Thursday, June 27, 2019

Bunny in the Middle by Anika A. Denise

Title: Bunny in the Middle
Author: Anika A Denise
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: July 2, 2019
Pages: 40
Source/format: ARC//The Horn Book

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

This joyful picture book celebrates middle children and sibling love.

When you’re in the middle . . . you’re not the oldest, and you’re not the youngest. You are right in between. There’s someone bigger who helps you and someone smaller who needs you. From the middle, you can see both sides.

But being in the middle isn’t always easy—sometimes it’s hard to know what makes you special, or how to follow a path that’s just your own. This classic picture book highlights the remarkable empathy of middles and the joys of self-acceptance, glowingly illustrated by New York Times-bestselling artist Christopher Denise.

M Y  T H O U G H T S 

Bunny in the Middle is a wonderful book depicting what it means to be a middle child. Of course being a middle child can feel like you're not getting attention from others but being a middle child can be a positive thing. A middle child can lead the younger sibling but also find help through their older sibling. A middle child learns to negotiate. A middle child learns to share. But the best part of all is that they are the loved all around. They can pave their own unique path.

Christopher Denise's illustrations depict a warm and fuzzy feeling when flipping through the pages. The muted colors and illustration style reminds me of Peter Rabbit and Winnie the Pooh. Bunny in the Middle is a new classic picture book for all ages. It's an uplifting approach to what it means to be a middle child.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and the meme moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to list their most anticipated releases of the second half of 2019. I have to say that the end of 2019 is having some very excellent titles coming up! I am so excited to read them all! The following titles are in no particular order.

1. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett releasing on October 8, 2019. I love all of Kim Liggett's novels so I am super excited to see Kim's take on a dystopian. If you love paranormal and horror, make sure to check out her backlist titles.

2. Frankly in Love by David Yoon releasing on September 10, 2019. This contemporary novel sounds definitely up my alley. I had a chance to read the beginning of the book via a sampler and I am in love already!

3. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw releasing on November 5, 2019. The Wicked Deep captured my heart and when I heard Shea was releasing this book, I had to add it to my TBR list. Haunting romance, magical forest and a mysterious boy? Yes, please!

4. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee releasing on August 13, 2019. I am a huge fan of Stacey's books and I added this to my TBR list immediately. Stacey writes historical fiction with Asian main characters. I can't wait to see what Miss Sweetie has in store for us.

5. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim releasing on July 9, 2019. Mulan meets Project Runway? Yes to this! That is all I needed to read before I added this beauty to my TBR list. I am also all for YA fantasy featuring Asian characters.

6. Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco releasing on September 10, 2019. Kerri has swept our feet with Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell. Let's see what the duo can accomplish together this time unearthing yet another serial killer.

7. Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell releasing on September 24, 2019. This is the sequel to Carry On and readers get more Simon and Baz! What's not to love about Simon and Baz?

8. Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao releasing on October 15, 2019. Asian main character in a rural area? I am interested to see Ali Chu navigate being the only Asian student in her school.

9. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo releasing on October 1, 2019. I am not a huge fan of Leigh's writing but I will give her a chance on this adult paranormal novel. The synopsis is what got me.

10. Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan releasing on November 5, 2019. I love Girls of Paper and Fire and cannot wait to dive into this sequel. Lei and Wren barely escaped the wrath of the Demon King during the first book and seeing them overcome many obstacles is inspiring. Their love will triumph all. With an epic journey, dark magic and badass girls, this novel will be kickass!

What are some of yours most anticipated books for the second half of 2019?

Monday, June 17, 2019

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love

Title: Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love
Editors: Elsie Chapman, Caroline Tung Richmond
Authors: Elsie Chapman, Caroline Tung Richmond, Sara Farizan, Sandhya Menon, Sangu Mandanna, Rebecca Roanhorse, Adi Alsaid and Phoebe North
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: June 18, 2019
Pages: 352
Source/format: e-ARC/Publisher

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors—including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco—comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.

A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.

Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.

Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love embodies a variety of different cuisines from numerous cultures with a wonderful line up of diverse authors. Written in a variety of genres, the authors have included some of the very best, deliciously described foods in short stories, emphasizing how food, family and culture intertwine, creating a unique identity. Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love will make your mouth water as you read all these stories.

From bakeries to cooking competitions, Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love feeds the soul. These interconnected stories are heartwarming and they are just what everyone needs. What I love is how each story incorporates a variety ingredients, different cultures, different techniques and different time periods. It's like a mixing bowl of flavors.

Because of the anthology formatting, it makes it easy to pick up the book to read at your own pace. I would love to see a blog tour or some kind of collaboration tour where someone cooks a dish to represent each story from Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love. Or even better, a recipe book that goes hand in hand with the anthology. If you love food or anything culinary related, pick up Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Novel Notes: Punta Cana Trip

It's been awhile since I wrote a non-review post and I wanted to say hi, everyone and that I am still here! It's been crazy busy at work as the semester waned but since now it's the summer semester, the students are off campus and it's a bit more manageable workwise. I was fortunate enough to go away during Memorial Day weekend. I ended up extending my weekend to go to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for my husband's cousin's wedding, which was fabulous by the way. This was my first time going away for a destination wedding and the whole long weekend was so much fun. Besides the hiccups with all transportation, including us getting stuck in Toronto overnight on Memorial Day into Tuesday, the trip was amazing!

Not only did I get to spend more time with my husband's family, we finally got to relax and enjoy the wonderful views Punta Cana provided us. It was a paradise from Thursday to Monday! The water was the perfect temperature to cool you down during the hot summer day. The sun shined reflected on the water, making it dazzle as the waves washed over the shore. The sand was so smooth! The beaches here in Massachusetts are often filled with rocks and seashells so it was a nice change to walk on the smooth sand. The cabanas were great! We got a great view without too much sun. I am so happy I brought my sunhat and a lot of sunblock. The sun is so strong in the Dominican Republic.

The pool was great to keep cool without worrying about the rough waves of the ocean. The swim up bar was perfect though! I mean how many times do you get to still stay in the pool and get drinks? I succeeded in getting my fresh coconut to drink out of. I actually had quite a lot of coconuts that weekend. We also found a new delicious cocktail drink at the swim up bar that we ended ordering all the time during the trip. The Dominican Baby was the bomb!

For the wedding events, there was a cocktail party the night before the wedding which was nice since it was along the beach at a beach bar and we got to see the beach at night with all the lights. On the day of the wedding, on Saturday, we left to resort to travel to the wedding venue. OMG! I have never been to a wedding so beautiful. From the views along the water to the delicious food, everything was on point. The decorations created a whimsical romantic feeling to it and everyone had a great time! The drinks were great too! I loved the Passionfruit Mojito. The couple getting married were all smiles during the ceremony and reception. It's such a wonderful thing how two people and their families fuse into one.

The next day, we attended a catamaran trip with a good amount of the people who attended the wedding. We got to go snorkeling, ate some of the most delicious seasoned shish kabobs ever, enjoyed some wonderful views and we even got to swim/stand in the shallow section of the ocean to chit chat and to have fun.

The day before the wedding was crazy weatherwise. We had an afternoon T-storm that was so intense! I never heard thunder so loud before! The downpours were so intense that many of the walkways and the pristinely landscaped grounds were flooded! We lucked out that we got the storm the day before the wedding instead of the day of the wedding. 

My husband and I even got to play a little bit of Pokémon on our trip. I was super excited to relax at the beach while doing a Lapras raid and we were even fortunate enough to get some Heracross pokemon. I love exploring new areas with Pokémon Go.

Some of the things I had on my to-do checklist in Punta Cana included the following:

Drink coconut water out of a fresh coconut
Eat fresh tropical fruit every day
Enjoy the Dominican coffee
See the sunset at the beach
Catch a Heracross Pokémon
Buy a bottle of Dominican vanilla extract to bring home

I have to say I was able to do everything on my list and much more.

Everyone had a great time and I cannot wait to visit the Dominican Republic in the future. The husband and family are thinking about going to Santo Domingo the next time we go back. I cannot wait!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Title: Somewhere Only We Know
Author: Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication date: May 7, 2019
Pages: 384
Source/format: Library//Hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2 

Synopsis (from

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she's just performed her hit song "Heartbeat" in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She's about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She's in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She's very cute. He's maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Maurene Goo created a unique book that pulled me in right from the beginning. Lucky is a sensational K-pop star and is making her huge break On the Later Show in the United States soon. Currently, she is hungry for a hamburger in between sets in Hong Kong. She sneaks out of her hotel venturing out for that hamburger that she has her heart set on. What she didn't know is that she would bump into Jack, who is also Korean and from California just like her.

Jack is taking a gap year between high school and college. Although his parents are supportive of the gap year, he is required to intern at the bank his father works for despite his passion for photography. If he opts for college, Jack would love to attend art school to pursue his passion. I found it interesting how his parents want him to major in business and/or engineering when his father studied creative writing and even obtained a MFA. However, Jack's father ends up going into banking for a career.

Jack was still able to pursue his love for photography even though he has to sneak around behind his parents back. He gives into his parents' expectations but still follows his passion. Lucky loves what she does but I sense a feeling of uncertainty from her. She wants the freedom to carve her own path without everyone watching her every move. She is on a path of self-discovery and Jack is helping her figure out what she wants out of life.

Lucky and Jack don't fall at love at first. They actually were annoyed at each other at times but Jack genuinely cared about the well-being of Lucky. Although I find it unrealistic that Lucky was able to evade the K-pop industry such as her manager and some of the security, Somewhere Only We Know is a light rom-com perfect for summer reading. Lucky and Jack meeting each other, is the relief that they are looking for, away from their hectic and stressful lives. If you are looking for a quick, fluffy read and love K-pop, check out this novel!