A Sweet Summer Romance | Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon

A Sweet Summer Romance | Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon

Rowan McKinnon doesn’t believe in love. With a botany PhD, two best friends who embrace her social quirkiness, and some occasional no-strings sex, she has everything she needs. But she hides deep wounds from the past—from a negligent mother, and a fiancé who treated her like a pawn in a game. When an academic setback leads Rowan to take on the restoration of an abandoned vineyard, she relishes the opportunity to restore the grapes to their former glory.

She does not expect to meet a man like Harrison Brady.

An obstetrician profoundly struggling after losing a patient, Harry no longer believes he is capable of keeping people safe. Reeling, Harry leaves Los Angeles to emotionally recover at his parents’ new vineyard in Pennsylvania.

He does not expect to meet a woman like Rowan McKinnon.

As their combative banter gives way to a simmering tension, sunlight begins to crack through the darkness smothering Harry’s soul. He’s compelled to explore the undeniable pull between them. And after a lifetime of protecting herself from feeling anything, for anyone, Rowan tries to keep things casual.

But even she can’t ignore their explosive connection. [From Goodreads]

First of all, let’s hear it for all the romances featuring ladies in STEM being released recently!! I am SO for this trend. I work in an engineering library, so I love seeing this representation in romances. The botany and science-y aspects were some of my favorite parts of this book. I always think the inclusion of these subjects leads to the most beautiful descriptive imagery, and Jen Devon does not disappoint here.

My actual favorite aspect of this romance, though, was the found family and every adorable moment Rowan was able to receive from the Bradys. These moments filled with dialogue that show off every individual family member’s personality are where Devon really shined in her writing. Family is the most essential thing in my life, found and not, so when a writer does a good job of writing this subject, it can make me very emotional. This book succeeded in doing just that.

Of course, the romance was also so tender and sweet and spicy all at the same time. The dialogue between Rowan and Harry felt so real. Their frustrations, wants, and needs all felt very true to a couple who are not really a couple.

I said already that the dialogue was the strongest part of this novel, so parts where Devon resorted to telling about the passing of time instead of showing it fell flat to me. Because of this, the pacing felt off, like there were points in the relationship that were skipped over where I would much rather had seen the development. I wanted one more moment in the beginning of the story to really solidify Rowan and Harry’s connection.

The relationship and the ending made up for this, however, and I ended up being very pleasantly surprised overall with this novel. If you’re a romance reader, this new release should definitely be on your list to pick up.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [8.3.22]

Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [8.3.22]

This is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words that asks us to answer the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Happy Wednesday! I’m going to the bookstore in a bit with my dad to pick up a copy of the book I just finished (I’ll get to it!), and I plan on going to read on the porch for a while. So its shaping up to be a good bookish day for me!

Recently finished: I just finished my audiobook of John Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed today. I teared up a few times listening to this. I know the Green brothers are very polarizing people, but I have always been more on the side of loving them. I’ve always enjoyed John Green’s voice, so this one was just a lot of really enjoyable essays.

Currently reading: I’m working on my ARC of Bend Toward the Sun right now. I love when STEM is incorporated into novels, especially biology or horticulture. I’m still undecided on how I feel about the actual romance, but I hope to finish this one in the next couple days.

Reading next: Bend Toward the Sun and Bronze Drum are both releasing next week, so I need to get Bronze Drum in as well once I finish the former. I don’t know too much about it, but I love a good tale of sisters. I’ve never read anything set in Ancient Vietnam before either, so that should be exciting.

What are you reading today?

Books I Read in July | Wrap-Up

Books I Read in July | Wrap-Up

COVID hit me hard this month! I’m still having breathing issues 4 weeks later! On top of that, my best friend from college came to visit this week. Both of these made for a not-so great reading month. But! I am looking forward to a relaxing August (aside from having to go back to school and work) filled with lots of reading!

I read five books this month, so not too bad. Not great, but not bad at all.

Emotional, adventurous, and lighthearted were my top moods. I don’t usually go for lighthearted, but I think those mostly correspond to Percy Jackson books which I’m really enjoying reading through! Emotional and adventurous are much more my speed, so those make sense.

Historical isn’t something I pick up too often–I didn’t realize I had two historical books this month. I really enjoyed them both, so maybe it’s a sign I need to start reading more historical fiction.

Here are the books I read! Click the covers to see my reviews 🙂

What’s the best book you read in July?

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Book Review

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia | Book Review

Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.

Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.

The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.

All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.

I’m struggling with COVID brain fog as I write this, so apologies if it’s not coherent!

I’ve never read The Island of Doctor Moreau, so I have no basis of that for this review, just so we’re all clear lol

Silvia Moreno-Garcia is on track to be one of my favorite writers. I just love how concise yet detailed her writing is. It feels lush and rich somehow without being too flowery. Her characters always feel real and charming, too. She does gothic so well. I was very disturbed by parts of this, but it wasn’t horror, and I could still enjoy Carlota’s and Montgomery’s story.

I also loved her inclusion of Maya and settler colonial conflict within the story. I always appreciate a story where whiteness can be decentered, especially in historical colonial contexts.

I think I would have preferred if the ending were a little faster. There was a period of time while reading where I was just kind of confused about what was going on and how it would work out. But this was really the only time I struggled with reading the novel.

This was such an exciting read, and I actually liked it better than Mexican Gothic (which I also really enjoyed).

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [7.20.22]

Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [7.20.22]

This is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words that asks us to answer the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

After not getting it throughout the whole pandemic, I finally got COVID this week 😦 Because of this, it’s been really hard to read. I’m having major brain fog today, but I did finish a book that I had been close to for a while!

Currently reading: I’m listening to an audiobook of The Anthropocene Reviewed while I wait for my audiobook of The Last Olympian to come in. I think a lot of people are divided on the Green brothers, but I really love them, and I have since I read Looking for Alaska in 2008. This book is just really wholesome and informative. Really enjoying it so far.

Recently finished: I finished The Doctor of Doctor Moreau today! It came out yesterday (I was slowed down due to COVID), but I really enjoyed this one! Review is coming tomorrow.

Reading next: It would have been The Last Olympian, but I don’t expect to get that one in from the library for a while. I just picked up The Personal Librarian at the bookstore last week, and it just seems like a very interesting story. Regardless, I don’t think I will get much reading done in the next week while I recover.

What are you reading today?

Harry’s House Book Tag

Harry’s House Book Tag

I was looking for a tag to do, and I love Harry (and One Direction, don’t get it twisted), and this seemed like the perfect one to do on a Friday afternoon! I found it on Riddhi’s blog, and it was created by Jawahir the Bookworm!


  •  List the rules
  •  Mention the creator (That’s Jawahir the Bookworm!) and link it back to the original post.
  •  Nominate as many people you want and notify them. (either by mentioning them or commenting in their posts).
  •  Name a song from the album you’d like for it to be a Single.
  •  Have fun!

The songs I like are not typically single material, so I’ll just say my favs which are Little Freak, Keep Driving, and Satellite. This album is so good I couldn’t just pick one–forgive me!

MUSIC FOR A SUSHI RESTAURANT — A book with a “ride or die” type of friendship

I just finished my reread of this one today, so that’s probably why I was instantly reminded of it with this prompt. Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and Tyson will literally die for each other, risking their lives to go off and find the other in a labyrinth. What’s more ride or die than that?

LATE NIGHT TALKING — A book you gave a second chance and ended up liking.

I listened to the audiobook of this one, and I remember being a little bored with the beginning and unsure of the direction the story would take. When I got into it though, I really ended up enjoying it. Super solid novel.

GRAPEJUICE — A book with “something old and red”

The Scarlet Gang–they’re old and red, right? This works.

AS IT WAS — A book you liked more as a child.

Did anyone else read this series as a young person??? I was absolutely obsessed with this series in middle school. I actually reread this series recently, and I still kinda loved it, I’m just sure I loved it way more when I was younger and the tropes were all new to me. The spooky vibes of this book were immaculate… why are there not more books with vibes like this?

DAYLIGHT — A book with a toxic relationship

I love this book, and the two main characters end up being really sweet, but MAN are they mean to each other in the beginning. I remember thinking, are these two actually going to end up together or what’s the deal? I don’t read dark romances or anything, so this is as close to toxic as my reading is going to get.

LITTLE FREAK — A book you wished you DNF’d

I read this when I was 14 because Kristen Stewart said it was her favorite. I’d like that week of my life back.

MATILDA — A book with a character/s that has a lot of trauma

Must protect Matty and Keelie at all costs.

CINEMA — A book who’s story is just as good as the cover.

Beautiful cover for a beautiful story. I’ve said all I need here.

DAYDREAMING — A series you desperately clung to so it “won’t end”.

I would give ANYTHING to read this series again for the first time.

KEEP DRIVING — A book with a road trip

I cannot think of one road trip book I’ve read, so please leave recommendations below if you have any! (Preferably romance)

SATELLITE — A book with a side character who deserved better

LEAH. FUCKING. CLEARWATER. If you know, you know. 😤

BOYFRIENDS — A book you have a hate/love relationship with

This one was incredibly disturbing and horrifying, I both loved and hated every minute of it.

LOVE OF MY LIFE — A book with a soulmate pairing

I mean, how could it be anyone but Jess and River??

If you love Harry too, feel free to say I tagged you in this one!

A Historical Queer Must-Read | Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

A Historical Queer Must-Read | Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

Wow. What a beautiful historical piece about queer romance. This is my second Malinda Lo book, and I am once again just blown away with the detail to her writing. The amount of times I read a really small piece of description and said “wow I know exactly what the feels like” was incredible. I know this book is highly regarded, but I don’t think Lo’s writing is talked about enough.

She also just really knows how to hit you in gut with love and queerness. I felt so seen with this novel. Lily was so sweet and brave—I wish I could be brave like her. I wish we could’ve seen a little more of Kath and her backstory, but that was my only complaint.

The historical 50s San Francisco vibe was everything, and I loved the pages she included on queerness and Chinese Americans in the 50s at the end of the story. I honestly just think Malinda Lo is brilliant, and I can’t wait to read more of her work.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you’ve read this one, let me know what you thought!

Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday

Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday

This is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words that asks us to answer the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

First Wednesday of July! Hooray! I just got to our vacation house last night, so I’m feeling really motivated to get a lot of reading done. Surrounded by beach vibes. I’m gonna lock myself outside for 6 hours and see how much reading I can get done. The biggest challenge for me is staying off TikTok, which I could absolutely watch for 3 hours straight if I didn’t feel the need to stop.

Currently reading: In the middle of my Last Night at the Telegraph Club paperback and absolutely loving it. Malindo Lo’s writing is exquisite. I have no other words right now. I’m also listening to The Battle of the Labyrinth on audio and it’s so much fun. I’m loving this reread and excited because there are soooo many books in this series that I can get into. Last is my eARC of Honey & Spice (which I really should have finished before its release yesterday, oops). It’s really dense with how it’s written, but I’m not NOT enjoying it.

Recently finished: Packing up my room has been pretty hectic, so the only book I’ve finished recently is The Titan’s Curse which, as I’ve already said, was just so much fun.

Reading next: Obviously, I need to finish off the series with The Last Olympian. I also need to get to my eARC of The Daughter of Doctor Moreau which is coming out later this month. I am definitely looking forward to this one. As for the rest, I brought about 8 physical books with me (and I always buy more on vacation), so I’m just gonna see what kind of mood I’m in when I get there.

What are you reading today?

A Literary Masterpiece? | Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

A Literary Masterpiece? | Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Teeming with life and crackling with energy — a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

What a way to end Pride Month. This is a beautiful story of womanhood, queerness and blackness—their intersections and how the meaning of each has changed over the past century.

The way Evaristo manages to make an impact with each person’s story was just incredible to me. This is a thick book, with each chapter telling the story of someone new. It’s dense yet still gripping. Evaristo was able to make me care about each person she wrote. She also did such a good job of capturing the individual voices of each person—you could tell which generation each person was from just from the writing.

This was definitely a unique read, and I had trouble with the writing style at first, but the stories are so worth the adjustment it took.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

If you’ve read this one, let me know what you thought!

Books I Read in June | June Wrap-Up

Books I Read in June | June Wrap-Up

Happy July! I don’t particularly feel like celebrating my country this year (or any year for that matter, but especially this year), so I won’t be doing anything this weekend except for relaxing by the pool with a book.

I had a pretty solid reading month in June. I read six books, but none of them were really a solid 5 stars except for my rereads.

I don’t think there will ever be a month where emotional isn’t my most read mood. No surprises there. I don’t often see lighthearted in my moods. When I think of lighthearted, I think “little substance” which I don’t go for in books. But I guess it makes sense in the context of my reading this month.

This one was surprising. I really don’t go for contemporary often, and middle grade even less. I know where they show up in my reading, but seeing them in a chart like this outdoing romance and fantasy, it’s jarring. It makes me want to keep stepping outside my usual genres. I really enjoyed the two contemporaries I read this month, so maybe I’ll keep it going.

The two contemporaries I read happened to be my favorites–Girl, Woman, Other and The Paper Palace (review coming for the former). They just had a lot of substance. Of course I loved rereading the Percy Jackson books, but I’m not going to consider those for favorites since it wouldn’t really be a competition.

In all, I don’t feel great about this reading month. I read some good books, but I didn’t get to the ones I really wanted to. I barely did any Pride reading which I try not to feel bad about. I’m a mood reader, and I’m queer myself. I don’t need a month as an excuse to read queer books. It still feels like I have something to prove, especially when I’m essentially reading for an audience. This is more a me issue, and I’m working on making sure my reading choices are for me only.

That being said, I am getting into some amazing Pride reads already in July that I can’t wait to talk about!

What was your favorite read in June?