Hello, World!: Happy County by Ethan Long @MacKidsBooks

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Munchkin Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

This gave me and my 8 yr old son total Where’s Waldo vibes while reading it.

It’s one of the cutest, most fun interactive books we’ve read so far! It has become a fave at our house.

I can definitely relate to Mr. Rhinehorn when he’s trying to find a quiet spot to take a nap. That’s how I feel in the warmer months with all the lawnmowers going in the mornings. 😜

Highly recommend this one!

Welcome to Happy County, where everyone is out and about! The Bright Brothers are testing their newest invention. Hannah the Handywoman is hunting for her hammer. And Mr. Rhinehorn is just trying to get some sleep!

This primer compendium is chock-full of lovable characters—from Tina Tusker the County Commissioner to Dottie the Dog Walker and Cheese Louise—living in a busy, spirited world full of landmark early-childhood subjects: first words, colors, numbers, shapes, simple maps, naps, school, and plenty of funny scenarios to keep little ones turning the pages.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

**Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for my gifted copy **

Genre: Women’s Fiction

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you like:

✔ Multiple POV’s
✔ Newfound friendships, enemies to lovers
✔ Stories of personal growth

✔ Flawed characters

Yay! I did it! I finished the last book on my list for February! 🥳

This was a cute and charming read. The kind of book you can enjoy at a coffee shop. At one point, I actually felt like going to Monica’s Cafe, but had to remind myself that it was a fictitious place! Bummer!

I do have to be honest though..about a quarter way through the book was a bit slow and I started skimming a large chunk of it. However, the last 30-40% definitely pulled through for me and I loved the ending! Fair warning, it was a bit sad, but completely satisfying. You’d have to read it to know what I mean! 😜

MONICA

I swear I kept picturing Kate Beckinsale for some reason. I couldn’t help but want a happy ending for her. I also kept hoping she’d end up with Hazard.

HAZARD

Sure he was arrogant and an ass, but somehow I was still rootin for this guy to turn his life around.

JULIAN

Ahh..the ever eccentric Julian. I loved this old man! I feel like he’d be such a hoot to have at the dinner table.

RILEY

The Aussie with a beautiful soul! He WAS such a sweet boy ❤ Good man this one was.

ALICE

I think we could all relate to her on some level, whether you’re a mom or obsessing over your Instagram account.

LIZZIE

The nosy neighbour who wasn’t afraid to admit it either! I think we all have one of those! 😜

Overall, I enjoyed the concept of this story. I loved the six degrees of separation and idea of these characters being brought together by a journal called: The Authenticity Project.

Have you read it? Plan to read it?

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes–in a plain, green journal–the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica’s Café.

The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer @BloomsburyPub @bloomsburykids @BrigidKemmerer

** Minor spoiler alert **

Genre: YA

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“He acts like a tethered animal that’s learned the limits of its chain—but knows how to lure prey to its death.”

If you like:

– fairytale retellings (Beauty & The Beast)
– Alternating POV’s
– strong female characters

Not gonna lie, I was a bit skeptical walking into this one, cause it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Not that there’s anything wrong with the fairytale, but it’s kind of been done already. Know what I mean?

But WOW! OMG you guys! This was SO good!

GREY

Grey..*gush* my hero 💜 How can you not love him?!

He was my fave character. 🙂

HARPER

I loved that she wasn’t your cliched female lead.

RHEN

As much as I enjoyed watching Rhen grow and develop feelings for Harper, I totally shipped Grey & Harper! How about you?

LILITH

👏 She was a great female villain. I love how she appeared throughout the story.

Seriously..there’s aren’t enough words I can conjure up to describe my love for this book! As a matter of fact, I’m reading A Heart So Fierce And Broken right now! And I almost never read a series back to back!

I have to say, I totally saw the end coming as soon as the “twist” was mentioned, but it was a good one!!

Have you read it? What did you think?

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson @PenguinRandomCA #JustMercy

Genre: Non-fiction, Autobiography

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It was purely coincidental that I read this, this month, which also happens to be Black History month. 

I had seen Jamie Foxx & Michael B. Jordan on The Tonight Show talking about the movie, which made me wanna read it in the first place! Non-fiction, let alone autobiographies, are sooo not me!  But I’m really glad I decided to pick this one up.

It was an eye opening experience, that explores the history of slavery in Alabama, racism against blacks and judicial system, which made for a much heavier read. 

All the hate crime and police brutality mentioned throughout made my blood boil.  Being Asian, I’ve experienced racism all my life, but fortunately, never to this degree.

I did find myself skimming, since I was mainly interested in Walter’s case and the outcome.  But it was an excellent read otherwise!

Have you read this one? Have you seen the movie?

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

The Shadow Between Us by Tricia Levenseller @RaincoastBooks @FierceReads

** Thank you Raincoast Books for my ARC **

Genre: YA
Pub Date: Feb 25, 2020

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐



If you like:

✔scheming, scandalous characters

✔a game of clue (murder mystery)

✔ Flirtatious, slow burn romances

✔character driven stories

“They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart.

And they never will.”


I knew from the start I was gonna like this one! I mean, come on. Is that not a killer opener or what?! (Pun intended) 😆

I loved Alessandra! She was the perfect MC: ambitious, cunning, beautiful and unapologetic about her sexuality. A bit of a black sheep.

Her relationship with The Shadow King kinda reminded me of Tella & Legend from the Caraval series.

While I really enjoyed this one, I also wanted to see a bit more action! Particularly from the Shadow King.  I wanted to see much more of his darker side and less of the daily happenings that took place at the palace.

Overall, it was a great standalone with an excellent cast of characters.  I can’t wait to read all her other books!

Have you read it? Is it on your tbr?  Have you read her other books? Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid #Overhyped

Genre: Coming Of Age Fiction

My Rating: DNF @ Chapter 6

Okay, seriously..what the F is going on?!! This is the second DNF in a row! 🤦‍♀️

This is one of THE hottest books and everyone from your mom, your neighbour, the bus driver (you get the picture), has read it or is reading it right now!

Again, I find myself another unpopular opinion, and probably the only person who actually didn’t like it. 🙈

The first chapter had me hooked, but it all went downhill from there.

This book had such great promise, but never delivered. It was SO not what I thought it was gonna be! I was expecting this amazing and powerful read like The Hate U Give.. Maybe that was the problem. My expectations were waay too high!

From chapter 2 and on, I kept waiting for the story to get better and something to happen, but it never did. I really didn’t care to hear about Alix’s life as a new mom or Emira’s night out with her friends. I wanted more of the night at the grocery store and it’s after affects! Not, Today’s Parent meets Cosmo magazine.

This was just one hot mess for me! From the choppy writing to the dialogue..ugh..

Have you read this one yet? Did you love it like so many others did?

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living showing other women how to do the same. A mother to two small girls, she started out as a blogger and has quickly built herself into a confidence-driven brand. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night. Seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, a security guard at their local high-end supermarket accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make it right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At twenty-five, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

An Unbiased Review Of Why American Dirt by Jeanine Cummings Wasn’t For Me


Genre: General Fiction

My Rating: DNF @ chapter 9


“She doesn’t ask if he’s okay, because from now on that question will carry a weight of painful absurdity. ”


Just so you know, my opinion is from a neutral standpoint, and up until it landed on my doorstep (which was right on pub date), I was completely oblivious to the controversy surrounding this book.  Still, I wanted to be my own judge and read it. 

What I liked..

– Great opening scene. Something you’d see in an action movie.  My heart broke for Luca.


My issues with it..

-It wasn’t the bingeworthy read I was hoping for.  It bordered on being overly descriptive, which made for a slower and tedious read. Quite frankly, I’d feel exhausted after only reading 2 chapters at a time.


The kicker for me: I just wasn’t buying the insta friendship between Javier & Lydia.  It felt forced into the story, especially where he reveals his feelings for her.  It was laughable!
It reminded me of a cheesy scene from a daytime soap.  I had to ignore the part of me that rolled my eyes, just to make it through that chapter.

And rather than trying to protect her husband by convincing him to pull the plug on his story, she goes on to defend her new found friend.  It was infuriating.

A story this ambitious would have been told better through a different pair of eyes, like maybe the wife of Javier trying to escape the cartel.. THAT. Would have been WAY better.

– I had a hard time connecting with Lydia and feeling what I should have been feeling after watching her family get massacred.  The emotions and terror that should have come along with the aftermath, didn’t come through for me. The gut wrenching pain of death, or that adrenaline rush of being spotted by the cartel..I didn’t feel any of that (and definitely wanted to).

Personally, I felt the story was lacking and ultimately resulting in disappointment.  There were some good ideas and enjoyable scenes, but it wasn’t enough to keep me invested in wanting to continue.

Thanks to all the own voices advocates, I’ve discovered some new titles and added these to my list:

I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER BY ERIKA L. SANCHEZ


THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS BY CRISTINA HENRIQUEZ


Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel @stephwrobel @SimonSchusterCA @BerkleyPub

** Thank you Simon & Schuster Canada for my advanced readers copy, and to Berkley Pub for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley **

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Riddle me this: if I spent almost two decades abusing my daughter, why did she offer to pick me up today?If you like:

-Domestic dramas
-Suspense
-dysfunctional characters
-Alternating POV’s

HOT DAYMN! My first 5-star read of 2020 and book I can’t shut up about!!

I knew I was gonna love this one from the very first page! If it weren’t for the need to sleep or care for a baby and my kids, I seriously would have blew through this in one sitting!

I’m still at a loss for words cause I’m currently hungover from this one.  It’s hard for me to fully articulate my thoughts without giving away any spoilers.  But I will say this: if I wasn’t feeling sorry for these characters, I was hating them and loved every moment of it! It took cray cray to a whole other level.

This was an incredible debut. I cannot wait to see what Stephanie Wrobel brews up next!

Have you read it? Is it on your tbr?

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

The Other Mrs by Mary Kubica


Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

**Thank you Netgalley & Park Row Books for my eARC **

If you like:

-Multiple POV’s
-Plot twists
-domestic thrillers
-unreliable characters

I wasn’t feelin her last book, but I feel like Mary Kubica really amped up her game with the storyline for this one.  From the creepy looking house, the murder and the introduction of Camille & Mouse 😳

While I enjoyed it as a whole, I wasn’t mind blown like I wanted to be:

-It was a bit slow and lackluster after the 2nd chapter.

-There was some repetitiveness, but there was a reason for it, which I don’t want to give any spoilers.

– I figured out the plot twists within the first 3 chapters.  But having read Kubica’s work before, I already expected a predictable read.

Overall, I loved the ending and still found myself flipping the pages at 2am.  Definitely a worthwhile read.

Have you read it? Have you read any of her other books? Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor, Morgan Baines, is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie, who is terrified by the thought of a killer in her very own backyard.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. It’s their eerie old home, with its decrepit decor and creepy attic, which they inherited from Will’s sister after she died unexpectedly. It’s Will’s disturbed teenage niece Imogen, with her dark and threatening presence. And it’s the troubling past that continues to wear at the seams of their family.

As the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of Morgan’s death. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

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