Hiya!! It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag, so I thought why not do one again? For those of you who don’t know, this tag is a bit like a six month bookish wrap up in tag form. I hope you enjoy!
The Best Books You’ve Read so Far
New Releases You Haven’t Read Yet, but WantTo
Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of the Year
There are so many that come to mind! But here are the first three that I thought of. It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi looks so fun! The cover is also stunning as well! The Lady or the Lion by Aamna Qureshi is a YA fantasy with a Pakistani setting. I’ve never read a fantasy inspired by Pakistani culture, so I’m super excited to read it! Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach is another release I’m also very excited for!
I had such high hopes for One Last Stop. However, it unfortunately missed the mark for me.
This is a middle grade retelling of three fairytales but with a desi (South Asian) twist. And I adored it! It was filled with girl power, fun plots, and amazing representation!
Favorite New to You Author
We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon was my first book of theirs, and probably won’t be the last!
Favorite Debut Author
Sarah Suk’s debut novel was one of my favorites this year. I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did, but Made in Korea was so good!
Newest Favorite Characters
I really enjoyed reading about Evie and X from Nicola Yoon’s newest book Instructions for Dancing! They were both funny and charming.
A Book That Made You Cry
Juleah del Rosario’s Turtle Under Ice was incredibly heartbreaking and emotional. It’s about a mother’s death and sisterly love, and was just so beautiful.
A Book That Made You Happy
A Taste For Love by Jennifer Yen was such a fun book on food and familial relationships. It definitely put a smile on my face!
Favorite Post You’ve Done This Year
In January I did a post where I gave recommendations based off of people’s favorite Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra character. Feel free to read the post here!
Books You Need to Read By the End of the Year
I hope you enjoyed the tag! Here are some lovely people I nominate to do this one as well. (This is just for fun, so if you don’t feel like it, than no worries!) Also, if you’ve done this tag before, feel free to link it in the comments so I can read yours as well. 😀
Hiya! Today I’ll be reviewing Sarah Suk’s Made in Korea; A delightful and charming YA contemporary. I had buddy read this with some amazing bloggers; Rania and Ritz! Do check out their blogs as well if you can. Anyways, let’s get into it!
There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.
I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book via TBR and Beyond Tours and Simon & Schuster Canada. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This was everything I ever needed! Rival school businesses and K-Beauty will always be a win in my book. What makes this novel so special is that the characters make bad decisions while still remaining logical. You typically see people making bad decisions emotionally, never logically, so that was very refreshing to see. Also, I think it’s worth mentioning that despite being marketed as a rom-com, I really don’t think it is one as the book deals with a lot of of hard hitting topics. Essentially what I’m saying is that if you’re looking for a funny enemies to lovers, you most likely won’t get that from Made in Korea. Anyways, on with the review!
What I loved most about this book, is that Valarie and Wes had very distinct personalities. They each have their own goals, and progressively became the best versions of themselves as the story went along. There was an abundance of character development, and I loved seeing them grow. I’ll admit, at first I didn’t like Wes. I couldn’t understand why everyone, including himself, kept of saying that he was so nice. I didn’t think he was nice till the last 30 percent of the book. Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed reading about Valarie and Wes’ relationship dynamic.
The side characters were such a joy! Charlie, Valarie’s cousin and business partner, will forever be my all time favorite book character! I don’t think I’ve ever read about someone so incredibly wholesome. Taemin was also absolutely hilarious, and he genuinely made me laugh. Kristy was another great character too. Furthermore, Valarie and her halmeoni (grandmother), had such a cute relationship. I loved how much they cared about each other, it felt so real and genuine. Valarie’s older sister Samantha was a character I could really resonate with. She has all these expectations placed on her because she’s the eldest sibling, and it’s something that Valarie will never understand. I was interested in their relationship, and would like to have seen more interactions between them. Pauline however, I wasn’t too fond of. In my opinion, she was a fairly dull character, and I couldn’t see why Charlie could like her. It felt as though he had a crush on Pauline just for the sake of it. Her infatuation with marine biology was cool though.
The dialogue in Made in Korea was very well written, I really felt all the emotions the characters were experiencing. This novel contains by far one of the best dialogues I have ever read. It was extremely raw and heart-wrenching. I loved every bit of it.
In addition, the writing style was simple and easy to follow. It’s told by the perspectives of Valarie and Wes. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I can’t tell the difference between the perspectives of characters. Thankfully, I had no issues telling them apart. My only complaint is that the constant italics complicated things a bit. Nevertheless, the story had me hooked on every word.
The overall enjoyment level of Made in Korea is through the roof! You’ll definitely not want to put it down. If you love the idea of entrepreneurial enemies to lovers, or love it when opposite attract, than this is definitely the book for you! I highly recommend this book to all contemporary fans!
Age Rating: 14 and up
TW: Some use of alcohol
Final Rating: 9/10 or 4.5 stars
Thank you for reading (or skimming). You can read my interview with the author here! Have you read Made in Korea? What’s your favorite YA contemporary? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a fabulous day!
Hiya! Today’s post is a very exciting one because I’m going to be hosting yet another blog tour stop and interview with Sarah Suk, the author of Made in Korea! Before we get into the tour, here is a bit about the author’s debut novel…
Title: Made in Korea by Mariko Turk
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: May 18, 2021
Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.
There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.
Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…
What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.
Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.
But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.
Find out more about Made in Korea with these links!
Here is the tour schedule link! If you have time, do check out the other amazing tour stops as well!
Without further ado, here is the interview!
1. Hi there Sarah! I just want to say that I’m so excited to have you here with us today. Before we get into the interview, do you mind telling us a bit about yourself?
Sarah: Thank you so much for having me! So I’m Sarah – nice to meet you – and I live in Vancouver, Canada where I write books for kids and teens. Other than writing and reading, I love film, photography, spending time by the water, and making souffle pancakes.
2.Any book that mentions Hi-Chews is a win for me! So I have to ask, what’s your favorite Hi-Chew flavor? After reading your (lovely) novel, I’ve learnt that there is a flavor for every occasion. What flavor would you give Made In Korea?
Sarah: My favorite flavor would have to be strawberry. As for a flavor for Made in Korea, I’d have to say mango! Mango is Valerie’s celebration flavor, and this book is very celebratory to me. Both in personal ways, because it is my debut novel, and in the book itself, because I feel like the story is a celebration of many things, including Korean culture and teen entrepreneurship.
Saniya: Ooo good choice, strawberry is always nice! I NEED to try the celebration flavor now. 😆
3. I love how Made In Korea revolves around young entrepreneurs! What inspired the entrepreneurial aspect of the novel?
Sarah: I love that part too! I was just really intrigued by the idea of students selling things at school and running their own businesses. Teens are so innovative and creative, and I wanted to explore that through an entrepreneurial lens in Made in Korea.
4. If I may ask, what is your favorite scene in the book and why?
Sarah: Definitely all the scenes between Valerie and Halmeoni (her grandmother). Those were some of my favorite moments in the book. They were just very healing and tender. I also loved writing the Halloween scenes!
Saniya: 100% agree. Valarie and her halmeoni have the best bond. Ahh yes, the Halloween scenes are iconic!
5. Do you have a specific writing routine?
Sarah: I feel like this changes with each project and sometimes even with each day, but there a few things that have stayed consistent in my writing routine. I always write down my writing goal for the day in my bullet journal to help me keep track of what I need to do. Then I usually make myself a cup of tea, sit down at my desk, procrastinate for a while, and realize I should probably turn off my wi-fi if I want to get any work done. Sometimes I also listen to an instrumental or lofi playlist while I write to help me focus.
Saniya: It’s so cool that you use a bullet journal, they truly are helpful. I liked what you said about how your routine changes with each project too!
6. Is there a character in the book that you resonate most with?
Sarah: I resonate with each of them in different ways because I feel like I can see a part of myself in every character. For example, I relate with Valerie’s ambition and tendency to define herself by her goals, as well as Wes’ passion for the arts and people pleasing nature. I even resonate with some of the side characters like Charlie and Pauline in their loyalty and inquisitiveness.
7. What do you hope readers will take away from Made In Korea after reading it?
Sarah: Mostly, I hope readers will feel something while reading the book. Whether it makes them laugh or reflect or empathize with a character, I hope there would be something in the story that sparks a sense of joy.
Saniya: That’s such a beautiful message, I love it!
Giveaway (US/Canada Only)
One winner will receive a finished copy of Made in Korea. The giveaway will end on May 24th.
Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu. You can visit her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahaelisuk.Sarah is represented by Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency.
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!