t do it for me.

Overall I’m not too mad I read it, but it didn’t really impact me much nor do I think it will be something I think about often. This was one of those series I wish I loved, because of how many good things I’ve heard about it!

Yours truly,

Rachel

3 stars

Title: Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Sci-fi/Dystopian
Age Range: Young Adult
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Synopsis: (Spoilers for Delirium Series)

The third and final book in Lauren Oliver’s powerful New York Times bestselling trilogy about forbidden love, revolution, and the power to choose. Now with a brand-new cover and an exclusive-to-this-book sneak peek at her next novel for teens: the ambitious, wholly original masterwork Replica.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.


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“It Sounded Better in My Head” by Nina Kenwood | Review

it sounded better in my head

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4 Stars

Synopsis

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day-in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

I don’t have very many thoughts on this book, but I did really like the main character Natalie. I thought she was well fleshed out and was a pretty relatable teenager. I just didn’t really see a connection between Natalie and her love interest.

Overall it was cute. I had a pretty enjoyable time and i’m not mad I read it.


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Reviews

“Dark and Deepest Red” by Anna-Marie McLemore | Review

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5 Stars

“We are more than what we’ve survived.”

In this retelling of the classic story “The Red Shoes”, this story is told in alternating perspectives. One set in 1518 Strausburg, France

A dancing fever takes over its residents compelling them to dance without stopping and some to death. As rumors of witchcraft and demon possession spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia Blau.

Our second perspective set five centuries later, when a pair of red shoes seals to Rosella Olivia’s feet, making her fall under this fever, It draws her to a boy who might help. Emil has closed himself off from his family history, but in order to help Rosella, Emil will have to find the truth of what happened centuries ago.


I had never read a book by Anna-Marie McLemore, so I didn’t really know what to expect.

Any expectations I had were completely blown away! This book was beautiful. Their writing is so whimsical and atmospheric, the pacing was amazing, the characters were well fleshed out. I loved every single character in this book, the relationships were amazing and the ending was just absolutely perfect. In the beginning, I preferred one perspective to the other, but by the end, I was so eager to see what would happen to both perspectives.

I will definitely be picking up more books by this author ASAP!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Reviews

“10 Blind Dates” by Ashley Elston

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4 Stars

“This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?”

 

High School senior, Sophie, is excited to have alone time with her long-term boyfriend Griffin, when her parents decide to spend the holidays with her sister Margot, who is on bed rest. She overhears her boyfriend’s conversation saying he wants to break-up with her; heartbroken she flees to her grandparent’s house for Christmas break. Her grandmother wants to see her happy again, so her grandmother devises a plan for her very large family to set Sophie up with “10 Blind Dates” by different family members.

 

I thought this book was so stinkin’ cute! It was everything I hoped it would be, and more. I think this is the perfect YA contemporary for the holiday season. This book is a fun, quick read that will put a smile on your face!

I absolutely loved the positive family dynamic that we don’t get to see much in YA, and I really enjoyed that this story wasn’t only about the blind dates (which was so much fun to read about), but it was about Sophie finding joy and happiness in her life again.

The only downfall of this book is that it is pretty predictable, but a lot of YA contemporary romance are. So, I don’t have that big of an issue with it. I would keep that in mind if you’re planning on picking this one up.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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Reviews

“The Revolution of Birdie Randolph” by Brandy Colbert

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4 Stars

“With a name like Dove, you got to fly.”

This story follows sixteen-year-old Dove “Birdie” Randolph, who strives to be the perfect daughter for her parents. She studies hard, gets good grades, and always follows the rules. However, she meets and falls for this boy named Booker who she keeps a secret, knowing her parents won’t approve of their relationship due to his troubled past.

 

Birdie’s estranged aunt, Carlene, shows up one day after just getting out of rehab for substance abuse and addiction. Even though Birdie starts sensing some tension among her parents, and Carlene, she starts developing a close relationship with her aunt. That leads to Birdie wanting to take control of her life, and make a few choices she knows her parents won’t approve of.

 

This YA novel is one that talks about so many relevant, and important topics such as Racism, Substance Abuse, Alcoholism, Anger Management, and many more!

While Birdie is the main character she doesn’t completely out shine all of the characters, like a lot of YA books do.

I felt like I knew each and every character, with what they were feeling and going through. And, I’m personally someone who really enjoys a character-driven story more than a plot-driven one. However, I did feel like the plot was lacking a little and it was a little too simple for me. So if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy a simpler plot, beware.

 

This book was being pitched for fans of Nina La Cour and Nicola Yoon. I have yet to read a book by Nina La Cour, but I definitely think the romance in this novel has a Nicola Yoon vibe.

I highly recommend this book if you like YA contemporary.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Reviews

“Of Rioters & Royals” by M.L. Greye

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4.5 Stars

WOW. This book was incredible!

The world building was great; I was fully immersed in this world with these amazing characters, and intriguing magic system (which was personally one of my favorite parts)!

The romance was done really well, and I was very pleased that it didn’t take over the plot, like many romances in fantasies do.

The plot takes so many turns I never could’ve predicted, and I was so interested to see what was going to happen next!

However, this book was missing something for me, and I can’t put my finger on it. Which is why I didn’t give it a full 5 stars

M.L. Greye is an incredible writer, and I can’t wait to read what she writes in the future. I will definitely be picking up the sequel!

I received a copy of this book from The Author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis:

Emry is a Royal – a princess of Enlennd. As is tradition, she must have a knight at her side as her protector. The only way to appoint one is through The Trials. Her Challengers from the five regions of Enlennd must compete for the infamous title of Princess’s Knight. The problem, though, is that the people of Enlennd are split into two categories: Rioters and Royals. Finding the perfect knight may be the last of her worries. War is coming to Enlennd.

Declan is a Rioter. An upriser. An anarchist. He mistrusts the Jewels – the sovereign family of Enlennd. Yet, he is offering himself up as a Challenger in The Trials. The Mistress, leader of the Rioters, has a mission for him. The first step is for him to become the Princess’s Knight. He is ready for the task, until he actually meets Emry and discovers that betraying her would be much more difficult than he’d thought.

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Reviews

“Season of the Witch” by Sarah Rees Brennan

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I really enjoyed this prequel novel to Netflix’s show “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, and I think it’s perfect for anyone who really likes the show. Personally, I really liked the show, so I think that somewhat goes into my enjoyment of this book. It’s a very cute and fun YA/Middle Grade story about a girl who is half-witch and half-mortal. This book is told in a pretty interesting format, where it alternates from Sabrina’s perspective to one where we see some of the side characters perspectives. I absolutely loved to see all the family/friend dynamics, especially Tommy and Harvey, as we didn’t see much of their dynamic in the show. I will say my one issue with this book was that I felt that the plot was very slow, and that’s not one of my favorite things. But, overall I enjoyed the book, and it added quite a lot to the characters. I will definitely be picking up the sequel when it comes out. I highly recommend!

I received a copy of this book from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.