Review: A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert

Title: A Girl Like Her

Author: Talia Hibbert

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Publication Date: March 14,2018

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Hello friends! Guess who’s out here reading Romance books…. ME! The best part about being apart of the Dragons and Tea Book Club is that I’m reading books, I would normally never pick up. This month’s pick was A Girl Like Her and once again I couldn’t help myself but read this in one sitting. And I couldn’t put it down. Melanie and Amy sure know how to pick excellent book choices.

So what is this book about…

“Fanfic is good for my heart. Running is a disaster waiting to happen, and you know it.”

–> Ruth Kabbah

What did we do to deserve such representation? Honestly, this was awesome. An own-voices plus size, autistic, black woman. *heart eyes* I want to meet Ruth and talk all the comics with her. Seriously, it was like reading my own thoughts about comics. Ruth was a FANTASTIC main character and someone I truly loved reading about. While I couldn’t relate to her being autistic, I did relate to her on many different levels. She was a huge geek and every time she talked comics it was like reading my own thoughts.

Her coping with previous relationships, anxiety, and guilt was beautiful and heartbreaking to read. Ruth was a prickly person with an inability to cook food and said the wrong things 90% of the time, but I absolutely loved her.

–>Evan Miller

My man, Evan. The perfect foil for the prickly Ruth, Evan is all about being a sweetheart. The whole time reading him I kept thinking of Chris Evans, but like bearded Cap from Avengers: Infinity Wars. Is that what the author was going for, who knows. But honestly, it was the best image of Evan. Completely chivalrous, he is new to Ravenswood and is not about any preconceived notions about Ruth. Nah, he was raised by good parents who taught him to get the facts straight from the source. The whole package, Evan is absolutely adorable the entire time. Cooks for others because he is so afraid Ruth is malnourished, and for his new friend Zach and his ailing mother. Evan is all about helping others out. And he is completely infatuated with Ruth and it’s just super cute. He is all about consent and never ever wants Ruth to be afraid of him. Honestly, a dream dude. More men should aspire to be Evan Miller is what I’m saying.


β€œIt’s just, I want to do things with you. Not to you. There’s a difference.”

Am I finally reading adult contemporary/romance books? Yes, I think I might. Did I immediately buy the second one right after I devoured this beauty? Yes, I did. I’m growing up kids. Look out.

Confession time: I’ve only read one other adult contemporary like this in my life. It was called Wallbanger by Alice Clayton and it was so great. So A Girl Like Her is the second, and I enjoyed this so much. I think the reason I loved this so much is that it toes a very fine line of Rom-Com and full on Romance. Because why yes, this was super cute and adorable and nerdy, it also had its share of sex. And there weren’t many cringe tropes that really make or break it for me. Instead, the author does a phenomenal job of highlighting the beauty of consent!

There are some serious warnings for people who have suffered abuse. Ruth suffered from a bad relationship that included emotional, mental and sexual abuse. It’s more of past experience and it’s only through Ruth reminiscing about it. But still could be troublesome for some people. Stay safe, my friends.

Overall this was a great introduction to adult contemporary for me and I’m so happy it was the pick for Dragons and Tea Book Club. For me, A Girl Like Her was a super cute book written by a wonderful Woman of Color who I now adore. Do yourself a favor and spend a little money on A Girl Like Her. It’s worth it. Okay, friends, I’m off to read some more books by Talia Hibbert.

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ARC Review: Somewhere Only We Know

Title: Somewhere Only We Know

Author: Maurene Goo

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

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Hello, my loves! A quick update on life before I start the review. You may have noticed I’ve been away for a bit, well on my birthday, my friend and I decided we are going to make a spontaneous trip…… to THAILAND!! And the best part is it’s for a BTS concert. Are you seeing today’s theme is Kpop?

It’s been a while since I’ve read contemporary… like a LONG time. Seriously think the last real one was the Fault in Our Stars??? But this year I’ve read 2! I’ve never been a romance kinda gal, but friends….. I ADORED THIS BOOK. Seriously, it was over and I just wanted to immediately buy all of Maurene Goo’s books. (Stupid spending ban) Am I into contemporary books now? 2019 is really shaping up to be the year of new books. New Year, New Me.

So what is Somewhere Only We Know about…

Lucky/Fern: an up and coming Korean-American idol. At 18, she’s just finished her last concert in Hong Kong after a long Asian tour. Her next stop is to come to America for American debut that hopefully wins her some new fans. She loves to perform and sing, but lately has been just going through the motions. Although she is originally from America, she moved at a young age to Seoul to pursue a music career. She has a very clean record and has not been involved in any scandals. Lucky is her stage name.

Jack: an 18 old Korean-American, who moved with his family to Hong Kong just a few years ago. He’s just graduated from high school and is taking a gap year, working for his father’s bank. He has a passion for photography but doesn’t think his parents would approve of him going to school for it. He also moonlights as a tabloid photographer, photographing all the dirt he can find on famous people.

Lucky’s search for a hamburger is what brings these two characters together in Hong Kong. Think Roman Holiday in Hong Kong. Both Jack and Lucky have secrets they are keeping from each other but still managed to have a fun 24 hours together filled with food, a little romance, Hong Kong scenery and more food.

“Jack, there is actual goodness and badness, you know that right? Like there’s life that is quality and there’s a life that is….empty.”

This was a joy to read from the very beginning. I’m a huge fan of Kpop (BTS FOR LIFE) so I was already really excited for this to come out. But it was the growth in characters that really sold me. Told from both Jack and Lucky’s perspective, I thought this was a really cool premise. Two polar opposite characters spend a fun-filled day together and help each other become better versions of themselves.

It’s hard to write a book based on a mostly 24-hour time window, and Maurene does a wonderful job. It’s paced so well that I kept forgetting this was all happening in such one day. The setting of Hong Kong leaps off the page as the author is very descriptive with the sights, tastes of Hong Kong. Was Hong Kong on my list of places to visit…yes. But now it’s at the top of the list of places I would like to visit.

I really liked Somewhere Only We Know. I thought it had a cute plot, precious characters and a setting I would kill to be in right now. 2019 is the year I read other genres besides just fantasy and comics, lol. Is this the best contemporary book I’ve ever read, who knows. But I enjoyed it and I think a lot of people will all enjoy this incredibly cute story.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Review: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

Title: The Wicker King

Author: K. Ancrum

Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… 

Publication Date: October 31, 2017

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Friends! This book was such a surprise for me. I am not the biggest fan of contemporary but I’m trying new things. This was also the first book pick for The Dragons and Tea Book Club! I’m so very thankful to be a part of this club and can’t wait to make new friends in this wonderful book community.

This is a messed up book. The whole time reading I felt every emotion imaginable and it wasn’t until the end where I thought “wow I love this and I hate how much I love it.” I can see why this would be a polarizing story for some.

The Wicker King is a brilliantly written well-plotted story that takes the reader on a dark, emotional and (even a little) disturbing journey. I devoured this book at work and then proceeded to tell my friend (also at work) to please read this so I could have someone to cry over this with. The entire time reading I felt every emotion imaginable. The end of the book had me feeling like Kat reading “10 Things I Hate About You” to Patrick in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. I hated how much I loved The Wicker King 

Visually stunning by using the pages to signify the main characters’ inner turmoil. As the story progresses, the pages become darker eventually turning black. One of the most creative things I’ve ever seen in a book. The plot is enthralling and the characters are unique, making for a gripping story. The chapters were short which made it very hard for me to put it down.

August and Jack were such interesting TRAGIC characters who I loved. I just want to take them home with me and make them all the food. Broken kids who have gone through a lot for their age. Abusive and neglectful parenting tied these two men together into a relationship that was unhealthy for them both. Codependent to an unhealthy level, Ancrum gives us the story of two young men obsessed with each other and the lengths they will go for each other.

August’s voice throughout the book is so jumbled and well-done that it added an extra level of suspense for the reader. Ancrum does a wonderful job of showing August’s confused inner thoughts. I was confused about his relationships with the other characters and so was August.

A raw and powerful look at mental illness, The Wicker King explores many topics that resonate with many of us. The repercussions of absent, and neglectful parenting greatly impacted the characters and greatly propelled the plot. The effects of unhealthy relationships also really move the plot along. Ancrum does a brilliant job of having a neutral perspective on the characters and their relationships.

All in all, I think this was a brilliantly written book I fell in love with. For my first contemporary book in many years, I found myself asking for more. This is a messed up book, as I’ve said. You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. But it’s a book I will forever be recommending to people.

β€œIf you drop the weight you are carrying, it is okay. You can build yourself back up out of the pieces.”

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