She Persisted in Science by Chelsea Clinton

As a 26 year old, I don’t think I have the right stuff to rate children’s books. So no rating from me here!

Pages: 32

Goodreads: She Persisted in Science

Genres: Picture Book; Science; Children’s Literature; Nonfiction.


Throughout history, women have been told that science isn’t for them. They’ve been told that they’re not smart enough, or that their brains just aren’t able to handle it. In this book, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to women scientists who didn’t listen to those who told them “no” and who used their smarts, their skills and their persistence to discover, invent, create and explain.

She Persisted in Science is for everyone who’s ever had questions about the world around them or the way things work, and who won’t give up until they find their answers.

With engaging artwork by Alexandra Boiger accompanying the inspiring text, this is a book that shows readers that everyone has the potential to make a difference, and that women in science change our world.

This book features: Florence Nightingale, Rebecca Lee Crumpler, Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia, Grace Hopper, Rosalind Franklin, Gladys West, Jane Goodall, Flossie Wong-Staal, Temple Grandin, Zaha Hadid, Ellen Ochoa, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha & Mari Copeny, and Autumn Peltier, Greta Thunberg & Wanjiru Wathuti

This post is just a little shoutout to this cute book I stumbled upon at the library. Women have been beaten down for years, told we’re not good or smart enough to make advancements in science. In this read, Clinton proves just how wrong those sentiments are.

I’m obviously not the target demographic for this book, but I really did like it. I listened to the AudioBook version of it while walking Yzma and it made for an enjoyable listen. The message in this story – that your gender/sex can’t stop you from being powerful – is an important one.

That’s it. ☺

Turning by Joy L. Smith

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: 352

Goodreads: Turning

Genres: Young Adult; Contemporary; Romance; Fiction; Mental Health; Disability

Publication date: March 1, 2022


Genie used to fouetté across the stage. Now the only thing she’s turning are the wheels to her wheelchair. Genie was the star pupil at her exclusive New York dance school, with a bright future and endless possibilities before her. Now that the future she’s spent years building toward has been snatched away, she can’t stand to be reminded of it—even if it means isolating herself from her best friends and her mother. The only wish this Genie has is to be left alone.

But then she meets Kyle, who also has a “used to be.” Kyle used to tumble and flip on a gymnastics mat, but a traumatic brain injury has sent him to the same physical therapist that Genie sees. With Kyle’s support, along with her best friend’s insistence that Genie’s time at the barre isn’t over yet, Genie starts to see a new path—one where she doesn’t have to be alone and she finally has the strength to heal from the past.

But healing also means confronting. Confronting the booze her mother, a recovering alcoholic, has been hiding under the kitchen sink; the ex-boyfriend who was there the night of the fall and won’t leave her alone; and Genie’s biggest, most terrifying secret: the fact that the accident may not have been so accidental after all. 


“What’s wrong with you today?”

“Let’s see, my legs – useless. Bladder – useless. My bowels are like – screw it. It’s hot out here, and instead of you just letting me hurry up and get into the air-conditioned car, you’re asking me what’s wrong.”

That shut her up for now. What I really wanted to say is the boy who let me fall off a three-story building showed up today.

But I can’t say that, because she thinks I just lost my balance, which isn’t a total lie, but it’s not the whole truth, either.

Chapter 1,Page 14


If you’re new here: Hi, I love dance stories. If I find a book with a dancer in the cover or the book’s blurb talks about dancing, you’d better believe that I’m going to pick it up.

A lot of stories that mention dance – even Better Together by Christine Riccio which I also read this month – seem to be written by someone with a perfunctory understanding of the dance world. Knowing this, and having read books recently that have this same shortcoming, it made me smile seeing how Turning does not have this problem.

Turning deals with the intricacies of the ballet world from an insider’s perspective. It deals with being on the cusp of making it profession, of being at the top of your field, and having it all ripped from your grasp. It talks about the beauty of a pas de deux and the technique that goes into making a piece look flawless. It touches on the magic people can bring to the stage when they’re passionate about what they’re doing, when they let their emotions out on the stage.

Sure Genie might not be in the spotlight herself anymore, but she still manages to shine in this story. She might have a lot of anger and issues that’s she’s going to need to figure out, but she’s working on it. She’s working on herself and discovering how her new life is going to look. And really, after such a serious accident at such a young age, what more can we ask of her?

I’d certainly recommend this read to anyone who enjoys reading about ballet and the beauty of dance. However, my recommendation comes with a warning: If you’re not comfortable reading about emotional, mental, or physical abuse, this probably isn’t the read for you. If you don’t want to be in the head of an incredibly angry person, this probably isn’t the read for you. If you’re uncomfortable reading about a traumatic injury – such as a car crash or falling off a 3 story building – this probably isn’t the read for you.

If none of those things bother you, why not give this read a try? Sure Genie is filled with hate and anger over what happened to her, but her world is still filled with beauty.


Continue reading “Turning by Joy L. Smith”

You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation by Julissa Natzely Arce Raya

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pages: 208

Goodreads: You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation

Genres: Autobiography; Memoir; Nonfiction; Cultural

Publication date: March 22, 2022


Arce, who came to live in Texas from Mexico at age 11, shares the story of her assimilation to America, learning English, losing her culture, making money while undocumented and working on Wall Street, and the inevitable scars that came from pursuing an ever-moving goal post. She interweaves current political events and Latinx history into personal stories, covering topics including racism, cultural identity, money, friendships, and love. Arce’s goals are two-fold: by sharing her experiences she wants to encourage other people of color to recognize who they are is more than enough to be American, and she believes more visibility and representation of the Latinx experience will force people to recognize Hispanics as the Americans they are, rather than outsiders.

Rejecting Assimilation will address the issue of trying to be American without losing culture, and explore the positive effects and importance of recognizing yourself in the culture that surrounds you. 


For the first eleven years of my life, the pieces of my cultural identity were not spread across boarders. I was a Mexican in Mexico. If I ever felt like I didn’t belong at school, it was not because I was ethnically different. The culture was mine. I was Mexican with no quote marks.

Chapter One


This is not a story that was written for me. It’s not a story or a narrative with a white audience in mind. It’s not written as a way to get a white person to understand their privileges or the struggles the Mexican people have and continue to face on a daily basis. And that’s why I loved it.

This story is raw. It’s hard to read and it’s heartbreaking. It’s a tale of racism and suppression. Of forgetting yourself in an attempt at belonging when you’re never going to be a perfect fit anyways. And it comes with receipts.

Arce’s story is one that I’ll never be able to relate to. But that doesn’t stop this story from being an incredibly impactful one. There’s not very much focus on the struggles the Mexican population in America faces, it’s just another thing that’s been swept under the rug.

Instead of going on about how this story impacted me, I’m going to leave you with this:

You should read this book. You will almost certainly feel uncomfortable while reading it. You will almost certainly want to put it down and go on with your life, pretending that everything is okay. Get over yourself. This book is not for you or to make you to feel comfortable – especially not if you’re a white person who picks this story up. It’s about the truth and history and making sure the world becomes a better place.

Love at First Spite by Anna E Collins

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: 320

Goodreads: Love at First Spite

Genres: Romance; Contemporary; Fiction; Women’s Fiction; New Adult

Publication date: January 4, 2022


They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé’s house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their Realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.

That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on- and off-site, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter…


My white dress trails me as we make our way across the small clearing to where the others are waiting. The heavy fabric rustles against the ground, a few leaves catching in the hem, but I ignore them, concentrating instead on what’s ahead. All eyes are on me.

“Are you sure?” my cousin Mia asks at my elbow. My partner in crime.

I glance her way. I’m nervous, but I don’t want to be, and the simmering excitement in her expression reassures me. This is the right choice.

“Hundred percent,” I say.

She smiles and squeezes my hand. “You’ll rick this, I know it.” She lets go and steps away to assume her position with a wink. “See you on the other side.”

Then it begins.

Chapter One


What can I say? I’m a petty person (when it’s called for). The petty part of me loved what Dani did in order to get back at her cheating ex. Of course I know that being petty isn’t going to fix everything, but we can have fun being petty. Hell, we can have fun reading about someone else being petty.

Don’t get me wrong, Dani is much more than just petty in this story. She’s hurt and angry. She feels unworthy, like all of the changes she’s made over the last 9 or so months have been for naught. But she’s also strong and powerful. She’s not going to sit there and take it. She knows she has worth, even if she doesn’t feel like it all the time.

But most importantly, Dani has a great support system. She’s got her best friend, Mia. She’s got her amazing landlady, Iris. She’s even got her colleagues on her side (even if she doesn’t always know it).

What Dani really needs in this story is to work through her feelings, to get Sam out of her mind completely. If that takes building a Spite House with the hot architect at her firm, I say go for it. If it takes slowly realizing you’ve got a great thing in front of your face, then that’s what it takes.

When the cold, arrogant man turns out to be compassionate and caring, it’s no wonder Dani realizes she might like him as more than a coworker. When Wyatt agrees to help her with her spite house – for a fair exchange of work, of course – it’s the perfect excuse for them to get closer.

This workplace romance is sweet and steamy in all the right places. From colleagues to friends to lovers, this romance has a nice slow burn quality to it that had me flying through the pages wanting more. With a nice touch of revenge thrown into this plot, it was the perfect romance to feed my single soul.


Continue reading “Love at First Spite by Anna E Collins”

Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Pages: 304

Goodreads: Amelia Unabridged

Genres: Young Adult; Contemporary; Romance; Mystery

Publication date: February 16, 2021


Eighteen-year-old Amelia Griffin is obsessed with the famous Orman Chronicles, written by the young and reclusive prodigy N. E. Endsley. They’re the books that brought her and her best friend Jenna together after Amelia’s father left and her family imploded. So when Amelia and Jenna get the opportunity to attend a book festival with Endsley in attendance, Amelia is ecstatic. It’s the perfect way to start off their last summer before college.

In a heartbeat, everything goes horribly wrong. When Jenna gets a chance to meet the author and Amelia doesn’t, the two have a blowout fight like they’ve never experienced. And before Amelia has a chance to mend things, Jenna is killed in a freak car accident. Grief-stricken, and without her best friend to guide her, Amelia questions everything she had planned for the future.

When a mysterious, rare edition of the Orman Chronicles arrives, Amelia is convinced that it somehow came from Jenna. Tracking the book to an obscure but enchanting bookstore in Michigan, Amelia is shocked to find herself face-to-face with the enigmatic and handsome N. E. Endsley himself, the reason for Amelia’s and Jenna’s fight and perhaps the clue to what Jenna wanted to tell her all along.


If my life were a book, I would start here, standing in front of the long row of check-in tables at the California Children’s Book Festival with something that feels very much like hope blooming in my chest.

And if Jenna were the editor of my book – and she totally would be, because she’d want to make sure I got it right – she would disagree. She would say I should start from when we first met, or six days ago, when we graduated from Crescent High to tearful hugs from her parents and distant pats from my mother. But just this once I’ll ignore Jenna’s advice and start here, standing in the middle of the atrium, staring upward at the huge, colorful banner suspended above the check-in.

Chapter One


I did not expect this book to make me feel so much. That has absolutely nothing to do with this book’s potential. It’s purely because I hadn’t really looked into this story before picking it up. In reality, I needed a read for my 30 books in 30 days challenge and I wanted an AudioBook. This just so happened to be the first AudioBook from the library I saw that caught my attention.

While I might not have looked into this book much before picking it up, I’m glad that I did. A story about a girl whose best friend just died might not seem like it would be a whimsical tale, but it really felt like it was one. While no real magic existed in this world, the magic of its world jumped right off its pages. Well, right off the narrator’s tongue in my case since I listened to the AudioBook.

Lesa Wilson does an amazing job at narrating this story. She did a marvelous job at bringing this story to life with her words. Schumacher’s writing does a lot of the heavy lifting, of course, but Wilson’s emotion truly helped weave more magic into this world. If you’re a fan of AudioBooks, you might want to give this one a try.

If we look at the story itself, Schumacher managed to bring a pocket of magic into the world – both Amelia’s and our own – with this story. This story if fraught with guilt and sadness, pain and heartbreak. Amelia’s lost her best friend and is struggling to find a way to keep going. Everything that meant something to her before – the books she loves to read, the found family she discovered with Jenna and her parents – are all meaningless to her now. Yet being in Amelia’s head is a way to look at the world with wonder and amazement. Through Amelia’s eyes, the world seems brighter and more colourful. It seems full of promise and adventure.

Survivor’s guilt is a main undercurrent in this story. It dictates a lot of the decisions Amelia makes and the actions she takes. But she’s not the only one that feels it.

It’s hard at times to believe that Amelia’s going to find herself again, to determine her own place in the world. It’s a struggle for her to wake up in the morning and act normal. But she’s willing to try, if only to follow Jenna’s plan for her.

I’m glad I got to experience Amelia’s world, to read her story. It’s not a “happily every after” type read, but it’s raw and real. It’s an ending full of promise. And if that’s something that sounds interesting to you, there’s nothing stopping you from picking this read up.


Continue reading “Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher”

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 324

Series: Precious Stones Trilogy, Book 1

Genres: Young Adult; Fantasy; Urban Fantasy; Historical Fiction; Paranormal; Romance; Time Travel

Publication date: May 10, 2011


Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended – and rather eccentric – family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century…


Speaking of mysteries, I suddenly thought of something to take my mind off it all. I went into Mum’s room and looked down at the street. Yes, the man in black was still down there outside number 18. I could see his legs and part of his trench coat. The distance three floors down had never seemed so great. I tried working out how far it was from here to the ground.

Could you actually survive a fall from so far up? Well, maybe, if you were lucky and landed in the middle of a marsh. Apparently all London had once been marshland, or that’s what Mrs. Counter, our geography teacher, said. A marsh was okay – at least you’d have a soft landing. But only to drown horribly in mud.

I swallowed. I didn’t like the turn my own thoughts were taking.

Chapter Two


It’s been almost ten years since I read this book for the first time. When I read it high school, I absolutely fell in love with this world and its characters. Sure I haven’t been back to it since, but it’s been through my mind plenty of times since then. Time travel might not be something I read about all the time, but when I find a good time travel read I’m always happy. To me, this is a great time travel read.

Gwen grew up knowing time travel is real. She knew people in her own family travelled back in time. But she never thought that she’d be the one travelling back. And that’s a plot point that had me hooked right from the beginning.

I’ve read stories about people who knew time travel was real. I’ve read stories about people who discovered they could time travel and had to discover the world as they go. I’ve read The Time Traveler’s Wife, a story about being the one who doesn’t travel and being someone with uncontrolled travel. This remains the only story I can think of where a person is living their life tangential to time travel and is suddenly thrust into the lime light.

On top of that, I like Gier’s writing style (and Anthea Bell’s translation of the book). I like the way the words flow, the way one scene blends into the next. There’s the perfect amount of description for my tastes – not too much that it became boring, and not too little where I couldn’t get myself fully into the world. I can understand why some people argue that there wasn’t a lot of action in this story, but to that I say: of course this isn’t going to be the most action packed read. It’s the first book in a trilogy – they’re almost always slow starts before the action that happens later on.

I enjoy this read for the world building and the setup of characters. For the potential that I see in this world.

If you’re looking for a fast paced action time travel story, this isn’t going to be the world for you. But if you’re looking to enjoy a cozier time travel story full of world building and England through the ages, you might enjoy this read.


Continue reading “Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier”

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 240

Series: The Hazel Wood, Companion

Genres: Fantasy; Young Adult; Fiction; Horror; Fairy tales; Short Stories

Publication date: January 12, 2021


Journey into the Hinterland, a brutal and beautiful world where a young woman spends a night with Death, brides are wed to a mysterious house in the trees, and an enchantress is killed twice―and still lives.


There was once a rich merchant who lived at the edge of the woods, in a tiny town in the Hinterland. Though he spent most of his days traveling, he was at home long enough to give his wife two daughters, the eldest dark and the youngest golden, born one year apart.

Their father was distant and their mother was strange, often shutting herself up in her room for hours. Her daughters could hear her speaking to someone when they pressed their ears to the door, but only the eldest, Anya, ever made out an answer. The voice she heard was so thin and rustling, she could almost believe it was leaves against the window.

On a winter’s day when Anya was sixteen, their mother locked her door and did not open it again. After three days the servants broke it down, and found – an empty room. The windows were shit, winter howled outside, and the woman was gone. But she’d left something behind: on the floor, in a puddle of blood, a bone dagger.

The Door That Wasn’t There


First, can we all just appreciate how gorgeous this book is? And I’m not just talking about the front cover of this beauty. If you flip through the book, you’ll be greeted with gorgeous illustrations on virtually every page. I’d highly recommend getting your hands on a physical copy of this book if you can manage it, if only to flip through and see the detail that was put into it. This is certainly one of the pretties books I’ve ever read, and I’m thrilled to have its beauty in my collection.

The beauty of this book plays in stark contrast to the darker stories held within its pages. We get beautiful boarders that tie into each story. We get beautifully creepy cover images for each tale. The imagery ties in perfectly with the contents of each story and gives the stories more weight, more depth. They enhance the reading experience. At least, they did for me.

While I’m not going to say pick this book up solely for how gorgeous it is, its looks don’t hurt. I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case please do. If you find this cover page just as beautiful as I do, go pick up a copy for yourself. Go enjoy the other detailed images the books has to offer.

Continue reading “Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert”

New Moon Rising by Brandy Nacole

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Pages: 152

Series: The Keepers of Knowledge, Book 3

Genres: Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy; Supernatural; Witches

Publication date: February 1, 2021


Meet Tamsin Grey, witch extraordinaire…

At least, she would be if the High Council would heed her family’s warnings.

For decades her grandmother had tried warning the council that the supernatural races were not safe, especially the witches. She could feel the darkness that haunted the bloodlines, as could Tamsin as she got older.

A hopelessness often troubled Tamsin’s dreams, dreams filled with secrets hidden in the dark wood. Secrets the council had tried to hide. She feared for the witch’s future, as well as the other supernatural races, if she didn’t unravel the dreams meaning. But how?

It wasn’t until three years after her grandmother’s death and a life outside of Pyreshore, New Hampshire that she gets her chance. A letter inviting her to become a Keeper. It was the ticket she needed to bring her home and give her the opportunity to right a wrong so many chose to ignore.

But upon returning she finds that not only will she have to worry about the Witch’s Keeper watching her every move, but also Talon Strohm, son of the witches High Council. Talon tells Tamsin she can trust him but revealing the truth to him could put everything in jeopardy.

Tamsin will have to make a choice, trust Talon or let her only chance to save the witches slip away.

After all, every secret needs a Keeper.


It was no coincidence Luna came into my life when she did. Many may call me crazy, but I know my grandmother’s spirit lives through her. The day after my grandmother died, Luna showed up on my doorstep. Her little kitten-self had no qualms in warming up to me. When I left home, Lina walked out of the house with me, refusing to be left behind.

Since leaving Pyreshore, she has been my confident. Always there when I needed her and pouting when she knew I was making a hard decision. The first month we had moved away, Luna refused to let me pet her. It wasn’t until I poured my heart out to her as she sat opposite me that she finally allowed me to touch her. It was as if she could feel my emotions and the turmoil I was dealing with.

Chapter One


As I’ve said before, some of my feelings on this book might stem from the fact that I started reading Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper at the same time (2 days before this one, in fact). Harper’s book was just a stronger read for me right from the beginning, and I felt that detracted from my enjoyment in this world.

That being said, I also enjoyed my time in the others books in this series that I’ve read so far. As a collection of short stories written by different authors it’s to be expected that not every story is going to hit the way you want it to. Unfortunately, this was one of those reads for me.

I read a lot about witches and magical worlds. Like, a lot. And that’s made it easy for me to realize what I like and what I don’t when it comes to magical based stories. To me, this story was basic and obvious. Nothing that happened in this story surprised me, though I did find myself confused at some of the plot choices Nacole made. Like I said, this story just wasn’t for me.

I’m not going to say that you won’t enjoy this story. I can tell that it has merit and that a lot of people are going to enjoy it. Everyone has their own reading tastes, after all. All I can say is that this wasn’t the story for me.

Instead of continuing to go on about a story I didn’t enjoy too much, I’m going to end my review here. I’d still recommend giving this series a read if you’re interested in magical worlds and discovering new authors. I even promise to get back to the series myself and posting my thoughts on the stories as I go.

As it stands, I’ve read books 1, 2, 3, and 5 (they’re all standalones so can be read in any order). I’ll even make sure that my reviews for books 1 and 2 get posted sometime in the near future.



Other reviews from this series:

  1. Secrets of the Mermaid by Catherine Stine (Book 5)

The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Pages: 266

Goodreads: The Holiday Switch

Genres: Christmas; Young Adult; Romance; Contemporary; Romance

Publication date: October 5, 2021


Lila Castro is ready to take on her last winter break of high school. The snow is plentiful, the mood is full of holiday cheer, and she’s earning extra cash working at the cozy local inn. But her perfect holiday plans crash to a halt when her boss’s frustratingly cute nephew, Teddy Veracruz, becomes her coworker. When they accidentally switch phones one afternoon, they both realize they’ve been hiding things from each other. Will their secrets–and a dash of holiday spirit–bring them closer to love?

Underlined is a line of totally addictive romance, thriller, and horror paperback original titles coming to you fast and furious each month. Enjoy everything you want to read the way you want to read it.


[L]ast Christmas, while Carm and I were high on candy and good cheer, we decided to complete the Top Ten Things to Do in Holly, New York list from our tourist website by the end of winter break senior year:

1. Kiss on the Bookworm Inn pier

2. Sled down Wonderhill

3. Eat deep-fried marshmallows at Scrooge’s Shack

4. Go ice skating at Prancer’s Ice Rink

5. Try apple cider donuts at Comet’s Cider

6. Make an ornament with Mrs. Claus

7. Decorate cookies at Yule Be Baking

8. Carol while on Holly’s Main Street trolley

9. Hot chocolate and chess at the train depot

10. Take a picture with Holly’s Santa

Chapter Two


In the most spoiler free way possible, I do want to touch on why I rated this story a 3.5 instead of 4 stars. It’s as simple as this: the description of one of the “secrets” in this story read like someone looked up a list of terms and used them instead of doing research on the subject. For clarification on what I mean here, you’re going to have to read the story yourself, then come back and read the spoiler section of this review. (I know that you could always read ahead and ignore the spoiler warning, but where’s the fun in that?) I was originally going to rate this book a 4 star read, but this one thing has been niggling in the back of my mind since I finished the story and it just won’t let up.

Putting that aside, I liked the cozy romance of this story. I like that there’s a history and reasoning behind the characters’ actions. The fact that these actions had serious consequences – no matter how quickly things might seem to have gotten resolved – added another layer to the romance that a lot of stories I’ve read are lacking.

Being an absolute holiday romcom fiend, I was ready to sit down and devour this story in one sitting. I’m the kind of person that you’ll catch watching Christmas/Hanukkah movies in the middle of the year. In fact, I might have just watched Eight Gifts of Hanukkah this past weekend.

I ended up finishing this story pretty quickly, as was expected – within a 24 hour window. It was cute, and cozy, and oh so Christmas-y. If you’re looking for a cute holiday romance – whether you’re reading this in December or not – then you might enjoy this story.


Continue reading “The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo”

Better Together by Cristine Riccio

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pages: 448

Goodreads: Better Together

Genres: Contemporary; Young Adult; Romance; Fiction; Magical Realism; LGBTQ+; Retelling

Publication date: June 1, 2021


Jamie’s an aspiring standup comic in Los Angeles with a growing case of stage anxiety.

Siri’s a stunning ballerina from New Jersey nursing a career-changing injury.

They’ve both signed up for the same session at an off the grid Re-Discover Yourself Retreat in Colorado. When they run into each other, their worlds turn upside down.

Jamie and Siri are sisters, torn apart at a young age by their parent’s volatile divorce. They’ve grown up living completely separate lives: Jamie with their Dad and Siri with their Mom. Now, reunited after over a decade apart, they hatch a plot to switch places. It’s time they get to know and confront each of their estranged parents.

With an accidental assist from some fortuitous magic, Jamie arrives in New Jersey, looking to all the world like Siri, and Siri steps off her flight sporting a Jamie glamour.

The sisters unexpectedly find themselves stuck living in each other’s shoes. Soon Siri’s crushing on Jamie’s best friend Dawn. Jamie’s falling for the handsome New Yorker she keeps running into, Zarar. Alongside a parade of hijinks and budding romance, both girls work to navigate their broken family life and the stresses of impending adulthood.

Freaky Friday meets The Parent Trap in New York Times bestselling author Christine Riccio’s Better Together, a sparkling and heartfelt story about sisters, second chances, finding romance, and finding yourself.


I’m losing my shit over here. I know 100 percent of my focus needs to be on reconnecting with Siri right now, but I’m spiraling out about Zarar. It happened. I sat there with him and spilled my whole life story. We got up, we had lunch together, and I told him everything. I broke my own fucking rule. My shit is mine. I can handle it myself.

Chapter 20, Page 82


Christine Riccio found a place in my heart through her silly antics on her YouTube/BookTube channel PolandBananasBOOKS. When she released her first book Again, But Better, I happily picked it up. While I wasn’t sure if I’d like the story going into it, the book certainly grew on me. If you’d like to read my thoughts on this story right after I read it, click here.

While this isn’t a review for Again, But Better, I do first want to touch on it and how my opinion of the story changed. Briefly, I promise. The primary thing I want to touch on is the staying power of this story. I first read this story in 2019, and I’ve read quite a few books since. Yet this book’s plot and characters have popped into my mind multiple times over the years – each time with fondness. Sure I might not have had the most profound reading experience while reading Again, But Better, but the staying power of this story speaks for itself. For a debut novel from a personality I was already aware of, this was a great experience for me.

Because of that, when I saw Better Together in the bookstore I had to pick it up. And I’ve got to tell you – I’m glad I did. And having read Better Together, I’m seriously considering picking Again, But Better up again.


Better Together gave me everything that Again, But Better fell just short of. The characters felt more real, more like individual personalities instead of extensions of Riccio herself. The world was more flushed out, containing more depth and layers to it. She touched on the emotions of grief and hopelessness, of finding yourself and coming to terms with a new future. And she did all of this organically.

It was clear to me from page 1 that Riccio has matured as an author.

It’s been years since I’ve watched either Freaky Friday or The Parent Trap, but I still remember them with fond memories. Going into this read, I wasn’t sure how Riccio was going to bring these two stories together. I wasn’t sure how true she’d stay to the source material, how many liberties she’d take with the plots.

Dear reader, I’m happy to report that I loved how she handled combining these stories together. The liberties she took helped enhance the source material and allowed these two strong plotlines to coexist. Some of the changes she made even helped the stories feel more real, more plausible and seeded in reality.

If you’re looking for a story with a cookie cutter ending, I’m afraid this isn’t going to be book for you. But if you’re looking for a story with a positive, open ending with endless possibilities, then I’d recommend giving this story a try.


Continue reading “Better Together by Cristine Riccio”