I shared my March TBR last year around this time in honor of my then spring break, which ultimately became the spring break that never ended because I was sent back home from college within 48 hours at the start of the pandemic. As we all know, this March somehow looks both a lot different and similar as March 2020. Aside from continuing to live with the pandemic, I’m back at my college for my grad school program and of course still reading as much as I can between grad obligations and spending time with friends & family. I have spring break during the last week in March, in which I will be spending as much time away from my laptop as possible and eating up so many of these books & more – as per usual, I’m hoping to get to more books than the ones on this list, but the following books are my priority reads.

The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friendship Zone #2) by Abby Jimenez – I just finished reading and really enjoying Abby Jimenez’s The Friend Zone, so I’m even more excited to check out the second book, The Happy Ever After Playlist, because so many romance readers are OBSESSED with this one. 

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le – I mentioned that I recently borrowed A Pho Love Story from the library in my February 2020 book haul. I’m always ready for an enemies-to-lovers, and I’m really looking forward to diving into this one about two teens whose families own rival pho restaurants. 

Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper – Unfollow is my non-fiction read for March. I’m about halfway through this book exploring Megan Phelps-Roper’s experience growing up in the Westboro Baptist Church. I really didn’t know anything about this group prior to reading her book – I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction books about religion – but I definitely see myself going down a research spiral after finishing this one. 

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I was 110% correct when I predicted that I would be in a fantasy romance book hangover after reading A Court of Silver Flames. I’m so glad I saved From Blood and Ash to dive into cure my craving for more ACOTAR like books. Read More »

POWERFUL SPRING READ: Infinite Country Review

Summary (from the publisher): An urgent and lyrical novel about a Colombian family fractured by deportation, offering an intimate perspective on an experience that so many have endured—and are enduring right now.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Colombia is a country devastated by half a century of violence. Elena and Mauro are teenagers when they meet, their blooming love an antidote to the mounting uncertainty of life in Bogotá. Once their first daughter is born, and facing grim economic prospects, they set their sights on the United States.

They travel to Houston and send earnings back to Elena’s mother, all the while weighing whether to risk overstaying their tourist visas or to return to Bogotá. As their family expands, and they move again and again, their decision to ignore their exit dates plunges the young family into the precariousness of undocumented status, the threat of discovery menacing a life already strained. When Mauro is deported, Elena, now tasked with caring for their three small children, makes a difficult choice that will ease her burdens but splinter the family even further.

Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself the daughter of Colombian immigrants and a dual citizen, gives voice to Mauro and Elena, as well as their children, Karina, Nando, and Talia—each one navigating a divided existence, weighing their allegiance to the past, the future, to one another, and to themselves. Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality for the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family—for whom every triumph is stitched with regret and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred.


My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Between its early praise and selection as a February Book of the Month pick, Infinite Country is rightfully going to be taking up a spot among so many readers’ spring reads. At less than two hundred pages, Infinite Country is definitely a read you can absolutely devour in one sitting. I ultimately read it over three sittings during a few busy days, but I still enjoyed eating it up in chunks.

Infinite Country follows a Colombian family over at least twenty years as all members attempt to immigrate to the United States. The plot is really complicated to simply summarize, but in the best way possible. The book alternates between couple Elena and Mauro’s relationship over the years, the birth of their children, and each member of their family’s present day. Without being too spoilery, my favorite perspectives were Elena and Mauro’s children. As the daughter still living in Colombia, Talia’s perspective set against her being on the run was very unique and provided a ton of commentary on what it is left to be separated from family as a result of immigration. It was also really interesting, yet incredibly hard to read about Elena (warnings for sexual assault). Elena is left in the United States to raise her two older children, Karina and Nando. Karina and Nando’s own experiences as the children of immigrants in the US was also super telling and somber.  She is constantly trying to find steady work and housing for the family, while also thinking about her family back home. Read More »

CONTEMPORARY, CONTEMPORARY: February 2021 Mini Reviews

My reading in February reflected my usual reading habits: contemporary & contemporary romance with some non-fiction and Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Silver Flames mixed in. Today’s mini reviews from last month include a contemporary romance I’m always finding on recommendation lists, a New Years inspired read take took over everyone’s reading at the end of 2020, and a 2020 contemporary about South Korean beauty culture that has recently blown up on my book social media feeds.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Evvie Drake Starts Over was the perfectly quiet and cozy contemporary romance that I didn’t realize I needed until I was 200 pages in. I read this one over the course of some snow days in February. It’s sweetness and heartfelt ness made for the perfect companion while I snuggled up on the couch watching the snow fall. 

Evvie Drake Starts Over follows the title character, Evvie, who has recently lost her husband. Everyone in her small coastal Maine town constantly check in on her and how she’s handling her supposed grief, including her best friend, Andy. Andy encourages Evvie to rent out her house’s apartment to one of his college friends and a professional baseball player. Dean has recently ended his career after dealing with an athlete’s worst nightmare, the “yips. Despite intense physical training and mental support, he just can’t seem to pitch anymore. 

The book deals with heavier themes, but still felt light & warm at the same time. There’s loss and guilt, as Evvie is dealing with a different kind of grief when it comes to the death of her husband (warning for emotional abuse). Evvie’s marriage to her husband was completely not what it seemed on the outside, and even after his death, she is still combatting people’s interpretations of their relationship. There’s also an emphasis on mental health, between Evvie’s struggles and Dean’s inability to no longer play baseball. 

The story is really driven by Evvie and Dean’s personal journeys and their relationship, but it was complimented by their own friendship and family dynamics. There’s not a ton of romance scenes, but Evvie and Dean’s relationship felt so intimate. Their chemistry and comfort with one another is so instant. I loved how they could drift from light-hearted,easy-going conversations and then deep dive into Dean’s pitching sturggles, Evvie’s marriage, and their own relationship.

Overall, Evvie Drake Starts Over  was just such a soothing read that felt different from most of the contemporary romances I’ve read. There’s definitely more of a focus on the contemporary side of things that just worked perfectly in this one. 

This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

My Rating: 4.25/5 Stars

I feel like Sophie Cousens’ This Time Next Year was THE contemporary book everyone was getting their hands on near the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, thanks to its New Years-inspired premise. After a long wait on the library holds list, I recently got this one in my hands and devoured it in less than three days! I totally admit that I thought about holding this one off until next December near New Years because I love reading holiday books around said holiday, but This Time Next Year was the fluffy and charming read I needed. I’d say the book is half set between New Years and the rest of the year – somewhat picture Josie Silver’s One Day in December, but imagine just one year and flashbacks to New Years of the past.

Set on the outskirts of London, This Time Next Year follows Minnie and Quinn, who were both born minutes apart on New Years Day back in 1990. Ever since Quinn was born first and won a cash prize for being the first baby born in London that decade, Minnie has always felt like bad luck has followed her, especially each year on her birthday. Quinn and Minnie meet at a New Years Party on their mutual 30th birthday and can’t help but continue to run into each other as the year moves on (and maybe have actually run into each others’ paths during past New Years…). This Time Next Year’s premise and storytelling was done so well. I loved Quinn and Minnie’s instant chemistry. Their humor and adventures together just put such a smile on my face as I read. Everyone knows that I love a book featuring baking or cooking (not to mention one set in the UK), so it was really fun to read about Minnie’s pie business with her best friend, Leila…and yes, it took me the first few chapters to realize that Minnie makes savory pies typical in the UK vs. the sweet/dessert-like pies we’re used to here in the US. I loved seeing both Minnie and Quinn’s personal growth, which may have been a bit inspired by each other  and the subsequent strengthening of her relationship with their parents. Overall, This Time Next Year is such a fun and cute book to read both year-round or just in time for New Years.Read More »