Review: The The More The Merrier: A Clean and Wholesome Winter Romance (Seasons of Love Book 1) by Liwen Y. Ho
Fed up with a string of bad blind dates, health blogger Alyssa Wu wants to drown her sorrows in ice cream. But there’s one more evening she must endure—a fake date with her best friend Barry Chang. They must convince her family they're in love, an act which may (or may not) be easy to pull off, thanks to the magic of some mistletoe.
Amazon link here
~ My Review ~
Short and sweet. I don't know about you, but I've been in a reading funk lately. I'll pick up a book, get halfway through it and put it down. Last year, most of my books in my TBR were "DNR" (did not finish). This year, knowing what to expect and making sure we take care of our mental and emotional health by leaving our house and our bubble safely, I went back to my first love: romance novels.
Now, I had promised to read a parenting book and review it, so I did that first....while looking through my kindle for the books that I didn't have the heart and mental capacity to read over last year.
Liwen Y. Ho has written so many sweet and clean romance books and I knew I wouldn't be disappointed when I chose this book, "The More the Merrier," as my springboard, if you will, into a deeper dive of reading again. I wanted to be able to fall in love with books and I knew romance - with its' likeable and flawed characters, their 'meet cute' and 'happily ever after's would give me the comfort I so desired.
This was such a short and quick read. We meet Alyssa and her "dilemma." Classic fake boyfriend/next door neighbors/friends turned lovers. I'm pretty sure I smiled through the entire exchange between Barry, the next door neighbor who cleans up nice, and Alyssa, our by-the-book, serious heroine who needed a little fun and merry in her life. Bonus: this reminded me of a Hallmark movie and one where Asians were the lead and knowing that certain professions (doctors, engineers, lawyers) are accepted in an Asian community and some are not. For a blogger and writer like Alyssa, I completely related to her, right down to the ice cream choices and stress eating sweets.
SIDENOTE: Thank you to Liwen for getting me excited about writing my Filipino romcom and knowing how much (or how little) to share my roots and culture. And then as I struggle to describe my characters, I had to reread Alyssa and Barry. Liwen didn't do specific descriptions for them. She wrote Korean American and I pictured my Korean American friend. I knew the "looks" that Alyssa worried about getting from family and friends, having gone to so many Filipino or Asian parties where you have to introduce your person and hope to God that they pass the "they're good enough" test. I remember the struggle and having to justify my own career choices.
This was both refreshing to read but also made me realize that there aren't very many Asian romance books that I've come across or read. Or maybe I'm not trying hard enough to look. At any rate, I've got another book from Liwen that I can't wait to dive into!
About the Author
Liwen Y. Ho is an award-winning writer with a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary. She loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, David, and their two children. Sign up for Liwen's newsletter for news about her upcoming releases, book giveaways and more at: eepurl.com/bt2nEL
And feel free to contact her at email@example.com. She would love to hear from you!
Unveiled: A Poetry Memoir, is a collection of poetry organized into three sections: My Story, My Pain, and My Future. It was written for those that need to release their past, experience their pain, and look forward to their future. It was not written to instill pity or sorrow within you, but to spark the fire in your soul to take action and find the smallest shimmer of hope in your darkest days.
Amazon book link here:
~ My Review ~
A few poems into this story, I had to pause and take an inventory of my parenting. Ivy Cirillo's poetry memoir was haunting read. In so few words, and in poetry - known for lyrical, beauty and escapism - she depicted a tragic upbringing full of tears, trauma, abuse, alcoholism......and this is where my pause came in...neglectful parents.
I don't claim to be a perfect parent - far from it - and my heart cannot tolerate reading and seeing neglect from the child's point of view. I'm heartbroken for her. I want to wrap up this child and let her know she is loved, just as she is. And yes, grown-ups, especially moms, are flawed. But there was no excusing the pain that was inflicted, and the burden of the weight this child must have carried throughout her life.
Although she states that Unveiled "was not written to instill pity or sorrow," I felt sorrow for the length of a heartbeat but felt anger above all. Her mother should have protected her. But this isn't her mother's story. It's hers.
She wrote that she must have been born a writer because "in her darkest hours, she clung to her notebook." Reading through her the first part, "My Story" I'm glad she did just that. She wrote despite of the environment she grew up in....
So yes, don't feel pity or sorrow, but as she wrote hopefully through the third and last part "My Future," be inspired.
One of my faves, the poem
It's hard to find strength
in the pain
that you've endured,
but you have to,
for this I am sure.
I won't tell you
that it will be easy,
but I know for a fact
that it will be worth it.
~Thank you for putting your bravery into words. ~
Reviewer's note: I've never done a half rating but 5/5 is reserved for all my 'rereads.' While I could see a reread in the future.....with this particular book and theme, I would only want to reread the uplifting and encouraging parts. That's not to say I won't revisit the whole thing. Even her poems in the first part "My Story," I felt comforted.
About the Author
Ivy Cirillo is an author, mentor, and speaker. She’s a loving daughter and encouraging sister, and she’s built her brand as a blogger, social media marketer, photographer, and podcaster. She loves collecting antique typewriters, concert tickets, and passport stamps and she’ll never turn down a good barcade. She’ll challenge you to a game of darts and encourage you to pursue your dreams in between rounds. She’s forever wandering, but calls Florida home and she self-published her debut book, Unveiled: A Poetry Memoir, under The Orion Publishing House.
Find and connect with her here:
Peaceful parenting is hard enough for the average parent. Imagine trying to do it when you have the instincts of a tiger mother.
In Untigering, Iris Chen shares her journey of leaving behind authoritarian tiger parenting to embrace a respectful, relational way of raising children. As a Chinese American mom, she draws from her experiences of living in both North America and Asia and offers insights and practices to:
Heal from your childhood wounds
Change your beliefs about yourself and your children
Parent through connection instead of control
Redefine your understanding of success
Navigate and challenge cultural norms
Iris calls for a radical shift from parenting that is rooted in power to one that is grounded in partnership, but she does so with humor, humility, and empathy. This book is her invitation to you to begin your own journey of transformation as a parent.
Amazon book link here:
~ Review ~
I seldom read parenting books. When faced with a task such as looking in the mirror at my own parenting shortcomings, I tend to look the other way. Like most, Asians.
I was raised in an "authoritarian-parenting-style-meets-immigrant-parents-trying-to-navigate-western-culture" and thus, give their three girls room to grow up "just right." They were strict but not overbearing. My little sister and I were never spanked, but I saw first hand what happened when we strayed from this line my parents drew. But this isn't my older sister's story. Nor is it my parents.
This is mine and understanding the conflicts of my parenting style, my heritage and cultural worldview and how my childhood traumas shaped this illusion.
Before I picked up Iris Chen's book, I had taken steps to "change my stripes." I let my children choose activities they want to do, and if their heart isn't in it, I allow them to walk away. I've accepted and understood the fact that I will be mirrored and my images, hypocrisy, and white lies will be reflected back. Thus, I tried my hardest to speak truth and love to my kiddos and apologize when there are days I know I've fallen short - based on their scared faces. Iris' book gives me hope that I am steering this ship in the right direction. And speaking of ships, I appreciated and loved her analogy of "steel versus bamboo."
She writes, "As untigering parents, we're often afraid that if we give our kids an inch, they'll take a mile....We mean what we say and say what we mean. Rarely will we make an exception or change direction mid-course. We are solid and dependable: like steel. Unfortunately, the Titanic is also made of steel, and we all know what happened there."
I learned this growing up. There were days (and possibly years) my parents' hopes and wishes for us were ready for launch. Their daughters would be nurses, engineers or scientists. They didn't take into account that all three of us had hopes and wishes of our own. Over time, they learned to be flexible. But I can still see them shaping and trying to mold their granddaughters and grandsons. Perhaps, it is why I learned to do the exact opposite of their methods.
There are more than enough words of wisdoms and affirmations in Chen's book, sprinkled with stories of how and why she 'changed her stripes' and founded an untigering movement of peaceful parenting. Though there are parts that I fully understood and lived as child of immigrants and an immigrant herself raising first generation babies, the overall theme and commitment is universal: how to overcome the childhood chains that made us restrictive and defensive, and become flexible to our kids' needs and have a positive influence in their lives and those around us.
I recommend this book for those of us tipping on the line between what we know and saw growing up, and what we'd like to be as parents.
About the Author
Iris Chen is an author, unschooling mom, deconstructing tiger parent, and founder of the Untigering movement. As an advocate for peaceful parenting and educational freedom for children, her mission is to inspire generational and cultural transformation, especially among Asian communities. She spent 16 years living overseas in China (land of the tiger parent!), but now resides in her native California with her husband and two sons. You can read more about her adventures in parenting and unschooling at untigering.com.
Cora loves being in the kitchen, but she always gets stuck doing the kid jobs like licking the spoon. One day, however, when her older sisters and brother head out, Cora finally gets the chance to be Mama's assistant chef. And of all the delicious Filipino dishes that dance through Cora's head, she and Mama decide to make pancit, her favorite noodle dish.
With Mama's help, Cora does the grown-up jobs like shredding the chicken and soaking the noodles (perhaps Mama won't notice if she takes a nibble of chicken or sloshes a little water on the floor). Cora even gets to stir the noodles in the potcarefully-- while Mama supervises. When dinner is finally served, her siblings find out that Cora did all their grown-up tasks, and Cora waits anxiously to see what everyone thinks of her cooking.
Dorina Lazo Gilmore's text delightfully captures the warmth between mother and daughter as they share a piece of their Filipino heritage. With bright and charming illustrations by Kristi Valiant, Cora's family comes alive as Cora herself becomes the family's newest little chef.
Amazon book link here:
~ Reviews ~
I enjoyed this book as it brought so many memories - specifically, the smells of Filipino foods. And it was a pleasure to read with the kiddos (first gen 8 yr old and 4 yr old) and revisit those memories made in the kitchen.
What my kiddos think
I'm going to add this section because I'm not the only one reading these, right?! I'm reading this to them and its' for them. My kiddos are E who is 8 and a 3rd grader, and R who is 4.
E said this about the book:
She tried her best and tried hard. And she really did it. It was really nice and makes me feel like I want to cook pancit.
R said this about the book:
I was dreaming about pancit.
About the Author and Illustrator
Dorina chases God's glory as a mama, foodie, runner, and a weaver of words. Her essays have been published at (in)courage, Kindred Mom, For Every Mom, The MOPS blog and in more than 20 newspapers. She specializes in helping people discover God's glory through adversity and flourish in community. Her new book is Walk Run Soar, a devotional for runners and enthusiastic walkers that she wrote with her husband Shawn.
Dorina is passionate about raising up women from diverse backgrounds to thrive in their God-given callings. For more than 12 years, she has been leading Bible studies and developing leaders. Her gift is delivering authentic, Biblically-sound messages that engage audiences through story. She has published two Bible studies, Glory Chasers: Discovering God's Glory in Unexpected Places and Flourishing Together: Cultivating a Fruitful Life in Christ.
With an MFA in Children's Literature, Dorina has published three multicultural children's books and a collection of poetry. Her book, Cora Cooks Pancit, received the Asian American Librarian's Association Picture Book of the Year. Dorina also has experience teaching college students, speaking in elementary schools, and coaching youth.
Dorina is the granddaughter of Filipino-Hawaiian and Italian immigrants. Raised in Chicago, she was transplanted to Fresno, California in 1999. She considers herself a California girl now as she raises three daughters to love the cultural diversity, wonder-filled landscapes and unique food of the state. After her husband died from cancer in 2014, Dorina married a long-time friend, Shawn Young. When Dorina is not writing or spending time with family, she's out on the trails running marathons and chasing God's glory.
Connect with Dorina at www.DorinaGilmore.com, where you can sign up for her Glorygram letter. You can also find her as @DorinaGilmore on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Finding some jems
I've been homeschooling my 3rd grader for the past three and a half months now, and I've got to say that the books that I've picked up have been intentional. I want to find our own voices and faces reflected back to us as we read. The amount of books I've picked up from different backgrounds - the different abled bodies to Asian voices to African and Native American stories have been amazing to see. So much more representation than all the picture books I had growing up!!!
Going forward, I'm reviving this book blog portion of my site. I do miss book blogging and sharing the treasures we find with you.
Please note that these will most likely be stories for elementary aged or younger, but I do like a great YA or adult historical fiction, every so often. As I'm building up my library at home, I hope you start your collection too!
Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte's war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story.
Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth -- and the part he played in it.
As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.
~ My Review ~
This was such a lovely and refreshing read. It had enough intrigue to keep you turning pages and witticism and criticism of life in general that made you think.
As for me, it was love letter home. I was born in the Philippines but moved to the states when I was 9. I've only been back once but I can picture every single person, know movements, hear the beeps of jeepneys, smell the fish markets and everything in between that Ribay wrote. It made me terribly self aware that I know next to nothing about Philippine history, so I was completely immersed in Jay, the main character. I wanted him to find answers. I wanted him to soak up every single moment he spent in the motherland, so I could pretend I was right there next to him. I winced at his uncle's words because I know family like that. I can feel both pride and shame emitting out of his uncle and I understood exactly why it's not Jay's place....it's not mine to comment either. I only see through my American eyes....even if some days, I am reminded that I am not American enough.
This was a poetic read and I couldn't put it down!
About the Author
Randy Ribay was born in the Philippines and raised in the Midwest. A graduate of the University of Colorado and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ribay taught English on the East Coast for a decade but now teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit his website at randyribay.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @randyribay.
This is my stop for the Kees and Colliers Blog tour. Today, I am spotlighting both the author and her books! Don't forget do the giveaway at the end!!
The Lady of the Vineyard
Is it too late for Adele to return to her daughter’s life?
When her ex-husband reappears in her life determined to spend more time with their child, Adele Collier allows him to take Judy to France for the summer. As the summer goes by, an internal battle rages in Adele’s heart. Can she give up her glamorous lifestyle to win her daughter’s heart?
Six-year-old Judy is more than happy to trade Adele’s neglect for her father’s adoring care. She loves his vineyard and wishes she could stay there forever, but someday she must return to England. Can Judy trust her mother again?
“A great story about love, emotional turmoil, and the desire to set things right.” ~Long and Short Reviews
“A whimsically beautiful and heartwarming story.” ~Faith L. Potts, author of Dandelion Dust
Published Before?: Yes
Changes to New Version: rewritten (went from 15,000 words to 40,000 words), new cover
Cleanness Levels: parental guidance suggested // 12+ (mentions of divorce, mentions of attraction between a once-married couple, a brief mention of a miscarriage, lots of arguing)
Published: June 1st, 2019
Flowers in Her Heart
Can Adele change her entire lifestyle to be a mother to her babies?
When her husband goes off to war, Adele feels lost and confused. In a new, less-than-ideal place in a frightening, less-than-ideal time, she flees to the garden with her daughters, determined to make their new house a home, even if it is from the outside in.
Battered by her own inner turmoil and scoffed at by those close to her, Adele seeks to make something beautiful amidst chaos. But can even the most beautiful flowers cover the years of scars?
“So sweet, so true, and so downright good.” ~Angela R. Watts, author of Seek
“A fantastic story about family, faith, and a search for beauty and truth.” ~Goodreads Reviewer
Published Before?: Yes
Changes to New Version: title changed from “Flowers,” rewritten (went from 10,000 words to 35,000 words), new cover
Cleanness Levels: parental guidance suggested // 12+ (mentions of a woman having a bad past, mentions of miscarriage, mentions of a married couple sharing a bed)
Published: July 1st, 2019
From Now ‘Til Forever
The war is over, but it’s not as easy coming home as he anticipated.
Troy Kee doesn’t know how he’ll settle back into life with his family after WWII, but he’s determined to do so. He feels that if he can just get his family back to their vineyard in France, everything will be all right. But his wife has other plans.
This charming novelette finale to the Kees & Colliers series highlights the difficulties of returning home after a war.
Published Before?: Never
Cleanness Levels: parental guidance suggested // 10+ (brief mention of miscarriage, brief mention of pregnancy)
Publishing: August 1st, 2019
Amazon: COMING SOON (August release, no preorder)
[COMING SOON] Signed paperback copies:
Adele has been lost for a long time now ...
Adele Collier has sought a carefree lifestyle ever since her tragic childhood. Determined to never allow anyone or anything to control her life or emotions again, she consistently seeks distraction in gaiety. But shaking her ghosts isn’t as easy as she’d like.
Troy Kee has been alone in the world since the Great War took his parents and left him in care of his younger sister. When she marries, he’s left to seek after his goal of a healthy, complete family. But how can he focus on his dream when trouble plagues his family vineyard?
When Adele and Troy meet, a whirlwind romance begins—but can two lost souls have a healthy relationship?
“A tragic, well-crafted story of romance, family dynamics, and pain in the years between WW1 and WW2.” ~Jana Tenbrook
“Souls Astray is a heartrending novel, full of poignant themes and topics that are important even today. It is a captivating read and will leave you wanting more.” ~Michaela Bush
Published Before?: No
Cleanness Levels: 13+ only (full content review here)
Published: May 2019
Prize One: THE LADY OF THE VINEYARD and FLOWERS IN HER HEART in paperback & a cool FLOWER NECKLACE.
Prize Two: THE LADY OF THE VINEYARD in paperback & FLOWERS IN HER HEART and FROM NOW ’TIL FOREVER in ebook
About the Author
Kellyn Roth is a Christian & historical author from North-Eastern Oregon. Kell is a ranch girl, homeschool graduate, proud sister of four, proud auntie of five, and owner of two goofy border collies, two presumptuous cats, and a very active betta fish.
Check out her website, kellynrothauthor.com, for more info.
Author Website: http://kellynrothauthor.com/
Reveries Co: http://reveriescompany.com/
Coach Kell: http://coachkell.com/
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest: @ReveriesofRuby
"Utterly addictive, fascinating, hilarious, and absolutely electric chemistry!"
-- Samantha Young, New York Times Bestselling Author
New York Times bestselling author Penny Reid’s The Laws of Physics Trilogy is complete with TIME!
A (brokenhearted) physicist.
Now an infamous (who is LITERALLY EVERYWHERE!! UGH!) musician.
The worst has already happened.
Mona has learned that she has nothing figured out and plans are meaningless. After leaving her in Aspen, Abram is now breaking sales-records, rising to rock star fame almost overnight. Mona can’t seem to escape him. He is literally everywhere, or at least images of him are.
Just when she thinks things can't get any more confusing, Abram returns . . . What happens next? Only TIME will tell.
Download your copy today!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/TimePR
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2Sm1Zmu
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2WSQbXe
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2F1Dql5
Start the series today with MOTION!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/Motion
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2DoH8pv
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2T4ebo9
Continue the series with SPACE!
Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/SpacePR
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2RRny94
Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2tfBT5C
Meet Penny Reid:
Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.
Connect with Penny:
Stay up to day with Penny by joining her mailing list: http://bit.ly/2szN34G
This is my stop during the book blitz for The Tempted Series by B Truly. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 28 January till 10 February. See the tour schedule here: http://www.lolasblogtours.net/book-blitz-the-tempted-series-by-b-truly
Temptation Trials Revolution
(The Tempted Series #1)
By B Truly
Genre: Dystopian Romance
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: July 13, 2018