This acclaimed novel was originally published in 1986, but I discovered it the way I think a good number of people did: through the 2004 animated film adaptation produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Usually, I wouldn’t bother reading a book if I’ve seen its movie already, but I had always had an exception for Howl’s Moving Castle. The movie was just so magical and beautifully-crafted, and the soundtrack (the soundtrack!) was so good that I knew I had to see where it was born from. After finally reading the book, I can say that it was completely worth my time.
First generation Korean American high school senior Frank Li hadnever had a girlfriend.
A total nerd, he spent his sweet, suburban Californian days studying for advanced placement tests, playing dungeons and dragons with his equally geeky friends, and helping his dad at their grocery store on the weekends. When a girl finally revealed that she liked him, Frank Li frankly couldn’t be any happier—except for one thing: his traditional Korean parents would never approve of his relationship with someone who wasn’t Korean.
Rather than be open with his parents and make them see reason, Frank pretended to date his fellow Korean American family friend, Joy Song, while he hid his European American girlfriend, and Joy hid her Chinese American boyfriend from her parents. What ensued was not a cliche contemporary about fake dating, but a complicated story of love, family, and identity.
Maddie loved her best friend Alexa, but she could not stand Alexa’s other best friend Theo. She thought he was an arrogant career man who only knew how to talk about himself, while Theo thought that Maddie was self-absorbed and materialistic. After a fluke hookup between the two rivals, they swore that it would never happen again and that, more importantly, Alexa could never know. However, when Alexa announced that she would be getting married and that her two best friends would both be in the wedding party, Maddie and Theo knew that whatever was changing between them would be hard to keep secret.
Ash Princess is the first book in its title series following Princess Theodosia.
Ten years before the start of the story, Theodosia’s mother, The Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes by the Kaiser—and her kingdom fell to the tyrant. For a decade, while her people were slaughtered and enslaved, Theodosia lived as a prisoner in her own palace, beaten and looked down upon by the Kaiser and his court. But after a traumatizing event, Theodosia’s heart is set aflame with vengeance for her mother and kingdom.
It’s the season for short, fluffy romances you can indulge in while being b u r n t a l i v e by the sun. Ahh.
I haven’t read too many romances this summer, or this entire year for that matter. In fact, the two novels I’m about the review in this post are the only books I’ve read from the genre in the past few months. Maybe I’m growing old and bitter, or maybe it’s just the mood reader in me kicking in (may-haps both?).
I think what I like more than summer romances now though are books that are marketed as such, but actually place more emphasis on other plot-lines. That’s what these two stories have in common and why I enjoyed them. So, here are two fluffy, (sort-of) summer romance reviews:
In celebration of March being Women’s History Month, I aimed to exclusively read female-authored books for the thirty-one days.
With the exception of one book, I made good on my goal and ended up having my best reading month this year. It’s really not much of a feat considering how busy I was in January and February and the complete disregard of my TBR pile that ensued. But, I’ll accept anything remotely close to win—it keeps me motivated 😅.
If you read my Women’s History Month Read-a-thon, you’ll know that the majority of the novels I read last month were young adult (YA) contemporaries. It wasn’t on purpose. ɪ ᴅɪᴅ ʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴀ ʙᴏᴏᴋ ʙʏ ᴏᴘʀᴀʜ. I think it just played out that way because I’m a giant mood reader, so I peruse the blogosphere when picking out my next reads. That results in me repeatedly reading YA since I mostly follow YA-oriented book blogs.
Don’t get me wrong though, there’s nothing wrong with YA. In fact, I made this conclusion after my read-a-thon:
There are so many brilliant women contributing their powerful thoughts for a more competent, diverse, and tolerant society—and there’s no place where it’s more apparent than YA bookshelves.
Goodreads Description: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
Indian American Protagonists.
If I had to summarize in two words why I picked this book up, it’d be just that: Indian American Protagonists.
Being half Indian myself, this book immediately sparked my attention when it blew up in the blogosphere last year and people were celebrating it for being a refreshing young adult novel. Because I grew up in such a diverse community with many unique Indian Americans, I was personally keen to see how they would be portrayed in the story. On top of that, I hoped that I could learn something new about the Indian side of my blood—particularly arranged marriages. Maybe it’s my fault for placing so much on the book, but I didn’t love When Dimple Met Rishi.
With the season of unrelenting heat and inevitable death by radiation sun, beaches, and travel fast approaching, I find it odd that I’m no longer reaching for fluffy contemporary romances. After all, they usually make the perfect read for those indulgent summer days spent lounging around the house. They also tend to be easier to comprehend and therefore mindlessly read while I’m dying of dehydration fun.
While I’ve found solace enjoyment in other genres for now, I know that some of you may be hopelessly searching for a distraction from your pain FUN. Luckily for you, I’m due for a few reviews of books that I’d constitute as summer romances—and some are definitely more mindless than the others. Continue reading “Summer Romance Mini Book Reviews”→
When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.
Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.
I totally judged this book from its title.
Although one of my semi-guilty pleasures is reading about geeky girls, Geekerella was not something I’d see in a book store and pick up. It just sounded so corny. I thought I would give it a chance anyways since it was nominated for Best Young Adult Fiction in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2017—and I was glad I did.