Hiya! It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag, so I thought why not do the three bookish things tag! I was tagged by the lovely Isha @ Paperbacktomes. Do check out their blog as well. 😀
Three Read Once and Loved
I absolutely adored Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier! It was the perfect cozy mystery. I can’t wait to read more books by them. Made In Korea by Sarah Suk was such a great book too, I loved it so much! History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera had very gripping writing, I couldn’t put it down.
Three Titles I’ve Watched but Not Read
I have watched The Hunger Games, Moxie, and Shadow and Bone. I’ve never read them though. I’m absolutely loving Shadow and Bone so far!
Three Characters I Love
I adored Bao from “A Pho Love Story.” He was kind and genuine. Valarie from “Made In Korea” and Zayneb from “Love From A to Z” were both goal driven and compassionate people. I loved reading about them!
Three Current Favorite Book Covers
I absolutely love the cover of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan has a stunning cover too. Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas has such a cute cover. I really love it.
Three Favorite Authors
Deborah Ellis is a middle grade favorite of mine. I adore SK Ali‘s writing style and characters. Yoshitoki Ōima creates such heart-wrenching and emotional stories, I love their work.
I hope you enjoyed the tag. 😄 Have you read or watched Shadow and Bone? If so, what are your thoughts on it? I’d love to know. Have a great day everyone!
Hiya! Today I’ll be reviewing ‘A Pho Love Story’ by Loan Le. It’s actually my first ever eARC/ARC, and I am so happy I was approved to read this novel! Thank you Netgalley and Simon & Schuster Publishers for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. (Please note that the synopsis provided is from goodreads.) Without further ado, here is the review!
If Bao Nguyen had to describe himself, he’d say he was a rock. Steady and strong, but not particularly interesting. His grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ pho restaurant, and even there, he is his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Not ideal. If Linh Mai had to describe herself, she’d say she was a firecracker. Stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She loves art and dreams pursuing a career in it. The only problem? Her parents rely on her in ways they’re not willing to admit, including working practically full-time at her family’s pho restaurant. For years, the Mais and the Nguyens have been at odds, having owned competing, neighboring pho restaurants. Bao and Linh, who’ve avoided each other for most of their lives, both suspect that the feud stems from feelings much deeper than friendly competition. But then a chance encounter brings Linh and Bao in the same vicinity despite their best efforts and sparks fly, leading them both to wonder what took so long for them to connect. But then, of course, they immediately remember. Can Linh and Bao find love in the midst of feuding families and complicated histories?
First let’s talk about the plot! The original premise sounded very promising, and the plot was executed pretty well. The readers were able to get lovely descriptions of Phở and other delicious Vietnamese foods, which made me, admittedly, very hungry. Unfortunately, I felt as though we didn’t get much time in the restaurants. It would have been so cool to see all the steps it takes to establish a restaurant.
The characters were a delight! Bao was snarky and always made me laugh. He was honestly just a really kind and caring character towards everyone really. I loved how the idea of not knowing what he wanted to do in the future was executed in the novel. Uncertainty about the future is a very real that people go through, so it was definitely cool to see! Linh on the other hand knew she wanted to be an artist. It’s wonderful to see young people pursuing the arts, and I loved how Loan Le incorporated Linh’s family into her art. Linh’s inspiration for creating art was very beautiful and I found myself liking her character. However, she wasn’t as memorable as I thought she’d be. Moreover, Linh and Bao had a very healthy relationship. They were so cute together, and made a fantastic team! There was some miscommunication, but it was worked out throughout the novel!
Since the version I read of A Pho Love Story was an ARC, there won’t be any quotes in my review. Instead, take this cute cat!
The side characters were unique as well. I loved how the cast was almost all Vietnamese. It was very refreshing to see! Linh’s friend Ally, and Bao’s friend Viet, where great supporting characters. They were both helpful, and funny. I only wish the author went more in depth into the lives of the side characters. I also absolutely adored the family dynamic. The tension between the two families felt raw and realistic. Another character I enjoyed reading about is Chef Le and his family’s hilarious cameos. It was nice to see a very wholesome relationship between the Mai sisters. Evie and Linh have a lovely sibling dynamic that I wish was explored more in the book. A Pho Love Story is gorgeously done in terms of creating a sense of community within families, and I fell in love with that. Having a loving family is something very special, so I am very happy it was explored vividly throughout the novel.
The dialogue between Linh, Bao, and their friends felt pretty average, nothing ground-breaking was said. It was the dialogue between the main characters and their parents that really intrigued me. I haven’t read many YA novels where the parents and children had intricate relationships. Furthermore, it was very interesting to see Vietnamese spoken throughout the book. I love learning about different languages and cultures, so this only added to the enjoyment of the novel!
I unfortunately struggled with the writing style. The point of view switches from Bao to Linh, and vice versa every 10-15 pages or so. I found myself struggling with trying to understand if the we were in Bao’s head, or in Linh’s. At other times, the story felt repetitive and boring. In my opinion, A Pho Love Story didn’t need to be over 400 pages long. If it was slightly shorter, I’m sure I would have loved it even more.
As mentioned previously, the book seemed to drag on at times and felt a bit repetitive. That did affect the overall enjoyment level a lot. Nevertheless, it was still an incredibly refreshing read that I totally recommend!
Age Rating: 13 and up
TW: Stories of war and death
Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars
So, will you read A Pho Love Story? Have a great day!
Hiya everyone! Today I will be ‘hosting’ my first ever wrap-up! I’m super excited for this! However, I have no idea what a wrap-up is supposed to look like, so bear with me here. 😂 Anyways, let’s get into it!
Novels I Read (In order)
Journey to the Center of the Earth By Jules Verne: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) I really enjoyed reading this classic! It took me 6 months to finish, so I was really happy that I was FINALLY able to mark it as ‘read’ on goodreads. It is 100% worth the read guys! You can read my review for this book here!
This Train Is Being Held By Ismee Williams: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75 out of 5 stars) I finished this book relatively fast, and I did enjoy it! It’s a cute YA romance that has an almost all latinx cast, which was super cool to see! You can read my review for This Train Is Being Held here.
(eARC) A Pho Love Story By Loan Le: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.8 out of 5 stars) This was my first ARC!! I received an eARC for this novel via Netgalley. Thank you Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of A Pho Love Story! It was good, but too long. Overall, I do recommend you read it! You can read my review here!
A Song Below Water By Bethany C Morrow: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) I wanted to love this book so much! However, it was incredibly confusing, and even boring at times. I found myself not liking the characters that much, except for Effie, Wallace, and Tavia, they were the best! I wanted to love it, but I just couldn’t get into it. I still think it’s worth the read if you love fantasy though. And it does have some searing social commentary! Review to come!
Graphic Novels and Manga read (I doubt this is in order…oops)
Blue Flag Volume 1 By Kaito: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars) This was an incredibly powerful and stunning manga. I highly recommend you read it if you’re trying to get into reading graphic novels and manga.
Something Is Killing The Children Volume 1 By James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera:⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was a very intriguing horror story. Although thrillers aren’t necessarily my favorite genre, I still enjoyed reading it!
(eARC) The Disability Experience: Working Toward Belonging By Hannalora Leavitt and (Illustrator) Belle Wuthrich: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was a very educational and inspiring read, that I highly recommend you take a look at! Thank you Netgalley and Orca Book Publishers for an eARC of this book!
Ao Haru Ride Volume 9 By Io Sakisaka: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) The art style is phenomenal, but the storyline in this volume was just okay.
(eARC) Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women By Rebel Girls: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This is more of a non-fiction educational book with pictures versus a graphic novel. I decided to settle on three stars only because I had previously read the two other books by the same author titled ‘Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls’ which were amazing! In this one however, a lot of the art and stories where repeated, so I didn’t necessary learn anything new. If I hadn’t read the other books beforehand, this would have surely been a 5 star read! Thank you Netgalley, Rebel Girls, and Publishers for an eARC of this book!
(eARC) Dryfoot By Jarred Lujan, Orlando Caicedo, and Warnia Sahadewa: ⭐⭐ (2.5 out of 5 stars) Since Dryfoot is an ARC, I won’t say much about it. However, it was simply not my cup of tea. Thank you Netgalley and Diamond Book Distributors for providing me with an eARC of Dryfoot!
(eARC) Feelings By Manjit Thapp: ⭐⭐ (2 out of 5 stars) Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy reading Feelings. It was okay. The art was beautiful though! Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing me with an eARC of Feelings!
And that’s a wrap! Hopefully you enjoyed reading this very long post. Do check out the posts by the other bloggers I listed. Every blogger is unique and amazing in their own way! What was your favorite read of January 2021? Have a wonderful day! 💟