NCIS LA Book Tag | aka me doing a tag for a show I've never watched

Hola! Buenos días!! How are you guys? Hope you’re having a semi-fantastic week what with all the things going on in this wonderful world.

Today, I’m doing the NCIS LA book tag, which the wonderful and lovely Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads tagged me to do in December of last year. (at least it wasn’t november like i thought?) This is utterly horrible and I can’t believe that I slacked off on tags so much. But I’m finally doing this, so yay!!

I’ve actually kind of watched NCIS, because my grandmother I think used to watch it, so I’d catch bits and pieces here and there. But I’ve never watched a full episode, so I don’t think that really counts as watching.

Maybe this will increase my interest in it once again!

Check out the original creator Clo @ Cuppa Clo‘s blog, and thank you so much Meegs for tagging me!! Let’s get started!

Continue reading “NCIS LA Book Tag | aka me doing a tag for a show I've never watched”

#YARC2020: Year Of The Asian Reading Challenge

Hola, mi amigos!! (Hello, my friends!!) Welcome back!

This year, I’ve decided to take part in the Year of The Asian Reading Challenge hosted by these 4 lovely ladies: Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams, CW @ The Quiet Pond, Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads, and Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea. Check out Lily and CW’s posts to see all the rules and challenge levels!

I am not Asian, however, this reading challenge sounds like a great way to diversify my reading. YARC is all about boosting Asian authors and Asian books, so I’m super excited to try it out this year!

My goal is to reach the Indian Cobra level, which is 11-20 books. All credit goes to Lily who drew all the amazing badges!!

Who knows, maybe I’ll pass it or maybe I won’t. Either way, I hope this helps me read a lot of diverse books.

TBR List:

So, I’ve decided to make a TBR for this or else, I will never bother myself later with looking for Asian books or Asian authors. I know. It’s horrible, and it’s partly the reason why I didn’t do anything with the two reading challenges that I joined last year.

I’m going to start out with a TBR of 10 books, and use the monthly recommendation lists from Lily and the other co-hosts to pick the second 10 books later.


Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all. 


Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in LA, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime

In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city. It’s in this dangerous tinderbox that two families must finally confront their pasts.

Grace Park lives a sheltered existence: living at home with her Korean-immigrant parents, working at the family pharmacy, and trying her best to understand why her sister Miriam hasn’t spoken to their mother in years. The chasm in her family is growing wider by the day and Grace is desperate for reconciliation, and frustrated by the feeling that her sister and parents are shielding her from the true cause of the falling out.

Shawn Matthews is dealing with a fractured family of his own. His sister, Ava, was murdered as a teenager back in 1991, and this new shooting is bringing up painful memories. Plus, his cousin Ray is just released from prison and needs to reconnect with their family after so many years away. While Shawn is trying his best to keep his demons at bay, he’s not sure Ray can do the same.

When another shocking crime hits LA, the Parks and the Matthewses collide in ways they never could have expected. After decades of loss, violence, and injustice, tensions come to a head and force a reckoning that could clear the air or lead to more violence.


We Free The Stars by Hafsah Faizal

Zafira is the Hunter, braving the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those who defy his autocratic father, the sultan. She must hide her identity. He mustn’t display compassion. But when both embark on a quest to uncover a lost magic artifact, Zafira and Nasir encounter an ancient evil long thought destroyed—and discover that the prize they seek may be even more dangerous than any of their enemies. In We Free the Stars, Zafira and Nasir must conquer the darkness around—and inside of—them.


Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


Love From A to Z by S. K. Ali

A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together.

An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry.

When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.

Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.

Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.


This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.

Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.


Scavenge The Stars by Tara Sim

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…


Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

Seventeen-year-old Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. This means swapping her congee lunch for PB&Js, ignoring the clueless racism from her classmates and teachers, and keeping her mouth shut when people wrongly call her Allie instead of her actual name, pronounced Āh-lěe, after the mountain in Taiwan.

Her autopilot existence is disrupted when she finds out that Chase Yu, the new kid in school, is also Taiwanese. Despite some initial resistance due to the “they belong together” whispers, Ali and Chase soon spark a chemistry rooted in competitive martial arts, joking in two languages, and, most importantly, pushing back against the discrimination they face.

But when Ali’s mom finds out about the relationship, she forces Ali to end it. As Ali covertly digs into the why behind her mother’s disapproval, she uncovers secrets about her family and Chase that force her to question everything she thought she knew about life, love, and her unknowable future.

Snippets of a love story from nineteenth-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali’s narrative and intertwined with her fate.


Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?

In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.

A showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?


Unravel The Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

Chat with me

That’s it for today friends! I hope you enjoyed reading this and maybe added one or two of these to your TBR! They all sound and look amazing!!

Are you taking part in #YARC2020? What’s your favorite Asian book, or book by an Asian author? What reading challenges are you doing this year? Any book recommendations you’d like to share? Chat with me in the comments below!!

Anticipated Releases of 2019 | Expectations vs Reality

The end of 2019 is here and it’s about time that I started all these end of year/year wrap-up/top 10 books etc.. posts. As you can already tell by the title, today I’m going to be sharing with you my anticipated releases for this year, and whether they lived up to my expectations or not.

I did 2 posts earlier this year in which I shared my most anticipated books for 2019, and my most anticipated books for the second half of 2019. Out of those 20, I’ve only read 5, and I just got a sixth one, so maybe I’ll finish that by the end of this month. To be honest, the lowest rating I’ve given a book I was excited for this year is 3 stars. So none of them have truly, really disappointed me, but there were still some that I was expecting much more from.

Let’s get started!!

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

4 Stars | GoodReads | Review

This was really good. Initially, I was kind of bored, and I thought that the Husband was a bit annoying, but it was still pretty good and I loved the suspense and the mystery.

However, I was expecting more, and the plot was pretty similar to other books that I’d read. The POV was definitely unique, and it was interesting seeing how the murders happened and why. However, it was just not a amazing as I anticipated it to be. I was just expecting more.

In the end, this was a dark and twisted thriller with an unconventional narrator, and a surprising ending.


We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

4 Stars | GoodReads | Review

I seriously was super excited for this book. I was looking for a heist, with some diversity, and also a fantasy book, since it was out of my comfort zone at the time.

And this was good in some ways. I loved Nasir and Altair (seriously, there’s no way not to love Altair. He’s obnoxiously awesome!!!), I respected Zafira and the other characters, and I loved the descriptions and the culture.

However, it was seriously lacking in the plot department, and until the very end, not much happened. Honestly, the characters were the only thing that kept the story going, at least for me.

In the end, this was an amazing Arabia inspired fantasy with phenomenal characters.


Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

4 Stars | GoodReads | Review

I read this right before One of of Us is Lying, and I’ve gotta say, it was pretty good. Not spectacular like I’d been expecting, but it was still a decent mystery.

The pacing was a little slow, but the family drama, and the several mysteries were pretty interesting to follow. I liked some of the characters, but now that it’s been 10 months, I really don’t remember much, except that it was just good. Which is kind of disappointing.

In the end, this was a suspenseful mystery with great characters and an amazing twist/plot.


The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

3 Stars | GoodReads | No Review Yet

When I initially heard about this, I was super excited because I seriously loved The Naturals and The Fixer series by JLB. I was sure that this was going to be another awesome book, and I was pretty disappointed.

Book wise, it was ok. However, I came in with the wrong expectations, and didn’t get a mystery, but more of a search-and-rescue, which is the point of the book. I wasn’t expecting the search and rescue to be the main focus, so that added to my disappointment.

I didn’t connect much to Kira, the main character, either, but I thought she was cool and different from the usual YA heroines. Free and Jude were such a welcome relief and I loved them for that, but honestly, they were all just meh. This book was really just meh. Really disappointing.

In the end, this was a good book with okay characters, and a meh plot.


The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

5 Stars | GoodReads | Review

This was truly one of the best books I’ve read this year and I loved it. The idea of the story, the setting, the time period, the characters, it was all so splendid and I couldn’t have been happier.

This was one of the few Historical Fiction novels I’ve read this year and it was the most perfect. I loved Jo, I loved the atmosphere, and I loved how she was determined to make a change in a society that did not want that kind of change. I loved all the side and semi-MC characters who supported Jo through everything and made this book the beauty that it is.

In the end, this was an amazing historical fiction novel that tackles diverse topics, with an amazing cast of characters.

That’s it! These were the five books that I had on my list that I managed to read, and hopefully I’ll be getting to a sixth one (The Queen of Nothing!!!!) before this month’s end.

Chat with me

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What were your most anticipated releases for 2019? Did they live up to your expectations? Which books surprised you and why? Did you read as many books as you hoped to this year? Chat with me in the comments below?

Top Five Tuesday ~ U-V-W-X-Y-Z

Hey guys and qelcome to Top Five Tuesday!! Top Five Tuesday was created and is hosted by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm.

Today’s topic is: Books that start with the letters U, V, W, X, Y, & Z.

This is actually part of a series that started the first Tuesday in July, starting from A and it will continue to the last week of July and end with Z. You can learn more about the topics and see the rest here!

P.S. I’m so sorry for posting this late!! I completely forgot!

Let’s get started!

U is for The Ultimatum by Karen Robards

I haven’t read a great book that started with the letter U, and I have exactly one book in my to-read shelf which is The Ultimatum. It’s about a girl who swindles con artists, and anything with con artists is a big YES for me.


V is for Vicious by V. E. Schwab

I loved Vicious because there was no good guy, everybody was crazy, and the science was amazing (which is a lot of praise coming from someone who doesn’t really like science…)!

V is also for A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

I loved Shirin, I loved the representation, I loved the characters, and I loved the message that was being sent by this awesome book.


W is for We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

One of my favorite fantasy novels! We Hunt the Flame was fun, with two amazing guys, one who is an annoying obnoxious too-full-of-himself pain and the other a broody assassin with a dark past. I loved the writing, I really liked the characters, and the rep was great!

W is also for The Wicked King by Holly Black

I didn’t really like The Cruel Prince, but I liked The Wicked King, and now I am super excited for The Queen of Nothing!!


X is for…nothing?

I don’t have anything in my read or to-read shelf for X, so I added two books for V.


Y is for You by Caroline Kepnes

This one is on my TBR, and it sounds perfectly deliciously creepy. It also happens to be the only Y on my TBR and read shelf…

Z is for…nothing?

I’m going to double up on W to make up for this one!

That’s it for this Tuesday! Have you read any of the books I mentioned above? Did you enjoy them? Did you also struggle to find books for each letter? Let’s chat in the comments below!

(Be sure to link to your Top Ten Tuesday and Top Five Tuesday posts so I can check them out!!)

Tag Thursday – 2019 Mid Year Freak-Out Tag

Good morning (/afternoon/evening/night depending on where you are) my dear friends!! I hope your week was spectacular! Today, I’m going to do the 2019 Mid Year Book Freak Out tag. I know, it’s halfway through July, and the middle of the year was June, but late is better than never right? This is my first year doing it, and hopefully I’ll continue doing it for many years to come! I think there are different versions of this with different questions (I think??) so this version is one I saw on Paws and Paperbacks!

Best Book You’ve Read So Far in 2019

There are so many amazing books that I’ve read so far this year, but Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo definitely tops them all!


Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2019

The Wicked King by Holly Black. I really didn’t like The Cruel Prince, but this sequel made me really like the characters and also managed to make me super excited for The Queen of Nothing!


New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. This sounds so cute and also seems to be what my life will possibly be like in the future (minus the cat!!), so I definitely want to read this!! It’s also a book about a girl who loves books so…


Most Anticipated Releases For the Second Half of the Year

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black and Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff


Biggest Disappointment

I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes and I was excited to read one of her older books, but Nobody was such a huge disappointment. It was so cliche, and so boring, and the MC annoyed me so much.


Biggest Surprise

I really didn’t expect much from My Lady Jane because it was a historical fantasy with a bit of romance. To my surprise, it turned out to be amazingly hilarious, super entertaining, and refreshing. And the cover is beautiful as well!


Favorite New Author

Lisa Gardner. I loved her D.D. and Flora Dane novel, Look For Me, and I’m definitely going to check out the rest of her mysteries!!


Favorite New Crush

KAZ BREKKER!!! 100% no doubt about it. Actually, the whole crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardguo is my new favorite crush!


Favorite New Characters

Kaz, Inej, Jesper, and Wylan from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardguo, Nasir and Altair from We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal, Nate from Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, Nate from One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, Shirin from A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi, Aza from Turtles All The Way Down by John Green…and I think I’m going to stop here.


Books That Made you Cry

No book has made me cry yet…I don’t really get emotional like that when I’m reading.


A Book That Made You Happy

The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan was different from my usual read, and the struggles of Lila as a stay-at-home mom of two who is married to a food critic made me laugh a lot and definitely made me feel happy.


Most Beautiful Books You’ve Bought So Far This Year

Lol, I haven’t bought any books this year? But I think that the cover of Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore is gorgeous!


What Books Do You Need to Read Before the End of the Year?

Including my most anticipated releases: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman, Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle, and The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall

Tagging/Nominating:

So it looks like no one gets tagged for this? People just do it, so I’m not going to tag anyone! If you’d like to do it, go right ahead!

P.S. No pressure. If you don’t want to do the tag. That’s absolutely fine. If you’ve already done it, please share the link so I can check it out!

And that’s it for today! Have you done the 2019 Mid Year Book Freak Out tag? Have you read any of the books above? What did you think? Let’s chat in the comments below!