I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina ForestI Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
on June 4, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast—two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Great debuts make me so happy. Especially when they have fabulous covers, because it makes me hope people will discover the book and read it. Let’s be real: we’re all at least a little bit shallow. I Wanna Be Where You Are has both, and it made me smile pretty much the whole way through; I only stopped smiling a couple times because it’s not quite a hundred percent fluffy. Kristina Forest’s debut is about family, preparing for your future, working toward your dreams, and the importance of communication. And, of course, there’s an adorable romance too.

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Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Our Wayward Fate by Gloria ChaoOur Wayward Home by Gloria Chao
Published by Simon Pulse on October 15, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads

A teen outcast is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves to her small, predominantly white midwestern town in this remarkable new novel from the critically acclaimed author of American Panda, which The Wall Street Journal called “weepingly funny.”

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, Ah-lee, 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.

Finding a new author whose books you love is such a great bookish feeling. Obviously, I was thrilled to love Chao’s debut, American Panda, and eager to read more books from her. For me, though, I think it’s really the sophomore novel that cements what kind of relationship I’m going to have with that author’s books. Not that Sally Thorne couldn’t come back from whatever happened in 99 Percent Mine and write all books I love from here on out, but it definitely makes me really nervous when the sophomore novel doesn’t measure up to the debut. Our Wayward Fate sets Gloria Chao officially up as an author whose books I am obsessed with.

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I’ve Got You Covered (9)

All the best (at least by my tastes) in recent cover art.

Middle Grade

1. The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (Black Hollow Lane #1) – Julia Nobel

All of it’s cool, but my heart was won by that border. Out now!

2. A Kind of Paradise – Amy Rebecca Tan

Despite the horribly mismatched carpets, this reading nook does indeed look like a paradise. Out now!

3. The Bookwanderers (Pages & Co. #1) – Anna James

Bookishness and a cat and cute artwork? YES HELLO YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION.

4. The Woods – R.L. Toalson

There are so many covers of a girl walking into creepy woods, but this one manages to feel completely different. I love the colors and her dress and the art style. Perfection.

5. The Best at It – Maulik Pancholy

I was absolutely the opposite of this kid. I did most of my homework at school and did basically no extracurriculars. But you go, kid. It is also way too close to lunch for me to look at a picture of samosas without my stomach growling.

6. The Other, Better Me – Antony John

I simultaneously love the lights on the golf cart and worry what happens when it’s driven too far away from whatever the lights are attached to.

7. My Jasper June – Laurel Snyder

Magic? An enormous firefly? Fairies?

8. The Very, Very Far North – Dan Bar-El

Marketing can be effective, because I almost expect the polar bear to grab a coke from the icy water.

9. Clear Skies – Jessica Scott Kerrin

Awesome anyway, but it never hurts to get the cute animal cover bonus.

Young Adult

1. War Girls (War Girls #1) – Tochi Onyebuchi

Is it wrong to weep because a cover is so fierce and beautiful? If it is, I don’t want to be right.

2. There Will Come a Darkness (There Will Come a Darkness #1) – Katy Rose Pool

Cover: boss. I think I may just automatically love anything in this color palette, which is weird because black, white, and red aren’t among my favorite colors but idk cover magic somehow. Admittedly, though, I’m annoyed at being two for two with the series name just being book one’s title. Is that a pet peeve for anyone else?

3. The Circus Rose – Betsy Cornwell

STOP, DROP, AND ROLL, BEAR!!!!

4. The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Apparently this is about brides of Dracula and I don’t get that at all from this cover, but whatever this is amazing. Also curious about what Bellatrix’s name is doing down there at the bottom.

5. The Cities of the Dead (The Casquette Girls #3) – Alys Arden

It makes me so happy when self pub/small press covers are amazing. I’ve been really impressed with the ones for this series, even if nothing could make me get on that creepy-ass ferris wheel. Available now!

6. Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light #1) – Sara B. Larson

There’s something deeply nostalgic about this. (*mumbles about the series title being the book title*)

7. As Many Nows As I Can Get – Shana Youngdahl

I’ll admit there’s something I find off-putting about this cover, but it’s also gorgeous? Looking at the summary, I think that tension I feel looking at it is a good thing, because this so does not sound like a Christina book. Still deserved to make the cut because there’s so much to find in there, and it absolutely draws the eye. Plus, that illustration is amazing. The title treatment I don’t love, but eh.

8. Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) – Rosaria Munda

Like anyone is surprised that I love the dragon cover. (Also, THAT is how you series title.)

9. Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) — Rainbow Rowell

For some reason when I google searched to find a version of this cover without the EW stamp, I found one where someone had given Simon ramen-noodle hair ala young Justin Timberlake. Enjoy knowing that exists.

10. Shadow Frost – Coco Ma

As much as I’m mildly tired of arrow or sword fantasy covers, this one works for me. The arrowhead looks awesome, and so does the swirly frost and fire. The colors are great. Not a particularly original cover, but highly effective.

11. Other Words for Smoke – Sarah Maria Griffin

The US cover for this is also awesome, but I’m kind of in love with this owl cover. Out now in the UK!

12. The Soulstealers – Jacqueline Rohrbach

That must be the most used title font ever, but holy shit she looks amazing I don’t even care.

13. All-American Muslim Girl – Nadine Jolie Courtney

Adorable. It almost looks like a classic, actually, like some of the awesome B&N or Penguin editions.

14. The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2) – Melissa Albert

Honestly, how dare you be so gorgeous? It’s rude to all of our bank accounts.

15. The Chosen (Contender #1) – Taran Matharu

One grim reaper to rule them all.

16. Eclipse the Skies (Ignite the Stars #2) – Maura Milan

The eclipse effect is cute, and she’s fierce af.

17. How to Be Remy Cameron – Julian Winters

TBH I’m not about this sideways cover life, but whatever look at that beagle and the post-its and I defy you to not like this cover.

18. Viper (Isles of Storm & Sorrow #1) – Bex Hogan

Absolutely put-up-on-the-wall-worthy.

19. The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt #2) – Mary Watson

So pretty despite having a bug on it. Downside: I struggled to find this book on GR, because, though this clearly says the title is “The Wicker Light,” it is in fact “The Wickerlight.” *growls* This is the UK edition.

20. The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt #2) – Mary Watson

The good news is that the US edition is ALSO pretty, with the added bonus of having the title correct!

21. I’m Not Dying with You Tonight – Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal

I mean, that sounds ideal tbh.

22. The Stars and the Blackness Between Them – Junauda Petrus

Trippy as hell and cooler than I could ever possibly be.

23. Speak No Evil – Liana Gardner

Sign me up for any and all book covers that look like Bernini sculptures.

24. Your Brain Needs a Hug: Life, Love, Mental Health and Sandwiches – Rae Earl

Um why do those look ketchup and mustard sandwiches with nothing else? I approve of the sentiment but not the actual pictured sandwiches.

25. Pet – Akwaeke Emezi

Does this cover freak anyone else out or is it just me? Like, objectively, there’s nothing scary about it, but I get horror vibes.

26. The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven #1) – Kate Williams

Claudia Kishi with magical powers?!?!?!

Adult

1. The Girl in Red – Christina Henry

What did I say about that black and red color palette? It does pop more with white than this beige, but I guarantee I’d stop to look at this in a bookstore.

2. The Harp of Kings (Warrior Bards #1) – Juliet Marillier

The fonts let this one down a bit, but that illustration is so amazing. The way her hair shines is fucking captivating, I swear.

3. Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) – Mary Balogh

Maybe I’m biased because I love this series so damn much, but I find the verdancy of this cover irresistible. It makes me feel calm and happy just looking at it. I also love her dress and gloves.

4. The Nightjar – Deborah Hewitt

I feel like Kaylee because this is shiny as hell.

5. Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction – Lisa Kröger & Melanie Anderson

Could have lived without that creepy doll tbh, but I love the references, nerdiness and feminism of this cover.

6. Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) – Leigh Bardugo

Simple, sinister, stunning, and sibilant.

7. The Summer of Sunshine & Margot – Susan Mallery

They are basically living my best life. Only in my best life, bees don’t exist. (Yes, I know bees help make flowers exist but I have a phobia, okay, leave me alone, haters and also bees.)

8. The Bone Ships (The Tide Child #1) – RJ Barker

Black, white, and red AND a dragon. They saw me coming.

9. Get a Life, Chloe Brown – Talia Hibbert

I want to cut his hair, but otherwise this is perfection, and I would change not a thing.

10. A Choir of Lies – Alexandra Rowland

Nostalgia factor again. I’m not a huge fan of the white dude in the center, but I love the border bunches. Hi, Aslan!

11. The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #3) – Theodora Goss

These covers are amazing and the titles are absolutely the best.

12. The Book Charmer (Dove Pond #1) – Karen Hawkins

Listen, I know I’m being manipulated super easily but I don’t care. This looks adorable, and I want it.

13. The Friend Zone – Abby Jimenez

The first version of this cover I saw didn’t have the couple in the red, and omg that made this cover.

14. The Clergyman’s Wife – Molly Greeley

The foliage and the blend of green and purple here just works. Charlotte Collins may have a dull husband, but at least her cover’s exciting!

15. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Abbi Waxman

There are so many bookish covers in this post, and I regret nothing. Keep it publishing, it’s working. (Also, a reminder that I fucking love Berkley’s cover design team.)

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan & The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan & The Blue Castle by L.M. MontgomeryMrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan
Series: The Worth Saga #2.75
Published by Author on March 26, 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 144
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Mrs. Bertrice Martin—a widow, some seventy-three years young—has kept her youthful-ish appearance with the most powerful of home remedies: daily doses of spite, regular baths in man-tears, and refusing to give so much as a single damn about her Terrible Nephew.

Then proper, correct Miss Violetta Beauchamps, a sprightly young thing of nine and sixty, crashes into her life. The Terrible Nephew is living in her rooming house, and Violetta wants him gone.

Mrs. Martin isn’t about to start giving damns, not even for someone as intriguing as Miss Violetta. But she hatches another plan—to make her nephew sorry, to make Miss Violetta smile, and to have the finest adventure of all time.

If she makes Terrible Men angry and wins the hand of a lovely lady in the process? Those are just added bonuses.

Author’s Note: Sometimes I write villains who are subtle and nuanced. This is not one of those times. The Terrible Nephew is terrible, and terrible things happen to him. Sometime villains really are bad and wrong, and sometimes, we want them to suffer a lot of consequences.

Today I’m reviewing two books which, while vastly different, share a theme: women who think their life is over discovering that there’s so much more love and joy left for them. Both of these books made me smile in very different ways.

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The Gilded Web by Mary Balogh

The Gilded Web by Mary BaloghThe Gilded Web by Mary Balogh
Series: Web #1
Published by Dell on November 28, 2008
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 480
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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From one of America’s most beloved storytellers comes a classic love story—the breathtaking tale of a man and a woman caught in a web of temptation and seduction.

All she wanted was to escape the hot, crowded London ballroom. But moments after stepping into the bitterly cold night, she is seized by a pair of strong hands and spirited away. Fully expecting to be ravished, sheltered Alexandra Purnell instead finds herself at the mercy of the man who saved her from certain scandal. Edmund, Earl of Amberley, is bold and sensual, tempting Alexandra to be reckless for the first time in her life. But as passion ignites, Edmund’s offer of marriage takes Alexandra completely by surprise. Now a woman who craves her freedom above all else is about to discover how far one man will go to protect and possess the woman he loves.…

Mary Balogh continually impresses me, even in the books I don’t like as much, with her dedication to writing romances featuring a vast variety of characters. They’re all quite disparate, and she tackles all kinds of interesting characters that romance typically does not. The Gilded Web struck me yet again with her talents in this arena. This book manages to be dark in much of the subject matter but it’s perfectly balanced with the quirkiness of the secondary cast and madcap plotting.

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